20 Oct 2014
Admitting to having a problem with drinking or drugs and then getting help are big steps to take. Fear is what holds most people back. There are many fears associated with going to rehab or therapy for addiction. You may be eager to get sober, but afraid of failing. You might fear what your friends, family and coworkers will say and think about you.
Most of all you are probably afraid to be sober. After using drugs or alcohol to silence your voices, cope with troubling emotions or to self-medicate, the idea of being sober is terrifying.
Common Sobriety Fears
There are many reasons to fear getting sober. Your reasons may be personal, but you will likely recognize yourself in these common fears of being sober:
- I’ll never have fun again – For some addicts, substance abuse starts and ends with partying. How can you possibly go out with your friends and have a good time if you have to sip a coke all night long? This is a valid and reasonable fear. Your ideas about what is fun will need to change when you get sober.
- I won’t be able to cope – People abuse substances for a variety of reasons, but largely as a coping mechanism. Whether you drink or use drugs to suppress trauma, cope with social anxiety, deal with stress, or avoid the symptoms of a mental illness, sobriety will mean finding new coping mechanisms.
- I’ll have to feel – Drinking and drugs are good at helping you ignore your feelings of all kinds. You will have to face your feelings when you get sober. The good news is if you get professional help you will have caring people to guide you through the process of recognizing your emotions.
- I’ll probably fail and relapse – Fear of failing at sobriety is a major roadblock, but you have to realize that nearly all addicts relapse once or more. Stop seeing it as a failure and look at relapse as a hurdle to clear, and one that may trip you from time to time.
Tips On How To Get Over The Fear Of Sobriety
- Fear of sobriety is normal, but if you want to save your life and get out of the shadow of addiction you have to face it and get over it – Any fear can be conquered by first facing it. Think about what scares you and put it into writing. Knowing exactly what it is that scares you can help you better face it.
- Next, talk to someone else about it – Even if you only have one person in your life you trust enough with your feelings, that is enough. Talk to this person about wanting to get sober, but being afraid.
- Another powerful way to overcome a fear is to imagine the worst possible outcome and then compare it to what is most likely – You’ll find that your fears are usually worse than what reality suggests. You’re afraid that all your friends will walk away from you when you’re sober. Is that really likely though? Maybe a few will, but those that care about you will support you.
- Finally, take one small step toward facing your fear – Instead of diving head first into rehab, schedule one therapy session or go to one support group session. This small exposure to your fear will actually lessen it. Everything you fear is scarier in your imagination than in reality. Take baby steps toward getting sober and eventually you will realize that you have conquered your fear.
Discover How To Be Empowered Over The Shame Of Addiction – You Are Worth It…You Always Have Been – It’s Time Now To Realize That!
17 Oct 2014
Sober living refers not just to being sober, but also to a safe house in which to live soon after receiving treatment for addiction. A sober living house was once called a halfway house—a halfway stop between rehab and being on your own again. The idea of a sober living house is that you live in a home that gives you some level of support and treatment for your addiction while letting you work toward greater independence. You live surrounded by others in the same situation and receive the benefits of mutual support. If you are getting treatment for addiction, consider the benefits of a stay in a sober living house.
What Is A Sober Living House?
A sober living house is a sober environment in which recovering addicts live after receiving some type of intensive treatment. Patients may live in a sober house for up to a year. Most people come to stay in one after going through a 30- to 90-day rehab treatment program.
The sober living house provides an environment that is completely free of drugs and alcohol. Most do not include formal treatment, but there may be a therapist on call or regular 12-Step meetings. The level of structure varies, but some sober living houses include skill-building lessons, such as learning to balance a budget, looking for a job and maintaining good social skills.
The Social Support Of Sober Living
The drug- and alcohol-free environment is an obvious benefit of sober living. Rules in these houses are strict, which means that residents can count on not being near drugs or alcohol. A less obvious benefit is that of social support. Research tells us that social factors are a crucial element of successful addiction recovery. Recovering addicts that have a strong social support system are more likely to be successful over the long term.
In a sober living house you have a built-in social network. Your roommates are also in recovery and you have the opportunity to support and help each other stay sober. Many houses include support group meetings, but even without them, you are surrounded by people who have the same goals and needs that you do. Those who are further along in recovery often support new residents.
