Tag Archives: support network

Early Recovery: Stay Close to Other Men in the Program

early recovery

In 12-Step programs, men work together with other men to achieve lasting recovery. The same is true for women. People of the same sex can relate more easily. Moreover, working the steps with someone of the same gender makes it easier to open up in early recovery—free from the distraction of the opposite sex.

Early recovery is a challenging time. Anything you can do to mitigate the risk of distractions will aid you significantly. There is a reason why it’s suggested to avoid dating in the first year of recovery. Few people are equipped to keep their program intact and juggle the needs of a romantic relationship in early recovery.

What’s more, if a relationship runs into problems and a break-up occurs, it can be an impetus for relapse. If you can avoid romantic entanglements in the first year or until you’ve worked all the steps, you will not be sorry. Doing so will allow you to put all your energy into laying a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

A straw poll of people at meetings would reveal that relationships are right next to resentments in being a leading cause of relapse. In many cases, a toxic relationship begets resentment that is a catalyst for deciding to drink or drug again.

If you are new to working a program, devote your energy toward fostering friendships with other men in the Rooms. Other men in the program will be the people who are there for you when you face challenges. Another man will also serve as your sponsor; he will show you how to work the steps and stay sober one day at a time.

Sticking With Other Men in Early Recovery

There will be plenty of time down the road to think about romance. Early on, your focus must be on adopting new behaviors and practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs. What’s more, early recovery is time to learn how to be friends with others in healthy ways.

When in the grips of addiction, practically everyone you associated with had something that serviced your disease. Now, you are looking for people who are also serious about their program; other men who have what you want—those whose lives are on the right track because of their recovery.

Look for individuals whose daily actions for recovery inspire you to keep doing the next right thing. Stay close to the men who put their recovery first in every aspect of life. Recovery requires eternal vigilance; it can never come second.

Early recovery is a time when your addiction is working tirelessly to reassert itself in your life—to retake its former position on center stage. It’s easy to get off track and to become distracted. Ensure that you are around other men in the program when you are not working or in meetings.

Develop a deep-bench of supporting men in recovery; such relationships will help you stay on course. In COVID-19 America, it’s vital for men and women in recovery to stick together. Preventing relapse during these challenging times must come first and foremost.

Whenever you find yourself struggling, call another man in the program and ask them for help. You might be surprised how beneficial picking up the phone can be. Make a call before you fall. You are not alone.

We Help Each Other Stay Sober

Reaching out for help when you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed helps you and the person you lean on for support. You never know, the man you talk to might be having a hard time too. Your call or meeting with that individual helps them stay sober as well.

A sponsor helps you stay sober, and you help him stay sober too. A sponsor cannot keep their recovery if they do not give it away. Interconnectivity or fellowship is the life-blood of the program.

You make progress each time you join forces for recovery in a meeting or one on one. Staying connected with the people in your deep bench is the key to reaching new milestones.

If you’ve been isolating because of COVID-19 or otherwise, please do not hesitate to reach out. Addiction thrives in isolation, and alcoholics and addicts cannot afford the luxury of solitude. Take advantage of video conferencing platforms to remain an active participant in your recovery.

Orange County Gender-Specific Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we show men how to work together toward a common goal. Our gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment are the ideal launching point for any adult male who’d like to better their lives. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Addiction Recovery: Always Make Time for Your Program

addiction recovery

Most people in addiction recovery would agree that the first years are the most challenging. If you are in early recovery, then you have probably dealt with some tricky situations already. Hopefully, you were equipped with tools to cope with whatever obstacles you faced.

Addiction recovery often begins with detox and a residential or an intensive outpatient program. Such settings position the newly sober for success by providing individuals with a stable support network. In treatment, people learn the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and always work to put recovery first.

Many would argue that the real tests of one’s ability to stay clean and sober begin after treatment. When you no longer have the close supervision of guidance counselors and clinicians, it’s up to you to be accountable to your program.

