Beverly's Recovery Story

“I was to the point where all I was doing was laying in bed with a pack of beer. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t function.”

Hopeless. This was where Beverly found herself not long ago before arriving at Gateway Rehab. 

Alcohol was all Beverly had ever known. She began drinking at the age of 12, born to two parents who also drank. Throughout her life it progressed into an addiction, one she coped with for many years. Over time her addiction escalated to the point where she had to drink only to curb her withdrawal symptoms. Eventually even this stopped working; there was not enough she could consume to halt the symptoms. It was then that Beverly accepted she needed help.

She decided to call UPMC, her insurance provider, who referred her to Gateway Rehab. Gateway sent a car through Uber Health to get Beverly so she did not have to drive and admitted her to inpatient treatment. 

After spending 28 days in our inpatient program, Beverly’s life had started to change. 

“It was a fantastic experience all the way through. Everyone was so kind and caring.”

Beverly knew if she continued in her addiction, she would die. She reached out in desperation, and left with hope for a brighter future, free from addiction. 

Detox is often an emotional and painful experience, but thankfully the staff surrounding Beverly were able to walk her through every step of the way, providing comfort amidst difficulty.

“They nurtured me. There was a lot of emotions going through detox, all the emotions that had been numbed by alcohol came out.”

At Gateway Rehab we have a variety of programming to help patients deal with mental health and trauma that often come out in recovery. Some of the most impactful moments in Beverly’s time at Gateway was music therapy and group therapy. Beverly really enjoyed group therapy sessions because she was able to listen to other people’s stories. This made her realize that although everyone comes from different backgrounds, there is a community of individuals who  have similar struggles that allow people to help and encourage each other. 

“Acceptance is a huge part of recovery, Gateway taught me that. Gateway gave me all the tools I needed. I will always be grateful to Gateway.”

One of the largest challenges Beverly says is that alcohol is not illegal. Alcohol is everywhere you go, often encourage, and it seems you cannot get away from it. Living in recovery has been a huge culture change for her. She says that without support, she would not be where she is today.

“It is so important to have structured support. You cannot do it on your own no matter how strong you are. Addiction is powerful.”

Despite challenges, Beverly says she does not even feel tempted anymore. Working through her addiction with Gateway, being provided with tools, and being a part of a supportive community, Beverly is continuing to walk strongly down her recovery road. 

“My whole adult life alcohol was my friend. It almost becomes like a person. Now it doesn’t even phase me. At the beginning it was hard. You need constant support, and Gateway gave that to me.”

Beverly continues to participate in outpatient sessions to remain engaged and receive ongoing support in her recovery journey. After living in alcohol addiction from age 12 to age 61, Beverly is now celebrating 1 year of sobriety! Congratulations Beverly, keep up the great work! 

For anyone else who may be struggling with an addiction, Beverly leaves you with these words.

“There is hope out there for anybody. Alcohol was all I knew. Both of my parents drank. I came from alcohol. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

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Jonathan's Recovery Story

Before Gateway Rehab, Jonathan was living a double life. For 13 years Jonathan found himself isolating and lying to his friends and family to keep his addiction a secret. What started as a routine Percocet prescription following dental surgery, became a 13-year battle with a heroin addiction.

Jonathan describes his addiction as unexpected. He came from a supportive family, and had a good home life. Many of the typical signs of risks to addiction were absent from his life. But addiction doesnt discriminate; it can happen to anyone.

“When people meet me, I am clean-cut. I take good care of myself. You would never think I stuck a needle in my arm for 13 years and almost died several times.”

Jonathan’s story for 13 years was lonely, painful, and one without hope. Now, his story is one of recovery. This is his journey. 

Jonathan mostly found himself alone throughout his addiction. Looking back he realizes that his self-isolation was, in large part, what allowed him to continue his addiction for so long.

“Isolation is death. I was the king.”

Then, rock bottom came, after 13 years. His addiction had escalated to the point where he was struggling to function. For years he had been able to function outwardly, keeping his addiction to himself. He realized how quickly his addiction had progressed, and how his like this way no longer sustainable.

“It got to the point when using was just to maintain basic functioning and that got old. I was sick of being sick. I was sick of being tired.”

Gateway Rehab was the first place he reached out to. When he contacted Gateway, his family was still unaware of what was happening. Intake was an overwhelming process for Jonathan; he was scared. The staff at Gateway guided him through the process and helped him reach out to his family to inform them where he was and what was happening.

Jonathan describes talking to his mom for the first time as one of his biggest moments in his journey. Someone from Gateway was there with him to help him, and his family navigate what to do next and how to talk about what was happening. His mom had no idea what was going on, but upon hearing the news Jonathan could tell how much she cared for him, even though she was hurt. His mom was, and still is, a huge part of his recovery journey. 

While going through one of the hardest and biggest changes of his life, Jonathan found comfort at Gateway. In the first level of care, detox, Jonathan describes how the staff made all the difference.

“It was surprising the extent to which that they went to help. They let me cry on their shoulder. They made calls with me to my family. There was the realization that there were people who cared about me. It was pivotal.”

After fighting through difficult withdrawal symptoms, Jonathan pushed through and continued to Gateway’s second level of care, a short-term inpatient program. Here, Jonathan reflects, that the most impactful moment was when he learned he had an extremely high chance of relapsing without following a structured treatment plan. This was Jonathan’s first time in treatment. Addiction is a disease that can require several attempts of treatment. Everyone recovers differently, but every road to recovery should be celebrated. 

For Jonathan, this was the moment he realized the importance of committing to the program if he wanted to truly recover.

“The more you stay involved the better it goes.”

This realization continued after he decided to extend treatment by going into Gateway’s third level of care, a long-term inpatient program. This program allows someone to stay engaged in treatment and receive additional life skills support, for 90-120 more days after completing short-term inpatient. Jonathan describes the biggest takeaway he had here being that:

“I can’t fix a 13-year problem in 3 weeks. Having to sit there, having to think about myself, work on myself, and my own problems; Drugs aren’t my problem, I am my own problem.”

The fourth level of care, a halfway house called the Rutter House, was next.  When you are in early recovery, you are often starting over at the age when your addiction began. Jonathan found himself learning things like budgeting and paying bills. He felt like he should have already known these things, but a part of addiction not often shared, is how you lose those years in your addiction, and often need to re-learn, or be taught for the first time how to live on your own.

This was where Gateway’s extended care halfway house program,  came into play. It was here Jonathan was able to begin transitioning out of treatment and learning to reintegrate into his community.

Brandon, who was Jonathan’s therapist, suggested a transition into a three-quarter home. This was a transition Jonathan was very hesitant about. Brandon supported Jonathan explained how this transition could be helpful to his recovery journey, and eventually was able to recommend one through Gateway’s many partnerships with other organizations. Jonathan describes moving out of Gateway’s programming as scary, but also rewarding.  He discovered an independence and sense of responsibility that he was unable to achieve for so many years.  

Jonathan is now 19 months into his recovery journey! He is a sponsor, a part of two home groups for recovery support employed full-time and is an active member in the local recovery community. 

Reflecting on his time at Gateway, he says that while the process took longer than he expected, he believes the length of the entire program, and completing all four levels of care, is the reason he is where he is today. 

Jonathan concluded his story by wanting to share these words with the readers.

“I want people to know that if you are willing to give this a chance and work on yourself that Gateway is phenomenal. They are not just there to get patients and get money. Each person that I met along the way cared. They had all the answers I needed. They were there for all the sad moments and all the happy moments…
The place saved my life. They helped me with my family. I can promise you right now I would not be here, alive and breathing, if I hadn’t walked into that place 19 months ago. I am forever grateful.”

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Honoring the Life of Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski left a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. Since opening the doors of Gateway Rehab in 1972, Dr. Twerski paved a way for so many to achieve their recovery. Not only was Dr. Twerski a brilliant mind in the field of recovery, pioneering addiction treatment, but he also had an enormous amount of compassion. He regularly took time to personally talk to and get to know patients. He personally touched thousands of lives and families who have battled the disease of addiction. 

His vision, humor and commitment to helping those in need will be missed, but forever remembered. Gateway Rehab’s Board of Directors and staff will, in Dr. Twerski’s name, uphold his legacy and the organization’s mission created under his direction, to “help all those affected by addictive diseases to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.” 

Dr. Twerski’s life and work transformed so many people as they walked through their recovery journey. 

Lorraine W. explains Dr. Twerski’s impact on her life by sharing that, “{she} was traveling to California to say goodbye to my aunt who was dying of cancer. Walking to the gate for my flight I began to think about the wine offered on long flights. Then the ‘who would know’ whisper started. I held the thought and walked on toward the gate. Looking up on a phone to my left there was Dr. Twerski talking to someone. I was startled and my mind was stunned.  It was truly an AA miracle moment. Got out of obsessing about that glass of wine and was truly blown away by what had just happened.  Thank you, Dr. Twerski.

You gave me the light l needed in that dark moment 33 years ago.”

Mary C. was also greatly impacted by Dr. Twerski, “I am 27 years sober. I met him early in sobriety. I went to a Nurses off chemicals Mtg & he was guest speaker.

His talk planted a seed of hope inside me.

He spoke to some of us before leaving & I remember how compassionate & caring he was. I also went to a couple of conferences where he spoke. My condolences to his family. He was a great influence on a lot of us.”

Dr. Twerski truly believed in the transformation that comes in recovery. Part of this belief he displayed by referring to as "the Diamond polishing center." Gayle, a staff member at Gateway Rehab, remembers him saying this.

"There are so many great memories that I have of Dr. Twerski, but one I will always remember is his story that we are a Diamond polishing center! To understand that, Dr. T said that when we come into Gateway we are all diamonds. We come in all dirty and dull and definitely not shining clean. We do some work and trust the program, and we get healthy and are able to heal our body, mind, and soul. 

This picture was taken on one of Dr. Twerski's birthday here in our gym at Abe's Place. We had all the patients sign the poster and when he left for the day he took it with him. I am very honored to have known Dr. Twerski and will share this story with all who I meet along my path. This all came about from a treatment center he was at in Israel, and above the door was a sign that was written in Hebrew that said "diamond polishing center." 

He was able to impact so many due to the experience and knowledge he had about recovery. The knowledge he shared with patients and imparted on others working in the field has changed so many lives for the better. 

Mark S. shares that he, “{owes his} life to Gateway Rehab. He was a walking example of God’s will. I was captivated by his story about the lobster... it helps me when Im struggling. Something to be said about the pain / or uncomfortable feeling we go through in recovery!  My sponsor spoke of a couple personal experiences he had with the doctor. All good, he shared a signed copy of a book he had written. All little parts of my program... God love that man❤️ Mere words can't describe the gratitude I have for him regarding the times he gave his time, efforts and kind words on my behalf.”

