Tag Archives: Addiction Recovery

effect of sugar in addiction recovery process

Effect of Sugar In Addiction Recovery Process

Effect of Sugar In Addiction Recovery Process

It’s long been a common practice to help those recovering from an addiction to using replacement therapy. For instance, when assisting smokers in quitting, practitioners will often prescribe low-doses of nicotine products to wean someone off of cigarettes altogether eventually. This is sometimes even a practice in alcohol use disorders, with the ultimate goal to be abstaining from alcohol altogether. It’s also not uncommon to use sugar in addiction recovery, as it’s often thought to be a harmless replacement.

But what happens when we try to replace one addiction with another substance? It may be as highly addictive, but seemingly innocuous when compared to alcohol or drug misuse and addiction. Are you, in effect, creating a new dependency when you use sugar in addiction recovery? There has been a log of research on the connection between sugar and addictive behaviors. If you’re looking for sobriety, sugar is most likely not the best recovery plan.

Sugar In Addiction Recovery: Rewarding Surviving

There’s a fair amount of research available about the effects of sugar on your brain. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ chemical that is released in your body when you experience something pleasurable. It’s released when you eat food you enjoy, engage in sexual activity, enjoy music at a favorite concert, and even when you participate in drug use. Dopamine makes you feel good, and research suggests that eating sugary foods produces dopamine in your body. Your brain uses dopamine as a reward for reinforcing behaviors that it believes are important to survival. Some of these behaviors are eating foods in high protein for nutrition, sexual activity for procreation, etc. In essence, the dopamine is an encouragement chemical so that you continue engaging in the behavior.

Unfortunately, that dopamine release happens regardless of whether an activity or substance is good for us. Research has found high-levels of dopamine may lead to increased risk-taking behavior. When it comes to the effect of sugar in addiction recovery, it can lead to unhealthy body habits, obesity, diabetes, and more.

Sugar can be as much as eight times as addictive as cocaine is. So, when you replace alcohol with sugar, you may just be replacing one dangerous addiction with another.

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Effect of Sugar in Addiction Recovery Process

How Sugar And Alcohol Are Connected

Lou Lebentz is a specialist in addiction, trauma, eating disorders, and addictions. She says that replacing alcohol with sugar is dangerous because alcohol is sugar and hits the same part of the brain that alcohol does. Because it also causes the release of dopamine, like alcohol, sugar can cause you to crave more. This can cause you to continually try to keep up with the reward center in your brain for that ‘high’ that comes with both alcohol consumption and sugar intake.

She also says that nutritionally speaking, sugar is not beneficial in any way. It has no nutritional content, and it is thought to be toxic to your body. She believes it can be especially dangerous for someone who suffers from alcohol misuse or addiction because you already have an overworked liver. Since sugar is part fructose, your body processes it in the liver. Lebentz says that there is a global epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and she believes that this is because of the consumption of sugar. NAFLD can cause cirrhosis of the liver, just as alcohol misuse can, so replacing alcohol with sugar can still do similar damage to your body.

Desperately Seeking Sugar

When you want to achieve sobriety, you don’t want to do so by creating a new addiction. If you meet your cravings with sugar, you may inadvertently be creating a new dependency to maintain similar ‘high’ feelings. It’s natural for your brain to crave that euphoric feeling, but you don’t want to replace one addiction with another to recreate it. There are other ways to achieve sobriety without using sugar in the addiction recovery process. Desert Cove Recovery can help you do so in a holistic approach that treats your physical and emotional cravings.

You can achieve long-term sobriety without replacing one addiction for a different addiction. Desert Cove Recovery’s alcohol recovery program is individualized to treat your mind, body, and spirit. Desert Cove Recovery knows that you need a customized plan to help you recover from alcohol misuse. They compassionately employ an effective 12-step program combined with individualized and group therapies to address the roots of your addiction, as well as healthy strategies for battling it.

Create New Healthy Habits, Not New Addictions

Desert Cove Recovery’s facilities are in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s an intimate setting that allows you to be serious about your sobriety and focus on getting healthy, not creating new habits and addictions that are not good for you.

Most importantly, alcohol addiction prevents you from living the life you were meant to live. Though it’s easily accessible and perhaps not as socially isolating, sugar in addiction recovery can chain you down in a different way. Desert Cove Recovery has the experience you need to help you break the bonds of addiction.

If you’re struggling with addiction, contact Desert Cove Recovery. They’re waiting to walk with you on the path to full sobriety and freedom.

ways to practice self-care in recovery

Ways to Practice Self-Care in Recovery

Ways to Practice Self-Care in Recovery

Triumph on the journey of recovery always uses multiple paths. Long-term recovery success depends on examining, attending to, and maintaining the parts of one’s life that constitute who we are as individuals. Practicing self-care in recovery include four primary areas – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual facets of an individual.

Physical Self-Care in Recovery

Individuals struggling with addiction have difficulties believing that they are worthy of certain things, such as love, respect, or to be treated with dignity. Sometimes it can be hard to envision someone wanting to date them, which leads to “letting themselves go.”

