Addictionland - Addiction Recovery Blog

Addictionland - Addiction Recover Blog

Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged sobriety

Emergency Sobriety Card

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 17 April 2014
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

One of the larger challenges in recovery is learning how to overcome a desire to use alcohol or drugs. In previous articles I've offered a host of tools to support recovery and encourage you to think about recovery in ways other than a conventional approach to sobriety. In this article I would like to offer a simple relapse prevention tool.

As a clinician with nearly 30 years of experience I've worked in a variety of agencies. Every agency would encourage you to develop a relapse prevention plan that attends to places in your life where you get stuck as well as high-risk situations that would encourage use. I think knowing what to do what you get stimulated is important, but I've never been a fan of the long-form relapse prevention plans. Having to look through 20 pages to see which intervention is best suited for a particular issue is a grind. My sense is that more isn't better, different is the key. I would invite you to get several 4x6 cards and create your entire plan on one side of the card.  Include the following:

Mission statement: one of my friend's is a pilot for a major airline. He let me know that 95% of the time a plane is off-course and that you need to make adjustments to keep the plane on course. Much like a plane, we can get off course in our recovery. I would invite you to create a statement at the top of the card which supports you to make corrections in your life when your recovery is in trouble. This is my mission statement: my sobriety is the single most important thing in my life - if anything jeopardizes my recovery, I eliminate it. As I believe that recovery is a choice, it is important to be mindful that every decision we make can support long term-recovery or allow us to engage in maladaptive behaviors that support relapse and are less than flattering to our ego. All I need to do is to simply think of my mission statement and compare it to anything I want to do. Will this action stimulate a desire to use or further support my recovery? While I do not broadcast my sobriety, it is the single most important thing in my life.

Phone numbers: I would invite you to include 6-7 phone numbers of people you know who are supportive of your recovery, likely to help you if you feel like you're falling down in your life, and are consistent in their own way. When I had about 12 years of sobriety I had a pretty strong desire to drink. I was fortunate in that I collected a list of 100 phone numbers. As my desire to drink came on the weekend during the time between Christmas and New Years most people were on vacation and out-of-touch. I needed to call over 95 people before I found someone I could talk to. Some people might consider a list of 100 people as extreme, but my sense is that I am absolutely committed to making sure I remain sober and I am willing to put in extreme effort to that end.

Alternatives: I invite you to list six to seven things you can do beyond drinking and using. I can always go to the judo hall, watch horrible sci fi, volunteer, support people online, read, play with my cat, go for a run, and remember the commitment I made to my grandmother when I got sober. It's important to be mindful that we tend to drink or use to change the way we feel, and it's imperative that we remember that relapse only offers temporary relief.

...
Hits: 14
0 votes

Defeating the Mental Trap

Posted by Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty is an interventionist, Registered Addiction Specialist intern an
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 19 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

I'm sure that many of you can relate to coincidences like when you learn about a new word, you find that you hear it more, but when in reality it's just something new that has come into your awareness, it was really there all along.  This is of course something that happens to me often, but has certainly been my experience since I have been writing this blog, as it is now always in my awareness to look for opportunities for what to discuss next and they just keep popping into my life!

Working in the addiction field, and the job I have in particular, keeps me very focused but also very isolated.  Working in addiction also creates a sort of bubble, being that my clients are all trying to get out of their active addiction, my co-workers are all in recovery, and the doctors are addictionologists.  I had been in California for four or five years and didn’t realize that I was protecting myself in a way, by not branching out of my comfort zone.  So it wasn’t until about two years ago, that I started to go out to new places and interact with new people that have never struggled with an addiction.  (People that experience temporary stress instead of chronic anxiety are still a wonder to me!)

The benefit, however, of the bubble realization was that all of that prep work that I had been doing (working with a sponsor, doing the steps, going to multiple types of therapy to figure out the core issues as to why I was using inhalants, then working on those core issues) was in preparation for returning to the real world and all its challenges and this time having a more positive impact, on myself and on those around me, and it was time to use them!  The tools I have learned (especially emotional regulation, coping skills, and trigger identification) and the resources I have developed have been crucial in my relapse prevention, because life sure does throw me some curveballs and when I did come out of hiding, I found that some of my wreckage from my past was still there waiting for me.  I am definitely grateful that I was given the opportunity to have a second chance, to get to be the same person, but a better version.  By doing the footwork, it allows me to look at the same situations but have different reactions and therefore different outcomes than I would have in the past.

