Is Nutrition Important in Recovery?

Is nutrition an important part of recovery? No, not necessarily, but should it be? Absolutely! Any doctor will tell you that nutrition is something important to pay attention to, regardless of whether or not you are in recovery for substance abuse. So why should nutrition be important in recovery?
Health Can Help
When we were using drugs and alcohol, those chemicals did a lot to our bodies and it is unlikely that they had positive effects to our health. When we become sober and in recovery it can be hard to decide to try to be healthy with things like nutrition, especially when we just want to eat for the simple fact that maybe we did not eat a lot while using drugs and alcohol.
Another thing that can happen in the early stages of recovery is the need for instant gratification and things like candy or over-indulging with food can be an easy way to feel instant gratification. Starting to pay attention to what we eat can make us feel better about our decisions and this may also help guide our recovery to better decisions as well.
Nutrition Can Relieve Stress
One thing that a lot of people in early recovery find as a great way to relieve stress is regular exercise and if this is you, then you already know that most personal trainers or people that like to work out would also suggest trying to follow a guideline to proper nutrition to get real results from exercise. By following proper nutrition guidelines and exercising in early recovery a person is already setting themselves up to see and feel results from hard work, much like making the daily decision to not use drugs and alcohol.
Nutrition May Lead To Better Decisions
Making nutrition an important part of recovery can not only have a ripple effect on better decision-making, but it can also turn into a new hobby of cooking. Greasy take-out food and eating at restaurants all the time may not be the easiest way to focus on getting better nutrition, so starting to cook for yourself may be a better alternative. Cooking for yourself instead of buying fast food or getting take-out every night is not only a much easier way of obtaining proper nutrition, but it is also a great way to save some money.
Guidance From a Professional
Trying to figure out your own nutritional guidelines can be overwhelming and may even lead to some unhealthy diets or other dietary problems. You should always seek out a professional nutritionist for advice when starting to make nutritional changes to your diet.
Conclusion
So is nutrition going to be important for everyone’s recovery? Probably not, but it is definitely a great way to start making some good life decisions and could contribute to a more positive recovery overall. Will implementing proper nutrition keep you clean and sober, not directly, but it could help. The important decisions that we make in early recovery can really contribute to the rest of our life and adding nutrition to that list of important decisions can help us start to make some other very important changes for our overall health.
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Finding Balance Amidst COVID-19

As we adjust to what has become the new “normal” it has become increasingly more difficult to find balance in our lives. We are stuck between the feeling of normalcy and emergency. Given the current climate it is important to hang on to the stability that we all once felt just a few short weeks ago. We are living in extraordinary times, facing new and unprecedented challenges. Despite the chaos and uncertainty we are experiencing we must find a new balance to get us through these times, not only for ourselves but those around us as well.

Work
With the stay at home order in full affect many of us are adjusting to more of a work from home routine. It is imperative that we remind ourselves daily that this is only temporary. Finding balance when working from home can be challenging to say the least. We are now struggling to manage all of the household duties while being productive. Creating a conducive home office or work environment is crucial to staying on top of your responsibilities. Get up, take a shower and get dressed for the day as if you were going into the office. You will find that this promotes efficiency and increases motivation. Additionally, know when to stop! Keep your routine, do not over extend yourself. We cannot turn to work to pass the time; otherwise you may face depletion. No ones balance looks exactly the same, find what works for you.
Relationships
The beauty in quarantine is that it has allowed so many of us to slow down and really embrace each other (metaphorically speaking, of course). Use this time; take advantage of it to really strengthen your personal relationships. For a lot of us this was an area in our lives where we were struggling to find balance. As life begins to move faster and faster our personal relationships feel the affects of that. Set aside time to reach out to your loved ones or a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile. Designate time to spend with your children or significant other one on one. You may be surprised what you missed while you were caught up in the ebb and flow of life.
Self Care
It’s easy to get lost in the noise of what’s going on around us. We are all searching for ways to deal with the fears, stressors and uncertainty that has come along with Covid-19. Taking care of our mental and emotional well being has proven challenging but very necessary. Now more than ever, we have to allot time to ourselves. Designate hours throughout the day to take a break from the news and social media turn your attention to something more positive. As the cold weather breaks spend time outside, the benefits of sunshine and vitamin D are monumental. Try something new. This can be a book you’ve been meaning to read, a recipe you’ve never tried before or a new hobby you otherwise didn’t have the time for. Use this time to invest in yourself, it will greatly benefit you during and after quarantine.
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I Thought I Would be Further Along in Life