In other cases, individuals may work themselves to the point of exhaustion. They can ignore symptoms of poor health and keep right on working despite a cold, flu, or other illness. Those struggling with addiction must remind themselves regularly that they do indeed matter.

Fortunately, when it comes to physical care, a little bit can go a long way. For example, the following activities can be easy to integrate into daily life:

  • Practice Tai-Chi
  • Take daily bicycle rides
  • Walk for 30 minutes a day
  • Perform stretching exercises

Often it takes verbal reminders with themselves consistently, enforcing that it is not only okay to take care of their own physical needs, but a responsibility to themselves to do so. It must be acknowledged that it is acceptable to allow the world to move past them for however long they need to take care of themselves.

Most importantly, individuals in recovery who maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep to increase their long-term recovery success. With regular practice, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will become a good habit to keep the momentum going and further the potential of relapse.

Mental Care

Granted, everyone has bad days, but individuals recovering from addiction can sometimes beat themselves up unnecessarily for even the smallest infractions. This behavior can lead to a deluge of negative self-talk. Negativity in almost any form can quickly turn them down a dark path, potentially right back into their addiction if they are not careful.

Conversely, individuals also need to be careful about staying grounded when things go well. When individuals struggling with addiction begin to get their life back on an upward swing and life starts to go “right” for them, any kind of bump or hiccup can easily get blown out of proportion. Panic and fear can set in which, and if left unchecked, it can become the first step on an inevitable downward spiral.

Even if the recovery path is seemingly moving along without any hurdles, a premature feeling of having all issues under control may occur. When this happens, those in recovery may feel they no longer need support, guidance, or counseling. Therefore, it is important to keep mentally engaged, such as:

  • Have a good laugh
  • Commit acts of kindness
  • Regularly express gratitude
  • Strengthen social connections

To assist in managing both the ups and downs experienced during recovery, it is critical they surround themselves with people who can help them stay grounded, stable and help gain a better perspective when even the small molehill begins to look like a giant mountain.

Emotional Self-Care in Recovery

Mental and emotional care share a strong link, but each requires individual attention to maintain a long-term, successful recovery trajectory. Individuals in recovery often become flooded with a wide range of emotions they may have been repressing for years, if not decades. Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of recovery is learning how to deal with this sudden onslaught of highly chaotic emotions appropriately.

Caring for one’s emotional health requires a self-awareness beyond that needed for maintaining good physical or mental health. Positive emotional care involves one to:

  • Make time to rest, relax, and recharge
  • Accept responsibility for their actions
  • Take time to reflect and journal feelings
  • Be aware of your self-talk and inner critic

Individuals in recovery can also quickly ping-pong between almost violent emotional extremes.

Proper emotional self-care in recovery involves accepting this reality and learning to not act on the constant changing whirlwind of emotions. Instead, they should simply feel them, walk through them, and learn how to make better, more rational decisions when they are no longer in the grip of powerful and intense emotions.

Spiritual Care

Spiritual care can sometimes involve religious practices, but not always. In some cases, individuals struggling with addiction may even be dealing with some religious abuse that contributed to their addiction. In others, spiritual self-care may involve finding ways to reconnect with spiritual practices while simultaneously disconnecting them from religious or spiritually abusive practices.

Spiritual care may include:

  • Traveling
  • Meditation
  • Self-exploration
  • Religious practices

Every human being has their own unique beliefs regarding spiritual matters. Where we might have come from, where we might be going, and what our purpose is on earth are part of the human experience. For some, not having the answers or questioning currently held beliefs can trigger negative behaviors. Finding a safe place to investigate and explore one’s personal beliefs free from criticism or judgment needs to be a part of any recovery plan.

Care Support

If you or someone you love has struggled with addiction and is beginning the recovery journey, contact us to learn more about our post-care services. We customize recovery plans to help those in recovery grow and thrive as they re-enter a healthy life. 

Five Unexpected Benefits of Sobriety

5 Unexpected Benefits of Sobriety

Five Unexpected Benefits of Sobriety

When you struggle with addiction, your life is nowhere near how you imagined it ever would be. Somehow the life you’re living is not the one that you thought you would, and you’re not sure that you can ever get it back. The truth is that you can, indeed, reclaim your life and live the one you were meant to. When you decide to take steps to break the chains of addiction in your life, you might be surprised to find some unexpected benefits of sobriety that come along.

1. You’ll sleep better at night.

A report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism detailed the effects of alcohol consumption and sleep disorders. Since alcohol consumption can disrupt REM sleep cycles, those who suffer from addiction disease also tend to suffer from poor sleep architecture and sleep disorders.

A 2007 study from the Society for Neuroscience and a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep also confirmed similar effects on one’s sleep and sleep disturbances with the use of cocaine and opiates. Sleep is vital for healthy brain development, regeneration, and overall healthy wellbeing. With sobriety, restorative, and refreshing nights of sleep return!

