Dealing with Stress—Without Alcohol

When you first enter recovery, you may feel like there is a hole in your life—something missing. After all, drugs and alcohol can feel all-consuming. When you turn away from them, it feels like you’ve lost something major. You’ll feel like you need to find a new way to occupy your time—and to deal with stress.

Certainly, alcohol can be seen as a source of stress relief, but stress doesn’t go away just because you enter rehab. A big part of the recovery process, then, is finding a suitable replacement for alcohol—another, altogether healthier way to cope with everyday anxieties.

Here are just a few methods you might employ:

  • Get active! There’s no better way to burn through stress than to get up and get active. Enroll in a spin class. Take a morning jog. Play some pick-up basketball. Or simply start going for evening walks with your best friend, spouse, or neighbor.
  • Talk it out. Sometimes the best medicine for stress is to just give voice to the things that are bothering you. Reach out to a friend for support, or else find a local support group. Make sure you keep going to therapy, too.
  • Do something you love. Fight stress with pleasure. Drawing, singing, playing an instrument, reading a book, cooking—whatever your passion is, devote more time to it.
  • Connect with nature. Go outside. Take a gratitude walk. Sit on a park bench and read. Do something to get some sunshine and fresh air.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep at night. Investing in those eight hours will provide your body with the strength it needs to manage and mitigate stress.

There are plenty of ways to combat stress—without the need for addictive substances.

[cta] Choose recovery today. Contact Above It All about addiction treatment. [/cta]

How Do I Tell My Children I’m Going to Rehab?

Making the decision to pursue rehab and to embrace recovery is one of the best things you’ll ever do. It will also be one of the toughest. One challenge is telling the people you know and love about your choice—and in particular, telling your children.

It’s important to be honest with your kids, of course, but you also need to be intentional in the way you convey the information. You want to make sure you’re being age-appropriate, candid, sensitive, and hopeful, all at once. That’s a tough balancing act, but here are some tips that can help you find your footing:

  • Don’t mislead your kids. You can be age-appropriate without lying or speaking in euphemisms. You may not feel your kids are old enough to hear all the details about your struggle with addiction, but telling them you’re just going on vacation isn’t the right solution.
  • Make it clear to your kids that it’s not their fault you struggle with addiction. Reassure them. Let them know that what you’re dealing with is a disease, and it’s not because of their actions.
  • Encourage your kids with the knowledge that you’re seeking help to get better!
  • Educate your kids about what addiction is. Again, make sure they know that it’s a real, mental health condition. Also use this as a teachable moment, advising them about the dangers of substance abuse.
  • Make sure to get your kids the support they need; if you feel like they need to speak with a therapist, by all means arrange it for them.

Kids are strong and resilient, and you may be surprised by how supportive your own little ones can be. Even so, it’s important that you speak with them in the right way—honestly, openly, and sensitively.

[cta] Choose recovery today. Contact Above It All about addiction rehab. [/cta]

Overcoming Barriers to Treatment

It’s been proven over and over again: Clinical treatment really does work for those who struggle with addiction. By seeking the right medical intervention, you can be freed from addiction’s hold, and you can live a life of wholeness, health, and happiness.

The question is, why do so many people choose to suffer with addiction, instead of seeking the treatment they need? The reasons are numerous. For some, it’s a fear over affordability. For others, it’s the perception that they just don’t have time. For many, it’s the social stigma associated with addiction treatment.

In the end, however, none of these are good reasons to decline addiction treatment and recovery—so let us address each of these common barriers one at a time.

The first barrier: Addiction treatment is too expensive. The truth is that insurance will often pay for addiction treatment—and when it doesn’t, financial assistance is often made available. Ultimately, people aren’t turned away from treatment due to lack of money; all you need to do is contact an admissions representative to talk through the financial angle.

Another common barrier: You don’t have enough time. It’s true that addiction treatment will take you outside your usual work and school responsibilities—but employers will generally give you the time off that you need to get healthy again. And in the end, this is your wellbeing we’re talking about—your very life. Who doesn’t have time to get better and to live life more fully? There is nothing more important!

A final barrier: Social stigma. We have just one thing to say about this: Who cares? You’re not seeking treatment to impress anyone else. You’re doing it for yourself—and that’s that.

Don’t let these or any other barriers keep you from seeking treatment. Choose recovery. Contact Above It All to learn more.

