Above It All Treatment Center Admissions Team Takes Part in Heroes in Recovery 6K

Sacramento Bee

Above It All Treatment Center is dedicated to supporting recovery efforts on an individual and national level. The facility is pleased to announce that the Above It All Admissions Team, will be running in the Heroes in Recovery 6K in Palm Springs on February 6, 2016, to help break the stigma of addiction and raise awareness about addiction recovery. Dispelling myths and stigmas about addiction encourages individuals to seek treatment and promotes greater understanding and support from families and communities. It is these misconceptions that often hold people back from getting the help they need and impacts support in recovery. The race follows National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week: Shatter the Myths, which will be held January 25-31, 2016. The staff at Above It All is passionate about advancing education and advocacy for addiction recovery in all they do, and the Admissions Team is just one example of putting this vision into action.

More information can be found at Sacramento Bee.

Practicing Forgiveness in June for Addiction Recovery

For those in addiction recovery, June 26 is officially marked Forgiveness Day. While drinking and abusing substances created many opportunities for resentment, in recovery the potential for forgiveness is one of the most valuable spiritual principals. All religions hold the power of forgiveness in high regard, however working a program of recovery doesn’t mean you have to be religious to benefit from the restorative power of this kind of compassion.

There are stages of being ready and willing to forgive, and making a journey through sobriety, coming to terms with the past and letting go is an important process. While each person is unique and will have their own experience with forgiveness and acceptance, it’s imperative to begin making steps toward this practice in daily life.

One of the most important tools in addiction recovery is letting go of resentment. In confronting resentment it’s important to be objective and evaluate the role we play in our own resentments- how we fuel them, what we do to inadvertently hang onto them when it isn’t helpful or effective.

By taking a close look in this way, it’s possible to see how resentment only hurts the person holding the resentment. By holding a grudge, feeling bitter or intolerant and carrying those feelings and attitudes around on a regular basis, stress and strain begin to impact our own experiences with life. It’s really a no- win situation.

In the moments where we recognize that the resentment isn’t benefiting anyone, and search for a different solution, the spirituality of this principal takes place. Instead of sitting in the stiff, uncomfortable feelings, letting go and practicing tolerance of others and self will inevitably yield a kind of forgiveness, even for the toughest of resentments. Take the time this month to see the transformative power of forgiveness in your life, and the benefits of working a strong program of addiction recovery.

[cta]Continue the discussion on Facebook and learn more ways to strengthen the road to recovery.[/cta]

Why it’s Important to Cultivate Gratitude during Addiction Treatment

It can be difficult for someone new to recovery to find gratitude in addiction treatment. But it’s important that make an effort and from this practice we will understand how gratitude can help. Cultivating gratitude is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  This type of thinking helps connect your behaviors with your thoughts and feelings. Recovering addicts or alcoholics can change their habitual negative patterns to help them better manage their recovery.

As we must make changes in our actions to replace bad habits we practiced during addiction (places we go, people we see) so we must change our attitudes. A person in recovery can become optimistic about life through self-empowering habits that include making positive life choices and decisions. An oft-heard phrase in recovery is to “practice an attitude of gratitude.” Even if you aren’t feeling like it, make time every morning while in addiction treatment to begin your day in the best possible way. Start with gratitude as a spiritual practice that you dedicate yourself to and it will create a new habit. By thinking of (for example) a list of 10 things in your life right you are grateful for, know this is a positive way to manage your recovery and you can take this habit home with you.

One suggestion for cultivating gratitude is to start a gratitude journal. Hand writing in your journal is more powerful because by moving your hand you activate your brain and you will get the thoughts flowing onto the page. Write I am grateful for … and think of what has happened to you in the last 24 hours. Who has supported you? Why have these events meant so much to you? Recovery begins with hope and gratitude. Cultivate your gratitude and find opportunities to be grateful each day that recovery brings.

[cta]Continue the discussion on Facebook and learn more ways to strengthen the road to recovery.[/cta]

Live and Let Live:

When addicts and their families begin to recover from the mire of substance abuse, the amount of new information and changes in behavior often seem overwhelming. That’s why simple slogans, such as “live and let live”, become a valued part of the process. An uncomplicated saying can set family members back on track if they find themselves derailed by the addict’s behavior.

