mental health and substance abuse

Mental Health and Addiction

It’s no secret that substance abuse and mental health issues can go hand in hand. They even play off of each other. It’s also not surprising that the interplay of multiple issues complicates the process of successful treatment.

How do we prioritize which issue needs to be addressed first, or which treatment discipline needs to take the initial lead role?

I’m sure this question is debatable, depending on a service provider’s area of expertise. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals will emphasize the need for mental health stability first, often recommending pharmacological interventions. Substance abuse professionals, on the other hand, see the need to first establish some degree of abstinence from the clients’ use of mind-altering substances.

Both mental illness and substance abuse are highly disruptive and potentially fatal illnesses that require serious interventions and protracted treatment. Both are generally considered chronic, requiring ongoing (lifelong) management. What has been proven effective is treating both as equal (co-occurring) conditions. This can be done by utilizing a professional team management approach, either through interagency protocols or focused collaborative practices.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in South Miami, Florida

South Miami Recovery recognizes the complicated relationship between mental illness and substance abuse issues. We have both licensed mental health professionals and certified substance abuse therapists.

Beginning with an initial assessment, the client is evaluated to determine their physical, emotional and mental health status. In this process, we identify what the first step should be for the client to successfully manage their issues. The plan for each person is dictated by their individual need. Many individuals may require medication management to stabilize their physical and/or emotional state.

South Miami Recovery assists in identifying physicians that can provide the medical attention needed to move forward with substance abuse treatment. We look to collaborate with community professionals to meet the needs of each person who walks through our doors.

0 comment
masks and the new normal

The Return to Normal

by Shelby Wall

2020 in Retrospect

It was the end of February 2020 and the news about the novel coronavirus was beginning to saturate the airwaves and social media platforms. I began to think, “We’re not going to escape this threat without some serious changes in our collective personal and social attitudes.” It didn’t look like science or our leaders were going to magically fix this problem, and the frightening prospect was that our lives were going to significantly change. Maybe forever. We didn’t know how long it would be until things returned to normal.

This was before the death count reached into the tens of thousands and before we were all advised to stay home. By mid-March, the grocery shelves were now empty of basic items, especially toilet paper. Important assets like hand sanitizer disappeared completely. It was like one of those disaster movies, but this was real. Local governments, led by the recommendations of health agencies, began to shut down certain business that catered to customers in close proximity, especially enclosed environments. A relentless wave of caution leading to fear began to engulf the nation and my South Miami community. No more socializing with friends, no more dining out, no more movies, no more a lot of things.

How We Adapted

Following the CDC guidelines and local recommendations, South Miami Recovery – like other businesses – was faced with either shutting its doors to their outpatient clients or finding an acceptable alternative to treat substance abuse issues. One of the most important aspects of treating substance abuse is the one-on-one and group experience. Now, with the newly named COVID-19 virus threat, that was no longer an option.

Along with the program’s limitations, most (if not all) alcohol and substance abuse support groups also stopped meeting. This left a very vulnerable population isolated and without support.

South Miami Recovery quickly transitioned all its operations and client activities to a telehealth platform with continuing individual, group and family sessions now on Zoom. This was not an ideal solution, but one that complied with all the safety issues and provided much-needed support for each client.

The summer didn’t bring much relief; in fact I don’t remember a hotter July and August. There were some moments of hope as restrictions began to ease up and restaurants allowed a few customers in. By now it was a habit to hang my facemask on my chin so I could quickly put it over my face when around others. Social distancing was standardized in all stores, with signs and floor markings of where you should be standing as to not get too close to someone else. As the summer heated up, restrictions went up and down again, depending on either heath agency guidelines or political persuasion.

Returning to “Normal”

At the end of August, South Miami Recovery made a decision to open up some of the groups and individual sessions again. Recognizing the difficulty recovering individuals have in isolation and needing personal attention, South Miami Recovery cautiously and prudently using all health agency guidelines started day outpatient groups again. All group activities can only support up to eight clients, sitting six feet apart and wearing protective masks. Clients are screened for COVID-19 history, signs of any illness and temperature prior to attendance. Also, all contact surfaces are cleaned after each class.

