Monthly Archives: October 2016

anxiety in recovery from addiction

How You Can Walk Through Anxiety in Sobriety

Picture this: You’re walking down the sidewalk whistling to the tune of one of your favorite songs. Maybe you’re walking along looking at your smartphone. It really doesn’t matter because we’re usually blindsided every time it strikes. I’m speaking of course in regards to anxiety in sobriety. Out of nowhere it will smack you like a brick and leave some of us crippled in hesitation. I mean, what do you do when there’s nothing you can do but you can’t do nothing?

There are those who happen to have little bouts of nervousness and minor panic attacks from time to time. Then there are the addicts and alcoholics who are diagnosed and have IT- chronic anxiety. Dealing with anxiety while trying to be the best clean super duper version of yourself you can be very tricky. For one, as mentioned before, anxiety will appear out of nowhere like Houdini and usually show up at the most inconvenient of moments. The space in between your ears starts getting chaotic. It gets to the point where your thoughts are so loud that you can barely hear yourself think. Your heartbeat picks up and you are in this steady feeling of fear and anticipation. Even worse is when there isn’t anything in particular that inflicted this bout of unease. Half the time when it hits, we haven’t even the slightest clue as to what we’re anxious about. Fortunately, though, there are ways to deal with such matters.

The Link Between Anxiety and Addiction

Before we begin to cover how to help anxiety specifically, it is important that we go over a few aspects regarding the link between anxiety and addiction. It is unclear whether anxiety causes addiction, or vice versa. What is clear is that misery loves company. This means that there is a clear connection between anxiety and addiction. Here is how this comorbidity occurs. An individual who struggles with an anxiety disorder is constantly stressed. Unable to understand whether this stressor is just in their head or if they really are stressed out, they search for helpful coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, due to the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction, anxiety is not seen as an imbalance of neurochemicals, but is often considered just something wrong with the person’s way of thinking or perspective. Many of their peers will tell them to simply “cheer up”. However, when this doesn’t work, the individual will often turn to drugs. A sense of relief may immediately wash over them, however, addiction will only lead to more stress. This stress in turn only results in more addiction, until a co-occurring disorder is formed. A co-occurring disorder is when two diseases are experienced simultaneously. Instead of just being two diseases, they intertwine and become something stronger. It is highly recommended you receive treatment for both conditions combined, rather than both separately.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

When attempting to conquer anxiety in sobriety, it’s imperative to have a variety of tools to work with. Sometimes certain methods can be more fitting than others. For instance, it can be intimidating walking into a room full of recovering drug addicts and alcoholics when you’re the new kid on the block. We’ve all been there before in some manner, being the new one that is. Start introducing yourself to new people and connecting. This is one of the first major pieces to the puzzle of addiction and anxiety. We all need help and require friendship of some sort. It’s simply human nature to want to connect and relate to somebody dealing with the same worry ridden issues we are. I don’t mean it in a “misery loves company” way either. There’s just some level of ease knowing at the end of the day that somebody understands you and the mental blockades we go through. Having these people to contact and relate to can help decrease some of the apprehension.

Often times, anxiety is widely correlated to stressors and things that are weighing us down. Taking a look at some of the patterns and things that are routine in your life is definitely a key component. It’s wise to look at the things that are bothering you most in life and to come up with a solution of sorts regardless of whether you have anxiety, depression or no mental issues and you’re perfect. Chances are that there is something weighing us down causing our thoughts to go haywire. When we really become introspective and self-aware is when we can really begin to understand what makes us tick. Now don’t get me wrong, it takes a full lifetime to figure one’s self out completely. Human beings are extremely adaptive and ever changing creatures. Yet, once we begin to discover our character defects as well as our positive qualities, this is when we can truly grow and prevent such mental anguish. Understanding one’s self and learning tricks and trades to battle the anxiety will make a world of difference.

man having anxiety in sobriety

Then there are all the aspects of taking care of self that come into play. For instance, hale and hearty sleeping and eating patterns are essential for maintaining a healthy mindset. When we eat too much or too little, our body begins to function differently unbeknownst to us. Food is meant to be used as energy for the body, and anxiety can be traced back to eating garbage food. Yes, that’s right and not a myth. Eating TV dinners, hot pockets, and other fake foods will change your brainwaves. Studies do show that eating real, healthy food and keeping up with a balanced diet can and will help reduce anxiety in sobriety.

