What Strengthens My Faith

Many of my friends say, “To believe in an afterlife without proof is foolish. It’s tantamount to a fairy tale”. And those who believe in the prerequisite of an afterlife – a God or a higher power – are also living in a “fairy tale” land.

I have a dear friend whose religious beliefs have evolved quite interestingly. He is the son of a Christian minister and he himself was a minister. But, after a series of events, he decided he didn’t believe in God. He now declares himself a humanist. Dedicated to helping others, being kind, and sharing all because it is the best and healthiest way to live life. This is now his humanist doctrine.

This same friend recently questioned how I could remain a believer amidst all the daily atrocities in this world. How could I remain in the “fairy tale”?

My answer was simple. I know and believe people to be fallible. But I also know and believe that there exists a God, a higher being, who maintains absolute faith in our greater good. Even when our fallibility manifests in horrific ways.

What Strengthens My Faith - Transcend Recovery Community

Every world atrocity could dilute our faith in a greater good or a higher being. But every act and receipt of love, benevolence, and generosity can restore it. Can strengthen our faith. And, at least for me, provide reassurance that there is a relentless force at work. A God who believes in our humanity without a doubt.

So, I suppose my faith ultimately serves to move me towards more love, benevolence, and generosity. To do work that plants hope and inspiration throughout my community. Because, like the God who I believe in, I trust that within all of us is a desire to be and do good. A good that will prevail.

We need not all subscribe to a single religion. We need not all pray to the same God. What we need is to live a productive life. A life that is driven by love, compassion, kindness, and empathy. That is the ultimate point.

What Strengthens My Faith - Transcend Recovery Community

My hope this week is that we all firm up our belief in ourselves, each other, and this world. And work to ensure each other’s well-being. Because, whether you believe it matters in this life or the next, to love one another unconditionally has an immeasurable impact. One that exists beyond any one person, or any mortal or fairy tale world.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

From Hearing to Listening

For most of my life, I heard very little. My physical hearing was perfectly intact. I just muted out that which displeased me! I could hear the pleas and suggestions of others, but I did not absorb their truth.

I read something today that speaks to just that phenomenon. It said roughly, “Just because someone can hear physically, does not mean they actually hear”.

The ability to mute our own negative thoughts or self-talk, and truly hear and heed the advice of others, without bias or judgment, is a difficult skill and practice. In my experience, if we are not making progress on our goals or falling deeper into our weakness, we’re probably not listening carefully enough. Or really, at all.

The permanent changes in my life didn’t come until I started truly listening. And letting the messages sink in. I gained control of my life when I accepted that I was out of answers, that I would listen intently and take actual direction from my mentors, helpers, and supporters.

Despite the best efforts of my ego trying to convince me otherwise, when I am in my recovery, I can hear the honest, well-intentioned words of others. I can recognize and comprehend the lessons and wisdom in the message. My recovery, and the recovery from any hardship, requires thoughtful listening. Otherwise, it’s all just noise that you can, and likely will, drown out.

From Hearing to Listening - Transcend Recovery Community

All of us will experience our own personal challenges throughout life. Whether it’s substance abuse, loss, failure, fear, or something else. That’s OK. It’s part of the experience. The key is to look to others who can guide you through the challenges with love, insight, and support. This week, find someone you trust and seek their advice on a problem or issue. Ask for feedback. Have them check your judgment. And listen to the answers. You may just find that you’re better off for it.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

Our Responsibility to Each Other

We have a tendency to group up. It’s human nature. We’re conditioned to feel connected, safe with people who look, behave, and feel familiar. Like ourselves. And we look after our “tribes”. Whether it be a religious, work, or friend group. We advocate and protect our members.

But every morning as I drive to work, I can’t help but notice the growing homeless population in Los Angeles. And truly, every major city.

And I constantly ask myself, as a member of the human race, the tribe which claims us all, what is my responsibility to these people?

The Torah states well over 30 times that “we shall treat the stranger kindly, as you were once a stranger”.

Why must we be reminded so many times? Isn’t it obvious that we must treat others, including strangers, kindly?

