Resiliency: You Are Strong, Not Broken

Resiliency

Resiliency

 

When you’re a woman battling addiction, you may feel broken, weak, or burdened by shame. None of those things are the reality, and reframing your perspective about yourself and your strength is ultimately what will fuel your recovery.

We encourage women in our program to see everything they’ve gone through and survived to the point of getting treatment as strength, not weakness. Even admitting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is a show of strength and not a failing. 

When you participate in our rehab program, you learn to recognize that everything you’re doing indicates your resilience, not the sum of your failures.

 

Female Addiction and Trauma

If you feel broken rather than strong and resilient, understand that female addiction links to trauma. Over the past few decades, we’re increasingly learning that women who abuse drugs or alcohol are often victims of distressing events.

The impact of trauma lingers long after the event itself.

  • The scientific and research communities are just starting to grasp how much traumatic experiences contribute to women’s mental and physical health issues. 
  • Research shows us that most women with addictions have gone through abuse or trauma at some point in their lives—at much higher rates than men. 
  • For example, 74% of addicted women report sexual abuse experiences. 
  • Women with traumatic childhoods are five times more likely to use drugs. 
  • They’re twice as likely to abuse alcohol compared to women who didn’t experience trauma.

Women experiencing trauma tend to develop deep, destructive wounds that become part of who they are.

If those things sound familiar to you, realize that you’ve gone through these things, and yet you’ve made it to this point. You are already showing resiliency, despite your struggles with drugs and alcohol. Recognizing your trauma can help you begin to heal.

 

Shame and Addiction

Shame, trauma, and addiction are often tightly interwoven with one another. Shame is a natural experience everyone sometimes has, but shame may be one of the main things you regularly feel in addiction. When you feel shame, you lose touch with who you are and the people who love and care about you.

  • Feeling like you aren’t worthy of love, happiness or respect feeds addiction and worsens mental health problems like depression.
  • Eliminating your feelings of shame is critical to getting help for your addiction and taking yourself out of the cycle. 
  • Shame and addiction imprison you, but in a safe environment where you’re comfortable being vulnerable, you can begin to work through these.
  • In an addiction treatment program, you learn to identify your shame, and in doing so, you’re better able to stop feeding it. 
  • You learn acceptance for yourself and understand that no one is perfect, but you can put your energy toward being the best version of yourself.

Treatment is also a way to begin redefining your self-worth.

 

What is Resilience?

Resilience is a term referring to your ability to recover from difficult or traumatic events in your life. You can stand strong in the face of adversity, no matter the adverse circumstances occurring in life.

  • If you’re in active addiction, but you’ve decided to take the step to get help, that is in and of itself resilience.
  • Resilience isn’t a straight line. There will be bumps along the way and setbacks, but eventually, when you realize that resilience is part of who you are, you’ll get to the peak of where you want to go and be able to look back at how far you came in your journey.
  • Being resilient doesn’t mean you’re always mentally tough, nor does it mean you don’t feel stressed, upset, or suffering. Instead, resilience means you’re able to work through the pain and suffering you experience.
  • Resilience isn’t an inherent or fixed trait either. It’s something you work to develop.

 

Developing Resilience

To develop resilience requires a combination of internal factors that are personal to you and outside resources. In the context of addiction, you’ve already shown resilience, making it through the parts of your life that have been challenging. Then, once you begin treatment, you further develop your strength with what you learn there.

For example, you can learn coping mechanisms to help you go forward outside of substances. You can tap into outside resources such as therapists or participation in support groups. You can learn how to avoid triggers when they occur.

Protective factors that can help you in your journey to build resilience include:

  • Social support—we need to learn to rely on our support network in times of trauma or difficulty. Our support network can be whatever works for us. It can be your 12-step group, your friends, your family, or organizations.
  • Planning—at our treatment center, we focus a lot on this element of building resiliency. Planning means that you set goals for yourself, visualize how to meet them, and then do it. When planning for resilience, you always want to think about different scenarios proactively and create strategies for dealing with them ahead of time.
  • Self-esteem—Unfortunately, there’s often a deep sense of shame for women with addictions to drugs or alcohol. By building resilience, you can start to tear away at this shame and rebuild with confidence and a positive view of yourself.
  • Coping skills—In active addiction, you turn to drugs or alcohol rather than relying on healthy coping mechanisms. On your resilience journey, you can begin to learn the healthy coping skills that work for you. The more you practice these skills, the more they become wired into your brain and replace the old, unhealthy habits.
  • Communication—This is part of resilience because you need to share with others what you feel so that you can seek support, gain access to resources and ultimately take action when you need to.
  • Regulating emotions—When you’re experiencing overwhelming emotions, achieving resilience means that you can work through them positively.

When you lack resilience, you’re more likely to move back into those unhealthy coping strategies or feel helpless and overwhelmed.

 

 

Taking the First Step

It sounds cliché, but honestly, taking the first step by coming to terms with your addiction and seeking help is the most powerful thing you can do. In doing so, you’re already showcasing your resilience and strength. You’re also committing to continue cultivating that resilience. You’ve come this far, and we encourage you to contact us about rehab to learn how much more you can achieve and accomplish.

The goal at Anchored Tides Recovery isn’t just to get you to the point of sobriety. It’s to help you achieve your full potential in every way, so you’re prepared for anything as you rebuild your life and meet your goals in all areas. Call 866-600-7709 to learn more about our women-only outpatient program today!

How to Identify Toxic Positivity

toxic positivity

Toxic positivity is incredibly damaging to your mental health when it’s happening around you. The detrimental effects are why learning how to identify toxic positivity can help you protect yourself. We encourage you to delve into how to identify and avoid toxic positivity so that you can maintain your mental health.

You never want to feel like your experiences are minimized, nor do you want to have to pretend you feel a certain way to make other people feel comfortable.

Some real risks and dangers come with toxic positivity, and this can be especially true if you’re dealing with mental health issues or are in addiction recovery.

 

Understanding Toxic Positivity

Being positive can be a great thing in appropriate situations. So how do we know when it becomes toxic or harmful?

