Tag Archive: addiction recovery

  1. Exploring Alternative Treatments for Recovery

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    Support groups, medical treatment, and therapeutic appointments are hallmarks of managing addiction to drugs and alcohol. Often adding more options can create a well-rounded treatment plan. Multiple options can also benefit people learning to manage their mental health issues. 

    Some people might initially look at options outside the typical medical and therapeutic ones as questionable. It is crucial to help clients understand that having an arsenal of choices is a good thing. Remind them that not everything they attempt will be a perfect fit. What counts is knowing they are open to trying new things. They often are surprised when what they initially doubted ends up making a positive difference. 

    The Benefits of Yoga

    Practicing yoga has been a popular activity among all age groups for decades. It can be done as a solo act or as part of a class. Expenses for beginning yoga typically just include the cost of a mat. As the warmer weather moves in, clients can take their mat outside and enjoy nature while getting in a workout. Some of the benefits of yoga include:


    • Relaxation
    • Elevates your energy level
    • Improves sleeping patterns
    • Eases pain from certain medical conditions
    • Provides stress relief
    • Helps improve moods
    • Promotes a healthy heart
    • Enhances a person’s balance and flexibility


    Learning to Center the Mind Through Meditation

    It can be challenging for those who deal with addiction and mental health issues to focus their thinking. Racing thoughts and anxiety-prone reactions can impair their ability to feel control over their lives. Meditation helps center a person’s mind, which lends itself to feelings of confidence and positivity. Discuss with your client what they can achieve by making meditation a regular activity in their lives. Benefits can include:


    • Reduces stress levels
    • Lessened anxiety
    • Reduces symptoms of depression
    • Decreases blood pressure
    • Increases positive feelings about yourself and others
    • Improves sleep patterns
    • Boosts circulation and aids in pain releif
    • Lengthens attention spans


    Letting Go on a Massage Table

    Massage therapy can seem self-indulgent if taken only at face value. Many clients may not understand that it can be part of a person’s recovery and overall good mental health. Many people experience getting massages as self-care, which may be a new thing for them. More than one type of massage exists, including deep tissue, Swedish, sports-related, and trigger point. 

    If a client is reticent to try massage therapy, discuss how the benefits can include:


    • Reduces stress hormones
    • Promotes relaxation
    • Reduces pain and sore muscles
    • Improves skin tone
    • Increases joint mobility
    • Improves circulation
    • Improves energy
    • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
    • Lessens muscle tension
    • Improves soft tissue injuries


    Treat What’s “Needling” a Person With Acupuncture

    The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has been used for generations. Acupuncture is a medical procedure in which a practitioner inserts very thin needles into strategic points of a person’s body. Those who are inexperienced with the practice may assume it is a painful procedure, but the types of needles used are different than those typically found in a physician’s office. Most patients report feeling little or no pain when the needles are inserted or removed. 

    Traditional Chinese practitioners point to acupuncture to help balance the energy flow in a person’s body. Western practitioners tend to focus more on the benefits related to stimulating body parts. These can include muscles, nerves, and tissues. Many patients believe they experience a myriad of benefits from both sets of ideals, which keeps them returning for more sessions.

    Benefits from acupuncture can include:


    • Reduces headaches and migraines
    • Reduces neck and back pain
    • Helps reduce menstrual cramps
    • Promotes relaxation
    • Reduces stress levels
    • Improves the immune system
    • Enhances mental clarity
    • Helps increase energy levels
    • Reduces nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy


    How Aromatherapy Can Help Recovery

    Aromatherapy can seem like some “new age” hobby to some people. While it is a holistic type of treatment, many people derive positive benefits from aromatherapy. One way to engage in aromatherapy is by using essential oils. These are extracted from natural plants and often used in conjunction with a diffuser. Other ways to employ aromatherapy include the use of spritzers, inhalers, bath salts, body oils, and lotions.

    There are also less formal ways to employ the use of aromas to promote mental health benefits. Many people enjoy using scented candles and favorite scents of incense. Those who receive benefits from aromatherapy count improved health related to their bodies and minds. These benefits can include:


    • Improves sleep patterns
    • Reduces anxiety levels
    • Helps reduce stress
    • Improves digestion
    • Helps manage pain
    • Reduces headaches and migraines
    • Helps boost immunity
    • Aids in fighting bacteria


    When it comes to recovery for addiction and mental health issues, a few approaches are common. Medical interventions and therapy prove helpful to many people. It can expand a person’s recovery when they explore alternative treatment methods to complement the more traditional ones. These can include yoga, meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, and aromatherapy. Sustain Recovery recognizes that their clients are individuals and knows how to formulate the right treatment program for them. If you have an adolescent or young adult client who needs help with addiction to drugs or alcohol, we are happy to explore our options for them. We also treat co-occurring mental health conditions. We offer inpatient, outpatient, and residential programs for young people looking to change their lives. Our beautiful Southern California location offers proven programs that teach young people how to take responsibility for their lives and embrace long-lasting recovery. Call us to discuss the needs of your clients today! (949) 407-9052.

  2. The Value of Being Part of a Group

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    Many young people isolate themselves as part of their mental illness and addiction. While they might once have participated group dedicated to hobbies or a sport, they might have dropped out. Isolating becomes the norm. When adolescents have made their “home base” the center of their world, it can make recovery more challenging. Healing does not happen while consistently hiding out alone in a bedroom. 