The lobster story was one Dr. Twerski talked about a lot and was just one of the many stories he used to help others in their recovery journey. You can watch it here:  

Compassion was another characteristic Dr. Twerski embodied and is how many who knew him will forever remember him. 

Laura C., celebrating 32 years in recovery, shares that she, “was a patient at Gateway. I was terrified when I arrived and was put in detox just so they could keep eye on me as I was suicidal. Everyone treated me with kindness.  Second day Dr Twerski came into my room to talk with me about recovery and mental health.

He felt so kind and empathetic. I knew he cared about me and the other people in recovery.

I loved his Sunday afternoon lectures. I saw him a few years ago in Monroeville when an outpatient center opened, and he was the prime speaker. He wasn't an alcoholic or addict, but he sure understood us. I thanked him then for his help with my recovery.  He will be greatly missed!!! I will miss him."

Another story of Dr. Twerki’s compassion was shared by Philip D.

“I first met the greatest man I have ever known approximately 1974.I woke up in St. Francis hospital detox after overdosing from Narcotics. I was groggy and looked up and saw this man with long graying beard wearing full Chassidic garb and thought I was in the presence of Moses. 

He introduced himself to me and we continued to meet in that detox numerous times over the next 6 years. I was introduced to the AA fellowship in that hospital and Dr. Twerski would call Barry and the rest of the crew and say," He's here again and they would come and rescue me and try and save me. As the years passed and the seasons changed I kept ending up there because I had not changed. 

Dr. Twerski was so compassionate and patient with me and never turned me away even though the rest of my world was giving up on me. 

One day I was in his small office overlooking the Cemetery and I asked him why he continued to work in this field with so much heartache and disappointments and deaths of addicts after getting close to them and I will never forget his response even though it was over 40 years ago. He said, Phil the ones that make it make it all worthwhile and I believe in you and someday you will get sober and end up helping people just like I do. In addition to that you will be able to help them in different ways because you are one of them and I'm not. 

I was finally able to get sober in 1979 and spent the next 14 years in South Florida and we would continue to stay in touch. It was such a blessing to answer his phone call to me and he asked me to do him a favor from time to time. 

A few years ago I attended a big Gateway gala honoring him with at least a thousand or more in attendance. I went up to have a private moment with him and reminded him of what he told me all those years ago about the ones that make it make it all worthwhile. I pointed to the crowd and said that all these people where there to thank him for saving their lives. A tear came to his eye and he said that he had nothing to do with it and God was just working through him. That was the humility of this great man that many of us were blessed to know. 

I recently celebrated my 41st anniversary and none of that could have ever happened if I had never met him.”

Part of how Dr. Twerski cared for and treated his patients was by ensuring comprehensive treatment. Dr. Twerski saw his patients as people like him, in need of help. Incorporating a full continuum of care, addressing both the physical and behavioral health fundamentals of recovery, is part of what made his impact, and legacy, so great.

Barry Z. shares that he, “met Dr. Twerski around 1971. 

As a result of {meeting Dr. Twerski}, Gateway, & a 12 step program I’ve been clean & sober for 47 years and have a great life. It absolutely would have never happened without him.

He’s the person who handed me my daughter in the delivery room. He acknowledged my sobriety anniversary every single year. The last few years he asked me to acknowledge his birthday which I have. My family has been fortunate to be close to him. He called once & called my wife Joyce instead of Lois. She asked me if she should change her name to Joyce. Hes called her Lois Joyce for the last 40 years. I spoke at two Gateway Galas honoring him, one celebrating his 80th birthday. They were the honors of my life. I’ve never forgotten how blessed I was to have run into Dr. Twerski. We always said love you” when hanging up. Ill love Dr. Twerski forever.”

Ed R. also shared, saying, “What I admired about Abe was everyone was the same.  He wasn't better than you or me. He would call me up. We would talk, and in the end of our conversation he would ask when you are leaving. He wanted a ride to the airport; my response was always I will leave when you need me. Looking back to the many trips and the conversations we had to the airport were gold and I will never forget those moments we had. He will be missed but never forgotten.   I only wish I could have been half the man he was.”

While there are countless stories of how individuals were impacted by Dr. Twerski directly, even more have been, and continue to be, indirectly impacted by the legacy he leaves on the recovery community. He was a pioneer in the field of addiction treatment. 

Sharon E. worked for Gateway Rehab for 25 years, and knew Dr. Twerski well. She shared with us one instance of Dr. Twerski’s work and global impact.

“In 1995, we had the bounty to travel to Israel to see how Israelis were dealing with their drug problem. The backstory is that Abe, while building a retirement home in Israel, was engaged by the Prison Rehabilitation Authority, PRA, to help design a treatment system for addicted men leaving prison. Their recidivism rate was 80%. Abe worked with them, then invited them to send several social workers to Gateway, where each of them stayed 4-6 weeks. They were eager learners. Eighteen months after implementation of their treatment system, the recidivism rate for those who completed the treatment was down to 20%. They wanted to share what they were doing, so invited Abe to bring a group to see it. The group Abe assembled included Ken Ramsey, then CEO of Gateway, me, a Pittsburgh city councilman and his wife, and 3 recovering men, 2 of them with wives. We called ourselves the motley crew. 

The trip was memorable. Not only had they learned from us, they had gone past us. We learned from them. Abe took us to visit many programs and meet men in recovery. We were welcomed and met with affection. The most powerful insight during that trip was that addiction is addiction is addiction. Over and over we were with recovering Israeli addicts who related their stories of addiction and recovery in Hebrew. Abe or one of our volunteers translated. The recovering addicts in our group related their stories, which were translated into Hebrew. I was touched to the core. You could almost feel the shared goosebumps as we realized: The emotions were the same. The progression and consequences were the same. The effects on the family were the same. The steps required for recovery were the same. The joys of recovery were the same!

I kept a journal during that trip, which I typed up when we got home. Abe asked if he could read it… it was 21 pages long. On page 9 there was this paragraph: 'Somehow today helped me understand Abe – and his attachment here. He is able to be a guru-saint here in a way he once was but isn’t any more in Pittsburgh.’ Abe called me when he finished reading it. Here was his only comment: 'I am still a guru-saint in Pittsburgh.’ Obviously, he was right!”

Sharon E. was also able to give us insight into some of Dr. Twerski’s personality and humor- both of which were part of why he was loved by so many. 

“Abe Twerski. What a big spirit that man had! I want to share a few glimpses into him that are a little unique. 

I worked closely with Abe for 25 years. It was rewarding beyond belief and sometimes maddening. For example, that man so disliked conflict that whenever it developed, we had to make an appointment and trap him in his office so he couldn’t escape.

His ideas were often radical. For example, in 1974, he hired Dr. Gene Curley to be a physician at Gateway. He was 3 weeks sober. I protested. I lost. But eventually, long after Gene left Gateway to work elsewhere, I won, because Gene became my wonderful husband. 

In 1992, when Gene was in the ICU, a few days before his death, only Genes son and I could visit. However, I arrived there early one morning, and there was Abe, having talked his way into the ICU, engaged in lively, meaningful conversation with Gene. What a blessing.

After my retirement from Gateway in 1996, Abe stayed in touch by sending me jokes by email. I’ve saved them and treasure them still.”

Dr. Twerski will be missed by many, but his legacy will live on as his compassion, transformational care, innovation, knowledge, experience and comprehensive treatment continue not only at Gateway, but in much of the recovery community around the world. 

Thank you Dr. Twerski for

dedicating your life to helping others

find their recovery journey. 

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Individualized Addiction Treatment: Help Is Possible

Individualized addiction treatment

Individualized Addiction Treatment: Help Is Possible

Gateway Rehab offers a variety of progressive and innovative therapies tailored to your unique recovery needs. Our highly-trained experts provide gender and age-specific treatments in individual and small-group settings so you can get the help you need most.

Each of our programs includes engaging experiential therapies like music, arts and crafts, role play, boxing, and a custom rope course. These activities are aimed at helping individuals identify emotions related to success, disappointment, responsibility and self-esteem. Participation helps those in recovery resolve past conflicts, trauma and repressed emotions.

Individualized addiction treatment programs

We’re ready to give you the tools you need to live the life you deserve and stay on the path of recovery. Here are our individualized programming options:

  • 18-34 years
    Our young adult residential addiction treatment program is personalized to the needs of those between the ages of 18 and 34. Our facilities are staffed with expert clinicians who understand the physical, emotional and behavioral issues of young adults and provide the tools necessary for creating a long, sober life.
  • 35-49 years
    Our adult residential addiction treatment program is personalized to the needs of those between the ages of 35 and 49. In this program, we assess a person’s withdrawal potential, health history, physical condition, behavioral and mental health as well as their readiness to change. From there, we design an individualized treatment program to help guide them toward lifelong recovery.
  • Over 50 years
    Our older adult residential addiction treatment program is personalized to the needs of those above 50. Alcohol and drugs present unique challenges for the older adult population and can lead to adverse affects on both mental and physical health. Substance abuse can also increase the risk of falling and breaking bones as well as exacerbate memory loss and co-occurring disorders. In this program, we focus on medical detox, residential treatment and/or outpatient treatment as necessary.

Addiction does not need to be a lifelong battle, let us help you with individualized addiction treatment programs designed to meet your unique needs. Call 866-861-5985 and get the help you need now.

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How to Celebrate Sober

Celebrate sober

How to Celebrate Sober

The holidays are almost here, and while you may not have a typical celebration with large crowds or extended family this year, you may still feel pressure to drink or use with your immediate family or social bubble. No matter how you celebrate this year, it’s important to have a plan so you can continue your recovery journey throughout this holiday season and long after.

Five tips to help you celebrate sober

The clinical team at Gateway Rehab has a number of tips to get through the holidays knowing there is greater pressure to drink or use. Here are five ways you can celebrate sober this year:

  1. Control your destiny
    If you visit with friends or family, it’s important to control your own destiny. Take your own car. Bring a sober friend for support. Watch for triggers.
  2. Practice self care
    Take care of yourself throughout the holidays so you can be your best self. Practice meditation or yoga, exercise daily, and make healthy food choices. Taking care of your mind, body and soul will help you feel stronger physically and emotionally so you can celebrate sober and with confidence.
  3. Surround yourself with support
    We understand in-person meetings may be on hold for the time being, but it’s important to plan ahead and attend daily video group meetings or phone calls with someone in recovery. Staying connected to other people in recovery can help you stay sober.
  4. Know your social limits
    The holidays can be a great time to catch up with extended family, but it’s important to recognize their behaviors may have a negative effect on your emotions. This is especially true if you’re spending time with someone with whom you have a strained relationship. Be sure to surround yourself with supportive loved ones who will help you follow the steps to staying sober.
  5. Make sobriety your top priority

Holiday parties are optional, even more so during a pandemic. If you don’t think the activity will be good for your recovery (or health), you can politely decline the party invite and make a lunch or coffee date with the host for another day instead.