Well, what about sleep for nourishment then? Catching a visit from Mr. Sandman every evening will keep your mind recharged like a battery. This, in turn, will allow you to continue thinking rationally and functioning properly in the scummy mesmerizing bubble of society. Our bodies need time to rejuvenate whether we like it or not. Finding a regular routine with your bed or corner of the floor will improve the quality of life dramatically. Life will become a much lighter feeling as the stress leaks out and begins to diminish.

On top of this, it is important that we treat our body the way we should. Beyond eating our fruits and veggies (and let’s not forget protein), we can’t forget to get our body some exercise. Being outside also has proven benefits for our body, as well as our mental health. In fact, many people consider being outside and in nature a powerful release from the exhaustion of our daily lives. So, get out and take a hike! Or, maybe go on a run, get a gym membership–anything to get moving! Exercise releases natural endorphins in your brain. This is a simple and natural way to feel better. But, make sure you do not over prioritize exercise, as it can easily become a stressor. Whatever gets you moving, happy, and sweating is a great way to cope with anxiety.

Some people are going to hate this one, but exercise is one of the best things we can do for the human body and in conflict resolution with anxiety. Releasing the dopamine and raising your heart rate in this natural format will help you to feel that much better. On top of that, it will also give you the necessary time to distract your thoughts from the outside world and clear your mind. For some, it is viewed upon as a form of meditation that soothes the gears spinning wildly inside our thick skulls. If not soothing in that sense, exercise is always great to work out some aggression that could be causing such trepidation. Despite what route is actually chosen, the idea is that there are ways to treat this mental funk we find ourselves in. Nobody enjoys that feeling of anticipation that takes over and locks our thoughts down. It really just boils down to enough being enough and taking matters into our own hands.  

Finally, on the topic of meditation, let’s talk about holistic care. Don’t think that you have to become a monk to practice meditation; it is simply the practice of being aware and in the moment. You can also try yoga, breathing techniques, and many other ways to practice more a holistic approach to treatment. Treating the body, soul, and mind are all ways to engage in holistic care. There is much more to us as human beings than just our thoughts and our movements. Try engaging in a yoga class, meditational practice, or even acupuncture, which has been proven to have positive effects on the body as well as the mind. Or maybe, as we discussed earlier, take a nature bath! Some people find that going out into the forests, fields, and so on and just being is very helpful and healing.

Stand Up for Your Right

Ever been in that space where it’s impossible just to walk out the door because the anxiety is so defying? Please don’t worry any more than you have to because you are not alone. Fighting anxiety in addiction is a team effort and requires a bit of a push and a shove sometimes. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

12 step programs h and i

Hospitals and Institutions: Your Introduction to 12 Step Programs

Life is an unpredictable ride that can catch anybody off guard at any time. It seems more often than not that our plans change at the last moment and a wrench is thrown into the gears turning this whole machine we call the human body. Time and time again, the rough draft that was created for our future gets eaten by the dog and we haven’t a clue where to step next. Some of us get back up and hop on the horse as if nothing had happened. Then there are those of us that have to literally touch that hot stove twenty times and the blisters on our hands are still not indicating enough what it is we are doing wrong. These individuals, like me, end up bouncing around from various establishments for some extended period of time while they try to figure out the root cause of their problems. It’s hard to be the type of person that willingly admits their faults and starts going to Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Some of us need to be picked up and hauled into a variety of hospitals and institutions to have somebody teach us the way.

Sometimes this is the Best Route

The 12 steps presented themselves with confusion and clarity if that makes any sense. They are a guideline, an outline, a means to an end. It’s almost like a code that alcoholics and addicts of all sorts can live by. Really all that it came down to was that these were recommended and that if a drastic change in this manner of living was wanted, that applying these common “laws” would do so measurably. When the facts were broken down, my life was completely unmanageable and I was miserable. It took being in a treatment facility and having the steps and knowledge conditioned in front of my face on a daily basis. Outside of treatment, the concept of non-active addiction and alcoholism was one I was not willing to attempt.