At this time, mid-September, all has worked out well. Day outpatient has had no problems, clients report feeling more connected and there have been no signs of client or staff having infections. Starting in October, South Miami Recovery will reopen its evening outpatient with the same precautions.

It looks like until there’s a vaccine, this will be the new normal.

0 comment
staying safe in recovery

Staying Safe in Recovery – by South Miami Recovery CEO Howard Lerner

It’s been a roller coaster ride since March of this year. I was cruising down the road with most of life’s challenges in the manageable or better box and for an aging ex-hippie and drug abuser that’s really a miracle. Well, that changed when this coronavirus thing started to take up residence in the world neighborhood and life as I knew it transformed. You know, a life in “recovery” for me wasn’t a real struggle – I always kept in touch with my basic roots. For decades, my routine included a few 12-Step meetings a week, mostly for the socializing, talking daily to others in recovery and working in the field of addiction treatment. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people I love and who are on their own recovery journeys.

Around late April, I noticed a change in my mental attitude. I thought I was good at adapting to change, but apparently… not so much. As my usual daily routine began to change, I started to feel disappointed and less patient with myself and others. The in-person 12-Step meetings moved to Zoom and I didn’t have a natural inclination to make the transition – in fact, I had resistance. Yes, I can be a little critical of myself. Seems to come with my personality and my character defects.

As the next few months passed, I carried on without too much complaining. There was the omnipresent virus now called COVID-19 with the on again, off again restrictions. There were also daily mental spankings from politicians, and on top of that, the protests and racial tensions.

Recently, I started sharing my feelings with some close relationships, and I realized: I’ve stopped taking care of myself. I relied too much on the status quo and was on cruise control. I knew recovery is an ongoing, living exercise that needed my daily attention and I, for whatever reason, was not practicing the tools that kept me safe and growing.

I work in the addiction treatment field and I know firsthand the difficulty for an abuser to want and establish recovery for themselves. The present circumstances make it even more challenging. What really hurts is the abuser that had some recovery and lost it.

I shared this little self-disclosure with you in hopes you can relate and that you remember to be safe in recovery.

To learn more about South Miami Recovery, contact us today.

0 comment
elephant in the room

What is the Elephant in the Room?

The elephant in the room: when there’s an important or enormous topic, question or issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable, embarrassed, inflammatory, or dangerous.elephant in the room

In substance abuse, this phrase usually means someone in our family, at work, or in our friend groups is experiencing significant problems. The problems don’t go away and usually get worse. All kinds of problems emerge; they may be health-related with questionable reasons, relationship issues with unusual behaviors, or financial difficulties with borrowing and general insufficient resources.

The individual seems to have reasons for these problems, but they are always changing or seem suspicious. We might be aware they drink or use a drug, but we don’t to know to what extent. We suspect they are hiding or minimizing their using. And if we bring it up, it only causes tension and more problems.

So, there’s the “Elephant in the Room.”

The Revolving Door

The person caught up in these problems sometimes doesn’t make the connection that their substance use is really the core issue, or that their use makes everything worse. In fact, they often see their using as their only way to cope with all of their problems. The drinking or drugs serve as their solution, and if you bring up their using, they become defensive and may even blame everyone else for their problems. This is called a “revolving door” problem. The more the using individual feels pressured or stressed, the more they turn to their substance solution, which in turn causes only more stress. If something’s going to change someone needs to take the chance and stick their foot in to stop the revolving door from continuing to turn.

Break the Cycle

This is when an intervention is needed to break the cycle and stop the revolving door. An intervention works best when several loved ones come together to discuss a common goal and method to directly address the problem with the using person. An intervention can be held with an employer, family members, or friends. The legal system sometimes provides a less compassionate intervention when the user is arrested or an involuntary commitment order is issued. Health issues and a strong message from a trusted physician can also work.