I feel that in order to be effective in communicating with people who are also struggling and/or looking for solutions or education, I need to write about things that truly affect me emotionally, because if what I'm writing doesn't induce some sort of feelings for me, how could it in someone else?  So full disclosure in the hopes that someone can relate and hopefully allowing me to be of service.

The reason that the ability to have different reactions that produce different and better outcomes is on my mind is due to some events that occurred in my week.  I felt discouraged this week for two reasons, and I feel like they have happened while I have volunteered to write this blog for a reason.  I am a person that falls victim to a certain type of mental trap, where your brain immediately jumps into negative thinking or disaster mode when you hear certain things that are not ideal.  In the treatment facilities I work with, we refer to it as addict brain.

...
Tags: 10th tradition, 12 step, 12 step recovery, AA, abstinence, accurate self-appraisal, action program, action steps, addict, addiction, addiction help, addiction memoir, addiction recovery, Addiction Specialist, addictive behavior, addicts, affected, affirmations, Alcoholics Anonymous, answers, anxiety, anxiety and recovery, ask for help, Asking for help, attitude of gratitude, awareness, balance, being a loving mirror, being a loving person, being of service, Big Book, Caring for those who still suffer, co-addiction, co-occurring disorder, compassion, courage, dealing with a using loved one, depression, discomfort, drug abuse, drug addiction, emotional management, emotional maturity, emotional regulation, emotional sobriety, emotions, faith, family recovery, fear, first step, goal setting, goals, gratitude, gratitude journey, Guest Blogger, guilt, healing, HELPING OTHERS, higher self, inadequacy, inner satisfaction, intervention, inventory, letting go, Life Challenges, life on life's terms, literature, memoir, mental health, mindfulness, mindfulness and recovery, Motivation, My Story, openness, positive energy, program of recovery, recovery, recovery talk, relapse prevention, Resilience, right action, right intention, self care, Self Love, self-compassion, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-help, self-honesty, serenity, shame, sobriety, sponsor, stepwork, struggle, substance abuse, suffering, suffering addicts, Support, surrender, tenth tradition, thinking, thinking errors, Trying to save a Life, turn it over, twelve step recovery, twelve steps, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, twelve steps of aa, twelve traditions, twelve traditions of aa, why i used drugs
Hits: 76
0 votes

Inhalant Awareness and Education

Posted by Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty is an interventionist, Registered Addiction Specialist intern an
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 11 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

March 16th marks the beginning of the week for National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week!

I work in assisting the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, a contact I made after my episode of Intervention, when I joined Director Harvey Weiss to speak on a panel with others affected by inhalant abuse in Washington DC.  Many of the people that I have spoken with were once inhalant addicts themselves or friends and family (especially parents) of inhalant users who devistatingly passed away while using inhalants. This is an organization that works on reducing, preventing, and making the public aware of inhalant abuse, a goal that we both have in common.

In their most recent newsletter, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as "the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.”  This definition also infers two primary inhalant abuse slang terms:  “Sniffing” and “Huffing.” In a sense the Process of“huffing” defines the slang terms for the Activity i.e. bagging (huffing from a bag); Glading (misusing air freshener); etc."

NIPC also regularly provides the public with updates and facts imperitive to spread the awareness and prevention of inhalant abuse.  Here is an update of some of the most recent facts:

1.  Any time an inhalant is used, it could be a fatal episode.  This could be the first time you ever use inhalants, or the 100th.  NIPC notes that there is research showing that "of those people who died from huffing, about one-third died at first time use."

...
Hits: 92

Feeling Better

Posted by AlisonFSmela
AlisonFSmela
Alison Smela, is in long-term recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder follo
User is currently offline
on Monday, 16 December 2013
in Recommended Reading 0 Comments

In early recovery, I was often told, “Trust me, you’ll feel better soon”, or, “I know this is hard, but I promise, you’ll feel better soon.” I lived by those words.  I was so shaky, ashamed and scared. I felt awful.  I desperately hoped the non-stop physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual suffering would stop.  I wanted so badly to feel better, physically as well as emotionally. I tried each and every day to focus on those words of reassurance and deny what I thought and felt inside.  I held tight to the recommendations of my recovery role models, the encouragement from my friends and family outside the rooms of recovery and my own willingness to get better, hoping eventually I’d feel better.

And eventually I did, but not in the way I had expected.  What began to happen was I started to feel my feelings better.  I started to feel happiness better, I started to feel anger better, and I started to feel sadness better.

Although this sounds like a play on words – feeling my feelings better - the point is, in order for me to experience healthy recovery I had to allow myself to actually feel what I had long been trying to deflect, change or control.

