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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Finding Support In Recovery

It is probably fair to say that early recovery is a confusing time for everyone. Not only are men and women grappling with living without the crutch of drugs and alcohol for coping, newfound recovery demands that people make sense of how to best live for recovery. People can no longer maintain the status quo of existence they are familiar with; they must instead forge a different path, associate with new individuals, and entertain ways of looking at things that are unfamiliar.

Simply put, early recovery asks much of people, including eternal vigilance to adhere – as best as possible – to the principles of a program for living life free from mind-altering substances. Dedicating oneself to recovery is possible and maintaining a program of long-term sobriety is within reach for those willing to subscribe. Support networks and fellowship ameliorate the process of changing nearly every aspect of one's life in service to recovery.

Men and women in early recovery are not alone. Unlike when one is in the grips of active addiction, people with a commitment to sobriety have others in their corner willing to be of service. When old thinking crops up in a person’s mind, they do not have to bear it in solitude, hoping they can resist the temptation to use. Instead, those whose recovery comes into jeopardy can turn to their support group for guidance. Together, we can work through individual problems; by working the problem, we can find collective solutions.

Looking Outward for Inward Guidance in Recovery

Anyone in treatment, inpatient or otherwise, and transitional living learn to rely on their peers for guidance on navigating the often-turbulent waters of early sobriety. Such people are encouraged to turn to those who have been on the path longer than them, to learn how they handled situations that could upend one’s program. An excellent suggestion to adhere to in recovery: whenever a person is unsure of how to handle a situation, ask for advice. A support group, including one’s sponsor or other forms of recovery mentors, can impart valuable bits of wisdom that can help people decide, for instance, whether something can imperil a program.

Relapse is a fact of life, but it does not have to be a part of your story. Those who’ve recently embarked upon the Journey are sometimes inclined to keep things to him or herself; it is common to fear what others might think about you if you open yourself up, for varying reasons. We all have a natural desire to present ourselves as having it all together to our peers; some worry that if they are thinking incorrectly about some facet of the program, then they will be judged. Such fears are real in recovery. While an inclination to keep thoughts to oneself is understandable, they do little good. That’s not to say men and women should share with the entire group about sensitive subjects or things that confuse them about recovery; instead, it is paramount that each person has at least one other individual they can confide in for how to do the next “right” thing.


Transitioning Into Recovery

Early recovery is the perfect embodiment of transition. Moving out of the pernicious darkness of active addiction into the empowering light of recovery is a process. Healing doesn't happen overnight and does not make perfect that which is flawed; what it does do is provide a vehicle for men and women to manage the symptoms of mental illness so that may lead a fulfilling and productive life. Those who stay on track, follow direction and heed the wisdom of others have an opportunity to change their lives and affect change in the lives of others.

It is salient that each person new to sobriety set him or herself to task and establish a rapport with people they can confide in within their immediate support group. When in meetings or at groups in treatment or sober living, look for individuals who share a commensurate dedication with you to avoid the trappings of selfish thinking. Again, whenever there is uncertainty about what the next right move is in life—ask. Someone else has undoubtedly dealt with a similar situation. Together, lasting recovery is possible for all.

The Haven at Pismo strongly emphasizes to our clients the vital importance of supporting one and another, working together to lay a strong foundation for long-term sobriety. We offer detox and residential treatment on the Central Coast of California. Please contact us to learn how we can help you renew to your best today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Why Self-Confidence is Key to Your Recovery

Building self-confidence is core to a successful recovery. In short, when you feel good about you and your abilities, you’ll be better able to stick with your recovery and build a happy, fulfilling and sober life. 