Well, in truth, I was afraid of homeless people as a child. Afraid when they would shout or pace back and forth. All signs of mental illness. And more often than not, homelessness follows untreated mental illness. Now that I work in the field of mental health treatment and do much work with homeless and at-risk populations, I know better. I know not to fear the unfamiliar, but to reach for understanding. To learn and identify with their story so that I can help.

It wasn’t until I made a concerted effort to explore the issue of homelessness, to get to know the mental health challenges and social disadvantages that many face, that I was able to exercise a deeper level of compassionate. Focus more on that which connects us versus that which separates us. And ultimately, understand everyone as my tribe member.

It may feel unnatural to help or reach out to a stranger. Someone who doesn’t fit within your current circles. But a stranger is only someone we haven’t yet found a connection with.

So what is my obligation to the homeless community? To serve them with the same degree of humanity I would anyone else. And that requires more than giving money here and there, it requires human connection. I will introduce myself, say hello, and acknowledge them as my fellow man.

This week, I challenge us all to seize opportunities to exercise humanity, to show compassion. I’m not suggesting you put yourself in danger, but even a warm smile and a simple hello create a connection. For those who feel glanced over and “other than”, these ordinary actions can feel extraordinary. These simple gestures spur progress, kindness and empathy from which we all benefit.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

Appreciate the Everyday Miracles

We spend a lot of time focusing on the grand. Impressed by big gestures and accomplishments. And when we talk about miracles, it’s to describe something extraordinary. Not of the everyday.

I just read a quote by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sachs that pushed me into a different perspective. He says: “A miracle is not necessarily something that suspends natural law. It is, rather, an event for which there may be a natural explanation, but which-happening when, where and how it did-evokes wonder, such that even the most hardened scepter senses God has intervened in history”.

All religions discuss miracles. The Jewish faith discusses the cutting of the sea. The Christian faith believes in the resurrection of Jesus. Whatever the story, they urge us to ponder the improbable, the things for which science or human logic have no explanation. And to then consider divine intervention. To put our faith in something greater and larger than our own existence.

But what if, like Rabbi Sachs says, we gave a nod to seemingly ordinary, everyday events? And understood scientifically proven, but wonder-evoking things as miracles? Perhaps then, miracles will be less an intellectual vs spiritual debate, and rather, an opportunity simply for more peace. To live more harmoniously in a culturally and philosophically diverse world.

I believe the greatest miracles are those that won’t make the front page news or trend on social media. But when we take the time to sit in appreciation for, they are the things that most inspire and delight us.

Unexpected generosity. Forgiveness. A shared laugh. Healing from the loss of a loved one or your own trauma. The birth of a child. The gift of breathing, walking, seeing hearing, etc. These are all miracles. Regardless of what religion, if any, you choose to follow or believe in. They are things that make us uniquely human. They are the things that humble and encourage us to live with gratitude. That bring us stability. Yet often, myself included, not given the miracle status they deserve.

When we think that only the BIG accomplishments in ourselves and others deserve recognition, we fail to recognize all of these seemingly small wonders as that which connect us. That demonstrate our similarities. Parents from different religious, ethnic, or political backgrounds may have few coinciding beliefs, but they both experience the overwhelming surge of love and devotion from the birth of a child.

This week, let’s spend time appreciating the small but significant stuff. Pay attention to the smiles and acts of kindness you receive. Pay attention to the joy you bring others through the smiles you give, the acts of kindness you give. However small. These are daily miracles. And when we appreciate them as such, may we be compelled to treat ourselves and others with further kindness and gratitude.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

How We Treat the Environment Is a Reflection of How We Treat Ourselves

We Treat the Environment the Way We Treat Ourselves - Transcend

I’ve been thinking more about my environmental impact. And the individual obligation we have to take care of this planet, our collective home. Nobody owns the title to Earth. So who assumes primary responsibility? What is my true responsibility and how can I improve this Earth?