Once the elephant in the room is exposed, there needs to be direct, accountable action. The plan should include an immediate resource where the identified user can be assessed by a professional. If substances are suspected as a core issue, an appointment with a licensed and accredited substance abuse treatment facility or professional needs to be made. It should be emphasized to the identified user that they may share with a therapist openly and with confidentiality. This means whatever they may discuss is private and can only be told to others after consent is obtained.

Come to Believe

Hopefully, through the intervention and professional assessment, the identified user has a “come to believe” moment, and they are open to taking any recommendations that are made. However, this is not always the case. Backpedaling and less than honest self-assessments are common stumbling blocks; the user may again begin to withdraw. This is when the family or others need to be firm in their commitment to keep the focus on the user getting professional help.

We’ll Help You Address the Elephant in the Room

South Miami Recovery can help the family and others from the beginning of looking for help by answering questions, checking insurance coverage and most importantly by providing and planning an intervention if necessary. Contacting South Miami Recovery is only a phone call away and you will always speak directly to a professional. If South Miami Recovery is not the right fit, we will direct and coordinate a referral for you.

0 comment
biology of addiction

What happens in your brain when you start taking drugs? Why do some people become addicted to drugs? Addiction can change many aspects of your life, including your mental and physical health. To better understand how and why you need to seek treatment for your drug use, it will help to understand the biology of addiction. You can overcome addiction and move forward in your life toward a successful recovery.

Chronic Brain Disorder

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use even though it causes harmful consequences. Addiction involves functional changes to your brain circuits that are involved in reward, stress, and self-control.

As most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” they cause euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system can motivate you to repeat behaviors you need to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, which can lead you to repeat the behavior again and again.

Continued Use and Tolerance

As you continue to use drugs, your brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in your reward circuit to respond. This reduces the high that you feel compared to the high you felt when you started taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. You will probably then take more of the drug to try to achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to you becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things you once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.

Factors in Addiction

Addiction does tend to run in families, as certain types of genes have been linked to different forms of addiction. That does not mean, however, that every member of a family with those genes is prone to addiction. Scientists estimate that genes, including the effects environmental factors have on a person’s gene expression, called epigenetics, account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s risk of addiction.

In addition to genes, factors that can affect your risk of addiction can include your stage of physical and emotional development and even your gender or ethnicity. Also, teens and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug use and addiction than others.

The Biology of Addiction

When you first start using drugs, your initial decision is probably a voluntary one. Although you may first take drugs because of peer pressure, in an attempt to self-medicate after a traumatic experience, or because of an early exposure to drugs, your body experiences biological changes that contribute to your addiction. Notably, your ability to exert self-control can become seriously impaired and that can lead to addictive behaviors.

Brain imaging studies have shown that physical changes occur in the areas of your brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Dr. George Koob, the director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, “A common misperception is that addiction is a choice or moral problem, and all you have to do is stop. But nothing could be further from the truth. The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.”

The NIH explains that a healthy brain rewards healthy behaviors, such as exercising and eating well. It does so by switching on circuits that make you feel wonderful, motivating you to repeat those behaviors. However, as you become addicted to a substance, that normal hardwiring of helpful brain processes can begin to work against you. Drugs or alcohol can hijack the pleasure and reward circuits in your brain and hook you into wanting more and more.

Addiction can also send your emotional danger-sensing circuits into overdrive, making you feel anxious and stressed when you’re not using the drugs or alcohol. At this stage, you may use drugs or alcohol to keep from feeling bad rather than for their pleasurable effects. Repeated use of drugs can then damage the essential decision-making center at the front of your brain, which is the very region that should help you recognize the harms of using addictive substances.

