dating during recovery

Is Dating During Recovery a Good Idea?

Recovery is a process, a long one in many cases. It’s a relinquishing of an addiction to drugs and alcohol and a rebuilding of a new life. In recovery, addicts can find good health, self-awareness, and peace. 

It can be tempting to jump into a new relationship during this time of discovery, but is dating during recovery a good idea? We’ll explore the issue in this article and look at why it might be a good idea to delay dating for a while.

What Is Recovery?

Recovery can mean different things, but generally, it involves more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Yes, part of the recovery process will involve detoxing from those substances, but long-term change requires more than simply not using.

In fact, the term “dry drunk” refers to an addict who is not drinking but is still plagued with emotional and psychological issues. He quit drinking but hasn’t yet tackled the underlying problems that may have contributed to his addiction.

Addiction is a disease that often fuels a dangerous and destructive lifestyle. Lasting change occurs when the addict faces his deepest issues, issues that either drove his need to seek comfort in substances or that developed as a result of his addiction.

In recovery, the addict learns to rebuild her emotional stability. She may enter rehab and recovery overwhelmed with feelings of regret, low self-esteem, sadness, and guilt. Recovery is a chance to start over, to dig out all those painful emotions and face them. It’s an opportunity to build a new foundation with the tools learned during the recovery process.

A big part of a successful recovery is learning to regain control over your life and your choices. You’re not that dry drunk, hanging on by your fingernails and fighting the urge to use again. That kind of addictive, compulsive behavior prevents you from making good choices that come from deep within you. When an area of your life is out of control, it’s next to impossible to live a sober, happy life.

That’s why many addiction specialists encourage people in recovery to wait a year before they begin dating.

Dating During Recovery

When an addict begins the recovery process, she’s finding out who she is and what she believes in.  It sounds simple, but those concepts have often been buried beneath years of drug abuse, trauma, and emotional damage. 

Recovery often means working a 12 step program through organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The 12 step process†addresses every aspect†of addiction- physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.

Most recovering addicts have a history of dysfunctional and destructive relationships.  They were either using throughout the relationship, or their use of drugs and alcohol caused them to engage with people they wouldn’t have chosen in sobriety.

Addicts in recovery learn about healthy relationships, often for the first time in their lives. They discover ways to overcome their feelings of anger, isolation, and fear. They gradually begin to trust themselves to share their hopes, fears, and dreams with others.

It is an extremely vulnerable and often uncomfortable place for a newly-sober addict. She has to break the habit of hiding from uncomfortable feelings by using drugs and alcohol. In some cases, the sober alcoholic might try to soothe herself instead with a new relationship.

Addiction Transfer

Addiction specialists often refer to this as a transfer of addictions. If the alcoholic can’t escape in a bottle, she may try to do so in a relationship. 12 step programs refer to spiritual guidance as a “higher power”. The danger of dating during recovery is that the new love interest can become the addict’s higher power.

In fact, the same brain chemical that makes an addict feel good when she uses drugs gives her the same high in response to sexual stimulation.

Addicts in recovery eventually learn they can’t use the same thinking in sobriety than they used in their drug abuse. But early in the process, an addict might still be using distorted or defensive thinking patterns, poor planning skills, reduced memory, and impaired cognitive functions. Her choice of a dating partner won’t likely be a good one.

Another problem that can occur is the danger of relapse if the relationship doesn’t work out. The addict is still developing healthy coping skills but may not be secure enough in them to deal with a broken relationship in healthy ways. 

What to Do Instead

The focus of recovery is, and should be, on helping the addict learn new ways of thinking, new ways of relating to people and new ways of coping with life’s stresses. The addict learns to like herself again, by facing her past and making amends for her old behaviors.

Exercise, good nutrition, and mindfulness all play a role in developing a healthy, happy lifestyle. Recovery is a wonderful time for newly-sober addicts to discover hobbies and activities to replace the time they used to spend in bars and hanging out with other addicts. 

12 step programs also play an important role. In recovery, the addict can focus on working the steps and attending meetings, rather than on finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend. She begins to rebuild her self-esteem through the development of new life skills, new friendships, and meaningful work.

Her sobriety and recovery are the priority and must come first. We all tend to choose dating relationships with people who are at roughly the same maturity level as we are. It stands to reason then, as the addict progresses through recovery, she will begin to seek out different people than she might have chosen in her early days of sobriety.

Final Thoughts

Dating during recovery can also pose a problem if two addicts begin dating, in or out of rehab. Everyone progresses through recovery at a different speed, and it can be problematic if one person isn’t taking his recovery as seriously as his new relationship is.

Most addiction specialists recommend people in recovery wait a year before they start dating again, so they can focus on their health and their future.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. Please reach out to us at any time.  

sobriety toolbox

Creating a Sobriety Toolbox

Approximately 22 million Americans are currently in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Are you part of this group? If so, then you know that getting sober is only the first step in the recovery process.

