How to Have Fun Sober

How to Have Fun Sober: It’s Not as Boring as You Think

One of the first things a person fears about getting sober is boredom.  Their preconceived notion that they will never have fun again keeps many people from seeking treatment.  It’s no surprise that they feel this way considering that our culture equates fun with drinking or drugs.  So, is it possible to have fun sober?  The answer is yes.  Millions of people do it every day.  The truth is, the things you do while drinking are self-destructive patterns of behavior that will not end well.  

Are You Afraid Sobriety Will be Boring?

The trick to remaining sober is to redefine your idea of a good time.  Rather than focusing on what you may be missing, think about all the hangovers you won’t have to deal with.  You wasted many evenings being drunk and wasted most of the next day trying to recover.  Nothing fun about that.  

If you drink and drive, then spend the night in jail because you were caught, that’s seriously boring.  Not to mention the fines, insurance increases, revoked license, criminal record, and embarrassment you’ll probably have to deal with.  So, maybe a sober life is something to consider.  

Life as a sober person has many rewards.  Think back to the days before you started drinking.  You found ways to have fun, and your memories of those days are something you’ll cherish.  As a sober person, you’ll learn to once again take pleasure in the small things and find ways to enjoy each day.

Can You Have Fun Sober?  Here Are a Few Suggestions

  1. Take a new look at old interests.  Some of the things you did before alcohol or drugs came into your life are still there.  Did you love to dance?  Walk on the beach?  Listen to or play music?  Paint?  Rekindle your interest in these activities without getting high first. Look for sober alternatives to continue these interests.  Instead of going to a bar to hear music and dance, try a coffee-house or sober dance club.
  2. Explore new interests.  If you are worried about being bored, find creative ways to fill your time and keep your mind off of partying.  Learn to play an instrument. Take a few classes to further your education.  Try a new hobby.  
  3. Expand your sober community.  You can have fun sober and it is easier when you have a group of like-minded people to share activities with. So surround yourself with new, sober friends through local meetings, alumni events from your treatment facility, community events that don’t promote alcohol, or through support groups in your area.
  4. Take time to take care of you.  Having fun doesn’t always have to mean spending time in a noisy, exciting venue.  Learning to spend quality time alone is a milestone in your recovery.  Find ways to spend some quiet time reading, painting, working a puzzle, watching a movie, the choices are endless.
  5. Do some traveling.  Traveling doesn’t have to involve a grand, expensive excursion.  Visit areas of your city that you’ve never seen.  Have a picnic in the countryside.  Go hiking.  Experiencing new sights and sounds can be rejuvenating.

The key to having fun is to break out of your comfort zone.  Do it gradually to avoid becoming overwhelmed.  Seeing the world through sober eyes can be a little scary at first.  Naturally, you’re concerned about facing the challenges.  So, ease yourself into new experiences one step at a time.

What to Do if You Relapse

Reinventing your life won’t be easy.  In fact, many people have trouble adjusting and relapse within a few weeks or months after leaving rehab.  However, a relapse doesn’t mean that you failed at living a sober life.  If you relapse, don’t give up.  Contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation right away.  A different treatment approach could be all you need to get back on the path to sobriety.  

Sources: – Protecting Sobriety with the Science of Safety –  8 Tips for Staying Clean and Sober


Make the Most of Rehab

Get the Most Out of Rehab With These Tips

You’ve made the hardest decision of your life and are about to enter a rehab program to overcome an addiction.  This is a decision you won’t regret if you have the right mindset during your time in treatment. Since this is your first step toward a healthy, sober life, you want to make the most of your time in the program.  Part of the process involves getting prepared for your stay and knowing what a typical day in rehab is like. To help you make the most of rehab, we have compiled a few tips that have helped others succeed in recovery.

Make the Most of Rehab for Yourself

Research shows that people who attempt sobriety on their own usually relapse, time after time.  You don’t want to become one of those statistics. Stay focused on your reasons for being in the program and remain determined to make the most of rehab for yourself. 

