Being in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction can be one of the most overwhelming life changes. In addition to learning about the nature of addiction, you have to change your life priorities. The people you hang out with, the places you go, and the things you do will all have to be changed.
It can be scary and lonely, but looking at these changing priorities as important steps toward living a more fulfilling, healthy life will make the transition easier. Here are a few tips for dealing with the changing priorities of recovery.
1. Friends and peers.
One of the most important things to change during recovery is the people that you surround yourself with. This can be especially hard, as even the people you believed to be good friends may still encourage you to drink or use drugs. If someone can’t understand how important recovery is to you, then it may be time to cut them out of your life as painful as it may seem.
Even a family member or partner can be uncooperative in this respect. Other people in your life may understand your recovery but may be drinking or using drugs themselves. It’s important to maintain a distance from these people in the early stages. Later on you may be able to be around drinkers, but until then you need to focus on recovery.
2. Honesty with yourself.
This involves accepting the plain and simple fact that you’re an addict. Telling yourself it’s alright to drink or use drugs like marijuana will only work against you. Stop making excuses or lying to yourself and focus on what’s real.
3. Let yourself be helped.
There’s no shame in asking for help, It can feel shameful and uncomfortable at first, but know that the only way to recover is to ask for help. There’s no way to do it alone.
4. Accept the support of others.
There are others out there going through the same experience. recovery can be an especially lonely experience, so it’s important to have at least a handful of people that you can call when things get rough. There’s no need to hesitate or feel ashamed about asking for the support of another person in recovery. Remember, that person is going through or has gone through that same experience themself.
5. Stay active.
Boredom is another challenge of recovery. You’ll find that you’ll have a lot more idle time on your hands and the worst thing you can do is sit around thinking too much. Get involved in activities. Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn about, play a sport, or volunteer for a cause you care about. Organizing activities with other sober people is a good idea as well. You can plan fun outings or just make a plan to hang out. Either way, you’ll stay occupied and ward off feelings of loneliness and boredom.
Rehab is a time spent learning the skills needed to stay sober and build a life free of drugs and alcohol. The time spent there is intense. After 30 to 90 days, you return to your regular life a changed person ready to face old routines with newfound sobriety. But this time can be tough. You may have returned to familiar surroundings, but old memories and temptations may get in the way of new goals. Here are 5 ways to stay focused and active after treatment.
1. Get in touch with the sober community.
Addictions often begin through pressure from friends and peers. So the people you choose to spend time after completing treatment with have a much bigger impact than you think. Old friends may not take your sobriety seriously or won’t support you in your new lifestyle.
This can easily lead to the temptation to drink or use again, and finally to a relapse. Getting in touch with other newly sober people for fun and activities is a good idea. You can go out and have a good time any day of the week without having the pressure to drink or use drugs. Getting sober friends is a good idea during this early stage as you will get stronger and adjust to a new life.
2. Take a look at your surroundings.
Going back to a former home or neighborhood can be hard. This can put you back in direct contact with old friends, dealers, or locations that you strongly associate with drinking or doing drugs. Even the people you live with, like spouses, partners, or family members, can still be using.
Sometimes these associations can trigger cravings for drugs that are overwhelming. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to move and get a truly fresh start.
3. Continue the process of recovery.
Just because you’re out of rehab doesn’t mean the treatment stops there. It’s important to stay active in your recovery and utilize any resources available. This could mean participating in aftercare treatment, joining a 12 step group, or making a regular habit of seeing a counselor or therapist. Stay on top of each activity and consider each one an important step of the whole recovery process.
4. Focus on health.
Both your physical and mental health are a big part of recovery. It may not be so obvious, but getting exercise and doing things that combat stress, anxiety, and depression will make a huge difference. Participate or learn about activities that can help with this. Therapy, group counseling, meditation, or outdoor activities are very healing.
5. Offer your service to others.
During recovery it can be easy to spend too much time and energy focused on yourself. A big part of a successful recovery is reaching out to help others. You can do this by sponsoring another sober person, volunteering. or just being there for friends in need.
