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Your Sober Network Is Your Lifeline

February 7th, 2018

Your sober network is your lifeline. And it’s a lifelong journey.

If you have just come out of a recovery center or are just at the beginning treatment, you have most likely have heard the saying that “recovery is a journey”. Let’s make it even more crystal clear…recovery is a lifelong journey. Living is a daily process where you get to choose how you want to begin and end each day. You get to choose how to deal with all the things life throws at you or blesses you with. This life is all up to you, but you do not have to do it alone, in fact, you should not do it alone. You also get to choose all those who you surround yourself with.

Developing and maintaining trusted allies that understand you, what you have been through and take your goals and your sobriety seriously, will help keep you on your path. These are the people that you will rely on to have your back when the going gets really tough as we all know that trials and temptations are plenty for the taking. But these are also the people who accept you for who you are and support you for no other reason than they get you. This is usually because they are also on a similar journey. This is what is called the Sober Network and it is one of the most essential components to a successfully staying sober.

Many times, when an individual makes the choice to change their lives and become sober, they have to let go of a great many of their old connections that kept them tied to their old ways. This is often one of the most emotionally painful parts of the process because the people who you love and who you thought loved and cared for you may be the very same people who keep you trapped in an old skin you are desperately trying to shed. If you have completed treatment at a recovery center, you now know that there is no real solution at the end of a bottle or in any drug. This is why your sober network is an incredibly vital part of your personal recovery life because it is founded on mutual understanding, compassion, and support. Sometimes, the people who are also on a similar path to yours will be the only people that are holding you up.

There is a saying: “No man (or woman) is an island to him (her) self”. In sobriety, this is very much the case. You cannot do this alone. Start developing your sober network with people who you meet throughout your treatment program because they are here at the beginning with you. They will understand your struggles at the most fundamental level and will grow with you. If you are invested in your recovery, the bonds you establish with like-minded people at this point will be indispensable to you even after you leave to program. Once you transition out of treatment, continue to build on the strong foundation you already have, by attending various post-recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Here, you will continue to meet role models and inspirations but also be a part of a support system for one another to keep moving forward.

Remember, recovery is a lifelong journey.

If you or a loved one has an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.

 

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Sending Family Members to Treatment

January 31st, 2018

Alcoholism is a devastating disease, destroying the lives of the alcoholic and loved ones witnessing the destruction. When a loved one is drinking their life away, it can seem like a selfish drawn-out suicide. It’s a disease that lies in the mind. The main component to the disease of alcoholism or addiction is a continuous state of denial, despair, and hopelessness. In most cases, the family of an alcoholic has to take on the challenge of sending their loved one to rehab. It is a challenge, but there comes a time when the suffering just has to stop.

Beat the Denial

Denial is a huge enabler of not receiving treatment, in both the addict and the family. There are no excuses or trauma that can make living with addiction okay. There was once a reason why they picked up the bottle or drug, but what matters now is how to stop the use.

Find a Treatment Center

Treatment centers are professional facilities and specialize in providing the best support, therapy, and medical care. Alcohol rehab centers provide a variety of services, amenities, and dynamics. Do some research to help decide what you’re looking for in an alcohol treatment center. Ultimately they will be in good hands.

Intervention

Because of denial, lack of communication or simply not knowing how to talk about treatment with your loved one, an intervention is probably the best route. An intervention opens the addict’s mind to their behavior, focusing and discussing how their addiction is destroying not only their own lives but of others around them. Presenting another way of life, free of the burden of alcohol, as well as a solution, hopefully, will give them a sense of hope and desperation. Make it their decision. Shine light on how addiction is destroying their life and what they won’t have if they don’t take the gift of treatment.

Get Support

It is vital to have support from family, trusted friends, and most importantly from a support group. Like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, you can find support from peers of all walks of life experiencing the same feelings that you and your family are enduring. Get help. Call us for a free consultation: 866-737-3574. The conversation is totally private.

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Why Can’t You Sleep?

January 24th, 2018

 

Chronic insomnia and other sleep problems may be a pathway by which problematic substance use develops in individuals predisposed to addiction.

Drugs of all kinds are abused by people with addictive tendencies—from NyQuil to benzodiazepines, to alcohol, to opiates. Those with insomnia and other sleep disturbances may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, but tolerance to the sedating effects of these substances develops quickly and, as a result, people suffering from insomnia (and now alcoholism) must consume larger quantities with greater frequency to achieve sleep. The danger in this is that the risk for dependence increases exponentially.

Alcohol-dependent individuals with difficulty falling asleep may have irregular circadian rhythms, as suggested by delayed onset of nocturnal melatonin secretion. They also may have low homeostatic sleep drive, another factor required to achieve slumber.

