10 Ways to Survive the Holidays When You're Newly Sober

10 Ways to Survive the Holidays When You’re Newly Sober

Spiked Eggnog and Candy Cane Martinis dance around many tables during the holidays. Couple free-flowing alcohol with other intoxicating elements hanging around, and the holidays can be a challenge for sobriety. Do not despair. Here are ten ways you can thrive during the holidays.

  • Avoid places where you know you will be tempted
    Parties are filled with temptation. If the office party is not mandatory, or you can handle the wrath of aunt Edna for missing a family shindig, consider excusing yourself entirely.
  • Avoid people you used to drink or do drugs with
    Peer pressure is not only bullies forcing middle-schoolers to do something uncomfortable. As an adult you can create pressure on yourself by being around your old drinking friends. Trying to fit in could lead to regrettable decisions.
  • Try meditation
    If you know you are going to face a sobriety challenge, use this preparation tactic. Meditation can help you handle tempting situations confidently.
  • Bring a friend
    Responsible friends can help you avert relapse. If you cannot physically bring a friend, promise them you will check in regularly.
  • Apprise everyone of your sobriety
    This is not always appropriate, but if you find yourself enjoying the holidays with close friends or family they will respect your decision. You may even gain instant accountability partners.
  • Prepare an escape route
    There may be times when the temptation to use will be too much. Your recovery is more important. You have permission to suddenly get sick, or use some other excuse to cut out early.
  • Eat some good food
    Research has shown that bodily desires like tiredness, thirst, and hunger can trigger addictions. Make sure if you go to a holiday outing that you are well rested and fed. If you don’t eat before a party, don’t be shy and devour that caviar.
  • Focus on something other than alcohol to experience at gatherings
    The first thing you used to look for were the drinks. Now you have to train yourself to look for other distractions. Maybe there are games or good conversations cropping up that you can participate in.
  • Bring your own fun
    Make some unique food to share, bring a board game, or bring gingerbread houses if you have to. This is another distraction tactic, but moreover these are great ways to have fun.
  • Go on vacation
    If the holidays are too much, and you cannot find any scenario that will keep you in recovery, then plan a vacation. Get away from it all and see a place you have never been.

The Springboard Center knows that recovery is important to you. That is why we are providing the best care for alcoholism and drug addiction possible to the Permian Basin and beyond. Our goal is to provide quality residential treatment that restores the health and dignity of our clients and their families. Together, we gain raise community awareness and heal lives. Call us today for information: (432) 620-0255

What are the Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy?

What are the Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy?

Many picture massage therapy as part of a spa experience.  Your face is turned into a salad followed by someone practicing their kung fu ninja skills on your back.  For others massage therapy is reserved as a special treat to make you feel really good for a couple hours.  Beyond these two views, studies now show that incorporating regular massage therapy into your life has great holistic health benefits.

Boosted Immunity

Regular massages help to boost the body’s immune system by stimulating the lymphatic and circulatory systems.  When these systems function at optimal levels, the body is better able to dispose of the toxins.  Massages also release endorphins, which are a natural pain killer.  Many clients of massage therapy report mitigated chronic pain with regular massage therapy.  By incorporating massage therapy into your addiction recovery journey, your body chemistry will be able to recalibrate itself more quickly.

Increased Cognitive Function

Those who receive regular massages report they sleep better, feel more rested, and have better concentration.  Health experts believe that there are three keys to keeping a person’s health at optimal levels: a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleep quality.  

By receiving regular massages, those who are recovering from their addiction disease will enjoy the benefits of better sleep quality.  Better sleep will help you face your days at peak performance and help mitigate stresses and trigger points you will encounter.

Mental Health

Massage therapy can be very mentally relaxing.  However, the benefits go beyond a simple sigh of relief from life’s pressures.  Research shows by incorporating massage therapy into your routine you will be less likely to experience anxiety and depression.  Some doctors have even prescribed massage therapy to help combat certain neurological disorders.  

In the world of addiction treatment, good mental health may be one of the greatest benefits of massage.  Much of the addiction battle is fought in the mind.  Anything that can give an edge is invaluable.

Massage therapy is truly a holistic approach to healthy living.  Massages target the body, soul, and mind.  If you are still hesitant about incorporating massages into your health routine, consider a trial run.  Many therapists offer shorter, less expensive sessions for new clients.  If you are in recovery for an addiction, consider keeping a journal during your time in massage therapy.  When you can track the benefits of what works and what does not, you will be able to invest your time in what matters most.

