Sober Curious – A New Fall Trend

Sober, Sexy, Cool

A growing group of Americans is reducing their consumption of alcohol or cutting it out. Interest in the “sober curious” community can be seen at new alcohol-free bars and events and online, with more than 1.2 million #soberlife Instagram posts and more than 500,000 #soberissexy posts.

The demographic is wide-ranging and all-encompassing, CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula reports. Some people are recovering from alcohol addiction, but for a large part, many are abstaining from alcohol in pursuit of a healthier, cleaner lifestyle.

“It’s really hard to be, like, in your early 20s and, you know, doing things that don’t revolve around drinking,” said 23-year-old Mikaela Berry, one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who identify as “sober curious.”

Berry added that she likes going out and meeting people, but “the connection’s not as genuine” when everyone is drinking.

“There’s this kind of blind spot in a culture where a lot of our social life, and a lot of our nightlife, is exclusively built around alcohol,” said Lorelei Bandrovski, who created Listen Bar in New York, a pop-up booze-free bar and social space for clear-headed connections.

Bandrovski said she sees “big business indicators” that the sober market is growing. Major brands like Budweiser and Heineken now sell zero-alcohol beers. The non-alcoholic beer industry is expected to grow to over $25 billion by 2024, and there’s also a slew of alcohol-free spirits saturating the market.

“I think now it comes from a place of … people being very considerate with their choices,” Bandrovski said.

The movement is also helping those in recovery. MJ Gottlieb created the app Loosid to connect recovering addicts and the sober curious.

“It comes down to connection and engagement,” he said. “When I was getting sober, it was diners and coffee shops, right?” Now, with the app, people can connect through “sober dating, sober events, sober travel, sober groups,” he said. “That’s the magical part.”

Loosid user Philip O’Hara has been in recovery for over three years.

“We grow up hearing, you know, alcohol is bad, and what they don’t tell us is the first time we have a drink is, it actually feels good,” he said. “I remember, like, being at a bar, 23-years-old … feeling complete, not OK until I had a drink.”

O’Hara said an app like Loosid provides a space to socialize safely. One of the alcohol-free places he has gone to is Getaway in Brooklyn, one of the first brick-and-mortar sober bars in the country.

“You have a platform for people to be connected with other sober people, and then the ‘sober curious’ movement gets brought into it,” he said. “And it turns out you like going to the sober bar, you have more fun, you make more connections, and then you decide on your own that, like, ‘I actually have more fun without alcohol.’”

A new study from the University of Hong Kong found abstaining from alcohol could actually boost mental health and well-being.

Asked if he thinks sobriety can help improve mental health, O’Hara said, “I think it’s a huge part of what’s driving this sober curious movement is the amount of mental health and depression issues that people are realizing they can’t solve with substances.”

Berry also said she thinks her generation is prioritizing mental health. “We talk a lot about self-care now,” she said.

We at The Palms Recovery want you to start living your best life, still enjoy doing the things you love, and reach your full potential. We are here 24/7 at 1.844.80.PALMS. Your future self thanks you in advance. 

Do I Suffer From Addiction?

How do you figure out if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol? First, you might recognize common signs of addiction like negative consequences of your use in multiple settings, like work, school, and home. It can be hard to admit these facts to yourself, so you might talk to a trusted person about your concerns. Finally, meeting with a qualified addiction professional can offer you more insight and answers.

As the saying goes, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” Denial is a large part of addiction, and breaking through self-deception can be very difficult. Many addicts have to reach a low point before they will accept that their drug use is a serious problem in their life. This low point may be different for different people, and it could be as simple as realizing you are neglecting other hobbies, or as serious as legal trouble or divorce.

Maybe your friends have joked about your drinking or drug use, or every now and then you wonder if there could be an actual problem at play. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) reports that most Americans who fit the requirements for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency don’t think they would benefit from getting help in a top private addiction treatment facility. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol:

Does my drug use prevent me from exercising or eating a healthy diet?

Do I drink or use more than other people I know?

Has my drug use caused me to miss school, work, or other obligations?

Does the idea of going without drugs or alcohol make me uncomfortable?

Do I sometimes drink more than I intended?

Do I continue to use large amounts of drugs or consume large amounts of alcohol despite legal trouble, such as a DUI or probation?

Are drugs and alcohol my only form of stress relief?

Has my drug use escalated significantly since I began using?

Have I ever blacked out from excessive drug or alcohol use?

Do I need alcohol or drugs to have fun?

Recognizing Consequences

It’s easy to justify drug or alcohol use is something you want to do, even if others don’t approve and your level of use is higher than most. However, living life constantly under the influence of drugs often leads to depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. Drugs and alcohol actually affect brain chemistry after continual use, so even if you think you are all right with your current drinking and drug use, eventually your body may be damaged by their long-term effects.

Be Honest With Yourself

Knowing you have a problem and accepting it are two different things. Accepting that your drug and alcohol use is a problem means admitting to others that continuing to use is detrimental to your health and safety, even if you are unable to stop on your own.

You may not think you are worthy of being sober, of living a normal life, but everyone has the right to live a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Even if there are other barriers to the life you want, becoming sober makes every aspect of life easier. Addiction treatment can help you uncover your potential.

Take the Next Step

If your drug and alcohol use is creating problems at home or in your professional life, it may be time to consider getting help. There is no shame in reaching out to learn how to manage your life without drugs or alcohol. While it seems like a lot to give up, you will gain so much more in the manner of a balanced, healthy life. If you would like to talk to someone about your drug or alcohol use, or learn about options for treatment, call our helpline 844-80-PALMS to speak to one of our counselors.

Are you being honest?

Honesty is key in Addiction Recovery

Honesty is a virtue that humans are taught from the time they learn to speak. For those in recovery, the importance of honesty is immeasurable. Addicts need to be honest with themselves and others to begin any semblance of healing. It is often suggested that people who are not honest in their relationships with their friends, family, and support community are more at risk of relapse. Dishonesty can be a trigger because when people lie, they become worried about what will happen once the truth comes out.

The reasoning behind the lying is often so the individual can hide from the consequences of their own actions. This, in turn, brings on feelings of shame and guilt, causing the person to isolate themselves. Isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, which when mixed with feelings of guilt and shame can cause a relapse. It’s a vicious cycle that can be prevented by being honest from the start.

Stuck in Addiction

Recovery can feel impossible if one is not willing to be open and honest with themselves and the people around them. This is because those that lie are often living in denial, hiding away from the difficult challenges that lie ahead. Recovery cannot progress this way, as you cannot take the appropriate steps to fix your problems if you refuse to be honest with yourself or the people around you about your addiction.

Lying is often used to justify someone’s continued addiction. Being unable to manage your life without the aid of drugs or alcohol makes recovery impossible as you fall back into old habits. You must face difficulties as they come to you, practicing honesty every single day to make it second nature. To help this process, try keeping a journal to monitor your behavior, recording any instances of dishonesty in your life so you are aware and can change this behavior.

The Mind of an Addict

Lying to others is often a natural coping mechanism developed by addicts in the midst of their addiction. Lies are told so the person can keep living in a state of denial and avoid admitting that they have an addiction. They lie to family members, friends, and anyone else to obtain what they are wanting at the moment they crave it.

Without dishonesty, addicts would have to come face-to-face with the anger, hurt, and pain they have caused because of their substance abuse. Lying helps them camouflage their bad habits so they can try to maintain a clean image around those close to them and still continue using.

