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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Encouraging Mental Illness Support

mental illness
‘Hi, How Are You?’ is an important question to ask your friends and family; and it’s more than just a generic greeting said countless times throughout the day. It also the name of a musician's album. Daniel Johnston (b. January 22, 1961) is not a name your average American is familiar with, his eclectic music is bound to be known even less. For musicians working in the industry, however, Daniel Johnston is a name that elicits both joy and sadness.

Johnston’s body of work is quite large. He started off in the 1980’s in Austin, Texas making a name for himself as an odd yet immensely talented young musician. One of his first albums, "Hi, How Are You?," was released in 1983; his talent did not go unnoticed by the music community in Austin and pretty soon prominent musicians where adorning t-shirts with the album cover plastered on the front.

At this point, you might be wondering what Daniel Johnston has to do with the field of addiction and mental health? If you are one of the many people unfamiliar with his work, it likely due to the severe impact that mental illness had on Johnston's career. After all, he says that “Hi, How Are You?” was recorded while he was struggling with a nervous breakdown. Over time, it would become clear to everyone who knew him that Daniel suffered from multiple forms of mental illness.


Encourage Mental Health Support

Johnston is arguably one of Austin, Texas’ most loved musicians. Many people have devoted extensive amounts of time and energy helping Daniel have a career, for a time it seemed he would get his act together. However, progress was always fleeting, a fact made clear in a 2005 documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston."

Like most people who struggle with mental health disorders, talking about one’s condition is hard. Accepting help from others and asking for help is even more difficult. You see, Daniel is living with schizophrenia and manic depression, or bipolar disorder. Over the years his symptoms led to erratic behavior forcing the need for extended stays in psychiatric hospitals. He managed to return to the music scene on several occasions over the years, retiring from live performing in 2017. The heights of his career may not have matched his genius, but to those who’ve felt his music, he will always be dear, especially in Austin.

Recognizing Daniel's body of work, and the impact mental illness had on him, the City of Austin declared January 22nd "Hi, How Are You?" Day, NPR reports. The goal is to encourage people struggling with mental illness, like Daniel, to talk about their suffering. Doing so could lead to receiving support. If all of us asked, 'Hi, How Are You?,' we can make a difference in people’s lives.

“Please hear my cry for help and save me from myself.”—Daniel Johnston

Please take a moment to watch a short video below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

"'Hi, How Are You?' is more than one of Austin's most iconic murals," Austin Mayor Steve Adler says. "It's a reminder to reach out to our friends and neighbors to see if they're OK, and for those experiencing mental health issues it's a reminder that you've got a whole community that can handle an honest answer because we want to help you get the help you need."


Mental Health Support

If you are living with an untreated mental illness such as addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. We can help you discover the gifts of recovery.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Smoking?

With the New Year well underway hopefully you are sticking to your resolutions. Each year, many people working programs of addiction recovery make an effort to quit smoking cigarettes. Having the goal of stopping, and managing to accomplish the task, could reduce a person’s risk of premature death significantly. Everyone knows that setting a goal is much simpler than achieving it, the addictive pull of tobacco products is exceedingly strong. Nevertheless, those who make a conscious effort to nip the habit in the bud can succeed, provided they have help.

While it’s possible to curb a smoking habit cold turkey, it's rare; very few people can beat the addiction without assistance. Even those who take advantage of smoking cessation products, like patches and gums, are in many cases unsuccessful. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of quitting aids in conjunction with behavioral therapy; the best outcomes come about by utilizing both tools for cessation.

Gums, patches, inhalers, and medications have all proved beneficial for some people; it depends on the individual regarding what works best. Research on the efficacy of such products is far from promising, which serves to confuse people on which route to take when trying to quit. In recent years, more people are talking about e-cigarettes than Nicorette for kicking tobacco products. Experts have conflicting opinions about the devices, but most agree that e-cigs are healthier than traditional tobacco products.


Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Smoking?

Here’s what we know right now: tobacco products kill people and are one of the leading causes of preventable illness and premature death. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, are not 100 percent safe but are a healthier alternative to tobacco and may aid one in their effort of kicking nicotine. The Annual Review of Public Health published an article recently about e-cigarettes, harm minimization, and smoking cessation, according to an NYU press release. The authors say vaping can help smokers who want to quit and mitigate the risk of premature death.