    One common mental health condition among adolescents and young adults is depression. This overpowering mental illness often leads to them experiencing a lack of interest in socializing. They may also deal with general anxiety or social anxiety, which causes them to fear being part of a group. As these young people make a long-term habit out of isolation, it becomes more challenging to break out of it.

    While the pandemic and related social isolation has narrowed down many opportunities to get out of the house, not all hope is lost. Looking for ways to develop and sustain hobbies can contribute to elevating a person’s mood. Parents and other family members can help their loved ones look for groups to join. Treatment professionals can also be a valuable resource.

    Why Being Part of a Group Can Help

    The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that experiencing happiness is an integral part of a person’s overall health. Studies show that the happiness levels of people in a group can affect one another. Being a member of a group with shared interests and goals can help a person stop isolating and feeling alone. When young people create bonds, they feel more inspired to maintain their sobriety and mental health.

    When a young person has a history of isolation, becoming part of a group can help prepare them for significant life events. Once high school and college campuses are fully open again, students already comfortable in groups have an advantage. Knowing how to be a “team player” might be advantageous to their careers when entering the workforce. 

    Having a comfort level in being part of a group can also spill over into family life. Many sullen teenagers have a history of avoiding family get-togethers. Experience as a person using healthy coping skills to deal with their sobriety and mental illness makes participating in group activities easier. When the family unit comes together to help the young person succeed, great things can happen.

    Groups Within Treatment Programs Create Bonds

    A successful component of seeking addiction treatment often includes going to a residential facility. One advantage of this situation comes from removing the adolescent from negative influences. When surrounded by a peer group that focuses on the abuse of drugs or alcohol, the peer group often impacts their choices and moods. Once in a residential facility, exposure to peers with a different mindset begins. Living among a community of individuals in pursuit of recovery can help influence each person in the group. 

    After leaving a residential program, opportunities to be part of a positive group are plentiful. Group therapy and 12-Step based groups commonly offer young people opportunities to stay focused on their goals. New friendships can form that help replace the toxic ones they left behind when going to treatment. A treatment professional or sponsor can help influence the young person to stay on the path to recovery. Experiencing success by engaging with like-minded peers often increases their chances of staying sober. 

    Look for Groups Based on Common Interests

    Once a young person has completed residential treatment and returned home, look for ways to socialize. If suffering from addiction and mental illness forced them to lose interest in previous hobbies, try helping them jumpstart one or two. Turning over a new leaf can involve finding a new hobby. Ask them if they would like to try something new. Suggestions can include:


    • Learning to play a musical instrument
    • Working with shelter animals that need companionship
    • Becoming a budding champion at board games
    • Making jewelry
    • Learning a new language
    • Enjoying a new sport


    While the pandemic has limited a lot of hobbies, society has begun to reopen. Keep an eye on safety protocol that allows for gathering together to play sports and other in-person activities. In the meantime, take advantage of options allowing for connections with a group that don’t have to occur in person. The internet offers endless choices for classes that are often free of charge. A young person can use the internet to play chess or other games with opponents. They can use videos to practice guitar or speaking French, which will better prepare them for advanced classes when social distancing is a thing of the past. 

    A common issue of teenagers and young adults who suffer from addiction and mental health concerns is isolation. They often withdraw from social groups and family life, further complicating their ability to receive help. Studies show that being a part of groups and sharing their lives has excellent benefits. Participating in family events and hobbies can help sustain their recovery and lay a healthy blueprint for their adult lives. Sustain Recovery offers multiple levels of care for our clients. We provide inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment. If other programs have not worked for you or your loved one, we can offer a long-term treatment system that can help achieve long-lasting sobriety. Our Southern California location provides the perfect setting for beginning treatment that is tailor-made for young people. We will help you set and achieve your goals for a new beginning. Call us today to get started on a whole new life! (949) 407-9052.

  3. National Write Down Your Story Day

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    Did you know that March 14 is National Write Down Your Story Day? Whether you are more comfortable using pen and paper or utilizing a keyboard, the goal for this day is telling your story. You have many stories to tell, and when it comes to the value of written communication, there are many options available. You might want to choose one particular story to disclose, such as a memorable event from earlier in your life. You might prefer to describe an ongoing process you are involved in that deserves to be explored in storytelling form. 

    However you decide to tell your story, great value abounds in giving your thoughts and experiences a voice. Well-known benefits of writing down your thoughts, feelings, and goals can include: 

    • Boosting your self-esteem
    • Improving your mood 
    • Reducing stress 
    • Improving memory
    • Inspiring creativity

    Keeping a Journal Keeps Your Life in Focus

    If you are new to journaling, the task might feel a bit foolish at first. However, when done regularly over time, there are multiple benefits. Recording impactful life events helps you “in the moment” by allowing you to sort through your feelings and reactions to what is occurring. The process of “laying it out” in written terms gives you a unique overview of events, as well as assistance in making decisions regarding your next move. 

    It also can prove helpful to look back on what you wrote in the future, as you may record details that otherwise would be forgotten. Patterns may emerge in terms of the behavior of yourself or others, which are beneficial to recognize. 