2. You’ll be able to put your words into actions.

When you’re actively in using drugs or alcohol, you know that many of your actions are not those you’d make when you are sober. You feel poorly about those words and actions, but your dependence prevents you from putting your remorseful feelings into action. This brings additional guilt and shame into your life and often exacerbates your drive for one more drink or one more hit.

When you’re sober, you are empowered! You’ll no longer find yourself spouting empty words that tear down relationships; you’ll instead be strong enough to follow through with the good intentions you’ve always had.

3. You’ll find more money in your pockets.

Depending on the substance, those who suffer from addiction find they spend anywhere between $20-$1200 a day on their habit. It’s nothing for some in active addiction to spend over $100,000 on alcohol or drugs, and often at the risk of losing their consistent paychecks in the process. Additionally, financial decisions made when using a substance can be catastrophic to you and your family.

When you focus on your sobriety, you’ll find you’re making smarter financial decisions and spending your money more wisely because your judgment is not clouded with intoxicated decision processes.

4. You’ll have better long-term health and life-span.

Drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on your body. Abusing drugs and alcohol can do damage to your body physically in organs like your lungs and your liver, as well as in your brain, which is your body’s command center. Substance abuse impacts your health tremendously. When your body is suffering, so does the rest of you.

When you work on your sobriety, though, you’ll also be working on improving your overall health and longevity. When you are living in sobriety, drugs, or alcohol no longer change your brain’s chemistry and weaken your immune system. Instead, you’ll find you may come back to a healthy weight, and your body will crave things that continue to make it feel amazing, not drag it down.

5. You’ll become passionate about life again.

Yes, becoming sober has many physical and monetary advantages, not to mention benefits to repairing and restoring relationships with friends and family members. Most importantly, though, becoming sober helps you become the you that you were always meant to be. You’ll be able to focus your time, talent, and resources into activities and relationships you’re passionate about. In doing so, you’ll find that the healthy and natural highs you get from doing the things you love drive you to enjoy and be thankful for every day you have.

You’ll be reminded that you don’t need alcohol or drugs to enjoy this beautiful life and that you want to continue living substance-free for all the of the unexpected benefits of sobriety you’ve found.

Recovery is Possible

Though there are so many reasons to focus on your sobriety. The number one reason is that you deserve to live an enriching and fulfilling life.

If you’re struggling with substance abuse, the compassionate staff at Desert Cove Recovery will walk with you upon the path to your new sobriety.

We know that recovery and sobriety are hard-fought. We want to show you how to live a full and happy life substance-free. We’re ready to help you take those first steps and find the real you again. Contact us today and start living the life you were meant to live.

Share the image below if you have experienced any unexpected benefits of sobriety!

unexpected benefits of sobriety, drug rehab arizona

sober culture isn't boring

Sober Culture Isn’t Boring

Sober Culture Isn’t Boring

When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, your addiction is at the center of your world. For many people, their social lives revolve around it, which is one of the many reasons why they may find it difficult to get the help they need to get sober.

What will my life be like if I’m sober? The short answer is better. More and more people are choosing a life without drugs or alcohol, making a sober culture more of the norm rather than the exception.

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What Are the Benefits of Being Part of Sober Culture?

Anyone who has been on both sides of addiction will tell you that being sober is a much better way of life. There are countless celebrities who have chosen sobriety and have shared their stories in hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Florence Welch, of the band Florence + The Machine, is just one musician who is now living a sober life. She acknowledges that she used to drink excessively, causing her to not give 100% to her career. Once she decided to battle her addiction, Welch says everything changed and she began to get her life back.

Award-winning musician Keith Urban is another celebrity who has been open about his sobriety. Urban admits to using drugs and alcohol which he says took away the time he could have been using to create music.

Other celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Rob Lowe, and Tobey Maguire, are just a few of a handful who have openly talked about their addiction and recovery in hopes of encouraging others to embrace the sober culture.

Even people who are not celebrities often share their sobriety stories, in hopes of getting others to battle their addiction. This is done in a variety of ways including in group settings, online, and through social media. For many people, it is not only a way of helping others but is also cathartic as they learn to live a sober life.

If you’re still questioning why you should get sober, consider these benefits that everyone can relate to:

Being Sober Allows You to Remember ALL of Your Activities

Many individuals will admit that there are many parts of their lives that are blocked out because of their drug and alcohol use. When you choose to be sober, you are always present in your life and will have memories of what you’ve done.

Sobriety Makes You Healthier

Poor eating habits, minimal exercise, and damage to your body are just some of the negative aspects of addiction. Being sober means treating your body better and living a healthier life.

Real Friendships

Many individuals have relationships that are centered around their addiction. These friendships are not healthy. When you choose to be sober, you can start establishing relationships that can exist without an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

You can Focus on Work and Hobbies

Addiction steals you away from positive hobbies and from being productive at work. Being sober allows you to focus and excel in different areas of your life.

How Can I Begin to Live a Sober Life?

Living a sober life begins with the realization that you need help. When you choose to get help at Desert Cove Recovery, you will have the help of knowledgeable and caring staff who will take the time to get to know you and your addiction.