"Studies show that if most current American smokers switched to vaping e-cigarettes over the next 10 years, there could be as many as 6.6 million fewer premature deaths and 86.7 million fewer life years would be lost," said David Abrams, PhD, the article's lead author. "The safest course is to stop smoking or, better, never to start. But a harm minimization approach recognizes that demanding absolute perfection is often counterproductive and that, when a harmful behavior cannot be eliminated, we can still dramatically reduce adverse health consequences."

Vaping may not help you quit right away but will do less damage than smoking. What’s more, unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigs let users taper their nicotine dose. Over time, vaping can lead to quitting nicotine altogether. In the past, we have mentioned that smokers in addiction recovery are at a greater risk of relapse, quitting could help you or a loved one better achieve lasting recovery.


Addiction Treatment


Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea is committed to helping people lead a life without drugs and alcohol. We have helped many of our clients quit smoking while learning how to abstain from mind-altering substances. Please contact us if you are ready to begin the remarkable journey of recovery.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Recovering from Relapse After SLIP

If you attend meetings of addiction recovery regularly, let’s start by saying that you are on the right track; lasting recovery is ever-dependent on continued maintenance manifested by routine. Prayer, meditation, meetings, sponsorship, step work, and paying it forward are all necessary ingredients for achieving long-term recovery. Those who show up and follow direction, are the people who succeed at keeping their disease at bay. People who are unable to do such things are usually unable to stay the course.

When sobriety loses its priority (SLIP), it’s only a matter of time before one’s addiction resumes control over the dominion of Self. That which protects one from acting upon triggers and cravings loses its strength when one puts other things ahead of recovery. When that happens, relapse is typically a foregone conclusion. Those of you who attend meetings on a daily basis are guaranteed to find yourself in the company of people who at one point let their program take precedence; relapse is a part of many peoples’ recovery story. If you are new to the program, you might consider paying extra-special attention when people talk about a previous relapse; doing so will provide you with valuable insight into your program.

Relapse doesn’t need to be the end of one’s recovery; in fact, it can be the catalyst for an even stronger program moving forward. You’ve probably heard people say that recovery is about progress, not perfection. We, all of us in recovery, are human; each of us errs at times, and unfortunately, sometimes that leads to a relapse. What’s more, the slip-up itself is of little importance, it’s what one does afterward that is most salient.


Recovery 2.0

Everyone in recovery knows the dangers that the holiday season poses to one’s program, and each year during this time individuals slip up for any one of many reasons. Whatever the perceived causes of a relapse are, they can all be boiled down to people losing sight of their mission—live life on life’s terms, one day at a time.

Remember, committing oneself to living by the principles of recovery is about more than just not drinking or drugging. Programs of recovery are a model for living an honest, open, and productive life. In a sense, the Steps are a recipe for creating the best version of yourself; a person who people turn towards rather than detract. The road to relapse may start with neglecting meetings and step work, but it ends with one acting in ways reminiscent of their old behaviors. Selfishness, self-centeredness, and dishonesty rise inside people from the depths; the abyss of one’s psyche where the disease of addiction resides. If such traits are not nipped in the bud immediately, they place individuals on a fast track to relapse.


Recovering from Relapse

You might be a person who found trouble during the holiday season, and hopefully, you have already committed yourself to practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs. If not, it’s likely a sign that you are still using and are letting fear or guilt block your way back to the program. Natural feelings to be sure, after all, nobody wants to identify as a newcomer in front of their peers, again. Please do not let that be a cause for staying “out there,” members of the recovery community don’t pass judgment on those who relapse. We open our arms lovingly, and eagerly await your return.

This is a program of fellowship, sometimes our peers fall or lose sight of their recovery. We help each other when things are rough, and encourage each other to continue moving forward. Recovery isn’t a competition, there are no winners or losers, and your popularity is not of any great concern. You are not the first to relapse, and sadly you’ll not be the last; be grateful that your relapse wasn’t fatal, get to a meeting, and grab a 24-hour chip or key chain. Your chair is waiting for you, and your experience will help someone else avoid a similar SLIP, believe it or not.

In some cases, more help is required; if you need extra assistance, please contact Celebrate Drug Rehab. We are standing by 24/7, 365 days a year.
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