Category: Addiction Recovery Tips

benefits of sobriety

What Are the Health Benefits of Sobriety?

Getting sober could be the change you need to take control of your life. Not only does getting sober mean that you’ll experience significant lifestyle changes, but it’s also associated with various health benefits. 

This article highlights some of the key health benefits of sobriety that you can expect when you start your journey into sobriety. 

A Clear Mind

One of the main things you will notice when you start living sober is how clear your thoughts are. When you’re an addict, you live in a perpetual state of “brain fog.” Either you’re intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, or you’re sober and looking for your next fix. 

Once you get clean, you’ll find that your thoughts are much more ordered and clear. This means you’ll be capable of achieving things that would never have been possible during your addict days. 

Better Memory

Another thing you will probably notice is that your memory is much better. Generally, drug addicts have extremely poor short-term memory. This is because most drugs impact the brain’s ability to form new memories. 

Your memory abilities will return slowly at first, but soon, you’ll find yourself remembering things with ease that you normally would’ve forgotten within moments. 

Better Mental Health

Many drug and alcohol users get intoxicated to cope with the symptoms of various mental health issues. For example, an alcoholic might drink to deal with symptoms of anxiety. Ironically, this kind of behavior can actually lead to significantly worse anxiety over time. 

The more alcohol you drink, the worse the anxiety gets, and then you drink more to alleviate the additional anxiety. As you can see, this creates a vicious cycle.

Only by going to an alcohol rehab center and getting clean can you break this endless circle of anxiety. Once you detox, you’ll notice that your symptoms get much better than before. 

Also, when you’re clean and sober, you’ll have the mindset required to properly seek treatment for your condition, rather than masking it with drugs or alcohol. 

You Sleep Better

Again, many drug and alcohol users fall into a cycle with sleep. While certain drugs and alcohol might help with sleep initially, they actually make everything worse in the long run. 

Not only that, when you go to sleep intoxicated, the quality of your sleep is much worse. Once you’re sober, you’ll be able to sleep must more soundly. 

Be More in Touch With Your Body

One of the most insidious things about addiction is that it makes you lose your sense of self. This isn’t just a mental problem. It’s a physical one as well. 

When you use drugs, you cut yourself off from the messages your body is sending you. For example, many ex-addicts realize how they’re in desperate need of exercise. Of course, this was always the case while they were using, but their state of intoxication left them deaf to the message.

Enjoy the Health Benefits of Sobriety

As you can see, there are many great health benefits of sobriety. If you’re an addict, there’s no better way to improve your health than to go through the detox process. 

If you’re ready to do the right thing for your health and get clean, take a look at our medical detox options. 

addiction recovery

How to Help a Loved One With Addiction Recovery

The Covid-19 virus isn’t the only thing that’s evolving during this global pandemic. Mental illnesses, addictions, and substance use are all changing, too. Due to increased isolation and unemployment, a mental health crisis is brewing.

Did your loved one’s addiction make itself known during the pandemic? Are you hoping to help them through the addiction recovery process?

We know how difficult it is to watch your loved one suffer. We also recognize how much you want to help. Read on to learn some of our best tips for helping your loved one cope during this unprecedented time.

1. Create a Substance-Free Hangout

One of the best things you can do for your loved one is help them avoid temptation. You can provide this by creating a temptation-free place where your loved one can relax.

If your loved one lives with you, then you’ve got to remove all substances from your home. Don’t leave alcohol within view even if you still drink it on occasion. It’s also a good idea to remove certain items in the home that may remind your loved one of their addiction.

If your loved one doesn’t live with you, then you should still take care in your home. Make sure to put away anything like alcohol before your friend comes over. Also, be sure to avoid inviting others over that used to partake in the same substance as your loved one.

2. Be Available

Did you know that addiction is often called a disease of isolation? There’s a reason that social outliers are often the ones with substance abuse issues.

If isolation leads to addiction, then recovery must involve some positive socialization. Recovering from addiction alone isn’t impossible, but it is more challenging. Your support could make all the difference for your loved one.