Every day, you have to make a choice to stay sober and continue progressing. As you probably know, that’s not always easy to do. This is where a sobriety toolbox can come in very handy.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of creating a sobriety toolbox and what you should put in yours.

What Is a Sobriety Toolbox?

A sobriety toolbox contains all of the tools you turn to when you’re feeling triggered or having a difficult time maintaining your sobriety.

It takes a lot of work to stay sober, especially when your time in a recovery program is over and you’re transitioning back to “real” life.

Having a variety of tools handy will help you respond to triggers and stressors in a healthy and appropriate way.

Types of Sobriety Toolboxes

There are a few different types of sobriety toolboxes you can use. The right type of sobriety toolbox for you will vary depending on your personality, the resources you have access to, and the specific situations that tend to trigger you.

The following are some options you might want to consider: 

Online Toolbox

An online toolbox is an online document or spreadsheet that you can use to brainstorm tools that will help you with your sobriety.

It might include links to fun videos or websites that contain uplifting or motivational content.

The great thing about an online toolbox is that you can access it from anywhere using your smartphone. This makes it a highly convenient option.

Paper List 

Some people prefer the old-fashioned approach and just write down a list of go-to tools that they keep in their purse or wallet.

This list might contain reminders to take deep breaths or take a walk around the block. It could also contain phone numbers of people you can call to talk about why you’re feeling triggered.

If you take this approach, it’s a good idea to keep the list relatively short. That way, you won’t have too many options to sort through when you’re struggling and need some support.

Physical Toolbox

Finally, you might also want to create a physical sobriety toolbox.

This could be a box, a bag, or any other kind of tangible receptacle that holds items that provide you with comfort and help you stay focused on your goals.

It might contain relaxing teas, essential oils, your favorite book, a motivational letter you’ve written to yourself, or any other objects that have meaning for you. 

What to Put in a Sobriety Toolbox

Whether you decide to take the digital approach, the paper approach, or the tangible box approach, there are lots of different items that you might want to include in your sobriety toolbox. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help you to calm down and feel more grounded when you’re dealing with stress or temptation. You can use meditation apps to learn new exercises or simply close your eyes and take ten deep breaths.

Soothing Teas

There are many different teas out there that contain calming, soothing ingredients. Kava tea is a great option, as is chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and any tea that contains lavender. 

Yoga Videos

Bookmark links to some yoga YouTube videos. That way, you have something to turn to when you need to relax and put yourself at ease.

Sobriety Calculator

A sobriety calculator is a great tool that helps you stay focused on your goal. When you use one, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made.

Prayer

Sometimes, the best thing to do when you’re feeling triggered is to say a prayer. There are lots of pre-written prayers that you can recite (including the Serenity Prayer), or you can simply speak from the heart and ask for support.

Exercise

Exercising is a great tool for anyone who wants to feel their best and stay healthy while they’re in recovery.

Maybe you can include a reminder to go for a walk or do some strength training in your toolbox. Or, you could include exercise equipment, such as a jump rope. 

Calming or Uplifting Music

Listening to calming or uplifting music can also work wonders when you’re feeling stressed out or tempted to give up. Include links to favorite songs in your sobriety toolbox or create a playlist that you can turn to whenever you need a boost.

A Favorite Treat

It’s important to prioritize your health in recovery. Sometimes, though, you just need a treat. Keep your favorite candy bar or snack in your toolbox so you have something to give you a little extra comfort when you’re having a hard day.

Phone Numbers

You need to have a strong support system when you’re in recovery. In your toolbox, you should have the phone numbers of people who can give you some encouragement and keep you motivated on days when you’re struggling.

Reading

Finally, consider keeping a favorite book or poem in your recovery toolbox, too. Reading can be a great distraction and can help you to unwind after a difficult day. If reading is not your thing, consider audiobooks or podcasts instead.

Start Working Toward Sobriety Today

Whether you’re brand new to recovery or have been sober for months or even years, a sobriety toolbox can help you maintain your sobriety and avoid a relapse.

Even if you’re not sober yet but are thinking about it, you can benefit from putting together a sobriety toolbox for yourself.

If you need help beginning your recovery journey and putting that toolbox to use, we’re here for you at Addiction Treatment Services.

Contact us today to get information on recovery programs in your area.

We have admissions specialists available at all times to answer your questions and get you on the right path toward sobriety.

dealing with grief

Advice for Dealing with Death and Grief While in Recovery

Advice for Dealing with Death and Grief While in Recovery

The loss of a loved one has been described as life’s most stressful event. It triggers a profound sense of grief, an outward expression of loss. Grief can be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Dealing with death and the grieving process can be especially difficult for people recovering from addiction. Grief and sadness are feelings so many of us want to avoid, and in the addict, they can trigger a relapse. But, there are things you can do to deal with grief and stay sober.

