This much is certain – everyone wants to leave a positive legacy. An individual’s legacy is something much bigger than themselves. It has the potential to live on and impact many other lives. An individual in recovery has the potential to choose a legacy of sobriety rather than slipping back into their past addictive behavior.
So what would the individual leave behind if they were to die tomorrow? What would people say about them? Did the individual make other people’s lives better or worse? Do their children have solid values? Any and all of these things matter and if the answer is no to most of them, then now is the time to begin correcting their legacy.
There are many things that can motivate the individual to turn to sobriety in the face of the overwhelming challenges that drug or alcohol addiction brings. But the most important aspect of all might be what is the individual leaving behind? That might be the cornerstone of their effort towards recovery.
A lot of people might think their legacy is their children or the wealth they leave for future generations. But it’s more than that. A legacy is a mark left on the world. Everyone has something to offer to the collective tribe of humanity. And sobriety can leave a legacy.
By choosing to remain sober instead of falling back on old habits, the individual chooses to be physically and mentally healthy. This change can allow them to pursue an entirely new lifestyle, where they are not drunk or high. Instead they can be present and fully aware of everything that is going on around them. The individual can be a better parent, spouse, friend and generally a better person, now that they are no longer under the influence.
Once the individual is sober they can turn their negative experiences with addiction and substance abuse into a positive by helping other individuals who are struggling with addiction. For example, the individual who is in recovery for alcoholism may want to speak with students about the dangerous and unsafe behavior related to alcohol. Or the individual might decide to serve others as a sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous or be a mentor to a friend in need.
The individual understands the challenges of alcoholism firsthand so they are able to provide valuable insight and knowledge to help others with their disease.
At the end of the day, when the individual makes the decision to improve their health and life, they often gain an understanding of their mortality. Leaving behind a legacy that is not tarnished by addiction will be one that offers something valuable to those who come after.
Sustain Recovery provides a safe, structured environment for adolescents to learn about living substance free. To learn more about the elements of transitioning to sober living, contact us about our programs and how it can help you.
Is there a way to exercise more self control when in addiction recovery? Are there strategies that an individual can implement to prevent them from relapsing? Yes, there are. There are ways to resist cravings and overcome negative thoughts, and remain in self control when going through a rough patch in recovery.
Believing negative thoughts or things can compel substance abuse. If an individual believes that they cannot stop their addictive behavior, or that they have no control over what they do, it is almost certain that they will engage in harmful, addictive behavior. The negative beliefs become excuses. Everyone has voices inside their heads that tell them they cannot do something, or that they cannot stop doing something. It is only true if the individual chooses to believe it. But when the individual practices mindfulness and awareness and tells themselves that they are in total control, their beliefs changes, thus helping them avoid harmful behavior.
Thoughts are not the same as beliefs. For example, an individual can think all day that they’re a banana, but won’t believe it at the end of the day. Therefore, thinking something and believing something are two different things. When the individual starts believe their thoughts, it makes a difference to their lives. Especially when it comes to addictive behavior, it’s what the individual believes rather than what they think about that makes a difference.
Can beliefs be changed? Of course they can be. Individuals change what they believe all the time, when they are presented with new or different information as opposed to what they started out believing. In recovery, the individual must make an effort to start acting in a way that is consistent with different words and thoughts.
Outside of emergencies or events that cannot be controlled, it is fair to say that individuals have a lot of self control over what they choose to do. An individual who believes, for example, that not having a drink or a cigarette is more important that having that drink or smoking that cigarette, will choose to do something else, no matter how intense the urge. Self control can be exerted if it is consistent with what the individual believes.
Sustain Recovery provides a unique approach to adolescent care with our extended residence programs. Adolescents are given the life skills required for their transition to sober living. Contact us to learn about how our programs can benefit you.
Stress occurs when the individual perceives that demands placed on them — such as work, school or relationships — exceed their ability to cope. Not all stress is a bad thing. A little bit of stress can keep the individual alert, motivated and ready to respond to threat. Whether it’s preparing for a job interview or getting out of the way of a speeding car, it’s stress that gets the job done. However, unregulated stress can take its toll on the body and brain. A lot of repeated stress has been linked to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic pain and depression, among others. So how can stress be identified?
It is important to deal with stress, but it can be tricky to identify whether what the individual is feeling is stress or something else. This can be difficult because stress is subjective and reveals itself differently in different people. Some common signs of stress may be:
What is the individual to do when they are stressed? Dealing with stress is an individual pursuit, just like stress itself is subjective. Some techniques to reduce stress are:
Stress can’t be eliminated, but it can be identified, and by finding positive and healthy ways to deal with it, can be managed.
Sustain Recovery offers extended stay treatment programs for adolescents. Learn to deal with stress and other issues in a safe, structured environment. Call us to find out more.