With that in mind, be available for your loved one. Let them know that they can reach out to you if they feel the urge to use. Follow through by actually responding to your loved one if (or when) they do reach out.

3. Practice Patience and Self-Care

Recovery is a process and journey, not a destination. With that in mind, you’ll need to be patient even if your loved one makes a mistake.

In the same vein, practice self-care, too. Your loved one’s sobriety is not your sole responsibility. Your loved one must want to recover to succeed.

Help Your Loved One Through Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s a long-term commitment. Your loved one can’t do it alone, and your help is an invaluable resource to help them stay sober.

You can help your loved one stay on track by following the tips above. Remember to take care of yourself, too, though, and be open to changes your loved one is going through.

Do you think you and your loved one need extra support during recovery? At Pathways in Florida, we have several treatment plans that can help your loved one thrive. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services.

addiction and recovery

Addiction and Recovery: Can You Do it On Your Own?

It seems like it should be simple, right? How hard can it be to just handle your addiction and recovery alone? And yet, if you’ve ever suffered from an addiction, you know how difficult it is to shake your habits on your own. What you may not know is how dangerous it can also be to approach your recovery journey alone.

According to the Addiction Center, almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. Here, we’ll walk you through some of the ins and outs of addiction and give you some resources to help you on your path to recovery.

Why It’s So Hard to Quit

There are lots of different factors that affect your ability to recover from addiction. Your addiction is uniquely affected by your mental, physical, and emotional health. However, you are not alone in your journey.

One of the hardest steps to make is deciding to quit in the first place, but once you have made this decision, it can be even harder to hold yourself accountable. This is why having appropriate supports and healthy coping mechanisms is so important.

If your body has created a physical tolerance, you probably find yourself using more and more to get the same feeling you did when you first started. When you build a tolerance, your addiction becomes stronger, and thus your withdrawal symptoms will be more severe.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Dangers

The withdrawal process is the main reason why addiction is so difficult to overcome on your own. Acute withdrawal happens when your body becomes used to having a drug or alcohol in your system.

Without the drug or alcohol, your body can have a hard time adjusting, potentially leading to sweating, shaking, or irritability. However, symptoms can also be much more severe, such as anxiety or depression, hallucinations or seizures, and even death.

Because of these dangerous risks, it is a good idea to go about your recovery process under the supervision of a medical professional. It’s also a good idea to reach out to friends and family as an emotional support system.

Addiction and Recovery Strategies You Can Use

One of the most important things you can do in your recovery process is asking for help. Of course, your friends and family are an important resource, but it’s also a good idea to find a licensed therapist, support group, or treatment program.

There are lots of resources out there that can help you find more solutions in your own recovery process, or if a loved one appears to be suffering.

Quitting can be a very difficult process, but it can feel empowering and liberating as well, especially if you have more people in your corner to lift you up and assist you.

Contact us at Pathways Florida for more information regarding your addiction and recovery process.

drug addiction treatment

5 Essential Tips for Coping While a Loved One Receives Drug Addiction Treatment

Addiction does not just affect one person, it can affect an entire family. If someone close to you is about to receive drug addiction treatment then you might be wondering how it is going to affect you.

You might be facing some concerns yourself. Asking yourself ‘what about me?’ at this time is completely natural. With over 20 million people needing treatment each year, it’s important to know what you can do while your loved one is away.

Let’s take a closer look at five ways to help you cope while your loved one receives drug addiction treatment. 

1. Work on Yourself

If someone close to you is in rehab then it’s important to understand they are in professional hands and its time to take some time for yourself. Living with someone with an addiction can take its toll, so now its time to repair yourself.

Now is also the time to indulge in some you time. Spend time with friends, go to the movies or pursue any hobbies you might be interested in. It’s time to rebuild your life without the burden of addiction.

2. Find Support

Having like-minded people in your life is crucial at this time. Support groups offer you the chance to meet with other people who are looking for new ways to support their loved ones once they’ve completed their drug treatment. 

If you can’t find any local resources, then the internet is a great way to network with others. Sharing your thoughts with people who are going through a similar thing is a great way to move forward.

