Navigating Recovery This Thanksgiving With A Grateful Heart

recovery

The beginning of the holiday season kicks off this week, which means it’s time to count your blessings. Those in recovery must fortify their defenses and batten down their spiritual hatches if one’s program is to remain intact. One of the most effective ways of ensuring relapse doesn’t become part of one’s story over Thanksgiving is to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Expressing thankfulness and appreciation in every area of one’s life is significant to maintaining a program. If you have accrued some recovery time, then some people have been instrumental to you in achieving your goals. Nobody recovers on their own; we do this together. We’d be wise to remind ourselves of this regularly; we wouldn’t be where we are today without help.

Call to mind when you arrived in treatment, a shell of your former self. It’s likely you heard someone tell you that everything is going to be alright. Remember the first person in a meeting who reached out their hand to you and expressed interest in your success. There are, no doubt, several instances you can recall when a fellow in recovery offered their support, unsolicited. People who pay forward what they received gratis in the program is what keeps this remarkable enterprise going. You have or will do the same when the time is right, the cycle of recovery depends upon everyone’s participation.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recovery: Your Gratitude is Required

Making an effort to express your gratitude for others is not always easy. There are times when it’s hard to recognize all the good in your life and all the people who have your back. A helping hand is often gentle, words of support are sometimes just a whisper, but everyone owes aspects of their recovery to a higher power and specific individuals.

Even those of you who are new to the program know the importance of sharing your gratitude with others. It’s likely that your counselors and sponsor suggested prayer and meditation as a means for ensuring progress. Recovery is a spiritual program, once we realize that most things in life are out of our control, it becomes easier to open our hearts to a higher power. Such a “life-force will” is the glue that holds our recovery together, which means acknowledgment of that fact is vital. Only a power greater-than-ourselves can restore us to sanity, so we must continually turn our will and our lives over to that force. A daily commitment to be thankful for everything and everyone who had a hand in our progression.

In early recovery, many people struggle to converse with their higher power, for numerous reasons. After years of substance use and reliance on oneself for survival makes it difficult to accept help. A mindset of self-will and self-reliance makes it hard to believe that there might be something else designing the architecture of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean starting a dialogue is impossible; with practice and an attitude of gratitude, anything is possible.

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ― Maya Angelou

Allowing Gratitude to Carry You Through the Holidays

If you are a young adult, who is relatively new to working a program, you might be dreading Thanksgiving. Perhaps this Thursday is the first time you will be home since going through addiction treatment? If you are like most people in this situation, you’re preparing yourself for a salvo of questions from loved ones at the dinner table. It’s doubtful you are thrilled about the prospect of having to explain to your uncle why you can’t drink a beer with him. Describing both the core and the minutiae of a program that is not easily put into words probably doesn’t bring joy to your heart. Nevertheless, if you are going home there are things you can do to keep stress at bay.

There is a good chance you had the help of a family member in bringing about your recovery. Whether mom and dad drove you to treatment or financially supported your decision to get help, your family played an important role in your recovery. They may have questions regarding your mission to live life on life’s terms, which you can attempt to answer patiently. Or, you can just say that you are not in a position to explain something adequately, so you’d rather not. In early recovery, individuals often follow suggestions without fully understanding the value of the suggested behavior. In time, the real importance of an action will reveal itself, but for now, it’s alright not to have the answer.

If you find yourself having to field your family's questions, you won’t get as stressed if you remind yourself that their curiosity comes from caring, not scrutiny. No one in recovery can afford to let their emotions get the best of them during a holiday, the risks of doing so are profound. If a family member is starting to get under your skin, simply walk away and call your sponsor. If your distress doesn’t dissipate still, find your way to a meeting pronto; rest assured that many of the people you will find in that meeting share your current sentiments.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving

Whether you have one month or one year sober, you’ve much to be grateful for today. If you make an effort on Thanksgiving to share your gratitude with others, it will make the day go by easier. Remember your tools and the skills you acquired in treatment, and relapse won’t be a part of your recovery.

The gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe, sober, and happy Thanksgiving. We are proud of your accomplishments, and we hope that you are, too.

Addiction-Free Pain Management

addiction

The search for cures to the world’s most deadly diseases (i.e., cancer and addiction) is one that tends to result in more questions than answers. History indicates, time and time again, that solutions to medical ailments are hard-fought, often taking decades to make progress. Some 37 years have passed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began its quest for a cure to the human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). While there are medications that can keep HIV/AIDS at bay, a cure still eludes researchers.

We could say the same for many life-threatening health conditions leading to premature death, i.e., cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis C. The disease of addiction could also be added to the list of fatal conditions with no known cure. Like AIDS, recovery from addiction can be managed and maintained, but not cured.

It’s safe to assume that researchers are not on the brink of discovery regarding a cure for addiction. However, if a problem can’t be solved, then a temporary solution is to lessen the number of new cases. Finding ways to prevent individuals from going down the road of addiction is complicated by the method doctors use to treat pain.

