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Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

With endless holiday parties, shopping, and expectations from friends and family on top of past memories of substance abuse and holiday stress, the holiday season can be a challenging time for those in recovery. However stressful the holidays can get, they never have to interfere with all the progress you’ve made during alcohol and drug counseling in Fort Lauderdale. Our treatment specialists at Portner Counseling Group share tips on staying sober during the holidays below.


How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

  1. Be prepared.
  2. Never forget why staying sober is important to you and your life.
  3. Choose holiday parties wisely.
  4. Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand.
  5. Have a Plan B, in case your initial holiday party plan comes with triggers.
  6. Think your actions through and think about the next day.
  7. Stay away from triggering locations.
  8. Spend time with people who support your recovery and sober lifestyle.
  9. Start new traditions that coincide with your new, sober life.
  10. Do not drink and do not use, regardless of the situation – just don’t do it.


Recognizing Holiday Triggers

The most common holiday triggers to be aware of correspond with the acronym HALT. When you are feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and/or Tired, you may feel as if you’re in the danger zone. It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically when you recognize that you may be feeling some of the holiday stress you were previously worried about. Staying sober during the holidays is significantly easier upon recognizing these holiday triggers.

How to Ensure Long-Term Sobriety

ensure long-term sobriety


Recovering from drugs and alcohol is no easy task, and successfully completing a drug and alcohol treatment program is a huge milestone in one’s life. Breaking away from the vicious cycle of addiction takes strength and commitment to a changed lifestyle. During treatment, you will learn exactly how to handle future situations that can compromise your sobriety. Not to mention, there will be challenging times as you move forward with your recovery. There are a number of things you can do to preserve your recovery efforts, and even ensure long-term sobriety. Our addiction counseling center in Ft. Lauderdale expresses the importance of learning relapse prevention methods, especially in the early stages of recovery.


Attend Regular Meetings


While you may feel that you are equipped to handle any situation that comes your way, a drug craving can occur when you least expect it. It’s important to maintain your recovery efforts by attending regular support meetings. They will keep you accountable and also give you that extra inspiration to stay clean and help you realize how far you have come. Listening to other similar recovery stories can be encouraging and extremely helpful for anyone’s personal recovery journey.


Surround Yourself with Supportive People


If you are in active recovery, you know how detrimental it can be to surround yourself with negative influences who will try and bring you down. Hanging out with the wrong crowd can bring about temptation to use again and this can result in a relapse. By surrounding yourself with positive people who are supportive of your efforts, you will stay on the right track. It’s so crucial to get rid of all negativity in your life in order to maintain your sobriety.


Maintain a Healthy and Active Lifestyle


If you regularly engage in healthy behaviors, such as exercise or meditation, you will be able to relax the mind and feel better on a daily basis. Portner Counseling suggest taking up a healthy hobby, like a sport, so that you can relieve the inevitable stress that comes your way. Being active will make your mind and body feel strong, and this will contribute to your ongoing sobriety goals.


If you are worried about maintaining your sobriety, Portner Counseling Group is here to help you achieve long-term sobriety. Follow these relapse prevention tips if you start to get the urge to use again.

Eating Disorder and Addiction Treatment

eating disorderIf you are suffering from an eating disorder, there are treatment options for you to become healthy again. Those struggling with an eating disorder should seek professional help immediately. Our addiction counseling at Portner Counseling Group will provide comfort and support during the treatment process. Eating disorders are serious health conditions that can be both physically and emotionally destructive. Early diagnosis and intervention of an eating disorder can significantly enhance recovery efforts. An eating disorder can produce chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening conditions for anyone who does not properly treat this disease.

The most effective and long-lasting treatment for an eating disorder is a form of psychotherapy and counseling in combination with careful attention to the patient’s medical and nutritional needs. Some medications have been shown to be helpful in aiding recovery efforts. An individualized counseling plan is designated to every client at our addiction counseling in Pompano, with the main goal of a successful recovery from the patient’s eating disorder. Treatment varies amongst each person in our facilities, depending on the severity of the disorder, the patient’s needs, and other aspects in the recovery. We keep these in mind in an individualized counseling plan for each patient.

Regardless of the treatment someone requires, Portner Counseling Group is going to make sure that the eating disorder is properly taken care of and the patient can live a happier, healthier lifestyle. All our certified therapists develop a trusted and close relationship with our patients for them to feel safe and comfortable throughout the entire treatment process. Eating disorders can lead to extreme physical problems that can be life-threatening. These types of disorders can also cause severe psychological and behavioral issues. We keep these obstacles in mind throughout the entire treatment process. The care and attention that is provided to our clients greatly benefit the success in recoveries. Utilizing a team that specializes in eating disorders like the professionals at the Portner Counseling Group do is the best thing for a successful recovery.