3. Get Involved

Most drug treatment centers will involve loved ones in the recovery process at some point during the treatment. This is not only beneficial for your family member, but it can help answer your questions and better understand the effects of addiction.

It’s a great way to show support to your loved one and will allow you to voice your feelings. Family workshops can bring loved ones closer and research has found that family involvement can even reduce the chances of relapse.  

4. Learn to Trust Again

Now is an important time to rebuild trust in your relationship. That being said, it’s equally important to be careful. Keep conversation honest and open so that you both know what the other is feeling. Do be wary of old behaviors, but learn to be trusting. Open communication and trust are key factors in helping someone recover from addiction. 

5. No More of the Blame Game

Their addiction might have really taken their toll on you. You might have missed out on opportunities and quality of life, but they have fought hard to leave addiction behind them.

It is important to not blame your loved one as the negative emotions could kick-start a relapse. Instead, focus on your new life together. 

Life After Drug Addiction Treatment

You may have concerns, but that is normal with any new phase of life. Now that your loved one is receiving drug addiction treatment it is important for you to spend some time to take care of yourself. This way you can help to guarantee that once treatment is finished you will both be healed and can begin to enjoy life in the absence of addiction.

If you have any questions about drug addiction treatment do not hesitate to contact us or take a look at the additional information on our site. 

positive daily habits

5 Positive Daily Habits to Stay Recovered

Have you experienced the stronghold of addiction?

It may surprise you to learn that over half of Americans know someone who’s addicted to drugs. If you’re struggling, then you’re far from alone.

Recovering from an addiction is a long and challenging process. Cultivating positive daily habits is one of the proven ways to help. Want to know more? Keep reading to learn about the top five habits you should adopt today.

1. Replenish Your Body

If you recently gave up the habit, then you’re likely going through withdrawal. Regardless of whether you’ve completely stopped yet, you need to replenish your body. How?

Boost your recovery daily by fueling your body with the right foods.

Skip the fast food, and start developing a new cooking habit. That way, you’re accomplishing several goals at once!

2. Release Endorphins the Natural Way

I know you’ve heard that exercise is one of those healthy habits you should develop. But, I also know how difficult it is to accept such a simplistic answer to your problems.

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. This chemical is the same chemical released when you indulge in your addictive habit.

So, replacing your addiction with exercise is one natural way to alter your mindset. Once it becomes a habit, your mind and body will look forward to your daily exercise routine more than your vice.

What does it take to get there?

Persistence and consistency are key. Start small, but make it a point to do a short exercise each day.

3. Find New Hobbies

An important step in addiction recovery is finding new hobbies to fill your time. Here are a few of the activities Pathways suggests:

  • Swimming
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Outings with friends
  • Weight lifting

Your hobby doesn’t have to be unique. Binge-watching your favorite TV show is still better than succumbing to addiction.

4. Positive Daily Habits to Adopt: Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment. Meditation involves deep breathing and concentration. Experts believe these practices curb addiction by:

  • Helping the person slow down
  • Stopping negative thoughts
  • Brings attention to positive sensory experiences
  • Helping you contemplate on your own reactions and behaviors

These habits may seem unnatural at first, but you’ll look forward to your sessions over time.

5. Practice Self-Care

One of the most important habits to adopt is practicing self-care daily. Do certain people or environments make you feel uneasy? Avoid them! Would you rather stay at home and watch TV? Indulge!

Self-care means focusing on your own well-being. Focus on what makes you feel good (outside of your vice) and build on that.

Recovery For Life

Developing these five positive daily habits will help you stay clean. How? They all work together to improve your physical, social, and mental health. You’ll start to feel better each day you incorporate these habits.

Addiction recovery is a life-long process, so don’t give up!

Are you looking for more tips and information to help you stay sober? Check out our list of great support groups to join.

“Fluffy” or “Fido” and your addiction

Several blogs and articles have appeared online recently about people in recovery how animanls have helped their recovery. One woman stated that before seeking treatment for her addiction, she’d divorced her husband, let him take the family cats and attempted suicide. Once she completed a treatment program, she felt like something was missing in her life. A conversation with her aftercare counselor led her to the decision that the time was right to adopt a pet. She adopted two kittens from a shelter, siblings. Knowing these young animals depended on her, helped keep her from relapsing on some particularly hard days. Caring for these cats forced her to stay clean, hold a job so she could stay in a nice, pet-friendly apartment. They also helped alleviate the depression and loneliness she had been feeling, which easily could have led her to a relapse.