Treating Pain Without The Risk of Addiction

Pain is a fact of life. At some point, all of us experience acute or chronic pain. The current means of treating either type of pain is prescription opioids. We don’t need to tell you the result of handling all-things-pain with opioids. Even when something non-addictive, like Tylenol, will work, doctors, more times than not (it seems) still fall back on drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin. The result? We now have more than 2 million opioid addicts in the United States.

At the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week in Washington, D.C., opioids was a significant topic of discussion. Pharmacologist Edward Bilsky, provost and chief academic officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, is moderated a panel on pain, addiction, and opioid abuse, NPR reports. One of the topics of discussion: alternatives to opioids in the treatment of pain.

We know a lot more about pain and addiction than we used to," said Bilsky, "But it's been hard to get a practical drug."

Bilsky highlights several areas of pain management that carry fewer risks to patient safety than opioids, such as:

  • Scientists discovered cone snail venom contains substances that act as powerful painkillers affecting non-opioid receptors in the brain. However, the one drug on the market is only administered by spinal column injection.
  • Drugs targeting specific brain circuits which increase or diminish perception of pain; some antidepressants have shown promise.
  • Researchers are also working on ways to erase memories of pain.

Addiction Via Chronic Pain

The definition of chronic pain is experiencing daily discomfort for more than three months. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that at least 25 million people suffer from chronic pain. Given that most of the individuals mentioned above receive prescription opioids, the risk of new opioid addiction cases is high. The need for opiate alternatives is tremendous, and hopefully, progress in the field is on the horizon.

The road to opioid use disorder often begins with chronic pain. When anyone uses a drug like OxyContin for months on end, dependence is inevitable. The hooks of opiate narcotics sink deep, even if one’s pain subsides the need for the drugs lingers on. Patients looking to break free from their painkillers struggle to do so on their own; fortunately, there is help available.

At PACE Recovery Center, an exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men, we’ve seen the devastating effect of reckless overprescribing. We know that people with opioid use disorder are prone to relapse if they do not seek assistance when seeking recovery. Our team of highly-skilled addiction professionals can help you (or a loved one) break the cycle of opioid addiction, and show you how life in recovery is possible. Please contact us today, regardless of which type of drug you are addicted (OxyContin or heroin). We can help.

Addiction Recovery: A Fellowship of Miracles

addiction recovery

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.” Those of you new to addiction recovery have undoubtedly heard that before. It’s likely you understand what it means: Don’t give up on working a program of recovery before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Anyone who has been in the program for a time will agree that there are no shortages of miracles in the rooms of recovery. Each person dedicated to sobriety is a miracle; resisting one’s programming takes tremendous commitment and fortitude. While there will always be difficult times (even in abstinence), the worst day in recovery is far better than the best day in active addiction.

mir·a·cle
ˈmirək(ə)l/
noun
A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

It stands to reason that we will all have a different opinion on what constitutes a miracle. Everyone is going to consider the unexplainable subjectively, and that’s OK. However, it’s nearly impossible to look at someone in recovery objectively without being inspired. Going from the depths of despair to the spiritual light of recovery, two realms diametrically opposed, is almost unbelievable. People who’ve been around a while have seen newcomers, once in a dismal state of being, turn their lives around via the principles of addiction recovery.

If you were to ask the same newcomers how their recovery was made possible, they might struggle to find an answer. Making sense of how recovery works is challenging in a society that turns to medicine and science for solutions. A group of men and women meeting daily to check in with each other, giving feedback and guidance when asked, can seem likely an unlikely method of promoting healing. It works!

You Are the Miracle of Recovery

When bad things are happening in one’s life it’s noticeable right away. When good things are happening, it’s often difficult to recognize. Early in recovery determining how one’s life has improved is challenging, miracles can be both subtle and elusive. Taking stock of one’s progress isn’t easy when you are new to the program but rest assured, if you are staying sober and doing the work a transformation is taking place. If you are willing to do the Work, are open and honest with yourself and others, it’s a miracle in itself.

After an extended period of going to meetings and doing step work with a sponsor you might realize that you are the miracle for which you were waiting patiently. Sure, the program might bring about getting the family back in one’s life, financial security, and anyone of a multitude of gifts; but the fact that you have gone a string of 24-hour periods without a drink is a miracle. It’s a real achievement if you woke up today and asked yourself how you can be of service to your fellows in recovery. Rather than setting a selfish course for your day, you are focused on how you can act selflessly, helping others achieve the common goal of recovery.

One of the most satisfying feats is getting through a day without thinking about using drugs or alcohol. Cravings and fixations wax and wane in recovery, but early on they can be pretty intense. As time passes, you will think about using less and less; instead of looking for an escape from daily life you’ll find a desire to be a part of your existence. Urges to isolate will be replaced by a yen for inclusion in the happenings of other people’s lives.

As Long as It Takes

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” — Paul Coelho

Nobody finds recovery by accident. When one’s life is discordant, a need for change is self-evident. Realizing that action is required to bring about such a change doesn’t always come quickly. People can toil in the misery of addiction for unconscionable lengths of time. When the choice is finally made to seek help and efforts are taken to bring it about, individuals experience their first miracle in recovery.

