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. 

heroin treatment and aftercare

What Does Aftercare Look Like for Heroin Treatment?

If you have recently undergone inpatient drug rehab, then you probably have a lot of questions. What will life be like now that my heroin treatment is over? Will returning home mean returning to bad habits? How can I make sure that I stay sober?

If you are struggling with any of these questions, then don’t worry; we’re here to help.

This article contains information about various heroin treatment options that can help you stay on track in the first few weeks, and months, of recovery.

Why is Aftercare Important for Heroin Treatment?

Aftercare takes place after detox and treatment. It can come in many forms, all of which are effective. However, the combination of methods that will help you stay sober depends entirely on your personal preferences.

In other words, aftercare, like rehab, is only truly effective if it is tailored to a patient’s recovery needs.

Different Aftercare Options

For those who have access to health insurance benefits, you can explore a variety of aftercare options offered through any rehab facility that accepts your plan.

If you don’t have access to health insurance benefits, that’s okay too. Many aftercare options are available for free to those that need them.

As long as you have the willingness to stay away from heroin, resources will always be available.

Outpatient Services

Outpatient treatment is a level of care that generally comes after inpatient care but before aftercare. However, some people in recovery view outpatient care as the stepping stone to aftercare and, eventually, long-term sobriety.

Unlike the other forms of addiction care, which focus solely on you, outpatient programs usually focus on group therapy. You, along with others in recovery, will work together in a group setting to share experiences, offer support, and receive insight from a professional counselor.

Sharing the struggles that you may be facing isn’t always something you may feel comfortable doing with people who are not in recovery— even if they are friends or family. After all, people who haven’t experienced drug addiction may not fully understand the difficulties of early sobriety.

Working with a group can help you in many ways. During your group sessions, you’ll work on processing your new world. This can include dealing with your past, making amends, and working the 12 steps.

Plus, counselors who lead group therapy sessions have experience helping patients through early recovery. Your counselor will help steer you and the group towards constructive interaction and provide available resources to those who may need additional help.

Narcotics Anonymous Meetings

Narcotics Anonymous is a free program available to anyone who wants to participate. Traditionally, there are two types of meetings: ‘open meetings’ and ‘closed meetings.’ 

Open meetings are available to anyone who wishes to attend. Even active heroin users are welcome to participate. According to NA.org:

An open meeting is an NA meeting that may be attended by anyone (e.g., judges, probation officers, professionals, family members) interested in how we have found recovery from the disease of addiction. Verbal participation, however, is limited to NA members only.

WORLD SERVICE BOARD OF TRUSTEES BULLETIN #15

Closed meetings, however, are open to anyone who is serious about getting or staying sober. The website specifies that:

A closed meeting in Narcotics Anonymous is for those individuals who identify themselves as addicts or for those who are uncertain and think they might have a drug problem. A closed Narcotics Anonymous meeting provides a freedom that is necessary for more personal and intimate sharing by Narcotics Anonymous members. It does so by providing an atmosphere in which addicts can feel more certain that those attending will be able to identify with them, and share their own experience, strength, and hope.

WORLD SERVICE BOARD OF TRUSTEES BULLETIN #15

Narcotics Anonymous Meetings are free and available across the U.S. If you’ve never been to a meeting before, then be prepared to learn just how many groups are active in your area.

Sponsors

Sponsorships are a large part of both of the aftercare options listed above. In fact, working with a sponsor is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay sober during the early stages of your recovery.

A sponsor is someone who is also in recovery that has completed the 12 steps. Working the steps with someone who has already conquered them will not only ensure your sobriety but also help you reestablish relationships and move forward in your new, sober life.

Selecting the Right Program for You

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which aftercare program to do during your recovery. For instance, the traveling distance to the program from home may sway your opinion of which program to choose.

If you attended an inpatient heroin rehab facility within reasonable commuting distance from your home, then it may make sense to do an outpatient or aftercare program at the same facility.

Choosing the same location where you first received treatment has a lot of benefits. You’ll be working with people you are familiar with, and you will be close to home.

Plus, if you enjoyed working with the counselors that helped you during your inpatient stay, returning for outpatient care and then aftercare would be a great opportunity to stay connected.

