Is Addiction A Disease?

Is Addiction A Disease? | Transcend Recovery Community

The NIDA considers substance abuse and addiction to be a chronic disease, with similar mechanisms to Type-2 diabetes and hypertension.

However, there’s much contention around that statement. The disease model, as it’s known, isn’t universally accepted. And there’s a lot of debate around whether addiction should be considered a disease, and if that doesn’t somehow absolve some responsibility from addicts for the actions they’ve committed while under the influence of drugs.

It’s a complicated topic – especially because definitions tend to get muddled. There’s a lot of stigma around being called diseased, sick, or suffering from an illness – no one wants to carry a label around stating that they have a medical condition.

But then comes the question – is the disease model even correct? The neurological findings regarding addiction touted by the NIDA have been, by others, cited as like the very same reactions found when falling in love, combatting obesity, or overindulging on the Internet.

In other words, they maintain that addiction is an example of brain plasticity and that its label as a disease is misleading, and not helpful or conducive to the treatment of addiction as a condition of the brain – in fact, there are suggestions that it may contribute to relapses. Which side is wrong? Which side is right? We suggest an alternative question: how are both sides similar?

Addiction as a Disease

The NIDA states that the chronic nature of drug abuse, the statistics on relapses, and the changes made in the brain through addiction all point towards addiction being a disease that needs to be treated as such, with a long-term model that emphasizes positive psychology, abstinence, adaptive habits and coping mechanisms to replace substance use.

They state that while initial drug use is typically voluntary, the brain changes made by drugs means people are stuck in a perpetual loop, even though drugs do them harm.

Addiction as a Behavior

Others state that addiction is nothing like other diseases. There is no biological process, no pathogens, no infectious agents. No pathological degeneracy. Instead, addiction is like any other highly emotive act, one that makes every bit of sense in the short term but only poses a threat in the long-term, thus evidencing a lack of sufficient rationality (as in other conditions, like being in love), and there is proof that talk therapy and understanding the consequences of addiction can be enough to reverse it and undo its effects.

People heal themselves of addiction all the time, often simply through growing up, or by finding something in life that fills them with purpose and the motivation to quit.

Both Sides Carry Truth

The ultimate truth is that both sides are right, to a degree, and there is no black-or-white answer. Addiction introduces changes in the brain and leads to a vicious addictive cycle. Breaking out of that cycle is hard, so much so that it affects our judgment in a way that means we often prioritize a fix over other, objectively more important things.

However, it’s reversible. People cure themselves of addiction by quitting after deciding to. Understanding the nature and extent of addiction can do a great deal towards ending its influence. Addiction is less like tuberculosis and diabetes, and more like a traumatic disorder – still a real mental illness, but one that can be overcome with the right treatment, whether alone or through a therapeutic process.

The Treatment Matters Most

Let’s not get things twisted: definitions are important. Understanding addiction is important. Understanding the brain, behavior, and disease is important. And finally, the pursuit of better, clearer and factually-correct terminology in the battle against addiction is always worthwhile.

But when you’re struggling with your own demons, the first and foremost priority is to find a treatment plan that best suits your schedule, your circumstances, and best helps you achieve sobriety and more importantly maintain it.

Remember – not too long ago, we solely blamed fat for being the cause of heart disease and obesity. Then data came out revealing that a whole foods diet in high in saturated fat did not necessarily correlate to heart issues (see the French paradox), and we began to target sugar.

But data exists that obesity has at some point been treated with a diet of refined sugar, meaning we’re not exactly right with that sweeping generalization either.

We’re constantly learning, coming across new information and stumbling upon old data that contradicts. Science isn’t always precise, studies can be fallible, and it’s important to peer-review and consider several sources. We’re not completely sure what’s most dangerous to your health in the realm of nutrition, but we can generalize. Eat a lot of vegetables. Avoid eating too much meat. Exercise. Get all your micronutrients. Avoid junk foods and sodas.

The same can be said for addiction. There’s a lot of confusing research, but we do have a myriad of proven treatments that work on a person-to-person basis, based on preferences and other factors. Group therapy works, as does sober living, the 12-step program, and other alternative treatments. Speak to a professional and find out what works best for you.