The staff at Desert Cove Recovery believes that everyone’s addiction story is unique. That’s why each program differs from person to person. Once your addiction is examined, you will find out if a detox program is needed. This helps to rid your body of the substance you’re addicted to under the supervision of medical staff.

From there, you will begin your treatment which may include a combination of the 12-step process as well as holistic treatment to care for the mind and body. Individual and group therapy are often recommended as well as behavioral therapy to look into the psychological problems that may be involved with addiction.

A big part of sobriety is learning how to live in the outside world minus the addiction. Desert Cove Recovery also takes relapse prevention very seriously and works with each patient to educate them and plan for the future.

If you’re ready to take the first step to live a sober life, call Desert Cove Recovery today to speak to one of our staff members or send us a message online. Let us help you discover the benefits of embracing a sober culture.

 

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

Arizona Rehab Centers Make The Difference In Recovery Relapse

One of the most important but least remembered aspects of addiction recovery is that you are human, and relapse may be a part of your recovery process. It’s a real and valid concern. If you find yourself in relapse from recovery, contacting Arizona rehab centers is the best way to get you back on track, as soon as possible. Reaching out for help will help you maintain the progress and growth you worked hard to achieve.  

What To Do In The Event Of A Relapse

Too often, we feel like if we are in ‘recovery,’ we are on an upward-moving path and anything that takes us back is a failure. That’s simply not the case. Part of the recovery process Arizona rehab centers employ with their clients is the preparation for the possibility of relapse in recovery. The creation of a game plan is also discussed if it should happen.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s not uncommon for people who are in recovery to relapse, as learning to live without drugs or alcohol takes practice. Relapse can lead to damaging consequences, so if you should find yourself relapsing and falling into old habits and behaviors, it’s important to seek professional help quickly and purposefully.

What Causes Relapse In Recovery?

The answer to what causes relapse in recovery is as unique as the answer to the question, “What causes addiction?” Since the underlying reasons for addiction vary from person to person, the reasons for relapse will vary, as well.

That said, Arizona rehab centers have found that there are some commonalities in the reasons many people relapse. Often, facing stressful times or situations will propel a person in recovery toward their addictive substance as a way to cope with the stress.

Depression, negative emotions and feelings can also make one feel that returning to addictive habits may bring back happiness or clarity. Too often, those negative feelings can cloud the judgment of someone in recovery, and trick them into thinking life really was better before they entered the recovery process.

Additionally, when someone in recovery comes back in contact with people and places that are connected to the addictive habits, it’s tempting to want to fall back into those habits with those people as well. Seeing the people and paraphernalia, smelling the alcohol and remembering the ‘good times’ with those who were part of the addictive life can trigger the desire to relapse into those destructive behaviors.

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How Can Arizona Rehab Centers Help In Recovery?

When someone in recovery relapses, there is often guilt and shame that comes with relapse. These feelings can be even worse than what was associated with the addiction in the first place. You may feel as if you’ve not just failed in addiction, but you’ve failed in recovery.

You don’t have to believe that lie. Arizona rehab centers like Desert Cove Recovery are trained to help you immediately tackle the relapse, and to help you work through the guilt and shameful feelings you may have because you’ve relapsed.

The compassionate and professional staff at Desert Cove Recovery know that you are only human, and they’re ready to help you get your life back for good. They understand that there is nothing to be gained in beating yourself up, and will help you learn to realize that it’s not about what you’ve done—it’s about what your next move is. They want that to be a positive one, one that doesn’t deny that relapse may happen but instead realizes it may be part of the journey and needs to be dealt with in a caring and effective manner.

Desert Cove Recovery knows you greatly regret not only your addiction but your relapse, and they want to help so that you can minimize any of the potentially harmful effects of relapse in a caring and kind way.

You’ve already suffered enough in your addiction and you don’t need to endure this alone just because you’ve relapsed. Desert Cove Recovery wants to encourage you for not just taking the efforts to get help, but in understanding that relapse may be part of the journey and they’re there with you in every step of that as well.

You’ve worked hard in recovery; let Desert Cove Recovery stand by your side if you’ve relapsed. They’re there for you, so make the call.

fulfilling life after addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Addiction is estimated to affect as many as 20 million people in the U.S. and nearly 7 percent of people across the industrialized world. Although the prevalence of this very serious chronic ailment remains high, a great deal of progress has been made over the last few decades in its treatment. In fact, we know far more about addiction now and how to effectively treat it than at any time in the past.

However, once many individuals exit rehab, they begin to realize the hard work is not behind them. The real challenge lies in staying the course and preventing addiction from reconquering one’s life. For many who have struggled with alcohol or other substance use disorders, the key in remaining free of addiction’s iron grasp lies in constructing a positive life after addiction.

The Real Key to Long-Term Success

Despite the fact that evidence-based treatment is now able to produce short-term recovery success rates of 90 percent or higher, the most important factor in long-term successful recovery remains the ability to reconstruct one’s life in ways that do not rely on the use of substances as a central girder. As one man who beat his addictions put it, “the decision to get off drugs was easy, but the decision to stay off drugs was always elusive.”

