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Monday, July 16, 2018

Using Listening Skills in Recovery

listening skills
Learning to be a good listener is a crucial recovery skill. Listening fully will help you glean essential tools to physically and mentally heal and to safeguard yourself from triggers and cravings. It will help you to stay motivated and feel inspired and supported by recovery peers. It will also enable you to build trust and friendships and better understand your own strengths, weaknesses and needs. 

Listening isn’t just hearing or waiting for your turn to talk. It involves absorbing, processing and engaging in what another person is saying. To be a good listener, you’ll need to use more than your ears; an open mind and heart are also key. 

And, in fact, there are many types of listening. Here we take a look at a few of the listening skills that may help you make the most of your recovery: 

There are different types of listening in recovery, and you'll probably use several types of listening skills as you work through treatment. Here are a few to keep in mind.
  • Critical listening: This involves taking in the words and information in an attempt to gain knowledge and make decisions. For example, when you’re learning skills to better manage cravings, stress, nutrition or emotional and behavioral control.
  • Discriminative listening: By paying attention to body language and the tone and volume of the person’s words, you'll be able to build a fuller picture of what’s being said. For example, when others are sharing testimonies and recovery stories.
  • Sympathetic listening: This type of listening can make your recovery peers feel more at ease as they share their emotions and experiences with you. 
Counseling for Addiction
Listening skills are especially important during psychotherapy, group and individual counseling, which are cornerstones of treatment for a substance use disorder or dual diagnosis. To learn more about our group therapy services and how they can enhance your recovery, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Recovery: A Pathway to Serenity

Staying calm and collected are invaluable modes of being, in early recovery. Life isn’t always going to be smooth sailing, that is a fact; how you manage trying situations can make or break your ability to stay on track. Serenity is a watchword in recovery! While the word is inextricably linked to 12 Step programs, peace is something that everyone can benefit from regardless of the modality of recovery.

  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.
Most people who undergo treatment are acutely familiar with the importance of keeping an even keel to stay on course in addiction recovery. People’s disease is always making an effort to reassert itself in one’s life; one must strive for peace-of-mind and tranquility to prevent such an eventuality from taking place. If you went through a rehab program, it is likely the facility taught you some techniques for finding serenity in the tumultuousness that can be a part of early recovery. If not, below you will see some tools that can assist you in staying grounded in the program so that you can navigate through to the other side of trials and tribulations.


Finding Serenity in Recovery

Working through difficult times can be a real challenge, especially when you have responsibilities and commitments beyond recovery. Throughout your day, you may find it beneficial to engage in some inner-discourse. It is helpful to remind yourself of the “3 C’s” — I didn't cause it, I can't cure it, and I can't control it. Addicts and alcoholics often find aspects of their life bothersome; they are also good at convincing themselves that how things are now is the way it is always going to be. Those who have been in the program a little longer know that isn’t the case, life gets better the longer recovery persists. People new to This will learn how vital it is to be aware of that which you can control and that which you can't. When unfortunate aspects of your life are beyond you, chant the 3 C’s, it can help.

Another way to manage adversity in one’s recovery is to meditate. Clearing your mind as much as is humanly possible can bring you back down, or close to zero (equilibrium). When you are grounded, it is less likely you will react or overreact to a challenge. Meditation may come easier to some compared to others in the program, so it is critical that you don’t allow yourself to become discouraged. With practice, you will find it easier to center yourself; and, if you need assistance in adopting meditative routines ask your support group for guidance. The internet is a treasure trove of helpful tools for people looking to have serenity in their life.

Mindful breathing is one other technique that can foster calmness in your life. At its core, being aware of your breathing is just that: focusing your attention on your breath. With your mind’s eye on the inhale and exhale, you will find afterward that your frustrations disappeared for a time. While you minded the inward and outward flow of respiration, the things that were bothering you didn’t seem as defeating. Again, you can find resources online for honing your mindful breathing technique.