Honesty & Shame

Most people who are suffering or have suffered from substance abuse are often hiding trauma inside their subconscious. Feelings of remorse, regret, and guilt stagnate in their minds since they are likely to be embarrassed about what has happened.

Being honest means actively acknowledging and recognizing the truths you would probably not like to think about. It also means being vulnerable and opening up to others to discuss your weakness without restraint. This can be an incredibly uncomfortable process, especially when you must admit to things you have buried deep inside of you.

Being able to trust that honesty will set you free from trauma, shame, and guilt is the first step to progress. After this, you will be able to practice telling the truth and see the effect it has on your life.

Honesty & Recovery

It is known that you cannot heal if you are hiding from the reality that you are in. Ignoring its effects on you, your loved ones, and your life as a whole is catastrophic. In recovery, being honest with yourself means facing the underlying causes of your addiction. Learning to be completely honest does not happen overnight. You must practice it until it becomes second nature, even when it may be easier to lie.

It’s also important to note that humans are never honest 100% of the time, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you do slip and catch yourself lying. Humans make mistakes, but the power of realizing them and taking responsibility will help you grow. Rather than being hard on yourself, use the situation as motivation to progress in your recovery, and maintain positive thoughts.

Falling Back into Old Habits

Falling back into old habits and behaviors can seem rewarding at the moment. However, relapsing will cause you to feel the same guilt and shame as you did before recovery. This is because hiding behind lies causes damage to your personal relationships, yourself, and your overall recovery.

Lying causes your loved ones to once again walk on eggshells around you. They no longer trust you because of the lies you have told. Rebuilding relationships becomes harder, especially if you are not showing initiative to stay honest with those you love and care for.

Without honesty, there is no recovery. Being dishonest again causes recovery to slow because the person is unable to confront themselves about the harmful situation they are in and why. You cannot begin to heal without admitting there’s a problem in the first place. Treatment centers for addiction such as sober living homes can help you learn to be trusting and vulnerable, which makes it easier, to be honest with people as you progress in your recovery. Here at The Palms Recovery, we can help you begin your path to honesty and recovery. To learn more, call us today at (844) 80-PALMS.

Crush Temptation

If you have taken steps towards a life of sobriety and have completed a program of rehabilitation, you are probably looking forward to your new life and all the joy it promises to bring. However, addiction is an illness and, as with all illnesses, relapse is possible.

Many people are of the opinion that relapse occurs once a recovering addict begins taking drugs or drinking alcohol again. Nevertheless, the reality is that relapse begins to be set in motion as soon as the person thinks about drinking or taking drugs. Many who are in recovery will wrongly believe that it would be okay for them to have one drink or take drugs just once. They believe that they are now strong enough to drink or take drugs in moderation. At the back of their mind, they may know that to do so could be the start of their troubles but they may be romanticizing the times when they were using, which could be enough to signal a full-blown relapse.

Identifying Triggers

During rehabilitation, it is common for therapists and counselors to work with recovering addicts to help them identify their triggers. Some of these triggers will be obvious, but some less so. Once an individual has identified what causes him or her to turn to drugs or alcohol, he or she should, in theory, be able to avoid such triggers in recovery – but it is not always that easy.

While it is obvious that an alcoholic should avoid going to the pub with an old drinking friend, especially in the beginning to avoid temptation, it may not be obvious that a particular song will remind him or her of a time when drinking was a big part of life. Various situations can leave recovering addicts feeling vulnerable and open to How to Avoid Temptations in Recovery

If you have taken steps towards a life of sobriety and have completed a program of rehabilitation, you are probably looking forward to your new life and all the joy it promises to bring. However, addiction is an illness and, as with all illnesses, relapse is possible.

Many people are of the opinion that relapse occurs once a recovering addict begins taking drugs or drinking alcohol again. Nevertheless, the reality is that relapse begins to be set in motion as soon as the person thinks about drinking or taking drugs. Many who are in recovery will wrongly believe that it would be okay for them to have one drink or take drugs just once. They believe that they are now strong enough to drink or take drugs in moderation. At the back of their mind, they may know that to do so could be the start of their troubles but they may be romanticizing the times when they were using, which could be enough to signal a full-blown relapse.

Identifying Triggers

During rehabilitation, it is common for therapists and counselors to work with recovering addicts to help them identify their triggers. Some of these triggers will be obvious, but some less so. Once an individual has identified what causes him or her to turn to drugs or alcohol, he or she should, in theory, be able to avoid such triggers in recovery – but it is not always that easy.

While it is obvious that an alcoholic should avoid going to the pub with an old drinking friend, especially in the beginning to avoid temptation, it may not be obvious that a particular song will remind him or her of a time when drinking was a big part of life. Various situations can leave recovering addicts feeling vulnerable and open to temptation. It is important that these situations be identified and then avoided.

Avoiding Temptation

It is essential that recovering addicts avoid places where they used to take drugs or have a drink. Bars, clubs, parties, and anywhere else where drinking or drug-taking took place should be avoided altogether, especially in early recovery. It may even be the case that you need to take a different route in your car just to avoid them.

Many recovering addicts change their routines at home too, just to avoid the familiarisation of things they used to do when drinking or taking drugs. For example, if you always drank while watching football in the living room, try watching it in a different room, such as the bedroom.

Try to spend most of your time in places where alcohol and drugs would be unacceptable, such as a library, museum, gym, or shopping center.

Just as you may need to avoid certain places in early recovery, you may need to avoid certain people as well. The individuals you used to drink or take drugs with should be avoided, especially if they are still drinking or taking drugs. In early recovery, you are probably not strong enough to associate with old drinking or drug-taking friends, so for the time being, avoid them.

You may also have to consider avoiding social media for a while, especially if these people are posting photos and comments about the ‘fun’ they are having while partying. If you cannot avoid social media, consider deleting your old accounts and setting up new ones with ‘safe friends’.

Try to spend time with other recovering addicts you may have met through your time in rehab. You can also speak to professional counselors and therapists for advice and support if you feel as though you are in danger of relapse. Call The Palms Recovery today at 844-80-PALMS for free, confidential advice and support.

temptation. It is important that these situations be identified and then avoided.

Avoiding Temptation

It is essential that recovering addicts avoid places where they used to take drugs or have a drink. Bars, clubs, parties, and anywhere else where drinking or drug-taking took place should be avoided altogether, especially in early recovery. It may even be the case that you need to take a different route in your car just to avoid them.

Many recovering addicts change their routines at home too, just to avoid the familiarisation of things they used to do when drinking or taking drugs. For example, if you always drank while watching football in the living room, try watching it in a different room, such as the bedroom.

Try to spend most of your time in places where alcohol and drugs would be unacceptable, such as a library, museum, gym, or shopping center.

Just as you may need to avoid certain places in early recovery, you may need to avoid certain people as well. The individuals you used to drink or take drugs with should be avoided, especially if they are still drinking or taking drugs. In early recovery, you are probably not strong enough to associate with old drinking or drug-taking friends, so for the time being, avoid them.

You may also have to consider avoiding social media for a while, especially if these people are posting photos and comments about the ‘fun’ they are having while partying. If you cannot avoid social media, consider deleting your old accounts and setting up new ones with ‘safe friends’.