    Write Your Autobiography

    If you have ever read an autobiography, which is the story of one person’s life written by that person, you know how interesting it can be to see the arc of a person’s life played out in a book. One need not be famous to author their autobiography. Make a goal to spend a certain amount of time per day or week to write your history. Sketch out the usual details, such as when and where you were born, your family members, and details related to schooling. Fill in with memories of important events that happened to you and relationships that began or evolved. 

    Fleshing out your life history will likely trigger memories you might not have visited in a long time. Writing can help you better understand things related to your mental health issues and recurring patterns. As these patterns present themselves, you can discuss them with a treatment professional, such as a therapist, to see how you can move forward with this awareness. It might mean you recognize ineffective behavior in yourself or harmful actions from those around you more quickly, allowing you to make smarter decisions and change course if needed.

    Write Your Story That Hasn’t Happened Yet

    There can be great value in writing about the story you would like to live eventually and detail in your journal or life story. Planning for the future can help focus a young person’s mind and give them something tangible to review while learning to manage their mental health and sobriety. Use your new writing pastime to map out what you want your future to be. Start with bigger goals, then break each one down into small steps that move you closer to achieving your goal. Imagine your life after conquering this list and how you might tell this story of accomplishments to others.

    Use “Choose Your Ending” Story Options

    Many virtual and e-stories include the option to “choose your ending,” meaning at specific points in the story, the reader can choose which direction the main character goes. The character might have the option to go through one of three doors, visit a specific city, or engage with a choice of characters. “Choose your ending” means having several chapters that lead to a variety of endings. 

    Try exercising this option in telling your story to anticipate what results you might see, depending on your choices. If you have an upcoming decision to make, consider how things might go, depending on what choices you make. For example, you might be invited to attend an event that could make staying sober difficult. Write out different versions of what you anticipate resulting feelings and actions will be, including if you decline the invitation, go without mental preparation, and go with a plan of action. Ask yourself which is the best outcome for you. 

    You can use the “choose your ending” exercise to help make healthy choices related to many situations in your life!

    March 14 is National Write Down Your Story Day, which gives you ample opportunity to document your past, think about your present, and make choices that help build a better future. Keeping a journal is a popular way to help organize your thoughts and delve into emotions. You can also write your autobiography, plan goals for the story you will tell about your future, and help plan ways to handle difficult situations. At Sustain Recovery, we understand how to guide adolescents in identifying their own stories. Our skilled treatment professionals help our clients put their past in perspective and make better decisions related to their mental health, struggles with addiction, and life goals. We offer various programs to suit the needs of a young person who needs residential treatment and other kinds of assistance. Call us today to find out how we can help put your family back together! (949) 407-9052

  4. Spring Clean Your Way Into Action

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    Happy woman cleaning

    March 20 is the first day of Spring 2021, which brings to mind the long-honored tradition of “spring cleaning.” Many people use the warmer weather as inspiration to throw open the windows and begin a deep cleansing of their homes. Deep cleaning tasks avoided for months,  like cleaning out contents of drawers, closets, and underneath the bed, help organize the house and give a renewed sense of order in people’s lives. 

    Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be restricted solely to cleaning the house. It can be applied to mental health and addiction, too. Spring affords an excellent opportunity to take stock of and clean out old belief systems that hold a young person back. Spring is a time to replace these beliefs with newer, more productive ones. 

    Take Stock of Your Self-Esteem

    Often, when adolescents or young adults begin a treatment program, they lack a positive view of themselves. If a person doesn’t make a habit of monitoring their self-views and work to keep them elevated, they can lose the ground they gained during treatment. Low self-esteem holds many people back in several areas of their sobriety and management of mental illness. Cleaning out any negative thoughts that have set up camp in their head is essential. 

    To monitor where your self-esteem level is, ask yourself what situations tend to trigger negative feelings. Common culprits include work, school, family situations, and romantic relationships. Journal about how you react to each situation and what negative thoughts come up that you can challenge. Work on erasing negative assumptions and “all-or-nothing” thinking, such as “I always fail when I try to do this” or “If this doesn’t work out, I will have messed up everything forever.” Differentiate between feelings and facts. You may feel that a task is impossible; however, this doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve your desired outcome.

    Review Your Mental Health Goals and Accomplishments

    Dealing with mental health diagnoses requires daily action. It is imperative to review what goals you and your treatment professionals set and see where you stand. These goals might include:


    • One-on-one therapy sessions 
    • Participating in group meetings
    • Taking any prescribed medications 


    Ensure that being “cooped up” during the colder climate and pandemic has not contributed to being less diligent about maintaining these essential tasks. 

    If you have utilized tasks or approaches to manage your mental health that no longer work, “spring clean” those out and restock with ones that work now. You can discuss your options with a member of your treatment team. You can also do research online and read books focused on general mental health topics or your specific diagnosis. Often a new, streamlined approach helps a person feel more inspired as they move into the new season of recovery. Make sure you give yourself credit for all you have accomplished.

    Start Envisioning How Your Future Will Look

    A young person dealing with mental health and addiction issues may have trouble seeing their future as bright and full of possibilities. Remind yourself that you do not need to have every plan sorted out right now. Moving forward requires making individual decisions about things like school and career options. If you are still in high school, talk to your school’s counselor about college choices. If you have certain universities in mind, check their websites to see the degrees offered. If you are not yet sure what field you would like to study, research can offer ideas and inspiration. 