12-step programs have long required that their participants subscribe to a higher power as a means to displace substance abuse as life’s foundational pillar. But many who once struggled with addiction have successfully gotten their lives together without turning their free-will over to a deity. How do they do it?

Discover Your Deeper Passions

One of the most surefire ways to beat addiction over the long term is by realizing a simple truth: There are many things that are far more important and rewarding than using drugs or alcohol. In fact, aside from using substances in controlled moderation, abusing drugs and alcohol ends up consuming an individual to the point where they no longer care about anything else besides their next fix.

The truth is that drug abuse produces nothing of lasting value. Someone who replaces their drug habit with a hobby or other activity about which they are passionate may soon find that they are able to enjoy other endeavors they never would have had the time for beforehand. If someone who overuses alcohol spends 40 hours per week in an unproductive fog, quitting drinking and spending that time on something like learning the piano or becoming a computer programmer could easily turn them into an expert in a matter of years. And once that ball gets rolling, it tends to be self-reinforcing.

The simple fact is that people who are truly passionate about something — anything — simply don’t have time to abuse drugs or alcohol.

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Rekindle Relationships with Friends & Family

One of the oft-heard refrains from people who have managed to stay on the course to recovery is that they feel almost as if time has stopped: Their sober version is a close facsimile of the person that they were prior to starting heavy drug or alcohol abuse. This is because relationships are the benchmarks of our lives, helping to fill out the map of where we have been and where we may be heading. And so much of what makes up normal relationships with people, including a clear recollection of shared experiences, is sacrificed when drugs and alcohol are the primary focus of one’s life.

Forging new relationships or rekindling old ones with friends and family, especially those who do not abuse drugs and alcohol, is another one of the most effective ways to prevent a relapse. The simple truth is that people who have not centered their lives around drugs or alcohol tend to be a hugely positive influence on someone who is trying to live a fulfilling life after addiction. And those who one may have shut out or turned away as a result of their substance abuse may now be far more open to once again becoming a part of the life of someone who has demonstrated a genuine will to change and to stay sober.

 A Shift in Perspective

Contrarily, those who remain sober for extended periods are often shocked at how intolerable and uninviting the lifestyles of fellow substance abusers are when seen from the other side. Some people who have formerly suffered from addiction find continuing motivation in the realization of all the trouble that they left behind when they made the decision to give up their addictions. Many former addicts point to the deaths of close substance-abusing friends and acquaintances as one of the most sobering wakeup calls that they have received.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

One of the most well-attested findings in the addiction recovery literature is the fact that those with strong social support networks are able to successfully recover at rates that far exceed those who are alone in their efforts or who have only fellow addicts to turn to for social support. Friends, family and addiction support groups are all fine ways of maintaining that social support bulwark against relapse that is so critical in the first years of recovery.

Desert Cove Recovery is focused on helping people to achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling life after addiction. With our modern, evidence-based approach, we will work with those who choose sobriety to find approaches that are suitable to their individual needs.

Unlike many other programs, we focus strongly on helping our clients build and maintain adequate and lasting social support while discovering their unique purpose in life. We aim to help them to construct a meaningful existence that is driven by healthy passions and that is no longer an empty cell in which their fleeting impulses keep them confined.

For more information on our revolutionary and highly effective long-term approach to addiction recovery, call Desert Cove Recovery today.

dating while in recovery

Dating While in Recovery

Dating While in Recovery

When you’re in a recovery program for addiction, you should be focusing on yourself and ways you can live a sober life. A lot of time and energy goes into the recovery process which is why dating while in recovery is not always recommended.

How Dating May Hinder Recovery

While some may look at dating as no big deal, it can bring its own set of challenges and obstacles that may hinder recovery. This is not to say that a partner may not offer much-needed support, but if things start heading south, so could your recovery.

Since your focus is on getting and staying sober, much of your time may be dedicated to meetings and therapy sessions. This lack of time to spend with a significant other could compromise a relationship. Not everyone will understand why you can’t make it to dinner or why you may need to cancel at the last minute because you desperately need to go to a meeting.

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If you’re a recovering alcoholic and are having struggles with remaining sober, your date should respectfully abstain from drinking while you’re out together. If he or she doesn’t, this could pose an unwanted temptation that may be difficult to resist. This may be a red flag to end this relationship. You will also want to avoid people from your past who were linked to your addiction. This can be a major roadblock to your recovery.

Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, it may lead you to relapse because you’re heartbroken. Heartbreak can lead to many unhealthy behaviors with drinking and drug use being at the top of the list for those in recovery.

There are many people who will substitute their substance addiction for an addiction to a relationship. This can also be dangerous and hinder a person’s recovery. An addictive relationship while dating is not healthy for anyone, especially someone who is in recovery.

How to Handle Dating While in Recovery

Although it can be tricky, there are many people who do date successfully while in recovery. If the relationship is new and began while you’re in recovery, there are some things you can do to make it healthier for you.