[cta] Choose recovery. Reach out to Above It All today. [/cta]

Finding Your Place: The Benefits of Support Group Meetings

Addiction recovery does not end once a formal treatment program is completed. It is an ongoing journey. One essential element of recovery is having a strong support network and people to turn to in times of trouble and celebration. Many people find this support in family, friends, therapists, and addiction recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Joining a support group – and attending regular meetings – can have a multitude of benefits for your recovery:

  • You realize that you’re not alone: There are countless others who have gone through similar experiences and situations. You automatically have something in common and someone who understands addiction and recovery firsthand.
  • You can be honest: When you’re surrounded by others in recovery you don’t have to try to downplay your struggles or gloss over small accomplishments. They understand the gravity of these issues. You can just be you.
  • You can get feedback: Having a rough day? Learn from others about how they overcome challenging situations and stay positive. You may pick up some new strategies or ideas for activities to try.
  • You can find inspiration and be inspirational: Not only can you find hope in others’ stories, others can find hope and strength in yours. You never know who will relate to what you’re going through, or who you will inspire (or will inspire you) to keep pushing forward.
  • You can find support practically anywhere: Support groups are held at all different times and on different days. You can also find them throughout the country and world. No matter where you are, chances are you’re not far from a support group that will welcome you with open arms.

There are plenty of people who want to see you succeed in addiction recovery and will stand by your side. Above It All can help you get on the right path through comprehensive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as well as dual diagnosis. We create a plan that meets your needs and work with you along each step of the way. It’s not too late to overcome addiction and turn your life around.

[cta] Start your journey to recovery and begin building your support network at Above It All. Call today to see how we can help. [/cta]

Alcohol is Legal – Is it Really that Dangerous?

Alcohol has become a socially acceptable part of society today. It’s available to anyone age 21 or older and can be found in many restaurants and stores. With its widespread availability and acceptance, can it really be that bad? Yes, it can.

According to a 2014 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 71 percent of adults (age 18 or older) drank within the past year, and 56.9 percent drank within the past month. Also within the past month, nearly 25 percent had engaged in binge drinking and nearly 7 percent in heavy drinking.

Alcohol can take a major toll on the body and mind leading to health problems such as liver damage, heart disease, cancer, and memory problems. It can result in impaired judgment, poor decision making, delayed reaction times, and poor coordination among other things. And there is always the risk for alcohol poisoning or harmful interactions with other drugs which can be potentially fatal.

Here are a few statistics from the NIAAA to put the dangers of alcohol in perspective:

  • Approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year
  • Nearly 10,000 people (9,967) died from alcohol-impaired driving in 2014
  • In 2012, 3.3 million people died globally from alcohol-related causes
  • For people ages 15-49, alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature death and disability
  • Alcohol misuse cost the United States $249 billion in 2010
  • In 2012, more than 10 percent of children in the United States were living with a parent with alcohol problems

Only a fraction of people who could benefit from treatment for alcoholism receive it. Alcoholism is a treatable condition and recovery is possible. Make the choice to save your life and the lives of others by entering into a comprehensive treatment program at Above It All. We will work with you to overcome the challenges you face and create a recovery plan so that you can thrive in sobriety.

[cta] Fight back against the dangers of alcohol and enter into treatment at Above It All today. Recovery is possible. [/cta]

Lessons Before Heading Back to School

College is an exciting time in young adults’ lives. For many, it’s the first time they’re on their own and forced to be more independent. With this new-found independence comes a lot of responsibility though. College parties and underage drinking are prevalent at some schools. It is essential that parents talk to their children ahead of time about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. This doesn’t just include the physical and mental health risks, but also the possible long-term consequences it could have on their career and future.

College Drinking by the Numbers

College students between the ages of 18 and 24 are at risk for many effects of alcohol whether they choose to drink or not. Even if the student isn’t drinking, they may still be involved in an accident or incident with someone who has. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA):

  • 599,000 students are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol, and 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
  • Approximately 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Around 3,360,000 college students drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • A 2014 study found that 59.8 percent of full-time students (ages 18-22) drank in the past month, 37.9 percent engaged in binge drinking, and 12.2 percent engaged in heavy drinking.

Students are often tempted to try alcohol because the opportunity is there, they want to fit in with peers, they feel pressured to drink, or they’re curious. Educating teens and young adults about the dangers of drinking – as well as how to make healthier choices and say no – may decrease their risk of engaging in drinking, especially underage.

Starting the Conversation

Having an open, honest relationship with children can support drinking prevention efforts. When your children feel comfortable coming to you about difficult topics or discussing their problems or concerns, it can be easier to steer them in the right direction.

Find out what your teen knows about drinking and addiction and what they may have questions about. If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t make one up – do the research together to find the answer. They should have a solid understanding about how alcohol affects their body and mind.

