Addiction Recovery

female after achieving addiction recovery on top of mountain

Addiction, which is classified as uncontrollable substance use despite negative consequences, is often accompanied by both physical and psychological dependence. Physical dependence is typically indicated when the amount of a substance consumed must be increased in order to achieve the desired effect; withdrawal is often a risk factor for people who are physically dependent. Psychological dependence involves the complex emotional and cognitive aspects of a person’s addiction. With both physical and mental components at play, addiction recovery on one’s own can be extremely difficult to achieve. 

Transcend Recovery Community provides access to addiction recovery treatments. If you’re seeking addiction help, we can assist you in overcoming your addiction.

What Is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is a multifaceted process, targeting the physical and psychological wellness of one’s life. People pursuing recovery are empowered to reach their full potential through physical and emotional sobriety. Oftentimes, addicts will seek treatment for addiction at a rehab or designated treatment facility; once treatment is completed, additional support and continuous engagement in their recovery is necessary to attain long-term sobriety.

A fairly common misconception regarding recovery is that a “finish line” is reached once a treatment program is completed or total abstinence is achieved. However, most people who relapse do so within the first 90 days of treatment. Therefore, recovering addicts need multiple resources of support in order to thrive in sobriety. 

Does Transcend Provide Treatment for Addiction?

Transcend focuses attention on having programs that cater to the individual needs of those who are suffering from addiction. We work diligently with our sister program, The Heights Treatment, to provide addiction treatment options that are inclusive of those with varying needs. Additionally, we further strengthen the pillars of recovery by focusing on aspects of life such as community, self-care, life skills, and spirituality.

Our treatment program is one in which we employ a targeted and in-depth approach to achieving and maintaining client sobriety. Instead of solely focusing on the addiction present, we also aim to understand the underlying issues that led to its occurrence. We believe that adequately solving a problem requires a comprehensive understanding of the root causes behind it. Using this information, we assist our clients in addressing their personal barriers to sobriety. 

Overcoming addiction also requires consistent client commitment to their program. With our skilled staff and thoughtful programming, clients will ultimately gain the sense of motivation needed to maintain their newfound lifestyle.

Can Addiction Be Treated Successfully?

Much like diabetes or cancer, addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. If left untreated, addiction can and often does result in death. While it is not considered curable, it is luckily a treatable disease that can be managed. Our practice would not exist if the desired outcome of recovery was impossible.

Although it is treatable, overcoming addiction is not necessarily an easy process. Plenty of people relapse, and unfortunately, many of them never consider the possibility of treatment again. While other progressive diseases are treated aggressively in case of relapse, the general public often places blame on the addict to make them feel like they failed.

It is essential to remember humans are capable of mistakes, and relapse does not indicate that a person is beyond help. Successful treatment requires a proper understanding of the client and a detailed and feasible addiction recovery plan. Perhaps one of the most key components to long-term sobriety is engagement in treatment on the client’s behalf. Chances of relapse diminish significantly with steady commitment and willingness to participate in one’s recovery.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

While addiction affects individuals differently, there are general signs and symptoms that can be present to indicate active addiction. Evidence of addiction is found through various physical, social, and psychological changes. An addict may experience many or only some symptoms.

Physical symptoms arise in addiction as the body’s functions and organ systems are significantly affected by repeated drug use. Physical symptoms include:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Insomnia or increased need for sleep
  • Increased drug tolerance 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using 
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diseases spurred from using drugs (i.e. liver problems, respiratory illness, vascular disease, etc.)

Social symptoms manifest as changes in the ways that addicted individuals interact with their peers. Social symptoms of addiction include:

  • Decreased interest in hobbies
  • Financial difficulties
  • Avoiding detection by having stashes of the addictive substance in various places
  • Isolation 
  • Denial of addiction 
  • Using alone or in secret in order to hide it from others
  • Legal issues

Psychological symptoms can be the most challenging addiction symptoms to identify. Psychological symptoms include:

  • Unable to stop using despite previous attempts
  • Using substance as a coping mechanism when dealing with problems
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Becoming obsessed with the drug
  • Ignoring/denying health problems related to using, etc.

How Do Behavioral Therapies Treat Drug Addiction?

There are various therapy modalities used to assist clients in recovering from their addiction. Having multiple approaches is essential, as one certain type of therapy may not be suited for all clients. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy used to reprogram a person’s cognitive and emotional processes. A goal of CBT is to reframe a client’s negative thoughts and beliefs, which ultimately influence their behavior. CBT is frequently used in relapse prevention, as it provides the client with tools to alter their perceptions, moods, and behaviors leading them to a relapse.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and is often highly effective in tough-to-treat cases and in clients with co-occurring psychological disorders. This type of therapy aims to improve stress management and communication skills, heighten self-confidence, and motivate clients to remove potential triggers from their daily lives. 

Though CBT and DBT are our most commonly implemented therapies, Transcend does have other approaches used in addiction treatment. The ultimate goal of all therapies used is to rewire the client’s brain and adjust perception in crucial areas. With steady progress in therapy, clients begin to develop the mental and emotional fortitude needed for long-term sobriety.

Can Someone Overcome Their Addiction?

Developing an addiction does not signify weakness or unworthiness in a person. Oftentimes, willpower, and self-control alone are not enough to overcome an addiction and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Though it may seem daunting or even impossible, recovering from an addiction is an attainable reality for many who seek it. The process demands commitment, willingness, and honesty with oneself; additionally, with adequate support and dedicated motivation, a client’s chances of recovery are strong. It is essential to note that recovery from addiction does not occur overnight. While some may progress quicker than others through treatment, the life-changing experience that is sobriety requires time and steady effort. Recovery is often considered a marathon, not a sprint.

Transcend accepts clients for where they’re at in their recovery journey, regardless of how quickly or slowly they’re advancing through the process. Our ultimate objective is to provide clients with ample support and encouragement as they walk the road to a happier and healthier life.

Is There Addiction Recovery Treatment Near Me?

Transcend currently offers addiction treatment services at our Houston and Los Angeles locations. If you or a loved one is considering treatment, we urge you to contact us to discuss your options. As we place a high value on clients’ success in our programs, our centers stand ready to provide the appropriate level of care necessary for recovery and sobriety maintenance. 

Call the recovery specialists at Transcend today at 800-208-1211 or use our contact us form to see how joining the Transcend community can change your life.