Recovery is Path Toward Serenity

Most people currently struggling with addiction find it hard to remember the last time they had calmness in their life. Use disorders are synonymous with chaos, dysfunction, and unmanageability. Recovery, on the other hand, is a mechanism for physical restoration and spiritual healing. The Haven at Pismo Beach can assist you in breaking the cycle of addiction and give you the tools for bringing serenity back into your life. Please contact us today to begin the journey.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Curbing Your Inner Critic

inner criticHarsh words against yourself are harmful to your recovery. That’s because negative self-talk – or calling yourself things like “worthless,” “selfish” or “underserving of love” – can cause you to spiral into negative thought patterns. The result: an increased risk of relapse. 

Controlling your inner critic takes a bit of practice, but it is possible. You can start by paying attention to your positive traits and behaviors – even small stuff – and you may even consider keeping a running list. For example, did you carve out time to cook a healthful meal or mediate for 10 minutes today or volunteer this week? Focusing on things that make you feel proud will result in a much more positive and productive dialogue with yourself. 

Here are some other ideas to tame your inner critic and create an inner dialogue that fuels your recovery success: 
  • Treat yourself like a good friend. You certainly wouldn’t judge or berate a good friend, so why is it OK to do it to you? Give yourself the gift of gentleness, kindness and forgiveness as you journey toward sobriety.
  • Find an affirmation. Some examples: “I can do this” or “I deserve a better life” – whatever you choose, make it short so it can quickly replace negative thoughts. 
  • Counter overly critical thoughts. If you find yourself thinking, “I’m not good at anything” stop and replace it with a more realistic statement like, “I’m good at some things and need to work more on others.” Making an ongoing effort to convert pessimistic thoughts into more accurate statements.
Let Us Support Your Sobriety
At Haven, we can help you gain self-confidence and create a sober life worth living. To learn about our cutting edge treatments, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Combating Stress in Recovery

The Haven at Pismo hopes that everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July and that you managed to find some shade during this blisteringly hot week. Major holidays are also notoriously difficult for people in recovery, especially for individuals in their first year. So, if you were able to get from one side of Independence Day to the other without picking up a drink or drug, you have accomplished a remarkable feat!

During every holiday, there are always some who find themselves unable to stay the course. If you struggled yesterday and had an unfortunate relapse, please recommit to your program of recovery immediately. Relapse is a part of many people’s story, but it doesn’t need to be the end of recovery. One of the reasons that relapse occurs more frequently on celebratory days of the year is the stress that accompanies holidays. If one’s program isn’t active and healthy, it can be easy to fall victim to temptation and craving. It’s always vital to stay close to your support network on days that disrupt the usual routine of life. Again, if you slipped up on the 4th of July, please get to a meeting as soon as possible and begin the process of rising from the troubling experience.

It is beneficial to look at significant holidays as a reminder of how fragile recovery is, and why it is so important to remain ever vigilant. Each day, individuals working a program must take measures to ensure they keep their level of stress to a minimum. There are many ways to accomplish stress mitigation, all of which can prove especially useful if you are one of the millions of Americans contending with the blistering heat of late.

Stress Isn’t Good for Recovery

In recovery, most people strive for serenity. Affecting change whenever possible and accepting the aspects of one’s life that you have no control over is of the utmost importance. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves—throughout the day—of that which we have no power over; doing so is a valuable tool for staying grounded in recovery. We must do everything we can to remain calm and collected, doing so allows you to stay focused on your priorities. Below you will find several methods that can help keep your stress in check, and by default, avoid certain pitfalls.  

Prioritize Sleep: Getting enough rest is paramount to any program of recovery. Staying away from caffeine in the evening and engaging only in activities that have a calming effect on you is crucial. Prayer and meditation in the evening can help relax your mind and prepare you for repose. Instead of watching television, perhaps you can read a few pages of a book before bed. Establishing a bedtime routine will help you develop a sleep schedule. In time, falling asleep and staying asleep will prove to make you significantly more comfortable. The more rested you are, the less stress you will have throughout the day.  

Physical Activity: Making a point each day to do some form of exercise will promote good physical and mental health. When you feel better physically, it pays off mentally. This time of year, swimming is an excellent way to make you more relaxed, and right now it will undoubtedly keep you cool. So, if you discover yourself experiencing more stress than usual, find somewhere to take a dip. It is worth noting that studies indicate that those who exercise regularly sleep better.  