Every Individual Has Their Own Approach

There are people who swear off the 12-step program because they dislike the fatalism it speaks about. The idea that addiction is a condition you cannot control contradicts the fact that it can be fought against, and to them, admitting powerlessness in the face of addiction is a step they’re not willing to take. And it is step one.

Then there are people for whom the 12-step program does wonders, either because they swear by sponsorship and spirituality, or some other personal reason.

Sober living, for example, is a successful way of combatting addiction because it introduces forced abstinence while focusing on brain plasticity by utilizing new behaviors, stimuli and habits to rewire the brain and fight against the influence addiction had on it.

There is no concrete information on whether calling addiction a disease causes more relapses. But the safest course of action is to accept that addiction has some commonalities with diseases and some factors that contradict its status as a disease. Until we learn more about addiction and the brain, it’s basically your choice to listen to the government or the opinions of other scientists or conclude that the middle way is better.

In the end, whatever helps you better understand your experience with addiction and whatever you relate to the most is the best answer, at least until we know more.

7 Healthy Ways To Manage Mental Illness

7 Healthy Ways To Manage Mental Illness | Transcend Recovery Community

Mental Illness

A mental illness is a disease that causes disruptions in cognitive, behavioral, and/or physical stability. A mental illness can have overwhelming effects, which leave individuals unable to deal with routines, tasks, or responsibilities.

Some of the more frequently diagnosed illnesses are anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These can severely impinge on people’s personal and professional lives, in addition to affecting the lives of others around them.

Mental illness has physical and emotional components. It can occur from genetic links, chemical instability, trauma, or environmental stressors. Illnesses may also develop due to a combination of factors. However, with treatment, the support of a skilled therapist, and holistic practices, people suffering from mental health illnesses can heal and learn how to live healthy lives.

Addiction and Mental Illness

Substance addiction and mental illness are firmly connected. Many drug or alcohol addicts suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. The mental illness may have caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress pain or substance abuse may have resulted in an additional mental illness.

Holistic Modalities

New trends in psychotherapy, wellness, and fitness have become popular for a reason. They offer personal solutions to problems rooted in social dislocation and instability. Transcendental meditation, yoga, mindfulness training, and other Eastern medicines offer viable alternatives to a life of disconnect from the world (which can manifest through addiction and mental illness). Changing one’s mind is a sustainable way of changing one’s world and the world of others.

7 Healthy Alternative Therapies

#1 Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine, which has been used in treatment centers to help cure drug and alcohol addiction. Since its origination in China in 2500 BC, it has grown in popularity and effectiveness. It is based on the concept that energy (called chi) circulates through your body.

The treatment involves, “the practice of inserting thin solid needles into specific documented points of the body…” The needles can be inserted manually or by electroacupunture. It can treat different problems like, “pain control, fibromyalgia, headaches, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression,” and more. It is an ideal supplemental treatment for mental illness and addiction recovery. Acupuncture releases energy (chi), rebalances inner dynamics, stimulates muscles and nerves, and increases blood flow.

Acupuncture’s proven results come from hands on clinical practice and research studies. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health accepted acupuncture therapy as an acceptable procedure complementary to Western medicine.

Acupuncture is used at many recovery centers, where it can help ease painful withdrawal symptoms and restore calm. It improves inner dynamics, while targeting specific points of the body. This helps restore chemical balance, which is often altered during addiction.

#2 Eco-Therapy

Eco-therapy is a beneficial for battling a mental illness. As a sustainable healing method, it can be used in partnership with traditional medicine at any stage. Eco-therapy is a well-known holistic modality because of its undeniable connection with the natural world. It results in inner healing, empowerment, and growth.

Research studies show why eco-therapy is beneficial for well being, “natural environments trigger positive emotional reactions because observing nature was once important for humans’ survival.”

#3 Yoga

Yoga’s reputation for providing calm, balance, and inner healing, has increased its popularity in recent years. “Huffington Post reports 8.7 percent of the American population practices yoga, a statistic that seems to only be on the rise having jumped from 15.8 million people in 2008.”

Yoga helps restore the mind-body connection for people with mental health illnesses like anxiety, depression, or panic disorders. It is one of the most productive practices because it combines exercise and mindfulness. Because of its systems (which work on physical health and mental balance), yoga can also improve sobriety rates for recovering substance abusers.

