Meet Donna. She’s contemplating what’s been going on this year regarding New Year goals and she doesn’t really feel like she has accomplished much. In fact, she says she has been stuck for a long time now, feeling distressed, frustrated, sad, and tired.
Sure, she’s sober and grateful for that, but some days it’s a real struggle.
Though Donna does seem to “do” a lot when it comes to self-help (reading, listening to podcasts, etc.), she’s not actively applying important concepts to her life.
“Here it is nearing 2020 and I’m sad because not much has changed this year in my life regarding New Year goals. I had some really great goals, but I haven’t really made much progress. In fact, most of my life looks exactly as it did a year ago:
But perhaps if she could get hold of this phrase and really embody it:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
And, if you want big changes, you have to make big changes.
Do you see that? You can’t just want to see your life change, though the desire is a great first step. You actually have to take action toward change, step by step, week after week.
It’s like working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. As you work through the steps, you’re staying sober. You’ve committed to abstaining from alcohol or drug use. But further than that, you’ve got to “work” the steps to experience change in other areas of your life too.
Sometimes, perhaps you have to do some MAJOR modification to get unstuck, clear the hurdles, learn how to deal with setbacks, and experience positive change.
Goals For 2020
So, for 2020, what might you do different? What MAJOR things can you implement into your life to inch toward accomplishing your goals? What kinds of things can you do to ensure that next December you can share with your family and friends how AMAZING your year was because you accomplished so much toward your goals?
What will it take?
Well, we know one thing: You’ve got to go at your New Year goals with a different mentality than you have.
Again, nothing changes if nothing changes.
See, a lot of people have good intentions, but their actions don’t line up. They may have many goals written down, but a month, six months, or a year later they’re still sitting on those goals. be able to list five or ten goals that they are sure they are going to accomplish, but one, two, three years later those They haven’t “done” much to really make them a reality.
Here are some common ways people settle:
Change Requires Effort
Friends, change is going to require you doing something different. You might have to jump out of your comfort zone. You may have to draw a line in the sand and so, “No more!”’ to things like fear, laziness, naysayers, etc. to accomplish those New Year goals.
Those that enjoy success in any area do so because they’ve taken the time and effort to do what they needed to do. They didn’t let fears or doubts keep them down. They kept themselves motivated and asked for help when they needed it.
Most people want to experience some level of success in every area, including sobriety. If you’re not there, then know that there are changes you can make in order to do so. This could mean hiring a life coach or attending counseling. Or, it could mean sitting down and creating a detailed action plan that you look at every day, making the effort day in and day out.
What about you?
As 2019 ends, sit down and gauge your accomplishments. Give yourself kudos for goals you did achieve – sobriety included!
Take note of New Year goals not yet achieved or ones you’ve put on the shelf. Ask yourself some important questions:
Make 2020 the kind of year you truly want…and deserve.
It’s been over two years since I first started seriously questioning my relationship with drugs and alcohol and considered a life without it. That's two hard, beautiful, glorious years during which I not only stopped drinking, but also finally moved on from all recreational drugs as well as a history of self hurting.
The life I had before I quit drugs was a lot like Groundhog Day; I was always waiting for it to begin and always reliving the same stuff, day after day, year after year. When I finally walked away from it all at 32, my life opened up. I can honestly say sobriety is the best thing I have ever done for myself. It was my jumping-off point into a life I knew I had buried inside of me.
While making the decision to be sober was the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s also one of the hardest. Not only because not using is hard, but also because we live in a society where most everyone around us drinks or does drugs.
It’s seen as normal to use, and quitting that drug can feel like breaking a social pact. So your bold, life-improving decision to not use will mean changes almost everywhere you look.
Recovery is different than I thought it would be. This journey has been a most revealing journey. I know myself in a way I never did before. I recognize my irrational thoughts. I fight back when urges come. I now see that my urges to use are and always have been reactions to feelings and thoughts. That's okay, though, because my choice is not to give in to those reactions.
I am two years clean of drugs and alcohol. During those two years, I have grown more than I could have ever imagined and now know what it means to live a fulfilling life. Even though life is still full of problems and challenges, I have learned how to grow from these expert and have found a path I am happy with. I enjoy the time spent with my family, and refuse to take for granted every 24hrs I receive.