    If you have a general interest, like photography, teaching, or law enforcement, talk to school counselors or treatment team members. Look to anyone you know working in that field for guidance. Brainstorm what degrees would allow you to learn about this field to build a career. Remember that even if you have some college classes under your belt, you can always change direction and work towards a career path that suits the new you.

    Planting a Spring Garden

    While most gardens bring to mind things like flowers and herbs, it is possible to plant a mental garden related to your future. Think about things you would like to come to fruition that take time to grow. It might be having a better relationship with a family member. You can begin by having a calm, sit-down conversation with them to discuss ways the two of you can better understand each other and become closer. 

    You might be interested in looking for new friends. As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely distributed and society begins to reopen, more options for socializing will open up. Look around for groups centered around an interest or hobby you enjoy. Try volunteer work focused on something you have an interest in, such as outdoor activities or animals. Building a new circle of friends or social activities takes time. Planning for fun with our friends in the spring can make for a meaningful summer and year ahead.

    Spring cleaning isn’t just about going through closets and cleaning behind the refrigerator. It can be adapted to include ways to take stock of where you are in handling mental health, addiction issues, and general life goals. After a winter full of cold weather and pandemic-related isolation, spring affords an opportunity to review where you are now and plan for growth over the rest of the year. Sustain Recovery can help adolescents and young adults begin their spring cleaning with various programs designed to treat youth who need individualized attention. We offer residential treatment that includes schooling and aftercare programs. Our approaches include clinical interventions, 12-step recovery, and other programs that are well-suited for either a client new to recovery or a person who has been “treatment-resistant” in the past. Call us now at our Southern California location to find out how we can help you or your loved one get on the path to wellness and a bright future! (949) 407-9052


  5. Should You Reenter the Dating World When You’re New to Sobriety?

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    When a person who has been in treatment for addiction or alcoholism leaves their treatment program, they have a host of concerns to deal with. They must re-enter their home life, return to school or a job they left behind, and rebuild relationships with their family and friends. Above all, they must strive to continue the sobriety they have achieved. All of those tasks make for a full plate of goals to achieve and maintain.

    Factoring in dating can seem intimidating and complicate things. 12-Step programs recommend that a person refrain from dating for a year after they begin their sobriety, while other programs recommend a shorter waiting time. Consulting with a mental health professional treating the person or a mentor from a support group can help a person decide what is the best choice for them.

    Common Reasons to Put off Dating in Recovery

    Sometimes a person who is fairly new to recovery may end up using a new relationship as a replacement for their drug or behavior of choice without even realizing they are doing it. Their focus needs to stay on what relates to staying sober, like the 12-Steps, individual or group therapy, and anything else they are utilizing to stay well. Dating also can be time-consuming and become an excuse to blow off an appointment or therapy session. Recovery is a time that is often fraught with emotion and most people find their plate is full enough with dealing with emotional fallout related to their recovery. Adding in the inevitable drama, uncertainty, and the emotional highs and lows of dating may lead to overload, causing sobriety and romantic aspects to shatter. 

    Are You Ready to Date Again?

    As a person checks off the days and months that they’ve been in recovery, they may feel a natural urge to add dating to their calendars. The absence of drugs and alcohol that previously clouded the mind makes someone with a newly clearer headspace feel that they are ready to get out there and either date several people or look for one companion. Ask yourself if you truly are ready or just want to be ready.

    Talk to those who know you well and want the best for you and ask them if they see you as ready to head back into the dating world. Think about what pace you would like to establish. Do you see yourself dating several people? Are you looking to settle down? Make sure you know your goals before you make any moves.

    What Can You Bring to the Table in the Dating World?

    Dating after sobriety can be a challenge for both the person dealing with mental health issues and addiction, as well as the people they date. When you meet someone new, ask yourself if you are comfortable being honest with them about your recovery and how many details you want to reveal. At what point do you feel it’s best to bring up the topic? Some people want to put their cards on the table before the first date, letting the person know that they are in recovery and want to make sure the person is comfortable with this. Others choose to wait for a few dates before opening up to see if they feel compatible with the new person. 

    Consider that any person you meet that may date you typically expects a certain amount of things from their new potential love interest. They want someone who is emotionally stable and ready to date. They may want someone who enjoys partying and may feel held back by someone who is sober and intends to stay that way. On the other hand, you may find they also abstain from drugs or alcohol, or are a light drinker who doesn’t mind keeping your sobriety at the front of their minds. Ask yourself where you land with each of these possibilities and how soon you should ask someone you want to date or are already dating about these concerns. 

    Putting off Dating Again Has Its Advantages

    While it can be a disappointment to take a long-term break from the dating world, it doesn’t have to mean a time in which a person is stalled out and just clock-watching. Taking the pressure off yourself by removing dating from your roster of things to do allows for more time to work on your own issues and become stronger in how you deal with your emotions. You will also bank more time being sober. All of this makes you a more viable and steady potential partner for people you date down the line. 

