Recovery Advocacy: Even They Struggle

There is a show on Netflix called “Weeds” …

Just a short overview:

It is about a mom of two boys whose husband suddenly passes away. He made all the money and they lived a luxurious life in California. Following his death, she went into a frenzy trying to figure out a way to make a substantial income so she could continue to support her lifestyle…

Eventually, she ends up becoming a drug dealer – of weed – hence, the title.

Later on, in the show, she eventually goes to jail and when she comes out she is placed in a halfway house. It eventually becomes apparent that one of the main directors is a drunk…

The reasoning behind telling this synopsis of the show is to demonstrate that addiction recovery advocacy does not always equal addiction recovery.

Oftentimes, people who are greatly involved in addiction recovery advocacy are recovered addicts themselves. As they heal, they find a passion for helping others heal and want to share how sobering up has changed their lives.

But, all too often, they are the ones still struggling the most.

Most people find it shocking to hear an addiction recovery advocacy has passed from a drug overdose. But, it is much more common than you think.

Just because they are now against addiction and for addiction recovery, does not mean their sobriety suddenly becomes a walk in the park. In fact, it seems to become even harder. They are now focused on helping others and feel as though they cannot come out and openly share they are struggling. This often leaves them struggling greatly behind closed doors.

So, while they might be an addiction recovery advocate, they should still be involved in an addiction recovery program.

The moral of the story is that no one is above addiction…

It can happen to just about anyone. Even the people who appear to have overcome it.

You never know just who is struggling behind closed doors and what it is that they might be struggling with. Always encourage one another and try to help if at all possible.

Familiarize yourself with the warning signs so that you can offer to help if you notice someone might be falling victim to addiction. Sometimes, the worst addicts are the most deceiving.

And, just remember, addiction recovery is a lifelong process. Don’t ever think you should stop trying because the second you become weak is the second you give in.

3 Steps for Disputing Difficult Thoughts

Do you sometimes find that you are actually responsible for putting yourself down?

You might be sitting in a quiet room, maybe you are even upset at the moment, and you find yourself thinking you are not good enough or you begin telling yourself that you cannot do something…

Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy. It is hard to deny what our minds tell us. We feel that just about everything think must be true. But, the mind can be a scary thing…

There are plenty of times where it feeds us lies. And, the only thing that is able to get between those negative thoughts is our own realization that it is not true.

Especially during addiction recovery, emotional distress can really wreak havoc on your overall health and your recovery success rate. As you think these negative thoughts, you might find yourself giving in or wanting to give up because your mind can so easily convince you of whatever negative thought it is proposing to you.

But, you have the greatest power of all – you can control your mind and feed it true, helpful, hopeful, and nurturing thoughts rather than harmful and negative lies.

Try these practices for talking yourself out of negative thoughts:

  1. Ask yourself: Is this thought true?

    Find a piece of paper, a small piece of cardboard or a rock and write the word “truth” on it. Hold onto that while you give yourself the truth test.

    Did this actually happen?

    If I asked my {insert: mom, spouse, child, etc.} would they say the same thing?

    What is making me think this?

    Oftentimes, if there is no explanation to the last question and the first two answers are “no,” then your thought is not true.

  2. Ask yourself: Is this thought hopeful?

    Does it support your dreams, goals, and route for recovery?

    Or, does it put more negativity into your life?

    Even in times of struggle, focus on the positive and hopeful thoughts. Successful recovery starts with thinking and truly knowing that you can do it.

  3. Ask yourself: Is this thought helping me?

    Is this thought helping you realize something new and leading you to a more successful path?

    Recovery has no room for negativity.

    Your thoughts should be geared toward making you a better you.

Why You Should Celebrate All Victories, Even Small

Do you remember as a child when you would do something good, anything, and your parents would praise you?

It could be something as simple as trying to tie your shoe – you did not get it right, but you gave it a try and were better than yesterday so they were overjoyed because you were making progress…

Most parents are that way – they celebrate every victory their child has, no matter how small. They see the value in even the smallest of steps toward improvement. Even if it isn’t a leap, it is still a step toward improvement, right?

So, why are we not like that with ourselves?

Especially when it comes to a major milestone in our life, like getting clean, why do we ignore the small victories, only aiming for the big ones?

It is easy to look at the bigger picture and think, “Well, I’m not there yet so I’m not good enough.”

But, start by breaking that down…

What steps do you have to take to get there? The bigger picture is all about the little victories that it is composed of within.

So, just to reiterate that: one small victory is great progress toward the bigger picture and your overall goal.

To say you have been clean for a month, you have to start by staying clean for a week or even just a day.

Continue to reach toward those monumental goals, but appreciate the little successes and victories along the way.

By celebrating the small victories along the way, you can observe how you have improved and continue pushing yourself forward.