  • For many of us, it’s almost counterintuitive to hear the words “toxic” and “positivity” used together. For decades, the media, books, movies, and New Age thinking have led us to believe that positive thinking is most important.
  • Positive thinking can indeed improve your mental health. For example, when you think positively about the world, it can help improve your self-esteem and reduce suicidal thoughts.
  • At the same time, we have to understand that positive thinking isn’t a cure for everything, nor does it solve all of your challenges. 
  • You also aren’t always going to experience positive emotions. 
  • That doesn’t mean we can’t be overall positive people, but we need an authentic experience and the opportunity to recognize negative experiences and bad emotions. 

When positivity becomes toxic, there’s a demand placed on you to resort to that as the solution to every problem. You feel backed into a positivity corner where you can’t think negatively or express negative emotions. Even so, negative emotions are a genuine part of who we are and the human experience. 

Positive thinking means that you try to have an optimistic outlook on life. Positive thinking crosses into the realm of toxicity when you are silencing your real feelings or when you aren’t seeking help or support for difficult emotions. 

 

Is It Bad to Be Negative?

It’s so ingrained in us, particularly as women, to avoid being negative or having negative feelings at all costs. We’re supposed to put on a happy face no matter the situation or what we’re experiencing. That’s how we make the people around us feel comfortable, and we learn that by putting on that happy face, we’re essentially faking it until we make it.

  • That can be harmful because we are humans with a complex range of emotions. 
  • Being comfortable with uncomfortable feelings or challenging situations is vital for our mental health and well-being. For example, if you’re experiencing sadness because of grief, that’s normal and healthy. 
  • Toxic positivity might push you to try and conceal your grief and sadness, which can lead you to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

There are times when we need to talk about our human emotions and express them to work through them effectively. 

  • Research finds that vocalizing what we’re sometimes feeling like part of our inevitably imperfect life makes our unpleasant feelings less powerful. 
  • You can feel less trapped by your emotional experience when you speak about them.
  • Researchers also find that talking about all your true feelings, including the negative ones, can help your brain process what you’re feeling. 
  • In one study, labeling and talking about emotions reduced the pathways in the brain associated with them. That reduction of the brain pathways helps make painful or unpleasant emotions less overpowering than emotional suppression, which may have the opposite effect. 

While positivity and changing your mindset can be fantastic for your psychological health, there’s an extreme happening with toxic positivity.

 

 

What Are the Risks of Toxic Positivity?

There is actual harm that can happen when positivity goes overboard.

For example, it’s shaming. When you’re going through complicated feelings, you need your emotions validated. You need to be able to turn to the people you love and who love you for support. When you find that you’re being told your feelings aren’t valid, then you’re simultaneously being told that they aren’t acceptable. 

That creates shame. Shame can worsen negative cycles and patterns in your life.

  • You may experience feelings of loneliness or feelings of sadness when you’re surrounded by toxic positivity. 
  • Another harm of too much positivity is that it creates guilt. The idea becomes that if you can’t feel good and positive, no matter what’s happening around you, you aren’t doing something right.
  • Toxic positivity becomes an avoidance strategy and an example of an unhealthy coping mechanism. You aren’t facing your emotions, but you’re instead internalizing them and dealing with the fallout of repressed emotions. 

When you can’t confront challenges or authentic emotions, you’re stunting your spiritual and emotional growth.

 

Toxic Positive Examples

Some of the specific things you might see that indicate an issue with positivity include:

  • When you speak about how you feel, someone tells you it could be worse.
  • You’re told at least you’re lucky you have what you do.
  • Someone tells you to focus on the positive after you experience something traumatic.
  • Being told everything happens for a reason.
  • Calling those people who always appear happy or positive as brave or strong.

Signs that you might be engaging in the positivity that’s toxic include:

  • You prefer to avoid your problems.
  • You feel guilty when you experience negative emotions like sadness.
  • Regularly sharing feel-good quotes and mantras to appear more socially acceptable.
  • Minimize your own and other people’s feelings because they’re uncomfortable with you.
  • Feeling like being emotionally strong no matter what is something to be proud of.

 

How to Avoid Toxic Positivity

Whether you recognize certain behaviors in yourself, or you’ve experienced them through your interactions with others, remember the following:

  • Work on managing rather than denying negative feelings and emotions. No, learning how to avoid toxic positivity doesn’t mean you dwell on negative things, but you should recognize what you’re feeling, label it and then move on from there.
  • Be realistic about what you should feel, and work to identify what a typical timeframe is to feel certain things. For example, if you lose a loved one, it’s perfectly normal to work through a rather lengthy period of grief.
  • You can feel multiple things at one time. For example, sometimes negative feelings like anxiety or apprehension can occur with something great in life, like a new opportunity. We’re complex, and so are our feelings, and we don’t have to be boxed into one emotion.
  • If someone comes to you and wants to share something difficult for them, while you may be trying to help with your best intentions, don’t try to tell them that it’s all going to be okay, or they should look for the silver lining. Instead, be a sympathetic listener.

Finally, be mindful of how you’re feeling, especially when you’re engaging with inspirational content. Instagram is notorious for being a platform for toxic positivity. 

Sometimes, we can see this content as being motivational and uplifting, which is great.

You do need to hone in on what you feel after you view this content, however. Are you feeling guilty or ashamed, for example? If so, you might need to reconsider following that account or maybe limit your social media consumption in general.

The idea of toxic positivity is never to discount the value of a positive outlook or thinking. Instead, we must learn that it’s okay to feel even complex emotions, which are real, valid experiences. If you’re looking for more support and the right kind of positivity to help you with your recovery, call 866-600-7709 and contact the team at Anchored Tides Recovery. Take the first steps towards your new life. 

Just for Today: Overcoming Cravings One Day at a Time

overcoming cravings

overcoming cravings

 

Overcoming cravings are one of the most challenging parts of addiction recovery, especially in the early days. Cravings can be a mental and physical response to no longer using drugs or alcohol. Cravings are incredibly intense during the detox and withdrawal period, but they can persist long after.

  • The sensation of craving isn’t exclusive to drugs and alcohol. These urges to do something are part of everyday life for everyone.
  • For example, you might crave a particular food. Under normal circumstances, it might not be a big deal, but if you’re trying to lose weight, that craving can be problematic and keep you from achieving your goals.
  • With cravings, it’s important to recognize they’re going to happen and identify strategies for dealing with them when they do. 
  • Coping with these urges is one of the big things you learn during rehab.

