Is Self-Reliance in Recovery Possible?

Self-reliance in Recovery

Many addicts and alcoholics have a natural instinct to survive on self-will and self- determination. However, that same strength and drive to survive only served their addictions. Recovering addicts and alcoholics remain clean and sober by accepting the fact that although they are determined, they also have a disease.

The people in recovery who make it and attain peace of mind and freedom from chemical dependency quickly realize that recovery is only possible with the help and support of others who have succeeded before them. Relying on self-will, unfortunately, does not help addicts and alcoholics let go of their substance abuse.

Self-reliance in Recovery

Overcoming Addiction will Take Strength and Mental Power

Self-reliance is what addicts and alcoholics practice to have things their ‘way.’ The addict and alcoholic ‘way’ does not point towards recovery; it only points towards using and drinking. Many individuals in early recovery often have the very best intentions and hope that they can and will remain clean and sober. Willingness is absolutely essential for anyone who desires freedom from their addiction. Having the willingness to do what others ask, even when it is difficult to accept or understand, is how the emotional and mental growth necessary for recovery occurs on the road to achieving full serenity.

You Must Understand Self-Reliance or You May Relapse

Understanding exactly what self-reliance is in terms of recovery can be confusing. Individuals who want to get sober are, in fact, initiating their recovery. However, self-reliance can take over and send a person back to the drug dealers house or bar. Let’s take two personality types and review where their self-reliance caused them to relapse. Let’s first look at a woman named Barbara.

Barbara went to a 90-day program for her alcoholism and addiction to prescription pain medication. She had been arrested three times and lost her job. She hit bottom and wanted to end her drug use. Barbara was dedicated to her recovery. After treatment, she got a sponsor and went to meetings. One day Barbara was driving home and suddenly felt compelled to drink. She went home and did not drink but decided she would take her mind off her feelings and watch a movie. Her thoughts about alcohol continued, and Barbara did not tell her sponsor, she thought her thoughts about alcohol would tell her sponsor she needed help.

After one week of these thoughts, Barbara relapsed. The point where Barbara was self-reliant and when she took matters into her own hands was when she thought she could handle her thoughts about alcohol on her own. On that very first day and moment she had thoughts about alcohol if she had not been relying on herself to fix herself, she would have, called her sponsor. Instead, she took the hard way which is the ‘I will fix it myself way.’ There is no addict or alcoholic who can get clean and sober and remain in recovery without help and reliance on others.

Examples of Relf-Reliance in Recovery

Another example of self-reliance and how it doesn’t work is about Ramon. Ramon went to outpatient rehab for six months. He had also been in recovery before but only remained clean and sober for ten months. Ramon would say it was a relationship that caused him to relapse. Ramon like Barbara, also finished his program and worked with a sponsor and went to meetings. He was also working 9 to 5 throughout the week. One day Ramon got a call from his work saying that he was under review. Ramon panicked and was very afraid that he would get fired. So, he called his sponsor and went to a meeting. However, after the meeting, Ramon could not stop thinking about what might happen.

Ramon sat awake all night in his head, playing the various situations that could happen at work over and over in his mind. His sponsor had told him if he could not stop thinking and worrying about his job to reach out and offer help to another addict. Instead, Ramon thought he could find a way to solve his dilemma at work.

The next day Ramon was so stressed out he called his job and told them that he was quitting. His job did not understand why he was quitting, and Ramon could only express that he was under a lot of stress. Fortunately, Ramon did not relapse. But he sat in his head dwelling and spinning his worries for so long he may not have acted out and relapsed, but he quit his job. Ramon’s sponsor asked him why you didn’t offer to help someone else. Ramon said that he didn’t see how that would help his situation at work.

What Ramon failed to recognize is that his self-reliance manifested in the form of mental prison. He was stuck in his mind worrying only about himself. Had Ramon stopped for one minute to help someone else, his mind would have found relief from the torment of his thoughts about his job.

The idea of self-reliance may sound powerful and invigorating. However, for recovering addicts and alcoholics, our minds and emotions often do not accurately handle situations. To begin letting go of relying on “self” to manage your recovery, all addicts and alcoholics must go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the 12 steps program or attend a drug counseling program. Most importantly, it’s crucial to follow the advice and suggestions others in recovery give. By following what other successful recovering addicts alcoholics have done, a newly recovering person is letting go of their old self-reliant persona and getting to know a new version of themselves that is sober, humble, with peace of mind, and a willingness change.

Pregnant & Addicted: What Are My Options?

pregnant and addicted

The most important step a person can take who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is to tell someone they need professional help. For women who are pregnant, this is often very hard to do. Admitting they are an addict or alcoholic in the first place is a huge admission of defeat. This step is the beginning of freedom from addiction, especially for expecting women who are alcoholics or addicts. Being pregnant and asking for help means facing more judgment from others. For a pregnant addict or alcoholic to admit they need help for their addiction takes more courage and willingness than in any other situation.

