Posts tagged "alcohol"

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3 Ways to Support a Loved One in Recovery

May 2nd, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Recover 0 comments on “3 Ways to Support a Loved One in Recovery”

Addiction is a complex disease. The disease of addiction affects both the addicted, and those that are close to the addicted. The stigma of addiction can make it very difficult to ask for help. One who is battling addiction can feel ashamed, guilty, alone, and worthless. Supporting and encouraging your loved one’s sobriety will help in his or her recovery.

3 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Recovery

Below are three quick tips for helping a loved one’s recovery as much as possible without enabling him towards a relapse. It is always good to practice what is referred to as “tough love.” Chances are if you are helping someone, you love that person. Just be advised that feelings and emotions can get in the way of distinguishing the fine line between helping and enabling an addict. Read our three ways and try to determine where that line is for you and your loved one.

1. Learn more about addiction.

     Listen to people in group meetings share their personal experiences with addiction.

2. Attend a support group with your loved one.

     This will show your loved one that you care and you can talk with others in similar situations and learn how to cope.

3. Connect with others in the group.

     New, sober friendships can develop through group meetings. Build a network of people who understand addiction.

Always remember to praise your loved one’s sobriety, while encouraging them to stay sober. Recovery is a life-long process and your loved one will be faced with challenges. Supporting a loved one in recovery requires a lot of love, reinforcement, and motivation. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, do not wait. Addiction is a deadly and baffling disease. If you feel that a loved one is using, it is time that you seek professional help. Addiction is very much treatable and recovery is definitely possible!

supporting someone in recovery infographic by Serenity Springs Recovery Center
How to Support Someone in Addiction Recovery

Understanding the Complexity of Addiction

According to an article by Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for the Hamilton Spectator, “Indicators of success include the person: attending an aftercare program, offering sincere apologies for the impact of the addiction, creating better boundaries regarding friends who may similarly indulge, and being involved in alternate and appropriate activity such as work or recreational pursuits.”

It can be hard for family and friends to understand the complexity of addiction and the intense challenges their loved one faces every day. Addiction hijacks the brain and alters brain chemistry. It interferes with the brain’s neurotransmitters and makes the brain release an increased level of dopamine, which causes euphoric feelings. The brain becomes dependent on the drugs or alcohol to function. A person can experience unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms until the drug or alcohol is used again. That is why quitting drugs or alcohol is so difficult.

The Importance of a Good Support System

A positive support system in recovery is crucial and can be very helpful in many ways. Treatment is not “one-size-fits-all” or packaged the same for everyone. It is tailored to the individual’s unique needs. As addicts and alcoholics in recovery, you are surrounded by other addicts and alcoholics on a regular basis. Most of them are those that you network with at meetings or through a treatment program. These are likely to be new relationships because those that you formerly associated with are likely still doing the same things that you are getting away from. This being said, meetings and other social activities can be somewhat or even very uncomfortable or awkward at first.

So it is important to make an addict or alcoholic that is new to the recovery world feel like they have friends and/or loved ones outside of the programs and rooms of recovery. A good family and support system can make all the difference in the world in aiding towards a full recovery from addiction or alcoholism. Sometimes it is nice for an addict to feel a part of something, when they are feeling lost or down. This gives an addict a sense of normalcy and comfort. However, this comfortable feeling will not last long if the addict or alcoholic is not working a program. So, for those of you dealing with addiction, it good to show “tough love” every once in a while. However, it is ultimately on you to figure out the best way to help your loved one.

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Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery

March 12th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Featured Alums, Treatment 0 comments on “Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery”

The day that Damien arrived at Serenity Springs, he was near rock bottom and looking for any kind of answer to get his life back on track. Today, after a long road back, Damien is approaching a year and a half of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. He is an alumnus of Serenity Springs, where he was able to find healing in the mind, body and spirit.

Drinking & Struggling Became Alcoholism & Madness

Damien’s journey through addiction was a slow progression. It started in high school at the age of seventeen, when he was a member of the party-goer crowd. At that time, his family didn’t recognize himself as having an addiction.

“They didn’t notice until I was about 20 because I was just drinking like everyone else.”

Then Damien started to realize he was going harder and longer than most of his friends. He recalls being the last one to stop drinking, to the point where he passed out. This alcoholic behavior became daily alcohol abuse or alcoholism. It was in 2010 that Damien went to recovery for the first time, but it was seven more years of struggling before he found a real, long term answer in Serenity Springs. There was no fear of detox or treatment itself.

“I did it not because I wanted to but because I thought I would get in trouble otherwise.”