You Can Get Help at South Miami Recovery

When you have become addicted to drugs, you need help to get started on your recovery. At South Miami Recovery, we offer you personal and affordable treatment structured to address all facets of your recovery from drug addiction, including spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional healing. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services during COVID-19 so you can get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

0 comment
coronavirus- when will life go back to normal

These are challenging times for everyone throughout the world. The orders to stay at home have left many people wondering when they’ll be able to socialize again or even go to a favorite store to shop for items that are not considered essential. When you are in addiction treatment, you may be particularly anxious. Your recovery can and should continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as you may be asking the same question many others are asking: When will life go back to normal?

Possible Timelines

Although no one can put a date on the end of the outbreak, there are possibilities based on the effectiveness of the measures put into place to stop the spread of the virus. Experts are projecting that life will return to normal when “enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person.”

Possible timelines range from one to two months, during which people who are infected build up their immunity and the rate of spreading decreases, to twelve months, which gives researchers time to develop an effective vaccine. Research scientists are hopeful that COVID-19 will respond much as flu viruses have in the past, acting as a seasonal disease that significantly slows its spread during the summer months.

What You Can Do Now

In the meantime, there are many things you can do now as you continue through your addiction treatment, to adjust to the current situation. Mental Health America (MHA) suggests that if you are experiencing the effects of forced isolation, you should:

  • Use your smart phone to stay connected to family and friends. Shift from texting to voice or video calling to feel more connected.
  • Keep comfortable. Do the things you are already enjoy doing at home; just do more of them.
  • Practice stress relief whenever you feel anxiety building – do some deep breathing, exercise, read, dig in the garden, eat some ice cream – whatever works for you.
  • Don’t do anything you’d consider to be unhealthy for you, such as use of drug or alcohol – that will just increase your anxiety afterwards.
  • Keep looking forward. Make some plans for six months down the road.

Mental and Physical Health

How do you maintain your physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? When you don’t know for certain when life will return to normal, you can focus on the present and take steps to make the most of what you have available to you now.

  • Physical exercise. Maintain your physical health by continuing to exercise each day. Go for a walk, if you have a safe walking path available to you and you can maintain social distancing from others. The fresh air will help you mentally and physically. Check for exercise videos that will help you get some aerobics or strength training at home.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is “…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment” and is about “observation without criticism; being compassionatewith yourself.” Practicing mindfulness can be beneficial in reducing your feelings of stress and anxiety during these uncertain times.
  • Maintaining good nutrition. When you cook at home, you have more control over what goes into your daily meals. Use this time to try new, healthy recipes that will benefit you physically and mentally.

In addition, MHA suggests creating a new routine and keeping routines that make you feel good. Your daily routine of showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, making your bed, and keeping your home clean and in good condition will help you to feel more positive about your situation.

Take advantage of technology as you wait for life to get back to normal. Reach out to friends and family using online platforms and social media. Stay in touch with accountability buddies that will continue to be encouraging and supportive.

Online Therapy at South Miami Recovery

Continuing your addiction treatment is critical for your health and recovery. Many healthcare professionals are moving to telehealth services during the coronavirus outbreak. At South Miami Recovery, we understand your concerns and are still here for you. While we cannot set a date for when life will go back to normal, we are doing all we can to help you during the orders to stay at home and maintain social distancing for your safety.

Our expert team is creating remote equivalents for the addiction treatment services you need now. All online services are protected for privacy and meet our consistent high standards. Contact us to learn more about group sessions, individual sessions, family sessions, mindfulness and guided meditation groups, evaluations, and assessments.

We strongly encourage you to contact us today to speak to our staff. We speak English and Spanish. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

0 comment
inpatient drug rehabilitation

Treatment for drug addiction varies depending on the person and the severity of the addiction. Outpatient programs enable you to attend therapy sessions, group counseling, and other aspects of the program while also continuing to live a relatively normal schedule outside of rehab. For more severe addiction, or when addiction accompanies other disorders, inpatient drug rehabilitation may be the better solution. Every patient is different and every program is different, but here is basically what to expect from your stay in inpatient drug rehabilitation.

