5 Tips for Taking Thanksgiving in Stride

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends and reflect on all of things you are thankful for. However, as with any holiday, it can come with its share of stress and challenging situations. For those in recovery, that means having to be especially diligent about planning and staying proactive in reducing risk of relapse. Here are a few ways that you can make the most of Thanksgiving without sacrificing the progress you’ve made:

  1. Attend a meeting before or after get-togethers: Get yourself in the right frame of mind and feeling more confident by connecting with others in recovery around the holidays. Reaffirm your commitment to your recovery.
  2. Have a plan: What will you do if there is alcohol is available? What if a difficult relative shows up? What if you’re ready to leave? Plan ahead so you know how you’ll deal with stress, temptation, and other challenges in a healthy manner.
  3. Focus on gratitude: Instead of thinking about the things you’re not doing any more, focus on the things you are doing. Reflect on the progress you’ve made and how your life has changed for the better. Tell others how much you appreciate them and the support they have provided.
  4. Create new traditions: If your old tradition was to drink and watch football on Thanksgiving, start a new tradition instead. Take a walk as a family, play games, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Find a different way to celebrate that is meaningful to you.
  5. Pay attention to how you’re feeling: Listen to your body and mind. If you’re hungry, bored, lonely, angry, or tired, take steps to change things before they lead to temptation. Stay away from triggers and know when it’s time for a change of pace or scenery.

Empower yourself over your recovery with support from Above It All. Get the personalized help you need to turn your life around and embrace a lifestyle of recovery.

[cta] If you’re struggling with addiction this holiday season, turn to Above It All for comprehensive treatment. [/cta]

Keeping Cravings in Check

One of the ongoing challenges of addiction recovery is coping with drug and alcohol cravings. Individuals must resist the desire to give in to these temptations and instead find healthier ways of coping. It is important to remember that experiencing cravings is a normal part of recovery. The urges will diminish in strength and frequency over time. When a craving hits, remind yourself that it will pass, usually within about 15 minutes, and you do not have to give in. You will be okay.

Here are a few ideas for things you can do to keep cravings in check and wait it out until they pass:

  • Keep busy to distract yourself from thinking about it. Work on a crossword puzzle, listen to music, knit, shoot hoops, go for a run, or play a computer or video game.
  • Accept it. Journal about how you are feeling and face your craving head on. You’ll be able to better recognize the feeling and realize that you are in control. You may also choose to talk about it with someone close to you who can help you stay accountable.
  • Incorporate foods in your diet that may help reduce cravings such as whole grains, salmon, peanut butter, bananas, and walnuts. Try to eat at regular intervals to stabilize your blood sugar and keep yourself feeling full.
  • Change locations to somewhere free from triggers. Removing yourself from one environment and focusing on another can help you reassess and collect yourself. It can also be a healthy distraction.
  • Practice meditating when cravings strike to clear your mind and feel more in control. Meditating can be very relaxing and soothing when dealing with the stress of cravings.

Above It All supports clients in developing personalized relapse prevention plans that fit their needs and lifestyle. Clients are equipped with the tools and strategies to make healthy decisions and cope with cravings so they can focus on making the most of their future. Take back control of your life at Above It All and start your journey to long-term recovery.

[cta] Learn how to cope with cravings and other challenges surrounding addiction recovery at Above It All. Call today to get started. [/cta]

Celebrating Halloween in Sobriety

Halloween can be an exciting time for kids and adults alike. It’s a time to dress up, have fun, and spend time laughing with friends. Halloween celebrations don’t have to compromise your recovery, and just because you’re in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. By spending a little time planning ahead, you can make sure you’re ready when Halloween rolls around.

  • Stick with substance-free activities: Keep yourself distracted and active by taking your kids trick-or-treating or going to a family-friendly event. You can enjoy time with your family and take comfort in knowing that drugs and alcohol won’t be part of the scene.
  • Accept party invites carefully: You don’t need to go to every party just because you’re invited. If you know drugs and alcohol will be present and there will be pressure or temptation to join in, politely decline. If you do go to a party, take care of getting your own drink – and keeping an eye on it – so you know no alcohol will be involved. Also, always have a plan for how you will leave so you’re not stuck in an uncomfortable or tempting situation.
  • Choose an alternate celebration: Who says you have to go to a party? Invite friends to go on a ghost tour or haunted hayride or to Halloween at the local amusement park. You could also stay in with popcorn and a stash of candy watching scary movies with friends.

There are plenty of ways that you can celebrate without putting your recovery in jeopardy. Prove to yourself that you can have fun without drugs or alcohol. If you need additional support or encouragement, attend a meeting beforehand to reaffirm your commitment to your recovery and talk through your concerns. Above It All supports clients with ongoing recovery through life skills and planning programs, sober living, and relapse prevention planning. If relapse does occur, Above It All is here to help you get back on track.