Share Your Feelings: One of the pillars of recovery is opening up to others about both good and bad aspects of your life. When a person struggles with a problem, they typically feel better after getting it off their chest. Today, you have a support network of men and women who share similar goals with you; if you are stressed out, talk to your peers about your feelings. More times than not, you will receive useful feedback for overcoming an issue you face. Remember, you are not alone in recovery.


Addiction Treatment

If drugs and alcohol negatively impact your life, it is possible that you meet the criteria for a use disorder. Recovery is possible, and The Haven at Pismo can equip you with the tools for coping with life without mind-altering substances. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the skills for achieving lasting recovery.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Millennials Who Know People Living With Opioid Addiction

opioid addiction
Opioid use disorder is a progressive disease affecting more than 2 million Americans. Each day, more than 100 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose. What’s more, given that addiction often goes unreported, there is a high likelihood that an even more significant number of individuals are struggling with either prescription opioids or heroin.

Using and misusing opiates of any kind is inherently dangerous, all of us must do what we can to encourage those who we love and care about to seek addiction treatment services. Opioids are both ubiquitous and pervasive in certain parts of the country; more and more people are finding that they know someone either taking or struggling with prescription opioids. The vast majority of persons procure such drugs from a doctor, friend, or family member; if such channels disappear, many will turn to the black market rather than face withdrawal.

Deciding to turn to the black market, to acquire prescription painkillers or cheaper and stronger heroin, significantly increases people’s risk of synthetic opioid exposure. In recent years, the charts showing the prevalence of illicit fentanyl use only go in one direction, up! Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be 50 percent stronger than most heroin. Most individuals, to make matters worse, have no way of knowing that the drug they are about to use contains the deadly synthetic.

It doesn’t matter where you are from or how educated you are; if you're white or black, young or old; opioid addiction can touch anyone. There is a good chance you know someone who is struggling; perhaps you are in the grips of an opioid use disorder? In either case, we implore you to seek help.


Do You Know Someone Dealing With Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction affects people from all walks of life and experts suggest that the disorder is impacting overall life expectancy for Americans. While adolescents and young adults are not the demographic at highest risk of opioid use and misuse, a survey shows that nearly half of millennials know someone who has dealt with opioid use disorder, NBC News reports. A new NBC News GenForward millennial poll indicates that more than four in 10 millennials (42 percent) know someone with a history of opioid addiction; 17 percent report knowing someone in their immediate family.

Those up to date with current events relating to the opioid epidemic know that among the various affected demographics, white Americans are most significantly impacted by the epidemic. The survey shows that 54 percent of white millennials know someone who has struggled with an opioid addiction; whereas, only 30 percent of African-American millennials knew an individual with such a history.

Most cases of addiction do not receive any form of treatment or therapy, despite the fact that recovery is an attainable goal. Among young, white Americans, 22 percent know someone in their immediate family who has misused opioids; it stands to reason that many of those same family members are still in the grips of the disease. With that in mind, it is critical that young people compassionately encourage their loved ones to utilize addiction recovery resources.

If you know someone is struggling, please do not keep it to yourself; helping them get assistance could bring about lasting addiction recovery for your mother, father, brother, or sister.


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms of co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today learn more about our program.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Untreated Mental Illness and Suicide

Whenever someone famous commits suicide, it forces the nation to ask some hard questions about the prevalence of mental illness and access to treatment. The act of taking one’s life doesn’t, after all, occur in a vacuum! People who are wrestling with suicidal ideations are almost always contending with some form of mental health condition, notably depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder. Of course, any one of the multiple psychological diseases can precipitate self-harm.

There exists a significant barrier to preventing suicide; most people are not apt to discuss their internal struggles with friends and family. We have a long history of sweeping mental illness under the rug in the United States. In the 21st Century, stigma is alive and well; many people fear the real and imagined consequences of talking about their symptoms. As a result, people do not seek assistance even when they have the resources to access effective methods of treatment. Such a reality is never more evident than when a celebrity ends his or her life.