In recent decades there has been a significant rise in the general use and abuse of prescription pain medications. This phenomenon can be ascribed to their increased availability and a rise in prescriptions written for these medications. Why are doctors writing more prescriptions for these drugs?
There is a greater demand for treatment of pain, as well as more aggressive marketing campaigns by the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these drugs. The higher demand has also led to new forms of pain medications hitting the markets sooner. There is a wider and stronger range of opiate analgesics available to Americans than ever before.
A Growing Problem
Prescription drug abuse has risen dramatically in the decade or so. More addictions, overdoses and deaths have been reported than ever before. The epidemic is costing billions in dollars and taking the lives of many. Illicit use of prescription has begun to take more lives than both cocaine and heroin. Prescription drugs are now used more than any of the illegal street drugs, except for marijuana. There are more people entering into rehab for prescription drug dependence than any other drug.
Risks Of Prescription Drug Abuse
The health risks that come with abusing prescription drugs is as serious, if not more serious than using illegal opiates. Emergency room visits due to using these drugs was most common for men and women between 21-29 years old. The group associated with the highest risk of death due to prescription drug abuse is white males aged 40-50.
It seems that the risk of a fatal overdose increased with higher dosages, rapidly increasing doses, having multiple prescriptions, refilling early, and using other drugs that fall into the sedative-hypnotic category. Another alarming fact about prescription drug addiction is that newborns are increasingly suffering from withdrawal symptoms related to opiate use.
Teens And Prescription Drugs
Because prescription drugs are so widely prescribed and easy to find in almost every household medicine cabinet, high school aged and even younger children are able to obtain pain medications for recreational use. In 2009, 20% of high school aged kids reported to having used prescription drugs for fun and the numbers continue to rise. Prescription drugs are now second to marijuana in popularity among this age group. Use of these drugs seems to be more prevalent among teens living in rural areas. In these towns, the abuse of pain medications has truly become an epidemic.
The Connection Between Crime and Prescription Drug Use
Deaths from automobile accidents are in decline but the deaths that do occur are increasingly caused by prescription narcotics. In 2009, 33% of people killed in an automobile accident tested positive for prescription drugs. The study included narcotics, stimulants, and depressants used for both non medical and medical purposes. Break ins and thefts from pharmacies have also seen a dramatic rise. Addicts who are no longer able to obtain drugs from old sources will resort to robbery to feed their addiction. As more and more individuals become addicted to prescription narcotics, the number of such incidents will also increase.
Learn more about the prescription drug rehab options available at Seasons Malibu.
The American Hustle star has opened up a bit about how he got sober and his relationship with British model Waterhouse.
You may be familiar with 39 year old Cooper through his breakout roles in The Hangover trilogy, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle which have contributed to his current success as Hollywood’s golden boy. What many of Cooper’s fans don’t know is that the actor struggled through some dark times to get to this high point in his career.
Bradley Cooper Opens Up About His Struggles With Addiction
In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Cooper opened up about his past, specifically his struggles with drugs and alcohol. The Oscar nominee says he made the decision to get sober at age 29 when he came to the realization that his drug and alcohol use was holding back a career as an actor. Cooper knew that if he continued to drink and do drugs, it would end up have irreversible effects on his life. The transition happened after a rough period in Cooper’s life and career.
He hit his bottom during the period working on the hit TV show Alias. Cooper found himself battling depression and having suicidal thoughts when his role on the series didn’t quite pan out. He asked to have himself written off the show, which was a bold move for a young actor but the decision eventually paid off. Cooper took the opportunity to focus on getting sober, which has helped him not only with his career but with personal issues as well. He says being sober helped him be his true self and feel more comfortable about working with others in Hollywood.
Cooper Not Your Traditional Jock
Cooper isn’t usually comfortable with talking about his personal life, relationships, or sobriety. In the recent interview with GQ, Cooper tried to focus on his artistic and career choices rather than on his personal struggles. The actor may have an all-American, jock image, but his love of cinema and literature set him apart from other actors.
