Recovery from Addiction is Much More Than Sobriety

Recovery From Addiction | Transcend

You might think to heal from addiction all you need to do is get sober. You might believe that your life will return to normal when you stop using drugs and alcohol. Although this is partly true, recovery also includes becoming a better person. And that might mean going to back to work, making amends with your family and friends, returning to school and getting a degree, securing permanent housing, and/or spending time with others who are living healthy, sober lives.

Yes, sobriety is a big part of recovery from addiction. When you’re sober, you are more clear-minded. You can make healthier choices. You’re not focused on denial and trying to keep your addiction hidden from yourself or others. You have the energy to focus on family, work, or school.

But truthfully, recovery from addiction means a change in lifestyle. When you’re in recovery, you can cope with life’s problems without resorting substance use. You have tools to manage your emotions and stress. You might feel grateful for your life, family, and friends. You are surrounded by others who are working towards their goals and making healthy choices. You may not think about recovery in this way at first, but essentially it means creating an entirely new life. It means creating an entirely new you.

Create a plan for where you’re going. When you know where you are going, then you know what choices to make to get you there. This might also mean having a vision for your life in the future that includes health, well being, and sobriety. Having a vision can inspire hope, which in turn can prevent feeling depressed, lost, beaten down, and confused. Transcend Recovery Community encourages their residents to create a plan. In fact, Transcend not only wants clients to have a vision for their life, but we will also hold you accountable for the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Gather support around you. Setting up a support network is crucial in recovery from addiction. When a person feels supported by others, they are more likely to feel hopeful, confident, and strong in their sobriety. A support network can include friends, family, professionals, and others who are working on their recovery. Transcend schedules plenty of fun activities with friends and family. You can participate in them on a weekly and monthly basis. Plus, when you reside at one of Transcend’s Sober Living homes, you’re always surrounded by professional staff and you have access to a clinical team.

Take good care of yourself. If you are recovering from an addiction then your body may need some healing. Alcohol can significantly damage the liver as well as other major organs. Similarly, other drugs, such as methamphetamines, cocaine, and benzodiazepines can also have a severe effect on the health of the body and the brain. If you’re committed to creating a new life, you can start by making sure you are making healthy choices for your body. Transcend supports you in this by giving you a full gym membership which gives you the opportunity to exercise regularly and tone your body. Transcend also provides you with healthy food choices and encourages you to get a good night’s sleep. Eating well, sleeping well, and exercising can facilitate having a clear mind which in turn can help with making the right choices for yourself.

Creating a new lifestyle can seem daunting when you’re at the beginning of the journey. But Transcend can make it easier for you with the tools and opportunities we provide to all of our residents. If you take one step at a time and give yourself great support, then a lifestyle change can easier than you think.

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I’m Sober Not Boring

 

Some men and women new to recovery from addiction believe their life loses excitement the moment they begin their journey of recovery. No booze, no fun, they might think to themselves. But the truth is that there are all sorts of exciting moments in sobriety. It’s just not the kind of excitement that rides the edge of danger. It’s no longer the kind of excitement that is one step behind getting arrested or getting a DUI. Instead, the thrill of life in recovery comes from the little things in life. The exhilaration of sobriety comes from being who are, being healthy and happy, and finally feeling good about life.

For instance, here are some of the delightful moments you might not have experienced while using drugs or drinking:

  • the joy of hearing your nieces and nephews call out your name
  • the pleasure of connecting more deeply with family and friends
  • the power of actually feeling your feelings
  • the satisfaction of finally not having to hide who you are
  • the delight in having the opportunity to start over
  • the satisfaction of enjoying your work
  • the bliss of discovering new talents and abilities you didn’t know you had
  • the gratification of living in integrity
  • the enjoyment of being proud of who you are
  • the exhilaration of being physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy
  • the pleasure of having fun without fearing legal or social consequences
  • the happiness of having a life that is full of joyful and pleasurable moments
  • the joy of uncovering your unique contribution to the world
  • the pleasure of having meaningful and healthy relationships
  • the thrill of liking yourself

Interestingly, at Transcend Recovery Community, the average age of our residents is around 24. Many of them fall between 18 and 35 years of age. Typically, early to mid adulthood is a time of life when a person is given many opportunities to use drugs and drink. Yet, while in recovery at Transcend, our residents learn how to have fun and enjoy life without the need to turn to substances. They discover that life is fulfilling, satisfying, and enjoyable without the use of substances.

