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Friday, October 18, 2019

What Is Post-Traumatic Growth?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a well-documented and well-understood psychological challenge that affects millions of American adults every year. PTSD is a form of anxiety that can make day-to-day life feel like an insurmountable challenge. Constantly reliving your traumatic event in the form of flashbacks or nightmares can put you on edge, make you irritable and leave you unable to sleep, among other symptoms.

Sadly, the struggles associated with PTSD don’t go away on their own. As a result, many people with PTSD self-medicate with drugs and alcohol in an attempt to manage their symptoms and gain some sense of control over their lives. That’s why PTSD and substance misuse disorder often occur simultaneously. However, trauma doesn’t have to be a solely negative event.

Post-Traumatic Growth: The Other Side of the PTSD Coin

For all the attention paid to PTSD and its attendant health problems, fewer people realize that there is a positive side of trauma, known as post-traumatic growth. Instead of adversely taking over your life, post-traumatic growth refers to the discovery of a newfound, inner reserve of strength after experiencing a traumatic event such as physical violence, an injury or a sexual assault.

Here are some examples of ways people can demonstrate personal growth and emotional resilience in the wake of trauma.
  • If you experienced a mugging or a home break-in, consider forming a neighborhood watch initiative to rally your neighbors against violence.
  • If you are a rape survivor, you can volunteer as a victims’ rights advocate, encouraging local hospitals to provide rape kits.
  • After a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado affects your community, you can volunteer to help people less fortunate than you, donating money, food or clothes or rescuing homeless animals.
  • Re-frame the experience as something that helped make you stronger. Tell yourself, “If I survived that, I can make it through anything.”
  • Develop a more profound sense of gratitude or spirituality.

You Are Stronger Than Your Traumatic Experience

Anyone who has lived through trauma can explore various paths to post-traumatic growth without succumbing to PTSD or substance misuse. People who have experienced a dual diagnosis of trauma and addiction often lose their sense of hope and self-worth. You might feel like you’ve made too many mistakes to change, or that you don’t deserve to be happy. Knowing about post-traumatic growth gives you a way to find new meaning and purpose behind your pain. Like a master of Japanese pottery, you can find a way to create beauty out of mending the broken places in your life.

As with any form of growth, healing from trauma is not easy. It requires consistent effort, and there will be setbacks along the way. It’s essential to realize every situation represents a choice. You can consciously decide to view your trauma as a disaster that makes you a victim, or as something that has given you a chance to become stronger by taking the power back.

Renew Your Sense of Purpose

If you are struggling with trauma and addiction, you have options at your disposal to make a full recovery. At Canyon Crossing, we provide women’s-only trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona. We are here to help you move past the emotional, psychological and physical health problems in your life and find new pathways to growth. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


ecotherapyEcotherapy is not a new concept but the defining of the approach as a specific therapeutic intervention may seem like a new and outrageous idea. The purpose of “Ecotherapy” is to simply allow nature and our interactions with nature to sooth the soul. I base my Ecotherapy approach upon the foundations of Shinrin-yoku or Japanese forest bathing. Forest bathing, simply “being in the presence of trees” became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982. As a member of the National Association of Forest Therapy and a longtime outdoor adventurer and “tree hugger”, nature has always played a large part in my philosophical approach to healing both myself and others. This evidence-based practice not only promotes physical health but allows space for mental and emotional healing as well as meditative practice. We live in a time of great technological innovation. As a consequence of this gift, we have forgotten how to slow down and spend time with ourselves as we bustle through our ever increasing daily responsibilities. Ecotherapy allows for this time while utilizing the natural offerings of our beautiful planet.

Links for further research:




Friday, October 11, 2019

The Benefits of Compassion in Addiction Recovery

During addiction treatment, you will develop many new skills that will provide a solid foundation for your recovery. These include patience with yourself and others, perseverance, self-confidence, inner calm and optimism. One trait that might not immediately come to your mind, but that will serve you well in combination with the others, is compassion. Here’s a closer look at how compassion can improve your recovery.