The Earth demands our answer. Climate changes, deforestation, mercury in our waters, devastating wildfires and storms, mudslides. We can’t ignore the signs. Or the science. News headlines pitch global warming as a political issue, but that’s not the real issue at hand, is it? It doesn’t matter what side of the party line you fall on. The consequences hurt everyone.

We do ourselves no service by approaching global warming as a political issue. So, I’d like us to think about it as a moral one. Let’s table our ego and political beliefs to ask ourselves, simply and honestly, what we want our net impact on this world to be. Are we doing what we can, no matter how big or small, to leave our children and future generations with a world better off? Or recovering from our disregard and dismissal?

Choosing to recycle, limit your waste, or keep the oceans clean may not provide you with immediate gratifications, but they reflect a higher ideal. A belief that what we do matters. That our decisions have consequences. That we can be agents of good or bad. That we remain connected throughout generations by the actions we take throughout our own. And that, even though you or I may not benefit from clean air and water 100 years from now, others should.

As stewards of the earth, as the highest form of life on this planet, we must treat the land with respect. And accept the responsibility we have been given to care for it. When we don’t pay attention, when we say, “what can I do or how am I personally harming the earth?”, we are shunning responsibility. Which leaks into other areas of our lives.

I think about environmental responsibility as a frame of mind. It’s about paying attention. About not putting off for tomorrow what I can do today. And not waiting for disaster to take action. It’s about being awake, purposeful, and proactive in everything we do.

This week, let’s pay close attention to how we are treating the Earth and our environment. Together, let’s take responsibility and understand that we are our brother’s keepers. Take ownership of the impact you have on the greater outcome. Stock up on reusable bags, limit your use of plastics, always pick up your trash! If you and I take small actions to respect nature, learn how we can improve our environment with simple adjustments, we can make a huge change. We just have to decide, individually, to do so. I truly believe that in thinking about our daily lives this way, we will be more empathic, kind, caring, and loving human beings.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

The Relationship Between Grit, Success, & Faith

The Relationship Between Grit, Success, & Faith - Transcend

Paul Tough suggests that the primary quality in successful people is grit. Loosely defined, grit is when one continues to persist faithfully in the face of failure. To continue to believe in oneself.

Steve Jobs dropped out of college to start Apple. He was essentially pushed out of Apple, only to return as their CEO and grow it to one of the most valuable companies in the world.

JK Rowling was rejected by 13 publishers before someone took a chance on her, going on to create Harry Potter, one of the most successful series of all times.

Clearly, these two possessed true grit throughout their careers. And throughout their failures. They believed in their strengths, value, and uniqueness and kept on. They “persisted faithfully”.

Faith, for me, has always been faith in God. Faith in my higher power. When I’m going through a tough spot or dealing with a crisis, I would remind myself that my higher power didn’t put me on this earth to fail. If I just maintained faith in God then it would all work out.

I would repeat the FEAR mantra: False Evidence Appearing Real. I would tell myself that the hard, uncomfortable feelings shall pass and I would soon be able to get on in my life.

Well, I have had a bit of an epiphany. My perception has shifted. Rather than simply focusing on faith in God, in a higher power, I’m focusing on faith that my God has faith in me/us.

This seemingly minor edit has a profound impact on my ability to maintain the kind of grit that Rowling or Jobs did. To preserve my sense of individual value, uniqueness, and purpose.

Bruised from rejection, we can’t always see the lesson in a failure or crisis. But that’s OK. Because when I choose to believe that my higher power is keeping the faith, even if I’m a couple steps behind, I will continue to seek out the opportunity to fulfill my purpose. To be and do better.

There are many stories of people who found great personal, financial, and career success in their life. But I want us not to focus on the outcome, but on the messy, non-linear, sometimes painful path there. Great success can’t be achieved without some degree of grit. And that requires faith. The whole way through. For me, that means believing in a God who always has faith in me, always wants it to work out. I just need to put in the effort. Sometimes it’s a little effort and sometimes it’s a lot of effort.

