Choosing Sobriety Over Alcohol

It is so easy to tell yourself “I’ll be good”, or “I’ll only have one drink” just to later find yourself in a turn of events, where the room is spinning, and you can’t even muster up the strength to feel the regret you know will inevitably hit you first thing in the morning. Many of us have experimented with alcohol, some more than others.  We may have the hope that there is the possibility of managing to drink in moderation or limited amounts, but if you know that you are the type of person that doesn’t have an off switch, this lifestyle can become unrewarding and dissatisfying very quickly, to say the least. When it comes to individuals who use other primary drugs of choice, similar to those with a drinking problem, once the high is gone they reach out for the next thing to carry them on to the next high. This is how addiction is born, and why in most cases, especially for those who have engaged in addictive patterns in the past, the choice of abstinence and sobriety is the more practical route. In this case, you won’t have to worry about the temptations of falling into the trap of “accidentally” having more than the one drink you promised yourself and save yourself from the misery of the gut-wrenching hangover and all the consequences and missed opportunities that go along with it.

Self Esteem

When you choose sobriety, you choose a world of clarity and functionality. For starters, you begin by creating a goal: to refrain from partaking in alcohol or any other substances that alter your mind state. In doing this, you will feel better about yourself not only because of the physical changes you will notice, but you will also feel mentally better because you have proven to yourself that you have the willpower that it takes to stay abstinent. This is how self-esteem is born, when you prove to yourself that you can make changes that impact your life.

Healthy Body, Healthy Brain

Drugs and alcohol take such a physical and mental toll on us, especially once you have become addicted. Substance abuse can not only make a person look 10-20 years older than they actually are, but there are copious amounts of damage done to the inside of your body that cannot be seen. A lot of people use drugs and alcohol as a way to increase their dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters in your brain that comprise important aspects of your brain’s reward system, that make you happy. Over time, your body becomes dependent on these drugs for those “happy chemicals”, making it so that when you are not high or drunk, you inherently become depressed, yet rewarded when you seek out your substance of choice. However, when you choose sobriety, your brain’s chemicals remain healthy and balanced. It takes a while for a recovering addict’s natural levels of dopamine and serotonin, and their happiness will eventually return without the need for outside substances.

A Better Tomorrow

Choosing to be sober is also a great way to save money and allow yourself more time to do things that will enrich your life. If you could take the amount of money spent on alcohol alone over a lifetime, you would probably find yourself with a pretty decent savings account, a way to take that vacation you always dream of, or a way to cross something off of your bucket list. You can wake up each day feeling good about yourself, ready to start the day with a clear and grateful mind rather than feeling like you want to stay in bed until the next day comes. When we decide to abandon the things that hold us back from living the life we dream of, we become so much greater. Choosing sobriety is not an easy task, and you may need a team of people on your side to help you get on the right path and continue walking it. Request a callback today to learn about how we can become a part of your recovery journey.

Recovery, Your Pet, and YOU!

It’s no secret that there is a certain amount of comfort and joy that is brought to most humans when in the presence of an animal that they can give affection to and receive affection from. It is an indescribable feeling that at the end of every day,  you are coming home to an animal that expresses unconditional love towards you, no matter what. Often we attach ourselves to our pets, they become family. They need us as we need them. It has been proven that there are ways to benefit from the presence of an animal, be it emotional or physical support. Additionally, those who are in addiction recovery can find many benefits of having a pet as they make their way through the life transition of becoming sober.

Unconditional Acceptance

When faced with the fear of judgment or acceptance throughout this process, there is an undeniable source of the love you desire that comes from a pet. You can depend on your cat or dog to show you unquestionable love in times you may need it the most. This feeling of acceptance is healthy in the healing process as it allows you to become more relaxed and able to open up about your feelings.  A lot of pets are incredibly intuitive and can sense when you are unhappy and make for great snuggles and comfort in darker times. Because some animals are completely capable of expressing emotions like fear, anger, excitement, and a sense of being content, a recovering addict may benefit from this emotional honesty. After spending time becoming numbed by the substances they were addicted to, this interaction with emotion may encourage them to revisit those forgotten emotions.

Learning Responsibility

Because your pets need you, this can help keep you accountable in your recovery process. Committing to giving your pets the love and attention required can be rewarding and can provide a sense of goal achievement for taking great care of your animals. These small victories can easily build a driving force in you that can help your self-esteem and to acquire the ambition to take better care of yourself. Having a loved pet that gives you the feeling that you are wanted and needed is a huge step in building your confidence and in turn, giving you the strength and drive to keep moving forward.

