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.

Liminal Space: Learning to Transition

Liminal space

Liminal space is a term coming from the Latin word “limen.” We find that liminal space is a powerful phrase in addiction treatment and recovery.

So, why is that?

Limen means threshold. A threshold is any place of entering or beginning. The idea is that liminal space exists in the time between what was in your life and what’s next. There’s a sense of uncertainty in this season of waiting and transition. While that uncertainty can create anxiety, there can be power in this time.

Without liminal space, we’re unable to transform.

You’re moving out of the familiar and into the unknown. You’re leaving your old world behind but perhaps unsure of what your future existence looks like. It’s only within liminal space that you can genuinely emerge with a sense of newness.

When you don’t accept liminal space or encounter it, you’re going to be stagnant. Your old life or world becomes what you see as normal, so you can’t move forward in recovery.

The Thresholds of Recovery

Liminal space or liminality can feel like a free fall in some cases. You could be looking around thinking, “what now,” or “what’s next.” You might be shifting in terms of not just active addiction to recovery. Other shifts can include your relationships, your career, or perhaps the logistics of your life, such as where you’ll live.

  • It’s incredibly unsettling to enter these transitional spaces.
  • You have to walk through the doorways available to you to reach the moments that will ultimately define your life.
  • Along with addiction and recovery, other examples of liminal spaces in our lives include job changes, a sudden loss like a death or divorce. Those events are inherently not positive and are devastating, but you do have the opportunity to move forward and make a positive shift.
  • Often, with addiction, we tend to tie our drug or alcohol use to who we are. That’s our identity. The use of substances shapes everything we know and believe about ourselves. 
  • In a rehab program, you work to give up that old identity, leading to grieving, which is normal. 
  • You’re not only giving up the person you believed yourself to be and grieving that loss, but you also grieve the loss of drugs and alcohol.
  • Through that grieving, liminality becomes the space to decide who we will be and what our lives will look like going forward.
  • After completing treatment or when you begin recovery, you may only know that life won’t be the same and that you’ve gone through a shift as a person, but you may specifically know what that’s all going to look like.
  • You stop being on autopilot in your life, however. You can change your perspective of yourself and the world and truly break those old thought patterns.

Navigating the Unexpected

Recovery is a challenge. We won’t sugarcoat that for you. There are going to be significant ups in your sober life, but also downs. Some days are going to feel harder than others, and you’re also going to have to accept the reality of the unexpected.

Going to treatment should help you learn healthy ways to work toward unexpected scenarios.

To deal with the time, you spend in that liminal space and to approach the unexpected healthily, remember the following:

  • Acknowledge how you’re feeling. It’s okay not to have all the answers right away, nor should you. You should have a sense of preparation that you’re going to navigate what life throws your way. That preparation comes from the coping skills you learn in treatment, which is why it’s crucial to choose a rehab program that’s going to give you what you need for the future.
  • Ask for help. We can work with you to create a support plan if you find yourself in a potential danger zone during rehab. Too often, people leave treatment with the misconception that they no longer need help or support from others and can be strong and do it independently. This is a mistake, and when you know when to ask for help and who to turn to, you’re going to be able to deal with unexpected or unpredictable situations more effectively with various lifestyle support options.
  • Develop a routine. As you leave rehab and re-enter daily life, having a routine helps you avoid potentially harmful situations and make healthy choices. Having a pattern gives you a sense of control, even when things around you might not be within your control.
  • Know what your triggers are. Our treatment team works a lot on this with everyone who comes through our doors. You have to learn what your triggers are to put in place ways to respond to them.
  • Develop a new mindset. Your mentality needs to center around health and wellness. Prioritize those things that are part of this wellness-driven lifestyle. For example, prioritize eating well, exercise, sleep, and attending therapy and meetings.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself, especially in those earliest days of recovery. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and make sure that you’re creating small, achievable goals along the way.

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Continuing Care As Part Of Your Treatment Plan

Again, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is that your treatment plan includes aftercare. If you don’t go to an evidence-based treatment center and you’re thrown back into daily life without a solid aftercare plan, your chances of relapse are high.

  • Your treatment team should have already developed a customized plan for aftercare.

  • You should have an idea of your triggers and how you’ll confront them with specific methods that work for you.

  • Your team may help you assess your living environment before treatment and see how it contributed to your substance abuse. You might move into a sober living house, or your treatment team could help you determine another supportive option for a new living environment.

