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Monday, November 12, 2018

Why People With a Substance Abuse Disorder Struggle to ‘Just Say No’


We all remember the “Just Say No” ad campaign from a few decades ago. The slogan seems to indicate that it should be easy for anyone to turn down drugs or alcohol simply by using their willpower. However, in real life, the answer isn’t as black and white.

If you have a loved one with a substance dependency, you may have heard them pledge to quit using their drug of choice, only to see them relapse into unhealthy habits a few weeks or months later. You’re probably wondering what makes it so challenging for them to stop misusing drugs, particularly since you have witnessed firsthand how negatively their drug habit is affecting their quality of life.

To help you understand why people can’t just walk away from a dangerous drug habit, let’s consider the effects of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is powerful enough to change brain chemistry and trigger a long-term dependency on drug and alcohol use.

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is responsible for controlling the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. When highly addictive drugs like opioids enter someone’s body, the brain releases a flood of dopamine, creating intense feelings of fulfillment that make drugs progressively difficult to resist.

As someone becomes addicted to drugs, they also develop vivid memories linking drug use with that satisfying feeling. Even people who have vowed to quit using drugs and have remained sober for a long time still remember the sense of gratification that came with using their drug of choice, which can trigger cravings and an eventual relapse. Essentially, drug use changes the brain.

Now that you know more about the connection between dopamine and addictive behavior, you can see why it can be such an uphill battle for people suffering from substance use disorder to “just say no.” If you have a loved one with a substance dependency, you should view addiction as a disease, rather than a lifestyle choice.

Achieving Freedom From Substance Use Disorder at Canyon Crossing

Though successfully recovering from substance misuse is difficult, it is never out of reach. At Canyon Crossing, we believe no woman with addiction should have to fight her battles alone. With our effective, women-only addiction treatment programs, our caring professionals provide the support our clients need to get back on their feet and reestablish healthy, happy lives free of the burden of substance misuse. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sober Ways to Have Fun in the Fall and Winter

Staying sober during any season can be difficult, but fall and winter bring several additional challenges for people in recovery. Both seasons can profoundly affect mood and energy levels, which in turn play a role in your mental health.

What Makes Sobriety More Difficult in Cooler Weather?

During fall and winter, there are fewer hours of daylight, and you can’t participate in as many fun outdoor activities. In addition, memories surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas can make the holiday season a struggle for many people who are working to maintain long-term sobriety.

People in recovery can also be more susceptible to a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short. SAD is most common during the winter months; however, it can also affect people during the summer.

When you’re working to break free of addictive behaviors, it’s essential to have a plan to fight back when the fall and winter blues threaten to drag you down. Staying connected with your peers in recovery and finding fun, sober activities to fill your schedule can go a long way toward helping you succeed in your goals.

Sober Activities in Fall and Winter

Fortunately, here in sunny Arizona, it’s easy to maintain an active lifestyle year-round, even in cooler weather, and there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy that don’t have to involve alcohol. To help you fill your free time with sober activities you can enjoy on your own or with a group, we’ve compiled this list for you. Now, all you need to do is get out and have a good time!

Stay Sober Year-Round in Prescott, AZ

Discover a lifetime of sobriety at Canyon Crossing. Our women’s-only recovery programs are here to help you get a new sense of purpose and rediscover the joys of life. Reach out to us today to get started on your journey.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Is Substance Abuse Ruining Your Relationship?

Addiction can take over every aspect of your life, including your relationship with your romantic partner. For some people who struggle with substance misuse disorders, specific relationships can even trigger their desire to use drugs or alcohol, which makes it especially challenging to break the vicious cycle of addiction.

Addicts Can Be Secretive

One of the most common factors that significantly affects loving relationships is the level of deception involved in an addict’s daily life. Open, honest communication is key to a healthy relationship, but someone whose life has begun to center on drug use may become very secretive, going to great lengths to hide how far their life has spiraled out of their control.