Here’s a look at some of the many ways self-confidence plays a role in your recovery: 

  • You’ll have less fear and anxiety. The more confidence you gain, the better you’ll be at calming your inner critic and/or any negative thoughts and feelings that could cause anxiety or depression or prevent you from sticking with your recovery. 
  • You’ll be more motivated. As your confidence grows – and as you meet your recovery goals – you’ll find yourself more driven to stretch your abilities. Certainly, you may still experience doubt from time to time – What if I fail? – but your doubt will no longer prevent you from trying. Instead, you’ll feel energized by your progress and more apt to push yourself to reach your goals. 
  • You’ll be more resilient. Self-confidence helps you better cope with any setbacks (small or big) in your recovery. This is because confidence makes it easier to accept that mistakes happen and that you can learn and grow from any mistakes you make on the journey toward lasting sobriety.  
  • You’ll have better relationships. The more self-confidence you have, the less preoccupied you’ll be with your own self-doubt. This will prevent you from comparing yourself to others and/or feeling worried about how others view you. In turn, you’ll have more energy to focus on the interactions and bonds you can form with others and be a more present friend, family member or recovery peer.   
Let’s Work to Build Your Confidence Together
At Haven, we can help you gain self-confidence and learn the skills needed to create a sober life worth living. To learn about our cutting edge treatments and addiction services, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Calling Alcohol A Drug

The optics on alcohol are quite tricky. On the one hand, the substance is legal for adult consumption and sold practically everywhere; on the other, no amount of alcohol is safe, and prolonged use can cause a host of medical problems. People who use alcohol in hazardous ways often attempt to distance themselves from those who use drugs. After all, many people in recovery via Alcoholics Anonymous still frown upon people at meetings mentioning drug use. For many decades, those seeking recovery were encouraged only to listen at meetings, if their problems stem from drug addiction.

While many AA meetings around the country and ostensibly abroad take a more enlightened approach when it comes to the members with a history of substance use, there exists a pervasive mindset that drugs and alcohol are somehow diametric. While each person probably has their reasons for viewing whiskey differently than heroin (including the general public), at the end of the day alcohol can bring individuals to abysmal lows just like any drug that carries the risk of addiction.

Changing how the public looks at drugs and alcohol is a progressive step worth discussing. One could easily argue that the stereotypes that follow addicts around are far more vitriolic than those tied to alcoholism. Most people hear about "functioning" alcoholics, few people hear about functioning heroin addicts. Despite the disparity in optics, more people succumb to alcohol-related illness each year than from drug use. An estimated 2.8 million deaths every year can be attributed to alcohol use, according to the British Medical Journal. A new editorial in the BMJ says it’s time to start calling alcohol what it is, a drug.


Treating Alcohol As a Drug

The experts writing in the BMJ argue that recognizing alcohol as a drug could have important benefits for public health, serving to strengthen policy responses to harms caused by addiction industries. Professors Kypros Kypri of The University of Newcastle and Jim McCambridge of The University of New York wrote:  

Alcohol, actually ethanol (C2H5OH), is a psychoactive molecule ingested by 2.4 billion people globally. A central nervous system depressant, it exists naturally and can be produced in people’s homes. Any alcohol consumption confers health risks, including for a range of cancers, and any possible cardiovascular benefits are smaller than was previously understood. Alcohol harms users through intoxication, organ toxicity, and addiction, which cause an estimated 2.8 million deaths every year. In a recent systematic review and meta-analysis the Global Burden of Disease Alcohol Collaborators concluded that the “the level of alcohol consumption that minimised harm across health outcomes was zero.”

Policy aside, it’s possible that lumping all mind-altering substances that carry the potential for addiction under one umbrella could help people in addiction recovery. Many people over the years have erroneously thought that they could continue using alcohol while in recovery for drugs, and vice versa. On a regular basis, newcomers will relapse on their substance of choice after first using something they never had problems with in the past. What is more, the disease excels at convincing men and women that dispensations can be made in recovery.


