Addiction Recovery During Coronavirus

Life has been quite different for all of us these last few weeks, as social distancing and stay-at-home orders have become the new normal. But as we work and shelter at home, many of us are understandably feeling isolated and disconnected from our friends, family and support systems.  This, in turn, has left more recovering addicts vulnerable to relapse. And health officials are seeing just that, as more people are reported as having urges and cravings to use drugs and alcohol. 

Triggers Caused by the Coronavirus

We, as human beings, thrive on interaction and connection with others, and not being able to have contact with other people has real consequences on our mental health.  Under normal circumstances, those recovering from addiction rely heavily on their community and routine for support.  But now, since large gatherings and support groups meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), have been cancelled and put on hold, feelings of depression and isolation are more likely to creep in– both triggers for those dealing with substance abuse issues. 

People are also under a great deal of stress right now, which is another trigger that can lead to self-medication with drugs or alcohol.  This is especially true for the many who have been laid off due to the coronavirus or who have loved ones who’ve gotten sick.  Another trigger is the anxiety around the uncertain future we’re facing.  No one knows how long this crisis will last and what its impact will be not only in regard to health, but also to school, finances and the economy.  These concerns and fears could most certainly lead those in recovery back into addiction. 

Relapse Prevention Tools

Because these uncertain times can pose significant challenges for those in recovery, it’s important to find alternative ways to receive ongoing support during this time.  These include:

  • Staying virtually connected

Whether it be to friends, family, sponsors or others in recovery, having someone to confide in, connect with and talk to will help make the stress and uncertainty of the situation seem more manageable.  Telehealth technology has also become an important part of addiction treatment during this pandemic.  According to PBS News, a growing number of treatment providers are now utilizing videoconferencing, texting and mobile apps. 

  • Maintaining a structured routine

Structuring each day provides stability and helps us feel a sense of control and security.  It can also help maintain focus and keep those in recovery from slipping back into old addictive thinking patterns.

  • Practicing self-care

Since there is so much uncertainty right now, maintaining a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and finding a healthy outlet to relieve stress can all help keep concentration and emotional stability intact. 

  • Reading Recovery-Oriented Literature

For those who relied on attending meetings in-person, continuing to read recovery-related literature is a great way to get the additional support you need, as well as stay in the right frame of mind. 

  • Get Moving

Instead of turning to drugs and alcohol as a stress reliever, it’s important to find healthy outlets to relieve frustrations. Exercise releases natural endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body; plus, it’s a great way to burn off all the stress and anxiety that you may be holding in. 

  • Trying Something New

Now is a great time to start a project or a new hobby.  Not only will it help keep addictive thought patterns at bay, but learning something new will also provide a great sense of accomplishment.  

  • Stopping and Breathing

This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and sometimes the magnitude of the situation can feel like too much to bear.  However, it’s important to realize that this uncertainty, anxiety and stress IS temporary, and we’re not alone in our feelings.  By taking a moment to pause and reflect, we can think rationally about what we’re experiencing and remind ourselves that maintaining sobriety is possible during this time.

Though this new normal has brought its fair share of challenges, options do exist to get the care you need.  At Arise, we are now offering telehealth options, in addition to our in-person outpatient drug and alcohol rehab services.  To learn more about how we can help you during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit www.ariserecoverycenters.com

What is Rehab?

Because of the intensely personal qualities of addiction, no two people will follow the same path during the recovery process.  Some will rely on a 12-step program, some will use sheer grit and determination and some will go to a drug rehabilitation facility to get sober.  Drug rehabilitation, or “rehab,” is a general term for intensive, supervised programs designed to help people with drug and/or alcohol addiction. 

What is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient recovery, or residential treatment, is a type of program that is designed to deliver intense and specialized treatment for short periods of time.  Individuals are required to live 24 hours a day within a residential facility and can only leave that facility in special situations or circumstances.  This type of rehab is recommended in certain situations, such as when an individual is currently struggling with significant withdrawal symptoms, when he or she is living in an environment not conducive to recovery (such as dealing with an abusive relationship or when another person in the home is actively using) or when an individual has a severe mental health disorder. 