Rebuild Damaged Relationships

Addiction can undermine even the strongest relationships. The compulsion to continue using substances, despite the negative consequences, can lead you to do completely uncharacteristic things like lying, stealing, missing work or school and being generally irresponsible. This behavior can hit friends and loved ones hard because they have every reason to believe drugs or alcohol have become the highest priority in your life.

When you finally seek help for your addiction, you may feel intense, lingering guilt for the way you behaved, and simultaneously frustrated when your family and friends are slow to trust you again. Compassion can come in handy here because it enables you to put yourself in their shoes and understand everything they have gone through because of the disruptive presence of addiction. Caring about their suffering allows you and your loved ones the space to heal alongside each other.

Forgive Yourself So You Can Move On

Even people who agree about the benefits of showing compassion for others may not think they deserve to have compassion for themselves. If you have reasons to be ashamed of your past, you may feel as if forgiving yourself will prevent you from making future progress. However, constantly tormenting yourself over the negativity in your past is futile. It keeps you trapped in a cycle of shame, instead of working on your self-improvement.

Many times, it is easier to have compassion for others, so it might help to picture your addicted self as a different person. Think of the hopelessness and desperation addiction causes, and be compassionate toward the woman who is going through that difficult time.

Do Your Future Self a Favor

Research has proven a link between self-control and empathy. Whenever you are facing a choice between an immediate payoff and a significant long-term reward, you are choosing between your current self and your future one. One way to think of self-control, then, is as showing compassion for future you. The ability to envision who you will be a month, a year or a decade into your recovery improves your chances of success at staying sober.

Compassion for your future self is invaluable. It helps you stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even when you’d rather sleep in. It gives you the willpower to consistently attend 12-step meetings, when you’d prefer to do something else. If you view every decision as a small act of compassion, you can create a brighter tomorrow for yourself.

Start Your Recovery Today

At Canyon Crossing, our mission is to help women get in touch with who they can be without drugs and alcohol weighing down their spirits and eroding their relationships with others. We accept most major insurance plans, and we offer many of the most innovative and in-demand treatment programs available in addiction recovery. Reach out to us to learn more about our women’s-only rehab center in Arizona.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

Committing to a program of drug and alcohol recovery requires you to address the root causes of why you developed a substance misuse disorder to begin with. Those reasons are different for everyone, but for many people trapped in the cycle of substance abuse, there is a clear-cut connection between trauma and addiction.

How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?

To begin to appreciate the link between addiction and trauma, you need a clear understanding of what trauma is. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes trauma as any event or set of circumstances someone views as dangerous or life-threatening. This trauma has lasting effects on their ability to function socially, mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally.

It’s essential to note that an event you perceive as traumatic may not deeply affect someone else. Understanding the definition is different for everyone can help shift the public stigma that still surrounds trauma. Domestic abuse, sexual assault, robbery, natural disasters and the loss of a loved one are some examples of traumatic events, but there are many forms of trauma.

Why Do Some Trauma Victims Turn to Substance Abuse?

Because of how trauma affects sufferers over the long term, it can be challenging to cope with the negative emotions and stressors that accompany it. This struggle can lead people to turn to unhealthy outlets, including substance abuse. In one study, 90% of residents in a behavioral health care setting reported having experienced trauma. For many, this trauma is often chronic and recurs over several years.

After experiencing a traumatic event, many people may view drugs and alcohol as a way to help mask symptoms like hypersensitivity, social withdrawal, depression and insomnia. At first, these substances may give you some semblance of control, but addiction will gradually inhibit your ability to heal and move forward. Over time, the would-be “cure” causes you just as much physical and emotional damage – if not more – as the original trauma itself.

How to Treat Trauma and Addiction

Trauma and substance abuse are co-occurring disorders that require simultaneous treatment to make a full recovery. In recent years, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has emerged as a promising way for addressing trauma. During EMDR sessions, your therapist will ask you to briefly relive stressful or triggering memories while they direct your eye movements.

The prevailing hypothesis about what makes EMDR effective is that remembering troubling events can be less distressing while you are focusing your attention elsewhere. Over time, the technique helps desensitize you to the impact the memories have on you.

