Destin Recovery Blog

Out of Town Addiction Treatment is Sometimes Best

Map ImageOut of Town Addiction Treatment is Sometimes Best       

Many factors go into choosing a drug rehabilitation program, but the most crucial is that the addiction therapy offered is the right fit. At Destin Recovery, we have many families choose our facility because we use evidence-based medicine and holistically treat addiction as a chronic disease. Our facilities are banked on the emerald waters of Destin Florida’s Gulf Coast, which means we get patients from all over the South East United States including the Houston, Nashville, and Atlanta. Some are only a short drive away while others fly by plane to get real treatment for drug and alcohol addiction problems.

Choosing out-of-town Florida drug and alcohol treatment in Destin, Florida is the right choice for many. It’s not uncommon for suffering addicts to feel that sticking close to home is the best and most feasible option, especially at first. If you have a family for instance, being close can offer a sense of peace. Yet many people go on to learn that out of town rehabilitation could be a better choice. They learn that they can’t focus on getting better until they are removed from their current environment.

Let’s discuss the many benefits that can be achieved by choosing a Florida drug and alcohol treatment center located out of town.

Addiction Triggers

Seeking treatment from an in-town drug treatment centers has its benefits, but it can also have its downsides. What we have learned is many addicts find that certain triggers, such as familiar places where alcohol or drugs were once used, or people that have poorly influenced the addict continue to pop up and make the cravings even stronger. In this environment regression is too close for the recovering addicts and they don’t have an opportunity to escape and work out their inner conflicts.

No Simple Way to Leave Treatment

An out of town drug treatment center is more difficult to walk away from. We have experienced this on many occasions; that when people seeking treatment at a local facility, it’s much easier to refuse treatment, walk out and have a friend provide quick transportation, returning you to the same toxic environment. Being out of town, the territory will be unfamiliar, you won’t know anyone in the local area and you would have to properly plan your dismissal by scheduling transportation home, which could consist of an expensive plane ride. This added barrier can be the tipping point for a successful recovery.

Increase Privacy and Confidentiality

There is also the issue of privacy. If you have a good career, involved within the community or have a role in your child’s PTO, there’s no doubt that you want to keep your visits to the drug treatment centers private. The public’s ignorant myth that you had a choice in acquiring this disease can cause many problems. Choosing a local drug treatment center may expose you to people within the community, so it’s not uncommon for people seeking recovery to choose an drug treatment center that is outside of their hometown. Having that sense of privacy is what is needed to center all efforts on treatment instead of being concerned about local staff, medical personnel or others learning about your unique but personal situation.

Complete Focus on Recovery

Lastly, when seeking drug and alcohol addiction treatment out of town in a Florida alcohol treatment Center, recovering addicts and alcoholics have a chance to focus on themselves, which is really the key ingredient in recovery. Even though it may sound best to stay close to your loved ones, you may find yourself focusing more on them than yourself. By attending an out of town drug treatment center, you have no choice but to let go of what’s going on at home and focus on your own recovery. It’s often not until this point when the walls are broken down that true healing begins to take place.

Even with all the benefits to attending out-of-town drug treatment center in Destin, this scenario isn’t right for everyone. There are struggling addicts out there who must remain close to their homes for a myriad of reasons, and in these cases, a local drug treatment center is just as beneficial. However, if you have a situation that allows you to take time away from your setting, acquire the privacy that is needed and the time away to focus on yourself and start fresh, out-of-town drug treatment centers offer the greatest rewards, as nothing is more effective for a recovering addict than a new beginning.



Recovery From Addiction is a Family Affair

Alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family – young, teenage, or grown-up children; wives or husbands; brothers or sisters; parents or other relatives and friends.  One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers.  Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics.

Without help, active addiction can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime.

Regrettably, no family is born with the knowledge of how to deal effectively with addiction.  It is a skill that must be learned and practiced daily.

But, with the proper help and support, family recovery has become a reality for millions!

Roadblock to Recovery:  Why Do I Need Help?  She’s the problem!

One of the biggest challenges to family recovery is the belief that everything will be ok if they can just ‘fix’ their loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs.  After all, “she’s the one who needs help, not me!”

Helping families understand that just as the addict is responsible for their own recovery, they too are responsible for their own recovery.  The whole family is in this together, including the children.  Addiction in the family strains relationships and people become anxious, mistrustful, tired and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness can set in.  Because addiction hurts the whole family, it is absolutely essential that solutions are designed to restore the whole family.

As a family disease, those who have been affected by addiction may take years to recover, as they rebuild and stabilize their lives, independent of what the alcohol and drug addicted family member does.  Without question, it can seem overwhelming, but it helps to keep in mind that commitment to the recovery process is also a commitment to the overall well being of the whole family.