Energy

When you think of a dog, you are most likely to imagine an outgoing, happy, and energetic personality. To be around a dog could benefit you by increasing these mannerisms in yourself, ultimately helping your social skills. Coming out of addiction can be a dark and lonely place if you let it, but with the help of a furry four-legged friend’s upbeat characteristics, you may find yourself less likely to be feeling alone and more likely to have the desire to engage yourself in activities with other people. Animals have so many different quirks and characteristics, and it is uncommon to find an animal that does not make someone smile with their cute and silly behavior. This is why we find the internet filled with videos and memes of cute animals. For someone struggling with an addiction, just the act of smiling because of an animal can be a step in the right direction. The process of recovery can be long and stressful. To have close friends and family is imperative in order to keep accountability and communication, however, there is something so unique to having a relationship with a pet during this time. After everyone leaves, there they are, sympathetic and caring. At Riviera Recovery, we understand the importance of this primal relationship, and the need to keep your dog by your side during this time, which is why we are a pet-friendly sober living facility.

DBT for those in Recovery

Dialectical behavior therapy, also known as DBT, is an effective treatment method for those looking to overcome addiction and begin a successful recovery. The purpose of DBT is to provide clients with skills that will assist them in managing their emotions effectively and reducing conflict in their relationships. Although this form of therapy was initially intended to treat personality disorders, it has been discovered that DBT is equally effective as a substance abuse treatment, especially for individuals with comorbid conditions. There are four main areas of dialectical behavior therapy: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.  Riviera Recovery believes in the power of each one of these areas as essential because to provide key skills to those in recovery.

Mindfulness

Drawing from ancient eastern traditions, the mindfulness skills that clients gain through DBT practice encourages them to focus on the present and avoid getting drawn too far into the future or the past at any given time. Having a focus on the present provides clients with the ability to take things one day at a time, or one step after another, rather than always looking at the long road ahead. Not only does mindfulness avoid a future mindset, but it also helps to relieve some of the tension clients may feel from thinking about the past as well. Although it can be easy to look at the past and find mistakes, drawing up old wounds from five years or five minutes ago and ruminating over them rarely is going to be helpful and can actually be damaging to the recovery process. Learning to focus the mind, and bring it back to the present moment brings with it daily opportunities to practice concentration, and become connected with one’s inner world

Distress Tolerance

DBT has been shown to increase clients’ ability to manage their stress and reduce anxiety because they gain valuable distress tolerance skills. These skills combine several techniques that relax the mind and body, creating a sense of comfort. With the use of distress tolerance techniques, clients can also make wiser, more informed decisions because they are not frantic or stressed when making crucial decisions. Having a focus on the current moment helps clients to reduce the likelihood of relapse because they are less likely to return to unhealthy coping methods because they are more fully aware of the choices presented to them in any given moment. In this way, being able to accept their current reality, choosing a healthy way to deal with the issue, and move forward with recovery is key to preventing relapse.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is an aspect of DBT that urges participants to incorporate new ways of dealing with intense feelings such as anger, stress, and depression. The idea presented here is that once these emotions are more effectively managed, clients can begin to understand their feelings and make positive decisions, rather than acting on impulse. Within this aspect of DBT treatment, time is taken to ensure that clients have a deeper understanding of their emotions and know how to process through and manage them effectively. When clients are educated about how to deal with their feelings positively, they can prevent having negative feelings that urge them to stray from their path to a successful recovery.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is a significant component of DBT because it provides skills in navigating and understanding relationships. Clients that participate in DBT gain a deep understanding of the relationships in their life, what they need from them, and what they are looking to accomplish in the relationship. Frequently, stressors in relationships can be challenging to overcome because they cause unwanted tension, conflict, or anger in relationships that are unhealthy. Interpersonal effectiveness skills provide clients with tools that increase their emotional intelligence and increase the probability of having positive, healthy relationships with less conflict. Although the road to recovery is not an easy one, DBT has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce relapse. Rivera Recovery specializes in providing care to clients and assisting them with their recovery in healthy ways. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about DBT, and how it can be used to help you, please contact us!

How to Have Fun While Maintaining Your Sobriety

Detoxing alcohol and drugs from your body can be a difficult process. Once you have gone through the detox process and have begun your journey to recovery, you may want to start living your life again. One thing many addicts struggle with is enjoying their life and having fun, while also maintaining their sobriety. For many years, the fun has included the use of alcohol and drugs for many addicts, so many addicts are unsure how to find a new normal that does not include these things. Fortunately, there are many fun things you can do to entertain yourself and enjoy your life, while also maintaining your sobriety. Here are five ways to have fun while maintaining your sobriety.

Improve Your Health

One of the ways that you can fun while maintaining your sobriety is to work on improving your health. Many people focused on their sobriety turn to working out as a way to have fun, release tension and cope with the challenges of daily life while remaining sober. Every person has their own individual likes and dislikes when it comes to fitness, but the great thing is, there is a workout that is perfect for everyone. If you like more calming and relaxing workouts, yoga or pilates may be ideal for you. If you want to burn off some steam and enjoy listening to your music, running or brisk walking may be perfect. Team sports offer you the ability to interact with others while also improving your health. And lifting weights can help to strengthen your body and your resolution to remain sober.

Educate Yourself

Most people do not immediately think of school and learning as being fun. However, attending classes that interest you or can help you grow in your career can provide you with mental stimulation and a sense of accomplishment. For those working towards their sobriety, you want to do things that make you feel proud of yourself and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Taking educational courses can provide you with this, and if you enjoy the courses you are taking, can also be fun.