What is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient drug therapy is another form of treatment where a person attends treatment sessions at a facility or center, but then returns back to their home afterward.  It typically requires the addicted person to spend about 10 to 12 hours a week in recovery, which allows him or her to continue working, remain close to family and friends, and otherwise, maintain a normal daily routine.  In comparison to inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment offers far more freedom and flexibility.

Outpatient therapy is often the preferred choice for those who need to maintain their daily work activities and family obligations.  As with inpatient treatment, most outpatient facilities offer individual and group sessions, relapse prevention classes, various support groups and family counseling. 

Overall, outpatient treatment can be a good stand-alone option for someone with a mild addiction, or it can be part of a long-term treatment program.  Nevertheless, this type of program can address an individual’s many needs and result in a much lesser expense than residential treatment. 

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab?

While many addicts are in complete denial that they even have a substance abuse problem at all, others are shrouded with deep feelings of guilt or shame about their addiction.  These feelings can lead to isolation and humiliation and can also prevent those from ever admitting to others that they have a problem.

If a person doesn’t think they have a problem or doesn’t have the desire to get clean, there is no rehab center or addiction program that’s going to work.  For an individual to get help, the desire must come from within – not from someone else.  However, there are options for friends or family members who want to help their addicted loved ones but don’t know how.  Through compassionate intervention and professional support, an individual can sometimes be motivated and empowered to seek a better path in life.    

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

The cost of treatment is an important consideration for a person struggling with addiction and, unfortunately, that cost can act as a deterrent for some.  However, the cost of treatment pales in comparison to the many costs associated with addiction. 

The price of treatment generally depends on the following factors:

Insurance Plans

Insurance plans can significantly reduce the price of rehab, and thankfully, insurance companies have begun to recognize that addiction is a treatable condition, much like other medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.   As such, public and private health insurance plans frequently cover a portion of the expense of outpatient or inpatient treatment for nearly every type of addiction.  If you have insurance, call your provider to discuss co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles that need to be met.  For those without insurance, many rehab facilities offer financing options. 

Type of Facility

Inpatient residential facilities tend to cost more than outpatient programs since they provide meals and lodging, along with wellness activities.  The cost of these programs also depends on the length of the program and location.

Location of the Facility

Individuals can choose a facility near their homes, or they could opt for a more luxury-type center in the mountains or by the beach.

Amenities/Treatments Offered

Those requiring more medical care tend to pay more for rehab treatment.  Certain therapies, such as professional counseling, can also affect how much you could pay.  In addition, certain rehabs offer a variety of amenities – all of which are added to the total cost of your stay.  These could include swimming pools, tennis courts, massages and acupuncture.

Ultimately, treatment can be expensive, but it’s important to remember that there are multiple avenues of financial assistance available to help with your addiction.  At Arise, we take into account your budget and provide you with effective treatment that matches your needs and produces long-lasting results.  For more information, please visit www.ariserecoverycenters.com.

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Yes, alcohol is considered a drug and has a variety of short-term and long-term adverse effects.  It enters your bloodstream as soon as it is consumed.  As you drink, you increase your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, which is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream.  The higher your BAC, the more impaired you become by alcohol’s effects. 

Is Alcohol a Stimulant or Depressant?

Alcohol is classified as a depressant, meaning that it slows down brain functioning and neural activity – resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly.  It also reduces the functioning of various vital functions in the body.  This is due to the increased production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. 

However, although alcohol is classified as a depressant, the amount consumed can drastically impact whether the user experiences depressant or stimulant effects.  In small quantities, alcohol is more likely to act as a stimulant, resulting in increased talkativeness, overconfidence, increased heart rate and improvements in mood.  But if a person consumes more than the body can handle, then he or she is more likely to experience alcohol’s depressant effect. 

How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?

Alcohol can actually cause physical changes in the brain’s chemistry and functioning, which also plays a major role in the development of alcohol dependence.  When a person consumes alcohol regularly, the brain reward and pleasure centers become overloaded with increased levels of dopamine.  This “high” users experience keeps them hooked, causing them to repeat their drinking habits and behaviors. 