In many cases, treatment professionals advise clients not to enter into new relationships or make any drastic changes in their lives for the first year of recovery. They say you need to focus on your recovery and learning to take care of yourself. If you need to nurture something, start with something simple like a houseplant. However, when you are ready for a more committed human-pet relationship, here are five good reasons pets will help you in recovery.

1 – Pet owners are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and are not as stressed as non-pet owners. Think of the joy animals bring when they are taken to nursing homes to visit the residents and all of the programs that use pet therapy – pets are calming.

2 – New sober activities – if you have a dog, you will need to walk the dog and may take it to the pet park. These activities can allow you to be acquainted with new individuals and keep your mind busy rather than wanting to use. On top of that, a good dog walk or time spent playing catch in the park is good exercise for both you and your dog.

3 – Love – your pet does not care if you had a good day or a bad day, they love you unconditionally. While people can be insensitive and say/do mean spirited things, your pet never will.

4 – Responsibility – As mentioned earlier, when you have a pet, you have someone else who is dependent on you, requiring you to be responsible about providing them food, shelter and at times, medical attention.

5 – Accountability – one article of a pet owner in recovery stated that he believed his dog recognized behavior changes and knew when the man had been drinking. He claimed that he felt the dog looked at him with disappointed eyes. In his opinion, the dog held him accountable for his actions.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.


Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 2

Substance abuse leads to many problems within a community. Issues can range from crime, accidents and injuries as well as death. Many communities across the country have made commitments to fund substance abuse treatment centers in hopes of reducing issues that stem from drug addiction.

Related Blog: Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 1

Here are some facts and stats:

  1. Substance abuse is often the primary reason why children are removed from the custody of their parents. Think about it, how many news reports have you heard about children being taken from a home where drugs were found inside, where children were found home alone because the parents were out buying/using drugs, not to mention the deplorable conditions where these children are often found? The act of taking a child from their parents involves multiple community/state agencies ranging from DCF, to foster care to the legal system where custody issues are heard. Who pays for this? Taxpayers.
  2. In 2008, 65% of Florida prison inmates were identified as needing treatment for substance abuse, which cost the state $2.4 billion that year in crime. This figure includes the cost for law enforcement, jails, the judicial system and incarceration or court-mandated treatment, probation and/or parole. Other things factored in include losses to the victim (theft, etc.) and medical expenses if the individual caused others to suffer injuries during the commission of the crime. Who pays for this? You do through your tax dollars and insurance premiums.
  3. Each hour in Florida, one person loses their life due to alcohol and/or drug use. Annually, $7.2 billion is spent due to traffic accidents. The annual cost of hospital stays due to drug abuse related situations and illnesses cost $103 million. Who pays for this? You do through tax dollars and insurance premiums.

In total, a study published in 2009 showed that each year in Florida, all of the negative consequences of alcohol and drug abuse cost $43.7 billion.

Treatment is less expensive and more effective than incarceration. Treatment keeps families together or allows for the opportunity of reunification. Treatment reduces the amount of time, money and energy spent on drug-related medical expenses. Treatment saves lives. If you are wondering if your investment to pay for treatment for a family member is worthwhile, the answer is yes, yes, yes. Without treatment, your family member could be one of these statistics.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program.  Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 1

Some people struggle with the idea of paying for substance abuse treatment and wonder if the expense is worthwhile. In most cases, the answer is yes.

Related Blog: Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 2

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are weighing this decision.