Do you feel as though you are not where you should be? Has your substance abuse stunted your personal or professional growth? You are not alone! I’m sure many of us can relate to that daunting idea that “I should be further along than I am”. For many recovering addicts and alcoholics we spent a majority of our lives looking for the next fix with little to no emphasize on future plans or goals. Or maybe, we have put thought into the future but feel those goals are now unobtainable as a result of our addiction. Entering into sobriety we are overwhelmed with thoughts of “I would be here if I didn’t do this” or “I should be well on my way by now”. What I can tell you is that we must make peace with our past in order to conquer our future.

Stop comparing yourself to others
Social media, the blessing and curse that it is, allows us to stay up to date on the happenings of our former friends, classmates and acquaintances. We must remember that what we see is not always what we get. People only put the best of themselves out there for the world to see on social media. They do not highlight the struggles or the hard work. It is easy to fall into this negative mind set but yields very little positive results. We must understand that our journey is our own; we cannot allow the successes of others to have any impact on us.

Fact checking: Where I used to be vs where I am
fact-check
verb
investigate (an issue) in order to verify the facts.
When we find ourselves dwelling on past mistakes or the “what could have been” we quickly become complacent and ungrateful for what we do have. If you find yourself in this mindset, fact-check yourself. Look at all the facts, put them on paper, say them out loud. How are we so quick to fact check sources online but find it so hard to afford ourselves that same grace. I think most of us can agree that being where we are is much better than where we were in active addiction. Do not neglect this detail. Rejoice in the idea that you are no longer a slave to a substance you are free to have new experiences.

Setting goals
Setting goals can be very hard for people like us. We are instantly hit with “I don’t know what I want to do” but we all have to start somewhere. We are given the opportunity to re-start our lives and have new experiences. Entering into sobriety opens up a world of possibility. When setting goals the SMART method can be very useful. S (specific) M (measurable) A (attainable) R (realistic) T (timely). Make a list of things you would like to achieve. Think about and visualize where you want to be in as little as one week, one month or one year. The thing about goals is that they can stay exactly the same, can be modified or change completely. As you grow in sobriety you are open to so many new experiences. Be present, take action and most importantly, be kind to yourself. We all have to start somewhere.

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
― Greg Reid
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Benzodiazepines (Xanax): What You Need To Know

The importance of understanding the uses of prescription medication when introduced to a potentially addictive substance
By Alisha Barnes, M.S, LPC

What Are Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepine refers to a class of medication, which is more often recognized by the individual brands, including Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin, amongst others. This class of medication is typically seen as a line of defense against Generalized Anxiety Disorder, various Panic Disorders and PTSD, dependent upon the individual symptoms. It is intended to calm the general nervous system and relieve those uncomfortable symptoms that we have come to recognize along with anxiety, including difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, irritability and restlessness. While effective and presumed safe in short-term use, Benzodiazepines have become increasingly abused as we better come to understand the mechanisms in which they operate.

How Does It Work
Anxiety is a product of the fight or flight system located within the amygdala of the brain. It is responsible for alerting us to potential danger and serves an essential purpose when functioning properly. Consider prehistoric days, when cavemen came across Saber Tooth Tigers or Wooly Mammoths; their survival required a quick response, free from the delays associated with the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that allows us to rationalize and weigh our options). Thus, the fight or flight response allowed for a quick decision based purely upon immediate survival, weighing only two questions, do we run, or do we fight? It continues to serve a practical function even by today’s standards, as admittedly we are not entirely free from the potential for physical, emotional or mental danger. Yet an anxiety disorder develops when the brain is “stuck” in the fight or flight response for a prolonged period of time, that it comes to have a heightened response, recognizing potential danger where it does not necessarily exist. Benzodiazepines were introduced to temporarily take that system “offline.” It allows for the dulled response from that specific brain function and provides nearly immediate relief from the resulting symptoms. This can be essential in allowing the body the ability to relax from the increasing demands of hypervigilance.