In addition, alcohol also can compromise one’s ability to make decisions, as well as impact one’s impulse control.  Often times, this results in a compulsion to drink.  This also makes relapse more likely when one attempts to quit drinking.  What may begin as recreational alcohol consumption can easily transition into an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence – all due to the fundamental changes caused in the brain.

But, the brain isn’t the only place in the body that alcohol can negatively affect.   Alcohol consumption can cause problems with the heart – leading to high blood pressure and stroke and the liver – leading to cirrhosis and steatosis (fatty liver).  It can also cause serious issues within the pancreas.  More specifically, regular alcohol consumption can cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

Everyone is different, and though there is no litmus test to determine whether a person is drinking too much, there are signs to look out for that could signal you need to seek help.  These include:

  • You have health problems associated with your drinking.  If your doctor has shared his concerns that your drinking has caused tangible effects on your health, take heed of his advice.  Your body is telling you loud and clear that alcohol has taken its toll and it’s time to seek help.
  • Your friends and family have told you they’re concerned about your alcohol use.  When those closest to you notice your drinking, it’s time to take note.  After all, it’s easier to see the changes in your life from the outside.  If those close to you are concerned, you should be, too.  After all, they have your best interests at heart.  
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms. These can range from anywhere to headaches and nausea to cramps, insomnia and irritability.  These withdrawal symptoms signal there’s a bigger problem at bay and show how much addiction has taken hold on your mind and body.  
  • You’ve suffered consequences associated with your drinking.  This can include having lost your job, having been kicked out of school or having lost your marriage.  Either way, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your alcohol intake.  Getting help now is imperative if you want to stop the consequences you’ve already experienced from getting any worse. 
  • You’ve lost your freedom.  Incarceration is the ultimate rock bottom, and there’s nothing like sitting in a jail cell to force you to reevaluate your life and all your past choices.  If you’ve found yourself in this humbling situation recently, don’t brush it off like it’s nothing.  Get the help that you need and start moving forward with your life. 

If you are concerned about alcohol’s role in your life and would like to learn more about your recovery options, click here to connect with one of our team members. Arise Recovery Centers is an Intensive Outpatient Program that is conveniently located in Dallas, Fort Worth, McKinney, Southlake and Sugar Land. We offer individual, family, and group therapy to help those struggling with alcohol addiction recover and grow.

What is Addiction?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite adverse consequences.  It is considered a brain disorder because it causes fundamental changes to the brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. 

But while there are millions of people in the United States who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, many people still don’t know a lot about addiction in general.  Below, we tackle the most common questions people have pertaining to addiction.

Is Addiction a Disease?

While some people view addiction as a choice that an individual makes or as a behavior that can be stopped willingly at any time, addiction is considered a disease – a chronic, progressive one that rewires the brain’s response to drugs and alcohol.  It is a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, in that it disrupts the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body and has serious harmful effects.  And just like other diseases, addiction is treatable, yet requires ongoing care in order to prevent relapse from occurring.  If left untreated over time, addiction becomes more severe, disabling and life threatening.

Is Addiction Genetic?

Studies have shown that a person’s family history can predict a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction.  In fact, the NIDA estimates that 40 to 60 percent of an individual’s susceptibility to addiction can be linked back to his or her genetic makeup.  Compared with those who have no family history of addiction, a person whose relatives struggled with addiction is generally more likely to develop an addiction, as well. 

But genes aren’t the only factor that play a role in developing an addiction.  An individual’s environment can be responsible, as well.  External factors, such as support from family, where an individual was raised and the group of friends that person chooses to hang around with, can all affect his or her likelihood of developing an addiction. 

Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Yes, according to the NIDA.  Addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways, changing a person’s normal desires and priorities.  Seeking out and using drugs becomes that person’s number one priority, much to the detriment of that person and his or her family and friends.  This results in compulsive behaviors that weaken the ability to control impulses, which is similar to hallmarks of other mental illnesses. 

What Causes Addiction?

Contrary to what some may believe, addiction does not occur because of moral weakness, a lack of willpower or an unwillingness to stop using.  It occurs because the regular use of drugs and/or alcohol causes physical changes in the way the brain understands pleasure and rewards. 