Physical craving is where you have a physical response to wanting drugs or alcohol. 

  • Physical cravings are part of withdrawal, and those cravings will eventually lessen as you go deeper into your recovery. 
  • Mental cravings are emotional, and they can take longer to subside. 
  • Mental cravings might lead you to fixate on the thought of using drugs or alcohol, or you can get the idea in your head that you need the substance right away.

You can deal with both by learning positive coping mechanisms and remembering to take it one day at a time. Taking it one day at a time is good for overcoming cravings and dealing with other challenges you might encounter in your recovery.

 

One Day at a Time in Addiction Recovery

Not just cravings, but your full recovery may be built on the concept of taking it one day at a time, but what does that really mean? 

One-day-at-a-time is a phrase you’ll hear in 12-step programs and recovery circles, but the reality is that it’s sage advice no matter what your situation.

As far as the 12-step model, Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson once said:

“On a day-at-a-time basis, I am confident I can stay away from a drink for one day. So I set out with confidence. At the end of the day, I have the reward of achievement. Achievement feels good and  makes me want more.”

  • Taking things one day at a time helps us let go of the past, and perhaps guilt or shame we might feel from that. 
  • We can also stop feeling anxiety for the future and plant ourselves firmly at the moment.
  • Mindfulness and being in the moment is something you’ll work on a lot in addiction treatment.
  • Being mindful and living in the present is something many people aspire to, even when they aren’t struggling with addiction.

Often, when you’re in recovery, and especially at the start, you may feel apprehensive. It can be a considerable undertaking to think about a lifetime of sobriety and what that will look like. Rather than thinking that way, which may be overwhelming, just think that you have to stay sober today. That’s all you have to manage at this moment.

There’s something in AA called the 24-hour plan. Rather than swearing off drugs or alcohol for your entire life, you concentrate on the 24 hours you’re presently in. If you have a craving or an urge, you’re not resisting or yielding. You’re just putting it off until tomorrow, at which point you’ll deal with those 24 hours.

You only worry about today, and there’s a power in that. You eventually learn over time that you can manage those cravings for much longer than 24 hours.

 

Why Is It Important to Stay Present?

Even outside of a coping mechanism for cravings, staying in the present is valuable in your life.

  • When you’re in the present, you can reduce your stress and improve your focus. 
  • You can build emotional resilience, and you can find what inspires you. 
  • Staying present helps you begin to rebuild strong emotional connections with the people around you and spend meaningful time with loved ones.

Many people find when they practice mindfulness, they’re able to stop being a bystander in their life and become connected with everything around them. In recovery, that’s so valuable. Being present is great for mental health and spiritual wellness.

 

 

Strategies for Dealing with Cravings

While being present and taking it one day at a time is one way to deal with cravings, there are other strategies you can include in your life while overcoming cravings.

Something you’ll work on in your treatment program is learning your triggers. Your triggers can be anything—people, places, or things. These triggers make you want to drink or use drugs.

Triggers can often fall into one of four general categories.

  • Pattern—these are the things and places that make you want to use again, and they can also include significant events, the time of day, or the season.
  • Social—social triggers involve one person or a group of people you associate with drinking or drug use.
  • Emotional—whether it’s sadness, anger, anxiety, or happiness, there may be emotional triggers that contribute to cravings when you feel a certain way.
  • Withdrawal—this is something we talked about above, and withdrawal cravings are a physiological response as your body tries to regain a sense of normalcy without the presence of substances.

You can work on identifying and uncovering triggers so that you can avoid them if possible. If you can’t avoid them, you can proactively have strategies in mind about how you’ll deal with them when they occur.

Tips for dealing with triggers and cravings that are also in line with mindfulness and taking things one day at a time include:

  • Avoidance. As mentioned, for some people and some triggers, avoidance can work. For example, you may find a new social group after rehab to avoid people you associate with using drugs or alcohol.
  • Maintain healthy behaviors. Focusing on eating well, exercising, and getting rest can help you avoid cravings and deal with triggers. You’re filling your time and your mental space with other priorities.
  • Find things you enjoy. Maybe you learn an instrument, practice yoga, or start painting.
  • Regularly practice meditation and relaxation exercises. If you’re feeling the pull of a craving, sit down and do a meditation, even just for five minutes. This will bring you back to the present and help you regain a sense of control.
  • Attend support group meetings.
  • Change how you think about cravings. Sometimes people will panic when they experience a craving. You might feel out of control. Work to know that craving is something you can ride out like a wave. Retain or regain control of how you view it. Speak optimistic empowering statements out loud if that helps you. Remember that all cravings end.
  • Track how you’re feeling with a journal.
  • Rely on your relapse prevention plan. When you’re in treatment, you can work with your care providers on a concrete strategy.

Approaching your battles “Just for today” might be some of the best advice you can put into practice in your recovery to manage cravings. If you’d like to learn more techniques for a successful recovery from addiction, call 866-600-7709 to talk to the team at Anchored Tides Recovery; we’re here to talk and answer questions that you may have. 

Coping with Substance Abuse Disorder During the Holidays

substance abuse

substance abuse

 

It is tough to be around situations that are triggering and remind you of obstacles you struggle with. Even though sober people can find it challenging to be around alcohol, especially in abundance at holiday events, absolute self-control is an annual test for people in recovery.

Drinking plays a role in many holiday festivities, from wine with dinner on Thanksgiving to champagne when toasting the new year; alcohol plays a huge part in the holiday season. Some individuals can drink moderately at festive functions; others engage in heavy drinking that strays into abuse more often than not.

 

Substance Abuse & Addiction

It is essential to know how substance abuse differs from addiction; Addiction is something you cannot easily let go of despite damaging your physical health, mental health, and social life. Whereas many people with substance abuse issues can quit relatively quickly or they can change their unhealthy behavior.

Substance abuse for mood-altering purposes may simply be described as a pattern of harmful use of any substance. ‘Substances’ can include alcohol and other drugs, as well as certain substances that are not drugs at all, and whether or not they are illegal does not matter.

“Abuse” can result because you use a drug in a manner that is not intended or recommended or because you use more than prescribed. To be precise, someone can use drugs and not be addicted or even have a drug use problem.