The Benefits and The Consequences
As with most medication, along with relief comes side effects or consequences. On a short-term basis, Benzodiazepines allow the brain and the body the opportunity to rest. Yet on a long-term basis, it can actually serve to increase the overall feelings associated with anxiety when not actively taking the medication. Consider a child who attends school every day, but falls asleep, without fail, every fourth period, right in the midst of math class. While we can say that his body is physically present, his mind is not. Would it surprise anyone to learn that this child’s grades are slipping in that particular class? Of course not, as we recognize the inability to learn if we are not mentally present. The same can be said of anxiety. If anxiety is the product of an over-reactive fight or flight response, then the goal is to teach that part of the brain the more appropriate response, not take it “offline” entirely. Each time that specific portion of the brain “falls asleep” so to speak, it loses an opportunity to work through the identified threat in a manner that would allow it to reconstruct its response all together. Overtime, it is easy to see how this could create a sense of dependency. Let’s return to the boy in the math class; each time the bell rings at the end of the period he is startled awake, unaware of his surroundings as he attempts to blink them into focus. Why would the brain respond any differently? As the fight or flight response comes out from the relief offered by any member of the Benzodiazepine family, it is forced to reground itself to its surroundings, seeking to locate the potential threat and even more aware of its looming presence. One could say that it lost an opportunity to confront the threat and by so doing, gain confidence in its ability to protect.

The Alternative
While Benzodiazepines can be effective in short-term use, they are often prescribed and taken well beyond the recommended period of use. In fact, it is often surprising to learn that this class of medication is not encouraged to be taken beyond two weeks at a given time, as it creates an increased likelihood of dependency, as well as a negative ripple effect of heightening the initial response of anxiety. Instead, it can be beneficial to seek out natural means of calming the associated symptoms, as this provides a teaching opportunity to the fight or flight response, during which time it is able to recognize its ability to “survive” what appears to be a threatening situation and to implement a healthy set of coping mechanisms in doing so. Consider the importance of learning to breathe through anxiety, to develop a set of grounding skills when a panic attack feels as though it may be on the rise, to implement various body movements to address the agitation or physical restlessness. All of the above serve as a means to both control the symptoms as time goes on, without the risk of dependency and with a greater potential for long-term success in doing so. As always, it is important to speak with a doctor or medical professional when experiencing ongoing symptoms of anxiety and to determine the best course of action in treating the individual symptoms
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Marriage in Recovery

Dana’s Perspective
If you’re familiar with 12-step recovery, you may have heard the suggestion from some members to stay out of new relationships within your first year. While this is not a requirement to find or maintain recovery, there are some valid reasons why people often make this suggestion. Relationships are not easy for most of us as humans and may be particularly more challenging for those in early recovery. Not only are you embarking on a journey of learning about yourself, trying to love yourself, find forgiveness and peace, but your partner in recovery may also be trying to do those very same things. Insert: complicated, confusing feelings. After a long time of substance abuse, you may not even be able to identify your feelings let alone understand them or communicate them to your partner. How do relationships work? Effective, honest, transparent communication.

Why is this challenging in early recovery?
Well, we likely don’t even know yet who we are as individuals, what we stand for or what’s important to us, not to mention the hole that addiction sometimes leaves in us. Sometimes filling that hole is our only motivation, whether it’s sustainable or not. We call this instant gratification. Relationships based in instant gratification are sometimes detrimental to those in early recovery, and this is why we often hear this suggestion about staying out of relationships in the first year.

Building a Foundation
Okay so, had to throw the disclaimer out there to start with. I can only write about my experience, and in my experience there’s a lot of mixed feelings about dating or being in a relationship with another person in recovery.
I met Ross when I had about 2 years clean. By that point in my recovery I had a steady job, a network of people in recovery, some step-work under my belt, and had learned a lot of lessons (sometimes the hard way) from previous relationships. Was I looking for a life-long partner? No, not then. I struggled with commitment and wasn’t sure I wanted to give up my independence or ‘freedom’. Through the process of getting to know him as well as getting to know myself in a relationship with him, I learned a lot about the importance of honesty with myself and him, as well as transparent communication with him about how I’m feeling, where I’m at and what I need. You see, I spent many years of my life (before, during and after active addiction) in codependent relationships. I had to learn to live without being codependent before I could be in a healthy, committed relationship where both individuals have their own sense of identity. If I had met Ross at an earlier time, I wouldn’t have been in the same position to have a healthy relationship with him.