After rehab, the first course of action should always be finding a homegroup and a sponsor. Diving right into steps is essential to achieving the goals you set for yourself while in treatment. Those who put off getting to meetings and establishing a support network after treatment place their progress in jeopardy.

Always Make Time for Your Addiction Recovery

Completing an addiction treatment program is a significant accomplishment. Committing oneself to stay clean and sober, no matter what, is a considerable feat. Still, it’s common for men and women to leave treatment and think they can take a break from doing the work. It’s vital that you do not find yourself in such a mindset because there are no vacations from recovery.

Addiction is a disease that never rests; it is always attempting to reassert control over your life. Naturally, you do not want to find yourself back where you were before treatment. If that is indeed the case, then you will always make time for your recovery.

Once back in the real world, it would help if you remembered that the safety net you had while in treatment is no longer under you. With that in mind, you must rely on a mutual support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to protect your program.

Time is of the essence in the first days following discharge. You worked hard in treatment, and you must keep it up, or old behaviors and old ways of thinking will return. One has to get in the practice of attending meetings every day of the week; 90 meetings in 90 days is an excellent commitment after treatment.

Once you are in the habit of making 12 Step recovery the primary focus of each day, everything else will fall into place. You may have desires to dive back into school or your career immediately after treatment, which is OK. Provided, however, that you always make addiction recovery your number one priority. You put sobriety first to make it last; without it, you will inevitably encounter problems at work or school and risk losing your progress.

Being Ready for Anything is Essential

Treatment centers teach individuals how to cope with stress and how to spot risky situations. Surely, you learned about the common pitfalls that people face in early recovery. People, places, and things from your past should be avoided to vigilance.

Finding long-term recovery means adopting a new way of living that includes being responsible and accountable to your program and others in your support network. Life is unpredictable, which is why having trusted peers is so crucial. You never know when you’ll have to reach out for help.

A failure to prioritize attending meetings and fostering a deep-bench of support after treatment could spell disaster should you encounter an obstacle. If you don’t make time for your recovery, then you can rest assured that your disease will find time for you. Not making recovery a priority is like playing with fire, and you have no way of knowing how bad the burn will be should you relapse.

It’s easier to see the importance of finding time for your addiction recovery if you always remember life before treatment. Don’t lose sight of the depths of despair that addiction brought you to or where you would like to see yourself in the future.

You made the courageous decision to seek assistance for an alcohol or substance use disorder. Now, you have the power to build a healthy life of recovery upon the foundation laid in treatment. You did not get sober alone, so you can’t expect to maintain your sobriety without continued effort and support.

Addiction Recovery for Adult Males

At PACE Recovery Center, we help men break the cycle of addiction and adopt new principles and traditions. Our clients learn what needs to be done following discharge to keep the gains they made and protect their progress.

We offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), extended residential treatment, and transitional living for men who desire to lead a positive life free from drugs and alcohol. Please contact us today to learn about the PACE difference.

Recovery Re-Evaluation: Your Lifestyle Matters

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Re-evaluating your lifestyle from time to time is essential for making sure you remain on track in early recovery. It’s easy to slip back into old ways of thinking that you learned to rid yourself of in treatment. Before you know it, you can find yourself associating with people who are not beneficial to your continued progress.

In addiction treatment, everyone learns that achieving long-term recovery hinges on doing away with people, places, and things that run counter to your program. It can be hard to say goodbye to old friends and acquaintances, but cut off ties you must to prevent relapse. You learn that staying away from places that can trigger a relapse is also beneficial, as well as anything that can cause you to crave a drink or drug, i.e., no longer listening to a particular band.

Once out of treatment – whether you move on to sober living or returning home – you were instructed to get to a meeting and find a sponsor immediately. Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is a great place to start; meetings are ideal locations for fostering healthy relationships and finding a person to walk you through the steps.

Over time one gets comfortable. Having an established routine and following the direction of others with more time makes you feel secure in your recovery. You also benefit from acquiring a deep bench of support comprised of peers who you can count on for assistance if you are struggling. Members of your deep bench also replace your old using buddies; they are the people who you call if you want to have a good time.

