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Monday, May 28, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 3

stories early recoveryClient A 

Growing up with Disney and Grims brothers has taught me so many lessons. Mulan taught me respect and honor. Snow white showed how being friendly and kind can change those on others. Little red with that big wolf teaches us no matter the size of the person it doesn’t define the amount of bravery inside them. A beautiful tribal princess taught us we can respect the old yet embrace the new. So many lessons but my two favorite lessons were taught two rebellious princesses one who dreamed to escape the sea and the other dreamed of seeing the world. First a curious redhead who teach us curiosity is the key to understanding something new and lastly a princess shows us love has no social class… even a princess can love a street rat.

Client J 

This week I am struggling with living in God’s will. I recently have been starting to question my God and have been less spiritually connected. I originally thought I was a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home by my mother. My sister is a devout Christian. I have been thinking that maybe Jesus is just a man who did great things. I have been thinking that maybe I believe in Judaism rather than Christianity. My sponsor has been very supportive and encouraging me to search for a religion that fits me. I am very grateful to have her and Canyon Crossing in my life.

Client K 

I have never been a very open person and have always internalized my struggles. This has caused me much pain and suffering in my addiction and has continued to cause me pain and suffering in my sobriety. I have a deeply rooted core belief that my feelings don’t matter and shy away from being open about what I’m going through and how I am feeling. I realize how dangerous this is to my recovery and how important it is that I begin opening up more. Keeping all my struggles and emotions to myself is so unhealthy and holding all of that in leads me to the bottle every single time. I am terrified of relapsing and am willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. It’s time to be vulnerable and to connect on a deeper level with the people I love by opening up to them more and showing more of myself, the good and the sad!

Client K 

I Have to Tell You 

6 minutes. That’s all the time I have. I have to tell you… 
That you are beautiful. 
That you are strong. 
That you are worth it. 
That you can do this. 
That you can beat this disease. 
That your feelings matter. 
That you have a voice. 
That you are not your past. 
That people love and care about you. 
That you don’t have to give up. 

Client M 

My skin always felt foreign to me, like I was wearing clothes that were not mine. It did not feel like the home it was supposed to. It was a haunted house I had been locked in away in for years. I was empty and scared of who I was and what I was capable of being. It wasn’t until eighteen years later when I started to see light coming through the windows and flowers started to bloom inside of me. I am alive again.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 2

stories early recoveryClient AJ 

When I came to Canyon Crossing I was angrier than I think than I have ever been. I was mad that I was in treatment and I was an alcoholic and drug addict. I was more scared than angry, that was the underlying emotion. I had many traumas which I had justified my use. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and was in the delusion that he was the love of my life. I was perfectly okay with going back to my abuser. After going to EMDR therapy and finally believing that I was worth more than I had received, I became a powerhouse in my own recovery and have fought for my life here. I have been here a while, however I am willing to go to any length to say sober. I thank everyday that I came to Canyon Crossing and I thank my higher power that the staff here has given me that love. Now believe that I am loved and that I am worth it.

Client A

I am scared because of the feeling of you. I associate everything negative in my life as you being the root cause and I run from you. Feeling emotional pain hurts to the very core of my soul and feels like I will not be able to escape you.

I try to treat you as if you don’t exist and will not get to me by building up barriers in my relationships. When you are able to seep thru a crack in that wall I have tried to numb you out with food, alcohol, drugs, work (business) or relationships. In the end you are still there.

Therefore, I would like to be able to identify and express the emotions that eventually lead up to pain in a positive way. Because of you, I have been able to make positive changes in myself. I would like to know you in not such a destructive way, but instead, as an opportunity for growth. Walking thru pain is ultimately how I find true joy!

Client B 

I found a short poem a few weeks ago, and as a worrier and someone who lives in shame about my past, it really hit home. When that feeling gets severe, I’ve been turning to it…


There are two days in every week about which we should not worry; two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed, we cannot erase a single word said—YESTERDAY IS GONE!