Detox First

Before you can enter inpatient drug rehabilitation, you must first cleanse your body of the toxins from your drug addiction. While some inpatient programs include this step as part of their treatment, others may require you to go through detoxification before you can be admitted. You can complete detox as part of an outpatient treatment program. Detox is the process of ridding your body of the chemicals you’ve ingested on a daily basis as an addict, so you can begin your journey toward recovery.

Honesty is Critical

You will start your inpatient drug rehabilitation experience with intake. This is the point where you will be asked a lot of questions that you must answer honestly. Your successful recovery depends on you being forthcoming with the rehab staff, whether you choose to participate in an inpatient or an outpatient treatment program. They will need to know what drugs you have been taking and will probably ask questions about how you are currently feeling. The intake staff may also do a quick medical check, to get vitals such as heart rate and blood pressure.

Routine an Important Aspect

Once admitted to inpatient drug rehabilitation, you will be on a strict schedule. Downtime is minimized to the point of being almost nonexistent, for a reason. You will have therapy sessions and support groups to attend. Depending on the treatment program, you may also participate in exercise sessions, mindfulness training, or other therapeutic activities.

You will be expected to follow the rules of the inpatient drug rehabilitation program. The more you adhere to the program’s schedule and guidelines, the more you will gain from your treatment. If you try to break the rules set forth by the program, you will only hurt your opportunity for recovery.

If you need a more flexible schedule, an outpatient program gives you the opportunity to meet your work, family, and community responsibilities while still pursuing quality treatment for your addiction.

Types of Residential Treatment Settings

Inpatient rehab programs use a variety of therapeutic approaches:

  • Therapeutic communities are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. The entire community, including treatment staff and those in recovery, act as key agents of change, influencing the patient’s attitudes, understanding, and behaviors associated with drug use.
  • Shorter-term residential treatment typically focuses on detoxification as well as providing initial intensive counseling and preparation for treatment in a community-based setting.
  • Recovery housing provides supervised, short-term housing for patients, often following other types of inpatient or residential treatment. Recovery housing can help people make the transition to an independent life—for example, helping them learn how to manage finances or seek employment, as well as connecting them to support services in the community.

Sleeping Arrangements

In most inpatient treatment programs, residents share a room with at least one other person. There are often beds arranged dormitory style, although some may share suites designed for multiple residents. High-end inpatient drug rehabilitation programs do offer private rooms, but at a higher cost.


While in drug rehab, you will learn how to take better care of yourself and that includes learning how to cook and eat healthier. Your room may have a kitchen or there may be a shared kitchen for all the residents. Some rehab programs assign chores such as cooking and cleaning, so you may be tasked with preparing a meal for all the residents on a rotating basis.

Outside Communications

Most inpatient drug rehabilitation programs limit communications with anyone outside of the program. You may be allowed to call your family using the facility’s phone but might not be allowed the use of your own cell phone. This rule is designed to protect you from the temptation of calling old friends or even drug suppliers who could drastically interrupt your recovery progress.

Treatment Programs

During your stay in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program, you may participate in a variety of therapy programs designed to help you work through your addiction:

  • Individual therapy will help you learn what contributes to your addictive behavior as well as how to identify triggers. You will also learn coping skills and how to manage your emotions without using drugs.
  • Group therapy is designed to let you know that you are not alone in your addiction struggles. You will gain support and insight from others in your group who have had similar issues and experiences with self-defeating behavior.
  • Family therapy can help you and your family throughout the recovery process, uniting broken families and facilitating the healing process.

These are, of course, also the basic types of therapy available to you in an outpatient treatment program. Drug rehabilitation is different for each person. The important thing for you, as an addict, is to get the help you need.

South Miami Recovery Can Help You

At South Miami Recovery, we know that you are unique in your needs and preferences. We believe in the importance of treating the whole person and will work with you to find the right path to recovery for you.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, we encourage you to contact us today to speak to our staff. We speak English and Spanish. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

0 comment
Music Industry

The Secrets of Miami’s Music Industry
By David Greenberg | South Miami Recovery Social Media and Blog Writer

(Editor’s Note: the primary source quoted in this article is a recovering addict who is active in the music and entertainment industry in Miami. In order to protect his anonymity, we are using an assumed name for him).