Constructive and active family engagement in the recovery process is essential if the family is to heal from the destructive impact of addiction.  To move on in hope, families need a variety of supports, information and skills including the following:

1. End the Isolation and Connect:  By joining an education or support group.

2. Education on Addiction and the Family:  Understanding how addiction affects both the addicted person and the family is an essential foundation to moving on.

3. Learn Communication Skills:  Active addiction destroys family communication.  Developing these skills is essential to family recovery.

4. Detachment and Responsibility for Self:  Learning to detach with love and focus on assuming responsibility for our own behavior.

5. Stop Old Behaviors:  Many of our old ways of coping are ineffective and contribute to the problem not the solution:  enabling, denial, blaming and minimizing the problem.

6. Engage the Children:  As a parent, depending on ages, you play a critically important role in providing support and protection for the children.  But, engaging them in their own recovery is very important.

7. Build on Resilience:  Surviving active addiction to alcohol and drugs is never easy.  Use the recovery process as a means of building on your personal and family strengths.

8. Engage in Personal and Family Activities:  working alone and together to find activities that serve as a source of personal and family fulfillment (ex. volunteering)

9. Understand and Prepare for Relapse:  Relapse into old behaviors is as real for family members as it is for those addicted to alcohol and drugs.  Family members need to develop strategies for dealing with their own relapse issues and other challenges.

People recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, their families, and their children can and often do achieve optimum levels of health and functioning, but this achievement is best measured in years rather than days, weeks, or months.  In the process of recovery, families are strengthened through increased levels of genuine intimacy and families are better able to cope with life’s challenges.  Over time, the discipline of recovery can bring the family together to be the healthiest it has ever been!

Today, family recovery is a reality for millions of Americans today, and the hope, help, and healing of family recovery has become the most powerful way to break the intergenerational cycle of alcoholism and addiction in the family.

For information about Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics – Mutual Aid/Support.

Posted from National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. website.

The Marijuana Conundrum

The Marijuana Conundrum

The Marijuana ConundrumRarely a day goes by where we do not encounter political, legal or medical news and arguments asking or declaring how we should handle marijuana.  As an addiction medicine physician, I too encounter these questions almost daily.  My own research and attempt at crystallizing an opinion is frustrated by many paradoxes.  Several questions are really being asked about marijuana, but they are disguised or misrepresented as a single question:  “Yes or No” concerning marijuana?  This is an extreme oversimplification when asked this way, but it avoids and dodges potholes (sic).

Proponents for the use of marijuana for medical reasons cite growing evidence of proven medical benefits.  Legalization arguments are convincing too.  A purported failure of prohibition and the enormous economic and societal costs of attempts at enforcement burden us all.  Perhaps the loudest chorus for making marijuana legal and medically available comes from those whose real goal is recreational use with a cultural refrain written with Cheech and Chong asking “hey man, am I driving OK…I think we’re parked man…”

The argument of what to do with marijuana can and should be discussed as three separate issues, all related, but all with specific considerations.  1) medical use, 2) legalization, and 3) recreational use.  More often what we find in reported stories, quotes and political questions about marijuana is an argument covering only one of these issues, and it is used to answer all three questions.  This creates confusion and obfuscation inherent in finding “the answer” for marijuana.  We listen to Sanjay Gupta on CNN “doubling down” for the medical uses of marijuana.  Our Justice Department describes the inequities of prosecution leaving a disproportionate number of Blacks and Hispanics serving time for “minor marijuana offenses”.  Our own President in an interview in the New Yorker a few months ago has made statements supportive of marijuana comparing it to alcohol while the government he represents bans it.  He explicitly states that he tried marijuana when he was younger, while implicitly seeming to say “I turned out all right, how bad could it be”.  Each of these points of view are then used to support any and all use of marijuana by zealous proponents.  Some more specifics:

1)     Medical Issue- A growing body of evidence exists suggesting positive medical uses of marijuana for pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy patients, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and others.  Most of the evidence is anecdotal yet much is compelling.  Marijuana or its 480 ingredients and 66 various cannabinoids has undergone a relative paucity of the kind of research considered standard for potential pharmaceuticals.  Marijuana’s categorization as a Schedule I (one) drug says it is “dangerous and without known medical use” essentially placing a firewall between marijuana and medical research.  This firewall is bolstered and sealed by the holding of US Patent # 6,630,507 by the US Government for medical uses of marijuana.  It would be patent infringement for other pharmaceutical companies to develop medical uses for marijuana without express permission from the US government.  Our government states unequivocally at on the Office of National Drug Control Policy page that “The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana…it would pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans…”  Sitting atop the myriad obstacles to meaningful medical research on marijuana is our government, no matter how compelling the evidence for potential benefits. This conundrum has created a situation where five brothers in Colorado nicknamed “the chemical brothers” are at the forefront of developing medical uses for marijuana.  They have no medical background, yet opportunity and a vacuum places them on the cutting edge of standardizing extractions, potencies and components of medicinal marijuana.  The Stanley brothers are sincere and honest I believe, but for them to be the pioneers of medical discoveries in this country of vast medical infrastructure is a travesty.


