Coping in Difficult Times
Everyone has felt anxious recently with the spread of COVID-19. Fear of the unknown is a normal reaction, as is anxiety about the disease itself. While these feelings are natural, you need to be able to cope with them so you can make rational and safe decisions. Whether you work in a recovery home or treatment center, or simply worry about your 12-step community, you’re allowed to take a breather. Learning to cope effectively with stress can help you and your recovery community even stronger. Use Your Recovery Resources Many 12-step meetings may be canceled if they have a large attendance. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a meeting, but be creative. Don’t put yourself at risk even if others are breaking public health rules. Look for alternatives such as 12-step video chats, chat rooms, and other meetings online. Keep in touch with your support network and check in on people you care about. It is a difficult time for people all over the world. You’re not alone in this. Be Responsible Learn what you can about the COVID-19 virus and how others in your community are keeping themselves safe. Think of pooling resources if you don’t have enough supplies. […]
Be Aware of These Silent Depression Symptoms
Many people in recovery feel down and blue from time-to-time. Emotions are a part of life in recovery. Learning to cope with feelings can be difficult and sometimes disorienting. In the first year of recovery, recognizing emotions and learning to cope with them in a positive manner is important. But sometimes, it’s hard to know what you’re feeling. You may be angry but not realize it, or depressed but unable to vocalize it. Depression can be a state as well as an ongoing battle for people with mental health disorders. If you’ve been having trouble lately in your daily life, but aren’t sure what’s going on, you may be struggling with depression. What is Depression? Depression is a mood disorder, also known as a mental health disorder. People with depression experience a persistent feeling of sadness. They often don’t know what is wrong and may lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Depression isn’t simply “feeling down”. Depressed people usually feel empty, sad, or hopeless. Clinical depression is usually chronic, meaning that it has lasted longer than two weeks. For some people, depression can last for years and even cause disability when it goes untreated. While major life events such […]
How to Add Self-Care to Your Recovery
Life can be stressful for everyone, especially in recovery. Even if you’ve learned how to cope with your emotions, it’s easy to get worn out by them if you’re stressed every day. Self-care is a valuable tool to use if you’re having a bad day or week. Many people think of self-care as taking a bath or going on a shopping trip. While for some people, this is self-care, you’re not limited to what you see in the media. Learning what kinds of activities make *you* feel better is essential. After all, we are all individuals. Why Practice Self-Care? Self-care is about nurturing yourself. Everyone has things that stress them out or put them in a bad mood. Self-care helps you release that negative energy by doing something for yourself that enables you to unwind. What relaxes you? What makes you feel better or more confident? What makes you feel powerful? Think about some of your favorite things to do. There are many types of self-care you can practice, from meditation to going surfing. You aren’t limited by your own experience, either. Self-care can be exploring new ways to enjoy life and yourself. Ideas For Self-Care On A Budget Most […]
Set Weekly Goals, Not Resolutions, This Year
Many people find setting New Year’s resolutions to be daunting. After all, setting a list of rigid changes that you must make – or fail – can be upsetting in recovery. Instead of creating “resolutions” this year, making a simple list of goals can help you enter 2020 with a clear list of things you want to work on. Setting Weekly Goals Everyone in recovery has a list of goals in their head. It helps clarify your purpose in life and can give you the motivation to keep going. Staying sober, going to recovery meetings, and maintaining a sponsor are all items that are vital to success in your daily recovery. It’s okay to have some tasks in recovery that are negotiable or only done a few times a week. Having a set of weekly goals is helpful because it gives you items that you get to fit into your schedule when you can. These goals can help you learn the best times to do specific tasks, and help you plan things at your leisure. Here are some great examples of weekly goals: Keep a gratitude list when you feel angry or depressed. Gratitude will help you pull yourself up […]
Creative Visualization as a Tool in Recovery
Do you suffer from anxiety or fear of failure? It’s common for most people when they’re trying something new. Creative visualization can be a powerful tool to help you cope with your fears and work toward new goals. A visualization is a tool that is used successfully by many people. Studies on weightlifters and other types of athletes have shown that people who visualize their goals gain more muscle than those who don’t. Comedians and other performers often imagine themselves on the stage even after they’ve had rehearsals. Visualizations focus on a positive outcome and involve more than just “seeing” yourself accomplish something. Using Visualization in Your Daily Life Creative visualization is something that you need to do regularly. It’s similar to doing affirmation, but it seems to imprint on the mind more. A visualization is usually a form of relaxation or meditation. It’s best done in a quiet room and starts with closing your eyes and breathing slowly? Think about the struggles you currently face in life. What behavior are you trying to overcome? Here are some visualizations that you might benefit from: Regulating your anger. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths as you count to ten […]
Try Breathing Exercises to De-Stress
Breathing exercises are a popular way to de-stress. In recovery, you need all the coping skills you can get to stay sober. Learning special breathing exercises can help you with anxiety, stress, and negative thoughts. What Breathing Exercises Should a Beginner Use? Deep breathing is one of the most natural exercises to master right away. You can do it anywhere, at any time, and it’s not conspicuous. For example, if you get higher blood pressure when you go to the doctor’s office, you might want to try this technique in the waiting room before you’re called. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you for a few seconds. Take a deep breathe in through your nose. Pay special attention to how the air spreads down toward your lungs, moving your belly. Hold your breath for about five seconds, counting backward silently ni your head. Now release, feeling the tension leave your body through your mouth. Continue this breathing exercise until you have taken at least ten deep breaths, and keep your mind focused on your core as you breathe. This exercise is called deep breathing, also called belly breathing. Once you feel you’ve mastered it, there are more […]
Sleep: An Overlooked Part of Healthy Recovery
Addiction is a tiring disease. When you first get clean and sober, you’ll probably find that your energy levels vary. Once you’re comfortable with your newfound sobriety, you will probably start working towards new goals. You may find yourself busier than ever before – after all, there’s a lot of lost time to make up. However, if you’re spending so much time working on yourself and living life that you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s time to reprioritize. Sleep is Important Sleep is an essential biological need. Without sleep, you may find yourself having trouble remembering things or focuses. Science has proven that when you sleep, your body can help remove toxins from your brain. Long-term detox from drugs and alcohol takes time, and detoxing from these things is essential to your recovery. Your brain also needs to detox from stress and pollutants. Sleep is also a way for your brain to solve problems at night. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a great idea or solution to something that’s been bugging you? That’s an aftereffect of your brain’s complex problem-solving process. Combatting Insomnia A lot of people both in and out of recovery have insomnia. We […]
Why Do People Call Others Out in Recovery?