As with most anything, you start with the beginning of the beginning. The first couple steps really break down into admitting there is an issue, identifying it, and implementing action. Most hospitals and institutions will make the addict or alcoholic attend Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings where this is all thoroughly explained. Then as you slowly start progressing through, it becomes more about learning to accept our daily troubles and taking life on life’s terms. It’s submission to ourselves in a sense and to a higher power in another. We are all the star actors in our own movie script- it’s just simply human nature. We want to be the deciders of what is to unfold in our plans for life.  To our dismay, we must keep in mind that life rarely follows the blueprints we have laid out in advance. To be prepared and okay with life’s events as they come is truly a gift. Every single day of our lives, we will continue to come across situations that we have little to no control over. Matters that will affect us in one way or another, but we have no say as to the final result. Everybody and their mother experiences this at some point or another. The straightforward view is that either we can change our perspectives and acknowledge everything as it is delivered or we can complain while we throw temper tantrums- hoping that our incessant yammering will make things better. It won’t.

group meeting

Once we have actively started progressing on this new pathway, all these changes will start presenting themselves. We will begin to feel differently about ourselves and others. Our standpoint on life will embark positively in a way we would’ve never imagined. Things will become increasingly better. The objective things that haven’t changed, well, our newfound perspective on things will lessen the blows.

For far too long, we fought the help attempting to be delivered to us. We thought that we knew what was best for ourselves and everybody else was delusional. Oh, how the tables turned on us. Spending a predetermined amount of time in hospitals and institutions can give us the proper grace period to clear our minds. I know from personal experience that it is of much difficulty to work the 12 steps and really focus on ourselves with outside distractions occurring all around us. Most people in nature don’t want to look at their wrongs and character defects. We want to do what is easiest and most convenient for ourselves- that’s just human nature. Being pushed into a position of discomfort can be one of the most eye-opening experiences for the afflicted addict or alcoholic. Once we are brought to this place of unease- that is when the building and self-awareness can truly begin.

Having made it this far through our recovery guidelines, the only thing left to do is to maintain and continue practicing what we learned outside of said establishments. The last several stages are about recognizing the transformation and preserving the growth that one has worked so diligently to attain. It becomes a process of just keeping yourself in check and then delivering the message learned to somebody who is currently in the hopeless shoes you once were in. This plays into the esteemable acts and will continue to make us feel giddy from constantly helping others. Think of this whole circumstance as almost being reborn. We’re taking our old way of life, tossing it out the window and pretty much starting from scratch. For some of us, none of this would be possible without the silencing of the outside world.

In Need of Help?

It can be intimidating to know that addiction and alcoholism are always right around the corner. Sometimes getting that little push and having medical guidance can be what it takes. Relapse and active addiction/alcoholism are only as preventable as much as we value the sobriety we hold in our hands. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life in a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

insomnia in addiction recovery

Natural Ways to Deal with Insomnia in Sobriety

“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together” or so a man by the name of Thomas Dekker said. More often than it should, many of us go through our long productive day of what not’s and right as it’s time to sneak under the covers and relax- our minds start racing 100 miles an hour. It’s definitely true that too much sleep can be unhealthy for the body and mind, but then again, so is not getting enough of it. Spending our time dreaming away is like everything else in life, a balance has to be maintained for maximum efficiency.  Our mind and bodies require it to continue at a rational state day end and day out.

When insomnia in sobriety is dumped into the mix, it can catch even the most alert and self-aware of people off guard. It’s one thing when you have a sleep deprived person while they’re in active addiction- they’re thoughts are already deranged and in a different reality. Then we initiate the lack of sleep and recovery equation. This is another ball game entirely, but there are methods for fighting it and joining sides with Mr. Sandman.

