How Sharing Your Story Can Help Others

Sharing Your Story Can Help Others Through Recovery - TRC

Being in group support is a two-way street.

On one hand, people enter recovery groups to find help and inspiration, or perhaps more motivation to staying sober – or hope, that staying sober in the long-term is possible.

On the other hand, your stories and struggles offer that very same consolation and reassurance to others on the path – and someday, you may find yourself being that one example of sobriety that many others in the group look forward to.  


The Power of Sharing 

Even if you’re simply starting out, your fresh tales of what it was like to be an addict – and your early moments of treatment and recovery – can help remind others of what it was like to be stuck in that destructive cycle, a place they never want to revisit.  

Everyone benefits from a story. It can be engaging, interesting, and in a space like a support group, it can create a feeling of relatability that most addicts won’t find when looking for their loved ones for support.

You can motivate others with your tale, just like how hearing someone pass on their former drug of choice in a vulnerable moment can fire you up and make you look forward to the day when you’re no longer controlled by a substance.   

Anyone can overcome their addiction. That’s not a patronizing statement, meant to belittle the fight against addiction – it’s a message of hope. Addiction is powerful and misunderstood, but beatable and treatable.  

Doing so requires an understanding of how addiction hijacks a person’s mental process, and how common and effective treatments can help a person slowly but surely build up a life free from the chains of substance abuse or addictive behavior. It’s also important to realize that addicts aren’t walking stereotypes or people to be judged and vilified – they’re normal people. 

Many people free themselves from addiction alone, even without therapy, but only after realizing how much damage they’ve caused. You don’t have to deal with your addiction alone or let things get too far before you address the issue. 


Why Addiction Is So Powerful 

There’s something endlessly difficult about admitting to addiction. That something is guilt. Any addict carries it with them.

In some cases, it’s the very reason their addiction began – in other cases, it manifested as part of becoming an addict.

To most people, there’s this perception that addiction is still a choice. There’s the thought that it’s still something you have control over, so naturally, being an addict is seen as a moral weakness – a lack of virtue, a sign of a rotten soul.  

Therein lies the biggest obstacle to overcoming the oppressive power of an addiction – instead of branching out and seeking help, most people are too scared to admit that they’re addicted, or worse yet, think they deserve their fate. It spins an aggressive cycle, trapping people in the prison of addiction and throwing away the only key due to stigma, and shame.  

The truth is that addiction is physical, in a sense. It’s a brain disease – a neurological affliction.

sharing your story

The Vicious Cycle of Self-Defeat 

It’s not news that the stigma against addiction has been and continues to be a relevant issue – so much so that if circumstances happen to send a person spiraling down the path of addiction, the shame of being so “weak” comes all on its own, without so much as a whimper of judgment from others.  

Many addicts, in other words, unwillingly impose an emotional hell upon themselves, and they do everything to repress those emotions, even going so far as to delve deeper into the rabbit hole.  


The Importance of Seeking Help

Getting help is the key to beating addiction.

The idea of admitting an addiction, relinquishing the denial that protects many from the shame of being an addict, and finally coming to terms with addiction in a way that isn’t self-defeating or fatalistic is hard.   

Saying “it’s not your fault” isn’t an exercise in alleviating responsibility – it’s about alleviating undue guilt. From there, every addict has the responsibility to seek help, and use that help to get sober – but it starts by accepting that their very addiction isn’t something they have to be ashamed of and that blaming themselves for it gets them nowhere.

While it’s a bit facetious to claim that there are distinct, common steps in every individual’s own path to recovery, there are a few common goals, including:  

  • Accepting addiction.
  • Seeking help, or rehabilitation. 
  • Building a support network. 
  • Focusing on successes. 

The first step in any path to recovery is always the same: own up to the addiction, and understand its nature. We have to come to terms with what addiction is and how it plays a role in our lives before we can move to excise it.  

From there, it’s important to seek help.

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Understanding Your Options

As a brain disease, addiction impairs your ability to think clearly – therapy, while not essential, is a powerful tool towards recoverySupport groups, both in the form of family and friends and other recovering addicts, have shown to greatly increase the chances of recovery. 

In some cases, rehab is the only option, especially when the dangers of withdrawal are present. But the importance here lies in rehab quality.

And while being in an isolated, safe environment conducive to recovery is a great way to wean off the most powerful effects of physical addiction, the real world is full of triggers and opportunities for relapse – requiring more than acute, immediate treatment, no matter how effective.  

Finally, studies have shown extensively that relapse happens half the time when dealing with addiction. With that information at hand, it’s clear that the correct approach isn’t to reproach relapse – the correct approach lies in picking up where things dropped off, focusing on getting back into treatment, back into recovery, and away from another potential relapse.

That’s where the long-term effect of a strong social circle of supporting recovering addicts really comes in to shine.  


Replacing One Cycle for Another 

The vicious cycle of addiction can be hard to break out of – but the cycle of sharing can supplant it. Instead of being overwhelmed by addiction, you can motivate yourself to remain sober and get back into sobriety with the stories others have to tell and tell your own stories to help others stay on track, or get back on track.  

There are some things that are outside our control. In many cases, becoming addicted is something that happens through a perfect storm of extraneous circumstances – factors like emotional trauma, genetics, social status and peer pressure can all play a large role.  

There’s no point in blaming yourself for being unable to quit your drug of choice – and in fact, that blame will only drive you deeper into your destructive habit. But by opening to others and letting others in, you can find a way to be at peace with yourself, and even rise above the addiction. 

Mental Symptoms Of Addiction & Drug Abuse

Mental Symptoms of Drug Abuse

The fight against drugs can manifest itself on your body in different ways. From weight fluctuation to flushed skin, open sores to tooth decay, there are a variety of unpleasant and sometimes very dangerous symptoms that suggest drug abuse and addiction.

Yet alongside the physical, addiction also attacks you mentally. It can tear at your personality, alter your behavior, undo your motivations, and change you fundamentally. You’re still you – but you’re suppressed under the effects of an addiction.