  • Continuing care beyond your living environment can include participation in ongoing therapy. You might do outpatient rehab, for example, or perhaps an intensive outpatient program. You could also do family therapy. 

  • Continuing care may include assistance with employment and housing, as well as education or parenting classes.

If you started a 12-step program during treatment, you could continue that or another type of addiction support group.

Overall, expect a period of adjustment after rehab and in recovery. Continue to focus on recovery as your top priority, and know that you’re well on your way to achieving your long-term goals despite being in that transitional, liminal space.

If you haven’t received treatment, we encourage you to call 866-600-7709 and explore the programs at Anchored Tides Recovery, which help you achieve both short and long-term goals. 

Signs of Love Addiction

signs of love addiction

signs of love addiction

 

The signs of love addiction can be hard to spot at first. If you’re someone with love addiction, you may initially just see yourself as someone who loves love. While that’s not always a problem pathological love can lead to negative consequences and destructive relationships for some people.

There are similarities between love addiction and other types of addiction, including substances like drugs and alcohol.

 

Disorders That Occur Along with Love Addiction

Love obsession tends to be a co-occurring condition. When you have a co-occurring disorder, you have symptoms of two or more mental health conditions. For example, you might feel that you show signs of being addicted to love in addition to depression or anxiety. Substance abuse is also a relatively common co-occurring disorder with pathological love.

We should point out that this condition is controversial. Some experts feel that everyone has an element of “addiction” when they love someone. Romantic relationships can and often do have periods where you might feel emotional distress. However, a true compulsion to love goes well beyond what we see as usual in a relationship.

For example, if you’re in a relationship where you’ll give up everything else for that person, it could be a problem. The most significant complication of experiencing this type of compulsive romantic behavior is that you may find yourself in an abusive or toxic relationship.

 

What is Pathological Love?

Love addiction or pathological love isn’t as medically well-defined as some other types of addiction. When someone is experiencing disruptive or harmful symptoms or consequences because of their romantic relationships, their mental health care provider has to distinguish these from other conditions. For example, in borderline and dependent personality disorders, the symptoms can overlap with pathological love.

Suppose you’re someone with an addiction to love. In that case, you can become fixated on the person you’re interested in at any given time and develop emotional dependencies or a lack of control. You might behave compulsively toward or about that person. You can then act on unhealthy behaviors because of your fixation.

 

What Type of Disorder Is Pathological Love?

There’s not a current agreement on what type of disorder love addiction really is. For example, pathological love can be considered an impulse-control disorder. With an impulse-control disorder, you are always seeking new experiences and behaving impulsively to get them.

Some researchers believe pathological love is more in line with a mood disorder. For example, you have feelings similar to mania when you’re in the early stages of love or beginning a new relationship. Then, as the relationship progresses, you might experience symptoms of depression.

A third possibility is that being addicted to love could be part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. You may experience intrusive, repetitive thoughts just as someone with OCD would, but they’re about your romantic partner or finding love. Of course, as the name implies, having a compulsion to find love can be most like a behavioral addiction too, such as gambling; you don’t have to take a substance, but the characteristics are similar.

Early on in a relationship, you might have intense pleasure and euphoria. Then, over time, those experiences might become dull. You might need more of these love experiences to feel anything similar to a dependence on drugs and alcohol.

 

 

What is Sex Addiction?

Sometimes, we talk about sex addiction along with love addiction, it’s not currently in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Despite not being included in that, it’s still diagnosable.

This offshoot occurs when someone seeks out multiple sexual partners to the extent that it interferes with their daily life, activities, and functionality. If you have a sex compulsion, you might not be able to control your behavior, despite severe consequences. Your sexual relationships are your primary focus, and your sexual behavior can become more extreme over time. Sexual addiction can occur along with love addiction, but it doesn’t have to.

 

Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction

  • Always looking for your soulmate 
  • Constantly searching for an intimate relationship 
  • Thinking the intensity of sex or the newness of a relationship is the same as love or real intimacy
  • A chronic pattern of seduction, sex, or manipulation to get the interest of potential romantic partners
  • Having an intense fear of abandonment
  • Breaking promises to yourself about not returning to harmful relationships
  • Choosing partners that require a lot of attention or you to fill a caretaker role
  • Always needing to be in love
  • Being happiest during the so-called honeymoon phase of a relationship
  • Obsessing over the idea of romance or romantic interests
  • Putting romantic partners on a pedestal
  • The inability to be alone
  • Requiring emotional comfort from a partner and extreme dependency
  • Having cravings to be with your partner
  • Experiencing euphoria or emotional highs when you’re with a partner

When you begin a new romantic relationship, it’s normal to feel excited about being with the person, and you may miss them when they’re away. You may obsess over your partner to the point that it causes harm to your relationship or your well-being. You develop dysfunctional patterns. For example, you may seek out the affection of someone who isn’t responsive to you emotionally. You could also find yourself more likely to be in abusive relationships.