I still use what I learned from IRecover Alberta everyday. That, for me, started with the willingness to be responsible for my disease. From there I was able to change and I now have a great relationship with my husband and kids.
You don't have to wake up and struggle to stay clean every day. Reach out. Go to meetings. Talk.
I had to loose drugs & alcohol to love me - I'm okay with that.
Much love and many thanks,
Staff and participants made the most of a snow day and decided to have some fun and create a giant snowman!
iRecover Okanagan Addiction Treatment Center provides quality care for those suffering from drug addiction or alcohol addiction and is located in British Columbia's beautiful Okanagan Valley. For all your detox and recovery center needs contact 1-877-387-4155
If you are in a relationship with a partner that is abusing alcohol or drugs, it can be quite challenging. You may have many feelings and concerns about the situation. You may have unanswered questions like “What do I do?” or “How do I know if they’re using or not”. Yes, it can be an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach.
This article is meant to give you some information as you move forward navigating the relationship and your concerns. One thing you should know up front is that the alcoholism or drug addiction is not your problem. You didn’t cause it and you can’t fix it. What you can do right away is begin shifting your focus away from possible reasons as to why they are using or why this is happening to becoming more concerned about your reactions and tendencies to enable, deny, or become codependent in the situation.
Can A Relationship Work Out If Addiction Is Involved?
It is possible for a relationship to work out if addiction is going on, but many factors play a role. Oftentimes, one or both individuals may need some professional help to get back on track.
Whose World Are You Living In?
When your loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s easy to get wrapped up in their world and essentially, stop living in your own world. Instead of focusing on you or practicing your own self-care, you may start obsessing over questions like:
Don’t Fall Into Codependency
Codependency is a term used sometimes to describe an unhealthy relationship with another person. In the case of a loved one who is struggling with addiction, being codependent would mean that you have a tough time being able to separate yourself from their behavior. You enable and essentially lose yourself in the situation.
Instead of focusing on you, you put a lot of focus into the other person. You lose sleep. You may give them money even when you know they should have their own money. You are constantly looking for clues as to whether they are using or not. You give them just one more chance and then another chance and so on. You feel as if you are going insane. You’re not happy. You’re confused, scared, and feel alone.
The Steps To Your Recovery
Many partners wonder if they should throw in the towel in their relationship. This is not easy to answer because every situation is different. Some should throw in the towel and others may be able to hang in there until their loved gets things together- assuming that they even get cleaned up.
Here are some things you can consider moving forward:
1.Learn About Addiction
Take some time to learn about addiction, so that you can understand better what is really going on with your partner. This will also help you learn what kinds of enabling behaviors you have been doing and how you can refrain from doing so in the future. Addiction is a disease, and just like if your child was diagnosed with the disease of diabetes, you would educate yourself on how to move forward with changes that would benefit their health. By you learning about addiction, you are more likely to be supportive to your loved one, rather than simple enable and caretake.
2.Attend A Support Group
You may need some support if you’re contending with a partner struggling with addiction. Consider attending Al-Anon or Nar-Anon 12 Step groups. There you will be able to talk to others who have loved ones that are struggling too. You can get a sponsor/mentor if you wish and work the 12 Steps of the program, which will help you focus on YOU and get out of the addictive environment for a while. Get around others who will help you empower yourself when it comes to setting and keeping boundaries and caring for yourself.
It’s time to gather your inner strength and empower yourself, so you can do what is right FOR YOU. It’s time to journey toward self-love and connect with yourself in a deeper way. What do you really want in your life? What are your needs and wants? What kind of partnership do you want? Are you willing to do what it takes or walk away if need be? It’s not easy to walk away and it’s not easy to stay, but no matter what you decide, you’ll benefit from growing and harnessing your inner strength.
Boundaries, Boundaries, And More Boundaries
It’s time to learn about boundaries and it’s time to set them – for yourself and for your partner. You don’t have to be a doormat. You don’t have to feel compelled to enable and take care of a grown person, addicted or not. You no longer have to be a willing or unwilling partner to your partner’s disease. When you can come up with some boundaries for yourself and your partner, it is then that you will experience some changes- in yourself. When you say, “No more! I’m not contending with this active addiction anymore!”, you can let go. You can let your partner contend with the disease and their option to get help. You can begin your journey to recovery. If you’re not sure how to set boundaries, perhaps seek professional help so you can learn. It can make a big difference.