Also, Transcend encourages residents to have social interactions that are meaningful, safe, and satisfying.  We do that by providing many opportunities to have fun, such as day-long outings, longer trips, and family weekends. And for those who find fun in physical activity, we provide a gym membership to a luxury boutique gym that gives our residents access to a full boxing academy, yoga, circuit training, and traditional gym equipment. Do you want to surf? We’ve got that too. Transcend also works with certified surf instructors who provide surf lessons weekly, surfboards, and wetsuits – at no cost.

We believe strongly that having fun is an essential part of recovery and that having fun without the dangers of drinking and drug use is the only true way to enjoy life to the fullest. Sobriety doesn’t equal boredom. Just the opposite – sobriety equals excitement and the joy of finally being alive.

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Meaningful Connections with Others Makes Recovery Possible

Meaningful Connections with Others Makes Recovery Possible | Transcend Recovery Community

The one thing that most people really crave is love. And if you’re a recovery alcoholic or addict, you might feel an absence of love in your life – or at least you did at one point in your life. However, when we have a genuine and authentic connection with another human being we feel seen and understood which in turn helps us to feel loved and accepted.

You might describe connection as an experience in which you relate or bond with someone else. You might also describe it as being meaningful or significant, especially if your conversation strongly resonates with what you’re going through. Yet, you might notice that these types of connection don’t happen with everyone. Perhaps you have a meaningful conversation with someone at your sober living home, but not the person you’re sitting next to in a support group.

Certainly, there are specific factors that help make a connection with another person significant. You might find that those conversations that stood out or that had a deeper meaning for you had the following characteristics:

Attunement – When you are attuned to someone, you feel a stronger connection with them. It’s different than simply saying hello or discussing what you did over the weekend. Attunement describes the kind of connection that a mother might have with her child. There’s a relating with one another that’s deeper than words and hand gestures. Although it’s common to find between a mother and child, this sort of connection can also happen between friends meeting for coffee or a couple out on a date. Attuned communication is when two human beings feel as though they are a part of one resonating whole. It’s possible to even feel this sort of connection with a stranger, if you stay open to it. Attunement is a significant part of healthy relationships, among friends, family members, and lovers.

Empathy – Empathy is the ability to place yourself within the inner landscape of another person. Although it sounds similar to attunement, it’s slightly different. Attunement is mostly an emotional experience; whereas empathy creates a connection that takes into account his or her entire inner world – thoughts, ideas, attitudes. This is a skill that most therapists, counselors, and parents have. And it’s possible that sponsors and drug counselors are also empathetic.

Authenticity – What helps with both attunement and empathy is being authentic. If you’re sharing something about yourself that simply isn’t true, then you’ll miss out on the opportunity to connect deeply and authentically with someone. It’s easy to want to hide facets of yourself, especially if you’re new to recovery. And because most new recovering addicts may still be in the habit of denial authenticity might feel odd. However, being authentic is the gateway for true connection.

Honesty – This might be another challenging part of having healthy connection with others, especially for newly recovering addicts. Yet, honesty again opens the door to true connection. When you’re honest about where you are, even if it’s uncomfortable, then the person you’re communicating with has greater freedom to share their discomfort, challenges, and even successes.

It is through these kinds of deeper experiences with other people that addicts heal. Through personal stories, meaningful relationships, and human connection, we find hope, courage, and the strength to change our lives.