Teach Me How to Sleep

Being sleepless can be fun to an extent, but for only so long. I was notorious for staying up all night, getting a few hours of sleep, and then starting over and repeating the next day. It’s one thing to be a feverish night owl like myself, but when you have the actual sleeping disorder- it can be a bit tougher to lay your head on a pillow  and conch out for the evening. We all know that skipping out on a decent slumber will put us in a hazy almost weakened state the following day. Our minds don’t process things at an up to par speed, and physically we are heavier to the ground. Just like the precious smartphone glued to our hands, we too must recharge.

The thing with insomnia in sobriety is that a lot of the time, we do it to ourselves. Much of the time, (in milder cases), the lack of sleep is due to something in our routines or our general diet. I believe it’s natural for a lot of addicts and alcoholics to latch onto something once they get sober and much of the time, caffeine and nicotine make their availability very prevalent. How often is it that you see somebody at an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meeting with a red bull or cup of coffee glued to their hand? Bingo. Right there is a simpler solution than meets the eye. When we enter recovery, we can’t just ingest things all willy-nilly like we did when we were actively using. Watching the clock and paying attention to when that pre-workout mix or 5 Hour Energy was taken becomes of vital importance. Caffeine and nicotine each play a gargantuan role in our overall health and sleeping patterns. They affect blood flow and are both mood altering substances. As the night progresses, it is wise to slow the consumption of both these things for they will decrease the chances of your eyes staying shut.

woman in bed suffering from insomnia

Then there are those of us who deal with the sleep issues even when consumption of caffeine becomes heavily regulated.  It starts to boil down essentially to the fact that having less sleep will cause us to be more prone to making bad decisions. One of those bad decisions becomes going to bed later and later- thus creating a warped revolving door that we get sucked into. Our minds start working at half capacity toward outside stimuli, that and our body is out of sync. This is not ideal, so we look for what can be done to help said problem. Insomnia in sobriety obviously limits the idea of taking different sleeping pills. There are a few that are acceptable in the realms of recovery, but even those skate on the thin line of highly debatable. My take would be that taking sleeping pills is more suitable during earlier recovery. Once an adequate amount of time begins to establish itself, there should be other methods used over pharmaceuticals.

One technique that I particularly favor to battle insomnia in sobriety is deep breathing and the meditative response that comes with it. Taking the time to put the world on pause and almost mentally counting sheep with your breath doing all the work. The deep rooted and consistent inhales and exhales help to unwind the brain waves running rampantly through our thick sleepless skulls. This increases blood flow in certain areas of the brain and allows everything to center. As more oxygen is delivered one full breath at a time. Drawing in a deep gasp of air and counting with it as you release it slowly out your lungs. This breath work will relax you while being synonymous with finding your soul.

Then there are other methods such as certain foods or teas even. A very commonly overlooked concept is what we’re putting into our bodies. I’m not necessarily referring to having the healthiest of diets either, but having an even balance of vitamins and healthy products entering your body every day. We deprive ourselves of the herbs and nutrients our body craves for energy. Often times we eat garbage or microwave food because of convenience. Taking the time to go back to our roots and feeding our bodies what they crave can make a world of difference.

At the end of the day, it’s about being open-minded and trying different suggestions whether they seem imperative or not. Try a new diet. Listen to some soothing music. Take a long bath. Workout and exhaust yourself earlier in the day. Count sheep or dragons- the options are unlimited when your properly plan for your insomnia in sobriety that is soon to follow.  

Sleep is the Cousin of Death

Sleep is not for the weak, it’s required for us to think sensibly. More cases than not, we end up on social media staying up way past our bedtimes. Day after day of this can wear even the strongest down. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

dangers of fentanyl

The Dangers of Fentanyl

Life comes and hits like a brick sometimes. We get to hustling and bustling around in the streets and often life comes and brings along the unexpected. Then there’s the part of distinguishing the unexpected and deciding what we can change and what we can’t. What we may need to have a part in, and when we may need to keep our noses in our own business. Addiction and alcoholism are one of those things that will smack you upside of the head when you’re not paying attention. It’s so easy to get sucked into alcoholic thinking and chemical dependency and before you know it, you’re reading off Step 1 and wondering how your life became so powerless and unmanageable. It happens to the best of us, it really does.