Identifying addiction within yourself or a loved one is never easy, and it’s safer to contact a professional and get a proper diagnosis. But there are several symptoms that may be cause for alarm, especially if they manifest simultaneously. If suspect you or your loved one are struggling with addiction, then don’t wait to get help. Talk to them or self-reflect and find the courage to seek a professional. Addiction treatment today has come a long way – you can get better.

It’s important to understand how drugs and drug abuse affect the mind not only for the sake of diagnosis and awareness, but to provide a better understanding of what addiction is, how it manifests, and why it’s a disease caused by circumstance, and not a consequence or judgment of character.

Drug Use and Cognition

Before your drug abuse begins to adversely affect your heart health and liver condition, it will affect the way you think and behave. From the very first hit, drugs change your brain’s chemistry – but that isn’t enough to cause addiction. Instead, you may be susceptible to more drug abuse, and with time, drug abuse begins to take a toll on your ability to think, reason, and discern. A rough overview of the cognitive and general mental symptoms caused by addiction include:

Drugs alter the way you think, fundamentally affecting your brain’s cells and structure. These changes aren’t permanent, but they do affect your thinking for weeks after total sobriety begins. This is why early recovery is often such a difficult part in an addict’s life, often wrought with emotional roller coasters and higher perceived stress.

Drugs and Mental Health

Because of the emotional volatility introduced by drug use, as well as its potency as a short-term coping mechanism, there is a common link between addiction and mental illness. Not only can addiction aggravate an existing mental illness or worsen symptoms into becoming a diagnosable condition, but people with mental illness are often drawn to drugs to cope with their condition, creating an unhealthy symbiotic relationship between the two. Drug abuse only feeds the illness and makes it even worse.

When a person struggles with a dual diagnosis, the answer is to treat them as an individual – addressing both diseases in the context of that patient’s experiences, rather than applying separate treatments for the mental illness and the addiction. Like physical and mental health, the two go hand-in-hand, and one affects the other.

The Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse

In the long-term, drug abuse drastically affects your ability to think, reason, and remember. It screws with your motivations and your behavior, wiring you to prioritize drug use over other matters. It lessens your inhibitions and even increases your tendency towards taking high risks for relatively little reward.  

Additionally, long-term drug abuse messes with your sleeping, and your ability to remember the time of day, and have a proper schedule. Enough sleep and day-to-day routines are important for the human psyche and for our bodies and having a messed up sleeping cycle can affect everything from your appetite to your mood.

Mood swings also become more common as addiction goes along, as does irritability in between highs.

Thankfully, most of the cognitive damage and behavioral changes revert after about a year of full abstinence, and after 5-7 years, the brain is as back to normal as possible.

That doesn’t mean you’re “back to normal,” however. Developing an addiction, overcoming it, and living a sober life is quite the journey, and there’s a lot of personal growth to go through there. The person coming out at the other side will be wiser and mentally tougher – and if you make it through treatment and recovery, you’ll have a greater understanding of your mind and how to manage it.

Staying Sane After Recovery

Addiction has been described as a chronic disease, due to the fact that relapses can be quite common, and cravings can grow stronger in the face of stress. Because of this, it’s important to remember that no matter how long you manage to stay sober, the fight against addiction is a lifestyle choice rather than a single, prolonged battle. People out of recovery will have to be more mindful of stress than others – memories of the pleasant feeling of being high and carefree can resurface when you’re under a lot of stress.

That does not mean that people in recovery can’t stick themselves into stressful situations and come out the other end sane and sober. Instead, it means you simply have to pay more mind to these periods in your life, and counter them with applicable and personalized stress management techniques.

A big part of addiction treatment is not just helping someone stay sober for a month or two, it’s teaching them how to deal with the stressors of the outside world without resorting to drug abuse and use. You can cope with stress through exercise, art, music, dancing, writing, and more. Whatever it is that best speaks to you and takes your mind off things after a long day, get stuck into it and invest your free time into getting better, and making progress. Not only will this help you stay sane for years to come but getting better at something takes your mind off the addiction, the stress of a career, and the task of sobriety, and lets you focus on a completely unrelated and emotionally fulfilling goal.

Cravings and feelings may still surge even after years, from time to time. Knowing how to deal with them in an emergency, before a relapse happens, is crucial. Be sure to have a plan on who to contact and what to do when you’re close to the brink, and need something to help keep you from jumping back in. Even if everything goes wrong and you do relapse, it’s important to know that this isn’t the end of the world. Get back on the horse as soon as you’re able to. Go back into treatment, get onto a schedule, and work your way back to where you were, with a new lesson in mind.


8 Tips On Avoiding Temptation After Recovery

Avoiding Temptation to Relapse

The act of getting sober is the first step in a long journey. Staying sober long enough to completely get the drugs out of your system and survive any withdrawal symptoms can be difficult without assistance, but many manage. Yet that’s when the trouble really begins. Day after day, the first few weeks of early recovery are mired in cravings and temptations, reminders and nagging thoughts of release and relapse. For some, avoiding temptation feels like sticking your head into a bucket of water, holding your breath, until you realize that to survive, you’ll have to develop gills rather than pulling out.

Gills take time to develop – or more concretely, avoiding temptation and recovery is about learning how to enjoy life while sober and stop thinking about the temptations and cravings. With time, they do fade – but the beginning can be excruciating for many. Some don’t make it through the first few weeks without a relapse, and it may take several until you finally abstain permanently. The key is not to give up, and to eventually make sobriety the norm, rather than avoiding temptation the uncomfortable exception.

Life while sober is not meant to be boring, monotone, or painful. It’s meant to be everything that life while addicted is not: namely, real and beautiful. Life while sober is life, in its full diversity and absurdity. It’s everything that being alive is meant to be, and if you can appreciate that, then recovery will be much easier. Here are a few ways to work on avoiding temptation in early recovery and keep your mind off a potential relapse.


Find New Hobbies

Having new things to do is more than just about filling time, but it’s about engaging in something that requires concentration, focus, and brain power. Teaching yourself a new skill takes time and effort, and not only will that reduce your ability to think inwards and react to your cravings, but it will help you rebuild any brain power lost through drug abuse.