Learning to detach

“Live and let live” is way to remember that detachment is the key to recovery for loved ones of addicts. Detachment sometimes has the connotation of abandonment until you realize that detachment refers to creating an emotional distance between yourself and the addict’s choices and behaviors. It does not mean selfishly walking away; instead it means to act with love and compassion for yourself and the addict.

Omitting judgment

In order to “live and let live,” families need to take a look at their judgment of the addict’s behavior. Setting aside judgment does not mean living with unacceptable or abusive actions. Instead, it means letting go of the thoughts one attaches to another’s behavior and learning to make decisions based on facts alone. Recognizing the role of judgment in one’s feelings of anger and disappointment does not come naturally to anyone, but it is particularly difficult for families of addicts. Giving up negative thinking and fear is not easy. It involves redirecting one’s thinking into a place of simple observation.

Restoring self-esteem

When families apply the slogan “live and let live,” they begin to experience the self-esteem that has been lost by living with addiction. They see that protecting their own emotional health should be their priority. It lowers the sense of feeling victimized by the addict.  A new sense of self-respect will begin to form. By practicing the skill of “live and let live,” loved ones will release themselves from the family drama.

The Health Benefits of Prayer and Meditation

Prayer and meditation are used in complementary medicine to improve health. Both practices come from religious and spiritual traditions. The NIH and WebMD state that people who practice prayer and meditation experience greater physical and mental health benefits. Prayer can be used for a variety of purposes such as finding inner strength or requesting help from some form of a higher being. Meditation has been shown to increase calmness, improve psychological relaxation, cope with illness, and enhance health and well-being. It must be noted that although there are benefits to prayer and meditation, they are not substitutes for conventional treatment.

The Benefits and Uses of Prayer and Meditation

Studies show benefits for both prayer and meditation when used during regular treatment. Prayer appears to have positive health effects, although most studies have been inconclusive. Similarly, researchers are unsure of the changes in the body caused by meditation, or which diseases it might be best for, but the effects appear to be positive. Some health benefits of prayer and meditation are:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Sense of Inner Peace
  • Increased longevity
  • Reduced symptoms of depression
  • Alleviation of anxiety, stress, and pain
  • Help with insomnia and physical symptoms associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer

Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.

It must be emphasized that prayer can be useful when used alongside treatment, but a physician should always be when it is used. Meditation helps individuals focus their attention and become aware of their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. This usually results in a state of calmness, physical relaxation, and psychological balance. Although beneficial, prayer and meditation should not be used in place of medicine to treat illnesses; but used in conjunction with a with therapy and support groups as a complete approach to recovery.

Early Recovery Includes Mood Swings and Extreme Feelings

Ask anyone who has abused alcohol or drugs why they drink or use drugs, and they can give you an unending list: troubled marriage, problem children, work-related stress, financial troubles, loss of job. The basic underlying truth of all these excuses is that they don’t want to feel their feelings. They feel lonely, so they drown it with alcohol. They feel insecure, so they gather some security by popping some pills. They feel sad, so they drink for a pick-me-up. Alcohol and drug abusers do not like to feel their feelings; therefore, it is inevitable that those feelings will surface once recovery begins and substance abuse is no longer part of the equation.

Normal process

A currently popular Internet meme defines normal as “just a setting on the dryer,” and even though the word may cover a broad range, it is normal in recovery to experience intense feelings that bounce from high to low in a seeming matter of seconds. Feelings and emotions are new to recovering addicts, and they don’t know how to cope. A sudden burst of rage that seems to come out of nowhere or an agonizing fear that has little basis in reality can feel overwhelming without the customary soothing agent of alcohol or drugs. In recovery, drug addicts and alcoholics need to learn coping skills to deal with feelings they had anesthetized.

Managing emotions

Even though feelings can seem overwhelming, recovering addicts and alcoholics do have tools at their disposal to help them cope.

·         Finding support

Successful recovery is not a do-it-yourself project. People with long-lasting sobriety have learned that they need to work with others who are learning to live without drugs or alcohol. Finding a support network is important.

·         Watch for red flags

Crowds of former friends, favorite bars and restaurants, and family celebrations are examples of slippery slopes. Avoiding situations that used to be part of drinking and using drugs is an important part of the process.