Generally, when individuals talk about substance abuse, they usually refer to illicit substances. Abusive drugs do more than changing the mood. They can confuse your judgment, distort your perceptions, and change your response times, all of which can put you at risk of accident and injury. Still, you continue to take the drugs because of the rush of dopamine and the worldliness you experience.

In the first place, these medications have been illegal because they are potentially addictive or may cause significant adverse health effects. Some claim that the use of illicit drugs is considered unsafe and, therefore, violent.

 

5 Causes of Substance Abuse:

Although there is no clear-cut specific answer as to what causes your addiction to substance abuse, it is possible that the origin of the addiction starts or speeds up because of the points given below:

 

1. Family history of addiction.

 Drug addiction is more common in some families and mainly involves troublesome genes.

 

2. Mental health disorder.

Having a mental health disorder can also play a role in leading an individual to substance abuse.

 

3. Peer pressure.

Peer pressure plays a significant role in substance abuse and can be very dangerous if not detected early.

 

4. Early use.

Early use can also lead to addiction from substance abuse.

 

5. Taking a highly addictive drug.  

Taking a highly addictive drug or prescription drug can often lead to addiction or substance abuse as well.

 

 

How can you Stop Substance Abuse?

Overcoming substance abuse or drug addiction can be a time-consuming and challenging process, but never impossible.

For many people struggling with addiction, the most challenging step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. It is entirely normal to feel unsure about whether you’re ready to go down the road to recovery or if you have what it takes to quit your addiction. You may be worrying about how you can find an alternative way to handle a mental condition if you are addicted to prescription medication. It’s all right to feel distressed. Committing to sobriety means changing several aspects, like how you cope with tension, who you allow in your life, what you do in your spare time, how you think of yourself, and how you take over-the-counter medications.

And when you know it is causing issues in your life, it’s still natural to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice. Recovery takes time, encouragement, and support, but you can conquer your addiction and regain control of your life by committing to change.

 

Substance Abuse Treatment

Addiction treatment is a variable plan and not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Treatments always vary based on what you need and what will help you treat the fastest and best. You can also choose the treatment that works best for you based on the substance you’re abusing, the level of care you need, your personal needs for mental health, or what options for health care you can afford. 

Some of the most common addiction treatments that have set patients on a successful path to recovery include detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavior therapy, contingency management, the all-famous 12-step facilitation, and treatment medication. For questions or assistance staying sober through the holidays, call Anchored Tides Recovery at 866-600-7709.

Childhood Trauma and Addiction: Codependent Issues

childhood trauma

childhood trauma

 

The vast majority of women with a substance use disorder have a history of childhood trauma, unfortunately, and exposure to traumatic experiences. Childhood trauma can take different forms. For example, both physical abuse and sexual abuse are examples, but so are things like neglect. Understanding the impacts of childhood trauma on current addiction in women is something we work hard to prioritize in our programs.

Without taking a trauma-informed approach, we don’t feel like you’re genuinely getting effective, evidence-based care.

We also find that the way we talk about addiction in women as society tends not to take trauma into account. Traditional addiction treatment doesn’t consider the differences in how men and women process and cope with trauma either, creating a void for women in their care.

One specific example is a borderline personality disorder. We often see women diagnosed with this mental health condition but with no understanding of the context of their past trauma exposure. Women are much more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder than men, yet the symptoms could relate to processing different types of childhood traumas. 

 

What Is Trauma?

Traumatic exposures and events have the potential to shape who we will all become. You can experience trauma in childhood or adulthood. Regardless, this exposure can change how you see not just the world around you but also yourself. The effects of childhood trauma can be far-reaching. 

Examples of types of trauma include:

  • Physical abuse, assault, or violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Domestic violence
  • Community violence
  • Verbal or emotional abuse
  • Neglect by parents or caretakers
  • Bullying
  • Natural disasters
  • Accidents 
  • Terminal illnesses

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive because when you survive anything where you feel your life is in danger or experience extreme distress, it can lead to a trauma response and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Signs of having traumatic adverse childhood experiences and trauma symptoms include:

  • Dramatic shifts in mood
  • Erratic behaviors
  • Excessive emotional displays
  • Having an anxiety disorder 
  • High levels of nervousness 
  • Irritability and agitation that’s more or less constant
  • A lack of confidence
  • Developing eating disorders
  • Avoiding things that remind you of the trauma
  • Reliving the traumatic event
  • Problems relating to others
  • Issues with interpersonal relationships 
  • Suicidal ideation 

When you experience trauma, particularly in childhood, since who you are is being shaped during this time, it puts you at a very high risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Trauma exposure in childhood can create long-term mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety. When dealing with untreated mental illnesses stemming from traumatic memories, you’re more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

 

The Relationship Between Childhood Trauma and Addiction 

Your brain is incredibly adaptive. There’s a term, plasticity, used to talk more about this. Essentially, your brain can respond to any situation that you experience in your daily life. The plasticity of your brain helps you learn new things and form memories.

  • Each thing that you’re doing, whether that’s something good or bad, leads to the growth of your brain neurons, as well as changes. 
  • However, those neural connections can break as well, if that’s what’s needed. 
  • Your brain rewires itself to make sure you continue functioning in whatever way is necessary.
  • This plasticity can be a great thing if you’re, for example, beginning to meditate. Neural plasticity can help your brain rewire itself through meditation so you can tackle depression and anxiety.
  • The problem can occur when you experience mistreatment or trauma. 
  • Your experiences, especially early on in your life when your brain is developing, change your brain’s structure. 
  • Abnormalities arise from your experiences when they’re negative, and those abnormalities affect behavior and cognition for trauma survivors. 

One specific example of these adverse effects is the impact of stress hormones on brain development. Stress hormones like cortisol interfere with normal brain development in children with chronically high levels. Children facing exposure to violence without a safe space are likely to have ongoing stress that rarely if ever dissipates. 

  • Around two-thirds of all people with addictions experience trauma exposure in their childhood, so it’s not a rare situation.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than a third of adolescents experiencing abuse or neglect will have a diagnosable substance use disorder before reaching their 18th birthday. 
  • Around 55 to 60% of people with PTSD end up developing a chemical dependency.

 

 

Women and Trauma

Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD. When women have PTSD, they often have a longer duration of symptoms. Research shows women with PTSD are more sensitive to things reminding them of the trauma. They are at greater risk of adverse effects related to mental health outcomes. 