Most addictive substances cause the brain to release high levels of certain chemicals (i.e. dopamine) that are associated with pleasure or reward.  This causes extreme feelings of euphoria that highly motivates individuals to want to take the drug again.  Over time, continued release of these chemicals causes fundamental changes in the brain systems involved in reward, motivation and memory, which drives a person’s uncontrollable and compulsive drug use.   

Once this happens, individuals will experience intense desires or cravings for the addictive substance and will continue to use, despite the harmful or dangerous consequences. 

How Do You Break an Addiction?

Although there is no “cure” for addiction, there are various medications, support groups and therapies that can help people recover.  In recent years, medical assistance – in terms of helping people deal with withdrawal symptoms and the psychological effects of addiction – has become more accessible to millions of Americans. 

However, a good number of addicted individuals are dealing with co-occurring disorders, meaning that that person is battling another mental illness in addition to a substance use disorder.  When this is the case, drug counseling and therapy are essential.  In order to combat addiction, the root causes must be addressed; treating only its symptoms won’t be enough.    

In addition, actions on the part of the user also play a big role in breaking the addiction.  Those in recovery are urged to cut off contact with all people, places and things related to past drug use.  These can keep a person trapped in addiction, forcing him or her to relive the old days when they were actively using.  Other tactics, such as identifying addictive thinking patterns before acting upon them, as well as implementing self-care, also help in battling this insidious disease.

Though breaking the routine of drinking and drug abuse can be a challenge, it IS possible.  Long-term recovery requires hard work and commitment to change for one’s journey into a clean and sober life to be a successful one. 

If you are ready to take the next step and learn how to recover alongside others click here to connect with one of our team members. Arise Recovery Centers is an Intensive Outpatient Program that is conveniently located in Dallas, Fort Worth, McKinney, Southlake & Sugar Land. We offer individual, family, and group therapy to help those suffering from addiction recover and grow.

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

The cost of treatment is an important consideration for a person struggling with addiction and, often times, it can be a deterrent to seeking help. But the good news is, rehab doesn’t have to be financially out of reach, and there are several alternatives one can turn to in order to get the help he or she needs.

Insurance Plans

Thankfully, insurance companies have begun to recognize that addiction is a treatable condition, and their insurance plans are now required to cover behavioral and mental health conditions – including addiction – to the same extent that they do medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. As such, public and private health insurance plans frequently cover a portion of the expense of outpatient or inpatient treatment for nearly every type of addiction. 

To determine how treatment would be covered under your insurance policy, contact your health insurance provider. 

Medicare

For adults over 65 and those with disabilities, Medicare coverage can be used to cover alcoholism and substance abuse treatment in both inpatient and outpatient settings. It is available for a monthly premium and based on the recipient’s income. Though it can be confusing to navigate, Medicare consists of four parts (A, B, C and D) that cover different areas of addiction recovery programs. 

More specifically, Part A of Medicare provides support to pay for inpatient treatment at hospitals and care at certain facilities that are able to accept Medicare, such as at nursing homes and hospice. Part B helps with payment for outpatient treatment services through hospital and clinic outpatient centers. This part also covers Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services, which is a screening and intervention process that can help identify individuals who are at risk for but have not yet been given a substance abuse diagnosis. Part C is offered by private companies approved by Medicare. These plans cover all Medicare services, including substance abuse treatment, yet offer extra benefits, like vision, hearing and dental coverage. Finally, Medicare Part D covers prescriptions and can be used to help pay for medication prescribed to treat alcohol and drug addiction. 

Every state has different rules for eligibility and treatment coverage, so visit www.medicare.gov for more information.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a public insurance program for low-income families that covers substance abuse treatment in facilities that accept Medicaid as a form of payment. To be eligible, applicants must be one of the following:

  • Over 65 years old
  • Under 19 years old
  • Pregnant
  • A parent
  • Within a specified income bracket

However, even if someone meets these requirements, it doesn’t mean they are automatically eligible for Medicaid. Check the state you live in to learn its rules for Medicaid eligibility. For more information, visit www.medicaid.gov.