Addiction is Addiction is Addiction

Programs specific to assisting people recover are of vital importance and play an essential role in society. The way they operate is not the focus of this article. The salient focal point is the benefit of setting legality and stereotypes aside and helping more people see that alcohol is deadly addictive substance, the same as drugs. Helping people new to recovery understand that, no matter what program they subscribe to for guidance or what is spelled out in the name of such modalities, alcohol is a drug. If drugs bring a person to recovery, alcohol use must discontinue. If alcohol use results in needing outside help, the use of any mind-altering substance must stop too.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you are unable to stop drinking or using another kind of drug on your own. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and provide you with the skills and tools necessary for leading a productive and fulfilling life in recovery. The Haven is the perfect place to renew your best today!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mental Health Treatment Prevents Suicide

mental illness
Right on the heels of announcing National Recovery Month, we have National Suicide Prevention Week; September is both Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Month. Various public health organizations, people working in the field of mental health, and millions of people in recovery are using this opportunity to start conversations about mental illness, treatment, and recovery. The hope is that more individuals will draw strength from men and women who have come out on the other side of mental diseases and are now managing their symptoms via therapy, medication, and support groups.

The vast majority of males and females living with mental health disorders like depression and addiction, never receive any treatment. What happens – as you probably know – is that people's conditions worsen over time and many individuals are then at risk of making drastic decisions. Some despairing men and women start to convince themselves that treatment and recovery are not possible, and as a result, they begin entertaining suicidal ideations rather than continuing living this way. Untreated anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, PTSD, and substance use disorder significantly increases a person’s risk for suicide.

In the depths of despair people struggling with mental illness develop the mindset that they are utterly alone in this world, that no one else can understand what they are experiencing. If such people knew that there are millions of people just like them – a statistically significant number of whom are actively working programs of recovery – they may find the strength to reach out for assistance. The truth is that far more people are affected by mental illness than most would think; according to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 300 million people around the world are living with depression.


Suicide Prevention Month

Mental health disorders have the power to isolate men and women from their family and friends, which is why we all have to work together to spread the message that recovery is possible; in the process, it is paramount that everyone exercises compassion for his or her fellow-persons in the throes of mental illness. When people access treatment, they receive instruction on how to manage their conditions and lead productive and fulfilling lives. The longer society continues to ignore and ostracize those struggling with psychological disorders, the less likely people will be to talk about their illness and ask for help.

On average, there are 123 suicides per day, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide, and for every person who commits suicide there are 25 attempts. Throughout the week and month, the AFSP asks that we all do our part to help reduce the startling figures above by talking with each other. When we have open, honest, and non-judgmental conversations with our friends, family, and co-workers, we have an opportunity to affect life-saving change. The organization writes:

“Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another.” 

Those of you with an interest in helping the cause to fight suicide this month should take a look at the AFSP website for more information on how to take action. There are several ways you can help even if you have limited resources or time, such as sharing about suicide prevention on your social media accounts. The AFSP also invites people to help #StopSuicide by sharing their connection to suicide prevention. Please follow the link to learn more.

Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

One in four people who die by suicide are intoxicated at the time of their death. It stands to reason that many such individuals were struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. Addiction is a treatable mental health condition; and, like any form of mental illness, sadly only 4 out of ten people receive mental health treatment. Addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment work, people can and do recover from diseases of the mind when they believe it is possible and they learn how to manage their condition.

Please reach out to The Haven at Pismo if you are or a loved one is battling a use disorder or dual diagnosis. At our private haven, we are committed to integrity and excellence. We offer the perfect place to renew your best today!  

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Don’t Let Shame Stand in the Way of Your Recovery

While it’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of shame and guilt from time to time, it’s detrimental to your overall recovery (and your mental health) to dwell on those pesky feelings. 

According to a University of British Columbia study, those in recovery from alcohol use disorder who were ashamed of earlier drinking behaviors were more likely to relapse during recovery. Overcoming issues of shame and guilt will not only help safeguard your sobriety but it can increase your self-esteem and give you a better understanding of your addiction.

The first step in overcoming shame is to remind yourself that addiction is a disease; not a choice. While understanding this may not completely eliminate feelings of shame and guilt, it can be a good first step toward self-forgiveness for any past actions or behaviors that occurred during active addiction. 

