All posts tagged Addiction

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.

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.

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. 




Physicians are a Problem, part 2.

How Do Docs Help and Not Hinder?

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

My last blog pointed out many of the shortcomings of our current system of outpatient treatment for opiate dependence using Buprenorphine.  There are positive aspects as well for the availability of Buprenorphine in the outpatient setting.  Buprenorphine provides an option that can be widely available, and great success

is possible for this devastating epidemic, but only if the medication is provided with all needed components.   There must be concrete accountability and a real program of recovery.  Most of the problems I pointed out are not due to unethical Docs trying to make a buck although there are too many of these.  Most of the Docs prescribing Buprenorphine are very sincere in their desire to appropriately offer treatment for a bad disease.  Unfortunately, the system that was set up for them gives a false impression that what they are doing is adequate.  A piece of the puzzle missing is referral in every patient treated with Buprenorphine to an addiction professional specializing in addiction treatment. This might be a counselor or an addiction physician, but it would facilitate complete evaluation and integration of the needs for a fatal disease that is totally unforgiving of any missing pieces.

When outpatient Buprenorphine is used for the treatment of opiate addiction, it can provide treatment for many that otherwise never could or would be able to participate in a more intensive treatment setting such as Rehab or residential treatment.  A typical patient I might see as an outpatient is a twenty-thirty-something person without insurance, a new baby is at home cared for by a neighbor or relative while at work, and they have no healthy relationships.  This might be a single parent, or both parents are working minimum paying jobs and barely making ends meet.  This potential patient would end up losing their child, their job, and eventually their life before they could ever have the means or ability to go to residential or full time program. Addicts usually have a heartfelt desire to change. I have yet to meet the honest addict that desired to continue what they were doing.   It is too often almost impossible for them because of a lack of resources or other support.  There is no one for the child if they go to treatment.  They have no financial support if work stops for treatment.  These patients become hopeless, lose their child and job, and when they finally die, it is a relief.  There are dozens of scenarios that make the hurdle of starting treatment perceived to be just too high.  This does not have to happen.  If this patient can be treated as an outpatient allowing them to continue to work, it just might happen.  A local Doc that provides an affordable real alternative can provide non-threatening access.  This can be the oasis they see as they feebly crawl over one more dune across an endless desert.  Hope.

Simply exchanging an opiate for Buprenorphine bought from a primary care physician too often does not lead to successful treatment though.  The initial promise fades as reality continues to show up.  Appropriate management of this patient must address the biological, behavioral and spiritual components of this disease.  Otherwise, the denial, compulsion and craving that are the pillars of this malady soon reemerge.  “Go to meetings” is instructed as the Rx is handed to them and this is woefully lacking.  Buprenorphine then is diverted for financial gain, used in between other drugs to prevent withdrawal, and otherwise enables disease progression rather than recovery.  All of this takes place while faithfully returning to the well-intentioned but ill equipped “Suboxone Doctor.”   There must be an end-point.  “Maintenance” becomes perpetuation.  There must be steady progress propelled by accountability and leveraged with the need to regularly return to the physician.  Yes, the same dependence we are treating becomes power in compelling the patients to put up and show up.  All of this is easily and often wasted, but it does offer real drive if used as it can be.  Buprenorphine can actually be a life-saving tool achieving the relationships first with a physician, then with life and love and eventually Peace.  This is the real answer.  It cannot be stumbled upon.

Physicians are a Problem, part 2 – 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.


Hello Molly!

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM

The Effects of Molly

Who is Molly? Or what is Molly? That’s a question that is coming up far more often. Of course, the name itself makes you think of a fun and sweet kind of kid.

What Molly is, is actually a drug that is luring the pop and electronic community. The drug has been mentioned and sang about by idols like Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Kayne West. Molly is considered some kind of girl and some kind of drug!

Molly, in fact, is the street name for MDMA, but considered to be the “pure” powder or crystal form of MDMA. MDMA is the main chemical in the banned substance of ecstasy. So in a way, Molly isn’t new and she’s been around the block once or twice.

The marketing of Molly presents Molly as a purer “molecular” version of ecstasy. In fact, Molly is thought to be the nickname for “Molecule”.

Whereas ecstasy was unpredictable and cut with everything from caffeine to diverse amphetamines, Molly is presented as safe and reliable, without possible unknown additions. However, according to NIDA, an assortment of other chemicals or substances ranging from caffeine, dextromethorphan that is found in certain cough syrups, amphetamines, PCP, and cocaine are often added to — or substituted for — MDMA in Molly as well.

“Anybody who propagates the idea that this is purer than anything else— it’s ridiculous,” says Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist in private practice and the editor of Ecstasy:  The Complete Guide, “It’s a white powder. What could be more of a question mark? At least in a tablet someone put some time into putting it together.  But [the name molly] sounds so innocent, like a girl in freckles and pigtails. It’s good marketing.”