We understand you want to help your loved one get free from addiction. There are certainly ways you can support your partner, while taking care of yourself too. Remember that this is a journey.
Think progress, not perfection.
Need Addiction Recovery Help?If your loved one needs addiction treatment, know that professional help is available and helpful. Here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here around the clock to assist those in need any way we can. Addiction treatment in Canada can be just what your loved one needs to get free and begin creating the kind of life they truly desire.
Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health completed in 2016, almost one million people had tried heroin within the year prior. With the heroin epidemic that’s currently going on today, that number could be much higher, which is alarming.
Heroin is indeed one of the harshest drugs out there on the streets and can wreak havoc on anyone’s life regardless of age, social status, gender, and so on.
Heroin is an opioid that’s made from morphine. It’s considered a depressant that users usually snort, smoke, or inject into the vein. When used, a person will get an intense feeling of relaxation and pleasure at the same time. Though this may sound appealing, there are some very real dangers associated with using heroin.
First, it’s very harsh on the body, especially those that use it long-term. Second, it’s very addictive and tough to stop using once someone has become addicted. Third, it can be deadly, and many people have overdosed and died using the drug.
How Do Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms Differ From Other Drugs?
Heroin is among the most addictive drugs out there and the detox process can be quite challenging. You may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms just a few short hours after the last dosage and they’re not pleasant. In fact, the first few days it can feel like the worst-case flu you’ve ever had, and then some.
This is a big reason why some people continue to be dependent on the drug, because in all honesty the withdrawal symptoms can be so severe. However, with the right detox method, you or your loved one can get completely free and get life back on track in a short amount of time.
Heroin Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
As with any drug, the kind of withdrawal symptoms you experience may vary depending on factors, such as how long you’ve been using, the frequency, your health, whether or not you have a support system, and more.
Heroin detox symptoms resemble the flu, but more intense. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
Is Medication Given To Taper Off Heroin?
Sometimes medication is given to help ease the brunt of the withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is the most common medication given to help you taper off heroin. Even though methadone is essentially a substitute drug, it dulls the “high” that you would get taking heroin and helps prevent some withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, it keeps symptoms at a level that you can manage. Plus, the medication only has to be taken for a period of time, with the ultimate goal of getting off methadone as well.
Buprenorphine and Suboxone may also be used, which help reduce the cravings of heroin, but do not give you the “high”. Naltrexone is another medication that is sometimes used, as it blocks the opioid receptors and is not physically addictive like the others. However, it does not generally have as great a success rate as the other medications.
Heroin Detox From A Medical Stand Point
Going through heroin detox at a detox center assures that you have 24/7 monitoring, support, and accountability. This type of structure and support increases your chance at getting off heroin and staying off it. It also allows you to get behavioral and pharmacologic treatments, which have been quite effective when both types are integrated into treatment. You certainly don’t want to try to detox from heroin at home, as it can be grueling and dangerous.
How Can I Get Through Heroin Detox?
There is hope for getting free from heroin addiction. It will take some hard work, perseverance, a strategy, and a good support network, such as a drug detox or rehab. The first few days are likely to be the toughest, but with medical support and assistance, you can get through it. We’ve helped many men and women get through detox symptoms, overcome heroin addiction, and get their life back.
As mentioned previously, you or your loved one may encounter some flu-like symptoms – body aches, sweating, nausea, shakes, cravings, and have a bit of a sleeping disruption, but you’ll also be surrounded by compassionate professionals willing to assist and support you as necessary. And, being at an addiction rehab facility helps decrease triggers that you may encounter if you were trying to detox at home. You get to completely focus on your recovery, which can be beneficial.
Need Addiction Recovery Help?If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to heroin, or any other drug, rest assured that addiction treatment can help. Here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here around the clock to assist you any way we can. Addiction treatment in Canada can be just what you need to get free and begin creating the kind of life you truly desire.
Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
Chances are you’ve worked really hard for your sobriety and that’s something to be proud of. Even when you got tired, annoyed, or even angry, you kept pushing through doing the work. Congrats to you for that!
Now that winter’s here, some people may find themselves struggling more with low energy or negative emotions. If you live in a cold climate, you may be dealing with gloomy days and freezing temperatures – which can affect your mood.
Winter has been known to have a negative impact on the emotions of some people, so it’s best to prepare yourself ahead of time if your winters are cold, gloomy, snowy, and/or rainy. It’s one thing to maintain your sobriety, but add the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder to that and you could find yourself struggling pretty hard.
The following are some helpful tips to help you get through the winter months sober and happier. You don’t have to let old man winter steal anything from you. In fact, you can resolve to enjoy the winter despite any weather challenges it might bring!
1.Have A Support Network
Know that you don’t have to maintain your sobriety feeling alone. It’ll help you to find supportive people to spend time with as you continue on your sober path. For some, this means attending a support group or 12 Step group. For others, it might mean attending a church or spiritual center. Do whatever works for you in terms of having some support to share what’s going on in your life and being able to be there for others as they share.
2.Encourage And Inspire Yourself
Get yourself some encouraging books to read over the winter months. They can be recovery-oriented or some other niche you’re interested in. There are plenty of excellent books and resources out there that can give you daily encouragement and inspiration. If you’re not much of a reader, check out some YouTube videos that may inspire you. Taking time regularly to do this can help you stay sober through winter and have a more positive disposition.
3.See A Therapist
If you find yourself struggling with the blues or depression, commit to seeing a therapist for a couple of months or more. Being able to open up and share what you’re feeling and/or what’s going on in your life can help you feel better and stay sober.
4.Enjoy Lots Of Quality Time With Family/Friends
Those that wonder how to stay sober through the winter often find that making a commitment to spending quality time with their family and/or friends helps. If you have children, make the time to play and engage with them. Brainstorm new ways to pass the time; play games, build a fort and tell stories, go sled riding, build a snowman, etc. If you Google activities to do with kids, you’ll find plenty of great ideas.
5.Soak Up The Sunshine
Even if it’s cold, you can get out there on sunny days and enjoy that sunshine. The lack of sunshine can certainly affect our moods, so when the sun’s shining brightly, bundle up and get out there. There may not be a ton of things to do if it’s freezing or there’s snow piled up high, but even walking around the block on sunny days might suffice to keep the winter blues away.
6.Engage In A Hobby
For some people, trying out a new hobby during the winter helps them in a variety of ways. If being stuck inside due to harsh weather in the winter gets you bored or down, consider starting a new hobby.
Is there something you used to do that you’ve put on the shelf for a while? Maybe it’s time to get it off the shelf and get started again. Is there something you’ve wanted to try but just haven’t taken the time yet?
Make a list of activities or hobbies you’d like to try and then narrow it down. Maybe you’ve wanted to start oil painting or wood carving, but you’ve put it off. There are plenty of hobbies to choose from, such as writing, dancing, hunting, singing, yoga, and more.
7.Believe You Can
Your thoughts play an important role in your attitudes and behavior. To get through winter sober, believe that you can. Of course, you can back that belief up with actions, such as the tips listed here. At the same time, know that many men and women who desire long-lasting sobriety can and do make it through winter without picking up a drink. You can too!
How To Stay Sober Through WinterDepending on where you live, you may or may not have to contend with snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and cloudy days. If you do, know that these factors don’t have to mess you up when it comes to your recovery success. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your sobriety, and the weather just doesn’t have to steal that from you.
It’s certainly possible to stay sober through winter. If you find yourself struggling, take the necessary steps toward getting some support. Chances are, you know what to do, so go ahead and be proactive. And, take these tips into consideration and put the thought out there that you’re going to enjoy this winter more than you’ve ever enjoyed it before – sober and free.
Need Addiction Recovery Help?If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or a drug, know that treatment can help. Here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here around the clock to assist you. Addiction treatment in Canada can be just what you need to begin creating the kind of life you truly desire. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
Around the holidays, we tend to hear a lot about the power of gratitude – especially Thanksgiving. Families and friends gather around the table and offer thankfulness for the opportunity to visit and for the blessings in life.