·         Taking responsibility

Even though blaming others for the strong feelings that one experiences in early recovery may seem logical, it is not going to help in the recovery process. Owning one’s feelings and working through them is the key to sober living.

·         Medical problems

Sometimes the intensity of feelings goes away on its own. Other times, medical conditions might arise. Unusual or extreme symptoms need the attention of a physician.

Learning to actually feel your feelings is a new skill for people who have depended on chemicals to alter their perception. It not only is a skill that can be developed; it is an imperative one for full recovery.

The Importance of Cultivating New Friendships in Recovery

Alcoholics and addicts usually enter sobriety with their lives in shambles. Recovery is like a new world, and the less it overlaps with the old world, the better. This often pertains to friendships as well.

Cindy, who valued her new sobriety, decided to go out with her old friends for dinner and catch-up conversation. Her companions drank cheerfully while she sipped ginger ale.

Occasionally, someone would offer her a drink and she would decline. Finally, her best drinking pal said, “Hey, come on, this is a reunion! You’re in your own world over there. Just have a glass of wine, you’ll be fine.”

One glass of wine led to four more, which led to a stop at the liquor store on the way home, and to a disastrous relapse.

Rob, four months out of treatment, got a call from an old friend, who then came over to visit, sat down in the living room, and placed a bag of weed and a vial of cocaine on the coffee table. The sudden appearance of the drugs, their immediate availability, and the friend’s nonchalance about it all overwhelmed Rob’s new sobriety and he was off on a four-day binge.

They common element here is that the friends in both stories were either clueless—or didn’t care—about the dynamics of alcoholism and drug addiction, and the fragility of new sobriety.

It’s the first drink or drug that has to be avoided. Proximity to these, and encouragement to use them, makes abstinence harder.

Recovery is a communal experience. Sober people support each other’s sobriety.

Although groups contain a variety of people who would not normally mix, the common element of having hit bottom and emerging to a new and more satisfying life connects them.

Relationships based on a deep caring for each other’s welfare can become precious, life-long friendships.

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction is a common issue that causes many people to seek treatment. An inpatient facility offers a number of options designed to get to the root of the addiction and help clients. A holistic drug treatment program includes elements that treat a client’s body, mind, and soul. All aspects have been affected by the addiction and need healing as part of the treatment process.

Holistically Treating Physical Needs

A client who arrives at a treatment program will be assessed to determine what his or her needs are before an individual treatment plan can be devised. If a person is still using drugs or alcohol, the first step may include going through holistic detox, or a similar program to free the body from the physical effects of drugs and/or alcohol.

Medically supervised detox is a safer way to deal with this part of the treatment. It involves slowly lowering the amount of drugs and alcohol in a client’s system until he or she is completely drug-free.

Nutrition And Exercise In Holistic Treatment

The other aspect of looking after a client during inpatient drug and alcohol treatment is recognizing that a person may not have been eating properly. The treatment program needs to include some instruction in healthy eating, as well as exercise classes and opportunities to spend time outside.  Because they’re so lost in the addiction, many addicts forget to provide very basic care for themselves.

Addressing Mental Health Needs In Holistic Treatment

Successful addiction treatment must include treating a client’s mental health needs. The initial screening should also include an evaluation for issues like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. If holistic treatment for co-occurring disorder is required, expert treatment will be provided for the mental health concern as well as individual and group counseling for the addiction. Both issues are addressed concurrently to help clients in recovery.

Over time, clients can learn how to recognize the situations that may act as triggers for them to use drugs or alcohol. They can start to learn how to change thought processes to move away from negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones that can help to strengthen their commitment to sobriety.

Treating Spirit And Soul With Holistic Treatment

The third part of holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs involves focusing on the client’s soul. It’s just as important as taking good care of the body and teaching clients in treatment how to refocus their way of thinking in a more positive manner. A person’s relationship with his or herself is likely broken at this level from the addiction, and it can be repaired as part of the treatment process.

Meditation can help, even though many people may feel awkward about taking the time to be still and experience what they feel as they spend time in quiet contemplation. Over time, this strategy should help clients to develop a sense of peace and mindfulness that they can use to keep stress levels down.

Holistic drug rehabs use this three-pronged approach to help clients develop good strategies for their sobriety goals. The more tools they can add to their inventory, the more likely the client will be able to achieve long-term recovery.