For example, during the Christmas holidays my emotions would always kick into overdrive.   No matter what age I was, I would become completely nostalgic.  I’d think about stringing the lights with my dad, hearing my grandfather whistling a holiday tune or sitting at the top of the staircase with my brothers and sister waiting for my Dad to tell us Santa had arrived.  I’d get excited to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family or maybe catch an old Charles Dickens movie by myself.  As I got older the holidays stopped being those experienced as a child.  They became strung by addiction instead of lights and wrapped around bottles of wine with little food instead of gifts presented with love.

I won’t lie, those first few winter holidays in recovery were difficult.  I couldn’t stop focusing on how sad, angry and frustrated I felt for all those Christmas and New Year holidays lost in the blur of addiction.  In those early recovery years I had difficulty fully embracing the magic of the season.  To be honest, I really wanted nothing more than to get through the series of events, wishing they would just be over.

...
Hits: 255

Learning To Live With Your New Life Of Sobriety

Posted by The Clean Life
The Clean Life
I had an addiction to alcohol for many years and found that my life was going do
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 18 September 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

For alll of us that have had an addiction to alcohol for many years, we are so frighten to change our life, and live that life of sobriety.  For myself, I wanted to live sober, but I was so frightened of how I would be able to get along in life without my crutch of alcohol.

Our first step is to want to get sober and stay sober for the rest of our lives.  That is the number one thing, at least it was it was for myself.  You need to want sober and not be forced, threatened into changing your life.

For many alcoholics that want to change their and get sober, I would advise you to get the Professional Help needed to detox in a safe and healthy manner.

For myself, I did not take that approach, and to tell you the truth once I made up my mind to surrender to my demons and get sober, I was so afraid of what would happen to me over the period of time in the beginning of my sobriety.  I truly took a huge change on my life by not getting sober in a safe and healthy manner.

I was one of the lucky people that nothing happened bad to me, although I was a nervous wreck for weeks, but I stood my grounds and never broke my promise to myself that no matter how I felt and how bad I wanted to have drink I would NOT pick up an alcoholic drink for the rest of my life.

...
Hits: 158
0 votes

As Sick as Our Secrets

Posted by The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 06 September 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

keepingsecretsWhen I was newly sober, I was told that we are as sick as our secrets. I incorrectly dismissed this as another cliché, like “one day at a time” or “keep it simple” (both of which turned out to also be true). As I look back on my drug addiction and early sobriety, I can see pretty clearly how my honesty is proportional to my happiness.

Before getting sober, my entire life was a secret. There were superficial things such as the clandestine drug use or the stealing. There were also deeper secrets such as my immense fear, insecurity, and shame. Together, my secrets drove me, creating a person that I didn’t even want to be around myself. I lied to myself more frequently than I even had lied to others, I pushed down every unpleasant thought and emotion, and I had absolutely no genuine feeling of who I was.

Getting sober, I was given the opportunity to come clean; both to myself and to others. Part of the recovery process was to write down these things that I had done wrong, things that I had assumed I would take to the grave out of shame. With some help, I was able to be just partly open about my life. As I shared what I had done with a trusted loved one, I found that he had done many of the same things in his addiction as well. As this reassured me, I began speaking with more people about my faults and mistakes, only to find that my community of sober people knew from their own personal experience exactly how I felt after keeping so many secrets.

As I grew more comfortable, I became able to truly address the secrets I had kept. The deeper secrets came out, and I even gained knowledge of some secrets I had kept from myself. As I opened up, I began to experience a new level of joy and happiness.

...
Hits: 149
0 votes

Social Anchoring, a Tool to Manage Recovery

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 15 August 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

Staying sober requires that recovering people remain motivated towards sobriety. Recovering individuals need to become involved in Social Anchoring, a skill which comprises five very distinct actions to enable long-term support for recovery. Through the development of these actions people begin to learn a practical application of principles which offer a sufficient substitute other than alcohol or drugs.

Most newly sober people have trouble evaluating their experience and abilities objectively. This lack of objectivity can result in poor decision making and a lack of awareness which does not put your skills and achievements in a positive light. This article is intended to be a starting place so you can best determine how to best present your specific skills and find various ways to enliven your sobriety.

1) Attendance at recovery based meetings. It is imperative that people who want to remain sober, spend time with other people trying to achieve the same thing. Recovery based fellowship enables people to see what works, what doesn’t, learn skills to support long-term abstinence, and develop friendships so that when one experiences a desire to drink and use, they can call upon their fellows in these meetings, rather than answering the call of their favorite chemical.