Recovering from a Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller Addiction

Painkillers can be a boon for countless Americans. The ability to shut off that gnawing ache for just a few hours is not only a blessing, but necessary. Indeed, while America consumes half of the world’s opioid supply and many continue to use pills recreationally rather than responsibly, there are some who struggle deeply with severe pain from surgeries, freak accidents, and nerve damage they cannot afford to address otherwise. But others can develop a painkiller addiction.

As an unintended side effect of an effort by government authorities to curb the opioid crisis, through drastic cuts and changes to prescription rules, some Americans are currently struggling with immense pain and no real way out.

For some of them, this is the journey down a darker road. One fork leads through painkiller addiction, and another, unfortunately, to suicide. Among the most serious cases, very few manage to find or afford alternatives to strong opioid medication, and their options are limited. Pain management can help, but with healthcare in the state that it is, many do not get the care they need.

Of course, the dark reality of America’s painkiller addiction problem is that many who are addicted to opioids were never given a prescription or had a pain issue. Addiction is an issue among sufferers of chronic pain, but the opioid crisis began with years of excessive prescriptions, leading to a surplus of pills patients didn’t need, but paid for anyway.

For those that cannot find a way out of their pain and find themselves addicted, they are in for one of the hardest addictions to break. Not only are painkillers incredibly addictive, but the incentive to keep using them goes far past just the brain’s relationship to opioids. We do not want to feel pain – pain tells us something is wrong, and if we can make it stop, that is good. If making it stop means using opioids, then that is a fair deal for many.

Dealing with recovery is hard enough but dealing with it alongside pain is a different challenge.


Why Painkiller Addiction is So Dangerous

There are two reasons for painkiller addiction– the first and most obvious is that they get rid of the pain. That in and of itself is a very attractive feature for any drug. But aside from that, opioids are also powerful euphoric drugs, making users feel happier, more capable, and more confident.

In medical cases, regulated opioid use can greatly reduce pain and improve quality of life, until a better alternative is perfected, giving patients the ability to seek out work, spend time with their families, and engage in exercise to help reduce the pain a little.

Even outside of medical cases, when pain does not play a role in the situation, opioids continue to be unbelievably addictive – more so than most other drugs, natural or illicit.

Aside from blocking pain and boosting dopamine levels immensely, opioids also fundamentally change the way your brain handles self-control, thus making stopping that much harder. Altogether, misusing painkillers will take its toll.

This effect cascades. Painkillers take away the pain and replace it with happiness, while affecting your judgment and your ability for self-control. This makes the painkiller addiction stronger, but leads to dangerous decisions, and potential self-harm.


Pain Meds Are Not Evil

It has important to remember that opioids are not to blame. There is no sense in blaming a plant, just as it does not make sense to blame a rock – in a situation as complicated as the opioid crisis, sitting down and pointing a finger at anyone or anything is both counterproductive and most likely the result of an incomplete picture of the situation across the nation.

While drastic steps have been taken to cut into how many opioids are currently being prescribed, those who are affected most by these cuts are the honest, law-abiding pain patients unable to get the medication they need to maintain a livable lifestyle.

Indeed, there are people out there who need pain medication, if not an opioid then something just as strong. Vilifying them for their medication is not the right way to combat this, either.

To those who are not struggling with addiction: instead of vilifying and blaming misused medication, promote ways to deal with pain as much as possible, through natural or safer alternatives, or help people struggling with an addiction find the right healthcare for their budget and problem.


The Road to Recovery

For both those with pain and without pain symptoms, withdrawal from opiates can be an excruciating experience. With symptoms varying from a light flu to a terrible sickness, coming down from an opiate addiction is never pleasant, and should always be done under medical supervision in case anything goes wrong.

But surviving withdrawal is only the first step. Pain patients confronted with sobriety will first have to undergo pain management to find the best alternative way to deal with their pain. Instead of treating the issues separately, the more intelligent solution is to tackle the problem collectively – addressing both the painkiller addiction and new ways with which to live with the pain.

This is different from person to person. There are no one-size-fits-all addiction treatment packages, and when one or more conditions complicate the situation, painkiller addiction treatment begins to look highly individualized. Painkiller Addiction is an altogether different beast when paired with depression, or chronic pain, or anxiety, etc.


After Treatment

Because of the unique way the brain reacts to opioids and their powerful effects, it can take a while before cravings go away. For people struggling with pain after painkiller addiction, the most important thing is to find ways to deal with the pain without resorting to opioids. There aren’t many analgesic drugs besides opioids and over-the-counter medication, but the future may hold promise for interesting new ways to deal with pain.

Millions and millions of Americans deal with a myriad of pain issues, from the more common arthritis to severe fibromyalgia. These conditions can be debilitating, and they can rob you of the energy and the will to live. But more than anything, it is important to remain steadfast for yourself and those around you, and never give up looking for a good solution. Opioids may not be your answer, but that does not mean there isn’t one.

Finding A Purpose In Sober Life

Finding A Purpose In Sober Life | Transcend Recovery Community

No one can argue against the idea that sobriety is challenging for an addict. Struggling with addiction is more than a matter of choice or will – rather, it’s a medical issue, and sobriety involves an arduous and grueling rehabilitation and recovery period after treating the disease and transitioning to sober life.

To be sober means not to drink or use drugs – you can be sober for a day, or a lifetime. But when someone talks about sobriety, they usually refer to the commitment of continuing a sober life.

This abstinence isn’t just challenging because of the difficulties of early recovery, though, or because of the craving that drug addiction often leaves you with for weeks and months after treatment.


The Biggest Challenges Of Sober Life

Sobriety’s greatest challenge is the transition from relying on drugs to deal with life, to dealing with sober life. Addiction has several different meanings, but there are two overarching definitions: physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Either qualifies as addiction without further specification, but most of the time, people refer to physical dependence when discussing addiction as a disease.

In either case, struggling with drug use often means finding yourself in a position in life where things are doing downhill, and drugs become an effective coping mechanism for shutting out the pain and anger. Yet when drugs go away, the problems only become more apparent – and the only way out is through.

Getting past the initial few weeks of abstinence while dealing with the stacked consequences of addiction is what makes early recovery so difficult. The pressure to stay clean on top of a list of growing responsibilities can be overwhelming, and without proper support, it can be very difficult not to relapse.