“Little white lies” that seem innocent enough at first start turning into large-scale deceptions. Sometimes, a person who is trying to cover up unmanageable drug use will lead a double life, walling themselves off to avoid judgment from the person who knows them best. This isolation and secrecy erode the foundation of their relationship with their significant other.

Loss of Trust

Trust is another building block of healthy relationships that suffers as an inevitable consequence of constant deceptive behavior. If your drug use has led you to isolate yourself from your romantic partner, they may be feeling like they have begun to take second place in your life. Their pain and resentment will eventually begin to fester, especially if they have tried to have a constructive conversation with you about your drug problem and you have turned them away.

Once trust is lost, it becomes much more difficult for someone with an addiction to maintain loving relationships without seeking treatment.

Codependency

Codependent relationships can be some of the most toxic and destructive situations addicted people can find themselves in. If you have a substance dependency, your partner may have become codependent on you without either of you realizing it. Someone who is codependent on a loved one with addiction may be struggling with the far-reaching effects of drug misuse, but also has begun to enjoy seeing themselves as or “taking care of” that person. They may make excuses for their loved one’s behavior, even if that is precisely opposite from the kind of help they need.

Change Begins Here

At Canyon Crossing, we offer women’s-only rehabilitation programs that help our clients reclaim their lives and recover effectively from substance misuse and addiction. If you have decided to seek help for your drug dependency, contact our Prescott, AZ, rehab facility to speak with one of our caring staff members.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 12

recovery stories This past week has had a lot happen in it. I shared part of my Addiction/Trauma Timeline, and then am preparing the second half. I cried in front of everyone for the first time and honestly it felt alright. Today I went to horses for the first time and I fell in love. I love horses so much. We watched them interact with each other and learned about their pasts, and then we guessed which horse was which. I had a really good time and felt happier and calmer after being around them.

Client E

Here I’ve learned how to handle a lot of different things life throws at me. I’ve learned how to regulate my emotions and deal with them properly. Canyon has given me a wide skill set so I can pick which skill I find the most effective. Here at canyon I’ve also learned how to be vulnerable. Recovery isn’t easy but it’s sure worth it.

Client H

Ever since I first started trying to get clean and sober several years ago, I have been told to “act as if.” I “acted as if” I wanted to stay sober until it was my goal for myself. I “acted as if” I wasn’t depressed and eventually it brought me out of depression. Nowadays, I don’t have to “act as if” anymore, but I still do. I am looking carefully at the words I use when speaking to myself and how they affect my day. Often, I tell myself that I should or shouldn’t be feeling a certain way, that I should be farther along, that I should know the answers. When I tell myself these things I’m shutting myself off from the truth of what is really going on inside of me at any given moment; I am robbing myself and others of intimacy and connection. I “act as if” I am perfect, I am better, I know all the answers, and at the end of the day it just means I am beating myself up for any mistakes I have made. My goal today is to be honest with myself in every moment. It is to be vulnerable even when it takes courage to do so. Today I will accept that I have emotions that aren’t always pretty and that recovery isn’t a straight line. I can meet the world as it is even when it takes me by surprise. I don’t have to “act as if” anything is different than it is in this moment, because the truth and reality of the present is exactly where I am meant to be.

Client J

Here at Canyon I have been able to truly find myself again. I have an amazing sponsor and my therapy sessions have really turned my life around. I have been here for a little over four months now and I was hopeless when I walked in Canyon. I have grown so much I have got my interests back, my personality, I have coping skills, and I have learned how to be responsible for my own actions. Canyon Crossing has truly given me an opportunity of a life time. I have changed for the better and I’m still growing because I came here.