Not So Nice Molly

While Molly delivers the same effects as Ecstasy-creating euphoria, boundless energy and a confident and strong feeling of intimacy, “Molly, in any form, is just as dangerous,” reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The DEA labels it a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means, it ranks as a drug with a high potential for abuse while having no accepted use in medical treatment. In the same category as marijuana and heroin, it is illegal.

Once inhaled, eaten or parachuted (wrapped in a tissue and swallowed) molly brings euphoria because it floods the brain with neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.  Acting on the brain chemical serotonin-which involves the perception of mood-it also seems to affect the “love hormone” oxytocin, which effects bonding.

MDMA acts as a stimulant and possesses the same side effects as other stimulants like cocaine. It can cause and increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It decreases the body’s ability to regulate temperature. It also has the affects of a psychedelic. It can produce distortion of thought processes. These effects can cause users to ignore their body’s rising body temperature or their failing stamina as they continue to party. When combined with alcohol and other drugs, MDMA causes even more serious side effects.

The more severe side effects can include hyperthermia, seizures, electrolyte abnormalities, cardiac episodes and comas. The drug also leads to a decreased mood a day or two later and has been known to trigger long-term depression. Overdose symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, overheating, excessive sweating, shivering and involuntary twitching.

Molly is now coming into the spotlight because of the deaths it is causing. Drugs sold under the name Molly have flooded the market according to Rusty Payne, who is a spokesman with the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The Drug Abuse Warning Network reports that the number of emergency room visits with MDMA involved has jumped 123% since 2004. There were 22,498 such visits in 2011. In some states, there has been a 100-fold increase – the combined number of arrests, seizures, emergency room mentions and overdoses – between 2009 and 2012, according to DEA figures.

Hello Molly! by Dr. Reeves.

What is Recovery? (part 2 of 3)

Dr. Roland Reeves is medical director of Emerald Coast Recovery and South Walton Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Roland Reeves is medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

In part one of this series I addressed in perhaps more detail than you ever wanted what Suboxone is used for and how it works.  It is very effective as an aid to recovery if used in the proper situation with the proper management and guidance.  If not used under these circumstances, it can delay or cover up feelings that prompt real recovery, or at worst, even be an enabler or substitute addiction.  I have often heard from people new in recovery tell me that they have been told they are not clean yet or that “we can’t work the steps until you are off that drug” or similar by well-intentioned people at twelve step meetings.  Who is right?  The answer to that question lies in the answer to the question “what is real recovery?”  so I will try to answer that.

There are standardized or institutional definitions of “recovery” that help us get started. gives this definition:

1. an act of recovering.
2. the regaining of or possibility of regaining something lost or taken away.
3. restoration or return to health from sickness.
4. restoration or return to any former and better state or condition.
5. time required for recovering.

SAMHSA, the clearinghouse for all that is addiction has an official definition for recovery using 10 components at  These components are:



Individualized and Person-Centered





Peer Support



The link elaborates on each of these components.

All of these are useful and accurate.  I will point out though that these or no other definitions I have been able to find include an accounting of what the medicine one is taking.  The key word in that statement is “medicine”.  Alcoholics Anonymous is very clear on this subject in their pamphlet  “The AA Member-Medications and Other Drugs” strongly warning against AA members playing doctor.  A prescribed medication by a professional that understands your disease is not only supported but encouraged if it aids recovery.  More on this in part III.

Now, since I am writing this, I get to give my definition, always keeping in mind what a wise man has said, “I could be wrong, but…”

For me recovery is a state of being that is totally different from the state that took us to our disease.  In my experience, and I see sometimes 100 addicts and alcoholics per week, achieving this state is 90% of the battle, and it can be done in the first day of recovery.  I am talking about surrender.  Surrender is accepting that my choices, my decisions, my way of reacting to the world, my emotions, my expectations, and pretty much everything about me up to this point has led to where I am.  This does not mean I do not have good things about me, but the amalgamation of these things the way it stands today has led to my disease.  Surrender is accepting that all of this has to change.  It is realizing that I cannot fix me, I cannot stop on my own, and that my way of thinking will lead to drinking or using every time.  I have to stop thinking for a while, start listening, and do what is suggested.  For some, this kind of surrender is too much.  It somehow is thought of as weak or damaging to my esteem, or admitting I am a bad person or something.  It is none of these except to the person who is not done yet.  Surrender is Recovery.  If a person can get to this place, they never have to use or drink again.  From this surrender comes acceptance and willingness.  From here the work can be done that leads to the total change needed to replace our substance of choice (of no choice) with something else.

