A few years ago, a young lady shared her experience of peer pressure through DrugFree.org. She explained that growing up, her parent struggled with alcoholism – and between that and her parent’s divorce, she dealt with a lot of psychological turmoil. This young woman went on to explain that since she didn’t have the coping skills she really needed to get through some of the hardships she faced, she turned to her peers for validation. She stated, “I wanted to fit in and feel better about myself…As a teenager who was already full of apprehension and anxiety, getting caught up and swept away by peer pressure was just another high.” It’s not uncommon for teens and adolescents to go become vulnerable to peer pressure, especially as they are still trying to figure … Continue reading “But Everybody’s Doing It”: The Role of Peer Pressure for Teens
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Those active in recovery aren’t the only ones experiencing pain. Mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins – the entire family, essentially – can be heavily impacted when a loved one struggles with addiction; this is often because the person they once knew – and the life they had come to rely on – changes. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reminds us that as the family structure changes, dynamics between children and adults may change. New roles may be adopted, such as a grandparent taking care of the parent’s responsibilities, or one parent having more control over finances when they previously didn’t. Families go through a lot, and it’s only fitting that they should receive support and education in order to heal and recover, too. Family education groups … Continue reading Family Education Groups: Bringing Family Back Together Through Understanding
Parenting in and of itself can become really challenging during your child’s teenage years, but when our teens come back from rehabilitation, it can feel as though we’re stepping into an entirely new world. We may begin to question whether we’re saying or doing the right things that are beneficial for their recovery; we may become paranoid, worried that we’re going to miss signs of substance abuse and we may not know whether to trust our teens again or to watch their every move. It’s certainly a major change when teens come home from rehabilitation, because they’ve just spent between 1 and 6 months surrounded by structure, sobriety leaders and more. If your teen is about to come home, don’t be worried – there are steps you can take to make this … Continue reading What to Do When Your Teen Comes Home from Rehab
Alcohol advertisements are nearly pervasive in the United States today, which can make it all the more difficult for those in recovery. Commercials, depictions in movies, references to alcohol in songs and so much more only perpetuates the fact that alcohol is practically celebrated in today’s society. In fact, in 2015, Adweek reported that over the past 40 years, alcohol advertisements have increased by 400%! No matter how long you’ve been in recovery, it’s always important to have some pre-set plans for how you might handle alcohol cues should they arise. Of course, it’s not always going to be feasible – nor wise – to avoid anything and everything that could have alcohol cues. If you’re faced with it, though, how should you respond? Know Yourself: Identify Patterns of Your Reactions First, … Continue reading How Should You Respond to Alcohol Cues? A Complete Guide
A term often used in contexts related to cancer, remission is defined by the National Cancer Institute as “A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of [a condition].” The term ‘remission’ is also used widely with addiction, because it is considered a disease of the mind, body and spirit. Those in active addiction experience signs and symptoms that cannot simply cease; in fact, many with addiction attempt to stop, only to find that their efforts fail. This is because addiction is a powerful disease that requires much more tools, resources and support to help a person recover. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) emphasizes that in order for those in recovery to achieve a state of remission, they must remain actively involved in their recovery. This may include: Attending … Continue reading What Does It Mean to Live a Life in Remission From Addiction?
Substance use disorder (SUD) affects around 20.2 million adults aged 18 or older, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SUDs can greatly affect a person’s ability to perform tasks at work or school, and many people with SUDs go on to experience trouble with the law, difficulties at home and withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit. If you have a loved one who you think may have an SUD, it’s best to recognize the warning signs of dependency, which is often a transition into addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines dependency as this: “…Dependency develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug.” The following are some of the major warning signs … Continue reading The Early Stages of Dependency: Signs Your Loved One Needs Help
Spirituality is what brings many in addiction recovery from a place of loneliness, isolation, shame and desperation to a place of gratitude, connectedness, community and vitality. We all experience pain, and sometimes that pain takes us far beyond what we would have imagined. We become entrenched in this endless loop of negative thinking, drinking, criticism and more, which holds us back from truly living a life of recovery. If you’ve been ready to make a change in your life – one that is truly transformative – focus on spirituality. In 2018, Very Well Mind, a website that provides information on disorders, self-improvement and more, identified several components of spirituality that is truly discovered by each person in their own recovery journey: Understanding the faults, mistakes and weaknesses that we have as part … Continue reading Using Yoga to Become Spiritually Fit in Addiction Recovery
Men face unique challenges in society today that set them back from living a life that’s most conducive to their health and happiness. As depicted in songs, movies, books and more, men are expected by society to be strong, relentless, competitive, stoic individuals. Strong emphasis is placed on male masculinity, with the assumption that if you’re not “masculine enough”, you’re not a real man. Unfortunately, the male social construction leaves out room for men to experience very real, basic “human” emotions in healthy ways. Rather than expressing their pain, men tend to hold it in – because it’s seen as the “strong” thing to do. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) previously published a book that addressed the specific behavioral needs of men in recovery. They emphasized how cultural … Continue reading How is Masculinity Associated With Addiction?
