Knowing common signs of drug abuse and addiction can help you get closer to finding out whether one of your friends, relatives, or loved ones may need treatment at a drug rehab center. The latest report from SAMHSA states that in 2014, 16.3 million adults in the U.S. had an alcohol use disorder and 6.2 million had an illicit drug use disorder. However, these numbers are likely to be much higher given many people suffer from addiction in silence and don’t get help.

Here are signs and symptoms to look out for if you think someone close to you may be suffering from drug dependence and addiction.

Why Does Someone Abuse Drugs?

People abuse drugs and alcohol for many reasons, such as to escape stress, relieve pain, have fun, or to perform better at work or school. Some people abuse drugs because they grew up with parents who used drugs, while others may abuse drugs because they became unintentionally addicted to drugs prescribed by their doctors.

Drug abuse and addiction always have one or more underlying root causes. If you suspect a loved one may be using drugs, consider the possible underlying reasons they may be doing so. Are they under a lot of stress at work or school? Are they suffering from a mental health disorder such as depression or PTSD? Have they recently experienced trauma, or started spending time with new friends or partners? The answers to questions such as these can often provide you with more insight as to whether a person may be abusing drugs and alcohol.

Physical Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Each type of substance produces its own unique effects. Opioids are painkillers that reduce the sensation of pain. Sedatives like alcohol and benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system to cause relaxation and drowsiness, while stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ADHD medications speed up the central nervous system to increase alertness and energy. All of these substances also cause euphoria, which is why they are commonly abused.

Physical signs of drug abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Change in pupil size (dilated or constricted pupils)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in sleeping behaviors
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Changes in breathing patterns (rapid breathing or slowed breathing)
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Twitching
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggression

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Those who struggle with drug abuse and addiction usually exhibit and share the same behaviors regardless of the substance being used. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a mental illness and complex brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences.

Behavioral signs of drug abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Devoting lots of time to obtaining the drug, using the drug, and recovering from the drug’s effects (such as missing work or school to buy drugs)
  • Continuing to use drugs even though it’s causing problems at work, school, or home
  • Loss of interest in favorite or long-held hobbies and activities (such as going to the gym, playing sports, cooking, painting)
  • Continuing to use drugs even though it’s causing or worsening certain health problems (such as gum disease, liver disease, asthma)
  • Using higher amounts of drugs or alcohol over time due to increased tolerance
  • Using drugs to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drug use is abruptly stopped

Getting Help for Addiction From Live Free Structured Sober Living

Drug abuse and addiction can be safely and effectively treated with a customized drug rehab program at Live Free Sober Structured Sober Living in Keene or Manchester, New Hampshire. Live Free SSL uses customized treatment, counseling, behavioral therapy, and a wide range of other evidence-based treatments to help people achieve long-term recovery from addiction.

Contact us today at 877-932-6757 to learn more about our detox, inpatient residential rehab programs, and evidence-based therapies for drug abuse and addiction.

Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire

We are happy to announce that Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH has opened the doors and we’re really excited to give you a tour today of our new men’s structured sober living here in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Some of the program features that set Live Free Structured Sober Living apart from other sober living programs. The first one being motivation. Somebody coming in the door has to have a certain level of motivation. Success in sober living requires a motivation to follow through with the program. Recovery requires work so someone coming into the program will need to have the motivation to comply with the program rules. It’s important for the screening process to be sure that the individual is the right fit us and us for them. This also creates a supportive sober living environment and community that is tough to find in other programs.

One-on-one recovery support is also an important program feature here at Live Free Structured Sober Living. The one-on-one recovery support is set up to help the individual set recovery related goals, and to be able to stay accountable to those so that they can see forward progress while they’re are our part of Live Free Structured Sober Living.

Live Free Structured Sober Living Beautiful Kitchen

A glimpse into Live Free Sober Living in New Hampshire


An important aspect to Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire is the Unity activities that include hiking, kayaking, just different trips out into the State of New Hampshire. There are also Unity activities that can take place in the house from house dinners, impromptu house meetings, and a variety of different gatherings that allow us to really grow together as a small community within the house. It’s an important feature here.