Understanding Grief

When someone we love dies, our sadness can feel overwhelming. Part of the grieving process is allowing ourselves to experience that loss and all the feelings that come with it. Some people may feel numb at first, but there is no “right” emotion or order of feelings. Common emotions may include:

  • Denial
  • Disbelief
  • Confusion
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Despair
  • Guilt

It’s important to understand that all those feelings are normal, and they can cause physical responses like anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, depression and thoughts of suicide.

Grief and the Recovering Addict

Grief can affect our ability to think clearly and process information. Dealing with grief is painful, and an addict's reaction to painful situations is often to numb that pain with drugs and alcohol.

We often hear addicts say things like, “I just want to stop feeling this way”, or “I want the pain to stop”.

Helping addicts in recovery deal with grief and loss is often critical to protecting them against future relapses and worsening depression. Someone in recovery must learn to feel feelings and express them in healthy ways. If he doesn’t, those feelings will still come out, only in unhealthy ways. 

One mental health professional compares this struggle to avoid painful emotions to being stuck in quicksand. The harder someone struggles to get out, the deeper he sinks. Denying these feelings by burying them under drugs and alcohol will only delay them. But if the recovering addict can allow himself to experience grief and express sadness, those awful feelings will gradually begin to fall away on their own.

Dealing with Death in Recovery

A critical part of supporting an addict in recovery is to help him develop healthy activities, habits, and relationships. Newly-sober men and women often find themselves alone and helping them find support systems is vital.

Here are some ways to deal with grief and stay sober:

Ask for help. It’s not unusual for someone in recovery to isolate himself. He may do so as part of his recovery to stay away from the people he did drugs with, for example. But dealing with grief and loss alone is next to impossible. It’s important to reach out to family, friends or a mental health professional for support.

Be creative. People in recovery are often encouraged to write about their experiences in a journal or perhaps draw or paint them. This creative process can also help with grief. You might write a letter to the person who died and tell them all the things you wish you had said when they were alive. You might consider planting a tree in their memory.

Get moving. Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you’re grieving, but it can help to get physical. Make time for hobbies you enjoy. Those might include running or kayaking or simply walking outside. The idea is to get outside, both physically and mentally. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Get out of your own head and focus on something physical as a way to take a break from your grief. 

Eat healthily. You may not feel much like eating in the midst of your grief, but it’s critical to maintain a healthy diet. If you’re not eating well, it’s even more difficult to think clearly and stay strong enough to resist the temptation to use drugs and alcohol again. Good nutrition will give you the physical and mental strength you need to deal with stress. You might ask a friend or relative to help you prepare meals and eat with you. 

Go to a meeting. 12 step programs are the cornerstone of recovery for millions of addicts. Even if you’ve been sober for years and haven’t attended a meeting recently, that support network can help you process your grief in healthy ways. Fellow addicts in recovery can help guide you through the sadness and loss in ways that don’t threaten your sobriety.

Pray or meditate. You may have learned about meditation in the early stages of your recovery. It can be very helpful now, as you deal with grief and loss. You might ask a friend to join you at a yoga class or simply spend time in quiet contemplation. Prayer and meditation can help you process all the emotions you’re experiencing in a healthy environment. 

Own your feelings. It’s important to understand that your feelings are unique and normal. Resist the urge to compare your feelings to someone else’s. Your path is yours and yours alone. There is no right way to grieve, and there is no right time to stop grieving. This can happen sometimes in families who have lost someone close to them. If you’ve lost a parent, you may compare your healing to your siblings’ and wonder why your grief seems so much worse. Feeling like there’s something wrong with you can trigger a response that’s not healthy, and a relapse will only make you feel worse.

Get professional help. Dealing with strong emotions can be frightening for people in recovery who aren’t used to all those painful feelings. If you find yourself in a dark well of sadness that you can’t get out of, or if you’re contemplating suicide, reach out to a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Final Thoughts

It’s not unusual for someone in recovery to find themselves dealing with a death that happened a long time ago. Using drugs and alcohol may have prevented you from grieving the loss when it happened. Your emotions now may be delayed grief, and they’re just as powerful as grief over a recent loss.

If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, we can help. Please reach out to us any time for help with addiction and recovery. 

adult children of alcoholics

4 Common Personality Traits in Adult Children of Alcoholics

Screaming, yelling, and fighting.

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of your parents fighting. Not just arguing, but screaming, shouting, and maybe even throwing things.

Not sure what’s going on, you stumble downstairs to find out what’s wrong. Peering over the staircase, you can barely make out what your parents are saying. But you know whatever is going on must be serious. Afraid you might be in trouble yourself, you decide to skip breakfast and hide out in your room.

Being the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics live in a strange reality. One minute everything is calm and serene. Then suddenly, without warning, a crisis erupts in their living room. The endless cycle of drama and pseudo-resolution may even continue into adulthood.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you're not alone. Almost 28 million children in the U.S. are currently living with an alcoholic parent.