Try to spend time with other recovering addicts you may have met through your time in rehab. You can also speak to professional counselors and therapists for advice and support if you feel as though you are in danger of relapse. Call The Palms Recovery today at 844-80-PALMS for free, confidential advice and support.

Avoiding Temptation 

Recovery from substance abuse is an ongoing process that takes a lot of hard work and dedication. And sometimes – people can slip along the way.

The temptation to use drugs or alcohol can feel like too much to handle for many people.

If you are one of these individuals, you might turn back to your old ways of abusing substances at some point after your initial recovery.

But this temporary setback does not mean that recovery is not possible or that you have failed.

Relapse is a relatively common setback for those seeking lifelong recovery. So it is important to understand the reasons why you may turn to use the substance again at some point. By gaining a greater understanding of your own reasons for drug use, you can better help yourself:

  1. Plan for post-rehab life.
  2. Resist future use temptations.

Why Preventing Drug Relapse Is Important

Relapse during substance abuse recovery is not uncommon. As much as 60% of people working through substance abuse recovery return to substance use at least once.1

In some cases, substance abuse relapse rates climb as high as patient relapse rates for various medical conditions, including1:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Asthma.
  • Type 1 diabetes

Beyond the immediate harms of the substances being used again – be it alcohol or drugs, or both – there are some additional, less-obvious risks faced by those individuals who relapse.

Overdose

Relapse can be very risky for many reasons – not the least of which is skewed dose estimations.

If you find yourself relapsing, you may try and return to your pre-recovery dose – a dose that your body no longer has the same tolerance for. This pre-recovery dose can potentially lead to overdose and other serious health problems.

One drug that makes individuals particularly prone to relapse overdose is heroin, especially when it is taken in combination with other drugs.2,3 Heroin relapse and overdose can even lead to accidental death, as was the case for Janis Joplin – a famous blues-inspired American vocalist who rose to fame in the late 1960s.

Psychological Struggles

Beyond the risk of overdose, relapse brings with it a whole host of additional health issues related to substance use – including psychological struggles.

If you have ever relapsed, yourself, you may feel as though you have failed. The danger of these feelings of failure is that they may potentially drive you even further into substance abuse, especially if you do not feel that you have a strong support base to work from.

But reverting back to substance use is not a sign of failure. It is instead a sign that you may have more learning to do and more opportunities for growth.

What Causes Drug Relapse?

Everyone has their own reasons for seeking treatment, just as everyone has their own reasons for using a substance again after a period of abstinence. No two people are going to have the same recovery journey, and drug use habits can be difficult to break right away.

Leaving the safe space of a treatment program can also result in any number of feelings that may tempt a person into use again.

Some common reasons that people relapse after treatment include5:

  • Boredom.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Believing they are no longer addicted.
  • Relationship problems, including break-ups.

Gender Differences

There also seems to be a distinct gender difference when it comes to particular reasons that may factor into a relapse.

Men have reported the following as major contributors to relapse:

  1. Feelings of anger.
  2. Having excess money.
  3. Prematurely stopping their aftercare treatment.

Women have reported a different set of contributors to relapse:

  1. Depression.
  2. Loneliness.
  3. The discomfort of withdrawal.

Cravings

In addition to these commonly gender-specific drives to relapse, many people also face the challenge of simply wanting to use again due to cravings that may have developed over the course of previous substance abuse.

Abusing a substance can change your brain as it begins to adjust to the presence of drugs in your system. The reason you develop tolerance to a drug’s effects is that your brain has adjusted to higher than normal levels of certain chemicals. When substance use is suddenly stopped, your body may still crave the high chemical levels and stimulation that the substance provided.

The good news is that cravings will begin to ease as you maintain abstinence longer and longer. Detox programs and medications can also play a role in minimizing the cravings you may experience.

While these cravings may never disappear entirely, they will get easier and easier to cope with and resist over time and with proper professional and social support.

Lack of Social Support

Social support plays a major role in recovery and fostering a sense of belonging within a community that encourages a person’s recovery can help prevent relapse.

Some common factors that have traditionally contributed to the occurrence of substance relapse have included5:

  • Relationship problems.
  • Loneliness.
  • Prematurely dropping out of aftercare meetings.

All of these factors relate to how well supported an individual feels in his or her recovery journey.

Social Support Helps Prevent Relapse

Social support has been associated with a significantly lower risk of relapse among former substance users. This preventative effect seems to be particularly successful when social support remains strong – or gets even stronger – following the completion of formal treatment.

Social support has even appeared to have a positive impact on people struggling with a dual diagnosis and typically involves:

  • Encouragement from others towards abstinence.
  • Enhancement of personal self-worth.
  • Assurance that the recovering user has a sense of belonging within the family or within another social sphere.

Poor Lifestyle Choices

Certain actions you may choose to take after you’ve finished your initial rehabilitation can also increase your chance of relapsing.

Returning to Familiar Stomping Grounds and Triggers

When individuals leave the sober safe haven of formal treatment, they may sometimes go right back to the environment where they were abused in the first place.

Returning to the site where the problems began, however, often sets off familiar triggers that can strongly tempt the individual to abuse the substance again. Hanging around people that are using the substance can also pose irresistible temptations to use again. As a result, the risk of relapse can potentially increase.

So being intentional about avoiding these environmental and social triggers can greatly help you guard against relapse.

Not Dealing with Life Stressors and Other Mental Health Issues

Some people additionally leave treatment without adequately addressing life stressors and other mental health issues that may have driven them to abuse drugs in the first place.

Therapy – and in some cases, medication – can provide you with the tools that can help you cope with these mental health issues. Most addiction rehab programs will incorporate therapy into your treatment plans and consider therapy to be one of the cornerstones to recovery.

Ultimately, it will be up to you whether or not you choose to implement the tools your therapy has provided when your initial rehab treatment is done. Placing yourself in situations that could lead to the same problems of abuse is a personal choice that may lead to relapse and self-doubt.

Support After Drug Rehab

Having a sense of support is important throughout day-to-day life, but it is especially vital during times of challenge and stress.

Recovering from substance abuse is challenging, to say the least – and feeling encouragement throughout the process can make a huge difference for a person’s long-lasting abstinence. This kind of important support can be provided not only by family and social support groups but also by your treatment program itself, in the form of aftercare.

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses – also known as therapeutic communities or sober living homes – are substance-free living environments that focus on recovery and successful reintegration into society. The housing community is composed entirely of recovering substance users so that everyone can support each other in their commitment to a sober lifestyle.

These communities not only help provide a sense of community, but they also reduce substance use temptations that may arise outside of treatment. Therapeutic communities have been found to be very helpful in maintaining abstinence after treatment – as well as in improving employment, legal outcomes, and psychological health.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment involves ongoing therapy and counseling just like inpatient treatment. The main difference between the two treatment structures is in the intensity of the treatment, as those in outpatient treatment get to return home at night after treatment. Sometimes medication support may be necessary to reduce cravings and to keep the recovering individual safe.

Certain individuals may pursue outpatient treatment as their primary recovery plan – while others may choose to stay connected with outpatient treatment following a stay at an inpatient facility.

Extending treatment beyond the inpatient treatment period can help further build up coping mechanisms and keep the individual’s drug refusal skills strong amidst temptations.

Medication Support

Certain substances may necessitate medication therapy to help a user through recovery. Opiate or heroin users, for example, maybe prescribed buprenorphine or naloxone to help reduce cravings.