Managing Recovery and the Relationship
What’s worked for us has been that we maintain our own recovery processes while still using the principles that we’ve learned in recovery within our relationship. We’ve never attempted to ‘sponsor’ each other, and we don’t make demands or suggestions to each other for things that we may need to work on in our recovery. We do, however, use principles like acceptance, powerlessness, tolerance, patience and love in our relationship. When it gets difficult, or maybe we’re not getting along as well as we’d like to, we have the principles of the fellowship to help guide us in our individual journeys and ultimately, as a team. My husband loves his recovery, and I love that about him. It is not at all a primary motivator for me to engage in my own recovery, but there is something motivating about watching someone that you care about participate in their recovery. At the end of the day, we understand each other’s needs and we give each other space to be individuals. I wouldn’t have learned how to do this if it wasn’t for the foundation that I built in recovery prior to our relationship, and that same foundation that I stay committed to working on with or without him as my husband.

Ross’ Perspective
Dana and I are on the same page about the importance of why 12-step programs have suggestions related to relationships and recovery. Relationships are a sensitive and important topic to discuss with anyone in early recovery, because they involve emotions and feelings which can be uncomfortable things for anyone. Basically, I do not suggest getting into a relationship if you are just starting your recovery and I definitely do not suggest getting married if you are just starting your recovery.

What Works for Us
To keep it simple, I really believe that our own individual recovery looks very different for both of us and that’s why it works. I could easily try and suggest or try and control what Dana’s recovery looks like, but I already know that wouldn’t work, so why try?

Now, on paper, our recovery may look pretty similar. We both attend the same 12-step fellowship, sometimes attend the same meetings, have sponsors, we both sponsor other people, we both are actively working the 12-steps, we even both have the same homegroup, but our recovery looks very different. The main reason my recovery looks very different than hers, we are very different people. Like I said earlier, we have our own recovery which really means that I do not seek out her advice when I am looking for direction from my sponsor. It also means that I do not try and make her recovery look like mine and she doesn’t try to make my recovery look like hers.

I do, however, believe that she helps me in my recovery all the time. Living a life in recovery for me means that I am actively trying to change my attitude, perspective and actions so that I can be a better person. It doesn’t have to do with drugs, because once I put down the drugs, now I have to change myself so that I do not go back to using drugs, which means to me that living a life in recovery is the way I choose to change. Was that confusing? All I am saying, is that Dana helps me in my recovery, because I live with her and love her. I am constantly trying to practice my own recovery so that I do not act on my old patterns of behavior (destructive ones that were active while using).

At the end of the day, we both understand that we need to allow each other to be individuals. And with that comes the understanding that we’re going to be human sometimes. We continue to help each other grow both inside and outside of our marriage and allow each other the space to grow as humans too. Does this mean we’re perfect and our marriage is perfect? No, as we said we’re human too. But we do feel as though what we’ve learned in our recovery thus far helps us understand each other a little more and offers us to have more empathy for each other. We both do our very best to live our lives by the principles that we’ve learned in recovery, and we’re on the same page about teaching those same principles to our daughter as she grows up. In any marriage, not just ones in recovery, the principles of love, forgiveness, compassion, patience and honesty are so important. We’re both very grateful to have learned these practices in recovery so that we can use them, not only in our marriage, but in our lives as individuals, children, siblings, employees, friends, sponsors and parents.
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What to do if You’re Furloughed and Need Treatment

This is an extremely uncertain time for a lot of people around the nation right now. What can make this time even more challenging is if you find yourself struggling with substance use disorder and in-need of treatment, but you’ve been furloughed or laid off by your employer. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about seeking treatment for some time now, but your job has been a barrier. If you’re currently furloughed this may be the best time for you to enter treatment for substance abuse.

