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Friday, March 16, 2018

Music That's Right For Recovery

Music is an integral part of most people’s lives; without it, existence would be exceedingly dull. We all have bands, singers, and songwriters whose arts speaks to us in ways that are hard to describe. Few words can accurately convey how a song makes you feel inside; excited, amped, relaxed, and alive are a few that might come to mind. Music can be your best friend when you are having a hard time in life; if you are struggling through a situation, then putting an album on can give you perspective or give you a brief respite from your woes. Simply put, instruments in harmony can be quite cathartic; which means that people in recovery can significantly benefit from listening to some tunes.

While it is true that the right melody and lyrics can bring you back to earth or help you carry on in times of mental strife, there is an excellent chance that certain songs or bands are inextricably linked to your past substance use. Everyone working a program of recovery can probably think of a song that, if they were to hear it, would bring back memories of getting drunk or high. Naturally, such associations between music and using drugs is problematic for people in early recovery. One must do everything in their power to limit exposure to anything that might trigger a desire to use.

That’s not to say that you have to turn your back on all your favorite bands just because you used to listen to them under the influence. But, given that hearing a song may only remind you of the fun you had in active addiction, rather than the heartache, you can benefit from steering clear of particular artists or types of music when recovery is in its infancy. It's possible that you were taught this in treatment when the facility confiscated you iPod.


Is This Beneficial to My Recovery?

In life, triggers can arise from just about anywhere and from anything. Those dedicated to working a program of addiction recovery must take steps to avoid specific people, places, and things. If you are unable to cut ties with particular individuals or stay out of wet areas, you will find it challenging to keep on track. Remember, there is only one thing we need to change in recovery, everything!

If you recently completed an addiction treatment program and find yourself back in the real world diligently avoiding the trappings of drugs and alcohol, it might be time to reconsider your record collection for the foreseeable future. At least until your program of recovery is strong enough to rebel against any urges to use that might stem from listening to music. Naturally, you don’t have to cut music out for your life completely, just exercise caution when it comes to your playlist.

Recovery is a journey toward progress. We adopt specific practices and foster behaviors and traditions that will give us the power to abstain from drugs and alcohol for the rest of our lives. If you know that certain types of music or a given artist is deeply associated with your past, then it is easy enough to stay away. Perhaps you might broaden your musical horizons by giving something new a chance. There are plenty of artists who are in recovery themselves who write songs that speak to others in the program. Ask your peers what they listen to these days, you can make this task a bit of an adventure. Who knows what you might discover along the way?


Addiction Recovery

Have drugs and alcohol negatively impacted your life and well-being? At Celebrate Hope we can assist you in laying a foundation for lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the journey.

Friday, March 9, 2018

SAMHSA National Prevention Challenge

You cannot turn back the clock, if you have an alcohol or substance use disorder, you will contend with the disease for the rest of your life. Such a reality is a difficult thing to process at times, but it shouldn’t be a cause for malaise. Those living with mental illness can lead productive, healthy lives provided they take “certain steps” to keep the condition in remission (for lack of a better word).

If you are working a program of addiction recovery, then you know that life today is a complete 180 from your previous existence. Instead of acting selfishly in service to your disease, you act selflessly in service to your recovery. Instead of looking for ways people can benefit you, you strive to aid others in their quest for lasting change. The idea being that if you want to keep the improvements made in your life, you need to affect change in the lives of others. If you're going to keep what you have, individuals in recovery need to give it away.

There are various ways you can pay it forward in recovery. Sharing in meetings, working with a newcomer, and answering your phone when another person in the program calls are ways to give back. However, there are subtler ways that you can affect change in your small sphere of influence; as a matter of fact, how you go about your day today can inspire others to make little changes that can have a massive impact in their life.


A Healthier Tomorrow In Recovery

Early recovery is both a confusing and trying time for most people adopting a new way of living. Those in their first year of recovery have said goodbye, in many cases, to a dear and deadly friend; learning how to live without mourning the loss of drugs and alcohol isn’t an easy task. Although, while removing mind-altering substances from your life is especially beneficial, the rub lies in practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs.

When you consider what you need to change (perceptions and behaviors), you realize that the only thing that needs to change is everything. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is monumental, changing the way you look at things and proceed through your day in ways conducive to your health is paramount. All the pieces matter in recovery! Individuals must diligently maintain and act in ways advantageous to your mind, body, and spirit.

Once the mind becomes clear(er), and you get into the swing of daily meetings, calling your sponsor, working the steps, and so on and so forth, then please strongly consider making small adjustments to your routine. Please do not dive headfirst into making alterations talk to your sponsor beforehand; everything in its right time in recovery, always. After careful and cautious consideration, perhaps you can incorporate exercise and healthier eating into your program. Recovery significantly improves your physical and mental health, but working a program isn’t a panacea. Any auxiliary efforts made for your health can drastically improve your quality of life, i.e., exercise, mindful eating, and quitting smoking. Did you know that researchers believe smoking increase the risk of relapse?

