Smart and Sober Living
Adjustment to Daily LifeMany individuals choose to seek supportive housing as the step in-between residential treatment and coming home, due to an awareness of the stark contrast between the level of support available to them at home and anticipation that they may require more than is currently available. This solution offers them the opportunity to slowly adjust to life outside of a residential center, to the unplanned and unstructured. In this adjustment, individuals can live in the middle ground, still actively working their recovery, while also experiencing aspects of the real world that they may have been sheltered from while in active treatment.
Accountability in Daily PracticesLiving in a sober house offers an opportunity to live in a community of individuals who are pursuing similar goals. Finding others at a similar stage in recovery once back home is absolutely still possible, however, takes commitment and follow-through in order to do so. For those transitioning home right away after treatment, this may not rank as high on the list once all of those real-world concerns come flooding back, despite its importance in sustaining recovery. Seeing others you respect successfully manage the transition to sober living in the real world can offer inspiration to work with equal vigor, to create a sense of structure for yourself, with daily routines and practices, and the accountability of others who believe in your ability to follow through. Once you learn that you can be successful in a less structured environment, you will likely be more inclined to believe in your abilities to do so once you return home.
Opportunity for Daily ComplianceWith those daily routines and practices, you have the opportunity to develop confidence and establish a greater sense of self-esteem regarding your own ability to handle your affairs and sustain recovery. Each day that you follow through with a self-directed routine or accomplish a goal (no matter how small) and you allow yourself to feel proud of your behavior, you are one step closer to being ready to face the triggers that will present themselves once you return home. Again, once you are able to feel confident in your ability to thrive in the less-structured but supportive environment of a sober living house, your likelihood of putting those very same skills into practice once you return home is much greater.
Transitional PeriodsSober living is a perfect fit for transitional periods of all kinds, but especially when leaving inpatient or residential treatment. Namely, by offering an adjustment period back to reality, and a place for an individual to focus on creating community and establishing daily practices of their own, sober living is truly the smart way to ensure a lasting recovery. Tour our sober living home online now, and see for yourself why Riviera Recovery is right for you!
How to Quit Drinking
Alcohol Use and Alcohol DependenceUnderstanding the dangers as well as the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse and its impact on overall life and society at large can help you make healthier choices and eventually quit drinking. Alcohol dependence affects people from all walks of life and has profound negative effects, especially on the brain, as well as the heart, pancreas, liver, and immune system. Despite its negative impact, alcohol continues to be one of the causes of preventable death, followed closely by tobacco, a poor diet, and living a sedentary lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder, and at least 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related deaths. Do you suspect that you might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder? Here are the warning signs to look out for:
- Sub-par or worse performance at work or school
- Engaging in risky behaviors: drunk driving, sexual promiscuity, and the resulting legal problems
- Experiencing temporary blackouts or memory loss after drinking
- Continuing to drink despite health issues like liver or heart disease including diabetes that is made worse by alcohol
- Failed interventions from family members and friends who are worried about your drinking
- Making excuses for drinking like to help deal with stress, to relax or feel normal
- Choosing to drink instead of following through with responsibilities
- Distancing yourself from people which may result to drinking in secrecy
- Before you can successfully kick alcohol to the curb, you must first take the time to discover why you no longer need it in your life anymore
- Accept that you have a problem and realize you have control over what enters your body. By so doing, you empower yourself, not your addiction
- Recognize and admit your weaknesses when it comes to alcohol and enact change. For example, you may want to avoid going to bars, or being around any alcoholic beverage, and cleaning out your home of all temptations. Remember, you’re only weak if you give weakness a foothold.
- When you catch yourself in the throes of “a happy drinking memory,” stop for a moment and play that memory all the way through and remember how it felt when you woke up the next day. Use that feeling to fuel your determination to quit drinking
- Reaffirm the benefits you will notice in your life from quitting drinking
- Seek help from family and counseling support groups for a judgment-free, supportive environment
- Contact us today to get started on your treatment journey!