Client K

Breezy

October, chilly
55, cloudy and breezy
Kids playing, loving families
A mom and a dad
Dad playing football with the kids
People walking
Dogs
Couples and dogs
People enjoying a walk on this chilly day
Old town, historic
Grass, nice and green
Statues, flags and court house
The famous Whisky Row
The World’s Oldest Rodeo and 14 fine shops
Stores galore in this small down town
They call The Square
It’s a breezy chilly day in October of 2018

Client K

Bloodline

As I sat in the second row back
Looking at the stars through the fogged glass window and
Listening to the voices sing along with a song
Playing on the radio
I felt a rush so strong
It was as if the van had crashed
For the first time I finally felt true love
Love for the women around me
Love for power of our unity
Love for myself
I understand now that we need each other
Every single one of us
To stay alive
We cannot do this alone
These are my sisters
This is my family

Client M

My inner judge is always in the room. He’s taken over my head and for too long I’ve allowed him to distort my reality. I don’t deserve the things he says to me. He’s mean and cold and I won’t stand for it anymore. I’m going to have a self love party and he won’t get an invitation. I now choose better friends like self love, joy and kindness. Those are the kind of people I want around me. I choose my new friends and my new life. I surround myself with love and serenity.

Client M

I’ve been seeing more and more “coincidences,” which I can’t keep writing off. I think it’s a way of having my higher power communicate and make itself known to me. I think I’ve ignored it long enough and it finally got tired of me ignoring what my higher power does for me. I’m happy and proud of myself recently and I haven’t felt like that in years. The promises are starting to come true for me and I’m at a place where I can see them and appreciate my life.

Client S

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sober Ways to Celebrate Halloween

For those who are in the earliest stages of recovery, the thought of Halloween may feel more like a trick than a treat. Though Halloween was once a just-for-kids holiday, today it has grown into one of the biggest drinking days of the year among adults. What are some healthy ways you can enjoy the holiday without falling back into your old unhealthy habits?

 

1. Host a Substance-Free Gathering

If you’re feeling the Halloween spirit, but need to celebrate without spirits, the easiest way to stay sober on this holiday is by becoming the “hostess with the mostest.” While you might think nobody will want to come to a party if you’re not serving cocktails, you might be surprised. Anyone who supports your recovery journey will be glad to come to your sober Halloween gathering, as will any friends with young kids or people you know who prioritize health and fitness.

 

2. Plan a Pumpkin-Palooza

Plan a day where you and your best friends go to the pumpkin patch or your local farmers’ market to choose the perfect pumpkins. Then, everyone can carve or paint them together. Make sure to have lots of tools and equipment on hand so people can make their pumpkin masterpieces a reality! Those who don’t want to carve or paint can still be part of the fun by roasting the pumpkin seeds into tasty treats everyone can enjoy.

 

3. Have a Fright Night

Invite some friends over, pop yourself a batch of popcorn and host a scary movie festival with classic Halloween favorites. As a bonus, this sober party idea is also easy to put together and doesn’t cost much!

 

4. Go All Out on Decorations

String some orange lights, make your front yard into a fake graveyard and get ready to transform your house into the spookiest one on the block. All the kids in your neighborhood will get a huge kick out of it, and so will your friends when you post your photos to social media!

 

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Reach out to some local nonprofits and ask if they need any volunteers to help at their Halloween parties. You can also volunteer to take less fortunate kids trick-or-treating. Volunteering is an excellent way to get involved in your community and help people who are in need. Not only will you stay sober, but you’ll go to bed feeling the glow of giving back.

With a little inspiration, you can find ways to enjoy Halloween without reverting to drug or alcohol use. And, if you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery journey, our helpful team is a simple phone call away. Start your admissions process with us today.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Recovering and Working in the Addiction Field

recovering working addiction field
When I was in early recovery at 22 years of age I didn’t have a purpose in life. Alcoholism had robbed me of completing college and created a very deep sense of purposelessness in my life. At this time in 1983 the old-timers of Alcoholics Anonymous would say things like, “Don’t become a counselor because you will drink!” and “You can’t work a 12-step and get paid, it’s against the traditions!” I was 23 years old, sober, and looking for a way to make a living and create purpose in my life. My options seemed limited and my interests were narrow. I wanted to help alcoholics stay sober and I wanted to get paid for it, so I went to school to become a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) on Long Island, NY. At this time this credential was fairly new and the state of New York had begun requiring training and certification. Prior to this you could work in a treatment center as a recovering alcoholic without any other training than being sober and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Against a lot of advice I attended two years of training, interned at a local treatment center, and took a grueling two day test. I received my credential and got a job in a hospital working with eating disorder clients in an inpatient setting. Throughout my training I attended AA and worked with a sponsor. I remained sober and took great pleasure in remaining so and telling those same old-timers that I was working in the field and staying sober. They would just laugh and say, “Keep coming back!”