Sometimes, medication assistance will only be needed for a short while following formal treatment. Other individuals will need a longer-term medication plan to help them resist relapse. The duration of medication use will depend on the substance of abuse as well as the individual’s particular needs.

Medications can help with recovery in a number of ways. They can:

  • Help to reduce cravings by mimicking the drug’s effect.
  • Preventing the effects of the substance that is abused.
  • Treat symptoms or conditions (such as depression or anxiety) that may develop as a result of stopping drug use.
  • Take the edge off of temptations to use.
  • Give a recovering person a more stable emotional and physiological base for maintaining abstinence.

Support Groups

Support groups are organizations of former substance users that come together to provide sobriety support for one another. The most well-known model of these is the 12-step program (one example of this is Alcoholics Anonymous), which follows a predetermined set of steps toward recovery, focusing heavily on surrender to a higher power and making amends with loved ones.

There are also non-12-step programs that take a more secular approach to recovery support. These non-12-step programs include:

No matter what kind of support group you choose, engagement with these important sources of aftercare has been associated with significantly lower rates of drug use for up to 30 months following formal treatment.12

Getting Support from Family and Friends

Beyond professional support, the love and encouragement from friends and family can have a major impact on a person’s recovery journey. Recovering users stand the best chance for lasting success when they are equipped with both professional aftercare and social support.

Advice to Family and Friends of a Loved One Seeking Recovery

Helping a friend or family member during the challenging post-treatment adjustment can come in many different forms. Below are some useful tips for supporting a loved one in their newfound sobriety.

1. Offer a Sober Environment

It is vital to reduce potential temptations that might make your loved one relapse. Offering a substance-free (and paraphernalia-free) environment – even if it’s just for visiting – is an excellent way to demonstrate support during recovery. A supportive environment also includes finding activities to engage in that don’t include substance abuse triggers.

Recovery isn’t an easy process, and making it as temptation-free as possible can really help during this challenging time.

2. Avoid Judgment, Offer Compassion

Throwing blame around does nothing to help a person through recovery. Judgment can come in different forms – from berating a person for always having used to asserting that recovery is as easy as “just not using.”

Judging recovering users only serves to alienate and isolate them, which runs directly counter to their chance for sobriety success. Instead of coming at the person with judgment, consider taking on a compassionate approach to the situation.

Addiction can be a major struggle to overcome, and a person who has completed a treatment program is demonstrating the desire to heal. Even through potential relapse scenarios, extending a compassionate, understanding hand will help a person much more than putting him or her down for struggling in the face of a challenge.

3. Seek Treatment for Yourself

The effects felt by substance abuse often ripple out and touch people close to the user. Dependency and addiction can be a burden – not only on the person who was abusing the drug but also on friends and family members who feel helpless in the face of a loved one’s decline.

These effects may extend into post-treatment as well, as many people who are close with a recovering user unknowingly take on the burden of recovery.

Seeking family therapy and personal counseling for yourself can be an invaluable source of strength if your loved one has been struggling through addiction and recovery.

It helps to have the freedom to safely express all the emotions that can come up throughout the recovery process – without dropping them on the person trying to maintain abstinence, as this person already has a lot to cope with.

Therapy and counseling can also teach you how to best support your loved one’s sobriety, as well as effective ways to cope with all the feelings that arise from having a loved one in recovery.

Learn More and Get Recovery Support

Recovery from substance abuse is a journey for everyone involved, from the user to the people close to them. Post-treatment life can be challenging, and getting proper support during the process can make a big difference in a person’s abstinence journey. To learn more about the recovery journey, including how to find the best treatment program, call us at 1-844-80-PALMS to speak with a treatment program support specialist.

Music Therapy and Getting Sober

Early on, we are often taught the advantages of playing an instrument or singing such as improving math and comprehension skills, but there are so many other benefits that we don’t learn about as we get older. For example, studies have shown that singing in groups can extend life expectancy, and playing a musical instrument can improve the connection between the hearing and motor skill areas of the brain. Learning to play an instrument or sing can benefit anyone, but for those of us in addiction recovery, the healing powers of playing music vary greatly and can help us tremendously! Here are some ways that implementing music by playing an instrument or singing can enhance our recovery:

Provides an Outlet for Self-Expression

As people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, learning to identify and express our emotions is crucial to staying clean and sober. It can be challenging for many of us to clearly tell others how we are feeling but taking the time to write or perform a song can allow us to articulate exactly what we’re going through. Even playing a song without lyrics can showcase what we’re trying to express through the use of dynamics, tempo changes, and general musicality. As recovering addicts, if we keep our emotional state buried inside, we can lead ourselves down a dark road of isolation, self-harm, and relapse.

Serves as a Natural Stress Reliever

The pressure we had put on our minds and bodies in active addiction could lead to stress-related disorders such as heart disease and stomach ulcers, so we need to find things to do in recovery that reduce our stress levels and keep us away from unnecessary chaos. Musicians have been found to have lower blood pressure and decreased risk of complications from heart disease. The repetition of movements and sounds while playing instruments or singing calms our minds and brings our stress levels down. How often did we justify our drinking and drug use because we had a bad day at work or the kids were driving us crazy? In addiction recovery, dealing with the stresses of daily life in healthy ways is pertinent to maintaining our sobriety since we can no longer rely on the crutch of substance abuse.

Improves Coordination

In early addiction recovery, we can get easily frustrated, feeling that our brains and bodies aren’t keeping up and functioning as well as they once did. We often feel foggy, slow, and like the lights are on but nobody’s home. Drugs and alcohol impair many brain functions, but there is good news – music can help us restore and even improve those skills! First and foremost, hand-eye coordination is increased while playing instruments since our mind has to work quickly to tell our bodies what to do. If we are reading and playing music, our cognitive functions will sharpen and reaction times will quicken. All of these enhancements will not just benefit us musically but also apply to other aspects of our lives such as work and school.

Increases Time Management Skills

As people in addiction recovery, time management and routines are extremely important in making sure that we accomplish all the things we need to do to stay sober. Many people view both musicians and addicts as lazy but gaining proficiency in an instrument requires extensive practice and staying sober takes a lot of hard work. Finding the time to schedule individual practice and group rehearsals amid our therapy sessions and mutual support group meetings forces us to sit down and do a little planning. Once we have a schedule written out, sticking to it will lead to a routine that can keep us busy in healthy and fulfilling ways.

The Palms Recovery is committed to your addiction recovery success. Your best life is just a phone call away. 1.844.80.PALMS

Our Pets and Staying Sober 

There has been proof showing that there are many health benefits of owning a pet. They can increase the chances of us to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels can be achieved by regular walking or playing with your pet. Pets can help us not feel loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. In the United States, most households have at least one pet, and we think it should be even more than that!

Pets and Staying Sober in Addiction Recovery

Studies have shown that increased fitness, lower stress, and happiness happens with people that have a strong bond between themselves and their pets. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

These are all great for staying healthy physically and mentally but what about staying sober? There are many struggles that people in recovery deal with daily. Staying sober is a daily task and must be made a priority if we want to stay on track. You would think that having a pet would get in the way of your routine that you finally found keeps you on your path to recovery, but this is the opposite.

There are many ways a pet, such as a dog or a cat, can support your sobriety.

A Sober Companion

When you involve yourself in fun sober activities, it is easier to stay sober. Having someone to do those activities with is even better and a huge factor in remaining sober. When you have a dog, there are so many available activities, which in turn help us avoid those triggering.