Is Your Lifestyle Congruent With Your Recovery?

Unfortunately, many people in early recovery forget how important it is to stick close to their support network both inside meetings and out. Some will feel the urge to re-establish contact with old friends because they feel like their program is strong. They may also start visiting places from their past because they think they can handle being around substances without being tempted to use.

Such behaviors are risky, and if one does not re-evaluate their changes in lifestyle, they can find themselves with a drink or drug in their hands. It’s not just risky people and places that can be the impetus for a relapse. Changing the meeting routine or spending less time with your support network can impact your ability to make progress. Feeling like you no longer need to check in with your sponsor regularly can also be a sign that recovery is losing its priority.

In treatment, you may have begun eating healthier and exercising helps nourish your mind and body. Perhaps you continued to eat right and exercise after discharge. If so, that is excellent, but it’s paramount to stay on track with healthy living. Deviating from your diet and workout routine is a change in lifestyle that could lead to issues down the road. Anything that you do that is not beneficial to your recovery can send you back into the cycle of addiction.

Periodically checking in with yourself to see if you are still leading a recovery-first lifestyle is crucial. Relapse is a process, not an event! Indeed, picking up a drink or drug again after a period of abstinence is an event, but the journey to relapse starts long before one decides to jeopardize all their hard work.

Is Your Recovery Still a Priority?

Have you started to drift away from your support network or stopped calling your sponsor? Are you still going to meetings or therapy sessions? Have you put your dietary and physical fitness needs on the back burner? Lastly, have you begun associating with people who are at odds with your recovery? If any of the above rings a bell, then we strongly advise you to re-evaluate your lifestyle changes and consider how paramount your recovery is in achieving your goals.

It’s much simpler to get back on track before a relapse than it is after. If recovery is still your number one priority, then please call your sponsor or a trusted peer and ask them for guidance. Such conversations may reveal to you that you’ve become complacent about your program and that perhaps you’ve forgotten the fragility of early recovery.

Please know that you have the ability to identify any program deviations and get back on track toward achieving your long-term goals. You have the power to “play the tape forward” and ask yourself, “What happens if I start using again?’ You will probably quickly realize that a return to active addiction is the last thing you want in life.

Southern California Addiction Treatment for Men

We invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male who is currently in the grips of addiction. PACE also invites the family members with a male loved one who is battling with the symptoms of a behavioral or mental health disorder to reach out to us for help. We offer several programs that are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of each client.

Our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have and help you get the ball of addiction or mental illness recovery in motion. 800-526-1851

Recovery in College: Protecting Your Program

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Many young men in recovery are preparing to head off to college in the coming days and weeks. Steps must be taken now to ensure one’s program stays intact in the face of collegiate stressors. Attending classes and studying for exams, week after week, can take a toll on individuals; this is especially true for young men in recovery.

University life can be a lot of fun for clean and sober people, provided that actions are taken to avoid high-risk situations. Parties, football games and tailgating, and Greek life are all synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption. While there isn’t a rule mandating that people in recovery can’t attend events that involve drinking, such individuals must be extremely cautious.

If your program is secure and you prioritize your recovery, then there are ostensibly not any situations that you can’t handle. However, think carefully before attending any event that could involve drugs and alcohol. Relapse can sneak up on you if you’re not honest with yourself.

Sticking close to one’s support network is a good rule for young men in recovery while away at school. Others who work a program are going to be the individuals who help you stave off temptations to use. The collegiate environment is riddled with people and things that may trigger a desire to use, and sometimes it may be impossible to avoid exposure. Those who put their recovery first in every aspect of life will be able to counter the urges to use when they arise.

If you are going off to college for the first time, then it means that everything you are about to experience is novel. Some of you are returning for another year, which means you have some experience with maintaining sobriety in the face of college stress.

Building a Recovery Deep Bench in College

College first-year students must link up with students in recovery who have experience navigating the perils of college life. If you are a returning student, then you probably have a support network in place already, and a schedule of meetings to attend.