Contact the professionals at our addiction counseling in Pompano from the Portner Counseling Group today for group, family, or an individualized counseling plan for addiction today to begin living a happier, healthier life.

The Benefits of Family Counseling

Family Counseling at PortnerA drug and alcohol addiction can be very painful for the individual suffering as well as the loved ones surrounding that person. A lot of strain can be placed on the family dynamic and it’s so important for the whole family to heal together during this time. Addiction treatment can include various therapy methods and often times, family counseling is offered to strengthen relationships and help the addicted individual overcome the challenges associated with a drug and alcohol addiction. Portner Counseling Group shares with you the benefits of family counseling and how this therapy approach allows for a successful recovery.


During family counseling, family members learn how to develop the necessary skills needed to assist their loved one on the path to addiction recovery. It’s important to realize that certain people may never comprehend the reasoning behind their loved one’s addiction and family counseling will help to clear up those underlying issues and allow the family unit to grow in addiction recovery.


The benefits of family counseling include:

  • Strengthening the family unit and improving communication skills between every member.
  • Educating each family member on the disease of addiction and the methods that need to be in place to overcome a substance abuse.
  • Learning how to not enable certain behaviors that can lead to addiction.
  • Educating family members on the warning signs of relapse and how to help your family member pull through challenging situations
  • Addressing each family member’s concerns during the recovery process and improving transparency for all members


A family unit should provide love and support for an individual going through recovery and the benefits of family counseling will allow everyone to heal and grow together. Contact Portner Counseling Group today to learn more about our family counseling services.


Common Signs and Behaviors Associated with Relapse

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction is incredibly heartbreaking, whether it’s a child, a spouse, a family member, or a friend. Having a close relationship with an addict can send you on a seemingly never-ending emotional rollercoaster, but the decision to get addiction counseling can be the dawn of a new day.

It’s important to know that although your loved one is receiving treatment, relapse is an unfortunate possibility. Nearly 91% of heroin abusers relapse at least once in their lifetime, and 59% of those relapses are within the first week of treatment.

As someone who cares deeply for a person in recovery from substance abuse issues, it’s important that you provide ongoing support for the former addict and help them to avoid relapse at all costs. Keep in mind the most important signs of relapse, and call Portner Counseling Group for help the minute you see any of these signs.

  1. Exposure to drug use

This is by far the easiest way for a recovering addict to relapse. Being around the substance they are trying to break free from can be impossibly hard to overcome. Try to make sure your loved one is not coming in contact with drugs or alcohol that may tempt them.

  1. Increased stress levels

Build-up of negative emotional can be problematic for someone who is in the early stages of changing their coping mechanisms. If the recovering addict in your life is facing too much stress, try to put them in contact with a counselor, and make sure you offer support in any way you can to avoid a relapse.

  1. Returning to Old Habits

It’s important to remember that a former addict doesn’t need to be in contact with drugs or alcohol to feel the urge to relapse. Simply being around people they used to use with or places they would go to use drugs or alcohol can bring back a rush of memories associated with using and can send them down a bad path. It’s your duty to help your loved one develop new habits and stay away from any negative people or places that are associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

Fortunately, there are reputable addiction and mental health treatment facilities with a trustworthy staff that are dedicated to helping your loved one recover. Portner Counseling offers highly specialized counseling services in South Florida for those who are suffering from substance abuse issues. Call today for help.

5 Tips for Staying Sober Over the Holidays

With non-stop parties, gatherings, and other holiday festivities, Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day brings many situations that could be difficult for those new to sobriety. There’s no reason to miss the holiday fun just because you’re new to sobriety. Use Portner Counseling Group’s 5 easy tips for staying sober at holiday parties to ensure you’re sticking to your commitment to yourself!

  1. Bring a Friend

Having a friend who understands and supports your recovery can be a very helpful tool during the temptations of a holiday party. It’s easier to stay sober when you’re not the only one. Also try calling your sponsor or counselor for a little extra motivation.

  1. Hold a drink in your hand

You can avoid people constantly offering you drinks by simply having your own drink in your hand always. Keep water, soda, coffee, or any non-alcoholic drink with you so people don’t try to offer you alcoholic beverages.

  1. Have an excuse ready

Prepare an easy excuse to use in case someone offers you a drink or asks why you’re not joining. You can always say you’re the designated driver for the night, you’re not feeling too well, or you have something very important to do in the morning.

  1. Set Boundaries

Set boundaries for what you will and won’t be around at these parties. Know where you draw the line, and remember that you can always leave if you are uncomfortable or feel tempted to partake in risky behavior.

