Without a doubt, getting clean and sober is hard work. Just admitting you have a problem is hard enough. But taking those next steps—the going to rehab, the fighting the cravings and withdrawal, the dealing with family and friends and the messes that need to be cleaned up—-are all major challenges too. And they can pile up all at once when we are at our most vulnerable. Part of recovery is recognizing and steering clear of certain emotions and feelings that will surely creep up and try to knock us right back into relapse. STRESS Whether it’s about work, money woes, relationship issues, or legal troubles, we all have times when we experience stress and need to work harder to maintain our recovery. Being sober and in recovery can be so full of awesome, but the stress of our daily lives will still be there. Stress can be overwhelming and it is one of the biggest reasons we might say “ah, F*** it” and head for the vodka aisle or nearest corner for supply. Learning to manage our stress in productive ways can guard it from causing us to head back out. You’ve heard all this before maybe, but there is great wisdom in using some of these simple means of stress-reduction: Exercising regularly. Yes, a brisk walk of the dog counts as does walking to your meeting. It can’t be that far, can it? Sleeping well is crucial, but hard for many. Are ALL lights off and the TV? Eating a healthy diet means trading mind deadening foods loaded with sugar and fats, etc. for stuff that’s not. Would it kill you to carry some carrots as you walk to your meeting? And yes, meditation works. There are dozens of meditations online. Try one. As always, pick up the phone. When stress starts becoming a potential trigger reach out to friend, family, lover, sponsor. That’s what they’re there for. BEING BEAT Being tired and cranky leaves us feeling emotional and more susceptible to a relapse. When we’re tired, we become like bitchy little kids—snappy, irritable and unreasonable. This is the perfect set of emotions that can lead to us blowing our serenity and reaching for our old coping strategies. Those involved drinking and using, in case you forgot, and they didn’t work, in case you forgot. This is why the importance of getting a regular night’s sleep cannot be overemphasized. Maintaining our equilibrium and functioning in a calm and thoughtful manner is pivotal when it comes to staying sober. If you find it difficult to sleep, try breathing exercises, a hot bath or a warm, milky drink before bed. If nothing seems to help, speak to your doctor. BOREDOM It’s one of the most common feelings that can lead to a relapse in early recovery. Once we are over the “pink cloud” of our initial achievement, we often struggle to find activities that fill the huge amount of time we used drinking and using. Now that we are no longer doing that, the amount of drama in our lives is vastly reduced. This is when boredom can set in. Finding new activities that don’t involve the old friends, the old corners and the old bars is super important. This can be anything, including sports, exercise, reading, a new hobby, binge...read more
Common Bond Rehab Center of Santa Clarita, CA wants to give back to our community by helping two people in need, get scholarships for our intensive outpatient addiction treatment program. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, send us your story to email@example.com. You must be a resident of Santa Clarita and have no access to insurance. You must remain sober during your treatment, for your own benefit, and as part of our program. As part of the scholarship program, we would like you to share your experience, strength and hope with us. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to help someone who can’t afford treatment . Common Bond will not select the recipients of the scholarships. The selection will be made by an outside party. We intend to announce the recipients of these opportunities for cost-free treatment on June 10th. We will continue to do this as long as we are around. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for one of these scholarships or has more questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 661-678-0575. From your friends at www.commonbondrehabcenter.com and...read more
STAY AWAY, I HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS!
CERTAIN PEOPLE TO AVOID IN RECOVERY
1. The Instigator
Remember the little brother or sister whose primary function was to annoy you? They called you names, jabbed you in the ribs for no apparent reason and laughed maniacally as you chased them about in a homicidal rage. Yeah, you know the type. The instigator. These people find sheer delight in getting a reaction out of others. They laugh when you are mad and many times, it seems they just don’t know when to stop. If you come across an instigator, do your best to keep your distance. Don’t let them take jabs at your sobriety.read more
RECOVERY AND STRESS
AND I THOUGHT ADDICTION WAS STRESSFUL
Family and relationship conflicts are among the chief causes of stress for all people, along with financial problems, job concerns, health troubles and other issues. These are especially pronounced for those of us recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Stressors like these are extremely dangerous for those of us trying to stay clean and sober. Studies indicate that stress is the number one cause of relapse among drug and alcohol abusers. Staying sober can be very stressful. Being the loved one of someone in addiction or recovering from addiction can also be very stress inducing. For the newly sober, in particular, the more the stress, the more the desire for escape, oftentimes back to drugs and alcohol.