2)     Legalization-   Our overburdened and costly prison system is partly so because of the 1.3 million drug arrests made yearly.  Of these arrests, Blacks are 6 times more likely to be imprisoned than whites, and Hispanics are 2.5 times more likely according to the Bureau of Justice in 2012.  Many of these involve small amounts of marijuana.  Although these statistics represent a problem with our justice system as a whole, they provide a pillar in the argument for legalization of marijuana.  Other arguments for legalization are economic and involve standardization and safety.  Pros and cons debate issues such as DUI’s, availability to minors, promotion vs control of use, marijuana as an addiction gateway, associated crime, and other issues.

3)     Recreational-   This is the category that astounds me as an addiction physician.  Proponents of recreational use uniformly compare it to alcohol and/or cigarettes.  It seems that the best argument for recreational use involves comparison to substances and products that kill hundreds of thousands every year.  As if there were some value to a “relative risk of dying” in the argument.  “Obesity and hang gliding can be fatal and they are not illegal, why is marijuana” goes the argument.  This can be debated concerning personal freedom to harm yourself, but our laws are also designed to protect others.  Most quoted studies evaluating driving and marijuana use are several years old, but the potency of marijuana increases every year.  In 2005 the journal Addiction stated that one joint was equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .05% concerning motor and executive function.  What is that level today?


We live in a country where New York outlaws Big Gulps, while Colorado enables marijuana use.  Tobacco smokers are exiles while marijuana smokers are cheered.  Regularly ignored in all of the above arguments except to be minimized is the addiction issue associated with marijuana.  It coopts our brain’s reward system just as any other addictive drug, leading to tolerance and the subsequent search for perceived reward with other substances.

Several paradoxes are described above.  Answers to the questions can be described as riddles- puzzles requiring creativity and ingenuity to answer.  I and others propose that marijuana be reclassified as a schedule II or even schedule III drug and treated as such medically and legally.  This would change the legal issues making it similar to having morphine or hydrocodone.  There are obviously problems with these drugs too, progress not perfection.  The goal is to make marijuana available for research, standardization, oversight as a controlled medication, and perhaps freeing billions of dollars currently wasted on failed prohibition to these endeavors.  Dispensing, oversight, and research would then all have already delineated pathways and mechanisms.  Simply making marijuana available and controlled like alcohol is an appealing argument for some, but as an addiction professional that encounters the ravages of alcohol and addiction daily, I can only hope that this approach is never taken.

“Conundrum” involves paradoxes and puzzles and unresolved questions.  Here is a doozy.

The Marijuana Conundrum – by Dr. Reeves.


Alcohol Affects Everyone in the Family

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM. Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center; Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Alcoholism and drug dependence is the United States #1 health problem.  The disease of alcoholism doesn’t affect just one person. It affects all the people who are in relationship with the person who suffers the addiction.  NCADD and their National Network of Affiliates possess decades of research that shows the disease of addiction affects not only the individual, but millions of family members as well.

The family members who suffer the most from the effects of alcohol and drug abuse are young children and adolescents.

How Alcohol Abuse Affects the Family

A family member’s addiction will often create interpersonal problems for all the members within the family. Some interpersonal problems created by alcoholism are:

1) Jealousy: You become jealous of your partner, friends, and other family members. Your partner may in return grow resentful or jealous of you.

2) Conflict: You have increasing arguments with your partner or get/give the “silent treatment.” You grow apart as you are forced to put your addiction first.  Conflict between you and your children increases, and they begin to either disregard your authority or they become frightened of you.

3) Money Problems: You are struggling economically from losing your job, needing to take time off from your job, making ill-advised and ill-considered financial decisions, or simply using all your money to support your addiction.

4) Emotional Trauma: You may create emotional hardships for your partner and/or your children by yelling, talking down, insulting or manipulating them.

5) Violence: You lose control and are violent towards your family members.

6) Patterns: Your life style will influence your partner and your children. Your children have a high chance of becoming alcoholics and drug addicts because you have set the pattern and cycle within them.

7) Health Risks: When you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol your judgment is impaired. This can lead to neglect or harm to your family and others.