Use teachable moments to start the conversation. Pay attention to stories on the news, what’s happening in television shows and movies, and what you see in the community around you. This can be a simple way to segue into a discussion about drugs and alcohol, the dangers, and making healthier choices.

It can also be a good idea to look into the school’s substance use policies and ensure your child knows how this can impact them. If they play a sport, are on a scholarship, are part of a campus group, or are studying for a particular career, being caught drinking can have serious effects. They may lose funding, be suspended from or kicked off of a team, or asked to leave a group. Having underage drinking or other legal ramifications on their record could also impact their ability to get a job in the future.

Talk to your child about their goals and aspirations. Getting caught up with the wrong crowd or participating in drinking can throw them off track. Drinking can result in missing classes and doing poorly on tests due to lack of studying, poor concentration, or struggling to remember information. They may also not put as much time and effort into their studies because they’re too focused on drinking or are suffering from a hangover or other negative effects. Some majors (and scholarships or financial aid) require a certain grade point average (GPA), and a few bad test scores or grades can really bring this down.

Encourage your teen to get involved so that they have something to keep them occupied in a healthy way. Being part of a service organization or team sport can instill good habits and life skills and discourage drinking. Having an on-campus job can help as well. Try to get your child involved in things that will support their future and challenge them so they stay actively engaged. Too much downtime or taking courses that are too easy can make it tempting to spend more time socializing and drinking than hitting the books.

Get to know their friends, their roommate, and who they spend time with. Hopefully they are associating with people who are a good influence and encourage them to do the right thing. If they are hanging out with questionable people, be honest and share your concerns. Discuss different ways to make friends and find people who share common interests.

Talk about how to say no if they are offered drugs or alcohol. College is supposed to be a fun time in their life, and they can go to parties and meet new people, but it’s important that they’re staying safe as well.

  • Discuss ways to turn down a drink offer.
  • Make sure they know not to go to parties alone.
  • They should always have a reliable way home or know how to get home.
  • They should pour their own drink and not let it out of their sight.
  • Talk about responsible drinking and setting limits if they do choose to have a drink.

Getting Help for Alcoholism or Alcohol Abuse

You can educate your children and teach them about the dangers of drinking, but ultimately they will make their own decisions. In some cases, this may unfortunately lead to problems with alcohol. If you notice that your child has developed an alcohol problem, take steps to get them into treatment. A residential or outpatient program at Above It All can help them to overcome alcoholism and get back on track. They will learn strategies for maintaining their sobriety and establishing healthier routines to reduce risk of relapse. They will also be able to develop a strong support system to hold them accountable, help them deal with challenges they face, and encourage them to stick with recovery. Alcoholism does not have to put a damper on their future – help is available and recovery is possible.

[cta]If your college student is struggling with substance use, help them get on the path to recovery by calling Above It All today![/cta]

Following the 12 Steps: What’s it All About?

There is no one “right” way to pursue addiction recovery—but there are some tried-and-true structures and programs that have proven helpful to many. Arguably, the 12 Step Program is the most famous and the most celebrated of them all. Though the program may not be for everyone, it does offer some unassailable virtues. Foremost among them is structure: Recovery can often hinge on routine, and the 12 Steps provide a clear, well-defined path forward.

Another reason to choose the 12 Steps is that each individual can go through the process at their own pace; the program can be individualized in this regard, allowing you to linger on the areas where you may need a little additional time or help. Speaking of which, those who go through the program do so with the guidance of a sponsor, ensuring that they never feel alone or directionless in their 12 Step journey.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the program, here’s a quick synopsis of what the 12 Steps encompass:

  1. Admitting that you are powerless over drugs/alcohol.
  2. Acknowledging that a higher power could help restore you to sanity.
  3. Making a decision to turn your life and your will over to that higher power (e.g., God, however you understand this concept).
  4. Conducting a truthful moral inventory of yourself.
  5. Admitting to God, yourself, and other people the exact nature of your wrongs.
  6. Being ready for God to remove these character defects.
  7. Asking God to remove your shortcomings.
  8. Making a list of the people you have wronged, and being willing to make amends with them.
  9. Making direct amends whenever possible.
  10. Continuing the process of soul-searching and moral inventory, and admitting to ongoing wrongs.
  11. Intentionally improving your relationship with God and asking him for knowledge/wisdom.
  12. Carrying the message of your own spiritual awakening to others who struggle with addiction.

The 12 Steps represent one way forward—a way that has worked well for many, and may work well for you or your loved one.