One way to stay focused is to think about what you accomplished today.  Don’t worry about what will happen next week or next month or five years from now.  Recovery is a journey you take one day at a time, one milestone at a time.  Here are a few more tips you’ll find useful:

Remember why you are in the program…

It’s no secret.  Rehab is tough. You’ll have good days and bad days.  The important thing is to never forget why you are there.  It’s not about making someone else happy.  It’s not about punishment.  You’re in rehab because you want a better life. But, you need professional help to achieve your goal of sober living for the long-term. 

Be patient and reward your accomplishments…

It’s important not to compare yourself to others in the program.  Each person must grow and heal at their own pace. What works for one person may not be right for you.  You don’t have a deadline to reach. Take the time you need to get the most out of the experience. Also, don’t hesitate to give yourself a pat on the back from time to time as you reach another goal.  

Prepare for good days and bad days…

As with everything else in life, recovery has its ups and downs.  Some days, you’ll be on top of the world, excited about your progress.  Then, without warning, you’ll find yourself wondering why things aren’t going the way you expected.  Try to remember that recovery is not a quick fix. It’s a process that involves trying, failing, trying again, and finally, success.  

Be committed to your successful recovery…

Your time in rehab is only a small portion of the rest of your life.  Commit yourself to do whatever it takes to complete the program and emerge as a sober person with a promising future.  This is your time. No distractions of work, family, relationships, or other daily issues can interfere with your goal. Make the most of it.

Trust the Process…

It’s not unusual for someone in rehab to feel alone, frustrated, and ready to give up at times.  While you may have these feelings occasionally, you must remain open-minded and learn to take things one day at a time.  Focus on the present and give yourself time to adjust. Don’t expect things to change right away. The treatment providers have many years of experience in helping people overcome addictions.  They know what works and have provided the tools you need to recover. Trust them and utilize those tools to the fullest.

Remember, this is all temporary…

If you find yourself having thoughts about leaving the program, don’t do it.  Try to remember that this is only a temporary situation. You must let go of the idea that you don’t need rehab.  If you want to live a sober, productive lifestyle, you need to learn better ways of coping with daily stress besides getting high.  Rehab can help you learn effective coping techniques that prevent relapse.

What to Do After Leaving Rehab

When you graduate from rehab, you’re ready to begin an adventure.  You can’t wait to build a new, sober life. But, you still need encouragement and guidance now and then to keep you on track when times are difficult.  An aftercare program can be the best resource for you at this time. Self-help groups, 12-step meetings, church groups, or other community programs are designed to help you reintegrate into society and maintain sobriety.  

If you would like more information about how to make the most of rehab, please contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  One of our representatives is available to answer your questions.

Resources: – 15 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Rehab

Maintaining Complete Sobriety

The Truth About Maintaining Complete Sobriety

Most people agree that making a commitment to remain sober is the choice of an alcoholic in recovery. The view on alcoholism has always been that it is a decision completely of the mind.  But for most, maintaining complete sobriety is a daunting commitment, simply because drinking is considered a choice.

Alcoholism for some is not a choice. Most medical professionals consider alcoholism a disease like many others. The alcoholic is never in full control even though they think they are. Alcoholism can sneak up on you like a ninja and take everything that you thought you had under control away from you. Everyone assumes it is simple to make your mind up about getting sober. However, they do not realize how difficult it can actually be. If alcohol has been a part of your life for a long time, getting the proper help is not the most difficult part of the journey. Finding the strength to even try can prove to be much harder.

The Social Aspect of Alcohol

Most places across the country accept alcohol consumption as a normal activity. There are not many places in the world where a recovering alcoholic can really go without some type of exposure to alcohol. Families drink during holidays and sports fanatics drink during games. Even corporate holiday parties will allow the consumption of alcohol.  Since it has become so mainstream, avoiding alcohol entirely is almost impossible. It would be awkward at social functions to avoid a toast or social drink with people who you don’t want to tell about your addiction. Scenarios like these make it extremely hard for maintaining complete sobriety while in recovery.

Since drinks or cocktails are such a normal part of social settings, it is no surprise that people don’t consider alcohol as dangerous as harder drugs. Drugs like heroin and meth are much stronger than alcohol. However, alcohol can have comparable if not more destructive effects on the user. The only difference is that society sees social drinking as acceptable, but having an addiction is viewed as unacceptable.