Hopefully, first-year students are already reaching out for recovery resources to utilize upon arrival. The first week at university can be chaotic and anxiety-inducing; there is an excellent chance that first-year students will require support. Knowing right away where one can find a meeting is essential. Attending a meeting is one of the first things you should do after settling into your dorm.

Showing up early to a meeting that is close to campus will provide you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group. It may be best to look for a temporary sponsor for while you are at college, depending on how far your school is from your hometown. If you are not able to see your current sponsor regularly while attending classes, then strongly consider finding somebody new.

Achieving long-term recovery hinges on accountability. Having a sponsor is one way to remain accountable to your sobriety. Check-in phone calls and texts, being seen at meetings, and working the steps will all help you manage the stressors of college life.

Spend some time fostering relationships with some of the other young people you meet at meetings. There’s an excellent chance that they are attending your school too. Those same people may be great candidates for your deep bench: the men you’ll turn to if you can’t reach your sponsor. Your deep bench will also include the people who you have fun with while away at school. College life in recovery isn’t just program and studying; sober people can have fun too.

Addiction Program for College Students

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are a young man who would like to attend college but are currently unable to due to alcohol or substance use disorder. Our team can help you break the cycle of addiction and help you prepare for maintaining sobriety while working on your secondary education. Our treatment center can help you achieve your academic and professional dreams.

Addiction Recovery Comes First On Holidays

addiction recovery

Last week, we wrote at length about people in addiction recovery making flexible and adjustable resolutions. We also included a brief section about observing major holidays as one might any other day of the year. It is critical to avoid giving specific days of the year more power than they deserve. Stress and emotional turmoil can accompany holidays, but such feelings should not be an excuse to use drugs and alcohol.

Christmas is drawing near, and New Year’s Eve is close behind. It is vital to go over some techniques for keeping your recovery intact into 2019. Each person working a program of recovery has tools at their disposal for coping with trying situations. For many people, being around family can precipitate mental strain. Fortunately, individuals who practice the principles of recovery can make it through any holiday.

Conversely, some individuals whose families are not currently a part of their lives are prone to melancholy. Active addiction steals much from a person. The choices one makes in service to their disease can result in familial estrangement. Having the knowledge that you are not welcome at a holiday gathering can lead to mental fatigue. Such people are more apt to start feeling sorry for themselves and are at a heightened risk of experiencing problems.

Protecting Your Addiction Recovery During The Holidays

Each individual in addiction recovery has different life circumstances, and nothing is set in stone. Recovering addicts’ lives change regularly. One must do their best to manage and cope with family-induced stress or loneliness. It’s possible to avoid recovery pitfalls during Christmas and New Year’s, and your support network can help. Those who stay close to their circle and are honest about their limitations can stay on track. Below you will find some helpful tips for preventing relapse this Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

First, develop tactics for attending family gatherings. Also, have a plan for weathering the blues that can come from not being in the company of relatives. A strategy for either for each must include attending meetings of recovery. Groups are held around the clock during every significant holiday. Prioritize catching a meeting both before and after attending family events. Those who are not expected at the Christmas dinner can use the free time to be in the company of recovery peers. People in addiction recovery will often host sober holiday gatherings, too. It is imperative to ask around and find ways to fill your holiday schedule.

Second, the holiday season is notorious for overeating and lounging around the house. Prioritizing self-care is helpful. People in recovery can never lose sight of the importance of maintaining their spiritual and physical exercise routines. Addiction recovery is about balance, and prayer and meditation help keep one’s equilibrium. Individuals who exercise daily can benefit from finding time for light exercise on Christmas. Not giving certain days of the year power means sticking to one’s normal recovery routine as much as possible.

Positive Attitude Changes Everything

Each person is at a different point in addiction recovery. Meaning, some people may not yet be where they want to be. The gifts of uninterrupted sobriety, after all, come when the time is right—not a moment sooner. In the meantime, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude regardless of having family in your life or not.

