Tag Archive: sober living

  1. New You Resolutions vs. New Years Resolutions

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    While New Years Resolutions are popular, they often prove to be fleeting and short-lived. People are taught that they must vow to make a change or accomplish something, such as weight loss or making better financial choices each new year. Often the goal is too broad, like the decision to find love. Other times, while the goal may be realistic, it relies on the person having boundless enthusiasm and willpower for weeks or months on end in order to accomplish it. Once a person hits a wall and is no longer enthused, it becomes easy to walk away and forget the resolution. Before they know it, another year has passed without them being able to check a particular item off their To-Do list, and the cycle begins again.

    Consider chucking the New Years Resolutions and invest in a set of New You Resolutions. The most significant benefit is that they aren’t just for January 1.  A person can decide on a new route they’d like to take or a new attitude they’d like to develop, regardless of the time of year. It also removes the temptation to put off making a decision or beginning progress because they are waiting for the ‘right time,’ i.e., the first day of the new year. The reality is that every single day is another chance to turn it all around, regardless of what day the calendar shows. 

    Getting Started on Your New You Resolutions

    Carve out a space of quiet time in your day and devote it to coming up with the resolutions you’d like to accomplish. Start by asking yourself to determine your goals and why they are important to you. Then break down each resolution into small steps to take to get there. This allows you to mark off the progress you make along the way and feel a sense of forward movement. It also increases the likelihood of achieving each goal.

    The Two Types of Resolutions

    The first type of New You Resolutions relates to goals that require mostly physical work. These types of resolutions have specific, measurable goals, such as getting a new job, moving, or learning a new skill. They allow for steps that are fairly easy to list. For example, let’s say you want to add regular exercise to your life. Break that down into easily digestible tasks, like talking to your doctor about recommendations suited for your abilities, researching gym options in your area, and determining if you want to focus on something specific like classes, outdoor activities, or weight training. Write each step down and mark it off as you accomplish it. 

    The other type of resolution deals more with emotions and ways of approaching life. These types of goals can prove a little more challenging to work towards because they are not as tangible. Let’s say your resolution is about changing your attitude. Start by thinking about how you see yourself now and how you envision yourself as a changed person. If your goal is to be more positive, pinpoint ways in which you feel you are currently too negative. Do you assume the worst will always happen or do you routinely downplay the happiness of others? Make a goal of challenging these kneejerk responses as each one occurs. Reframe the negative thought or expectation to a positive one. Write down every time you successfully redirect your thought process. Taking these steps enough times will create a new habit of being positive

    Be Adaptable To Change

    Life often throws something in your path that requires you to switch gears or alter your plans. The same thing can happen when a person is trying to achieve a New You Resolution. Remind yourself that you may have to shuffle your list of steps or make adjustments to your expected time frame for completion as needed. Staying focused and being flexible is key to reaching your goal and not giving in to the impulse to quit before you cross the finish line. 

    Spread the Word About the New You

    Too often, when you desire to change up your life but keep that plan in a vacuum in your head, it makes it easy to lose focus and eventually give up. Choose a trusted confidant or two and tell them you are working on becoming a new you. Give them an overview of your resolution and some of the steps you plan to take to get there. Don’t be afraid to ask the person for help staying focused and inspired along the way. When you know someone else is in your corner and will check in to see how you are progressing, you increase your chances of completing your goals. 

    Every New Years Day millions of people make resolutions to change their lives for the better but more often than not, by the time the next January 1 rolls around, their goals remain unaccomplished and long-forgotten. New You Resolutions can make all the difference because they can be started any day of the year. Learning to set a list of realistic, concrete goals that move you towards the finish line for each New You Resolution helps ensure you stay motivated with your eyes on the prize. Sustain Recovery is all about teaching adolescents how to become a better version of themselves. We utilize a long-term approach to mental health issues and substance abuse that encompasses several therapy modalities while our clients stay with us and includes a plan for success once they return home. Our Southern California location is the perfect setting for young people to learn new techniques to manage their lives and achieve success. Call us today to find out how we can help! (949) 407-9052


  2. Why a Relapse Prevention Plan is Essential

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    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.