Women who have untreated trauma tend to experience mental health disorders such as higher rates of depression and anxiety and more physical symptoms. These physical symptoms can include sexual dysfunction, migraines, gastrointestinal issues, and other chronic health conditions. 

Health care providers often struggle to diagnose PTSD due to varying factors like a lack of time and training.

 

Trauma-Informed Care

The startling reality of the prevalence of childhood trauma in people and especially women with substance use disorders brings us back to the concept of trauma-informed care. Substance abuse counselors should understand the high levels of co-dependence between substance use and trauma histories to provide practical, evidence-based care.

There are quite a few different approaches to trauma-informed care. There are also differences in treating the psychological symptoms of trauma and treating the trauma experience. Treating the trauma experience is more in-depth and complex, requiring specialized training on the part of the clinician. In traditional programs, the focus is on treating psychiatric symptoms rather than the underlying causes.

Research and observation show that women who learn about the impact of trauma on their mental and physical health, self-esteem, and emotions tend to see more beneficial outcomes.

The following are some of the critical elements of trauma-informed care and therapy for childhood trauma:

  • The underlying concept of trauma-informed care is understanding how the brain responds to childhood trauma exposure or adult trauma exposure. 
  • Clinicians pay attention to the central nervous system, biological effects, and specifically the automatic nervous system to delve more into the impact of trauma.
  • Trauma-informed care should help women understand their symptoms but from an approach of their strengths.
  • We have to be careful about re-traumatizing our patients.
  • Central to all trauma-informed care, especially in addiction treatment, is the importance of hope for recovery.

Our goal with our trauma-informed care approach is to be empowering and positive. We also want to make sure that our patients never feel rushed through their program because it takes time to work through underlying trauma. Many women don’t understand the links of their trauma to their substance abuse, and instead, they feel shame or as if they’ve personally failed, which isn’t the reality at all.

Often we see women who don’t even know what they’ve gone through is traumatic. They see their situations as normal because that’s all they know.

 

Final Thoughts

If you’re searching for a “childhood trauma therapist near me” or something similar, you may already have an understanding of the role trauma plays in your life and your substance use. You might also be at a different point in your journey, where you haven’t fully gained an understanding of those effects.

Regardless of where you are, we can help you get where you want to be with childhood trauma recovery. 

Our team is trained and experienced with trauma-informed care. We work with you to help you understand the impact of your childhood trauma, but from a place of hope and empowerment for your recovery. Please reach out to the team at Anchored Tides Recovery by calling 866-600-7709 to learn more.

Is Drug Addiction a Moral Failing?

drug addiction

drug addiction

 

Is drug addiction a moral failing? Researchers have been looking at addiction and the underlying causes since the 1930s. In that time, we have learned so much about what addiction is and what it isn’t.

First and foremost, no, addiction is not a moral failing. Shame is often so much intertwined with addiction, and you may have low self-esteem, guilt, and a sense of low self-worth. These feelings can all contribute to the ongoing cycle of addiction, making it harder to break.

By recognizing the reality that drug addiction is not a moral failing and is a disease, you can begin to see that you deserve treatment for your illness.

Addiction, also known as a substance use disorder, is an illness as characterized by The American Health Association, The National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization.

Evidence-based treatment also tends to be highly effective in treating substance use disorders based on your unique needs.

 

The Physical Effects of Addiction

Addiction relates a lot to your brain chemistry. Genetics and other underlying biological elements also raise your risk of developing an addiction. These differences are part of why addiction is a disease. The differences are also why someone might use recreational drugs and never become addicted, while others become addicted after using a substance only a few times.

  • When you use certain substances, they create big, artificially driven dopamine surges.
  • Those dopamine surges teach your brain to keep seeking out the experience making them, such as drugs or alcohol. 
  • Your brain compels you to seek out the substance at the expense of other things in your life.
  • When you consistently use drugs or even alcohol, it impacts your ability to feel pleasure.
  • The reason is that your brain releases smaller amounts of dopamine on its own, without the drugs.
  • Your brain center is less receptive to healthy rewarding activities like exercise or a good meal. Your brain is wholly altered at this point.

Because of the brain changes, you develop a tolerance. You need more of whatever the substance is just to keep yourself operating at a new “normal” baseline.

 

Brain Changes Cause Behavioral Changes

Researchers in past decades have begun looking at brain imaging studies of people with addictions. They find that areas of the brain affected by addiction include decision-making, learning and memory, judgment, and behavioral control.

The changes in these parts of the brain can alter the functionality of your brain, contributing to destructive, compulsive behavior.

Addiction creates cravings and physical symptoms as well, known as dependence.

 

Addiction As a Chronic Disease

Science tells us addiction is not just a disease but a chronic one. We can, in many ways, compare it to heart disease or diabetes.

The similarities between addiction and other chronic illnesses include:

  • Both conditions affect the functionality of critical organs. For addiction, it’s the brain, whereas it’s the heart in cardiovascular disease.
  • Chronic illnesses decrease quality of life and can, without proper treatment, shorten your life.
  • While both are diseases, there are preventable elements. For example, most chronic illnesses have contributing risk factors such as eating certain foods or not getting enough exercise. With addiction, the risk factor is initially using an addictive substance.
  • Chronic illnesses and addiction aren’t necessarily curable but are highly treatable. By getting treatment as early on as possible, you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
  • You can also prevent further damage because chronic disorders and addiction are both progressive. 
  • The longer your addiction goes without treatment, the more significant the effects and consequences will be.

While drug addiction begins with an initial decision, we also know that people don’t willingly want to deal with the destruction addiction ultimately creates. If addiction were as easy as deciding to stop or having willpower, there wouldn’t be many overdose deaths each year or relapses.

  • Some of a person’s inability to stop using drugs or alcohol is because of problems in the function of the prefrontal cortex in the brain. 
  • The prefrontal cortex controls executive function. Executive functions include monitoring your behavior and delaying reward. 
  • People with substance use disorders often have an overly adverse reaction to stress because of deficits in their prefrontal cortex, putting them at risk for addiction.
  • When there’s an issue in the prefrontal cortex, a person often has a high threshold for regular types of pleasure. They need something “more” to cause them to feel joy, such as drugs or alcohol.