The process of recovery is an enigma unto itself. It can be very fickle. The individual in recovery may have a solid plan to go forward and stay sober, and yet will find that sometimes they are stuck. There is no way forward. This could be because they are caught in the daily grind, or bogged down with obligations and responsibilities. And it can happen regardless of how long the individual has been sober.
When the individual finds themselves to be stuck, they may start thinking about their substance abuse and how they miss the effects it provided. This is when there is a high chance of relapse. Going to the 12 Step support group can be a huge help at this time. The support group is a great motivator and has many tools for individuals in recovery, including motivational sayings. Let’s look at some of them here.
Easily the most well known and most common recovery quote, it is heard in support group meetings everywhere. Individuals in the early stages of recovery can find themselves overwhelmed and even frightened at the thought of never using alcohol or drugs again. This may divert their focus and the saying ‘one day at a time’ is meant for just these sorts of situations. It is to remind the individual that they only need to focus on and get through the present day.
Standing for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tired, HALT is a familiar acronym for those individuals in recovery. These are four very powerful states of being, and can be the triggers that cause the individual to relapse. When the individual feels any of those emotions or states, they most likely feel the urge to use substances again to cope with what they’re feeling. Asking themselves questions like why do they feel the urge to use again, why are they angry and why they are reacting the way they are, will uncover the underlying reasons. Understanding the reasons is the key for the individual to be aware of their actions and stop harmful behavior.
Often individuals in recovery feel the need to be perfect. No matter how far they may have come in their journey to lasting sobriety, it may never be good enough. As a result, they set themselves up for failure, because of unrealistic expectations. Reminding themselves that recovery is a journey and not a race, and that small victories should be enjoyed can bring the individual back to their path, and continue taking small steps forward.
These are just a few of the motivational sayings the individual can repeat to themselves to stay focused on the path to sobriety.
Sustain Recovery offers gender separate, extended stay programs for adolescents. Contact us to find out how we can help your transition to sober living.
Summer can be associated with drinking and letting loose. In reality, summer has nothing to do with drinking, any more than the holiday season does. It is possible to have fun in summer without getting drunk.
However, it often seems like everywhere one goes in summer such as beaches, barbecues, picnics and parties, alcohol is present. People tend to drink during the day and coolers filled with beer are all over the place. There is unspoken pressure to ‘have fun’ and too many times that fun is linked to drinking alcohol.
So are there ways to have fun in the summer without having a drink? Yes there are.
Summer is the perfect time to try something new. People are always talking about wanting to try something new and different, maybe learn a skill that they have been thinking about, like learning to play an instrument, take a martial arts class, learn to cook. It could be anything. Learning something new is fun and enjoyable and will keep the individual busy and away from idle drinking.
What better time to get a beach body than the summer. The hot season would be a great time to start a new fitness routine. This will make the individual not only look good but feel good. The endorphins released with exercising are better than an alcohol high. Simple things like walking everyday, going to yoga classes or swimming are a good start if the individual doesn’t want an intensive routine. Above all, the benefits of getting fit are many, for the body as well as the mind.
Soak up the sunshine! Vibrant, sunny days mean that the individual can get natural Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D helps the brain create positive neural connections that keep the mind sharp and positive
No matter where the individual is in their recovery process, stepping up their program will push them to a new level of success. One way to do so is to check out different support group meetings, apart from the one the individual regularly goes to. They can also participate in program related activities where they can bond with other individuals in recovery on trips, camping, etc.
Getting to recovery is a long, hard process. The individual must remember to celebrate where they are and how many difficulties they had to overcome to get there. Summer is a great time to invite friends and family over. Even new sober friends. Throw a barbecue, host a dinner party, arrange a brunch and have plenty of mocktails and soft drinks around. Share the celebration with loved ones, but be sure to make it a strictly no alcohol affair. There is nothing better than spending time with friends and family who support the individual and will be happy to see their progress.
It is a blessing to have a few months of warm weather and blue skies to experience without nursing a hangover or feeling terrible about something. In recovery, the individual has started a new life and they should take the opportunity to experience it fully.
Sustain Recovery provides a safe, structured environment for adolescents to learn about living substance free. To learn more about the elements of transitioning to sober living, contact us about our programs and how it can help you.
Getting sober is a difficult time but it is necessary for a person to survive recovery. It is very important to focus on sobriety with intentionality and not just expect it to continue happening on its own. Learn why it is so important and how to preserve sober time.
Time does not wait for people to catch up. No shortcuts exist to recovery. The only way out is through. Every day in sobriety is earned through hard work and perseverance. It may be easier to relapse than keep going but the reality is every day is filled with opportunities to do the opposite of what is healthy and best. Learning to use time wisely and focus on the positive aspects of recovery helps to see the bigger picture and focus less on relapse and more on recovery for the long term.
