Monthly Archives: May 2017

apps for sobriety

10 Sobriety Apps to Boost Your Recovery

Looking about at everybody selling their souls to the screens of their phones, you can’t help but sometimes stare in awe at just how much of a hurry our world has gotten into. Seems like in some ways we are too advanced for our own good. But then on the other hand, isn’t it just incredible how much society has advanced in the last 50 years? Or even the last 25? Our world is ever evolving and with things constantly changing, keeping up with life can be tricky. Toss in recovery with some alcoholic thinking into the vat and we have ourselves a recipe for survival of the fittest in a sense.

Life is all about adapting in so many ways to the things that happen around us. Whether it’s a new task at work or recovery being thrown into the mix, the only way to keep up sometimes is to learn new tricks and stay above the current. As we are all aware, or I would hope so, addiction and alcoholism are monsters that never sleep. It is a constant battle that can never be beaten necessarily, but you can still be the winner if you chose. Taking that piece of plastic we obsess about and opening up a few sobriety apps is a way where we can have our cake and eat it too.

An App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

We can never predict the future 100% and there is only so much that we actually have a little sliver of control over, so taking care of self and staying on top of our game is the best way to thrive in this technologically advanced world. Sober apps have been around for a while, but as more and more find themselves opening Big Books, the tools are becoming more and more relevant. The other wonderful part about sober apps is the plethora of them that exist out there. There is a sober app for almost every recovery related need you could probably think of. The amount of people they are saving by providing direct access to saving grace info right in the palm of your hand is outstanding.

Some of the more popular sober apps out there are ones that help to keep track of your clean date and sobriety time. Some of these like My Spiritual Toolkit, Sobriety Counter, and Friend of Bill will do things like keep your sobriety birthday logged in and will help you keep track of all the minutes you’ve been sober. That’s kind of fascinating to think about, especially if you’ve got a substantial amount of time behind your belt. Of course, these sober apps will keep track in standard time of years, months, and days too- but they make it interesting and fun if you’ve got that curiosity side to you. Or they’re just helpful if your memory is awful and you’re shot out like so many of us are after years of chemical warfare on ourselves.

friends on their cell phones

Ok, so let’s say you’ve had a day that is just swamped. I mean you had to go to your regular 9-5, pick the kids up from school, go grocery shopping, help with homework, etc. There was barely any time for yourself- let alone your recovery, and you were hoping to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that day but time wasn’t on your side at all. So now what? Well, funny you should ask because there are sobriety apps for these situations. Trying something from the comfort of your home like AA Speaker To Go or Recovery Speakers which both have taped speakers and/or podcasts that are available to listen to if that’s what the remedy needed for that day may be. These are both extremely handy resources to have close to you when you need some fellowship in your life but don’t have time to ditch the family or the unexpected double at work because Susan called in again.

What about if you’re in a rush to get somewhere, like we always are, and you forget to bring your Big Book or 12 & 12 and you needed it. It happens. This is when we pull the nifty little cellular device out of our pockets/purses/whatever and open up a few of our new sobriety apps such as One Day at a Time, AA Big Book, and More, or 12 Steps AA Companion. Each of these is compatible with Android and/or IOS. They’ll have the first 164 pages available for reading, the stories out of the back, plus more info and details regarding Alcoholics Anonymous and the program of recovery.

It may not seem like it, but the amount of sanity having these sober apps at the tips of your fingers can save is asylum saving. The amount of times I’ve seen somebody pull out their phone and have instant answers to what time that day’s meeting was and every detail about it you would need are too many to count. Some of these sober apps like OneHealth and The AA App can pick up your location and help you connect with others in one way or another. These little recovery aids will lead you to a group meditation, Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, or any other possible support system locations. They’re all beneficial in their own manner, but even better is that most of these sobriety apps are free. If you’ve got all this down time to stare at your phone- take advantage of it. It could be the little difference in making your day run smoother.