    In addition, someone you ask out later on may feel more confident accepting a date from someone they know has spent more than a year working on themselves and being physically and emotionally sober. In a time in which the pandemic is still causing widespread quarantining and limiting places people typically go on a date, waiting on dating or taking it slow now may be easier than it typically proves to be. Remember that with time and attention to getting through it, every difficult phase ends. The choice to limit your dating life now will not be permanent.

    One of the biggest concerns young people have when they are new to sobriety is if and when they should date. 12-Step programs recommend waiting a year before reentering the dating world and other programs have other time frames. Taking the time to focus on recovery gives you a leg up and can make you a better partner down the line. Make sure you know if you are ready to date, what you bring to the table, and what expectations any potential partners you meet may have. Sustain Recovery understands the special place that dating has in the lives of adolescents and young adults and can help shepherd our clients through this portion of their recovery. Our trained staff offers help with several types of programs that put sobriety front and center, along with dealing with any accompanying mental health issues. Call our Southern California location today at (949) 407-9052 to find out how we can help you or someone you love become whole again.

  6. Aftercare for the Client and Their Family

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    Family Therapy

    The daily activities in a residential program impact the person a great deal during their stay. Individual counseling, group therapy, and a host of other treatment options help refocus a young person’s mind. These tools also teach them to manage their mental health issues and any accompanying substance abuse problems. While the work done while staying at the residential treatment center is essential, it also sets the tone for either moving into transitional living or returning home.

    Transitional Living Can Help Build a Bridge

    When adolescents have completed their stay at a residential treatment program, they may opt to move to transitional living before returning home. Transitional living creates a buffer between the daily rigor of inpatient treatment and the freedom of living at home. After all, they have spent weeks or months in a highly structured environment. In most cases, it is not recommended that a young person immediately go back into their old home environment. This gives them time to practice new life skills acquired during treatment and test the waters before heading home. 

    Typically this type of program continues some treatment elements such as individual or group therapy. It may also offer assistance in finding a job or volunteer work. Often, several people from the program live in a group setting, sharing living quarters and responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. Shared housing with like-minded individuals in the same age group who are also on the path to recovery can help everyone feel understood and stay on target. 

    Aftercare Options for the Client

    When the client returns home and begins to assimilate back into their family and day-to-day life, it’s often helpful to have some form of aftercare plan in place. For the young person, aftercare typically involves private counseling sessions that build on what they learned while in treatment. Group therapy, including 12-step groups, can be beneficial, too. If they are attending school, make sure to speak with a guidance counselor. They may have some advice about the residential treatment that was completed and provide insight into achieving educational goals, including any college plans. 

    How Aftercare Can Involve the Family

    Aftercare at home is a multi-faceted plan that doesn’t just involve things for the child to accomplish. While the young person is away at treatment, the time spent apart can allow family members some breathing room and aid in addressing their own behaviors and thought patterns. By the time the loved one is back home, everyone will have had a break from the previous tension and approach the situation with a clearer head. 

    Family members can contribute to the child’s well-being in several ways. Family therapy can help parents and siblings understand their loved one’s journey, how they viewed things before they left for treatment, and how they see things now. It can spotlight how each family member might have contributed to or been affected by the hostile family dynamics in play before the person left for treatment. Conversely, it can also help the client try to see how their mental illness and substance abuse have impacted the family unit. When everyone in the immediate family is allowed to step outside their own experiences and emotions and see how others feel, the benefits can help during the aftercare and years to come. 

    Aftercare that involves the family typically involves the parents helping to hold their child responsible for certain things, such as staying sober. They can also utilize what they’ve learned in family therapy to call out behaviors or an attitude that is a return to old habits, rather than using what they learned in treatment. In return, the child can open a dialogue with their parents when they feel they need more support or a different kind than they are being offered.

    The Dangers of Social and Peer Pressure

    One of the most significant risks for a teenager who has entered sobriety is the pressure that can come from their peers and social situations. Part of aftercare means the young person needs to be prepared for possible encouragement to drink or use drugs from friends or people they meet in social situations. Having a few prepared things to say or giving themselves permission to leave the house or location they are at can help arm them to say no to an unwise choice. Parents also can be involved in this aspect of aftercare by monitoring their child’s peer group and which activities they are prone to engage in. Setting limits on where they go and with whom, as well as reasonable curfews, afford the child needed guidance and practice adhering to rules that reinforce sobriety as a top goal. 

    The hard work of residential treatment for adolescents and young adults dealing with mental health issues and addiction can help them a great deal. Still, aftercare is also vital to continue progress once the person returns home. Aftercare may involve transitional living as a step-down procedure. Once the client is back home, aftercare proves essential to the process of managing mental health and staying sober. Things like private counseling, group therapy, 12-step programs, and educational guidance can all help them stay focused. The family also benefits by addressing their own contributions to helping their loved ones and themselves heal. Sustain Recovery understands how to help adolescents while they are in residential treatment and give them the footing to stay on the right path when they leave. Our beautiful California location provides multiple treatment options. Call us today to find out how we can help your loved one and family heal both now and in the future! (949) 407-9052.