 

Why Do People Have Love Obsessions?

As is the case with other mental health disorders, including substance use disorder, the underlying factors of love addiction are probably complex. Again, we all need and desire to feel love, but what is it about some people that makes this problematic for them? Trauma, genetics, family history, and environment all probably factor in.

Someone with an obsession to finding love or keeping it may also stem from low self-esteem. For example, if you have low self-esteem, you may seek out your sense of self-worth from romantic partners. You could also deal with the signs of love addiction because you have abandonment fears from your childhood.

If you feel like you have an emotional void, you could use romantic partnerships to fill that. You may think that being in love brings value and excitement to your life. Unfortunately, that puts a lot of pressure on your partner. You may not have boundaries, and you’re more likely to find yourself in a codependent relationship.

 

Love and Substance Abuse

As we talked about above, love addiction can and often does occur with other mental health disorders. You may be searching for love in unhealthy places. You might also seek the highs that love can bring, making you more likely to find similar experiences through substance use.

Additionally, if you have a relationship that falls apart or consistently in unhealthy relationships, you could cope with the negative feelings with drugs or alcohol. Over time, you may experience a void and a sense of shame. There are many elements of being addicted to love that you can’t fix on your own, but treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy can be beneficial.

If you or a loved one struggles with love or sex addiction along with a substance use disorder, we encourage you to reach out to the Anchored Tides Recovery team at 866-600-7709 to learn about our treatment options. We approach treatment holistically to help put you on the best path to recovery, a fulfilling life, and healthy relationships.

Creating an Alternative Identity to Being an Addict

alternative identity to being an addict

alternative identity to being an addict

 

When you struggle with drug abuse, it can feel like you lose your identity, and the world just views you as “an addict;” you may even view yourself this way. However, you are more than the mistakes you have made; that’s why when you’re in recovery, building an alternative identity to being an addict is so essential.

You are more than your addiction, and when you’re in recovery, you can start to find who you are once again. You might have lost your sense of self along the way, but it’s exciting to get to know who you are without the stigma of addiction.

 

What is Your Identity?

We all have questions about who we are. For example, you may question what you are presently and who you’d like to see yourself as in the future. Our identity is incredibly complex.

Our identity includes our relationships, who we were as a child, as a parent, and who we are as a partner. It can also involve those characteristics we can’t control, such as our appearance. For many people, identity encompasses religious beliefs, moral attitudes, and political beliefs as well.

 

How Drugs Affects Your Identity

Our identity is already complicated; adding a drug habit to that makes it even more so. There are several key ways addiction can affect your identity. 

  • First are the short-term effects drugs or alcohol have on your feelings, actions, memories, and behavior. 
  • Over time with drug and alcohol use, you may also start to experience declines in your self-worth because you’re not moving forward or progressing in your life the way you’d like to or the way you expected to. 
  • When you have a substance use disorder, you may start to internalize your symptoms. Those become who you are, in your mind. Rather than identifying yourself as a complex person, you might only see yourself as a drug abuser. 
  • Self-identifying only or primarily as a drug user is going to make you fall deeper into your addiction. You may not believe you’re worth anything more because you believe that is just who you are, and that can serve as an excuse for you to keep using substances even with increasing negative consequences.

Your addiction may be part of your self-identification for years because everything in your life eventually revolves around the substance or substances in which you’re addicted. As you work to get treatment and overcome your disorder, what can actually happen is that you feel like you’ve lost part of yourself because of how many substances were your identity.

Some of the beliefs that could come along with your disorder include:

  • The idea that sober people are boring
  • The priority is getting high or drunk
  • You’re more creative when you use substances
  • Some types of music may be associated with the use of substances
  • You don’t trust health care or mental health professionals
  • You celebrate with substance use
  • People often hold an “us against them” mentality with substance use disorders
  • Not comforting to society or even criminal behavior are something to be admired in this mindset

 

 

Why You Need an Alternative Identity to Being an Addict

When you stop using drugs or alcohol, you may go through what’s sometimes described as a grieving process. That’s because you feel as if you’ve lost part of yourself, which was the drugs.