    What a Plan Entails

    A relapse prevention plan is a way to:

    • Know oneself better
    • Make changes
    • Be honest
    • Know what to do in crisis

    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.

    Do the Work

    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.

    Be Honest

    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.

    Know What to Do

    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.

    Get a Plan

    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.


  3. Identifying a Good Aftercare Program for Teens

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    group teens home aftercare rehab

    Addiction is chronic and requires constant vigilance. Recovery from addiction is a long-term commitment to sobriety to avoid relapse. Aftercare is a necessary part of treatment that lasts much longer than initial rehab. Aftercare can be essential to securing an individual’s commitment to recovery.


    Aftercare options vary and may take research but residential rehabs offer aftercare services to help individuals with addiction. Many aftercare programs follow a format relying on group sessions focused on relapse prevention, job skills and relationship skills. Improving relational skills is important to help an individual repair relationships damaged through addiction. Supportive family can be important to facilitating better recovery odds of staying clean. Programs which address partial recovery needs (child care, housing, job support) tend to be more effective than those that do not.


    Drop-out rates hover around 50% but some factors may increase retention in aftercare programs which include staff offering transportation services as well as ongoing support throughout the program. Finding a high quality program is essential to increasing positive participation in the program and make sure retention remains high.

    Quality Programs

    When doing homework on programs, it is important to focus on accredited programs that offer adherence to a certain standard of quality which many aftercare programs either lack or disregard. Reputable bodies including the Joint Commission and Council on Accreditation and Commission of Rehabilitation Facilities support quality programs. Other factors to inquire about are the frequency of staff turnover, number of licensed professionals on staff and what professional certifications exist.

    Types of Programs

    Two types of structured aftercare programs including outpatient patient programs and sober living or halfway houses. Both allow for continued recovery work following completion of a residential or inpatient detox and treatment.

    Outpatient programs

    Outpatient programs typically take place in a clinic or office location where daily therapeutic and educational groups are held. When leaving inpatient treatment, the recommendation is to attend five days a week and step down two or three days a week as individuals progress. Living at home while attending is common and many go back to school or even work.

    Sober Living

    Halfway houses and sober living houses are more structured living settings which provide a safe and drug-free environment to transition into. Certain homes are for those who are court-mandated to live there and if the individual was released from prison can help transition into daily life.


    Sustain Recovery provides a unique approach to adolescent care. Focused on individual needs and resident progress, Sustain believes in supporting young people with focused, intentional care to help them recover fully from addiction. Call us to find out more information.

  4. How to Help Your Teen Recover After Rehab

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    rehab aftercare celebration

    Graduation from rehab is an exciting time, and many parents can’t even imagine that their teen could ever backtrack. The change is so drastic, he or she seems like an entirely new person.

    So do most teens who graduate rehab; that’s why they graduate. Roughly 70 percent of them, however, relapse within the first six months, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

    In treatment, teens learn to apply certain behavioral strategies to the real world; but they can’t always succeed. The real world is like a minefield of stresses: relationships, drama, disorganization, and lots of surprises. Just to stay in check, recovering teens need require an extra-wide support network consisting of multiple angles: therapists, health care providers, self-help groups, sober-minded peers, and, if at all possible, family.

    Now more than ever, it’s crucial to provide constant emotional support for the teenager, whether they seem to need it or not. They’re not cured; they’re just ready to continue healing on their own.

    Aftercare Services for Teens

    Ideally, you should find a good aftercare program for your teenager before he or she enters rehab; that way, you’ll allow yourself some time to collect, weigh, and evaluate your options.

