Tag Archive: sobriety

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Finding Joy in Sobriety As a Teen

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    joy in recovery

    Many adults reflect back on their teenage years professing that it was the time of their life. If you’re an adolescent who is newly sober, you might not agree. How can I possibly have fun with my friends if I can no longer use substances? This question is one that we hear often.

    It’s totally understandable that you might be questioning your ability to fit in and have fun in the absence of substances. Sustain Recovery wants you to know that you can find joy in sobriety. Your life isn’t over because you cannot engage in substance use. In fact, you’ll find that there are opportunities for joy in places you may have never thought to look before.

    Your Life Isn’t Over

    For many people who have addictions, their social life and relaxation time before they entered treatment revolved around drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is especially true for adolescents who engage in substance use. Before treatment, you might have solely based your weekend plans on the opportunity to drink or use.

    It’s also not uncommon to form friendships with other people who use substances. But, now that you have gone through substance use treatment, your lifestyle has changed. You are now working on remaining sober. It can be daunting to return home after treatment where so much of your old lifestyle remains.

    Sustain Recovery is here to encourage you during this difficult time. We’re here to remind you that your life is just beginning! You can’t use substances anymore, but there are so many other opportunities to find joy and have fun in recovery. Now is the time to shift your focus from what have you lost to all that you have gained.

    Endless Opportunities Await You

    Keep your new mindset and goals in mind when you are searching for opportunities that will bring you a healthy dose of joy and fun. Substance use can sometimes stem from the need to feel connected to others. You may have felt pressured to use substances because your friends were using and you wanted to fit in.

    While that sense of connection isn’t going away, there are many other ways to feel connected that don’t involve substance use. Think about sober activities you enjoy. Whether it be playing sports, being creative, learning something new, or helping others, you can build connections through these activities.


    If you are looking for a way to make new friends in recovery, sports are a great place to start. There are leagues you can join if you enjoy playing sports, groups that meet up at local games to watch, and online communities that serve as a space to talk about, analyze, and debate sports of all kinds. Meeting and engaging with people who share your love for sports is a great way to build friendships and have fun without engaging in substance use.

    Get Creative

    There are also a plethora of creative activities to try in your recovery. From book clubs to gardening groups, there is a space for you if you enjoy being creative. Not only do these activities foster connection, they also help you find healthy ways to process and express your emotions. Allowing yourself to be creative gives you the space to be vulnerable — and vulnerability gives you the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with others who might be going through similar things as you.

    Learn Something New

    While school gives you the space to learn subjects like language, mathematics, or science, there may be other subjects that you are interested in exploring. Take advantage of your free time in recovery to learn something new. For example, you might be interested in learning how to code or how to cook.

    Check out materials from your local library that give you a step-by-step guide on learning to code or a cookbook with cultural recipes you’d love to try. Learning something new will challenge you in healthy ways and help you explore parts of yourself that were hidden by your addiction.

    Help Others

    One of the best things you can do when you’re struggling is to help others. Not only are you giving others hope when you volunteer, you will feel better about giving back to your community. If you love animals, check out a local shelter and ask how you can help.

    If you are a people person, find groups that help the elderly or those with disabilities. Volunteering can give you the opportunity to meet new people who share your passions. The joy you feel from helping others is something that you won’t find anywhere else.

    You Can Do This

    Giving yourself the space to find excitement in activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs is necessary in your recovery. Try to let go of any anger you’re holding for not being able to use substances. There’s a whole world out there to explore if you are sober.

    You’ll meet new friends who share your beliefs and similar goals. You’ll find activities that thrill you beyond a buzz or high. Your recovery is going to be as joyful and fun as you make it. Keep an open mind and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Your life is just beginning.

    At Sustain Recovery, we can help you find the joy and fun that you are craving beyond substances. We provide the ideal environment for adolescents to begin their recovery in a serene, structured, and safe place. Let us help you overcome your addiction and show you how amazing life can be. To learn more, call us today at (949) 407-9052.

  4. How to Get Motivated in Sobriety

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    The process of recovery is an enigma unto itself. It can be very fickle. The individual in recovery may have a solid plan to go forward and stay sober, and yet will find that sometimes they are stuck. There is no way forward. This could be because they are caught in the daily grind, or bogged down with obligations and responsibilities. And it can happen regardless of how long the individual has been sober.

