Tag Archives: goals

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.

Continue reading

Why “Practice Makes Perfect”

Posted on September 22, 2015

PracticeOften, the process of making lasting change requires trying new and unfamiliar things. Maybe it’s walking to work a different way so you can avoid a tempting or triggering location. Maybe it’s practicing new coping skills in the face of an old problem. Maybe it’s reaching out to other people when you normally would go it alone.

Deliberately practicing new behavior has three effects: 1) you get better at doing it, which increases the odds that you will be successful at it when it matters,  2) you start to replace the old habits with new ones, and 3) you develop the habit of replacing old habits!

Continue reading

Finding Your Balance

Posted on July 14, 2015

Finding Your Balance

[repost from the Center for Motivation and Change website]

Every wonder what it means to be a balanced person? Does it mean being in control all the time? Being calm all the time? Able to handle anything? Moderate in all things? Able to stay composed when everyone else is falling apart? Being someone who manages to always eat right, work out, spend time with friends and family and manage a work life?

Continue reading

Craving

Posted on July 7, 2015

 

Staying in control of your decisionsThe four points of SMART are points, not steps, and the idea is to work on all of them as needed, often at the same time. That said, their order makes sense for someone just starting on their journey toward freedom from an addiction. First they have to build motivation to abstain from the addictive substance or behavior and then they need to be able to cope with urges they will inevitably experience. In this second of four posts on the points of SMART, I’m going to talk about some of the techniques the program offers to those struggling with urges so they don’t have to rely on some vague idea of “willpower.”

Continue reading

A Mindful Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted on June 24, 2014

Self-Management Begins with Intention
-Charles A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator


SMART Recovery is about actively managing your self and directing your actions. What do you intend to actively do today… or ‘NOW’… to manage your addiction recovery?

We have the power of choice, but in order to realize this power, forming intentions and doing the work of changing our thinking and behaviors is required for success… so…

… what’s your intention for self-management today?

Here are some examples (different addiction examples are included here.)

  • Study in my SMART Recovery handbook for 15 minutes
  • Attend a meeting
  • Take my vitamins
  • Work on an item I’ve put off
  • Eat sensibly
  • Respect myself by examining and rating my thoughts and behaviors… instead of self-rating and self-downing
  • Drive home a different way to avoid my old patterns
  • Exercise for 10-15 minutes
  • Drink water instead of soda at lunch
  • Create an urge log
  • Practice unconditional acceptance with myself and others
  • Set a new boundary
  • Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis worksheet
  • Spend 10 minutes reading in the online library, and then practicing what I’ve learned
  • Stay in the NOW, rather than letting my mind drift to the past or the future
  • Make a journal of the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) I have each day, and work to dispute them
  • Spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen

………… and so forth.
Continue reading

Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery

Posted on December 26, 2012

You Don’t Have to Become a Fitness Fanatic to See the Benefits
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Online Member

Exercise Benefits Recovery

SMARTies who participate in SMART Recovery Online (SROL) will sooner or later hear me sing the praises of exercise as an integral part of recovery. For me, exercise is a valuable Vitally Absorbing Creative Interest (VACI) as well as something that provides a host of side benefits. Exercise offers many benefits during the recovery process and I want to take a few minutes to talk about how it can be a part of your recovery.

It doesn’t have to be complicated: It’s important to recognize that working out can take many forms, from something as simple and low impact as a walk, to training for a marathon or taking up competitive power lifting. In this context low impact does not mean less effective. Extensive research shows that even walking for 30 minutes a day several days a week can reap benefits. Obviously if you want to meet specific goals like increased aerobic capacity or running a local 5K race you need to train appropriately, but throughout this blog post when I talk about working out or fitness I really mean getting out and moving – whatever you can do with your abilities and motivation. Continue reading