But even with sober living support, making sober life better than your old life ever was is the key to staying clean. So how do you achieve that? How can you live a sober life more enjoyable and better than any high on earth? You do that by finding your purpose – and using it to stay on track, no matter how bad things might get. Of course, that’s easier said than done. But there are a few tips that might help you figure out what you need to do to continue your abstinence and overcome your fear of relapsing.


You Need A Goal

Everybody needs goals in life. Achievable, relatively short-term goals, and lofty life-time goals. These goals must be something you’re passionate about, hungry for, and willing to fight for. It might be a personal career goal, a sports goal, or an academic goal. It might be something you’re only a few weeks away from, or something that you’re planning to build towards for a decade.

Whatever goals you might have, sobriety gives you the chance to pursue them – and in pursuing them, you can guarantee your focus on living a sober life.

If you don’t have goals, then creating them might be a bit of a challenge at first. Begin with a form of self-improvement for which you have the time and resources. Something simple, like relearning an instrument you use and playing a single simple song, reading one book per week, or something similar. Whatever it ends up being, make sure it’s something you think you can achieve within a month – then make sure you achieve it.


What Drives You?

This is a question everyone must ask themselves at some point – and if they don’t know the answer, then their priority must be finding out what it might be. Life is unbelievably varied and complicated, and every individual has their own lot in it. You may never be able to see ahead into your own future, but you can decide what direction to steer towards. That’s why discovering your passion is important.

Some people grow up finding and dedicating themselves to their passion. They have their own stories about how they fell in love with a sport, a profession, or a goal, and they spend decades honing their skills, shedding blood, sweat, and tears to do the best they can, for the sake of knowing that they did it.

Yet most people do not find their passions so easily. Many only realize what they really want to do in life much later, past their youth. If you don’t know what your purpose or passion might be, then there’s only one way to find out.


Just Do More

Addiction robs us of time, money, and relationships. It can make people incredibly lonely and leave them struggling to stay happy. Yet with treatment, support, forgiveness, and therapy, you can get back on your feet and find the time in your life to dedicate yourself to living a better one.

Taking the time to try new things is imperative when your goal is to be happy with yourself. You may never know what your passion is until you discover it. So, take classes, visit new and strange places, learn new things, and be open for unexpected opportunities and fortunate happenstance.

Whether luck exists is something that cannot be quantified. But it is undoubtedly true that any given day is filled to the brim with opportunities that may change the way you live your life. You must keep your eyes open to catch them as they pass by, and never let go once you’ve found the right one.


Fueling Sobriety Through Passion

Setting a goal and reaching it is incredibly satisfying – it requires hard work and determination and has a powerful emotional and at times physical payoff. This is important for life in general, but it’s critical for sobriety. Addiction takes things from people, often including their pride and dignity. Most recovering addicts regret the choices they’ve made and the things they’ve done while addicted and feel ashamed or embarrassed. They may have strained their relationships with others, or they may have messed up with once-a-lifetime chances.

Getting out of that mental hole is important, because such negative thinking is conducive towards relapse and further problems. Yet to foster positive thinking, people need a win. Setting a goal and achieving it will give you the push you need to feel like you can go further, do more, and stay true to yourself. It will improve your self-esteem and your will to continue living a sober life, for the sake of the future.

The Community Factor in Sober Living

Community In Sober Living | Transcend recovery Community

The community factor might seem unrelated to addiction recovery, but studies have shown that the people you surround yourself with have a big impact on your mental health, and even your chances of relapse. More than a potential risk, there is also a case to make that the right community is preventative when it comes to dangers like relapsing or struggling with depression due to addiction.

Few treatment modalities make use of a healthy community of recovery purposes. Sober living homes are one such modality, being centered on the concept of living within a clean and harmonic sober community. Understanding why this works, and how it works, can give you further insight into addiction as a disease and as a lifelong challenge.


What’s In A Community?

A community is more than a collection of individuals. It’s a network of people. Much like how a whole is more than the sum of its parts, when people come together and form bonds, they are capable of awakening great things in each other.

Of course, communities can also cause harm, and they can be dangerous. Group mentality is a powerful thing, and it can help you grow as an individual, or twist your values and bring you to do regrettable things. Often, the people you surrounded yourself with played a role in your addiction, introducing or pushing you to using.

In a similar way, immersing yourself in a completely different kind of community can change your outlook on life, on yourself, and your future. It can turn the boat around, help you switch lanes, and overcome previously impossible tasks – including defeating your addiction. There is a reason teams function well together.

A community that lives together is an altogether different and even more influential thing. Spending day in and day out around the same people can have a tremendous effect on you, for better or for worse.


Why Your Surroundings Matter

Fundamentally, humans are social creatures. Much of our self-worth is based on many of our earliest memories and experiences with others, and of our perception and personality towards others. To put it in an abstract sense, we’re inherently shapeless and given form through the mirrors of other people.

In a more concrete sense, it means that we rely on each other to form bonds, share values, resolve conflicts, and co-exist. Without other people, we can’t function properly, and become lonely.

This matters in the context of addiction because how others imprint on us – especially in our formative years as young adults – can leave a lasting impact. One reason why addiction most commonly starts in the teens is because teens are most susceptible to peer pressure, risk-taking, and ill-informed decision-making. Peer pressure works on teens the most because they are the most eager to fit in and belong.


How Sober Living Improves Recovery

It goes beyond people and communities. Your surroundings matter – the conflicts, circumstances, and events around you can shape your mood and behavior. People born into health issues and poverty need strong coping mechanisms to stay sane, and addiction is a very powerful and harmful coping mechanism.

In the same way, your surroundings must play a role in your recovery. Rehab centers and sober living communities are built to be places of peace, reflection, and growth. They focus easing you into a way of thinking that allows you to overcome your addiction and keep away from the things that might cause it to resurface. They strive to promote positivity among patients and tenants, and help people create beneficial and long-lasting bonds with one another. These places are not meant to keep you in isolation, because isolation is not conducive to recovery.

But it only works if you let it. While we’re very adaptable, we do ultimately choose to let things get to us. Your surroundings will have a profound effect on you, but the effect depends on the person and their perspective. For addiction treatments to work, patients need to be fully cooperative and they must strive to stay sober. In the same way, once treatment is over, much of recovery is spent learning to look past the things that once drove your addiction, and instead learning to focus on reasons to stay sober and away from drugs.