At this stage in their life, adolescents have not yet fully formed their critical thinking skills. Unlike how an adult may think, the adolescent brain typically does not have the capability to fully evaluate the choices they make, which certainly places them at higher risk for poor decision making. We often associate those adolescent years with “testing the waters” – so as parents, educators, friends, family and community members, the more aware we are of the vulnerability associated with this stage of development, the better. A 2016 study published in the journal Health & Place found that for many adolescents, getting “drunk” is the norm; in fact, some would say that it’s part of their social identity. Another study titled “Drinking Over the Lifespan” emphasized that for many adolescents, binge drinking and … Continue reading Adolescent Drinking and Social Identity: Finding Their Passion
When we set certain intentions for the day, it’s likely that those intentions will become reinforced. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning”? That phrase is typically used when a person is trying to describe the fact that they’re not in the greatest mood that day; what many people don’t know, however, is that we’re actually setting the intention to not have a good day by using that phrase and confirming for ourselves that we’re in a bad mood! For this upcoming year, make the choice to set the intention that each day will be great – with each moment, you’ll be more open to new experiences, to love and to bettering yourself. In the blog, the Science of Running, … Continue reading Why Perception is Everything for You This Upcoming Year
We can’t predict what’s going to happen throughout the day, and sometimes distressing thoughts, feelings or situations will come up. We may receive bad news about something that meant a lot to us, we may feel a sudden mood shift or our thoughts and feelings may stem from a spontaneous trigger. There are so many questions we could answer about when and where these feelings occur, and, for those in addiction recovery, these distressing sensations could lead to relapse. Relapse is a common fear for many in recovery and, although it’s a normal part of the process, those who relapse tend to view it as a major setback. Relapse is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a “return to drug use after an attempt to stop”. If you’re … Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to Triggers, Relapse, and the Beginning of Recovery
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1.3 million U.S. adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had a substance use disorder (SUD) in 2014. During this transitional period, adolescents are at heightened risk for alcohol and drug use; the teenage brain has not yet fully developed, making it more challenging for them to exert critical thinking skills. If you have a teen who has been struggling with substance abuse, the sooner they seek help, the better. Teens have a high possibility of recovering from substances without taking it into adulthood if they obtain treatment early on; before pursuing treatment, however, you and your teen may be wondering what “teen rehab” truly looks like. Personal Experiences 1. Admitting the Problem In 2017, Tonic, a portion of Vice … Continue reading What Teen Rehab Is Really Like
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step program that was created in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. As a worldwide recovery mutual-help organization, AA has helped many people find their way from addiction to a life of recovery and as a non-denominational organization, there is truly something for everyone. A 2017 study published in the journal Addiction confirmed this by the assessments of many pieces of literature regarding AA; researchers found that AA generally supports a “spiritual awakening” for those in recovery, as well as living a life of sobriety by providing those in the community with resources to get there. One individual shared his personal success story via the AA official website. Here is an excerpt from his story: “…My mind was open because A.A. is not a religious program. So, I found … Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to AA and How It Addresses 4 Core Aspects of Recovery
Even when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life happens. We’re caught off guard by a situation involving our family members, we begin ruminating, we’re having an “off” day – something happens and we find ourselves struggling to keep up again. Part of being human is working through the ups and downs, but this is much easier said than done sometimes. If we add mental illness to the mix, our recovery may seem even more complicated, with seemingly little control or ability to resolve the issue. The good news is, we do have some control over our despair – the first step is often identifying what’s been holding us back in the first place. Whether we know it or not, human beings are vulnerable – and that means that sometimes, … Continue reading What Core Psychological Issues Can Sabotage Recovery?
Note: If you’ve been experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life matters. Whether you’ve first begun your journey to addiction recovery or you’ve been working towards it for quite some time, one thing is for certain: recovery has ups and downs. There are so many lessons that come along the way and while some days we may feel confident, there are others where we may feel like holding back. We may feel depressed, anxious, angry or confused and that’s when we isolate ourselves. Pain is a universal experience, yet when pain emerges, we disconnect from others. If this is something you can relate to, please know that you’re not alone – there are other people out there whom you could rely on and people who … Continue reading Why Isolation is So Dangerous for Those in Recovery