The Power of Acceptance

When I got out of prison after serving time for a DUI Serious Bodily Injury conviction, day-to- day life was overwhelming, to say the least. For four years, I’d never had to make a decision for myself, and I found I’d forgotten how to cope with life’s unpredictability due to being away from society for so long. But, even though I was already struggling to adjust, things managed to get worse: my long-time boyfriend broke up with me, the kitten I’d just adopted from a local shelter died from a rare virus and I couldn’t get hired anywhere due to my “felon” label. Life as a free woman was nothing like I expected it to be, and all I wanted to do was give up and check myself back into the gated community.

But a big part of me knew I’d come too far to simply run away when times got tough. After all, that’s what the old me would have done, and I’d been through too much to revert back to the person I once was. Instead, I started practicing the way of thinking I’d adopted in prison: acceptance of the things I could not change. True, life wasn’t fair, but by putting my trust in a power greater than myself and realizing that my life was unfolding the way it was supposed to, I began feeling more at peace and a lot less hopeless.

Living life on life’s terms can be easier said than done, especially when it feels like nothing is going right. But, it’s crucial for the success of your sobriety. Struggling to accept reality and your present circumstances can keep you stuck in an addiction, as you can quickly become reliant on drugs, alcohol or other unhealthy behaviors when things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

Therefore, it’s important to learn to accept whatever life throws at you, whether it be good or bad.
Acceptance gives us much-needed perspective and reminds us that many things are out of our control. After all, life is never going to be perfect – not even in sobriety. Even when situations don’t play out the way we want them to, true peace of mind can be found in believing that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be and the universe is unfolding exactly the way it should.

To better learn how to live life on life’s terms, Arise Recovery Center can help. We provide intensive outpatient treatment for those ready to take on their drug and alcohol addictions. Now, with our Fort Worth drug treatment facility open to the public, we’re able to cater to an underserved market and help even more clients develop new life skills that result in long-term recovery. For more information on our Fort Worth and Southlake outpatient facilities, contact us at 1-888- DFW-ARISE (1-888- 339-2747) or by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com.

Having Fun in Sobriety

You did it – you took that first step by becoming sober.  But now that drugs and alcohol are out of the picture, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to ever have fun again without using.  This is a common concern for those in early sobriety, but one that is entirely possible to overcome.

So, if you’re looking to have fun while in recovery, put a couple of these tips to the test and see what they do for you:

Get Active

During physical activity, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins.  These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, known as a “runner’s high.”   This runner’s high can have a profound effect on mental health and can relieve stress and improve memory, as well. Yoga, jogging, hiking – all of these activities can put you in a better frame of mind and help make recovery more enjoyable.

Get Involved

When you attend 12-step meetings or complete a treatment program, you will open yourself to new opportunities to participate in sober activities.  Here, you will meet new people to connect with, as well as learn more about yourself and recovery. Having new, sober friends leads to fun and is a great way to steer clear from temptation.

Try Something New

Now that you’re sober, being open to different experiences helps you find yourself and enjoy life again. Trying something new can also spark creativity and become an outlet for frustration and stress.  So go ahead: try paddle-boarding, take a cooking class or learn how to play an instrument. Now that you’re free from the constraints of drugs and alcohol, the possibilities are endless!

Sleep!

Nothing is going to be fun if you don’t get enough shut eye.  When you sleep, your brain recharges, ensuring that you wake up alert and clear-headed.  Without enough, your energy, attention and memory are all reduced and stress hormones go through the roof.  Thus, people who are having fun in sobriety make sleep a priority, not only because it makes them feel great, but they know how negatively affected they are when they’re sleep deprived.

Give Back

One of the most endearing parts of being in recovery is the happiness you will find in helping others.  It takes the focus off you, which gives you a different perspective on life and helps you appreciate what you do have, rather than what you don’t.  In addition, it’s rewarding to help those in need, and this sense of accomplishment can go far in preventing relapse in the future.

Arise Recovery Center’s outpatient programs not only provide intensive treatment, aftercare and therapy, but they also teach our clients how to have fun in sobriety.  Now, with our Fort Worth drug treatment facility open to the public, we’re able to cater to an underserved market and help even more clients develop new life skills that result in happiness and long-term recovery.  For more information on our new outpatient program in Fort Worth, please contact us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com.

The Lesser Known Stage of Withdrawal: PAWS

If you’re thinking about getting sober, chances are you’ve heard about the dreaded withdrawal symptoms that occur not long after quitting drugs and alcohol.  But did you know there’s a second stage of withdrawal that’s not as well-known?  Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS, is a series of ongoing withdrawal symptoms – largely psychological and mood-related – that occur after the initial acute withdrawal symptoms have gone away.

These symptoms are individual to the drug that was used, but typically include:

  • severe mood swings;
  • anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure from anything beyond use of the drug);
  • insomnia;
  • extreme drug craving and obsession;
  • hostility or aggression;
  • anxiety and panic attacks;
  • depression;
  • and general cognitive impairment

The onset of PAWS usually occurs around four to eight weeks after getting sober, with each withdrawal episode usually lasting for a few days.

So, why does this even have to happen?  Isn’t the first stage of withdrawal symptoms enough? The damage done to a person’s brain pathways after years of drug abuse doesn’t go away overnight, and it takes time for the brain to recover.  The healing process varies from individual to individual, but some have reported post-acute withdrawal symptoms to last as long as two years.  However, don’t get discouraged – it’s important to remember that these episodes come and go and can lift as quickly as they started.

So, what can you do to help stay strong when experiencing PAWS?

First, be patient and take it easy on yourself.  Though these symptoms can be frustrating, all you can do is take your recovery one day at a time and focus on the positive changes you’re making by being sober.  Experiencing these uncomfortable side effects is actually a sign you’re moving in the right direction.

Next, practice good self-care.  How you will treat yourself in recovery will be the opposite of how you treated yourself in addiction.  Getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right will help give you strength during these post-acute withdrawal episodes and help you heal more quickly afterward.

Finally, be prepared.  If you’re caught off-guard, PAWS and the symptoms associated with it can trigger you to relapse.  But educating yourself about this syndrome and the lingering effects of substance abuse can go a long way towards maintaining your sobriety.

At Arise Recovery Centers, we have many resources available to those struggling with PAWS. With two Texas locations open to the public – Fort Worth and Southlake – we provide intensive outpatient and aftercare treatment to individuals battling addiction.  For more information on our individually tailored drug and alcohol treatment programs, contact us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com.