Start Somewhere

Unfortunately, the apps don’t apply as much if we can’t get the substances out of the picture. Taking a leap and reaching for a new life is hard but nobody deserves to be slaved underneath chemical dependency. There is so much more to life than that and if we could just clear up the alcoholic thinking a little bit- it would become all so clear. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com.  We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

 

support groups for families

4 Support Groups for Families

Life can sometimes best be compared to a series of games that you have to master in this limited time frame you’re given. There’s the aspect of it being like a puzzle that you have to figure out- except there are new puzzle pieces always appearing. Then there’s the Monopoly concept of having to be a functional person in society while running your way around the square cardboard span of life. However, collecting $200 and going to jail repeatedly isn’t all what it boils down to, (although that is the story of my life). There are all sorts of games, but alcoholic thinking is like dominoes. Once we tip over a few, the resulting chain reaction is one that cannot be stopped without intervention, various forms of rehabilitation, and numbers of support groups.   

Most of the time, our families and friends are never ready for the dominoes to tip over when they do. Sometimes it happens out of impulse, and other times it happens accidentally. Either way, it catches everybody off guard and can create levels of discomfort for everybody involved in the project. Of course, this is all still a metaphor for addiction and alcoholism. Whether dealing with a relapse, active use or a loved one has finally gotten the nerve to get clean- everybody involved with this person has been affected in one way or another. However, just when the game gets tough and everybody is struggling, we pull out the instruction manual. This is where support groups come in because everybody needs coaching on something- especially sobriety and recovery. There is always somebody who knows a little more than somebody else. Why not spread that wisdom in a beneficial manner that others could take away from?

Here, There, and Everywhere

Unfortunately, chemical dependency is not a contained disease- it’s a family disease. Meaning that it will grab its host and through the inflicted alcoholic thinking of that person, it will somehow affect all those that love this person or are close to them. As this person begins to lose who they are through their ripping and running, they will begin to abuse not only their relationship with themselves but with everybody batting for them. Even worse is when they are in the thick of their usage, addicts, and alcoholics do not see the world in a rational light. They cannot see the harm being caused upon those that just want to help them. Those of us that love somebody struggling with this disease don’t realize the toll it’s taking on our own selves until half those dominoes have already fallen. We’re always so caught up in their latest web of lies or drama that we stop tending to ourselves in the manner we’ve needed. Out of love, we find ourselves enabling the addict or alcoholic over and over again with no resolve but us getting hurt again and again. This is where finding support groups for our sanity come in.

Finding a safe place to listen, relate, and understand others is the same concept addicts and alcoholics based their Anonymous meetings off of. We all need somebody to bounce our thoughts off of or advice to be given to us. Let’s face it: therapy and counseling are extremely expensive in today’s day of age (even though the majority of us could use it). Nobody wants to feel like they are experiencing this own version of crazy that nobody else has ever had to go through- that would be so defeating. Finding specific support groups such as

can be extremely therapeutic for anybody willing to dedicate the small amount of time a meeting would take.

family support group

These support groups can be for families, friends, or anybody for that matter that finds themselves dealing the mushroom clouds that addicts and alcoholics are prone to leaving behind. It’s nice to be able to sit down somewhere and listen to other people being put through the same nonsense you are with your addict. Yes to some, that may seem cynical and could be revolved around the idea misery loves company, but to others, it is an opportunity for growth. Going to one of these support groups is a chance to vent and run ideas off one another in an effort to produce a solution to the ongoing problems at stake. One of the worst things about addiction and alcoholism is that they cannot be stopped until the person using is truly ready to end it. That person has to admit and accept their alcoholic thinking and become ready to move on. Like they say, you can always lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink. So these support groups are a way to deal with your stubborn horse in the meantime until it wants to drink water on its own.

To be on the outside of it and understand that addiction is a disease and not a weakness is hard to process. There are millions of addicts and alcoholics who would do anything in the world to be able to use normally or drink socially with their friends and family. However, the reality of the matter is that they can’t take their substance of the day and walk away from it afterward like most others could. That is their dilemma but it is theirs to deal with and not our burden to take completely. Until they recognize it for what it is and acceptance becomes their answer, those of us surrounding them have to find manners such these support groups to cope with the stresses that alcoholic thinking’s madness brings us daily.

Before and After

Support groups can be helpful regardless if your addict is still using or has made it to greener grasses. It can be intimidating to know that addiction and alcoholism are always right around the corner and having dealt with them in any manner leaves their lasting impression. On the other hand, maybe the day comes where your loved one is truly ready for help. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a supportive direction that you can proudly stand behind.

who do addicts justify

Why Are Addicts so Good at Justifying Actions?

