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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

One of the biggest problems people who are new to recovery encounter is how to fill up all their new free time. Before, our lives were consumed with thinking about drugs, finding drugs, and taking drugs. Rinse, and repeat. Keeping yourself busy is a challenge when you're new to recovery, and your life depends on succeeding. If you're left with too much idle time, it's too easy to return to using. What do you do when your life doesn't revolve around drugs or alcohol?


I wrote the books 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober and How to Have Fun in Recovery to help people transition to a sober lifestyle. These books offer suggestions on how to enjoy life sober and how to fill up your spare time. If you or anyone you know is struggling to enjoy life in recovery, I encourage you to check out my books.

 

 

Below is another exclusive from 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober. Here, you can read all of the suggestions for the month of February. Keep on with your quest to improve your life and enjoy it. There are so many interesting and fun things to do in this world, and you deserve to experience all life has to offer. If you enjoy this excerpt, please check out the rest in the Kindle store! You can also follow me on Twitter @LisaMHann

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

One of the biggest problems people who are new to recovery encounter is how to fill up all their new free time. Before, our lives were consumed with thinking about drugs, finding drugs, and taking drugs. Rinse, and repeat. Keeping yourself busy is a challenge when you're new to recovery, and your life depends on succeeding. If you're left with too much idle time, it's too easy to return to using. What do you do when your life doesn't revolve around drugs or alcohol?


I wrote the books 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober and How to Have Fun in Recovery to help people transition to a sober lifestyle. These books offer suggestions on how to enjoy life sober and how to fill up your spare time. If you or anyone you know is struggling to enjoy life in recovery, I encourage you to check out my books.

 

Below is an excerpt from 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober. Here, you can read all of the suggestions for the month of January. It's 2015 now, and it's the perfect time to start transforming your life into the one you want. There are so many interesting and fun things to do in this world, and you deserve to experience all life has to offer. If you enjoy this exclusive excerpt, please check out the rest in the Kindle store! It's actually an excellent book for anyone who's bored or looking for new ideas, recovery or not! You can also follow me on Twitter @LisaMHann

 

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

 

Hello, Addictionland! Happy New Year! I am so grateful to be your addiction expert for the month of January 2015! If you have any questions or want to talk, I encourage you to comment or contact me on Twitter @LisaMHann.

 

 

When I first entered recovery nearly five years ago, one of the questions I had was, "How am I going to have fun now?" I heard that question a lot from other newly recovered addicts, too, so I decided to write two ebooks dedicated to addressing that concern. How to Have Fun in Recovery and 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober offer practical solutions for all people who are struggling to enjoy life.

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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 Alcoholism

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.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

When a person decides to get sober the idea of staying sober can be overwhelming.  The fear of relapse looms large.  A quick review of the literature suggests that the success rate is relatively small when compared to the number of people who attempt to find sobriety.  According to a 2003 study, the Caron Foundation documented that nearly 50-90% of people relapse within the first year after treatment or involvement in a 12-step program. Precursors to relapse can include anger, frustration, stress, or positive emotional states. The National Institute of Drug Abuse have determined that relapse rates from addiction can be compared to those suffering from other chronic illnesses such as Type I diabetes (30 - 50%), Hypertension (50-70%) and asthma (50 to 70%). Drug addiction should be treated like any other chronic illness, with relapse indicating the need for renewed intervention.

It is important to make the distinction between addiction and dependence.  Addiction is a change in behavior to accommodate or obtain the chemical, while dependence is indicated by measurable physical symptoms that arise when the chemical is not consumed. It is the general opinion of many addiction specialists that addiction is largely biochemical and that relapse is largely the result of cravings and proximity to alcohol/drugs or uncomfortable feelings.

Another skill which can be utilized to support recovery is the application of mandates and injunctions. A mandate is a set of thoughts that direct the addict to engage in using behavior when they have an urge to use.  An injunction is a set of criteria that provides the recovering person a way to think about their recovery so they don’t compartmentalize the skills and gifts they bring to their sobriety. In its simplest form it’s a part of a relapse prevention plan.

This approach is another way a clinician can help a client develop additional skills to maintain abstinence. Part of this includes an emergency sobriety card and an accountability contract. An emergency sobriety card provides a brief list of specific and concrete instructions that a person in recovery can refer to anytime when he or she needs help. It’s a small discreet tool that helps the addict find and build confidence in their ability to remain sober. The accountability contract is a set of permissions that an addict gives to his or her family and friends when its determined their recovery is in trouble.  The inclusion of family and friends as part of an addict’s recovery can provide support and help an addict get back on track.

Recovery need not be overwhelming and can be managed successfully. Matching a client to a recovery program is paramount, as we understand that recovery looks different for everyone.  In recovery from addiction, it is important to change your lifestyle to include abstinence from alcohol and drugs; involvement in healthy relationships; good nutrition, rest and exercise; and working to resolve one's personal problems.  Being mindful to incorporate the philosophy of mandates and injunctions will go a long way to build confidence in your recovery program.

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