Addiction is a disease that has the reputation of being perceived as a weakness. Therefore, people don’t make the connection between social drinking and addiction. This makes it harder for the alcoholic to confess that they have a problem with alcohol to family and friends. Throw in the fact that, most alcoholics are in complete denial and don’t truly realize they have a problem. If the fear of being viewed this way is present, a person may never admit they have an issue and resist support.

The Support System when Maintaining Complete Sobriety

Finding the right support system is the most important aspect of maintaining complete sobriety. If a person does not feel safe around the people who are there to help, then it will prove to be extremely difficult. This system is crucial to maintaining the right level of balance to help sustain a person’s confidence. If someone recovering from alcohol returns to a place that triggered the ongoing addiction, then the results are normally not as successful. The only way this scenario would work is if the proper support is there to aid the person to get past the issues.

Sometimes alcoholics face family members who are not supportive. This is really hard as they have to figure out a way to omit these individuals from their lives. Omitting negative influences is the very first step in the process and is the most important one for many reasons. If the person that is unsupportive is a close friend or family member, this is going to cause more stress on the individual.

The process of confessing your addiction can be an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. Even though it presents a challenge, it is crucial to communicate with your support system. You must do this to achieve the desired results and maintain them. Friends and family may forget from time to time and accidentally offer you a drink. This presents a challenge for you as it could trigger the emotions that caused the addiction in the first place.

The Final Step

Once the process is complete and the proper support has been established, it is important to remember that there will still be bumps in the road to maintaining complete sobriety. Everyone is human and not a single person on this earth is perfect. Slipping once or twice is not considered a complete relapse. It is how you respond to the slip that matters the most. If you maintain the proper willpower and continue to maintain sobriety after the slip, then you are strong enough to succeed. It proves that you have found the spirit and confidence to handle life and all of its curveballs without the aid of alcohol.

Some people like to turn to faith for support. There are support groups available for recovery. It is important to find your groove and to remember that everyone makes mistakes along the way. Finding the right support which provides a positive influence in your life is the most important factor for maintaining sobriety.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today. Our specialists are more than ready to provide the support and treatment to get you to sobriety. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about our facility.

Resource: – Alcohol Use Disorder


Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

The Importance of Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

If you have ever attended an addiction rehabilitation facility, you realize the importance of support groups in addiction recovery. Once you have completed your treatment program, the battle is not over. You must return home and learn how to deal with everyday living without the use of drugs or alcohol, something which you probably haven’t done for quite some time.

During your addiction treatment program, you learn about cravings, triggers, and how to handle different problems that may arise. However, knowing how you are supposed to handle these issues and actually doing it are completely different things. For that reason, support groups in addiction recovery can be very beneficial.

Types of Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

The first thing counselors will tell you when are ready to leave your treatment program and return home is to make sure you get in a good support group and attend your meetings regularly. Group meetings are very helpful to each individual attending. Each person can discuss their feelings, fears, and struggles as they try to maintain their sobriety daily, while the group offers support and encouragement to each other.

You can also form life-long friendships with others who, like you, are starting a new life without drugs or alcohol. You can find sober activities to participate in together such as working out, walking, or going for coffee or lunch. Some of the different types of support groups include but are not limited to:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety
  • Women for Sobriety

There are numerous support groups out there from which you can choose. Do some research and see which one is right for your needs. Recovery is not an overnight occurrence. You need support for the long-haul. 

Through support groups, you can continue to receive support and encouragement from others who are also living in long-term recovery. Make a commitment and make sure you continue attending meetings and interacting with others who have the same goal as you — living a healthy life in sobriety and free of drugs or alcohol.

Start Your Road to Recovery from Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, seek inpatient addiction treatment. Don’t spend another day in the chains that are keeping you from being the person you know you can be. Start your road to recovery by entering a reputable and licensed inpatient addiction treatment facility. 

At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we offer detoxification before starting a treatment program. Detoxing will remove all of the toxins from your system in a safe manner. Our staff will be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. Should any emergencies arise, a specialist will be available to handle them immediately.