This week, I encourage us to persist faithfully. It’s not our job to follow a perfect blueprint for how we think our lives should pan out. Think of how much good the world would have missed out on had some of the greats given up on themselves?! Don’t do the same, don’t write-yourself off. Believe in your ability to overcome and succeed in the face of failure, whether that’s through faith in a higher power who believes in you or otherwise. We can always help ourselves and others through the unavoidable failures. With some grit, you can find your greatness on the other side.

 

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.

-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community

 

 

The Effects of Addiction on Those Around You

Addiction Affects Those Around You

In a sense, addiction can be considered a disease, and according to some experts, it’s best described as a chronic brain disease. What most people might consider a character flaw, or something fixed through simple willpower is more aptly characterized as a mental disorder requiring specialized treatment.

This is important because it gets to the heart of why every addiction ends in tragedy. Addiction isn’t a choice, and it’s not something you can control. It always only goes in one direction, like any disease does, and to stop it, you need help.

The first mistake people make when they begin to realize that their drug use is getting out of hand is that they think they may be able to turn things back around. They make excuses for themselves, perhaps without even meaning to, thinking ahead to an opportune time to make a change while not realizing how far they’ve already fallen. Step by step, addiction takes control of your life. To be more accurate, it changes the way you make choices, robbing you of the ability to think critically about them. Your capacity to think becomes diminished, and your choices follow the same path. And then, it spreads and affects those around you.

Some make another mistake, of assuming that their choices are ultimately only their responsibility. Part of it is cultural – here in the United States, we’re often taught that personal responsibility is the ultimate virtue, and if you don’t look after yourself, then everything that happens can ultimately be traced back to you and your actions. In summary, what happens to you, happens because of you.

More often than not, life is at least partially determined by factors we can’t control. More often than not, we make mistakes at crucial times, because of the pressure of the moment. More often than not, a human being lives a life filled with a few moments of regret, and mistakes we struggle with forever.

That’s where it’s important to strike a balance between personal and social responsibility. It’s what community is for. That’s what friends are for. That’s what family is for. The biggest mistake many make when they first struggle with addiction is not getting help from others or seeking out treatment. We need to rely on each other to live better lives, and it’s only through trust and compassion that we can solve some of the bigger issues in the lives of our families. Otherwise, addiction can consume not only an individual, but an entire household.

 

Losing Their Trust

It happens slowly, at first. Yet over time, addiction begins to erode your personality, your reputation, and your reliability. We are ultimately only as good as our word, and if what we say cannot be trusted, people lose all faith in us. It might start as a way to let loose or blow off some steam, but over time, drug use can become compulsive, taking over everything else and putting it in its shadow.

That’s when people begin to stop trusting you. And that’s how it begins. Once the trust is gone, the relationships start to falter.

 

Crumbling Relationships

Did you know that rejection is one of the few forms of emotional pain that are treated by the brain in the same way as physical pain? We fear rejection on such a primal level that our bodies react to it as though it was physical – it actually hurts, like a real gut punch. But it doesn’t just apply to being rejected emotionally. It applies to all forms of social rejection, especially those on a romantic or familial level. The more important the bond, the more it hurts.

It makes sense, then, that addiction immediately leads someone down a spiraling path of mental anguish and depression. While it starts with your friends and family losing faith in you, that feeling can quickly become overwhelmingly painful. And it’s at that most vulnerable time that drugs become the most attractive. When it all just hurts too much, that’s when you need it the most.

 

Negativity and Stress

This spiral affects your thinking, your behavior, your actions, your words. And that, in turn, affects those around you, taking away their happiness at times and leaving them fearful, or angry. A household mired in addiction becomes tense and aggressive, and dangerous. Conversations devolve into fights, and your pain needs to be shared. It is spread around, eroding relationships even further, and destroying your family.

In a way, it isn’t your fault – but while addiction is not something anyone chooses, you do need to choose to get better. You do need to choose to accept the disease and accept the treatment. You do need to choose the hard path of getting sober again.

 

Isolation and Loneliness

The final and most dangerous effect of addiction is that it ultimately robs you of everything and everyone that you love. If you’re lucky, some might stay with you – but if you don’t accept their help or make an effort to change, or if they decide they can’t stand by you, then lastly, addiction leaves you alone.