Those not yet where they would like to be in life can take comfort in recognizing the progress made thus far. Each day clean and sober is a source of pride. People in their first year of sobriety should be able to easily remember how unfortunate life was just a short time ago. The coming holidays may not look the way one hopes, but it will seem significantly better than what would be without recovery.

Whatever one’s schedule looks like on December 25th or 31st, family time or not, everything will be copacetic if you keep doing the next right thing for your addiction recovery throughout the day. Remind yourself of the importance of maintaining an open mind. Be accepting of those around you and minimize expectations. Most importantly, remember that a positive attitude changes everything.

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ―Washington Irving

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are hopeful that people in recovery will practice the principles and utilize their toolbox for a safe and sober holiday. Please contact us if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder.

Addiction Recovery Resolutions You Can Keep

addiction recovery

One of the first things people working a program of addiction recovery recognizes is that nobody is perfect. Believe it or not, striving for perfection is one of the markers of many individual’s diseases. Each of us – in recovery or not – are works-in-progress. As long as we are working towards continual growth, then we are on the right track.

Men and women in early recovery have much to consider on a daily basis. Each day, one sets him or herself to task by always putting sobriety first. We manage such a goal by prioritizing selflessness, responsibility, and accountability to your program and support network. If you endeavor to be an active participant in your recovery, and that of others, it is harder to entertain detrimental thoughts. When a person stresses the importance of being useful to their peers, others will reciprocate. The road to lasting recovery is paved together.

In the twelfth hour of 2018, some of you are probably thinking about the previous 300 plus days. You may be contemplating how far you have come since deciding to break the cycle of addiction. Maybe you are thinking about the ways your life has changed in a relatively short period? Transformation can happen, at times, without us even realizing; the rigmarole of routine can blind us to advancements. Still, reviewing the past year with an eye for improvements is an excellent practice. Moreover, now is also an ideal opportunity to consider areas in your life that still require fine-tuning. Again, there is no pinnacle in recovery; we are always growing in addiction recovery.

Another Day In Addiction Recovery

Another valuable bit of wisdom individuals glean in early sobriety is to stay present. Progress happens at its own pace for each; so, spending too much time thinking about what’s next can be hazardous. That’s not to say you can’t set goals for yourself; you can, it’s just that one must do so with caution. One’s ambitions are more likely to come to fruition if they are reasonable. Setting unrealistic targets can result in an upset; and, upset can beget guilt and shame. The latter two emotions are a recipe for relapse.

With the New Year drawing nearer, people in addiction recovery can benefit from planning out the next two weeks or so. Hanukkah is behind some people, but Christmas is on the horizon for many more. Of course, December 31 is a day of note for everyone.

With celebratory days in mind, creating a schedule for the coming weeks is perhaps more vital than ever for people working a program. Those who are brand new to recovery can benefit from staying especially close to their peers at this time. Heed the advice of your support group, and you will find yourself in 2019 with sobriety intact. When Christmas and New Year’s Eve knock at the door, ever remind yourself that each is just another day in recovery.

Taking power out of something like a holiday will alleviate some of the stress that accompanies extraordinary times of the year. The less turmoil you have to manage, the more time you can spend meeting your objectives. Lastly, let’s consider making resolutions for the year to come and healthy methods of setting targets for oneself.

Reasonable Resolutions for Addiction Recovery

If you find yourself with some downtime shortly, grab pen and paper and jot down some thoughts. Think long and honestly about your current strengths and that which might be holding you back. As mentioned above, it’s critical to avoid unrealistic targets. For instance, someone racked with a colossal amount of debt is probably not going to get out of arrears entirely in 2019. Setting one’s sights too high will almost certainly precipitate disappointment. Instead, prioritizing saving money each month in 2019 to put towards one’s deficit is a more reasonable objective.

Set flexible and adjustable resolutions for yourself and avoid either-or scenarios. Remember that few things are black or white and don’t etch the achievements you hope to make in stone. Targets for advancements should be malleable; life changes invariably, so will your aspirations.