The late great Theodore Geisel wrote in one of his many many works, “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” This man is also known by many as Dr. Seuss. He was a brilliant man who conveyed simple life lessons in his books. With this excerpt, the simple idea he was conveying was to keep our eyes open and take everything in as it comes. This is more or less a metaphor for being open-minded and learning about yourself and/or the ways of the world, one might say. This is a fantastic mindset to grow and build in life. However, with addicts and alcoholics, we can tend to take things too literally and overdo them. We are great at turning those open eyes into blind eyes and doing whatever it is we please. The chemically dependent do not like to be inconvenienced and the alcoholic thinking upstairs is calling all the shots as justifying our actions for the things we desire becomes easier and easier.

Sitting back and reflecting on some of our more questionable decisions made, we see the impulsivity and regret beaming brightly between our judgments. WE are all human beings that make ghastly mistakes on a regular basis. We deal with the aftermath of a situation accordingly as it comes, but most of our questionable choices are downsized in our heads because justifying our actions is what we do. Our future selves probably hate us.

Looking but Not Seeing

Have you ever spent too much of your hard earned money in one quick sitting, knowing that you shouldn’t? Or told yourself that you would or wouldn’t do something specifically, and then you just went and ripped up that mental contract into pieces? Almost like kind of disregarding your gut feeling with things. I know any addicts and alcoholics reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. The amount of times we drew a mental line in the sand to not cross and then did back flips over after a little bit of mental anguish is too many to count. Whether we’re justifying actions or not isn’t even a thought that crosses the mind really when we’re in active addiction. When we’re using and deep in it, all morals and values usually kind of go out the door. We’ll say we’re not going to drink during the weekdays and end up getting plastered every night because it was a hard week at work. Another common one was that we wouldn’t spend the money in our bank accounts over the weekend, just to find the account in the negative on Monday morning. Or lastly a favorite of mine was always when we say we’ll never do something again and then days, hours, maybe minutes later- we find ourselves sitting in that shame again from justifying actions.  

What we often fail to realize is that the ramifications for justifying our actions don’t really strike until later on- hence the future self-comment mentioned earlier. One of the biggest things in this life that is a gift and a curse is the power of choice. Everything we do is a product of some form of resolution, minus involuntary actions like breathing. So if some form of internal conflict arises inside, we pick a side. Yet so many outside social factors affect the direction we head in and the Alice in Wonderland path we choose. This leads to justifying such actions that may affect us or others down the road.

what's your excuse

I always say life is but a collection of mistakes and learning and budding from them hopefully, (or not).  In the meantime, we continually do things we are not always proud of and have to second guess from time to time. The key is not beating ourselves up over said mistakes because they’re all necessary in some form or another for mental growth. However, trying to find a balance is the key to such stages of wisdom. When your different sided beliefs clash, it can be uncomfortable. Therefore, our minds tell us to side one way or another to relieve this. As addicts and alcoholics, we side with what gives us instant relief. We begin justifying actions and saying the ever famous, “I’ll worry about it later.” We play mind games and convince ourselves of a particular reality that is often exaggerated, distorted, or ignored. We want to believe what we want to believe but must keep in mind that everything isn’t as it always appears.

The thing is that even when we get sober and enter recovery, the justifying actions thing doesn’t stop there. Addicts and alcoholics are fantastic at stating they’ve been to enough AA or NA meetings already that week. We justify our relapses and alcoholic thinking saying it could always be worse. I hear of so many rationalizations in the rooms of recovery and each one has you scratching your head. “I can take steroids as long as I’m not getting high from them” “I can skip meeting my sponsee so meet with this chic.” Or even, “I haven’t had an urge to get high in a while; I don’t think I’m an addict/alcoholic anymore.” That’s as classic as they come right there.

Taking the time to do just a little bit of introspection and discovering the way we tick is crucial. In this life, you know yourself better than anybody else is ever going to. Figuring out certain attributes of ourselves and why we think justifying actions is okay is vital to the process of life. Decide whether deep down you want to keep doing something and paying for it later or to keep that impulsivity in check as we think about our choices before sticking them in concrete. The key to taking this step back is asking “why.’

