During a routine traffic stop on I-95 in Warwick, Rhode Island State Police seized almost 185 pounds of marijuana and 800 vials of hash oil. The driver, from San Francisco, was pulled over for speeding. The seized drugs have an estimated street value of more than $400,000.
In Providence, a couple is facing a federal grand jury on charges that they conspired to smuggle large quantities of cocaine into Rhode Island from the Dominican Republic via the US Postal Service.
Not only are there the usual street busts for possession and small-time dealing happening routinely across the state, there are also large busts like these occurring regularly, indicating that Rhode Island is a hub of activity for drug traffickers from around the world. Many travel through the state on I-95 while others are stationing themselves in Providence as a point of distribution. This means that part of why Rhode Island families are struggling with ever increasing rates of addiction and overdose is that there is no shortage of substances available to drive and maintain addictions.
Are you in recovery and trying hard to stay sober despite easy access to a range of substances? Here are a few tips to help you along your path:
- Go to as many 12-Step meetings as possible. If it helps you to stay sober, do not pass up a 12-Step meeting if you can help it. Incorporate them into your day whenever you can. They are free, and they expose you to a wide range of people who are local to you and working hard to stay sober as well. You never know what you will hear at a meeting that will resonate with you and help you through a tough time.
- Seek out sober events and places. If you are trying to maintain connections with people who are actively using and drinking, and spending your free time hanging out with them, stop now. Instead, look for sober cafes, sober events, and community events that are likely to be free from drugs and alcohol (e.g., community centers, religious organizations, etc.). It is not easy to form new friendships, but continuing to be around people who use drugs is a constant threat to your recovery.
- Take care of yourself. This means not only taking care of yourself physically – getting good sleep, eating right, workout regularly, etc. – but also being kind to yourself in recovery. Give yourself permission to take on one aspect of your recovery at a time and to forgive yourself as you go along. It will take time to process through different choices you made during active addiction and make amends where necessary. In the meantime, your focus needs to be positive and in the present moment, not looking behind you.
- Ask for help. It is not always easy to know how to handle different challenges that arise or to recognize when the feelings you are having are actually symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders or a sign that relapse is eminent.
- Know that you can do this. Even if relapse happens, it is not the end of the line for you and your recovery. A brief mistake – as long as it is brief – does not have to erase all you have accomplished in recovery. In fact, if you go over how and why the relapse happened with a therapist to assist you, you can come up with a plan to ensure that it doesn’t happen again and learn from the experience to build a stronger life in recovery.
- Go to treatment. If you find you are unable to maintain your sobriety, especially if you have never been to drug rehab or undergone professional treatment, the time to get started is now. A comprehensive treatment program will provide you with the medical care and support you need to detox safely and effectively and then connect you with the psychological intervention necessary to make a strong start in your new sober life.
What are you doing to stay strong in recovery as rates of drug trafficking, addiction, and overdose deaths climb around you? How do you stay focused and positive as you go through each day?