Pregnant and addicted

There is Good New Though

The good news is that there are options for women who are pregnant who need help with their addiction. When a pregnant woman asks for addiction treatment, rehab facilities must consider the health of the unborn child. Therefore, her case will be given priority because two lives are at stake. However, although the treatment program options for pregnant and addicted women exist, it is not always that simple.

For women who are pregnant and are addicts or alcoholics, there is an additional stigma attached to their situation. Their bodies are responsible for providing a healthy and safe vessel for a new human life. Therefore, society is less accepting of a pregnant woman who is an addict or alcoholic. The compassion that people have for addicts and alcoholics asking for and getting help is far greater than it is for addicted pregnant women.

Don’t Lose Your Baby

Another barrier that pregnant women face who need help for their addictions is the legal system. Our legal system has the right to protect unborn babies from danger. A woman who is an addict or alcoholic may be considered dangerous. The hurtle that pregnant women who need treatment face here are on whether they are considered dangerous to the unborn child. For these women, the admission of being an addict or alcoholic can get buried under the fear that they will be arrested or face another legal consequence.

For addicted mothers, the shame and fear they feel because of these two social and legal realities are very difficult. Who can blame them? If a non-pregnant addict or alcoholic needs treatment and but is facing societal and legal consequences, more than likely the fear will be too much and they may decide to do nothing and continue to get high or drink. Pregnant women endure the social and legal assumptions that they will be able to end their addictions immediately just because they are pregnant. Addiction does not care if someone is pregnant, dying from ill health, or about to commit a life-changing crime. Addiction will continue unless you’re truly ready to make a change.

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, pregnant women who are addicts or alcoholics are often intimidated to seek help for their pregnancies because of legal and societal judgments.

Substance use during pregnancy and motherhood is both a public health and criminal justice concern…and there are ongoing attempts to criminalize substance use during pregnancy that put pregnant substance-using women at risk of detection, arrest, and punishment. Women’s stories highlighted their strategies for managing their risk of detection by health or criminal justice authorities, including isolating themselves from others, skipping treatment appointments, or avoiding treatment altogether. Women described multiple barriers to treatment and healthcare, including a lack of suitable treatment options and difficulty finding and enrolling in treatment. (NCBI)

Once a person overcomes the barrier of fear and intimidation, it becomes easier to find the courage to accept help from others. The faster a pregnant woman enters a treatment program, the better the outcome becomes for her unborn child.

Your Baby Can Be Healthy

The great news is that there are countless numbers of women who became pregnant while they were drug addicts and alcoholics and entered a drug treatment program and gave birth to perfectly healthy babies. The most important fact for a pregnant addict or alcoholic is that they seek out help for their addictions. The stigma about addiction and alcoholism may be twofold when a woman is pregnant, but the overall stigma about addiction, in general, has dramatically decreased. The opioid epidemic is horrific, but it has helped normalize addiction and recovery.

For addicted women who are pregnant and need professional help, their pregnancy is a priority, but in truth, treatment for their substance abuse is equally important. Society and the legal system may continue to discriminate or place undue judgment or consequences on a pregnant addict or alcoholic woman, but their need for treatment will never disappear. Fortunately, the programs that help pregnant woman end their addiction to drugs and alcohol will also help the woman give birth to a healthy baby. This is the ultimate goal for both her and the unborn baby.

The most important step a pregnant addict can make is to ask for professional help and from numerous sources. The more people that know about a woman who is pregnant and needs help for her addictions, more options will appear. Medically supervised treatment centers are often the starting point for pregnant addicted women. The medical care they receive at the rehab facility will protect their pregnancy, as well as beginning their program in recovery. The protocols for most treatment centers and detox centers are to get the person needing treatment immediately after detox, ideally door to door. By entering a medical detox program, pregnant women will be given priority because they have already made progress in their recovery.

An Attitude of Gratitude in Recovery

Attitude in Gratitude

What’s gratitude, and how does it apply to a life in recovery? It’s an important question that many people lose sight of once they become clean and sober for some time. According to the editors at Harvard Health Publishing, they define gratitude as:

A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. (Harvard)

If you’re not grateful for what you have, then losing everything becomes a lot easier. Many men and women in recovery become complacent, forgetting where they came from, and how difficult the journey was.

Attitude in Gratitude

How Can You Practice an Attitude of Gratitude in Recovery?

The Attitude of Gratitude is how people in recovery stay positive, humble, and it is how they remember that although life is one thousand times better clean and sober, it is not always perfect. For recovering alcoholics and addicts, discovering peace of mind and overcoming addiction does not mean that life is always easy. Recovery and the serenity that it brings is not the absence of conflict; rather, it means the ability to cope with it. By exercising an attitude of gratitude, people in recovery let go of fear, doubt and worry much easier.

What Does Gratitude in Recovery Mean?

Being Grateful for the things that may not seem perfect is one way to stay humble and do your best. Let’s say you are on the way to your new job and you can’t find your car keys, at that moment life seems like it is harming your dreams, causing you stress and panic. When a person takes a moment to be grateful for the fact that they have a job to go to, as well as a car, they are less likely to come unraveled and not only find their keys because they are calm but able to stay in the present moment and be grateful.