  7. Why Residential Treatment Is Good for the Entire Family

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    By the time an adolescent or young adult reaches the point that residential treatment becomes an option, their life has spun out of control. The process of looking for the right treatment program can feel chaotic to both the person and their family. In turn, everyone involved may decide that going into a residential facility is not an option worth exploring. Yet deep down, everyone likely knows that what they are currently doing is not working. This makes it that much more important to trust that the right residential program can prove beneficial to the entire family. Finding the plan that best suits the child’s needs may take some time but ultimately will be worth it. Make sure to ask any professionals the young person is already seeing, such as a therapist, group leader, or doctor, for recommendations.

    A Change of Scenery Helps a Young Person

    An adolescent or young adult who faces mental health challenges and any co-occurring issues like alcohol or drug abuse is often worn out with trying to cope. Their day-to-day lives can feel like the Bill Murray film Groundhog’s Day, in that it’s the same thing every day with no hope of change. Going to a residential program may seem intimidating because the person does not know what to expect and who else will be there. As much as they tire of their repetitious lives, predictability can feel comforting when the alternative is unknown. 

    What often surprises a young person who enters a long-term residential program is that it allows them to feel as if they have a clean slate. They have hit a reset button and are able to benefit from being away from the environment that left them feeling stuck and devoid of hope. Many clients in residential treatment report feeling they get a chance to develop a clear overview of their issues and what work they can do when returning home. While they may initially resist opening up to a new support system, they soon find a certain comfort level. Having someone neutral listen to them and offer their input and guidelines for moving forward can be just the lift they need. 

    A New Peer Group Helps With Feeling Less Alone

    Being prone to surrounding themselves with like-minded individuals, many teenagers spend time with friends who are also engaging in addictive behaviors and may have fatalistic attitudes. When the teenager moves to a residential center, their peer group changes. They become acquainted with and build bonds with others their age who can relate to their struggles, which helps them feel less isolated and misunderstood. It also ensures that their peers are not using alcohol or drugs, and everyone is being taught how to want and achieve sobriety. 

    How the Family Can Benefit From Time Apart

    The young family member who goes to residential treatment is not the only one who can benefit from the time spent apart. Often, a household trying to cope with someone who struggles with their mental health and any co-occurring alcohol or drug abuse has become burned out. The family deals with many of the same old arguments, frustrations, and fears on a daily basis. A break can be just what everyone needs. As much as family members may want to help the affected family member, they can also take a deep breath, get a better view of the family landscape, and be better prepared to support their loved one when they return home. 

    Residential School Classes Keep Kids From Getting Behind

    Many residential treatment programs for young people offer the ability to continue their schooling. This makes for an easier transition back home when their education has continued while they were gone. Treatment programs typically evaluate the student for their current academic status and offer them classes that meet them at their level. The continuity of still going to school while away from home helps establish a routine. This provides a reminder that treatment is not a vacation but rather a way to take advantage of a well-rounded treatment plan that addresses multiple areas of a young person’s life.

    The Benefits of Residential Treatment Last After It Ends

    Residential centers often prepare both their clients and their families for when they reunite at home. This allows everyone to view the reunification of the family as a fresh start that they all need. They can put to use any guidelines they were given to move forward, which increases the odds of a happier, healthy future for everyone. 

    Residential treatment for adolescents and young adults provides many benefits for the client. A change of scenery and a new peer group focused on recovery furnish a young person with a new platform on which to build a new life. When they can continue their schooling, it keeps them from being left behind scholastically. Families also benefit from having a break from an often tumultuous time at home. Sustain Recovery offers long-term residential programs that provide all of these benefits to our clients and their families. Our skilled team members help our clients learn to rebuild their lives, develop healthy coping skills, and understand their power in achieving their goals. They leave feeling empowered and with a fresh take on recovery. By the time they are ready to return home, everyone in the family will be better equipped to start anew. Call us today to find out how we can help put your family back together! (949) 407-9052.

  8. Do You Know Your Bill of Rights?

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    Bill of Rights

    January 2021 ushers in a new administration on Inauguration Day, inspiring many Americans to think about our founding fathers and the documents that form our country’s backbone. Did you know that everyone is entitled to their own Bill of Rights regardless of their political viewpoints? Not the document housed in an archival section of a museum but rather a list of fundamental rights to which every human being has a claim.  We’ve compiled a list of basic rights you deserve to enjoy and how to accomplish them.

    The Right to Be Treated With Respect

    Everyone deserves to be treated well by others by virtue of being born. Often during talk therapy or another part of a treatment program, a person discovers that they live a life that includes poor treatment from someone else. Such abuse can come from many sources. It could be an abusive partner, a family member who makes habitual negative comments to them, or a friend who continually puts the person down to feel good about themselves. 

    When these patterns go on long enough, it’s easy for some people to believe they deserve this degrading treatment. Therapeutic work can help dismantle this mindset, allowing a person to begin to refuse to accept such treatment. If the people in their lives continue to disrespect them, it can be helpful to create a list of potentially toxic relationships and decide if keeping them around adds to their lives or not. Even when it can be painful to do so, sometimes a person who refuses to respect them needs to be shown the exit.

    The Right to High Self-Esteem

    Besides reviewing how others treat a person, it’s equally crucial to ask your teen how they see and treat themselves. While no person feels fantastic about themselves 24/7, a healthy mindset means learning to reject automatic thoughts like feeling inferior to others or undeserving of love. Exercises like journaling and using positive affirmations can help retrain a young person’s mind to develop higher self-esteem. This makes it easier to think more positively about themselves, which aids in rejecting negative language and actions coming from those who have a vested interest in the person not having good self-esteem.