    When the individual finds themselves to be stuck, they may start thinking about their substance abuse and how they miss the effects it provided. This is when there is a high chance of relapse. Going to the 12 Step support group can be a huge help at this time. The support group is a great motivator and has many tools for individuals in recovery, including motivational sayings. Let’s look at some of them here.

    One Day At A Time

    Easily the most well known and most common recovery quote, it is heard in support group meetings everywhere. Individuals in the early stages of recovery can find themselves overwhelmed and even frightened at the thought of never using alcohol or drugs again. This may divert their focus and the saying ‘one day at a time’ is meant for just these sorts of situations. It is to remind the individual that they only need to focus on and get through the present day.


    Standing for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tired, HALT is a familiar acronym for those individuals in recovery. These are four very powerful states of being, and can be the triggers that  cause the individual to relapse. When the individual feels any of those emotions or states, they most likely feel the urge to use substances again to cope with what they’re feeling. Asking themselves questions like why do they feel the urge to use again, why are they angry and why they are reacting the way they are, will uncover the underlying reasons. Understanding the reasons is the key for the individual to be aware of their actions and stop harmful behavior.

    Progress Not Perfection

    Often individuals in recovery feel the need to be perfect. No matter how far they may have come in their journey to lasting sobriety, it may never be good enough. As a result, they set themselves up for failure, because of unrealistic expectations. Reminding themselves that recovery is a journey and not a race, and that small victories should be enjoyed can bring the individual back to their path, and continue taking small steps forward.

    These are just a few of the motivational sayings the individual can repeat to themselves to stay focused on the path to sobriety.


    Sustain Recovery offers gender separate, extended stay programs for adolescents. Contact us to find out how we can help your transition to sober living.

  5. Can I Have a Sober Summer and Still Have Fun?

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    Summer can be associated with drinking and letting loose. In reality, summer has nothing to do with drinking, any more than the holiday season does. It is possible to have fun in summer without getting drunk.

    However, it often seems like everywhere one goes in summer such as beaches, barbecues, picnics and parties, alcohol is present. People tend to drink during the day and coolers filled with beer are all over the place. There is unspoken pressure to ‘have fun’ and too many times that fun is linked to drinking alcohol.

    So are there ways to have fun in the summer without having a drink? Yes there are.

    Learn Something New

    Summer is the perfect time to try something new. People are always talking about wanting to try something new and different, maybe learn a skill that they have been thinking about, like learning to play an instrument, take a martial arts class, learn to cook. It could be anything. Learning something new is fun and enjoyable and will keep the individual busy and away from idle drinking.

    Get Fit

    What better time to get a beach body than the summer. The hot season would be a great time to start a new fitness routine. This will make the individual not only look good but feel good. The endorphins released with exercising are better than an alcohol high. Simple things like walking everyday, going to yoga classes or swimming are a good start if the individual doesn’t want an intensive routine. Above all, the benefits of getting fit are many, for the body as well as the mind.

    Vitamin D

    Soak up the sunshine! Vibrant, sunny days mean that the individual can get natural Vitamin D from the sun.  Vitamin D helps the brain create positive neural connections that keep the mind sharp and positive

    Stepping Up The Program

    No matter where the individual is in their recovery process, stepping up their program will push them to a new level of success. One way to do so is to check out different support group meetings, apart from the one the individual regularly goes to. They can also participate in program related activities where they can bond with other individuals in recovery on trips, camping, etc.

    Remember to Celebrate

    Getting to recovery is a long, hard process. The individual must remember to celebrate where they are and how many difficulties they had to overcome to get there. Summer is a great time to invite friends and family over. Even new sober friends. Throw a barbecue, host a dinner party, arrange a brunch and have plenty of mocktails and soft drinks around. Share the celebration with loved ones, but be sure to make it a strictly no alcohol affair. There is nothing better than spending time with friends and family who support the individual and will be happy to see their progress.

    It is a blessing to have a few months of warm weather and blue skies to experience without nursing a hangover or feeling terrible about something. In recovery, the individual has started a new life and they should take the opportunity to experience it fully.


    Sustain Recovery provides a safe, structured environment for adolescents to learn about living substance free. To learn more about the elements of transitioning to sober living, contact us about our programs and how it can help you.