Loneliness is a very dangerous thing, and it’s much more insidious than we might think at first. No one truly wants to be lonely. Even the shyest person seeks human contact, either through a select few friends, or a loved one. We need to be able to talk, touch, and be with others in order to thrive emotionally and mentally. Left alone, we wither quickly. The effects of loneliness are emotionally devastating and leave many in a deep depression, anxious of ever returning into a sober life, scared that they would simply repeat the cycle, hurt their friends, and go through the same pain all over again.

The deeper an addiction goes, the harder it is to cure, because the stress compounds and creates deep wounds that take years to fully heal. Depressive thoughts and irrational anxieties overwhelm every sensical thought, and the only impulse is to seek out a quick pleasure to drown out the overwhelming pain. It paints a vivid picture to imagine someone in a cold and empty room, all human contact lacking any form of sincerity, or that level of love and comfort that every person needs to survive.

But no matter how bad things get, they never have to stay that way. There is always a way towards something better, a healthier life, a happier future, a time when you can heal and be with the ones you love, mend broken bonds, and forge completely new ones. All you have to do is start the healing process, and never give up.

 

Sober Life In Houston

Sober Life in Houston

Like any large city, Houston, Texas has its fair share of problems. Known for the Houston Space Center, air conditioning, arguably the world’s best Tex-Mex and among the greatest preservations and greenery within any urban American city, Houston also has a drug problem. From rising marijuana and synthetic cannabinoid usage to drug use in schools, and the surfacing of an extremely potent and lethal synthetic opioid, it’s fair to say that drugs are an issue here. Learning to live a sober life in Houston around temptations is tough but with a lot of sober fun to do, it is easier.

And yet, it does not crack the top 10 major cities where drug abuse is a statistical nightmare.

As dangerous as drugs are, we live in a world where data can be used to skew opinion and create fear. And the last thing you need when you’re struggling to stay sober is feel scared about the city you live in – a city where millions of Americans lead peaceful lives without drug use.

You can join them, and live your life staying sober, and healthy. And you might even be surprised to hear that Houston is one of the best cities in the country for exactly that purpose. Sober living in Houston can be beautiful if you know where to look, and what to do. A national model for green city living, Houston is a great place if you want to balance growing urban progress with nature’s best and finest. That wasn’t so not very long ago, when Houston was known for concrete and mud rather than a blooming future. And with the years, its vision is growing ever brighter.

But even if parks aren’t your thing, there are plenty other things to do in Houston

A Primer on a Sober Life in Houston

Sobriety involves not being high – achieving a sober life in Houston is not difficult for most people. However, maintaining it can be a nightmare at first. Staying sober is not easy, but it helps to understand what you’re in for. The first few weeks after a serious addiction can be harrowing, even painful, and emotionally difficult. Mood swings are common and there may be a lot of pain to work through, psychologically.

Often, an addiction piles onto you while it encourages you to use in order to hide the pain – but the problems don’t go away, and the pain stores up until the moment you decide to stop using, when it all comes down on you.

But after that initial hurdle, things begin to rapidly look up. The cravings slowly disperse, and you can focus on building a better sober life in Houston. Being sober does not guarantee that things will be better – but it gives you the chance to make them better.

A city like Houston can help you stay sober by offering plenty of things to do. The number one enemy of early sobriety is boredom – if you are not preoccupied with something, then the addiction is likely to sneak back into the forefront of your mind, and back into your life.

It’s important to find something you can enjoy and dig into it as passionately as possible. As such, the first thing on your list should be finding something interesting to try out.

Next, you need people. Good people. Loneliness can aggravate an addiction – being alone for too long is not healthy, especially if you’re confronting questions about addiction that only people with similar experiences could answer. By attending group meetings, finding other sober people, and spending time with folks who have gone through many of the same experiences as you, you may find new perspectives, point of views, and helpful insights for living a sober life in Houston and overcoming this chapter of your life.