Employment Assistance

We also help individuals secure employment by using a variety of different staffing agencies, and keeping a good relationship with our direct community.

Staffing agencies that are in need of filling crucial roles that turn into permanent employment. We typically are able to get somebody employed within 48-72 hours of them coming in and putting their bags down, and it really allows somebody to really start to build some esteem through, by getting out there and starting to become self-supporting.

Safety, Rules, Expectations

We also hold real tight to our overall house rules, a curfew, nightly breathalyzers, drug testing, and really just keeping a close eye on the overall house itself. Everybody, how they interact with one another and are really quick to act fast when there’s an incident that requires our attention.

Multiple Live-In House Managers Who Are In Long Term Recovery.

We also have multiple live-in house managers who are in longterm recovery themselves. They’ve walked where you’ve walked, they’ve been where you’ve been, and they’re able to help and assist you, show you a way out. It’s an important part. It’s almost an in-house mentorship from people that have lived the experience.

MAT (Medical Assisted Treatment) Accessible.

Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire is also MAT(Medication Assisted Treatment) accessible. This allows anybody that’s coming in with particular MAT protocols to have access to safe, structured, sober living. Our hope is that they find a program of recovery and a sober living community that deeply supports them.

I really hope that you really enjoyed the information and the tour that you got here at Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire today. And if there’s anything that we can ever do, whether it’s to come here, or you’re just in need of services, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help in any way that we possibly can. Thank you and have a good day.


What is sober living?

Sober Living Homes in New Hampshire are springing up everywhere.

This is truly needed and will help many. But what about oversight? Currently, in New Hampshire, there is no oversight committee in place. This is changing, but what is happening now to protect this vulnerable section of the population from homes that are not doing this for the right reasons? Well not much. Sober living homes can open without warning. They can be packed way past capacity. Drug use can become prevalent if there aren’t strong testing and rules in place.

Now, this doesn’t happen all the time. More often than not, the New Hampshire sober living homes are well-intentioned and care about the individuals that reside there.

Ryan Gagne of Live Free Structured Sober Living speaking on sober living in New Hampshire

Recently Ryan Gagne of Live Free Structured Sober Living had the opportunity to be interviewed by WMUR to speak on how on the difference between Live Free Structured Living homes and others. Our own Ryan Gagne was quick to point out that you should visit the sober home you are looking to move into before you do. While you are at that sober house ask the hard questions about drug use and what the program does to help the individual other than just provide a bed. Look at the cleanliness of the home and try to even talk to a client.

Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan mentioned the volume of homes popping up and most have questionable conditions, large monthly/weekly fees with little to no oversight. Sober living in New Hampshire means something, it means that the owner has an obligation to create an environment that DOES NOT resemble active addiction in any way. It should only be supportive of addiction recovery along with its practices and rules.

Dan Goonan of Manchester, NH fire department

Dan Goonan of Manchester, NH fire department

Our program at Live Free Structured Living in Keene, NH has six 2 bedroom units where 4 guys share a fully furnished apartment. These apartments are equipped with kitchen and bathroom. The sober living facility also has an on-site laundry room, group spaces, and staff offices. Live Free Structured Sober Living provides drug tests at least 2 times randomly per week with more when suspicions arise. The staff meets with guests of the program, help guests get employed right away, have in house recovery meetings, and have community dinners, even have activities that are done by local providers or go out into the community. It’s important to have an actual program of recovery in place that helps individuals move through stages of progression both in life and their recoveries from SUD. Not to mention our physical locations are top notch in quality. This is to show the guests that you can raise the bar for yourselves. Live Free Structured Sober Living has tried to create the best sober living program in New Hampshire. We feel that we have done that.

Andrew West of The New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences

Andrew West of The New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences

We look forward to when The New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences or NHCORR begins its certification process. This will surely bring some stability to a much-needed area of SUD Treatment.

Sober living homes in New Hampshire should have standards and should have accountability to prevent some of the bad experiences that have taken place in the last few years in Manchester and around the state of New Hampshire.


3000 years ago mantras began being composed in Vedic Sanskrit in India.