  1. Without substance abuse treatment, chances are, you will never live a life of recovery. While a few individuals may walk away from drugs/alcohol without any sort of intervention, for someone with the disease of addiction this is very rare. While substance abuse/addiction is not curable, it is manageable. Part of the treatment and recovery process is learning how to manage the disease. Those who never seek treatment often die from an overdose or medical complications due to the substance abuse.
  2. There are individuals who enter treatment and relapse a short period after leaving the treatment facility. Often times, these individuals either did not fully engage in treatment, utilize the 12-Step community recovery meetings or attend aftercare meetings. Or, they returned to the same living/work situation where they were regularly presented with opportunities to drink/use drugs. Sometimes, it takes multiple treatment episodes before individuals put all of these pieces together successfully.
  3. Those who complete treatment and embrace their recovery make comments stating how they wish they’d gotten help sooner, that their life has never been so good, and that a bad day in recovery is still better than any day when they were using. Being in recovery allows people to regain control over their life. One aspect of treatment teaches people how to do this. From the standpoint of a treatment facility, nothing is more rewarding than hearing that a client who has been clean for one, two, three, five, 10, 15, 20 or more years has maintained their sobriety and is doing well both personally and professionally.
  4. Even if you are clean for a long period of time and then relapse, your experience in treatment and recovery will help you put the pieces together after your relapse. Regardless if it is calling a sponsor, attending a recovery meeting or reaching out to your old counselor, you know how good life in recovery can be and the steps you need to take to get back to the recovery community.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program.  Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works.  For more information, please call 855-349-5988.


Pros and Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are mixed beliefs about using products such as Methadone and Suboxone to help those addicted to drugs. Traditionally, abstinence from opiates (most prescription drugs, heroin, etc.) is very challenging. Medication-assisted treatment can be used to wean individuals from using these drugs, making the withdrawal process more tolerable. Both suppress the user’s desire to use opiates. Both drugs will produce a “high,” and in theory, this is great.

Related Blog: Recovery and Prescription Medications

However, both have a long list of potential side effects and present dangers if not used properly. In addition, both can become a crutch and are open to being abused.

Methadone is used to provide assistance to heroin users and make the detox process less uncomfortable. However, the detox from methadone can be more painful than the detox from opiates. The problem associated with it is that many people begin using it as a crutch and become dependent on the methadone. Suboxone also causes the user to lose the urge to use. If they do use, they do not get the normal high they would get if they were not using Suboxone.

While these medications may be helpful in some cases, they only treat part of the situation. Medication-assisted treatment does not address emotional or traumatic issues that may have led to substance abuse. Anyone receiving medication-assisted treatment should also be engaged in either residential or outpatient counseling sessions.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Therapy Techniques for Treating Trauma

The link between trauma and substance abuse is very strong. Many clients come to Pathways and express the challenges they have faced in their lives – physical or verbal abuse as a child or in adulthood, vehicle accidents, as victims of violent crimes and in soe cases, military experience. Treating the trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a key component to treating the individual’s substance abuse disorder because until the trauma is resolved, the person will continue to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and/or cope with the trauma they’ve faced.

Related Blog: Trauma and Addiction

Several evidence-based treatment methods have proven effective in working with trauma/PTSD clients. The most common ones are listed below.

Prolonged-exposure therapy – A therapist guides the client to recall traumatic memories in a controlled fashion so that clients eventually regain mastery of their thoughts and feelings around the incident. While exposing people to the very events that caused their trauma may seem counterintuitive, when done in a gradual, controlled and repeated manner, until the person can evaluate their circumstances realistically and understand they can safely return to the activities in their current lives that they had been avoiding.

Cognitive-processing therapy – A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, developed to treat rape victims and later applied to PTSD. This treatment includes an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event. Practitioners may work with clients on false beliefs that the world is no longer safe, for example, or that they are incompetent because they have “let” a terrible event happen to them.

Stress-inoculation training – Another form of CBT, where practitioners teach clients techniques to manage and reduce anxiety, such as breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

Certified Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) – A revolutionary and holistic psychotherapeutic approach to healing and positive behavioral change that eliminates the negative, emotional and behavioral influence of traumatic events, clearing, organizing and optimizing the mind so that the root cause of problems are cleared and positive change can endure.

Not all treatment centers hire counselors who have experience in these treatment methods. Pathways has multiple counselors who specialize in and/or are certified in PTSD/trauma methodologies and use either CBT or RRT techniques.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.