  1. Remember your commitment

More than anything else, remember your commitment to yourself. Keep your hard work and dedication to your sobriety in mind, and remember that drinking or using drugs at one party is a setback in your sober accomplishments.

Portner Counseling Group wants to ensure our friends and family feel comfortable and confident enjoying the holiday season with their newfound sobriety. Our Pompano addiction counselors are here for you. Call us today if you need help over the holidays.


Take the First Step Towards Drug Treatment

getting addiction treatment

Whether you’re questioning your own relationship with alcohol or drugs or concerned about a loved one, the idea of talking to a professional can be intimidating. Although the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency estimates that over 23 million Americans struggle with addiction, it is a disease that carries such a negative stigma in our society that we often opt to suffer in silence.

Because of this, addictive behaviors are often (intentionally or unintentionally) cloaked in denial, resistance, ambivalence, and manipulation. Shame and uncertainty can create an unhealthy family dynamic, whereby family members rationalize and “look the other way,” even if they are beginning to notice unhealthy behavioral patterns.

Because of these factors, it is critical to find a provider that specializes in drug and alcohol addiction if you are exploring treatment options. Though there are many mental health counselors, social workers, and psychologists in South Florida, it is uncommon to find an outpatient counseling practice that has years of experience with this particular issue. Additionally, addiction is a complicated process that is often accompanied by other underlying issues of anxiety, depression, family conflict, or self-esteem issues. It is important to find a provider with the qualifications to treat “the whole person.” The director of the practice, Casey Portner, is a Certified Addictions Professional, and also earned his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, which enables him to create a comprehensive treatment plan that can help individuals maximize their progress by addressing their issues holistically.

When someone breaks an arm, the course of action is mostly standard and inflexible. There may be slightly different approaches – maybe the arm needs to be reset, or perhaps the individual needs their cast for a longer time period – but the philosophy will always be the same. Addiction, unfortunately, is not this simplistic. Addiction is as varied as the individuals who struggle with them, with varying causes, severity, motivation for change, level of support, and triggers. Because of this, when choosing a provider, it is important to find someone with a flexible and accommodating treatment approach. At Portner Counseling Group, we believe in using a collaborative process to help individuals non-judgmentally and honestly reflect on their own needs, values, and beliefs to determine their treatment goals. Take a look at the Biographies section for additional details on specific treatment philosophies and modalities used.

At Portner Counseling Group, we understand that exploring these uncertainties is crucial in determining whether someone may be struggling with drug or alcohol use. We pride ourselves in creating a warm and non-judgmental environment that facilitates honest and open communication, in order to get a sense of the true nature of your concern. The first step in the process at Portner Counseling Group is to complete a two-hour, in-depth substance abuse evaluation. The purpose of the assessment is to look at an individual holistically: to examine not only their patterns of use, triggers, and treatment history, but also other important factors such as mental health, support structure, career/school and finances, and environmental stressors. Considering all of these factors is important to get a well-rounded picture about an individual’s level of need.

Completing an assessment does not necessarily mean that an individual is committing to treatment. If you are unsure whether you or someone you love has a problem, it can be all the more reason to reach out. Sometimes, users and family members can be too close to a situation to see things objectively. Sitting down and speaking with a professional that specializes in addiction can help give you clarity. Our problems grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure. Though it can be intimidating, we encourage and empower anyone who is concerned about drug use or addiction to reach out and take this small step forward by making that initial call.

Coral Springs Teen Task Force for Healthy Choices

Portner Counseling Group has been actively involved in the Coral Springs Teen Task Force for Healthy Choices.  The task forces primary mission is to unite the community through empowering teens to make positive choices and unleash their full potential.  Currently the task force is constantly developing or supporting local projects and events that will help fulfill our mission.  PCG is working on a psycho-educational presentation for parents titled “Parenting your child through drug and alcohol use” and will be making it available through the task force to parents in the Coral Springs area.  More information will be posted as it becomes available as to locations, date and times of upcoming presentations.

The next task force meeting is tentatively scheduled for 8/15/11 and PCG will be there supporting it.  All are welcome, especially teenagers in the Coral Springs area who want to get involved.

Best Regards,

Casey Portner M.Ed, CAP

Transitioning From Middle to High School

Hello all!  PCG is excited to announce:

I have recently been asked to present at Coral Glades High School Freshman Orientation titled “Survial 101.”  The presentation will be focused on the adolescent developmental milestone of transitioning  from middle to high school.  I will be making the presentation available on my website for download and print, after the presentation on August 11th, 2011.  Please stay tuned for more information.

Best Regards,

Casey Portner M.Ed, CAP