Addiction was for the longest time seen as a moral choice. People looked down upon those who were “addicts” as if they were both selfish and self-destructive. There was a moral condemnation for those suffering from addiction. But when it became apparent that addiction is a disease (a circumstance that manipulates the person rather than being controlled by the person) the public began to understand the nature of it all. People who were addicted were given more in depth levels of assistance with the illness. However, one has to ask, why is it considered an illness in the first place? What makes Addiction a disease?
The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines addiction as:
“… a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.”
Although the first exposure to a particular drug is usually voluntary, continued use is usually involuntary. Addiction ends up reworking the brain’s needs to become dependent on a substance, with little-to-no intentional control on the person. The person becomes an addict because the brain becomes dependent on the drug in order to properly function. It is not merely something that we can switch on and off. Also like other diseases, addiction can be fatal if left untreated. That not only goes for continued usage, but also for withdrawal as well. Withdrawals should always be conducted with both medical consultation and help from a friend. One’s mind and body grows sick by the lack of the substance, and therefore needs proper control and assistance in order to get through the withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike other diseases, Addiction is an illness that can be successfully treated. It requires care, discipline, and occasionally strict medication. Unfortunately the addiction cannot always be 100% ridden out of a person; what this means is that a person might always have the capability of loosing control if they ever touch the substance again. They will always have the biological potential to become an addict. However, that doesn’t mean that it will always control them. But they can be treated to move on and no longer desire that substance and have a free life again. Recovery is achieved not when someone doesn’t take a drink, but it is achieved when someone no longer desires to have a drink in the first place.
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For those of us returning to our lives after in-patient treatment, some environments can seem daunting to return to. School can often be one of the most challenging areas, since it contains many different influences on our physical and emotional wellbeing. But like all areas of our lives, we do not need to be afraid of returning to our education. Once we successfully do that, we can learn to adapt to any environment for our recovery living. Here are a few tips to avoid relapse in a school or college environment.
Surround yourself with positivity
A sad truth of most school environments is that negativity tends to travel fast. Whether it is finals, teachers, or relationships, tense emotional situations can arise and therefore make the urge to relapse stronger. To help avoid this, it is best to keep together one or multiple friends who can help keep you motivated and accountable. We need friends to encourage us, whether they are old friends, new friends, or teachers who can be our friend when no one else can. A sad fact for many students dealing with addiction is judgment and ostracization from their peers. Some of these peers might even have been former friends. The important thing to remember is that you are not blameworthy or a bad person, no matter what someone tells you. It hurts to be seen negatively, but it is okay to be hurt; you don’t have to hold it in, because that builds up anxiety that can lead to a possible relapse. What you really need is at least one good friend to believe in you. One person who is there with you and can understand that the addiction is not your fault and that you are working to get better. With just one person by your side, student or teacher, you will have already won half the battle.
Take precautions to avoid high-risk scenarios
As mentioned before, Schooling often creates stressful situations. Some of those situations could be emotional, while others could be brought on by the stress of your studies. Recovery is a journey to overcoming substance abuse through readjusting to your previous life, not staying absent from your life. One thing to do is to regularly participate in stress-relieving activities, such as sports or art programs during or after class. Another thing we suggest is to make a trust-worthy teacher or administrator aware of your concerns, and how you might need to receive certain accommodations and assistance for your work. That way they can help the school’s administration understand where you are coming from. These can be small things like extra time on homework, or reminding your teachers to not bring on any stressful triggers.
If you require any further assistance with adjusting to your school or college environment, please give Recovery Care Partner’s sober companion services a call. We are always here for your sober-living needs.Learn More
The “G” word. The thing that always accompanies addiction at one point or another. Guilt is the dreaded reminder of what we’ve done and how wrong we know it was to do. But although we need guilt for life guidance, certain lies can accompany guilt, especially when we are dealing with the disease of addiction. In such confusion, we need anyone or thing that can remind us of our inherent worth and value. When we learn to stand against improper guilt, we make a huge leap to recovery
Know guilt and know your worth
Guilt is a sign of our conscience. It is a good thing and a natural emotion. We shouldn’t try to live life ignorant of guilt. Having said that, our guilt can often be mixed with lies and exaggerations on our self worth and identity. With the struggle of addiction, our self-respect is based on how much we resist said addiction. If we resist for a long period, we feel good, but when we give in we are a “terrible person”. That’s how our brain works under that lie. But in order to overcome these lies, we need to understand our self worth. People and events can tell us that we are awful and worthless, but that is an abusive lie from their own personal distortion. You and everyone else carry inherent self worth since you were born. You are a human being who is meant to be loved and appreciated. The addiction is a disease that tries to destroy your capability of living such a life. Despite any decision in the past, the horrible cycle of addiction is not your fault. You need help not because you are unworthy, but because you are worthy.