Help that is available when Alcoholism is destroying your family

Weather you have been living with alcoholism for some time, or living with a family member who is an alcoholic for some time, learning the facts about alcohol and drug addiction is the first step. You cannot rely on just your experience. You need to learn all the facts about alcoholism and how it affects the family.

Then seek help and support for yourself.  Even if you are not the family member suffering from Alcoholism, you need help. Education is available to help you find healthy ways to overcome the negative effects of the disease.  Education and counseling helps you realize that you are not alone, nor are you responsible for another person’s abuse of alcohol and drugs. You can receive help for yourself, no matter if the other family member chooses to seek help for their addiction or not.

Treatment programs, counseling, mutual aid/support groups are all options for getting help.  While the simple fact is that only the person abusing alcohol or drugs can make the decision to get help for themselves, you can assist in creating the conditions that might make that decision more attractive to them.  Once you have sought help and support for yourself, they may be encouraged to seek treatment or self-help.

Family Intervention

If the family member who is abusing alcohol or drugs refuses to seek help, you might consider a family intervention. This intervention should be planned and professionally directed.  With the guidance and support of an experienced interventionist, an intervention can be a powerful tool in causing the family to gain council that will keep the focus on getting the addicted person to accept treatment.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be a very good process for recovery for family members with drug and alcohol addictions. It can strengthen your family’s resources to help you find new and rewarding ways of living without alcohol or drugs. Your family will discover ways to be able to handle the impact of detoxification, while your body is being cleansed from an addiction.

Your family may start becoming aware of their own needs and may feel that it is safe enough to express them. The next generation in your family will be less likely to carry on your addiction.

If you have lost custody of your children, family therapy can be a way to help you to recover your relationship with them.

More on Dr. Reeves – Destin Florida

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center (Destin Florida)
Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.


Is There a Doctor in the House?

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

Is there a doctor in the house?

This is an unusual question when the condition being treated is identifiable by causes and effects (symptoms) that clearly indicate a diseased organ. But why are doctors often on the periphery—or absent—when the disease is addiction?

“Why should they be?” someone asks. “Who needs a doctor anyway? They just push drugs and make you switch addictions. I got clean without a doctor.”

I have heard these questions and statements from those actively addicted, but sadly, just as often, I’ve heard them from stalwart pillars of recovery groups and from those entrusted with the treatment of individuals that are still suffering.

What is this illness, really? If it is a disease, doctors are needed, but their role is undefined. It is safe to say that too often doctors do not have a role.

This is not a treatise on why we call addiction a disease. That has been done many times and very convincingly. Today we can describe the disease of addiction with great chemistry and pathos and detail. We study it, read about it, spend billions on it, yet in the opinion of many, we do not always do a very good job of treating this chronic and fatal disease. If the standards and measures of positive outcomes that we use for treating other diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, are applied to the disease of addiction, we fall woefully short. Is this because addiction is so much harder to treat?

The answer to this question could only be accurately given if the same resources, money, and expertise were currently being applied for addiction as they are for other chronic illnesses. Herein lies the problem. The industry that is currently available to provide quality care has become one of “boutique programs with screenings and assessments made by salespeople,” as described in a comment about an article in the 2 July 2013 Addiction Professional magazine.

 An important distinction should be made here. There are many fine programs providing high-quality care for this disease. I am not addressing these, and we know which ones they are. Unfortunately, the number of patients for whom these programs are able to provide high-quality care pales when placed beside the numbers being treated at hundreds, if not thousands, of other treatment centers that market and apply unproven or outdated care. We have an addiction treatment industry populated by places selling the “easier, softer way” with absolutely zero evidence-based practices, yet they are too often considered acceptable and mainstream. A perusal of the Internet easily reveals thousands of centers with claims of amazing success rates, leaving one wondering why addiction even continues to be a problem! 

Anne M. Fletcher, in her book Inside Rehab, describes the reality of this situation. Some centers do better than others, but a large number fall short of what must be achieved. Thomas McLellan states, in the book’s introduction, that “seriously addicted people are getting very limited care at exhaustive costs and with uncertain results.” He further states that “my research on addiction treatment programs suggests that this discouraging picture underestimates the problems in the treatment system.” Consider the real success rates of any of the centers or methods described in her book. “Success” in this setting can be defined as an arrest of the progression of the disease manifestations that lasts. Apply these success rates for a loved one with cancer or heart disease. Is this good enough? You would of course choose a center anyway if that were all that was available to you, or if they convinced you that they offered you the best chance. What if you later discovered, after a recurrence of the disease manifestations (relapse), that the most modern, up-to-date knowledge and applications of treatment of the disease were not used for your loved one? There is no question that a huge deficit exists in what has proven successful in the treatment of addiction and what is found in many programs.

