Tag Archive: recovering addicts

  1. Make It Til Midnight: Strategies for Staying Sober

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    Recovering addicts and alcoholics are often overwhelmed by the thought that they are embarking on a path that will keep them away from drugs and alcohol for the remainder of their lives. That span may be too much for an addict or alcoholic to digest during the early stages of his rehab and recovery and a substance abuser’s doubts and fears about his ability to stay sober for the remainder of his life can threaten the success of his recovery. Addiction recovery counselors and therapists address these doubts and fears by teaching substance abusers to approach their recoveries one day at a time. If a recovering addict or alcoholic can last through midnight of any one day without taking a drink or using drugs, he will have achieved a small victory that begins to build a foundation for his continuing recovery. When several of those small successive daily victories are combined, that foundation becomes strong enough to support his future sobriety.

    “Sobriety Survival Strategy”
    The concept of making it to midnight is more than just a sobriety survival strategy. Genuine long-term sobriety involves more than just staying away from drugs and alcohol. It also involves learning new ways to live and requires a recovering addict or alcoholic to become engaged in the world around him. Some addiction recovery programs describe this concept as teaching a recovering substance abuser to live for the present day, and to let go of regrets about past actions while understanding that nothing is guaranteed in the future.

    “Early Phases of Recoveries”
    A strategy of “making it til midnight” will very likely be difficult for many recovering addicts and alcoholics who are in the early phases of their recoveries. Temptations and urges are at their strongest in the first few weeks or months after a recovering substance abuser has achieved sobriety. If he does last for a single-day period without drugs or alcohol, the next day will be slightly easier, as will each successive day after that. This does not suggest, however, that the risk of relapse will completely disappear after several months or years of sobriety. A recovering alcoholic or addict can fall into a sense of complacency following a long period of sobriety if he neglects to regularly practice this daily strategy, or he falls away from living for the present day.

    “Teens in Recovery”
    The strategy of making it til midnight can be particularly useful for adolescents and teens who are in recovery. Younger people have a much longer lifespan ahead of them and they generally do not have the perspective to understand how they will manage that life without the drugs or alcohol that have become integral parts of their lives. Breaking that lifespan into single-day components can change this looming perspective and help them to develop a better focus on the present moment. Teens and adolescents will also benefit greatly from having a group therapy sponsor or someone else who can act as a sounding board to connect with when the urge to use drugs or alcohol strikes them. A sponsor who understands the “making it til midnight” strategy can talk a younger person through the temptations that might strike him, even if that requires an hours-long phone conversation that lasts until the midnight goal is achieved.

    “Making it til midnight” is only one of several strategies that a recovering alcoholic or drug addict can employ to help him stay sober. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California develops programs that utilize a combination of these strategies to help adolescents and young adults recover from drug addiction or alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  2. Beating Boredom in Sobriety

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    Boredom is one of the worst enemies that a drug addict or alcoholic might face during his recovery from substance abuse. In most cases, drugs and alcohol ingrain themselves so deeply into an addict’s brain and thought processes that he forgets how to entertain himself without the artificial stimulation that he receives from drugs or alcohol. An addict might emerge from a rehab program with a great degree of energy and optimism, only to be waylaid shortly thereafter by crushing boredom that nudges him back to using drugs or alcohol. This situation was aptly depicted in the movie, Trainspotting, in which a protagonist, who is recovering from heroin addiction, finds himself numbed by boredom in a bingo parlor that his parents dragged him to in an attempt to entertain him away from his drug-using friends.

    “Overcoming Boredom”
    Overcoming boredom first requires a recovering addict or alcoholic to avoid social situations that offer him the opportunity to use drugs or alcohol, and also to find substitute activities to engage his mind and spirit in place of abused substances. A recovering addict who visits his old haunts thinking that he can find entertainment there without using addictive substances will often find himself faced with friends who have no such similar qualms about using drugs or alcohol. He will compare how he feels with friends who appear to be enjoying themselves and before long, he will cast his reservations aside to join them. Addicts and alcoholics who have established a strong sober lifestyle may be able to handle these social situations, but individuals who are new to recovery and who have only recently exited a recovery program are best served by avoiding these situations altogether.