[cta] Join in the conversation on Facebook and let us know how you plan to celebrate Halloween in recovery this year! [/cta]

Warding Off Relapse in Addiction Recovery

Early recovery is a critical time in preventing relapse. This is when you build healthy routines and reinforce the strategies you’ve learned in addiction treatment. However, relapse prevention is something you must continue practicing to maintain a healthy lifestyle free from substance use.

Some of the most obvious factors are to stay away from drugs and alcohol, especially in early recovery, and not put yourself in situations where you know you will be tempted to use. This may mean breaking off old friendships with people who are still in active addiction and focusing on friendships with those who support your recovery and choice to remain substance-free.

Strategies for Reducing Risk of Relapse

There are many other things you can do as well:

  • Practice healthy forms of distraction such as reading, writing, exercising, painting, playing piano, volunteering, or anything else that keeps your hands and mind busy in a good way.
  • Make time for things you enjoy. This can help boost your mood and allow you to deal with challenging situations in a more effective way. A positive attitude and outlook are important.
  • Talk to someone if you’re going through a rough patch. You don’t have to go it alone. Therapists, counselors, support groups, family, and friends are all there for you and can provide support in different ways. Know who you can turn to in different situations.
  • Stay active and involved. Isolation and boredom are major triggers for relapse, so keep yourself busy and find a routine that works for you. Consider volunteering or taking up a new hobby or class you’re interested in.
  • Surround yourself with people who support your recovery and will hold you accountable.

Through treatment at Above It All, you can work through the challenges you face and build a strong network of support and solid relapse prevention plan. We are here to support you in thriving in recovery and creating a life you love.

[cta] If you’re looking for more support in addiction recovery or are struggling with relapse, contact Above It All today to find out how we can help. [/cta]

Relapse Does Not Mean You Have Failed

Addiction recovery is an ongoing process and requires continued attention and commitment. Those in recovery must always be aware of their surroundings, feelings, and potential triggers to keep themselves on the road to long-term recovery. Like other chronic diseases, it is something that must be managed. And also like other chronic disease, there is always the possibility of relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that between 40 and 60 percent of people who go through addiction treatment relapse at some point in their life.

Relapse is not a rarity, but it also doesn’t have to be the norm. There are many clients who go through treatment and make positive changes in their lives that allow them to remain substance-free for the rest of their life. There are also those who face setbacks and may go through treatment more than once before achieving long-term recovery. Relapse is a not a sign of failure. It does not mean that treatment has failed or recovery is impossible. Rather, it means that an individual must re-evaluate their situation and adjust their relapse prevention plan. There are changes they must make in their actions, behaviors, and thought processes to decrease their risk of future relapses.

Common Triggers for Relapse

Relapse does not happen unexpectedly. There are warning signs leading up to it and changes that indicate things may be going downhill or temptation is creeping up. It can be difficult to stick with necessary life changes to support recovery, but they’re essential. Here are some common triggers that may lead to addiction relapse:

  • Spending time with people who are still in active addiction or do not support your recovery.
  • Going to places where you used to go to drink or use drugs, or places where there is a lot of temptation or pressure to use.
  • High levels of stress and not practicing healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Unmanaged mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
  • Isolating yourself from others and not having a strong support system in place.

You may feel strong and confident following addiction treatment, but early recovery is a delicate time. Letting yourself slip back into old habits or spending time with friends who are a negative influence can take a toll on the progress you’ve made. It can increase your temptation for “just one” drink or “just one” use of drugs. This can quickly spiral back into active addiction.

Not taking care of your mental health can also be detrimental. It requires conscious effort to focus on your own well-being and know your limits. When you feel yourself becoming stressed out, or anxiety is creeping up, it is important to implement strategies to keep these things under control. You may have to say no to a person, project, or obligation, and that’s okay. Focus on what is best for you and your recovery.

Trying to go it on your own can also be unhealthy. When you isolate yourself from others – even if you’re doing so to keep temptation at bay – this can lead to boredom and depression, which can be triggers for substance use. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your recovery and will engage in sober activities with you. Have people that you can turn to when you’re having a tough day and who will celebrate with you when you’re having a great day.

Bouncing Back from Addiction Relapse

One of the most important things to remember is never to give up. Just because you relapsed does not mean that your journey is over or that you can’t be successful in recovery. Remember, you are in a different place in your life now. You are not the same person you were before. You achieved sobriety once and you can do it again. There is always more to learn and new things to try. Don’t give up on yourself or your goals. You are deserving of another chance.