[cta] Where are you in the 12 Steps? Let us know! [/cta]

Setting Realistic Recovery Goals

Goals are important, in life and in recovery. It’s important to have something to reach for, something to strive for—some way to tell if you are making progress, moving forward, and improving yourself.

Not all goals are created equal, though, and in fact it is possible to set misguided goals for yourself—goals that may actually do more harm than help.

There are different ways in which goals can fall short. Of course, you can set goals that are much too small—goals that don’t denote any real accomplishment—but you can also aim too big, causing yourself to feel disappointed and demoralized rather than encouraged and inspired.

As you think about setting goals for your recovery, consider the following tips.

Set goals that are realistic. Your goals should stretch you a bit, but they shouldn’t be outright impossible to achieve. Don’t set yourself up for failure, and don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can achieve lasting recovery overnight.

Set goals that are measurable. The best goals are the ones that allow you to see results and track your progress. Don’t make your goals too subjective or esoteric!

Have both short- and long-term goals. It’s good to have a mixture of goals that you can work toward. Have some big-picture goals that can keep you moving forward, but also some smaller goals to give you encouragement and strength along the way.

Be kind to yourself. Recovery is a process, and it always has ups and downs. You may not meet every single goal you set, at least not initially—so don’t beat yourself up about it. Adjust your goals and keeping moving forward in your recovery!

The ultimate goal, of course, is to sustain your recovery over the long run—and the best way to do that is to aim for specific milestones along the way.

[cta] Share your tips for recovery goal-setting! [/cta]

Detox 101

The first step in a drug and alcohol treatment program is the detoxification or detox process. No, this isn’t quite the same as an at-home detox to cleanse your body of toxins, but it is used to rid the body of any addictive substances. Trying to detox on your own at home can actually be a dangerous decision due to how the drugs and alcohol affect your body. You may experience withdrawal symptoms that are too uncomfortable to handle on your own, and ineffective detox can increase your risk of relapse.

Why Detox Matters

Before you can truly focus on your treatment and recovery, your body and mind need to be out from under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You need to get a fresh start and learn to function without these substances. Sobriety can allow you to put your energy and attention into what you are learning in rehab and really implement necessary changes.

How Above It All Supports Clients Through Detox

Detox can be uncomfortable and exhausting. Clients at Above It All receive round-the-clock care and monitoring as they go through the detox process to ensure a safe and effective experience. Addiction Recovery Specialists and medical staff can provide non-addictive medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and keep clients more comfortable. Staff also provides ongoing support and encouragement to motivate clients and reduce risk of relapse.

An effective detox program can provide a solid foundation on which to continue building throughout the recovery process. You will be able to start healing your body and mind and making healthier decisions for your future. Detox is just the first step of the journey, but it is a crucial one. It can set the tone for the rest of your recovery, so you want to ensure that you are in the hands of highly trained professionals like those at Above It All who want to see you succeed and move forward in your recovery.

[cta] If you’re ready to overcome addiction, don’t try to detox yourself at home – contact Above It All for safe, supervised care and comprehensive treatment. [/cta]

Are You Unknowingly Enabling Addiction?

It’s hard to watch a dear friend or loved one struggle with addiction. You want to see their life get better. You want to help them. You do what you can to be an asset and an encourager.

Only, what if you’re not actually helping? What if, despite your best intentions, what you’re really doing is enabling?

It can happen, and the line is a fuzzy one. Ultimately, real help always has the end goal of seeing your friend or loved one seek treatment and long-term recovery. Enabling, meanwhile, makes it easier for your friend or loved one to continue using drugs or alcohol—not changing, not getting better.

You may be enabling without quite realizing it. Here are some of the most common ways in which well-meaning friends and family members enable addiction:

Lending money. The only time it’s ever really wise to lend money to someone struggling with addiction is if it’s needed for healthcare—that is, if it’s really life-or-death. Otherwise, a money loan is more likely than not going to go toward more drugs or alcohol.

Having drugs or alcohol available. Don’t keep them in your home. Don’t do anything to make these things more easily accessible to the person with addiction.

Lying on their behalf. Subsets of this include making excuses or keeping secrets for your friend or loved one who has addiction—all forms of enablement.

Denying the problem. Finally, and most crucially, note that it is a form of enablement to be anything less than real about the true gravity of the problem.

What then can you do to offer real help? Pledge your ongoing support and encouragement—and urge your loved one to seek recovery through an addiction treatment program. That, ultimately, is the best thing you can ever do for someone with addiction.

[cta] What tips would you offer to someone who struggles with enablement? Let us know! [/cta]