The scenery you surround yourself with. The lifestyle you live. The people you interact with. All these things affect your sobriety and play a role in recovery. But you can’t forget that, once the dust settles and you’re on your own, your greatest power is the ability to choose and rely on your own choices.


It’s Still Your Road

Community is a factor in recovery as much as it is a factor in addiction itself. But you’re still your own person, and you still have the power to choose what to do with your life – and how to let things affect you.

One of the issues often outlined by critics of other community-focused treatment plans like AA is that they remove the aspect of responsibility and the power of choice from your arsenal as a person in recovery. Addiction treatment is not meant to make you feel small, but to empower you to take a new hold of your life and adamantly refuse to return to the old one.

Surrounding yourself with empowering, inspiring, and nurturing individuals can help keep you sane and sober during the bad days, and the tough days. But you’re ultimately the captain of your own ship, and recovery is a journey where you have to make each and every choice and own up to it. Sometimes, this can feel debilitating and difficult. At other days, it shines a light on your newfound strength as a sober person, unchained from addiction, and capable of defying old cravings and painful memories.

Until you find a way to be proud of how far you’ve come, and legitimately believe in your ability to progress further and put this chapter of your life to rest, you’re going to find yourself struggling with recovery and addiction. A good community is not meant to make you feel indebted or out-of-control, but rather, it should open your eyes to the things you have accomplished, and the good you have done.

What Makes Sobriety Great?

What Makes Sobriety Great? | Transcend Recovery Community

Perspective is important in life. Perspective gives us a better reason to appreciate the things we have and let go of the things we don’t have. If anything gives us perspective, then it is hardship. And one of the greatest hardships is fighting against your own will to achieve a healthier, normal life. Addiction is a terrible disease, but it can give you some much needed perspective that you won’t find anywhere else – especially on matters of sobriety.

Many people take their sobriety for granted. But if you’ve ever been addicted, then you know how bad it can get – the blackouts, the pain, the lack of memory, the financial and emotional loss, the relationships you break along the way, the people you hurt without meaning to. For a while, you might pretend to believe that it’s something you’re only doing to yourself, but when someone gets addicted, a whole group of individuals are heavily affected.

But an important part of staying clean is realizing that it’s about so much more than preventing bad things from happening. This isn’t a punishment, and you don’t have to impose a penance on yourself. If you approach sobriety with this sort of attitude, then you will not get very far. Guilt and shame will only bring the addiction back harder than ever – and that will only make those feelings even worse.

The first step to realizing what lies beyond sobriety, is forgiveness. You’ll have to turn the other cheek to your own wrongdoings and apologize to everyone you’ve hurt – including yourself. When you’re confident that you’re ready to start being okay with who you are in your own skin, you’ll begin to realize that sobriety is a second chance at really living life – and living it in a way you can enjoy it.


Sobriety Means More Than Abstinence

Buzzkills. Boring. Lame. There are a dozen terms used to describe people who live life on the straight edge – and they’re all wrong. Not using drugs or drinking does not make life uninteresting, and if you need to supplement your life with drugs to experience anything exciting or out of the ordinary, then exactly what does that say about how you’re living your life?

Life itself is dangerous. It’s exciting. It’s risky. Every second we spend on this planet; an immeasurable number of things is going on. People are born and pass away, and change is constant. It never sleeps. Once you open your eyes to the possibilities right in front of you and realize that life is as exciting as you make it, you’ll never need another drop to feel entertained or excited.

Of course, getting there takes a while to get used to. Sobriety in and of itself is something to get used to right after addiction, but there’s so much more out there to see, experience, and remember.


Seeing Life In A Whole New Way

The first thing you’ll notice when going sober is that your head is a lot clearer. Alcohol and drugs affect your brain, and not just through addiction. Excessive drug use can and will lead to brain damage, effectively reducing your cognitive abilities – slowing down your thinking, your problem solving, and your ability to make decisions and observations, not to mention your memory.

In time, all that can come back to you – it’ll take longer for some than for others based on how bad the damage is, how healthy you are, and what your lifestyle is like, but skipping out on booze and drugs is a great start. With that newfound clarity comes the ability to think and be yourself again – and stay consistent in your decision-making, not orienting yourself after the next high, but towards any other motivations and priorities that you might have, such as your passions, your family, and your goals.


Skipping The Hangover

Another thing that makes sobriety great is the distinct lack of hangovers. No more waking up at completely nonsensical hours in the day, feeling like roadkill, with an insane headache and no recollection of the last six hours you spent conscious.

Every time you black out, you take a chance of not waking up again. By staying sober, you can give your body and your brain time to actively heal, and not feel the abuse of your drug use.


Making New Relationships

Relationships are practically impossible while addicted. Addiction is inherently self-serving, and if you’re struggling with it, you can’t give anyone else the time and attention they need to feel loved and cared for.

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of giving – both partners give each other fully, dedicating time and putting effort into making the relationship work. Healthy relationships focus on common interests and iron out differences, settling disputes through compromise.

It’s not easy to make a relationship work while sober and in full possession of your faculties. It’s impossible while addicted.


Living In A Healthier, Happier Body

Drug use eats away at you, literally. Addiction will diminish your health, either through malnutrition or through the physical effects of the drugs you’re taking. We all know that alcohol causes liver damage, and that excessive smoking leads to lung cancer – but there’s more. Stimulants like cocaine cause a heavy strain on the heart, while opiates can lead to brain damage and even paralysis through accidental overdose. Alcohol also kills brain cells and is a general carcinogen.

A healthy lifestyle is integral to a solid recovery. You can’t just give up drugs, you’ll have to completely rethink the way you eat and move. At first, the transition will be jarring. But as your taste buds adjust and your digestive tract heals, you’ll come to fall in love with healthy eating. Old junk foods will begin to taste too sweet and too salty, and you’ll catch the nuances in foods you might have hated in the past or found too bland.

You might even find some love for exercise, depending on how you go about it. You don’t have to run your behind off on a treadmill if you prefer boxing, or dancing. And there are more ways than one to go about eating a healthy diet. After a rocky start, taking care of yourself a little will turn into countless benefits – you’ll feel younger, look better, sleep better, breathe better, and even think happier thoughts.