Staying sober is possible during the holiday season, and it can even be fun. This year, focus on people and activities that will help strengthen your path toward recovery. We hope you enjoy the holiday season and celebrate sober with loved ones!

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How COVID-19 is Affecting Substance Use and Addiction Treatment

COVID-19 Substance Use, Addiction Treatment

How COVID-19 is Affecting Substance Use and Addiction Treatment

It’s been said before: This year hasn’t been easy. But the stress of social isolation and other COVID-19-related changes have left those struggling with substance use and alcohol addiction particularly vulnerable. This pandemic has created fear, anxiety and isolation, which are often triggers for relapse. In fact, more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with mental health or substance use disorders.

We understand how difficult it can be to seek addiction treatment under normal circumstances. Add in a pandemic, and the decision to enter an inpatient rehabilitation treatment program becomes that much more difficult.

We are here for you…
Inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment is available

While we’re accepting people who are in need of inpatient treatment—out of an abundance of caution for you and our staff—walk-in assessments have been temporarily suspended. Instead, we have made many of our services available via telemedicine.

Like with any other chronic illness or disease, you should not delay treatment, even during a pandemic. The team of specialists at Gateway Rehab is closely monitoring the evolving situation, carefully following all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and taking specific measures to protect you, your family, our employees and the communities we serve.

Stay the course…
The importance of seeking treatment during a pandemic

Unfortunately, there has been a national increase in treatment abandonment during COVID-19. Due to a unique mix of circumstances related to COVID, many people are leaving treatment too soon and returning home without the necessary tools for managing addiction. It’s vital to have a strong support system during and after treatment to lower the risk of treatment abandonment and relapse.

But the impact of leaving treatment early extends past not being able to manage addiction. Once patients leave treatment and re-enter a level of isolation, they are at an increased risk of relapse and even overdosing, as tolerance levels go down during treatment.

We’re dedicated to your lifelong recovery and offer a variety of specialized programs tailored to your unique needs. We give you all the tools you need to stay on the path of recovery and enjoy your best possible life.

We are ready to help you on a path toward healing, self-acceptance, and a life free of substance use. Call Gateway Rehab at 866-861-6280 to find out how to get the help you need during this pandemic and long after.

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B2B Interview with Edie Brozanski

A Moment with Edie Brozanski:
A UPMC Social Worker and Gateway Rehab Advocate

 At Gateway Rehab, we believe that collaboration builds strong community among us. Working together to solve problems and save lives is our goal day in and day out. With innovative, industry-led initiatives, extensive personal development programs and group sessions that foster healing, our community is the framework that allows us to pave the path to long-term recovery for thousands of patients each year.

Edie Brozanski, a Licensed Social Worker with UPMC Health System, is a valued Gateway partner, referring patients who are struggling with substance use disorder to find the help they desperately seek at Gateway Rehab. 

About Edie

Edie has been working with UPMC Community Medicine as a Licensed Social Worker for 4 years. She works collaboratively with about 80 doctors in her network, across numerous medical offices. Her work with patients is on a medical and psychological level where she provides short term medical care, counseling, resources, tools and techniques to overcome life’s obstacles. 

What’s most important when considering a rehab center for patients? 

For Edie, it starts with patients feeling comfortable enough to build a rapport with the doctors and staff members. “If a person has never been to rehab before, they can be scared. Gateway makes patients feel at ease right away. I felt it during my first visit there. The patients were comfortable and doing well,” Edie said. “Patients need to know that they have someone who is there for them. This is going to be their home for a while. It could be their home for as long as 120 days, so, it’s important for them to feel acclimated to their new environment.” Another aspect that’s important to Edie is consistent and available communication with loved ones. “It is important that patients feel safe and secure, and if a call home is what puts them at ease, Gateway supports that.” 

How did you learn about Gateway Rehab?

Edie first heard about Gateway’s positive patient outcomes long before her tenure with UPMC. She connected with Gateway on a more professional level when she met with Lily Brindle, a representative for Gateway. After visiting Gateway for a tour and understanding the trusted inpatient and outpatient centers, Edie left with an overwhelming positive feeling about all that she had experienced. She simply stated, “Gateway is a remarkable place for people to heal and recover.” From that point forward, Edie knew that she would be referring patients to Gateway.

How is Gateway Rehab different than other facilities?

In her own words, Edie noted, “The way the patients are treated, with respect and dignity, is above and beyond. The rate of relapse is lower with Gateway which is remarkable. They really care about the patient’s aftercare. They also use some of the most innovative medical assisted treatments. Sometimes people can’t make it to full recovery in 30 days. They need a longer period to heal and recover. They’ve been through a lot. Gateway is just so comprehensive in all parts of their care; I can’t say that enough.”

What else makes Gateway special?

“Age differential can play a pivotal role in recovery. At Gateway there is age-specific lodging for inpatient care and different forms of communication between doctor and patient. They truly care about each patient’s road to recovery.” Another thing that stands out to Edie is Gateway’s overall level of care. “If a patient shows up sick, while suffering from their substance use disorder, Gateway cares about all aspects of their physical and mental wellbeing. It's extraordinary how they will treat patients for their illness, making that the most important in-the-moment duty, then moving forward with their recovery treatment plan once the patient is healed.”

It is often said that there is no better gift than that of a referral. We appreciate the level of trust Edie and all of our referring professionals have in Gateway Rehab. Together we can change lives and help those struggling with substance use disorder.

Tell us about your experience referring patients to Gateway.

“The process is easy. I call them and they are on it and excited to help right away,” Edie shared. “Instead of a stack of paperwork to complete, Gateway staff speaks one-on-one with the referring party to understand the needs of the patient, another element of personal touch.” When patients begin “change talk,” Edie goes through her motivational interviewing process and knows that it is time for their referral to Gateway.

Patients are collaboratively part of the referral process. This is a life milestone for the patient, so they need to know that they are being cared for every step of the way. Knowing what Gateway has to offer, Edie confidently talks her patients through the different options and, together, choose what’s best for their specific situation.

If you know patients or colleagues who are struggling with addiction, reach out to us today. We are ready to help them turn over a new leaf on their journey to long-term recovery.

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Inpatient Versus Outpatient Care: How Gateway Clinicians Determine Which One Is Right for You

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Care: Which One Is Right for You?

Inpatient Versus Outpatient Care: How Gateway Clinicians Determine Which One Is Right for You

Are you ready to transform your life? Gateway Rehab offers comprehensive and highly personalized inpatient and outpatient services to help you overcome addiction, work toward restored health and renew your sense of self.

All it takes is a single phone call to begin your path toward recovery. After you speak with one of our highly skilled clinicians, he or she will make a confidential assessment and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Inpatient versus outpatient care: Which one is right for you?

Drug and alcohol treatment programs generally fall into two categories: inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehab services are intensive, residential treatment programs designed to treat more serious addictions. Outpatient rehab services are part-time programs that allow those in recovery to continue working or attending school. Depending on your unique circumstances, including the severity of your addiction, our Gateway clinicians will help you determine which is best for you and your unique circumstance. Here are the main differences between inpatient versus outpatient care:

Inpatient care

Outpatient care

  • Those in recovery stay in the facility
  • Higher success rates, especially with long-term rehabilitation
  • Disrupts daily life
  • 24-hour medical and emotional support
  • Programs last between 28 days to six months
  • Designed to treat those with serious addictions
  • Eliminates distractions of daily life
  • Those in recovery continue to live at home, but commute to the facility for daily treatments
  • Maintains normal daily routine.
  • Accessible to social circle for support
  • Programs last between three months to one year
  • Designed to treat those with mild addiction
  • 10 to 12 hours of recovery support per week

At Gateway Rehab we believe recovery from the disease of addiction involves healing all dimensions of a person: physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Our skilled clinicians know there are many pathways to recovery, and we strive to individualize treatment so each person has an opportunity for sustainable recovery. Call us at 866-862-7955 to learn more about inpatient versus outpatient care and to find out which one is right for you.

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Mind-Body-Spirit Therapy: The Three-Legged Stool of Addiction, Recovery and Better Mental Health

Addiction Recovery and Better Mental Health

Mind-Body-Spirit Therapy: The Three-Legged Stool of Addiction, Recovery and Better Mental Health

People become dependent on drugs or alcohol for many reasons, which are often the result of their own life experiences, family connections and friendships. That’s why everyone responds to treatment methods differently.

Gateway Rehab understands this and has developed holistic programs that not only support addiction recovery, but also support better mental health.

How does holistic therapy heal the mind, body and spirit?

Addiction recovery is so much more than just a dependence on drugs or alcohol. It’s a disease that must be treated from within. The clinical team at Gateway Rehab wants to help you locate and heal the root cause of your addiction. To do this, we use scientifically proven, evidence-based therapies and interventions for psychological, physical and spiritual recovery, including:

  • Mind
    To help guide people toward discovering their psychological pain points that may be triggering addictive behavior or preventing recovery, our therapists help you identify underlying pain or past trauma through individual therapy, group therapy sessions, exercise and yoga, art and music therapy or journaling. This is a crucial step in recovery because without identifying why you have an addiction, the urge to use will continue.
  • Body
    To help restore your health, overcome depression or anxiety and improve self-esteem and confidence, your body and brain need to be healthy. Diet, proper nutrition, exercise and exercise contribute to overall fitness and confidence. When appropriate in your recovery journey, our team of skilled professionals will create a body-focused treatment plan tailored to meet your needs. Gateway also supports the use of evidence-based medications (Medication Assisted Treatment) that counteract the effect of addictive substances as a component of treatment.
  • Spirit
    No matter your creed, the aspect of spirituality is an important part of who you are. Whether you find spiritual peace while meditating, hiking, doing yoga or praying, our counselors are here to help support you along your path toward spiritual healing.

Better mental health and addiction recovery are only a phone call away. Call Gateway Rehab at 866-861-6641 to begin your path toward healing. It’s time to have a renewed sense of purpose and a clear path forward in your addiction recovery.

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Recovery Support Services: A Key Element in Long-Term Recovery

Recovery Support Services Are Key in Long-Term Recovery

Recovery Support Services: A Key Element in Long-Term Recovery

Recovery from substance abuse or addiction is a lifelong process. Addiction, like cancer, is held in remission and rarely, if ever, cured for life. It’s important to surround yourself with a network of supportive individuals who understand your struggles, so they can help you through difficult days, events or even moments.

What are recovery support services?