Having an attitude of gratitude also means being Realistic. Before getting sober, the lives of addicts are usually completely out of control. More than likely, they were unemployed, physically ill, unhappy, and living in fear. Recovery from alcoholism and addiction, allows a person to be grateful for the reality of their circumstances. Being realistic means letting go of the old self that used to drive the desire to get high or drunk. By being realistic, a recovering addict or alcoholic will give themselves a break and be able to feel good about themselves that they made it to recovery.

Another important word that helps form a person’s ability to have Gratitude is to be Appreciative of others. A large challenge for many people in recovery is how to appreciate the people who offend them. In early recovery, this is quite difficult. Newly recovering addicts and alcoholics need to practice playing in the sandbox with others. One way to get along with the people you work with- go to meetings with, etc.. and to save yourself from forming or increasing a resentment is to appreciate someone even if they upset you. People with long term recovery begin to see that obstacles are opportunities for growth. This is how recovery works. Appreciate challenges as they will help you attain even more serenity.

One of the greatest gifts that recovery offers people is learning how to be Truthful. Once a person gets clean and sober, they must refrain from their old behaviors. All addicts and alcoholics lie and manipulate the truth. By becoming more aware of how truthful they are, life for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics gets less complicated. When a person tells the truth, they are free of worry, stress, and fear. When the truth is not said, worry, stress, and fear dominate, and these unpleasant feelings will mirror the past and cause a person to use or drink.

The next letter of gratitude is one of the most important. For all people in recovery, they must put their recovery before everything else. By being Interested in recovery like other interests a person cares and takes action on it. Without being interested in recovery a person will surely remember their old likes which are always a drug or drink. The ability to focus on recovery through being interested- in how people in recovery keep their jobs, get along with their loved ones, and remain clean and sober and at peace.

Being in recovery is the most outstanding experience a person can have in their entire life. Some people in recovery who are struggling may not be putting the effort in and taking guidance from others who have succeeded. The people who take their recovery very seriously are Transforming their minds. The changes that happen to a person who recovers from alcoholism and addiction, are deeply rooted in the minds and emotions of that person, and this is the key to relief from removing the desire to get drunk or high. By recognizing that transformation is occurring a person is able to cope and their desire to remain in recovery destroys the desire to drink and drug.

There is no addict or alcoholic who wants to face that they are sick until their life hits the very bottom. Once they recover from their disease, they strive to change. Part of changing means Understanding that they can remain clean and sober with help and guidance from others. The importance of understanding that the disease of alcoholism and addiction cannot be cured or that it will just disappear on its own is paramount. Once addicts and alcoholics accept help, their understanding of the disease -and that they have it grows and allows them to change.

One of the best parts of being in recovery for all former addicts and alcoholics is the Discovery of the true self. Discovering how great life is clean and sober is amazing. For people who are in addiction and alcoholism, their ability to appreciate life without drugs and alcohol is impossible. Once they get clean and sober and are working a sold program in recovery, they discover small things, great things, that they never realized could be meaningful without being impaired.

The last letter is by far the best for this acronym of gratitude. The reason why people can stay clean and sober for good is that they are finally able to Enjoy life. Enjoying life without the help of drugs or alcohol is the greatest achievement that recovery gives. There is no recovering person who stays clean and sober if they are miserable. Therefore, if you are not enjoying life, and need guidance, it is time to reach out and accept the help that is available.

Does Exercise Help You Stay Sober?

Does Exercise Help You Stay Sober

Getting clean and sober is a difficult accomplishment that deserves tremendous praise. However, the quality of a person’s recovery is often the determining factor as to whether they can and will remain clean and sober. For people who are determined to stay recovered for good, your sobriety should always be your number one priority.

People in sobriety maintain a positive outlook that helps keep them avoid relapses by attending 12 step meetings, building a spiritual connection, and by working with others in recovery. Another common outlet that many successful recovering addicts and alcoholics use to improve their outlook and state of mind is regular exercise.

Exercise and Sobriety

The Benefits of Exercise in Recovery

Exercise is beneficial for the person in recovery because it helps them feel better. When a person exercises, their bodies naturally produce and release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are the brain makes that reduce pain and make a person feel good. Exercise also reduces stress. When a person gets clean and sober, they experience a tremendous amount of stress. Now that the substance you were addicted to is gone, you have to deal with stress naturally, as opposed to artificially. And that’s where the benefits of exercise in recovery come in!

Exercise also builds a person’s self-esteem. When a person begins to see the changes in their body shape and how they feel after a good hard workout, the exercise is rewarding. For some, those feelings post-workout are better than any drug out there!

The answer if exercise can help a person stay sober is YES. The medical researchers at Harvard Medical School agree. A study was done on animals and humans to see if they would select exercise over drugs. The research confirmed that exercise does reduce drug consumption in both animals and humans.