  6. How Can I Help My Teen Stay Sober?

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    By the time a teen graduates from treatment, they’ve acquired a whole new set of habits–good habits, like keeping busy, eating and sleeping properly, and saying No even when they want to do something risky.

    Still, all teens fresh out of rehab are prone to relapse, no matter how much they shined in rehab. Up to 71 percent of recovering teens end up relaxing within six months of release, says the DEA.

    Why? They’re still testing their new attitudes and behaviors. The outside world is like a minefield, full of temptations. So is the brain. Recovering teens need require an extra-wide support network to stay in check. It should consist of multiple angles: therapists, health care providers, self-help groups, sober-minded peers, and — if at all possible — family.

    After a teenager emerges from rehab, it’s more important than ever to give them attention and provide emotional and moral support. They’re not cured; they’re just ready to continue healing on their own.
    Aftercare Services for Teens

    The best time to find a good aftercare program for your teenager is before he or she enters rehab. That way, you have some time to weigh your options and learn all about them.

    When you’re searching for an addiction treatment program, 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

    Some teens can’t handle the transition into the real world straight out of treatment, which is why there are state-funded environments specifically for helping people get there. Sober homes are especially important for high-risk teens with a history of relapse. The home offers a safe place to try out new coping skills. Although these residences are less structured than rehab facilities, there are still many rules to follow, including nightly curfews, daily chores, mandatory attendance at house meetings, and, of course strict restrictions against alcohol or drug use.
    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. These 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

    Many of the substance abuse triggers that your teen will encounter can be found at home. Conflicts with parents, sibling rivalry, emotional distance, or verbal abuse can drive adolescents back to drugs or alcohol. Experienced family therapists can guide you through the difficult days after rehab.

    From admission through aftercare, Sustain offers you and your family the support you require to help your teen stay sober. Call us today to learn more about our intensive rehab programs for adolescents: 949-637-5499

  7. Straight Edge and the Punk Revolution

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    The Straight Edge movement (which is frequently identified with an “sXe” logo) arose from a corner of the punk rock music revolution in the 1980’s. Punk rockers adopted a countercultural attitude in their music and lifestyles that seemed to reject tradition and society. The sXer’s, as they called themselves, took that a step further by continuing to produce and enjoy punk rock music and the decor and personal appearances that were typical of a punk rock style, but without any of the drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity that outsiders typically attributed to the punk rock music. Straight Edge adherents lived the lifestyle described in their music without using drugs or alcohol and while maintaining a sense of fidelity to close relationships.

    “Formation of the Movement”
    The punk rock band, Minor Threat, from Washington, D.C. and its lead singer, Ian McKaye, formed the seed of the sXe movement after they saw the path of death and destruction that they saw among their friends and family who had succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse. The band recorded a song entitled Straight Edge that included the lyrics “I’m a person just like you/but I’ve got better things to do/than sit around and smoke dope/because I know that I can cope/Always gotta keep in touch/never wanna use a crutch/I’ve got the straight edge.” Minor threat was not the first group of musicians to recoil from the ruinous effects of drugs and alcohol. Rock luminaries and pioneers, including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison from The Doors all died at the peaks of their careers from drug overdoses. Neil Young penned his ballad Needle and the Damage Done after witnessing his friends suffering from heroin abuse. Minor Threat’s Straight Edge advanced the attitude of many rock musicians and made it a genuine revolution within the punk rock universe.

    “Expansion of the Movement”
    The Straight Edge movement has ebbed and flowed in the years since Minor Threat released their song. Many sXer’s have become adherents of other social and clean-living issues, including veganism and mindfulness through yoga and other meditative practices. They also frequently attach themselves to social justice and environmental causes. As the movement has matured, its core values have always remained the same: sXe followers refrain from using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and form lifelong relationships with each other rather than pursuing multiple sex partners and mindless physical release.

