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Friday, March 29, 2019

A Web of Deceit: Why Addicts Lie

If you love someone who is struggling with a substance misuse disorder, you may be shocked when you catch them lying to you. Even family members you thought could feel comfortable being honest with you about anything will lie and manipulate to hide their drug or alcohol misuse and the resulting cascade of problems it creates. Why do addicts lie, and how does the dishonesty help the addiction thrive?

Addiction Changes the Brain

Nobody starts drinking or using drugs with the intention of ruining their lives. But the potential for addiction lies within us all, and for many, it becomes a trap they cannot escape on their own. But why do so many addicts refuse help? Why would your loving sister, wife or best friend engage in such self-destructive behavior that allows their addiction to deepen?

Think of it like this: Her need for drugs has become an all-consuming factor in their life. If she tries to go cold turkey, the intense cravings or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming enough to blot out all rational thought. When someone is physically and psychologically dependent on drugs, they lose sight of other things they once enjoyed doing.

Drugs also lead to poor decision-making ability and a lack of critical thinking skills. Someone who uses opioids every day can become so focused on achieving the euphoric feelings that she eventually forgets about her goals to get a new job or finish a college degree. Likewise, a sober alcoholic may have committed to spend her money more wisely, but after giving in and having one drink, it may feel acceptable to buy a round for the whole bar.

Guilt and Denial Play a Role, Too

If you ask your loved one about her behavior while she is sober, she will probably say she feels ashamed or regretful about the things she has done when drinking or using drugs, and she may even admit she is embarrassed about the addiction itself. These negative feelings will often cause addicts to spiral further into their addiction by turning to their substance of choice to dull the pain, escape from their feelings and help them cover up any regrets in a haze of intoxication.

Recovery Means Peeling Away the Lies

For an addicted person to seek recovery, she must first stop lying to herself and to others about the extent of her disease and the damage it has been causing. This process may take time, and learning to be honest and owning up to the pain and guilt can be one of the most challenging components of healing. At Canyon Crossing, our women’s-only treatment plan includes teaching clients how to take full responsibility for all their actions, as well as how to develop healthy coping mechanisms that will enable them to avoid relapse and live a life of sustained recovery.

When you choose Canyon Crossing for a woman in your life who needs help, she will have the full support of our compassionate team in working through the harm her deceitful behavior has done to herself and others she loves. However, she will eventually feel this burden lifting from her spirit as she recovers her self-respect and integrity.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Gender Differences in Addiction and Recovery

The disease of addiction is a great equalizer. It makes no distinction between race, age, background or gender identity. While the consequences of drug and alcohol misuse are equally devastating to both women and men, studies show there are various factors at play in determining how women and men become addicted, as well as how they respond to treatment.

Drug Abuse in Women vs. Men

The idea that gender could play a role in addiction and recovery is a fairly recent one. As Dr. Tammy Anderson pointed out in her landmark study, Drug Use and Gender, the field of addiction medicine viewed the disease through the lens of male abuse patterns until the 1980s, when researchers began to look into the specific ways drug abuse affected women.

Though men tend to have their first experience with drug and alcohol use at an earlier age than women, after their introduction to these substances, women tend to become addicted more quickly — a phenomenon called “telescoping.” Women also respond to substances differently: their drug cravings can be more intense, which can also make them more prone to relapse, even after they have sought treatment.

What Causes Gender Differences?

While it will require more research to determine the exact root of why women experience addiction differently, one hypothesis is that sex hormones like estrogen can make some women more susceptible to the effects of drugs. The way an addiction affects brain chemistry can also vary between women and men. Finally, the incidence of mood disorders like depression and anxiety is higher in women than in men, which may make women more predisposed to develop addiction.

Specialized Approaches to Treatment

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women are less likely to seek adequate treatment for substance abuse than men, and they also face more barriers to treatment, such as social stigma, the need for childcare or losing custody of their children.

Many women who enter addiction recovery find gender-specific treatment programs are more comfortable and less stressful because these programs allow them to focus exclusively on their healing. Within the setting of group therapy, women may feel more open about sharing their feelings regarding delicate issues like mood disorders, sexuality and trauma in a single-gender setting.

In treating drug addiction, women can benefit from comprehensive options that include transitional living, outpatient treatment, family therapy and long-term care. At Canyon Crossing, we also offer a full spectrum of holistic care with features such as:
If you need to seek help in managing drug or alcohol misuse for yourself or someone you care about, contact our admissions team today. As an accredited rehab facility in Prescott, AZ, Canyon Crossing accepts most insurance plans and is dedicated to addressing the specific treatment needs of women.

Friday, March 15, 2019

It’s Time to Spring-Clean Your Recovery Routine

The first day of spring is just around the corner, and you’ve probably already started spring-cleaning your home by clearing the clutter and making a fresh start to the new season. Spring represents a time of rebirth and awakening, which makes it the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your recovery as well.