Call Yourself Out

We all live different lives and encounter all sorts of experiences that end up getting looked over in one manner or another. In many situations with justifying actions, our minds are screaming one thing while our actions are only showing that of another. Don’t try and convince yourself that your addiction “might” work out in your favor. It’s a justification that’s not worth it. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. 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.

hitting rock bottom before sobriety

Why Hitting Rock Bottom is the Catalyst for Sobriety

The one thing that is guaranteed in life happens to be that nothing is guaranteed in life. Living on an overpopulated planet of roughly 8 billion people, we pause to stop and think just how different everybody and everything really is. Everybody has different mindsets, personalities, and ambitions as they blindly walk forward through life trying to jam random keys in holes and follow maps that have lost their “X” long ago. Yet, everybody’s treasure hunt is different. All people’s paths differ despite there being similar obstacles obstructing each other’s pathways along the way. This is part in why we have chocolate and vanilla, or for some, chonilla. It’s a thing….or should be. Don’t ask. Moving on.

With everybody having their own vivid imagination and set of Walt Disneyesque dreams, it’s no wonder addiction/alcoholism only tags on to some and not others. Of those that happen to have the leeching disease of addiction snag onto them, some are able to persevere, and then some are able to struggle much more than others. Some fight that rock bottom and hold onto their using times- or the “glory days” as I like to remember them.

Rock Bottom Hits You

Fear sneaks in for everybody at various points on their timeline. For addicts and alcoholics, we allow fear to stomp in and dictate everything while we lay chained to a pile of shame and justification. We allow fear to prevent us from discovering that rock bottom and moving forward with life. When addiction and alcoholism time and time again has promised fun and happiness but instead ended up throwing sand in your eyes and kicking you in the head with a steel toed boot, why is it that you still continued to give this bloody illness a chance? With all the negative aspects and stress that chemical dependency delivers, why is it that we choose to ignore rock bottom showing up right at our feet.

The sickness of it is that addiction and alcoholism want us to remember all these glorious times and belly laughs that we had while we were shoving chemicals into our bloodstreams. The ridiculous part is that we challenge our brains and our lust for substances as we forget about all the nights we cried ourselves to sleep and wished for rock bottom to finally be here so the healing could begin. Addiction and alcoholism want us to forget. We nonchalantly cold shoulder the recounted days where suicide was on the very front burner of our brains and a crack stem and television were the only allies we had to comfort the tears. We reach what some might consider such a low point, only to realize that it can always get worse. Eventually, death is the end product if we keep at the rate our minds tell us to. Rock bottom doesn’t have to be shaking hands with the grim reaper, but to my dismay, some have a deeper bottom than others and never make it out as they drown themselves in the bottom of the bottle.

man hitting rock bottom

For some, the concept of hitting rock bottom and playing games with the afterlife is enough to make them tip toe away slowly. For others, they like to Aerosmith it out and live on the edge despite how close they are to toppling over. To finally realize that that you must turn back now or jump off is a pretty intimidating thought. Recognizing this place in life and being in this specific mindset it what truly drops people to their knees. To admit one is an addict or alcoholic is the easy part. To accept it and realize there is no other direction this thing can take you- this is where the revelations begin and growth can finally start to occur if we allow it. With everything at the worst it can get and you at your lowest of lows, the only directions left to continue on seem pretty clear.

It’s unfortunate how our alcoholic thinking just takes over like it does, and for some it goes on for a conglomeration of years. Some addicts and alcoholics never find a solution to the problem and end up trying to dig deeper than rock bottom allows. It can be quite the ugly scene. However, there is a solution and not all addicts and alcoholics are doomed to wander the earth in an uncomfortable stupor. A bit short of a hundred years ago, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was created by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. They too were individuals who dealt with the grips of alcoholism and were doing everything they could to climb out of rock bottom and continue living real life instead of vicariously through an empty glass bottle.

It was upon this founding of A.A. that the 12 steps were created, and these two men were saved from rock bottom by discovering the powers of friendship and fellowship. Through their efforts of trading their rocks for pebbles, these two men created an entity that has saved countless thousands and thousands of addicts and alcoholics struggling with the phenomenon of craving. Bill and Bob were at a point where there was no other direction. They were at their rock bottom and it was those bottoms that inspired the anonymous programs we are so fond of today. For the longest time, there has been a hole inside for most that needed to be filled. Addiction and alcoholism dig up that hole. Once recovery and solution are provided, the hole that leads to rock bottom is filled and it becomes just another step in your bottomless day.

End of the Line

Life likes to throw curveballs at you while addiction and alcoholism pelt you with rocks and make everything very dark around you. It gets old and gloomy quick- but there are alternatives to living in such dark times. 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 www.coastaldetox.com. 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.