 

 

Substance Use Disorder Risk Factors

There isn’t one specific cause for developing a substance use disorder. Multiple factors often converge.

  • Around 40-60% of the risk of becoming addicted to a substance comes from biological factors. Biological factors include genes, gender, and ethnicity.
  • The developmental stage is also relevant. The younger you are when you start using addictive substances, the more likely you are to develop an addiction in adulthood.
  • The environment can be a risk factor. Environmental factors include family dynamics and relationships, your home environment, and your social group.

Specific addiction risk factors include a family history of addiction and mental illness, a history of abuse, and a chaotic home environment.

 

What Does This Mean for Overcoming a Substance Use Disorder?

When you have a substance use disorder, first, you need to let go of the shame and the guilt. Those are things you can begin to work through in treatment. When you learn more about the underlying contributors to addiction and the fact that it is a disease, it’ll help you with these feelings.

You also have to realize that you aren’t weak because you can’t simply stop using substances.

As is the case with other illnesses, you need the proper treatment plan to address all of your addiction’s complex components.

For example, talk therapy is a way to recognize your negative thought patterns leading to harmful behaviors.  You can learn more about triggers in your life and start to build pathways in your brain that will help you deal with those in a healthy way. We can rewire our brains with time and patience.

Your drug addiction treatment plan might also include medication, and it should integrate aftercare planning.

Everyone is unique, and their treatment plan has to reflect that. People relapse after treatment because their counselor didn’t tailor their program to their needs. 

Whether you’ve tried rehab before and relapsed, or you’re considering it for the first time, the only thing to know is that what you’re going through isn’t a personal or moral failure. You should also know that you’re making the best first step when you admit that you have a problem and seek help for it. Reach out to the team at Anchored Tides Recovery by calling 866-600-7709 to learn more. 

A Guide to Being a Better Parent in Recovery

parent in recovery

parent in recovery

 

When you’re a woman going through addiction treatment and beginning your life in recovery, you already face immense challenges. 

Being a mother can compound those because you may want to repair the damage you feel occurred during active addiction. You may also want to make up for the lost time. Simultaneously, the recovery process is hard work, so prioritizing is critical as you navigate parenting in a new world for you.

The most important thing you can remember is that no one is a perfect parent. Despite your struggles with addiction or mental health, if you show your children love, that’s ultimately what will stand out to them throughout their lives.

You have to show love and compassion for yourself, too, particularly as you are navigating a new situation and new season in your life.

The following are some things to know about being a parent in recovery from a substance use disorder and how to become a positive role model. 

 

How Addiction Affects Families

While it’s emotionally challenging, a big part of true recovery recognizes how your addiction affects your loved ones. Loved ones can include your children, mainly if they are old enough to understand what’s happening. When you can confront these psychological effects head-on, you’re in a much better position to begin to work through them.

Once you leave treatment, you hope you can put the past behind you. While you may be able to put your substance abuse behind you, it’s essential to recognize the lingering effects of being an addicted parent and work to repair those as part of your recovery journey. 

It’s challenging to maintain a peaceful or loving home when you’re experiencing alcohol or drug addiction. There may be a lot of conflicts, erosion of trust, and communication can become frustrating. Along with these effects impacting your children, they could also affect your spouse or partner and other people who love you, such as your parents or siblings.

  • You might have behaved in a way that would otherwise be out of character for you when you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or exhibiting addictive behavior. 
  • Psychology Today estimates 1 in 5 children grow up in a home with a parent who abuses alcohol or drugs.
  • Exposure to substance abuse is a form of trauma, and children who grow up experiencing substance abuse in the home are more likely to develop their substance use disorders when they’re adults.
  • Children’s personalities are developing during this time and are highly susceptible to what’s happening around them.

When you decide to get treatment, that’s an essential thing you can do to change these dynamics. 

  • As you choose a rehab program like residential treatment, look for one specifically for women and mothers.
  • These programs will allow you to participate in therapy that focuses on rebuilding your relationships with your children and family and reducing the trauma they might have experienced.
  • Look for a facility that emphasizes relationships and helps you connect with the resources you need to be a great parent in recovery.

Too often, mothers become discouraged. They feel the damage is done, and there’s nothing they can do; that’s untrue. While substance abuse by a parent can affect children, they’re also highly resilient. 

You ultimately want your kids to see you as someone who worked hard and overcame challenges. That’s what you have the opportunity to demonstrate after treatment.

Below are some practical tips to be a better mother in recovery.

 

 

Forgive Yourself

Understanding the impact of addiction isn’t about continuing to hate yourself or feel shame, and parents in recovery have to know this. 

Instead, it’s about recognizing past challenges and then being able to move forward through that honestly. 

To be the best version of yourself for your children, forgive yourself. If you participate in a program with a 12-step foundation, there is a path to make amends for past behavior and start again as part of your addiction recovery. 

When you can forgive yourself, you aren’t just helping your children and family dynamic. You’re also reducing your risk of relapse. Shame and guilt are so interwoven with substance use and addiction. 

You have to work to rebuild your self-esteem and understand that you are more than your mistakes and addiction.

 

Set Boundaries

If you feel guilt for things in the past, you might try to be too permissive in your parenting. Permissive parenting is problematic for children, particularly as they get older. Not having firm, healthy boundaries can put your children at a greater risk of developing their own SUD.

Rather than making up for anything by eliminating boundaries, create a loving and healthy relationship with your children that centers on limits. Your children need that discipline and structure.

You want to be a role model rather than a friend. Along with setting boundaries, resist the urge to try and buy affection with gifts.

Your children are going to thrive when they have stability and consistency. You can create routines that focus on spending quality time together rather than buying affection.

 

Rebuild Trust

If your children are older, they may have lost trust in you during your active addiction. You may have been unable to keep your word, or you might not have been around or shown up for your children in the way they needed you to when dealing with a drug or alcohol use disorder. 

Now is when you can start to rebuild that trust. Again, consistency is key here. You should also show up when you say you will and prioritize family time. 

Consider going to counseling with your children, so you can relearn how to bond with one another.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Practicing self-care is vital in recovery. Parents in recovery may be dealing with so much physically and mentally during this time. Self-care isn’t selfish.

Self-care gives you the chance to take care of yourself to give more to your children.

When you practice self-care, you’re also setting an example for your kids about healthy coping skills. Self-care is one of the critical life skills you can and should integrate into your daily life.