Recovery is a process through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives and strive to reach their full potential. Because recovery is highly personal and occurs along many pathways, the clinical team at Gateway Rehab develops tailored recovery support services that include these four main areas:

  • Health
    Helping you overcome substance abuse or addiction, and then helping you make informed and healthy decisions that support your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Home
    Helping you secure a safe and stable place to live so you can continue on your path toward recovery with fewer distractions.
  • Purpose
    Helping you identify and conduct daily meaningful activities and build your independence so you can participate in society.
  • Community
    Providing much-needed relationships and social networks that provide the support, friendship, love and hope you need.

Why are recovery support services so important for long-term recovery?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), extended abstinence is predictive of long-term or sustained recovery. In fact, a person who remains sober for five years will probably remain sober throughout their lifetime.

Gateway Rehab has been providing proven and personalized addiction treatment services to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia residents for almost 50 years. Reach out to us if you or a loved one is in need of safe, reliable and confidential recovery support services. Our team of specialists offer the encouragement and support you need to bring yourself back to the life you were meant to live—and help you stay there every step of the way.


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Alcohol and Methamphetamine Addiction Resurface as Prominent Substance Use Disorders

Alcohol & Methamphetamine Prominent Substance Use Disorders

Alcohol and Methamphetamine Addiction Resurface as Prominent Substance Use Disorders

According to U.S. News & World Report, methamphetamine use has skyrocketed over the last 7 years, from 1.4% of urine samples testing positive in 2013 to nearly 8.4% in 2019. That is a staggering statistic. Methamphetamine (meth) is a central nervous system stimulant that increases feel-good dopamine in the brain, which is one of the reasons people become addicted.  

Unfortunately, alcohol use is also trending up. In fact, a recent USA Today article reported global alcohol consumption has increased 70% just in the last 27 years—not only due to higher populations increases, but also increased individual consumption. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the activity of the central nervous system and the messages that go between the brain and the body.

Alcohol and methamphetamine are two dangerous substances that, when combined, can have serious and potentially fatal consequences.

Treating alcohol and methamphetamine addiction

Most often, those who use these two drugs together find themselves feeling nauseous, depressed or even suicidal. If you or a loved one is caught in the unhealthy and dangerous cycle of an alcohol and methamphetamine addiction, there is a safe way out. 

The skilled clinical team at Gateway Rehab offers a variety of individualized treatment programs to restore your health and help you each step along your path toward recovery. Our progressive and innovative therapies are gender-specific, age-specific and tailored to the unique needs of each person and his or her family. We offer individualized programming for:

  • Adolescent patients between 13-18 years old
  • Gender and Age-specific programs for ages 19-34 and 35-49
  • Programming specifically structured for individuals over the age of 50

It’s time to get the help you need to break free from alcohol and methamphetamine addiction and start living the life you deserve. At Gateway Rehab, there is help, there is hope and there is lasting recovery—just for you. Call 724-218-3896 to get started.

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Inpatient Rehabilitation: Phase Two of a Lifetime Journey to Recovery

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Phase Two of a Lifetime Journey to Recovery

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Phase Two of a Lifetime Journey to Recovery

Inpatient rehabilitation is phase two of recovery. The first phase of addiction recovery is medically assisted detoxification, a closely monitored process that helps rid your body of harmful substances and manages your withdrawal symptoms. Once you’ve walked bravely through the symptoms of withdrawal, you are in active recovery. It’s a big moment to be celebrated and a chance to strengthen your resolve as you prepare for phase two of a lifetime journey to recovery: inpatient rehabilitation.  

What are inpatient rehabilitation recovery services?

Inpatient rehabilitation recovery services provide skilled therapy in a rehabilitation facility. It is typically used for those who have more complex rehabilitative needs, which include 24-hour medical care, emotional and psychological support and protection from outside triggers.

During inpatient rehabilitation, residents are able to completely focus on getting well without the distractions or pressures of everyday life. A typical day in residential treatment is carefully scheduled and accounted for to help those in active recovery establish a new routine and healthy habits. Psychologists, counselors and psychiatrists meet with patients individually and in group settings to guide inpatient recovery. A typical inpatient program runs anywhere from 28 days to 6 months and is tailored specifically to your unique needs. Here is what a day at Gateway Rehab might look like:

  • Breakfast
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Lunch
  • Alternative therapies (Gateway offers Music Therapy!)
  • Fitness (Gateway offers an amazing outdoor ropes course and indoor basketball court!)
  • Dinner
  • Group discussion
  • Bedtime

Creating and following a daily or weekly schedule is often an important part of the recovery process for those in active recovery. Continuing to follow a daily routine beyond treatment has shown to encourage abstinence, minimize triggers and assist in the overall recovery process.

The Gateway Rehab inpatient rehabilitation recovery services provide a safe environment in which people can get the medical and emotional support they need around the clock to overcome drug or alcohol abuse. Call 724-218-3896 to learn more or request an assessment.

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Effective Evidence-Based Practices to Manage Symptoms of Withdrawal (Detox)

How to Manage Symptoms of Withdrawal

Gateway is an essential business and plans to continue treating addiction throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Unprecedented changes—both in number and magnitude—have left many people feeling helpless, nervous, uncertain or anxious in the wake of the pandemic. Addictions are expected to rise in the United States as people turn to substances like drugs and alcohol to cope with job loss, social distancing, isolation, crisis schooling and financial concerns.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction during this time, the skilled team of specialists at Gateway Rehab can help. Call 724-218-3896 to get the help you need and find healthier, safer ways to cope in our new reality.

Effective Evidence-Based Practices to Manage Symptoms of Withdrawal (Detox)

When you take steps toward a path of recovery, you may have concerns, questions or anxiety—particularly about what happens when you stop using drugs or alcohol. Though the process of recovery may seem overwhelming, take comfort in knowing millions of Americans have walked along the path that lies before you and are now in active recovery. They did it, and so can you. There is always hope—and with Gateway Rehab, you don’t have to do it alone.

Evidence-based practices to help manage symptoms of withdrawal (detox)

Our skilled team of specialists offers effective evidence-based drug detox programs and treatment protocols in a safe environment to help rid your body of harmful substances and manage your symptoms every of withdrawal.

There are different treatment programs depending on the type of addiction, including:

  • Short-term inpatient care
    After an initial assessment, your clinical care team may recommend short-term inpatient care, which may include 4-5 days of withdrawal management, 28 days of acute management or 90 days of long-term rehabilitation that includes life skills and transition planning.
  • Long-term outpatient care
    Long-term outpatient care is recommended after your initial assessment, or, following your short-term inpatient care, your clinical care team will create an individualized treatment program to support your continued recovery success.
  • Extended Recovery Support
    As part of our extended care program, we also offer specialized support programs. Recovery Support Specialist link with patients entering the program for up a full year after admission to treatment. They assist with important recovery issues such as housing, transportation, employment, meeting attendance and other medical, psychological and social services. We want to help you stay the course—and these programs will help you achieve success one day at a time.


If you or a loved one would like to learn more about our recovery programs or have questions about possible symptoms of withdrawal (detox), please call Gateway Rehab at 724-218-3896. We offer life-changing support and safe, effective recovery services to anyone who needs our help.

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The Importance of Recognizing and Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

The Importance of Recognizing and Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

The Importance of Recognizing and Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

People who struggle with substance abuse disorders will typically have one or more co-occurring mood-related or anxiety-related health disorders. In fact, nearly eight million people in the United States struggle with both mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders.

Common co-occurring disorders include major depression, persistent mild depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Treating co-occurring disorders

It may take time for mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors to properly diagnose each co-occurring disorder in someone with an addiction. For example, if someone is struggling with marijuana abuse and schizophrenia, the signs and symptoms of these disorders will be drastically different from someone struggling with a cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder.

Treating addictive disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders at the same time is important for many reasons, including:

  • Mental health disorders are often compounded, or made worse, by substance abuse.
  • Mental health disorders often contribute to excessive use or abuse of alcohol and illegal substances.
  • Chronic drug and alcohol abuse increases our chance of becoming a victim of physical or sexual assault, which can in turn create serious mental health issues.
  • Methamphetamines and alcohol exacerbate mild depression, causing it to worsen over time.
  • Poor-decision making is often linked to substance and alcohol abuse, which can lead to anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Our skilled team of specialists offers a variety of specialized inpatient and outpatient programs that are tailored to the unique needs of each patient and his or her family. Gateway’s residential programs offer access to behavioral health specialists to effectively manage many co-occurring mental health conditions. Likewise, coordination of care for individuals with more complex behavioral health issues is supported in the outpatient programs and as a part of recovery support services. For more information about how Gateway Rehab can help you along your path toward recovery from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, call 800-472-1177.

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Important Notice About Coronaviris and COVID-19

Important Notice About Coronaviris and COVID-19

To Our Patients:

As your healthcare provider, we value—and are committed to—your health and the health of your family. We also understand that you have concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has now been designated a global pandemic.

At all times, we prioritize optimal health, safety and infection control. During this outbreak we are continuing to do so with special vigilance and focus.

We are closely monitoring the evolving situation, carefully following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and taking specific measures to protect you, your family, our employees, and the communities we serve. These include special precautions, such as intensive cleaning of our office and monitoring patients and staff for potential signs of illness.

As things change, we will adjust our policies and practices to respond appropriately to new developments. At the same time, we will keep you informed about best infection-control practices and what you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

How can you limit your exposure to the virus?

The best way to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which at this time is thought to spread mainly person-to-person. How do you do that?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water – frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Maintain “social distancing” between others (about six feet apart)
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze (and immediately wash or sanitize your hands)

What should you do if you’re sick?

  • Stay home except to get medical care – avoid public areas, transportation, events, etc.
  • If you’re around or caring for others, wear a facemask (N95)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes, wash/sanitize hands, and clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces daily
  • Monitor symptoms – seek prompt medical care if symptoms worsen
  • Call your doctor before seeking care, including for appointments scheduled for other reasons
  • Call 911 if you have a medical emergency

Rest assured that we are taking this outbreak, and our responsibility as your trusted provider, seriously. We will continue evaluating developments and taking appropriate actions to reduce exposure and keep you up-to-date.

A Message from the CEO

In response to the ongoing developments of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we have put a number of precautions in place to protect the safety of those we serve, as well as our staff and community at large. Please know all Gateway Rehab locations remain open, continue to accept patients, and have established the following guidelines until further notice.

Evaluations will only be conducted over the phone. Walk-in assessments have been suspended. We are screening patients over the phone regarding symptoms, recent travel and exposure. Family visitation has been suspended. We have been coordinating alternative options to still provide family interaction throughout treatment. Items permitted to be dropped off for an individual in a residential program will be limited to money, cigarettes and hygiene products. Drop offs must be scheduled between 12 – 8 p.m. daily. 12-Step meetings will only be provided on-site, no outside meetings will be permitted. Outpatient programs will be provided through telehealth, continuing to conduct morning, afternoon, and evening groups. Sessions will be held at a frequency consistent with every level of care. Individual sessions, case management and MAT management may also be provided through telehealth.