Step One – Do you still have insurance?
Some employers are offering to continue health insurance coverage even during the layoff period. If you have a Human Resources department, reach out to them to find out what’s happening with your insurance. If you don’t have a Human Resources department or contact, reach out to your supervisor to find out who is best to speak with about your health insurance options. You do not need to disclose to anyone that you are seeking substance abuse treatment, you’re just collecting basic information about your health insurance benefits, which is your right to know as an employee.

Step Two – What if I don’t have insurance during the furlough?
If your employer informs you that they won’t be continuing health insurance coverage during the furlough, ask them about the option to COBRA your current policy. COBRA is a benefit that allows employees to continue health insurance coverage after leaving employment. To find out your eligibility for COBRA, ask your employer if they can provide you with information in how to apply for this benefit. Most employers automatically mail the information to you, but if you ask ahead of time, they might be able to expedite the information to get it to you sooner.
In addition to COBRA, you can also look into a Marketplace insurance policy to cover you until you return to work. Check out https://www.healthcare.gov/ to view the options available in the marketplace.

Step Three – Finding a Treatment Provider
For more information on how to find a good treatment center, check out previous blog that outlines useful information here. The main takeaway from the blog is that looking for a quality treatment provider is important. The blog outlines what characterizes a treatment center as quality, and some important things to look for in your search.

Step Four – GO
If you’re considering substance abuse treatment and you’re furloughed from work, right now is the best time to seek help. Do not wait. The withdrawal and detox process can be very complicated, uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening. It’s important to seek treatment in order to have medical and addiction professionals monitor your symptoms and help you navigate what you’re experiencing. You may feel alone and isolated already due to the pandemic, but the fact is that you don’t have to be alone, and in this time you shouldn’t be. Addiction treatment is open and available and if you’re willing, now is a better time to go than ever.
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What To Say on a Sober Anniversary

If you are grateful for a friend or family member that is celebrating a sober anniversary, then be sure to let them know. This sounds simple enough, but it is not always the case. Letting people close to you know that you are proud of them for celebrating a milestone in recovery can really help the recovering person in more ways than you may imagine.
There are many ways to show you care for the person who is celebrating a sober anniversary. Finding the right way for that person is up to you, but here are some suggestions for what to say on a sober anniversary and also various ways to show you care.

Why Sober Anniversaries Are Important
An anniversary in recovery can be a pretty big event for the person who is celebrating. Many people in recovery may refer to their sober anniversary as being more important than their own birthday. Typically, this can be the case if the person who is celebrating is very proud of the accomplishment and may also be due to the fact that they could feel more gratitude in their life than when they previously recognized their own birthdays in the past. For example, the person who is celebrating a sober anniversary may only have memories of being very intoxicated on their birthdays prior to getting sober, so it is only natural that their anniversary may represent celebrating life sober.

Attending or Planning Your Own Sober Event
Some simple ways to say that you are proud of someone on their sober anniversary is to make sure that you are present for whatever way they are celebrating. If this means that they are speaking at a local 12-step meeting or other support group, then choosing to attend whether you are in recovery or not is an appropriate way of showing appreciation for the person. Another way to show that you are proud would be to plan a small party or dinner for the celebration. One obvious suggestion is to be mindful of where the event was going to be scheduled, preferably not a bar or other venue where alcohol may be the focus.

How To Show You Care
Another simple way to say that you care for the person celebrating an anniversary in recovery is to give them a card or just let them know in person that you are proud. If attending a speaking engagement where the sober person is sharing their experience, it is also usually appropriate to bring flowers, a cake or even balloons for the person. If you feel moved enough to speak yourself, you can probably even do that.
The biggest part about showing that you care is to make sure you get your point across to the person on their anniversary date. Showing up, speaking up and being a part of a person’s anniversary celebration is a huge way of saying to someone that you care about their recovery and the sober person they have become.
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Benzo Detox during COVID-19 Crisis

We already know that active addiction is isolating, let alone struggling with addiction in a national emergency on-lock down. If you’re in this type of situation, like most of the country, you might be struggling even more than usual with feelings of depression, anxiety, restlessness, and increased cravings or withdrawal symptoms. If you’re currently experiencing withdrawal from benzodiazepines or worried that you will be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it’s important that you reach out for help right away.