Combined with what we know about other treatment, exercise shows promise. Animal studies have shown that regular swimming reduces voluntary morphine consumption in opioid-dependent rats, and access to an exercise wheel reduces self-administration of cocaine in rats dependent on the drug. A small study in humans investigated an exercise program offered to 38 men and women who misused a variety of substances, including opioids, cannabis, amphetamines, and cocaine. Participants agreed to take part in group exercise three times a week for two to six months. Twenty people completed the intervention. When reassessed a year later, five reported abstinence and 10 reported that they had decreased their substance use…many patients with various substance use disorders have found that exercise helps to distract them from cravings. (Harvard Medical School)

The success of working out in recovery is multi-layered, and it’s one of the best steps you can take to improve your self-care after completing a rehab program. Workouts add structure to the day. They help with forming positive social connections and help treat depression and anxiety in combination with other therapies.

Exercise for Co-occurring Disorders

The number of people who suffer from addiction and alcoholism is not improving. Currently, it is estimated that 1 in 8 people are in some form addicted to something in the United States. What is improving is the addiction research on how to help addicts and alcoholics in staying sober. Addiction is often a form of self-medicating for other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. The recommendations for people who are diagnosed with depression and anxiety also includes regular exercise.

Get the Help You Need 

The programs that we offer at Recreate Life Counseling encourage regular exercise as part of your personalized recovery program. People who exercise remain clean and sober longer because they have a way to reduce stress, feel better, and improve their self-esteem. If you’re in need of substance abuse counseling or addiction treatment, contact us today for a confidential assessment.

Benefits of Choosing Out-of-State Drug Rehab

out of state drug rehab

When a person decides to get help for their addiction, there are several therapeutic aspects that every addict or alcoholic must consider. Rehab is a personal journey that can only be completed under the guidance of addiction treatment professionals. It is also critical to consider what type of environment will encourage the person to be able to openly and honestly face their addictions. The benefits of going to treatment out of state allow the addict to start over in an environment far removed from their drugging or drinking hangouts and lifestyles.

Additionally, it is very important to consider if the structure and expectations of the rehab center are acceptable for the person who is getting help. What is expected of each client at a treatment center is often the aspect that is most challenging for newly recovering addicts, and the rules and expectations should be attainable.

out of state drug rehab

Be Treated by Addiction Professionals

The types of professionals that are available in a quality rehab program include licensed and experienced substance abuse counselors that specialize in either an evidence-based form of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Dual diagnoses treatment for mental health disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder is also helpful, such as experience in trauma therapy. A successful drug and alcohol treatment programs will also offer other forms of therapy that also promote recovery, such as holistic therapy groups. Holistic therapy is one of the most valuable forms of therapy for people in recovery.

Holistic therapy helps newly recovering addicts, and alcoholics learn skills on how to manage their addictive personalities. Holistic therapy addresses the whole person, mind, body, spirit, and emotions. The types of holistic therapy most helpful to people in recovery are yoga, art therapy, and meditation. These types of holistic therapy help clients heal wounds from childhood and adulthood or the harmful outcomes that their use of alcohol and drugs caused.

Find a Supportive Recovery Environment 

The environment that a newly recovering addict or alcoholic requires must be safe and nurturing. A safe and nurturing environment is a new environment where a person can easily start over. By attending a rehab out of state, the person will not be tempted to visit old friends who use or drink nearby or have to cope with challenges of life at home. Additionally, the new environment needs to be therapeutic. A therapeutic environment is often gender-specific. When a treatment center offers a separate program for men and women there is less social pressure and therefore less anxiety.

The structure and rules of a treatment program are also an important aspect to consider. If the rehab does not allow smoking, this can be a challenge for smokers, although it’s often for your own good. Additionally, a treatment program should have activities at the treatment center and in the city that are of interest to the person needing rehabilitation. A plus about attending a treatment program away from home is that the city and state will be new and interesting. The weather will also be different as will the culture. For addicts and alcoholics, new environments help them further separate their minds from their previous drug and alcohol way of coping, and they begin new routines easier.

The greatest benefit of going to rehab in another state is the freedom that it gives the person to heal and address the issues that caused them to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. When a person remains at home for their drug treatment program, they are exposed to old routines, places, and people that influenced them or that will instigate relapse. The relapse rate is usually lower for people who go to treatment out of state versus in state.

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges that relapse is often part of the recovery process. However, to help prevent relapse, it is important the treatment program includes a relapse prevention program as well as providing an environment that negates old patterns of behavior. An out of state rehab center will oppose previous lifestyles, or patterns of behavior, on the basis that the old places, people, and things are simply not there.

The chronic nature of addiction means that for some people relapse, or a return to drug use after an attempt to stop, can be part of the process, but newer treatments are designed to help with relapse prevention. Relapse rates for drug use are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses…treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapse doesn’t mean treatment has failed. When a person who is recovering from an addiction relapse, it indicates that the person needs to speak with their doctor to resume treatment, modify it, or try another treatment. (NIDA)

We believe that relapse does not have to be part of the recovery process when you have the proper tools and support in-place to get through the difficult early phases of sobriety. A relapse prevention plan helps in avoiding those early pitfalls for many addicts and alcoholics.

