One of the major factors that can trigger a relapse is the people
you have in your life. The people that surround you are a reflection
of yourself. When you leave treatment, you are no longer the person
you once were, but are instead a brand new version of yourself. If
you go back and hang out with the friends or family members that got
you into trouble in the first place, you are setting yourself up for
One’s environment is another factor. Your living space is another
contributing factor for relapse. Most former active addicts lived
in an area that had easy access to their substance of choice. It is
highly recommended that you move into a sober living house or
transitional living home for a short period of time. These places
will not only help you adjust to life outside rehab, but they will
give you a support group of like minded individuals who are
trying to stay the same course.
Another factor that puts you at a higher risk for relapse is the
lack of a support structure. When you’re in treatment, you are
held to a tight schedule, and not many people can deal with life
after rehab because their lives lack direction and accountability.
There are two ways of going about making your own support
structure. The first is getting a counselor that you meet with on a
regular basis, the frequency of which is entirely dependent upon
The additional path is looking for and finding a support group.
This is the more casual route to take since you can have a
support group be a group of well grounded friends or a spiritual
center like a church, temple or mosque. In fact, many spiritual
centers have support groups designed specifically for people
like you who are looking for accountability. There are also long
standing support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and
Narcotics Anonymous who have a great track record and a
great mentoring program which helps maintain sobriety and
reduces the risk of relapse
Being involved with a sponsor or mentor in your first year of
sobriety is crucial. Having a support group around you to keep
you accountable is one of the most powerful tools for you to use
in recovery tp avoid relapse. Knowing that you have a team that
is rooting for you can help in keeping your cravings in check and
keep your mind focused.
In order to keep mind sharp, one could also participate in some
mental exercises. This can include mediation and physical exercise,
and while that may seem like an odd pairing, both have been known
to release dopamine and serotonin into the brain that allow your mind
to relax. These chemicals come naturally, and when combined with the
rush of endorphins, can create a potent package that will help heal the
damaged portions of your brain. The more you do these two things, the
better off you are going to be over time in decreasing the odds of a
Volunteering your time can be one of the most rewarding experiences
because you are actively helping to improve the lives of others.
Going to your former clinics and support groups can help you
not only deal with your daily struggles, but help others see what
recovery can look like and know that they are not alone. If you
want an extra incentive to stay the course, choose to work at a
low bottom or indigent recovery center. These places will show
you the worst of the worst and remind you about how far you’ve
come in your journey. Also, one can attend conventions and events
for AA, NA and NAMI to further educate yourself and reach out
to other addicts.
Also, knowing who you are is the best way to combat addiction. To
know how you are doing, whether you are happy or sad means
you can tell when you are having trouble keeping yourself
on the straight and narrow. Relapse occurs when you allow
certain behaviors to slide. You’ll fall into habits you shouldn’t
do anymore and you will soon be hitting the bottle or your drug
of choice again. Keeping yourself in check and knowing when
you’re slipping is important because you can get help before a
Being active in your recovery is vital. Thinking that you are able
to maintain a sober lifestyle without any work being put into it
can end in relapse. One must be diligent about their new lease
on life and protect it from the demons you know all too well. If
you are able to work on this, and keep doing it, you’ll find that
you’ll be the experienced one at the group meetings with years
of wisdom under your belt. The road to recovery never truly
ends, and success is a war without end, but the little victories
will add up and pay off every time.
Anger is not always negative, it can be channeled into positive achievements.
If a particular social condition arouses negative emotions in you, this can
motivate you to take the steps necessary to do something about it. Rage, on
the other hand, is generally negative, and tends to have no positive aspects.
When rageful outburst become a dependency recurring again and again, it can
be destructive to relationships and to personal well-being.
Seeking help to control such emotional issues, whether for you or for someone
else, can be challenging. The perceived stigma in addressing anger issues, can
cause fear and hesitation. Some of this comes from guilt — the feeling that the
condition needing help is somehow the individual’s fault. It helps to understand
the source of these feelings.
Anger, and then rage, often stems from unmet needs or situations over which the
individual feels he or she has no control. Rageful emotional outbursts will often
give momentary satisfaction, but in the long run will not solve the original issues.