 

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is something that every parent can benefit from practicing—it’s not exclusively beneficial if you’re in recovery. When you’re a parent, no matter the specifics of the situation, it’s stressful. You may have so many worries about the past and the future. Practicing mindfulness brings you back to the moment.

You’re able to remember how important it is to focus on one day at a time.

Everyone practices mindfulness differently, but bringing yourself back into the moment if you’re struggling is one of the best coping mechanisms you can learn in recovery. Being mindful is suitable for managing things that come your way in everyday life and dealing with symptoms of mental health issues. 

 

Ask For Help

Finally, there’s certainly no shame in asking for help when you need it, particularly for single parents. Maybe you have parents or friends who are willing to give you the support you need, even if it’s just providing a listening ear. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

Over time, the more you put the steps above into practice, the more confident you’ll feel as a parent and the stronger your relationship with your children will be. In your parental role, you want to model healthy behavior and life experiences for your children, and knowing when to reach out for help is part of that. 

If you’re ready to start your recovery effort, please contact the team at Anchored Tides Recovery by calling 866-600-7709 to learn more about our specialized treatment center for women.

How Long Does Tramadol Stay In Your System?

how long does tramadol stay in your system

how long does tramadol stay in your system

 

How long does tramadol stay in your system? People have a common question about this prescription drug, which is also available under the brand name Ultram. Below, we discuss how tramadol works, the warnings, and how long it can stay in your system.

 

An Overview of Tramadol

A prescription drug, tramadol, is available in an immediate and extended-release oral version. When you take the immediate-release form of the medicine, it releases into the body right away. An extended-release tablet will go into your system slowly over some time.

  • Tramadol is available as a prescription for moderate to severe pain.
  • The drug classification is an opioid agonist or an opioid analgesic. 
  • A class of drugs is one where all the medications included in the group act similarly and are often treatment options for similar conditions.

When you take tramadol, it changes your brain’s sensing and response to pain. 

  • The medication is similar to something in your brain called endorphins. 
  • Endorphins are naturally occurring substances that bind to receptors. 
  • As part of this binding, the receptors reduce pain messages from your body to your brain. 
  • Essentially, tramadol works to lower the amount of pain your brain thinks you’re experiencing.

With tramadol’s initial approval in 1995, it wasn’t classified as an opioid, despite acting similarly.

  • There were growing cases of addiction and abuse associated with tramadol. 
  • In 2014, as a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to make tramadol a controlled substance. 
  • A controlled substance has accepted medical uses, but it is also highly regulated because of its potential abuse or addiction.

Among opioids, tramadol is among the safer ones but still has risks. 

  • Tramadol is a schedule IV drug, meaning relative to other controlled substances. 
  • OxyContin, on the other hand, which is a prescription opioid, is a schedule II drug.
  • Schedule II drugs have high abuse potential, despite their medical uses.

Tramadol is for the treatment of conditions causing chronic pain like osteoarthritis or pain after surgery. 

  • Along with binding to opioid receptors to block pain signals, tramadol works in other ways. 
  • Tramadol increases levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. 
  • Both are chemical messengers or neurotransmitters playing a role in your perception of pain.
  • Tramadol doesn’t cure pain or treat the underlying cause, but it can help improve functionality in your daily life.

 

Tramadol Side Effects

Some of the relatively common side effects of tramadol include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Sweating

More severe side effects requiring medical attention can include:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Changes in blood pressure 
  • Risk of serotonin syndrome
  • Low levels of androgen, which are male hormones
  • Seizures
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose
  • Tramadol addiction
  • Potential for dependence 

As we mentioned, as an opioid medication, tramadol can be habit-forming. If your form a physical dependence after taking it for some time, you may have symptoms of tramadol withdrawal if you try to stop suddenly, also known as cold turkey.

Tramadol can have drug interactions, so you should tell a medical professional everything else you take. You shouldn’t combine tramadol with alcohol or other sedatives, or any other opioid drug, because doing so can increase your risk of side effects and overdose.

 

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

If you take tramadol for pain, it should begin working within about an hour after an immediate-release dose. The effects and pain-relieving benefits usually peak in two to four hours. The extended-relief versions will gradually release the medication into your system over a longer time.

  • The tramadol half-life is anywhere from five to nine hours. 
  • Half-life is a measure of how long it takes your body to eliminate half a dose of the drug.
  • Complete elimination can take anywhere from five to six times as long as the half-life.
  • That could mean it could take up to 54 hours for tramadol to leave your system.

Your liver breaks tramadol down, and your kidneys get rid of it via your urine; around 30% of the dose you take stays in its original form. Your body converts the rest to metabolites, which you then excrete.

Different drug tests for tramadol have a varying amount of time the drug is detectable in your system.

 

Blood Tests

Blood samples can detect tramadol reasonably quickly after you use it, and it may show up for up to 48 hours after the last time you take it.

 

Urine Tests

In urine, tramadol has a detection window of up to four hours. 

 

Saliva Tests

After taking tramadol, the detection time could be 24 hours to up to 48 hours after your last use if you undergo a saliva test.

 

Hair Tests

Hair follicles can detect tramadol up to 90 days after your last use.

 

Factors Affecting How Long Tramadol Stays in Your System

While the above are estimates, individual factors play a role in how long tramadol stays in your system in drug screenings.

Older people metabolize substances more slowly, often because of impaired organ function, including kidney function and liver function. Body composition and underlying medical conditions affect how long it takes your body to process any drug, including tramadol. 

Larger doses take longer to clear from the body. The more often you use tramadol, the longer it will take to metabolize because it accumulates in your body.

If you have a slower metabolic rate, it can take longer for tramadol or any drug to clear your system.

 

What Are the Side Effects of Stopping Tramadol Suddenly?

You shouldn’t stop taking tramadol suddenly without talking to a health care professional first; if you stop short or cold turkey, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you’re physically dependent.

Opioid withdrawal side effects include two general phases—early and late. Early withdrawal starts as the drug leaves your bloodstream after your last dose of tramadol. Late withdrawal usually comes a few days after. Signs of early withdrawal from an opioid can include:

  • Muscle aches and muscle pain
  • Tearing up
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Hypertension
  • Racing heart rate
  • Fast breathing

Later unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Chills/goosebumps
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Brain fog or trouble concentrating
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization

Opioid withdrawal symptoms will usually start within 12 hours after the last dose. According to the DEA, around 90% of people going through tramadol withdrawal have symptoms in line with traditional opioid withdrawal. Approximately 10% will have more severe long-term symptoms such as extreme paranoia, anxiety, and panic.