Bradley recently celebrated a birthday and a one year anniversary with model girlfriend Suki Waterhouse. The 22 year old British model shares a birthday with Cooper as well. The two were spotted enjoying a motorcycle ride together in Los Angeles for their birthdays. Friends of Waterhouse are saying the relationship between the two has grown stronger recently, as Waterhouse has put her hard partying ways behind her and stopped drinking.
Bradley Cooper White House State Dinner
At the recent White House State Dinner, Cooper and Waterhouse were spotted holding hands and were all smiles as Cooper chatted with other attendees. The relationship does indeed seem to be going strong. Perhaps the couple’s sobriety together, as well as the recent success of both their careers has something to do with it. Either way, the two are choosing to keep an air of privacy in regards to their personal lives, choosing instead to focus on work and building a relationship with each other.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, learn more about the drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs at Seasons Malibu.
The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman last Sunday has triggered a flood of emotional responses both from fans and professionals who are part of the Hollywood community. Hoffman inspired a generation of younger actors to hone their craft and make challenging decisions when it came to their choices of roles. Hoffman’s tragic death has also been a sort of wake up call for those who abuse drugs and for people to change their attitudes towards drug abusers.
One such actor who has been affected by Hoffman’s death and has spoken out about addiction is 27 year old Shawn Pyfrom. The Desperate Housewives star has played Marcia Cross’ son Andrew Van de Kamp on the show for the past eight years. Pyfrom has opened up about his addiction, saying that while it may have helped his acting when it came to playing the Van de Kamp character, he can also no longer continue to abuse drugs. Pyfrom is concerned about all the talented actors and musicians that drugs have taken the lives of. While it may seem that drug use enhances creativity, the truth is that it really destroys lives.
Pyfrom Is Grateful
Pyfrom is grateful for the success he has had, but also admits that his drug use put a lot of strain on his relationships and may have cost him to miss out on some big opportunities with his career. Since coming out publicly about his struggle, Pyfrom has received support from fans and fellow actors for his candid words. Pyfrom came out about his addiction and newfound sobriety as a way to show support for others who are struggling, rather than to appear superior or judgemental.
Since Desperate Housewives stopped airing in 2012, Pyfrom has continued to act on television series’ and tv movies. He believes his addiction had a part in limiting his professional opportunities. Now five months sober, Pyfrom looks forward to continuing to maintain his sobriety and open new doors in both his personal and professional life.
Is Drug Addiction A Disease Or A Choice?
The death of Hoffman has once again opened up the debate about whether or not an individual has control over becoming an addict. The prevailing attitude toward addicts in this country is a more unsympathetic one. Many view the choice to use drugs as a selfish one and show little to no sympathy to those who die from an overdose. Medical experts on the other hand, view addiction as a disease that deserves specialized treatment. Addicts can recover and deserve the treatment that can help them do that.
Proponents of this view argue that until attitudes toward drug addiction change in this country, the number of addicts and death by overdose will continue to rise. While the loss of a talented actor like Hoffman is truly heartbreaking, there are thousands of other Americans out there struggling with addiction who also don’t make it and perhaps could have conquered their addictions if things were different.
Addiction is a disease that is complicated for a number of reasons. The exact causes of a person’s addiction can be quite varied and may date as far back as childhood. Addiction is often caused by a number of factors that may range from a genetic predisposition to environmental factors.
Often, when a person is addicted to a substance, they are in the presence of a number of people and situations that are enabling or triggering an addict to use. For this reason, systemic therapy is a highly effective type of treatment because it uses a number of methods to help treat and identify problems within an addict’s entire life and body.
Many treatment centers recognize that there is a connection between physical and mental health. For this reason, physical activity is an integral part of many treatment programs. Through physical activity, a recovering addict can help gain a sense of balance, inner strength, and willingness to overcome major obstacles.
When an addict begins to find physical strength, they may naturally feel stronger in the face of uncomfortable emotions or actions that they would rather not take. Many physical activities also offer a chance to find some sense of calm and even meditation.