Miami is the Spot

So, you may think it’s L.A. or New York or some other city in the U.S. or around the world, but for the last 50 years, the place to get in trouble with sex and drugs is right here in Miami. Interestingly, it’s also the best place to get clean if that trouble leads to abuse and addiction.

Sam should know. He’s been in the thick of it for almost 40 years. Sam has worked in the music and entertainment industry since the early ’80s. He’s seen it as a recording engineer, writer, producer, label executive and publisher. He’s worn every hat and participated in hundreds of recording sessions.

He’s seen and been through it all – not just professionally. He has been to the seedy underbelly of it as well, as celebrities and high-profile people in his field and others find their way to Miami and then find themselves in trouble. He, himself, has been in recovery more than five years.

“We like to say that it’s not the heat; it’s the stupidity,” he said. “There’s something about this town. It’s a combination of different things. We’re very multi-cultural. That Caribbean and Latin influence can loosen people up. Because of our location, there’s tremendous access to legal and illegal party favors. Plus, our climate lends itself to being outdoors. People roam around a lot. Doesn’t get cold enough to huddle indoors to stay warm. You can be out getting half naked and many people do. So, with that whole mix, you add music and dancing, and you get hot, sensual, sexual things. It’ all very inviting and often leads to trouble.”

And back in the ’80s, adding drugs to that mix was easy.

“It was crazy in the bars,” he said. “We used to go to the Mutiny in Coconut Grove. Being at the bar there was like being in a movie. But that wasn’t the only one. People would be pulling out bags of cocaine and shoving it in their nose. There were a lot of the parties. Between coke, Quaaludes and cheap reefer, it was free flowing. It was easy to get and everywhere, making it that much easier to get in trouble. You didn’t have to look hard for it to happen.”

The Rich and Famous Find Trouble

In his industry alone, there were many high-profile people who found trouble in Miami. And being in the industry since the 1980s, Sam has seen some of the rich and famous. He’s watched some recover, and known others who did not survive it.

One of the most famous was Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.

“I really only knew Maurice through mutual friends,” he said.

But Gibb’s story is well known. A recovering addict, he was often seen by others in 12-step rooms in Miami. He relapsed after the death of his brother in 1988, but later got clean again. He passed away in 2003 after a heart attack and other medical issues.

Another famous singer who found trouble in many places, including Miami, was Dion DiMucci, known to most people simply as Dion. With a musical career that dates back to the late 1950s, he is well known in the industry, and Sam describes him as someone he has met several times.

For Dion, recovery from his heroin addiction came through treatment and religion. Born in 1939, he is still active in the music industry and lives in Boca Raton.

“There were many more,” Sam said. “Some I knew well. Other not as much. Two of the most famous were Jim Morrison, whose story is well documented, and Steve Tyler, who lives in recovery in Fort Lauderdale.”

One of the behind-the-scenes people in the music industry was Leas Campbell, who was once referred to in the Miami Herald as Miami’s King of Rock and Roll. The bands and entertainers he worked with included Elvis, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Neil Young, The Allman Brothers, The Moody Blues, Tina Turner, Crosby Stills and Nash and Bob Dylan.

In recovery himself, Campbell spent decades helping others suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. He created the Sobe Room, described as a home for recovery on South Beach.

“I knew Leas very well,” said Sam. “He used to tell stories about his experiences with some of the famous people in rock and roll. For a time, he was the road manager for the Allman Brothers. Duane (Allman) told him to switch his cigarettes to Kools. Duane said they get arrested a lot, and Kools were like gold in jail.”

One more behind-the-scenes person, Sam knew well was Walter Yetnikoff, who was the president of CBS Records in the 1970s. In his book, Howling at the Moon, Yetnikoff talked about his own drug addiction.