While we can't change the past, learning from it can help us reshape our future. Read on to learn more about the personality traits that are common among children from alcoholic households.

Tips for Children of Alcoholics

Before you start reviewing the ways alcoholism impacts children, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what you might be feeling.

It's normal for survivors of alcoholism to want to defend their parents, especially given the ways that alcoholism has shaped their lives. It's also natural to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt.

We suggest that you write down any negative judgments that arise, whether they are against yourself or another individual, as you learn about the damage alcohol can cause. Research shows that writing down how you feel helps you process your feelings. You don't have to read them, just write them down to get them out of your head.

Once you’re in the right headspace, you're ready to begin looking at some of the darkest parts of alcoholism and the way you or another child might react to them.

1. Children of Alcoholics Expect Excitement

Constant crises and daily dramas can cause children of alcoholics to expect life to be tense. This is because their experience has shown them that anything can go wrong, at any time. As they grow familiar with feelings of panic or fear, they start to expect them all the time.

Usually, when we think of something as exciting, we think of it as fun. However, this type of excitement refers to a more scary feeling stemming from fear.

Rather than feeling joyfully excited, children of alcoholics often feel fearfully excited.

Then, once they become adults, their minds stay stuck in crisis mode. This chaotic outlook on life usually continues in their own lives until they unlearn it.

2. Children of Alcoholics Often Experience Insecure Attachment

During early childhood, it's important for kids to feel secure. It's during this time of their life that the groundwork is being laid for how they will function as adults.

Insecure attachment is one consequence of an unstable, alcoholic household. It is often characterized by the need for things to be surprising or different. However, things don't necessarily have to be exciting (scary or adrenaline-fueled) for an insecure attachment to form in children of alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics may feel that a crisis must always be present in their lives because it is all they have ever known to be true. For instance, adult children of alcoholics might seek out unstable relationships, jobs, and financial situations.

This is because people who struggle with an unhealthy attachment to instability are also prone to behaviors like self-sabotage. As fear and doubt creep in about their future, they'll feel a familiar sense of panic.

Of course, insecure attachment is subliminal behavior. In their own minds, adult children of alcoholics are doing everything possible to be happy. It just so happens that being unhappy is more comfortable and familiar.

3. Children of Alcoholics Are Susceptible to Addiction

Another problem that adult children of alcoholics face is the potential for substance abuse and addiction. The combination of genetics and experiences cause these individuals to have a higher probability of struggling with addiction than the average person.

Studies show that when a parent abuses alcohol before conception, their child is more likely to also have addiction problems. In fact, genetics can increase the risk of having addiction by 40 to 60 percent– or more, in some cases.

4. Children of Alcoholics Are Overwhelmed by Emotions

Alcoholic parents aren't as emotionally available to their children as they should be. Moreover, children may witness their alcoholic parents behaving wildly during active addiction.

While they may think, “I will never act that way,” they are unconsciously learning from their addicted parents. Many adult children experience feelings of disgust when they notice any extreme similarities between their and their addicted parents’ behavior.

Unregulated emotions and feelings of self-hatred can lead to the development of serious mental health issues, like depression. They can also cause high levels of anxiety, anger, and other negative emotions.

Dealing with Adulthood as the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics tend to also struggle with small setbacks in their plans. This makes personal relationships and self-discipline especially challenging to maintain.

They may find themselves yelling at their partner for being a few minutes late to a date. They may overly criticize themselves for not being able to complete a personal goal. For these individuals, even being stuck in traffic can feel like a reason to hate themselves- or others.

The Addiction Treatment Services blog provides reliable information to help families recover from addiction. Knowledge and communication are the keys to healing, and being whole again.

Do you know someone who might be struggling with alcoholism? There are things you can do to help without putting yourself at risk. Check out our latest article about how to hold an alcohol intervention.

For any additional information about alcohol detox and treatment options, contact us here or call us at (877) 455-0055.

friendship and recovery

Friendship and Recovery: Parting Ways With Addicts

Once you’ve gotten sober, you’ll need to cut out the negative influences in your life. Friendship and recovery can be quite complicated.

One of the hardest things about getting sober is the complete shift in lifestyle that you have to make. You’ll need to seek out new hobbies and activities to keep your mind off of using substances. You’ll also need to say goodbye to some of your old acquaintances.

It doesn’t have to be forever, but it’s integral to surround yourself with the right people when you’ve made the decision to stop using. Some of your friends, of course, may still be addicts. So, how do you tell them you need some time away?

In this post, we’ll be giving you some tips on how to part ways with the negative influences in your life. You’ll learn more about prioritizing your recovery, living a sober lifestyle, and moving forward with the positive things in life without worrying about what you’re leaving behind. 