One thing that can be difficult for a recovering addict is achieving peace of mind and the ability to recognize destructive thoughts and then choose not to indulge in them. Activities like yoga or outdoor activities can help cultivate a sense of total mental and physical well being.
Addiction is a disease that affects not just the addict but everyone close to them. Often, when one person in a family is struggling with addiction, they are part of a system of behaviors that may be feeding into and even perpetuating addictive behavior. For this reason, family therapy is often used as a means of treating addiction.
In systemic family therapy, a counselor works with an addict and their entire family and helps facilitate a number of important and constructive conversations. It is not uncommon for family members of addicts to experience feelings like guilt, shame, and regret.
It is also highly likely that when a family member is suffering from addiction, other members in the family may be behaving in a way that is inadvertently triggering addictive behavior. Family therapy offers an analysis of the family system as a whole and gives both the addict and their family a chance to find healthy ways of functioning together.
There are a number of ways in which an addict may be cultivating an unhealthy life for themselves. Among the most common triggers for use are stress and anxiety. It is possible that many of the lifestyle choices an addict is making may be making them more prone to use without them even realizing it.
In treatment, a recovering addict and his counselors and doctors work to assess the addict’s life as a whole. While treatment is certainly focused on using, it is also important to look at other aspects of one’s life that may be impacting the addict’s mental health. If an addict is in an unhealthy romantic relationship, for example, they are at far greater risk for experiencing stress and anxiety, as well as for experiencing the emotional highs and lows that are often associated with drug use.
Other factors, such as a job that makes one extremely unhappy or puts them in a state of real and severe stress may be contributing factors to an addict’s use. Treating the person and their life as whole helps greatly increase the chances that an addict will find lasting success and happiness in life after rehab.
Entering addiction treatment can be a very tumultuous time. Often, by the time an addict has decided to enter a treatment facility, they have hit “rock bottom” and endured several painful and emotional moments. Addiction is a dangerous and destructive disease that has a disastrous impact on all aspects of an addict’s life.
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain becomes hardwired for addiction, meaning that their reward receptors become so accustomed to consuming more of a drug that they place finding and consuming drugs above any other life activity, such as holding down a job or maintaining important and meaningful relationships.
These destructive behaviors can only continue for so long before an addict realizes that their life cannot continue as is. This is frequently the time when an addict makes the life changing decision to enter a treatment center.
Initial Stage of Treatment
The first thing that an addict must do upon entering a treatment facility is to detoxify from the substance they are addicted to. In treatment, there will be a team of medical professionals and addiction specialists available to help make sure that as an addict detoxes, their physical condition is monitored and treated safely and effectively.
This is by no means an easy process, because when a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain becomes so used to receiving more of the substance they are addicted to that it fires off severe withdrawal symptoms when it does not receive the substance it is addicted to.
Withdrawing from drugs or alcohol may not be easy, but a recovering addict can hold onto the knowledge that at the other end of this discomfort is health and the beginning of a new life.
Life Changes In Treatment
Once an addict has detoxed from the drug they are addicted to, they will have the mental and physical clarity to begin work on building the tools they need to regain a happy and sober life.
Being newly sober and removed from the life in which they used may come as quite a shock to an addict, as while they were using, their emotions were likely dulled by drugs. Newly sober, a recovering addict may face very intense and severe emotions.
Like withdrawal, the sensations behind these emotions may not be pleasant or easy to handle, but they are also very important and in many ways the key to finding real and lasting emotional growth. Without experiencing these strong emotions, no major or lasting change can be made.
Hard Work Leads to Major Transformation
It is important to remember that sobriety, like anything of worth, takes work and discipline to achieve. Recovery is by no means an easy process, nor is it as fast one. There are challenges throughout the way, and there is no cure for addiction. A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol must continue the process of recovery throughout their entire life.
The hard work and challenges that recovery and treatment, present, however, also offer tremendous rewards. No matter how damaged or troubled an addict’s life has become because of drugs and alcohol, there is always a chance to find a new life, free from the chains of addiction.