Mantras now exist in many various schools of teaching. These include Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

A mantra (Sanskrit: मन्त्र, translator. mantra, English pronunciation /ˈmæntrə, ˈmɑːn-, ˈmʌn-/)[2] is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers.[3][4] A mantra may or may not have a syntactic structure or literal meaning.[3][5]

Sitting in lotus pose preparing for his first mantra

Sitting in lotus pose preparing for their first mantra

In it’s most basic form, the word or sound ॐ (Aum, Om) serves as a mantra. There are then melodic and mathematically structured sections of vocalized sounds. The more advanced mantras have melodic phases that contain spiritual practices, interpretations, and principles. These spiritual principles of truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and positive action are chanted in a method of bringing this to the individual or group. Although some mantras are just meant to be uplifting with no meaning behind them

RAJESHWARI GRETCHEN CARMEL of the Yoga Space visited Live Free Structured Sober Living in Keene to teach the men at the facility the benefits of mantras and how they apply to their lives. Spending a wonderful hour of training with friends they were able to gain important enlightenment into the world of mantras.

Gretchen holds a vision of compassion, healing, and peace for our planet. She brings to her teaching a high level of commitment, love for her students and infuses her classes, workshops, and retreats with the joy of mantra.

Sitting in lotus pose preparing for his first mantra

The men of Live Free Sober Living enjoying the group

At Live Free Structured Sober Living we feel it is important for our clients to immerse themselves and be exposed to as many life-saving practices as possible in their journey of recovery. With yoga, mantra training, sound bath meditations, hiking, camping, and much more. Live Free Structured Sober Living provides a wide variety of experiential modalities that open the mind as well as the spirit. This, in turn, gives the guest at Live Free Structured Sober Living the best chances of achieving long-lasting sobriety and a joy-filled life of peace.

In addition to Gretchen’s teachings at The Yoga Space, she shares her wisdom with workshops and retreats annually at Bethel Farm Yoga & Living Arts Center, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. as well as other yoga studios/festivals/retreat centers. She is the founder/director/senior facilitator of the 200-Hour, Yoga Alliance Certified, Mantra Teacher Training & Study Immersion offered in Keene, NH, and Blue Spirit Costa Rica.

On March 23rd, Live Free Structured Sober Living has its grand opening celebration.

Many people came out for the opening of Live Free’s 2nd Sober Living location in New Hampshire. Addiction treatment providers, recovery supports, and supportive recovery ally’s were all in attendance. Guests enjoyed a delicious menu provided by Pit Stop Smoke House while they networked with one another and learned what resources were available for people from all over the state. People were able to understand the different services in drug and alcohol treatment that are available outside the immediate area.

Mayor of Keene, NH at Live Free Structured Sober Living Grand Opening

Mayor of Keene, NH at Live Free Structured Sober Living Grand Opening

We were also joined by Mayor of Keene Kendall W. Lane. Mayor Kendall came and shared his views on the work that Live Free Structured Sober Living is doing “Recovery supports like Live Free Structured Sober Living are vitally important to the community of Keene and surrounding communities. I personally know how difficult it can be to help people navigate the lacking services for people with SUD”.

Keith Thibault from Southwestern Community Services stopped in and shared about the partnership between Southwestern and Live Free Structured Sober Living came to be. He also mentioned that one of the deciding factors for choosing to lease the building to Live Free was the need for sober living in Keene, NH. That one of the biggest gaps in the treatment continuum was sober living.

Ryan Gagne was thrilled by the outpouring of support and contribution that everyone brought. Ryan said “I am truly grateful for everyone that showed up and have been supporting from afar. The goal was to bring awareness of resources from all over New England to the people of this community. I have been lucky enough to work with amazing people over the years and having providers come and contribute made my day. To provide highly structured sober living at a very affordable cost was the goal and we have done just that.”

Ryan Gagne and the Men of Live Free Structured Sober Living in Keene, NH

Ryan Gagne and the Men of Live Free Structured Sober Living in Keene, NH

The sober living program boasts a very low cost at $187.00 per week, especially when looking at the services. 1 paid live-in staff person whose job is to provide recovery guidance to the guests of the program, assistance with gaining employment, drug testing, on-site meetings, 6 2 bedroom fully furnished apartments that 4 people share, on-site laundry services, 2 live in house managers. The program that Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire has developed is extremely well thought out and designed to help new guest gain momentum in their personal recoveries quickly.