If you do relapse, stop and get yourself back into treatment. You may go back to the same treatment facility you were in before since they already know you and you know them, or you may choose a different program if you feel somewhere else may be a better fit. The important thing is to admit that you need help and to get it. Once in treatment, you can get yourself back on track and make adjustments to your relapse prevention plan. Some things to consider:

Try a new program: Be open to different types of therapy or counseling. You never know what will stick for you. If you weren’t in outpatient treatment before or didn’t stay in a sober living home, these may be good options. Talk with your treatment team about what might be most effective for you and your goals.

Explore new activities: Keep yourself from falling into a rut by trying new things. Look into community classes, activities at the gym, new hobbies, volunteering, or other things that pique your interest. These can give you something to look forward to and a way to continue having fun and learning while in recovery.

Identify breakdowns: Figure out where your recovery started to go off track and what may have led to your relapse. Then do your best to prevent these issues from occurring again. Decide what changes you can make and how to hold yourself more accountable. What strategies and support structures can you put in place in case you struggle? Set yourself up for success.

Keep a positive attitude: This is often easier said than done, but don’t let a relapse deter you from trying again. You can be successful with the right strategies and support. Recovery is possible and there is hope.

Above It All provides clients with comprehensive services and support to help you stay on track and overcome addiction. If you are going through a difficult time, speak up and ask for help. The team at Above It All is on your side and will help you along each step of the way. Whether it is your first time in treatment or you’re trying again, now is your chance to make a positive change in your life.

[cta] If you or a loved one is concerned about relapse or has relapsed, call Above It All today to get the support you need for recovery. [/cta]

Above It All Treatment Center Stresses the Importance of Alcohol Awareness and Treatment

The Sun

Above It All Treatment Center is committed to promoting awareness and providing access to treatment for those struggling with alcoholism. April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a great time for parents to engage in meaningful discussions with their children that continue long into the future. Regular conversation and reinforcement of healthy lifestyle choices can support addiction prevention efforts. For those struggling with alcohol abuse, entering a treatment center like Above It All that addresses the complexities of addiction can support recovery and set a positive example for others. It is not too late to seek treatment for alcohol abuse or too early to start making children more aware of the dangers associated with drinking.

[cta]For more information visit The Sun[/cta]

Relapse: Getting Back Up After Falling In Recovery

There are many challenges to face when you are on the road to recovery. One of the biggest obstacles is the chance of relapse, which can have a devastating effect on the process. Falling during recovery may lower your morale and make you feel like you’ve failed, but you need to have the courage to push forward. Relapse is another obstacle to overcome, and with the right support and methods, you can get back on the road to recovery. Here are a few tips for helping you get back on your feet after relapse.

  • Let it all out. If you’ve relapsed, it’s okay to come to terms with what has happened and to let it out with a good cry. Bottling up your emotions inside can be harmful, both physically and psychologically. Take a few minutes to simply let your feelings come out, whether it’s done in private or with a close friend or family member.
  • Speak with someone. Few things are as difficult as trying to overcome addiction or relapse alone. Find someone to confide in who will boost your morale and who will offer support on the road to recovery. It’s also a good idea to get professional help from client advocates with extensive experience and knowledge within the field. You will need that assistance to keep you from falling once again.
  • Don’t view relapse as failure. You shouldn’t consider your relapse as a failure, but rather as a bump in the road. According to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction relapse follows the same trends as any other chronic disease, such as Hypertension and Type 1 Diabetes. Relapse doesn’t mean failure; it means that treatment needs to be modified and adjusted.
  • Learn from your mistakes. What exactly caused you to stumble? Did you expose yourself to certain factors that triggered the relapse? As with any mistake in your life, it’s crucial that you take relapse as a learning experience. Find out who or what caused you to fall, and work on not letting it happen again in the future.

People who fall in recovery must remember that relapse is not an end-all scenario. It may take some time, but with the proper support and treatment, it’s very possible to get back on the right track and to work towards complete recovery.

[cta] What are some methods for motivating you to get back on the road to recovery after relapse? [/cta]

Wallowing in Self-Pity Is a Relapse Mentality

Why don’t things ever go my way? Why do all these bad things happen to me? Why can’t I ever get a break? These questions can be a good indicator that a person is wallowing in self-pity, when the actual answers to the questions might be the key to the solution.

Of course, sometimes we actually do get a series of bad breaks and it looks like the universe is conspiring against us, but how we react to these life lessons defines our outlook. And, if we’re alcoholics in recovery, it defines how well we’re using the tools that keep us sober. Take any ten recovering alcoholics and  give them the same challenges. Then watch who the complainers are and who instead gets busy matching calamity with serenity, assessing the situation honestly, and then taking indicated action while staying out of the results.