Unconditional Love

Support, compassion, and love are necessary for a successful recovery from drug addiction. A dog or a cat can offer this love and support, unconditionally. If you have a lapse, your dog or cat is not disappointed in you and will not give up on you. When you have such support it helps a lapse from becoming a relapse. Further, the unconditional relationship with your dog or cat will help you gain the capacity for self-forgiveness. When you forgive yourself for your mistakes and believe that you can move on, it is easier to keep going on your journey to recovery. Self-compassion, self-love, and support are necessary for a successful recovery from addiction and are made and helped maintained through your relationship with your dog or cat.

Improved Communication Skills and Improved Relationships

Your interaction with your dog or cat helps your communication skills, but they also help you meet new people. When recovering from addiction, it can be difficult to stay sober if you are hanging around the same people you were using with or for some of us, isolating So, making new friends who support your sobriety is often an important step in remaining sober. Dogs help you meet new people, rebuilding a safe social group of friends with common interests.

An Exercise Buddy

Exercise has been shown to support recovering addicts by fixing the chemicals in the brain. Exercise also aids in making daily routines and gaining a healthy lifestyle. When you have someone eager to do these activities with you it is easier to keep the exercise routine. This someone can be your dog who will always be ready to go for a run or hike, and may even join in on some downward dog in an at-home yoga session. A nice walk after dinner or an early morning hike will help restore a balance in your life, helping you to remain sober.

Cats and Dogs Require Your Care, Inspiring Responsibility

Having a dog or a cat will help hold you accountable in fulfilling your responsibilities and remaining sober. Having a dog or cat helps us re-learn responsibility. Your pet is completely reliant on you and your care. Just one night of not coming home, and your puppy or kitten will be hungry and alone. Your pets will give you a good reason to want to stay sober, to be able to take care of them.

At The Palms Recovery, our treatment facility upholds the highest standard of patient care. Our addiction treatment approaches are science-based for long-term recovery and relapse prevention.

Every second in active addiction makes it more difficult to reach out for help. Break the barrier of substance abuse and begin healing from the underlying causes of your addiction. Call 844-80-PALMS today. 

Healthy Diet Guide while Overcoming Addiction 

A healthy diet is important for everything from maintaining a normal weight to preventing elevated risks of things like stroke and heart disease. Significant scientific research goes into determining the effects of different foods on the human body, with general conclusions pointing to natural whole foods as the best option. For those hoping to maintain health in sobriety, particularly after months or years of abusive behavior, eating right is an essential part of the equation.

The Palms Recovery is dedicated to making a difference for those seeking a healthier, happier way of life, regardless of circumstance. With a focus on eating well in recovery and the right sober diet, it’s possible to improve recovery efforts by working to undo the damage drugs and alcohol can do to the body.

How Diet Suffers in Active Addiction

An addiction to drugs or alcohol often comes on slow, starting as a complement to normal activities. Users may start out taking pain pills to address pain from an accident or injury while still maintaining a normal life or drinking socially with friends. Over time, the importance of substances comes to outweigh the importance of things like getting exercise and eating right. As addiction escalates, regular meals fall by the wayside, with home cooking and healthy choices replaced by fast food, soda, and fattening snacks.

How diet is affected can vary from one substance to another. For those addicted to alcohol, a large portion of caloric intake comes from alcohol, not fruits, vegetables, and protein, leading to weight gain and obesity. In some cases, scurvy can develop in those who truly ignore fruit and vegetable requirements, leading to serious health concerns outside of standard risks, like liver disease.

The same can be true for those who are addicted to opiates, for example. Those with a serious issue who spend most of the day injecting heroin or taking pills may stop prioritizing food, leading to weight loss and the emaciated appearance often associated with meth and opiate use. Marijuana use, on the other hand, can contribute to a conditional colloquially referred to as the munchies, or a deep desire for a snack food that results in overeating fast food, chips, and candy.

Nutritional Supplements During Detox

The first stage in rehabilitation, detoxification is a five- to a seven-day program intended to help individuals with a substance use disorder to overcome the initial symptoms of physical withdrawal. Detox can be an extremely stressful period of time for those working to overcome addiction and is often an uncomfortable process. However, putting a focus on achieving proper nutritional intake as well as managing symptoms can provide a better foundation upon which to continue on to inpatient treatment.

Vitamins and minerals can’t necessarily help you flush out harmful substances in the body — your kidneys do this naturally for you — but they can go a long way in remedying the nutritional deficiencies that often affect those in active addiction. As such, recovering substance users in detox are encouraged to take appropriate doses of supplements like:

  • Vitamin B: One of the most essential groups of vitamins for healthy living, B vitamins are critical in helping the body convert sugar into energy as well as encouraging blood cell production. However, substance abuse can affect vitamin absorption, leaving these functions underserved. A good multivitamin can address the most common B vitamins, including B2, B6, and folic acid.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C can boost the immune system and increase energy, two benefits that can assist addicts in overcoming addiction. Additional vitamin C can help minimize symptoms like depression or fatigue, making a withdrawal a little easier to bear.
  • Calcium: Calcium plays a primary role in keeping bones strong. Unfortunately, heavy alcohol consumption can compromise calcium absorption, putting female alcoholics in particular at risk for osteoporosis. Taking calcium can help mitigate this risk, helping those in recovery to make up for a lost time.
  • Amino Acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play an important part in the production of both hormones and neurotransmitters, as well as improving mood. Most people get enough essential amino acids through the course of protein consumption, but those who aren’t eating proper protein levels due to addiction may be at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Accordingly, amino acids are regularly encouraged for those in detox.

It’s important to understand that to some degree, taking vitamins is a personal process. The medical professionals overseeing your treatment can help you identify which supplements are ideal for your drug or alcohol detox diet.

A Sober Diet

As you learn to embrace sobriety, a healthy diet should be a priority in your life. It’s far too easy for some recovering substance users to attempt to use food as a reward for staying sober, which results in continued poor habits rather than the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to maintain lasting sobriety. As compelling as it is to attempt to use sweets and snack food to fill the void left behind by drugs or alcohol, use this life change to shift all of your habits — not just the ones related to substance abuse. When planning your diet both in rehabilitation as well as when you are living independently, keep these tips for a sober diet in mind.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important for everyone, regardless of the history of substance abuse. Even if water hasn’t been a big part of your life before, make sure it is now. Shoot for eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Flavor packets or flavored seltzer water can make this easier for those adjusting to increased intake or who don’t yet have a taste for water.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables

Vegetables are packed with critical vitamins and nutrients, so getting plenty of leafy greens is always encouraged. Vegetables don’t have to be boring — with sauces, dressings, and creative preparation methods like roasting, you can turn what seems like something bland and boring into a delicious meal.

Focus on Complex Carbohydrates

Carbs are a big part of providing your body with energy, but it’s far easier to eat empty carbs than more nutritionally beneficial complex carbs. Instead of buying food items like white bread, which is generally a poor nutritional choice, pick whole wheat products, and include healthier options like brown rice and quinoa in addition to more traditional items like potatoes.

Prioritize Protein

A great source of amino acids and a necessary component to keep the body strong, protein is a must-have. Lean meats and poultry are great sources for those who choose to eat meat, but for those who don’t or would prefer to limit intake, nuts, seeds, and tofu can be excellent substitutes.