2) Remaining accountable. We need to spend time with people who are working a recovery program and exhibit behaviors that are suggestive of a life committed to personal growth and sobriety. Junior members are encouraged to find senior members who “have what they want” and develop a mentor relationship with one another. These junior/senior members meet regularly to discuss how they can apply what they have learned, offer objective feedback, and help you to develop a plan of action for meetings goals.

3) Developing a connection with a Higher Power. This right-of-passage usually involves coming to terms with archaic religious views and discarding the codified structure of what isn’t working, and which prevents people from reaching full integrity in their recovery program. New members are encouraged to set-aside what they know and begin to see things differently. Remembering that setting aside what you know isn’t asking you to discard what you know, rather it is about becoming willing to consider a different viewpoint or understanding that our way doesn’t support us to get what we want.

...
Hits: 334
0 votes

Cravings Anonymous

Posted by glotao
glotao
Gloria Arenson, MFT, DCEP, specializes in using EFT and other Energy Psychology
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 01 August 2013
in Other Addictions 0 Comments

Many years ago when Overeaters Anonymous was in its infancy in Los Angeles, members of AA who had years of sobriety were invited to speak at OA meetings. They brought experience, strength and hope to a group struggling to get on its feet. Among the AA helpers was a wonderful woman named Dottie who was an inspiring speaker. Dottie was welcomed at the burgeoning OA meetings and became a friend and supporter of those wanting to be free of compulsive eating.

As the years went by and OA grew, other anonymous meetings sprang up for drug addicts and later spenders and sex addicts. Then word went around that Dottie was starting another new meeting that was different from all the rest. It was a meeting open to any and all people suffering from addictive or compulsive behaviors. No type of addiction was considered more serious than another. It was a meeting where all attendees were practicing the 12 steps.

Soon after this meeting got underway I moved away from Los Angeles so I never found out what happened to that group, but I never forgot it. We desperately need a new support system today that is like Dottie’s since we have become a society riddled with addictions and compulsions of all sorts. People switch from one to another but are never free of the cravings to feel good at all costs.

I recall Betty, the very first client I treated after I was licensed as an MFT. Betty was an overeating, drug-addicted alcoholic. She wanted me to help her stop her compulsive overeating. Then she met her husband, who was a drug dealer, and she dropped out of therapy. She eventually returned, having divorced her husband. She was not using drugs and was trying to stay off booze, but food was a constant battle.

I worked with Betty for quite a while as she tried to kick all three of her compulsions. She never managed to get rid of all three at the same time.  Finally she relocated to another city. I remember one of her letters in which she said that she went to an alcoholism counselor who told her, “I don’t care what you do, just DON”T DRINK!” She wrote that she stopped drinking and immediately gained 35 pounds!

...
Hits: 188

Protected : Relationships in Sobriety

Posted by The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 28 April 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments
Authentication required.
This is a password protected blog, please kindly enter the password into the password field below to view the blog.

Protected : Steps 4 and 5: Courage

Posted by The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way
The Easier Softer Way has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 21 April 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments
Authentication required.
This is a password protected blog, please kindly enter the password into the password field below to view the blog.

Using Bibliotherapy in Recovery

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 08 April 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

My sense is that there are many ways to get sober. Some people find success by attending inpatient treatment followed by weekly group counseling sessions. Some clients find that a faith-based approach works for them, and others simply see a therapist and use anti-craving medications. If we posit that recovery looks different for everybody it would make sense that self-study could be another way that some people find success in abstaining from alcohol and drugs and growing in their recovery.

If you're looking for another way to grow in your sobriety I invite you to explore Bibliotherapy. I like to define Bibliotherapy as an expressive form of self-study. Methods consist of poetry, reading, writing exercises, and movie therapy. Bibliotherapy is an old concept in library science. The ancient Greeks maintained that literature was emotionally and psychologically important and hung a sign above the library door that read "Healing Place for the Soul". The idea of Bibliotherapy dates back from the early 1930's. The basic concept is that self-study is a healing experience and that this kind of study can resolve complex human problems. The practice was used in both general practice and medical care after the second world war because the soldiers had a lot of time on their hands and felt like reading was helpful. During treatment in psychiatric institutions clients have found that reading has been helpful for their emotional welfare. Today, the modern healthcare and psychiatric community recognize the benefit of Bibliotherapy for a wide range of problems.

As noted from Minddisorders.com: Bibliotherapy is not likely to be helpful with clients who suffer from thought disorders, various kinds of psychoses, limited intellectual and reading ability, various kinds of dyslexia, or resistance to treatment. In addition, some clients may use bibliotherapy as a form self-help treatment rather than seeking professional help. Additional caution should be applied to people who run the risk of misdiagnosing their problem, misdiagnosing mental health issues, or incorrectly applying techniques.