When rageful outbursts continue to happen, it can lead to even greater feelings of
guilt, which may in turn lead to something such as panic attacks, which represent
a danger in themselves.
Overcoming the fear associated with getting help to deal with one’s issues
is not easy, but it can be done. First, it must be understood that when the
condition is extreme, it may be hard to stop. Without professional assistance,
anger issues can become difficult to deal with. Feelings of guilt and shame
can increase anxiety and make it more problematic for people to seek help.
A certain amount of anxiety concerning the unknown is normal and to be
expected, and dealing with dependence issues involves a huge unknown. But,
if the affected person learns to like himself or herself, either independently
or with help from those in close relationships, the first major hurdle has been
crossed. Next, it helps to identify and take steps to satisfy unmet needs, often
an initiator of rageful outbursts.
Finally, while anxiety can cause rises in blood pressure, and is extremely
uncomfortable, there is no record of it actually causing significant physical
harm. The things we fear, disapproval or censure of others for instance, hurt
our feelings, but do not harm others. When we reach that realization, some of
the anxiety is relieved almost immediately.
Acceptance – Bill W (Co-founder, AA)
Bill W wrote a beautiful piece on acceptance in the book ‘Language of the Heart’ (March 1962):
ONE way to get at the meaning of the principle of acceptance is to meditate upon it in the context of AA’s much used prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Essentially this is to ask for the resources of Grace by which we may make spiritual progress under all conditions. Greatly emphasized in this wonderful prayer is a need for the kind of wisdom that discriminates between the possible and the impossible. We shall also see that life’s formidable array of pains and problems will require many different degrees of acceptance as we try to apply this valued principle.
Sometimes we have to find the right kind of acceptance for each day. Sometimes we need to develop acceptance for what may come to pass tomorrow, and yet again we shall have to accept a condition that may never change. Then, too, there frequently has to be a right and realistic acceptance of grievous flaws within ourselves and serious faults within those about us–defects that may not be fully remedied for years, if ever.
All of us will encounter failures, some retrievable and some not. We shall often meet with defeat–sometimes by accident, sometimes self-inflicted, and at still other times dealt to us by the injustice and violence of other people. Most of us will meet up with some degree of worldly success, and here the problem of the right kind of acceptance will be really difficult. Then there will be illness and death. How indeed shall we be able to accept all these?
It is always worthwhile to consider how grossly that good word acceptance can be misused. It can be warped to justify nearly every brand of weakness, nonsense and folly. For instance, we can “accept” failure as a chronic condition, forever without profit or remedy. We can “accept” worldly success pridefully, as something wholly of our own making. We can also “accept” illness and death as certain evidence of a hostile and godless universe. With these twistings of acceptance, we AAs have had vast experience. Hence we constantly try to remind ourselves that these perversions of acceptance are just gimmicks for excuse-making: a losing game at which we are, or at least have been, the world’s champions.
This is why we treasure our “Serenity Prayer” so much. It brings a new light to us that can dissipate our old-time and nearly fatal habit of fooling ourselves. In the radiance of this prayer we see that defeat, rightly accepted, need be no disaster. We now know that we do not have to run away, nor ought we to again try to overcome adversity by still another bull-dozing power drive that can only push up obstacles before us faster than they can be taken down.
On entering AA, we become the beneficiaries of a very different experience. Our new way of staying sober is literally founded upon the proposition that “Of ourselves, we are nothing, the Father doeth the works.” In Steps One and Two of our recovery program, these ideas are specifically spelled out: “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol . . . that our lives had become unmanageable”–”Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” We couldn’t lick alcohol with our own remaining resources and so we accepted the further fact that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our AA group) could do this hither-to impossible job. The moment we were able to fully accept these facts, our release from the alcohol compulsion had begun. For most of us this pair of acceptances had required a lot of exertion to achieve. Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to be cast aside. This had not been done with old-fashioned will power; it was instead a matter of developing the willingness to accept these new facts of living. We neither ran nor fought. But accept we did. And then we were free. There had been no irretrievable disaster.