Spring is the best time of year to take inventory of your recovery routine and assess progress on your goals. It’s also your chance to address any challenges or weaknesses that have come to your attention so you can avoid relapse triggers and stay committed to your sobriety.

Identify Problems

Whether you’re dealing with a loss of motivation, increased stress or a lapse in focus, your first task is realizing where you’ve started to get off-track. Once you’ve done that, you can devote your attention and dedication to fixing it. Here are some examples of the most common areas that tend to trip us up.
  • Mental messes: Failing to set or keep up with personal recovery goals can cause you to lose sight of why you wanted to get and stay sober in the first place.
  • Lack of effort: Not paying attention to your nutrition, fitness plan or sleep schedule can affect your mood and cause you to lapse back into unhealthy habits.
  • Overlooking the essentials: People in recovery need a lot of extra help and support. You’re not alone in your challenges. Ask for help from your friends, therapist or sponsor when you feel yourself slipping.
Many of us are dealing with one or several of these small struggles at any given point. Fortunately, as with most spring-cleaning tasks, you can make incredible progress in a short period by taking them on one at a time.

Assess Your Behavior Over Time

Keeping a recovery journal is one of the most useful things you can do. Not only does journaling have a therapeutic benefit, but it also enables you to look back at past entries and see if you can spot patterns in your behavior or thought processes.

It’s normal to have a difficult day every once in a while, but if you can tell from your journal that the low points far outweigh the high ones, it’s time for a reset. For example, could you meet with your sponsor more often, or begin practicing mindfulness meditation?

As you assess your behavior, your goal shouldn’t be to focus exclusively on weaknesses. Celebrate the areas where you’re doing well, and use them as an opportunity to treat yourself to something like a relaxing massage or a visit to a local art museum or botanical garden.

Choose Healthy New Ways to Reinvigorate Your Recovery

Whether you’ve been sober for two months or two decades, spring has a wonderful way of bringing increased verve and motivation. If it’s time for a breath of fresh air, don’t be afraid to take inventory of your recovery and do a little spring-cleaning. You’ll discover the rewards that come with a renewed commitment to your sobriety.

If you are seeking help for drug or alcohol misuse or co-occurring disorders, reach out to us at Canyon Crossing Recovery. We specialize in helping women in all stages of life rediscover their passion and joy with our variety of therapeutic programs.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 14

recovery reflections Since 2018 hit - my life was a mess. Now I can say my life actually feels in balance and on track. Maybe not the track I pictured a few years ago, but still on track and heading up. Two to three years ago I pictured a loving marriage and promising career with a few positive additions on the side, such as pets, traveling, etc… but now learning to love my self and accept my past seems like the right track. Maybe there’s no traveling or loving marriage, but I do have loving friends while I go through my complicated divorce. As for traveling, I have been lucky to go to many places I never even dreamed of such as the destinations we hike and I have been able to go to places I only hoped to visit like Fear Farm for Halloween. Now pets can be tricky - I get to play with dogs who are brought by families and work with horses during equine therapy - and there always is the chance to pet a dog being walked around town. I cant wait to see how 2019 feels balanced and on track.

- Client A

Early in recovery, I was immediately drawn to the program because of the hope shared from others. The laughter and happiness was contagious. Being able to come out of such a dark place and share with other people who had gone through similar struggles was comforting. It has taken me months to realize that I don’t trust anyone, but slowly I am healing from things that I haven’t wanted to address in treatment before.

- Client B

For the last 4 years or so, I’ve either been in early recovery, or I’ve been drinking and using. I’ve learned that I haven’t lost anything that I’ve learned from each experience in recovery. If I had a business card, it would state: Collector of Experiences, Student of Earth. Every time I return to recovery, I am faced with skepticism and questioned about “what will be different?” In the past, I have been so focused on answering these questions perfectly, on convincing everyone that I have it all together, that I lost myself in this process. I became those answers. I created walls and boundaries for myself, I constructed a cage of perfection to live in. I have always kept myself safe inside these artificial bounds; the addict, the victim, the tortured artist, the rescuer, the free thinker, the rebel. What would life be like if I were to step outside the walls I’ve built for myself and drop these labels? I could be free. I would be free. Instead of living a life based on fear of all the ways the world and all of it’s people could hurt me, I could move through it as I please. I have enough experiences of drinking, using, and avoiding pain and hurt to understand that they only bring more pain. I’m a slow learner and it’s taken me a while, but it’s a pretty solid foundation of understanding. Just as I chose to avoid pain for so many years, I know now that there is another choice. I can choose to bust down the walls. It’s time for some new experiences. The only way out is through.