There are many reasons for this disparity, or “gap,” as the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University called it last year. The 573-page report on “the gap between science and practice” of addiction medicine reports that only one in ten people of the millions that need treatment for addiction actually receive it, and of those that do, “most do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.” The CASA findings were reported in this publication a few months ago. That paper (and this discussion) is absolutely not an accusation against thousands of competent and diligent therapists in this field, as was received, by some, as noted in the comments section of that article. Rather it is an incrimination of the medical field (doctors) for allowing a disease—that killed more people last year than died at the peak of the AIDS epidemic—to remain “largely disconnected from mainstream medical practice,” as stated in the report.

Our medical system makes sure that someone going home, after being admitted to a hospital in a coma and found to have diabetes, has appropriate aftercare. This means arrangements are made for follow-up with the appropriate medical specialists. Home visits, to educate and evaluate, with frequent reports to the doctor, are routine. The patient is given appropriate medications and instructed in continued self-care. Logs are kept, the content is reported to the doctor, and adjustments in treatment are made based on the information obtained. This kind of care is more intensive initially, then as needed, and it continues for the life of the patient as long as the patient remains engaged. If they do not remain engaged, phone calls and even social service visits are made to re-engage the patient. Someone at the doctor’s office, usually a nurse, is responsible for coordinating all of this aftercare and ensuring its best possible success. Overall, a multidisciplinary, multicomponent patient-centered approach to healthcare delivery is enacted.

I have just described and defined chronic-disease management as it exists today for diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma, stroke, dementia, and many others. This is considered the standard of care for these diseases, yet the chronic disease of addiction is absent from any discussion of chronic-disease management in today’s medical community. We check blood glucose levels four times a day in diabetics, and address the results each time with great success. Addiction programs such as those required for impaired physicians have random daily call-ins to check for alcohol or drugs and have documented success rates often greater than ninety percent. Now we need the non-impaired physicians to do the same for non-physicians with addiction!

What can we do?

Just as diabetics must approach their disease by doing tests and adjusting lifestyles one day at a time, addicts must approach their disease one day at a time. We must treat one patient at a time in the manner in which they deserve. This can mean arranging follow-up with an ASAM/ABAM-certified physician—or one with experience in addiction, if possible.

We can begin the process of formulating and implementing a chronic-disease management plan upon initial encounter with an addict/alcoholic as a client. Make sure the client becomes a patient too. Know that a Suboxone-certified doctor is educated only about Suboxone, not the intricacies involved with the treatment of addiction. The apparatus available for chronic-disease management must begin to be deployed for addiction, and doctors at every level must become involved extensively in this process. Such a grassroots effort can eventually lead to insurance, policy, medical education, and financial changes that are needed on a much grander scale to make a real difference. We can start making a real difference today with one patient.

A disease of the pancreas called diabetes can lead to abnormal glucose levels, and subsequently alterations in vision, renal function, and every system associated with small vessels. All of this must be treated with a multidisciplinary approach. A brain disease called addiction leads to abnormal dopamine levels and a cascade of subsequent chemical alterations resulting in abnormal behaviors and a change in fundamental drives. This, too, requires a multidisciplinary approach to treat the resulting sickness of mind, body, and spirit.

Capable therapists and psychologists most ably treat the mind. The medical community must up their game in the body portion of treatment. The entire industry must evolve with insistence on making available the evidence-based treatments on offer today in less than thirty percent of treatment centers and actually provided in a fragment of that (CASA 2012). Only if these things are done can the third, and in my opinion, the most important portion of this disease be addressed—the spiritual portion.

Chemical processes in the brain lead to consciousness and behavior. They also result in things like intuition, fairness, love, and ultimately peace. Chemistry contributes to spirituality. We must recognize that this continuum from cellular chemistry through spirituality is a two-way street. Changing one’s spirituality leads to chemistry changes. Medication can change neurochemistry temporarily. Meditation changes dopamine. Acceptance changes serotonin. Doctors, therapists, and self-help groups are all imperative components of the treatment of this complex disease, addiction.

Therapists are usually “in the house.” Where are the doctors? 


More on Dr. Reeves

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center; Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.


After Spring Break | Dealing with the Addiction

After Spring Break | Dealing with the Addiction

Dealing with the AddictionSpring Break has always been famous for fun and partying. It can also become a time of crisis for those who suffer drug and alcohol abuse and addictions and for those who love them. What is supposed to be a time to remember for a vacation can become the time for destruction to relationships.

Certain drugs that are offered as ‘recreational drugs’ can be extremely addictive and a trial or two of them at the spring break parties can lead to more use of the drug until the addiction is strong. You begin to realize that the one you care about, be they friend or family, has returned from Spring Break controlled by a substance.