This kind of acceptance and faith is capable of producing 100 per cent sobriety. In fact it usually does; and it must, else we could have no life at all. But the moment we carry these attitudes into our emotional problems, we find that only relative results are possible. Nobody can, for example, become completely free from fear, anger and pride. Hence in this life we shall attain nothing like perfect humility and love. So we shall have to settle, respecting most of our problems, for a very gradual progress, punctuated sometimes by heavy setbacks. Our old-time attitudes of “all or nothing” will have to be abandoned.
Therefore our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives. Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built. At least this seems to be my own experience.
Another exercise that I practice is to try for a full inventory of my blessings and then for a right acceptance of the many gifts that are mine–both temporal and spiritual. Here I try to achieve a state of joyful gratitude. When such a brand of gratitude is repeatedly affirmed and pondered, it can finally displace the natural tendency to congratulate myself on whatever progress I may have been enabled to make in some areas of living. I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one’s heart-beat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can ever know.
In times of very rough going, the grateful acceptance of my blessings, oft repeated, can also bring me some of the serenity of which our AA prayer speaks. Whenever I fall under acute pressures I lengthen my daily walks and slowly repeat our Serenity Prayer in rhythm to my steps and breathing. If I feel that my pain has in part been occasioned by others, I try to repeat, “God grant me the serenity to love their best, and never fear their worst.” This benign healing process of repetition, sometimes necessary to persist with for days, has seldom failed to restore me to at least a workable emotional balance and perspective.
Another helpful step is to steadfastly affirm the understanding that pain can bring. Indeed pain is one of our greatest teachers. Though I still find it difficult to accept today’s pain and anxiety with any great degree of serenity–as those more advanced in the spiritual life seem able to do–I can, if I try hard, give thanks for present pain nevertheless. I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering–lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember, if I insist, how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God’s Grace, and so to a new freedom. So, as I walk along, I repeat still other phrases such as these, “Pain is the touchstone of progress”. . .”Fear no evil”. . .”This, too, will pass”. . .”This experience can be turned to benefit”. . . .
These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
To those who never have given these potent exercises in acceptance a real workout, I recommend them highly the next time the heat is on. Or, for that matter, at any time!
The bath salts and plant food are mixtures of designer drugs. These powders usually contain methylmethcathinone (aka: mephedrone or 4-MMC) and/or methylenedioxypyrovalerone (aka: MDPV). They are similar to cocaine and methamphetamine in that they are powerful moodaltering stimulants that are prepared and snorted in a similar way.
The bath salts are sold under such names as: Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Bliss, Bubbles, and Vanilla Sky. The plant food is sold under the name “magic.” What are the effects and symptoms of using these substances? The effects of mephedrone and MDPV are powerful energy boosts and activity while high. When taken in larger doses, MDPV can lead to muscle spasm, then users may begin to engage in meaningless repetitive motions and behaviors (tweaking). Some high dose users have had hallucinations and profound paranoia.
Symptoms will present as a central nervous system stimulant influence. Pupils will be dilated. Reaction to light will be slow. Heart rate will be accelerated outside the normal range. Blood pressure and body temperature will be elevated. Skin will appear flushed. The mouth will be dry. Speech will be fast and thoughts and dialog will jump back and forth between subjects and discussions. There is the potential for seizures and other nervous system disorders when these drugs are taken. There is substantial potential for chronic, even addictive, use of these drugs.
The length of a high can vary, but experiences so far indicate a span of effects that last for 3-4 hours. Users report that when a high starts to abate, those effects drop off very quickly. Afterwards, users also report feeling out of sorts, slightly blue, or depressed. Use of these substances has been linked to many hospital visits. Several deaths have been associated with the use of these substances. Directly on the packaging, it states, “Not for human consumption.”
Why are they so popular? They are legal – not currently regulated by the DEA; They are easily available on the internet and are showing up in convenience stores; They sell quite inexpensively per gram bag. Many states have enacted legislation to outlaw MPDV, including Kentucky. In Louisiana, MPDV was outlawed by an emergency order after the state’s poison center received more than 125 calls in just 90 days involving exposure to the chemicals. Abroad, Great Britain banned “bath salts” when several people died after ingesting them. Contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center today for more information.