While the brain is not quite a regenerative organ, it does have the capacity to recover from damage through continuous use – and like a muscle, using it regularly keeps it healthy. The best way to do that is by learning something new, all the time. From reading books to playing puzzle games or engaging in deep discussion and philosophizing, doing something new can help you rediscover the beauty of simple sober living and keep your mind off other things.


Create A Busy Schedule

Another way of avoiding temptation is to give yourself less time to think about it. Create a strict schedule, and stick to it.

Build a morning routine, structure your day around work, allocate hours of the day to specific chores, tasks, and hobbies, and build a day that leaves you feeling accomplished and tired each time you hit the hay.


Get Your Endorphin Release

Even if you’re not a particularly sporty person, doing something active on a regular basis can greatly improve your outlook on life, improve your health, and make you happier in general.

You don’t need to hit the gym if you’re intimidated or bored by conventional exercising. Find a dance studio, or go for walks in the park, or go swimming. There are many ways to get physical, and many don’t have to involve sports or traditional workouts.


Know Your Triggers

Another tip for avoiding temptation is avoiding your triggers. Sometimes, the cravings come and go – but they are often triggered by a familiar stimulus, such as a sight, sound, or smell. It could be a stroll through an old neighborhood, a specific song, or a painting.

Anything bringing back the nostalgia of years gone by and your days as an addict can be counterproductive to your early recovery and should be avoided. With time, you can readjust and reintroduce these memories without much risk – but it’s best not to tempt fate early in the healing process and just work on avoiding temptation at that time.


Make New Friends

Aside from finding new things to do, it’s also a great idea to meet new people. Not only might you be surprised at how a few strangers could enrich your life with stories and perspectives you might never have expected, but new friends can stave off the loneliness or introversion that often follows sobriety, especially if your old circle of friends hasn’t completely accepted your decision of avoiding temptation.


Pursue New Experiences

Whether it’s a trip into a different part of the country, a food you’ve never tried before, or an experience you’ve never experienced, make a promise to yourself to be more open this time around and make an effort to taste every bit life has to offer, regardless of what it might be offering.


Have A Support Group

No matter how much time has passed since you left the addiction treatment clinic, the support should never end. Think about your friends and family, and how they have stood by you throughout your recovery. Cherish this support group and nourish your relationships with each person who means something to you. Our connections to others make life better, and more valuable.


Avoiding Temptation & Staying In Therapy

Therapy is more than just your gateway into sober living. Therapy is meant to be a continuous, lifelong process – although it does not always have to be in front of a therapist. It doesn’t hurt to check in with your therapist every now and again and talk about the progress you’ve made, but in the meantime, be sure to approach other forms of therapy, and find what helps you work through your stress and your personal issues with addiction the most.

Some people prefer group therapy, as it presents an opportunity not only to talk about issues with others who have had similar experiences, but it provides you with a place to make new friends and help newcomers to the sober life.

Others prefer creative therapy, like music therapy or art therapy. It’s best to continue staying in whatever form of therapy your treatment entailed for at least a year or so, and then branch out into finding other ways to live life and reflect.

Temptations will never fully go away, but your attitude towards them will change. Avoiding temptation does not have to be dangerous, if your conviction is strong enough, and your motivation to resist is unbreakable. One aspect about sober living is in the idea that you should spend as much time and energy as possible learning new things and building relationships, skills, and experiences. This is because the more you have, the more likely you want to protect it – and that gives you a greater drive to resist any cravings and temptations and continue to reap the rewards of well-lived sober life.

Just being sober itself won’t be enough to change your life, but it will give you the chance to change it. You must take that chance and, with the guidance of others around you, never let go.


The Consequences Of Skipping Sober Living After Recovery

Sober Living After Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

Sober living treatment differs from other treatment methods in that it tries to mimic the challenges and responsibilities of normal living, without the temptation of drug use. Sober living environments are heavily tested and probed for drugs, while making it mandatory to work/study, join a form of therapy, obey curfews, and pay rent. While it is not strictly a treatment method, it has been growing in popularity, and the merits of sober living after recovery grow as research continues.


Why Sober Living After Recovery Matters

Sober living facilities are often ideal as post-rehab treatment, to help patients better transition into life after recovery. Yet they are more than just an optional extra form of treatment for individuals who struggle to stay sober. Recovery in rehab, while difficult, is not comparable to the challenges in real life including the memories of old habits, the stressors of finding work and coping with a drug-free life, and the constant temptation of knowing where and how to find drugs for a relapse.

Going back into real life can be wondrous for some, and nightmarish for many. To make the transition less painful, sober living after recovery can help train you to live life normally, despite the cravings and urges.


The Importance Of Support And Community In Recovery

The reason sober living after recovery does not simply focus on treating people one-on-one is because the aspect of community is central to sober living and recovery in general. Addiction recovery is an individual journey, but we all need to rely on each other to make it through life’s biggest challenges and hardships. To suffer alone is to subject yourself to your own negative thoughts, without the interjection of a fresh and healthy perspective. By supporting one another when the going gets tough, we make life – and in turn, recovery – easier.

It can be difficult to adjust to this, especially early in recovery. But the merits of group therapy are undeniable, and when amplified by living together in a sober living after recovery, you can develop the communication skills and the bonds necessary to survive life’s wildest curveballs without relapsing out of despair or out of a need for comfort.


Learning How To Manage Sobriety Through Sober Living

Sober living communities teach you to live life without drugs. They make you prioritize having a stable schedule and things to do. From work to hobbies to group therapy, sober living after recovery can teach you that fighting to stay clean is worth it because:

  • You forge real meaningful connections with people.
  • You fulfill a purpose and provide for others and become an accountable individual.
  • You work as part of a community, helping others and accepting their help.
  • You can pursue your personal dreams and aspirations.
  • You have the time and money to live life and see the world through a much clearer lens.

People struggling with addiction cannot reach out to others and help them. Addiction forces the brain to turn inward, satisfying only that inner need for the next high. Addiction means your decision-making becomes deeply flawed. Sober living communities can help people remember and understand what it means to be there for others, to derive pleasure from being an important and respected person.