Dairy

Dairy products are good sources of both calcium and vitamin A, promoting strong, healthy bones and teeth as well as healthy digestion. Dairy products can be high in fat, but skim milk, yogurt, butter, and some cheeses can be a good way to supplement your diet.

Diet and Relapse

In a perfect world, a good diet could prevent relapse, but this, unfortunately, isn’t true. There’s no one way to prevent relapse and, sadly, around 40 to 60 percent of recovering substance users will relapse at least once before finally getting clean.

However, the realities of drug addiction don’t necessarily mean that a good diet won’t help. Eating right is part of overall wellness, and an alcohol recovery diet, for instance, can help those working to overcome addiction to feel better on the whole. A poor diet can result in stomach pain, headaches, weakness, fatigue, and lethargy, creating an unwell feeling that those in recovery may attempt to remedy with substance use. A healthy diet, on the other hand, can provide energy, clear-headed thinking, motivation, and an overall feeling of wellness. Those who eat right are also more likely to exercise regularly — a tactic many people use to overcome addiction, replacing substance use with the high of physical activity.

Addiction is always a dangerous situation, regardless of diet. However, the effects of a poor diet can only exacerbate the problem, adding to health risks and furthering a downward spiral. Proper health and wellness can offset the risks of ongoing substance use, encouraging overall wellness and a healthier perspective on life. If you or someone you love is working through addiction, The Palms Recovery can help, from detox to alumni programming. With a focus on proper supplementation and nutrition, we can support you on your journey to getting well. Make the call today 1.844.80.PALMS!

Lifting the human spirit is one of the most glorious gifts that nature has to offer mankind.

The renowned American naturalist and writer John Muir said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

Now science is proving that what we have known intuitively for eons is true in the purest sense of the word. Imagine a readily available remedy with no known side effects that could improve your mental and physical health. Sound too good to be true?

Recent studies have found that nature has the power to enhance your mental health as well as your sense of well-being, at virtually no cost and without adverse side effects!

How does Mother Nature work her magic? Here are just a few of the findings that researchers have discovered.

Nature Provides a Restorative Environment 

With no bells or whistles, beeps, or whirs to distract us, being surrounded by nature can help your mind shift into “neutral” gear, one that is more focused and attentive. Even having a view of nature from an office window was found to be associated with lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction. In fact, one study found that a person’s level of concentration increased after looking at photographs of nature.

Another study found that being in a natural environment, versus a busy or urban environment results in increased short term memory. For example, researchers found that walking in a garden setting boosted scores on memory tests by nearly 20% more than in individuals who walked down a city street.

On a related note, researchers found that college students who were asked to perform a memory task were more accurate after a walk in nature. These subjects were asked to repeat a sequence of numbers out loud, and those who did so after a walk in nature had greater accuracy than those who stayed indoors.

Echoing the findings of this study, researchers found that simply relaxing did not have the same kind of beneficial effect when concentrating that being in nature did. In their study, the researchers separated participants into three groups, with the goal of testing their ability to focus. One group was asked to relax, one group took a walk in nature and one group took a walk in a city. After the tasks were completed, the researchers tested each group on a concentration test and the nature group had the highest scores overall.

While as yet unproven, the attentional effect of nature is so powerful that some experts believe it may help decrease symptoms of ADHD. For example, one study found that children had better scores on concentration tasks after a 20-minute walk in a park.

Stress is an unfortunate part of our busy lives and oftentimes it’s easier to reach for a chemical or substance that we think will ease the pressure. That strategy usually only makes things worse!

Next Time You’re Stressed, Head Out to Nature 

Numerous studies have found that cortisol levels actually drop after spending time in the natural environment. Cortisol is a hormone that shows elevated levels in the body when we’re under stress and strain, and one study found that after subjects spent two nights in the forest, cortisol levels dramatically decreased. A similar study revealed that both cortisol levels and heart rate were decreased in subjects after spending a period of time in the forest versus the city.

Does nature have the ability to enhance the immune system? Researchers are hard at work attempting to show a correlation between exposure to the natural environment and immune system health. So far the results appear promising. For example, a large study conducted in 2010 found that forest environments can confer beneficial effects on the human immune system function, although it was noted that more research is needed in order to replicate these findings.

The immune system is crucial in helping the body to fight infection, colds, the flu, etc. Finding a reliable method of boosting the immune system would be a boon for millions of Americans.

Mental Health Challenges Lessen After a Person’s Exposure to The Natural Environment

Experts have discovered that forest walks are especially linked to decreased levels of anxiety, while such walks may be a valuable tool for mediating depression in certain individuals.

What all of this data points to is that the natural environment has been shown to exert a powerful influence on our physical health and mental well-being.

One day in the future will doctors prescribe a dose of nature to fix what ails us? Maybe! So far nature has been shown to be an inexpensive, safe, and accessible remedy for boosting concentration levels and immune system function and lowering cortisol and heart rate levels.  All of this data points to the powerful role that nature has to play in our quest for healing and wholeness.

While the health effects of nature are both promising and wide-ranging, it’s important to note that science has not revealed a cause-and-effect connection between the natural environment and health. However, what researchers are able to show, are strong correlations between exposure to nature and improved mental and physical health outcomes.

Many studies suggest that simply being surrounded by nature can improve our outlook and mood, and maybe even prolong our lives. And just think, all these benefits come without needing a doctor’s appointment nor a prescription!

Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at The Palms Recovery

Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents, and families who suffer from or are affected by this devastating disease.

At The Palms Recovery, we always put your recovery first and value the importance of your success in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (844)-80-PALMS today.

Addiction is a chronic disease that has the potential to negatively affect a person’s life and health. One of the casualties of a battle with addiction is the trail of damaged relationships it leaves in its wake. With the right kind of help, repairing relationships after addiction is possible.

ADDICTION: A FAMILY DISEASE

When one person in the family develops a substance abuse issue, it doesn’t solely affect them. No matter what their particular drug of choice happens to be, their addiction is a family disease, since it causes stress to the people living in the family home and to those people closest to the addict.

This disease has the potential to interfere with normal family life and routines. A person living with an addiction may behave in an erratic manner, depending on whether they are sober, drunk, or high, or recovering from a time when they were drinking or using drugs.

Someone who is in the throes of an active addiction may lie about how much they are drinking, how many drugs they are taking, or even that they are taking drugs at all. This is one of the symptoms of the disease, and it’s quite common for addicts to manipulate loved ones if it means they can get resources (money, food, a place to stay, cell phone, etc.) that will support the addiction.

Family members may also react to a loved one’s addiction by stepping in to help. Their motives may be for the best of intentions, at least at first. It can take time for a family to realize that they are dealing with a loved one who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The early stages of the disease can be subtle. Addicts can be very good at persuading family members that an episode where they were under the influence was an isolated one and that it will never happen again.” Unfortunately, in the case of someone who is living with an addiction, it always happens again.

Not everyone in the family will agree with trying to help the addicted family member. There may be people who think that taking a tough stance is the way to handle the situation. When family members disagree about the best way to deal with someone who has an addiction issue, conflict ensues and the person with the addiction is left to continue drinking or using drugs while the discussion or arguing goes on. The addict realizes that as long as the family is in turmoil, they’ll be able to feed their addiction relatively undisturbed. They are not going to allow anything to get in the way of feeding the addiction.