After several years of working in the field I started to slack off on my meetings and I didn’t sponsor anyone because I was, “just too busy!” I also succumbed to the misunderstanding that since I was working with addicts all day I didn’t need to, “freely give what I had freely gotten.” This thinking lead to a selfishness, which is every alcoholic’s down fall. It negatively affected my program and kept me isolated from my fellow alcoholics and made me feel like I was different than my peers.

When I got burned out working with addicts and felt as if I couldn’t help another person I took a long break from working in the field. I re-committed myself to AA and working with newcomers because my early sponsors had drilled this concept into me, “you cannot keep that which you don’t give away.” I had become too selfish to give of myself freely, which affected the quality of my sobriety. I was sober but I was isolated. I was sober but I was too professional to work with another alcoholic for free. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states that in order for me to stay sober I need to work with another alcoholic. I don’t work with another alcoholic for pay, prestige, or purpose. I have to work with another alcoholic to stay sober. I am a better person when I’m sponsoring or being helpful because it’s what I’m supposed to do, not because it’s my job.

I enjoy working in the field because I truly love people and love helping addicts find a new way to live. I also attend meetings and work with fellow alcoholics because I want to keep my sobriety and increase the quality of my sobriety. I will never make the mistake of keeping my sobriety to myself because I suffered from a lack of spirituality when I was acting from my own alcoholism instead of my sobriety. My early sponsor was right, the old-timers were half right, and I’m very grateful that I didn’t have to drink to find out I still need to work the 12th step as it is written and follow the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Janet E. Bontrager BA 
Primary Therapist

Friday, October 12, 2018

Healthy Ways to Prevent Relapse in Recovery

When you live with addiction, one of the first things to understand is that you have a lifelong illness. And, just like with other chronic diseases, you’ll need to learn long-term strategies to manage it – including finding healthy ways to prevent relapse.

Entering a qualified drug detox program is a positive first step to getting your addiction under control. However, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes, going through rehab isn’t a “cure.” They report that, for as many as 40 to 60 percent of people, relapse is part of the cycle of recovery.

What Is Relapse?

Though many recovering addicts view relapse as a single event, it’s closer to the truth to describe relapse as a multi-stage process:
  • Relapse through thoughts – “I have been sober for long enough to be cured of my addiction. I deserve just one drink to help me unwind.”
  • Relapse through behavior – “My preoccupation with using again is affecting my feelings and how I treat others.”
  • Relapse through controlled use – “Using a substance in a controlled way will help me handle everyday problems more easily.”
People in the third stage of relapse may begin using small quantities of drugs or alcohol, believing they can manage their substance use on their own. However, the compulsive nature of addiction can bring them all the way back to where they were before they sought treatment.

Understanding Relapse Triggers

To be successful in recovery, it is essential to recognize the triggers that can lead to a relapse, and what coping strategies are available to help prevent relapse and keep you sober. Your unique triggers may include stress, anxiety or depression. Or, perhaps you find yourself in situations that remind you of the days when you were using your drug of choice, awakening cravings to use again.

Five Ways to Prevent Relapse

  1. Have a support network of family and friends who will encourage you to stay sober.
  2. Attend 12-step meetings where you can talk with people who have worked through similar challenges.
  3. Start a physical fitness regimen to improve your physical and emotional well-being.
  4. Write down a list of the negative consequences of using again.
  5. Remind yourself you’re not alone in your challenges.

Get Drug Rehab in Prescott, AZ

Understanding how to prevent the relapse process can help you avoid returning to addiction. If you are on the verge of or in the middle of a relapse, reach out to our helpful team to learn more about how our treatment plans can help you get back on the road to sobriety – and equip you with the necessary tools to stay there.