Spring Break can also bring relationships that were fragile to a point of crises. Sometimes you will discover that the one you love is addicted when you are no longer in the safe environment of routine where you can easily deny their addiction, or they can more readily conceal their addiction.

Are you beginning to think about intervention?

Regardless of whether your plan for an intervention has been a long time coming, or it is a response to a new and real threat to the one you care about, don’t attempt an intervention without help. Strong evidence exists that unplanned interventions fail, while well planned and thought out interventions succeed. In fact, they have an 80% success rate. Knowing that if you do an intervention correctly that there is such a good chance of success should give you hope.  That is important for you to know. There is hope and also help for you and for the one you love.

It is also a good reason to refuse to react impulsively, but to act with intention and wisdom. Take all the steps you need to make that kind of intervention happen for the one you love. An intervention is simply an orchestrated attempt by one or many people – usually family and friends – to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of trauma. You might have already attempted informal and solo interventions already. They may very well not have succeeded.

What is an Intervention?

Just as there comes a time when you ask the person with the addiction to admit they need professional help, there comes a time when you need to admit that you might need professional help with the intervention too. Start looking at the recovery centers that offer interventions as a service. Before choosing one, study their sites completely.  Make sure they have experience with the particular addiction that is controlling the person you care about.   Take the time to study what their philosophy is towards the treatment of addictions.  How they approach addictions and what methods they employ matter. Just as how they approach interventions and what they tell you to do will matter. You need to trust your councilor before you ever allow them to orchestrate an intervention for your loved one.

Some centers focus on the physical addiction and will lean towards treatments through medication and scientific findings. Some centers focus on the psychological addiction and will work more in the realm of personal and social behavior. Then there are centers that address both the physical addiction and the psychological addiction. Simply researching the different centers and how they approach addiction will begin a journey for you. A journey that you might need to take first, before you can ever help the one you love take their journey.

This spring break might have been the worst experience in your life. Facing addictions isn’t what Spring Break should be about. Yet if that is what your spring break was about, it’s time to think about getting help. Don’t write off your 2014 Spring Break as a loss. Make it an experience that leads you to take well planned actions that will change your life, and change the life of the one you love.

More on Dr. Reeves – Destin Florida

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center (Destin Florida)
Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Relapse after Spring Break

Relapse after Spring Break – You thought you could handle it. You were going to have a fantastic spring break with your friends. You weren’t going to drink or do drugs too much. You promised yourself. Or you promised your loved one. Yet you did. Relapse! How and why can that happen? Why can addiction get the best of you no matter how determined you are, not to let it?

Addiction affects you on far more levels than you might first believe

Addiction doesn’t affect you just on the physical level. It affects you on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels as well. Your relapse doesn’t mean your addiction is incurable. Nor does it mean that you simply don’t have enough willpower. What it can mean is that you have been attempting to deal with your addiction on one level or another, but you haven’t addressed the encompassing areas that your addiction has touched you at.  If you relapsed, take a serious look at getting help again. If you have been trying to break your addictions by yourself, consider getting professional help. Also, consider a long term program. A long term rehab program can last a few months and up to four months.

That long?

These programs are designed to take the time to address your addiction on all the levels. Not just on a behavioral level. Or on a physical level. Or on a social level.  It takes time to address you addiction on all the levels. There really is no such thing as a one-­size-­fits­-all rehab program. Each person faces completely different personal experiences because of their addiction, and those experiences will require attention. Each person’s physical makeup is unique and must be treated accordingly.  Medicine has made great advancements and it is important to find a center that employs those advancements.

Understanding the nature of addiction, and finding a personalized rehab program that will address your addiction on all its levels, rather than just one or the other, can help you finally be free from the addiction. So Spring Break caused you to relapse. It’s time to take the time to get rid of your addiction. Spring Break next year can be totally different…or you might be vacationing in a totally different place, because you are totally different.

We guarantee you will…

∙         Get the attention you deserve in an intimate, individually focused program with people just like you.
∙         Heal through an effective blend of integrated therapies at one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
∙         Discover why this has happened to you and learn how to live free from you problem.

More on Dr. Reeves – Destin Florida

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center (Destin Florida)
Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Posted in Recovery, Relapse

Balancing Act Managing Your Recovery With Gratitude

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

While all recovering addicts know that the decision to get clean is the first step towards sobriety, managing your sobriety during the year can be a challenge. While rehab gives addicts and their families the tools to manage recovery, it is up to each person to actively manage his or her recovery daily. With the beginning of a new year, many recovering addicts will use the time to reflect on their personal growth since their decision to get sober and will set new goals for the days, weeks, and months, ahead. While recovery works best when it is managed “one day at a time”, addicts in recovery can begin to set some manageable and achievable goals as part of their personal inventory exercises.  By focusing on what you learned during your addiction and recovery, you can reflect on the past and continue your journey forward.

