Many people in Los Angeles, California live with an addiction. Some are in recovery, and some haven’t found their way, yet. Opioids, meth, and cocaine have always been prevalent in our state, but in the past ten years, drug addiction has surged.
The lifestyle of addiction has been glamorized in Hollywood and Los Angeles. Drugs and alcohol are in the background of many movies featuring California. However, the truth about substance use in Los Angeles County is simple: addiction is killing people. People who live with an addiction experience trauma and pain. Nobody enjoys being an addict.
Los Angeles County Drug Use and Overdoses
Drugs have always been a part of Los Angeles County, and many people think of drug use as part of the lifestyle of California. The stereotype of beautiful beaches, beach-bum lifestyles, and people finding stardom is something that’s always portrayed when it comes to drug use.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Los Angeles County alone, meth poisoning/overdose as a cause of death and drug overdose has increased 707% since 2017. While opioid overdoses have begun to trend downward, they also have caused an average of 464 accidental opioid-related deaths per year from 2011-2017.
It’s easy to believe that “partying” is normal and healthy if you keep your eye on the tabloids. After all, rock stars, pop stars, actors and actresses all seem to be healthy and happy, even if they’re spied smoking meth or popping pills.
The truth is that addiction is ugly, painful, and lonely. There is no glamour in the getting and using of drugs or the desperation of withdrawal symptoms.
Hollywood, “Partying” and Addiction
The “fun and happy lifestyle” of actors and actresses hide the ugly truth that addiction can happen to anyone. The beginning of an actor’s story may be doing a “little” of their drug of choice here and there, but years down the road, the world seems shocked when a famous person who parties dies of an overdose or announces they’re entering recovery.
No matter where you live or who you are, addiction is a disease that you can’t cure. Living a lifestyle of active addiction can send you to jail, cause your physical and mental health to suffer, or kill you.
Being addicted isn’t fun or glamorous, even when you live in one of the most glamorous places in California. People who are famous and enter recovery often describe their time addicted to drugs as their darkest, loneliest time in their lives.
Many actors have self-identified as being in recovery and have spoken about it, including Robert Downey Junior, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rob Lowe.
Treatment and Sober Living
The good news is no matter what or how much you use, there’s help available to you. There are usually many options available to people in Los Angeles County and the surrounding area. If you or a loved one has an addiction and wants help, there are short-term and long-term places available. Give yourself a chance if you feel skeptical. It’s hard to accept help, but being willing to try new things and attend a recovery program can help you get and stay sober. Detox and inpatient treatment are usually a part of the path to recovery.
When a person finished their treatment program, they will still need help – especially when they return to their daily lives. Family and friends can play a big part in recovery.
Sober Living As Aftercare
Some sober living programs offer more than the average assistance for people new to recovery. Often, these programs have an addiction specialist on-site and in-person to help clients stay focused and sober. Usually a sober living program will also have a list of rules and requirements. Clients are typically guided through getting a job and told to attend 12-step meetings on a daily basis.
Personal assistance such as rides to meetings and chaperones for a day out is an essential part of the sober living program offered by Riviera Recovery. Their intensive sober living program, located in Pacific Palisades, includes mentoring, meetings, and a unique workbook called the Recovery Compass that helps guide clients through sober living in everyday life.
The Recovery Compass workbook was created as a guide to help clients navigate the world in early recovery. Clients learn to manage their time, schedule it efficiently, and create and achieve goals. This is especially helpful for people who need to keep focused and live life on life’s terms.
Sober living homes aren’t for everyone, but people who work their programs in recovery achieve higher success rates. Beware of recovery residences without supervision or regular meetings. Make sure to check a recovery home out before committing to it. Check with the BBB to see if there have been any complaints and make sure to do diligence on the owners of the properties and the people who run it.