 

The Springboard Center wants to change the way the Permian Basin and beyond approaches substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs offer an opportunity to restore the health and dignity of clients and their families. Call us today for information on our programs for addiction and alcoholism: (432) 620-0255

5 Signs You're on a Path of Self-Destruction

5 Signs You’re on a Path of Self-Destruction

In the movie Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey’s character’s life is falling apart.  In desperation he begins asking God for answers.  At one point he gets frustrated and pleads for a sign.  During his whining, God keeps sending a ridiculous amount of physical signs his way.  Jim Carrey’s character remains oblivious.  It is a humorous scene in the movie that teaches a lesson to be on the lookout for signs that are already there.

Substance abuse displays a variety of signs pointing toward destruction.  Chances are good you come to this article because you have already encountered a sign or two and want to know the dangers of addiction.  Below are five common signs that you may be headed toward self-destruction.

Your tolerance is increasing

The first time you drank or used you felt good.  This feeling encouraged you to use again.  Unfortunately, each time you come back you find you need more of the same substance to achieve a euphoric feeling.  This insatiability will not end well.  

Your life now revolves around your substance of choice

Have you lost motivation for education?  Have you stopped saving up for that new car you wanted?  Addiction is a thief of time, money, and relationships.  Your brain is now trained that getting high is priority.  Everything else is less important.  You can no longer get through a day without thinking about it and trying to obtain it.

You no longer enjoy fun things you used to do

People enjoy a variety of things growing up usually finding something they love along the way.  Perhaps you loved sports, family hangouts, or solving puzzles.  Now that your addiction is in control, those activities seem drab and boring.  Your brain now believes to have a good time you cannot be sober.

Changing relationships

As your addiction takes over your life it will also shape your relationships.  People who live free from addiction will carry on enjoying life as they always have.  Your desire is shifting to build relationships with other people involved in substance abuse so that you can have greater access.

You become moody and irritated after coming down

You believe you feel the best when you are intoxicated.  When your body becomes dependent on the substance, your brain no longer understands sobriety as normal.  Your new normal makes being sober feel like depression and it can be difficult for you to emotionally regulate.

 

The Springboard Center knows that recovery is important to you. That is why we are providing the best care for alcoholism and drug addiction possible to the Permian Basin and beyond. Our goal is to provide quality residential treatment that restores the health and dignity of our clients and their families. Together, we gain raise community awareness and heal lives. Call us today for information: (432) 620-0255

Should Yoga be a Part of my Lifestyle Change?

Should Yoga be a Part of my Lifestyle Change?

“Come back to center,” is a phrase often heard in yoga videos and from studio teachers alike.  Embodied in the phrase is the idea that practicing yoga, will help stabilize your life both mentally and physically.  Stability is a coveted asset for a person in recovery to help maintain their lifestyle change.  Here are some reasons to embrace yoga as part of your life moving forward.

Improved Immunity

As you practice yoga you will be strengthening your body’s natural defenses.  Increased circulation and better breathing habits will help your body, including organs, to function better.  If you are recovering from substance abuse your body has probably been through the ringer.  Yoga will help to restore and even progress your health beyond its pretreatment state.

Increased Energy

Any exercise program will increase your energy levels.  However, yoga’s effects are even more dramatic because it is a combined mind and body regiment.  Yoga practitioners report they sleep better, feel less stressed, and have more energy throughout their day.  Who wouldn’t want that for the rest of their life?  

Fight Cravings Easier

In recovery this is probably the most compelling reason to incorporate yoga into your lifestyle change.  Yoga incorporates meditation into its exercise regiment helping to develop a person’s mindfulness.  Many practitioners of yoga find that slowing down, breathing, and practicing the tricks they learned in yoga allows them to fend off cravings.  Recent studies back up their claims.

Inner Peace   

Addiction can feel like prison, and the road to recovery is not easy and feels very chaotic.  As you begin your re-entry phase it can feel like the chaos is everywhere.  Practicing yoga will give you long term inner peace.  Inner peace is a natural result of yoga’s combined benefits in your life.  Yoga helps you feel better about yourself, gives you confidence, and a sense of belonging.  The road to inner peace can be arduous, but embracing yoga can help you get there more quickly.   

One of the largest mountains to climb in recovery is the reformation of your identity.  There are many paths to help you get there.  Yoga is a practice that benefits so many areas that it almost seems foolish to not incorporate it into your new lifestyle.  Whatever you do, make lifestyle choices that will give you similar benefits to those of yoga.