A good way to manage your goals for your sobriety is to start incorporating daily gratitude exercises into your routine. Whether this is a form of prayer, meditation, or an active engagement of thankfulness (through phone calls, emails, or written thank you notes), daily gratitude helps keep the world in perspective.

  • First, actively identify things and people for whom you are grateful or thankful. This may mean keeping a daily gratitude journal or notebook where you can jot notes about things that bring you pleasure, joy, or comfort.
  • Review your list daily. If you are prone to prayer, you may thank God for these things. If you prefer a more introspective approach, you can meditate on the things for which you are grateful. Beginning with “I give thanks for” or “I am grateful to” are good ways to start this exercise.
  • Demonstrate your gratitude. Actively seek out those deserving of your thanks and gratitude. Something as simple as an email or phone call not only acknowledges the things and people for whom you are grateful, it deepens your connection with them.

As you move through your recovery, it’s important to recognize that your sobriety is a daily challenge. After practicing gratitude mindfully, you can start identifying manageable and attainable daily goals. Marathon runners focus on specific benchmarks, and addicts in recovery should approach their sobriety the same way. By creating and then achieving goals, you will have the confidence to expand your reach.

Recognizing the impact your addiction and recovery has had on family and friends is important as well. While your family and friends can be an important support system, you must acknowledge and right any wrongs or mistakes you made while in the throes of addiction. Just as your addiction affected your family and friends, your recovery will impact them as well. As you continue to take and re-evaluate your personal inventory, you will find that your gratitude for the good things grows and your ability to soberly manage challenges and stresses increases as well.

Balancing Act Managing Your Recovery With Gratitude – by Dr. Reeves.

More on Dr. Reeves – Destin Florida

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center (Destin Florida);
Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine. 




Panama City Beach / Safe Spring Break 2014

Panama City Beach / Safe Spring Break 2014Welcome to Panama City Beach FL and a fantastic 2014 Spring Break. Fllipkey’s ranked Panama City Beach as #7 on Top Trending Destinations. It easily lives up to the title, with beautiful spring temperatures, fantastic beaches, and great entertainment.  This year 250,000 to 300,000 college students will come to Panama City Beach in March alone. Such numbers make Panama City Beach “Spring Break Capital of the World.”  (

Panama City Beach’s Police Chief, Drew Whitman,  has over 20 years of experience with the phenomenon  of  Spring  Break.  In  order  to  make  spring  break  as  safe  as  possible,  the  city employs dozens of additional law  enforcement staffers from outside  agencies to help with the throngs of college students. They even have mobile units to help with the underage drinking and various violations.

Policemen walk the beaches and strive to be both visible and approachable to help in any difficult situations that might arise. Panama City Beach Hotels, just as experienced in making sure that Spring Breakers enjoy their stay, also hire extra security, for the same purpose. Despite these added enforcements, casualties have already occurred.Rice University student Reny Jose went missing early March 3 after witnesses said he took LSD the previous evening at a beach house. Officials have been searching for him since. Another spring breaker died March 9 in a DUI­ related crash.

Other than becoming aware of the police and hotel security staff and where they are located in Case you need them, there are common sense safety measures you can take. Always stick together with your friends. Keep an eye on your drinks and theirs to make sure that nobody slips anything in them.When partying and drinking, especially on the beaches where sun and exertion can lower your tolerance to alcohol or drugs, keep an eye out for your friends. The combination of different drinks with varying toxicity levels, or combining alcohol with drugs (be they over the counter or illegal) also can bring about critical alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. Alcohol poisoning can also happen from taking in too much alcohol at one time.

What are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning? They are stupor, mental confusion, vomiting and seizures, and coma where a person cannot be roused. How can you know if your friend is merely passed out, or if they have fallen into a coma from alcohol poisoning? Check their breathing. If it is slowed with fewer breaths than eight per minute they can be in danger. Or if their breathing is irregular, where there is 10 seconds or more between their breaths.  Also check their skin color. If their skin is bluish in color and pale and clammy to the touch, they are suffering from hypothermia (or low body temperature). This is a dangerous effect from alcohol poisoning.  If your friend is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Your friend could die otherwise. Do not concern yourself with the legality of their condition; make sure you get immediate help for them!  Continue to try and revive them. Turn them on their side. They will be less likely to choke on their vomit in this position. Many deaths have resulted simply from drunks choking on their own vomit. If they stop breathing, be ready to perform CPR on them. If you do not know how, try to find someone who does know how to do it.