#4 Mindfulness

Mindfulness is completely changing mental health care and recovery. Mental health illnesses like, depression, anxiety, and panic disorders are when a person’s mind is fixated on the past, future events, or uncontrollable fear and worry. Mindfulness teaches people how to exist in the present. This allows people to focus on tackling therapeutic work that must be done today, while easing anxiety about the past and future, which cannot be changed or predicted. “Attention is highly trainable through various mindfulness practices like meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT),”

#5 Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is a mantra meditation that teaches people how to limit or eradicate intrusive thoughts while increasing awareness. It is an ancient Indian tradition, which was first introduced in America in the 1960’s and has grown considerably.

This healing method can help ease physical and mental health illnesses ranging from chronic pain to depression. Transcendental meditation has shown positive results in curing anxiety disorders and related illnesses in a young adult demographic.

#6 Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is a psychological acupressure technique known for improving emotional regulation and mental health. Many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia, addiction, or obsessive-compulsive disorder can benefit from EFT. Certain therapists are trained in this specific treatment modality, which typically occurs over a ninety-second period and consists of four steps. EFT is noted for its results in minimizing stress, curing anxiety, and more specifically, easing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans.

#7 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

“The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 450 million people suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder — and that roughly one in four people will be affected at some point in their lives.” Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is already one of the most widely used methods of therapy. It success lies in its ability to address thoughts, behaviors, and actions. When applied, CBT can create positive and lasting change for people suffering with a mental illness.

A New Way of Living

Today, people use words like alternative therapy to describe holistic modes of treatment. Because of research, proven results, and growing popularity, Eastern medicine succeeds in places where Western medicine is less effective. For mental health illnesses, there is never a singular packaged treatment for curing illnesses. Many different approaches can lead to success, healing, and a healthy new way of living.

Recovery Can Include All Members of Your Family

Recovery Can Include All Members of Your Family | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is an experience that immediately separates you from everyone else. In fact, addiction even creates an inner separation – from who you really are, from what you want in life, and from your hopes and dreams. Because addiction impairs the relationship with yourself and puts a wedge between you and others, part of the healing process of recovery is involving those you love. As you heal from addiction, there’s a greater chance your relationships with others will also heal.

And it’s important to have your family around you! Just as you would want your family around you when healing from a physical illness, such as cancer or pneumonia, it’s important to involve your family when recovering from addiction. Family members can boost hope, courage, strength, and resilience. Having your family along with you as you recover can also help you feel supported and keep feelings of loneliness at bay.

In fact, Transcend feels so strongly about surrounding you with family that we’ve woven the presence of family into the recovery experience. For instance, every two months, we facilitate a family weekend, which is an opportunity to reestablish healthy communication, repair relationships, and feel supported by those you love. Transcend also recognizes that even family members will need to recover from the effects of addiction. By providing an opportunity for everyone to get together, healing can take place.

Truth is, making amends is one of the first steps to healing from a family wound, trauma, or significant life event that might have initially contributed to an addiction. And sometimes, it’s not one particular event, it’s simply a dysfunctional family environment. There might have been codependency, alcoholism, or emotional abuse in your family history. Making amends and accepting your life as it was in the past is a necessary part of recovery. And it can facilitate healing.

And that healing can happen on many levels. When relationships within a family get stronger, so do the people within that family. Here are a few healing benefits that come with a healthy and happy family unit:

  • Better communication
  • Feeling supported
  • Feelings of connection and inclusion
  • Decrease in blaming others
  • Greater appreciation among family members
  • Forgiveness
  • Increased experiences of honesty
  • Ability to heal and let go of the past
  • Ability to move on and focus on the future

To help you rebuild your family relationships, Transcend communicates with your family on a weekly basis. We even have a Family Director who can provide you with a new set of language skills to help facilitate better, more effective communication between you and your family members. Our Family Director can also provide you with support in the challenging journey of making amends and reestablishing family relationships. Later in your recovery, you may want to continue to strengthen your family relationships by inviting family members, friends, or other loved ones on regular outings together. You may want to commit to having dinner together regularly. Spending more time together can help build family relationships. If you need to, you may want to mourn together, celebrate together, or even experience forgiveness together.

Family members, friends, and other loved ones are essential for healing from addiction. Involve them in your recovery whenever you can.

