25 May 2015
Can You Get Sober And Stay Sober Alone?
You’re determined to get over your problem with addiction. You’ve had enough of the horrible way alcohol and/or drugs are making you feel and the damage you are constantly doing to the people you love. You have lost jobs, relationships and maybe your reputation because of your drinking and drugging. You might even have some health concerns caused by addiction.
People are encouraging you to go to a treatment center. You want to stop your self-destructive tendencies but you don’t want to go anywhere. You are sure that you can quit any time you want to and you’re just about ready to prove it. You don’t believe you need anybody to show you how. You just need to stop using alcohol and drugs.
Powerful Hold Of Addiction
It’s the great delusion of almost every addict or alcoholic that he or she has the freedom to choose to quit. The truth is that once you are addicted, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to discontinue using your drug of choice without help. Drugs and alcohol are physically and mentally addicting. Mind-altering substances create a compulsion to continue their use even when they are destroying you.
The reason you can’t quit has little to do with lack of willpower. Drugs cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to craving. You are compelled to keep repeating the experience of getting high even when all the important things and people in your life are slipping away. It’s true that you may be able to quit for short periods of time, but you can’t seem to stay stopped. You are compelled to keep returning to a life of active addiction.
Why You Should Ask For Help
Getting sober requires much more than simply making up your mind that you want to quit. Withdrawing from certain chemicals, including alcohol, can be dangerous and possibly even life-threatening, and should usually be done under medical supervision. Getting through withdrawal is only the beginning. Once you have safely detoxed from chemicals, you have to learn a whole new approach to life and you will need the help of others to do that.
Up to now you’ve been in the habit of running from problems and uncomfortable emotions. With the help of other people, you can learn to cope with the stressors of life without turning to chemicals.
Having the help of people who share their experiences of living a sober life with you will make your journey much easier than it will be if you try to figure everything out on your own. When you go to meetings and reach out to others in recovery, they can tell you the mistakes they have made along the way as well as the things they have learned that have worked.
Remaining Vigilant To Recovery
The best way to get sober is to have the help of others to get through detox and early sobriety. As time passes, it’s equally important to remain connected to others on an ongoing basis and to remain aware that there is always the possibility of relapse.
Even though you’ve broken the cycle of daily habitual use of your drug of choice, you may find that you suddenly experience the compulsion to pick up a drink or a drug after you’ve been sober a while, and this may happen when you least expect it.
Addiction can be compared with other relapsing diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. There is no graduation date and no point at which you are cured. You have to keep doing whatever it takes to stay sober, and that includes going to meetings and staying connected to other people.
Recovery from drugs and alcohol is definitely possible, and in most cases, successfully recovering on a long-term basis is done by surrounding yourself with other people who truly understand.
Your support network can include a sponsor, friends both inside and outside of recovery circles and possibly counselors or addiction professionals. Those who follow the 12 steps of recovery believe that there is strength in numbers and are aware that each of the 12 steps includes the words “we” or “us.” Together we can do what none of us can do alone.
Discover 5 Tips To Understand Addiction And Quit Unhealthy Habits!
30 Apr 2015
Will You Be Successful In Drug Rehab?
Admitting that you have a problem with drug use and that you need treatment for it are big steps to take. You should be commended for coming to this realization and for getting out of the shadow of denial. The next logical step is to go through some kind of rehab or treatment for drug addiction. It’s normal if you are feeling worried about it or if you are concerned that you’ll fail. Drug rehab statistics are unclear on how many people are successful on their first try, but the only way you’ll know is if you go through with it.
What Happens In Drug Rehab?
To give yourself the best chance of success at rehab you need to have a positive attitude and the commitment to do the work needed to get better. It also helps to know what to expect. Every rehab facility is different and has its own policies and treatment methods. To really know what to expect, talk to someone in admissions and ask all the questions you have about what will happen once you get there.
In general, you can expect to have to go through detox, although some facilities will require that you do that before entering. You should also have one-on-one counseling sessions, group support and any number of other activities that promote a healthy, drug-free life after rehab. You should also have a treatment plan that is tailored for your particular needs.
How To Do Well In Rehab
Drug rehabilitation statistics show us that no matter how good rehab is, many addicts will relapse afterward. This doesn’t necessarily mean failure. What it means is that addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing treatment. Nevertheless, you can make the most of your rehab experience to give yourself the best chance of avoiding a later relapse.
Make a commitment to the process and devote yourself to the work that the professionals ask you to do. When you aren’t sure about a part of the process, ask questions. Open up fully to your therapists and counselors, and also to your fellow patients. Being open will help you heal and help you make new friends. Rely on the support of your family and friends, even if they can’t be in rehab with you. You will need them when you complete your program.