Alternatively, if you received inpatient treatment at a facility that is too far for you to commute to on a regular basis (e.g., if you attended inpatient rehab at an out-of-state facility), then be sure to look into local options.

You can always ask your rehab counselor to help you select the best aftercare option in your current location.

Any Additional Questions?

Now that you’ve learned about the various heroin treatment options available to you, it’s time to move forward. Giving up heroin use is no easy feat, but it is leaps and bounds better than the alternative.

If you have any more questions about heroin addiction or the different levels of care for heroin rehab, contact us to speak with an experienced counselor, or visit our website to learn more.

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

Mojá, C. A., & Spielberger, C. D. (n.d.). Anger and Drug Addiction – Carmelo A. De Mojá, 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

How to Deal with Difficult People

How to Deal with Difficult People When Recovering from Addiction

Are you in the process of recovery?

Whether you’re recovering from drugs or alcohol, you know firsthand just how challenging the entire process can be. On top of the common challenges that accompany recovery, it can be easy to isolate yourself and feel alone in your struggles.

However, studies have found that more Americans than you might initially think have experienced recovery. In fact, 1 in 10 American adults has been in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction at one point in their lives.

Of these adults, the large majority have struggled with how to deal with difficult people during their recovery. If you find yourself nodding your head, you’re going to want to read this.

We’re uncovering seven proven methods for dealing with the difficult people that may present themselves during your recovery. Not only are these positive tips for life in general, but they’re also bound to help your overall recovery.

1. Modify Your Behavior

In dealing with difficult people, it’s important to remember that you cannot always modify someone else’s behavior.

Even if you feel strongly that their behavior is generally wrong, this doesn’t always translate to them understanding this notion. As a result, it’s likely that their patterns of bad behavior will continue and are unlikely to change.

Rather than focusing on how you can alter their behavior, try shifting your focus to how you can respond to their behavior. This is going to help give you control of the situation and minimize the negative effect that their behavior has on you.

2. Attempt to Understand Their Actions

When this person is showcasing their utmost difficulty, remember that you may be unaware of the current demons they’re facing. These struggles and hardships more than likely have a significant influence on their actions and presence.

It may also be helpful to remind yourself that you, too, may have been difficult at one point throughout your addiction. Before overcoming an addiction, it’s only natural for an addict to experience a range of emotions that lead to difficulty.

Do your best to understand why they may be acting out and appearing difficult. When you put yourself into their shoes, you’ll more than likely gain an appreciation for why they’re projecting themselves in such a poor manner.

3. Have Honest Conversations

When all else fails, why not be upfront and open with this person about how you’re feeling?

Allowing yourself to be honest with this person will provide them with valuable insight as to your thoughts and feelings. From their perspective, it may be surprising to them that you’re struggling with their actions. With this, it’s always possible that they may alter their behavior for the better.

Remember, difficult people, are not always aware as to how their actions impact others. While they may be experiencing struggle on the inside, they’re not always aware that this is being reflected on the outside.

4. Create Boundaries

It may be time to create a physical boundary between yourself and the difficult people in your life.

While this may be a difficult choice, it’s important to remember that boundaries can be very healthy for both parties. If you truly feel that the person nor their actions cannot be corrected, it may be time to slowly distance yourself from that person.

Remember, boundaries don’t have to be lifelong and can instead be temporary. So, this doesn’t mean that your relationship has to come to an official end. Rather, this means that you are taking a break from having this person in your life during the recovery process.

5. Remove Yourself from Toxic Relationships

Of course, not all relationships with difficult people are salvageable or worth saving. Before making any rash decisions, it’s essential to differentiate which relationships are too negative and unhealthy to continue.

If you truly feel that the difficult people in your life are toxic, it might be time to officially cut your ties to this person. While relationships in life are arguably one of the most rewarding and important facets of life, this isn’t the case for each and every relationship.

6. Reach out for Support

There comes a time and place where not all relationships can be saved nor abandoned. For many addicts in recovery, this will come in terms of dealing with a difficult family member such as a parent or a sibling.

While this relationship may feel toxic, it may also feel impossible to remove yourself from such a relationship. This is where it becomes crucial to enlist the help of others in dealing with this person.