If we can reduce our stress, we can reduce our chances of relapse. To do so, we have to know the signs of stress: headaches, muscle tension, dry mouth, upset stomach, loss of appetite, too much appetite, sleep problems, fatigue, getting colds, can’t concentrate, memory problems, jitters, irritability, short temper, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, chest pains.
Stress is inevitable. But there are things we can do to defuse these daily stressors before they can get the best of us. The most effective stress management often comes from making healthy lifestyle changes.
CHECK IN TO SOBRIETY
WITH NO RESERVATIONS
We’ve said it a thousand times and we’ll say it a thousand more. Getting sober is hard. Staying that way is harder. There are many ways to quit drinking and using. Suck it up. Go to detox. Try to tapir. Check in to rehab. However you do it, you did it. But putting down that bottle or pipe or whatever is just the beginning. Before you jump into sobriety, there are a few things to consider. What kind of sobriety do you want and just how committed to it are you willing to be?read more
I SO DON’T MISS THAT
THINGS SOBRIETY HAS LEFT BEHIND
Remember those? We may remember those horrible mornings, but it’s pretty likely we didn’t remember the horrible nights before, right? It used to be kind of funny, in a way, wandering around in that fog with that headache and that inability to function fully. It was kind of fun to head right back out there for a Bloody Mary or whatever with that ridiculous excuse that a morning drink would solve the hangover problem. Funny until we started showing up at work with a hangover everyday or not showing at all, while watching our job security slipping away. Funny until we realized that that morning hangover drink was becoming two or three, and starting to last into the day and onto the night and repeating every morning with that funny hangover that slowly became not so funny anymore. The retching, the runny nose, the bloodshot eyes, the shakes, the loss of appetite, the sheer wreck of it all. Not so funny anymore. But, now blessed with recovery, we’ve left behind those hangovers and mornings have become a beautiful thing again. Leave them behind, but don’t ever forget the damage they used to do.read more
LOVE AND ADDICTION CAN BE EMOTIONAL
Dealing with a loved one in addiction or, hopefully, in recovery, can be exhausting, nerve-wracking, frightening, and potentially destructive to any relationship. Emotions can fly at us from all directions and with little notice. They can be very unhealthy, particularly for those trying desperately to provide support for a struggling friend, family member or lover. Keeping emotions in check is hard work, but also necessary for all involved. There are three emotions in particular that can run a relationship off the recovery rails if not tended to with care. Last week; grief. This week; guilt.read more
LOVE AND ADDICTION CAN BE EMOTIONAL
Dealing with a loved one in addiction or, hopefully, in recovery, can be exhausting, nerve-wracking, frightening, and potentially destructive to any relationship. Emotions can fly at us from all directions and with little notice. They can be very unhealthy, particularly for those trying desperately to provide support for a struggling friend, family member or lover. Keeping emotions in check is hard work, but also necessary for all involved. There are three emotions in particular that can run a relationship off the recovery rails if not tended to with care. Last week, anger, this week: griefread more
LOVE AND ADDICTION
CAN BE EMOTIONAL
Dealing with a loved one in addiction or, hopefully, in recovery can be exhausting, nerve-wracking, frightening, and potentially destructive to any relationship. Emotions can fly at us from all directions and with little notice. They can be very unhealthy, particularly for those trying desperately to provide support for a struggling friend, family member or lover. Keeping emotions in check is hard work, but also necessary for all involved. There are three emotions in particular that can run a relationship off the recovery rails if not tended to with care. We’ll tackle one for each of the next three weeks.read more
IT’S HARD AT FIRST
EARLY RECOVERY CAN BE A STRUGGLE
Life without drugs and alcohol. Wow, this is great. But how do I stay this way? It’s been said many times that getting sober is hard. Staying that way is harder. For those new to sobriety, there are many challenges early on. Recovery means change in your lifestyle, relationships, coping skills, you name it. Change can be a struggle. Here are a few struggles we should work hard to avoid.read more