    When searching for an addiction treatment program, you should also ask about the support services that the facility provides once treatment is over. Those services should include:

    • Ongoing contact with counselors or therapists who were involved in the teen’s treatment
    • Referrals to therapists, psychiatrists or other specialists in the community who can manage medications and provide continuing therapy
    • Information about 12-step programs and other self-help groups for teens who are dedicated to staying sober
    • Access to transitional housing opportunities for teens who need more supervision and structure after rehab
    • Participation in alumni organizations for teenagers who have successfully completed rehab

    Sober Living Homes

    The transition from treatment to long-term recovery is so tough, we have special state-funded residential settings for that very purpose. Sober homes aren’t just for high-risk/court-ordered teens; they’re just a safe place to grow. There are still many rules to follow–nightly curfews, daily chores, mandatory meeting attendance–but you’re also monitored.

    Support for Parents and Families

    If the people closest to the addict are struggling themselves, it’s especially hard for the addict to recover. Parents, siblings and other family members struggling alongside the addict should join in on counseling sessions for families, especially if someone in the family is feeling resentful or angry. Indifference, negative attitudes, and enabling are problems that need to be targeted and tackled in order for real emotional progress to be made.

    Family counseling sessions cover a variety of topics:

    • The nature and causes of addiction
    • How addiction affects the family
    • Creating a supportive home environment
    • Keeping the lines of communication open
    • Setting healthy boundaries

    Conflicts with parents, sibling rivalry, emotional distance, or verbal abuse–you can’t always handle these problems on your own, the way you might be able to fix a minor leak or hardware malfunction. When these issues lead to mental health crises like drug abuse…that’s when it stops being a “Do it yourself” deal and starts demanding professional intervention.


    From admission through aftercare, Sustain offers the perfect kind of support for staying sober. Call us today to learn more about our intensive rehab programs for adolescents: 949-637-5499

  5. Create a Flexible Schedule to Support your Recovery

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    Create a Flexible Schedule to Support your RecoveryEstablishing a sense of structure is key after escaping an abusive relationship with drugs. A good way to accomplish this is by setting up a personal schedule. Habit is an integral ingredient of a growing addiction; why not use it for recovery, too?

    An effective timetable for an addict shouldn’t simply be strict, but adaptable as well. When transitioning into a sober lifestyle, an individual may not hit all of his or her goals at the intended times. Personal needs will change over time as well. The initial 90 days of recovery should be spent troubleshooting problems that arise and revising them as necessary. Long term success in recovery is a daily focus for recovering adolescents and a clear schedule with flexibility can help to navigate the potential landmines.

    Create a Flexible Schedule to Support your Recovery

    Build a hierarchy of needs — On a daily basis, list basic responsibilities. Having meals, taking medication, practicing meditation, or checking in with a loved one—these are all basic needs to which the addict can return in the event of disruptions.

    Designate specific times for focusing and relaxing — Moments of leisure can alleviate stress levels and create a sense of balance in one’s life. Recreation should be an activity too, since free-time is necessary but can lead to complacency.

    Create daily, weekly, and monthly schedules – Being mentally and physically prepared for these breaks in routine is the best way to prevent excess stress and, hence, the potential of relapsing

    Prepare impromptu activities for craving-control — Cravings are inevitable, but also short-lasting. When they occur, it’s good to distract and occupy the mind with filler activities until they go away.

    Plan for crises – You may be wondering: How can you plan for a plan not to work? By securing a support system such as friends and family—making sure they know your schedule too. When a person loses track of his or her own schedule, this allows those people to help.

    While making your schedule, consider just how much time you will devote to each of the activities and responsibilities. Make sure that you include all the healthy, helpful habits and routines – the ones you learned in treatment – even if it’s something as simple as taking a moment to breathe and quietly reflect.

    Time management is difficult for most everyone, not just addicts. Even after rehab, many people continue to utilize time tables and day planners for their job, their school, or just the mundane. In the weeks and months following treatment, every day is somewhat of a battle, and for every battle, you need a battle plan.

