A Client Testomonial

Today we hear from a client who has come a long way in her journey to recovery.

I first started doing heroin at age 14, and I’m currently 22 years old. Let me just start by saying addiction is a horrible place to be. In late October of 2012 my entire world came crashing down on me. My mother had passed away. We also used together so when she wasn’t around helping me, I started doing horrible things to my family. My grandpa kicked me out. I was house hopping for about 3 months and got high all the way through it. Weather it was meth, alcohol, heroin, pot I was doing it all. I finally hit rock bottom and begged my grandpa to let me back in and help me. And he did.

He had me at The Life Change Center within 3 days. And I honestly was just going to stay well and then I’d use when I had the money. But because I wasn’t sick, I didn’t have to try and hustle up money to get high, I never ended up using. And after about 3 weeks at the clinic and not using heroin, I started feeling better. I had energy again, I was happier, and a little bit healthier too! So, I made the choice to stay on just the methadone and not use. My counselor Casey, was always there for advice and helped me every time I asked. I believe I started at the clinic in June of 2014 and will be done by July of 2015. It took me a bit longer than other people because I got pregnant. If an addict truly wants to get sober there is nothing stopping them. And in my opinion, The Life Change Center is a great way to get clean. You have so many people around you in that place that would drop everything to help you. It was pretty easy to get clean with methadone.

For anyone reading this, I wish you luck on your quest to find sobriety. Even if you’ve been told methadone clinics are a bunch of crap, don’t listen, and just go for it! It might end up being the one that really gets you clean for good! It was the best choice for me. I went from house hopping and having no food, no clothes, no home, no nothing to getting off drugs and very soon after meeting my husband and then having the most amazing baby boy. None of it would’ve happened if I was still using. I get up every morning happy as can be because of where my life is and who is in it. The addiction kept me from so many things. But I’m here now and will soon be done with the methadone to and able to live a completely normal, happy life watching my children grow up and my husband and grow old, couldn’t get any better in opinion! I hope I can help anyone reading this just a little bit. The counselors here are great and the support you get is even better. It’s worth a shot, I promise!

For more information on the recovery process please contact us.
The Life Change Center
(775) 355-7734
1755 Sullivan Lane
Sparks, NV 89431
© The Life Change Center

What is addiction? Discourse #1

The easiest way for me to describe an addiction is that it is a mental disorder directly related to exposure in the brain to drugs or alcohol with a primary symptom of impaired choice. Over time, addiction progresses based on the way that the human brain’s survival mechanisms are hardwired. The human brain is nothing short of amazing, but vulnerable. Addiction hijacks specific brain systems by:

  1. Infiltrating the brain’s feeling center, the limbic system, by imitating naturally occurring chemicals
  2. Initiating chemical reactions in the part of our brains that facilitate things like choice, motivation, drives and survival.

Consider the story of Lisa.

What Lisa described as “Love” is another way of describing the impairment of her choice. She had set into her mind a sustaining compass point that interfered with her previous sense of choice. In those moments of Lisa’s life, the initial addiction period, her brain was changing how it worked because of the presence of the drugs. I am not suggesting that all people who develop addictions feel the “love” as a part of their initial addiction, people report a variety of different responses and feelings. What I am suggesting is that Lisa’s description of her addiction demonstrates the experience of the brain malfunction, the mental disorder. This process is difficult to give an “elevator speech” on, but I will try by talking about learning and the brain chemical dopamine, which is one of the brain chemicals activated by drug use.

Dopamine is a protein, a neurochemical, which is related to our experience of pleasure. Scientists once believed that the experience of pleasure alone was enough to account for addiction. But more recent research suggests that the situation is more complicated. Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure, but also plays a role in learning, motivation and memory, which are key elements in the transition from experimentation to addiction. Drugs not only stimulate this part of our brain, they overload it.

The impairment of choice begins when dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward-related learning. This system has an important role in sustaining life because it links activities needed for human survival (such as eating and sex) with pleasure and reward. As I mentioned above, addiction hijacks the part of our brain that is responsible for survival and what Lisa is feeling and the priorities that she prescribes to it are not what she thinks; not “love” but a symptom of a mental disorder.

So ends this discussion, and the easy part of addiction to explain. Addiction is progressive, and it gets messy. I will present information later on the progression of addiction. Thank you for reading.

About the author

John has been in the substance abuse field since 2001, working at The Life Change Center since November of 2005. He gained his graduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is an accreditation surveyor for CARF International. He is driven by the belief that all people have the ability to change their lives, and he believes that the potential of Medication Assisted Treatment is just beginning to be realized.


Recovery Story – Tina S.

“I started with The Life Change Center after years of struggling. Even my childhood was about addiction – both of my parents were alcoholics. Brothers, sister, my uncles cousins…everybody. I felt different than the other kids in school, I was afraid all of the time. I remember feeling so alone and out of control. It ended up that I ran away from home, got married and started a family as a kid. I remember feeling some self-worth back then, but it was full blown drinking and partying. I lost my child, I had to give her up for adoption. As much as I still feel the pain of that decision it was probably best for her. My life really started to fall apart after giving her up, I starting getting trouble and went to jail God knows how many times.

“My first counseling for this was because of the arrests. It didn’t work. I went through drug court, used pretty much the whole time and then started full blown again right when I got out. It seemed to me that the first sense of control I had was when I started Methadone in Las Vegas, but I was still so lost. In some ways it was great but I was using benzos the whole time, I was really just getting high then too. I pretty much just numbed myself from life. At that time in my life I had started a family and had two beautiful children and a loving husband. But I wasn’t there for them. It kills me to think about it. My daughter would plead with me not to use the benzos… but I thought I was in control.

“Things started to work out after I moved to Reno and started at The Life change Center. They offer a lot of help for going into recovery… everybody is available to help. It is a comfortable place to be at, the groups and counseling really helps. I was ready and they were there to help. I just wanted to feel better about myself; I was so tired of being in a rut. What is amazing to me is that I have been sober for 37 months! My life today… it’s better, and I’m still working on it. I can honestly say that I feel happy. Wow, it’s weird to think about and accept. I’m working, I have a better relationship with my family and I’m a good mom. I can’t tell you how good it feels to look in the mirror and like the person you see.

“If you’re thinking about it, I know how scary it is to be there. Just know that it’s easy once you make that phone call. I know what it is like to feel that hopeless feeling. You will start to feel Hope once you make that phone call.”

Tina’s story is important. People do recover. There is Hope. Please call.