4 Steps to Stop the Shame
Here are a few more tips to help prevent feelings of shame and guilt from interfering with your recovery: 

  1. Give it a positive spin. Positive affirmations are pretty powerful when it comes shifting negative thought patterns and stopping shame. Try it: Look in the mirror and say: “Today is a new chance for a better, sober life,” or whatever helps eliminate shame and strengthens your recovery. 
  2. Write it down. A journal is a great outlet to let go of any feelings of shame and focus on how far you’ve come in your recovery. There are no rules, so just start writing. 
  3. Focus on your breath. Feeling overwhelmed by guilt, shame or self-doubt? Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply for the count of 7. Now exhale slowly and let go of these negative emotions to make room for more positive ones. 
  4. Helping someone else. Volunteering is a great recovery activity that can help squash any negative feelings about yourself and turn your attention to the needs and feelings of others.  
Dealing With Emotions During Addiction Treatment 
Meditation is just one of the many holistic approaches we teach clients to help them stay positive, motivated and mentally strong as they journey toward sobriety. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Recovery Month: Confronting the Stigma of Addiction

Every year at this time, all of us at The Haven observe National Recovery Month. Throughout September the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) invites people working a program and recovery service providers to have a hand in breaking down the stigma of addiction and spreading the message that treatment is effective and people recover.

It is a well-known fact that the overwhelming majority of people living with any form of mental illness never receive the care they require. Paralyzed by the fear of social repercussions, many languish in their addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions for far too long. As a result, some never have the opportunity to embrace the gifts of recovery; instead, they succumb to the physical consequences of their disease. It should go without saying that this reality must change, should change, and can change if we all work together to promote the benefits of reaching out for help.

Seeking addiction recovery takes remarkable courage. Those in the grips of mental illness are often victims of their terrible affliction for years—decades even. As a result, the chaos of addiction becomes the norm and turning one’s back on their condition and accepting assistance can seem like an impossible challenge. No one can predict what the future holds, but people with alcohol and substance use disorder convince themselves of the opposite; such individuals resign to thinking that recovery isn’t possible, even when all the evidence says otherwise. Those in recovery know this to be true, they are living testaments of the power of change and all the possibility that comes with it—proving that recovery in all its forms is possible.

Stigma Busting

Stigma thrives on ignorance; addiction thrives on shame. It’s a vicious cycle that has the power to kill, which is why it is paramount that as many people as possible let it be known that there is a different way. There is scientific evidence proving the efficacy of addiction treatment and working a program of recovery. While relapse is always a possibility, as with any life-threatening disease, remission doesn’t always last; however, just because some members slip and fall from time to time, doesn’t mean long-term recovery is impossible. Right now, a statistically significant number of people around the globe have found it possible to accrue decades of clean and sober time. And, such people can serve as an authoritative source of inspiration for the individual who is celebrating 24 hours of sobriety.

SAMHSA, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asks people to heed their call and promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. When we come together and talk about the disease, we take some of the power of stigma away; when those less informed develop a better understanding of mental illness, society as a whole is healthier. Those suffering are more likely to seek treatment if they don’t feel like they are at fault for their mental illness—when they don’t perceive themselves as a social pariah.

Spreading the Message of Recovery

This month, everyone touched by addiction and recovery – including men and women working in the field – can take to social media and spread positive messages. SAMHSA would like to get the word out: behavioral health is essential to overall health. Those who feel comfortable are even invited to share their personal story of recovery with the hope of empowering others to give recovery a shot. Depending on where you live, it's possible that a Recovery Month event is occurring in your area. If attending is not possible, the HHS is live streaming several of the more notable events throughout the month.

The Haven at Pismo celebrates people in recovery and appreciates the contributions of all the treatment and service providers committed to helping people make recovery possible. If you or a loved one are currently battling alcohol, substance use, or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We offer clients medically supervised detox and addiction treatment on California’s Central Coast. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.