For those in recovery from addiction, gratitude is something that you may want to think about more often than the holidays though. In fact, gratitude can be quite a powerful force in your life, helping you remain on the sobriety path long-term.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is essentially feeling thankful. It’s a state of being where your heart is brewing with gladness because of something. Why does it matter in recovery from addiction?
Because gratitude can become a mindset that helps you stay sober and grow in every area of your life. It’s a force that can help you resist reverting back to old thought patterns that can send you spiraling emotionally, which can lead you to feeling triggered to drink or pick up again.
The power of gratitude is so great that it’s studied extensively at Heartmath Institute. With various studies, researchers have found that when someone intentionally offers gratitude, it produces an emotional and energetic change in the body – for the better. The more often the person does this, the more likely they experience happier and more peaceful emotions – something anyone would appreciate!
Many who are in recovery openly admit that when they were in active addiction, they were more selfish than not. In fact, some admit to being more concerned about themselves and their drug of choice than anyone else.
By adopting an attitude of gratitude, you’re far less prone to falling prey to that type of selfishness. When you can wake up in the morning and offer gratitude for your breath, legs to walk, shelter, food, etc., your day just goes better. You’ve got your mind set on the good things in your life, even if you don’t think there are too many.
A Gratitude List
It’s not uncommon for 12 Step sponsors to encourage their sponsees to make frequent gratitude lists. While it may be annoying to the sponsees, the sponsors are trying to help them grow in their recovery. By actively saying, “thank you” for those things in their life that they are grateful for, they create some positive momentum.
The fact that gratitude can help with attitude and happiness levels is backed by scientific studies too, which is why many addiction treatment centers will touch on the topic during treatment. Learning how to regularly have a grateful heart will just help you be a happier person.
How To Cultivate A Heart Of Gratitude
It’s likely you won’t cultivate a heart of gratitude overnight, but as with anything, it’s a process. In recovery, you’re busy learning about addiction and doing the inner healing work to heal any wounds that have been hiding under the surface. The more you work at your recovery, the easier it will be for you to grow your level of gratitude in your heart.
Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith, believing that as you sow seeds of gratitude, you’ll reap the benefits.
The following are some simple things you can do to cultivate an attitude of gratitude:
Make The Effort
If you want to become more grateful, it’s going to take some effort. Start being more mindful as you go about your day, remembering to say “thank you” for all the good things. Put notes on your walls, in your car, and at the office to serve as reminders. Over time, feeling grateful will simply become a way of life for you, and its likely others will notice. They may even ask you how you can be so grateful or happy, which gives you an opportunity to share with them the power of gratitude.
Need Addiction Recovery Help?
If you’re not yet on the addiction recovery path, know that there is a way out of addiction. Here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here around the clock to assist you. Addiction treatment in Canada can be just what you need to begin creating the kind of life you truly desire. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
We are extremely proud of both Natasha and Sarah for what they have accomplished so far. They have taken what they have learned from treatment and applied it to great effect. They are both doing well and living happy, healthy and sober lives.
iRecover is grateful to be part of such extraordinary stories and wishes both of them success in the years to come. Thank you both for coming back and sharing this wonderful milestone with us. Remember, it works if you work it!
Recovering from an addiction can be a journey that is unique to each person in recovery. In other words, what recovery looks like for Joe may look completely different than Mary. The biggest reason for this is because there are so many factors that come into play, such as:
Let’s look at the five different stages of recovery closer:
Stage 1: Recovery Contemplation (pre-abstinence)
The first stage of recovery is contemplation. To contemplate something means to think about it or mull it over. In recovery, this could mean that you’re thinking about how abusing your substance of choice is bringing you negative consequences, or you’re just not sure you want to continue using it.
For example, if your drinking habits are getting you in trouble with the spouse or you’re missing more and more workdays, you might think more and more about quitting. One day, you might feel like all is well and you’ve got a grip on your drinking. Another day, you may feel like you’ve got major drinking issues and better try to get a grip.
This ambivalence is normal in the first stage of recovery. And, this stage can go on for a while. You may try to quit for a while and then get back into it again, until eventually, you make a solid commitment to stop using that drug of choice.