    The Right to Plan an Exciting Future

    When a person remains mired in the mental cloud of depression and similar mood disorders, it can seem as if there is no hope for a better future. Young people can become conditioned to accept that life will not change for the better. This belief drags them down, sometimes leading them to believe that they cannot accomplish their dreams. Even when an individual’s current life feels stormy and dark, sunny days are always possible. 

    Help your child take charge of their forecast and plan for brighter days. Have them write out what their ideal life would look like and encourage them to talk about it with a therapist, coach, or mentor. Implore them to think about their perfect career or what they might like to go to school to learn about, then help them put plans into action. Take stock of any changes you can make to help support your child’s journey that makes a happier future begin now. 

    The Right to Proper Treatment and Management of Your Mental Health

    No one should have to suffer the difficulties that accompany life with mental health issues. If you need help managing your child’s mental health, explore all options. Talk to your insurance company about how to proceed. If money is an issue, inquire about sliding scale options from therapists, scholarships from treatment programs, and assistance via city, state, and federal government programs. There may be ways to solve financial concerns currently unknown to you.

    Your child will be guided by clinical professionals who are skilled at teaching their clients not just to live but thrive. Keep in mind that the point of professional help isn’t to be a crutch but as someone to teach your child how to help themselves by receiving the treatment they deserve. 

    The Right to Sobriety

    If dealing with substance abuse accompanies your loved one’s mental health challenges, there are ways to deal with both issues. Many young people suffer from co-occurring disorders. The right program will teach your teen how to begin a sober life, which often makes dealing with the mental health side of things more manageable. You have the right to sobriety and better mental health. 

    The Bill of Rights isn’t just about the federal government. Everyone has a list of rights that includes the right to be treated with respect, have healthy self-esteem, plan a bright and exciting future, manage your mental health, and stay sober. Sustain Recovery offers several programs, including residential and extended care. These programs arm you with the ability to achieve everything on your child’s Bill of Rights and live a mentally healthy and sober life they might not have thought was possible. Our Southern California treatment facility offers a warm respite from today’s harsh world and a place to buckle down and get started on building a life that honors the real individual within. Call us today to learn more about which of our programs is the right fit for your loved one. We can help! (949) 407-9052.

  9. How the Musical Hamilton Can Help Young People in Recovery

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    The hit Broadway musical Hamilton tells the story of our founding fathers and their struggle to achieve freedom, but it also contains a host of philosophies that can help manage mental illness and recovery. Hamilton’s history lessons are told primarily through rap and hip-hop music, which holds a broad appeal to many younger people. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play offers a way for adolescents and young adults dealing with sobriety and mental illness to take some of the powerful lyrics and apply them to their own experiences and goals. 

    “Say No to This”

    When a person addresses their need for professional help, they are saying “no” to life in the haze of alcohol or drugs. The recovering addict refuses to drown in an ocean of mental illness symptoms they feel they cannot control. They’re saying no to spending another day wasting their potential. They acknowledge that continuing to give the green light to chaos daily does not work.

    “I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot”

    Everyone has the opportunity to rise up and become the person they always wanted to be. Recovery programs offer their clients a real shot at overcoming addiction and learning to manage their mental health in new ways. The trick involves not returning home and throwing away that shot. Use the lessons you have at your disposal to empower yourself to grow and achieve your goals. 

    “I Wanna Be in the Room Where It Happened”

    Part of moving forward in recovery concerns making plans for a bright future that honors who you want to become. It is necessary to understand what the war encompasses before you draw up plans for where your battlefields will be. If you decide on a career and need schooling, the metaphorical room you need to be in could be a college classroom. The room could be one where 12-step meetings happen or a therapist’s office. Compile a list of the places where your significant steps will occur and make sure you are in attendance.

    “I Have Never Been Satisfied”

    One of the cruelties of addiction is the idea that whatever problems you encounter, a drink or using a drug will satisfy the issue. This false promise never comes through, as no amount of alcohol or substances contain the answers. Journal about the emotions you hope to smother, the memories you want to forget, and the anxiety you experience related to what feels like a hopeless future. Recognize that applying addictive behaviors never leaves you permanently satisfied. 

    “You’ll Be Back”

    In Hamilton, King George sings a song in which he imagines himself as an abusive ex-boyfriend who taunts the fledgling new U.S. with the idea that they will come back to him eventually. Drugs and alcohol offer that same haughty temptation from something that never had your best interests at heart. Use your recovery resources to remind yourself why going back is not an option.

    “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?”

    The stories of the founding fathers are infamous. They have been recounted in history books, but every person has a story that is unique to them. How do you want your story to be told, and by whom? Ultimately each young person determines their destiny and can write the story of how they took control of their lives and made their own piece of history. Remember that you control your narrative.

    “Death Doesn’t Discriminate Between the Sinners and the Saints”

    One of the hallmarks of youth is a belief that they are invincible, no matter the risky behaviors in which they engage. Someone in the grips of addiction becomes an expert at pushing away the thought that they are vulnerable to physical limits. Reality proves that everyone who plays with fire risks getting burned, and fate does not play favorites. The sooner a person gets into treatment, the sooner they start to heal physically, emotionally, and mentally.

