Thursday, July 13, 2017

Have You Identified Your Triggers?

An important part of rehab is learning to safeguard your sobriety once treatment ends. And this means learning to understand and identify triggers. 

This step is crucial for lasting sobriety – and it’s perhaps your best defense against relapse. Triggers are a very real part of addiction and they can’t always be avoided. 

What Is a Trigger?
Think of triggers as temptations – or people, places, things, situations, memories, or feelings that make you want to use again. For instance, does seeing an old drinking buddy make you want to drink? Or, perhaps an argument with a loved one results in a craving? The acronym “H.A.L.T.” – which stand for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired – is the term used by many addiction experts to describe some common situations that spark temptation. 

Create Your Trigger Action Plan 
As part of your relapse prevention plan, it’s essential to identify your unique personal triggers.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What were you feeling the last time you had a craving?
  • What were you doing the last time you had a craving?
  • Who were you with the last time you had a craving?
  • Were you trying to numb uncomfortable feelings or negative emotions?
  • Did you feel pressured by peers or loved ones?
  • What was your stress level?
Next, you'll need to jot down your answers and come up with a plan of how to counteract these influences in healthier ways. For example, if your triggers are stress-related, you’ll need to figure out new sober ways to ease these feelings of anxiety. And don't be afraid to ask others about what has (and hasn't) worked for them.

Don't wait until it's too late. If you feel yourself slipping, take time to slow yourself down and think about what kind of triggers you may have encountered. This is also the time to lean on your support network by calling a sponsor, counselor or loved one or attending therapy or a local support group. Together, you can prevent triggers from destroying your hard-won sobriety.  

Aftercare for Lifetime Sobriety
Aftercare plans are invaluable additions to your recovery toolbox. At The Haven at Pismo, our team of addiction specialists will help you to develop relapse strategies to help you maintain sobriety once returning home. Call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4 Ways to Stay Sober in Difficult Situations

Learning how to stay sober in difficult situations is a skill that will serve you well in recovery. After all, life is full of unexpected events and triggers – whether an impromptu party, work event or family get-together – and these may be even more frequent during the summer months. 

The key is to be prepared and to always have a few stay-sober strategies in your pocket. Start with these four: 
  • Become a self-expert. In other words, work to figure out your individual triggers along with what coping mechanisms work best for you. Remember: This is a process -- and it’ll likely change depending on your stage of recovery. Keep a list and add to it as you think of new ways to cope. 
  • Make water your friend. It can be plain or sparkling or with lemon – whichever way allows you to stay hydrated, keep your hands busy and avoid awkward questions. Similarly, never allow someone to freshen up your drink. You should always be in charge of what you consume.
  • Seek support. No one expects you to walk alone on the path toward lasting sobriety. We all need someone to lean on, especially during early recovery. Ask a sober friend, sponsor or relative to be your party date or at least be on call if you need some extra reinforcement. 
  • Think about the positives. Remind yourself about all of the advantages of being sober. Here are a few: You’ll look better, feel better, have better relationships and live a fuller, healthier life! 
Aftercare Planning for Long-Term Recovery
At The Haven, we know that returning home after rehab can be a defining moment in your sobriety journey. That’s why we help our clients prepare for the transition by giving them tools and strategies to reduce the risk of relapse and stay on the sober course. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

20 Ways to Manage Stress

Being stressed is unfortunately becoming the nationwide norm these days. Despite a hopeful drop in overall stress levels last summer, a survey earlier this year showed a significant spike, according to the American Psychological Association.

To review: Chronic stress can unsettle nearly all bodily processes and trigger a slew of health problems, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, memory impairment and weakened immune system. And it’s also one of the leading causes of relapse. 

So how can you safeguard your sobriety and keep stress in check? Fortunately, some simple strategies have been study-proven to help tame those tensions — whether you’re dealing with a craving or family conflict.

Here are a few healthy steps to try today: 
  1. Identify your stress triggers.
  2. Write in a journal.
  3. Take slow, deep breaths.
  4. Focus on the now with mindfulness exercises.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Turn up the tunes.
  7. Go for a walk or hike. 
  8. Take up some sort of regular exercise, like yoga.
  9. Learn to say “no” once in a while.
  10. Do something creative or engage in a favorite hobby.
  11. Make a to-do list to organize daily tasks. 
  12. Call up a good friend.
  13. Take a relaxing and calming bath.
  14. Avoid bad habits, including poor food choices as well as addictive substances and behaviors.  
  15. Make sleep (and good sleep) a priority. 
  16. Learn to laugh; humor does heal. 
  17. Spend some quiet time in nature.
  18. Take breaks from smart phones and social media.
  19. Spend quality time with supportive friends and family.
  20. Seek professional help, if none of these methods seem to do the trick. 
Staying Centered at The Haven
Taking a few moments to meditate before stressful situations can lead to more mindful decisions and greater strength to remain sober. At The Haven at Pismo, we offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including yoga and meditation, to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Garden Your Way to a Healthier Recovery

Did you know that digging in the dirt is a great activity to fend off symptoms of depression? This is partly because soil contains a harmless bacteria, called mycobacterium vaccae, which is touted for stimulating the production of mood-boosting serotonin. Mounting evidence also shows a direct link between depression and the time you spend outside.

What’s more, gardening can be a great mindfulness activity – keeping you in the moment and reinforcing the focus and patience crucial to long-term sobriety. Plus, it’s the perfect outlet for nurturing your creativity and your pride – just think how good you’ll feel about yourself when you harvest those juicy red tomatoes.