No More Lies

But perhaps the greatest part about sobriety is that you can vow to put the lies behind you – and turn over a new leaf of total honesty. Lying becomes a necessity early on in addiction, especially as you begin to lie to yourself about where you’re going with your habits and tendencies.

But the second you decide to do something about it, you set yourself on a path towards clearing up those lies, coming clean, and working hard to re-establish a bond of trust with those you care about the most – and with yourself. And that feeling is priceless.

Do Not Fear the Relapse

Sobriety And Relapse | Transcend Recovery Community

If you stand by the edge of a cliff, the tiniest voice in your head will whisper to you, urging you to jump.

The French call this The Call of the Void. In psychology, the closest we can come to a reasonable explanation is that when confronted with a steep fall, we step away instinctively, but our brain implants this idea that we wanted to jump in the first place – the danger was not the edge of the cliff, but rather, the thought of jumping. After all, the sight of a cliff should not be enough to make people jump. Yet we instinctively perceive it as a threat, and our survival instincts kick in – over nothing more than a location, and the remote possibility of a fall.

To justify our instinct, the mind conjures up the idea of jumping. Our brains go over the vivid feelings of falling endlessly, and fear kicks in. It is not tied to anxiety or depression – most people feel the tiniest urge to jump. Simply because it is there. But feelings of fear and worry can massively amplify that urge and complicate the hesitation.

Relapse is a cliff. And when addiction wanes and the cravings lessen, we gradually step away from the cliff. But it is never out of sight. The edge is always in view, and it would only take a few steps to make the jump.

The fear of relapse is natural because anyone who has fought with addiction knows that it would be very easy to slip back into the old habit. Yet if you want to overcome the threat of relapse, you must stop fearing it.


Why Relapse Is Not to Be Feared

Relapse is central to the concept of addiction as a chronic brain disease. Relapse rates are too high to suggest that it is simply a matter of willpower in early recovery. Yet as the months pass, and the cravings subside, it becomes more and more possible to resist and manage the old feelings of addiction.

Yet the fear remains. For one, it may be because relapse is too tightly tied to the idea of failure. But that’s faulty thinking. Yes, a relapse will always be a setback in recovery. But it is never the end. If you hold out hope and learn from each relapse – figuring out its triggers and understanding how to cope with them – then instead of setting you back, a relapse could be an opportunity to learn from a grave mistake.

As time goes on, and you get better at managing your sobriety and living a sober life, it becomes more and more important to let go of your fear of relapse. Statistics state that relapses are common in early recovery – but it is also common for symptoms of addiction, such as cravings, to subside and fade with time.

Through overwhelming stress, immense pressures and unbelievable tragedies, feelings of addiction can be dragged back to the surface after decades of sobriety. Every now and again, stories emerge of successfully recovering addicts suddenly overdosing after years of staying clean.

These stories perpetuate the idea that relapse is always a danger to fear. While relapse is always a danger, it will never do you any good to spend your life in fear of it. Through the tools you built for yourself through months and years of recovery, you will be equipped to deal with every problem life has to throw at you.


You Have Freedom

There is a debate surrounding addiction and choice. As far as science can tell, the choices we make are highly dependent on countless factors. Many of these factors are heavily influenced by addiction. Drug use affects the brain’s reward system, changing what motivates us and pleases us, and diminishing our ability to reason, think and make decisions.

Recovery can reverse this with time. Once drugs are out of the system, the immediate aftereffects take form as intense cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms. These can have a lasting effect on a person’s emotions, and self-esteem. Addiction treatment not only addresses the effects of drug use on the body, but on the mind and mood as well.

In time, any hold you might feel addiction having over you will go away. You will be in control, and your ability to choose will overpower the fading cravings almost all the time. And when they get to be too much, there are others to help you. Recovery programs today emphasize the importance of support and community for the simple reason that, sometimes, the burden of addiction is too much for one person. And when that happens, it is important to seek the help of others, to stay sane and sober.

You do not have to relapse. But when you do, take it as an opportunity to prevent it from happening again – and know that as time goes on, and sober living gets easier, you will have less to fear.


Have a Plan

The most important thing to do when overcoming the fear of relapse is to insure yourself against it. In other words – build a railing on the cliff.

Addiction treatment today covers more than just the initial period after addiction – it is all about the journey from addiction to long-term sobriety and surviving all the struggles on the way. For many, this means having a plan to fall back on when certain feelings get too powerful, or triggers present themselves.

From going back to therapy to having an emergency number, a mantra and breathing exercises, or a soothing coping mechanism that takes you away from the trigger, it is vital to have something in place to fall back on when you need it, and people to call when you need help.

Addiction can change a life forever. But it does not have to change it negatively. Through recovery, you can reshape your new sober life and rediscover your own personal meaning for it. Do the things you want to do, see the things you want to see, and use recovery as an opportunity to not just overcome addiction, but commit to a happier life.

The world is full of cliffs and high places. But that does not mean they have to keep us up at night. At a certain point, it is your choice to fear them – or live your life freely.


It’s Not Too Late To Kick Addiction And Turn Your Life Around

Not Too Late to Kick Addiction | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is not a death sentence. Unlike far too many terminal diseases, getting addicted to a drug does not guarantee an overdose, or an otherwise painful death. With the right treatment, and the right people, you can get better and kick addiction – no matter how long you’ve been struggling.

There is no time limit for rehab, no point in life where giving up drugs has stopped being an option. No matter how many years you feel you’ve been trapped and enthralled, you can still turn your life around.


It’s Definitely Not Too Late To Kick Addiction

Addiction only “wins” when you stop trying to get better. And until the day you pass away, every waking moment gives you the opportunity to get help and reclaim your life. It’s never going to be too late, until the day you die.

Understanding that means understanding that no matter how powerless and lonely you feel, you do have one small modicum of power – the ability to ask for help and find that help. Sober living programs and treatment clinics exist across the country, and most forms of health insurance will even shave off a significant amount of the cost from addiction treatment.

You’re not alone. Elderly addiction is a growing phenomenon, and from alcoholism to drug abuse, a growing number of aging Americans will have to face down their addiction and get treatment over the coming years. By 2020, the numbers are estimated to be 60% higher than they were in 2000. The takeaway, however, is not just that addiction is becoming a growing issue in America – it is that there’s always hope for getting better. Even just brief abstinence has shown to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of certain illnesses, like liver failure and cirrhosis, while helping add on numbers to a person’s life expectancy.