Sober Living Provides A Transition Into The Real World
Going directly from rehab to living back at home, going to work and socializing with family and old friends can be a rocky transition to make. It can be abrupt and unforgiving. One day you are fully supported in a safe environment, and the next you are expected to go back to normal life, except without abusing substances. This is where many addicts end up relapsing.
A great benefit of a sober living house is that you get a smoother transition back into the real world. The sober living house is less structured and less secure than your rehab facility, but it still provides some safeguards that you wouldn’t have at home. In a sober living house you can slowly learn how to re-enter society as a sober person. You can take the time to develop new skills and to find out who you are sober.
A sober living house is a great place to spend your early recovery. The bumpy road from rehab to home again can be made much smoother by the safety and security you can find in one of these homes. If you are recovering from an addiction, consider spending some time in a sober living facility.
29 Sep 2014
It may sound too simple, and nothing can replace a good addiction treatment program, but engaging in new activities and hobbies can be a powerful way to help overcome addiction. To truly get sober and into successful recovery from your addiction, you need high-quality care from experienced professionals, support from friends and loved ones, and hard work on your part. But there are also tools and resources to help support your recovery and these can make all the difference. Consider getting involved in a new activity to aid your sobriety.
Recovering from addiction means facing a long-term battle with urges to use again. No matter how far you get in your sobriety, there will always be a little voice telling you to turn back to substances. It may not be there every day, but it will be there at your low points and when you feel your worst. There are many professional and useful suggestions for how to resist these urges: know your triggers and avoid them, cut ties with old friends, lean on sober friends, keep up with therapy and stay healthy. These are great ideas, but add one more: get involved with new activities.
Hobbies For Recovery
Hobby is a quaint and old-fashioned word, but it refers to doing something, anything, that is meaningful to you. It could be something you used to do, but lost sight of during your substance abuse period. Or it could be something entirely new, something you always wanted to try, but never got around to doing.
As an addict you turned to drugs or alcohol as a source of meaning in your life. Maybe it filled a void you always felt you had. Maybe it helped you to suppress trauma that has been chasing you since childhood. Maybe you were lonely and being high or drunk helped you forget that fact. Meaningful activities can play the same role, but in a healthy and beneficial way. They bring meaning to your life and help you connect with others. When you have something to which you devote your time and energy, you leave less room for the drugs and alcohol of your past.
To get involved in a new activity means you need to figure out what you want to do. Reflect before you get started and think about the kinds of things that have always interested you. Is it music? Art? Working with animals? Helping others? Tap into what moves you and then start trying things. You may need to try a few new hobbies or activities before you find the one, but there’s nothing wrong with that. You might even make some new friends along the way. Look to your community’s ongoing education programs, a local community college, your church or volunteer organizations to find the activities you want to try and then dive in.
Beware Of Substitute Addictions
As you begin your new adventure in sobriety, be aware of the possibility of a substitute addiction. As an addict you have a natural tendency to go overboard and become obsessive. Watch yourself for signs that you are getting addicted to your new activity. Be aware of how much time you spend on it and if you are neglecting other responsibilities. Your new hobbies should help you, not become a substitute for drugs and alcohol.
As long as you have the support and professional care you need for your addiction, adding a hobby or new activity can only help you. The meaning and fulfillment you find could be just what you need to help you down the path to long-term sobriety.
24 Sep 2014
Being an alcoholic means living with a lifelong disease. If you have gone through rehab or any other form of treatment and are now in recovery you have taken huge steps to get back control of your life and to treat your disease. Remember that addiction is chronic and that you need to treat it for the rest of your life. This means that it will always be a health concern for you. No matter how long you have been sober, a relapse is always possible.
With something so big going on in your life, it doesn’t make sense to keep it a secret from your friends and family members. So how do you come out and tell people? It will be scary at first, but know that your loved ones will support you.
Steps To Come Out And Tell People You’re A Recovering Alcoholic
Start slowly and take this advice:
- Start With A Support Group – The people who will be most sympathetic to your alcoholism are those who also struggle with the disease of addiction. Joining a support group is a great tool for maintaining your sobriety and a useful way to practice talking about your addiction and recovery. The members of your support group will be supportive. No one there will reject you or ridicule you. Tell your story here and you will start to feel more comfortable opening up to others.