Spot the Lies
It is extremely hard to believe truth when lies feel so real. But when we are going through recovery, the one thing we always need is reassurance. We need to be reminded that we are worthy of help and that recovery is a reality. Our lies often take the form of discouragement and cynicism through the fear of failure and pain. These lies don’t hold up under scrutiny once we speak them out-loud to someone who can understand. There is something strange about how we can tell ourselves an encouragement, but we don’t fully believe it unless someone else says it.
A Push Forward
Guilt can be a troubling and even destructive emotion when taken out of its proper context. But once we separate the lies form the truth, we can start to see not only our true worth, but our true problem as well. If guilt should tell us anything, it should be that we do in fact need help and cannot stay stuck in this vicious cycle. We have to be brave enough to reach out to the person we know loves us enough to stick by and lead us to recovery. But if there is ever a reason we can’t, then there is still Recovery Care Partner to talk, understand, and offer help when we need it most.
If you need to talk to anyone, please contact us at 855-727-2887Learn More
Addiction is a battle fought often in the subtle aspects of life. When readjusting to your life post-treatment, you have to look out for the subtle challenges that pop up. One of the many ways that addicts are instructed in avoiding the urge to relapse is by surrounding themselves with friends. However, one has to make sure that these friends are a positive, and not a negative influence on your road to recovery.
The cause of addiction has many aspects to it, and that is because it is a very complex disease. It mainly is caused by a physical dependency, but what often goes unspoken is the emotional dependency it has on the addict. A person might not be addicted to just the high, but they could also be trying to avoid any anxieties or troubles that the high takes away. This is often the case where the person is connected to both a physical and an emotional desire to escape from the stress of the outside world. So one way to help avoid this is to surround oneself with friends who not only keep them accountable, but also make the outside world seem fun and stress-free again.
Picking the Right Friends
Although hanging out with friends and family can be a productive step to overcoming addiction, it is wise to take some necessary precautions first. For instance, make sure that you are exposing yourself to personalities that are productive, rather than destructive. Not to be too harsh, but we all have some friends who radiate stress and negativity. They are not always the most positive to be around, and it might not be a good idea to hang out with them this early into your recovery. This is not a rude action on your part; it is merely a necessary precaution for your own mental health.
Explaining your Accountability
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should explain to your friends (at least one or two) that you are on a specific road to recovery, and cannot be put in an uncomfortable position. Again, this is not yours or anyone else’s fault. This is merely the situation that your peers need to understand so that they do not do anything that could produce harmful triggers (such as going out to club or bar). Unfortunately that sometimes means staying away from certain places for a while. It doesn’t have to be a depressing situation. If anything, this is a new opportunity for you and your friends to try something new. Their loyalty to you in your recovery will only increase your confidence and self-esteem.
Friends in Treatment
However, once you enter Recovery Care, there will be plenty of people you will get to know who are experiencing the same things as you. We encourage new relationships with recovery companions, so that you not only learn how to stay active, but also to learn how positive, lasting relationships can be a weapon against addiction.Learn More
Addiction comes in many forms, and sometimes those forms can result from trying to medicate your original addiction. When someone is addicted, that means that their body and/or mind is dependent on a particularly substance. To help them with the anxiety of withdrawal, they are sometimes prescribed medication to help ease the pain. But what can sometimes happen is that the patient becomes so dependent on the medication that they form a new addiction. At Recovery Care Partner, these prescriptions are only given with the upmost concern for the particular patient. We don’t just give medication to anyone. But what should we, the patients, do if the chance for addiction to this medication arises? Here are a few things to remember when taking prescription medication.
Addiction creates a mental and/or physical dependency in your body for a particular substance. Therefore, if one is trying to remove the addiction to that substance, sometimes that means using prescription medication to help the recovery process. Rather than becoming dependent on another destructive substance, the patient can use this medication to help them work through their withdrawals. However, the medication is not meant to be taken outside of the recommended prescription instructions. They shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol or other potentially addictive substances, and they also should never be taken more or less than the prescribed dosage. Doing this could be a sign of dependency and have unintended effects on the user. But if just taking the medications the way they are doesn’t seem to be currently helping, you can still resist the urge to abuse through other means.
One way to avoid prescription abuse is to contact either your Recovery Care Monitor or your doctor if you are starting to feel the desire to take more than your prescribed dosage. This is not a sign of failure or your inability to handle yourself, in fact this is quite the opposite. Recovery is a process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and as long as you are honest with your doctors and counselors, recovery will be achievable.