If you’re struggling with tramadol or any other opioid, please call 866-600-7709 and contact the compassionate treatment team at Anchored Tides Recovery to learn about options for treatment.

Future Scenarios: Pathways to Meet Your Goals

Pathways to Meet Goals

Pathways to Meet Goals

 

When you’re in an addiction recovery program, the pathways to meet goals is to prepare you adequately for what’s waiting for you when you leave the comfort of treatment.

Relapse prevention and an aftercare plan implementation should be in place as soon as you begin treatment. Evidence-based treatment requires that after-planning is an integral part of each step of your treatment.

Relapse is a gradual process that has specific stages. In treatment, you learn to recognize those early stages. When you can identify them proactively, you’ll have a higher chance of successfully navigating your life in recovery.

At our treatment center, we uniquely do things. We have a version of relapse prevention where we work to help you hold mental space for future scenarios. Then, when you face these situations in the real world, you’re prepared.

With that in mind, below, we’ll talk a little more about relapse prevention in general and how building pathways in your brain can help you meet your goals.

 

What is a Relapse?

When you’re in treatment, it’s a safe environment. You have the support of our staff and your peers. You have resources available, and there are few if any triggers. Having that controlled environment is essential in those early days of your recovery.

That type of environment can’t last forever, though.

  • You are ultimately preparing to re-enter the world but to do so without drugs or alcohol.
  • With the real world often comes triggers, including people, places, and things. 
  • Stress, problems in relationships, financial difficulties, and other adverse situations are all part of our daily lives. 
  • For someone in the early stages of recovery, coping with these stressors can be difficult.

While we can sometimes view relapse as inevitable because of the high rates, the reality is it’s not. Most people who often relapse either didn’t receive evidence-based treatment initially or stopped following their treatment plan. The work you do in treatment is what you can lean on when things get tough in your life, and maintaining your treatment plan can help you avoid relapse.

Relapse is a return to using drugs or alcohol following a period of sobriety. The particulars can vary depending on the person. For some people, drinking just once is a relapse. For others, someone falls deep into their substance use once again.

The three stages of relapse are emotional, mental, and physical.

  • During the emotional stage of relapse, you might find that you’re not participating in self-care practices, or you’re beginning to dread your recovery meetings. You might hide what you’re feeling or become withdrawn from friends and family.
  • When you reach the mental stage of relapse, you could be having cravings or glorifying when you were using drugs and alcohol.
  • Physical relapse is when you use drugs or alcohol, even just one time.

 

Relapse Prevention and Personal Action Plans

There are a few primary concepts that are important in relapse prevention and your pathways to meet goals. 

  • The first is what we talked about above—relapse is a gradual process occurring in stages. Again, in treatment, you should learn to recognize the earliest stages.
  • The second is that recovery is about personal growth, where you’ll achieve milestones.
  • The third is that the main tools you will rely on for relapse prevention are mind-body relaxation and cognitive therapy. You work beginning in treatment to change your negative thought patterns. You also learn specific, healthy coping skills.
  • The fourth element of relapse prevention is that a few core rules explain most of these scenarios. When you receive education in these rules, you learn to focus and prioritize what you need to be doing.

Recovery isn’t one event that ends when you’re sober. Recovery is a process that requires changes in how you think, react to situations, and cope with varying emotions. Mindfulness and consistency are critical, and you should work on approaching your recovery in a strategic, thoughtful way.

 

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

While the specifics may vary depending on your individual needs, some of the steps that go into creating a relapse prevention plan include:

  • Set goals for your recovery. Your goals can be anything meaningful and relevant to you, from improving relationships to growing spiritually.
  • Identify triggers. You’ll work in treatment to identify what your triggers are, and you’ll begin to think of them as your enemy, needing to be dealt with accordingly.
  • Be offensive in your thinking rather than defensive.
  • Know the warning signs and red flags for yourself.
  • Have pre-defined recovery tools. For example, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and relaxation techniques may be part of your recovery toolbox.
  • List the specific actions you’ll take when you see warning signs.

 

 

Neural Plasticity and Recovery

When you’re participating in treatment with us, we work on a version of relapse prevention that focuses on you visualizing future scenarios. These are detailed situations that you’re likely to experience in recovery. Then, as part of that visualization of future problems or triggers, you’ll begin to outline how you’ll deal with them proactively.

There’s a reason this is going to help you immensely. 

  • You’re building the pathways to meet goals in your brain through this visualization, so you’ll be ready to deal with these situations when they happen. 
  • When you’re proactively visualizing what you’ll do, then when the actual situation occurs, you’re going to feel like you’ve already dealt with it. 
  • You’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed with stress or emotions that could increase the risk of relapse.

Elements of this relapse prevention approach build on the idea of neural plasticity. You can rewire your brain, which is a dynamic process. 

  • When you rewire your brain, you change the relationship and interaction between it and your body.
  • You can change millions or even billions of connections in your neural pathways.
  • When you focus on certain things, whether it’s happiness or remaining strong in the face of adversity, you’re strengthening the pathways that correspond with emotions and situations.
  • Once you know how to develop and strengthen your neural pathways, you gain so much control over your habits and who you are. Also, research shows us that as you create new pathways, you’re simultaneously weakening old ones that are no longer getting your attention. Each time you work on visualizing, for example, what your life will look like in recovery, you’re weakening those pathways that might glorify your days of substance abuse.

Otherwise, without taking action to change your neural pathways, you’re more likely to keep following the familiar, worn paths in your brain. When you’re in treatment for addiction, that’s the last thing you want to do.

With visualization, you turn hope into something that guides you. Your brain can’t always determine what’s a memory and what’s a vision of the future. That means envisioning what your goals are is going to help you create them in your life.

The more you consciously focus on building new pathways, the more you will make healthy new habits through repetition; aftercare at Anchored Tides Recovery can help aid this process. If you’re looking to learn more and develop a support group of people who successfully understand the process, call us at 866-600-7709.