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.

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Celebrating Milestones in Your Recovery

Ongoing sobriety is a reason to celebrate. Each day matters and is another day that you’re doing something positive for your health and your life. Tracking your sobriety can be a way to hold yourself accountable and reflect on how far you have come. You’ll see how amazing it feels to achieve a week, a month, two months, six months, a year, and more. Others may not understand firsthand how meaningful these milestones are, but you do, and others in recovery do as well.

Celebrate milestones that are important and meaningful to you. You may choose to do something on your own, or to invite friends and family into the festivities. The event can be as big or as small as you want it to be. Here are a few ways you can celebrate:

  • Plan a special activity such as getting your nails done, a day at the spa, a round of golf, or a day at the amusement park.
  • Invite close friends over for a small celebration at your house or favorite restaurant with dinner and dessert or maybe watching a movie or playing games.
  • Book a weekend getaway to treat yourself and explore somewhere new. This can renew your motivation and energy to keep moving forward.
  • Buy yourself a special treat you’ve been saving up for and working toward. Maybe it’s a watch or necklace that reminds you of how far you’ve come, or a new shirt, a pair of shoes, or a video game.
  • Take a few moments to reflect. Read through your gratitude journal and appreciate how much your life has changed for the better.
  • Tick off goals you have achieved and set a few new ones to keep yourself motivated.
  • Attend a support group meeting and commemorate your achievement with others in recovery.

No matter how you celebrate, be proud of yourself and how far you have come, as well as how much more you want to accomplish. Above It All can help you learn the strategies and develop the resources you need to achieve long-term recovery and turn your life around.

[cta] Are you struggling to maintain your sobriety? Contact Above It All to learn more about how we can support you in recovery! [/cta]

Emphasizing Good Nutrition in Recovery

While drugs and alcohol can leave you temporarily feeling good, the long-term effects can be quite the opposite. Once these substances have worn off, you may be left feeling pretty lousy. Addiction takes a toll on your body, and it’s important to address these issues in recovery. Balanced nutrition should be an integral part of your treatment plan so that you can heal and energize your body.

Drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc on your body and diet. Alcohol is filled with empty calories and drugs can make you feel not hungry, or make you overeat the wrong kinds of foods. Alcohol also impairs your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients and may weaken your immune system. Learning how to eat right is an important part of warding off cravings and promoting better health in recovery. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid excess sugar. Natural sugars from fruits are okay, but try to steer clear of a lot of processed and artificially sweetened foods. They can cause unhealthy spikes and dips in your blood sugar and increase cravings.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day. Hunger can be a relapse trigger and regular meals and snacks can help stabilize your blood sugar and mood.
  • Think fresh. Fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins. Fresh produce is rich in antioxidants and nutrients your body needs.
  • Drink up! Water that is. Keep your body hydrated to help with digestion, cell health, and overall well-being.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates. They will keep you feeling fuller longer and provide a more stable source of energy.

Good nutrition is an integral part of treatment at Above It All. Clients learn how to fuel their body with the right types of foods for recovery and better health.  Eating right can have many positive effects and support your efforts toward long-term recovery.

[cta] Are you tired of the way drugs and alcohol make you feel? Call Above It All today to get on the road to recovery and a healthier lifestyle. [/cta]

Benefits of Volunteering in Recovery

Recovery from addiction is an ongoing process. Once you have completed a treatment program, that doesn’t mean the work is over. You must find ways to continue implementing what you have learned to sustain healthier routines, keep a positive attitude, and reduce risk of relapse. One activity that many people in recovery find beneficial is volunteering.

Volunteering keeps you active and gives you something to look forward to. Boredom and isolation are common triggers for relapse, but by volunteering you are getting out into the community and keeping yourself busy. It can also challenge your mind and help you to focus on things other than substance use.