Another way to keep prescription addiction at bay is to take physical precautions that block the addictive effects.
Note: Only take these precautions if your doctor approves them.
One of these strategies is placing an unpleasant effect into the drug that appears if the drug is taken improperly. Another similar fashion is to have the drug mixed with an antagonist substance that counteracts the addictive sensation if it is also taken improperly. But the always ideal precaution is to contact your doctor and/or prescriber to figure out which way would be best for you to take your medication. They are more than capable of providing the proper adjustments to make sure that your medication has a positive effect on your recovery.Learn More
There are two types of public speakers. Some know what their talking about and how to articulate their message. Others unfortunately don’t know how to properly connect with the audience. If you are speaking to people recovering from addiction, you definitely want to be the former. Recovery is a tough process and emotional support is always a necessity. Public speakers offer a unique opportunity to speak generally and offer wisdom to those in need of encouragement. However, in order to make a positive effect, the public speaker needs to understand where the demographic is coming from.
Know the nature of addiction
When someone is getting treatment for addiction, the one thing that makes them uncomfortable is when people don’t understand their condition. Addiction is not a moral choice. It is a disease. Most of us would erase our addiction if we could. But unfortunately our bodies and minds are bullied by a compulsion that we wish we did not have. Speak to the audience with a firm understanding of what they go through every day.
Speak to them, not above them
Almost as important as what you talk about is how you say it. Do you talk outside of the audience, or do you speak as one of them? Usually a good public speaker for addiction has gone through a similar struggle and came out of it. They know the struggle, guilt, and compulsion that comes with living in the disease. The best thing you could possibly do, is to speak with a voice of honesty, patience, and love. You need to believe in your patients, because you know the value of someone believing in you.
Provide Realistic Hope
Information and strategies go a long way in recovery. But the only thing that gets anybody through a dark tunnel is hope. Hope needs to be more than just wishful encouragement; it needs to be an assurance of victory. When a person looks at a public speaker who has overcome their addiction, they will be reminded of the fact that the struggle can in fact be defeated. It reminds them that it is possible. The speaker needs to not only articulate that message of hope, but they also need to believe in it themselves. They need to know what it is like to yearn for help, and find relief. When it is all over, the people watching will finally see hope rather than being told new rules and strategies.
One of the many questions that we have when first confronting addiction is “does it run in my family?” Addiction is widely known as a chronic disease centered on a substance dependency that goes against our better will. But it comes from more than just a drug or chemical. It has roots in our genes and can pass on to different family generations. Although each person’s case is unique to them, there is a real connection between one person’s addictive tendencies, and their family’s genetic framework. In order to better work combat our addiction, it is important to understand who it works and where it comes from.
How Addiction Works
Addiction comes from more than just the usage of a particular drug; it could originate from one’s genetics. Let me explain: Addiction is generally the result of a substance taking advantage of the brain’s need for dopamine. Dopamine is a natural chemical in the central nervous system that allows someone to function calmly. Dopamine is often activated through a person’s need for something (i.e. an activity, drink, or person). So those born with lower amounts of dopamine in their system normally require a greater amount of it. In other words, the person is more susceptible to becoming addicted to something.
Genetics of Addiction
Since the low dopamine levels are a genetic condition, it can very easily pass on to the next generation. However, this does not mean that a baby can be born genetically addicted to drugs and alcohol. A father could be addicted to alcohol, while his son could be addicted to sex (even though he never touched alcohol in his life). The genetic dopamine levels do not make one susceptible to a specific addiction, they are just susceptible to becoming addicted to anything.
Good and Bad Addiction
However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. We are all addicted to something; the only problem is the subject of our dependency. Are we dependent on something productive or destructive? You could be addicted to regularly drinking tea and exercising, or you could be addicted to self-destructive substances and chemicals.
Addiction During Pregnancy
However, there is the possibility of babies being born addicts to a specific drug, most of the time this results from the mother using drugs during or prior to pregnancy. This is not however a result of genetics. This is because of the mother’s drug/alcohol dependency being fed straight to the fetus during development. This is a very unfortunate case, but it is treatable depending on the health of the child.
There is Hope
Whether or not the dependency is hereditary, addiction is one of the more treatable illnesses in the country. Recovery Care Partner’s drug and alcohol programs provide the best treatment for anyone’s condition, including the tools for families to handle their conditions together.
Imagine how tough it is to deal with addiction on your own. You want to get better, but often you can’t control the compulsion for another drink or hit. You feel like you’ve disappointed your family and friends, and you feel shame for every substance you take. Now you are beginning to understand what it is like for your friend or family member who is dealing with addiction. The one thing they need through this time is support. But what kind of support? Here are a few ways you can be there for your loved one in their time of need.