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond out immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds—but it will rise. Until it does we have no stake in tomorrow for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day—TODAY! Any man can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when you and I carry the burdens of those two awful eternities—YESTERDAY and TOMORROW—that we break down.

Client J

Just before Canyon Crossing Recovery I had settled into a life handicapped by a controlled substance that had taken away the things that meant most to me. My parents and family have always been my life and I had allowed myself to accept a new life without them. I always dreamed of having two or three kids close in age. After having my son, Subutex took that dream away from me and I had lied to myself believing I was fine in a life with only one child. The lies Subutex had me telling myself had me really thinking they were my own thoughts. I was content with a life that I would of said was a miserable life prior to this controlling substance. In recovery I was finally told something I truly wanted to know as true, that there is a happy healthy life without Subutex. There are no more lies. No more false contention. Only truth that I can have the life I’ve always wanted and the dreams I had can come back and be a reality.

Client K
My New Life 

I came to Prescott in February & started yet another treatment center at Viewpoint but due to changes, I came to Canyon Crossing. When I first heard the news that I was switching treatment centers, I was shocked & kind of scared but now that I am here at Canyon, I absolutely love it. I am so happy to be here surrounded by other girls that I feel truly care about me & my well being. I feel this helps me to have more motivation to move forward in my recovery & maintain my sobriety with support around me. My goal is to complete the program here at CCR & make myself & my parents proud. My parents have been surprisingly so supportive & caring throughout all this & I am beyond grateful for their support after all we have been through together.

Client R 
I Come From… 

I Come From Shakopee, Minnesota 
I Come From Peanut Butter Waffles 
I Come From You Are Pretty 
I Come From You Are Stupid 
I Come From Anything Pink With Ruffles 
I Come From In The Ocean 
I Come From The Dark Alone 
I Come From Staying Sober 
I Come From Pushing My Family Away 
I Come From 93 Days Clean 
I Come From Falling In Love 
I Come From My Grandfathers Dock In The Keys 
I Come From Just For Today 
I Come From My Scars 
I Come From My Tattoos 
I Come From In The Forest 
I Come From Promising Myself To Keep Working On Trusting 

Client T 


Friday, May 11, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery

reflections early recovery
Client C


Walking down the street
Minding my own business
Me and some white substance meet
It took me back to my past, the mess
My heart drops
I want to look back
Ignore the urge, just stop
I don’t want that sack
I’m 5 months clean
Don’t throw your life away
Time to adult not act like a teen
One step at a time all through the day.

- A recovering meth addict

Client H

I can only go up from here
Never looking back
I have learned how to hack
Life and all my fears.
I love myself
More than EVER
I can now face all of life’s endeavors.

Client J

Today I feel very emotional. I miss my old life. I have been thinking about my ex-husband and my family. I spoke to a fellow client about the way I was feeling and I feel so much better. Now the feeling of sadness has gone away. Relying on your friends and speaking about your problems releases your fears and worries. If I had not had this support I would have carried around the sadness for hours, beating myself up and worrying about my past. I am thankful for the clients at Canyon Crossing and the help they have given me.

Client K

I am currently working on my 4th Step and it is really opening my eyes to how miserable I made myself. I was so comfortable in my misery and thrived on the fact that I would never be better. Having that mindset gave me the excuse to drink the way that I did for so long. Being better meant me having to make a change, and change scared the hell out of me. Looking back on it, I think I was more terrified of change and of seeking help than I was of dying. Now that I am on the other side of it, my miserable nature is no longer beneficial to me. I found myself trying to sink back into misery and internally numbing myself last week and quickly snapped out of it. Nothing about living like that makes me feel good and I am so happy that I now have the awareness and the tools to get myself back on track.