We understand how difficult and uncertain these times can be. At any stage of recovery, isolation has the potential to challenge one's sobriety. Gateway Rehab remains mission-focused in providing everyone we serve with the tools to be successful in their recovery, traditional or personalized. We will continue to monitor and communicate recommendations provided by the PA Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. We appreciate your help to take the appropriate steps to support everyone’s well-being, and allow us to continue to provide proven, quality addiction treatment in western Pennsylvania.

Paul Bacharach
President and Chief Executive Officer

Gateway Rehab

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Finding Employment After Recovery: The Truth About Returning to Work After Getting Sober

shutterstock_52972894_20200226-151303_1 Finding employment after recovery

Finding Employment After Recovery: The Truth About Returning to Work After Getting Sober

We understand a healthy return to work may be just the right structure someone in recovery needs to stabilize his or her new way of life. In fact, it can be a crucial part of recovery. We also understand it may put others face to face with unhealthy triggers, stressors and anxiety.

Returning to work after substance abuse treatment isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. The team of specialists at Gateway Rehab is skilled in providing the guidance and support you need to make your transition back to work as smooth as possible. Our Extended Care, Outpatient Programs and recovery support service (Opioid Use Disorder-Center of Excellence) can help you with personal challenges such as relationship conflicts, stress, anxiety, grief, substance abuse or finding quality services.

Returning to work after getting sober

If you took medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and plan to return to your employer after getting sober, there are a few things you need to do to help make your transition a positive experience, such as:

  • Establish a return-to-work agreement (RTWA)
    Before returning to work, the U.S. Department of Labor recommends an RTWA be in place. This is an important accountability tool for the employee as it clearly outlines expectations from their employer.
  • You don’t need to explain your absence to everyone
    It’s up to you if you’d like to share details about your recovery. If not, your employer and fellow employees should respect your privacy.
  • Find a workplace confidant
    It may be helpful to have one or two workplace co-workers who understand and respect your situation. They can also help stop rumors or inappropriate water cooler talk.
  • Avoid workaholism
    While developing a strong work ethic isn’t a bad thing, it’s important to recognize when you may be using work as an excuse to avoid dealing with painful feelings and broken relationships post-rehab. Take time to reconnect with friends and loved ones, attend meetings and enjoy sober-related social activities.

Finding employment after recovery

Like returning to a previous employer, finding a new job after substance abuse treatment can also be a challenge. Understanding barriers in advance can help you prepare for any situation. Here are a few common issues that go along with finding employment after recovery:

  • Explaining a gap in employment history
  • Feeling uncertain about revealing past substance abuse
  • Worrying about discrimination from potential employers

Don’t let your recovery stand in the way of your professional goals. If you stay on top of your sobriety and take good care of yourself, the job or career you want will be well within reach.

To learn more about services offered by Gateway Rehab substance abuse treatment in Pittsburgh, contact us at 800-472-1177. We are eager to help you get started on the road to recovery and will be with you every step of the way, which includes finding employment after recovery.

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Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction, Western Pennsylvania


Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction in Pittsburgh, PA

Opioids are substances that produce morphine-like effects. Medical doctors often use them to treat moderate to severe pain that has not responded well to other pain relief medications. They are highly effective at treating pain symptoms because they trigger the release of endorphins—your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.

Unfortunately, what makes them so effective also makes them extremely addictive. Endorphins muffle your perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure. This creates a temporary, but powerful sense of well-being.

Do I have an opioid addiction?

Unfortunately, the pain-relieving effects of opioids can diminish over time, causing increased pain and discomfort as well as increased dependence. This dependence may lead to increased use—both in amount and frequency—and therefore addiction. Opioid addiction is usually self-diagnosable and includes the following signs:

  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Inability to control opioid use
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Low libido

What are treatment options for opioid addiction?

Every person is unique, which means their addiction and the way in which they’ll recover will also be unique. At Gateway Rehab we are listening to our residents needs and designing a tailored treatment program to help them break free from opioid dependence. Here are a few treatment options we offer:

  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
    We offer our residents buprenorphine or naltrexone to treat dependence and/or addiction to opioids in conjunction with psychosocial counseling from our skilled therapists. These medications help prevent withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping other opioids and reduce cravings for dangerous euphoria-producing opioid compounds such as heroin and fentanyl.
  • REST Extended Habilitation Program
    Our main treatment center offers a unique on-site three-month program in which people with addiction can completely remove themselves from their unhealthy situations and triggers. This program allows them to focus on overcoming their addiction and advancing life skills in order to make strides toward a healthier life.
  • Exploration therapy
    Our residents are encouraged to use any or all of our amenities to help keep their mind off the detox process. We offer lounges, snacks, television, and non-alcoholic beverages as well as plenty of opportunities to socialize with other residents. We believe a social atmosphere in which people can communicate and feel a sense of camaraderie is essential for recovery. Exercise, yoga, music therapy and other enrichment activities also support the patient’s ability to focus on long-term recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options for opioid addiction, please call 800-472-1177 and speak to one of our skilled specialists. Gateway Rehab is dedicated to helping you or your loved along the path to recovery with compassion, skill and dignity.


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When You’re Ready to Stop Drinking: A 10-Step Guide During the Holidays


When You’re Ready to Stop Drinking: A 10-Step Guide During the Holidays

For most people, the holiday season is a fun time of year filled with parties, celebrations and social gatherings with family and friends. For others, however, it can lead to feelings of sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. Either way, the holidays can be a particularly challenging time for those who are ready to stop drinking.

How to get through the holidays sober
Here is a 10-step guide to stay sober this holiday season:

1.    Avoid the riskiest parties
If you’ve recently stopped drinking, it’s best to avoid events that center on alcohol. Instead, celebrate with friends and co-workers at potlucks, cookie exchanges or afternoon get-togethers.

2.    Drink something festive (and non-alcoholic)
There are plenty of fun, festive and alcohol-free drinks to choose from like fancy juices, flavored ice teas, non-alcoholic beer or ginger beer. If you’re going to a party, these are not only fun gifts for the hostess, but they ensure you have non-alcoholic choices while you’re there.

3.    Know your ‘no’
Get good at saying no and have a short response ready when friends and family pressure you to drink like, “No thanks, I’m trying to get healthy.” This not only gets your point across, but it doesn’t invite further conversation.

4.    Bring a sober buddy
Take a friend, loved one, mentor or sponsor to events. It will be easier to abstain from drinking if you have someone who is supportive by your side.

5.    Be aware and prepare
Be aware of your triggers (and try to avoid them as much as possible) and prepare a plan of action, especially if you are travelling. Find and attend local AA meetings or recovery groups to help keep you on track. 

6.    Forgive yourself
If you a have a glass of wine with dinner or a bartender accidentally put alcohol in your drink, practice self-love and understand this is not a relapse. Honor your progress and get back on track the next morning.

7.    Stay busy
Plan your fun and choose activities that you enjoy so your mind won’t be on alcohol. Try a new winter sport or volunteer to keep your mind off alcohol.

8.    Find new ways to have fun
If your holiday gatherings typically center on alcohol, suggest something new like ice skating or going to a holiday movie.

9.    Take care of yourself
Never let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too tired or too lonely. Eat well, stay hydrated and recognize possible triggers before they get out of control.

10.  Make a list and check it often
When you stop drinking, it’s important to take a moment and write down all the ways in which your life has improved—and keep it with you. Read through it as needed to remind yourself how much better your life is without alcohol.

If you or a loved one wants to stop drinking, there’s no better time than now. Gateway Rehab has helped thousand of people overcome alcohol addiction while instilling them with a new sense of self. Our highly trained experts provide gender and age-specific treatments in individual and small-group settings. In these treatments, patients are provided the tools they need to bring themselves back to life and to stay on the path to recovery. Call 724-218-3896 to learn more.

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Seven Tips for Supporting Your Loved One Through Addiction

Seven Tips for Supporting Your Loved One Through Addiction

Seven Tips for Supporting Your Loved One Through Addiction

Addiction can happen at any age. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) nearly one in four 18-20 year olds abuse illicit drugs. If your loved one is one of the millions of people struggling with drug addiction, you may feel sad, confused, worried, and alone. It’s okay to have each of these feelings, but we want to remind you that you’re not alone—and you and your loved one are loved.

Parent tips for helping those struggling with addiction

The caring, experienced team of clinical and support professionals at Gateway Rehab are eager to help your loved one along the recovery journey and prepare his or her mind, body, and spirit for a new, healthy, positive way of living. Here are seven tips to help you support your loved one at home:

1.    Communicate
Those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol will do or say anything in order to get access to more. These actions may often damage relationships— however, it’s important to maintain good communication with your loved one to help strengthen and rebuild the relationship.

2.    Listen without judgment
If your loved one decides to talk to you about their struggle, its important to listen without judging, interrupting, criticizing or offering advice. They want to be heard, understood and valued. Let them know they are important by giving them your full attention and focus.

3.    Encourage
Encouragement and optimism help build a sense of teamwork between you and your loved one while reducing conflict and negativity. This strategy helps him or her feel safe to try new healthy coping skills, try new activities, rebuild peer relationships and face challenges.

4.    Set expectations
The best guidelines are clear, leaving no room for interpretation. You can set them up like cause and effect statements: If (action) occurs (response) will be your consequence. Establishing guidelines for the most common events will reduce emotional reactions and improve positive outcomes.

5.    Set boundaries
People with drug addiction are very good at testing boundaries, especially with those they love. It’s important to build strong, clear boundaries with your loved one, so he or she understands what you will and will not do for them.

6.    Practice self-care
Caring for someone with an addiction can be emotionally and physically taxing. Take time for yourself so you can be the person they need as they journey toward recovery. Practicing self-care allows you to model desirable behaviors for your loved one.

7.    Avoid harsh responses
Harsh punishments, like changing the locks or refusing to answer the door when they come home drunk or high, will only make a bad situation worse. Those with drug addiction need love and compassion more than ever—as well as positive influence and values.

If your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and you’re not sure what to do, we can help bring hope and healing into their life. Gateway Rehab is the most comprehensive and experienced drug treatment center in the region and we are ready to help your loved one today. Call 412-500-9851 to speak to one of our skilled support specialists.

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Nine Hidden Benefits of Completing Your Drug Rehab Program


Nine Hidden Benefits of Completing Your Drug Rehab Program

Imagine your life, drug-free. Whether you’re thinking about beginning a drug rehab program or are already enrolled, you’re on your way to getting your life back on track­­—and we are so happy you’re here.