What’s next for Live Free Structured Sober Living in New Hampshire?

Well, In just 3 short months the program has reached maximum occupancy. A new men’s program will be established in Manchester by June. There are also talks of creating a women’s Sober Living program in both Keene, NH, and Manchester, NH. We look to have a men’s step down house in Keene and the other programs opened and receiving guests within the year. All of your continued support is deeply appreciated and we look forward to continuing our relationships and forging new ones.


The men at Live Free Structured Sober Living will be gearing up for sober camping and hiking trip with our favorite Recovery support Thrive Outdoors in June 2019 to the White Mountain National Forest. They will participate in hiking, camping, and swimming at Welton Falls. Time will also be spent at a yurt on the side of Mt. Cardigan. The alumni and current residents of Live Free Structured Sober Living, and 12 step volunteers from the recovery community are welcome. Live Free Structured Sober Living will belay for all food of guests, we will just need an exact headcount.Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH Camping trip 2019

Thrive Outdoors will be attending while connecting survival skills and addiction recovery. Together, Live Free Structured Sober Living and Thrive Outdoors will be leading hiking trips up Mt Cardigan. During this time the group will enjoy team building activities. This hike also will show that, yes, you can have fun in sobriety and that doing hard things have rewards that pay off in so many ways.Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH Camping trip 2019

Sober living is an important and vital step for someone in their recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. This step allows someone to build a solid foundation that takes many of the theory’s that individuals learned in their stays at inpatient treatment and put them into action. Creating strong bonds with people with the same goals and struggles while adapting to life is crucial.

Often, most sober livings don’t take it further. Not here at Live Free Structured Sober Living, we like to get out and see all that life has to offer. After all, there are many amazing experiences to be had right here in New Hampshire. People sharing in fellowship and achieving things like completing a hike or having dinner by a fire connect deeper with one another than when we are distracted by phones and social media.

Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH Camping trip 2019The White Mountain National Forest is a beautiful range to hike. There are many trails to explore and enjoy. While on this hike the men of Live Free Sober Living will engage in many things that will help them grow and maintain sobriety and life free from addiction. When hiking outdoors, it has proven to be a great way to relieve anxiety and to reconnect with one’s sense of self.

More often than not people think that getting sober will be the end of all fun. This is the farthest from the truth. At Live Free Structured Sober Living we provide life skills training and incredible group adventures to show you that being free from drugs and alcohol can be the best life you ever imagined. Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH Camping trip 2019When you join our tribe, we want to push you to be your best. If you want what we have and would like to learn more than be sure to contact us today. We are excited to hear from you and look forward to chatting.


Alcoholism is still the largest problem in the State of New Hampshire, it actually contributes to more people addicted than all substances combined.

Many people focus much of their conversation towards the opioid epidemic but at Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH, we still see steady numbers of garden variety alcoholics that prefer to drink alcohol rather than use illicit drugs.

Detox from alcohol is still one of the only substances that could be fatal if folks are not careful. Individuals should seek medical care for their withdrawals from alcohol. Detox from benzodiazepines can also be fatal. Individuals seeking detox from them should also seek medical care just like those withdrawing from alcohol. Alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawals can lead to seizures and other life-threatening symptoms including delirium tremens.

According to a national study on drug use and health from 2014 to 2015. New Hampshire had some of the highest rates of substance abuse by youth and young adults in the country. Back in 2014-15, another study conducted in New Hampshire found that we had some of the highest rates of addiction amongst young people in the country. Abuse and misuse of alcohol was also found to kill more than other substances as well.

New Hampshire also typically ranks top 5 amongst the highest in the country for binge drinking states.

We do have our fair share of colleges that are known for partying as well as academics. New Hampshire also makes tremendous revenue from the sale of alcohol. New Hampshire is one of the few states that surround us that sells alcohol on Sunday. We also make it easy to buy alcohol from out of state by providing liquor stores right on the highway. Getting your weekend alcohol is as easy as jumping on the highway and it is even tax-free.