This may come in terms of speaking to mutual connections as well as speaking with a therapist or your sponsor. Having honest conversations and allowing for the perspective of others can provide you with the tools necessary for tolerating this person.

7. Give Second Chances

Last but not least, it’s important to remind yourself that some people deserve to be given a second chance.

Remember that the majority of addicts are given a second chance at both life and in their relationships during recovery. Think back to the forgiveness that friends and family paid to you when you were suffering from your addiction.

When you extend your forgiveness to a difficult person in your life, it can help to foster an entirely new relationship. This new relationship can be a second chance at developing a more healthy and positive relationship with that person.

How to Deal with Difficult People During Recovery

Today, nearly 21 million American adults suffer from some form of substance addiction. In an attempt to lead a sober lifestyle, many of these adults will find themselves facing the bumpy road of recovery at some point.

While you may control your own actions in recovery, you may not always control the actions of those around you. When this takes place, you may find yourself wondering how to deal with difficult people that are present throughout your recovery.

Fortunately, these tips will help to provide guidance on how to overcome these difficulties and focus on your recovery. This may be anything from modifying your own behavior and attempting to understand the behavior of others to removing yourself from toxic relationships and establishing boundaries.

If you feel that yourself or a loved one may be facing addiction issues, be sure to contact us today. With a simple phone call, we can discuss the many options that are available to help today.

References

Chan, A. L. (2012, March 07). The Shocking Number Of Americans Who’ve Recovered From Substance Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/07/addiction-recovery-america-drugs-alcohol_n_1327344.html

Hafner, J. (2016, November 17). Surgeon general: 1 in 7 in USA will face substance addiction. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/17/surgeon-general-1-7-us-face-substance-addiction/93993474/

Boredom in Recovery

How to Combat Boredom in Recovery

Right now, 22 million Americans are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. Dealing with boredom in recovery is one of the biggest causes of relapse.

Boredom is a dangerous state of mind that can open up the floodgates to behaviors that are harmful and addicting. Especially when a person is in the delicate state of new sobriety.

But there is hope! Read on for the best ways you can deal with boredom in recovery in productive ways.

Unplug

So many people try coping with boredom by turning to electronic devices. They surf the net or social media sites or binge watch entire seasons on Netflix.

But though staring at a screen may seem like a good way to preoccupy yourself, the truth is you may be experiencing sensory overload. This reduces your ability to focus on anything for any length of time.

Plus, when you are staring at a screen, you aren’t living your life, you are just passively taking in information.

Take a look at your screen habits and set some boundaries. Start by powering off for an hour at the same time every day.

You could also set rules about how much time you will spend scrolling Facebook. A timer is a great way to stick to your goals.

As you unplug, your ability to focus and think clearly will improve. And you’ll find that when you are bored, you’ll be better able to find productive activities to turn to.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you focus on the current moment without worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

Boredom and addiction go hand-in-hand because boredom opens up a window for self-doubt and negative self-talk.

Mindfulness is one of the best tips for dealing with boredom in recovery. Meditation is a wonderful way that you can begin to become more mindful.

It may sound easy, but takes a lot of practice to successfully do for any length of time.

Best of all, as you start to pay attention to what you see, smell, hear and feel, the world becomes a richer and more fascinating place.

Hit the Gym

Exercise is the cure for so many of life’s ailments.

Trouble sleeping? Aches and pains? Low sex drive?

Exercise helps with all of these. When you are dealing with boredom in recovery, you are likely feeling pessimistic.

Exercise sends a rush of endorphins to your brain. Then, you experience a natural euphoric state that helps you feel good about yourself and your life.

So hit the gym and leave it all on the floor. You’ll get rid of some nervous energy and improve how your mind and body feel as well.

Try a New Hobby

You have heard that removing an addiction is not enough. You also need to replace that with new habits and interests.

One of the best ways of dealing with boredom in recovery is to find a new hobby or interest.

There must be something you’ve always found interesting but never done. Maybe you can take up rowing or woodworking.

Perhaps you’d love to learn how to quilt. Or you might want to finally learn Portuguese or cake decorating.