Employee Assistance Programs

Some employers offer employee assistance programs (EAP), a confidential workplace service that helps employees who are experiencing personal or family challenges. This program can pay for services related to mental health and drug/alcohol abuse. To determine whether your company offers this program, check your employer’s benefit policies or your human resources department.

Payment Assistance

If you have limited personal funds or aren’t covered by an insurance plan, there may be programs available to you that can cover some of the rehab costs. “Treatment Locators” are available online that can help you find addiction centers that offer income-based fees (reduced pricing based on your income level) or payment plans (allowing you to pay off treatment in monthly installments).

Though treatment can be expensive, it’s important to remember that there are multiple avenues of financial assistance available to help with your addiction. At Arise Recovery Centers, we take into account your budget and provide you with effective treatment that matches your needs and produces long-lasting results. For more information, please visit www.ariserecoverycenters.com.

Substance Abuse Group Therapy Topics

Group therapy is a great option for those struggling with addiction, as it can be beneficial in so many ways.  Being in a group setting allows individuals to develop insight into their own core issues and gain greater self-awareness by listening to others who have similar problems.  It can also enable individuals to improve their communication skills, bond with group members through their shared experiences and receive honest feedback and outside perspective from others in the group. 

Group sessions are typically led by therapists who seek to prompt discussion, encourage participation and guide conversation.  Acting as a group leader, these therapists are also able to pick up on a person’s individual issues that reoccur in group therapy and in daily life. 

Topics of conversation during these group therapy sessions can vary, but there are many great discussion points to choose from.  The following are a few substance abuse-related issues that are commonly addressed in group therapy:

  • Identify and discuss triggers for substance use.  How have you responded to them in the past? Can you identify any patterns? What kinds of coping strategies can you use to overcome your triggers? 
  • Discuss gratitude.  What are you grateful for and why?
  • Discuss the impact of stinking thinking.  How do certain negative thoughts influence our actions and behavior?
  • Discuss what you can do when you’re faced with temptation.  What can you do to prevent cravings in the first place?
  • Discuss the importance of self-care.  What are you doing to take care of yourself? (Discuss sleep, exercise and nutrition habits).  What are some of your goals to help put you first?
  • Discuss the importance of “letting go” in the context of forgiveness and overcoming resentments.  Is there anyone in your life that you would like to forgive?  How has holding on to grudges and resentments affected your life?
  • Discuss stress management.  What makes you stressed? What actions can you take to control your stress and what happens when you don’t control your stress?
  • Brainstorm ways to reduce isolation.  Discuss isolation risks and benefits, and how to identify how much alone time is too much.
  • What advice would you give to your childhood self? If you could do everything all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
  • Discuss 12-Step programs and identify pros and cons for each.  Will you continue to attend 12-Step meetings after treatment completion? Why or why not?
  • Discuss mindfulness and living in the present moment.  What things must you accept that you cannot change? What are the benefits of living in the present moment?
  • Brainstorm affirmations in the group, then write a list of self-affirmations.  What makes you uniquely you? Why is comparing yourself to others harmful?
  • Where do you stand in terms of your own journey of recovery?  Discuss aspects of recovery that you feel you have accomplished and aspects of recovery you would like to accomplish in the future. 
  • What anger management techniques have been beneficial to you? Share personal experiences regarding anger and what you did to both appropriately and inappropriately manage it. 
  • What are your bad habits? Discuss ways to replace the bad habits with healthier ones. 

Ultimately, through shared experiences and feelings, group therapy has been proven to boost self-confidence and reduce stress, overall improving an individual’s chance at long-term sobriety.  At Arise Recovery Centers, our group therapy sessions bring individuals together from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex who are struggling with the same issues.  Blended with personal therapy and at-home assignments, our sessions propel our clients in a positive direction toward healing.  For more information about Arise Recovery Centers Drug Addiction Group Therapy or Alcohol Addiction Group Therapy Programs, call us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or contact us by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com

When is Outpatient Drug Treatment the Best Option?

Outpatient drug therapy is a form of treatment where a person attends treatment sessions at a facility or center, but then returns back to their home afterward.  It typically requires one to spend about 10 to 12 hours a week, which allows that individual to continue working, remain close to family and friends, and otherwise, maintain their normal daily routine. 