Friendship and Recovery: How to Get Rid of Bad Influences

It’s important to note that when you get sober, there’s going to be a considerable change in how you live your life. With help from your family and doctors, you’ll have higher chances of success. However, if you’re going to make sobriety work, then you need to know that there will be some temptation during your recovery.

Being able to see who has your best interest in mind and who has their own best interest in mind is critical for a successful recovery. You have to figure out who supports your recovery and who doesn’t.

You Need Support

People that struggle with addiction can recover with help from good support systems. In fact, many addicts come from healthy families and have healthy relationships. However, there’s almost always an undercurrent of bad influences as well.

When you decide to get sober, you’re taking responsibility for the part you played in becoming an addict. Admitting that you’ve got a problem is a huge step in the right direction. But it’s only the first part of a long process.

To get and stay sober, you’re going to need the help of supportive parents, friends, family members, partners, and even ex-partners. It’s impossible to go through recovery alone. So, the sooner you realize the importance of keeping good influences around you, the better this process will go.

The same goes for keeping bad influences away. There are people in your life that will actively prevent you from achieving your goal of getting and staying sober. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re trying to sabotage you or your life. There could be a lot of reasons why someone close to you doesn’t want you to give up substance use. Even so, you’ll need to keep these people at arm’s length while you go through your recovery.

Signs of a Negative Influence

Cutting ties with anyone is hard, and not all of the people from your old life will interfere with your recovery process. Still, some of them will make it hard to resist the urge to return to substance abuse. It’s unfortunate, but you need to get away from these kinds of people- at least while you’re still in the process of getting sober.

Being objective about who to cut ties with can be tough, so here are some of the telltale signs of a negative influence. You should put some distance between yourself and friends that:

  • criticize your decision to get sober
  • frequently cause you emotional distress
  • accuse you of being “no fun” or “boring now”
  • have a pattern of influencing your decisions in a negative manner
  • are ignorant of their own addiction or unwilling to seek treatment 

These aren’t all of the signs, but they’re some of the more obvious ones.

If you’re particularly close with someone that acts in any of the ways listed above, then you will have to make the difficult but critical decision to cut ties with them. It will be especially hard if you see the person every day or if the two of you live together.

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later

The truth of the matter is that if someone really cares about you and has your best interests in mind, then that person will see why you have to have some time apart. If anyone in your life is resistant to you temporarily cutting ties with them, that’s an even greater sign that you’re making the right decision.

Again, it’s almost never out of maliciousness. It can be hard for people in the middle of substance abuse problems to be happy for those that decide to stop. For reasons of jealousy or insecurity with their own inability to get clean, they’ll appear to be trying to pull you back into the addiction.

The best way to approach these types of conversations is to recognize that you played a part in this unhealthy relationship. Taking ownership of your own problems will show them that you’re not blaming them for what’s transpired or passing judgment on them for not seeking help.

The conversation could go any number of ways.

There will likely be a negative reaction. No one wants to hear that they’re part of a toxic relationship. If you feel that someone isn’t taking you or your health seriously, then you should cut ties entirely and focus on your recovery.

The important thing is that you find the best treatment possible to get and stay sober.

Surround Yourself With the Right People

The good influences in your life will make themselves apparent right away. Having a network of supportive and loving people is just as important as the treatment that you receive. You’ll meet supportive doctors, nurses, and peers during treatment that you’ll be able to rely on for years to come.

Eventually, you may see some of your old friends again. It’s important to remember that people can change and that addiction changes people. Maybe some of them have even decided to get sober, too. If that ever happens, you can decide whether or not you want to be for them what they weren’t for you: a friend.

Help from Addiction Treatment Services

For help finding addiction treatment, visit Addiction Treatment Services.

Be sure to also check out our blog for more informative and inspirational articles about getting sober, finding friendship and recovery, and starting a new life.

anger management and recovery

Anger Management and Rehabilitation: How Controlling Anger Can Improve Recovery

Anger and anger management are serious problems for many Americans. Sixteen million†people throughout the country suffer from a condition known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (or IED). This condition is characterized by sudden feelings of anger that are disproportionate to the situation.

Moreover, most people don’t realize that anger issues and substance abuse often go hand in hand.

In fact, people who struggle with anger management problems may be more prone to substance abuse. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their problems. However, they may also find that drugs or alcohol make their anger problems worse.

The connection between addiction and anger makes anger management courses an excellent benefit for people in recovery. Read on to learn more about the vital role that anger management can play in addiction recovery.

Anger and Addiction

Everyone gets angry from time to time. Addicts, though, might find that they get angry more often than other people. There are many links between anger and addiction, and it’s not always clear which one leads to the other.

Some of the most well-known connections between the two are explained below:

Self-Medicating to Manage Emotions

The†act of self-medicating†is pervasive among individuals who struggle with addiction.

Some people who know that they have trouble managing their anger may turn to drugs or alcohol because they think that using will help them cope.