What About Outpatient Treatment?
Rehab is not the only option for drug addiction treatment. If your life circumstances don’t allow you to spend weeks or months in a rehab facility, you can get treatment that works with your schedule and that allows you to stay home. Statistics for outpatient drug rehab success rates are minimal, but it does work for many people. One benefit is that you can stay with a friend or with family members who care about you and support you.
Whatever kind of treatment you choose for your addiction, the important thing is that you get care. No one can battle addiction alone, and the only way to be successful at being sober is to get the help you need and to ask for support when you need it.
Believe In Yourself. Remember…Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference!
16 Mar 2015
How Social Media Can Help You In Recovery
If you use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you know that they help you connect with friends old and new, family living far away and new people you’ve never met. What if these sites could be more than just a way to pass the time when you’re waiting in line or a distraction when you should be working?
Social Support And Recovery
Experts and ordinary people alike have long known that socializing with other humans is beneficial. Social support, whether in the form of having family to rely on, a close group of friends or just peers who share similar experiences, improves your health in a number of ways.
Socializing reduces stress. It also provides a group of people who can offer help when you need it. You repay the favor by helping your friends and family when they need it. Support groups for addiction recovery have been in use for decades for these reasons. Relying on other people helps to strengthen recovery and prevent relapse.
Social Media As Social Support
If you are in recovery, you may already belong to a support group in the real world. Maybe you have a sponsor and go to meetings once a week. There is more you can do to reach out to and engage others, especially with access to technology. Social media support groups are more common now than ever and include groups ranging from traditional alcoholic and drug use support to compulsive gambling and even sex addiction support. Whatever your issue, you can find a support group for it.
Here is how that online group can help you and your recovery:
- Keep you connected – Do you remember what it was like to leave rehab? To go from that place of full support and constant connection to a new life as a sober person? It was pretty scary, but if you could stay connected with the people you came to know and care for in your program, your transition will be easier.
- Provide stability – Support groups in the real world are great and shouldn’t be replaced, but they aren’t always stable. People come and go from these groups and sometimes the groups fall apart altogether. Online social groups are easier to maintain and people can connect quickly to check in without needing to go to a meeting. This can mean a more stable social group over time.
- Share achievements – After a really bad day, you resisted going to the store for a bottle of wine. Instead of going to bed feeling exhausted and alone, get online and share your experience with your social media support group. Get the encouragement you need to face the next day.
- Get and give encouragement – There is nothing like the instant connection you get on social media. If you need some words of support but your next support group meeting isn’t until tomorrow and your sponsor isn’t answering the phone, your social media group can be a lifeline. Even better, you can be there for someone else who needs you in the moment.
- Stay engaged – It’s much easier to turn to an online group than to pack up and head out to a face-to-face meeting. While you should still push yourself to go to meetings, a social media support group can be a great way to keep you engaged in your recovery.
Social media sites have their downsides. They can be distracting and offer up some pretty meaningless content. But if used in a smart way, these sites can provide you with recovery support that may make the difference between continued sobriety and a relapse.
Read Our Other Posts On Relapse Prevention Tips!
19 Feb 2015
How Does Journaling Help Addiction Recovery?
If you have made it through a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program and are now sober, congratulations are in order. You should feel proud of your accomplishment. You should also continue to work at your sobriety.
Recovery is a lifelong process and if you let it slide, you will pay the consequences. There are many ways you can strengthen your sobriety including finding meaningful activities and relationships to fill your life. One activity you may not have considered, but should, is journaling.
What Is Journaling?
Journaling simply means personal writing done on a regular basis. This could mean writing every day, every other day, or once a week. Journaling is always personal, but it can be creative as well. It should not be a simple record of what you do each day; it should be a reflective exercise.
You can write about anything really, but a traditional journal includes reflections on the day’s activities as well as reflections on past experiences. A journal can also include creative writing exercises, fiction writing and poetry. The important part of journaling is that you do it regularly.
Journaling For Addiction Recovery
Journaling can be a useful tool for anyone with any kind of life experiences, but for an addict in recovery it is particularly powerful in strengthening sobriety. Use your journal to reflect on your past as an addict, to puzzle through the chaos of your life with addiction and to record your accomplishments in recovery.
Write about your daily battles to resist cravings and you will find your burden is lifted, even just a little bit. Record and reflect on your interactions with other people and how you are progressing at rebuilding damaged relationships. Write creative pieces like fiction or poetry if you find it clears your mind and gives you something interesting to do.