Other effective techniques for treating trauma include dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

Trauma-Focused Treatment for Women

A trauma-informed treatment program is the ideal choice for anyone dealing with the dual diagnosis of addiction and trauma. In providing women’s-only rehabilitation, Canyon Crossing’s mental health professionals create a space where our clients can learn to feel comfortable being open about their struggles.

If you need to rebuild your life and feel empowered again after experiencing the emotional and physical ravages of trauma and addiction, contact us today to learn more about our holistic approach.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Tips for Making Self-Care Part of Every Day

Self-care is a valuable component of mental health, especially for women in addiction recovery. Taking time for yourself, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can help you remain calmer and more collected. Keeping an even keel is critical if you hope to stay motivated and prevent a relapse. With that in mind, here are six easy ways you can incorporate self-care into your daily routine.

1. Eat Mindfully

Often, we eat our meals while we’re working or watching TV, thus denying ourselves the full sensory experience of food. Treat yourself with more respect, and allow yourself to indulge in a distraction-free meal where the food is the sole focus. The concept of mindful eating refers to a practice of eating slowly, engaging with the textures, flavors, colors and smells of what’s on your plate. As a bonus, becoming more consciously aware of your food helps you avoid overeating.

2. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

While most people benefit from keeping a to-do list – and the satisfying feeling of crossing things off when you’ve finished them – how often do you automatically move on to the next item on your list without stopping to congratulate yourself for your productivity? At the end of each day, make a list of all the productive things you’ve done. Whether you contributed creative ideas to a brainstorming meeting at work, or folded and put away all your laundry, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

3. Be Thankful

Addiction causes you to lose things, from your friends to your health. Part of recovery means being grateful for what you have. Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bed, and every night before you go to sleep, jot down at least one thing you feel thankful to have.

4. Let Your Inner Child out to Play

You may tell yourself that you’ve outgrown childhood hobbies, but the joyous, adventurous little person you once were is still there somewhere inside you. Whether your favorite activity was wading in the creek and catching frogs or making necklaces out of wild clover, allow yourself to return to those happier days. If you have a child of your own, you can have extra fun introducing them to these hobbies.

5. Get Lost in a Good Book

Reading a book you love is a wonderful way to feel happy and escape from the world for a while. Whether you start a new book a friend recommended you, or fall into an old favorite, there is something inherently meditative about the act of reading.

6. Do a Digital Detox

There are many merits of social media. You can use it to keep up with the news, connect with relatives who live far away or even find a new job opportunity. However, there are also many advantages of unplugging and stepping away from the scroll for a day or two. After all, many social media sites are a source of negativity because people post hurtful comments or use it to brag about their accomplishments. If you take a break from social media, you can become more focused and in the moment.

Be Your Best Self

At Canyon Crossing, our unique programming helps women discover the joy that comes with being sober and free from drug and alcohol addictions. We are here for you when you’re ready to change your life for the better. Contact us today to learn more.

Friday, September 20, 2019

What Makes Gratitude an Essential Part of Recovery?

Addiction inherently leads to selfish thoughts and behavioral patterns. If you spent years abusing drugs or alcohol, you likely pushed others away in pursuit of your substances of choice. Once you get sober and learn new life priorities, you will have to reevaluate who you are without the presence of these substances affecting your mood, ideas and decisions. One of the ways you can do this is by developing a practice of gratitude.

Gratitude Makes the Difference

Being grateful in recovery reminds you that even when you have setbacks, you can still be proud of the progress you’ve made. Reframing your story as one of thankfulness for what you have been able to achieve allows you to see each challenge you face as an opportunity to improve. Practicing gratitude also gives you a greater sense of personal accomplishment and self-respect.

Like every other element of your addiction recovery, you’ll need to develop your gratitude over time. Learning to love and trust yourself and others doesn’t happen overnight, and you’ll also have to break out of the patterns of negative thinking that may have characterized your addiction.

Tips for Developing Gratitude in Recovery

If you need help learning how to feel grateful about your life, consider the following advice.

1. Think about something or someone you have now that you didn’t have in your addiction.

Addiction eventually robs you of your happiness, health and even those who care about you most. Taking stock of the positivity you have earned in recovery can serve as a reminder of how far you’ve progressed since the days of your active addiction. Looking back to the “bad old days” doesn’t have to be a source of shame or guilt. Instead, it can make you grateful for how far you’ve come in your sobriety.