- Tell Your Sober Loved Ones Next – The sad fact is that the friends with whom you used to drink may not support your new sobriety. They may take your admission of alcoholism as an accusation that they too have a problem. This comes from a defensive standpoint and denial on their parts, but for you it can feel hurtful and devastating. You can confront these friends eventually, but start with your sober loved ones. They are more likely to be loving and supportive of the changes you’ve made in your life.
- Arm Yourself With Information – When you talk to your loved ones about being in recovery, be prepared to educate them about the disease of alcoholism. Most people still have no idea what addiction really is, that it is an illness. Talk to them about your personal experiences and why you felt you had to stop drinking, but also about alcoholism in general. Help them to understand the disease and they will be better able to support you.
- Tell Your Friends And Family What You Need – It is also important that you provide your loved ones with details about what you need from them. It may be confusing for them. If you need them not to drink around you, make that clear. If you can’t meet up in a bar, make sure they know that. They will want to help, but will need to know how.
- Be Patient And Give Your Loved Ones Space – In spite of your best efforts, some of your loved ones may not take the news well. Be prepared to give them space if needed. The bad reaction will probably be due to shock. Provide them with resources about alcoholism and give them time and space. They will come back to you when they’re ready.
Telling people that you are an alcoholic in recovery is never easy. It is important, though, because your disease is a part of who you are. When you take the time to educate the ones you love and tell them what you need for support, you may be surprised at just how much support you receive.
If You Need Help With Your Addiction Recovery – Call Us Now – We Are Here Just For You!
12 Sep 2014
Education is a powerful force for anyone. Learning more about the world improves your quality of life. Earning degrees can help you get a better job, earn more income, and increase your sense of self-worth. For an addict in recovery, these are all important factors. Education can help you learn about your disease, about yourself and your choices, and can occupy your mind and take the place of thoughts about relapsing. Embrace learning and education to strengthen your recovery and your resolve to resist relapse.
What Should I Learn About Addiction?
Your education begins as you work through your addiction. If you are getting professional help from a therapist, drug counselor, addiction specialist or a team of experts at a rehab facility, you are already learning about your disease. You are also learning about yourself and your motivations. These experts can help you investigate your choices and examine your past to help you learn how the disease of addiction has been at work in your life. This personal education can be a powerful way to help you heal.
As you go through rehab you should also learn about addiction from an external perspective. Read up on how the disease works, how the drugs you have been taking have affected your brain and body, and how other addicts have coped and been successful in recovery. This knowledge is power and will only strengthen your ability to quit and stay sober.
How Can Education Help Me After Rehab?
Education can also help you stay sober after you have completed your rehab program. Rehab is a time for intense self-learning and for devoting yourself to learning about addiction and the role it has played in your life. Once you are sober and are firmly in recovery, education can help you stay that way. One of the most powerful tools to help you avoid relapsing is finding something, or many things, to replace your habit. Some people turn to religion, others devote themselves to exercise, while some develop new hobbies or are focused on work.
You can use any healthful activity to replace your addiction, but one of the best is education. Pick up wherever you left off. If this means going back to high school, enroll in an adult education program or work toward your high school equivalency diploma. If you never made it to college, search for programs that meet your needs. There many choices. Start out at a community college to take a couple of introductory courses, or apply to a university and start working toward a degree. If you have a career in mind, look for programs and schools that will help you achieve your goals.
By focusing attention on education and learning, there’s less room for thoughts about relapsing. Education can’t solve all of your problems, but it can be a powerful way to help you improve yourself, enhance your life, and stay clean.
What If I Can’t Afford To Go To School?
There are plenty of programs and scholarships that can help you get to school if you want to pursue an education. Furthermore, many schools offer night and weekend classes so that you can work while you earn a degree. Also consider that supportive family members might be willing to help you as you set off on a new, healthier stage in your life. Do whatever you can to get yourself an education so that you can get your life back on track.