    “Reluctance to Straight Edge”
    Teens and adolescents who are exposed to the Straight Edge movement are often reluctant to participate in it out of concerns that they will not be able to enjoy their preferred musical styles unless they are under the influence of alcohol or some other drug. The movement is not a panacea that will help every addicted teen to overcome substance abuse problems, but teens who do get past their reluctance and who experience the lifestyle away from the drugs and alcohol that they believe they need are often surprised that they are enjoying themselves and their music more. The Straight Edge community welcomes people without judging them or questioning their decisions to stay sober, and unlike old friends and acquaintances who created peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol, sXer’s never impose any pressure on each other. Straight Edge may be an ideal outlet for teens who enjoys punk or hard rock music but who are struggling with their own individual addiction problems. Some Straight Edge followers even find that their sobriety will open new creative outlets for them to produce music and other artistic venture that they could never have written while they were abusing various substances.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California crafts individual substance abuse recovery programs for adolescents and young adults who are suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism. We can provide additional information on the Straight Edge movement and punk rock revolution for anyone who may be interested. 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.

  8. The Promise of Sobriety

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    A substance abuser will fool himself into thinking that drugs or alcohol hold a better promise of making him feel good and of burying life’s stresses and struggles than any sense of sobriety can provide. Even in recovery, an alcoholic or drug addict can fail to see any benefits that sobriety might provide, notwithstanding any of the physical and emotional pain that substances have caused in his life. This holds particularly true for teens and adolescents who are struggling with their identities and trying to find a place for themselves in a world that they believe holds no promise for them. The truth is that sobriety promises many advantages, and unlike drugs or alcohol, it actually delivers those advantages.

    “Physical Health”
    First, getting sober will make you healthier. You can still get sick and develop conditions that require medical treatment, but your body will be under far less physical stress when you are sober and you be better able to fight off diseases and recover from illnesses when you are not simultaneously dealing with substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol make a false promise of making you feel better. Sobriety actually does make you feel better and helps you to get better when something else affects you.

    “Sobriety Protects”
    Second, when you are sober, you are better able to keep yourself safe. There is no shortage of news stories about people who died in drunk driving accidents, or who were accosted or assaulted while they were impaired by drugs. Young people in particular are prone to sensations of immortality and of feelings that nothing can harm them, when in reality, they expose themselves to egregious harm when they are intoxicated. We live in a dangerous world and drugs and alcohol dramatically increase an individual’s personal risk of injury or death from that danger. Sobriety protects an individual and helps him make choices that reduce that danger.

    “Financial Health”
    Third, sobriety increases an individual’s financial well-being. Drug addicts and alcoholics are more likely to be fired from their jobs, and to use funds that should be budgeted for food and shelter on drugs and alcohol. Many careers have been ruined and many families have broken apart when financial resources dried up due to job losses, or when they were diverted to drug and alcohol purchases.

    “Criminal Justice System”
    Fourth, drug and alcohol abuse can entangle a person in the criminal justice system and saddle them with criminal convictions that haunt them throughout their lives. Adolescents and teens may have an advantage of having their juvenile records cleared when they reach adulthood, but if they continue to use drugs or alcohol when they get older, they expose themselves to the risk of having a criminal record. Sobriety entails no such risks.
    Fifth, sobriety promises that your family and friends will know and accept your true personality instead of the persona you create when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Young people who are insecure about their social skills may try to bolster themselves with drugs or alcohol before they go out with friends. Their inebriated personalities are rarely as engaging as they might believe them to be, and in the end, drugs and alcohol only serve to alienate them further from healthy social engagements. Sobriety will never do this, but will instead allow your real personality to emerge and develop as you improve your own social skills.

    Sobriety makes no false promises, and it holds something special for every recovering addict who makes a commitment to achieve genuine long-term freedom from drugs and alcohol. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps adolescents and young adults to understand the promises of sobriety when they are fighting to overcome drug addiction and 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.

  9. Avoiding Relapse

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    avoiding relapseEveryone knows that rehab is a long, hard road, but maintaining sobriety in the long-term can be just as difficult of a process—especially since it’s entirely up to the recovering person to manage. For adolescents, it’s even harder. Any parent who wants the best odds of success for their child should make sure that he or she regularly attends community support groups—like 12 step programs—as well as maintain a network of support within your home and in the child’s social life.  Support and attention is everything.


    Avoiding Temptation

    A common refrain among the casual public is that temptation is unavoidable, so the addict must learn to resist. Avoiding temptation is entirely practical; teens and young adults don’t need to be in those situations anyway. Families should do whatever they can to make sure their loved one doesn’t relapse, even if it means teaching them to avoid certain friends, even if they’re good people. It’s not hard to determine if a situation or scenario is high risk for temptation so create a sensible plan for checking in and making plans together.


