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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Showing Unconditional Love in Recovery

unconditional love in recovery

Whether you are going through recovery yourself or you are supporting a loved one who is recovering from an addiction, you may find that you are discovering some new feelings and emotions. You’ve been understandably stressed and worried and now it’s time to start showing unconditional love in recovery.

What is Unconditional Love?
Very simply, unconditional love is shared with no strings attached. You offer it freely, expecting nothing in return and placing no restrictions or requirements on the other person. Often referred to as agape love, unconditional love is selfless. The word agape comes from the Greek and means brotherly love or charity. In Ecclesiastical use, it refers to the love of God for man and of man for God.

Reaching Out to Others
When you are the one in addiction treatment, showing unconditional love in recovery can mean reaching out to others that you may have hurt or that you want to reconnect with in a more meaningful and positive way. In addiction, you probably damaged a lot of important relationships in your life.  The effort of reaching out to others can benefit you in recovery as you develop a sense of selfless concern for those around you and work to rebuild those relationships.

If you have a loved one who has been addicted and is now in recovery, showing them unconditional love can help them tremendously as they work on their treatment program. Let the person know you love and care about them, regardless of what they may have done when they were addicted. Unconditional does not mean, of course, that you should let them get away with things they should no longer be doing. What it does mean is that you are reassuring them that you will continue to love and forgive them for what they have done in the past and that you support them as they move forward with their life.

The Connection to Addiction
If your family member or friend is struggling to overcome their addiction, know that your unconditional love for them is the only thing that is more powerful in their life. An individual who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may have low self-esteem, most likely because they are often seen simply as someone who has made wrong choices. In truth, though, their addiction is a disease and they need your unconditional love to help them deal with the symptoms of that disease as they progress through recovery.

Selfless, loving kindness can be instrumental in helping people suffering from substance use issues. Empathy and compassion are important elements of unconditional love and can help individuals undergoing treatment as they work to understand their own feelings and to become more self-aware.

Mental and Emotional Benefits
Research has actually determined that when someone is a recipient of unconditional love, it can produce positive feelings for them. One study explored how the regions of the brain were affected when someone reached out and showed unconditional love. The result was that many areas of the brain’s reward system were activated.

Other studies showed that receiving unconditional love can make a difference in an individual’s emotional well-being. Participants exhibited greater resilience and fewer mental health symptoms. A study of children supported the idea that giving them unconditional love improved their lifelong health and well-being.

Christ’s Unconditional Love
The highest example we have of unconditional love comes from God himself. In a Christian-based addiction treatment setting, it is important to remember the love of Christ as He guides you through your recovery. For the person going through addiction treatment and for their family and friends, there are several helpful verses to help remind you of God’s unconditional love.

“Your faithful love is priceless, God! Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.” — Psalm 36:7

“Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all people, because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst, and he filled up the hungry with good things!” — Psalm 107:8-9

“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love endures forever.” — 1 Chronicles 16:34

“I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.” — Ephesians 3:18-19

California Faith-Based Drug Addiction Treatment
To get help overcoming drug addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team helps men and women break the cycle of addiction and begin anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

What Does PTSD Look Like?


You were in a very close call when another car almost ran head-on into yours. You witnessed a disturbing violent act against someone in your family. You experienced abuse as a child. You lived through the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. You were in combat as a member of the military. Any of these, and many other traumatic experiences could cause you to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During PTSD Awareness Month, it’s important to understand what PTSD looks like.

PTSD Causes

PTSD is typically associated with the military, but anybody who’s experienced a traumatic event can have the anxiety disorder. A crime, fire, accident, or death of a loved one can be traumatizing. An extended experience such as long-term abuse or even the pandemic can also have a devastating effect which could leave someone with PTSD.

When an event occurs, such as a car accident, the individual may feel upset for a while but often that feeling will get better with time. If the individual becomes more fearful and anxious, and begins displaying symptoms that last longer than a month, they could have PTSD. The disorder affects about 7-8% of the population, with women more likely to be affected than men. Symptoms usually start within three months of the events, but they can surface much later.

What Does PTSD Look Like?

The anxiety disorder can look different for different people. There may be physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, headaches, dizziness, stomach issues, and chest pain. The individual may also experience a weakened immune system, which could lead to frequent infections. Sleep disturbances can be an issue for some people, which can result in a feeling of being tired as well as other problems.

PTSD may also manifest itself in long-term behavioral changes, which can contribute to issues on the job and with personal relationships. An individual with PTSD may start to use or misuse drugs, medications, and alcohol. Behavioral changes can include becoming sad and hopeless, paranoid, fearful, or angry. An individual may withdraw from social interaction and lose interest in once-favorite activities.

Feeling Stressed or Frightened

When something potentially dangerous happens to a person, their natural sense of “fight or flight” will usually kick in. These split-second changes in the body and the mind help defend against danger or avoid it completely. Once the danger has passed, an individual’s reaction to it can continue to cause issues, in the form of the anxiety disorder PTSD. People who have PTSD continue to feel frightened or stressed, even after they are no longer in danger.

A traumatic event does not have to be life threatening to cause PTSD. An unexpected death of a close loved one can also leave an individual feeling traumatized. The stress of dealing with the isolation and fear of an unfamiliar virus can cause be traumatizing.

Three Main Types of PTSD Symptoms

There are three main types of symptoms associated with PTSD:

  • Re-experiencing. A person may re-experience the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, and other intrusive recollections of the event. Re-experiencing symptoms can include physical symptoms such as sweating or a racing heart.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance. The individual may avoid the people, places, and activities that remind them of their traumatic event or experience.
  • Increased arousal. An individual may feel jumpy, have trouble concentrating, or be easily angered or irritated.

Cognition and Mood Symptoms

When an individual has PTSD, they display the symptoms within the three main categories, as well as in the category of Cognition and Mood, for a month or longer. Cognition and mood symptoms can include:

  • Having trouble remembering details of the traumatic event
  • Experiencing distorted feelings such as blame or guilt
  • Negative thoughts about the world or about oneself.
These symptoms can result in the individual feeling alienated or detached from family and friends.

Some people recover from their PTSD within six months, while others take longer. Seeking treatment for the anxiety disorder is always a good idea to help manage the symptoms and process the trauma.

California Faith-Based Addiction Treatment

Celebrate Hope is here for you when you need help with mental health issues, such as the anxiety disorder PTSD, particularly when they co-occur with addiction. Please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based dual diagnosis treatment program. Our team helps men and women address the vicious cycle of mental illness and addiction so they can begin life anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

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