Nicotine-dependent individuals often experience difficulty falling asleep, sleep fragmentation, and less restful sleep compared with nonsmokers. Those who use marijuana have short-term difficulty falling asleep and decreased slow-wave sleep percentage during withdrawal. Funnily enough, medical marijuana is distributed as a sleep-aid among many of its users.

In people addicted to cocaine, there is a prolonged sleep latency, decreased sleep efficiency, and decreased REM sleep with intranasal self-administration, followed by hypersomnia during withdrawal.

With other stimulants, such as methamphetamines and methylphenidate, sleep complaints are similar to those reported with cocaine use. Typical of the side effects of opiate abuse, users experience decreased slow-wave sleep, increased stage-2 sleep with minimal impact on sleep continuity, vivid dreams and nightmares, and central sleep apnea.

There are a number of things we can do to address and hopefully overcome insomnia. Abstaining from using drugs or alcohol can greatly decrease insomnia; using the bedroom for nothing else but sleep will forge an association between our beds with falling asleep; aside from sexual activity, do not use the bed for anything but sleep—do not read in bed, watch TV in bed, eat in bed, or worry in bed; and avoid taking naps during the day so you are good and tired by the time bedtime rolls around.

Get help. Call us for a free consultation: 866-737-3574. The conversation is totally private.

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The Basics of an Intervention

January 9th, 2018

Drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t just affect the addict—it often also takes an emotional toll on the individual’s friends and family members. As a result, many families have found an intervention to be a successful way to help their loved one get the treatment he needs. The ultimate purpose of an intervention is to show an addict that he is loved and to help him recognize that professional help is needed to recover.

Preparing for the Intervention

Prior to an intervention, family members and loved ones often meet to plan out what will happen. One of the first steps in this planning process is to set a date and time for the intervention and to choose an intervention leader. Each friend or family member who will be present at the intervention should prepare a written statement or letter to the addict as a way to convey concerns and feelings.

Staging the Intervention

For an intervention to be successful, the addict will need to be caught off guard when he arrives. This element of surprise makes it difficult for an addict to come up with an excuse or to avoid the process altogether. Once the addict arrives, he should be asked to sit down and to listen to his loved ones’ concerns.

Issuing the Ultimatum

The purpose of an intervention is to help an addict understand how his behavior is harming friends and family members. At the end of the intervention, an addict’s loved ones will need to issue an ultimatum to get the treatment needed or face certain new boundaries that the group has set in place.

If you or someone you love needs help with alcohol or drug addiction, please call us for a free consultation. The call is completely confidential. It’s worth it.

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More is Not Enough

January 4th, 2018

As alcoholics, we suffer from an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind. Our problem lies not in our drinking but in our thinking, for our thinking is completely warped and nothing ever satisfies us. Most of what we do is done in excess but despite our every effort we are perpetually unfulfilled because we always want more.

In our addiction, we constantly pushed the boundaries of our physical endurance and tolerance to drugs and alcohol. One drink was good, but two or three was better; a few pills would do the trick, but more would yield greater results; you’re only doing a few lines?—why not a whole eight-ball? At a certain point, however, our tolerance to substances increased so much that they stopped working. We wanted more still, but how can we ever achieve that perfect level of contentment when more is not enough?

When coming to recovery, we discover that “more” does not always mean “better”. More exercise does not necessarily mean better health—we need to be emotionally and mentally in shape, as well as physically fit; more resentments on our Fourth Step does not necessarily mean better recognition of our faults—everyone is going to have a differing amount of entries on their Fourth Step and the willingness to learn from our experiences is what helps us to recover from our anger and insecurities; more meetings does not necessarily mean better recovery—practicing the principles of twelve step programs in all aspects of our lives is what sobriety is all about.

More was never enough while active in addiction; but now that we are in recovery, we learn patience and acceptance of the things over which we have no power. We eventually come to discover that regardless of what we want, sobriety promises that we will always get what we need, no more and no less.

 

Get help. Call us for a free consultation: 866-737-3574. The conversation is totally private.

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Everyone Knows You’re High

December 26th, 2017

We’ve all been in the same compromising situation before, sometimes more than once: our clothes smell like skunk, our eyes are red and we eat every piece of food in sight; our pupils are huge, we can’t stop waving our hands through the air in amazement and Phish is playing on repeat on our iPods; our noses are running, we are sweating profusely and we periodically nod out without warning; we sniffle every five seconds, have an abundance of energy and there is dried blood underneath our nostrils; we stumble around dizzy, fall down, and laugh and cry at the same time. But no one notices, right?