    “Blow Us All Away”

    Many loved ones of a young person dealing with mental health and addiction strongly believe they can overcome their issues. Unfortunately, not everyone in an addict’s life is supportive. Some people in their inner circle are skeptical or want to sabotage them, so they don’t lose a party buddy or have a reminder that their own lives are not leading anywhere healthy or happy. Regardless of how someone views them, when they utilize a quality treatment program and apply grit and determination, a person can blow us all away with their newfound attitude and the progress they make. Recovery makes everything possible!

    The Tony award-winning musical Hamilton tells the story of the founding fathers. Still, it also contains unique ways to look at recovery for adolescents and young adults. When faced with the challenges of entering sobriety, young people can adapt advice about not throwing away their shot and making sure they are in the room where vital steps happen to make real progress. Sustain understands the struggles of addiction and mental health diagnoses and offers a multi-step treatment plan that fits each individual. Our Southern California location provides a place for a young person to receive intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and residential treatment that includes schooling. We offer support groups, individual counseling, and family therapy that help address learning to manage the emotions and behaviors that accompany mental health and addiction issues. Call us today to find out how we can help you get started on your recovery! (949) 407-9052.

  10. Question Everything You Think You Know

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    Young woman professional psychologist

    By the time a young person begins treatment, they are likely stuck on how they view everything, including family relationships, friendships, career goals, and future plans. A lack of experience in life understanding that reexamining currently held views can be advantageous and create forward movement hampers many individuals. Treatment professionals are tasked with teaching their adolescent and young adult clients that not everything they believed or lived before treatment has to remain set in stone. It’s essential to open a dialogue with these clients to reexamine their views and plans to see what may need changing.

    Reexamining School and Career Choices

    By the time a young client enters the care of a licensed counselor, they may have already decided on plans for college and a career. Encourage your client to talk about the passion behind their career choice and its origins. Are they following in familial footsteps and becoming another doctor in the family? If so, help them determine if this is their dream career or expected of them by their parents and older family members. 

    If the person isn’t sure what they want to do for a living, ask questions to get them thinking about what activities fascinate them. Ask them which of their interests might be successfully turned into a career. Remind them that changing careers multiple times is typical for many adults and that no one has to stay married to a job choice they made in their teenage years. Discovering and planning for a different line of work that is a better fit can get them excited about the new version of themselves they are becoming. Remaining flexible and adaptable is an essential part of growing into their chosen career field. 

    Is It Time to Explore New Hobbies?

    By the time a person hits retirement age, they will have amassed many different hobbies and pastimes over their lives. Some were experimental and didn’t prove to be a good fit, while others became lifelong passions. Today, the younger generation often finds pleasure in electronic pastimes such as video games, streaming entertainment, and playing on their smartphones. They may have pre-determined that many activities are not for them without having given them a shot. Talk to your client about their favorite pastimes and encourage them to try new things. Brainstorm together about new things to see what else is out there and where it might lead. 

    You may receive pushback but see if you can get your client to agree to pick something and give it a fair shot. Maybe they are musically inclined but assumed they couldn’t fumble their way through guitar or piano lessons. Ask the person to commit to a definite amount of time with their choices, such as three musical instrument lessons or five hours spent watching Youtube videos about composing their own songs. The world is full of new activities to explore, and the first step is learning not to dismiss them all automatically. Remind them that the more activities they experiment with, the more well-rounded and healthy they will become. 

    Questioning How One Thinks

    Sometimes a person is their own worst enemy because of their negative thinking patterns. Adolescents are often unaware of their knee-jerk emotional reactions to events happening in their lives. Start a conversation with your client about how they may get in their own way when they don’t take the time to understand how they think. Questions to ask include “Do I automatically assume the worst will happen in any given circumstance?” and “Am I open to the idea of doing things that may make me uncomfortable to reach a positive goal I have in mind?”

    The Value of Getting Into the Habit of Questioning Yourself

    The initial act of a client questioning what they know helps make sure they realize that everything they believed or lived before treatment doesn’t have to remain set in stone. Once a person has gained experience questioning their thought patterns, life goals, and trajectory, they are typically ready to sort through the answers and make changes. They can then revisit this new habit from time to time to look for any needed redirection in their schooling, job plans, hobbies, friendships, and attitudes about life. Once your client is familiar with doing this, they will see that they don’t need to wipe the slate clean every time. Help them understand that it is more of a mental spring cleaning to ensure they are still on the right path and allow for any changing emotions or goals. 

    Learning to challenge your thinking to rid yourself of negative habits and open yourself up to new challenges and life interests is beneficial for most people, particularly adolescents and young adults. They typically lack experience questioning the things they believe are set in stone already, such as what college classes and career fields they should invest in or what hobbies and talents they should develop. Sustain Recovery has a host of treatment modalities that teach young clients to question what they think they know and rise up to the challenge of building a healthier, genuine, and more positive self. Our long-term programs differ from most clients have previously tried because we know it takes time to learn how to truly change and return home healthier and feel more in control than before. Call us today and let us help you determine the right plan of action for your loved one! (949) 407-9052


Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.