 

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Recovery Returns To You All That Addiction Took Away

Transcend Recovery Community likes to ask its community members, “What do you want to do with your life?” We believe that anyone who is on the path of recovery has the potential to reach their dreams. Although addiction can steal happiness, honesty, and wholeness, recovery can bring it all back.

Here is a list of what recovery can do for you:

Community – When you’re struggling with addiction, you tend to become more and more isolated. Dishonesty, lying, and hiding tends to put a distance between you and your friends and family. Addiction will also create distance within yourself by consistently denying the fact that there is a problem. While you’re lying to your friends and family, you’re also likely lying to yourself. Yet, in recovery, those separations from yourself and others begin to disappear. You’re given the opportunity to heal your relationships, experience the benefits of community, and feel good about yourself.

Honesty – When you’re in recovery, you might be participating in support groups, therapy, and 12-step meetings. These are all opportunities to be honest with yourself and others. You finally have the chance to say what you’ve already wanted to say but perhaps couldn’t. The supportive experiences that you tend to have in recovery are meant to encourage honesty because it can lead to healing and growth.

Connection – One of the reasons people tend to use alcohol and drugs is because they desperately want connection. Perhaps they want a deeper connection with friends or family but never experienced it. And depression, which can be experienced as a lack of connection with yourself, can also drive someone to use substances. Yet, in recovery there are many opportunities to connect. And it is through connection that people feel seen, heard, and understood. It’s through interpersonal connection that healing takes place.

Support – Another reason behind substance use is feeling alone, lonely, or isolated. And feeling like you need to make it through life alone can be so scary that men and women turn to substances to feel stronger. Or they may want to escape the burden of loneliness through substances. Either way, recovery means support. Even if you have lost the relationships with your family, recovery brings the support of a sober community, professional help, and the assistance of new friends.

Joy – As you continue on your path of sobriety and as you’re having more and more connections with friends and professional staff – as well as with yourself – you might actually experience a moment of joy. You might start out with a small feeling of happiness, contentment, or the experience that life feels a bit easier. Perhaps these moments of the beginning of bringing joy back into your life.

When you’re on the path of recovery, you can start reaching for your dreams. As one Transcend graduate put it:

“After Transcend, I took a job in Boston and did very well there for almost three years. I bought a house, bought a car, and had a very solid, stable job. I design lasers and wrote a textbook for grad students in nonlinear optics. I moved to Denver to join a laser startup company in October 2015 as the CTO. I’m living downtown and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle, and my workaholism tendencies remain successfully at bay.”

You can read more Transcend testimonials here. To make your dreams a reality, let recovery give back to you what addiction took away.

 

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Facing Your Fears of Getting Sober

Fear is a given in life. Everyone is going to feel it at one point or another. However, some people let fear hold them back while others don’t. And when it comes to recovery, there are all sorts of unknowns that a person might be afraid of. But, as you may already know, many people move forward anyway. Those who really want to get sober find the courage inside to move past those fears and get the help they need.

Here’s an inspiring story about courage by Georges St-Pierre, author of The Way of the Fight:

I remember hearing a story about soldiers going into battle and showing no fear, and the guy said it was really simple (I’m paraphrasing here): ‘There are two kinds of men: those who want to go out and fight—the crazy ones—and the ones who are afraid to go, but they go anyway. They’re the courageous ones.’ I realized at this moment that it takes fear to make a person courageous. And I like that, because courage says something about you.

The result is that, after a while, you get practice at being courageous. You understand how to move forward against fear, how to react in certain situations. You just get better. It doesn’t mean you stop feeling fear—that would be careless—but it means you have earned the right to feel confidence in the battle against fear.

There’s no question that there is a lot of fear in recovery. Getting sober can feel like you are taking a step into the unknown. It might feel like you are taking a leap of faith. When someone decides to get help for their addiction, he or she will often have no idea what to expect. A person might hope that there will be the right people, environment, and resources to feel well supported in their early recovery.

In fact, it is fear that can hold someone back and keep them from getting help. Most people fear change, and when there is that fear of the unknown or when there is chronic ambivalence and uncertainty, it can be stifling and interfere with one’s ability to move forward. It’s common to see someone who is frequently ambivalent and indecisive move from one side of the fence to the other. That person might continue to jump from “Yes, I’m ready to get sober,” to “No, I don’t want to do it.”