So long as you live and think and breathe, you can fight this – and if you keep fighting, the addiction will never win. But for many, time and time again, relapse or tragedy puts them back in the hole and takes them out of that mentality of strength and determination. Keeping motivated and staying in recovery requires immense willpower and a solid social structure – it’s important to have a clear reason in mind for why you want to kick addiction and be sober, aside from staying on this planet a little longer.


Why You Should Get Sober

Sobriety at its core means not being intoxicated.

But to stay sober, you’ve got to fight. And fight hard. Drug cravings are incredibly powerful and become more powerful the longer you’ve been addicted – breaking away from an addiction fully and ignoring the temptation can take years.

That’s where motivation comes into play. People need reasons to stay sober, other than not wanting to be addicted anymore. With sobriety and abstinence come a whole host of benefits. Many of these benefits may seem almost foreign to someone who has been fighting addiction for years and decades – but they’re worth the fight to get there.

For one, when you kick addiction it means seeing things more clearly and being able to experience life for what it is. At first, this can be incredibly scary and unbelievably painful. Confronting your past with sharp sober clarity can bring up some powerful emotions, including anger, shame, and sadness. This makes early recovery so difficult and dangerous: the emotional rollercoaster of experiencing real joy and happiness, alongside the potential for crushing depression and thoughts of shame.

As time passes and you learn to process your thoughts and emotions with more clarity and honesty, you will find the opportunity to take these moments of pain and convert them into times of learning and forgiveness. All the people you’ve wronged and the mistakes you’ve made will at first coalesce as sobriety begins but clear up and open a way to self-acceptance.

That is when sobriety becomes worth it. After the initial trial, you’ll find new ways to enjoy life, you’ll find it in your heart to open to others and make new friends, and you’ll find that there is so much more to life than getting high or looking for the next one to avoid the physical and emotional pain of withdrawal.


There’s More Help Than Ever

We have come a long way in addiction treatment over the past few decades. Therapies and programs are no longer cookie-cutter, build upon addressing an individual’s unique circumstances and grievances rather than a classic once-size-fits-all approach, and treatments today are data-driven, backed by science, statistics, and decades of research rather than unproven concepts and faulty ideas.

The growing pains for addiction treatment are in the past, and we are fast approaching an age of bountiful innovation, with solutions built upon psychotherapy, a combination of emotional, physical, and social treatments, and a greater understanding of addiction and its relationship with the body, with stress, with mental illness, and other related factors.

There is no perfect treatment – but there are plenty of treatments to choose from, enough for anyone to find their best way to getting better and staying sober. All you need to do is sign into your nearest reputable treatment facility or reach out and ask for help from friends or family.


You Can Start Today

There is no limit on when you should start your treatment, and no reason you can’t start on the path to kick addiction today. You don’t have to show up to a clinic and sign yourself up for residential treatment – but you can take the crucial first few steps towards long-term sobriety by deciding to get help.

Look in the Mirror

Step one is always admitting to yourself that you have a problem – a severe one – and accepting that you need help trying to beat it. Some people mature out of addiction over time, or even quit on their own – but many do not, and as the years go by, being passive about the problem will not help.

To that end, you must look into the mirror and ask yourself if you really care about quitting. If you do, then you have taken the first step.

Find Help

Help can come in many forms – from asking a friend to go check out a facility with you, to asking your family or friends to help you fight addiction, or to finding a professional on your own and signing up for treatment, there are many ways to start your recovery. The best one is the one you start with on the journey to kick addiction for good.

Remember What’s Important to You

It’ll be a long road until you get to a point where you can feel comfortable in your sobriety. Getting the cravings under control and living a happy life in a world filled with stress and temptation can take years of training and dedication – which is why it’s important to have something to hold onto.

For some it’s a dream, for others it’s family. What gives you a reason to keep going? Find it and never let go.


How Addiction Affects Your Family And Loved Ones

Addiction Affects Relationships | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is a disease – and while it is not contagious in the classic sense, its effects spread across families and through relationships. One case of addiction is not just the story of an individual, but a story in general, with an entire case of characters. Understanding how addiction can affect others will not only spread awareness on how important it is to stand against addiction, but it can help others learn how to stand against addiction.

Addiction is not a matter of choice, although it begins with a mistake. We are all human, and we all make questionable choices, especially in times of great stress, loss, loneliness, or sorrow. Yet unlike many other choices, the fallout from addiction can be a lifelong compulsion. Thankfully, due to decades of psychiatric research and an improved understanding of the brain, treatments today exist to help anyone who is struggling with their addiction.

But they cannot do it alone. Addiction may be an individual disease, but it takes a village to help someone stay sober – and when handled poorly, attempts to help someone get clean can tear a family apart.


Struggling With Addiction

Financial Issues

Addiction can lead to serious financial issues. Not only does an addiction jeopardize a person’s career, but it can lead to legal costs, damages, arrests, and the cost of the drug use itself which can pile up rapidly.

Depending on the severity of the addiction, sometimes hospital bills will have to figure into the equation as well. It is not uncommon for a family to struggle financially due to an addicted family member – which is why seeking help sooner rather than later is important.


Miscommunication and Arguments

A misplaced sentence, a fit of rage, a loss of understanding – it can be incredibly frustrating to live with addict, because the nature of their disease dictates that they never learn if they’re struggling with their addiction.

That, and because of the effect drug use has on the brain, it is not uncommon for an intoxicated addict to say things they don’t mean, or do things they would never do sober, becoming a source of strife and embarrassment at home and at outings and family gatherings.


Enabling and Mistreatment

Whether out of a misguided sense of love or out of spite, families can engage in incredibly destructive and negative behavior when dealing with an addicted loved one. From enabling their behavior, to abuse from the addict towards others, or from others towards the addict, there are many ways an addiction can create a dysfunctional and even violent household.

Addressing these issues can be incredibly difficult and personal, but when things come to a point, there is no sense in handling it internally. It is important to call for professional help.


The Importance Of Proper Communication

The one thing all failed relationships have in common is a failure to properly communicate. At its most basic level, the importance for clear communication is simple. When we want something from someone, we need to tell them in a way they can understand.