Once treatment begins, the challenge is usually staying in long enough to break free of your addiction and learn the tools needed to build a productive, joyful life.

Don’t worry, you can do it and we’ll be there to help each step along the way.

Nine hidden benefits of completing a drug rehab program
Drug rehab is so much more than breaking the addictive cycle, it can also help you to do the following:

1.    Erase temptation

Drugs and alcohol are simply not an option at drug rehab. This environment is essential at the start of treatment as it helps those with addiction find long-term success.

2.    Understand addiction
When you are free from drugs and alcohol you have the ability to think more clearly and learn why you became addicted.  

3.    Learn about underlying issues
There are many reasons people get addicted to drugs, and drug rehab is a good opportunity to understand the behavioral reasons behind your drug habit. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism, a way to avoid responsibility or belong to a group.

4.    Identify your triggers
During drug rehab you will learn how to handle triggers that result in an unwell mental state and drug use. Common triggers include: people, places, dates, holidays, medication and events.

5.    Overcome obstacles
Completing a drug rehab program will give you the confidence and pride necessary to overcome obstacles like new addictions, lifestyle changes or triggers after the program.

6.    Build new habits and practices
Throughout the program you’ll learn how to practice self-care and build habits that prioritize a healthy lifestyle.

7.    Set new goals
A drug rehab program will help you end the cycle of abandoned recovery goals. You will learn the tools necessary for the best way to achieve your goals in the near future.

8.    Understand and establish healthy boundaries
Learn how to build and navigate healthy relationships with friends and family.

9.    Establish lifelong relationships and mentors
Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of completing a drug rehab program is the support you continue to receive at the end of the program. Having a lifelong sponsor or mentor is the best way to resist temptation when you re-enter the real world.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction it’s time to get help. Gateway Rehab has been providing proven and personalized services in and around the Pittsburgh area for decades.

We are ready to provide the life-changing opportunity of recovery to anyone who takes the first step through our doors. You can break-free from addiction. Your life can get better. We can do it together. Take the first step toward a healthier, happier you. Call 412-500-9851 today.

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Where is my Yoda? Sponsorship in the Twelve Step Fellowships


We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

Have you ever asked this question—"Why does American have such a bad addiction problem?” Now take a moment for yourself and consider that question, perhaps even write down an answer. Naturally there are many answers, no doubt you probably came up with a variety of answers including availability to money, the health care system, and mental health issues. However, did you consider the answer of our culture’s attitude of cowboy up, rub dirt in it and take a lap, or simply applied “be tough”. The John Wayne attitude of die on your horse before you fall off it can make it difficult for those who suffer from addiction and can impede recovery. So, in an environment that tells you to be tough where has the role of the mentor gone and what are 12 step and peer support programs doing to bring it back?
Anyone that has dealt personally with addiction and faced those demons understands that falling into addiction has nothing to do with how tough or weak you are. As with many diseases, being tough and working hard might not be enough. In fact, evidence would say that many people who survive addiction are some of the toughest I know, but what got them out of the cycle is just the opposite. What frees most of us from the shackles of addiction is letting going of toughness and giving in to vulnerability and help from others.
Ancient cultures revered and raised up the role of the mentor, from the spirit guide to the shaman. Modern stories express the role, Merlin to King Arthur; Rafiki to Mufasa and then Simba; Spock to Kirk and perhaps greatest expression of the roles in modern media, the Jedi Order in Star Wars. Even in the beginning of the classic piece of literature The Divine Comedy the narrator finds himself at the foot of the mountain he must climb which is wrought with danger. Suddenly, a light shines on the path and he realizes others had walked the path before him and it’s not so scary after all.
Enter the guides in the form of sponsors in 12 step programs. A person who has walked the path before us and helps guide us along the way, so the path doesn’t seem so wrought with danger. An ancient role and one with a current resurgence is being filled in the rooms of recovery and mental health support groups. The role allows for vulnerability as we share our tales with our sponsor and our sponsor share their tales with us. We are given someone to lean on and we have someone in our lives to holds us accountable. The beauty and importance of the role of the sponsor is cyclical because by the time someone fills the role of sponsor, he or she is ready to do so because of the guidance of the sponsor before them and the sponsor before them. So, the student soon becomes the teacher. The quote I leave you with sums up the beauty, honesty and vulnerability of the mentor process. Yoda teaching Luke a lesson as Luke struggles with being a mentor is timeless.

“Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”

By D. Scott Burke

Gateway Rehab Recovery Specialist

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Whisper of Hope


How do we look at our current situation and see hope? How can hope propel us forward?  When we talk about recovery we are really talking about hope.  We feel like our situation is hopeless, but something tells us it can be better.  We are miserable, depressed, fearful and ashamed, but somehow we grasp onto some little thing that moves us forward and tells us there is something else out there. 

Hope is described as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”.  When we are at our lowest point, this feeling can be faint, barely perceptible and fleeting at best.  We look around and all we see is pain.  Sometimes hope can come in the form of another person, even an unwitting person.  It can be as simple as a smile or a kind word.  It could just be someone who comes along side us and just listens to us.  Maybe it’s a friend we haven’t seen in a while who gives us a hug and says, “Nice to see you!” 

Hope also can come from within us.  It’s that brief moment of clarity that whispers quietly to us and tells us maybe it can be different this time.  It’s not usually loud, no it’s quite the opposite.  During our hopelessness, we get a scampering thought that there is something better in store for us.  It can be drowned out by our fear, insecurity and shame as quickly as it appears.  We remember all the other thoughts of hope we had and how nothing changed.  How we are still the same person, in the same life, with the same problems as we always have been.  How can one feeling of hope make a difference?  How will it be different this time? 

No matter where it comes from, hope is a gift. It’s a life preserver thrown our way when we least expect it.  It’s a flicker of light that fights its way through the darkness to be the spark that ignites wonderful changes in our life.  Just because things haven’t worked out before doesn’t mean they can’t.  Tomorrow doesn’t have to be the same as yesterday.  We can choose to focus on that glimmer of hope we get instead of the thousand negative thoughts that fight it off.  We don’t have to make dramatic strides or heroic movements.  A simple choice to listen, even for a moment, to that quiet, hopeful whisper can make a difference.  Just a few precious seconds away from the drumbeat of negativity in our mind can move us forward.  If the critic in our head can be silenced even for a moment, it can make a difference.  It’s a gift, those subtle moments of peace that flutter by. 

That’s what hope can do.  It can take us just one more step.  It can move us ever so slightly toward a miracle in our lives.  We want the big change, the burning bush, the dramatic rescue.  Maybe we will get that, but we can’t miss the gift of that faint whisper of hope.  Listen to it.  Whether hope comes from another person, or springs up within us, it is what keeps us moving forward.     



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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Children & Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is contagious for people of any age. 

Watch Gateway Rehab's founder Dr. Abraham Twerski's video on ways to help boost the self-esteem of children.

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Understanding Suffering

If one believes in god, why does god allow us to suffer?

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discusses suffering and ways to understand it. 

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Importance of Hope

Even in the hardest of times there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss the importance of hope. 

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Personal Connection

Would you like to feel more connected to god?

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss personal connection. 

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Jealousy

Do you ever feel envious of another person?

Watch the founder of Gateway Rehab, Dr. Abraham Twerski, discuss ways to deal with jealousy. 

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Legacy

How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you years to come?

Watch Dr. Abraham Twerski, Gateway Rehab's founder, talk about legacy. 

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Q&A with Gateway Rehab COE Patient

What follows is a Q&A with the first patient of Gateway Rehab’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence (COE).  One of 50 recognized Centers of Excellence in Pennsylvania, Gateway Rehab treats those suffering from opioid use disorder and provides specialized and coordinated care for individuals with Medicaid.


What brought you to Gateway Rehab and the COE?  

Today, I’m happy to say that I’m totally clean and sober for 15 months.  I am a miracle.  But my life before entering recovery for the first time progressively fell apart because of my drinking and using drugs.  

I am an alcoholic and drug addict, but I always had excuses for not seeking or asking for help: I didn’t have health insurance, or I didn’t want my employer to know.  But, I finally had the courage and humility to ask my family for help and they were right there for me.  My sister contacted a friend, who contacted Gateway Rehab.  

My memory is a bit hazy about this particular part, but I was admitted into Mercy Hospital in November of 2016.   I am quite certain that it was the Gateway Rehab Center of Excellence (COE) that helped me and my family through this part.  They got me into detox with no health insurance and I was there for I believe seven days.

Mercy detoxed me from the alcohol but not the methadone I was also dependent on.  After detoxing from alcohol at Mercy, a driver from Gateway Rehab picked me up and I was taken directly to Gateway’s detox.  I did not have to arrange any of this myself; Gateway’s COE arranged it all.  

What was your experience like at Gateway?  

So, when I arrived at Gateway I was a total mess, so terribly sick and broken.  I realized I was way worse than I initially thought.  But everyone was so very warm and welcoming, and I remember being told that I was the first patient to go through the Center of Excellence program.  

I believe I was in detox for seven days and then inpatient for almost a month.  My counselor, Mark, made me feel comfortable and not so alone.  Immediately, he suggested a halfway house and I believe, at this time, I was a little resistant.

As the days went by, I was really struggling.  I sometimes shook so much I could hardly feed myself.  I saw Dr. West a couple of times, but I mainly saw Dr. Capretto, who never quit on getting me better.

About halfway through my stay at inpatient, Shannon from the COE came to meet me.  She was pleasant and encouraged me to go to CeCe’s Place, Gateway’s halfway house for women.  I took her suggestion.

It was another smooth transfer to CeCe’s Place, thanks to the COE.  This is where my real healing began.  All of the women there were amazing.  I learned so much about myself in a short amount of time.  Yes, trust me, looking back now, it’s like a blink of an eye and was necessary.  With the help and support of many at Gateway and the women at CeCe’s Place, I learned how to live sober; I surely didn’t know how to before.

I left CeCe’s and went back to Pittsburgh to stay in an awesome three-quarter house.  I also enrolled in Gateway’s intensive outpatient program.  I went back to work, stayed accountable, and shared my thoughts and feelings.  I believe I was at the three-quarter house for six months.  

During this time is when Janice was designated as my personal recovery specialist by the Gateway COE.  She has been undeniably an essential part of my recovery.  She called weekly, sometimes daily, and visited me countless times.  She also helped me with my insurance, to make and get to appointments, and accomplish other things that I haven’t wanted to but had to do for my recovery.  Janice was always there for me and helped keep me accountable.  

What did you learn about yourself throughout this process?