- Client C

I was in a very broken state of mind while knee deep in my alcoholism. I didn’t know there was any other sort of happiness to be experienced in life. I was living in a ghost of a human shell. I had family that didn’t want to be around me, I was living homeless, not eating, and the list goes on. What pains me the most is that I lost a career that I loved dearly and I was in my last year of finishing my bachelors degree. All of this thrown down the drain and I was drowning. When I was afforded the opportunity to be shown a better life, a life a sobriety and the rooms of AA. I couldn’t be more grateful. I live a life now that I smile when I wake up in the morning and the first thing on my mind is the simple pleasures like where is my coffee and and excitement for what the day brings. I get to rebuild my life with 10x the motivation to succeed then ever before because I know what its like to survive.

—A Bad Ass Woman In Recovery
- Client D

When I first got into the rooms I thought happiness was made up
because I hadn’t been in so long.
but when I looked around,
I saw that it was all around.
 in the smiles on the faces, in the laughter in the air, in the serenity
I could see and feel everywhere.
the life in their eyes
transformed the life in mine.
I saw that it was possible
to get to the other side.
since being here, I have realized
that happiness is not the destination;
it’s the attitude you choose to take along for the ride.
if I’m not going to be happy here,
I’m no more likely to be happy anywhere.
I’ve found this to be true.
it’s a mindset I’ve gained. of trust, of gratitude.
in every moment we choose between
accepting life with love or with fear
either way, come what may.
I’m trying this thing where I choose to choose love,
every time.
and with that, with my Higher Power here,
happiness is near.

Acceptance.
-Client E

I read somewhere, “To the degree that we seek to control, we feel out of control.”
-The Breslov Haggadah

“Understand that life can only be lived,”
(-The Breslov Haggadah) is another.
Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.
All I can do is be.
All I wish to be is me.
Today - I have the power to do so.
Happily.

Getting sober this time around has given me more than I could’ve ever imagined. With each day that passes I can see all different promises coming true in my life. I’m also able to be grateful for even the little things in my life today. I just got 9 months sober which is the longest time I’ve had & it feels so much better & different this time. I have a whole change of mindset around everything including that I actually have the drive & motivation to want to be sober & stay sober too. I’m definitely looking forward to all there is to come.

- Client F

Early recovery is an exciting place to be. The dark cloud that consumed me in my active addiction is lifting. I’m able to see more clearly and experience the world differently than I have in years. It’s also scary to be so new to recovery. I’m working on building up strength in my sobriety but am vulnerable to temptations caused by my addiction. I’m using my fear of relapse to motivate myself to stay sober. 

Being newly sober, I’ve struggled to find a healthy balance of fear and acknowledging the severity of my disease while also being self-confident and empowered to move forward in my recovery. I believe that I have a lot to look forward to if I keep doing the ‘next right thing’ and putting my recovery first.

- Client G

I used to always think I was different than most people. I never thought of even calling myself an alcoholic or addict, I thought I just found a way to deal with life. I have accepted the reality of being addicted and having to push through the darkness to get to the light. I have learned that I cant control people, places, or things - I know how to surrender truly, to have forgiveness, and to see my part in all situations. I was recently told people around me can see the light on, inside of me and they can see a strong woman full of wisdom. Which is definitely one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten. When I first came into Recovery I was dead on the inside, I was done with life. I have always believed in God and now he is fully back in my life and he never left me to begin with. I am so strong inside now I continue to fight for my life so I can be the woman and mother I always knew I was inside. I can differentiate my mental illness and addiction from the real me. It is such a blessing to have the fire back to live and to help others. I look at my addiction as a blessing and my mental illness as a way to make me stronger. When it felt like it was over for me it was only the beginning to this beautiful thing I call life.

- Client H

I used to hate calling myself an alcoholic or an addict. I didn’t want a “long term label,” and alcoholic seemed like too much of a commitment. I used that excuse as a way to not look at myself and my actions for a long time, but my actions kept repeating and the consequences of my actions weren’t going away. I couldn’t continue to hide myself from everyone and wait for things to “turn out ok.” Early recovery has been the hardest and most rewarding experience that I’ve been through. It truly is about changing and being willing to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve dealt with trauma that I didn’t think I had, I’ve bonded with people in a way I never imagined, and I’ve been truly looking at myself. It can be tedious and hard, but the freedom that I’m gaining in return is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. After all, nothing changes if nothings changes.

- Client I

Loving Yourself in Recovery

Nothing about the recovery process comes easily, but you can make it easier on yourself and those around you by learning to let go of the negative thought patterns that are a hallmark of addictive behaviors. Learning to love yourself can be one of the biggest challenges you’ve ever encountered; however, respecting yourself and not engaging in abusive thoughts is essential.

The Cycle of Guilt and Shame

For many recovering addicts, feelings of guilt and shame are common. Once an addicted person has embraced a sober lifestyle, memories of things they did and ways they hurt others while they were in active addiction can bubble back up to the surface. These ideas can be isolating and lead to feelings of low self-worth, among other things.