Regardless of what you think, you are not hiding the evidence very cleverly: everyone knows you’re high. But you think that you’re keeping things together so well, what’s the deal? Odds are your drug use is altering the way you experience the world, yourself and others, making you oblivious to your behavior and actions. You may not be able to tell that you are behaving strangely because you are always under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but others can tell. People don’t nod out for no reason; no one eats THAT much cookie dough batter; when was the last time you saw someone with THAT much energy at 4:00am? Stumbling around and falling down are usually signs of neurological disorders, and no, your hand is not growing bigger and bigger by the second.

When we are high or drunk around people, we may later feel ashamed or embarrassed of what we said or did, or we may simply forget our actions completely due to our level of intoxication. But for the families and friends of alcoholics and addicts, watching a loved one continually harm themselves with drugs or alcohol is devastating. We may think that we are causing no one harm, or that we are only causing ourselves harm, but the truth is that addiction affects many people, not just the addict. We cause a lot of wreckage in other people’s lives: we burn bridges, break trust, destroy relationships, and disappoint the ones we love. This is the reality of drug and alcohol abuse. So, will you still have fun when you are aware that everyone knows you’re high?

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Are You a Codependent Parent?

December 21st, 2017

Discovering that your child is experimenting with drugs or alcohol may be one of the hardest things that you ever have to confront. Many parents struggle to provide their children (no matter what their age) with the help he or she needs to combat substance abuse due to their level of emotional involvement. This often results in codependency, a situation in which the parent ignores his or her own needs in order to focus on the needs of their child while they are suffering from an addiction.

Likelihood of the Child Being Codependent

Codependent parents may exhibit a number of characteristics, such as giving children money when they know it will be used to purchase alcohol or drugs, failing to discourage children from engaging in dangerous activities, and looking away when the child exhibits signs of substance abuse or other reckless behaviors. Over time, the child will realize that they can depend on the parent for their financial needs without the risk of consequences—ultimately causing them to become codependent on the parent as well.

Increased Risk of Continued Addiction

When you continue to provide your child with the money they need to support their addiction, make excuses for their behaviors, and turn a blind eye to the consequences, you increase the chances that your child’s addiction will continue or reoccur later in life. In this way, co-dependent parents actually advance their child’s addiction rather than help lead the child towards the road to recovery.

 

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8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

December 17th, 2017

The holiday season can really test our wills, but we can keep our heads about us during this time of year and not reset the clock on our hard-earned sobriety. Family expectations, holiday parties, memories…all of these can be stressors and therefore triggers that make us think about using again. But the holidays don’t have to crush your commitment to sobriety. You have a personal best to keep and maintain and now is the time to maintain awareness of the pitfalls.

Here are 8 ways to maintain that sobriety date during this season:

1. Keep a reminder on you at all times.

Because staying sober is important to you, keep a reminder on your person, be it your coin, a trinket, a piece of jewelry or even just a note to yourself on why you are staying sober. Sticky notes left around the house also help to reinforce your resolve.

2. Stick around with people who support your recovery.

Spend time with your sober sisters and brothers. We all share this sometimes awkward and pressure-filled time and friends on whom you can count to support you when you’re under pressure are pure gold. If you go to meetings, keep going.

3. Know your lines.

Having a few lines ready for when you may have to turn down a drink at a holiday party (or anywhere, for that matter), can make these scenes of temptation less stressful. You don’t need to tell people that you are in recovery—it’s not really their business. “No, thank you,” is a perfectly acceptable answer, as is, “No, but I’d kill for a sparkling water,” or, “I’m the DD.” Being prepared with what you’ll say will make staying sober in social situations much less stressful.

4. Be picky about parties.

Avoiding every party is not always the answer, but picking and choosing holiday celebrations is completely acceptable. Go to the gatherings that are important to you, but there are awesome mini-tips for when you are at the more questionable ones:

  • Have a sober partner-in-crime with you
  • Be the DD (and responsible for other people’s lives as well as your own)
  • Stay away from old hangouts, even to just say hello
  • Have an escape plan (or just leave if you feel uncomfortable)

If the answer is no, then it may be best to steer clear. Staying sober is the most important thing for you; a few hours at a party are not worth risking

5. Have a plan.

Put together a plan for the “just in case” situation arises, i.e. just in case you get “squirrely” or become unsure of yourself. Coordinate a list of people who you can call if you begin feeling lonely, overwhelmed or just need someone to be there on the other end of the line. Line up a meeting. Like a spy, set up a safe house, i.e. a safe place to go in case the adversary (the urge) finds you out.