I learned that I have had anxiety my whole life, even as a child.  I learned that I can’t expect people to know what I’m feeling if I don’t tell them.  I learned that I lied all the time, simply because I didn’t know how to put my feelings into words.  I learned that I was in an abusive relationship.  I learned that I have a messed-up sense of obligation that has kept me stuck.  But most of all, I learned how to cope with all of this.  Before entering a life of recovery, I didn’t have one coping skill my entire life besides drinking and using drugs. 

How has your life changed since leaving Gateway Rehab and living a life of recovery?

So, finally, I am out in life all on my own.   Since being back to work, I have received two promotions, an all-expense paid transfer out of state, and a rent-free furnished apartment. I am a productive member of society.  I know … miracle!  

And, through all of this, Janice has always been there for me.  She has visited me three times since I moved out of state.  I have a suspended driver’s license, so, this has been so helpful.  With her in recovery as well, her help is unparalleled.  She has always been and, I believe, will be readily available to me.

I am eternally grateful to Gateway Rehab and its COE for helping guide me through this journey.  The promises are real, and I realize them every day.     

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Q&A with Center of Excellence Recovery Specialist

What follows is a Q&A with Recovery Specialist Janice Olson from Gateway Rehab’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence (COE). One of 50 recognized Centers of Excellence in Pennsylvania, Gateway Rehab treats those suffering from opioid use disorder and provides specialized and coordinated care for individuals with Medicaid.


What is a Center of Excellence?

Gateway Rehab’s COE is administered through its Care Coordination Program, which helps to ensure that people with opioid-related substance use disorders have access to treatment and may receive follow-up care and support from their communities. The Care Coordination team puts comprehensive recovery plans into action for people who are uninsured or receiving Medicaid. Care is team-based and “whole person” focused, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care.

Who is eligible and what services can be expected?

Anyone who is diagnosed with an opioid use disorder and is uninsured or receiving medical assistance. A person does not have to be receiving treatment from Gateway Rehab.

Along with comprehensive care management and coordination, a person will receive transitional, follow-up care for one year, family support, referral to community and social support services, and, peer-to-peer support from certified recovery specialists.

What is a certified recovery specialist?

Certified recovery specialists (CRS) are individuals who have completed specialized addiction training from a state accredited school or institute, and who have passed the state examination for certification. We are in long-term recovery and work with drug and alcohol patients on a peer-to-peer basis. The primary function of the CRS is to help individuals gain access to needed resources in the community by assisting them in overcoming barriers and bridging gaps between their needs and available resources. As a CRS, I use unique insights gained from my own personal recovery experience, plus skills and knowledge learned from earning my state certification. As such, I meet my patients where they’re at; I have a sense for what they’re going through and can help empower them to make better, healthier decisions.

What does a CRS do?

Once enrolled into the COE, an evaluation of needs is completed for each patient. I then help them prioritize their needs based on what needs immediate attention. Usually, a patient’s immediate need is for treatment and housing, but we also help them connect with a primary care physician, mental health providers, and other substance use disorder treatment providers.

If a person is ready for treatment, I review the options for treatment with them and, upon completing treatment, I help them make a decision about transitional housing that will support their recovery, such as a half-way house, three-quarter house, and or other appropriate housing.

How else can a CRS help?

There are times when a patient has never been to a 12-step meeting before and taking them to their first meeting helps to break the nervousness or stigma about 12-step fellowships. I do want to stress, though, that a CRS is not a 12-step fellowship sponsor. A CRS helps a patient overcome barriers and bridge gaps between their needs and available resources within the community. For instance, many of my patients don’t have a vehicle or a driver’s license and need help with transportation. I can help them sign up for travelers’ aid and also help them get to know the bussing system within their community. Also, some of my patients have criminal charges pending stemming from their drug use. I may go with patients to their legal hearings and advocate for them … helping to break the stigma.

How often do you meet with patients?

We will meet with our patients at least once a month for a face-to-face to see how they are doing and help them connect with any resources that they may need; however, we’re always just a phone call away.

We also are responsible for obtaining monthly drug screens from our patients and, if a patient does prove positive for any drugs, we will help them seek treatment if they are receptive to receiving treatment. We always want to let our patients know that if they are not ready for treatment, that we are still here to support them until they are. It’s asking the question, “what can we do to help you now?” It’s important to remember that not everyone’s recovery process is the same and we support any path our patients choose. Our goal for our patients is for them to achieve full and lasting recovery, however they may accomplish this.

How can a person enroll in the Gateway Rehab Center of Excellence?

It’s easy. A person simply has to pick up the phone, call 724-218-3896, ext. 1191, and express their interest. That’s it. We realize that sometimes picking up the phone and calling someone for help may be difficult, but, we’re here to help and assist those that may feel hopeless, helpless, and don’t know where else to turn.


Our next blog post will feature a Q&A with a Gateway Rehab COE patient.


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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Perspective

A healthy understanding of perspective can help anyone overcome even the hardest of times. 

Listen to Gateway Rehab's founder, Dr. Abraham Twerski, discuss perspective. 

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Empathy

Many people confuse empathy and sympathy. Empathy is being able to feel what another person is feeling. 

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss more about empathy. 

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The HOW of the Program

Blocks spelling HOW   How does the process of recovery begin and work in any 12-step fellowship? This is a common question to those new to recovery and the families of those affected by the disease of addiction, which many see as a seemingly hopeless state of mind, body and spirit.

   Recovery can be defined as abstinence from all mood-altering substances plus a change in attitudes and behaviors. It is written in 12-step literature that a daily reprieve from using drugs or alcohol is dependent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. So, how do we begin to change our attitudes and behaviors, as well as evolve and maintain our spiritual condition?

   A solid foundation is the basis for constructing anything stable and sound, and this is no different to begin the process of recovery using the 12 Steps. Three spiritual principles – honesty, open mindedness and willingness – are indispensable to begin the process and with these, “we are well on our way.” These three spiritual principals form what’s known as the “HOW” of the program: Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness.

   A profound sense of honesty begins the journey of working the 12 Steps. As we begin on this journey, we must first get honest with ourselves and admit that we are powerless over drugs and alcohol. In so doing, we gain the power to incorporate a new sense of honesty with others, as well, and we can consider asking for and accepting their help. The WE, as it is mentioned in the first step, suggests that we are not alone and don’t have to go through anything alone ever again.

   Beginning to believe that there is a way out of the madness of addiction by being open-minded to receiving the help of others and a power greater than ourselves is paramount to the recovery process. Open-mindedness in step two leads us to accepting the self-centered nature of our disease and humbling ourselves to ask for and seek the help of others, as well as a power greater than ourselves, whatever this may be. When we are open-minded to a power greater than ourselves relieving us from the insanity of the disease, we receive hope and begin to believe that changing and doing things differently can lead us away from the painful past we had once experienced.

   Our surrender deepens in step three as we become willing to let go of our self-centered nature and actions to experience the care and will of our higher power. To some, this step may be difficult or complicated; for others, it may not. Regardless, working with our sponsors, we all come to a personal understanding of this step and become willing to continue working the Steps to better ourselves and our spiritual condition. The willingness practiced in this step can provide us with the willingness to handle many other and different aspects of our lives successfully, without using drugs or alcohol.

   The indispensable truths of the HOW of the program lay the foundation for our recovery and a life that is spiritually focused. Working the first three steps is key to begin living a life worth living. 

- Anonymous

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Happiness

Do you feel happy with who you are? Dr. Twerski believes happiness is achieved through self-fulfillment. 

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss happiness. 

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2848 Hits

Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Love

Has to word "love" lost its meaning in our culture?

Listen to Dr. Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss the meaning of love 

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3314 Hits

Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Depression

Feeling depressed, a feeling of guilt or despair?

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss depression and ways to cope with its effects. 

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Therapists, counselors should recognize the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder

People trust their therapists or counselors with a variety of problems that arise in their lives. Typically, they share freely about these topics after establishing a supportive relationship with their therapist. However, a patient might also be struggling with a problem that they are less willing to talk about, which is their drug or alcohol use.

   It is important for counselors to be able to identify behaviors and symptoms that may point to the existence of a substance use disorder because these issues can be so damaging to a person’s life. Oftentimes, the problems that bring a person into therapy may be caused or worsened by their substance use and these issues cannot be fully resolved until the substance misuse is addressed.

   There are several reasons why a person may not be forthcoming about their drug or alcohol use. A person could simply be in denial or think they don’t have a problem. Sometimes a person will rationalize and compare themselves to others to justify their usage.  One might say, "well, I have a successful job and a loving family, so, I can't possibly have a drinking problem.” Or another may say, "I just use pills and I've never had an overdose, so, my usage isn't that bad.” 

   Another primary reason is that they fear the consequences of being honest about their usage. Consequences could include legal repercussions, the dissolution of their marriages or relationships, the removal of children from the home, or damage to their careers. In these cases, it is vital to review confidentiality laws with them to mitigate any fear that might be keeping them from being honest.

   Another reason that a person may conceal their drug and alcohol use is the stigma or “shame” of struggling with drug or alcohol use. Even though the medical community agrees that addiction is a disease and not a choice, a person going through addiction issues may still feel like they will face social judgment for getting help. One way to help a person work through this issue is to educate them about the disease concept of addiction and remind them that rehabs would not exist if people could address addiction problems on their own.

   So, what are some signs that therapists can look for in a person who may be struggling with substance use issues? Gateway Rehab uses a biopsychosocial assessment to identify impairments in functioning and to make substance use diagnoses. However, the most basic explanation is that substance use becomes a problem when it causes other problems in a person’s life. Other, subtler, indicators may include:

  • Changes in mood or persistent mood disturbance despite adherence to medication regimens
  • Loss of interest in activities or reliance on alcohol or drugs to be able to enjoy hobbies
  • Changes in performance at work or school
  • Cycles of illness that frequently include flu-like symptoms
  • Fear or anxiety when faced with the idea of “running out” of their drug of choice
  • Resistance to the suggestion of quitting the drug of choice

   Of course, this list is not all-inclusive and symptoms may be different for each type of substance. The reality is that substance use disorders fall along a spectrum of mild, moderate, and severe.  If a client meets only a few criteria for a substance use diagnosis, their usage is mild; their usage is moderate or severe if they meet additional criteria.  For example, a person who has multiple DUIs may have a mild substance use disorder.  On the other hand, a person who has a physical dependence on a substance, has lost jobs, is estranged from family, and/or has experienced overdoses, likely has a severe substance use disorder.

   Ultimately, what’s important is that counselors and therapists recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction so that they can assist their patients in getting the right type and/or level of treatment. If someone might have a substance use disorder, please encourage them to contact Gateway Rehab to schedule a complete drug and alcohol assessment.


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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Prayer

Do you ever feel like you are trying to change the unchangeable?

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss prayer. 


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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on A Wakeup Call

Has technology taken out the means for dealing with hardship? 

Watch Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss a wakeup call.