For example, people with anger issues may use depressants like alcohol or opioids to stay calm and slow their reflexes. They may even use sedatives to try to keep their anger under control.

Drugs and Alcohol Triggering Anger

On the other hand, drugs and alcohol can also trigger anger in some people.

Substance use can reduce impulse control and make it harder for some people to control their temper. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a minor annoyance can become a major issue and cause someone to act irrationally.

For example, alcohol impairs cognitive abilities. So, alcohol misuse can cause people not to think through things as clearly as they might usually. They might also care less about the consequences of their actions when they’re under the influence of a particular substance.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Domestic Abuse

It’s also important to note that there is a striking correlation between the rates of substance use and domestic abuse. There is also a particularly strong link between alcoholism and intimate partner violence.

One study, which involved 67 participants, even showed that alcohol increased the likelihood of physical aggression in men who already had anger problems and difficulty managing their emotions.

This study revealed that sexual aggression was higher after consuming alcohol. These findings were accurate even among men who did not have anger problems and were able to manage their anger well when sober.

Benefits of Anger Management in Recovery

There are some significant connections between anger management issues and substance abuse.

For many people, getting sober can be very beneficial in helping them to better control their anger. However, getting to the root of the issue is also important. If you struggle with anger management issues, you need to figure out why and how you can cope with them.

Participating in anger management while in recovery can bring about many benefits, including the following:

Learn to Recognize Triggers

When anger management is part of your addiction recovery plan, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what kinds of situations trigger your anger.

Once you can recognize these triggers, you’ll be able to cope with them or avoid them altogether.

If you find that you’re more prone to anger after consuming drugs or alcohol, you may feel even more motivated to give them up for good.

Learn to Cope with Triggers

Recognizing triggers is the first step. Avoiding them is great when you can, but you’re not always able to do that.

While in anger management, you’ll learn how to cope with your triggers in healthy ways that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, or other destructive behaviors.

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

A big part of anger management involves learning to take responsibility for your actions. Generally, this is a big part of recovery, too.

By participating in anger management as part of your recovery, you’ll have a much easier time accepting what’s happened in your life so far and finding the motivation to make positive changes going forward.

Repair Your Relationships

When you learn to take responsibility for your actions and control your anger, you can also start to†repair your relationships†with your family, friends, and others who have been affected by your anger issues.

Participating in anger management also shows your loved ones that you’re prioritizing both your mental and emotional health in your recovery.

What to Expect from Anger Management

If you are feeling hesitant about doing anger management training during your addiction recovery, remember that there are plenty of good reasons to participate and lots to take away from it.

Every anger management program is different, but some experiences among them are similar. During your participation, you can likely expect to:

  • talk about your past experiences
  • work on identifying your personal triggers
  • learn mindful, healthy ways to respond to your triggers
  • share your feelings in either a one-on-one or group setting
  • learn problem-solving skills and tips to handle things in a more productive way
  • cover other communication techniques and effective ways of addressing your anger

After anger management, you’ll find that you’re more patient and have an easier time dealing with frustrating situations. It’s a long road, and you’ll have to practice, but you will see improvements if you focus on the program.

Get Help Today

Anger management can be very beneficial to individuals struggling with addiction.

If you struggle with anger issues and also need help getting sober, finding a recovery program that includes anger management is crucial.

Do you need help finding a recovery program near you that fits your needs? If so, contact Addiction Treatment Services today.

We have compassionate, caring admissions specialists available at all times to help you take the steps you need to move forward toward recovery.

References

Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (n.d.). Anger in the Families. Retrieved from https://www.aamft.org/Consumer_Updates/Effect_of_Anger_on_Families.aspx

Graham, J. (2017, July 19). Why is everyone so angry, and how can we change that? Retrieved from https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685019/Why-is-everyone-so-angry-and-how-can-we-change-that.html

Shorey, R. C., McNulty, J. K., Moore, T. M., & Stuart, G. L. (2017, March). Trait Anger and Partner-Specific Anger Management Moderate the Temporal Association Between Alcohol Use and Dating Violence. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28317513

Rehab Checklist

Prepare Both Physically and Mentally with This Essential Rehab Checklist

Measuring the success rate of drug rehab can be difficult. However, the cold, hard facts are always easy to understand.

Over 70,200 people died as the result of drug overdoses in 2017. Moreover, an alarming 90% of addicts who need rehab the most never seek treatment.

If you’re in the small percentage of addicts who are getting the help you desperately need, then this rehab checklist is for you. Knowing what to expect from the rehab experience will improve your chances for success.

From simple things like how to pack and what to bring to understanding what the day-to-day routine will look like, this checklist will prepare you for the next step in your recovery.

So, take a deep breath. Let’s help you get ready for the first day of the rest of your life.

Your Rehab Checklist

Every rehab facility is a little different in terms of rules and regulations, but most follow the same basic principles. If you’ve already chosen your facility, congratulations!