Millions of Americans and millions more around the globe are reeling over the recent loss of two icons in their respective fields. The untimely deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain came as a massive shock to all who are familiar with the two’s contribution to fashion and culinary appreciation. It seems only right that we discuss suicide in some detail; while nothing can be said that will bring them back, we have an opportunity to encourage others who are struggling to seek mental health services. Rose McGowan wrote an open letter after Bourdain’s death; one line stands out particularly:

“There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting.” 

Suicide: The Culmination of Untreated Mental Illness

The media is hard at work tossing around opinions and speculating as to why two people at the height of their careers would opt out of life? It is documented that both Kate and Anthony had had a history of psychological issues and at least one of them (possibly both) had unhealthy relationships with drugs and alcohol. There has been some debate regarding Kate Spade's problems; however, Bourdain was no stranger to addiction and reportedly battled depression.

We’ll never glean what finally drove either of them to suicide. Although, most people with even the slightest understanding of mental illness would likely agree that both deaths may have been avoidable. Agree that if people felt that talking about their mental woes was socially acceptable more people would seek assistance. In the rooms of addiction recovery, whenever the subject of suicide comes up, it is almost a guarantee that someone will share that, “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” The statement is cliché, catchy, and contains a nugget of truth. The quasi-axiom can be taken in one of two ways; to the non-suicidal, it is usually met with acceptance; to the someone who is contemplating suicide, it may be viewed as another person’s attempt to minimize their pain. To the suicidal, their mental ache is anything but temporary, even if that isn’t the truth.

Regarding the former, it is true that mental illness or personal problems that find a compassionate forum can be transcended. With the right help and continued maintenance to keep symptoms in check, people can lead a productive and healthy existence. However, we all must be careful, even those in recovery, to avoid saying things to our peers that invalidates a person's feelings. In place of witticisms, let's do better to exude compassion, empathy, and encouragement.



The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention makes clear that suicide in America is more prevalent than most people think. In fact, on any given day of the year, there is an average of 123 suicides in the United States. Men die by suicide 3.53 times more often than women. Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the US. If you are contemplating suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms of co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today to find out more information about our program.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Myths and Facts About PTSD

There’s tons of research about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and yet myths abound. Dispelling these myths is important, however. Not only will it help ease the stigma attached to PTSD but it will also encourage those suffering from PTSD to get help. 

In honor of National PTSD awareness month this June, we’re talking about three common myths about PTSD – and the real facts, according to the PTSD alliance.

Myth #1: PTSD only affects military veterans. 
Certainly PTSD is common among veterans, but anyone can develop PTSD and at any age, even children. According to research, 70 percent of Americans will experience some type of major trauma within their lives and, of that group, 20 percent will develop PTSD symptoms. It might also be surprising to discover that women have a higher risk than men. In fact, they are two times more likely to experience PTSD symptoms. One possible explanation: Women are often more susceptible to traumatic events like domestic violence and rape.

Myth #2: PTSD happens immediately after a traumatic event and your risk lessens as time passes. 
PTSD symptoms often happen within three months after the traumatic event and can happen continuously for years. It can also take months or even years for symptoms to arise and these symptoms can come and go throughout the years. PTSD is often tricky as it’s difficult to recognize the symptoms, especially if some time has passed since the trauma, and it’s often mistaken for depression. 

Myth #3: PTSD is just mental weakness. People should just “get over” traumatic events of life.
This is perhaps the most damaging myth that exists regarding PTSD. While many people experience trauma and then return to a normal life after a period of time, some individuals develop PTSD depending on the type, severity and longevity of the trauma experienced. In addition, the following factors play a role:
  • Personality traits
  • How the brain releases chemicals to combat stress
  • Whether the individual experienced childhood trauma
  • Lack of social support 
Treating Addiction and PTSD
Yet another myth may be that drinking and doing drugs can help ease symptoms of PTSD. In fact, this type of self-medicating can worsen symptoms and decrease functioning across many areas of life. Luckily, proper treatment can help. Contact us today to learn more about how The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and manage the symptoms of PTSD without resorting to self-medicating. Call: 805-202-3440.