The Benefits Of Journaling
As an addict, your journal will help you reflect and organize your thoughts, feelings and experiences. This can be a powerful way to heal from your disease. Research has found that writing is beneficial for everyone, not just addicts. Take advantage of the healing power of journaling to help you become well again:
- Cope with trauma – Research has found that when people who have suffered traumatic experiences write about them, they are healthier, both physically and mentally.
- Beat stress and other negative emotions – When you write about what you are feeling, it helps to relieve those emotions. Write when you are angry, stressed, depressed or anxious.
- Make sense of yourself – Writing is a great way to get to know yourself better and to make sure you understand your complex thoughts and feelings.
- Solve problems – Clarifying your thoughts and feelings can help you to solve problems that are going on in your life and causing you worry.
There are so many benefits to writing. Why not get started right away? You can write on your computer, but using a pen and paper is also satisfying. Choose a notebook or nice journal and your favorite pen. Next, set aside at least 15 minutes for uninterrupted writing. Commit to those 15 minutes each day for one week. If you are skeptical about the process, promise yourself to at least try it once a day for a week. By the end of the week you may just be convinced to keep going.
When you start, write about whatever comes to mind. Don’t be afraid to write about your deepest thoughts and emotions. Remember that no one else needs to read this. It is for you alone. When you keep that in mind, and really let go, you will find that the healing power of your journal is immense.
See Our Other Posts On Alternative Therapies For Recovery
12 Feb 2015
How To Get Better Sleep In Early Recovery
Healthy life habits may seem like the least of your concerns when you’re in the early stages of recovery from addiction. You’re probably experiencing intense urges to use again and are focused on not relapsing. But your will can be strengthened if you take care of the basic needs that keep you healthy.
Sleep is one of those basic needs, and it often suffers in early recovery. If you can ensure that you sleep well and for long enough, you’ll feel better and be better able to resist your cravings.
Insomnia And Recovery
If you’re having trouble sleeping now that you’re in recovery, you’re not alone. Insomnia is a common complaint of people newly recovering from addiction. It’s also a risk factor for relapse, so it’s important that you take steps to correct your sleeping woes.
Researchers have found that the incidence of sleep difficulties is up to five times higher in people recovering from addiction than in the general population. Furthermore, this insomnia can last for months or even years.
Therapy For Insomnia
Treating your insomnia is important if you want to feel better and be most able to resist a relapse. Using medications, even over-the-counter sleep aids, is risky for a person recovering from addiction. Therapy, on the other hand, is a good place to start working on better sleep. Evidence shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help recovering addicts with insomnia.
CBT is a therapeutic approach that focuses on changing behaviors. A therapist will work with you to teach you how to be aware of your behaviors, how they impact your sleep and how to change them. CBT for insomnia may include keeping a sleep diary, learning good sleep practices, limiting time in bed to actual sleep, controlling stimulation before bed time and managing negative thoughts about sleeping.
Tips On How To Get Better Sleep In Early Recovery
If you aren’t in a position to work with a therapist for your insomnia, there are still some things you can do to try to get to sleep. Good practices for sleeping aren’t always obvious, so you can learn how to be a better sleeper with these tips:
- Start by targeting your bedroom – Make sure your bed is comfortable and that your room is quiet and dark at night. Use ear plugs and heavy curtains if needed and keep the temperature cool.
- Timing is also important for good sleep – You should have a set schedule for when you go to bed and when you get up in the morning. Stick with it every day of the week. This will help train your body and mind to know when it’s time to sleep. The regular pattern of sleeping and waking is an important rhythm. Don’t interrupt it for anything, even on the weekends.
- Prepare yourself for bed at night with a relaxing routine – Avoid caffeine for at least eight hours before your bed time. Don’t drink anything for two hours before bed time to avoid waking in the night. Avoid anything stressful or stimulating before bed time. This includes exciting television programs and exercise. Instead, do something relaxing. Go for a short walk, have a cup of herbal tea, or read a book. Don’t use electronic devices before bed. The artificial light is disruptive to your sleep.
If you can learn to be a good sleeper, you can strengthen your sobriety. Resisting cravings is always easier when you feel good, and you can’t feel good without good sleep. Try changing your sleep practices and if that doesn’t work, consider getting help from a professional. It could be the best thing you do for your recovery.
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29 Jan 2015
Healing From Depression In Recovery
Depression and addiction as co-existing disorders isn’t uncommon. If you’ve gone through rehab and addiction treatment and are now successfully in recovery, you’ve done some very difficult work to get better.