Learn More About Preventing Substance Abuse Relapse
10 Sep 2014
People enter rehab for many reasons: some by way of external forces such as family, friends, legal obligations or employment requirements, while others are personally committed to turning their lives around. Once people walk through the doors, they are in a contained environment that may feel dramatically different than life at home.
Looking around the group therapy room or dining hall, the newly sober person may lock eyes with someone and feel a familiar flutter in the heart and butterflies in the stomach. Serotonin and dopamine that are activated in the brain when a person is using an addictive substance are not all that dissimilar from the chemicals released in human attraction. Add to it the brain chemical oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone” and the “tend and befriend hormone,” and there is a set-up for what is colloquially called a “rehab romance.”
Is It Really Love?
The dynamics of rehab romances are infatuation masquerading as love. Of course, there is loneliness and fear that wants to be comforted into submission. In such a setting, there is the common thread of loss, trauma, abuse and addiction that binds people together.
Comments such as “S/he gets me like no one else,” “We can stay sober together,” and “I need a place to stay when I leave here and s/he offered hers,” are commonly heard and used as justification for establishing a relationship that almost universally becomes a recipe for disaster. Why is that so?
The Perils Of Romantic Relationships During Drug Rehab
Consider that someone in the throes of addiction has a relationship with their substance(s) of choice that superseded all others in their lives while they were using. They put it ahead of their partner, children, career and health. Saying goodbye to it is not a one-and-done event. It is an evolving process. Think of getting involved with someone in an addiction treatment program as a rebound relationship. Are you willing to be the rebound guy or girl and risk playing second fiddle to the addiction should they relapse?
Many in recovery are also dealing with codependence and have a need to be in a caregiving role. Meeting another struggling soul is the ideal opportunity for those patterns to surface. There are likely as many who are willing to be on the other side of the equation, and surrender to being enabled.
For some, dishonesty went hand in hand with the other addictive behaviors and if someone is in a monogamous relationship outside of rehab, there may be a temptation to lie about interactions behind those doors.
Safer sex practices may not have been a consideration out in the community and may be only an afterthought in an inpatient drug rehab setting. Predatory behavior may also have been part of the addiction cycle for some in treatment and might evidence itself behind the doors of the program they are in.
Short-term gratification is part of an addict’s pattern and seeing another person who seems available in the moment is like being a proverbial “kid in a candy store.” There is often no time to think about the long-term consequences of indulging in the sweets on the shelf.
Peers in treatment may show one face in the program and another once they are discharged. The best advice is: “Don’t take anybody in. Don’t take anybody on. You don’t know what someone is like in their daily lives.”
Worth The Wait
In 12-Step recovery, the newly sober are encouraged to refrain from engaging in budding romantic relationships for at least a year, primarily because they need to focus on their recovery and create a healthy bond with themselves without the distraction of another person. Ask yourself this: “Would you want to be in a relationship with you now? Are you stable enough to sustain positive interactions with someone else?”
Take the time to really get to know, love and respect the woman or man in the mirror before reaching out to bring in a partner, particularly one who, like you, is a newborn, vulnerable infant entering into the world of recovery. Relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100 with each person bringing 100% of who they are to the table. Wouldn’t you rather be truly prepared to bring the best of who you are to a relationship and welcome in a partner who can do the same? You are likely to find that it is worth the wait.
20 Aug 2014
When you have had to cope with having a loved one struggle with addiction, you learn what it means to lose faith in someone. Addicts tend to abuse the trust of those they love when they’re wrapped up in their illness. Your loved one probably used and lied to you, let you down and maybe even stole from you. Now that he is in recovery, can you ever learn to trust him again? With effort and action on both sides, you can.
What Does It Mean To Trust?
Trust is something that is at the heart of all healthy relationships. We often think of being trustworthy as being naïve, but that is not always the case. In order to trust anyone you have to be willing to take a leap of faith. It means making yourself vulnerable and opening yourself up to the possibility of being deceived and hurt. Trusting means letting go of fear, and that is never easy, but in order to have a real and loving relationship again, you have to put that fear aside and take the plunge.
Opening up and letting go of fear take on whole new meanings when your trust is being given to someone who has already proven to be untrustworthy. Every bone in your body may be screaming that you cannot trust him again; all evidence might point to him not having earned your trust, and yet you still have a choice. Moving forward means building up trust once again. Without it you remain stagnant.