A big part of your recovery depends on rebuilding a new identity and letting go of that identity. You may have a hard time finding who you are again. It can make you feel vulnerable, especially when the people around you seem to have a clear sense of identity. It’s okay to acknowledge that you feel confusion or even embarrassment or shame. That’s a good starting point that you can use to start rebuilding who you are. When you’re honest with yourself about what you’re feeling, it gives you the chance to start making decisions about what you want to become. It’s also okay to feel like there’s a void in your life when you’re in recovery, at least initially.

 

How to Create an Alternative Identity to Being an Addict

While everyone’s journey is going to be unique, some of the things that you might keep in mind as you leave behind your “addict” identity and explore who you truly are, including:

  • Consider who you surround yourself with. You might meet new people who are also sober when you’re in treatment or through a support group. The people that we surround ourselves with make a significant impact on our lives and who we are. Our self-identity, in some ways, comes from the people we’re around. This is why when you’re in recovery, you may have to find a completely new social circle. You want to spend time with people who will be a healthy influence on you and begin defining your identity. 
  • Along with social relationships, particularly with sober people, maybe you want to think about how you can rebuild relationships with your partner, your children, or your family. For example, you might begin to focus your identity on being a caretaker to your children. 
  • What is your career field? Is it time to think about making a change? When you come out of a treatment program, you might work with career counselors who can help you get on a path toward a career that’s more fulfilling for you and that can very much become part of your identity. 
  • It’s likely that after you go to treatment and you begin your life of recovery, you find you have a lot of time on your hands. That’s that that was probably before focused on using substances and recovering from their effects. Now, you can start to redefine how you use that time. You can begin to explore hobbies, interests, and passions. The things we’re interested in are part of what makes us unique individuals. 
  • Volunteering is a great way to define your identity and move toward a more positive path in your life. When you volunteer, you’re not just helping other people. You’re helping yourself, and you’re giving yourself a sense of purpose. 
  • Try to practice self-love and self-care every day. Substance abuse creates such a sense of shame, and you have to re-learn how to love yourself and care for yourself.

What’s the biggest takeaway we hope you get from this? No matter where you are in your journey, you are more than your addiction. You’ll have to learn more about yourself and who you are without the influence of substances, but that’s such an enriching part of the addiction recovery process. While at first, you may mourn what you feel like you’ve lost, you’ll eventually start to celebrate what you gain as you become the person you envision, rather than someone trapped in a specific identity by an addiction.

 

 

Shedding the Stigma of “Being an Addict”

Getting back to living a normal life when you are in recovery is a process. There are aspects like feeling judged or not being able to live down your past that can make sobriety even harder. Anchored Tides Recovery believes you are not your mistakes; you are who you are, and for any woman looking for help shedding the identity of “being an addict,” we encourage you to reach out to us for help at  866-600-7709.

Benefits of Having a Social Worker in Your Support Group

Social Worker

Social Worker

 

Your support group is one of the most important resources you have in recovery; you will have a better chance at maintaining long-term sobriety if your group is strong. Most people on your team will be friends, family, or even other people in recovery who understand your struggles, but don’t you agree it would be good to have someone on your side that can help with issues beyond cravings. One professional who can play a valuable role as you’re navigating recovery is a social worker.

Social workers are trained to help you solve and cope with problems in your everyday life. The benefit of a social worker being in your support group is that they can also serve as a resource for you to rebuild your life and to thrive.

Anchored Tides Recovery Center has social workers on our staff to help with issues beyond the basic addiction troubles. Situations like career-related issues, custody, living arrangements, and more. These are the sorts of services that help us stand out from all of the other treatment centers, in a good way. 

 

What Does a Social Worker Do?