Finally, no matter where you live, having people and places to turn to when you really need help is important. There will be days when you feel like you just are not all there – and sometimes, you may even feel yourself coming dangerously close to using. If these thoughts enter your head and can’t be controlled, it’s good to have a panic button. Someone to call, go to, or a place to stay if you need help.

Finding Something to Do

It wouldn’t be a great city if it didn’t have a lot to do, and there’s no shortage of places to see and things to do in Houston. If you’re looking for something new, try:

  • A completely new craft or hobby. Pick a class or workshop and just dig in. From basket weaving to oil painting and welding, there’s plenty to try out.
  • A trip through history. Houston has no shortage of museums, built as memorials or for children to experience nature in an even more informative and educational way.
  • A journey through cuisines. As a metropolis, Houston has a little bit of everything from around the world’s kitchens. Take in Houston fine dining or enjoy the authentic Texan street food.
  • Something entirely different. From motocross meetups to escape games and popup food stalls, there’s always something going on in Houston.

There’s more, of course. Houston has several zoos, sanctuaries, adventure parks and national parks. Taking in nature is not only a serene way to spend an afternoon, but it can uplift your spirits and heal your mind. If you’re looking for something more contemporary, there are several avant-garde art installations in Houston, plus the famous Mecca of Graffiti at the Mullet. Having fun artistic things like this to go to make living a sober life in Houston easier.

Getting Help

Residential treatment centers, group meetings and sober living houses are just a few ideas of the kinds of places where you can get help quickly and stay for a while. These are often drug-free safe environments where sobriety is valued and protected.

Finding individuals who have been on this kind of a journey and can help you get to a better place can also be beneficial. From sponsors to paid and professional sober companions, there are many people out there capable of helping others get sober, stay sober, and find the kind of life balance they need to cut addiction out of their lives entirely.

Finally, friends and family play a big role to a stable sober life, regardless of where you live. Houston may be a big city with plenty to do in it, but if it doesn’t feel like home, it’ll be hard to feel comfortable here. Having friends around you can make you feel more like you belong, and they can help you find your place in the crowd.

At the end of the day, your journey to a better sober life in Houston will depend on countless factors – but as long as you push through and don’t give up, regardless of how many obstacles you may face, you will make it to a better and sober life.

 

Drug Withdrawal and How to Handle It

Drug Withdrawal

If getting clean was easy, addiction would not exist. Addiction is a disease characterized by compulsive substance use despite clear harmful consequences. Unlike doing something out of bad judgment, malicious intent, or temporary ignorance, a person struggling with addiction struggles to stop when their behavior is becoming painfully self-destructive. This is what makes drug withdrawal so tough to overcome.

Among many reasons, one that stands out as difficult to deal with is drug withdrawal. When the body reaches a certain point of substance use, trying to stop causes you to become physically sick. Your body rejects sobriety, pushing you to start using again to feel better. You are compelled to oblige – or suffer through painful symptoms on your way to getting clean.

For many, this is nothing short of treachery. For others, it is almost like their bodies are telling them it is okay to keep using. Either way, withdrawal symptoms are confusing – because of addiction is so clearly harmful and involves gradually destroying your brain and harming your organs, why does the body insist that you do not stop using?

To tackle that question, it is important to understand addiction and the organ it affects the most.

 

Dependence, Drug Withdrawal and Tolerance

We have defined addiction as a disease of self-destructive behavior, but what triggers it? The answer lies in the brain. When a person introduces a drug into the bloodstream through their preferred method, it makes its way into the brain. There, drugs bind to receptors in the neurons – the brain’s cells – mimicking other neurotransmitters that the brain produces naturally. Then, the drugs take their effects.

Benzodiazepines and alcohol function similarly, for example. These are both depressants, which means they reduce certain nervous activity and brain functionality. The reason alcohol causes cognitive impairment and makes you “drunk” is because of its effects on your motor function, and your language center. In this sense, alcohol is like sedatives and tranquilizers, which were commonly abused in the past.

Cocaine and amphetamines, on the other hand, are stimulants. They drastically drive up the amount of dopamine in your system, making you happy, excited, and motivated. This can come at the cost of straining the heart and other organs.