 

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Recovery, Transformation, and the Search for Meaning

Recovery, Transformation, and the Search for Meaning | Transcend Recovery Community

There’s a phrase in the mental health field that says Addicts are very spiritual people; they’re just knocking on the wrong door. Instead of finding meaning in life through relationships, a fulfilling career, or through their spirituality, you might say that addicts tend to satisfy their search for meaning through drugs and alcohol. They look for some kind of answer through the highs and altered states that the use of substances bring them.

Yet, there are clearly dangers with this way of finding meaning. Addiction, self-harm, poor health, unhealthy relationships, and legal problems are examples of what can result with finding meaning, whether consciously or unconsciously, through the use of drugs and alcohol. So, what might be a better way to find meaning and satisfaction in life?

This is precisely the question that Transcend Recovery Community asks of their residents.  We invite our residents to explore their aspirations, dreams, and desires. In order to help participants of our programs find new meaning in their lives, we encourage the following:

  1. Create meaningful life goals. Transcend encourages residents to set meaningful goals. Having goals to work toward and something to look forward to can be powerful antidotes to drug addiction. It doesn’t matter what the goals are—whether they involve your career, your personal life, or your health—just that they are important to you.
  2. Stay closely connected to others in recovery. Transcend clearly recognizes that everyone in recovery has a wealth of potential. Our residents are wonderful people with incredible gifts and abilities. By creating a community of sober people, we also create the right environment for channeling the beauty within our clients. It is important to stay in the company of those who share the same life goals, who want to stay sober and who have a positive vision for their lives. Having friendships and peers around you is a reminder that you’re not going through this alone and that you have support.
  3. Stay accountable for your recovery. Transcend believes that the goals and aspirations each resident is after won’t come true unless there is someone there to hold them accountable. By assisting clients in creating a daily schedule, we provide accountability and support their dreams. Transcend also has a tier system based upon client’s accomplishment of goals and consistency towards seeking a sober and meaningful life.
  4. Find a hobby. Transcend gives you time to find an activity that challenges you. Perhaps you want to expand your creativity, explore your imagination, or try something you’ve never done but have always wanted to do – such as learning to play the guitar.
  5. Volunteer. You might not have time to volunteer while residing at one of Transcend‘s sober living homes. But any of our after-care programs will give you time to volunteer. Another way to experience meaning in life is to volunteer at organizations that create social change. You might become active in your church or faith community, or join a local book club or neighborhood running group.

These are ideas for creating new meaning in your life as you progress in your recovery. It’s important to find meaning or soon life can lack happiness and satisfaction. As the psychologist Carl Jung once said, “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”

 

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Why Your Sober Living Home Is a Community for Recovery

Sober Living Home Is a Community for Recovery | Transcend Recovery Community

The journey of recovery is not going to be understood by everyone. Sure, you might have friends and even family members who have said they understand how hard it has been for you or that they can empathize with the challenges you’ve had. However, anyone who is not on the road to recovery themselves is not going to fully grasp what it means to be in recovery from addiction.

If you’re living at a sober living home, then there’s a good chance that you’re surrounded by men and women who are on the same trek to get sober and stay sober. There’s a good chance that they’re facing similar challenges, feeling the same emotions, and hoping for the same things. There’s a very good chance that you and others at your sober living home have a lot in common.

Thousands of years ago, human beings lived in their own sort of communities – tribes. They traveled, worked, ate, and slept in communities. They stayed together as a unit because it was necessary to do that to survive. Today, we don’t have tribes; we have families. But even those are breaking down. Children move away, parents get divorced, and families separate. Many men and women aren’t a part of a community at all. They have to seek them out in their churches, sport teams, and social clubs. And others simply isolate, pulling away from other people, perhaps believing that it’s emotionally safer to be alone. But even still, communities can be hard to find, and worse, hard to feel like you’re a part of even if you do find one. In fact, feeling lonely and feeling like you don’t belong is one of the primary reasons why people turn to drinking and drug use in the first place.

And now, here you are: in recovery and in a sober living home, a place that is inherently a community. A place where others are walking the same journey you are. And not only that, you are likely seeing each other in the kitchen or living home of your sober living home, at 12-step meetings, and support groups.