After all, it is all about motivation, right?

So, when you are recovering from your addiction, find your motivation in your small victories.

Keep coming back to your meetings. Keep working with other. Keep talking to others. Keep using those tracking tools. And each time you succeed in something, reward yourself.

One of the best ways to avoid losing sight of the small victories is to make a list of goals:

  • Start by listing out what your main goal is – i.e. to be sober.
  • Next, break that down into three (or so) major milestones you need to hit – i.e. sobriety for one year.
  • Then, break it down even further into the small milestones you need to hit to make that major milestone which eventually translates into your overall goal – i.e. be sober for one month straight.

And, the goals can be whatever best fits your recovery…

Maybe one is to mend the relationship you have with your child.

Well, did they answer when you called today instead of ignoring your call? Did you have a five-minute conversation with them instead of being forced to leave a voicemail?

That is a victory! Small, but still victorious.

Celebrating even the smallest of victories will keep you on track for your big goal.

4 Safe Alternatives for A Recovering Opioid Addict

Opioids are a series of painkillers which are by far the most commonly prescribed painkillers in the United States. In addition to the fact that they are commonly prescribed, these painkillers are also very highly addictive and can have extremely bad side effects.

Each year, over 289 million prescriptions are written for analgesic pain relievers, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report. But the statistics just get worse…

Studies also show that despite the fact that the United States is only five percent of the world’s population, they consume about 80 percent of the world’s opioid pain medication.

But, don’t let the data fool you – while the opioid crisis is a major issue and concern in the United States, the issue of addiction to this drug plagues everywhere. While the numbers might not be as high in other areas, they are definitely not non-existent.

However, more and more people are beginning to realize the dangers of this drug. But, since it is commonly prescribed for pain – leading you to believe that an addict most likely suffers from a chronic pain of some sort – they need some other form of pain relief.

So, what is a recovering opioid addict supposed to do? As a recovering addict, you have to be very careful about what you do and don’t take, a variety of medications could put you at great risk for another addiction.

A few safe and natural alternatives include:

  1. Exercise – Sometimes a good stretch can do the body good. Try going for a job or participating in a class like yoga to open up your body and your mind. Pain can easily be controlled through natural remedies such as this and combined with mindfulness.
  2. Massage, Chiropractic care, Acupuncture – Try seeing a specialist. Sometimes, pain can be treated best just by a simple massage in the area that is affected. This is also a great way to relax. Sometimes, one small issue could be causing great pain and it is something a chiropractor could reset – it is worth giving it a shot.

  3. Over-the-Counter Tylenol – Officially known as Acetaminophen, this OTC drug is best known for truly treating pain. A study shows it is actually more effective when taken with ibuprofen than oral opioid drugs when tested on patients who had a tooth extraction.
  4. Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors – Despite being most known as antidepressants, these drugs are great for muscular and skeletal pain even if you are not suffering from depression.

As always though, check with your doctor and your counselor before making a decision. Some forms of treatment are better than others based on your specific situation.

What Is Mindfulness?

Let’s just start by getting the definition out in the open, from the beginning so we are all on the same page…

By definition, mindfulness is the state or quality of being conscious and aware of something. Furthermore, it is a specific mental state which is achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

For most people, that probably makes you think of meditation – the state of practicing and training the mind to be conscious (or mindful).

It has been shown that as humans, we spend more than 50 percent of our awakened lifetime in a mindless state – we are just living on autopilot, just going through the motions. We wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, cook dinner, and start all over. Although we might incorporate new things into that routine at some points, rarely do we ever actually stop to become aware of how we are feeling and what we think.

Mindfulness vs. Mindful Awareness

Let’s start by also introducing mindful awareness…

So, here’s what we have:

  • Mindfulness is the state of being conscious and aware of something – how we feel, what we are thinking, the sensations we are feeling.
  • Mindful awareness is actually paying attention to what is happening in the present experience.

So, during mindfulness, you can look back and become aware of how you felt, what you thought, etc. But, during mindful awareness, you are actually experiencing it in the moment.

Why do these play a role in recovery?

So, you are probably wondering the obvious…

What do mindfulness and mindful awareness have to do with addiction recovery?

Well, everything.

In order to foster the drive to overcome your addiction, you need to understand both why it is that you want to overcome it and how it is that you feel during the addiction.

In other words, you should be able to realize that you are vulnerable, sick, and make poor decisions in the moment, then you should remain aware of those so you can look back and remind yourself why you don’t want to go back down that path.

How do you do it?

Meditation is a great way to train the mind to be more aware. It helps you learn how to hear your thoughts and how to block out the noise.

Practice taking just about ten seconds to breathe in the midst of any situation before making a decision. Sometimes it just takes slowing down and observing what is going on to see it from an outside view.