When your stay at a sober living after recovery ends, and you decide to go back to reality, little will have changed. Sure, the world is open to you, and you are free to go back to your old habits. But you are also free to live life in sobriety and continue to manage that sobriety by living a much more meaningful life.


Looking At The Long-Term

Addiction recovery is, in a way, a training program. Recovery facilities specialize in many different therapies, treatment types and methods to help you understand your thought processes, regulate your emotions and impulses, and control any urges and cravings. Some thoughts will stick with you much longer than others, but the key to proper recovery is not completely silencing all memory and thought of addiction, but rather, learning to live with it, ignore it, and cherish your sobriety far more than any possible escape back into old habits.

As such, it is important to see the long-term roadmap. Yes, in a way, relapse is always there. The dangers of using again are always there. You are one step away from tragedy, at every second of the day.

But you must make that step. You must make the conscious decision to use again, especially after recovery when you are equipped with the tools and the reasoning to stop yourself. While it is a valid fear, life is full of such risks. Every day, we make the decision to continue living, doing the things we do, even if we do not enjoy them, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones, to experience moments of bliss and make everlasting memories of happiness.

That is why sober living after recovery is such an important treatment option. It is the bridge between overcoming the challenges of withdrawal and early recovery in rehab, and learning to cope with all of life’s problems, struggles and temptations without falling back into a worsening spiral of addiction and depression. Sober living after recovery teaches you that life is routine, discipline, work – and self-fulfillment. Life has stress and struggles, but it is also filled with fun and wonder, adventure, and mystery. Your way of thinking and your mindset dictates how you will perceive life going forward and be adopting a positive outlook and sticking together with others in need of support, you can forge your way ahead through even the toughest challenges and come out the other end, still sober and feeling accomplished.

You have the power and the control to maintain your sobriety indefinitely, and never use again. That power is in you. There are days when it weakens, and those days are why we keep company. Friends, family and loved ones to help support you and keep you on the right path when the temptation is at its strongest.

You do not have to relapse, even if you always can. And addiction treatment – specifically treatment programs that specialize in coping and managing urges and stress – will train you to catch yourself in certain thoughts and turn them around before it is too late.

The Importance Of A Sober Living Community After Recovery

Sober Living After Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction treatment comes in many shapes and sizes. Different forms of treatment address different issues and are most effective to individuals given certain circumstances and limitations. Finding the best treatment to address the issues most prevalent in your own addiction is an important part of getting better – that is why simple twelve step programs or cut-and-dry treatments do not work for everybody. It takes a facility trained on personalized care to develop a unique treatment plan after recovery for a patient.

In the case of sober living, personalized care plays a big role in success. A sober living community combines individualized care with community and long-term support, encouraging patients to join meetings and group activities while providing an environment that allows individuals to explore how they would react to the responsibilities of sober living after recovery.


What Is A Sober Living Community?

In greater detail, a sober living community is a drug-and-alcohol free living environment designed for people who struggle with making a transition from early recovery and addiction treatment, to a sober life. While sober living communities differ in their exact tenets from community to community, they generally exist as private facilities designed to be both a living space and a treatment center to people fighting substance abuse.

Sober living communities take in individuals of all creeds and colors, ages, and genders, and give them a space to coexist, alongside a structure that improves their ability to cope with responsibilities while continuing their addiction treatment and re-integrating into a drug free lifestyle after recovery.

The rulebook differs, but there are a few rules that are generally universal among sober living communities. These often include:

  • A strict curfew.
  • Limitations on visitors.
  • Random drug tests.
  • Every member must contribute to the community.
  • Each tenant pays rent.
  • Every member must work/be in school or look for work/education.
  • Tenants are encouraged to engage in activities.

There are specific rules for different sober living facilities. Some have an extensive list of forbidden food items that are known for certain addictive properties. Others forbid certain brands of mouthwash or other items known to contain alcohol. Some sober living communities have a system for distributing mandatory chores, while others simply require that tenants look after their own space.


How A Sober Living Community Affects People

A sober living community is not meant to be punishing, or painful in any way. Instead, it is meant to be a wholesome community experience. Tenants enter of their own volition, specifically seeking a structured life that allows them to work on developing certain habits to more easily transition into sober life after recovery from addiction.

Recovery, in this sense, includes getting clean, going through withdrawal, and surviving the emotional turmoil of early sobriety. While these are arguably the hardest times in addiction treatment, getting clean and sober does not mean staying sober becomes easy. It takes time for a person to mature out of addiction, as the research shows – and there is no definite period that guarantees when that might happen.

Sober living communities give patients an environment that continues to discourage substance abuse and provide a setting without temptation, but they are more intensive in their emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability. They reteach people how to live and look after themselves, granting them the skills they need to be self-sufficient as functioning sober adults in the real world, ready for the challenges of everyday living after recovery.


Building Long-Term Relationships

Beyond helping tenants build a certain skillset, sober living communities have an emphasis on, as the name implies, community. Community plays an important role both in sober living and in leading a normal life outside addiction treatment as the people we surround ourselves with in our daily lives.

Our community should not be strangers – by getting familiar with the people around us, we can be more comfortable within our homes and neighborhoods and build long-lasting relationships with others that extend past mere hospitality and formality, but into friendship.

This helps someone struggling with addiction on multiple levels. For one, it helps give them an outlet to talk about their feelings and listen to those of others. This mutual support can help you feel better about yourself and lessen the burden of certain emotional struggles. It also helps someone fresh out of addiction relearn how to trust people and develop a sense of trust not only in others, but in themselves after recovery.

Trusting oneself, and eventually developing a feeling of self-acceptance is important for addiction treatment. It’s integral to moving past addiction on an emotional level, as you cannot effectively stop feeling tempted by a relapse if you cannot forgive yourself for past mistakes and feel confident that you have learned from them.

By engaging with others in a sober living community, you can learn to help people, learn more about addiction in general and the many perspectives that exist on the topic, and learn more about yourself and your own fight through reflection.