He described his alcoholism as having evolved to a level of madness. His only friends at the time were those who were involved in it as well. He saw that he had gone down a dangerous path, but like many struggling with addiction, it took a true breaking point to bring him to truly open his eyes. For Damien, that moment came one night watching his mother.

“I had moved back into my Mom’s house at age 40. I saw her praying on her knees at 2 A.M. and I had the feeling she was praying for me”

Serenity Springs Solution

When asked what he liked most about Serenity Springs, Damien referred to his introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous as one of the most valuable benefits he gained from his time here.

“Serenity Springs offered me a real solution to my problem, which I came to find out was actually me.”

This was something he had not been able to find in past recovery attempts a step-by-step roadmap to real recovery and a long term solution. However, it was not all easy breezy during his time at Serenity Springs. The road to recovery can often have roadblocks and setbacks to overcome. The initial challenge for Damien was realizing the truth of his situation.

“Admitting I was an alcoholic was the hardest part about Serenity and the recovery process… because I had to finally start accepting it.”

After leaving Serenity Springs in November of 2017, Damien was somewhat reluctant to participate in Serenity’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Today, he realizes that it helped him out during his transition from rehab to the real world. Our IOP program has a unique approach. We provide services such as acupuncture and yoga while continuing to focus on the idea of healing mind, body, and spirit (three-part disease of addiction). It was in this program that Damien continued to work through things that he found most difficult during recovery.

“It was hard training myself to stop doing what I was taught before recovery. I felt weird when I was doing things in recovery like I was wrong.”

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Freedom from the Chains of Addiction

Today, Damien is living in Daytona Beach and enjoying his new life of sobriety and freedom from the chains of addiction. As an alumnus, he is always trying to give back what Serenity Springs gave to his life. When asked what the most rewarding part of his recovery, Damien explained that he now has an understanding of what peace of mind really means. Sobriety has allowed him to find and keep relationships that are not centered around alcohol or other negative influences. Like many of our alumni, Damien has a desire to help others that feel the hopelessness that he once knew too well. Serenity gave him a way out, a viable and lasting solution. If Damien could quickly describe what he has been doing after his time here at Serenity Springssimple-living.

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Damien says he has continued to employ the habits and techniques he learned while he was there that have allowed him to remain sober and happy.

“I focus on prayer and meditation, as well as regularly attending meetings to keep myself on track.”

Serenity taught him viable alternatives to alcohol when feeling the urge, including a reliance on God and being open with others about his struggle. Unlike many recovery centers, Serenity goes beyond just helping one heal physically and get away from the addiction. Our recovery plan also focuses on the mind and spirit, because believe recovery must be all-encompassing to truly break free from it.

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New Year’s Resolution: No More Drugs or Alcohol

January 1st, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Spiritual Experience, Treatment 1 comment on “New Year’s Resolution: No More Drugs or Alcohol”

No more drugs or alcohol!?! This is something most addicts or alcoholics have said to themselves or others at least once or twice without success. With today being the first day of 2019, I decided to consider my own resolutions. Reflecting on my past resolutions, I realized a common thread. Resolutions are only successful when I integrate some sort of new behaviors into my life to substitute for the old behaviors.

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RESOLUTION (definition)

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a firm decision to do or not to do something

Why do all my New Year’s resolutions fail?

When considering my sobriety, I remember countless times I would decide, no more drugs or alcohol from now on! After some time and repetition, I would get so uncomfortable being sober I would feel like I was going crazy. My anxiety and depression were extremely high, which brought out irritability or anger towards anyone around me. Eventually, I would get extremely uncomfortable with myself and very insecure. I resorted back to justifying another drink or drug, saying I will just do a little this time and learn to control it.

The problem was, I could never control it even though my mind told me otherwise. The days of having a couple of beers and a joint in the first week after a relapse turned into using dangerous street drugs…. AGAIN!! With that came misery and delusion leading to suicidal thoughts and severe depression. Even more frightening were the health complications that only more drug use could cure. Of course the end result, hospitals and jails. Better than dying at least!

Changing Behaviors Through the 12 Steps

After completing residential treatment, studying the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and listening to happy sober people in meetings, I began to understand that I needed to do some serious “internal housecleaning” to have a chance at staying sober. This meant, I needed to actually replace my addiction with something else in order to achieve sobriety. This meant that I needed to work the steps and connect to a higher power or higher purpose in my life. After doing some intensive therapeutic work, I came to the same conclusion. My old ways of thinking and behaving needed a major upheaval if I wanted a shot at staying sober. I had to replace my behaviors with new behaviors which then would lead to new thoughts and insights about myself.