It really doesn’t matter what hobby you choose. A new interest will improve your mental health and focus.

Not to mention that it’s a great way to start new friendships. Look for local groups or classes and get involved.

Create a Daily Schedule

One of the best ways that you can learn how to deal with boredom is to create a schedule for yourself.

A large part of being bored is having no clear idea of what you should do next. Having a schedule keeps you on track and engaged with your activities.

Include meal prep and cooking healthy enjoyable meals. Make sure you schedule in a daily walk or spending time outdoors gardening or reading.

Set aside time to write in your journal and connect with your support group. And add in time for volunteering and learning new skills.

Set a Goal and Work Towards it

People who are goal-oriented have a purpose for their lives. And it doesn’t have to be a huge life-changing goal, either.

It can be a fitness goal like train for and run a marathon. Or it can be something like take a cooking class and learn how to cook Italian food.

The best thing is if you can make your goal measurable and give yourself a deadline. Six months to a year is often a good timeframe. Longer and you may get discouraged, too short and you may not have enough time to reach your goal.

Having a goal is an excellent way of coping with boredom during recovery.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

When you force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone, you stretch your limits and grow as a person. If you’re shy to talk to new people, start up a conversation in the grocery checkout line.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, join an improv club or a debate team. The result is that you will become a more courageous and adventurous person. And that will serve you well in your new life of sobriety.

Final Thoughts on Boredom in Recovery

Thanks for reading. As you can see boredom in recovery is manageable. There are so many proactive approaches you can take when dealing with boredom.

Do you have questions about addiction, treatment or scheduling an intervention? Contact us today and get the help you deserve.

References

Ashford, R. D., & Canode, B. (2018, August 29). It’s time to measure addiction recovery rates, not just addiction rates. Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2018/08/30/measure-addiction-recovery-rates/

Bennett, C. (2011, December 01). The 4 Most Common Causes Of Addiction Relapse. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dispositions-of-relapse_n_988137

Addiction Cravings

Tips for Coping with Addiction Cravings

Have you ever woken up with an intense craving for drugs or alcohol? Do you consider yourself an addict, even if you won’t admit it to anyone else?

From 2000 to 2010, Americans spent more than $1 trillion on illegal drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription opioids. That’s about $100 billion per year. Since then, illegal drug purchases have ballooned to a whopping $400 billion per year.

Answering those addiction cravings can lead to lost wages, hospitalization, and loss of property including cars and homes. So how can you resist the urge to use drugs and continue on the path to sobriety?

If you need to know how to stay sober, this article’s for you. We’ll introduce you to a few coping mechanisms and help you find long-term relapse prevention options.

Acknowledge the Urge

You may have heard people say, “What you resist, persists.” This is doubly true when you’re dealing with an addiction. If you fight the urge to use, it will grow stronger.

If you need to know how to deal with cravings, the first step is learning to put a space in between wanting to use and using. Being able to take a few minutes and think rationally will cut down on the likelihood that you’ll relapse.

When a craving comes up, make a mental note of where you are. Are there certain triggers that are making you want to use?

Do you want to use when you see certain people? Acknowledging that you have a craving is the first step toward dealing with it.

Leave the Situation

One of the best coping skills for addiction is to imagine yourself with wheels on your feet. When you feel caught in a situation that makes you want to use, just roll on out of there.

Leaving situations that give you unpleasant memories or addiction cravings is a vital skill for staying sober. Once you accept your cravings, you also have to accept that there are certain “people, places, and things” that make you want to relapse.

Nobody wants to have to leave their friends behind, but you need to focus on your own recovery.

Accept Your Addiction

The next step in how to fight drug cravings is to accept your addiction. We already said that accepting your cravings is key, but accepting your addiction is a little bit different.

If you accept your addiction, you might want to get treated in an outpatient or inpatient rehab facility. You might share the truth about your addiction with some close friends or family.

Don’t be surprised if your friends say they didn’t realize how bad your addiction had become. Alcohol and drug addiction tend to be isolating conditions, pursued in secret.

If your family has organized an intervention, it might be the perfect time to get started with rehab. They care for you and have noticed that your addiction has gotten way out of control.