We Are Here to Help You

If you or your loved one need treatment for addiction, help is available. Recreate Life Counseling is located in beautiful Boynton Beach, Florida which rests on the south Florida coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. We have programs available for men and women and our success rates remain great because each client is given an individualized treatment plan while being supported by a staff of addiction professionals who have dedicated their careers to helping addicts and alcoholics recover and begin new lives.

Most Effective Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse Prevention means preventing a relapse long before it happens. Recovering from addiction is a lifelong journey that requires attention and willingness. Successful recovery is rewarding and goes beyond what most addicts or alcoholics ever imagined their lives becoming. To help prevent a relapse from occurring there are certain techniques that a person must rely on to be prepared to live through life’s experiences drug and alcohol-free. At the same time, it’s important to have the ability to enjoy being clean and sober.

Relapse Prevention Skills


Support From Others in Your Shoes

The most effective techniques that can help a person prevent a relapse often start with following the footsteps of people who have sustained their recovery long-term. These people are doing what it takes to enjoy their life. The first way they do this is to avoid old drugging and drinking environments. There is no recovering addict or alcoholic who will say they still return to their old bars or drug scoring neighborhoods. Successful recovering people also don’t make an effort to see the people that they used to drink or do drugs with. Therefore, avoiding old neighborhoods or locations and ending relationships with the people who still use, or drink is essential for how able and willing a person feels about their recovery.

Once a person recovers, they have a clean slate to rebuild their lives, and this includes the opportunity to surround themselves with other people in recovery. By letting go of the people who used to influence them and encourage drinking and drugging, they are relieving themselves of triggers and romanticizing their past ‘using’ lives. By distancing themselves from these old places and people, they also become able to surrender the idea of what drugs or alcohol used to do ‘for’ them. Once a person becomes part of a recovery group or network they focus on what drugs and alcohol did ‘to’ them. This is a key perspective that helps addicts and alcoholics remain clean and sober.

Find Reasons to Not Go Back

It is always a good technique for all people in recovery to make a list of what alcohol and drugs did ‘to’ their life when they find themselves remembering or missing their previous life as addicts or alcoholics. Along these same lines is to work with a sponsor and complete a first step from the twelve steps. The first step specifically addresses how awful life was during the time of addiction and alcoholism. The first step helps people in recovery remain honest about how bad their lives were when they were high or drunk and promotes the willingness to remain clean and sober.

Focus on Being Healthy

Another valuable technique for preventing relapse is to take care of the body-mind and spirit. Without high self-care routines and commitment, a person could very easily repeat behaviors that resemble their lives as addicts. High self-care includes physical exercise, as well as yoga. Tracking care of the self also means rewarding the body with massages, or visits to the salon or barber, as well as taking time to look well-groomed and fresh. In the history of addiction, there is not a single addict or alcoholic who was able to maintain their physical appearance or care for their physical wellbeing.

High self-care also includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and taking any prescribed medications. Another facet of self-care is regularly seeing a counselor or therapist. Without good mental health, an addict or alcoholic could be setting themselves up for a relapse. Mental health diagnoses are extremely common for alcoholics and addicts. By maintaining a regular session with a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, a recovering person is going to help prevent a relapse.

The other technique for relapse prevention that is extremely important is building a relationship with a higher power or with God. Recovery is a spiritual experience. Addicts and alcoholics have taken themselves to very dark places both in their minds and emotions as well as in the world. Learning to trust that a higher power or God provides support and encouragement is necessary because no matter how far down a person goes in their addictions, their higher power or God remained by their side. A higher power or God cares.

All successful recovering people have a connection to a higher power and put in the effort to build their spiritual relationships. Whether you prefer to go to church or a Buddhist temple or another source for spirituality, the point is that spiritual connection get addicts and alcoholics out of their own way. Meditation, regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation, is another very good technique to prevent relapse. Meditation allows the mind to quiet and rest. The mind, like the body, needs time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Finally, the last technique that is wonderful to include in a relapse prevention treatment program is to have fun. Having fun clean and sober is probably the most rewarding gift that sobriety gives. Laughing so hard that you say ‘I haven’t laughed that hard in forever’ always feels great. Also, when an addict or alcoholic becomes aware that they can have fun without drugs or alcohol- that alone, which was once unimaginable, makes recovery a most precious reality. Once addicts and alcoholics attain this perspective, they can remain on the clean and sober path for good.

The Best Coping Skills for Staying Sober

staying sober

Once a person realizes that being clean and sober is truly the best way to live a fulfilling life, free of the destruction that comes with addiction, it is time to identify some of the best coping skills for staying sober. Each person is different and may have their routine for keeping their recovery positive; however, being openminded and taking suggestions and putting them into action is what recovery is about. We’ve put together our top five suggestions.

coping skills to stay sober

Have Sober Friends

One of the best ways that a person can achieve happiness while sober is to hang with other like-minded people. All addicts and alcoholics will tell you once they got clean and sober how lonely they were when they were on drugs or alcohol. People in recovery attain peace of mind when they realize that they are not unique and that there are a zillion other recovering addicts and alcoholics who share the same story. Connecting with people who have also ruined their lives because of drinking and drugging but who also got honest about their problem is how people in recovery get the support that they need.