Be Honest

Be honest about your addiction and your past and current struggles. Honesty is a big component of any relationship. Be upfront about your addiction and recovery. Some people can’t handle this, so it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Don’t compromise your recovery time for date time. Anyone you’re dating should understand the importance of therapy and other activities you need to make your recovery last. They shouldn’t encourage you to skip those activities for a date. They should understand that your sobriety comes first. It’s taken you a long time to get to where you are and the journey isn’t over yet.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into anything. You shouldn’t put a relationship in fast forward mode while in recovery. Take it slow. You have a lot on your plate and don’t need a high-stress, high-maintenance relationship to cloud your goals. Anyone worth being with will be understanding and won’t force you to take your relationship any faster than you feel comfortable. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, much like your recovery.

It’s OK To Be “High Maintenance”

Choose date locations that support your recovery. While some people may look at that as being high maintenance, it’s not high maintenance to choose a location that will support your recovery. While a quiet dinner may be a great choice for a date, a bar or nightclub is not. Either one of those may lead to the temptation to drink or do other activities that don’t support your recovery. Another good date choice may be a movie or physical activity like a hike or run. Choosing the right location can make all the difference in your recovery. If your partner can’t understand this, then perhaps it’s time to move on.

Be Prepared for ALL of the Emotions

Channel emotions into positive activities if heartbreak happens. No matter how hard you try to make a relationship work, there are many times when things fail and you end up getting your heart broken. It’s important to channel any negative emotions and sadness that comes out of this into positive activities like exercising, volunteering, and maintaining a healthy diet. You may also want to try journaling to get all of your raw emotions down on paper. The important thing is to find an activity that does not involve revisiting your old patterns. You don’t want to risk your sobriety for a broken relationship.

Get Support

If you’re dating while in recovery or considering starting a relationship, the folks at Desert Cove Recovery can help to keep you on track. A variety of rehab and recovery programs are offered including 12-step programs, holistic treatment, and extended care programs.

We will help to find the right program for you and give you the support and encouragement you need in all aspects of your recovery, including dating while in recovery. Contact us today to get started on the path to a sober life.

 

ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

The use of drugs or alcohol often begins as a way to self-medicate the symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, seemingly harmless habits can turn into addictions that require treatment. How those affected address stress in addiction recovery plays an important role in the rehabilitation process.

Fortunately, professional treatment centers have strategies to help you overcome stress during the recovery process including:

  • Keep a stress journal
  • Self-examination of coping skills
  • Laughing
  • Fitness regimes
  • Get better sleep
  • Socializing with friends

Applying one or more of these methods can help decrease stress levels, improve life balance, and reduce the chance of relapse.

Keep a Stress Journal

Starting a stress journal and making daily entries can provide insight into the stressors that affect you. Over time, you can use the journal to identify the actions you take that led to the exposure of stressors. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to track any mistakes you made in dealing with them, giving you a blueprint of how to avoid them in the future.

Maintaining a stress journal should be simple. Spend just a couple minutes a day collecting a few key pieces of information include the following:

  • Cause of the stress
  • Your reaction to the situation
  • How you alleviated the stress
  • Emotional reactions to the stressor

Combined, these details will paint a picture you can reflect on, opening up opportunities to avoid stressors and enhancing your recovery.

Examine Your Coping Skills

In the past, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with stress in your life. However, if you have been through treatment, you now recognize this is an unhealthy response. Similarly, excessive sleeping, cigarette smoking, binge watching TV programs, and procrastinating are also poor ways of dealing with stress. Using your journal, identify when you turn to one of these coping mechanisms.

The ways in which you cope with stress in addiction is the second part of developing a healthy approach to managing stress. The first, identifying what and where your stressors exist, is balanced by examining and changing poor coping skills.

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ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Get Your 30 Minutes of Exercise

While a keeping a stress journal and examining your coping methods can reduce stress by themselves, one of the most powerful ways is through exercise. Doctors recommend getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. A moderate to high intensity workout can consist of any physical activity that engages and strengthens your different muscle groups.

In addition to the various physical health benefits that exercise provides, exercise reduces stress. As blood pumps faster and delivers more oxygen to the brain, the brain responds by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that interact with pleasure receptors in the brain. The result is the creation of a natural “high” and positive emotion.

The joy you experience may very likely encourage you to exercise more often. More importantly, more exercise will continue to lower the level of stress hormones in your body.

Socialize with Friends

Socializing with friends you trust can help you in two ways. First, it provides a safe outlet for your negative feelings. Discussing your problems with friends can reduce the stress you feel about different situations. This is true even if they are not able to offer advice on resolving a particular issue.

Secondly, socializing and enjoying the time you spend with your friends is a positive escape from stress. Having fun with friends takes your mind off of stressful problems and gives your body a chance to reduce the stress you’re experiencing. Socializing is a return to normalcy, a feeling that is a positive reflection of your recovery progress.

Get a Better Quality of Sleep

While sleeping excessively to avoid problems is unhealthy, many people experience a sleep deficiency that can become equally problematic. If you are not getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, you may be causing a boost in stress levels.