Don’t judge. Forgive
We all come from different backgrounds and histories. I’m not going to pretend like I know what your friend or family member has been through. They could have real scars and real destruction in the past. Or there could be stability and at somepoint things just went wrong. One thing I can say no matter what is that forgiveness is needed. Whether the person realizes that they have a problem or not, they still need you by their side. You cannot judge them or blame them for making that first mistake. A lot more things are out of our control than we realize, and blame doesn’t create any kind of healing. How can a person forgive himself or herself if they don’t realize that their parents, children, and friends already forgive them?
Be their Coach
Whether it is pre, mid, or post treatment, your loved one will be going through some serious pain. This will be both physical and psychological. Withdrawal symptoms are serious and are often the leading circumstance of relapse. Before the treatment, things can get pretty scary. And depending on the time away from the substance, they will need your constant coaching. You need to hold them and tell them whatever it is they need to hear in order to breathe. This can mean hours of holding them as if they were a child again. In post treatment, they will need you to understand the lessons they’ve learned, and therefore you will still have to be there to make sure that they stick to their goals. You will have to provide a positive, guilt free environment. Whenever a person comes home from recovery, they are fighting an internal war not to go back to their substance. So that means your job is to make home as welcoming and as supporting as possible.Learn More
Addiction is often a solitary war within us. We often give up the fight because there isn’t anyone who can naturally understand what it is like to go through cravings, release, or withdrawals. But one of the first things our patients realize is that this is not a battle meant to be fought alone. Recovery pulls people together through the struggle, and allows us to understand our problems better on the way to the solutions. This is done primarily through our Addiction Counselors.
What they are like
Our Counselors comfortably invite the patient into a judgment free environment. They are not any previous conceptions about the patient that will interfere with the relationship. They help the patient by letting them express their inner feels, and cravings, while also getting to the psychological heart of the problems. A trust is built up between the patient and counselor, since no shame can keep them from forgiveness and recovery.
What we teach
Our various counselors offer incredible, friendly support to our patients. We work with them through mental exercises and therapeutic sessions to get to the core of their addiction and how to overcome it. We understand that addiction is more than just a substance. It is a mental and physical disease that is layered with causes and complications. However, they know well enough that the patients cannot stay dependent on their support forever. For recovery to be a success, the patient needs to leave the treatment facility and go back out into the world to conquer their addiction. To do that, our counselors’ ultimate goal is to train the patients to stand on their own two-feet and face their addiction in their life.
With Recovery Care Partner, our patients are invited to discover their potential for recovery in themselves, through the support of others. Our counselors’ do not just treat patients; they create lasting friendships. And in the dark troubles of addiction, a friend is often just the thing we all need.Learn More
Whether it is a mental or physical addiction, temptation is always haunting our minds on the road to sobriety. Although the goal is to bring yourself back to a stable, free life, sobriety can never be achieved alone. Here at Recovery Care, there is no reason to fear the temptation. Despite it’s very real pain, we are always here to bring you back up.
Voices of Release
Addiction is a battle fought moment to moment throughout the day. It is important to stay sociable as much as possible. Friends and family keep you planted in reality of sober living. But every once in a while we of course need some alone time. And it is in those moments that can be the hardest. Our decisions are made by our internal judgment, and that judgment can become impaired by dangerous thoughts. These thoughts are quiet, but profound. They are bullies that tell us that we are less than who we believe and/or want to be. They tell us that there is no hope and that our natural tendencies will bring us right back into a relapse. And with these doubts plaguing our hearts and minds, we become all the more likely to go into a relapse. However, what we don’t see in these moments are the ways people change through rehabilitation. It is only through a foundation of support, exercise and encouragement that remind us that sobriety is a very real thing, and our bad thoughts find themselves on an empty foundation. But sober living starts with the realization of who we really are. That this disease is not our fault. There is neither blame nor condemnation in the eyes of those who love us.
Along with mental stress, physical opportunities can evoke temptation as well. Every once in a while our daily lives remind us of those moments of release when we had our addiction. The physical circumstance may make the substance look like a good thing. Those moments give us a single thought: “imagine it.” Whenever those thoughts come up, we need to have a physical reminder of sobriety. Whether it is through a friendly phone call, a fun activity with a loved one, or engaging in anything that reminds you of the things that addiction takes away. The trick that plays in your head is that you can have both the addiction and your life, but that is where reality falls apart. You can’t have both. It is either one or the other. And when we remind ourselves of the better goal, it brings us back to the true joy of our sober living. It brings us back to the family and friends, who show us that the addiction does not have the final say.Learn More