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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Relapse Prevention In Early Recovery

People who complete an addiction treatment program understand that they must do everything humanly possible to avoid relapse. Such individuals grasp that if they do not take steps each day to keep their addiction at bay, the disease will creep back to the forefront. In treatment, addicts and alcoholics are taught many skills and are introduced to various tools to help them cope with the stressors and difficulties of life. A failure to utilize such resources can quickly turn a molehill into an actual mountain.

Addiction is a complex disorder; and, like any mental illness, symptoms can manifest in unsuspecting ways. In many cases, people who relapse are those who thought they were doing everything right only to end up with a drink or drug in their hand. Merely put, the disease can sneak up on individuals, and in practically no time at all old behaviors can spring up. When signs of an imminent relapse become apparent, it is critical that efforts are made to nip selfishness, dishonesty, and addictive thinking in the bud.

If you finished an addiction treatment program of late, it is likely you learned some of the warning signs of relapse. Of course, people learn a lot in rehab, and it can be easy to forget about some the hazardous markers that can throw a wrench in the gear-works of recovery.


Some Signs Imminent Relapse

Meeting makers, make it, a recovery saying that makes a lot of sense. Those who make a point of getting to their support group as much as possible are far less likely to act in ways discordant with recovery. Early on, many recovering addicts attend meetings with enthusiasm; and, for some people, their zest for attending meetings begins to wane as the months pass. Attending meetings may not be the most fun, there are probably some other things many people would instead be doing. But, making a point of getting to the group is an opportunity, or rather an exercise in accountability; both to other persons and most importantly to one’s recovery.

If the amount and frequency of attendance slip, it is critical that such people make efforts to correct course. The value of opening up and listening to others on a regular basis cannot be overestimated. Attending meetings is one of the few opportunities to get feedback about problems and glean insight on how to overcome a particular situation. Last week, we covered the topic of utilizing your support group; naturally, meetings are an example of times that you can foster recovery relationships and protect against relapse. If you see that you are losing interest in meetings and spending time with people who share the goal of progress, then you are at risk of reconnecting with people from your past. Naturally, reaching out to people whom you used with is a precursor of relapse.

Your environment and the company you keep plays a significant role in recovery. Spending time with old friends or frequenting old haunts may not bring on a relapse right away, but if the behavior doesn't change immediately, a slope back to use is almost guaranteed.


Keeping On In Recovery

Addiction recovery asks a lot from individuals, notably a daily commitment to working a program. Those who go through treatment put in a lot of work and invest much time in service to turning one’s life around. If you are not going to as many meetings, avoiding your support group, or rekindling old relationships, then please act now to prevent losing that which you worked so hard to achieve—freedom from drugs and alcohol.

For those who have yet to seek help for alcohol or substance use disorder, please reach out to The Haven at Pismo to discuss treatment options. Our team of addiction professionals provides clients with medically supervised and top-quality care.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Utilizing Your Support Group In Recovery

People in early recovery may find it difficult to make connections with others in their support group. Even if you know that making progress is a joint effort between yourself and individuals who are also committed to working a program, you may have the urge to isolate from your peers. It is strongly advised that you avoid the temptation to exclude yourself from the recovery community.

Some individuals have a challenging time understanding why perfect strangers show an interest in their wellbeing. Those with a history of addiction are accustomed to being manipulated or taken by others, and the concept of selflessness is relatively foreign to addicts and alcoholics. And yet, upon entering the rooms of recovery newly sober persons see men and women going out of their way to help and guide their fellows—paying it forward.

When recovery is in its infancy one has to do everything in their power to trust in the process. Trust in the fact that the reason people you barely know want to help you is that it helps them stay clean and sober too. The men and women who are reaching out to you, asking how you are doing or if you need assistance with anything, are merely following the guidelines laid down by those who came before. Guiding the newcomer down the road of recovery is one of the best ways to safeguard against relapse; when people are plugged into the community, they are far less likely to be doing something that is counterproductive to recovery.


People Recover Together

If you are relatively new to the program and have had a difficult time connecting with your peers, it is OK, and it’s pretty natural. The vestiges of one’s past substance use can linger for a long time after treatment. In time, you will find it much easier to establish bonds and foster healthy relationships with the caring individuals around you.

As was mentioned above, being skeptical about your peer's motives for showing concern for you isn’t abnormal. However, it is essential that you disregard your doubts about others' intentions and keep moving forward. Following the directions of your support group is what is going to help you stay afloat when the seas of recovery become turbulent. Your connection to others is a blessing worth being grateful for and should not be discounted in the least.

The next time somebody shows interest in how you are doing or asks if you’d like to grab a cup of coffee after the meeting, please take them up on their offer. Socializing with your peers outside of the meeting is an excellent opportunity to foster lifelong relationships. Such people will be who you reach out to when insatiable cravings for drugs or alcohol develop; they are who is there for you when some unforeseen obstacle arises that may jeopardize your recovery. It’s vital to remember that keeping to yourself isn’t an asset to healing and progress. Resist the temptation to isolate, and again, trust in the process.


Central Coast Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin the most important journey of recovery. If chemical dependency or co-occurring mental health disorders are making life unmanageable, we can help you take the necessary steps to heal and recover. Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based addiction treatment programs.

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.