A social worker has a degree in social work and is trained to work with individuals to solve, and cope with, problems that arise in their daily lives. A clinical social worker can also diagnose and treat behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues. In general, some of the specific things a licensed social worker might do includes:

  • Determining the needs and strengths of individuals then help them develop goals
  • Assisting clients to adjust to challenges that exist in their lives, including addiction recovery
  • Referrals to community resources like healthcare and childcare services
  • Crisis response during mental health emergencies
  • Continual follow-up with clients to check in and see if they’re meeting their goals and their lives are improving
  • Providing therapy services

Within the larger category of social workers are other areas of specialty. For example, bachelor’s social workers (BSW) and (MSW) will work with community organizations and policymakers to create programs that benefit the community on a more significant level. Both have degrees in social work education, a BSW has a bachelor’s degree and a MSW has a master’s degree; once an MSW has a certain amount of hours of clinical experience they can become a (CSW) and a (LCSW). 

A clinical social worker (CSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)  require a master’s degree and can provide individual or group therapy. They can work with clients and other health care professionals to create customized treatment plans. Some social workers specifically help people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders; they can help their clients find support groups and other programs and rebuild their lives.

 

 

The Consequences of Addiction on Daily Life

Social workers are multifaceted as far as their services and the benefits they can provide to clients. This is important when discussing a substance use disorder because of how far-reaching the effects are on every aspect of a person’s life. Once you go to treatment, you may find that there is a lot of work to do to get your life back on track the way that you envision it.

Some of the ways that addiction can affect your life include:

  • You may be facing legal problems; if you’re charged with a crime because of your substance use disorder, you may have to go through the court system and pay fines or face other punishments.
  • You might have family-related legal matters; for example, you could have lost custody of your child, or you may be going through a divorce. 
  • You may have financial problems or have lost your job as well.
  • Your relationships may have been deeply affected by addiction; Your loved ones may be hurt by what happened during your active addiction, and they might have lost faith in you or trust. 
  • You could be dealing with chronic health issues resulting in, and you may need regular medical care and treatment.
  • You may have ongoing mental and emotional side effects from your addiction, even if you’re sober. Many people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

 

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

It’s worth talking about co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorders on their own because this highlights the benefits of a social worker. A co-occurring disorder is when someone has two or more either mental or physical health disorders. Substance use disorders are strongly correlated with mental health disorders. Around half of the people with substance use disorder will develop at least one mental health disorder in their lifetime, and vice versa. There are three reasons that doctors and researchers believe this might be true.

  1. The risk factors for substance use disorders and mental health conditions often overlap with one another: For example, trauma exposure, abuse, and genetics play a role in substance use disorders and mental health disorders. 
  2. Self-medicating: Someone with a mental illness might use substances to deal with their symptoms. 
  3. Changes in the brain stemming from substances: The parts of the brain most affected by the use of substances are associated with the areas that relate to mental health disorders.

 

The Benefits of a Social Worker in Addiction Treatment and Recovery

The above factors highlight the benefits of a social worker in treatment and recovery from substance use disorders. Social workers are educated in mental health, and they can also specialize in helping clients with substance use disorders. An addiction social worker understands psychology and psychiatry, biology, and physical health. They are also connected with the safety net of social services in the community where they work. A trained social worker knows a balance and connection between mental health, behavior, and physical health. They can also oversee the different services included in an addiction treatment plan like counseling and medication.

Specific benefits of a social worker in addiction include:

  • Assessment: Before a social worker begins treatment, they will conduct a complete evaluation that will help them understand each of the factors that contributed to someone’s addiction and its effects. This allows them to create a very tailored treatment plan.
  • Treatment plans: Social workers can oversee treatment plans that last for months or even years. Social workers collaborate with other providers in the delivery of treatment plans.
  • Coping skills: Working with a social worker can help someone in addiction recovery learn new coping skills, such as stress management and conflict resolution.
  • Resource connections: Social workers are well-versed in the various resources and systems available. They work within the system to help with bureaucratic or legal issues you might face; they can even connect clients with employers who are hiring. 

Social workers can be beneficial and empowering if you are dealing with addiction or you’re in recovery. They are part of a continuous aftercare plan for many people following treatment, and they can help you set and meet your goals.

 

Seeking Help

Long-term sobriety is a marathon, not a sprint; the process of getting sober and staying sober can sometimes last a lifetime. The quality of the skills and resources you develop on your road to recovery directly relates to your chances of maintaining sobriety. Anchored Tides Recovery has the aftercare and resources, like social workers and group therapy, that will help you at any stage of recovery. Call us today for a consultation and take the first steps towards long-term happiness. 