After detoxification, you will be ready to focus on a treatment program which we will design specifically for your needs and preferences. Our staff will educate you on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, you will be taught the skill necessary to remain sober once your treatment program is completed at our facility.

Support Throughout Long-Term Addiction Recovery

Choosing the right support groups in addiction recovery will help you maintain long-term sobriety. You can go on to live a healthy and happy life without addiction standing in your way. Call one of our representatives today to learn more about the treatment programs we offer at Awakenings Rehabilitation.


Source: – Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction


Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step

5 Important Differences Between Smart Recovery and 12-Step Programs

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a 12-step program founded in 1935 for people struggling with alcohol abuse. AA has a presence in most cities and rural communities across the United States. Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-step program founded in the 1950s. The purpose of the program is to address addiction to addictive substances. SMART Recovery is a relatively new organization, and it is not a 12-step program. Five concepts emphasize differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs like NA or AA.

Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step Programs

SMART Recovery was founded as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, or ADASHN in 1992. It became SMART Recovery in 1994. AA and NA are the most recognized and firmly established addiction recovery organizations, but the benefit of 12-step programs is questionable. The chance of staying clean for a year after starting a 12-step program is less than 25%. Some estimates are as low as 5%. Many people do not feel comfortable with the steps and dogma of NA or AA.  SMART Recovery’s protocols center on the six stages of change, and they are much more flexible than 12-step programs.


Chapters of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous can overlap or maintain strict separation. The level of separation depends on specific groups and communities. Some AA chapters are strictly for people with a history of alcohol abuse. NA chapters make most distinctions between alcohol and other substances, although the terminology is slightly different. While people in recovery are clean in NA. They are sober while in AA. The Basic Text is NA’s version of the Big Book in AA.

Narcotics Anonymous is meant to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people recovering from substance abuse. The demographics of NA and AA chapters can be very different. Young adults are now more likely to use a substance other than alcohol. The difference in age, circumstances, and drug of choice often lead people to feel more comfortable in NA than AA, or vice-versa. SMART Recovery does not separate meetings or strategies for recovery based on the substance of choice.


NA, AA, and other 12-step programs aim for complete abstinence. Most chapters want people to be clean or sober for at least 24 hours before attending a meeting. There is no discussion of tapering or strategies to reduce substance use instead of abstaining. This approach can be a problem because people can’t access the support of a meeting during a relapse. The requirement of complete abstinence leads people to lie or close themselves off. Most do this at meetings instead of reaching out for support and help. The chip system contributes to this problem. People who relapse are given a one-day chip no matter how much clean time they previously had. Tracking clean time with chips is helpful for some people, but it can also be discouraging and humiliating. The chip system is another factor pressuring some people to be dishonest and withdraw from the group.

SMART Recovery does not use a chip system or require complete abstinence. At meetings, people can discuss drug use and harm reduction. Harm reduction refers to behaviors and resources that lower the risk of death, injury, or illness. Providing clean needles is an example of harm reduction. People can reach out for help and receive advice or support during a relapse in SMART Recovery’s permissive atmosphere. The deviation from mandatory abstinence lets people seek help while they are still using.


The initial step in NA and AA is admitting powerlessness over addiction. Individuals can feel that the very first step is forcing them to give up control of their own lives. The spiritual aspect may feel manipulative. These concepts are especially concerning during court-ordered attendance. People can feel forced to attend meetings, forced to admit helplessness, and forced to acknowledge a higher power regardless of personal beliefs. The combination can spark so much anger, resentment, and frustration that it results in giving up on treatment entirely.

SMART Recovery is not based on admitting powerlessness or a higher power. Individuals can choose to incorporate a higher power or religious beliefs, but they aren’t required to do so. SMART Recovery includes behavioral and cognitive therapeutic techniques.


One of the most significant differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs is the conclusion. NA and AA consider recovery an ongoing process; everyone is a recovering addict or alcoholic, and there is no such thing as a recovered addict. This outlook is beneficial for some people. It can provide a sense of purpose and prevent relapse. Unfortunately, the concept of recovery as a continuous process that is never finished can also be discouraging or trigger feelings of hopelessness.