The trouble is that human relationships can become extremely complex. Our interests conflict, and so we lie or manipulate to win one thing from the other. Such episodes lead to resentment and a loss of trust, and clear communication becomes ever more difficult. Instead of taking words at face value, we try to read their intent, and uncover a plot.

Sadly, this happens all too often within families and between friends. Insecurity, anxiety, anger, or other negative emotions keep us from simply being straight – or our words someone we care about without us meaning it.

When used properly, communication can help foster cooperation and bring families together – even against an issue like addiction. Family therapy is a form of addiction treatment that involves everyone in the family coming in to help with therapy, perhaps to make peace or reconcile, or to clear up past misunderstandings.

Learning More About Addiction

Addiction in the family is incredibly difficult to deal with – but the damage it deals varies widely based on how it is dealt with.

If you shun or isolate the addict, things will get worse. If you embrace their behavior as part of who they are and enable them just to keep them from acting out, tragedy is guaranteed. If you take your own approach and “discipline” them into sobriety without their consent or cooperation, they will bounce back into addiction harder than ever.

Successful addiction treatment exists and is practiced in treatment facilities all over the country. Different programs for different cases, tailored to each individual, built to help them get better – with your assistance. If you let the addiction win by neglecting to take the right approach, the damage to the family will be even more severe. But with treatment, therapy, and the right education for everyone involved, the disease can be curbed and successfully mitigated.

There are many things to learn, and every family can start by considering how their actions and words affect people going through an addiction. Addiction is compulsory and uncontrollable – it takes a powerful external force to get someone to go sober, even if only temporarily.

From there, staying clean is very difficult – and although it gets easier with time, the lure of addiction should never be underestimated. Blame, anger, shame – these feelings only make things worse, and should never be given a voice. As a friend or family member, you must be strong, resolute, and compassionate if you want to help someone stay sober – and most importantly, you must look after your own mental and emotional health.

Coming Together

Just as addiction can tear families apart, it can be the fight you need to all come together. Fighting something like addiction and surviving all the scraps it brings into the family home is not just painful; it presents a crucial opportunity for everyone to come together and stick together.

To beat an addiction, you must absolutely want to get sober, and you need people who can support you and help you keep sober.

In the beginning, it is normal to rely on that support – even after an early treatment, like rehab. The temptations are strong and fresh, and the mental havoc of being clean while fighting against the aftermath of addiction can be harrowing.

As the weeks go by, sobriety can help you build a new life for yourself – get work, find hobbies, make new friends, and find ways to productively spend your time. There will be ups and downs, but it is a steady climb.

And with time, you will not have to rely on others to keep you sober. But having strong relationships with everyone in your family, and having a reliable social circle you can trust, both go a long way towards giving you all the reason never to consider your old habits again.


6 Tips To Resist Temptation

Resist Temptation

When all traces of a drug leave the body, a certain legacy is left behind. That legacy is the physical effect drugs can have on the brain, and the psychological scarring left behind by addiction and its consequences. To many, a marked and powerful aspect of that legacy is the craving and extreme difficulty to resist temptation.

Cravings remain long after rehab, and the only thing that helps them wane is time. But until they do, trying to resist temptation and fighting the urge to use again is central to any one person’s addiction recovery – and everyone has a different approach to ignoring the temptation.

Regardless of what your drug of choice was, cravings are a natural part of the recovery process. They come to you when you least expect it, and when you’re at your weakest. Anyone entering recovery must be prepared to resist temptation of these cravings, and you’ll need both short-term and long-term strategies to resist temptation and fighting off an urge when it appears. Here are a few applicable tips.


Find Something Else To Do

Addiction is tied intimately to the reward center of the brain, affecting what motivates us and makes us happy. Reclaiming that is an active process – finding new hobbies and spending time engaging in them can help people in recovery resist temptation and avoid struggling with cravings by instead focusing on other passions, such as painting, music, or sports.

From creative endeavors to intellectual pursuits or workplace ambitions, it’s important to find something that satisfies you, makes you feel accomplished, and keeps you busy and motivated.


Understand Your Triggers

Relapses rarely come out of nowhere, especially after early recovery. If you have been clean for a while, then the urge to use comes mostly during times of great stress, or when you are somehow reminded of your drug use. Positive memories of previous highs, places and things that remind you of the past – everyone carries different emotional triggers, based on memories or feelings.

It is important to recognize these triggers when they appear, resist temptation, and find a way to avoid them in the future. For example: even if you move to a new neighborhood, you might still take a similar route to work. That route might bring back memories, making it hard to focus and giving you a craving. Avoid that route and try to get to work through a different path.

Not all triggers can be avoided, and no one wants to live their life running away from places and people out of fear of certain memories. Understand that this is a temporary measure, and that with time, you can desensitize yourself to certain triggers and, with the help of therapy, eliminate their effect on you completely. However, this takes a lot of time and effort, and it is best to minimize the work you have to do by first taking the steps to resist temptation and avoid triggers wherever you can.


Talk It Out

Over the course of time, it is normal for events, feelings, and thoughts to weigh heavily on us. What might just be a passing casual thought in a fleeting moment could turn into a major issue in retrospect, an instance you feel ashamed or worried about.

Talking it out with others going through addiction recovery and hearing their perspective on it can help you better understand and accept your cravings, and learn to overcome them with time, rather than live in fear of them.

Sharing such moments with others also creates the opportunity to hear from them how they deal with their urges, learning new things that you might be able to apply in your own life.

It’s okay not to be entirely open to others at first. It is difficult to talk about addiction to others, especially early on. But something as simple as getting your worries and negative thoughts off your chest in a group can help you feel better, and even round up a few ideas on how to dispel and debunk those thoughts.


Try Therapy To Help Resist Temptation

Cognitive behavioral therapy allows patients to learn how to better control their thoughts, defeating negative thinking and replacing it with more positive, logical thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is not based on hearing what you want, but it is based on helping you create mental bridges to come to logical conclusions to eliminate negative bias.

Addiction can often bring with it shame and self-doubt, and cravings can make you further feel bad about yourself. But through cognitive behavioral therapy, you learn to resist the temptation of a craving by living out the consequences in your mind, being mindful of what you risk and what you care about, and helping you make a calm and sound decision to resist temptation and ignore the craving rather than give into it.