Opiates are special, in that they combat and block pain – but they also boast incredible addictiveness.

All these drugs have something in common, and that is this “addictiveness”. A drug is made addictive by how the brain reacts to it – when you take an opioid, a shot of vodka, or barbiturates/benzodiazepine, you experience a high that leaves you feeling great, and then crashing. That first use is never enough to cause an addiction, but the taste does drive the brain to crave a second hit. Over time, as the hits accumulate, the experience becomes a compulsive need.

That’s where dependence kicks in. Chemical dependence is when the body needs its drugs to continue functioning, to the point where it will react violently – through painful drug withdrawal symptoms – to the absence of drugs.

Tolerance plays another role, as part of the brain trying to defend itself from the powerful effects of the drugs by adapting to them. Adaptation is the key to survival, and it is the key to our ability to grow, learn, and get stronger. But in the context of addiction, adapting to the effects of a drug means it becomes progressively less effective at the same dosage, requiring a higher dosage to elicit the same response.

Over weeks and months, this drives up a person’s risk of hitting their overdose limit, while pushing them further and further into a place where no other form of stimulation can bring them any joy anymore.

Dependence, withdrawals, and tolerance. First and foremost, drugs attack and alter the brain, and everything else follows.

 

Different Drugs, Different  Drug Withdrawal Sypmtoms

Just as drugs affect the brain in different ways, so do drug withdrawal symptoms differ from drug to drug. While nausea and muscle pain are common symptoms, some withdrawal symptoms are much more severe than others, while some symptoms are more common among certain drugs.

Severity is not necessarily tied to the drug, of course – while withdrawal from depressants is typically more dangerous than  drug withdrawal from stimulants, a heavy addiction to cocaine can still be very difficult and painful to break.

 

Always Seek Medical Assistance

Due to the nature of drug withdrawal symptoms as dangerous side effects of long-term substance use, it is a good idea to seek help at a clinic, rehab center or sober living environment before you attempt to get clean and go through withdrawal.

Having medical professionals nearby could save your life should something go completely wrong.

 

Looking Into the Long-Term

It is impossible to tell what the future might hold, but you can determine where it goes by your own hand and intent. Over time, your recovery will lead you to dark places mentally – times when the urge to use is stronger than it usually is. For many of those times, staying strong can be enough to resist a relapse. But do not try solely to rely on yourself. While recovery is your journey, there is no shame in asking for help – and if you want to get better, you will need all the help you can get.

By involving your family and your friends in your recovery and helping them better understand addiction and the struggle you are going through, you can tap into a support system that allows you to stay clean even when you feel like you do not want to. Discipline can take you far in recovery, but there are times when you need motivation more than discipline, and times when neither work, and you just need someone to hold you and help you heal and cope.

Tackling drug withdrawal, overcoming the ordeal, and coming out the other side determined to stay clean is a strong start. Be sure to take every advantage you can get moving forward, from joining group therapies to living in sober living communities, to working with your therapist and your family to create a better understanding between you all and find the support system you need.

 

 

Sober Living in New York

Sober Living in New York

It’s New York, one of the financial capitals of the globe, and one of the most famous cities in the history of mankind. Aside from being gargantuan in terms of popularity and worldwide renown, New York is also quite the city. Sporting over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, freshwater turtles, 58 wild orchid species, its famous subway tracks, a spot in history for being the United States’ first capital, and a population of over 8.6 million– over double the population of Los Angeles – New York is the most populous city in America, and one of the largest cities in the world by population. Sober living in New York is a challenge beacuse of the vibrant city life that struggles with addiction. 

But New York is much more than facts and numbers. There’s a magic surrounding this city unlike almost any other, drawing to itself countless pioneers, visionaries, refugees, artists and more. A real melting pot of cultures, New York is home to countless cultures across its five boroughs, and there are few places on Earth where one can come across as many different peoples, languages, and cuisines within a single stroll through town than the Big Apple.