8 Steps to a Happy Life

steps to a Happy Life

steps to a Happy Life

 

Did you know you are worth a happy life? Everybody deserves to be happy and in good mental health, but this may seem impossible for someone with chronic drug addiction. Taking steps to a happy life can be a real challenge if you also are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. However, anyone battling addiction can overcome their struggles by using the right tools and knowing their self-worth. Regardless of how you have fallen into the drug addiction trap, you can recover.

You can be happy living a life free from drug addiction by being understanding, loving, and compassionate. Whether you have been in recovery for years or are just starting on your journey, here are eight steps to a happy life that can help you become the person you were meant to be. 

 

8 Steps to a Happy Life 

1. Eat a Balanced Healthy Diet

Healthy eating is part of a balanced recovery plan. It not only helps your body repair itself after a time of abusing alcohol and drugs, but it also helps keep your body healthy so you can remain abstinent. The recovery process is a long journey. Make it easier on yourself by eating lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and of course, plenty of water. 

 

2. Exercise Regularly

If you want to eat healthier, sleep better, and rise more refreshed in the morning, regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can help curb cravings, reduce stress, and give you higher energy levels. A few adjustments to diet and exercise can help lead the way to success. You won’t regret spending time exercising regularly.

 

3. Practice Mindfulness

Research shows that mindfulness can help people recover from addiction by overcoming negative feelings of guilt, anxiety, self-doubt, and stress. Mindfulness can also help people stay on track when they experience temptation. Meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, and other activities that can help you take an honest inventory of your journey toward sobriety will set the stage for a brighter future.

 

4. Explore New Hobbies

Life is full of activities that could spark great feelings within you. Do your part to discover new hobbies to replace harmful old hobbies. You don’t even need to spend money, try to take up a new sport or activity that you think is interesting. 

Positive hobbies can help you form friendships with positive role models. Examples of hobbies that are proven to help people feel happier and be helpful in the early stages of recovery are: 

  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Scrapbooking
  • Journaling
  • Hiking
  • Knitting
  • Painting

 

5. Learn Stress Management Techniques

Good mental health is a work in progress, and living a happier life doesn’t always come easily. It’s crucial to have a plan in place, when you’re feeling stressed or have negative thoughts, to reduce the risk of relapse and cope with your negative emotions. Many recovering addicts use a technique called HALT. HALT refers to the following four situations that can lead to relapse: 

  • Hungry 
  • Angry 
  • Lonely
  • Tired 

It’s also a good reminder when you’re feeling any of these things to take care of yourself, not to experience stress overload. 

 

6. Make a Daily Schedule and Stick to it

Daily habits have a significant impact on your overall productivity. When you know what needs to get done, making a schedule for your day is an easy way to get it all done. From squeezing in extra time to work out to manage your time away from work and school, a good schedule regularly has a profound, positive effect on your life. 

 

7. Use Self-Love Affirmations

Learning to love again after experiencing trauma can be difficult, especially when you’re learning to love yourself. Positive affirmations for self love are a great way to remind yourself of your worth. When you’re feeling down, recovery affirmations can go a long way in lifting your spirits, try to use this tool at least two times a day. Some examples of affirmations are: 

  • I am strong enough to choose sobriety; 
  • My recovery is working; 
  • I have what I need inside me to get sober; 
  • I am filled with love; 
  • I am stronger than my addiction.

8. Surround Yourself with Positive People

Addiction is a powerful force, so choosing your friends wisely is an essential part of recovery. During the first years of sobriety, it’s best to surround yourself with positive and supportive people—people who will help you stay motivated on your journey. Even if they aren’t around you all the time, they will be there for you during challenges and hard times.

 

Leading a Happy Life is a Choice you Make

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to choose to live a happy life. Life is filled with millions of choices, but yours will ultimately determine how comfortable you are. Happiness is not the outcome of a good or bad situation but rather the result of our reactions toward negative or positive events. 

To lead a happier life, keep your thoughts and feelings in check, practice self-love, and find happiness in the small things surrounding your everyday life. Having positive thoughts about yourself can help you feel good and fulfilled.

Despite alcohol or drug addiction, you are worthy of love and happy life. You are welcome here at Anchor Tides recovery Center for a better way of life. We offer the most comprehensive outpatient treatment programs for alcoholism and drug addiction in one location. We emphasize early intervention and education to create lasting recovery results.

Our holistic approach to substance abuse recovery includes individualized treatments, eating disorders assessment, holistic therapies, recreation programs, and support groups. Please share our goal of helping you find your happiness through sobriety and call us at 1-866-753-5865 and choose to stop your cycle of addiction.