The Doctor’s Opinion

Men and woman drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The effect is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the truth from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort that comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks they see others taking with impunity.

After they have succumbed to the desire again as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope for his recovery.

Big Book of Alcoholic’s Anonymous

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Addiction Cycle (Emotional Trigger, Craving, Ritual, Using, Guilt)

Feeling Connected and Aware of My Surroundings

After completing drug and alcohol rehab and working the 12 steps, my internal feelings began to shift.

I was starting to feel relief in sobriety.

Soon, the desire to get high and drink was removed from my consciousness and I started to feel more connected to the world and people around me. Because my attitude was getting better, my external world was getting better as well. I was able to hold a job and make money and clean up my legal issues. I was also able to amend some old relationships and become a better friend and family member. The more positive feedback I received from my new lifestyle practices, the more that I wanted to expand my new healthy choices and belief systems.

Healthy Body, Mind, and Spirit

Today my recovery consists of implementing health into all 3 areas of my life which are my mind, body and spirit. I fuel my body with healthier choices like better eating habits and doing yoga. I fuel my mind by attempting to learn through reading and writing, as well as challenging myself every day to think critically and focus on my goals for self-improvement. And, both my mind and body seem to thrive better when I work on my spiritual condition. I work on this through practicing things like meditation, the 12 steps, going to meetings and trying to contribute to my society and the world. In these ways I feel connected to a higher power and the thought of using and drinking ceases to exist for me.

woman meditating black and white with bushes behind her

Loving My New Way of Life

Today, instead of waking up every morning trying to, “just say no to using,” I’m saying “YES” to so many other aspects of life, and the need to cover up my insecurities, ceases to exist.

Now no more drugs and alcohol is a reality…. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE THAT WAY!

Today, by practicing this new way of life by replacing old behaviors with the new, I get to love who I am and love life which for this addict/alcoholic, is a complete miracle.

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Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationship?

October 1st, 2018 Posted by Blog 0 comments on “Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationship?”

The reasons why people drink alcohol are as varied and numerous as the individuals themselves. Some drink socially while others drink to relieve stress or chronic pain. Regardless of the reason why people drink, it can have an effect on the relationships with those they love. The foundation of any successful relationship is built on love and trust. When relationship problems start, it can be difficult to see the connection between drinking and the relationship difficulties.

If you are wondering if alcohol consumption may be related to the relationship problems in your life, this guide will help you understand the connection better and when it may be time to get help.

 

What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Since the 1930s, the definition of what constitutes an alcohol problem has changed. Models that define alcohol use disorder have grown beyond the number of drinks you have or how often you have them. Now, the definition of alcohol use disorder takes into account how alcohol affects your life. Nearly 14 million Americans are considered to have alcohol use disorder.

The most important thing to understand is that alcohol use disorder occurs along a continuum. For some people, it can mean binge drinking on the weekend but does not have a significant effect on their ability to maintain a job, have a relationship or affect other areas of their life. For others, it can be a significant part of a relationship that is headed for the rocks. The relationship problems only compound a myriad of other issues. In its most serious form, alcohol use disorder can lead to:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Marital conflict
  • Partner violence
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Jealousy
  • Infidelity
  • Divorce

The emotional scars of a relationship affected by alcohol use disorder can last a lifetime, even long after the relationship has ended. It has an effect on any children in the family too. Many couples fail to recognize the role that alcohol plays in their relationship problems. Alcohol use disorder has its own set of problems, but recognizing its role in a relationship can mean the difference between having a loving support system and additional stress and conflict. Here are some of the signs that alcohol is affecting your relationship.

Forgetting the Relationship

Keeping the connections that we feel for others requires work and does not happen automatically. If you have chosen to drink over spending time with your loved one or keeping promises to them, this is one of the first symptoms that alcohol is affecting your relationship. If you have ever had to cancel plans because you were hung over, or you’ve forgotten a special date or anniversary due to drinking, this is a warning sign that alcohol may have become more important to you.

One of the symptoms of alcoholism is impulsiveness when you drink. If you have ever been out drinking with your buddies and suddenly decided to cancel a date with your significant other, it will have an impact on your relationship. If you promised to be home at a certain time and then don’t come home for hours or all night because you were drinking, this is another sign of an issue. From the other person’s perspective, you are giving them the signal that they are not the top priority in your life anymore.

woman on bench looking away from her boyfriend in disgust while boyfriend has head down into hands showing disappointment and frustration on a park bench together

Your Activities Have Changed

When alcohol begins to take control of your life, you may lose interest in other activities and things that you used to enjoy. This applies whether you are in a relationship or not, but if you are in a relationship, the other person may wonder why you no longer do the things that once had meaning in your relationship. Alcohol can affect your sex drive, which is another sign that alcohol may be affecting your relationship. Doing things as a couple plays an important role in keeping the spark alive. Love is not a one-time occurrence; doing things that you enjoy together as a couple can build the connection and keep it alive.

