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Transitional Living 7: What is Sober Living?

After attending a treatment facility, a person in addiction recovery is generally recommended to attend a sober living/transitional living facility.  Although treatment facilities may completely change a substance abuser’s behaviors, the needed accountability a sober living facility provides is crucial to maintain recovery. 

So what does sober living offer?  Sober living offers continued accountability, support from professionals, support from peers also in recovery, a safe place to live, group support and so much more.  Without an evironment to remind a person of his or her addiction, a relapse is highly possible.  A relapse is still possible even in a sober living environment, but when a relapse does occur, the professionals can immediately take action, address the situation and help guide the individual back to the path of recovery.  At Living Recovery Inc., we do just that- keep the substance abuser on track and help pick them up when they fall off track.

Sober Living 7: Heroin Use Rises in the Suburbs

Heroin.  To hear someone you know is on heroin is almost as bad as hearing a judge rattle off a life sentence – promising a life of pain, misery, and possibly death.  To many however, the possibility of ever using heroin or having someone close to you use heroin is as far fetched as mickey mouse walking through your front door idea.  Maybe the fact that heroin users generally inject the drug into their vein is the reason we tend to not fear of heroin becoming an issue with someone we know.  I mean, to get to a position where you have to inject a drug into your vein is simply not fathonable for many people.

What if this all changed – the whole process of using a needle to get high off heroin?  What if heroin was manufactured in a form that allowed a user to simply snort the drug like cocaine or methamphetamine?  Would the fear of someone using heroin feel closer to home?  What if heroin use was rising in the suburbs, nearly touching your own backyard.  Would you be scared then?  Well get ready because heroin is being manufactured in a powder from that can be snorted.  Get ready because heroin use has increased in the suburbs.  Get ready because heroin is here to take lives.  Watch this video by Target 5 News about heroin being manufactured in powder form causing an increase of usage in the suburbs.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4Y__5vohrE

Transitional Living 6: Addiction Recovery-7 Ways to get High

Many people consider addiction to be a disease of feelings.  A disease of feelings means people with a substance abuse disorder use drugs and alcohol to feel good no matter what repercussions they may incur.  To make recovery more enjoyable after the drugs have been taken away, something other than a drug or drink needs to create a positive affect.  Below is a list of 7 ideas to create a positive mood.  However, these 7 ideas require work which is opposite of the passive methods of getting high through drugs and alcohol.  Feeling good in recovery is possible, it just takes work.    

1. Help Someone:  To perform a self-less act for the benefit of another person is by far the best way to achieve a natural high.  During an active addiction, life is full of selfish behaviors so why not perform a behavior that is polar opposite of a substance abuser’s lifestyle.  If you are serious about recovery, engaging in self-less acts is the best way to treat the addiction.

2.Exercise:  Any form of exercise, whether it’s intense, average, or slow is a good way to feel good.  Try going for a morning hike to enhance the experience or go for a jog when the sun is rising.  Make exercising more than something you have to do, make exercise a natural high.

3. Read a good book:  Reading for leisure is a sure way of changing from a substance abusing lifestyle to a healthy sober lifestyle.  Discover a book that captures your interest, then find a cozy spot to read.  You could light a fire, brew a cup of coffee, turn on a mood light, or light some candles to create the optimal environment.  Remember using drugs and alcohol made you feel good so now you must create a healthy habit that makes you feel good as well.

4. Check off the To-Do-List:  You know that list of things you’ve said you were going to do for the last six months?  Well now that you are clear headed, it’s time to tackle that list.  Accomplishment is a sure way of boosting your self-esteem and gaining a little high to enhance your mood.  Now is the time, just do it already!

5.  Tell three people you love them:  Pick three people currently in your life and simply tell them how much you love and appreciate them.  Don’t expect anything back, just express your love.

6. Apologize:  This may be a bit harder and may not sound appealing but you will achieve a strong high.  Guilt and shame can really damage your mood but to have the burden lifted will feel incredible.  Because apologizing is no easy task,  plan to apologize to only one person and apologize for only one thing. 

7. Do something you enjoy:  We all have activities we enjoy doing.  Maybe you like to paint, or maybe you like to write, or maybe you like to play tennis or a game of chess, whatever you like to do, picking up activities that you enjoyed doing before substances snuffed everything else out is extremely important in recovery.  You must find activities to fill you time, helping to keep your mind off using drugs and alcohol.

Sober Living 6: Service Work

Addiction is a selfish disease.  More than anything else in the entire world, the addict or alcoholic wants to feel good.  Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol have offered the abuser a guaranteed way to feel good and for this reason the cycle of addiction has turned into a one dimensional disease.  The addict desires a state of positive affect and the drug or drink guarantees the feeling he or she craves – it’s that simple.  But what happens when the drug or drink is taken away and suddenly the addict or alcoholic has nothing to make them feel good?  Immediately, a substance abuser will find himself or herself lonely without a drug or drink.  For this reason, something needs to create a positive affect in the user that isn’t a mood altering substance.  

The concept of having to use something other than a substance to create a positive feeling may be an entirely new concept to someone in recovery and therefore he or she will need guidance to discover activities in life than can create the feeling an addict desires without taking a drink or drug. 

A good place to start is service work.  Simply acting to helping somebody else, without expecting anything in return, can create a positive feeling.  What’s better than seeing the face of pure gratitude, knowing that you helped someone not because they were giving you a paycheck, but simply because it was the right thing to do?  Now imagine creating a habit of helping others instead of staying in a habit of selfish acts and see what happens to your overall mood and desire to use drugs and alcohol.  Although the desire to use will certainly not be eliminated through service work, it is one type of new behaviors that will be incompatible with addict behaviors.

To fing ways to get involved with service work try this website: http://www.handsonatlanta.org

Transitional Living 5: Eliminating Friends in Addiction Recovery

When recovery becomes a serious part of an addict’s life, the decision to eliminate old using friends will eventually have to be made.  Associating with people who are in their active addiction is a recipe for a relapse.  The good time memories connected to drugs and alcohol are too closely associated with ‘using’ friends to still be hanging out with people that use.  Remember addiction plays off feelings therefore associating with people who still use drugs or alcohol will create only one memory, the good feelings of using drugs and alcohol.  The realityof where addiction is truly centered; pain, suffering, shame, guilt, misery and emabrsment will dissaper leaving only the addiction to be in control.  So why risk it?  

Treating an addiction means letting go of an old lifestyle and embracing a lifestyle polar opposite of the using lifestyle.  Yes, this means eliminating friends or people that use drugs or alcohol no matter how long the addict has known the friends.  Even if the frienship was developed before the addict and the friend used together, the memorable feelings of using together will be too strong to resisit.  Addiction will slip back in, whispering, tempting and destroying any attempts at recovery.  Besides take out the substances in a relationship based around drugs and alcohol and what’s left?  Nothing really… probally only awkwardness. 

Think about this… isn’t a lost friendship better than losing your own life?