With the right treatment and a willingness to work through the necessary steps to change the way one thinks, an addict can hope to once again have meaningful relationships and a full and rich existence. With sobriety comes a wealth of things that could not be possible when an addict was helplessly tied to the dangerous and destructive chemical that they were dependent on.
Rehab is a time of healing and discovery for many people. In treatment, newly recovering addicts have access to a number of resources that help them to gain the tools they need to carry on with a safe, happy, and sober life. Much of treatment may involve time spent with counselors talking through one’s past and identifying the roots of addiction, which my range from issues in one’s past to current psychological problems like depression, anxiety, and low self worth.
Another important and highly effective aspect of treatment is treatment activities. These activities range from center to center and from addict to addict, but one thing they all have in common is that they provide a wonderful healing experience, during which a recovering addict has a real chance to build their sense of strength and healthfulness.
Treatment Activities Designed to Strengthen Body, Mind, and Spirit
One thing that treatment activities all have in common is that they provide an experience that brings about positive change in a recovering addict. Activities are a highly effective way of bringing about transformation because by their very nature, they require a certain level of engagement.
Through action, a person must use a wide variety of their mental, physical, and spiritual skills to achieve success both in the activity and then in the longer process of achieving sobriety. It is, of course, possible to take in lessons that are learned through listening and reading, but the lessons that one learns through action tend to be absorbed in a more immediate and lasting way.
Different Kinds Of Treatment Activities
There are a number of different types of treatment activities that may be employed by treatment centers. One very popular treatment activity is yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that is used to help achieve strength, balance, and flexibility of the body and the mind. Yoga is a meditative practice that helps recovering addicts find healing. One major aspect of yoga is that it encourages individuals to quiet the mind, and to become very in-tune with their bodies and the limits they can be pushed to.
By quieting the mind through meditation and yoga, recovering addicts can strengthen their ability to be more aware of their impulses, and, perhaps more importantly, their ability not to act on them. Another popular type of treatment activity is hiking. Hiking and similar outdoor activities allow a recovering addict to spend time in nature. Nature has a way of being a wonderfully restorative influence on those who are seeking peace, health, and clarity.
By spending time outside, recovering addicts are often able to connect to who they really are and to enjoy some time away from distractions and other stimuli. Hiking, like other forms of physical activity, is a great way for a recovering addict to get in the habit of pressing their boundaries and instilling in themselves the belief that they can and will overcome challenges and obstacles.
There are a number of other therapy activities that recovering addicts may take part in at their treatment centers. Some of these activities may even include things like equestrian therapy, wherein a recovering addict helps take care of and ride a horse and learn to care for themselves as they care for an animal.
Finding the Right Treatment Center
When choosing the right treatment center, a recovering addict has a number of factors to consider. Not least of these is whether the therapy activities at the centers are ones that appeal to them and that they may find strength, healing, and transformation in.
The activities at the treatment center, along with the staff and the environment in which treatment occurs may be key factors in determining the success of any given treatment program. With the right plan of action, a recovering addict who is determined to get healthy can find great transformation and healing.
Addiction is a dangerous disease that is also very frustrating and often terrifying for those who suffer from it. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, the chemistry of their brain actually changes so that it becomes hardwired to be singularly consumed with finding more and more of the substance it is addicted to.
For this reason, even though you may want to stop using, you may have found that you continued to use, or that you feel powerless to stop. This does not mean that you cannot recover from addiction. It simply means that you need professional medical help and support in order to gain the tools you need to regain control of your mental and physical health by enrolling in a treatment program.
The first step to gaining control over your addiction is to undergo the process known as detox or detoxification. Because your brain chemistry has been altered to be dependent on drugs or alcohol, your brain’s reward receptors may react very negatively when they do not receive the substance that they are addicted to.
The reactions that your body undergoes during this process are referred to as withdrawal symptoms and may include things like nausea, fever, and even seizures. For this reason, you may have little to no success when attempting to detox on your own, and may even face serious health risks if you do so. Detoxing in treatment ensures that you will make it through the process of withdrawal successfully because you will be surrounded by a support team of doctors and counselors.