    “Recovering Addicts”
    This relegates those individuals to finding new friends, activities, and social situations that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Recovering addicts who feel bursts of energy in their sobriety can use that energy to pursue athletic activities that will feed upon themselves to generate additional energy. Experiences with substance abuse and newfound sobriety can also open artistic talents that might have lain dormant while that individual was under the effects of drugs or alcohol. Counselors and therapists can help recovering addicts and alcoholics to develop individual recovery programs that will replace substance abuse with more positive and healthy activities to fend off any feelings of boredom.

    “Avoiding Boredom”
    Avoiding boredom in an addiction recovery program can be a particularly difficult task for teens and adolescents who are unable to find new friends or activities that can engage their interests in their sober states. Counselors will be attuned to this problem when working with recovering teens and will work on delving deeper into a teen’s psyche to discover his interests and proclivities. Merely suggesting new activities that worked for other recovering teens will rarely work to help a teen avoid boredom. Parents and family members can be a good resource to help recovering teens and their counselors to find the things that interest them and to suggest activities which fit those interests. Trying several different activities might be necessary before the right activity is located to entertain a recovering teen addict or alcoholic.

    The best method that any recovering addict or alcoholic can use to beat boredom in sobriety is to find something that distracts him from the cravings and temptations to relapse into using drugs or alcohol. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California has worked with countless numbers of adolescents and young adults to help them find the best activities and events to create those distractions and to keep them sober. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  3. Sobriety Doesn’t Have To Be a Chore

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    Sobriety Doesn't Have To Be a ChoreObviously, many people fail at staying sober. It’s difficult. That doesn’t make it a chore, though. Chores are tasks which award no pleasure. Think about it: A lot of things in life are difficult—including some of the things we enjoy the most! You simply must embrace the difficulties as positives, not punishments.

     

    The Myths

    Those who relapse after a period of sobriety may blame their treatment instead of examining where, why, and how they lost control of themselves. Relapse statistics convey a dismal, discouraging message about their predicament. People tend to trust statistics. Problem is, they only reflect the numbers, not what causes them. It’s hard to do treatment right; it requires huge self-discipline and planning.

    Significant life changes—where to live, who to talk to, how to perceive yourself–are scary. Not everyone nails it the first, second, or third time, but once you do, your chances of success are much, much better. The morbid relapse statistics out there don’t demonstrate the difficulty of staying sober—only the need to approach things correctly. Yes, young recovering addicts have to stay on guard for the rest of their lives; and yes, incidents are bound to happen now and again. It’s not a daily battle, however; or at least it shouldn’t be, unless the adolescent exits rehabilitation early–something the staff rarely allow.

     

    The Coinciding Problems

    Young recovering addicts suffering from depression or other mental illness are naturally ambivalent toward their recovery. Since mental illness and addiction typically work together, you can expect these individuals to improve their outlook on recovery as they slowly move through it. Gradually, they need less and less outside help from the counselors to be motivated. Humans are influenced by those with whom they spend time.

    Rehab is often viewed negatively for its aim to change the thoughts and personalities of those who enter; truth is, the adolescent who entered rehab wasn’t necessarily the real him or her, but rather a person molded by the negative influences—usually a drug-abusing peer group. The point of rehab isn’t to change anyone into a new person; it’s about getting the old one—the happy one—back.

    Drugs and alcohol are not necessary for being creative or for having your own unique personality–not for anyone, period.

     

    The Cognitive Dissonance

    Often, as a way of justifying their drinking or drug use, an adolescent may develop a highly critical view of life in general and view the whole foundation of sobriety as a bunch of crap. This is extremely common in youth clinics; the patients are mentally drained and exhausted. This where behavioral therapies come into play. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, teaches addicts to stay sober not “just because,” but by highlighting all the real, logical reasons why they will be happier this way. Programs like these have been a staple of virtually all addiction treatment programs ever since they were invented.

     

    The only real chore is suffering from addiction; treatment is the real relief.

    To get you or your adolescent help ASAP, call Sustain: 949-637-5499

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.

K.C.
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