That is recovery.  It is NOT determined by my taking a medication or not.  If my Doctor, and this is important, understands my addiction, then following their suggestions can support my recovery rather than negate it.  The days of “no pain no gain” for getting clean must end.  The “that’s the way I did it” attitude may be contributing to the low success in achieving sobriety for first-time meeting attenders (about 5%), and it is an attitude that does anything but make meetings a program of attraction.

Yes, medications are misused and abused in the name of recovery, but a look at a person’s heart, spirit, actions and motives can easily show the distinction between misuse of medications or a state of true recovery.

Questions or comments as always are welcomed.  Even if you disagree!

What is Recovery? (part 2 of 3) by Dr. Reeves.

Welcome Destin Recovery Center – a Story of Growth and Hope



Dr. Roland Reeves is medical director of Emerald Coast Recovery and South Walton Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Roland Reeves is medical director of Destin Recovery and South Walton Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine.

Welcome Destin Recovery Center – a Story of Growth and Hope

Destin, Florida.   Emerald Coast Recovery has grown to become Destin Recovery…  “We want to do more for people in need”, says Dr.Reeves, MD the Chief Medical Director for Emerald Coast Recovery and now The Destin Recovery Center.

Five people in Florida die every day as a direct result of prescription drug overdoses.  “In a blink of an eye, you realize that drugs are really a part of your life. I thought that since I didn’t do them, they could never hurt me. That is until last week when I received a call that someone I loved very much had overdosed. He was so smart, creative, funny and lovable. He was the person in my life who was always up to do whatever or go wherever. My heart will ache eternally.” — Whittney S. (Source: Partnership for a Drug-Free America®, Drug-related deaths have more than doubled since the early 1980s. There are more deaths, illness, and disabilities from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Today, one in four deaths is attributable to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use.  Substance and alcohol abuse now kills more people than motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. (source: Sept. 20, 2011, Good Morning America)

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD and his team at the expanding Destin Recovery Center are committed to helping individuals RECOVER. Destin Recovery offers individually tailored programs to support people with substance abuse problems though the various transitional stages of recovery and move them towards being a self-managed, self-directed, and self-governed individual in control of their own life. Leading the group is Dr. Roland Reeve, MD, the only Medical Doctor in West Florida that is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine with his own Addiction Treatment Center allowing for truly individualized treatment.

Destin Recovery is currently expanding with additional beach facilities under construction bringing a larger high quality facility to the Emerald Coast.  “Demand for our programs keeps increasing, with the new expansion we will be able to care for more individuals in need.”   Dr. Reeves continues, “It will allow for more services to be offered and a larger variety of treatment tracks.  For example individual programs for chronic pain or PTSD can be offered alongside addiction treatment.”  The new beach facilities will open early 2013.  The resort facilities are available now.

The new beach facility will allow patient housing on the beautiful and tranquil sugar-sand beaches of Destin. The beaches of Destin are rated among the best in the world and will provide the atmosphere amenable to true recovery.  It will allow the integration of nature’s therapeutic beauty and the development of inner peace necessary for long lasting recovery and restored health.  The facilities are Class A resort quality providing comfortable and peaceful housing during the process of recovery.  Dr. Reeves and his staff at the new recovery, medical and treatment center – combined with new residential facilities will be able to provide individualized care to an additional 30 patients at one time.

In addition to the new facility, Destin Recovery Center will be offering new integrated activities. “One of the cornerstones of our treatment is that we integrate life into recovery and recovery into life”, say Dr. Reeves.  The programs are designed for the patient to be involved.  It is not solely a classroom.  Education is a component part of recovery, but we believe the real healing comes when a patient can partake in activities and events in an everyday world; allowing them to participate in activities that demonstrate how to live life and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol.  “We are blessed to be able to integrate Destin’s natural resources and area activities with the recovery process” says Dr. Reeves.  “Patient groups may find themselves at a session on the pristine sugar sands beach of Destin one day, or taking a dolphin excursion another.”    Other activities may include nature hiking, open water or bay fishing, golfing, paddle boarding, gym for exercising, yoga, massage therapy, meditation, parasailing, jet skiing, shopping, and many others.

More on Destin Recovery Center and Dr.Roland Reeves
Destin Recovery offers individually tailored programs to support them though the various transitional stages of recovery and move them towards being a self-managed, self-directed, and self-governed individual in control of their own life.

Emerald Coast Recovery is part of the South Walton Medical Group. In addition to our Addiction Recovery programs, we are a full service medical office, weight loss clinic, and offer cosmetic procedures to renew and refresh client’s appearances. We believe firmly in treating all aspects of an addict or alcoholic’s health and well-being. Now with two locations – Miramar Beach area, a short distance from the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and the new Destin beach location.