Going on dates together and doing things that you enjoy can keep your relationship stable when life’s troubles try to get in the way. If you are missing out on the things that you used to enjoy as a couple, it may be time to consider whether alcohol is playing a role in your relationship troubles.

Personality Changes

This can be a difficult one to spot in yourself. If you become a different person when you drink, it could have a significant impact on your relationship. For instance, if alcohol makes you violent, or perhaps you tend to fling insults at your partner when you drink, it can lead to serious trouble. You may think that what you are doing is all in fun and not having an effect, but these little insults and injuries add up over time and can destroy a relationship.

Your partner may or may not tell you that what you are doing when you drink hurts them, but this doesn’t mean that they are not hurt. Some people feel that they become more sociable and likable when they drink, but not everyone sees it the same way. Your partner may not say it directly, but the way you become when you drink could make them feel uncomfortable to be around you. If your partner has become disinterested in going places with you when you will be drinking, it may be time to consider that this is a sign they do not like who you become when you drink.

Red Flags

If your partner has ever said to you directly that they do not like who you become when you drink, you should take it to heart. Another sign of more serious relationship problems is if you have started hiding your drinking from your partner. If you have ever hidden money that you spent for alcohol or actions that you took while you were drinking, it may be one of the signs that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Relationships are built on trust, and the other person needs to be able to trust that you will not do things that could place them in financial jeopardy or make them feel emotionally vulnerable. There are many different elements to building and keeping trust in a relationship. Unfortunately, once this trust has been broken, it can be difficult or impossible to recover.

When to Get Help

If any of these scenarios sound like you, it may be time to take a serious look at how alcohol is affecting your relationships and the other areas of your life. Most people focus on relationships with a spouse or significant other, but alcohol also affects relationships with family and close friends as well. If any of your relationships seem like they are in decline and you cannot seem to figure out the reason, you need to take a serious look at whether alcohol could be the culprit. If this is the case, getting help sooner rather than later is the key to getting your life back on track and repairing damaged relationships.

Can the Relationship Be Saved?

If you have had the realization that alcohol may be ruining your relationship and it is time to get help, the next question you’re probably wondering is whether the relationship can be saved. First, there is no easy answer that will apply to every situation. It can depend on the dynamics of the relationship before alcohol was involved, how long the problem has been going on, how far the problem has progressed and other factors that may affect the ability to recover. The amount of damage that has already been done and the personalities of the two people will be keys to determining whether the relationship can be repaired.

The worst thing that you can do is become involved in the blame game. It is easy to lay the blame on the other person and to see them as the reason for your own actions. This is the road to a failed relationship and must be stopped before it gets started if the relationship is to stand a chance of being saved. Regardless of how it seems, the problems are usually not the result of one person. It takes two to make a relationship, and it takes two to break it.

The only thing that’s certain is that the problems will not get better until the underlying issues are addressed. You will have a better chance of recovering your relationship if your partner sees that you have taken responsibility and are getting help for the problems in your life caused by alcohol. Even if the relationship is too far gone to save, getting help to move on and rebuild a stable life is an important part of the recovery process for both of you.

The Recovery Process

It is important to understand that even if the both of you decide to continue the relationship, you cannot expect to go back to the same relationship you had before the damage occurred. Many times, the best that can happen is to build a new relationship built on communication, trust and new skills that you both learned through the recovery process. Regardless of the outcome, couples therapy, individual therapy and treatment for alcohol use disorder are all a part of the recovery process.

You did not get where you are now overnight, and you cannot expect for all of the problems to simply go away immediately. Recovery and rebuilding relationships will take hard work from the both of you. Repairing relationships is an important part of the recovery process from alcohol use disorder. Having a support network of people that you can trust is a predictor of a successful alcohol abstinence program.

If you feel that alcohol is having an effect on any of your relationships, the most important thing that you can do is call for help and take the first steps in the recovery process. Many people try to do it alone, but alcohol is a harsh taskmaster; there is no reason why you should ever feel that you have to do it alone.

Engaging the help of a professional who understands addiction recovery and how to prevent alcohol from ruining your relationships can help give you insight that will help not only you but also those you care about. If you feel that alcohol is having an effect on your life and relationships, the act of simply reaching out may bring a sense of relief. Talking to someone who has the answers can help you see the path to recovery and taking back your life.

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