If you’re stuck in fear and you can’t seem to move forward, here are some suggestions to consider:

First, accept where you are. If you try to force yourself to get help when you’re not ready, you might doing something to sabotage it. Don’t try to force yourself into a rash decision. Simply let yourself be where you are. Recognize and accept your ambivalent feelings.

Second, remember that you can take your time. You’re human. And you’re not a soldier being forced into battle. If you want to get sober, you will. Give yourself some time to accept the fear and make the right decision for yourself. (However, don’t use this as an excuse to avoid getting help.)

Third, talk to someone so that you can process your feelings. It’s perfectly normal to be afraid. Sometimes, recognizing that fear will be a part of your experience regardless of your choices, then you might feel more apt to ignore the fear and get the help you need.

Lastly, get help to manage fear, especially if it feels overwhelming. Consider seeking professional mental health services to help yourself examine and sort out your feelings of fear and ambivalence.

Although you’re afraid, there are steps to take so that fear doesn’t stand in your way.

 

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Sober Living Success: Prevention Is the Key

When a person goes into recovery, resides in a sober living home, and eventually develops a new and different lifestyle, they learn to stay sober through friends, family, and a large network of professionals assisting them. A person in recovery slowly learns to live life not only in a sober way but in a healthy way. They might not only learn how to avoid cravings but they also learned to change their thought patterns, feel grateful for what they have, and take good care of themselves. Their life in recovery is much different than their life as an addict.

But what if efforts were made to help people avoid the whole dangerous cycle of addiction in the first place? What if there were educational and prevention programs that assisted people to maintain sober living from the start? What if there were organizations that helped people steer clear of drugs and alcohol?

Well, there are. And research shows that these programs are incredibly effective. Those efforts that involve family, schools, communities, and the media are incredibly effective in reducing drug and alcohol abuse. Research has shown that when people perceive drug use as harmful, they reduce their alcohol and drug intake. Because of this, one of the most effective preventative measures is to educate the public on various substances as well as their negative health consequences. Once people realize that taking drugs can produce medical as well as mental health problems, they are more likely to avoid them, even when faced with stressful moments.

In fact, research points to the fact that addiction is entirely preventable. With the right education a person can completely avoid the dangerous cycle of addiction and the need to start over again with sober living. Instead, they can maintain a sober life from the start. If you have a friend, loved one, or family member for whom you’d like to help prevent addiction before it starts, these are suggestions to consider:

Communicate: Talk to your friend or loved one about your feelings. Let them know that addiction is entirely preventable. It only takes saying no to drugs from the start.

Listen: Hear your loved one out. What are the reasons behind their desire to drink or use drugs? Perhaps it’s feeling overwhelmed by stress or grief, perhaps they feel pressured by coworkers. Or perhaps they simply enjoy the high or buzz they experience. Whatever the reason is, your loved one or friend deserves to be heard.

Set a good example: Although you might think setting a good example means to do so for a child, you can also model sober living for a friend or loved one too, regardless of their age. In fact, you can show them that it’s entirely possible to live an exciting life even without the use of substances.

Strengthen your friendship or bond: Experts are aware than when a person feels heard and understood in a relationship and when that relationship is caring and loving, a person will tend to avoid drug and alcohol use. Also, a strong bond between you and your loved one has been shown to reduce the likelihood that a person will use drugs.

Prevention means not using drugs in the first place, and the best way to curb addiction is prevention. Consider the four above tips for preventing drug use and addiction in loved ones, coworkers and community members.

 

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Human Connection May Be the Antidote for Addiction

Let’s say you’re at a party. You’ve gone there with your boyfriend or girlfriend and they’re off talking to other people. So, essentially you feel like you’re alone. You feel uncomfortable with having to make your way through a crowd of people you don’t know. You also feel uncomfortable about the fact that everyone looks like they’re having a good time except for you. And since this is pre-sobriety days, you order a glass of wine to help yourself feel better. “Getting a little buzzed will help me mingle with the crowd”, you think to yourself.

In fact, Johann Hari author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, points out in her book that it’s the connection between two people that makes a difference in a person’s life. Truth is, when we are at a party without the connection of others, we often reach for a drink. Frequently, it is the lack of connection that prompts drinking. And we believe that having a drink will help make a connection with another person possible.