Preparing For Sober Life After Recovery

Sober living communities combine responsibility with treatment to create an environment where tenants are encouraged to develop skills needed in sober life, including managing finances, keeping a regular schedule, managing work and hobbies, and making time for social activities. They help people empower themselves through their actions and embrace new responsibilities.

While a sober living community typically has a very clear-cut schedule, it obviously is not necessary to follow that schedule into your sober life. However, developing a schedule can help especially in early recovery as it limits a person’s boredom and free time, instead allowing them to allot every hour of the day to work, hobbies, and responsibilities. When a relapse draws near, some people find comfort in reverting to old schedules, as a way to fight the urge after recovery.


Changing For A Sober Life

Sober living communities and addiction treatment in general can help prepare you for a fundamental change. There is no going back to how things were before the addiction – but you do have the opportunity to create a new you, and develop a life completely separate from addiction after recovery.

Addiction will take a lot from you – but sober living communities, treatment, and a long-term sober life can help reorient your life after recovery.

Why Personalized Care Makes A Difference In Addiction Recovery

Personalized Care | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is not something solved with a prescription and a week’s rest. It is a complex physical and mental health problem, a condition that lasts for months or years and one that can only be combated through personalized care, and a specialized treatment plan that takes all valid factors into consideration.

In other words, there is no cookie-cutter treatment for addiction. Some people swear by the twelve steps, while others have no kind words to spare for them. Some people feel that medication helps, while others say that any form of medication hurts your sobriety.

The only way to approach addiction is with a mindset of finding what works, and working it, a day at a time.

Here in the United States, the addiction epidemic is a very real problem. Opioid overdoses have never been this high, and an influx of drugs from abroad and at home continues to fuel the deaths on the street. Yet even though we know that roughly 6 percent of the adult population in the US has a substance abuse problem, only a small fraction of them seek out treatment at all.

Many have preconceived notions of what works and what does not, or they feel like addiction treatment is a waste of time. Others perhaps do not want to get better yet, thinking that their addiction is a choice they make on their own terms, not realizing that it greatly affects others as well. There are dozens of reasons why, from shame to poor insurance and more. The first step to changing that is opening people’s eyes to how addiction can be treated today: through personalized care.


What Is Personalized Care?

Personalized care is the concept of evaluating each case not only based on the diagnosis, but every contributing factor and relevant detail, to create a treatment plan that best suits the person’s needs and circumstances, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all solution. While simple fixes are applicable for many diseases, such as the common cold or bronchitis, something more serious requires a more comprehensive approach. In medicine, personalized care is about as comprehensive as it gets.

Some doctors fail to understand how important this is when dealing with certain conditions. Addiction is one that is often overlooked – the potential to improve patient recovery with a personalized approach over a generic one is massive, although it does take more time to come to a good conclusion on how to approach the treatment.


Personalized Care In Addiction Treatment

Several factors can affect how your care is determined. For one, it depends on where you live, what you can afford, and what you can afford to do. Treatment comes in various degrees of commitment – inpatient treatment involves living at a treatment facility for a time, while intensive outpatient care allows you to continue getting treated while living at home, coming over on a regular basis for therapy and other treatment methods.

Then, there is the matter of what you best respond to. Individual therapy, group therapy, art therapy, CBT, DBT and more – there are several effective psychotherapy methods and group therapy models that can help patients feel stronger in their sobriety.


How Sober Living Allows For Individually-Tailored Treatment

Sober living is a form of addiction recovery perfect for people who have undergone rehab and need a better introduction into the responsibilities of living among the responsible, or for people who want to jump straight into a sober living community.

Unlike rehab, a sober living community is more of a large dorm, where established rules give each tenant their own tasks, schedules, and responsibilities. Rent is paid every month, and school or work is mandatory.

The idea is to get people accustomed to feeling accountable again, while creating an environment where sober addicts from across all walks of life can come together to share stories, talk about their experiences, and find new perspectives on addiction. It is important to broaden your horizon, and there is no better way to do that than by meeting new people.

Sober living communities vary from community to community in how they handle certain things, including visits, guests, and curfew, but universal rules include mandatory drug testing, contribution, and attendance at certain group events or meetings.

Through a sober living community, you can receive personalized care and learn how to get strong and independent to grow past rehab and addiction into a new life. However, the exact road to getting there is unclear, and depends on you and how you react to the tasks and challenges presented to you in a sober living environment.


Addiction Recovery Is A Team Effort

Support is integral to recovery, both on a professional level and through family and friends. Therapy can only go so far, and the time will come when a person must resume living life in a normal environment. With this shift from treatment to “reality” comes the realization that recovery does not really stop. It continues, yet this time, you can look towards those you care about for personalized care and support.

Most treatment programs such as Transcend take a personalized care approach and work with the family to teach them the do’s and do nots of helping someone get through addiction. The people a patient surrounds themselves with after treatment effectively continue to be their own form of therapy, and it is important to be able to return to a supportive environment after treatment.

While it is a team effort in the sense that one person alone is not enough to beat an addiction, that does not mean you are letting others fight your battles for you. That is not possible. Ultimately, the patient must do the heavy lifting. They must stick to their schedules. Adhere to their responsibilities. Be accountable to others. They must stay strong and never cave in to the temptations and the cravings, even when things go sour and life gets hard.

The strength to do that is immense, and it is all on them. But being able to talk about it with others can help offset some of the burden and make the weight a little lighter to bear on the days it gets too heavy. And with time, that weight – the fear of relapse and addiction – will be almost entirely gone.


What Are the Advantages of Recovery in a Sober Living Community?

sober living

While addiction can be treated in many different ways, there is a universal applicability to a sober living community because they’re more than just a treatment method.

Therapy, rehab, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment – there are a lot of ways to help someone deal with the ramifications of addiction and return to a semblance of normalcy and sobriety. However, these treatment tools fail to do one thing as effectively as a sober living community: teach self-sufficiency in sobriety. Ultimately, after a debilitating disease, every patient longs for the day when they can cut loose their crutches. Stand up out of the wheelchair. Use their limbs again. While many treatment centers help residents learn how to deal with sobriety in the real world, it is a specialty in sober living communities.