Why Naloxone Should Be a Part of Your Relapse Prevention Plan
What is Naloxone?Put plainly, Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan or Evzio, is an FDA-approved medication introduced in the early 2000’s that reverses opioid overdoses. Packaged either as a nasal spray or auto-injectable, advances in technology and litigation have gotten this so-called “miracle drug” into the hands of lay people (friends and family of those who struggle with addiction) who in some studies, claimed to have successfully reversed 25,000 opioid overdoses in the eighteen years between 1996 and 2014. Naloxone works by restoring breathing to individuals experiencing the depressive effects of high doses of opioids, where breathing slows, and lack of oxygen to the brain causes the body’s organs to begin shutting down. Through a process of binding to the opioid receptors, thus blocking the further effects of any other dosage, naloxone provides individuals with a 30 to 90 minute window of time where they are able to receive further emergency treatment. Naloxone is now readily available at all major pharmacies, and the associated education of learning to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose takes only about five to ten minutes. Both of these figures contributes to the widespread success of this product, and explain the importance of including naloxone distribution and education to close family members and friends as a vital aspect of your relapse prevention plan.
What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?This brings us to the second important question of the post: what is the purpose of a relapse prevention plan? In essence, it is the aim of verbalizing or drafting a plan to avoid relapse; to be fully prepared for future cravings, or when facing triggering situations. A good relapse prevention plan will help you to identify your triggers ahead of time, remind you of healthy coping skills to employ, as well as contain a list of supportive people that you can call when in need. Not only should it focus on people or places important to avoid, it should also help to define what you are like when you are “well”, and the self-care maintenance practices to use on a daily or weekly basis that will help to keep you there. While a large portion of the plan may require individual motivation and effort, the participation and education of close family and friends of the best ways to support you in your recovery journey should not be overlooked. Teaching them communication strategies to help point you in the right direction, giving them permission to help keep you accountable, and arming them with a life-saving tool like naloxone are key aspects of setting yourself up for success in recovery. This is just a brief overview of the key contents of a relapse prevention plan, and far from conclusive. For further information and assistance in your recovery journey, consult one of our admissions specialists today!
What to Do When You Hit “The Wall” in Recovery
What to Do When You Hit “The Wall” in RecoveryPeople who are trying to live in sobriety will hear that at some point in recovery, they will “hit the wall”. When people first begin working out, they will notice a big difference in their bodies. This is because the body is experiencing something new and is reacting to it accordingly. After a while though, they hit a plateau. It is not because they are no longer working out. It is more than the body has fully adjusted to the current workout and is ready for something new. When this happens, they have three choices: 1) give up since they no longer see results; 2) remain at that plateau thinking what they are doing is enough and never progressing; or 3) push through it by changing up the current workout. When you plateau in recovery, you are faced with the same three choices. The easiest thing would be to give up, but you did not go into this because it is easy. And yes, you can just hover where you are, but then you will never reach your goal. The best option is to push through it with everything you have inside of you. The following are some ways to help you do just that.
Remember Where You Came FromWhen you hit a wall, you often look around and feel you have not done enough, that you are not good enough, and that you just wasted your time because you think you are no better than when you started. That is absolutely not true. You have to remember where you came from, how low you were when you started. When you think about how you used to be, you will see the difference and that will push you to continue.
Know Your EnemyOften, when you know something is coming, you can prepare for it. Understanding what it means to “hit the wall” in your sobriety is the first step in battling it. You do not want anything to catch you off guard that regresses your progress. Study the signs and symptoms, and talk to others who have been there to hear how it really feels. This will help you recognize what is going on before it gets too far, so if you do hit a wall, you can recognize the negative self-talk for what it is: lies.
Be Open About ItOne of the worst things that you can do when suffering from any emotions or negative thoughts is to keep it to yourself. Suffering in silence is not going to help you in the recovery process. There are people who know what you are going through because they have been there, but they cannot help if you do not allow them to. Also, speaking to your therapist, counselors, and anyone else involved in your recovery about it can let them know that it is time to change up your program. Discuss these feeling with them and ask what you might do differently or in addition to your current program to stimulate your recovery once again. They, too, are committed to your success and will do what they can to help you move past this phase.