For all its wonders, it’s still a city full of faults, and recognizing that is the first step to learning to live in it. As with any big city in America, New York struggles with drug abuse and drug trafficking, and alcoholism, as well as the nationwide fight against opioids. Sober Living in New York, a city filled with so much nightlife and elicit activities can be difficult, especially if you know where to look to have your “fun”. But you already knew that. What you might not know is that there’s a lot to do in New York that doesn’t involve a sip of alcohol or a single pill – in fact, the city is full of ways to enjoy a sober night out or have a day trip without getting “turnt”. If you’re looking to have some sober fun in New York, here’s what you need to know.

It’s the Big Apple for a Reason

With a population of over 8 million, over 24,000 restaurants, nearly 100 museums, dozens of zoos, countless gyms and just as many workshops and classes, there’s never a time of day when you’ll find yourself at a loss of things to do, places to explore, foods to try, or experiences to enjoy.

But first, it’s time for a little pre-game pep talk about being sober, and what that means in relation to addiction recovery. Ultimately, being sober is more than just not drinking – it’s about not drinking for long periods of time. If you’ve struggled with addiction, then quitting is hard not because something keeps you from putting down the glass or the needle, but because you constantly want to pick it up again. You need the strength to keep that hand down – and you do that not just through sheer will, but by giving the mind other things to focus on.

Sober living treatment is about putting you in an environment where you can find out just what those other things might be, without the temptation of addiction luring you back into a darker and much more painful and consequent path.

Sober Living in New York

Addiction is not something you beat overnight – it’s a chronic disease that creeps up on you again and again, and it’s on you to beat it back. Just how easy that might be depends entirely on how much you’re enjoying your sober life, and that depends on how much fun you can have without a drink.

It also depends on your ability to cope under pressure without drugs. Life is not all fun and sunshine, there are many times when you need to get into a stressful position and stay there. Surviving the ordeal without relapsing is one of the greatest challenges of addiction treatment – but thankfully, it does get easier the longer you stay sober. It helps to have friends and family around you who care and want to support you, but don’t forget that this is your journey – and you need your own personalized path out of that dark place, and back into a point in your life where you can feel happy and content with sobriety.

Learning how to have fun without drugs can take a little bit of getting used to, but it helps if you’re coming out of a place of treatment and recovery. Here are just a few ways to enjoy Sober living in New York.

Plenty to See

Well-known for being a top tourist location in the US, New York has quite a lot of sights and sounds – but if you’ve been there for long enough, you’ll know to avoid the obvious tourist traps. Some more remote locations to check out, though, include mesmerizing and beautifully haunting locations like the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital, or preserved locations of genuine New Yorker art like City Hall Station.   

A Lot to Taste

New York is a cultural melting pot, and no where does it show quite as much and quite as often as it does in the selection of restaurants and countless cuisines the Big Apple has to offer. You could go for something as classically New Yorker as hotdogs and pizza, to something more specific, like a good Pho in Little Saigon, or an amazing hearty Bigos from Little Poland.

It’s almost impossible to count exactly how many restaurants NYC has, but there’s no shortage of them, regardless of if you’re looking for a culinary adventure, or just some great comfort food. Sober living in New York is about enjoying life to fullest still and food is major part of that.

Countless Experiences

Life is about learning, and there’s a lot of learning to do in NYC. There are countless classes for you to attend, workshops to sign up for, and seminars to try out. Whether it’s something you’re truly passionate about, like your career or industry, or a sport you’re really into, or just something you’ve never tried before and want to get good at, then no worries, there’s always something going on in New York for you to check out.

It’s all about knowing where to look. There are lots of portals online for singing up for classes, and many of them give you a large overview of what you can try out that week. Eventbrite is a particularly common tool and platform, and it allows you to filter events based on whether they’re seminars, conferences, workshops, or something else entirely.

Another option is just to give Google a go. If there’s something you want to try out specifically – like oil painting – then just give it a search! CourseHorse, TakeLessons, and Yelp are great places to look, and the local news might even have something.

New York is a big place, and there’s more to do than check out classes, local art centers, or hit up food places. The key is to figure out what you’re into – and pursue it with fervor. Having all these experiences to encounter make it easy to for Sober Living in New York.