Overcome Your Past

Early addiction treatment relies on avoiding certain triggers to prevent recurring urges, but that does not mean that facilities or treatments advocate avoidance in the long-term. The only thing you need to avoid is drug use – but it is critical to confront your past, your actions, and their consequences.

Making peace with past events and coming to terms with everything that has happened over the course of the addiction is important. It gives people peace of mind and allows them to ultimately forgive themselves after asking others for a little forgiveness.

The urges and cravings are not just tied to events and places, but to mindsets as well. Being in a certain state of mind not only due to external stressors but due to an internal argument can cause a relapse. Coming to terms with your past and overcoming it – growing past it – is an important step in long-term recovery.


Learn How To Surf The Urge

Urge surfing is a therapeutic technique based on mindfulness, developed by the late Dr. Alan Marlatt. When urges begin, they can last up to half an hour depending on the intensity of the urge. Feeling an urge is accompanied by certain physical reactions, including sweat, jitters, shallow breathing, and an increased heart rate.

Urge surfing recommends taking an outsider’s perspective on these physical reactions, focusing on your breath, and taking note of every sensation and change that occurs as your urge begins. If you find yourself getting angry or otherwise emotional over the urge, stop and refocus on your breath. In, and out.

With time, the urge will subside – your controlled breath will help normalize your heartbeat, and by staying calm rather than reacting cholerically, you do not let the urge linger.

The reason surfing applies so well to this technique is because urges and cravings come in waves. They crash over you, steadily and powerfully. But by taking a deep breath and by riding it out on top of the wave rather than under its wrath, you can observe it from a safe distance and wait for it to subside. The key is not to do battle against the urge.

Research suggests that the longer someone stays sober, the lower their chances of relapse. This rests on the idea that as you continue to stay away from drugs, you develop ways to keep yourself sober and happy, limiting and even eliminating the need for drugs in your life, and resisting any urge to go back. To get to that point will take time, but with support and proper treatment, it can be done.

You Have A Responsibility To Yourself To Stay Sober

Responsibility To Stay Sober | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is a long fight – for many, it takes years of trying to stay sober to find the point in life where you feel like you can put it all behind you. Staying motivated throughout that fight can sometimes feel like an impossible task. However, thousands of Americans do it every year, tackling their addiction, and living day after day as a sober person.

While there is nothing wrong with sourcing your motivation externally, there comes a point in life when you must be the source of your own motivation – because if you do not truly want to stay sober, then no amount of support will help carry you through the time it takes to grow beyond an addiction.

Motivation is a central part of addiction. It helps to understand that the disease itself attacks your brain’s reward center, corrupting your sense of what is motivating – in a way, at its peak, nothing is more rewarding and motivating than the high, and getting past that to stay sober takes incredible willpower and lots of help.

That is why addiction treatment centers work hard to keep you sober and remove any temptation for the duration of the program. That does not make staying sober much easier – especially with a painful withdrawal – but it makes is much more doable.

Beyond the initial recovery and treatment, staying sober is something you must work at – and with the right tools, you have a solid fighting chance. But learning how to stay motivated after addiction means relearning what it means to be motivated.


What Drives You To Stay Sober?

Is there anything you are passionate about? Addiction is as much a physical disease of the brain as it is an emotional battle – severing the tie between yourself and the emotions you feel when you are high can take a long time, and a powerful substitute. While no one should go exchanging one addiction for another, it is a good idea to find an alternate coping mechanism – something you can focus on when times get tough, to relieve stress without resorting to addiction.

Because of its sheer variability and efficacy as a tool for self-improvement and better focus, exercise can be a powerful passion. The hard part is figuring out what form of exercise suits you best. Running, cycling, swimming, climbing, lifting, fighting – the only way to find out is to try.

Of course, physical activity is not the only thing you can be passionate about after addiction. Just like getting active, exploring your own creativity, and expressing yourself on paper, on canvas or on a recorder can go a long way towards making you feel better, reducing stress, and improving at something.

There are greater nuances to feeling motivated. Some people enjoy exercise, but only with the additional motivator of competition. Being passionate about being the best is a great way to hone your focus and develop a drive entirely separate from your addiction. Others prefer to collaborate, seeking to work with others on creative endeavors, in order to make something truly unique for everyone to be proud of.

If you want to stay motivated, then sobriety alone cannot be your sole motivator. You need something else – a passion that pulls you towards it, something that you cannot risk giving up for addiction, no matter how strong the temptation becomes. It needs to be something you can turn towards when times are tough, but also something you enjoy on a regular basis even when your day is going perfectly.

Once you have found your passion, you are one big step closer to stay sober and build a life that is not easily given up.


The Importance Of Support

The people who support you throughout your addiction treatment are more than just your support – they are people, with lives and dreams and goals and wishes. Often, they may be close friend and family, or they could the people you have bonded with while getting sober.

Seeing them as friends to care about can create an interdependent relationship where one supports the other – focus on giving, and you may find that you will receive more in the long run. Doing good for others also naturally elicits a positive response in us – we want to do good things for others, and feel good about doing good things, even if we do not receive anything in return.

Building strong bonds with the people who care for you, and for whom you care, can create a greater sense of responsibility towards not just yourself, but others. This accountability to stay sober for their sake will build upon you and give you another sense of purpose beyond your interests, passions, and dreams.

Your responsibility to yourself deepens – to stay true to the person you are becoming, and the tomorrow you envisage for yourself, you must keep on resisting any urge to go back to the addiction.


Staying Motivated During Sobriety

Beyond passion and support, another important aspect of staying sober is finding a way to support yourself financially, without taking on too much stress to bear. If you are in a line of work that is financially stable, but find yourself stressed beyond belief, then leave. Find support, ask for help, and do your best to get into a line of work you truly care about – it can save your life.

There is more to finding a job than really wanting it, and there is more to finding the right job than simply wanting to work in that industry. However, an important goal for anyone on the road to sobriety is living a healthy life. That includes finding work to sustain yourself and help support your family as you stay sober, while enjoying the work you do.


This Is Your Fight

Every step in the right direction can be incredibly fulfilling – but you have to make each step yourself. While others can help support you, you must progress on your own and reach the conclusions you need to reach to find an emotionally stable place away from addiction, in a sober life built around your responsibilities to yourself, your passions, your dreams, your hopes, and the people you care about.

This is your fight – and waking up day after day, it’s your decision to stay sober and live in defiance of your past and the mistakes you once made.