Relapse Definition: Part of the Addiction Cycle?

relapse and addiction cycle

relapse and addiction cycle

The Relapse Definition

The “Relapse” definition is commonly explained as using a drug after a period of sobriety, or the continued use of a substance despite it having been previously stopped.  Falling back into the addictive behaviors of drug or alcohol addiction means you will have to begin the addiction treatment process again. Relapse prevention and coping skills skill can improved upon with time, effort, and relapse and training. This article will go into more detail about these coping strategies.

 

Is Relapse Part of the Addiction Cycle?

Relapse is a common part of addiction recovery, but is it an expected part of the addiction cycle? According to statistics, anyone who has recovered from substance use disorders will likely have a relapse. Most relapses in addiction occur in the first year. People in recovery must be aware of the most common triggers for relapse. 

How many people in the United States relapse after drug addiction treatment? A recent survey concluded that 35.8% of people who had received treatment for their drug addiction reported having used again while in early recovery, or within one year of quitting. One-third of those who return to active addiction was able to stay sober for only 90 days. But there are ways that we might be able to reduce the numbers and help addicts.

 

Relapse Triggers

Reviewing the possible triggers that may lead to relapse will help a person avoid those triggers and prevent a relapse into unhealthy behavior. Regression usually occurs because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Withdrawal symptoms
  2. Underlying mental health issues
  3. Keeping in the company of drug users
  4. Poor self-care
  5. Boredom and isolation
  6. Uncomfortable emotions

 

Stages of Relapse

The relapse process is a cyclical one; if you are not educated about the stages of relapse, you will not be aware of the warning signs and find yourself giving into cravings eventually. There are three stages through which drug addicts usually go through when they relapse. These stages vary from addict to addict, but there are common factors present in all of them.

 

man sleeping on his desk

 

Emotional Relapse

Emotional relapse usually occurs when you remember your first relapse as a drug and alcohol user. The SUD to drugs and alcohol is immediately triggered by a memory of using the substance for the first time in a particular environment or situation. It usually happens with recovering addicts who use drugs and alcohol in social situations, such as family, friends, parties, etc. 

Signs of Emotional Relapse Include:

  1. Suppressing emotions
  2. Attending meetings but not engaging
  3. Skipping meetings or group therapy sessions
  4. Focusing on other’s problems
  5. Isolation
  6. Over or undersleeping 
  7. Eating problems

Knowing how to avoid emotional relapse is the best way to stay successful after rehab. Recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is nearly impossible unless you know how to prevent emotional relapse and keep your body safe from addiction. 

 

Mental Relapse

Mental relapse is a war within the mind. One side wants to eliminate negative emotions by using drugs and alcohol, while the other side doesn’t want to relapse. Resisting addiction relapse at this stage becomes more and more difficult as the sufferer retreats deeper into denial and isolation from their loved ones, mimicking relapse definition.

Signs of Mental Relapse Include:

  1. Reminiscing about past drug and alcohol use and addict lifestyle
  2. Craving drugs and alcohol
  3. Lying or bargaining
  4. Thinking of ways to control drug and alcohol use
  5. Seeking out opportunities to relapse
  6. Planning a relapse

Mental relapse is the most challenging time in recovery for the addict. They go through feelings of hopelessness and depression. It appears like they have lost everything. This is the time when they are at their most vulnerable and will need the support of their family and friends to help them get back on track.

 

hands breaking free of chains

 

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse is the act of returning to drug-seeking behaviors and may be accompanied by compulsively using drugs regardless of consequences. The ability to resist the compulsion can be impaired from prolonged drug abuse, repeated relapses, and episodes of being sober. 

The most obvious form of physical relapse is a return to drug use, but in some cases, it may occur in the form of a process not directly related to obtaining drugs. Experts say that physical progression is much more likely to happen if you “forget” to take your medications or otherwise get off your treatment program. This is often called “slipping” or going to “another level.”

