Growing up I vividly remember a serious kidnapping that occurred in my home state, whereby a fourteen yr. old girl was stolen from her bedroom in the dead of night and held captive for over nine months before being rescued. The details surrounding her disappearance were very unclear at the time and some questions remain unanswered to this day. Did she run away with this man, did she resist capture, how was the man able to sneak her away into the night with her whole family present?
In fact, the youngest sister had witnessed a man come in and take her but she hid in fear for hours before telling their parents, who in turn simply sent the little girl back to bed believing she had had a bad dream. It was later that night when they realized their own nightmare had come to life and in the morning her disappearance was announced on the news and a state-wide search began.
It is clear that there are many different paths to addiction recovery but some approaches are less likely to work than others. The motivation to escape substance abuse is a precious commodity, and it would be a real shame if you wasted this determination on a path not capable of taking you to where you want to go. Here are approaches to addiction recovery we suggest you avoid.
Going it Alone
It is true that some people manage to break free of a substance abuse problem without much help from a drug rehab, but this approach does not work for everyone. If you have already tried to stop on your own, and it hasn’t worked, the chances are it won’t work in the future either – usually, if you keep on doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results.
It is incredibly difficult to stand by and watch somebody you love destroy his/her life with alcohol or drugs. It is easy to succumb to hopelessness in this situation – especially if this person has made multiple attempts to quit but failed. One of the most common questions people have in this situation is whether or not they should put pressure on their loved one to get addiction treatment. This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on the situation.
Is Putting Pressure on Somebody to Go to Rehab a Waste of Time?
You have probably heard the claim that a person needs to be ‘ready’ for addiction treatment in order for it to work. This idea makes a lot of sense, but it is not necessarily true in all cases. There are plenty of examples of people who felt pressurised into going to drug rehab, yet they still ended up achieving permanent sobriety. Of course, there are also people who felt pushed into going to rehab who remained resistant and didn’t benefit much from the experience.
Even after we have accepted that alcohol or drugs is damaging our lives, we can still be uncertain about how we should deal with the situation. Going to drug rehab might not be something we want to do unless we are sure it is necessary. Here are 5 of the signs that suggest you might be ready for this type of help:
1. You Are Struggling to Quit On Your Own
If you have already tried to quit on your own and failed, it would make sense that you try a different approach this time. A rehab can give you all the support and resources you need to turn recovery into a reality. If you were diagnosed with diabetes, wouldn’t you want the best treatments available? Why should addiction problems be any different?
One of the things you are likely going to have to deal with in early recovery is addiction cravings. These urges to drink or use drugs again can seem to appear out of nowhere (although they will always be trigged by something), and they can happen at the most inconvenient time. A traditional approach to dealing with drug or alcohol cravings is distraction, but this can reinforce the idea that urges are something you need to be afraid of. A more effective approach might be to use the mindfulness tool of urge surfing.
What is Urge Surfing?
“…an urge is like an ocean wave that grows bigger and bigger as it approaches the shore. As it grows, there’s the desire to just give in, but if you do, you’ll reinforce the power of the addiction. Instead, you can ride the “wave” by using the breath as a kind of surfboard.” – Alan Marlatt
Urge surfing is a technique devised by Alan Marlatt who was a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. It is a way of applying mindfulness as a way for dealing with cravings rather than turning to distraction. These urges rarely last more than 20 minutes, so if the person can just sit with this thought, it will eventually disappear.
Even if you highly motivated during your stay in rehab, you can still end up failing in your attempt at sobriety if you have insufficient aftercare. The transition from the protected environment of this type of facility to the real world can be bumpy unless you are prepared for it. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid with aftercare planning so your move home goes smoothly.
1. Planning Your Aftercare at the Last Minute
There is not much point in just learning to be sober in drug rehab because you will soon be back in the real world. This is why everything you do needs to be preparing you for when you go home. Aftercare planning needs to begin from day one because if you leave it too late, you won’t be ready for the transition.
If this is your first Christmas sober, you may be approaching the holiday season with a touch of trepidation. This is a time of year when getting drunk becomes far more acceptable, and even social drinkers will tend to go a bit overboard. How will deal with this increased pressure to drink? Will you spend the holiday feeling like you are missing out? How can you enjoy Christmas without alcohol to put you in the right mood?
Here are a few tips to help you stay sober over the Christmas period:
Even if you are not a big fan of the recovery meetings, it is worth making an effort to go at this time of year. It means you will be around lots of other people who are having a sober Christmas, and you will gain strength from their support and experience. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous also usually have parties at this time of year, so you can get to let your hair down in a safe environment.
If you have been diagnosed with a borderline personality, there is a high likelihood that you also engage in substance abuse. This self-medication will be an attempt to ease your inner-discomfort and sense of isolation. The problem is that falling into addiction is like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. It is vital that you overcome your substance abuse problem, so you can manage your borderline personality symptoms.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a relatively new diagnosis (although there is growing support for renaming it ‘emotion regulation disorder’). It is not that this condition has suddenly appeared out of nowhere but that people with these symptoms used to end up with diagnoses such as emotionally unstable, pseudo-schizophrenic, or pseudo-neurotic. The word ‘borderline’ refers to the fact that the symptoms share similarities to other mental health conditions.
The New Year is all about saying goodbye to the old and welcoming in the new. This is a time of year when people traditionally feel more enthusiastic about change, and this is expressed in the form of resolutions. Going to rehab can be the most life-changing decision you ever make, and here are 5 compelling reasons for why you should consider it in the New Year:
1. You Have Already Lost Enough Time to Addiction
Some days are better than others when you are caught up in drug addiction, but it is not going to be possible to create sustainable positive change in your life so long as you are controlled by intoxicants. Every day you continue to devote to this behaviour is a day lost, and life is too short to be wasting time like this.
Writing therapy can be most effective when it is done under the direction of a therapist, but it is a good practice for anyone recovering from substance abuse. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling with engaging in this activity, and it is not about judging your abilities as a writer. Here are just some of the ways writing therapy can help you stay free of drug addiction.
Writing is an Opportunity to Vent
If you are getting stressed about a situation, writing can be a great way to let of some steam. You may be almost shaking with anger when you first grab your pen, but you are likely to feel much better by the time you finish writing. Just put down all your thoughts about the situation on paper without any attempts to edit, and it can be like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker.
If you have never tried yoga previously, you might be put off by the idea that it is just too exotic or difficult. This can actually be a wonderfully beneficial practice for people in recovery, and a beginner’s yoga class isn’t going to be too strenuous. Here are 5 reasons for why yoga could make living sober easier:
1. It is an Effective Tool for Managing Stress
Up until becoming sober, your main tool for managing stress would have been alcohol or drugs. If you don’t find an effective replacement for this coping strategy, you are going to be at high risk of relapse. Yoga has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol (Source: NCBI), so it is a proven technique for stress reduction.
The words ‘try not to worry’ are probably the least helpful thing people can say to those of us who have anxiety issues. The reality is our minds just automatically latch on to things to obsess about, and it can feel like there is no real choice involved. This is why mindfulness is such a wonderful practice – it is not about trying to stop these thoughts but learning how to manage them.
What is Mindfulness?
Most magazine and web articles about mindfulness will come with a picture of somebody sitting in the lotus position with a serene smile on their face – they will usually be on beautiful tropical beach somewhere. This depiction of the practice can lead to all types of misunderstandings about what it actually involves.