Here’s what a sober living community can do for you:

  • Restores hope.
  • Creates confidence.
  • Combats loneliness.
  • Helps improve self acceptance.
  • Strengthens commitment.
  • Boosts empowerment.
  • Creates a feeling of belonging.
  • Encourages open and honest communication.
  • Provides opportunities to help others.
  • Provides opportunities to witness success and effects of relapse in others.

People crave connection. Desiring connection with others is a natural response. Human being s are social creatures. We cannot live in isolation. Even when we are born we need the assistance of our parents to feed, nurture, and tend to all our needs in order to survive. And that doesn’t change as we get older.

If you’re craving connection with others, but not sure how to start, begin with a simple hello. When you see your roommate, ask her how her day is going. When you see someone at a 12-step meeting, compliment them on how they share at each meeting.

Your sober living home is a natural community. It is in the context of community that people heal, grow, and succeed.

 

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Recovery Can Include All Members of Your Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Recovery Returns To You All That Addiction Took Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Power of a Recovery Community, Because the Opposite of Addiction Is Connection

If you’re new to a sober living home or new to a 12-step meeting, you might feel like you don’t fit in. You might feel odd or like you don’t belong. If you’re used to spending time with friends and people you’re familiar with and suddenly you’re spending large amounts of time with strangers, you might even feel intimidated and nervous. You might feel self-conscious about the things you say and what you do, wondering if your new community of people are going to accept you for who you are.

It’s common for addicts to have a low sense of self-esteem. And those patterns of low self-worth can persist into recovery. However, there are ways to feel better, feel a connection with your new community, and even feel supported by them. It’s so easy to feel uncomfortable going into a new environment, especially if the others have already formed a group of their own. Yet, although it feels odd, there are important tips to remember so that you don’t feel like the odd man out but rather the one everyone welcomes with open arms.

Check in with your own feelings and thoughts. When you’re about to go into a new support group or 12-step meeting, and especially if you’re feeling nervous, notice that some of what you’re feeling is a pattern. You probably always feel this way around new people. You might have patterns of feeling uncomfortable until you get to know someone. It’s important to know that these are simply patterns in your mind so that they don’t bring you down or interfere with making new friendships.

Get to know people before making up your mind about them. When you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, it’s easy to be judgmental of others as a form of self-protection. For instance, if you have an interaction with someone and the other person feels cold to you, you might think to yourself, “Well, he’s a jerk.” It’s easy to blow someone off and make up your mind about them without really knowing them. You don’t know if he was having a bad day, upset by something that was said in the meeting or just doesn’t know how to socialize very well. When you’re new to a group, give people a few chances before blowing them off.

Treat those you meet with kindness. It might sound obvious but kindness can go a long way. If you’re used to bantering, making fun of, or even arguing with friends, then kindness might feel odd to you. But as you can imagine, most people respond well to kindness, especially at the beginning of a friendship.

Volunteer your time. Whether you’re living at a sober living home or attending regular 12-step meetings, when you volunteer you show that you care. You send the message that sobriety is important to you. But not only that, you also send the message that you want to help others out too. You want to be there for your peers. Others in the group often appreciate and even admire the volunteers for putting in the extra time and effort.

These are tips for feeling more comfortable in your new sober community.

 

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Your Sober Tribe Affects Your Vibe

If you’re in recovery then you’re probably meeting new people every day. Every time you go to a 12-step meeting or attend a support group, you might run into someone you’ve never seen before but someone who shares the goals of sobriety and recovery from addiction. And if you reside at a sober living home, then you might have opportunities to interact with and form relationships all your housemates.

But not everyone you meet in sobriety will be your kind of person. Just because they are in recovery, like you, doesn’t mean that you’ll love everything about them. For that reason, it’s important to find your tribe, your network of people that you resonate with. It’s necessary to find the type of crowd that speaks your language and with whom you have more than just sobriety in common.