 

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

The road to recovery is not an easy one, but it is possible. And one day at a time, you’ll begin living a life you may never have thought possible. Deconditioning oneself from an addictive behavior requires commitment, motivation, and inner strength. Breaking the cycle of addiction is a tough job, but it can be done. The important thing to remember is that heroin addiction is not just a physical problem; it’s also an emotional one. It’s not unusual for someone who has become addicted to heroin to want to get clean and stay clean, yet find themselves unable to do so because they haven’t first dealt with all of their problems with love and support from family members and friends.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or just considering whether treatment is right for you, it’s important to understand the benefits of choosing help. The risks of not getting treatment can be devastating – financially, morally, socially, and even physically. Anchored Tides Recovery offers support groups that focus on relapse definition and prevention. Please contact us today at 1-866-524-6014 and get on the road to recovery. Our program will help you, or your loved one, find alternatives to replace unhealthy behaviors and learn life skills to maintain long-term sobriety.

The Power of Women Recovering Together

friends-during-womens-addiction-treatment-orange-county

Substance abuse, along with mental health disorders, will affect each gender differently. There are studies that show treatment has a better success rate when programs are tailored to gender-specific needs. These programs can remove some of the barriers and distractions that can arise from being around members of the opposite sex. It allows clients to feel more focused and comfortable and recover around peers of the same gender, allowing them to relate over experiences that are specific to gender.

Barriers to seeking addiction treatment are usually gender-specific. Women and men can have different feelings when it comes to treatment, how the disorder affects the body and the stigma that is associated with treatment and substance abuse. Women are more likely to feel guilty for seeking addiction help and those feelings can create a bigger barrier to treatment. Women are also more likely to have experienced trauma leading to substance abuse or mental health disorders. Due to this, women need to undergo trauma-informed care. By choosing a gender-specific treatment, it gives a setting that is supportive, sensitive, and non-discriminatory. Women may be more unlikely to develop drug and alcohol problems but when they do, the process is usually quicker. Women tend to enter treatment programs with more severe medical, social, behavioral, and psychological problems. This has implications on the needs of treatment.

There is a difference when it comes to gender and sex in regard to substance abuse. For example, men have an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver and stomach and due to this, men don’t absorb as much alcohol in the bloodstream. This means a man’s alcohol concentration will likely be lower than a woman’s.

It Removes Expectations

Addiction recovery requires that you be vulnerable. Many women find it easier to be vulnerable and speak more candidly about the issue they are facing while in the presence of members of the same sex. There is no need to put up a façade to cover up feelings when you are with other women.

Fosters Honest and Open Discussions

An honest discussion about life’s highs and lows will help women understand they aren’t alone in the experience. Gender-specific addiction treatment reduces the shame and judgment and leads to more understanding and compassion. Many people will feel uncomfortable discussing traumatic and painful life experiences in a mixed group. It’s easier to feel comfortable around people that are similar to you. Feeling safe and comfortable in addiction recovery is important since true healing will only happen if you make yourself vulnerable and share your experiences.

It Reduces Distractions

The main benefit of addiction treatment is that it allows people to focus solely on getting better. When there are other genders then there are distractions, such as romantic ones. Although a romantic relationship can serve as a welcome distraction from what you are going through, it can actually be a distraction that takes the focus off of what you really there for. When women are with women, it reduces the need to keep up with appearances and feel the need to impress the opposite sex. For many, the gender-specific addiction treatment gives one less distraction so the focus is on just healing.

Focus on Gender-Specific Issues

Both women and men face pressures related to work, family, self-esteem, and relationships but those pressures can be different. With gender-specific addiction treatment, clients are surrounded by others who know from personal experience and what it is like to experience addiction as a woman, along with dealing with cultural and societal pressures. Clients are able to focus on a woman’s experience instead of having to split focus. For example, in women’s specific treatment, topics can include pregnancy, motherhood battles, and past trauma.

Creates a Safe Environment

Without a safe environment, treatment won’t be as successful. If a woman has suffered trauma caused by a man then they will not feel comfortable sharing in groups with men. Mothers who have an addiction will benefit from sharing expenses with other mothers since women are usually the caretakers of the family and home. It can be hard to be away from children but with the support of others like them, women are able to share in these experiences.

It Helps with Bonding

With gender-specific treatment, women can bond over shared experiences. There is also the opportunity to bond over new ones. Having a strong peer network is important for maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse after treatment. Gender-Specific treatment can incorporate activities that strengthen necessary connections outside of traditional group therapy.

Importance of Women’s Treatment Programs

Since women in addiction treatment are more likely to have experienced physical or sexual abuse, there is power in women recovering together. Women in treatment are less likely to have a high school diploma or employment. Women are also more likely to have to deal with childcare and the complications of drug or alcohol use during pregnancy.

If you or a loved one you know are struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Anchored Tides Recovery.