Live Free Structured Sober Living has found is that a structured environment is even more important to individuals recovering from alcoholism than ever.

Alcohol is prevalent in almost all environments, so to offer an environment that is alcohol and substance-free is crucial to those in early recovery. Live Free Structured Sober Living in NH allows for guests to get a solid foundation in their recoveries enabling to more easily handle these natural environments that have alcohol in them. The promise is that if the individual does the work in recovery and continues to that he can go anywhere as free man alcohol or substance free. They will no longer need to shield themselves from alcohol, this is the REAL GIFT of Recovery.

Live Free Structured Sober Living in Keene, NH will be hosting their first open house at the new location.

On March 23, 2019, there will be an opportunity for those in the addiction treatment field, the addiction recovery community, and the public to all come together. Utilizing the group room area on the Live Free Structured Sober Living facility, there will be tables set up for providers and also free food for everyone. This is a great opportunity for everyone to mingle and learn more about what is being done to help those that are struggiling with SUD (Substance Use Disorder).

Group Room In Sober Living Home In NH | Live Free Structured Sober LivingLive Free Structured Sober Living LLC opened the facility at 881 Marlboro Rd near the Chesire County Jail in March. The goal is to help men in their recovery from addiction in a structured environment. The 20-bed program offers activities that help men in recovery “get engaged in life as quickly as possible” — find employment and volunteer opportunities, participate in “recovery friendly activities,” such as yoga and fishing, and be a part of the community — all for less money than the average sober house, founder and Executive Director Ryan Gagne said in January.

Live Free Structured Sober Living in Keene, NH hopes for you to join us to gain a larger understanding of what we have to offer. We look forward to you joining us and having a great time as well as learning more of what can be done to help this epidemic.


When it comes to recovery for drug addiction and alcoholism

little can be accomplished without helping people get connected to a strong community. At Live Free Structured Sober Living homes in NH, one of our main goals is to create a strong community focused on recovery from addiction. We aim to provide a feeling of unity for people that normally feel disconnected from most of the world.

Creating that environment is not always easy but it is definitely worth it. A community requires a psychological connection – an understanding that they, coming together, are a part of something bigger than themselves. More than technology and surface level interactions, we can create a sense of community.

It’s the most rewarding, positive, and powerful thing we can do. To watch the positive impact that a strong community has on a new man just entering the Live Free Structured Sober Living program. Words just won’t do it justice. The new man fresh in recovery feels little hope is scared and does not know what to do. The sober living community knows this. They remember this was them at one point and then set out to help them.

We take groups of people and then build a strong sense of community amongst them. Giving one another accountability. This allows them to point out where they see you slipping up in your life and allow you to do the same to them. Having this in place helps a man or women grow. Steel sharpens Steel.

All the benefits that are derived from a community atmosphere, are derived from the created sense of being a part of something bigger than just yourself. If you can get the people you’re focusing on helping to feel a sense of community. Gaining that bond with one another, then you’re rewarded with a healthy group of people. that are otherwise usually unmatched because of the amount of growth they experience with each other. They go through tough times as well as learn to have fun with one another for the first time. Many sober living programs in NH will not focus on the cultivation of a strong community, but rather let the client just pay rent and take drug tests.

Better still, a strong sense of community makes everything else easier.

It’s easier to attract members, convert newcomers to regulars, sustain high levels of retention and participation. It’s easier for people to succeed in their recoveries from addiction because they feel so connected and supported.

We are all human beings, we are all connected, with addiction there is no possible connection.
-Tony D

Another strong aspect of creating community is doing fun activities together. Creating times to play and have fun are some things that people remember most because for many It is the first time they are having fun in their recovery.

Our guys went our bowling together. Looks like they made up some fun names for each other.

When you create a strong sense of community, amazing things will happen.

When we’re talking about a community, we’re talking about the sense of community felt amongst individuals. This is what a community is. It’s that psychological feeling of being a part of something unique (and special). We need to talk more about it and engage with activities designed to increase this sense of community.