To counteract this imbalance of stress, look for ways to get a better quality of sleep each night. You may need to limit caffeine consumption to the morning hours, shut down electronic devices an hour before bed, or engage in relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, or reading books can help you relax before bed. As an added bonus, these practices are also great for reducing stress by themselves.

Laughter is Still the Best Medicine

When people are stressed, the body creates the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, combined with a boosted release of adrenaline, causes a more intense feeling of stress. However, when we laugh, the brain releases endorphins that counteract the effects that stress hormones have on the body. You can initiate this biochemical reaction by watching a funny movie or TV show, searching for videos of stand-up comics, or going to a live comedy show. Any entertainment that will bring out your sense of humor can help you reduce stress in a natural and healthy way.

Successful Stress Management

The road to recovery can be long and hard. It is important to work with a treatment center who understands the complex rehabilitation journey. Sobriety is not only about breaking free from physical addiction through detoxification, but also about the mental fortitude required to remain drug and alcohol free.

Rehabilitation centers such as Desert Cove Recovery, have trained professionals specializing in treating the mental aspects of recovery. Much of the mental recovery process is indeed about managing stress and how to cope in the presence of stressors.

If you or a loved are may be struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or stress in addiction, know that there are specially trained professionals here to help. It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance abuse. The most important step is finding the help you or your loved one needs. 

 

 

 

 

comparing behavioral addiction and substance addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

If you or anyone you know is suffering or has suffered with addiction, you know how serious of a problem it can become. Drugs, alcohol, and smoking are obvious addictions that can destroy your life and health, but there is more to addiction than simply substance abuse.

It can be hard to notice an addiction when the behavior isn’t directly dangerous to your health like drug or alcohol abuse is. Despite posing a lesser immediate threat, these behavioral addictions can be equally crippling, but are often taken less seriously than others. In some cases, they can even evolve into substance addiction, making it important that you seek treatment for both behavioral addiction and substance addiction so that your addiction can’t progress further.

However, you can’t seek treatment if you don’t know there’s a problem. Identifying your addiction, understanding the consequences of it, and deciding to seek help are the first steps to recovery.

The Dangers of Addiction

Whether it’s sex, drugs, or rock and roll, when we do something that we enjoy the reward pathways in our brain release dopamine – the “feel good” hormone. This chemical rush acts as positive reinforcement to our body, telling us that what we did was good for us. Over time, this conditions your brain to seek out the dopamine release to the point of a physical or mental reaction when it doesn’t get what it wants. This is what causes an addiction, with the addiction type depending on how you achieve the release.

Many times, addiction results from using something (like a drug or activity) as a coping mechanism for mental disorders like depression or anxiety. These disorders can make it hard for the brain and body to achieve the dopamine release, so once something is introduced that activates the reward center in the brain, a need for it – or addiction – develops.

Addictions are dangerous because they alter your mental state, affecting your decision making and potentially leading to dangerous consequences. This can be going bankrupt from a gambling addiction or dying from withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse.

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A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

Behavioral Addiction

Just about everyone at some point in their life becomes infatuated with something. Whether you go through a stage of animal obsession with a room full of stuffed animals or develop a passion for baseball, human beings are wired to do what they enjoy. Unfortunately, the things that make us feel good are not always good for us. This is especially true when that passion or obsession escalates to a need or addiction that becomes out of our control.

Behavioral addiction leans more towards the psychological or mental side of addiction than the 2-sided substance addiction. It occurs when your addiction comes from a certain action or behavior that stimulates the reward center in your brain rather than a substance activating the response. This can be something like sex, gambling, sky diving, shopping, eating unhealthily, and other potentially harmful behaviors that don’t involve altering your body or blood chemistry directly.

Behavioral addiction is slightly more taboo than substance addiction, with some questioning whether or not it actually qualifies as an addiction. This is possibly because culturally, outside of drug use, being addicted to something is synonymous with loving or enjoying something. It can also be underestimated because there is no chemical or physical need for it in the same way that alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawals can be fatal – though both can cause physiological symptoms. However, behavioral addictions can have a similar effect on your brain as substance addiction does (or even lead to substance addiction), making it something to take seriously.

Substance Addiction

Drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. Many people know someone who suffers from or has suffered from alcoholism or drug use that cost them their life, destroyed their health, or ripped their family apart. These addictions are often easier to see because they manifest physically as opposed to behavioral addictions that tend to be more mentally focused.

Substance addiction is the most common form of addiction in the country, with more than 21.5 million Americans suffering with a drug use disorder in 2014. It occurs when someone mentally and physically needs to take a drug or substance to achieve a dopamine release and feel “normal”, otherwise they will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be lethal if untreated.

Behavioral addiction and substance addiction are similar in that both addictions are caused by the comfort or happiness the behavior or action provides, but substance abuse adds a chemical dependence on top of the mental addiction which makes it more physically dangerous (and likely causes it to be taken more seriously than behavioral addiction).