Here are some Numbers for you to call for more information and advice for any situation that you might find yourself in that could potentially be dangerous to you or your friends.

For non­emergency situations:

Panama City
Police Department
1209 E. 15th St.
Panama City, Florida 32405 Phone: 850-­872-3100

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue
110 South Arnold Road
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
General Inquiries:
(850) 233.5120

Florida Drug Treatment
Phone 855-638-7258

For immediate emergencies Always call 911!

Panama City Beach / Safe Spring Break 2014 by Dr. Reeves.

More on Dr. Reeves – Destin Florida

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center (Destin Florida)
Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.



Posted in Alcohol Abuse

First Signs of Alcoholism

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Are you concerned that you might have a problem with alcohol? Or perhaps you are worried about a family member that seems to be abusing alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that result in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.

A distinction is made between alcohol abuse and alcoholism itself. Alcoholism is a dependence on alcohol. While alcohol abusers still has some ability to set limits on their drinking. Their use of alcohol can still be self-destructive and hazardous. It may also develop into alcoholism if they do not receive help.

While some alcohol abusers do not become alcohol dependent or alcoholics, it remains a strong risk. Alcoholism can occur suddenly in response to a genetic predisposition from a family history of alcoholism or due to a stressful change, such as a breakup, retirement, or another loss.  Sometimes alcoholism can gradually evolve as you develop a tolerance to alcohol.

First Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Neglecting Responsibilities: Drinking causes a person to repeatedly neglect their responsibilities at home, work, or in school. You may neglect children, perform poorly at work, or skip out of work or school or social obligations to drink or because you are hung over.

Drinking in Dangerous Situations: If you drink in situations that you know can be physically dangerous to you like drinking while you drive, drinking when you are in a dangerous neighborhood, mixing alcohol with prescription drugs against your doctor’s advice

Creating Legal Problems: You face legal problems from things you do while drinking, like being arrested for fighting, for drunk and disorderly conduct, for domestic disputes or DUI’s

Constant Relationship Problems: You continue drinking despite the fact that it is causing fights and problems with your family and friends. An example would be that you fight with them because they do not like your behavior when you drink. Or your marriage is strained because you are always out drinking with your buddies.

Using alcohol to de-stress: You use alcohol to relieve your stress. Alcohol acts as a sedative drug. Over the course of time, you build up a tolerance to it. You will need more alcohol to relieve stress. An example would be if you use alcohol to decompress after a hard day at work. After repetitive use, you start becoming drunk to relieve the stress from a hard day at work. Another example would be you get a drink because you have had an argument with your boss, spouse or friend.

Symptoms of the Disease of Alcoholism

Alcoholism will involve the above signs of alcohol abuse, with one more factor added to it: a physical dependence to alcohol as well as a physical tolerance and withdrawal to alcohol.  It’s important to note at this point that the person in question has a chronic disease that will only get worse if left untreated.

Tolerance: Tolerance means that you need more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. Are you drinking more than others without showing the typical signs of intoxication?

Withdrawal: Once the effects of alcohol wears off, do you become anxious, jumpy, stressed? These are signs that you are experiencing withdrawal from alcohol. You might even experience withdrawal symptoms of shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting, headaches insomnia, fatigue, depression, irritability, or loss of appetite. Do you need a drink in the morning to simply steady your nerves? Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of alcoholism and addiction.

No Control: Do you drink more than you planned to drink, longer than you intended, and despite the fact that you had determined not to do so?

You Can’t Stop: You want to stop drinking, yet despite your best efforts, you continue to drink

Loss of Other Pursuits: You have given up activities and pursuits you use to care about or enjoy because of alcohol. Spending time with friends, favorite hobbies and interests are some examples.

Alcohol takes up all your focus: Your time is dedicated, whether you like it or not, to drinking, thinking about drinking, or recovering from the effects of drinking.  Almost all your interests and social or community involvements revolve around the use of alcohol.

Negative Consequences: You continue drinking regardless of the negative consequences from it. You might see that your drinking is destroying your marriage and family relationships, it is causing you to fail at your job, or you are developing health problems from it, but you can’t stop and you continue to drink.


Alcoholism is a chronic disease.   It needs to be treated with same rigorous methodology as you would treat diabetes, heart disease or depression. Treatment must involves the latest science that combines medical therapy and private, one-on-one counseling.

Alcoholism is a complex disease that involves changes in the structure and function of the brain. Treatment needs to involve  not only therapists and peer groups, but the ongoing involvement of a physician.

First Signs of Alcoholism – by Dr. Reeves.

More on Dr. Reeves

Dr. Reeves is the Medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center; Director of Addiction Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast; is a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; and is Triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.