  6. Alternative Coping Strategies for Recovering Teens

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    Alternative Coping Strategies for Recovering TeensThere are many different ways that people deal with the challenges of life. When life is going well, we feel on top of the world. When life throws us a curve ball, that’s when we find out our true coping skills. Some people have strong, solid coping mechanisms and can deal with problems in a healthy way, while others of us find that we do not have a solid coping foundation and turn to substances or other vice to deal with our problems.  If you’re out of rehab and looking for ways to cope with life’s turmoils and difficulties without turning to substance use, consider these options;


    Exercising To Feel Good

    The vast improvement that exercise can have on the mind and body are hard to grasp until you actually start doing it. It doesn’t take long, though. Endorphins released during physical activity cause a natural, healthy euphoria which encourages you to repeat the productive and beneficial act. Exercise also helps remove byproducts of the stress response. If you’re feeling agitated, anxious, or angry—some of the biggest cornerstones of addiction recovery—a quick run or bike ride can do wonders for peace-of-mind and clear thinking.


    Journaling To Express Yourself

    By putting your thoughts on paper, you’re not just expressing your feelings—you’re gaining insight on them. You have to talk to someone, even if it’s just yourself. The major advantage of journaling in recovery from addiction is that it provides a clear and motivating record showcasing your treatment progress and which actions, attitudes, or choices worked for you along the way. Not only does the act of writing often reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and cravings, it can serve as a useful tool to look back on when you need insight or inspiration in the future.


    Talking It Out With Someone

    In addition to self-regulation and analysis, it’s important to have another listening ear. When stress and devastation make life seem unbearable, the act of communicating with another human being serves to help ground you in relationships and human interaction, which helps you to not feel so alone. Talking to a trusted friend takes some of the burden off yourself. It also makes way for multiple perspectives, both yours and theirs. If you’re attending AA or a similar program, you can even obtain a sponsor–a fellow addict with whom you can interweave your motivations and skill-building.


    There’s no better place to learn and utilize coping skills for recovery and sober living than right here, with us. Sustain Recovery offers a multitude of counseling and guidance services for building effective coping skills in and after treatment. For a consultation, call 949-637-5499.

  7. 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

  8. Challenges Facing Youth In Recovery

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    Challenges Facing Youth In RecoveryJust about every year, the number of young people in recovery rises. Nobody can say exactly why; it’s a combination of factors that aren’t completely understood. Either addiction is spreading, which would be troubling; the stigma behind it is receding, which would be positive; or both, which leaves you unsure of how to feel.

    One thing is for certain: Young recovering addicts require a special kind of support that not every healthcare specialist is fit to provide. Their experience in recovery is often very different from than that of adults or older addicts.


    Attending College While Sober

    Many young people have a difficult time transitioning to college, but for youth in recovery, fitting in can feel like an all-out chore. Merely finding friends is pretty tricky, because drinking and partying are the two main avenues for social engagement, as far as many young people are concerned. Those who don’t participate in these activities, even if they’re not in recovery, may feel tempted to do so just to fit in and make friends.

    Hardly any students are aware that their university offers a multitude of fun, sober-minded clubs, organizations, and games. Why? Because those scenes aren’t the scene.

    Challenges Facing Youth In Recovery

    Today, it’s easier than ever to find support and acceptance on your campus–or even online–as a recovering addict. The sober-mind youth subset is growing–it’s not just recovering addicts–and most universities have offered sober dormitory housing for ages. There, sober students can easily meet, unite, and build a common identity with other youth in recovery.

    College doesn’t have to be the relapse mine-field we often assume it to be. If a recovering student participates in sober-minded activities, college can actually make for some pretty good aftercare treatment–the ultimate training ground for getting back out there in the real world as a new, sober person.

    What better place to reinvent yourself than a place in which virtually everyone, recovering or not, is looking to do the same?

    Not to mention that almost every university offers counseling services to their students in case of crisis.


    Holiday Considerations

    The pressure to celebrate with booze and drugs is a relapse-trigger that young recovering addicts must face several times per year. It can feel outright wrong to refuse the tradition: go out, get drunk as can be, and have an incredible time. The 21st birthday is worth discussing at length particularly because it is so overblown. This is the day on which many addicts stop feeling proud of themselves and begin feeling victimized. That’s the best time to remind themselves what they figured out in treatment: that life is better clean and sober, where you can be your authentic self, and that’s the truth every day of the year.


