The past may have influenced where you are today, but where you want to be tomorrow is up to you. No matter when, how, or why you started using or abusing drugs, at one point it became a learned behavior. You may have learned about drugs in your own family. For some, a family member may have turned you on or used with you.
You may have tried to escape feelings or memories that brought you to a place you didn’t want to be and self-medicating became easier. Even with the innocence of having fun with friends, it still can become a bad habit that leads to addiction that could destroy your life. Most importantly, anyone can change bad habits; because anything learned can be unlearned.
While bad habits may be hard to break, good choices are not as difficult as we sometimes make them. Imagine a dog accidently trapped in the trunk of a car. No matter how short the trip was, the dog, if given a choice, would never want to go in a car again. There would be no denial it was a bad experience; one he would not want to relive again. Yet, even if you had a bad experience or a major consequence at any time during your use, why would you ever use again?
Regardless of the consequences, staying builds tolerance. The more you tolerate, the more you use, and the longer you stay. Denial keeps you trapped. You ignore the warning signs and problems that come with continuing to engage in drug use. Ultimately, it’s too late. Many describe this as their “rock bottom.” In order to change a behavior, you must first change your attitude toward it. You must acknowledge that you have the problem and how it has impacted your life
If your perception is you are not addicted, you will continue to use in spite of the problems your using causes. Your faulty thoughts, feelings and interpretations will keep you stuck in denial. Conversely, if you hit rock bottom and are not in denial, you’ll seek help. Changing your attitude will help you change your behavior and the quality of your life. Your attitude can ultimately lead you to addiction or recovery. When you are in denial, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and interpretations are distorted.
The longer you engage in self-defeating behaviors, the more you train your brain that your chemical use is a viable option in your life. In reality, if you are addicted, you are not choosing any options. The drug has control. You may be powerless over your chemical addiction, but you are not powerless over the choice to use or not to use. Your brain works like a computer. It stores memory and connects links together. When you continue to use, everything you do while using becomes connected and natural. Not using creates anxiety and overwhelming feelings. The brain looks for normalcy.
Chemical addiction is a disease. You may not have caused it, but you are responsible to find a way to treat it. Abstinence is the first step. You may be powerless over chemicals, but remember you are not powerless over making the choice to use or not to use. If you struggle with problems from your past, you do not have to let them have power over you in the present. Do not let anyone dictate the direction your life will move in the future. Stay sober and live a happier and healthier life.
People need people. That belief is universally accepted and shared by others.
It has become the gold standard. Don’t get too lonely. Nonalcoholic members
of the psychiatric profession tend to equate loneliness with boredom. If there
is any one thing that must be included in the alcoholic’s life before he can once
again become a whole man it is worthwhile activity. This may be Twelfth Step
work, vocation, avocation, or anything else. Such activity must be present in
order to fulfill his or her existence and eliminate loneliness.
We must also consider the loneliness brought about because the newcomer
lives alone. But this is easily rectified. It takes only a phone call or a visit to
an AA-oriented social club. Or, for the AA Loner, or other members, the Big
Book or a letter to an AA pen pal may suffice. Under any conditions, Loneliness
is the mother of self-pity and the ultimate end is resentment and drinking. The
rule of Thumb? Do something. Loneliness is a curse. There are few who can
live in solitude, alone and detached from fellow man. Human beings do better
when they interact with one another.
Those who are isolated and devoid of human interaction may stagnate and suffer
from emotional insecurity and self-doubt; their existence a bleak and unfulfilled
life. A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring
the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. It begins with an awareness
of a deficiency of relationships. This cognitive awareness plays through our brain with
an emotional soundtrack. It makes us sad. We might feel emptiness. We may be filled
with a longing for contact. We feel isolated, distanced from others and deprived. These
feelings effect our emotional well-being
Happiness thrives in groups. Churchgoers are an illustration of a gathering that may
be happier because they belong to an extended family with social interaction,
community, and shared values. Individuals who have no family may reach out and
embrace an extended community of like-minded persons, developing a strong,
fraternal unit and infrastructure. Numerous studies have shown that the healthiest,
happiest people tend to be more involved in their communities.
While there is debate on whether one causes the other is unclear, there is some
sense that having wider social connections and relationships are an important part
of being happy. Lack of emotional connection to others can produce detriments in
the ability of the individual to connect with others. Lack of interactions, human
relationships and the sense of belonging may result in depression or loneliness while
an abundance of love, friendship and community involvement allows an individual
to thrive in recovery.
The whole person treatment approach to substance abuse recovery focuses on the balance of the spirit, mind, and body in order to achieve a healthy state of being. Oceanside Malibu offers various treatment approaches to help guide individuals or couples towards tailoring a unique treatment plan designed for healthier, more balanced outcomes in their lives.
Throughout the course of recovery, an addict or alcoholic may encounter challenges beyond just dependency on a particular substance. A whole person treatment approach may guide a person towards better coping skills, accelerated healing, and a healthier outlook. A whole person treatment approach may also help to improve sleeping patterns, elevate mood, boost physical immunity, and reduce stress or anxiety.
The benefits of physical exercise in addiction recovery cannot be overstated. Exercise can release endorphins in the body. This can produce a ‘natural high’ which helps promote good feelings and may enhance self-esteem. Exercise helps reduce stress and may also decrease stress related cravings. Physical exercise can also function as a healthy distraction. If you’re jogging, swimming in the ocean, surfing, playing volleyball, or riding a bicycle (in other words, staying active), you may be more likely to focus on the task at hand then on your cravings for a particular substance.
Equine therapy, massage, stretching, breath work, yoga, reflexology, aromatherapy, and relaxation exercises may all fit into the category of spiritual exercise. These various techniques have been shown in some instances to improve heart function and even lower cholesterol. As the mind and body are connected, the staff at Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center focus on both to help as an aid towards achieving sustainable recovery.
It has long been known that meditation is a highly useful in recovery from addiction because it is helpful in slowing down or clearing an alcoholic or addict’s racing thought process. The practice of meditation can also improve impulse control and low frustration tolerance. This is extremely useful for addicts in fighting cravings and dealing with stressful situations in earlier recovery and treatment. Oceanside Malibu Treament Center offers an ideal environment for the practice of the preceding techniques. Located directly on the beach in Malibu, our clients are afforded the luxury of sunrise or sunset oceanside meditation, surfing, swimming, walking and volleyball — all with the Pacific Ocean — the cliffs and hills of Malibu, as your view.
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.