Addiction can be disabling, sometimes on a mental and emotional level and sometimes on a physical level – and overcoming the effect of years of addiction takes more than a few weeks in a treatment center. Even a 12-step program is limited by its ideology and function as a group therapy tool. A sober living community is not meant to be a treatment method, or even just a facility for early recovery – it’s a place where people come to learn how to live again, and learn how to enjoy being alive again, without drugs. It’s a place where you can become in-tune with your own needs and wants, grow conscious of others, and become part of a community rather than being stuck with yourself.

The advantages of a sober living community are numerous – but before one can delve into why, it’s important to understand what a sober community is.


What is a Sober Living Community?

Sober living communities are defined by their ruleset and setting. A sober living community is a community, for the most part – composed of either one building or several homes on private property, it is a tightly-knit, controlled environment where residents can live to guarantee a safe early recovery environment, and stay sober outside of temptation.

Not unlike a homeowner’s association, a sober living community has some established ground rules that must be respected in order to live there. For one, everyone must pay rent. Every resident must also either work, look for work, or be in school. Random drug tests are part of the safety measures implemented to ensure that no drugs are available on community premises, yet otherwise, every member’s time and privacy is valued.

In some communities, it is mandatory to join a number of activities with other community or home members, in order to build a real relationship with others. In other communities, this is left for the resident to decide.

By and whole, every community has the same aim – to create an environment that is as close to real life as possible, simply with more stringent controls to prevent drug use or the temptation thereof. Some communities give residents extra things to do, including house chores and cleaning work as well as curfews, in order to provide both a sense of routine and establish a schedule. These things help residents who struggled with addiction find something to hang onto, a pattern they can use to get back into recovery if a relapse occurs.

Sober living communities have both an individual and collective focus. On one hand, they often offer and further encourage people to seek therapy and treatment, either through the facility’s own treatment options, or outside. Beyond that, sober living communities are a community, and thus invest a large amount of time and resources into organizing group events and outings, group meetings, and group activities.

When a rule is violated, the punishment ranges from paying a fine and apologizing, to being sent out of the community. However, relapses are rare as most sober living communities are meticulous about their security, to prevent any substance abuse on-premises.

Sober living communities are often split into men’s sober living and women’s sober living facilities to provide further comfort for the residents.


Leaning Back into Life

Ultimately, the main advantage to a sober living community over a residential program aside from the overall cost is the fact that a sober living community better simulates real life and gives you a greater opportunity to adjust to the responsibilities and difficulties of struggling with both recovery and living life again.

Make no mistake – no matter what you do, you’ll never go back to the same life you once had. Addiction changes everything, including you – but that’s a good thing. Take this as an opportunity to grow like never before, and reshape yourself and your life into something better.

Yes, addiction and addiction treatment will cost both financially and emotionally, and recovering from these traumas won’t be an easy task. But it is an opportunity to seek out new ways to cope with stress, find a line of work you’re truly interested in, and approach your family and loved ones with total honesty and ask for forgiveness.


Maintaining Sobriety Outside of the Community

Sober living communities typically don’t have a time limit – which is part of why they are effective. While many other programs are meant to be completed within a certain time period, including most rehab and residential programs, a sober living community can be a useful tool for the first few weeks or months of recovery. However, at some point, it’s time to move out of the community and into a life where many of the same safeguards against drug use no longer exist – especially for legal drugs.

Maintaining sobriety outside of the sober living community is easier than with other treatment facilities or options. The routine and scheduling build into sober living treatments allow residents to embark on their new lives with a better sense of time management, useful coping skills, and the self-discipline needed to work hard without the constant sense of temptation coming from their old days of addiction.

It’s true that, in general, the temptation doesn’t go away completely. There’s always something that lingers from addiction – but with the right toolset, your family and loved ones, and the relationships formed through staying in a tightly-knit sober community, you’ll have nothing to worry about.


Why Is Community In Recovery Important?

Community In Recovery | Reanscend Recovery Community

Addiction recovery is a multi-faceted challenge, one where every case requires a unique and justified answer. What might work for some will not work for others – but the one common denominator in nearly any kind of treatment is the community. Without community in recovery, addiction recovery and the road to sobriety lead nowhere.

The notion of being a “lone wolf” appeals to some, especially among teens in their rebellious years, but any functioning human being ultimately needs a place to belong to, and people to be with. This is especially important in addiction, where a lack of connection can be the primary cause behind it, making a sense of community in recovery especially important.

To understand this, it is important to understand how addiction works, the difference between chemical dependency and emotional dependency, and how some people can use drugs for decades without withdrawal symptoms, while others can become alcoholics within a week of drinking. With that in mind, understanding the power of community in recovery and real human connection can give you an insight into why sober living communities and similar treatments work so well.


A Community In Recovery Means Enduring Motivation

Community in recovery helps you recommit yourself to sobriety, even when your own will to stay sober begins to falter. There’s no shame in accepting that life after rehab is hard, and staying sober can be very, very hard. There are days when sticking to the program just seems like such an impossible task – and having others to help you stay honest and stay clean is an absolute godsend.

Addiction recovery is so much more than a 30-day program and a few group meetings. It’s a lifestyle, it’s learning to live a fully-fledged and fleshed out life without drugs, learning to be happier with time.

Remember: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an off day. But when days like that swing around, having community in recovery is exactly what you need to make it through and do so entirely without drugs.


A Community Helps In Re-Establishing Connection

Aside from helping you stick to the program and practice abstinence even on days when you cannot be bothered to do anything, living in a Los Angeles sober living community and enjoying the perks of being around a lot of different people again can help you re-establish what it is like to connect with others, and build meaningful relationships that can last years – or even lifetimes.

Addiction itself can wreak a lot of havoc on some of the most important relationships in our life, while simultaneously introducing us into new, toxic relationships we may not want to pursue in the long-term. Cutting yourself out of those toxic relationships, and pursuing healthy, beneficial relationships both old and new is a vital part of the recovery process.