The Dangers of Withdrawal Alone
Withdrawal from benzos is not only uncomfortable mentally and physically, but it is also potentially life-threating. Some of the severe symptoms that can come along with benzo withdrawal include hallucinations, seizures, psychosis or psychotic reactions and increased risk of suicidal ideation. Some other common symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, muscular stiffness or discomfort and hand tremors.

Why A Medically Managed Detox is Important
In order to effectively and safely detox from benzodiazepines, it’s important that a licensed treatment provider is involved in the process in order to prescribe the appropriate medications, take vitals, and address any adverse symptoms that may present while detoxing. A doctor can prescribe medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal in order to provide more comfort to the individual. Without these medications, the detox process can be very challenging, uncomfortable and harmful.

Navigating Coronavirus Restrictions
Treatment providers are continuing to provide care to those in need of treatment and are engaging in admissions screening processes to assess risk prior to admission. By doing this, they can ensure that people that are in need of services are still able to access those services in a safe way. If you’re worried about whether or not you’ll be able to get into treatment due to COVID-19 restrictions, just reach out and ask about the protocol around admission. Substance Abuse Treatment is considered an essential service, as your or your loved one’s life is essential. In order to keep yourself safe prior to admission, be sure to follow the recommendations from the CDC and WHO on social distancing and monitor any symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Substance abuse and addiction doesn’t stop just because of a national emergency. On the other side, neither does recovery. It is still possible to access treatment for benzo detox and find your journey toward recovery. Don’t wait until it’s too late, reach out for help today.
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Is it Safe to go to Treatment during the COVID-19 Crisis?

Right now is an unprecedented and trying time for many. With social-distancing being the number one recommended precaution against the Corona virus, it can be difficult to justify entering a treatment facility even when you know you are in need of help. It can be hard to know what to do. When the country is in a health crisis, and you find yourself in crisis as well, how do you decide on the best course of action?
There are a number of factors to consider, for yourself as well as for others;
Are you struggling with Alcohol or Benzodiazepine?
The effects caused by withdrawing from either of these substances can result in seizures and can be deadly. Attempting to discontinue using these substances on your own can prove fatal. It is not recommended to abruptly stop using or to self-detox regardless of social-distancing practices. Seeking professional assistance from a facility that can offer you 24/7 medical supervision is a must.
Have you recently overdosed?
If you have overdosed while using any substance, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention. Entering a facility that can offer 24/7 medical supervision is always recommended; as is going to the ER, seeing your PCP, or calling 911. This is a serious and life-threatening side effect of substance abuse and should be treated as such regardless of social-distancing recommendations.
Does the facility you are choosing take precautionary measures/complete prescreening for the virus?
Ask the facility if they are screening clients for the COVID-19 virus prior to admission. Often, facilities will ask a series of questions prior to admitting a client (have you been to an infected area? Have you been in contact with an infected person? Are you feeling symptoms? Etc.), facilities will also check client’s temperature and overall well-being prior to admitting them.
Does the facility you are choosing have a plan in place?
Ask the facility you are looking into what their isolation or quarantine plan is in the event that someone in the building contracts the virus. A reputable facility will be taking this seriously, and it is important to take it seriously for yourself and others as well. Ask if they have had any known cases of a client having the virus while under their care. Ask how they are taking care of their staff as well.
How are you feeling?
Are you feeling flu-like symptoms? Have you been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus? If that is the case, your best option would be to first seek help through a hospital. It will be just as important for you to get tested and to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 as it will be to address your struggle with substance abuse. A hospital or ER can address both temporarily. It is equally as important for each individual to take precautionary measures as it is each facility. Inpatient treatment is the best course of action when it comes to substance abuse, and a hospital will not be able to offer you 30 days of substance abuse treatment, but if you think you have contracted the Corona virus the ER is recommended prior to potentially admitting to a treatment facility. At a time like this we must look out for others as well as ourselves.