For instance, you might be an artist. Perhaps you want to connect with other artists and uncover how being creative can support and perhaps jeopardize your sobriety. For so many artists, getting into a creative spirit meant having a drink or getting high. On the other hand, creativity might be healing and spiritually nourishing in recovery. Having a circle of artists around you who are also focused on recovery can be supportive.

Or perhaps you’re lesbian or gay. Over the years, many resources have been created for the sober LGBTQ community. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1969, The AT Center began after 6 gay men met for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and decided to call themselves “Alcoholics Together”. Membership quickly grew through the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, throughout Southern California and even in cities far away such as Boston and New York, the acronym “AT” became synonymous with gay AA. Today, the gay Los Angeles sober living community now knows The AT Center as a significant place for refuge.

Another growing community within sober living groups is one that is focused on wellness. Many recovering addicts place emphasis on yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other holistic practices in their recovery. In fact, some would say that their recovery wouldn’t be what it is without these practices.

And along the same lines, many men and women in recovery rely heavily on their spirituality. They may find their support for sobriety through their church by attending church-related 12-step meetings or bible studies for recovering addicts. They may resonate highly with the emphasis on spirituality in each of the 12-steps.

Community is an essential component to recovery for many men and women. It’s the primary reason behind the recommendation to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days for new recovering addicts. Men and women find support in the personal stories that reflect obstacles and challenges faced by many in the group. And those stories are strengthened and may have more meaning when there’s a shared worldview or common interests.

If you’re new to recovery, don’t just look to spend time with those who are sober, but find your own unique tribe within the sober living community.

 

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How to Get the Support You Need in Recovery from Addiction

Having a solid support system in addiction recovery is extremely important. And there is a wide range of support in recovery, many of which are free of charge. Despite this, there are many recovering addicts who simply do not get the help they need. There may be many reasons for this, including financial obstacles, stigma from friends or family, self-judgment, or fear. But the support is out there. And it’s available when anyone is ready and willing.

Certainly, recovery is not an easy journey, but those who have done it are thrilled and grateful they did. Recovery might be compared to climbing a mountain. Along the way there may be challenges, dangers, and setbacks, but once you reach the top, you feel fulfilled and joyful and experience a sense of accomplishment. For most people, the journey of sobriety is well worth the challenges.

But you will have to overcome the inner obstacles that stand in your way. For instance, here are steps for overcoming fear, stigma, and self-judgment:

Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Sometimes, you might not even know what it is exactly that’s keeping you from getting the help you need. Whether you’re in recovery or not, you might simply be resisting change but not sure why. If you take a few minutes out of your day and tune into your feelings, you might be able to identify what’s going on inside. You may be able to pinpoint whether it’s fear or judgment or stigma.

Take action despite your feelings. Nelson Mandela once said: The brave man is not he who feels afraid, but he who conquers that fear. However, you probably won’t be able to take action before identifying what you’re feeling first. If you can identify what’s holding you back then you can make a conscious decision to call for help, attend the 12-step meeting, or talk to your sponsor.

Join a sober community. Even if the only thing you did was become part of a community of others who were working toward health and sobriety, that alone will be a significant step. You might meet others who are also afraid or also concerned about losing their old life. Your feelings and fears will be validated, but your hopes and dreams will also be validated. In other words, you’ll see that there are others who are afraid but who are working toward their sobriety goals nonetheless. A sober community will inspire hope, courage, and emotional well-being.

Talk to someone. Another step to take, especially if you’re feeling afraid about doing anything else, is to talk to someone you trust. And this doesn’t even have to be a therapist or drug counselor. Simply talking to a friend, relative, or your spouse can help get your feelings out. And as a result you might feel more clear-minded.

As mentioned above, the help is out there. There are all sorts of online communities, 12-step meetings, and support groups that anyone can attend, and most of them are free. Yet, sometimes when it comes to changing your life, you may need to overcome those inner obstacles to get the help you need. The above suggestions are tips to help you do that.

 

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