    One of the most prominent problems for young addicts is the availability of help, or at least the way they perceive it. Most insurance plans cover addiction treatment; if not, there are other options, too. Call Sustain at 949-637-5499 to discuss your options and opportunities.  We’re here to help.

  9. What’s a Halfway House?

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    What’s a Halfway House?Having a support network of friends, family, therapists and other caring individuals is endlessly helpful for avoiding relapse, but they can’t always be there for you—unless you’re residing in a halfway house. Residents in group homes are encouraged to interact with their staff and peers in productive ways. They learn, they work, and they grow. These “sober homes” are used by various youth-related public welfare agencies—juvenile justice, child welfare, and mental health—to ensure, 100 percent, that recovering youth make it through their first few months of recovery.

    Who attends them?

    Each sober home typically serves 5 to 15 clients, some of whom are court-ordered to be there.

    There are a variety of reasons why a young person may be placed in one of these facilities: behavioral problems, emotional issues, drug abuse, and consistent trouble with the law… lots of overlap. In addition to group therapy sessions, sober houses employ specially-trained staff to assist residents individually with emotional and behavioral challenges. At some facilities, the staff are residents as well.

    What do they do?

    Most group homes fall under the category of residential group care. However, they are different from traditional treatment centers, most of which include elements of a group home. Compared to rehab clinics and juvenile detention centers, youth halfway houses are less restrictive. They are staff-secured rather than locked, and there are far less restraints on how the residents can interact with the outside world. Facilities which do not provide their own academic instruction—some do—will allow youth to continue attending public school throughout their stay. This leniency serves not as an alternative to traditional treatment, but as the next step. The mentality: you’re halfway there.

    Why use them?

    As with all aftercare services, youth halfway houses depend on the motivation of the client to work effectively. You might assume that a motivated person, who just finished rehab, doesn’t need any more supervision—but that’s not always the case. Cravings, peer pressure, stress, and other relapse-triggers occur unexpectedly. Picture a trapeze artist swinging from bar to bar: they are talented enough not to miss and fall to the ground, but just in case, there’s a safety net below.

  10. 5 Reminders to Keep You Sober

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    Five Reminders to Keep You SoberFirst, remind yourself that relapse happens, but it doesn’t have to. Relapse is a process, just like recovery. It is often said that the drink happens long before the drink. If you notice your program of recovery is lacking, you are endangering yourself to relapse. Common triggers include hanging out with friends who still use drugs or alcohol, emotional pain, stress from school, and euphoric recall. Form new relationships with people who do not need drugs or alcohol to enjoy themselves, and who can give you a positive substance-free environment to support your recovery.

    Second, remind yourself of how far you have come, how capable you are of continuing, and what you need to do to get there. Post inspirational phrases and sayings around your living space to remind you of the numerous benefits of sobriety. Research has verified the effectiveness of positive reminders and images promoting optimism and hope. Find your own inspiration through poetry, Bible verses, or any text which speaks to you and strengthens your resolve to stay sober.

    Third, remind yourself that you do not have to do this on your own. You are not alone. It is true that only you can stay sober for yourself. However, you do not have to face everything in life and recovery through isolated means. Your family and loved ones, in particular, will want to see you get sober and recover your life from drugs and alcohol. Once they are invested in your recovery, they can be your strongest advocates.

    Last, remind yourself to take it easy and truly live one day at a time. Do not be too hard on yourself. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is more than quitting the use of drugs and alcohol. You are learning an entire new way of being, feeling, thinking, and living. Few people are tasked with such monumental change. You are capable of it.


    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California works with adolescents and young adults who are motivated to build a foundation for living their own sober lives. Our extended care services program offer the structure, support, and fun young persons in recovery need for successful long term sobriety. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.

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.

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.