Aside from reconnecting with your family and old friends, a vital part of making it in the first few months is making entirely new friends. Some of them might be through sobriety – others would just be people you meet through other pursued interests. In a sober community, there is plenty of opportunity to meet new and interesting people, and find out more about them.

At first, opening to others can be quite difficult. However, by being open to sharing the details of your sobriety with others going through their own troubles, you not only can help others with your perspective, but you gain the trust and respect of those around you, and begin a bond that can, in some cases, lead to life-long friendship.

Connecting with others is more than just making comments or superficial remarks. Some argue that the advent of digitized social interaction has begun reprogramming the way we interact with one another, killing the conversation and instead focusing on just talk. By taking the time to connect with others on a face-to-face basis within a sober community, you not only relearn what it’s like to have conversations, you also get the opportunity to step out of your own comfort zone and tackle entirely new perspectives.


A Community Is Vital For Affirming Self-Love

Self-love is a critical aspect of successful addiction treatment; however, it is a concept that is entirely misunderstood. Instead of a kind of narcissistic self-worship, self-love entails being your own champion, staunchly fighting for your right to help yourself.

Guilt, shame, anger – these are emotions that have their place in life, but typically only fuel self-destruction in the life of an addict. Through self-love, you are telling yourself that you are worth getting better for, and that recovery is something you must go through not just for your family or your loved ones, but so that you yourself can enjoy life once again.

Feeling optimistic about yourself while in recovery can be very difficult. For some people, it can be a challenge to jump into addiction recovery and make a commitment towards themselves. Community in recovery, however, can make you see the value you have. It can make you realize that you are worth more than you think. And it can reinvigorate your sense of self-love, or help you develop one.


We Always Need Others

A human being can survive alone, but the human spirit cannot. Without others, without the stimulation of conversation and the benefits of being around others, we go stir crazy. We lose hold of ourselves. Loneliness begins to set in, and soon thereafter, the depression kicks in hard.

People are not built to be lone wolves. Even if we can’t get along with others, we need them in our life for one reason or another. Some people cannot connect with others on an empathic level, but they need other people around them to manipulate to remain sane. Other people cannot function without someone else to talk to, confide in, grow alongside of. Even the introvert in a bustling village must take the time to be among people.

If we put ourselves through extreme isolation, we mentally dissolve. We’re more likely to develop dementia. Our immune system goes haywire, unleashing stress hormones and triggering inflammation. Just being lonely can be the trigger for a major depression, and anxiety issues. It’s no wonder, then, that one of the many common causes and root factors behind a heavy addiction is a loneliness and a lack of connection. And following that logic, the only way towards a successful long-term sobriety is through connection; through community in recovery.

Many paths run through to sobriety. There are several treatment types, programs and therapies available for all sorts of people going through addiction. Some require a physical approach, others struggle with mental illness, and for some, only one-on-one therapy does the trick. However, in all instances, success relies on the strength of the community and the support you surround yourself with.


5 Things You Should Look for In A Recovery Community

Recovery Community | Transcend Recovery Community

A community approach towards addiction treatment is successful because it pits together many individual and unique experiences and journeys, teaching valuable and important lessons to those on the path towards recovery, such as the fact that they are never alone, and that there are many challenges they have not had to face, that others have overcome and grown past. Being in a recovery community for recovery can help people see their journey differently, with different perspectives all around.

Everyone experiences addiction in their own way, and processes it in their own way – while it’s rare for someone in a recovery community to find someone else in the exact same boat, listening to others speak about their experiences can help give the sort of perspective necessary for recovery to intensify.

That is why it is vital to choose the right recovery community when looking for a place for yourself or your loved one to improve and get better in a lasting way.


A Varied Approach

First and foremost, any legitimate addiction recovery institution should recognize that addiction is a varied disease – and it requires a varied approach. There is no one-size-fits-all program that all people in recovery should adapt to – that is a flawed way of thinking, and one that can alienate people and lead them to believe that there is no hope for them simply because they do not mesh well with a single approach.

Some people do brilliantly under the twelve-step program, for example. Others struggle immensely with it, and cannot grasp the concept of a higher power for themselves. Some even feel oppressed under the philosophy. Giving people room to explore diverse ways to heal can help them find a way that truly works best for them – and in a community environment, they can expose themselves to a much larger array of concepts and many ways of thinking.

Often, recovering from addiction means making more than a few drastic changes in life, and this can be quite jarring. It may mean discovering a newfound form of spirituality in life, or even a new religion. Or it may have nothing to do with that form of healing, and instead revolves around forming new relationships with people, and finding pleasure in simple things such as travel and trekking.

Variety is the spice of life – and in addiction recovery, it’s vital towards a successful recipe.


People You Like

The second thing to watch out for is a community and spirit you enjoy being in. If you feel like the atmosphere of your community is not one in which you feel comfortable, then you won’t get very far in your endeavors towards lasting recovery.

Some say that addiction is all about a lack of connection – that some people, especially those struggling with drugs on an emotional level, are lacking a sense of belonging and feel lost and lonely among their usual friends and family. Healing that by bringing you together with people you can relate to and bond with can help mend that fracture and eliminate the emotional sway that drugs hold over you, replacing it with new friendships.

People matter to us in general, even if you don’t care to admit to it. We’re social creatures, and we need people in our lives – from parents to lovers, friends to acquaintances, and even just strangers to pass by daily. One big step in recovery is feeling comfortable among people you care about, bringing yourself to feel secure and confident enough to accept that you are someone others can care about as well.


Things to Do In A Recovery Community

Nothing ruins recovery quite as much as getting bored – in all seriousness, one way to stem the urge to relapse is by keeping yourself busy. Making a schedule, trying out new things, experiencing new sensations, exploring new aspects of living – a hallmark of a good community experience is one where there are many things to do.

Community events, group support meetings, projects, therapy sessions, outdoor activities and more – if your recovery community centers its philosophy around replacing addiction with life and all its real, living joys, then you’ll not only find a way to lasting recovery: you’ll have fun doing so. And fun is important, especially when fighting against addiction or any other mental illness.