Upon admission, the rehab staff will go over everything you need to know. This will include available resources, what items and behaviors are prohibited, the rules surrounding visitors and phone calls, and much more.

Your rehab checklist should include physical items to bring as well as emotional ways to prepare. Let’s take a look at both.

What to Bring

When packing for rehab, remember: you want to be as calm and comfortable as possible during your stay. So, you may want to bring items that help remind you of home.

A Journal and Writing Materials

Journaling is one of the best forms of therapy for rehab patients. In a personal journal, you can write about your fears, worries, and concerns. You can also use your journal to document your journey and your triumphs.

Entering rehab is tough; it’s an emotional decision for most addicts. And while there are counselors and fellow addicts to talk to, a journal offers a private release for your thoughts and feelings.

Since most rehab facilities limit phone calls and visitors, be sure to bring stationary and some pens or pencils. Writing letters to friends and loved ones might become your favorite past time. And, chances are, they’ll love to hear how well your recovery is going.

A List of Names and Phone Numbers

Do you know your friends and loved ones’ phone numbers by heart? Probably not. After all, with the advancement of technology, no one really needs to remember phone numbers anymore.

Most rehab centers don’t allow cell phones or any devices that connect to the internet. For this reason, compiling a list of names, phone numbers, and addresses before entering rehab is a good idea.

By doing this, you’ll never be too far from an encouraging phone call or letter.

Comfortable Clothing

A significant part of rehab is physical activity. You’ll participate in a wide range of activities from walking and hiking to yoga and even organized games.

So, bring comfortable clothing and sneakers that won’t restrict your movement or ability to focus. Rehab is not a fashion show, so leave your high-heels, skinny jeans, and cocktail dresses at home.

And don’t forget to pack your bathing suit! Many facilities plan day trips to local pools or water parks, and some may even have their own swimming pool on site.

Appropriate Toiletries

This may come as a surprise, but double-checking your toiletries is an essential part of preparing for rehab.

Rehab facilities are very particular about the kinds of toiletries you can bring. Depending on how sharp they are, you may have to leave your tweezers, nail files, and nail clippers at home.

It’s also worth noting that toiletries that contain alcohol are prohibited. So, if your usual brand of mouthwash contains alcohol, leave it behind.

Other washroom items like hairspray and hand sanitizer may also contain denatured alcohol, so check your labels carefully. The last thing you want to do is bring contraband to rehab- especially alcohol detox programs.

How to Prepare Before You Go

Your suitcase isn’t the only thing that needs preparing before you enter rehab. After all, you’ll be removed from life as you know it for several weeks or even months.

Here are a few ways to mentally prepare yourself before entering a recovery program.

Take Care of All Obligations

Do you have a job? Financial obligations? A family that relies on you? If so, it’s essential to address these and any other responsibilities you have before entering rehab.

If you’re a parent or spouse, spend some uninterrupted quality time with your loved ones before checking in to rehab. Leave behind letters and photos for your family to turn to when they’re feeling lonely or detached.

Also, be sure to put a trusted family member or friend in charge of paying your bills (with money you’ve saved) during your stay. This way, you’ll be up-to-date on all your payments even while you’re away. You don’t want to return home to any past due bills or debt.

If you’re an employee, be sure to talk to your boss and the HR department to prepare for your temporary departure from the office. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, most employees can utilize up to 12 weeks of medical leave. This means that your job is secure during your rehab stay.

Rest assured that most employers will support an employee’s decision to get sober. After all, they want the healthiest version of you showing up to work each day.

Remember, your loved ones will most likely support your decision to get sober. And, as much as they’ll miss you, they’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.

Adopt a Positive Mindframe

“Mind over matter” is a powerful concept. Even if you know that you need rehab to get sober, it can still be scary.

Try to relax and calm yourself before the check-in day. What helps you destress? Yoga? Meditation? Artistic expression? Whatever it is, take some time to unwind; mentally and physically prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

Don’t enter rehab with a negative attitude, either. Positive thoughts breed positive results. Don’t give up on yourself before you’ve given rehab a chance.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Congratulations! You’ve decided to seek help for your addiction. All that’s left to do is compile your personal rehab checklist.

This process includes deciding what physical items to bring with you and mentally preparing yourself as well as those closest to you. You have a challenging but rewarding road ahead.

Put yourself in the best position for success by creating a practical rehab checklist.

Do you know an addict in your life who needs help? Learn more about planning an intervention and saving a life.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

Nguyen. (2017, December 07). 10 Surprising Benefits Of Keeping A Journal. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-journaling_n_6648884

Opioid Overdose. (2018, December 19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html

Emotional Triggers

Recovery Can Be a Roller Coaster: How to Deal with Emotional Triggers

Relapse is a common part of the recovery process. In fact, 40-60 percent of individuals who struggle with substance abuse or addiction will relapse at some point.