How Gardening Helps Your Body, Mind and Spirit
Here are some other study-proven health perks linked to toiling in the soil:
  • A better diet (especially if you grow a small fruit or veggie garden)
  • Improved mental health
  • Better sleep quality
  • Boosted self-esteem
  • Increased levels of vitamin D
  • Less stress, anxiety and mental fatigue
  • Reduced risk of bone loss
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • Greater ability to achieve goals
  • More self control
  • Healthier weight
  • Better immune system
  • Lowered heart rate
Why not give it a try? You don’t have to have a green thumb; just the ability to head outside, soak up the sun and start digging! Gardening is a great bonding activity to do with your loved ones, so if possible, make it a family affair.

Begin Holistic Addiction Treatment Today
Haven offers its clients a long list of holistic therapies that emphasize body, mind, and spirit healing. To learn more about our alternative treatment avenues, call our admissions team at 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Everyday Ways to Mind Your Mental Health

It’s Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA). Luckily, caring for your mental health doesn’t require a huge commitment; it may only take seconds to start feeling calmer, happier and healthier. Get started by adding these easy habits to your daily to-dos. 
  • Rise, shine and reach your goals. Your morning rituals can help set the tone for the rest of the day, so why not begin by focusing on your goals and tasks for the day. This will give you the motivation and drive to get going and cross off items on your list. 
  • Get up and get moving. Even if you just run up and down the stairs, getting your heart pumping will make you feel good and help alleviate stress. Or schedule exercise into your day as a much-needed mental break from your busy routine. 
  • Soak up nature. Going outdoors, especially when you’re surrounding by grass and tress, has been shown to boost self-esteem and minimize stress. This is likely due to the extra sun exposure that helps your body release mood-boosting vitamin D. 
  • Practice gratitude. Take a second (literally) every day to feel thankful — for your recovery, for the warm sunshine, for the fresh fruit from the local farmer’s market. Gratitude has been study-proven to increase your energy and your optimism.
  • Slow yourself down. We’ve all began cursing the minute traffic stops or the Internet connection slows, but this behavior can just add to your stress. Instead, take a deep breath and force yourself to mentally step back before reacting to the situation. 
  • Connect offline. Checking in with supportive friends and family, whether you chat on the phone or meet up for coffee, can make you feel included, involved and mentally happy.  
Holistic Healing at The Haven
We offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including acupuncture and massage and yoga and meditation to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Clean Your Health

Spring-cleaning can be more than just organizing closets and washing windows. It’s also the perfect time to turn inward and focus on tasks that will benefit your mind, body and spirit. Try these tips to make this season a happy and healthy one! 
  • Pick in-season, local produce: Head to your local farmer’s market and stock up on seasonal fruits and vegetables. They'll taste better and the prices will likely be better, too. 
  • Reorganize your pantry: Toss any high-sugar, refined and high-sodium content and start fresh with nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, beans, and other healthful staples.
  • Schedule screening and annual doc appointments: Spend some time this spring planning your wellness appointments for the year ahead. In addition to regular visits — dentist, annual physical, etc., — talk with your doctor about any necessary screenings or tests.
  • Switch up your exercise routine: Bored of the same old workout? Try a new yoga class or outdoor running route to get out of a rut and reenergize your exercise plan. Chores count, too, so get down and dirty and start gardening!  
  • Hit the outdoors. Whether you garden, take a hike or play frisbee in the park, vow to spend some extra time in the fresh air this season. 
  • Rein in stress this spring. Block off a specific time of the day to meditate each day.
  • Clear the cutter: Donate any gently used clothing or items that you no longer want or need. Bonus: Helping others improves your own happiness, according to research.
A Healthier You at The Haven
Unfortunately, most of our clients have neglected nutrition, exercise, and basic self-care while caught in the cycle of addiction or dual diagnosis. Take heart: Our trained addiction specialists can help you rebuild a healthful lifestyle. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

5 Ways to Be Good to Your Bones

Did you know that addiction can do damage to your bones? One reason is because drug and alcohol abuse interferes with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D, which plays a critical role in calcium absorption necessary for bone health. In addition, abused substances like nicotine, alcohol and opioids can reduce your bone density, making you more susceptible to the bone thinning disease osteoporosis. Having clinical depression, which often co-occurs with substance use disorder, has also been shown to up a person’s risk of osteoporosis.

Luckily, committing to your recovery is a great first step toward safeguarding your bones. A few other healthy habits can help prevent osteoporosis, too. Get started with these five bone-boosting tips:
  1. Learn your family health history. Studies show that genetics plays a role in 50 percent of osteoporosis cases.
  2. Book a bone density screening. They call osteoporosis a “silent disease,” which means you won't know you have it until you get tested (or you break a bone).
  3. Load up on bone-friendly foods. A few to consider: sardines, canned salmon (with the bones), almonds, dark green, leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices, breakfast cereals.
  4. Quit cigarettes. Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs; it also robs your bones of vital nutrients (like calcium) and makes you more prone to broken bones.
  5. Make exercise a priority. When you move those muscles, you stimulate bone-building cells called osteoblasts to create more bone. Depending on your bone health, exercises that use your body weight as resistance (sit-ups and push-ups, for example) are your best bets for building bone density.  
Let Us Fuel Your Recovery
With our in-house chef, the Haven at Pismo helps clients create dietary patterns that support sobriety and correct nutritional deficiencies caused by addiction. Residents learn how to replace sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods with healthy fiber, quality proteins, and antioxidant-rich vegetables. Call today to speak confidentially with an intake specialist: 805-202-3440.