The benefits can be significant for clients who are homebound, lack resources to seek professional help, failed at other kinds of therapy, or people who are self-motivated to try an approach that offers benefit that is complemented by self-study.

Hits: 234
0 votes

Anatomy of a Relapse

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 16 May 2012
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

 

A random poll among newly sober clients, recovery counselors, and people who have achieved years of clean time would probably produce a varying consensus about the most pressing need for successful recovery.   Most respondents, however, would likely agree that relapse is often an indicator of stress.

The process of recovery, like the process of grief, is fluid and dynamic.  Exploring relapse before it happens is a good way to identify potential problems so you can be prepared for them.  Thorough preparation can help you minimize or even avoid issues may hinder your recovery.

Most people don’t think though the actions which eventually bring them to the point of relapse .  They simply had a desire to drink, and acted upon that without any thought for the consequences.  If they did indeed have any thoughts and feelings about the consequences of use, those thoughts and feeling were ignored or rationalized away.

In the recovery process, your recognition of that lack of forethought and insight should be a powerful lesson.  You can learn that anticipating the ultimate results of your behaviors will help you make much better choices.

...
Hits: 500
0 votes

Having a difficult time staying sober?? Maybe it’s not you – maybe it’s brain chemistry.

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 01 May 2012
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

 

You know the drill: you have spent countless hours in meetings, on the phone with your sponsor asking endless questions about your desire to use.  You have worked the steps and you’ve even consulted specialists.  In a moment of desperation you found help by attending treatment. You’re able to rack up six to twelve months, but eventually you find yourself in the throes of your addiction. None of this seems to work.  You find yourself questioning your commitment and ability to stay sober.  Maybe your sponsor was right when he said you lack willingness.

Not so fast….

What you are likely experiencing is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS.

PAWS consist of a set of impairments that occur immediately and at times simultaneously after the withdrawal from alcohol or other substances.  These impairments affect three distinct areas of functioning and last six to eighteen months from the last use of alcohol or drugs as your brain tries to regain homeostasis.

...
Hits: 596
0 votes

Skilled Sobriety

Posted by tbranston
tbranston
tbranston has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 06 April 2012
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

 

Long-term sobriety requires personal engagement in your recovery.  Real engagement goes beyond just attending meetings or calling your sponsor.  Engaged recovery requires that you constantly learn new, concrete skills which support long-term sobriety. When I think of concrete skills that support recovery, several things come to mind:

Resilience - This generally refers to a person’s ability to cope with adversity, or the ability to bounce back from problems and setbacks. Research has shown resiliency to be a dynamic process.  Resilient individuals adapt to changing and unexpected events even under the duress of adversity. You can develop your own resilience by establishing good problem-solving skills, or by seeking help and building social support.  Fostering a belief that there are things you can do to manage your feelings and cope, and finding positive meaning in trauma, are other strategies for building your resilience.

Delayed gratification – Usually, people who can abstain from alcohol or drugs, or people who have managed to stay out of prison, have found ways to delay their gratification. People use chemicals to change the way they feel, so if you learn skills to act on your emotions in healthy ways, including offseting a need for immediate gratification, you can manage to fulfill your needs through avenues other than chemical use.

Volunteer work - My experience has shown me that volunteer work is a great way to feel better about yourself, develop a community of peers who share similar interests, and be of service to others.  If you want to raise your self-esteem, do things you’d be proud to tell other people.

...
Hits: 454
0 votes

OUT OF THE WOODS RECOVERY BLOG

Posted by Cate
Cate
Cate Stevens. Founder of Addictionland.com, has over fifteen years of recovery f
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 28 November 2010
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

Diane Cameron, author of the women's recovery blog "Out of the Woods," is Director of Development at Unity House in New York, as well as columnist and writer for Times Union and other newspapers.  She previously served as the Executive Director of Community Caregivers and as Director of Philanthropic Services for Community Foundation for the Capital Region.

Hits: 2660
0 votes

Blogging Tip

It's easy, just fill out the title and write your blog.  You can select a category too.  Click "Publish Now" and you're done!

You don't have to worry about anything else, the other options are there for pro bloggers to use if desired.

This blog works best when you use Firefox as your browser.

Subscribe to Cate's Blog

Feedburner Subscription (RSS): Subscribe now

Subscription link for email feed: Subscribe to Blogs written by Cate - Addiction Blogs | Blogging Community by Email

Member Login