Missions that people in early recovery can complete can include eating healthier or exercising a few days a week. Giving up tobacco, perhaps? Another realistic target is chiseling out time for volunteering your services to the recovery community once a week. Maybe you’d like to explore other meetings outside your standard circuit; you can resolve to attend one new group a week, for example. Having the goal of introducing yourself to newcomers more often is one that is manageable. Set resolutions that are not monumental in size and scope.

Always remember that resolutions are more attainable when you make adaptations for yourself, not someone else. It’s nice to want to make others happy, but you must be wary of your motives. People often find that when they make personal improvements, it has the effect of making others joyful. Throughout the coming year take time to acknowledge the small victories and milestones, doing so will incentivize continued effort in addiction recovery.

Southern California Addiction Treatment

We invite men, in the grips of alcohol or substance use disorder, to contact us to learn more about PACE Recovery Center. We address all components of addiction and mental health; our multi-dimensional approach to recovery helps males lead a life that is happy, joyous and free.

Recovery Resolutions for 2018

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January 1st is the first blank page of a 365-page book, or so the saying goes. Even if you make a daily commitment to working a program for recovery, there is always room for improvement. After all, addiction recovery is about progress; there isn’t a finish line, one’s work can never cease. It’s vital to understand that while you are doing all the right things (i.e., meetings and sponsorship), there is always more that you can do for your program.

Addiction recovery is about many things, a routine being one of importance. We all get accustomed to waking up, prayer and meditation, attending our “homegroup,” and working with a sponsor or sponsoring others. Critical ingredients to the recipe for recovery to be sure, but we can all do little things to inject vitality into our program. We can make small changes that can have a massive impact on our ability to stay the course.

It’s paramount that we never rest on our laurels, that we continue to seek out or inquire with others about how to shore up our spiritual defenses. As humans, we are continually changing and evolving into different people; which means that our program must adapt, as well. Stagnation is not a friend to recovery.

Recovery Resolutions for 2018

When New Year’s comes around, most Americans spend a little time thinking of areas in one’s life that can be improved. For the average person, a resolution could be as simple as vowing not to speed behind the wheel anymore. Whereas people in recovery may consider working their program a little differently and think about a few things they can do to better walk the road of lasting recovery.

Making alterations to one’s daily, weekly, or monthly recovery schedule can have a positive effect on your life. If you are like most people recovering from alcohol and substance use disorder, then you are in the habit of going to the same meetings on a regular basis. This year, in addition to going to your homegroup, please consider branching out meeting-wise. You will meet new people who may prove beneficial to your mission, in turn enlarging your support network. Going to different meetings will also get you out of your comfort zone, which is often a teachable moment.

Speaking of one’s comfort zone, those of you who are reticent about sharing in meetings might think to add “opening up” with others to your to-do list. Recovery is a social enterprise; we can’t do this alone; without the help of others, progress is impossible. Each of us needs feedback from others, and if we are not open and honest with our peers or sponsor, they won’t know how to support us. Sharing is the forum by which we learn, and when we share we can help others who may be struggling in their own life. You never know how your share might affect someone else in positive ways. If you have not regularly been sharing, try making a point of doing it more in 2018.

May the Light of Recovery Always Surround You

Along with progress, there may be times of trouble and tribulation in the coming year. We have no way of knowing what lies beyond the horizon; anything one can do to ensure serenity, the better. Prayer and meditation are excellent ways to stay grounded when stress rears its ugly head, then we can respond to it calmly. Those who emphasize spirituality per diem, are better equipped to react to stressors and triggers in healthy ways. The light of recovery shines on those who open their heart and mind to a power-greater-than-them-self. Armed with spirituality, we stay centered, and as a result, can mitigate the risk of relapse.

Naturally, there are several more recovery resolutions that one might consider for 2018. You might shed some light on areas of your program that could use adjustment by sitting down and talking with someone in your support network. Others may notice things that you cannot see; the best insight often comes from the outside.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a productive year ahead.