This propels you into the second stage of recovery.
Stage 2: Detox & Withdrawal (0 – 3 months)
The second stage of recovery begins the moment you stop using your drug of choice. This early stage of recovery is oftentimes reported to be the most challenging because many people go through detox during this time, experiencing uncomfortable and sometimes grueling withdrawal symptoms.
Chances are you will encounter some withdrawal symptoms as a result of your substance abuse. The symptoms will vary depending on what drug or drugs you’ve been using, but the good news is that you can detox from them and get on with your recovery easier than you think.
If you can go to a detox or residential treatment center, that’s your best bet because there you will be under supervision by addiction specialists. Depending on the drug you are being weaned off, you may be able to receive medications that will help you to be more comfortable while going through withdrawal.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
Stage 3: Addiction Recovery Treatment (3 months – 1 year)
Stage three of addiction recovery involves continued addiction treatment, as well as addressing any mental health or emotional issues. This stage generally lasts from about three months to a year. This is the part of treatment that you really get down and dirty with “doing the work”. It’s likely that underneath your addiction, you’ve got some things to address, such as shame, guilt, fear, and so on.
Being willing to start digging under the surface alongside a mental health professional will help tremendously. Getting sober and clean is one thing, but healing emotionally will help you live a better life all the way around.
If you went through Stage Two at an inpatient treatment facility, it’s recommended to continue with treatment to increase your success rate long-term. Often, those that go through inpatient treatment finish up there and opt to attend an outpatient treatment center longer-term. In addition, ongoing counseling and some type of support group is recommended.
Stage 4: Active Recovery and Maintenance (1 - 5 years)
When Stage Four begins, you’ll have already done quite a bit of recovery work, which has likely benefitted you greatly. This stage lasts for several years and will still require that you stay on top of recovery principles. You’ll want to be sure that you’ve become aware of triggers and know how to contend with them if and when they come.
Ongoing support is helpful during this stage. Most people opt to continue seeing a counselor if they’re still having some struggles. In addition, attending a 12 Step or support group helps many people stay strong in their recovery. It also gives them a chance to help others who may be struggling with an addiction or hitting a rough patch in recovery.
Stage 5: Advanced Recovery (5 years and beyond)
The advanced recovery stage is a stage you’ll be in the rest of your life. Hitting five years clean or sober is quite a milestone, and sobriety has likely become a lifestyle. In this stage, urges or cravings come few and far in between. However, if they do come, you’re likely able to overcome them easily because of all the recovery work you’ve done prior. Some people still opt to attend regular support groups during this stage, to receive and give support.
Addiction Recovery As A Process
It helps to view addiction recovery as a process or stages. And, the recovery road isn’t usually a straight and narrow path. Rather, it’s a bit zigzagging with some ups and downs, but with regular support from professionals and peers, you’re certainly able to overcome addiction and live a great life.
Reach Out For Help
If you are struggling from an addiction, know that you are not alone, and you do not have to try to overcome such an addiction alone. Addiction treatment in Canada is some of the finest treatment around. Once you can admit that you are having problems, you can reach out for help via various avenues and begin your journey to recovery. Substance abuse problems are quite common, so there is no shame in admitting such.
There is a way out of addiction, and here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here 24/7 to assist you. Addiction treatment in Canada can be just what you need to begin creating the kind of life you truly desire. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.
When someone becomes addicted to alcohol or a drug, the addiction can become chronic, or ongoing. In fact, addiction is defined as a chronic brain disease by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. This means that the person who is knee deep in addiction doesn’t have some character flaw or lack of will power.
It means that their brain’s reward center has become addicted to the substance and because of this, that part of the brain desires more and more. And, when it doesn’t get more, it goes a bit haywire, throwing the body into a state of withdrawal, which can produce uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms.
Why Do I Relapse?
Perhaps you’ve become addicted to alcohol or a drug like cocaine, heroin, pain pills, or some other drug. Chances are you’re aware of your addiction and you’ve likely tried to stop using that substance more than once.
You may have even stopped for weeks at a time, but eventually, you fell back into using. Perhaps you thought you could control your intake, but sooner or later, the addiction was in full blast once again.