Social-distancing and cleanliness are top priorities in every community at the moment. Your health and well-being, and the health of others, take priority as well. Do not let the Corona virus stop you from getting help. Be smart about what course of action you choose. COVID-19 is serious, and so is substance abuse. We are all helping each other through both together.
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10 Ways to Prevent Relapse

Relapse does not have to be part of recovery. To ensure that you or a newly sober loved one don’t fall victim to a relapse there are many things that you can do. Preventive techniques and coping skills can really help someone before they relapse and some of them are very simple. Here are 10 simple ways to prevent a relapse from occurring.

Talk to a friend
It sounds so simple, but talking to someone about what you are thinking or feeling can really help get you through that tough time. Whether you have been thinking about drinking or using a drug, letting someone know is an easy way get it off your chest and can alleviate the thought or craving. Sometimes it’s the action of talking about it that helps, but the feedback that you may receive from the person you told could also help get you through the tough time.

Find support
If you don’t have friend or someone you can talk to when you are feeling close to a relapse, then finding support is very important. Drug and alcohol support groups exist all over the world. 12-step groups advertise in newspapers and various news sources, but there are many other types of support groups also. A simple google search can help you find very specific support groups in your area for what you are looking for. If a support group isn’t what you want, that’s fine too. Therapy and counseling is a great way to get support as well.

Stay busy
Trying to stay busy is a great way to prevent a relapse in early recovery. Find a hobby or a job and start working. It’s amazing how quickly the mind can get distracted from a thought about relapse when you are busy working or doing something like a hobby. Boredom is an easy way to find yourself close to a relapse, so if you stay busy then you are less likely to get bored.

Stay away from old friends
12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have a suggestion that it is a good idea to stay away from old drinking buddies after you enter recovery. This suggestion is really for preventing a relapse, because the idea is that you could run into an old friend and find out that all you had in common was drinking or using drugs, so inevitably, you would relapse with them. Obviously, this isn’t always the case with old friends, but if your old friends do use drugs or alcohol, then staying away from them will probably make it easier for you not to relapse.

Clean out your car and house
Making sure that your car and home are free of drugs and alcohol is a great way to ensure that you don’t relapse. It is not always easy to be able to clean out your home and car by yourself especially when drugs and alcohol are the main thing that you are throwing away, so try and see if you can get a friend or family member to help. If you are able to have someone else do it altogether, it is probably even safer.

Try yoga or exercising
Taking up practices like yoga or starting to exercise can be great ways to calm the mind which may end up helping prevent a relapse also. Whether you are looking for a drug free rush of endorphins or just need to take a deep breath and meditate, yoga and exercise is a great way to use your energy. Many people find it necessary to get out excess energy in order to relax or focus better and this could help prevent a relapse, because not only is yoga and exercise going to have you breathing heavily, but it is also a great way keep you focused and relaxed in life.

Change your phone number
In order to stay away from triggers like people that used to sell drugs to you, it is a good idea to have someone delete those numbers from your phone. Take it one step further and you could change your phone number altogether.

Help someone
Giving your time to someone in need is a great way to stop thinking about whatever it is that is making you feel like relapsing. This is another simple tactic for keeping busy, but it is also self-fulfilling. Maybe you have a friend that needs someone to listen to them or just needs a ride somewhere. Either way, both is giving of yourself to that person and helping them, which may also help you forget about whatever was bothering you in the first place. Just be careful if you are trying to help someone who is using drugs and alcohol. It is probably a good idea to have some other sober help available if you find yourself in a situation where you want to help someone who is currently using drugs or alcohol.

Take your medication
If you are prescribed medications for a mental health condition, then make sure you continue taking them while you are sober. Just because you may not be feeling anxious or depressed, doesn’t mean that you should abruptly stop taking prescribed medications for those conditions. A relapse can occur after a person stops taking their medications, because the person may start feeling anxious or depressed again and use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with these conditions. Please talk to your doctor if you are thinking about stopping a medication, rather than trying to stop taking it by yourself.

Stay Connected
If you were in a substance abuse facility and have left that treatment center, then try and stay connected with regular communication with staff or attendance at alumni events. Staying connected to the place that may have started your journey to recovery is a great way to prevent a relapse.
The post 10 Ways to Prevent Relapse appeared first on Steps to Recovery.


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