Wallowing in self-pityis a symptom of self-centeredness, the primary enemy of the recovering alcoholic. Let’s examine the questions at the top of the page:

  • Why don’t things ever go my way?—Most alcoholics find that they have been too insistent on having the world conform to their script, and the frustration when it doesn’t usually leads them to the next drink. An important part of recovery is the recognition that life presents us with people and circumstances with no regard for our expectations; accepting life on life’s terms and moving forward with right action and according to principal will, in the long run, bring us vastly better outcomes than insisting on wrestling the world to submit to our will.
  • Why do all these bad things happen to me?—Most of the time, upon guided introspection, the recovering alcoholic will find that most of his or her problems were self-inflicted. When it seems like life is ganging up on us, an honest appraisal of our part in circumstances is a good way to begin moving toward a solution. On the other hand, when we get a flat tire in the rain on the way to an important appointment, these aren’t our fault, but wallowing in self-pity certainly doesn’t help us get to the appointment.
  • Why can’t I ever get a break?—If you’re in recovery, you got your break the day you found freedom from alcohol and/or drugs. Remembering this can be the key to finding gratitude, which can’t co-exist with self-pity.

Simply put, wallowing in self-pity is useless, counterproductive, wasteful, and dangerous. Recognize its signs—negativity, a feeling of victimhood, envy, and self-justification are a few—and try to move on. Talk to someone you trust and use the tools of recovery.

Preventing Relapse For Alcoholics In Early Recovery Requires Extra Vigilance

If simply making a decision to stop drinking was enough to treat alcoholism, treatment centers and 12 step programs would not exist. By the time a client reaches the point where he or she gets help, the decision about whether to drink has been taken away. The addiction is fully and completely in control.

Getting into treatment helps an alcoholic get sober, but the work of staying that way happens one day at a time. Recovery is not a place that a client ever gets to; rather, it is a state of being. There is no such thing as drinking “in moderation” for a recovering alcoholic, which means that the only acceptable level of alcohol consumption is zero.


Alcohol Treatment Programs Address Triggers

One of the features of Above It All long term treatment for alcoholism is the help and support to deal with triggers that may set off cravings to start drinking. These will be different for everyone, but may include:

  • Television commercials, ads or billboards featuring alcohol
  • Films or television programs depicting alcohol use
  • Being around people who are consuming alcohol
  • Driving or walking by a liquor store or bar
  • Listening to music with lyrics mentioning drinking (country music seems to feature this type of theme more often than other types)
  • Watching or reading news stories discussing health benefits of drinking wine in moderation

Recognizing these triggers and developing strategies to deal with them is part of the treatment program. For a person who is new to sobriety, the triggers can be particularly strong. A person in treatment needs to understand that he or she will experience cravings to pick up a drink and that something as simple as seeing a favorite glass, catching a whiff of alcohol, or thinking about a cold beer on a hot day may be enough to start an episode. Clients will leave the treatment program with a toolbox of strategies that they can use to head off a relapse before it starts.

One of the advantages of staying at an inpatient treatment center is being able to focus on getting well. Rather than immediately returning to “regular” life once the treatment is completed, sober living programs with Above it All give clients a time when they can live in a home-like setting. They can take the time they need to adjust to life in recovery, which is very often essential to them establishing successful long-term sobriety.

The Struggle To Rehab and Sobriety

“How many times people have said to us: “I can take it or leave it alone. Why can’t he? ““Why don’t you drink like a gentleman or quit?” “That fellow can’t handle his liquor.” “Why don’t you try beer and wine?” “Lay off the hard stuff.” “His will power must be weak.” “He could stop if he wanted to.” “She’s such a sweet girl; I should think he’d stop for her sake.” “The doctor told him that if he ever drank again it would kill him but there he is all lit up again.” Now these are commonplace observations on drinkers which we hear all the time. Back of them is a world of ignorance and misunderstanding. We see that these expressions refer to people whose reactions are very different from ours.”-pg.20 There Is A Solution from the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous

If only it was that simple for alcoholics to stop drinking. If these suggestions worked for helpless drinkers like us we would never have to go to the lengths we go to in order to get alcohol addiction help. We wouldn’t have to go to a Los Angeles rehab, AA, or any other California alcohol rehab for that matter. Many people that don’t know what it’s like to suffer from this disease believe that it’s a matter of being weak willed or just not wanting to stop bad enough. There is lack of understanding at times that we suffer from a disease. It’s a disease that makes us think that if we take a drink then we will be okay, and along the way we “forget” about the previous consequences that were a direct result of our drinking. We are sick people trying to get well and alcohol is our medicine/solution until it stops working for us. At this point the only other solutions or options for us are either to get sober or die. If we are fortunate enough we are able to make it into recovery and go onto live an amazing and fulfilling life.