 

The Springboard Center wants to change the way the Permian Basin and beyond approaches substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs offer an opportunity to restore the health and dignity of clients and their families. Call us today for information on our programs for addiction and alcoholism: (432) 620-0255

Common Drug Addictions You Aren't Aware Of

Common Drug Addictions You Aren’t Aware Of

When people think of drug addictions many images materialize.  A pipe that is smoking, a rolled up bill next to white powdery substances, and a tied off arm next to a syringe.  These images are indicative of common drugs like crack, meth, and heroine.  Those are dangerous drugs, but the following common drug addictions not in the limelight are equally deadly.

  • Designer drugs – This category of drugs encompasses a wide range of synthetic drugs blended up by chemists and amateurs alike.  They can also be referred to as club drugs, and take the form of uppers and downers, or anything in between.  The drugs are usually designed to mimic the effects of other big name street drugs or pharmaceuticals.  In mimicking their effects, these drugs also carry their addictive traits.  Designer drugs are particularly dangerous for addicts because treatment for an overdose may be ineffective without a toxicology report.
  • Prescription stimulants – This category holds some addictive drugs that are increasing in supply due to the growing diagnosis of ADHD in children and teens.  Drugs such as Ritalin effectively help those with ADHD, but like many other prescription drugs are addictive and can be abused.  Other prescription drugs that fall into this category are those prescribed to treat depression and narcolepsy.
  • Sedatives – Most commonly these are sleeping pills and can be either prescribed or purchased over the counter.  Other more subtle sedatives that can be purchased over the counter include medications for colds and allergies.  The highly addictive chemical inside these medications is dextromethorphan.  Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient also found in many illegal street drugs.
  • Whip-its or Nitrous Oxide –  This chemical agent is also known as laughing gas.  It is readily available and addictive.  Large canisters can be purchased, but many canned spray foods also contain small amounts of the gas.  This makes it easy to access via the grocery store.  Whip-its is a term used by addicts because canned whip cream is a common source for the gas.
  • Psychedelic Plants – These plants offer the user an addictive out-of-body experience alongside a psychedelic experience.  The most common plant digested is the Psilocybin mushroom, but other plants such as Peyote, Khat, and Kratom offer similar experiences.

No one can be aware of all drug addictions all the time.  The drug scene is dynamic.  However, training to notice the universal signs of addiction can help a person intervene before it is too late.  If you or someone you love begins to display addictive behavior, seek help immediately.

The Springboard Center knows that recovery is important to you. That is why we are providing the best care for alcoholism and drug addiction possible to the Permian Basin and beyond. Our goal is to provide quality residential treatment that restores the health and dignity of our clients and their families. Together, we gain raise community awareness and heal lives. Call us today for information: (432) 620-0255

How Do You Grow Spiritually?

How Do You Grow Spiritually?

The word spirit is derived from latin and greek terms for breath.  Breath is a fitting description because the human spirit is immaterial and unseen.  Growing in mind and body is easy enough with nutrition, exercise, and education, but how do you grow something that you cannot see?  How do you grow spiritually?

A spiritual person seeks a meaning and purpose in life.  Often this seeking desire is attributed to an outside force, or higher power.  The quest to understand and grow from this belief requires these basic elements.

Knowledge

Any journey towards spiritual growth begins with acquiring knowledge.  If you are starting out on your journey, the process can be a lengthy.  Estimates place the number of religions in the world at over four thousand.  There are no rules saying your spirituality has to be tied to any of them.  To help you land somewhere you will need to figure out what you want from your spirituality.  Once you figure out where to begin you will want to acquire as much knowledge as possible to launch your discovery.

Meditation

In Christian religions meditation is the act of filling your mind with sacred scriptures and applying their meaning.  Buddhists practice emptying their minds in order to attain inner peace.  Meditation is pliable and can be tailored to your specific needs.  However, meditation’s purpose is to help a person become more connected to a spiritual power.  Whether that power exists somewhere in the universe or within, meditation will help you grow and feel closer to it.

Practice

Those who strive for spiritual growth do so because they desire truth, purpose, and meaning in life.  There is no better way to find out if your beliefs can give you those things than to practice them.  The Dalai Lama once said, “My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.”  Growth in his beliefs equated to doing good for humankind.  Each time he did something kind for others they benefited as he grew spiritually.

Community

Joining a community that shares your  beliefs will challenge you and help you grow.  You will encounter different viewpoints that you will need to process.  Many spiritual communities also offer teachers and other gurus who are very willing to pass on what they have learned from their experiences.  Communities also offer a spiritual support system.

Overall the spiritual journey is one of excitement and adventure.  Your challenge will be to enjoy the journey as you strive for the destination.