Goal-Oriented Recovery

Sometimes, giving life structure is exactly what we need to get out of a rut and into a good state in life. Addiction can easily throw life out of balance and put us on a chaotic and out-of-control track towards total wreckage – from broken relationships to career damage and a spiral of self-destruction. It’s not easy to get back from all of that without falling off the horse a few times – and aside from the massive emotional support that a community can give you, structure from living within a recovery community can also help you develop the necessary discipline to continue staying sober after your initial recovery period is over.

Yes, addiction is a chronic issue – but it gets easier to manage with time, and with the right tools. Goals, scheduling, and structure – these tools are immensely important early on and have carry-over later in recovery as well.


An Agreeable Philosophy

A good recovery community needs to be one where you can feel comfortable, one with people you can feel close to, one with many things to do and with the structure necessary to help you regain control over your life – but most importantly, you must find a community that operates on a philosophy that you can agree with. It’s important to have all sorts of different people around you with different opinions and points of view – but there should be some common ground, and in a recovery community, that common ground needs to be the recovery philosophy.

Every place has its own philosophy, its own pursuit of truth and a reason for its founding. Some places are driven solely by profit – other places are extensions of a founder’s firsthand experiences, shaped by them. While there is nothing wrong with operating a business efficiently and for the sake of profit, making something only for it to make money takes all the soul out of the equation.

Instead, find a sober housing program that seems truly genuine to you, one where you feel that the staff and organizers understand addiction and see you not as just another customer, or just a number on a spreadsheet, but as a person with individual needs and a purpose within the community. When you have found a place like that and begin to call it home, then your journey towards lasting sobriety will be much easier.

Recovery Community Vs. Other Recovery Programs

Recovery Community | Transcend Recovery Community

There are many ways to deal with addiction. Some people prefer to rely on the support of their family, while going through the process alone – without groups, communities and meetings. But there are benefits to living among others in a recovery community while working to stay sober – benefits that other recovery programs don’t have.


The People Make The Program

When it comes to recovery community programs – specifically sober living communities, where the emphasis is on bringing people together to help each other enforce their own sobriety and learn from one another – the therapy doesn’t just lie in the methods and organization of the recovery community council or organizers. Instead, it lies in the people.

The stories they have to tell, the experiences they made, the unique insights they have. Everyone’s journey and struggle through addiction instills in them a certain understanding of themselves and of what it means to overcome major adversity. Passing that on between one another can help motivate, inspire, and keep both newcomers and older members alike from relapsing.

Oftentimes, a relapse could have been prevented if the person fighting with their addiction wasn’t feeling lonely or left out. A recovery community setting can help you find the people you need to depend on in order to support your recovery – and it can help you feel empowered and necessary, by providing you with the opportunity to do the same for others and help them in their journey.


Live And Breathe The Recovery Community

A program is typically a part of your life for a while, yet never extensively. Outpatient programs help get you on your feet and support you as you embark on your own journey to finding work, going to meetings and seeking out hobbies. Twelve-step programs have their fair share of homework, but at the end of the day you’re still left on your own, with questions and no one to seek answers from, and a strict, rigid system that doesn’t allow your recovery process to grow organically.

A recovery community approach puts you in a position where you have to worry about all the things you’ll typically worry about in regular living: job, rent, food, bills. But it adds to all that a sense of community wherein you can let your recovery process grow the way it works best for you, joining the activities you want to join, making the friends that mesh best with you, all while constantly having access to neighbors and people with more experience in recovery than you.

Unlike other programs where loneliness can enter your life and make you question your decisions in recovery, a community approach will keep you surrounded by people whenever you need them. Instead of feeling isolated and left out, a recovery community approaches and embraces the idea of connection as a way to heal addiction by giving people what they have been missing – emotional fulfillment and purpose.

Of course, being in a sober living community isn’t magic – these things take their time, and it may be a while before you warm up to the idea of being open with several strangers about your emotions and experiences while struggling with addiction. It’s a difficult road for anyone to walk, but if what you’re ultimately after is lasting sobriety and a better, happier life, then a community approach is absolutely worth the risk.


The Recovery Community Is for Everybody

Sober living homes have strict rules when it comes to drug addiction – you have to stop using while you’re a part of the recovery community, and you have to either look for work/school programs, or have a job/be enrolled already. Other rules change from facility to facility, home to home, community to community – but the overall sense is that, aside from a few ground rules meant to protect the process of staying sober, it’s all about what you make of the experience.

This means that, ultimately, these communities have a place for everyone. Even if living in a recovery community with others isn’t your ideal way to getting sober, it’s flexible and varied enough that you will draw some useful conclusions from the experience and find yourself feeling more confident in your sobriety than before.


Sober Community Programs Have a Stronger, Lasting Effect

The research on recovery communities and sober living homes shows that, giving individuals the option to stay in a community of recovering patients for as long as they need to – so long as they adhere to the rules – has a massive and lasting beneficial impact on them. Their chances of employment, continued abstinence and overall psychiatric health all shoot up, while the odds of further arrests went down.

Sober living provided itself to not only work for certain behavior patterns, or only at a particular juncture in a person’s addiction/life – they worked in their own way for almost everyone who came and followed the program, because living in a recovery community creates a situation where you’re exposed to many different options, perspectives and tools to help you tackle your addiction however you see best fit. Not cutting a person’s stay at a recovery community short also ensures that they get all the help they need – instead of the recommended 90-day period, there were cases of people staying in the recovery community for close to a year before moving on.

Addiction isn’t something a short-term program can beat. However, a community approach isn’t about ensuring lasting sobriety, either. It’s about equipping someone with everything they need to achieve that lasting sobriety. This includes forging long-term bonds of friendship, making new experiences, seeing addiction in several different perspectives and learning with others how best to cope with your own issues – both the addiction, and whatever else may like underneath it.

That isn’t to say that outpatient programs, twelve-step programs and the like don’t have their place in the world of addiction recovery – there is something out there for everybody – but when it comes to giving someone a strong basis straight out of rehab with which to take on the rest of their recovery process, then there are few ways as reliable as the community approach, because of the unique experiences people make when in a recovery community program.