What Steps Will Lead To Trust?
Regaining trust when it has been lost means taking action. Most of that action needs to come from the recovering addict. He needs to do the legwork involved in proving that he is trustworthy once again. If he doesn’t yet realize this, you must sit him down for a serious talk about trust, moving forward, and what it will take on his part to earn your trust.
The first thing your recovering addict needs to do is acknowledge the ways in which he has broken your trust in the past. Explain to him how those instances hurt you and make it difficult for you to trust him now. The next step is action-oriented. For all the actions he took to break your trust, he must now do things that prove he is trustworthy. It takes many more instances of trustworthiness to bring back trust than it took deceitful actions to break down that trust, so make sure he is prepared to be patient and to be consistent.
An addict working toward regaining trust needs to always be aware of what he is doing that either earns or further erodes your trust. With every action he takes, or inaction sometimes, he needs to remember to do what he says he will do, be accountable for what he does or what he neglects to do, and always be reliable. He should be there when you need him, with no excuses.
What Can You Do To Trust Your Recovering Addict?
Most of the action needs to come from the addict earning back trust, but you also need to take steps toward opening yourself up again. Remember to be patient and take your time. Trust doesn’t happen overnight when you have endured so much betrayal. Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you continue to question him. Also be sure to be open and honest with your loved one. Trust cannot exist without communication. If you feel he has let you down in some way, don’t sulk. Talk to him about it. When both of you actively work toward rebuilding trust, you also rebuild your relationship—and that is worth the effort.
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11 Aug 2014
Shame and stigma are two of the most common words associated with being an addict, both for those using and those in recovery. As a society we still largely view addiction as a moral failing, while science keeps telling us it is a medical condition. Too many addicts fail to get help because of the shame they feel and the stigma attached to the condition. When we can empower addicts to seek treatment instead of shaming them, we all benefit.
Empowerment Over Shame Of Addiction
Addiction has long been viewed as shameful for many reasons. Abusing substances does begin with a personal choice. No one is forced to use drugs or to drink. For this reason we have long assumed that addicts continue to have a choice and that they can always choose to stop using and turn their lives around. What many fail to realize is just how powerfully drugs and alcohol impact the brain and body. Substances that are highly addictive change the brain and make it almost impossible to stop using them.
As researchers in addiction uncover these truths, we should start to view addicts differently, but it takes time to change minds. We need to move toward empowering addicts, rather than making them feel ashamed. Empowerment means being educated about the disease of addiction and having the confidence to get much needed treatment. When we can empower addicts, we can better help them.
Taking Action To Empower Addicts
The good news is that ideas about and attitudes toward addiction are changing. It takes time to make a societal shift, but slowly and surely it seems to be happening. There are people who are taking specific actions to lift the stigma attached to addiction and to empower addicts as a whole and as individuals.
For instance, a new trend is taking place that involves gathering recovering addicts in large groups to celebrate recovery and sobriety. In the UK, the Brighton Recovery Walk is in its fourth year, while the nationwide UK Recovery Walk is on year six. These events include a large gathering of recovering addicts, out to celebrate their sobriety without shame. These recovery walks show the faces of addiction and battle the stigma of this disease with a positive message of hope and empowerment. Similar events have begun to pop up in the U.S. as well.
Other empowering actions work with individual addicts. For instance, Stanford University created a program to educate women in recovery in the humanities. The lessons these women learn help to empower and strengthen their recovery by teaching them about facing obstacles, giving them new perspectives and expanding their horizons. Most of all the courses show them that they are worthy of learning and of working with Stanford professors.
Empowering Individuals In Your Life
If you have an addict in your life, consider how you can empower her. Educate her about her disease and options for treatment. Help her by supporting her when she needs it and by being there during difficult times. Encourage her to attend events like the Recovery Walks and to seek out other programs that are available to help women like her.
The more you talk about addiction and refuse to treat it like a shameful series of choices that someone has made, the more we can empower all addicts. With empowerment comes the confidence to reach out and get help. Today we have a number of ways to treat addicts that are effective and no one should feel too ashamed to ask for that help.
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