Endurance athletes understand best the concept of stamina. It takes great will and perseverance to continue going through the paces of an athlete. People may wear out sooner than others and find the bottle, pills or drugs more inviting than staying in recovery. However, the motivation and effort that is given away needs to be released and moved away to make room for what is good about recovery rather than the temptations of being drawn away. Stamina is a person’s best friend when it comes to staying the course. Pain tolerance must be developed for sticking through the hard stuff of facing the past pain and trauma to move forward. Even when it hurts, just keep going.
Long term sobriety is not for the weak, meek or foolish. It is a way to take a good, long hard look at oneself to decide how things will happen. The years of sobriety do not matter as much as the strength of one’s sobriety. Sometimes people in recovery do weird things but it helps not to lose sight of the fact people can be angry, hurt and frustrated. It is part of the human experience and people in recovery do not get a free pass. Valuable lessons can be learned with patience and longevity of recovery. Some of the tenets of long term sobriety come from:
Many people do stay sober and never struggle with relapse while others do. Self-analysis is required to find a way to stay clean and sober as long as possible.
People with six months or six years sobriety are not any different in that each day presents challenges to sobriety. Sometimes it is hard and other days it is easier. Never lose sight of the fact that each day is a victory. Take time to celebrate the smaller milestones and the rest of the journey will feel less difficult.
Sustain Recovery supports adolescents who need help with recovery from drugs or alcohol. Call us if you want to find out about our programs to support treatment with a focus on individualized plans and approaches to the recovery journey.
A person with addiction can return to substance abuse any time following a period of being clean. Doctors refer to it officially as ‘relapse.’ Drug addiction relapse happens in approximately 40-60% of cases. It may pop up when least expected yet it is something which can affect a person for the lifespan. The first few months and years of recovery are the most critical which is why teaching relapse prevention skills is important.
Teens who battle addiction often experience unpredictability in many areas of life and relapse can throw yet another wrench into plans. The three areas that may trigger relapse include:
Social and emotional challenges of recovery affect many people and are exacerbated in adolescence. Counseling is typically encouraged to assist teens in harnessing the power of emotions. Depression, odd behavior and mood swings may indicate a teen needs help, even if it’s just in the form of conversation.
Stress and anxiety are two big factors in substance abuse for teens. Overwhelming feelings occur but for a teen addicted to drugs or alcohol, it may seem like a logical solution to the difficult emotions surfacing. Intuition matters in this situation. If it feels like it may be happening, it may be true so pay attention and offer help.
The body responds mentally and emotionally to the stages of relapse. Malnutrition, trouble sleeping and other physical symptoms are all signs a teen is struggling. A physical decline may be a sign relapse is not far behind or may have already happened. It is merely a matter of time until the teen’s mind wanders off to find drugs or alcohol to help resolve the problem.
Relapse triggers are events or situations which can be risky for recovery. This varies but coping skills and behaviors are helpful in supporting teens who struggle with potentially disastrous scenarios in recovery. Triggers may include a friend, another person, place, old relationship, situation or hard feelings which arise. Other situations may include:
Common ways to cope include exercise, creative ventures, learning, social interaction, meditation, going outside, mindfulness and other ways to be healthy.
Teens need a lot of support in recovery. It is not just about finding ways of coping but having people in relationship close to the teen who notice when things are happening and can offer help and kind words. It helps to find a facility that provides support when it seems nothing else is working. A good facility will have trained professionals who are able to help the teen cope and get back on track to a healthy recovery.
Sustain Recovery provides a safe, comfortable space to dive into the deeper reasons for relapse and addiction. If your teen is struggling, there is hope. Reach out to Sustain to find out how we can help your teen get back on the path to a healthier recovery with individualized plans, goal setting and more to support their journey.
A relapse prevention plan is not something every person thinks about. For those who have stopped using drugs or drinking, it is a good way to remind oneself of planning ahead and starting over in recovery. Prevention plans can help an individual through the inevitable struggles of recovery.
A relapse prevention plan is a way to:
Relapse prevention starts with realizing the use and abuse of substances includes alcohol and drugs which cannot be part of a person’s life again. True remission is when a person stops using entirely but a relapse prevention plan is a daily recognition that every day is one step away from reverting back to old ways and that, without a plan, it may fail.
Relapse prevention plans include changes to people, places and things. It is the hard work of recovery. Every person wants to have a full, engaging life but it is impossible to avoid the people, places and things where getting clean and sober means staying clean and sober. Avoiding those things is helpful but doing the work is the best way to attain the goals.
Cravings deserve honesty. Honesty with oneself and others. Relapse prevention involves awareness and admitting when an urge hits. Identify what is going on and be honest to stay away from old behaviors.