NUMBER OF FAMILIES AFFECTED BY ADDICTION

Addiction is, unfortunately, all too common today. Families dealing with a loved one struggling with this chronic disease may feel as though they are on their own, but these statistics may help to put the issue into a different perspective.

  • Of this number, about 1.9 million people developed an addiction to prescription pain medicines and 586,000 had an addiction to heroin.
  • Approximately 23 percent of those people who use heroin develop an addiction to opioids (the class of pain medications that includes morphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone).
  • In 2013, the number of Americans either dependent on alcohol or had problems related to alcohol use was 17.3 million, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN RECOVERY

The key to healing from addiction and rebuilding trust after the addict in your family has hurt all of you, let you down, disappointed you, and caused chaos more times than you can count is a drug and alcohol treatment program. Professional help is needed for people struggling with drug addiction to learn how to live a sober lifestyle and learn how to live without their drug of choice.

Part of this process is helping addicts come to terms with the fact that their lives don’t immediately become better once they stop using chemicals. Clients in recovery have to take responsibility for and deal with, the aftermath of events that occurred while they were still using drugs or alcohol. It was not their choice to use while they were in the cycle of addiction, but the harm caused to relationships with intimate partners, family members, and close friends still need to be dealt with. While in a drug and alcohol treatment center, the staff and counselors can help clients using several different techniques.

  • Set Realistic Expectations

A newly sober client may be feeling positive about the progress they’ve made in early sobriety and ready for a fresh start in a relationship. They may not be focused on the past, where they’re likely was a pattern of several years of negative behavior in the relationship. These issues cannot be resolved immediately, even if the client offers a sincere apology for past actions. Any action taken toward rebuilding the relationship is a victory, and these small steps need to be celebrated.

  • Rebuilding Trust Will Take Time

After a pattern where trust has been betrayed (and likely several times), rebuilding it is going to be a lengthy process. Someone who is living with an addiction will always put feeding their disease first. To ensure that they keep a steady supply of their drug of choice, they are prepared to lie, cheat, and steal if it means they can get their next fix or drink. This pattern is also used to hide the addiction (or the extent of it) from others to keep it going.

  • Learn Healthy Communication Methods

Communication is a two-way street, and it includes both talking and listening. Many people, when they are listening to someone else speak, are not really hearing what the other person is saying. They are waiting for a break in the conversation so that they can make their next point. This is not really the best atmosphere in which to have a healthy discussion.

During treatment, a client will be able to learn effective ways to communicate with others and how to truly listen to what another person is saying. There are healthy ways to deal with conflicts that don’t end up with someone feeling as though they “need” to tune out by using drugs or having a drink. Clients will also learn that it’s possible to resolve issues without resorting to emotional blackmail, trying to “guilt” someone into doing what you want, storming out and disappearing, or any of the other strategies they may have been using in the past.

Friends and family will feel more comfortable expressing themselves directly if they feel they will be heard. Effective communication techniques lower the risk of getting into petty disputes and teach clients what to do if the conversation gets too heated. They’ll learn strategies for either diffusing the situation by changing the subject or by withdrawing from the conversation without allowing it to escalate.

  • Eliminate Unhealthy Relationships

Not all relationships in a client’s life are healthy and positive ones. The bad ones won’t contribute to a healthy recovery. In fact, they’ll end up doing just the opposite —they’ll become a reason for a client to start to slip toward a relapse. People in a client’s life who are still using drugs and alcohol no longer have a place in his or her life. Neither do those who are, or have been, abusive toward the client.

Codependent people present another problem for clients in recovery. Some family members can take on a role where they “need” to look after the person with the addiction and want to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Once a client moves into recovery and is learning to take responsibility for their own actions from the past and to move forward in a chemical-free lifestyle, there is no room for someone to be making excuses for them anymore. The co-dependent family member needs to seek counseling to learn new behavior patterns.

TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS THAT NEED REPAIR

Addiction is an equal-opportunity damager and destroyer of relationships. All of a client’s closest personal relationships have the potential to be affected by substance abuse. It drives a wedge firmly between the people a person has pledged to hold nearest and dearest.

There is always hope to fix strained or damaged relationships, though. It’s never too early or too late to try to get back on track after a loved one has struggled with addiction. If friends and family members can learn about this disease, it does help to give them a better understanding of what their loved one has lived through. That is not the same thing as providing an addicted person with an excuse for all bad behavior committed while they were using; the addict still needs to be responsible for that when it comes to repairing his or her personal relationships.

  • Spouse or Partner

Trust is the foundation of the relationship between romantic partners. When addiction appears, it can wear down trust over time or shatter it all at once, depending on circumstances. Once compromised, trust is very challenging to get back. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

It’s possible to re-establish trust after it has been broken, but it takes a long time. A recovering addict should expect to have to come clean about everything they have been holding back from their spouse or partner as a starting point. From there, the spouse or partner will be the one to set some ground rules about gaining trust back.

  • Parents

Parents and grandparents are usually a person’s first source of physical, emotional, and financial support. From the time we are born, we learn to lean on our parents. If we have a good relationship with them, they are the people we know we can turn to during difficult times and they will always have our back.

This urge to help means that parents may feel angry, hurt and betrayed by an adult child who is living with a substance abuse issue. If a parent or parents have provided financial or practical support, only to realize they‘ve been helping to feed the addiction, they may feel foolish or that they had a hand in keeping their child sick, even though that was not their intention. Their adult child may still lie and steal from them, in spite of the help that the parents have provided since they’re compelled to feed their addiction.

  • Children

Children whose parents are addicts have relationship issues that need addressing as well. Very young children may not realize that their parent is behaving in a different manner from other mothers or fathers. As they get older, they may start to understand that their parent has an issue with keeping promises or being on time. The realization that the problem stems from drug or alcohol addiction will likely only come later in childhood.

Getting clean and sober is essential to having a good, honest relationship with children of any age. The younger the child, the easier it will be to get the relationship back on track. With older children, it will take time and patience to show the child that this change is permanent and that the parent will be keeping their word about being around for the child going forward.

  • Friends

Relationships with friends have likely suffered because of addiction, no matter how long it has existed. Some friends may have (knowingly or unknowingly) enabled the addiction to continue. Once an addict enters recovery, they will need to evaluate their friendships and eliminate the unhealthy ones.

It’s entirely possible for a recovered addict to rebuild their healthy friendships. The friends will have to adapt to a new, sober lifestyle for the recovering addict. Some friendships will not survive, even with the best of intentions, and will fall by the wayside. Others will evolve and become stronger.

Addiction is a chronic disease that has the potential to negatively affect a person’s life and health. One of the casualties of a battle with addiction is the trail of damaged relationships it leaves in its wake. With the right kind of help, repairing relationships after addiction is possible.

ADDICTION: A FAMILY DISEASE

When one person in the family develops a substance abuse issue, it doesn’t solely affect them. No matter what their particular drug of choice happens to be, their addiction is a family disease, since it causes stress to the people living in the family home and to those people closest to the addict.

This disease has the potential to interfere with normal family life and routines. A person living with an addiction may behave in an erratic manner, depending on whether they are sober, drunk, or high, or recovering from a time when they were drinking or using drugs.

Someone who is in the throes of an active addiction may lie about how much they are drinking, how many drugs they are taking, or even that they are taking drugs at all. This is one of the symptoms of the disease, and it’s quite common for addicts to manipulate loved ones if it means they can get resources (money, food, a place to stay, cell phone, etc.) that will support the addiction.