Most insurance plans pay for rehab, and there are a wide variety of treatment options.

Attack Your Cravings

The great thing about rehab is that it can teach you how to deal with alcohol cravings. You may need to take some medication to get past your withdrawal symptoms, but that’s something you can talk to your doctor about.

Another way to attack your cravings is to attend local support groups. They offer a non-judgmental place to share your pain of addiction and your hope of a better life.

If your town doesn’t have any drug and alcohol support groups, you can access them online.

You have to be able to tell yourself that your cravings are irrational. You have to take the energy you used to spend on getting high and apply that to your recovery.

Attack your cravings by examining your thought process and orienting yourself toward weekly and monthly sobriety goals.

Find a Fulfilling Activity

When you’re in the midst of a craving, your entire mind is focused on using drugs or alcohol. Wouldn’t it be great if you could replace your cravings with a fun hobby or outdoor activity?

Giving yourself something to do besides drugs and alcohol allows you to dive right into a sober lifestyle. Is there an instrument you’ve always wanted to play?

Would you like to take a trip somewhere? After you give up spending on alcohol and drugs, you may be surprised at how much money you have left over.

If you drink seven beers five days per week and pay $5 for each one, you’re spending $700 per month or $8,400 per year.

Check out this online calculator to get the precise amount you’re spending on alcohol every month.

When you’re contemplating a relapse, think about what you’d like to do with your money.

Prevent a Relapse

Recovery can seem like a long and lonely road, but there are ways to avoid relapsing.

First, you may have to find other ways to deal with physical pain. You could try going to physical therapy, meditating, or taking non-opioid pain medication.

Next, you may need to change your diet. Long-term alcohol or drug abuse can make it more difficult to tell when you’re hungry.

Switching to a diet that is high in fiber and protein can help you put on some muscle and give you the energy to attack each day.

Finally, you might want to participate in ongoing outpatient programs at your local rehab facility. They can treat your depression or other mental health conditions.

Can Rehab Help with Addiction Cravings?

Rehab facilities are specially designed to help you with your addiction cravings. They have a team of highly-trained professionals who are ready to get you past the withdrawal phase and into long-term recovery.

We treat people with a range of addictions, including alcohol, opiates, stimulants, and sleeping pills. Our four locations offer inpatient and outpatient options, mental health treatment, and medication-assisted detox. If our locations are not convenient for you, we can make referrals for rehab facilities in other states.

If you’ve ever considered getting treatment for an addiction, talk to us and let’s hold your hand as you being this journey.

References

hobbies in addiction treatment

How Hobbies Help Your Recovery in Addiction Rehab

Hobbies can sometimes seem like nuisances to us. They can even seem like something we just don’t have the time for in the busyness of everyday life. Addiction treatment, however, thrives on hobbies. 

Many discussions around rehab or recovery can have a negative tone, however, today we will be discussing our hobbies and how they can help us on the long road to recovery. 

Before we begin, it is important to understand that the connection between mental illness and addiction is so strong. We at Addiction Treatment Services understand this connection between addiction and mental health, and we want to help you on the road to recovery. 

First, let’s take a look at why hobbies are helpful, and then we will discuss some specific hobbies that can be beneficial during recovery, so that you have a tangible point of reference going forward. 

How Are Hobbies Helpful? 

Hobbies are an outlet that provide us with something to do while we aren’t busy working and taking care of other responsibilities. They keep us active and motivated without stressing us out. While some hobbies are not extremely productive, such as playing video games, for example, they all leave us feeling good and calm afterwards. 

It is no secret that human beings today have undergone the process of natural selection over time. See, we have a drive in us as part of our evolutionary history to seek out the things that make us feel good, such as eating food, drinking water, and so on. These activities activate reward centers in the brain to release “feel-good” chemicals to reward us for doing them. 

Natural selection has caused us to develop a need to do things that are productive, beneficial to our bodies, or that make us better in some other way. Thanks to the reward centers in the brain, we feel good when we do these types of things. All of this is for the purpose of staying alive. Thus, when we do something that makes us feel good, most of the time, that thing is something that is beneficial to us. 

We enjoy feeling productive just as much as we enjoy activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, or hiking. The reason is because these things make us feel alive. 