If a person in recovery believes that they can do it alone and their way, they will not remain sober. The healing that occurs when a person has a true friendship that is not based on how to get and remain high or drunk, and all the other craziness that goes with that lifestyle, is powerful and rewards people in recovery beyond what they have ever known. The best part about having friends in recovery is that they show up when a person needs them. Sober friends also never forget to support someone when they need it. Friends in recovery are closer to most recovering alcoholics and addicts than their own family.

Lots of Meetings, lots of Support

People in new recovery are told to go to as many meetings, either 12 step or other recovery-focused groups for a reason. By going to meetings, a person LEARNS HOW TO STAY SOBER. Most addicts and alcoholics don’t like or desire to go to meetings, at first. The reason for this is obvious. People who have survived life drunk or high don’t want to be told how not to do it, much less encouraged to stay sober. This phase always ends. Once a person has decided they need help and are willing to accept suggestions and follow through with them, meetings become a place for more answers on how to enjoy recovery.

Recovery is not abstinence. Being content with life while clean and sober takes work. By going to meetings regularly, recovering addicts and alcoholics learn how to get peace of mind. Meetings are also where addicts and alcoholics make friends and get a sponsor or rely on another person for their wisdom. Meetings are why people with decades of sobriety continue to go. They see and feel the difference a meeting makes on their outlook on life.

Exercise and Be Healthy

Exercise is a proven way to relieve stress and to build self-esteem. Once a person attains sobriety, they still need to blow off steam, and a good hard workout does just this. For some, a long walk is also a great way to get exercise and to clear the mind. It is not uncommon for many addicts and alcoholics to substitute their addictions with eating everything in sight. This is fine for a few months or even years, but unfortunately, the pounds will add up, and this is not only unhealthy but for some addicts especially meth addicts, could lead them back to getting high to lose weight.

Aside from managing weight, exercise also builds self-esteem. For most people in general when their muscles get bigger or their waistline decreases they feel really good. This also helps people in recovery get a healthy emotional lift. Addicts and alcoholics, even once sober, are prone to desire things that make them feel better. Exercise is a win-win all around for people in recovery. Some caution should be made as to how much or intense the exercise is. Again, it is the disposition of all recovering addicts and alcoholics to do things in extremes. Meaning if one mile of running felt great then ten will feel even better. Careful to not overdo it or develop another addiction or problem.

Take Inventory Daily

Taking inventory of our past is one of the first steps people do in all 12 step programs. Other programs or counseling also have recovering addicts, and alcoholics review their past hurts, regrets, fears, and anger. Essentially by reviewing the past, a person in recovery is learning the reasons they drank or took drugs. These reasons fade the longer a person is in recovery, but new reasons do appear. Although most people in recovery do not act on the new reasons and do not relapse, however, unless they take inventory about what is bothering them, they will suffer.

A daily inventory means that a person talks about what hurt, anger, or fear occurred- so that those feelings don’t build up. By working with a sponsor, counselor, or another person in sobriety, addicts, and alcoholics find that their problems aren’t as huge as they originally thought. A daily inventory can be done by merely writing down what affected them and how they handled it. Later the list or lists of the last couple of days needs to be brought to the person that is helping them in recovery.

Without a daily review/inventory, the state of a person’s recovery can begin to decline. At the end of each day ask: Who hurt or angered me? What part of me was threatened (social security, financial security, ego, etc.)? And what was my part in the situation? Then take your answers to the person you rely on for support in your recovery.

Develop a Passion

For recovering addicts and alcoholics, although their obsession to drink and do drugs is gone, their obsessive mind remains. There is not a single recovering addict or alcoholic who will not admit that they obsess on things. By developing a passion this is a healthy way to obsess on something. Each person is different, and some may decide they want to return to playing music, building cars, painting and creating art, working with children, gardening, writing, exploring new places to travel, building their spirituality, and finally a very common passion that people in recovery all develop in time is helping other addicts and alcoholics discover peace of mind in sobriety.

As long as a person is sober, they need outlets to express themselves. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics return to school or a job that they once loved, and it becomes their passion. No matter what you have a passion for doing – go for it. This is your free pass to obsess and make it great.

What’s It Like Being in Recovery?

being in recovery

Recovering from addiction and alcoholism is the very best decision that a person can make even if they were once hard-core addicts and around the clock drinkers. For people who are in new recovery, they will say that their lives immediately improved once they got clean and sober. For people who have made their recovery a way of life long-term, they say that living in recovery is truly the only way to be fulfilled and to finally have peace of mind. To understand what it is like being in recovery, it’s first best to visualize the path that recovering addicts and alcoholics took before they became genuinely happy.

be in recovery

Some Have to Hit Bottom to Become Sober

Many people in recovery stay clean and sober because, in their story of addiction or alcoholism, they hit bottom and lost everything. For some, this is a very low bottom that includes homelessness. For others, this may be a higher bottom, and they lose their job or have financial losses. What occurs in all bottoms is the person decided to finally end the struggle of trying to get away with drinking and drugging. This decision usually comes from years of failing to hide their addictions and from everyone around them which includes family, friends, coworkers, strangers and even their drugging or drinking buddies who said they were out of control. Once an alcoholic or addict is rejected by every person they come into contact with, the idea of living life high or drunk doesn’t satisfy them.