What if you now feel depressed? If you do, you’re far from alone. Nearly 9 million people struggle with both addiction and a mental illness. Any mental illness can co-occur with addiction, but depression is common.
Learning To Heal From Depression In Recovery
If you did your hard work in rehab and are now struggling with depression, you’re at greater risk of relapsing. Learn to heal from your depression so you don’t return to substance abuse and so you can live an enjoyable life.
Getting Diagnosis And Treatment
The most important thing you can do now is to see a professional for a diagnosis. A mental health professional can tell you if you have clinical depression or if you are battling a normal and expected bout of depression after drug or alcohol addiction. Either way, getting treatment will help. Treatment for depression usually involves psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, medication or some combination of these methods.
Therapy can help you learn to recognize signs of depression and negative thoughts while also learning how to change them. Medication is a type of treatment that works for many people struggling with depression. However, as an addict in recovery you may not be comfortable taking a medication. That is a personal choice and one you should make with the advice of your doctor and therapist.
Positive Lifestyle Changes
While professional help is important in guiding you through post-rehab depression, you can also make positive changes that will improve your mood. None of these should be considered a substitution for professional care, but they can be used to supplement your treatment:
- Exercise – One important thing to do is to start exercising and eating well. Being in good physical condition will go a long way toward improving your mood. Furthermore, exercise is known to lift the mood immediately. If you feel like you can barely get out of bed in the mornings, the idea of exercise may be daunting. Start small with a short walk each day and see how it makes you feel.
- Be social – Another important way to battle depression is to be social. Spend quality time with people you enjoy. You don’t have to have a lot of friends or go to parties to be social and to benefit from socializing. Having a cup of coffee with a good friend or dinner with your family are great ways to feel better about your life. Social support is crucial to both sobriety and mood.
- Make life meaningful – Develop meaningful activities in your life. For people in recovery, sobriety often feels like a big gaping hole. You spent so much time and energy using, you may now feel lost. Fill up that hole with activities that are healthful and meaningful. Work at a job you enjoy. Do volunteer work. Take up a creative hobby like painting or writing. Adopt a dog or cat from a shelter and learn to take care of it. All of these things are meaningful and special and will make your life feel worthwhile.
Caring And Effective Depression Treatment Is Available
Depression is a serious mental illness, and it can take over your life if you do not challenge it. As an addict in recovery, you face additional challenges. If you just can’t shake your feelings of depression no matter what lifestyle changes you make, be sure to seek professional help. Depression is treatable and you don’t have to suffer.
Call Us Now For Mental Health Or Addiction Help – We Are Here For You Because You’re Worth It!…Always!
When you have a loved one battling addiction, especially if it is someone close to you, it is all too easy to get wrapped up in his problems and his needs. As you support him, stand by him and care for him, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Caretakers often lose sight of who they are and become stressed, overwhelmed and sometimes even physically ill from the strain of caring for someone else. Take time for your own needs while still supporting your loved one and you will stay healthy and sane and better able to care for him.
Tips For Caring For Yourself As You Support A Loved One In Recovery
Lending Support In Recovery – Make A Plan
What does healthy support look like? If you have never stood by someone through such a difficult period of healing and transition, and if you have never watched while someone else played the role of caregiver and supporter, you may not know what is appropriate. What works for you and for your loved one is up to the two of you to decide. You need to decide if you should be living with this person, how much time you will spend with him and what form your support will take.
If, for example, you are caring for a child in recovery, you might want to stay with him until he is well enough to be independent. On the other hand, if you are supporting a friend, living together may not be an option. Instead, you may visit her every day, drive her to support group meetings or be on call as needed. Devoting all of your free time to supporting someone you care about is not necessarily feasible or appropriate. Set limitations and decide how much you are able to give.
Prepare A Support System For You
There are support groups for loved ones of addicts for a reason. Helping someone who is battling addiction, even if that person is getting professional help at the same time, isn’t easy. Knowing how tough this may be, get your own support system together. Let some of your friends or family members know what is going on in your life and that you may need to talk over a cup of coffee. Also consider picking up meeting schedules for support groups. Talking with people who have been where you are can be powerful.
Get Others To Assist
It may be that your loved one has few other people to whom he can turn for support. He may be relying solely on you. Ideally, though, you can call on others to fill in when you can’t be there. Ask trustworthy people who also care about him to spend at least a little time with him. Even just an hour here and there can be a great relief to you.