SMART Recovery does not promote recovery as a lifelong process. The sixth step of change is graduation. Participants in SMART Recovery don’t have to graduate. They can participate in active recovery as long as they wish. It is entirely a personal choice. Each person can stay in recovery indefinitely, but a conclusion is within reach too. Putting behaviors and thoughts related to addiction in the past, with no presence in the future is very empowering.

Look at All Options and Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step

Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery are all legitimate networks to aid people in recovery. Individuals determine the best program to join. Some people do very well with NA and AA, while others feel like 12-step programs are distressing or restrictive. SMART Recovery is less accessible than AA or NA. SMART Recovery doesn’t have as many chapters as NA or AA. Individuals seeking treatment and support should look at all available options and attend a variety of meetings to decide which program will help them be successful.

To learn more about the differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs, or for more information on addiction treatment, contact Awakenings toll-free today!

Resources: – Narcotics Anonymous – Alcoholics Anonymous

Stay Sober This Summer

It’s Almost Summer:  How to Stay Sober and Still Have Fun

Summer is on its way, and millions of people are planning cookouts and beach trips.  Of course, most of these summer activities include alcohol. For a newly sober person, this may seem like the ultimate challenge.  Can you participate in these things without drinking? Are you able to stay sober this summer?

Although summer brings memories of drinking, it is an excellent time of year to stay sober. You can find many ways to keep yourself busy that don’t include alcoholic beverages.  It will be easier than in the winter months when you are often stuck at home, bored because of bad weather. Everyone who has beat alcoholism will agree that boredom is your worst enemy when it comes to resisting the urge to drink.

So, to help you stay sober this summer and still have a good time, here are a few tips.

Tips on How to Stay Sober This Summer

Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drink to the Event

People love to get you drunk.  If you’re standing around at the event without a drink in your hand, someone will try to give you one.  Be prepared for this scenario by bringing your own beverage. Fill a big red solo cup with your favorite flavored water or juice or whatever you prefer.  Then, you can say, “No, thanks. I already have a drink.

Make Sure You Have an Exit Plan

The longer you hang around where people are drinking, the more likely you are to give in to temptation.  You tell yourself that one little drink won’t hurt anything. But, if you’re honest, one drink can lead to another and another.  One way to avoid temptation is to plan to leave early. Take a sober friend with you to the party who can back you up when it comes time to go before the party is over.  You should be able to come up with a good excuse for your early exit.

Have an Emergency Contact Available

If you end up going to the event alone, make sure you have an emergency contact on board.  This contact should be someone you can call if you find yourself feeling tempted to drink. Sometimes, just talking to an outside support person can bring you back to reality and help you avoid giving in to the temptation to take ‘just one little drink.’

Know What You’re Going to Say

Going to an event that promotes alcohol is a brave move.  Before you go, it’s a good idea to know what you will say when someone shoves a drink at you.  You can tell the truth and say that you no longer drink. Or, you can laugh it off and say something funny like “I’m allergic to alcohol.  When I drink it, I break out in handcuffs!” Of course, simple excuses are often the best. You can simply tell them you are the designated driver, or that you are avoiding alcohol for health reasons.

Spend More Time With Sober People

If it’s early in your sobriety, you should try to spend more time with sober friends.  The less you have to deal with temptation, the better. It’s essential for you to learn how to have fun without alcohol present.  The good thing is, you’ll find out how much you’d missed when you were always intoxicated. Staying busy with sober activities is the best way to avoid boredom and loneliness, both of which are big triggers.

Find Online Resources or Webinars

The internet is an excellent resource for finding support and advice to help you stay sober this summer.  You can find many valuable tips for staying sober and enjoy chatting with others who are having the same experience.  Also, if you’ve just completed a rehab program, the counselors can provide information about support groups and aftercare programs in your area.

Stay Sober This Summer and Be Proud

You’ll be surprised at the creative ways to fill the void alcohol once filled.  Stay sober this summer, wake up with a clear mind every day, and you’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished.


rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.govAlcohol and Your Health:  Questions and Answers

Life After Rehab

Life After Rehab: The Importance of Transition Planning and Aftercare

A recovering addict’s ultimate challenge is preventing relapse and remaining committed to sobriety.  It sounds easy enough. But, the truth is, it can be one of the hardest things a person must deal with in life after rehab.  Let’s look at some of the ways an aftercare program can help these individuals transition back into society and avoid relapse.