    Maintaining a Support System

    This is what should replace the tempting elements from the adolescent’s previous, pre-rehab life. It can be more difficult than it sounds, because it’s not always bad people that encourage bad behavior. Sometimes, unfortunately, the relationships that comfort us most happen to be counterproductive. Maybe those friends or family members are drug users themselves; maybe something about their personality triggers cravings; or maybe the memories the teen associates with that person steer their mind toward a bad place. Comfort and support are not mutually exclusive, but they can be totally separate. Recognizing that divide is an important part of any program of recovery.


    Don’t Get Cocky

    When life on the outside seems to be progressing, and the responsibilities become more and more time-consuming, teens may begin to slack on group meetings or therapy. It feels like a step forward, moving on with life, but addiction doesn’t just fizzle out completely; it sits and waits to be sparked up again. Life is unpredictable. More than half of heroin, alcohol, cocaine, meth, and marijuana addicts relapse after treatment. Having a sobriety system doesn’t mean your life is a mess; it’s a fail-safe to maintain clean living. Active participation in aftercare should continue for several years before returning to activities and environments that could be considered trigger-worthy.


    Don’t Abandoning Ship

    If you’ve ever spent hours writing an essay or assignment of some kind, only to have your computer crash and all progress lost–you know the urge to say “Screw it” and walk away from the assignment altogether. How could you possibly start over? The same goes for recovering addicts. Once they relapse, they have to two choices: either accept the incident as a slip, a setback, and simply push forward; or continue using and enter full-fledged relapse. The best way to handle a relapse is to figure out what triggered your cravings and make a note to avoid that situation in the future.  But don’t give up on your sobriety altogether.


    To someone who has never experienced drug addiction, the recovery process might seem open-and-shut: admit your problem, accept treatment, get better, and put it all behind you. The reality of addiction is that sobriety will always be a challenge, the urge to use lingers for years to come, and addicts must learn to identify, understand, and avoid the psychological triggers that lead to relapse.

  10. Sobriety and Depression

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    Sobriety and DepressionOnce you embrace sobriety, everything seems a lot better. Finally you can wake up without a hangover. You can maintain normal relationships–relationships which benefit both yourself and the other person. Sobriety is being in touch with reality, and basing your decisions off real consequences and real benefits.

    Sobriety for an alcoholic is self-honesty. It’s shutting down that little devil on your shoulder who says Have just one beer! again and again and again. With this triumph comes a sense of power, and from that, depression begins to lift. After all, addiction and mental illness—most often depression—are practically two sides of the same coin.


    Sobriety and Depression

    Almost any recovering alcoholic can recall how their “downward spiral” began: innocently, at first. Maybe they drank on the weekends—or most days, but just a beer or two. That’s how it can re-start, too. Alcohol dependence is a progressive illness. Either it awakens a predisposition for clinical depression or it speeds it up dramatically. Keeping depression at bay means keeping alcohol out of your brain. The urge to drink will come, especially toward the end of your treatment, when you’re feeling confident—confident enough to believe you can start drinking casually again. It’s insulting to think we need some form of aftercare to keep us on your feet, self-aware, and strong, but we do.


    Sobriety and Aftercare

    For every stigma attached to mental illness–clinical depression, anxiety, and alcoholism–there is another attached the treatment for that illness. AA is widely criticized for being a “cult.” Pharmaceuticals are mythologized as zombifying-slave-pills. Many just don’t realize that treatment for mental illness is a trial and error process; that they take some time and group effort from the patient, their family, and their healthcare providers.

    No two individuals respond to the same prescription or psychologist the same way. The brain is complicated; brains are complicated, because they’re all so different. And that’s what the therapy, the group meetings, the sponsors, and the support network are there for: to provide you with individualized support through the sobriety journey. It’s an ongoing project.


    Sobriety and Psychological Struggle

    Sobriety won’t be easy. Cravings rarely vanish once rehab is complete; they can persist for weeks, months, sometimes even years. It’s not entirely impossible that you’ll be able to drink socially again sometime in the future, but it’s also up to you—and whoever knows you and cares—to make that call responsibly. Talk to your family often, make sobriety an open subject, and always keep a few outside voices in your head.

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.

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