How Hobbies Help Your Recovery 

One of the greatest fights you will likely face in addiction is the fight of boredom. Addiction treatment thrives on being busy because otherwise, boredom can quickly lead to relapse. However, none of us want to be busy all the time, since this can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed. 

While nobody wants to be busy constantly, in addiction treatment, it is important to have certain activities or hobbies that do occupy the majority of your time in order to avoid the potential for relapse. 

Hobbies can take up a large amount of your time. Running takes a period of time, as does drawing, or becoming skilled in playing guitar or singing. These things occupy our time, however, they are a different kind of time killer. These periods of time make us feel fulfilled and leave us feeling good. 

This is where we need to differentiate between instant gratification hobbies, like video games and watching television, and productive hobbies. Both are helpful, but in the end, productive hobbies will leave us feeling, well, productive, whereas instant gratification hobbies are simply time wasters that do not lead to anything greater being accomplished. 

Chasing this good feeling of contributing to the world, or your own well-being, is the feeling we should want to chase. This good feeling is so different than the instant gratification that substances provide. If we seek instant hobbies, then we will be creating the same patterns of an addiction, rather than the beneficial patterns of productive hobbies. 

Hobbies Connect Us 

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of hobbies is that they have the potential to unite us in community. We are connected to each other when we do certain hobbies together. Connection is one of the strongest weapons in combating addiction. 

Many of these hobbies bring us together for one common cause and allow us to meet others who share our ideas and beliefs. Being able to hike with someone, overcome obstacles on a  run with someone, or meet to play music together can bonds us in a way that nothing else can. Having a strong support system is key to overcoming obstacles in addiction recovery.  

Now that we have discussed why hobbies are helpful, let’s look below to discover which kind of hobbies can best suit us. It can be difficult to discern. 

Active Hobbies 

Engaging in hobbies that get the body moving are extremely valuable for our overall health, especially while undergoing addiction treatment. This is because exercise can help speed up the body’s detoxification process and lead to more positive feelings. 

For some people, running long distances seems insane, yet to others, it can be therapeutic. It is sometimes referred to as the “runner’s high” where they experience euphoria and little fatigue after miles and miles of running. Running can help us because it is so good for our cardiovascular system. It can also bond us with others through trials, and give us a lot of time to talk to our friends and loved ones if we run together. 

While running may not necessarily be for everyone, there are other hobbies that help addiction recovery. One of them is yoga. Yoga engages the spiritual and mental side of exercise. Prostrating the body into various shapes and poses is actually very taxing work, and it can engage the core of our being as well as help us to relax, calm down, and reflect. 

Other active hobbies you can try are swimming, hiking, biking, or playing sports. 

Creative Hobbies 

Hobbies that are creative give us projects that make us feel like we have made something that contributes to the world in some way. Taking an art class, or just pursuing drawing, or writing, or whatever other creative hobby you enjoy is a great way to get our innermost emotions out on the table. 

Along with this, we can bring beauty into the world musically. Musical talent is something you practice, so picking up an instrument or vocal practice is something that you can do every day. This can also bond you with others if you find others to help teach you how to play your instrument, or just to jam with. 

Finally, journaling, writing poetry, or blogging are all great hobbies that are able to get our thoughts and feelings onto the page. 

Hobbies in Nature

Hiking is a great way to connect with nature. Experts often find that getting out into nature is a great way to improve our overall mood. Camping, fishing, or surfing are all ways we can appreciate the world around us.  

Along with this, spiritual practices like meditation are extremely beneficial to helping us be our fullest person. This is not simply sitting cross legged and humming, but more than that, it is simply the practice of being aware at all times, and this works especially well when done in a beautiful place such as at the beach or in a grassy area. 

Getting Help 

While hobbies are fantastic supports for addiction recovery, it is important to understand that you cannot treat yourself with them alone. Professional addiction treatment is the only true way to get help with your substance abuse problems. 

Addiction Treatment Services exists to help you find the right treatment program for you. We numerous locations to serve you and help you on the road to recovery. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling (855) 247-4046. Please do not hesitate. Get started with your addiction recovery today.