Everyone in life is a work in progress, especially those in recovery. Getting “called out” in recovery is part of learning to keep your ego in check and your recovery front-and-center. It may happen when your sponsor sees you lapse into old behavior or a friend sees you manipulating somebody you love. Everyone has faults and actions that they’re not necessarily proud of. When you’re called out, it’s not because people don’t like you. Why Are People Called Out in Recovery? When you’re being called out, it means that somebody sees something in your recovery program that needs some work. You may have been told in the past that your brain is “broken,” but this isn’t necessarily true. It’s a simplification of what happens when a person becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other destructive behaviors. If an addicted person’s brain is “broken,” then it can be “fixed.” There’s no one “fix” for those in recovery. The truth is that everyone has defects that need to be worked on, regardless of how much time they have been clean or sober. When you are new to recovery, you’re also learning to adjust to life again, but healing takes time. You might […]
Do You Get Enough Sleep?
Do you get enough shuteye or do your feet drag when you wake up in the morning? Getting enough sleep in recovery is important. Sometimes it can be difficult to get to sleep. It takes your body a few years to fully recover from addiction. This can cause problems like anxiety or insomnia. Recovery can be an exciting time, especially in your first few years of getting clean and sober. Many people who have experienced addiction or mental health disorders feel like they have a new lease on life once they’ve begun recovery. It may feel like you need to make up for lost time. There are so many aspects of your life to work on, and so many new things you probably want to try! Easy Does It You may be very dedicated to working your recovery program. That’s a good thing! However, you didn’t become addicted in one night. There’s no way you can finish all 12 steps in one night, either. You may be enthusiastic but you’ve got to pace yourself in life in order to create a good foundation for your recovery. You may be tempted to find a way to do something all day and […]
Recovery is Easier With a Daily Routine
When you were using drugs and alcohol, what was your routine? Did you have one? For many people, a “routine” consisted of waking up, using their substance of choice, and maybe procuring more of it. Other than that, life was probably a bit chaotic. When addicted, it’s hard to stick to your plans. You wake up planning something productive but end up right back in the cycle of using again. It’s not like people don’t try to stay motivated in other areas of life, but addiction consumes a lot of time, emotions, and resources. Now that you’re in recovery, having plans for the day is a “must.” So how do you start planning your days again with so much more time on your hands? Here are some tips for creating a routine in recovery: Buy a calendar and use it. A daily planner can help you look at the whole week or break your schedule and routine down to hourly events. Make sure that your daily schedule in 12-step meetings as well as any therapy or aftercare. Take time for your health. Whether you have been neglecting mental health needs or physical health, it’s time to treat your body better. […]
Can You Work While You’re in Drug Treatment?
Can you work while you’re getting treatment for addiction? Many people who want to get clean and sober struggle with the thought of treatment because they’re worried about their job. What will their boss think about your admission that you have a problem? Will you keep your job if you try to get help? Treatment and the Workplace For many people, having a full-time job and working can be too difficult. When you’re suffering from a substance use disorder, you need professionals to help you. If you’re addicted to a drug that causes significant withdrawal symptoms, inpatient detox, and then drug treatment will give you the best chances of maintaining long-term recovery. Give yourself a chance to get centered in your recovery. It’s important that you’re able to address the effects of addiction on your mind, body, and spirit. In many cases, you will be able to take leave if you’re seeking drug treatment. The Family Medical Leave Act allows full-time employees to take leave for a significant medical event. The leave is typically unpaid. You must be seeking treatment and meet other conditions for this Act to be applicable. Alcohol and substance abuse are typically covered. Some employers also […]
3 Common Yet Overlooked Triggers in Recovery
Everyone in recovery from addiction has triggers. You may have explored them in drug treatment or therapy. Triggers can be anything from an emotion, a situation, or an event that remind you of using or make you wish you could use. Sometimes a trigger will sneak up on you even if you’re not aware it exists. Understanding these triggers can help you avoid them or cope with them when they crop up in the future. What are some of the everyday things that trigger you? Here are three things you might experience: Boredom. While many people consider negative emotions such as shame, guilt, loneliness, and anger as triggers for drug use, boredom is sometimes overlooked as a major trigger. When you were using your drug of choice, what did you do when you’re bored? You probably went through the process of getting and using that drug. While boredom isn’t painful, feeling like you are stagnant or “everything is the same all the time” are major red flags in recovery. You’ll need to find hobbies and fun things – even 12-step meetings – to fill your time when you’re feeling bored. Happiness. Everything seems to be going well in life, and […]