Take Time Off And Take Care Of Yourself
You can’t be there for your loved one 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s not practical and it isn’t good for you. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Whether this means taking a walk outside for an hour, spending a day pampering yourself or taking a quick weekend trip to relax and de-stress, do it. Get plenty of sleep each night, eat well, make time for exercise and fun and take time away from your duties. No one can be there for a recovering addict all of the time. If you take care of yourself, you will be better able to help the one you love overcome his struggle.
Discover Why You Should Join A Support Group As The Loved One Of An Addict – You Need Help And Healing Too!
Addictions come in many forms, ranging from the more obvious examples such as heroin or cocaine addiction right through to more subtle forms such as food, sex or social media addiction.
Although they might seem like distinct issues, they’re all described by the word addiction because they share many similarities, and they can all be helped in the same basic way. Writing in the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, therapist David Smallwood shares five tips for understanding addiction and overcoming unhealthy habits.
Tips For Understanding Addiction And Quitting Unhealthy Habits
1. Determine Your Vice
The fact that not all addictions conform to the stereotypical image of persistent drug or alcohol abuse means it’s not as easy as you may think to work out whether you have an addiction or what the subject of it is. Remember that more socially acceptable activities, such as drinking cup after cup of coffee, working 12-hour days, going to the gym every day and eating sugar or fat-laden foods can also be the subjects of addictions. Smallwood suggests that asking a friend to critique your lifestyle may reveal some issues you aren’t aware of, even if it isn’t always a pleasant experience.
2. Learn And Avoid Your Triggers
Compulsive behaviors are a core feature of addiction, and these compulsions are brought on by internal and external “triggers.” These are feelings or situations that lead you to crave your substance or activity of choice, such as loneliness, anger, exhaustion, stress, depression or hunger. Once you identify the factors that are most crucial in creating your cravings, the goal is to break the link between the triggers and the resulting behavior. For example, if you feel stressed or irritable, you should consider calling a friend or family member, taking deep breaths, having a warm drink or taking a calming walk. Smallwood emphasizes the importance of breakfast; if you skip it, mounting hunger cravings throughout the day may be misconstrued as cravings for your substance or activity of choice.
3. Practice Mindfulness And Stay In The Moment
The basic premise of mindfulness—staying “in the moment”—is a useful tip for managing anxieties associated with attempting to remain abstinent. The goal is to focus on the now rather than getting caught up in the past or future; in Smallwood’s words, “Focus on what you are doing, rather than what you are not doing.” Take a walk and focus on the sensory information you’re absorbing; pay attention to the vibrant colors and silky textures of flower petals or the chirping of courting birds rather than being lost in regrets from the past or fears about the future. Practice meditation to improve this skill: simply sitting for 20 minutes or so and trying to focus on one thing (such as your breathing) can help empty your thoughts and bring about mindfulness.
4. Tackle The Underlying Problem
One common problem you may encounter when trying to overcome addiction is “cross addiction.” You might quit smoking, for example, only to “fill the gap” by overworking or overeating. In reality, the real cause of addiction is something deeply rooted, not the specific substance or behavior. If you switch from smoking or drug abuse to overeating, you’re just swapping one addiction for another. Smallwood jokingly compares this to swapping deck chairs on the Titanic; it’s not exactly the same situation, but you’re still heading for trouble on the same boat. Identify the root cause of your addiction (addiction treatment professionals are invaluable in this area) and work on overcoming it, rather than allowing it to manifest in a new way.
5. Set Goals
If you’ve resolved to overcome addiction, it’s important to establish what you’re trying to achieve. Setting definite goals gives you something to work toward, and later down the line, it can help you appreciate how far you’ve come. Smallwood suggests choosing a point of time—two months in the future, two years in the future, whenever suits you—and writing yourself a letter detailing your current lifestyle and how you’d like it to have changed at your chosen date. Put it in an envelope and keep it somewhere prominent and noticeable, with your chosen date written on it. The closed envelope will serve as a reminder of your goals, and when the date arrives, you can read the letter and see if you’ve been successful in your intentions. Taking a step back and examining your lifestyle like this can give you the motivation to keep working to improve yourself and your life.
You DO Have What It Takes To Overcome Addiction!
Beating addiction isn’t easy. It’s a fiendish enemy that can hide in the shadows, change appearances like a chameleon and come back into the fray when you least expect it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and with the right support and a positive mindset, you do have what it takes to make a change in your life. These five tips don’t cover every aspect of the issue, but they provide a useful, at-a-glance run-through of the core steps in overcoming addiction. If you keep these lessons in mind and work to implement them in your life, you’ll soon be on your way to regaining control and getting your life back on track.
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