Often, when people relapse, it is because they were faced with a trigger (or series of triggers) that they could not handle.

The more you know about your triggers and what kinds of coping mechanisms help you to deal with them, the less likely you’ll be to deal with relapse yourself.

Read on to learn more about common emotional triggers and the steps you can take to handle them in a healthy way and reduce your risk of relapse.

What Are Emotional Triggers?

An emotional trigger is anything that causes you to feel uncomfortable or experience any other kind of emotional reaction.

An example of an emotional trigger might be†feeling angry†or defensive when someone makes a comment about your past behaviors or feeling jealous when you see someone posting about an experience they had on social media.

Virtually anything can be an emotional trigger to someone.

Learning to identify emotional triggers is an essential part of the addiction recovery process.

Often, people turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with difficult emotions like jealousy and anger. In order to attain and maintain your sobriety, you need to find other, healthier ways to handle these feelings.

Common Emotional Triggers

A variety of different feelings can act as emotional triggers for folks who are in recovery. It’s important to note, too, that not all of these feelings are negative, although they certainly can be.

The following are some common emotions that can be triggering to people struggling with addiction:

Negative Feelings

When most people think of feelings that trigger a desire to use drugs or alcohol, they think of these kinds of negative feelings:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Hate
  • Overconfidence
  • Jealousy
  • Sadness
  • Neglect
  • Overwhelm

A person might also become emotionally triggered when they feel that they’re being criticized or that they’re being viewed as inadequate.

Neutral Feelings

Neutral feelings can be emotional triggers, too.

For example, if someone is feeling bored, they might feel an urge to turn to alcohol or drugs just to give themselves something to do. They might turn to alcohol or drugs when they’re feeling relaxed, too, or if they want to feel more relaxed.

Positive Feelings

Positive emotions can even be triggering to some people. This is where things get really tricky.

For some people, celebrations might trigger a desire for alcohol or drugs as a way to let their hair down and enjoy some good news. Excitement, happiness, and passion can also be emotional triggers.

Tips for Recognizing with Triggers

Emotional triggers are often more difficult to deal with than other types of triggers. You might be able to avoid certain situations and people when you’re in recovery, but you can’t avoid all emotions.

Instead of trying to stay away from emotions when you’re recovering from addiction, it’s important to learn healthy ways to deal with all the different emotions you might experience.

Before you can deal with emotions and emotional triggers, though, you first need to figure out what your emotional triggers are.

Here are some tips that can help you start to identify your emotional triggers:

Notice Physical Reactions

Does your heart start beating rapidly when you get angry? Do you clench your fists when you’re stressed?

When you experience reactions like this, work backward to figure out what kind of emotion you’re feeling. Then, work backward some more to figure out what’s causing that emotion.

Notice Your Thoughts

Pay attention to the thoughts that run through your head, too. Have you suddenly started thinking irrationally or in extremes? What happened that brought on those thoughts?

What Happened Earlier?

You might not always experience emotional triggers when someone says or does something. You might be more prone to them, though, after a long day or after something else went wrong.

When you start experiencing physical reactions or negative thoughts, think about the context of the day and what kinds of situations might have contributed to them.

Tips for Dealing with Triggers

Once you’ve identified your emotional triggers, the next step is to learn to deal with them. Everyone handles their triggers differently, so you’ll have to do some experimentation to figure out which approaches work best for you.

The following are some ideas to help you get started:

Focus on Your Breath

When you start feeling physical reactions or negative thoughts in response to an emotional trigger, it helps to focus on your breath. This can calm your body down and get you out of a “fight or flight” state.

Try to Find Humor

It can be helpful to try and find humor in the situation, too. Often, we make issues more serious than they need to be. If possible, take a step back and try to find a way to lighten the moment.

Write Things Down

Many people also find that they can cope with triggers better if they write down how they’re feeling and nail down exactly what caused the feeling. Writing also gives you an opportunity to reflect and pause instead of reacting in an unhealthy way.

Take a Break

Sometimes, you just need to separate yourself from the situation altogether.

Whether you take a break to go write in a journal or engage in a hobby, taking a break before you respond can help you avoid losing your temper or saying or doing something you’ll regret later.

Get Help with Recovery Today

It’s not always easy to identify and cope with emotional triggers. The more you learn about yourself and the more you practice, though, the better your coping skills will become.

Remember, too, that you do not have to go through the recovery process alone.

If you need support from addiction recovery professionals or others who are also in recovery, we can help at Addiction Treatment Services.

Contact us today to learn more about different recovery programs in your area.

We have compassionate, caring admissions specialists available 24 hours a day to answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction.

References

MojŠ, C. A., & Spielberger, C. D. (n.d.). Anger and Drug Addiction – Carmelo A. De MojŠ, Charles D. Spielberger, 1997. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1997.81.1.152

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery