Category Archives: Lifestyle Balance

How to improve your sleep while in addiction recovery

Posted on November 14, 2017

Sleep disorders are a common struggle in recovery from addiction

Guest blogger, Alisa, Nestmaven.com

According to a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the incidence of insomnia is five times higher in early recovery than in the general population. Insomnia is not the only sleep disorder associated with addiction; contribute to the development of circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias and sleep apnea.

The relationship between sleep and addiction goes both ways: while the mechanisms of addiction and withdrawal cause sleep disorders, the resulting sleep deprivation can inhibit the recovery process. The consequences of sleep deprivation include low mood, impulsivity, and poor emotional regulation which increase the likelihood of relapse.

The SMART Recovery approach can be used to identify areas in your life where you are lacking balance. If you are experiencing sleep issues while recovering from an addiction, making changes in your lifestyle and environment can dramatically improve your symptoms.

Light Exposure

Light is the most powerful cue for our circadian rhythms which are responsible for guiding the sleep-wake schedule.

Timing light exposure for the correct times of day, while avoiding unnecessary light sources as bedtime approaches. Basking in light — especially sunlight — first thing after waking up can help combat sleep inertia; while dimming house lights in the evening signals that it’s time to start winding down for sleep.

Blue light is emitted by electronic device screens (including computers, laptops and smartphones) and is responsible for blocking the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. These devices should be avoided at night, and, when their use is necessary, nightmode should be activated.

Light Therapy is used to treat circadian rhythm disorders and insomnia, the two disorders with the highest incidence in recovery. Light therapy is also a useful tool in treating the depression which frequently occurs alongside drug addiction.

Diet

Diet, while an important part of any healthy lifestyle, lends additional benefits to those struggling with sleep disorders.

Foods that inhibit sleep include those high in sugar and refined fats, as well as spicy foods and chocolate depending on its caffeine content. People suffering from sleep disorders should avoid these foods, particularly after midday.

Foods that promote sleep do so by either inducing drowsiness or through inducing muscle relaxation to relieve discomfort. Experts recommend natural sources of magnesium, potassium and B vitamins such as legumes and leafy green vegetables. Dairy products and animal proteins contain tryptophan — a precursor to the neurochemicals serotonin and melatonin which are essential to sleep.

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Personal choice and empowerment

Posted on September 26, 2017

A Diverse and Welcoming Support Community

Rob Freundlich, SMART Recovery Meeting Facilitator

When I recognized and accepted my sex-related addiction in March 2015 (2 1/2 years ago), I started looking for resources to help in my recovery. I knew that in addition to a good therapist, I would need at least one good group. For various reasons, the 12-step approach didn’t appeal to me, so I looked for alternatives, and ended up finding SMART Recovery.

From the website, I learned that SMART emphasizes personal choice and empowerment, and uses a rational thought-based approach toward recovery It’s backed by scientific research and updated as new research and discoveries are made. On the site I also found a lot of information about the organization, detailed information about the program (including “how-to” pages), and an amazing amount of reading material about addiction and recovery in general.

For a science-minded person like me, who’d always thought I was very logical and rational but was mystified and frustrated at how illogical, irrational, and powerless this addiction had made me, it seemed like a great fit. The only catch was that even though the site talked about addiction in general, the materials seemed to focus an awful lot on substance addiction (primarily drinking). Would I fit in?

More importantly, would I be welcome? At the time, I had a tremendous amount of shame – more than most people with addictions because mine was … you know … SEX!

I walked into that first meeting very tentatively,  Continue reading

5 Things You Need To Know About Digital Tools for Recovery

Posted on August 8, 2017

Addiction  Recovery 101, with Reid Hester, Ph.D.

“There are a huge number of digital tools to help people with alcohol and drug problems…..It’s really hard to tell, just on the basis of looking at them, what’s going to help you.”
~ Dr. Reid  Hester

Watch to find out what you need to know to find an effective app:

CheckUp & Choices is a confidential online program, based on the 4-Point Program® of SMART Recovery, designed to enhance your efforts to achieve and maintain abstinence. It offers modules for alcohol, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, as well as compulsive gambling.

The 5 Things Series contains footage of Recovery Research Institute interviews with international experts in addiction treatment and recovery.

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D. is the Director of CheckUp & Choices LLC
For More Information Visit: http://checkupandchoices.com/
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SMART Conference 2017 “Rising Strong”

Posted on July 11, 2017

Join us September 22-24 in Ft. Lauderdale
by Bill Greer, SMART Board Member

We are looking forward to seeing you in sunny Florida at #SMARTcon2017 as we celebrate National Recovery Month.

Under the theme Rising Strong, the 2017 SMART Recovery Annual Conference features numerous training and learning opportunities for SMART meeting facilitators, recovery professionals and others dedicated to helping people overcome addictions.

The theme recognizes SMART’s exponential growth to more than 2,400 weekly meetings in over 20 countries – up from less than 700 as recently as 2011.

 

The event will take place September 22-24 at the GALLERYone DoubleTree Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The program highlights:

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Celebrate Your Victories, No Matter How Small

Posted on May 30, 2017

The Value of Celebrating Victories
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer

Celebrate Victories

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

5 Things You Need To Know About SMART Recovery

Posted on May 23, 2017

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