Substance addiction can be something simple like frequent binge drinking that leads to liver damage or something as extreme as abusing opioids and potentially overdosing as your body builds a tolerance to the drug.

Treating Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction with Rehabilitation

When it comes to treating addiction, it’s important to seek professional help regardless of whether it is substance or behavioral addiction. An addiction often develops due to a reliance on a coping mechanism for a mental disorder. By treating the underlying cause, it helps to prevent you from seeking a new coping mechanism after kicking your current addiction. This is known as addiction transfer, and though your new addiction may be less harmful than a substance addiction, addictive behavior can still be dangerous to your mental and physical health because it can evolve into something serious again.

If you’re ready to address the addictive tendencies that make you human and get to the core of your addiction, you’ll need the help of addiction and recovery specialists. The experts at Desert Cove Recovery provide a comprehensive holistic treatment program influenced by the 12-step process to ensure that all aspects of your addiction are addressed so that you can prevent relapse and move on with your life. Offering inpatient programs for drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, anyone who is suffering with addiction can get the help they need in a safe and professional environment.

If you’d like to learn more about how Desert Cove Recovery can help you take control of your life back, contact us today.

quit drinking for good

You Can Quit Drinking for Good

You Can Quit Drinking for Good

Many alcoholics may have trouble admitting they have a drinking problem because alcohol is socially accepted as opposed to other drugs that lead to addiction. But, statistics show that one in eight Americans is an alcoholic. That amounts to more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. Knowing that excessive drinking is a problem many people face can help someone get the help they need to quit drinking for good. Admitting there is a problem is the first step; one that can be the most difficult to face.

Why It Can Be Difficult to Quit Drinking for Good

Once you admit you have a drinking problem, the next step is to seek help. If you think you can do this alone, you may want to reconsider. Many people try it on their own and run into one or more of these issues that prevent them from quitting drinking.

Long-term alcohol use affects brain chemistry

When you decide you want to stop drinking, it’s not as easy as just making a conscious decision. When you use alcohol for a long period of time, your brain chemistry changes leaving you feeling as though you need alcohol to function. Professionals know how to safely handle withdrawal symptoms as you detox from alcohol.

You may experience severe withdrawal symptoms

When people try to quit drinking on their own, they may experience withdrawal symptoms they can’t handle on their own. These can include nausea, vomiting, trembling, anxiety, and much more. At an alcohol rehab program, professionals can determine how to help you detox from alcohol and deal with withdrawal symptoms in a safe way so that you’re not tempted to drink again.
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Alcohol is socially accepted

Unlike drugs, which are illegal, alcohol is legal and socially accepted. If you’re out with friends or at a party, you may be offered a drink or two by people who don’t realize you have an addiction. While they may be able to stop at that point, it’s different for you. If you are trying to quit on your own and are offered alcohol while you’re out, quitting can become increasingly difficult.

How Rehab Can Help for Long-Term Recovery

If you have realized you have an alcohol problem and are ready to seek the help you need to live a sober life, extended care rehab can help. Many people have the misconception that alcohol rehab programs solely consist of AA meetings. While meetings can be part of the recovery process, they are not the entire process. Since everyone’s addiction is treated differently, so is everyone’s recovery.

When you seek help, you will first be evaluated to see if detox is necessary. No other therapy can begin until your body is free from the substance you’ve become addicted to. Professionals at the rehab facility will assure that your detox is medically monitored and that any withdrawal symptoms are dealt with safely by a medical team.

From that point, the course of your treatment will be determined. Some people do well in shortened programs, depending on their level of addiction, while others need more time to sort through their issues and start living a sober life. Whichever category you fall into is perfectly fine. The important thing is that you are now seeking the help you need. Everything else will begin to fall into place as long as you are following the steps of your program and putting in the work that is necessary to succeed.

In order to help you recover, you will likely go through therapy sessions to help you determine what led to your addiction. This is an important part of the recovery process because you need to learn what triggers to avoid, or how to deal with those triggers should you not be able to completely avoid them, in order to get well.

Often times hearing other people’s stories through group sessions can help people recover because they realize they are truly not alone. Knowing that there are other people who are going through the same thing at the same time can be comforting. It can also help to build new friendships and bonds with people who have the same goals.

How Extended Care Rehab Can Help

For some people, short term programs are enough, but for others, extended care rehab is needed. This will be determined by your clinician. The benefits of extended care rehab are that you can work on physical and body issues to help with your recovery. These areas may not be entirely addressed during a regular rehab stay.

At Desert Cove Recovery extended care recovery programs are available to those who need it. During this program, you can expect individual therapy sessions where a therapist will address your issues one-on-one. There are also group therapy sessions available as well as a relapse prevention program that will focus specifically on how to maintain your sobriety.

The final part of the process relies on the transition process to help you succeed out in the world once you leave the program. Once you do leave, you may still attend meetings from time to time on an outpatient basis.

If you’re ready to start your path to recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. One of our caring staff members will answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out an online form to get in contact with our team. They will help you to begin living a sober life.