A Safe Space In Treatment
Once you have gone through the process of detoxing, you will have much more mental clarity. In a treatment center, you will also finally be free of many of the things that may have previously prevented you from successfully quitting before, including access to drugs or alcohol. You will also have some time away from many of the people and events that may be triggering you to use, including other users or stressful or unpleasant situations.
Building Tools In Recovery
While in treatment, you will work with doctors, counselors, and perhaps fellow recovering addicts to cultivate tools that will help you maintain sobriety long after you leave the protected space of the treatment center. You will work with counselors on a number of things, including getting to the root of what led you to use and continue to use in the first place.
You will also work with treatment center staff to discover ways in which you can deal with triggers like stress and anxiety without drugs or alcohol. A big part of this therapeutic process will also entail engaging in activities and discussions that help you improve your self image and affirm your belief that you can and will overcome addiction.
Hope For a Better Life
The process of achieving sobriety is not simple or easy, but it is well worth the hard work that it requires. You may have spent a very long time feeling lost and hopeless in the throes of addiction, but regardless of how long you have been a prisoner to drugs or alcohol, you can and will find freedom.
The right treatment center will help you use the strength that already lies in you to carry on to a happy, healthy and productive life. Addiction is a disease that requires ongoing work and steps to maintain recovery, but with the right program, you will be able to return to your life empowered and ready to contribute to the world and the people around you in a real and meaningful way.
As one makes their way through recovery, it is important to understand the causes of their addiction and what led them to use in the first place. It is also important to understand as many of the factors as possible that are in place that should be addressed in order for an addict to effectively recover, both the addict and their professional team must understand any types of co-occurring disorders.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
When a person is said to have co-occurring disorders, they are also said to have what is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is what happens when a person is diagnosed with both addiction and another psychological disorder. These disorders may be quite varied and may include things like depression, anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobias, and schizophrenia.
How Often Do Disorders Occur Together?
It is very common for a patient in recovery to be diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. There seems to be quite a bit of crossover between mental illness and drug abuse. In fact, as many as 37% of alcoholics have some other type of mental illness, as do 53% of narcotics abusers.
Similarly, of the individuals who have been identified as those who suffer from mental illness, 29% may also abuse drugs or alcohol. The connection between drug and alcohol abuse may seem fairly clear, as there are a number of reasons that a person with a mental illness may be prone to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.
Psychological Disorders and Drug Abuse
One of the reasons that psychological may be so closely tied to drug and alcohol abuse is that many drug users use the drugs to numb or dull any sense of emotional pain that may occur. This temptation may be particularly strong in individuals with psychological disorders because disorders like depression and anxiety lead the person who is suffering from them to experience a number of unpleasant and even painful sensations.
An individual who is suffering from a disorder may be using drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate their problem and find that they are quickly dependent on the drugs. It is also possible for a person to develop addiction first, and then to begin to suffer from psychological disorders as a result of their addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction can lead to many highs and lows, including severe depression and even hallucinations.
Treating Co-Occurring Disorders in Recovery
It is important that both the addict and the counselors helping them understand co-occurring disorders because it is imperative that both issues are adequately treated in order for for an addict to begin to live in a healthy and sober way. It is difficult, if not impossible to achieve and maintain sobriety while an addict is also suffering from another disorder, because one issue feeds the other. In order for an addict to get the clarity they need to work toward health and through the deep seated roots of their addiction, they must also work on resolving any other psychological disorders.
Detox, Rehab, and Psychological Help
In order for a recovering addict to find health, they should have both their addiction and their psychological disorder treated at the same time. This cannot be done, however, until the addict has detoxed from the drug they are addicted to.
For this reason, the first step of any treatment program is always detoxification, because no real work can be done while drugs or alcohol are in an addict’s system. Once an addict has detoxed, they can continue into the process of rehab and psychological therapy to treat both disorders.