Inpatient recovery, or residential treatment, is another popular type of program – one that is designed to deliver intense and specialized treatment for short periods of time.  Individuals are required to live 24 hours a day within a residential facility and can only leave that facility in special situations or circumstances.  Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, allows those individuals to come and go as they please – offering far more freedom and flexibility.    

While inpatient and outpatient treatment programs offer many of the same types of therapy, outpatient therapy is often the preferred choice for those who need to maintain their daily work activities and community and family obligations.  As with inpatient treatment, most outpatient facilities offer psychotherapy in individual and group sessions, an orientation to 12-step programs, relapse prevention classes, various support groups and family counseling.  Addiction education, life skills and coping techniques are also a focus. 

Overall, outpatient treatment can be a good stand-alone option for someone with a mild addiction, or it can be part of a long-term treatment program.  Nevertheless, this type of program can address an individual’s many needs and result in a much lesser expense than residential treatment. 

However, there are certain situations where this form of treatment may not be preferable.  These include:

When Significant Withdrawal Symptoms Are Present

For some, the early phases of recovery may mean suffering through a number of withdrawal symptoms, like migraines, nausea and vomiting.  For those extreme cases, these symptoms can pose a danger to health.  In these circumstances, an inpatient treatment program would be the preferred option since the individual can be monitored around the clock and given immediate attention, if necessary.  Once their systems have stabilized and the symptoms have passed, these individuals are typically released into an outpatient program.

When Individuals Live in an Environment Not Conducive to Recovery

This type of environment could include an abusive relationship, when others in the home are actively using, or when significant triggers exist.  Basically, any place that will interfere with an individual’s success during recovery should be avoided.  Because a person is extremely vulnerable in the early stages of recovery, it is often recommended to begin treatment in a residential program until the person can demonstrate that they are stable enough on their own to deal with issues outside the treatment program. 

When Individuals Have Severe Mental Health Disorders

Those who are struggling with a severe mental health disorder, such as depression, should initially be placed in a residential facility.  This is because inpatient programs are better equipped to serve these individuals and can offer the necessary professional resources to help stabilize their situations. 

Ultimately, however, outpatient programs are a great treatment option (other than in the situations mentioned above) as they teach recovering individuals how to stay sober in a real-life setting and equip them with tools to help sustain recovery.    

At Arise Recovery Centers, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) allows clients to receive the treatment they need locally in a comfortable confidential setting.  We pride ourselves in providing a unique and truly personalized IOP experience – one that involves various evidence-based treatment methods, facilitated group sessions and weekly therapist one-on-ones.  For more information on our Intensive Outpatient Therapy, please call us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or contact us by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com

How Do You Make Sobriety Easier?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 40 to 60 percent of people relapse after getting treatment. This is a daunting statistic, but, really, should come as no surprise. After all, there are many reasons for why people revert back to their addiction after seeking help. For some, it may be due to their ambivalence to get sober – as in, they were never truly committed to put down the drug or drink in the first place. But for others, it may be because they didn’t adequately prepare for the difficult transition from rehab to home life. Moving from a protected, structured environment to one where all temptations are suddenly within reach can be a huge challenge for anybody. Hence, having appropriate aftercare lined up after completing a treatment program is essential. 

Aftercare is a necessary part of treatment that helps bridge the gap between rehab and real life. It guides and supports a recovering addict as much as needed to help prevent relapse and can include teaching him or her new life skills, how to make positive lifestyle changes and encouraging him or her to strive for goals not related to addiction, like relationships, work or education. Aftercare programs can also encourage those in recovery to adopt a new vision and outlook on life – a crucial step so that they can enjoy sober living.  

But, besides aftercare planning, there are other ways to make the journey into sobriety an easier one, too, such as:

Knowing Your Triggers. A trigger is any form of stimuli that can prompt cravings to use drugs or alcohol, and it is typically associated with a memory or situation that relates in some way to past use. Thus, getting – and staying – sober often requires cutting off contact with all people, places and things related to your past drinking or drugging. Knowing your triggers ahead of time can prevent you from becoming trapped in negative thought patterns and keep you focused on being successful in your recovery. 

