Randy Haveson

Treatment Center Counselor

Turning Lives Around

Randy Haveson led a life of addiction and denial as a young man. His constant partying resulted in poor grades that got him kicked out of college on several occasions. In 1984 he was desperate and contemplating ending his life, but got help instead. It took a lot of work but he managed to turn his life around, and from then on decided to help others who needed help the way that he did.

Randy Haveson - Twelve Step Alternatives

Because drug and alcohol addiction is such a complex disease and because it affects so many people, there is no one-size-fits-all recovery program. People who are trying to overcome their addictions may find themselves having to spend several days or more at a detox center, where they are able to withdraw slowly from the most direct physical effects of their addiction. From there the question becomes one of staying off of drugs and/or alcohol.

The post-detox options include outpatient or inpatient care, or treatment in a residential center. Recovery services are provided in pleasant surroundings, in community clinics, or in prisons. The options available to addicts in recovery include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and family therapy. What these various options have in common is that the addict will be asked or required to work a twelve-step program. The twelve-step approach to recovery has been main option in recovery programs since it first went into use through Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935.

In more recent years, other programs have been developed that offer an alternative to the twelve-step approach. None of them have gained the widespread acceptance of the twelve steps, but new technologies and succeeding generations of people in treatment, their time may be coming. Alternate programs include LifeRing, SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, and Moderation Management.

Randy Haveson has been working in the field of substance abuse and recovery since 1986. He founded HERO House, a recovery residence, in 2005. HERO stands for Higher Education Recovery Option. He sold the business in 2014, and today is helping college students and other young adults trying to find their path, and learn the skills they need to be positive and productive members of society.

Addiction Risks

Many people have been puzzled about why one person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, and another person, who consumes that same substances and at more or less the same rate, does not. Addiction researchers say that there is no single factor that can accurately predict whether someone will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. There are a number of factors involved, and they can combine to place an individual at high risk.

These risk factors for substance addiction include individual biology, a persons' social environment, and the person's age or stage of development when they begin consuming the substance. The more risk factors that are present, the greater the chance that drinking or taking drugs will lead to addiction.

One of the most important of these factors is biology. The genes that a person is born with add up to about half of their vulnerability to addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders in the individual also play a role in their vulnerability.

Also playing a large role in their susceptibility is environment. A person's environment, from the people they grow up with to where they live to their socioeconomic status and general quality of life, are also key factors. So are such related matters as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, and the quality of parenting they get as they grow up.

The experts say that even for those who are most vulnerable, addiction can be avoided. It is a preventable disease, regardless of background. Prevention programs that involve families, schools, and entire communities can be very effective in reducing the risk of drug abuse and addiction.

Randy Haveson has worked in the field of addiction since 1986, and is passionate about working with college students who are in early sobriety.

Alcoholics and Addicts

There is some debate among health researchers whether there is a difference between alcoholism and drug addiction. In any addictive substance, the consumer gets a high that is brought on by spiking levels of dopamine in the brain's reward system, that portion of the brain responsible for pleasure. And the differences may be more academic than anything else, since all addictions have more in common than ways in which they differ.

Arguments for their differences include the risk of delirium tremens in the case of alcohol withdrawal. An addict who is withdrawing from drugs would not experience that. Delirium Tremens, or D.T.'s, can vary in their intensity, and can involve convulsions, confusion, and can even be serious enough to cause death. And the medications that are used to help those who are recovering from alcohol dependency, they don't work in the same way that medications used for treating drug withdrawal do.

Most addictive drugs are also very toxic; if a user takes too much they can die. That includes everything from cocaine and heroin to alcohol. Drugs like marijuana and nicotine, however, are not like that. They have an addictive component but are not actually toxic. The addiction to toxic drugs is a progressive disease, and if it goes untreated it usually ends in death.

Some toxic drugs are depressants, like heroin and alcohol, while others, like cocaine, are stimulants. Why, then, are they considered the same? The answer is that the high from the different drugs is essentially the same; it's the side effects that differ.

Randy Haveson is an addiction expert who has been working in the field since 1986. He says that there is no difference between an alcoholic and an addict, and that he reached that conclusion based on his own experiences. He has been sober for more than thirty years.