Have you ever noticed how drinking and smoking seem to go hand in hand. Often our clients come to us with a nicotine addiction in addition to whatever other addiction with which they are struggling, especially alcohol addiction. The bad news is that nicotine is just as addictive and dangerous as alcohol or other drugs, such as methamphetamines and opiates. Nicotine leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, and potpourri of cancers, including lip, throat, and lung cancer. Not to mention the smell and mess of smoking. (Ever kiss a smoker?). And a nicotine addiction is just as difficult to fight, if not more so, than other drugs. If you used to smoke, you know how difficult those first few weeks of nicotine withdrawal can be.
When clients come to us for drug rehabilitation treatment, they often bring a nicotine addiction with them as well. When they do, we encourage them to quit tobacco use along with their other drug addiction. Just as with any other drug addiction, we give them tools, techniques and support to get them off nicotine and keep them off for the rest of their lives.
Quitting smoking is also important to successful recovery. It has been shown repeatedly that when one eliminates all addictive behavior, including nicotine use, one’s chances of recovery are increased dramatically. Further, the incidence of relapse is significantly decreased. At the same time, a resumption of smoking can be a signal of a potential relapse; something like a canary in a coal mine. If you know someone who has previously quit smoking and using, who begins to smoke again, this may be a red flag indicating that they are either using or about to use again and they need help. Despite our recommendation, some of our clients choose not to quit smoking. We respect that choice and provide a number of smoking breaks during the day and a protected area where they can light up in comfort.
State supported recovery programs do not provide any type of nicotine therapy. They are prohibited from doing so by law. In addition, smoking is not allowed on the premises of a state supported program. That is, for those who enter those programs and choose not to quit smoking, they are not allowed to smoke again until after they leave the program, a difficult proposition at best. We are a private facility and we do not receive any state support. As noted above, we can and do address nicotine addiction with our clients. At the same time, we can accommodate those clients who choose not to quit smoking while in treatment. Pacific Ridge is a leader in the field of alcohol and drug treatment and we tailor our recovery programs to meet the specific needs of our clients.