Staying Connected With Your Recovery

recoveryIf you are an active member of an addiction recovery program, then you are probably acutely aware of the fact that your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up and welcome drugs and alcohol back into your life. Addiction is a treatable condition. Through continued spiritual maintenance and active participation in one of many recovery support programs—we can, and do recover. But we can never delude ourselves in thinking that addiction can be cured, or that one day you will wake up and declare, “I’m an ex-alcoholic or ex-addict.”

Just like the diabetic who takes insulin every day, their condition is not cured but rather contained. Every day people working a program of addiction recovery need to take certain steps to ensure, or rather, mitigate the chance of a relapse. Without active participation in your own recovery, long-sobriety is unlikely.

Addiction does not take a day off from trying to find its way back into the forefront of one’s life, so then, it stands to reason that your recovery does not accumulate vacation time. To think otherwise, as many have, is nothing short of dangerous. As we approach the holiday season, it is vital that you keep this in mind, otherwise you may slip back into old behaviors and potentially relapse.

Staying Sober This Thanksgiving

Addiction recovery is difficult under normal day-to-day circumstances. Having a bad day, or letting yourself become stressed, angry or tired can hamper one’s program; if such feelings are not quickly addressed, bad decisions can follow. While holidays are supposed to be about joining friends and family in celebration, for people in recovery, such days can quickly become too much to handle.

With Thanksgiving just over 24 hours away, it is important that you recognize how strong you are in your recovery—particularly regarding your ability to be around family. Let’s face it, holidays can be tumultuous even for people who do not have a substance use disorder. But unlike the average person, uncomfortable and stressful environments can take a toll on one’s recovery—leading to rash decisions that can result in picking up a drink or a drug.

If you know that you will be attending a family gathering this Thursday, be sure to discuss it with your sponsor and the other members of your support network. There is a good chance that this can aid in guiding you through the holiday by helping you spot situations that may be risky, such as associating with relatives who you used to get drunk or high with during holidays past. What’s more, there is a good chance that they will tell you to always have your phone handy so that you can reach out before a particular matter gets out of hand. If you follow the suggestions of the people in the program who have more sober holidays under their belt, then there is no reason for you to have to open your eyes Friday morning with regret on your mind.

Staying Connected With Recovery

Many people working a program of recovery have yet to fully clean up the wreckage of their past. Meaning, presently their family may not be a part of their life. It is a reality that can be hard to deal with during the holidays. At PACE Recovery Center, we implore you to not be discouraged about the people that you do not have in your life, and take stock in those who are an active part of your life.

If you have no familial obligations this Thursday, use it as an opportunity to be there for your fellow recovering alcoholics or addicts. During the course of Thanksgiving, there will be meetings occurring around the clock and you would do yourself a service by attending some of them. You may have something to share at a meeting that can help another who is new to recovery: A person who might be contemplating giving up on recovery before they have a chance to experience some of the miracles. Recovery is only possible if we help each other stay the course.

We would like to wish everyone in recovery a drug and alcohol free Thanksgiving. Every obstacle you overcome, only serves to strengthen your program. Please remember:

  • Avoid getting hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).
  • Stay connected to your support network as much as possible.
  • Stay clear of risky people, places and things.
  • Keep your phone charged, turned on and easily accessible.
  • Don’t drink or drug, no matter what.

Early Recovery and Romantic Relationships

early recovery

If you are new to recovery, and have started attending 12-Step meetings, it is likely that you have been bombarded with a lot of information and tips for achieving success in the program. There is very good chance that the people you have met, in the rooms of recovery, cautioned you about people, places and things that could jeopardize your recovery. They have probably warned you about forming romantic relationships within the first year, or until you have worked all the “steps” honestly. As simple as that advice may sound, what you choose to do with that guidance could actually make or break your recovery.

Most people who enter a program of recovery, attempting to turn their life around, have no idea what a healthy relationship is, or what it looks like. Especially since most people with a history of addiction, also have a history of unhealthy relationships. People with substance abuse issues typically gravitate towards others with similar or the same problem. The old saying that ‘misery loves company’ couldn’t be further from the truth. Somebody who drinks or drugs heavily typically doesn’t want to be involved with teetotaler. Perhaps that was your experience?