You’re left wondering, “Why do I relapse?” Surely, you want to stop the addictive behavior, but you just keep falling back into it.
More often than you think, relapse is a part of recovery. Most people that desire to get free from addiction don’t just one day decide that they’ll get sober or clean and that’s that. If only it was that easy!
Rather, many people go through stages of addiction, as well as stages of recovery. And, the stages of recovery may be marked with a number of relapses.
The Stages of Addiction
Let’s briefly discuss the stages of addiction. Full-blown addiction to any drug doesn’t normally happen overnight. You don’t start drinking one day and become addicted right away. You don’t start taking pain pills and become addicted to them in a few days.
Granted, some drugs you can become addicted to quite easily, such as heroin or crack cocaine. But generally, addiction progresses in the following stages:
Stage 1: Initial Use – You start drinking or using a drug.
Stage 2: Substance Abuse – You start using or abusing the drug regularly.
Stage 3: Tolerance – Your body starts getting used to the amount of the drug you’re using, building a tolerance. This means you have to use more of the drug to get the euphoric or numbing effects you want to feel.
Stage 4: Dependence – Here in this stage, you’re becoming more and more dependent on the drug. You might try to quit, but it’s challenging because you enjoy the way the drug makes you feel, or you feel awful when you don’t continue to use it.
Stage 5: Addiction – When you’re addicted to the drug, you have to use the drug regularly. You may have to drink every day or pop a certain number of pills every so many hours. You don’t want to keep using, but you do. The withdrawal symptoms may be horrible as well, so you feel you have to keep using.
Stage 6: Relapse – Not everyone believes relapse is a stage of addiction, but due to the sheer volume of people in recovery that do relapse, it has merit.
The Cycle of Recovery and Relapse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s not uncommon for over half of men and women in addiction recovery to relapse at least once along their recovery journey. If you are struggling with an addiction and you’ve walked the recovery path before, you can probably relate to the recovery/relapse cycle. You want to stay sober and/or clean, but various factors have caused you to pick up that drink or drug again.
Understand that just as addiction is a process, so is recovery. Those in early recovery are most prone to relapse, as well as those that don’t have a solid support network.
If you have a loved one who has relapsed, you may or may not be so understanding. It’s challenging when a loved one promises to stay sober and then relapses. You may be tempted to think they’re not trying or it’s a willpower issue, but addiction experts say that that’s not necessarily the case.
Just as there are stages of addiction, there are stages of recovery. Relapse is part of those stages for some people, but the good news is that the relapses can stop at some point. When they can get the right addiction treatment for themselves and work hard at recovery, they’ll be able to break that cycle of recovery/relapse.
Interrupting The Recovery/Relapse Cycle
Professional addiction treatment, preferable at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center, is a great way to interrupt any recovery/relapse cycle that’s been going on. Reaching out for expert help can introduce you to addiction specialists who are trained to help people overcome or manage addiction problems – and reduce the chance of relapsing.
Just like you’d go see a physician for a chronic disease like diabetes, you can see an addiction expert for help to manage the chronic disease of addiction. They may treat you with a combination of treatment methods, such as medication, individual and/or group counseling, support groups, recovery classes, and more. They can certainly help you interrupt any recovery/relapse cycle that’s been going on.
You’ll also want to learn what your triggers are so you can combat them if and when they arise. If driving by the liquor store triggers you to want to stop in to get some alcohol, don’t drive by it anymore. If your drug dealer calls you on the phone checking in to see if you want anything, block their phone number. Triggers do just that – trigger your thoughts to start ruminating about using again, so do your best at finding out what they are and steering clear of them.
Help For Addiction Recovery Relapses
If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or a drug, consider reaching out for help today. You don’t have to continue to struggle, as there are professional substance abuse experts who will come alongside you to help you manage or overcome addiction once and for all. No more having to hide the addiction or feel shame about it. No more having to isolate or hurt loved ones due to the addiction.
Reach Out For Help
There is a way out of addiction, and here at iRecover Treatment Centers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, we’re here 24/7 to assist you. Give us a call at 877-387-4155 and get started on your recovery journey now.