Along with the unexpected curve balls that life throws at us, we mustn’t forget injuries being the root of a lot of problems. Time and time again you have somebody who’s gotten hurt and they are immediately prescribed some sort of pain killer to deal with aches and stings accompanying the injury. Much of the time, people start taking these pain killers as a “cure all” for their injury or symptoms revolving around it. What some are unaware of is how painkillers are for pain but not treatment purposes usually. They will only mask the pain- whether were still taking them for physical purposes, or it has become for emotional numbing. Either way, pain killers are the duct tape of the pharmaceutical world and only last for so long before problems like drug withdrawal, addiction, and side effects begin to occur.  The dangers of fentanyl and other prescription opiates are always looming if you decide to mess with the powers that be.

The Pain That Causes More Pain

In all reality, the dangers of fentanyl and other painkillers tower over that of most other narcotics. The tricky thing about the prescription opiate is that it is theoretically legal when prescribed by a practicing physician. It is used usually in extreme medical situations due to its abnormally high effectiveness. Unfortunately, the drug is often abused for its euphoric properties and can be found on the streets in many places. Fentanyl has often been viewed at as a father or rival to that of morphine or heroin. It’s stronger in the majority of cases than either of the before mentioned drugs. This likeness is due in nature to its highly addictive qualities, the health-related risks it can induce, and its potency. In fact on one side, in a lot of cases, dealers will cut their heroin with fentanyl just to make their product that much stronger. On the other side of that are the overdoses and people dropping like flies for getting a product stronger than expected.

Fentanyl patches

The deaths don’t just stop with heroin though. Even in legal situations, tons of deaths happen annually in professional settings from improper medical use and distribution of the alleged narcotic. The product comes in many different forms including patches, lollipops, IV liquid form, or even in standardized pill form. Sadly, this allows the drug to be more easily accessible outside of a doctor’s office. This, in turn, misconstrues and confuses addicts and alcoholics who think they are familiar enough with the drug. The difference between a medical dosage and a dose that kills you is balanced on a very thin line. Medical professionals are taking a risk at their best judgment when using the narcotic on a patient. Records show that the dangers of fentanyl are 50 to 100 times stronger to that of morphine. That includes everything. The chemical make-up is created to hit the person in pain hard and fast, therefore usually not lasting for too long. This is where the deaths start racking up. Due to its strong man deliverance and short life span, people will start taking more for the same desired effect while the drug is still coursing through their system. Most are oblivious to the fact that just because you can’t feel it the same, that doesn’t mean it’s still not coursing through your bloodstream.

The reality of the circumstance is that different people will become addicted at different rates. Nobody goes through the same addiction because everybody’s addiction is their own. Do not be mistaken though that everybody will eventually wind up in the same boat more or less with continued fentanyl use. The effects from the dangers of fentanyl will turn one’s whole life upside down as the physical aspects take hold. Lengthy opiate abuse will put kinks in the digestive system causing bowel obstruction and/or constipation. Followed along with the bathroom issues, usually comes a weakened immune system and fatigued state. Oh! Don’t forget about the nasty withdrawals that come from being physically dependent. See, but then there’s also the mental torture it will put you through. Fentanyl will steal your soul and create you into an entirely different being, and one that nobody in their right mind is in favor of. With continued abuse comes varying levels of paranoia and delusions. Sometimes our personalities will change and we don’t even recognize the individual making eye contact with us in the mirror. Social withdrawal and isolation will take place as motivation and self-esteem start to flap around in the wind.

The hurricane of a drug will do more than just cause some torment and agony. It will take your life in whatever way it can. If not overdose, respiratory distress and heart failure are always close options to follow. In some cases, enough of the drug in one sitting will destroy the brain and put that person in a coma. Living in a vegetative state for the rest of life just for a good high doesn’t seem to make much sense when broken down that way. It’s pretty clear to say that playing with fentanyl is a death sentence and to not be joked about lightly.  

The Dangers Are Everywhere

Be it fentanyl or any other narcotic, addiction and alcoholism is a brutal disease that will take over every aspect of your life if allowed. The dangers of opiates and other drugs will always be present, but there is a solution to any hole dug up. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.