There are those who may have resorted to drinking and getting high alone, and for them, depression and physical sickness usually prompt them into facing their disease. Additionally, there are some people who manage to move from group to group, but once a group or set of relationships crumble, they also must face the destruction that their way of life causes. For others, homelessness and absolute hopelessness ware them down to the point that jail and psych wards look like great options. No matter the situation, all addicts and alcoholics deep down know they have a problem and all they need is to learn how to overcome their obsession with drugs and alcohol to begin a new way of life.

The first step that all addicts and alcoholics make is to ask for help. Once they receive help for the addictions, the next step is to admit with complete honesty how addicted they are. Once these two events occur, they can accept what people who are in solid recovery ask them to do to achieve fulfillment so that they can no longer desire to get high or drunk. Additionally, counselors and other professionals who treat addiction and alcoholism assist recovering addicts and alcoholics on what actions to take to overcome problems and remain positively focused on their recovery.

So, what is it like for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics once they first get clean and sober depends on how great of a recovery program that person is working. For people who attend 12 step meetings and work with a sponsor, have friends in recovery, are employed and connected to a Higher Power, their recovery is a treasure. For people who refuse to go to 12 step meetings and do not rely on the input of other recovering addicts and alcoholics and try to do it their way- which is alone, their lives are a struggle. Living with the disease of alcoholism or addiction without drugs and alcohol is pure hell. Recovery makes it possible to live without substances and feel happy and satisfied.

You Must Accept Help from Others

The key to serenity is giving up the idea that recovery is simply remaining clean and sober. Abstinence is not recovery. Recovery is accepting help from others. The good news is that most successful recovering addicts and alcoholics at one time tried to do it alone and of course, relapsed. Relapse is often the route many people who are not ready to let others help them take, and after the relapse gets them arrested or homeless, they return to those who have been through it and ask what they need to do.

Admitting defeat is a huge step forward for all addicts and alcoholics. The 12 steps may at first for people who are new in recovery seem like a waste of time. However, once a person realizes that the people in 12 step meetings are not pretending to be happy and that they are just addicts and alcoholics being guided by the 12 steps, who have a sponsor, friends in recovery, a job, as well as higher power or a spiritual connection to God, then the formula for success in recovery is revealed.

Newly recovering addicts and alcoholics will state with conviction that once they admitted they need help and got into a treatment program, life got better. Over time, newbies in recovery have to put effort into their recovery program. The work includes going to meetings, having a sponsor, making friends who are also in recovery, attending church, or having another spiritual connection, working, spending time connecting with and helping others, and having fun with others in recovery. When a newly recovering addict or alcoholic does these things, they get to feel joy and satisfaction with life.

Having An Attitude of Gratitude

Old-timers and people who have remained clean and sober for years continue to attend meetings regularly. They also work with a sponsor and are employed. Successful long-term recovery also means that person has friends in recovery and that they help others to achieve recovery or through their 12-step community or with a church or other community organization. They also commit themselves to experience life with others in recovery, and with their families. Most importantly, they are also always improving their state of mind by working the 12 steps regularly.

To understand what it is like being in recovery is simple. Being in recovery allows a person to connect with life as if they were drunk or stoned. This does not mean they are actually feeling drunk or high; it means that they finally have the ability to connect with life. The inability to be pleased with life or how to get along with others clean and sober is why all addicts and alcoholics remain impaired.

Recovery shows people how to connect with life and others. The once boring dinner at a relatives house now becomes memorable. The uneventful walk or hike outdoors suddenly becomes the most beautiful experience of nature. The dreaded day at work or school finally becomes a self-esteem boost. The boring rainbow or sunset finally looks beautiful. Being in recovery is learning how to do what others have done to remain clean and sober. Once this has begun, life becomes a rewarding adventure.

6 Signs of a Reputable Drug Rehab Center

reputable drug rehab centers

The addiction epidemic continues to affect families across the country every single day. As the number of adults with substance abuse disorders in the U.S. rise, the need for treatment programs and facilities have grown significantly.

According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse):

In the United States, more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities provide counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and other types of services to persons with substance use disorders.