 

The Springboard Center wants to change the way the Permian Basin and beyond approaches substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs offer an opportunity to restore the health and dignity of clients and their families. Call us today for information on our programs for addiction and alcoholism: (432) 620-0255

How alcoholism impacts the liver and the liver impacts health

How Alcoholism Impacts the Liver and the Liver Impacts Health

The first time someone with alcoholism has tremors in their hands they may write it off as having too much coffee that day.  However, this is can be the first of many signs that alcohol consumption is impacting the body and liver negatively.

The liver is a vital organ.  It performs many necessary functions to live.  As a person consumes alcohol they may begin to encounter negative side effects.  If left unchecked, alcoholism leads to diseases.  Three liver diseases are identified by the Liver Foundation as consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.

  1. Fatty Liver disease is the first disease obtained from alcoholism.  Symptoms are sometimes unnoticeable at this stage.  The liver becomes enlarged from the accumulation of fat cells and loses its peak performance.  This lower performance will affect multiple areas including energy,  memory, concentration, and mood.
  2. Alcoholic Hepatitis is the second stage in liver destruction through alcoholism.  In this stage symptoms will be more obvious as the liver continues its declining performance.  Those in this stage may begin to show signs of jaundice, experience weight loss, and regular vomiting to name a few.  In some cases a people with Alcoholic Hepatitis can experience such a severe reaction that it can be fatal.  The good news is that those with this disease can still repair damage done to the liver if they follow the direction of their doctor and fight their addiction in a treatment program.
  3. Cirrhosis of the liver is the final stage of alcoholism destroying the liver.  If not treated, those with this disease have the greatest chance to have a fatal reaction to alcohol.  By now the liver has begun to transform into scar tissue and affect the circulatory system in dramatic ways.  As the liver functions at only a fraction of what it should, the circulatory system will begin to fail.   A person with alcoholism and cirrhosis is in danger of ailments ranging from organ failure to requiring amputation.  Sadly, even with treatment, not all of the damage to the liver can be repaired by this stage.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism please do not wait to seek treatment.  Those who believe they might be in danger of getting an alcohol related liver disease should also seek the advice of their doctor.  Doctors will collaborate with treatment centers to offer you the greatest results in your recovery efforts.  Everyone’s life is too valuable.  There is hope.  

 

The Springboard Center knows that recovery is important to you. That is why we are providing the best care for alcoholism and drug addiction possible to the Permian Basin and beyond. Our goal is to provide quality residential treatment that restores the health and dignity of our clients and their families. Together, we gain raise community awareness and heal lives. Call us today for information: (432) 620-0255

How Long Should I Live in Sober Living?

How Long Should I Live in Sober Living?

You have become a new person!  It is normal to begin wondering how long to live in sober living for the optimal benefit.  Many sources say at least ninety days, but their are many factors involved that make a number difficult to solidify.

Sober living environments are catalysts to maintain sobriety long term.  They offer great practice for sober living post transition.  You need sober living environments to test your reaction to stresses that trigger your addiction.  Consider the thoughts below as you determine your length of stay in sober living.   

Statistics show between fifty to ninety percent of alcoholics relapse after treatment.  Some relapse cases happen quickly, others occur decades later.  Remember that addiction is a brain thing, not just a substance issue.  You should not leave a sober living environment until you have a firm understanding and plan of action for addressing your addiction.  Use your time in sober living to identify why your addictive personality transfers to seemingly good things, like work, as you create your plan of action.

Do you still believe you may be able to drink in moderation some day?  In rare cases some treated for alcoholism are able to moderate their consumption after treatment.  However, doctors and treatment centers will always advise against using alcohol ever again.  If you still believe you may be able to drink again some day, then you may not be ready to leave a sober living environment.  Take the time to discover why you desire to drink again someday.  In sober living environments there are plenty of people around to help you process thoroughly..

Have you begun to help others in sober living?  If you have begun to help others more regularly in your sober living environment, it shows that your confidence in sobriety is growing.  You have begun to focus more on helping others than yourself; perhaps due to expending less energy on battling your own addiction.  This may be a good sign you are ready to transition.

Ultimately, there is no short answer to how long you should live in sober living.  You will need to take time becoming confident in all the tools they provide to avoid relapse.  However, you also need to develop confidence to face your addiction and win in the real world.  Do not let fear keep you in sober living too long.  You don’t need to fear your addiction, but you do need to respect its power.  Be open with your treatment coordinators and trust their advice regarding the amount of time  you need to stay in a sober living environment.

 

The Springboard Center wants to change the way the Permian Basin and beyond approaches substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs offer an opportunity to restore the health and dignity of clients and their families. Call us today for information on our programs for addiction and alcoholism: (432) 620-0255

How Meth Affects the Brain

How Meth Affects the Brain

Meth is cheaper and more readily available than many street drugs.  Meth is also one of the most violent addictive substances towards the brain.  Many addiction experts believe it is the most difficult drug to not relapse from after treatment.  This probably has much to do with meth’s intensity while using.