Give Back to the Community

Giving back to the community can be more fun than most people realize. Not only can it be fun, but you are working to help others in need in your community. At one point in time, you were likely in need and your friends and family may have stepped in to assist you. What better way to pay it forward than to do something great for your community. There are many different ways you can give back to your community, including helping at a homeless shelter, serving meals at a soup kitchen, or walking dogs at an animal shelter. Find something that interests you and volunteer your time.

Find a Hobby

As you work toward maintaining your sobriety, it is important to take time for yourself and to find things that you enjoy. Many addicts lose themselves in being an addict. You may no longer know exactly who you are and what you enjoy. Take the time to rediscover yourself and what you like by finding a hobby. You may want to take up carpentry and woodworking, or you may wish to join a bowling league. Find a hobby allows you to spend your time doing something that you enjoy and something that provides you with pleasure.

Cultivate Healthy Relationships

Lastly, take the time to cultivate healthy relationships. Get to know people who live a healthy, sober lifestyle, and then spend time with those people. Go out to lunch, take in a movie, or just go for an evening walk with them. You may lose friendships when you get clean, as you are no longer wish to hang around those who are involved with alcohol and drugs. It can be lonely without those friends who have been in your life. Cultivating healthy friendships helps you to overcome loneliness and allows you to have fun with people who have a positive influence on your life. Are you struggling with addiction? Getting sober is not an easy process, and is not something you should attempt to do on your own. If you want to kick your addiction and work on your sobriety, Riviera Recovery can assist you. Riviera Recovery is a sober living home with locations in Malibu and in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your path to sobriety.

Professional Self Care

Anyone who has worked a day in their life will likely know a thing about the stress that working day-in and day-out brings. Second only to worries concerning financial matters, one’s work life is the second-biggest cause of stress in the US, an even more impressive number when considering how inextricably linked are our finances and profession. In an effort to understand today’s workplace culture, The American Institute of Stress reported that among other concerning statistics, over half interviewed stated that they often spend 12-hour days on work-related duties and an equal number frequently skip lunch because of the stress of job demands. Without attention to our professional self-care, we run the risk of becoming more self-critical, less focused and stressed. Procrastination of tasks and getting distracted can make employees feel like they are stagnant, overwhelmed, and unable to get out from under a massive workload.

For Yourself

Ideally, you will have found yourself on a career path where you have been able to cultivate an opportunity to ‘Love what you do, and do what you love’. True, working in an environment or a field that doesn’t fit your personality and your goals can cause burnout, depression, and anxiety. However this is not always the case, and we are not always so lucky. While you may need to contemplate a career change, take the time to first think about what you are putting into your current situation. In any given day, identify the aspects of the job that you find most exciting or are most passionate about. Use these as rewards for completing more menial tasks. Best practice suggests setting manageable goals each day and giving yourself 2-3 prioritized tasks to focus on. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that it is often all in our mindset. When we procrastinate, the magnitude of what we need to accomplish appears to only grow until it seems impossible. However, remind yourself that you are capable and it is possible. Divide it up into smaller tasks, and complete the smallest bit until you work up your confidence to achieve more.

Your Workspace

Take pride in the space that you work in. Whether that means a minimalist and organized work station, or one filled with motivational quotes and mantras; remember that where you spend your time affects the way that you feel about yourself and your work. Perhaps taking the time to clean up an overflowing mail pile seems tedious, however, it might be that this is the task needed to truly clear your mind. Maybe it’s bringing in a new set of sticky notes or your favorite pens; incorporate things into your work life that bring excitement and rejuvenate your spirit.   Arrange your workspace so that it is comfortable and inviting, and don’t be afraid to mix it up, especially if yours is the type of job where you are able to do work from home or at a coffee shop a couple of hours or days a week.

Throughout Your Day

Remember that a balanced day is the key to a balanced life. Give yourself permission to schedule in “white space”, or time to decompress. Take regular breaks, especially after completing difficult tasks, whether this looks like chatting with your colleagues, a walk to the coffee shop, having lunch outside and away from your desk, or taking a walk around the block to ‘get your steps in’.   In all these ways, self-care is vital for individuals that are prone to feeling burnout, especially when other areas of life are suffering. The steps to alleviating this are simple: first, identify when you are starting to feel overwhelmed and tempted to resort to procrastination. Start small, build on existing routines and good habits you already have in place, and remember that self-care is a practice rather than a quick fix.   Our physical, mental and social health are often threatened by a world that prioritizes productivity over the needs of individuals. To counter this phenomenon and achieve an overall state of wellness, it is therefore important to structure your life in ways that suggest the importance of self-care through developing habits that improve your physical, intellectual (psychological, emotional and spiritual) and social well-being (relational and professional).   At Riviera Recovery, we are dedicated to helping you develop the habits that you need to succeed in life. Give us a call today to find out more!