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The role of medicine in early recovery

   Addiction is a chronic disease and, much like type I diabetes, hypertension and asthma, it is prone to relapse at staggering rates. In the past decade more than ever, addiction treatment centers and the field of medicine have been teaming up to develop the most effective ways to treat addiction and to prevent relapse. Following this trend, we have worked to incorporate medication-assisted treatment (MAT) into our well-established and evidence-based 12-step philosophy.

    In the midst of an opioid epidemic when many of our patients have been through numerous treatment centers, have tried 12-step recovery, residential treatment, and treatment programs offering only medication without success, we had to ask ourselves as treatment professionals, what can we do differently this time to improve the likelihood of our patients achieving long-lasting recovery.

    Our patients are unique individuals and are treated as such by an interdisciplinary team of professionals who understand their illness. Depending on the nature and course of each person’s disease, our team might suggest medication; however, medication is only a small piece of their suggested treatment plan. None of our patients are given medication unless as an adjunct to a holistic treatment plan that consists of therapy, group counseling, case management, and ongoing support. Medication is not and will never be a stand-alone treatment for the disease of addiction.

    We are aware there are varying opinions about MAT. Some believe a person is not “clean” when they are on medications, and others believe we are just trading one drug for another. One of our own therapists, named Joe, is a person in recovery himself and when he became a member of our MAT team he expressed some of these same thoughts and concerns. After five years working with us and seeing our process, Joe will tell you today that he understands our approach. He concedes that “the disease is getting worse and taking more lives than ever, and we have to use all the tools available to get people in treatment and help them stay there long enough to get better.”

    It is our belief that, regardless of medication type, a person will only get better if they engage in treatment and become active members in a 12-step program of recovery. Once a person develops enough positive support and has the skills needed to maintain long-term success and freedom in recovery, then they should no longer need the medication that only aided them to achieve that goal.

    While so much focus and debate can be placed on medications, it is our belief that the primary focus should be on the necessary changes a person must make in order to develop a healthy lifestyle of recovery. With or without medication, the same goal should hold true. Medication only serves to help those who need it to get through the toughest part of their recovery, the beginning, where so many people struggle.

    The path may need to be different for some, but the ultimate goal should be the same: to become free from active addiction and achieve health in body, mind and spirit.


Brandon D. Miller, LPCC-S, LICDC
MAT Program Specialist
Neil Kennedy Recovery Centers

Joseph P. Sitarik, D.O.
Medical Director
Neil Kennedy Recovery Centers

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Anger

Often times, anger comes in three different phases. These include, phase one, the feeling of anger, phase two, the reaction to the anger or rage and phase three, the resentment the anger causes. 

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski, the founder of Gateway Rehab, discuss the phases of anger and ways to appropriately manage these feelings. 

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The First Few Steps: Only the Beginning of Our Journey


StepsSome of us come to treatment looking to simply stop using drugs or drinking. But many of us come into treatment looking for a new way of life. Regardless, while in treatment, we learn that we cannot stop using or find a new way of life “on the outside” without some sort of guidance and support.

   The core of any 12-step fellowship is the 12 Steps themselves. As Narcotics Anonymous literature states, "these are the principles that made our recovery possible."  While 12-step fellowships do provide us with listening ears, kindred spirits, and a new way to have fun, without the the 12 Steps we would not have a roadmap to improve our lives, a path we are told that will help us to lose the obsession to use if we remain steadfast and not stray from their guiding principles. Through working and practicing the 12 Steps with our sponsor, we learn that if we are honest with ourselves and others, open minded and willing, we can lose the self-centered obsession and compulsion to use or drink.

   But the Steps do not stop at only removing the self-centered nature of our disease. The first few powerful steps are only the beginning; subsequent steps free us to become who we truly are and find our ultimate purpose in life: to love and help others. They teach us how to become a better person while “not regret[ting] the past nor wish[ing] to shut the door on it,” as penned in Alcoholics Anonymous literature. Through personal inventories, self-examinations and amending our wrongs, we eventually arrive at a place of acceptance with ourselves and others and we can take full ownership of our actions without wishing to repeat them.

   However, the work does not stop once we have worked the Steps once through. We continue to work through them throughout our lives so that more can be revealed. Each time working through the Steps, we uncover new developments in ourselves that we may not have seen the first time through, or that may have surfaced since coming into recovery. With each new step that we take in this journey of self-discovery, the closer we come to truly achieving self-acceptance and inner peace.

   Ultimately, we discover that we do not face the manifest of the disease of addiction with the same fear that brought us initially to recovery, but, rather, that we are able to see it for what it is and that we can also help others that are affected. It can be embodied through service to and love of others. We discover lessons learned from ill-gotten decisions and actions that once plagued us and learn to live a new way or life, how to help others, and become invaluable members of our respected fellowships through service.

   As we are told in 12-step fellowships, “we can only keep what we have by giving it away.” If we do not share with others what was freely given to us, we will surely lose it. As we gain experience in our 12-step programs, we learn that we, too, have something to give back to others still suffering: our experience, strength and hope. Through our experiences in recovery, we gain perspectives that can help others who are struggling, if they have the courage and humility to ask for help. Through our perseverance and diligence, we give rise to hope and inspire others to remain steadfast and strong while continuing on their personal never-ending road to recovery.

   Recovery is available freely to us all … the first few steps are only the beginning.


- Anonymous

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Gateway Rehab's Founder Dr. Abraham Twerski Speaks on Purpose

Dr. Twerski believes that by searching for your purpose in life, one will also discover their self worth. 

Watch the founder of Gateway Rehab discuss the importance of looking for your purpose in life. 

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Join the Voices for Recovery

Voices for RecoveryJoin the Voices for Recovery


“True love is a love of giving, not receiving”

- Dr. Abraham Twerski


    Each year, the month of September is designated as National Recovery Month and this year the theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.”  The 2017 theme highlights the value of family and community support throughout recovery and invites individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes to encourage others, as well as educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Because these successes often go unnoticed by the general public, these personal stories become the Voices for Recovery.

    Those of us in recovery all know that recovery doesn’t happen alone in a vacuum.   Our disease wants us to shut others out and suffer in silence, only taking from and using others when it serves our selfish purposes.  But we learn rather quickly to welcome, appreciate and value family members and others in our community that were initially and still are supportive of our recovery.  Without our families, churches, judges, therapists, first responders, nurses, doctors and all those who gave us a chance and still lend us a hand, we would still be selfishly silent and not a voice of recovery. 

    Ultimately, we can only keep what we have by giving it away. If we keep selfishly this precious gift of recovery to ourselves, we are certain to lose it.  Recovery is not meant to be inconsiderately kept in a vault, never to be shared; instead, we need to share it freely with others and allow others to share theirs with us.  Ultimately, we need each other – all those who have gone before us and showed us the way, and those who are still struggling and want what we have. We even need those who don’t share our disease of addiction, but love us and want to help make our lives worth living.

    As part of National Recovery Month, the City of Pittsburgh will be holding its second annual Pittsburgh Recovery Walk on September 16.  The Pittsburgh Recovery Walk celebrates the many roads to recovery from addiction and all those who have traveled them. It aims to dispel negative stigma and recognize recovery as a positive force in our community. 

    Likewise, the Gateway Rehab Recovery Community allows all those who have been affected by addiction in one form or another to associate with others to gain support and encouragement, celebrate recovery, and give something back. This Gateway Recovery Community is open to those in recovery, family members and loved ones, friends, treatment professionals, and anyone else who is concerned with or has been affected by addiction. 

    During the Pittsburgh Recovery Walk on September 16, we will have a Gateway Rehab Recovery Community team and would love for you to join us. Registration is free and not only will you receive a Pittsburgh Recovery Walk t-shirt, but you will also get a Gateway Rehab giveaway for joining our team. 

    The Pittsburgh Recovery Walk will be a day to set aside the pain associated with addiction and simply celebrate recovery in all of its forms.  Please consider joining us and walking with the Gateway Rehab Recovery Community. All of us, then, can become Voices for Recovery, bringing addiction out of the shadows, celebrating life and strengthening our community. 



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How does a lobster grow?

Are you feeling uncomfortable?  Maybe it's because you are growing ...

Listen to Dr. Abraham Twerski talk about feeling uncomfortable and how that can lead to growth.

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The Roads to Recovery ... A Lifelong Process of Discovery Available to Us All

Road to RecoveryWhen first entering rehab, a lot of us think that we just have a drug or alcohol problem but we soon hear from others in recovery and realize that, “drugs or alcohol are only 10 percent of the problem, the rest is you.”

     Recovery from addiction involves the healing of all dimensions of ourselves, not only the physical but, also, the intellectual, emotional, social, vocational and spiritual dimensions of ourselves. Involving an improvement in self-awareness and self-image, we realize and accept gradually that recovery is a lifelong process of restoring ourselves to better health.

     But, while this may sound easy, recovery doesn’t happen overnight and for many of us, it is a tall order. As the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text says: “This sounds like a big order and we can’t do it all at once. We didn’t become addicted in one day, so, remember, easy does it.”

     A simple comparison could be restoring one’s self to health to that of restoring an abandoned house to a livable condition, a process that definitely doesn’t happen overnight. It takes the right tools and resources. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes effort.

     Likewise, recovery takes patience, empathy, forgiveness and compassion. It takes honesty, open mindedness and willingness. It takes loving and accepting one’s self unconditionally. And, it takes dedication and perseverance – not giving up, no matter what, even if one stumbles and falls once, twice or even multiple times.

     Moreover, just like a house, which needs constant upkeep and maintenance, so does our recovery. Without constant attention, our recovery can stagnate and our foundation can crumble and collapse. In other words, “if you’re not working on your recovery, you’re working on a relapse.”

     But, while this process may seem daunting, we learn early in recovery that help and support are readily available.

     Our family and loved ones can be great supporters of our recovery, but sometimes they might not understand this lifelong process of recovery. So, in addition to family and loved ones, 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, can provide a collective strength, encouragement and hope to those in recovery.

     By hearing and sharing life experiences with each other, recovering addicts and alcoholics can learn how to handle life on life’s terms without using. Additionally, 12-step programs provide the opportunity to build new and healthy relationships; to learn new and change behaviors through self-examination and the practice of guiding principles, and; to serve and help others in recovery.

     However, because we all came to a life of recovery differently, and all are unique in our own ways, recovery can never be quite the same for one another – no one way to recover is better than another. And, because it is lifelong requiring constant attention and maintenance, it’s not a race, nor do we ever graduate.

     Ultimately, recovery is a personal, lifelong journey of fulfillment and purpose – discovering a renewed sense of value, purpose and self-awareness. It is available to us all as long as we first have the humility and courage to ask for help, and then stay the course by being true to form – true to others and ourselves.


- Anonymous


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