And isn’t human connection what we all want?

Hari would say absolutely it is. In her book, but she makes one point clear – the antidote to addiction is not necessarily sobriety, but it’s human connection. It’s having others around you with whom you can relate, bond with, share stories and laugh with. Hari explains that often people who drink or use drugs find their solace in substances because it is often the only alternative. However, those who have companionship, camaraderie, and connection seem to thrive without the need for drugs.

This finding is backed by research which indicates the significance of community in one’s recovery. Community gives recovering addicts an opportunity to hear the stories of others, relate to their challenges and successes, as well as find validation for the reasons why they’ve had a difficult life thus far. Community and relationships that can be found in them significantly boost one’s feeling of being supported and thus enhances one’s ability to face stress. Rather than turning to drugs or drinking when life gets challenging, they can turn to the relationships in their lives.

If you recognize that this is what you’re missing, perhaps you might want to explore they type of connection you’d like to have. Some people love the experience of connecting with a group of people, such as in a 12-step meeting. They love being acknowledged as part of a community and having something in common with a crowd of other people.

And other people, don’t like crowds so much. They prefer the one-on-one connection. Perhaps building friendships, amending relationships, or working with a sponsor are ways to get this type of connection in recovery.

Yet, regardless of the type of connection you prefer, just knowing that it’s human connection we crave can help shape our recovery. You might then decide to attend more 12-step meetings or participate in support groups, if you like connection with a group of people. Or you might decide to spend time with one or two sober friends, participate in therapy, or amend the relationships that are important to you.

Although you might have reached for substances in the past to help create connection with others, recovery is an opportunity to connect with others without the need for drugs or drinking.

 

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The Lies That Addicts Tell Themselves

Denial plays a major role in addiction, so much so that it is considered to be a part of the illness of addiction. When a person continues to believe that they do not have a problem with alcohol and drugs, they continue to tell themselves all sorts of excuses to keep using. You might describe denial that which people cannot identify or accept in themselves but what is apparent to others. It is a person’s inability to see that there is a concern, problem, or issue to be dealt with.

Here is a list of excuses and lies that many addicts have told themselves to avoid the reality that there might in fact be a problem to address:

  • I can quit anytime.
  • Recovery from drug and alcohol use is boring.
  • I’m under a lot of stress and need the alcohol or drug to calm down.
  • Addiction is the best kind of life that I can hope for.
  • My drug use is my own business and it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.
  • Beer drinkers aren’t addicts.
  • I only drink on the weekends.
  • The DUI was unfair; I was fine to drive that night.
  • Sober people are miserable.
  • The doctor prescribed the medication so they must be okay to use.
  • Recovery is basically a constant fight with cravings.
  • I’m not that bad; I know people who drink much more than I do.
  • I am much more creative when I’m high.
  • Life is going to come to an end anyway so why not thoroughly enjoy it now.
  • People who chronically relapse will never get sober.
  • Everyone I know uses drugs and alcohol so it must be normal behavior.
  • My addiction isn’t affecting anyone else.
  • I’d never be able to manage my stress/problems without drugs and alcohol.
  • I don’t care about my life and I don’t care if the addiction kills me.
  • I’m only a social user.
  • I can’t quit so I may as well go along with the addiction.
  • I’m not an addict because this isn’t affecting my work.
  • I only drink on nights and weekends so I’m not an addict.
  • Giving up alcohol or drugs for the rest of my life is a prison sentence.
  • I’m waiting to hit rock bottom.
  • I have a lot of bad luck.

Fortunately, there are times when some men and women recognize the need for help. It is common for those struggling with an addiction to have insight at certain times, while denial at other times. If a person were to recognize denial in themselves, there are ways keep denial at bay. For instance, ways to cope with denial include making a strong network of support. When the cycle of addiction begins to take over, allow your friends and family members to provide their support. You can even write out advance directives or create a treatment plan with a therapist in advance so that your wishes can be adhered to regardless of your mental state. Creating a plan ahead of time can help break through the tendency for denial to keep you stuck in addiction.

However, if you find that no matter what you do you’re still fighting addiction, contact a mental health provider today.