Surrounding Yourself with Like-Minded People. Who you hang around with can determine whether your sobriety will be successful or not. Hence, spending time with those who don’t use is essential. Twelve-step meetings and group therapy are some of the best places to forge these positive relationships and connections. Being around those who have been in your shoes also brings about great compassion, understanding and healing, too. 

Keeping Busy. Too much idle time can cause a person to get stuck in their own head, leading to feelings of self-doubt, self-pity and even glorification of his or her drug-using past. To combat this, keep your calendar booked with new activities and friends. This way, there will be less temptation to fall back into negative situations and thinking patterns.

Implementing Self-Care. When in recovery, it’s important to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. Being well-rested and providing enough nourishment to the body can go a long way in battling relapse and staying physically and mentally strong.

Taking it One Day at a Time. There is no cure for addiction – just a responsibility to yourself to remain sober with each new day. This mindset lessens the pressure associated with the commitment to stay sober forever and allows the person to focus on the present day. Thus, a “taking it one day at a time” approach makes sobriety an easier pill to swallow and allows recovering addicts to feel comfortable with their recovery goals.

Are you looking to make your sobriety easier? If so, seeking outside support can help. Arise Recovery Center provides aftercare planning for those seeking to maintain and build upon the progress already made in the first phases of treatment. For more information on our individualized aftercare programs, please visit our Aftercare Planning page on our website, call us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or contact us by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com

Early Signs of Alcoholism

Every evening you get home from work, you pour yourself a glass of wine. It has become a daily ritual, one that you spend the whole day looking forward to. But as you swallow that first sip, you suddenly realize that you’ve drank every day for as long as you can remember. A little voice in your head might be wondering: am I an alcoholic?

Determining if you have alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) can be tricky to self-diagnose; after all, no two individuals who experience alcohol abuse are the same. However, there are definite warning signs to pay attention to, and thankfully, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-5 (DSM-5), a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, has provided us with a little guidance. The DSM-5 provides clinicians with a set of 11 factors that can guide them in the diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder and its severity grade. 

11 Questions To Help Identify Alcoholism:

1.     Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

2.     More than once have you wanted to cut down or stop drinking, but couldn’t?

3.     Have you spent a lot of time drinking or getting over drinking’s after-effects?

4.     Have you wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?

5.     Have you found that your drinking – or being sick from drinking – often interfered with taking care of your home or family obligations? Or caused problems at school or at work?

6.     Have you continued to drink even though it was causing damage to your relationships with family or friends?

7.     Have you given up on activities that were important to you/gave you enjoyment so that you could drink?

8.     More than once, have you gotten yourself into situations that increased your chances of getting hurt?

9.     Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel anxious or depressed? Or after having a memory blackout?

10.  Have you had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you wanted?

11.  Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shakiness, after you stopped drinking?

According to this DSM-5 tool, if a person can say “yes” to at least two of the above symptoms in the past year, then that person is considered to have alcoholism. More specifically, the existence of two or three of these symptoms equals a diagnosis of mild alcohol use disorder, while four to five symptoms is considered moderate, and six or more is considered severe.

But even if you don’t exhibit any of the above symptoms, experts say there are still other situations that you should pay attention to. First, take heed if you have a family history of alcoholism. Genetics account for about half the risk of developing addiction. Those with a family history of addiction, meaning one or more blood relatives has had a drug or alcohol problem, are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from addiction and other mental health disorders. Children of alcoholics, for example, are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics, themselves. Secondly, if you’re using alcohol as a mechanism to cope with a life event, such as losing a job or grieving the loss of a loved one, this is a sign that you may have a drinking problem and need to make some changes to your lifestyle.

If you’re concerned about your level of drinking, Arise Recovery Centers can help. We offer a variety of outpatient alcohol treatment services that deliver personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs. For more information on these treatment services, please visit our Alcohol Rehab & Treatment page on our website, call us at 1-888-DFW-ARISE (1-888-339-2747) or contact us by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com

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 Dallas, Fort Worth, McKinney and Southlake outpatient facilities, contact us at 1-888- DFW-ARISE (1-888- 339-2747) or by email at info@AriseRecoveryCenters.com.