For those fighting addiction, guilt and shame add another layer on top of a struggle that is a big enough hurdle on its own. Instead of motivating you to change and move into the future as a healthier person, tormenting yourself by dwelling on past negativities can propel you into a pattern of negative thinking. Constantly reliving feelings of worthlessness causes depression, which is one of the most common relapse triggers.

Learning to Love Yourself in Addiction Recovery

Learning to love yourself, rebuilding confidence and eliminating negativity are vital steps toward becoming a more complete, healthy individual. Here are four positive ways to create feelings of self-love.

  1. Your Disease Does Not Define You
  2. Addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failing. Though understanding that essential truth does not fully excuse things you may have done that caused others harm, everybody deserves a chance to start over and become a good person, no matter what their past behaviors have been.

  3. You Need Realistic Goals
  4. Setting goals is an essential part of recovery as you work toward rebuilding your self-esteem. However, you need to keep your goals manageable. Don’t start off with an overly lofty goal, only to be disappointed in yourself when you realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. To make sure your goals are clear and attainable, use the acronym SMART:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound

  5. Practice Self-Care
  6. You can’t learn to love yourself if you don’t first take care of yourself. Make sure you stay well-rested, take time for exercise, stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet. These can all boost your mood and help prevent a relapse by encouraging you to focus on positivity. You can also treat yourself occasionally by getting massages, taking long baths or taking a day off mid-week to go on a day trip to explore a nearby city.

  7. You’re Worth It
  8. Addiction recovery is a hard-fought battle. If you ever have trouble loving yourself, think about how far you’ve come. By seeking recovery at a qualified treatment facility, you’ve already made significant progress toward positive change. Regardless of what you may have done in the past, you can create a brighter future.

 

Discover a New Purpose


Going through the rehab and recovery process will help you rediscover your priorities in life. Along the journey, you will gain important insights into what drives you and what you have to offer as a person. At Canyon Crossing, our women’s-only programs help our clients at all stages of life gain control of their addiction and achieve long-lasting sobriety. Contact us to learn more and verify your insurance coverage.

Monday, March 4, 2019

How Trauma Affects Your Brain

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause a host of problems, including anxiety, phobias, insomnia, emotional issues and the inability to maintain healthy relationships. Core symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, distressing thoughts and feelings of being constantly on edge. To be considered PTSD, these symptoms need to continue for at least two weeks and interfere with day-to-day life. PTSD also commonly co-occurs alongside other issues such as substance abuse, depression and memory problems.

While you may associate PTSD with combat veterans, the reality is that this disorder can affect people from all backgrounds, whether they personally experienced a traumatic event or learned about it secondhand. According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults, and women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

What Does Trauma Do to Your Brain?

PTSD primarily affects the function of two areas in your brain: the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. Together, these two parts of the brain regulate your body’s natural “fight-or-flight” instinct that activates when you are in danger.

Studies of the threat response in people with PTSD show a hyper-reactive amygdala and a less active prefrontal cortex. That means the amygdala overreacts to threats, while the prefrontal cortex responds more slowly than normal. An overactive amygdala keeps people with PTSD on constant alert. They may respond more angrily or impulsively to perceived danger, or feel fearful and unable to take pleasure in life.

Effective Therapy for PTSD Sufferers

If trauma has taken hold of your life, there is hope. A revolutionary treatment called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR, has proven highly effective at treating trauma.

Neuropsychologists believe EMDR works by introducing changes in the brain’s circuitry, similar to what happens during the REM phase of the sleep cycle. During EMDR therapy, people can rapidly access traumatic memories and process them emotionally and cognitively, which helps them resolve their trauma by reframing it in a different light.

By allowing trauma victims to relive unpleasant memories within a safe environment, EMDR enhances the way the brain processes information and encourages them to form new associations around their traumatic memories. Essentially, the goal of EMDR is to retrain your brain to have positive thoughts instead of replaying negative ones.

What Is an EMDR Session Like?

EMDR takes a nontraditional approach to resolving PTSD. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead, EMDR therapists will ask you to move your eyes rapidly from side to side while recalling a negative event.

EMDR specialists use light, sound and hand movements to reinforce the outcomes of this unique form of therapy. Researchers studying EMDR have found this approach helps resolve trauma-related symptoms faster than traditional psychotherapy methods. It is also an effective treatment for other psychological problems, such as anxiety, panic attacks and eating disorders.

Women’s-Only EMDR Therapy in Prescott, AZ

Don’t let past traumas hold you back from realizing your full potential in life. If you are suffering from PTSD and related substance misuse disorders, contact Canyon Crossing to discover the benefits of EMDR and other treatment methods that are appropriate for your needs. Our credentialed addiction specialists are here to help.