Family members may also react to a loved one’s addiction by stepping in to help. Their motives may be for the best of intentions, at least at first. It can take time for a family to realize that they are dealing with a loved one who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The early stages of the disease can be subtle. Addicts can be very good at persuading family members that an episode where they were under the influence was an isolated one and that it will never happen again.” Unfortunately, in the case of someone who is living with an addiction, it always happens again.

Not everyone in the family will agree with trying to help the addicted family member. There may be people who think that taking a tough stance is the way to handle the situation. When family members disagree about the best way to deal with someone who has an addiction issue, conflict ensues and the person with the addiction is left to continue drinking or using drugs while the discussion or arguing goes on. The addict realizes that as long as the family is in turmoil, they’ll be able to feed their addiction relatively undisturbed. They are not going to allow anything to get in the way of feeding the addiction.

NUMBER OF FAMILIES AFFECTED BY ADDICTION

Addiction is, unfortunately, all too common today. Families dealing with a loved one struggling with this chronic disease may feel as though they are on their own, but these statistics may help to put the issue into a different perspective.

  • Of this number, about 1.9 million people developed an addiction to prescription pain medicines and 586,000 had an addiction to heroin.
  • Approximately 23 percent of those people who use heroin develop an addiction to opioids (the class of pain medications that includes morphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone).
  • In 2013, the number of Americans either dependent on alcohol or had problems related to alcohol use was 17.3 million, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN RECOVERY

The key to healing from addiction and rebuilding trust after the addict in your family has hurt all of you, let you down, disappointed you and caused chaos more times than you can count is a drug and alcohol treatment program. Professional help is needed for people struggling with drug addiction to learn how to live a sober lifestyle and learn how to live without their drug of choice.

Part of this process is helping addicts come to terms with the fact that their lives don’t immediately become better once they stop using chemicals. Clients in recovery have to take responsibility for and deal with, the aftermath of events that occurred while they were still using drugs or alcohol. It was not their choice to use while they were in the cycle of addiction, but the harm caused to relationships with intimate partners, family members, and close friends still need to be dealt with. While in a drug and alcohol treatment center, the staff and counselors can help clients using several different techniques.

  • Set Realistic Expectations

A newly sober client may be feeling positive about the progress they’ve made in early sobriety and ready for a fresh start in a relationship. They may not be focused on the past, where they’re likely was a pattern of several years of negative behavior in the relationship. These issues cannot be resolved immediately, even if the client offers a sincere apology for past actions. Any action taken toward rebuilding the relationship is a victory, and these small steps need to be celebrated.

  • Rebuilding Trust Will Take Time

After a pattern where trust has been betrayed (and likely several times), rebuilding it is going to be a lengthy process. Someone who is living with an addiction will always put feeding their disease first. To ensure that they keep a steady supply of their drug of choice, they are prepared to lie, cheat and steal if it means they can get their next fix or drink. This pattern is also used to hide the addiction (or the extent of it) from others to keep it going.

  • Learn Healthy Communication Methods

Communication is a two-way street, and it includes both talking and listening. Many people, when they are listening to someone else speak, are not really hearing what the other person is saying. They are waiting for a break in the conversation so that they can make their next point. This is not really the best atmosphere in which to have a healthy discussion.

During treatment, a client will be able to learn effective ways to communicate with others and how to truly listen to what another person is saying. There are healthy ways to deal with conflicts that don’t end up with someone feeling as though they “need” to tune out by using drugs or having a drink. Clients will also learn that it’s possible to resolve issues without resorting to emotional blackmail, trying to “guilt” someone into doing what you want, storming out and disappearing or any of the other strategies they may have been using in the past.

Friends and family will feel more comfortable expressing themselves directly if they feel they will be heard. Effective communication techniques lower the risk of getting into petty disputes and teach clients what to do if the conversation gets too heated. They’ll learn strategies for either diffusing the situation by changing the subject or by withdrawing from the conversation without allowing it to escalate.

  • Eliminate Unhealthy Relationships

Not all relationships in a client’s life are healthy and positive ones. The bad ones won’t contribute to a healthy recovery. In fact, they’ll end up doing just the opposite —they’ll become a reason for a client to start to slip toward a relapse. People in a client’s life who are still using drugs and alcohol no longer have a place in his or her life. Neither do those who are, or have been, abusive toward the client.

Codependent people present another problem for clients in recovery. Some family members can take on a role where they “need” to look after the person with the addiction and want to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Once a client moves into recovery and is learning to take responsibility for their own actions from the past and to move forward in a chemical-free lifestyle, there is no room for someone to be making excuses for them anymore. The co-dependent family member needs to seek counseling to learn new behavior patterns.

TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS THAT NEED REPAIR

Addiction is an equal-opportunity damager and destroyer of relationships. All of a client’s closest personal relationships have the potential to be affected by substance abuse. It drives a wedge firmly between the people a person has pledged to hold nearest and dearest.

There is always hope to fix strained or damaged relationships, though. It’s never too early or too late to try to get back on track after a loved one has struggled with addiction. If friends and family members can learn about this disease, it does help to give them a better understanding of what their loved one has lived through. That is not the same thing as providing an addicted person with an excuse for all bad behavior committed while they were using; the addict still needs to be responsible for that when it comes to repairing his or her personal relationships.

  • Spouse or Partner

Trust is the foundation of the relationship between romantic partners. When addiction appears, it can wear down trust over time or shatter it all at once, depending on circumstances. Once compromised, trust is very challenging to get back. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

It’s possible to re-establish trust after it has been broken, but it takes a long time. A recovering addict should expect to have to come clean about everything they have been holding back from their spouse or partner as a starting point. From there, the spouse or partner will be the one to set some ground rules about gaining trust back.

  • Parents

Parents and grandparents are usually a person’s first source of physical, emotional, and financial support. From the time we are born, we learn to lean on our parents. If we have a good relationship with them, they are the people we know we can turn to during difficult times and they will always have our back.

This urge to help means that parents may feel angry, hurt and betrayed by an adult child who is living with a substance abuse issue. If a parent or parents have provided financial or practical support, only to realize they‘ve been helping to feed the addiction, they may feel foolish or that they had a hand in keeping their child sick, even though that was not their intention. Their adult child may still lie and steal from them, in spite of the help that the parents have provided since they’re compelled to feed their addiction.

  • Children

Children whose parents are addicts have relationship issues that need addressing as well. Very young children may not realize that their parent is behaving in a different manner from other mothers or fathers. As they get older, they may start to understand that their parent has an issue with keeping promises or being on time. The realization that the problem stems from drug or alcohol addiction will likely only come later in childhood.

Getting clean and sober is essential to having a good, honest relationship with children of any age. The younger the child, the easier it will be to get the relationship back on track. With older children, it will take time and patience to show the child that this change is permanent and that the parent will be keeping their word about being around for the child going forward.

  • Friends

Relationships with friends have likely suffered because of addiction, no matter how long it has existed. Some friends may have (knowingly or unknowingly) enabled the addiction to continue. Once an addict enters recovery, they will need to evaluate their friendships and eliminate the unhealthy ones.

It’s entirely possible for a recovered addict to rebuild their healthy friendships. The friends will have to adapt to a new, sober lifestyle for the recovering addict. Some friendships will not survive, even with the best of intentions, and will fall by the wayside. Others will evolve and become stronger.

Call 1.844.80.PALMS today and rebuild your life and relationships today!