Choosing an organization or activity that you are passionate about also helps you to find a greater sense of purpose. Your time is spent making a difference, whether it’s serving meals, sorting donations, taking care of animals, or promoting environmental awareness. Pick an activity or organization that you are proud to stand behind.

You’re making a difference in others’ lives by volunteering. Think about how many people have helped you throughout your life; now it’s your turn to give back and help others. You never know how much your efforts may change someone’s life.

While you’re volunteering you’ll also be learning new things and building connections with others. This can help you to develop job skills and life skills. Networking can get your foot in the door for potential job opportunities. Volunteering can help you to feel more confident about your ability to hold yourself accountable, be on time, complete tasks, and hold down a job. It can be very empowering to see that you’re making a difference and doing something positive with your life.

Above It All can help you get on the road to recovery through treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. You’ll learn valuable strategies for recovery and relapse prevention that you can use for the rest of your life. It can be the first step in turning your life around for the better.

[cta] Share your story of how volunteering has helped your recovery! How do you recommend others get started? [/cta]

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]

Getting Out of a Recovery Rut

Your recovery is a journey—and like any journey, it should come with a sense of forward momentum. In the long run, you should be getting better, healthier, more at peace in your recovery.

With that said, not every day will feel like a big step forward. That’s just the big picture. The day-to-day can sometimes be really positive, and sometimes really challenging. More often than not, it will simply feel mundane. You may even find yourself falling into a rut, a place where your own recovery is boring you.

If you do find yourself in a rut, there are ways to dig yourself out of it—to reignite your passion, to challenge yourself, to make recovery something fun and fulfilling. Here are just a few suggestions:

Learn a new activity or skill. Fill your time with a whole new pursuit. Take up painting. Learn to play a musical instrument. Try yoga, Pilates, or a spin class. Give yourself a shot at journaling or creative writing. Find something you’ve never tackled before and make a real go at it.

Volunteer. Spend your time helping someone in need! Sign up at a library, the YMCA, a local food pantry, or an assisted living community.

Tell your story. Encourage and support others who are going through recovery. Share your story at local support groups.

Reach out to someone. If you’re stuck in a rut, it’s okay to let someone know it— and to ask for help in breaking through. Talk to a close friend, a loved one, or simply someone in your support group.

There are plenty of ways to break out of a rut, while still keeping your recovery on track. The important thing is to make that initial effort, and not to let your commitment to recovery grow cold.

[cta] Does your recovery need a boost? Contact us at 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]

Celebrating Your Independence from Addiction

It was 240 years ago on the 4th of July that America celebrated its independence as a new nation. While your time in sobriety may seem to pale in comparison, your independence from addiction is certainly something worth celebrating. Whether you’ve been in recovery for two weeks, two months, two years, or two decades, it’s an accomplishment. As you’re enjoying picnics, barbecues, fireworks, and family, take some time to stop and think about what your independence means to you.

Reflect on the progress you’ve made. Consider how much your life has changed for the better and how far you have come from your days of active addiction. What are some things that you’ve accomplished that you never thought possible before? How has your physical and mental health improved?

Appreciate your freedom to choose what you do. Drugs and alcohol no longer dictate your life – you do. You have the ability to make healthy choices and pursue your goals and dreams. Without the influence of addiction, you can think more clearly and remember life’s special moments.

Re-evaluate where you’re headed. The year is a little more than halfway over. Are you still on track with your goals? Review what you want to accomplish and how to get there. It may be time to set some new goals for yourself.

Set yourself up for success. There will be lots of events going on for the 4th of July. Remember that you don’t have to accept every invitation. Focus on finding sober activities, or host your own party so that you’re more in control of the environment. Know your triggers and how to minimize them so you can still have fun.

If you can’t fathom a 4th of July without a few drinks, it may be time to consider addiction treatment. Above It All Treatment Center can help you get on the path to sobriety and a lifestyle of recovery that you can be proud of.

[cta] Leave a comment and let us know how you’re celebrating your independence from addiction and how it’s changed your life for the better! [/cta]