With so many different treatment programs to choose from, it’s no wonder that many addicts and alcoholics have a hard time making a decision. We’ve put together some pointers to make this process easier for you. Every second in active addiction makes it more challenging to recover, so it’s best to move forward with your sobriety as soon as possible.

reputable drug rehab center

How to Know Which One To Choose

With so many substance abuse facilities, it can be overwhelming which is the best to choose for your specific wants and needs. There are so many details to consider what drug rehab center would best aid you in returning to a life of recovery. Here are 6 signs of a reputable drug rehab center:

  1. The History of the Facility – How Long Have They Been in Business? The longer a drug rehab facility has been in business, the better. Just like any other business, if they are good at what they do, they stay in business. Do some research on the rehab facility. Do they have awards and are they accredited by JCAHO (Joint Commission) or another agency? You may want to read the reviews but remember everyone’s experience is different and therefore, may not be what you might experience.
  2. Dual Diagnosis Treatment – The majority of substance abusers have more than one illness such as anxiety or depression and on top of that, substance abuse disorder, which, in many cases was a cause or effect. In order to really fully work towards rehabilitation, you must address both illnesses. NIDA states: “Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that frequently occurs with other mental disorders. In fact, as many as 6 in 10 people with an illicit substance use disorder also suffer from another mental illness; and rates are similar for users of licit drugs—i.e., tobacco and alcohol. For these individuals, one condition becomes more difficult to treat successfully as an additional condition is intertwined. Thus, people entering treatment either for a substance use disorder or for another mental disorder should be assessed for the co-occurrence of the other condition. Research indicates that treating both (or multiple) illnesses simultaneously in an integrated fashion is generally the best treatment approach for these patients.“
  3. Experienced Staff – Do the staff, doctors, and therapists have degrees? Yes. But more importantly, do they have experience? There is a difference when the staff has been where a patient has been. Recovering substance abusers can often relate to one another therefore, have a better chance at assisting with problems and solutions.
  4. Family Involvement – Substance abuse affects everyone; friends and family suffer from this disease as well so they will need help and support as the patient goes through treatment. Finding drug rehab facilities that have the families participate in their own treatment is imperative for lifelong recovery – for everyone.
  5. Sober Support Connections – You’ve heard the word “institutionalized”; it refers to an individual that has been confined to a certain space for a long period of time. This can usually become a problem once the person is out living in the “real world”. Facilities that let the patient experience the outside world and sober activities with sober supports are far more successful at navigating life once completing treatment.
  6. Support After Treatment – Research shows that ongoing involvement in recovery activities reduces one’s likelihood of relapse. Seek treatment facilities that offer support through continuing care and alumni groups and events.

Seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one is taxing…not only financially, but emotionally and spiritually. In the end, no matter how many awards or recommendations a drug rehab facility has, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that it will “fix” the issue. It is up to the individual and how much they want to free themselves of addiction and live a life of recovery. Recreate Life Counseling is here to help men, women, and families that are searching for a reputable and safe drug rehab center.

My Child is Addicted to Drugs

My Child is Addicted to Drugs

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) reveals over 20 million people in the US are struggling with substance abuse disorder. One in four adolescents has abused drugs in the last 30 days according to statistics by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As shocking as these figures are, it’s even more depressing when your own child is involved. You may feel angry and hopeless as a parent. It can feel as if you have completely lost your child to drugs.

If you are a parent of an addicted young adult, you do not have to keep blaming yourself. While you are looking for ways to pull your loved one out of addiction, you need to care for yourself as well. You need all the emotional strength possible to stay on top of the situation and effectively help your child.

Be Sure of the Signs and Symptoms

If your child suddenly starts asking for money without a reasonable explanation, it’s a good idea to ask some questions. Some teenagers may resort to stealing from your home or wallet to meet their drug demands. At the same time, you have to be able to distinguish usual teenage moodiness from signs of substance abuse or addiction to avoid confusion. To be certain your child has been abusing drugs, here are other possible signs to look out for:

  • Red eyes, weight loss or gain, and lack of drive towards productive activities
  • Significant drops in academic performance
  • Sudden withdrawal from family members
  • Poor grooming
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech and lack of coordination

Consider Drug Testing and Treatment 

After suspecting your child of drug abuse, drug testing him or her at home might seem like the next step to take. This is probably not the best way to address the issue due to its limitations which you might be unaware of. For instance, the potential for false-positives or false-negatives is high with home drug testing. Drug testing could be useful as part of a comprehensive assessment for substance use or mental health disorders. Therefore, if it becomes necessary to test your teen for drugs, do it with their consent in line with the policies of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also, ensure you are working with a certified professional.

Consider Getting Support for Yourself

Dealing with a child addicted to drugs can easily feel overwhelming. This is why you need to find the necessary support to cope with the feelings of desperation and hopelessness. Find and attend a Nar-Anon family group within your city or out-of-state. Here you will find a safe space to share your fears with others who are going through similar challenges. The Nar-Anon family group is a fellowship that supports individuals who are affected by the addiction of their loved ones. The objective is to help family and friends to understand they cannot control the addiction or life of their loved one. It is based on the understanding of addiction as a disease. You will learn and practice self-care as you can only help others when your well-being is guaranteed.

Finding out about your child’s substance abuse should not lead you to panic and desperation. Instead, seek help by talking to an addiction professional. At Recreate Life Counseling, we focus on helping people addicted to drugs and alcohol get their lives back. Our individualized addiction treatment programs will ensure a tailored approach towards getting your loved oned started on the path to full recovery.

If you wish to know more about how our therapies and addiction treatment programs work, get in touch with the admission team via our confidential addiction treatment helpline.