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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-anxiety-sobriety/ 

Perhaps one of the most commonly reported ‘triggers’ for drinking and using drugs is anxiety or nervousness. It is not a pleasant feeling. Anxiety is a formidable obstacle to happiness, serenity, and sobriety, it can dominate our thoughts and permeate our emotional defenses. Sometimes it whispers “You’re not good enough, nobody is going to like you” or “You’re going to fail, why are you even trying?”, keeping us from leaving our comfort zone. As addicts and alcoholics, we quickly learn that certain drugs can reduce anxiety, leaving us with chemical apathy and artificial calm. Unfortunately, a life of active addiction often causes consequences and difficulties to arise, which increase anxiety even more. Avoiding jail time, waiting around on a drug dealer, trying to get money to stay high, and withdrawals can cause extreme amounts of stress. Eventually the drugs we initially used to numb the anxiety end up causing an untold amount of additional stress and worry.

 

social-anxiety

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Inhalant Abuse and Prevention Update:  The Alliance for Consumer Education has put together a site where you can go and make a pledge to talk to your child about the dangers of inhalant use, as Children are 50% less likely to try an inhalant if an adult role model talks to them about the dangers of inhalant abuse.  I have attached the following link for those who might be interested.

http://www.inhalant.org/nipaw/talk-child/

They also have public service announcements related to inhalant abuse from those affected, family members from children who have passed away, as well as former users, like myself.  I did a public service announcement with my mother and sister some years back for the Alliance for Consumer Education and the results of their effectiveness are amazing.

Www.inhalant.org also offers an Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit, quiz, and lesson plans for anyone looking.

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Buddhist Singing BowlSitting in meditation last night, I had a rather pleasant sit. Sitting with a facilitator leading the sit, I followed from concentration into open awareness. As usual, my mind wandered. I was able to gently bring my mind back and avoid the judgement that I often have. In the traditional open awareness practice, we were instructed to note where our attention was. The facilitator included the examples of breath, physical sensation, thought, and sound. All was quite pleasant until the facilitator said, "For these last few minutes before the bell rings, put extra effort forth to focus."

As soon as this was said, anxiety took over. Although I was in the midst of a pleasant sit, the thought of ending the sit brought about great emotion. I had been able to bring my mind back and settle throughout the sit, but I began to struggle with the anxiety. It was slightly stronger than anything else I had experienced during my meditation, and my mind followed it for a bit. Bringing it back, I had an interesting insight.

I tried noting that my focus had turned to a feeling. However, it was rather abstract for me to see this anxiety as a feeling. I put effort forth to truly be presently aware, and found that the "feeling" rested greatly in my body. My heart rate had increased, which I could feel in my chest and my arms and my shoulders and neck became tense. Noticing the physical sensation, it truly was where the anxiety rested.

My mind also had a part in the anxiety, but it was far less obvious that it was in my body. When I heard that the sit was almost over, my mind habitually activated, and the anxiety manifested in my body. My conclusion with this experience was that the anxiety rested mostly in my body.

It is not always easy to identify where a feeling rests, or how it is present with us. I know when I have pleasant and unpleasant emotions, but can not often pinpoint where they rest. Physical pain is simple to locate, as are thoughts. Emotions have somewhat evaded my understanding. With this experience, I see how emotions are an interaction between my mind and body, and affect more than one part of me. Emotions are spread out throughout my human experience and thus harder to locate, but seeing how heavily they rest in the body, I hope to use this in my daily life dealing with emotions.

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