There are a number of things that can get in the way of your program, especially in early recovery. It could easily be argued that after resentment, relationships take the prize for setting people in recovery on a course to relapse. If you are a young man, clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for the first time, there is a good chance that you have started bubbling with romantic ambition. It would be wise to resist the urge to pursue someone with romantic intention in early recovery. You may be reading this and are saying to yourself, “problem solved, I was in a relationship when I started the journey of living a healthier life.” While that is a valid point, if your partner is still actively using drugs and/or alcohol, it could compromise your program.

Growing Apart in Early Recovery

When you made the choice to pick up the pieces of your life, and embark on a journey of spiritual resurrection, there is a chance that your romantic partner had different plans. He or she may not be ready to admit that they, too, have a problem that needs to be addressed. Or, maybe they do not actually have a substance use disorder and are not in need of treatment or 12-Step meetings. Either way, when one’s partner is “using” while the other is not, it can and often does cause a void in the relationship. It is a schism that can manifest itself in a number of ways.

Having a partner who you once drank or drugged with (who is still using) often has a triggering effect, which could make you want to use again. Naturally, you need to be vigilant in fighting off such urges, and the best way to do that is to invest more of yourself into the program. Recovery is not something that we achieve on our own, we stay the course by forming bonds with a sponsor and a network of peers that you can lean on when times are difficult. Over time you may realize that your romantic relationship is no longer tenable, and that separating is the surest way of protecting the gains you have made in the program.

True Relationships in Early Recovery

If your partner’s continued use is having an impact on you in early recovery, talk to your sponsor and recovery peers. If they advise you to end your relationship for the sake of your recovery, that may be the best course. Your recovery, as you probably have gathered already, must come before anything else. Without your program, you cannot find the gifts of long-term recovery.

In early recovery, your relationship with a “higher power” is the most important, followed by your sponsor and support network. If your partner or spouse is not part of your support network, then she is likely having a countering effect. You have to ask yourself, what is important to you Today? Hopefully, the answer is your recovery.

Continuing Your Education In Recovery

recovery, collegeFor many young adults who require, or have required treatment for a substance use disorder, it usually means taking a hiatus from higher learning. Recovery, especially early recovery, demands one’s complete dedication to clearing the mind and body of drugs and alcohol, and learning the skills necessary for being able to not have to pick up a drink or drug ever again.

Naturally, college is not going anywhere, but many young adults upon completing treatment want to rush back to school. Hurrying back to college may not be conducive to recovery, even if your parents or other family members are pushing for it. While college is a place of learning and working towards the future, it also where a lot of drinking and drug use occurs – which are extremely dangerous to be around in early recovery.

Thinking It Through

Before you commit to going back to school you should discuss it thoroughly with your sponsor and/or therapist. Even if you feel like you are at a place in recovery to take on the added pressure of a class load, they may not feel like you are ready for it and that such pressure may compromise your program. It is often said that people who are new to recovery should avoid making major life decisions during the first year. The more time you have, the stronger you are likely to be when the time comes to continue your education. Remember that failing to put the needs of your recovery first can become a slippery slope that leads back to a drink or drug.

Recovery Support Network

If you are at a place to where education will not strain your recovery, it is important to establish a support network where you will be attending classes. A number of colleges have dorms that house people who are in recovery, if you will be living in the dorms it may be in your interest to find out if that option is available. It is a guarantee that there are other young adults, like yourself, that you can connect with; staying close to such people will be of great benefit should a problem arise. Always remember you can find AA and NA meetings in every neighborhood.

Taking It Slow

When going back to school, it is suggested that people working a program start with a smaller class load. Doing so will help you get your footing, easing you back into the swing of things and keep you from becoming overwhelmed. A number of people have dove head first back into college, taking over 12 units; this is often the result of feeling like you are behind your peers because you took time off to recover. Many of the aforementioned will relapse because they have taken on too heavy of a burden and their recovery was put on the back burner.

Education is not a race, and as long as recovery comes first, you will have a better chance of staying clean and sober and come out the other side with a degree.

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