“My father and Dion helped him get into recovery,” said Sam.

More Than the Music Industry

But if you think it’s only people in the music industry who get in trouble in Miami, you would be wrong.

Well-known athletes come to Miami and find themselves in all sorts of trouble, probably for the same reasons Sam described earlier.

It’s been just a few months since the Super Bowl was hosted here, and surprisingly, there was very little noise about athletes getting into trouble this time around. One of the most famous of those incidents occurred in 1989, when Eugene Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons was busted the night before the Super Bowl for soliciting a prostitute. Earlier that same day, he was honored as the player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. After his arrest, he returned the award.

And if you think athletes get in trouble more in other cities, again, you would be wrong. Days before this year’s Super Bowl, USA Today released a report indicating that the Miami metro area has had the highest number of NFL player arrests and citations since 2000 – and not by a little. Since 2000, at least 60 NFL players (active at that time) were arrested or cited in the Miami metro area, with only a third of those playing for the Miami Dolphins. The next biggest hot spots for NFL player trouble are metro Atlanta, New York, Denver and Minneapolis, each with just over 40.

So, if you got in trouble in Miami, you’re not alone. Some of the most famous people in the world have walked the same path as you. Next time, we will talk about why, if you’re going to get into trouble, Miami may not be such a bad place for it.


South Miami Recovery is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center located in Miami, Florida. To learn more about our unique approach to recovery, call 305-661-0055 today.

David Greenberg is a recovering addict celebrating 35 years of recovery. He got his start in recovery at Mount Sinai Hospital and Concept House and remains active following a 12-step lifestyle.


0 comment
preventing relapse

Preventing a Relapse

by Pat Fontana

Recovery from an addiction is a long-term process. There will always be temptations that may attempt to pull the addict back into the world of drug or alcohol abuse. An effective treatment program gives the addict the controls needed to overcome those temptations, but relapses do happen. Preventing a relapse takes an understanding of potential triggers, a focus on recovery, and appropriate strategies for success.

Gradual Process

Just as addiction does not happen immediately, relapse is also something that occurs gradually. Three stages of relapse have been identified, which is helpful in identifying potential warning signs. Emotional relapse happens when the addict bottles up emotions, stops going to support meetings, and begins to deny that there is an issue. Mental relapse involves cravings for drugs or alcohol and the addict looking for ways to better control their use. Finally, physical relapse is the return to drug or alcohol use and abuse.

Relapse Isn’t Failure

It is critically important for the recovering addict to understand that a relapse does not mean that treatment has failed or that the addict has failed. Addiction is a chronic condition and relapse can often be part of the process, as treatment involves changing behaviors that are deeply rooted. While taking the steps necessary to prevent a relapse can help, experiencing a relapse simply means that the addict may need additional treatment to continue recovery.

Recognize Triggers

One of the first steps in preventing a relapse is to recognize the common triggers that may occur as the result of an enhanced sensitivity to stress. During the initial stages of recovery, especially, sensitivity to reward is likewise lower. Relapse triggers for the addict to be aware of include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms that create a heightened sense of discomfort
  • Feelings such as hunger, fatigue, loneliness, and anger that are unpleasant for the addict to have to deal with
  • A feeling of isolation, particularly when being alone with one’s own thoughts for too long
  • Associating with friends who use and abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Returning to physical locations associated with prior drug or alcohol abuse
  • A firm belief and a sense of overconfidence that the addiction is under control
  • Relationship issues, especially breakups.

Support Network

An effective technique for preventing a relapse is to take advantage of a support network. This could be a formal support group dedicated to encouraging addicts in their recovery or it could include supportive and positive friends. The addict’s support network should consist of people who do not use drugs or alcohol and who will contribute to the focus on a successful recovery. It may be necessary for the addict to remove certain people from his or her life and include only healthy, sober, and helpful people in a new social network.


