The Value of Celebrating Victories
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer
In my experience, progress toward a lifestyle of abstinence at times seems insurmountable; like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain craning your neck to see a peak that looks impossibly high up and far away. Any given day may be a struggle against urges, old habits, and other potential problems. You look at people who have a month of abstinence and think “that’s a long time…I can barely go a few days”. You look at others who may have a year or more of abstinence and think “that’s so long, I’ll never get there.”
But you keep coming back. Addiction recovery takes work. You keep learning. You keep talking to others. You keep working on the tools. Next thing you know, your work begins to pay off. You have a week, or maybe a month. Maybe you successfully navigate a situation that caused problems in the past.
You come back to a SMART meeting or to chat and report your success, and suddenly a half dozen people congratulate you for your ‘victory’. You’ve successfully climbed part of the way up that impossible mountain. As you top each little rise on the way to the summit Continue reading
Addiction Recovery 101, with Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
“Set your own goals for your life — and for your recovery.” ~ Dr. Tom Horvath
Click to watch:
The 5 Things Series contains footage of Recovery Research Institute interviews with international experts in addiction treatment and recovery.
A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., is a California licensed clinical psychologist (ABPP), the founder & CEO of Practical Recovery and a long time volunteer for SMART Recovery. Continue reading
How can you prevent relapse?
Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.
Relapse prevention is essential in recovery from chemical and behavioral addictions. Why? Because addiction has been found to reoccur more often when steps are not taken to cope with the cravings, urges, peer pressures, situational cues, bodily discomforts, neuro-biological changes, and other factors which pave the way for slips and relapses.
Therefore, we regard relapse as a “normal” (though distinctly undesirable) possibility on the road to recovery. When you choose to view a relapse as a mistake, grist for the mill, a learning opportunity and a discrete single event rather than viewing it as a total failure and as evidence predictive of failures, then your chances for success increase greatly.
“The person who really thinks, learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey
Top 10 relapse prevention strategies
1. Learn to willingly accept your mind – The first step to preventing relapse is to Continue reading
By Gordon Dickler- CAC, ICADC
Opiate painkillers are by far the most prescribed medications in the United States today. According to the recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, over 289 million prescriptions are written each year for analgesic pain relievers. And this is just the beginning. Recent studies show that despite making up only five percent of the world’s population, the United States now consumes about 80 percent of the world’s opioid pain medication.
The opiate epidemic is clear, especially as prescription drug addictions continue to lead users into heroin abuse and fatal overdoses. Fortunately, however, more and more people have begun to recognize the dangers associated with prescription drugs. Many, including those in recovery, are now actively looking for alternative pain relieving methods – methods that do not involve highly addictive drugs.
While opiates are undoubtedly effective at relieving pain, these drugs can also stir severe consequences when used repeatedly. A physical addiction, for example, can develop within just four weeks of prescription painkiller use. A psychological dependence to opiates, on the other hand, can develop in as little as two days. And this is just the beginning. Repeated opiate use can lead to chronic respiratory issues, depression, as well as damage to the immune system.
If you are working towards recovery, have addictive tendencies, or simply desire safer pain treatments, know that there are alternatives available that will not disrupt your balanced, substance-free life. Continue reading
…and some resources that can help
By Trevor McDonald
Red flags aren’t always glaring, especially when it comes to drug abuse. Are you concerned that your child is using or abusing drugs but aren’t sure what to watch out for? Guidelines such as falling grades or mood swings aren’t necessarily indicative of drug abuse, especially in teenagers when personality and performance shifts are sometimes normal. However, catching problems early is critical because it’s easier, faster and usually more affordable to address issues in earlier stages.
Here are five not-so-common signs that your child might be abusing drugs and what to do about it:
- They’ve shifted from introvert to extrovert (or vice versa). Seemingly permanent personality shifts might be the result of drug abuse. On the other hand, it can also simply be a signal that they’re maturing and their personality is naturally shifting. Teenagers are still developing their personality, sometimes “coming out of their shell” or “settling down” into what their organic adult personality will be. However, changes that seem permanent and sudden might be due to a chemical dependency. If drugs are part of the equation, the shifts can seem exceptionally sudden, long-lasting and forced.
- They’re going through their finances at a faster clip. Whether it’s an allowance or from a part-time job, if your teen is looking for more disposable income but has nothing to show for their spending, it’s time to for a reconnaissance mission. Even if it’s “their money,” parents have a right to know where their child’s funds are being spent. Helping them develop a budget can reveal discrepancies.
- There’s an increase in drug references on social media. Suggesting drug use/abuse on social media (or even stating it outright) doesn’t always reflect reality. It’s very common for everyone, adults included, to exaggerate or even make up lifestyles to impress people on these platforms. However, if you’ve noticed an increase in drug references on your child’s social media, it’s time for a talk. Even if drugs aren’t being abused, presenting such a lifestyle might cause problems in the future. If you’re able to see such comments, future employers and school-related leaders might be able to as well. Of course, tech savvy teens may block their parents from such posts—but that isn’t always the case.
- They’ve actually become more driven in school. Using legitimate drugs recreationally, such as Ritalin when they don’t have ADHD, can cause a sudden increase in school performance. The natural assumption is that kids who are abusing drugs will experience failing grades and skip class more, but that’s just one avenue. It’s also possible that your teen is abusing drugs as a means of keeping up with their peers academically. Out-of-the-ordinary study habits and grades, when positive, can encourage praise from parents. Find out the root of this turn of events to ensure it’s a natural part of maturing.
- They’ve become more secretive and protective of their space. Like personality shifts, this can certainly just be part of growing up. However, if your teen has turned overprotective, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to their actions. It doesn’t always present in a negative manner either—perhaps your teen is suddenly quick to do their own laundry or tidy up their room when they know you’d otherwise do it.