 

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Tips for Facing Heartache and Sober Living at the Same Time

With a breakup, sober living can easily turn into living with cravings. You miss her. She’s not coming back and when the pain of her absence hits you,  so does the desire to drink. When you’re going through all the things you wished you said and replaying your last conversation in your head, those cravings may continue to resurface. So, how can you face a breakup and maintain sober living at the same time?

Here are a few tips to make it through the challenges of a breaking heart:

Watch movies: Sometimes, we need to hear the stories of others. We need to touch upon the dark circumstances they faced in order to have compassion for ourselves. Movies are an easy way to see the intimate experiences of others and how they overcame challenges, especially when it comes to heartache. In fact, you might be able to find a movie that highlights the challenges of sober living and relationship breakups.

Set up a support network:  Heartache can bring loneliness. Although there are times when you may want to be alone while you heal, you may also want to have friends and family around. In order to support sober living, you may want other recovering addicts around you who are a step or two ahead of you, those who have been through the difficulties you might be experiencing now. In fact, you may want to share your story of heartache among a sober community so that you can feel supported and held by others who are also in recovery.

Recognize that it’s going to take time to heal. Healing from heartache isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take days, months, even years. Knowing this from the start can help inspire compassion and tenderness towards yourself. Knowing that it’s going to take awhile can help build a sense of acceptance with where you are right now. This kind of acceptance can help you feel more prepared for sober living. You might feel like you have a greater capacity to face and ignore cravings when they come.

Take good care of yourself. When you have at least an hour a day devoted to yourself, you send the message to yourself that you are worth it. That you are deserving of love and care, regardless of the circumstances you just went through. Sober living requires care.  When we have moments in our lives that help “fill our cup”, so to speak, we are then able to be there for others as well. For instance, if you’re in a 12-step community, you know that part of recovery is  supporting others in their process of getting and staying sober.

These are a few tips for facing heartache. If you’re in recovery, especially in your first year, a relationship breakup can be hard, and it can put you at risk for relapse. However, it doesn’t have to. Use these tips to support your sober living. If you need to, contact a mental health provider for additional support.

 

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Dewshine and Other Cheap Highs Can Be Deadly

You probably haven’t heard of Dewshine. It’s a mixture of Mountain Dew and gasoline. Yes, that’s right – the soft drink plus fuel for your car. Two teens in Tennessee came up with the brew as a way to get a cheap high. The teens are now dead and two others were taken to the emergency room.

Dewshine has mostly methanol in it, which is a form of alcohol used in industrial vehicles and automobiles. To be clear, it is not the same form of alcohol found in beer, wine, and liquor. According to an article in US News, methanol is poisonous in even small amounts. For an infant, methanol would be deadly, as it was for two of the adolescents who drank the mixture. Additionally, those who drank Dewshine might have experienced severe headaches, blurred vision, rapid or deep breathing, drowsiness and confusion, ​nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or blindness, depending on the amount used. Perhaps these symptoms aren’t worth the cheap high they initially hoped for.

In fact, a cheap high often is not cheap at all. For instance, those who are addicted to prescription drugs often turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. In some parts of the country, bundles of glassine bags can sell for as low as $3, which can then be sold elsewhere for $10. Whether its $3 or $10, the cost is incredibly cheap, making it attractive and easily accessible. Yet in the long run, the use of substances that appear cheap can later require the costs of hospitalization, addiction treatment, rent at a sober living facility, and can even cost one their life. Cheap highs aren’t cheap if they later require ongoing medical and psychological care.

The same is true with inhalants. An inhalant is any substance that can be turned into a chemical vapor, which is inhaled by users to get high. There are many household products that can be used as inhalants, which is why this type substance use can be challenging to control. Inhalants provide a very short high, lasting from 15-30 minutes. For this reason, a person is likely to repeatedly use them. According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are at least 18 million people have tried inhalants at least once in their lifetime.

Like Dewshine, the products that people use to get high sound astronomical. Instead of gasoline, they may inhale cleaning solutions, correction fluids, degreasers, deodorant sprays, felt markers, hair spray, leather cleaners, or nail polish remover. And just like the symptoms listed above for drinking Dewshine, those who ingest inhalants can experience a variety of unfortunate symptoms. These include:

  • Delusions
  • Distorted thinking
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of sensation
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you or someone you know is brewing something with dangerous compounds, such as fluid, be aware that it could cost you your life. A cheap high may not be so cheap in the end.

 

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