Another strategy that will help the addict in preventing a relapse is the technique of mindfulness. An effective therapy to reduce the stress that can be associated with relapses, mindfulness is the practice of engaging in conscious awareness without judgment. Learning to focus on one’s thoughts without derision, regret, or worry can help the addict prevent a relapse through:

  • Urge surfing – recognizing cravings but letting them pass like watching ocean waves that crest and then recede
  • A decrease in the need to control certain situations
  • An improvement in communication, by focusing on intentional responses
  • The ability to cope more effectively with the emotional distress that accompanies addiction recovery.


Exercising, getting plenty of rest, and eating healthy are effective strategies for preventing a relapse. When the addict feels better physically, the temptation to use drugs or alcohol that may negatively affect his or her health can be significantly reduced. Self-care also contributes to an overall sense of confidence and well-being, a state of being that addicts feel they need drugs or alcohol to reach. The stress and tension involved in managing withdrawal can be reduced through mind-body relaxation techniques as well. Finding the time to relax can make a significant difference in the addict’s ability to prevent a relapse.

Contact South Miami Recovery to Learn More About Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention education equips people to live a happy life in recovery. South Miami Recovery offers treatment programs such as relapse prevention and mindfulness therapy to support the recovering addict. Contact South Miami Recovery by calling 305.661.0055 to learn more about how we can help.

0 comment
New Year's Resolutions

A Discussion on New Year’s Resolutions

By David Greenberg | South Miami Recovery Social Media and Blog Writer

What Counts is Today

Exercise regularly? Yeah right!

Eat a healthier diet? Sure.

Be nicer to people? What?

Work harder? Oh yeah, whoopee!

These are some of my past New Year’s Resolutions. Some worked; mostly they lasted a month, a week, a few days.

It would be great if staying clean was as easy as a New Year’s Resolution, but you and I know it’s not.

There are no hard and fast statistics about people making a resolution for the New Year regarding recovery and even less data about how many stick to it.

If you’re attending 12-step recovery group meetings, it would be interesting to take note of how many people celebrate recovery birthdays in the first few months of the year.

In my own case, the New Year did have some impact on my recovery. Money, which was plentiful through December, dried up after the holidays. I managed to make it until the end of January before circumstances forced me to take a path I may have not yet been ready to travel.

So, the focus here is whether you are you ready to make the decision to find a new way of life at the start of this New Year. Whether it’s outside influences or your own choice, taking the option to try a life of recovery is a significant and challenging step.

Taking the First Step for New Year’s

Here are some steps to consider if you are trying to do that right now.

It’s a one-day-at-a-time proposition. If using was controlling your life, making the decision to stop does not mean thinking about the rest of your life, or one year, or even one month. Start with today. Do your best to stay clean today.

If drugs controlled your life, it’s safe to assume they consumed most of your time. That means you need to find other, healthier activities to fill that time. If there was something you loved to do before the drugs took over, try it again. That may include having to find new friends. Exercise, meditation and writing may also be part of your future.

Finding Clean Relationships

However, be prepared for it to take a lot more than simple changes in your behavior to free you of addiction. The reality is you have a disease that needs treatment, and you are not alone. There are countless other people on the same path as you trying to live a life free of addiction. Find them. They can help.

The first place to look for other people in recovery is a 12-step meeting. There are numerous Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily right here in the South Miami area.

Finally, for many people, their substance abuse issue is simply too overwhelming, and there is a need for greater help. That’s where we come in at South Miami Recovery. We offer substance abuse treatment to meet your needs. For us, addiction and recovery are personal. With our outpatient program, we can help you start on the path to recovery. All you need to do is take the first step – ask for help!

The result may just be that in future years you may be part of the group of people who made a New Year’s resolution and are celebrating your recovery birthday at the start of the year.


South Miami Recovery is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center located in Miami, Florida. To learn more about our unique approach to recovery, call 305-661-0055 today.

David Greenberg is a recovering addict celebrating 35 years of recovery. He got his start in recovery at Mount Sinai Hospital and Concept House and remains active following a 12-step lifestyle.

0 comment
Newer Posts