Doctor Terrance Roland Reeves, MD is medical director of Emerald Coast Recovery and South Walton Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  He has been triple Board Certified in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Addiction Medicine. After Medical School at the University of South Florida, He completed his internship and residency in General Surgery at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, going on to complete a Vascular Fellowship at the University of Tennessee, and training as an Endovascular Associate at Stanford University. After practicing as a vascular surgeon for fourteen years in the US Navy and serving as Head, Division of Vascular Surgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego he entered private practice in 2002. Because of a long-standing passion, he began caring for patients with addiction issues in addition to his vascular work.  He is now focused entirely on Addiction Medicine.

If you need help or know someone that needs help.  Call Toll Free. Privacy Guaranteed. No commitment.
Help is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The South Walton Medical Group
10065 US Hwy 98, Suite B101
Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
Toll free:  1.855.NEVR2L8 (855.638.7258)
Phone: 850.837.8005
Fax: 850.837.4352

Welcome Destin Recovery Center – a Story of Growth and Hope by Dr. Reeves.

Posted in Press Release

Why am I Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?

Life Is Not Fair

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Dr. Roland Reeves, MD, FACS, ABAM.

Ever asked yourself why my friends and I have partied like there is no tomorrow, but today, they no longer do so, or they can even control when and where and how much they use or drink while I pawn my grandmother’s silver to continue to get drink or drugs? Why can I think of nothing else after work except getting a buzz or a drink and they can take it or leave it? Well, finally, once and for all, here is the answer: because life is not fair!

Not the easy, now- I-can-fix-this solution I was looking for, I know, but it is an honest with no sugar coating answer. According to “fair” implies the treating of all sides alike, justly and equitably or showing no more favor to one side than another. Is my becoming an addict or alcoholic fair when so many who use or drink do not have this problem? Our concept of “fair” often actually means something is not understood rather than it is not just. We figure out a concept of fair on our own as toddlers. If our sib got a piece of candy and we didn’t, the screaming of “that’s not fair” commenced. Sometimes, that got us a piece of candy. Sometimes that got us a swat. There probably was a reason for the thing that occurred that we did not understand. Not understanding meant to our puerile minds, “not fair”. Why has something happened to that other being, but it has not happened to me? Why am I am addict, and they aren’t? Maybe it is simply not fair. Or maybe I don’t understand. Later, as we mature, and look back on a situation like this, we gain understanding and our behavior changes accordingly. Or our behavior does not change and consequences continue to be suffered while we continue to scream “that is not fair!”

Understanding addiction power is in the process of recovery. It can help me move past blame, victimhood, helplessness, and failed attempts to recover. It is a beginning. Like when a seed germinates in the crevice of a rock with no real soil to grow or chance to flourish. The power of germination leads to eventual fracture of the impenetrable rock. Rootlets gradually take hold and continue the hope for growth. The relentless seeking of soil and water gradually transforms a rocky landscape into a lush forest. Such a transformation can occur with the understanding of my addiction. Understanding that all of my choices, all of my decision making, my whole way of thinking, living and believing have led to this addiction, and none of this can help me find the way out. I do not possess the power necessary to stop. If I can gain purchase in the slightest of cracks of my being with the power of understanding, I can begin to understand my lack of power over addiction or alcoholism. I begin to recognize denial. I can reach the place of the relentless search for a power outside of me, the soil and water of recovery that can alter my landscape.

This is the first of many blogs to follow concerning the understanding of alcoholism and addiction, and more importantly, what it really takes to truly recover. This understanding will restore the hope that there is another way. This understanding will include why my brain becomes addicted while my buddie’s does not. Why I swear with every fiber of my being never to do this again yet it happens anyway. Why I have a physical craving and mental obsession over which I have no power to change. I can begin to understand that it is not a question of fairness, it is just how it is. What good does it do the 18 year old diabetic to ask why he cannot eat pizza with his friends on Friday night rather to accept how it is and do what he needs to do to have a healthy and productive life? Acceptance is his answer to his problem.

Recovery is not an accident. It is not just a noun. Recovery must be and can be a verb if it is really to be recovery. There are many blogs, books, gurus, courses, and treatment centers telling us how to get recovery. Many miss or fail to convey a true understanding of the problem and the solution. I hope to show that recovery is not an elusive, intangible, tenuous proposition that maybe one day I will stumble across and scratch and claw to hold on to, but it is a palpable touchable thing that I can pick up, put in my hands, and never put down again.

Please comment on topics you wish addressed, questions, observations, criticisms (yes, even criticisms) of this or any other recovery community or entity. This topic is broad but definable, and I hope to find the answers with you.

Why am I Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol? 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 Addiction