In the event of (insert relapse situation here), a person must know exactly what to do. It may mean moving away from people or places, having phone numbers to call or finding a trusted person. Daily intention is what will keep relapse possibility from becoming reality.
Everyone needs a plan because nobody is perfect. Relapse happens to many well-intentioned people in recovery. No matter the length of sobriety, do not take it for granted. It can jump out and bite anytime. Stay focused, intentional and get a plan that builds safety and awareness into it for best results.
Sustain Recovery helps direct people on the path to recovery. Our innovative programs will help you get focused and intentional with your goals. Call us if you are ready to get started on the road to intentionally focused and healthy recovery.
Depression and addiction feed into one another. When teens suffer from depression or mental health concerns, in combination with substance use disorder, this is called ‘dual diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring disorder.’ Both problems must be treated concurrently in order to best integrate things and provide the best plan for recovery.
Teens who are depressed can reach for drugs or alcohol as a way to lift spirits or numb painful thoughts and feelings. Depression and substance abuse feed into one another which can make things worse. Anytime a teen is experiencing depression or anxiety, substance abuse is risky. Treatment for other mental health conditions can help treat addiction. Medication can help treat depression including Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This includes:
Some common therapies that may help can include:
Some combination of cognitive therapy and possibly mindfulness practice may help teach skills useful for recovery in regards to substance use and mental health conditions (including depression).
This widely used approach in cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help people, including teens, deal with feelings of upset related to depression. It involves teaching people to identify thoughts or beliefs underlying depression and anxiety. This includes certain patterns of thinking that may have a direct impact on how a person feels. It may include describing an upsetting situation, identifying feelings and finding underlying thoughts associated with the situation.
Cognitive Therapy can be helpful in recovery from addictions. The therapist and teen can identify thoughts, feelings and circumstances which surround substance use and, early in treatment, play a critical role in helping the teen identify circumstances likely to lead to drug use and provide insights into the situation. Awareness of triggers can help identify circumstances likely to lead to drug use and provide insight into reasons why the teen may be using the drugs in the first place. Later in treatment, this may help in identifying situations or states where the individual has trouble coping and determine the best response for the situation.
Substance abuse is an example of people’s tendencies to move towards pleasure away from pain. Drugs often cause a teen to experience internal psycho-emotional pain. Teens must learn tools for coping and adapting with pain. Mindfulness Therapy can help. This skill takes practice and the type of therapy mindfulness starts is moment-by-moment nonjudgmental awareness of feelings, thoughts and surroundings. Mindfulness therapy includes:
Mindfulness helps instead of trying to ignore negative thoughts or to stop people from thinking. Mindfulness comes from regular practice of short and longer meditations and practices.
Some of the key things teens with dual diagnosis can learn through mindfulness include:
Mindfulness practice teaches that the only moment that we have to learn about ourselves, to grow, and to change in in the present moment. For that reason Mindfulness Therapy can help with long term recovery and decreasing relapse by improving awareness and offering an opportunity to respond in the moment to triggers and automatic reactions and to act differently.
Sustain Recovery supports adolescent care in a residential setting 30-90 days in length. Call us to find out how to get support for a teen struggling with addiction and may need help for co-occurring issues.
The early days of recovery are a challenge for all involved. When looking back, it can feel like a totally different world. Learning to deal with all the emotional and physical challenges can feel overwhelming. Finding ways to name and claim what has happened is part of the discovery process associated with recovery as is learning to cope with relationships.
Challenges in the arena of social interaction are common for people recovering from addiction. Being clean and sober brings new perspective to this area and also brings up old patterns, behaviors and ways of thinking. Finding ways to get involved in positive, healthy relationships is a necessary step in the recovery process, particularly around the area of emotional intelligence and learning to relate to people on a whole new level sobriety brings.
Intimacy in relationships including marriage can get to a whole new level when sober. This may go beyond anything a person can understand. Relationships with children can be changed, rebuilt and made stronger. Relationships with children may change for the better but it will take time. Friendships and personal relationships will also take time to grow and become better.
Things will be different in relationships, there’s no doubt about that. Giving those up does not preclude a person from entering into new ones or re-establishing connection with old ones. As the journey to recovery begins, a person may lack the skills to cope but it can be changed with support and help. Through the love of someone else, with help from coaches and teachers, new skills can be developed to learn to live a humble, grateful life in positive, meaningful relationships. It is well worth the hard work and ups and downs that come from recovery. It may feel difficult to know how to get through the days ahead but coping with relationship changes is not the end of the world. It is just the beginning, the opposite of what a person might expect to happen on the other end of sobriety. Relationship changes are part of life and it is worth the investment to find a positive way of coping, even if it is a struggle now it will not be forever.
Sustain Recovery supports adolescents in recovery. If you are searching for ways to move beyond addiction, call us to find out how we can help you make that transition.
I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.