Much is required of any person looking to break the cycle of addiction and transform their life for the better. There will be times when you question why you are going to meetings day-in-and-day-out. You might find yourself doubting the miracles promised by your peers in the program, but for different reasons than you might think.

Perhaps you had the thought that the gifts of recovery would originate externally? If that is the case, you might consider changing your perspective. The real miracles of addiction recovery come from within, connecting with the spiritual realm is the gift, and in recovery, you are the miracle. You can see evidence of that when considering your existence before finding addiction recovery and after. The transformation may not be evident right away, in time all shall reveal itself to you—as long as you are willing to work the program for as long as it takes. Although, if you ask your peers who have been around longer, such realizations will come sooner than you think.

Taking Certain Steps for Addiction Recovery

Do you want something different for your life than living in a cycle of addictive and self-defeating behavior? Addiction recovery is possible, and we at PACE Recovery Center can help you realize the dream of serenity. Armed with tools and skills for keeping addiction at bay, you too can live a life of lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the transformative journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery Displacement Activities

addiction recovery

Deciding to seek addiction treatment and work a program of addiction recovery is not a choice that comes quickly. One’s disease is continuously at work convincing you everything is under control, despite the unhappiness characterizing your life. Committing oneself to a new way of existence requires remarkable courage; addicts and alcoholics are rebelling against their condition. Choosing to live life in a completely different way requires more than just putting down substances, changing everything is needed.

Young men whose lives became unmanageable due to this most severe mental health condition might struggle early in recovery. Coming to terms with turning your back on one’s previous way of life is often difficult to swallow. The realization that specific people, places, and things can no longer be a part of your life can be painful. However, if you are willing to go to any length to live in the light of recovery, good-byes are in order.

The disease is about far more than drugs and alcohol and one’s relationship with mind-altering substances. People in active addiction are unable to live life on life’s terms, one who struggles to cope with life’s demands. In many cases, such people are also dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders, like depression. When that is the case, drugs and alcohol can seem like the solution. After all, euphoria has been known to ease one’s troubled mind. Using drugs and alcohol for relief, over time, has the opposite effect. Once the source of happiness, now the source of misery.

A significant facet of addiction treatment is teaching clients about coping with obstacles that are beyond one’s control. Learning how to accept the things we can’t change is instrumental to lasting recovery.

Happiness in Addiction Recovery

Those unhappy while in the throes of addiction might expect the reverse in recovery. The reality is that finding equilibrium and balance in your life takes time, addiction recovery is a process. Just because you extricated drugs and alcohol from your life doesn’t mean life with be smooth sailing right away. The wreckage of our past doesn't disappear because we got clean and sober. The damage done must be addressed, and will be at the proper time, but that isn't going to occur immediately. Painful memories will still linger over your head and inside you in early recovery.

If you follow the direction of those who came before you, life will get better in time. It’s paramount that you stick to the program, working the steps will illuminate your life. Although, you will have to work through many unpleasantries to get to the point of comfort. In early recovery, everything asked of you is foreign; at times, you may feel like ignoring your peers’ suggestions. It is crucial that you resist the urge to distract yourself from the task at hand—recovery. It will not always be easy to accomplish, especially in the times we find ourselves. There isn’t a shortage of distractions in this day and age, especially for young men.

You may find yourself wanting to put off a meeting in favor of television or playing video games, ignore the urge. In recovery, we must avoid anything that distracts from something essential to the program. The early months of recovery can feel like every choice you ever made led to the unfortunate disease of addiction. You may feel unhappy about your lot in life, but you’ve decided to make changes to rectify the situation.

Avoiding Distraction In Early Recovery

Many young adult males play video games on a regular basis, and there are concerns this behavior is addictive. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists online gaming as a “condition of further study.” The reference prompted researchers in the UK to do that very thing, which lead to some interesting findings. The research, published in PeerJ, didn’t determine if gaming addiction was a real psychiatric disorder. However, the researchers found that gaming may be a “displacement activity for people in an unhappy situation,” New Scientist reports. Regarding addiction recovery, their findings may show how young men might turn to games for mental distraction.

If someone uses gaming to meet basic psychological needs, this could become a problem if they are not able to satisfy these needs in real life,” says Daria Kuss, a cyber-psychology researcher at Nottingham Trent University, UK. “But to confirm this, we need clinical samples of people who are being treated for addiction in centres.”

While the verdict on gaming addiction is still out, research like this is useful to people working a program. Young adult males play video games more than any other demographic. It stands to reason that young men in recovery will turn to online gaming as a distraction from their feelings. This is not to say that people in recovery can’t play video games. If individuals are cognizant of why they’re playing, for occasional fun rather than displacement, it should not be harmful. Perhaps you are a young man in early recovery who plays video games regularly? If so, you may want to examine your relationship with the activity; “does gaming hurt my prospects for long-term recovery?”

Addiction Recovery

Are you struggling with addiction? At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you learn how to live life on life’s terms, one day at a time. Addiction recovery is not easy, but with continued spiritual maintenance your life will exponentially improve.

Contact Us

...