Client K

Why? You put me down a path I thought I would never take A path I tried to steer away from You took my father there You took my grandmother there You took my cousin there Why? Why did you do this? Did you think it would make us stronger? Or did you think it would kill us? Why? What were you thinking? You stole my father You killed my grandmother You are making my cousin suffer You are worrying my mother and aunt Why? Why did you do this? Well guess what… It’s time Time for me to fight you Time for me to show you whose boss Surprised? Why? Did you think you could take me? You thought wrong I’m not falling into your trap Not today buddy So let me ask you Why did you think you could win?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Addict's Brain

addict's brainAddiction involves intense craving, complete loss of control over the use of substances, and continued use despite adverse consequences. Decades of research has confirmed that addiction does in fact change the circuitry of the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by disrupting other normal drives such as learning, memory, and motivation. Although breaking the cycle of addiction is difficult, it can and is possible. With help, it is possible for the addicted brain to heal and reestablish equilibrium.

The way human beings learn to survive is based on a complex reward system that exists in the neurocircuitry of the brain. When we engage in some activity that helps our survival, like eating, having sex, exercising, etc., the brain’s limbic system alerts the brain by rewarding us for this behavior through the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that produces a sense of pleasure and reward. Since this reward feels good, we quickly learn to repeat the rewarded behavior so that we can continue to experience the sense of pleasure that it yields.

Various chemical substances (i.e. drugs and alcohol) can enter the limbic system (aka the reward center in our brains) in a variety of ways, but it is important to note that all abuseable substances cause the brain to release extremely high levels of dopamine. This release of dopamine can range anywhere from 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine the brain is typically accustomed to processing, thus resulting in the intense "rush" or "high" often experienced by users.

Because of this powerful release of dopamine and its subsequent impact on the brain's reward system, substance users’ brains learn very quickly to repeat the behavior (substance use) as it has activated the pleasure, learning, and memory centers of the brain. Substance users learn to continue and increase their use of the substance over time in the same way one learns to eat, reproduce, breath, or exercise, but even quicker and with much more intensity, since the release of dopamine is so much larger. Because the amount of dopamine released after using certain substances is so significant, the brain begins to have difficulty reestablishing a normal chemical balance after the effects of the substance wear off. This produces what we typically think of as a hangover, or in other cases withdrawal symptoms from a substance. These withdrawal symptoms can range anywhere from physical pain, depression, anxiety, confusion, convulsions, and even dangerous behavior. These symptoms can vary based on the substance, type and length of use, and quantity of use over time.

Prolonged use of a substance can actually change the physical make-up of the brain and cause the brain to stop producing as much dopamine as it normally does without the substance. This creates further withdrawal, leading to physical dependency. In other words, the addicted individual ultimately needs to use more of the substance simply to feel “normal”, thus creating a vicious cycle of addiction that can be difficult to break.

Because of this neurological learning process and growing physical dependence on a substance, the substance user becomes dependent on the drug, feeling as though he or she needs it in order to survive. As a result, the abuser loses total control over his or her use of the substance. Use of the substance becomes even more important than our most basic survival functions like eating, sleeping, breathing, and reproducing. Substance use IS survival for the addicted person due to the drastic neurological changes that have taken place in the reward, learning, and memory centers of the brain.

According to the disease model of addiction now endorsed by the American Medical Association and all other major medical and psychiatric organizations, the brain's learning and reward motivational centers become altered and reorganized. The priorities of the addicted individual become rearranged so that finding and using the substance becomes the brain’s top priority. In other words, the substance has high jacked the brain, and the addicted person is no longer in control of his or her behavior in many ways. The urge to continue using despite horrific consequences is quite literally irresistible.

The good news is that the human brain has a remarkable capacity to heal, rewire, and reestablish balance with training, support, and through learning new behaviors. With the help of treatment, therapy, support groups, in some cases psychotropic medications, while taking a holistic approach when addressing the disease of addiction, addicted individuals can and do recover. Approaches like CBT, behavioral modification, and skills training are particularly effective when helping the addict to recover while rewiring the brain to once again find balance.

Marie Tueller, MED, LPC