Meth is typically snorted giving it instantaneous access to the brain. Once absorbed, meth can release insane amounts of dopamine down the neural pathway toward the pleasure center of the brain.  Many addicts consider meth to be their favorite drug due to this highly euphoric feeling.  With so much dopamine being released into the brain a chemical imbalance is created the body was not designed to handle.  Extended use of meth will cause moderate to severe brain damage.

When the brain is flooded with dopamine, a person becomes dependent quickly.  The experience can be likened to riding only one of many roller coasters at a theme park, because it is the best.  The meth users brain will begin to misinterpret chemical signals, and activities that used to bring them pleasure will no longer stimulate.  Some addicts have reported that sexual excitement is difficult or even impossible to achieve unless they are high on meth.  Meth is their rollercoaster.  Additionally, when a person comes down from meth, short term withdrawal symptoms are intense.  Uncontrollable crying and even suicidal thoughts are common.  If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Meth also indirectly affects the brain through its side effects.  The most common side effect is sleep deprivation, which can fatigue major organs in the body causing them to function erratically.  Some meth users also experience a group of side effects called tweaking.  Tweaking is a broad term covering a wide range of psychosis, hallucinations, agitation, and other severe mood swings.

In the most severe cases meth addicts’ brains can be severely damaged.  The damage done is often compared to Parkinson’s disease with symptoms including: irregular motor skills, tremors, impaired speech, and outbursts of emotion.

Meth is a drug that melts the brain.  CT scans of actual meth users show the horrifying effects of the drug over an extended period.  Despite the rate at which meth decays the brain, hope is not lost.  In many cases meth users who have sought treatment, and not relapsed, have experienced phenomenal recovery to their cognitive function.  Time in recovery can reverse some of the damage done by meth.  The quicker an addict receives treatment, the more damage their brains will likely repair.

 

The Springboard Center knows that recovery is important to you. That is why we are providing the best care for alcoholism and drug addiction possible to the Permian Basin and beyond. Our goal is to provide quality residential treatment that restores the health and dignity of our clients and their families. Together, we gain raise community awareness and heal lives. Call us today for information: (432) 620-0255

How Does a Person Regain their Dignity in Recovery?

How Does a Person Regain their Dignity in Recovery?

A non-profit organization in Texas called The Lost Closet exists for one purpose: helping released prisoners with a first step in regaining dignity.  They do so by giving them an outfit to replace their prison clothes.  If you are in treatment recovering from your addiction it can feel like you just got out of prison.  Addiction is a prison that takes you in and strips you of your identity.  When find freedom it can be difficult to pick up the pieces of your life.  Here are some steps toward regaining your dignity in recovery.

  • Forgive yourself – Mistakes were made and damage was done, but addiction does not define who you are.  You are a beautiful person worthy of forgiveness.  You can never truly recover without forgiving yourself.
  • Forgive others – A lot of people have caused you pain, knowingly or not.  Practice, in your mind, forgiving those who have hurt you.  Forgiveness is a process.  You will probably have to practice forgiving the same people more than once.  This is a necessary step to forgiving yourself and regaining dignity.
  • Ask for forgiveness – If it is safe for you to do so, ask people you may have hurt because of your addiction for forgiveness.  Most will gladly forgive you, and each time it happens they are restoring a piece of who you truly are.
  • Reform your identity – Perhaps journal about who you want to be as a recovered person.  List out some traits and ideals you wish you could have.  Take a step back and look at what you have written.  The person you wish you could be you already are.  That person may be locked deep inside, but as you recover and fight you will soon see yourself blossom into your new identity.
  • Be mindful of the lies that rob your dignity – Long after you go through treatment, and rebuild your dignity, there will still be moments when you regret your past.  Those regrets can quickly turn into thinking you are a naturally bad person.  Remember you are forgiven and those regrets no longer define you.  Be prepared to fight off those lies and embrace your new identity.

Regaining your dignity is a process.  The steps above are labeled one through four, but in reality the process is more involved.  You will find yourself bouncing around different steps, or even working through multiple steps simultaneously.  There is no mathematical formula to regaining your dignity.  The secret is in discovering your value as a human being and thriving in it.

 

The Springboard Center wants to change the way the Permian Basin and beyond approaches substance abuse. Our residential treatment programs offer an opportunity to restore the health and dignity of clients and their families. Call us today for information on our programs for addiction and alcoholism: (432) 620-0255