2. Give back to others.

Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. There are many ways you can pay it forward every day, from holding doors open for people, to buying a stranger’s coffee, to offering to help cook dinner or clean the house for someone from your 12-step group who is going through a difficult patch.

3. Focus on the positive things in life.

Gratitude is all about being thankful for what you have. If you constantly worry about things you lack, it creates negativity in your life that can get you off-track with your progress and make you feel lonely and unfulfilled.

4. Reflect on lessons you have learned.

Life is the best teacher you’ll ever have. In rehab, you probably learned many valuable lessons that have laid the groundwork for who you are today. Pushing through your obstacles can benefit you by helping you grow and change. Evaluating what you have learned over the past week, month or year can allow you to see how far you’ve come in your recovery.

5. Instead of dwelling on the worst, aim your attention at the best.

It’s easy to lose patience with other people when their worst qualities are the only thing you can see. Instead, try to see the best in others, even when it isn’t easy to maintain your positivity.

Begin Anew Here

Canyon Crossing is a unique women’s-only addiction treatment center that combines the traditional 12-step recovery approach with alternative options such as holistic care and spiritual retreats to create a well-rounded experience for our clients. If you are living with a substance misuse disorder, contact us today to begin the admissions process.

Friday, September 13, 2019

September Is National Recovery Month

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration commemorates National Recovery Month. 2019 marks the 30th annual such observance, which reminds Americans that it’s possible for people to learn to manage a substance addiction and go on to live a happy, healthy life. The goal of Recovery Month is to spread the positive message that addiction is a disease people can learn to overcome with the right tools.

By celebrating the triumphs of the millions of Americans living in recovery, Recovery Month goes a step beyond educating the nation on the benefits of addiction treatment. The path to sobriety is not easy or straight, and those who walk it every day deserve well-earned recognition for their accomplishments, both large and small.

Why Should We Spotlight Addiction and Recovery?

From coast to coast, millions of people struggle with addiction. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 21.5 million people aged 12 or older have suffered from a substance use disorder. Drug overdose – particularly from opioids – is now the top cause of accidental death in the United States.

Tragically, these are only two of the many sobering statistics regarding addiction that have come to light in recent years. Recovery Month sparks the public conversation around addiction and recovery. Crucially, Recovery Month drives home the understanding that recovery is possible through qualified treatment, and that the battle against addictive behavior is winnable.

The Importance of National Recovery Month

Unfortunately, addiction is an illness surrounded by stigma. People often assume addicts are weak-willed or immoral, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The lack of understanding surrounding addiction and what treatment entails can, sadly, discourage people from seeking the treatment they so desperately need.

To make recovery attainable, we must first be able to talk candidly about addiction, treatment and recovery. National Recovery Month is the ideal opportunity to break through the shame surrounding addiction with your family, friends, co-workers and anyone else you can think of. By starting the conversation free of stereotypes or prejudice, you might even encourage people who have been silently struggling with an addiction to move toward getting help.

The hope and promise of National Recovery Month don’t end on Sept. 30. Through educational resources, SAMHSA aims to provide our nation with a supply of knowledge we can use to increase public awareness and help reshape the conversation surrounding addiction and treatment all year long.

Explore Your Long-Term Treatment Options

At Canyon Crossing, we love seeing our clients and their families celebrating National Recovery Month. Though their stories can be a sad reminder of how devastating addiction can be, they also serve as uplifting examples of the healing that can occur with substance misuse treatment and recovery. Because of this, we invite our alumni to share their successes with others.

If we want to put an end to the tragedies addiction can cause, we must flip the script on the way we talk about treatment and recovery. This Recovery Month, take the opportunity to celebrate your successes in sobriety. Learn more about addiction as a disease and how treatment can be beneficial. Don’t be ashamed to speak up about your experiences with addiction – you never know who may need to hear your story.

Are you ready to seek treatment for your substance misuse disorder and get your life moving in a positive direction? At Canyon Crossing, we offer programs designed to help you break free from your addiction. Take the first step in your new life and contact us today.