If you can adopt new behaviors that are conducive to healthy living, doing so can and will encourage people with less time. Ask yourself, ‘what can I do today to ensure a healthier tomorrow?’


SAMHSA National Prevention Challenge

As all of us approach the ides of March, we thought it prudent to bring National Prevention Week (NPW) to your attention. The annual health observance means to increase public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. See the schedule below:
  • Monday, May 14: Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness
  • Tuesday, May 15: Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse
  • Wednesday, May 16: Prevention of Prescription & Opioid Drug Misuse
  • Thursday, May 17: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana
  • Friday, May 18: Prevention of Suicide
  • Saturday, May 19: Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use
Why are we bringing NPW to your attention now, at the beginning of March? Good question! The event is brought to you by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and one of the components of NPW is the National Prevention Challenge. The organization has already begun accepting submissions for the challenge. SAMHSA wants to know:  

What would you say to your future self about what you’re doing today to ensure a healthier tomorrow? Share your answer by joining the NPW 2018 Prevention Challenge: Dear Future Me!

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Sharing: Giving Up Fear, Embracing Courage

Silence isn’t a luxury in addiction recovery. Years of drug and alcohol use and abuse teaches you many things, one item of instruction being what happens when you stay quiet about your struggles. Fear of opening up about your mental strife only serves to keep you in bondage. Secrecy is a symptom of your disease; as if your condition knows it will lose power over you if you open up with another person. We are, in fact, as sick as our secrets! As a result, active addiction persists long after one’s self-destructive behaviors become untenable.

All of us, in recovery or not, have fear regarding what others think of us. Even those who ardently protest their lack of concern or care for what other people think about them struggle to open the door for their peers' opinions. Humans regularly fear the truth, understanding the reasons for trepidation is not easy; we all have our reasons for taciturnity when it comes to discussing what is going on beneath the surface. It is unfortunate, that fear is a pervasive driving force in most people's lives; because if we don’t talk about our problems how can we expect ever to heal.

Recovering from any form of mental illness requires individuals to throw caution to the wind, mostly. Ironically, the longer one's active addiction persists, the easier it becomes for a person to do just that, choosing to resist fear and surrender. When a person nears the edge of spiritual annihilation, they are better able to toss aside illusions of control. When an individual realizes they are not in control of their future, they can ask for help. Pleas for help are, in most cases, audible; when there is smoke, yelling fire alerts your peers. Asking for help gets you into treatment, asking for help brings your support network to your side in recovery.


Help Surrounds You

In early recovery, you’ll learn right away the vital importance of your peers, of fellowship. Whether you are working the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or a faith-based modality, there is one glaring similarity; lasting recovery hinges on one’s ability to work with and rely on others for support. Nobody who works a program of recovery is perfect, and no one is ever cured; we’re all works in progress, which means that there will be days that you don’t feel like you can continue doing the next right thing. What you do in those hours of darkness can dictate the future of your program. Will you speak up and talk to your peers in a meeting or one-on-one, or will you be unforthcoming?

Recovery provides allies who can assist in overcoming any problem we are having in life. Naturally, some issues are extra-personal; it’s best to choose with care who you share such things with, probably with someone who you feel most comfortable, i.e., sponsor. You should talk about problems that you are having even if you think they are unworthy of discussing. There is an excellent chance your peers have dealt with a similar situation. Remember, there is little if anything you can say that will scare or shock an addict or alcoholics. Keep in mind the dark places most people in recovery escaped in opting for recovery.

In many cases, individuals struggle or take issue with a component of the program. Failing to see the value of something often leads people to resist doing it, a choice that can prove detrimental to one’s program. If ever you feel an aspect of recovery doesn’t suit you, rather than just opting out, why not share your feelings with the group. There are no wrong questions in recovery and your opinion matters; it’s likely that somebody else in the meeting shares your concern. When you share and ask questions, you are helping other people who may not yet have the strength to address the group.


Giving Up Fear, Embracing Courage

Again, silence isn’t a luxury you can afford in recovery. Silence keeps us from the sunshine of the spirit; it cuts us off from fellowship. Without community, no one would be long for recovery. With that in mind, do you have questions or problems that are affecting your program? If so, raise your hand or stand up at your next meeting; throw your reservations to the wind and seek guidance. Every time you share in a meeting it is an exercise in courage, speaking up makes your program stronger. It makes you more resilient to the slings and arrows of addiction, made manifest by incessant urges and cravings.

If you been thinking about drinking or drugging after abstaining for any length of time, sharing can save your recovery. It can save your life! Furthermore, if you are actively battling an alcohol or substance use disorder, picking up the phone and sharing with us what you are going through is the first step to lasting recovery. Silence is addiction; recovery is communication. At Celebrate Hope we can help you achieve your goals and heal from the insidious disease of addiction. Please contact us today.
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