6. Start new traditions.

Have fun with this! Host your own sober party, buy a new board game, make holiday crafts, go ice skating, volunteer; the opportunities for sober holiday fun are endless.

7. Embrace the holiday spirit of gratitude and giving.

Remember the true spirit of the holiday season is that of gratitude and giving. Even if you feel that you don’t have much to give monetarily you can give your time, your kindness, and your smile. Make a daily gratitude list at the beginning or end of each day and name at least 3 things you can be grateful for each day throughout the holiday season.

8. Above all, celebrate your recovery.

Being sober is a gift and an accomplishment worth celebrating. Believe in your new self and your sobriety. The holidays can be stressful and difficult with parties, family pressures, and often loneliness. Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and keep up the good work!

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Dual Diagnosis

December 13th, 2017

Dual Diagnosis

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over half of drug addicts and alcoholics also suffer from a mental illness. Known as co-occurring disorders, the combination of both substance abuse and a mental illness can create a painful situation. Dual diagnosis centers are treatment facilities that specialize in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.

The Danger of Co-Occurring Disorders

Sometimes an individual will suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder long before they experiment with drugs or alcohol. When they begin using drugs, it is often found that they are relieved of their emotional pain. As drug use progresses, the individual finds temporary escape from their problems and begin using more and more. Inevitably, drug and alcohol abuse do not cure emotional pain, they simply numb it. Upon coming off of the substance, the person feels worse than they did before they took it, and requires more in order to hide from those feelings. In this way, drug abuse encourages mental illness, and mental illness encourages the drug abuse, creating a vicious cycle that can be life-threatening.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis centers offer a program of treatment specially designed to treat co-occurring disorders. Doctors on staff may assess an illness and prescribe medications. Highly individualized, dual diagnosis treatment centers recognize the issue of what an addict faces while also suffering from a psychological disorder. The person is treated thoroughly in every aspect of their life. Without the treatment of both the mental illness and the substance abuse, the chances of relapse are far higher.

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Codependent Behavior

December 4th, 2017

 

Codependency is a term used to describe a type of relationship and is often misunderstood. It is a common term in twelve-step groups, and often refers to a relationship with an addict or alcoholic. Codependency is essentially putting another’s needs ahead of your own. A common characteristic is sacrificing things for another that does not necessarily need to be sacrificed. Codependency is not a healthy set of behaviors and often leads to depression, addiction, and self-destructive behavior.

Caretaking

One of the major parts of codependency is caretaking. Codependents often feel the need to take care of someone afflicted by the disease of addiction. They put their needs on the back burner in order to help others. They are often over-committed, and have trouble budgeting their time between taking care of themselves and taking care of others. Codependents feel anxious or even guilty when another has a problem.

Self Worth

Codependents generally have low self-worth. They often come from dysfunctional families and blame themselves for their problems. They openly pick on themselves about anything and everything, with the hope of receiving compliments. Codependency causes people to crave compliments and acceptance, while at the same time rejecting them, mostly because they do not believe the praise themselves. They are more comfortable in chaos, and often choose to be the victim. They repress their own needs and prefer not to talk about themselves.

Controlling

Codependents often try to control situations through a variety of tactics. The many ways that codependents control do not actually seem like controlling behavior at the surface. They may coerce, threaten, play the victim, be helpless, invoke sympathy, or give advice where it is not wanted. They have most likely lived a good portion of their life with no control over bad situations and are frustrated when they have experiences that are out of their control.

Dependency

Codependents do not really feel happy by themselves. They look to fill their needs externally, either by situations, people, or relationships. They often equate love with pain and jump from one bad relationship to another. They take on their partner’s emotions as their own.

Communication

Codependents often have poor communication skills. They may blame, beg, and over-advise others. They say things they do not mean, and do not say things that they want to. Codependents believe everything is their fault, or nothing is their fault, and often bounce between the two extremes. Being passive is a major problem, and their needs may not be heard frequently.

In addition, codependents have a hard time trusting people. They want nothing more than to love and be loved, yet they push it away any time it comes near. Codependency also can cause people to become extremely irresponsible or extremely responsible. The tricky part about codependency is that it manifests itself in many different ways. Few people suffer from every symptom, and most everybody suffers from at least a few. However, if you can identify with the majority of the symptoms, there is most likely a problem present.

Seeking Help for Codependency

There are many support groups out there for codependents. Codependents Anonymous (CODA) directly addresses these issues. There are also programs like Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous that touch on various aspects of codependent behavior. There are a number of self-help books, therapists, and treatment centers that also address codependency.

If you or a loved one is experiencing difficulty with drugs or alcohol, please get help.

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