Surround Yourself with SupportThere are people who love and care about you, and they want to see you succeed. If you are committed to your sobriety, they are most likely willing to do whatever it takes to support you. Also, when you do feel like you have gone nowhere, those are the people that can tell you just how far you have come. Ask them how they feel about your progress so far and you will probably find that they are proud of you. Hearing the praise can boost your self-confidence and push you toward the finish line.
ConclusionThough hitting a wall in your recovery may seem intimidating, it does not have to be. It is completely possible to run straight through it with the right support and program. Remember why you chose to reach for sobriety in the first place and keep that goal in mind. Do not wait for help to find you. If you feel yourself struggling with your recovery, reach out to the people that can help you keep pushing and hold you up when necessary. Above all, do not give up hope.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Addiction Treatment
5 Great Books on Addiction
1.The Shining by Stephen KingWhat better way to get into the mind and experiences of someone fighting alcoholism than to read a book written by someone who had his battles with alcohol. In The Shining, Stephen King brings out the struggles of an ex-alcoholic, which is perhaps made all the more captivating by the author’s personal experiences. In the book, Jack Torrance, an ex-alcoholic is employed as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. It’s winter in Colorado, and he hopes to enjoy the warmth of his family – his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny – away from his latent alcoholism. But it’s not long before he’s pulled back in by a ghostly bartender serving him gin, depicting the struggles many recovering alcoholics face in kicking the habit. And soon Jack goes insane to the extent of attacking his family.
3.Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis & Larry SlomanThis book delivers such an authentic narration of heroin addiction experience that it’s not recommended to someone in early recovery or treatment. For the general public, it gives illuminating insights on the downright heart-wrenching experience of heroin addiction, a far cry from the glamorous hype. The fact that it’s a memoir about Anthony Kiedis, the Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman, makes it deeply touching. The author doesn’t spare readers of the raw sadness and deep despair accompanying heroin addiction. He shows just how strong the hold of addiction is such that Anthony Keidi couldn’t kick off the habit even after the loss of Hillel Slovak, his best friend, and bandmate, to overdose. The real-life experiences show the extremely depressing state that an addict falls into.
4.Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody BeattieThis is one of the best books for families of drug addicts and alcoholics. Many families end up bearing the burden of caring for drug addicts/ alcoholics. This goes to the extent of such family members losing sight of their own lives while tending to the drug addict/ alcoholic. Such codependency is dangerous and hinders good addiction therapy. No wonder this book is incredibly valuable. It gives you deep insights to understand codependency and helps you unlock the hold it has on your life. It’s not merely instructive lessons, but also illuminating life stories with personal reflections, self-tests, and exercises to help you take practical steps towards a life of freedom. It helps you realize that you deserve happiness, healing, and hope, especially when faced with the challenge of a family member addicted to drugs/ alcohol. And it helps you achieve that.
5.Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery by Erica SpiegelmanWhat better person to understand your struggles than an addiction counselor who has had her struggles with addiction and alcoholism. That person is Erica Spiegelman, a respected addiction counselor. She wrote this addiction recovery book to present a different way of thinking about embracing recovery and living clean. In the book, she goes beyond drug and alcohol abstinence and ventures into a holistic approach in the recovery process. She tackles the attitudes and beliefs accompanying and fueling the disease. The insights in this book are aimed at changing your focus, so your mind, body, and spirit will follow. Best of all, it gives you practical action-oriented positive affirmation and intentions to achieve this.
ConclusionReading such books can inspire you to consider addiction therapy seriously so you can take back control of your life. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, do NOT be afraid to reach out. Contact us to get more information and to speak to an addiction professional.
The Dangers of Replacement Addictions
- The disruption of the reward center of the brain that finds pleasure in everyday activities.
- Minimal distress tolerance that leads to a compulsion to use or engage in problem behavior (cravings)
- Impairment in brain structures meant to facilitate decision making, impulse control, and self-regulation, placing the individual at greater risk for relapse
Is Addiction a Disease?
- Desensitization of the reward circuits of the brain that allow us to feel pleasure and motivation which eventually leads to needing the drug/ behavior to feel “well”
- Increased conditioned responses to turn to the vice when experiencing stress in our environment or a range of other emotions, which leads to increased experiences of cravings
- Declining functions of brain regions that facilitate decision making, impulse control, and self regulation that leads to repeated relapse