Why Recovering Addicts Need an Aftercare Program

When you leave rehab, the real recovery process begins.  You’re leaving behind the security of the facility and heading back out into a world full of expected and unexpected challenges.  This is why rehab counselors recommend an aftercare plan that you can depend on when things get tough.

Seeing the world through sober eyes can cause a person who is fresh out of rehab to doubt their ability to cope.  All the old triggers are still there. Plus,  they feel like a stranger in their old environment. These are only a few of the reasons why an aftercare program is needed to help the person transition into life after rehab.

Ultimately, the key to a recovering addict’s success is support.  With a team of caring counselors and peers, a recovering person won’t feel that they are the only one struggling to overcome one of life’s biggest challenges.

What to Expect From an Aftercare Program

With the support and guidance of an aftercare program, you won’t feel alone in your attempts to reclaim your place in the community.  Someone is always available if you need advice, assistance, or need someone to talk to.

Transition planning is essential for a recovering addict.

For instance, here are some of the ways an aftercare program can help a person stay on track:

  • Assists with obtaining employment
  • Locates sober living residences
  • Finds community resources, meetings
  • Arranges transportation, child care
  • Provides counseling
  • Plans group activities with peers

The goal of an aftercare plan is to give a person the tools he or she will need to stay sober.  The world outside of rehab can be a scary place, especially for a person who was isolated in their addiction for an extended period.  An aftercare program provides a source of strength and stability for the struggling person and can make all the difference in their overall success.

Life After Rehab: Taking the Next Step

No doubt, rehab was tough, but you made it through.  You graduated and are ready to show the world what you can do.  Now, the hard part really begins. As you take this step into the world of sobriety, remember, you are not alone.

You learned many things in rehab about how to face life’s challenges without resorting to drugs or alcohol.  These skills will help as you go about getting your life back together. Nevertheless, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d planned.  At these times, an aftercare counselor is only a phone call away.

Recovery is a process that has no defined end date.  But, at the end of each day, as you continue to maintain sobriety, you’ve reached a goal.  Day after day, your confidence grows with each new goal you achieve. You’re building a foundation for your new, addiction-free life.

Learn More About Transition Planning at Awakenings Rehabilitation

If you are ready to enter an addiction treatment program, contact us at Awakenings today.  We will be happy to talk to you about our program and give you more information about aftercare and transition planning.  We believe that life after rehab begins with getting the best treatment possible.



Overcome Drug Addiction

How to Overcome Drug Addiction in 2019

Now that the holidays are over, you can step back and think about how you want to spend this next year.  If you’re considering giving up drugs or alcohol as your New Year’s resolution, you won’t be alone. Of course, some people will succeed while others fail.  But don’t despair. You can be one of the successful individuals who makes a change for the better. With the right treatment, you will be able to overcome drug addiction and remain sober for the rest of your life.

The First Step to Overcome Drug Addiction

You’ve already taken the first step toward recovery by recognizing that you need to seek help for your addiction.  For most people, this is the toughest decision to make.  The next steps you need to take will take you down a path that can be bumpy and difficult, but in the end, you’ll be glad you made the effort to keep going.

On your journey to sobriety, you will need to change many things such as:

  • How you deal with stress
  • Who you spend time with
  • How you spend your free time
  • Your self-image
  • Medications you take for illness or pain

The good news is, the professionals at a drug rehabilitation center will help you stay motivated and provide the support and guidance you’ll need during this transition.  With a strong desire and commitment to change, you can succeed in overcoming drug addiction in 2019.

Some Steps to Help Overcome Drug Addiction

Here is a breakdown of how to proceed toward recovery:

Step 1:  Think about the things you need to change.

Keep track of your drug use.  This list will help you realize the extent of the role addiction is playing in your life.  Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of quitting. Think about the effects of your addiction on your family, career, friends, and your health.  Ask yourself what is preventing you from changing and think about what could help you succeed.

Step 2:  Prepare to make the changes.

You’ll need to keep reminding yourself about the reasons why you want to change your life.  If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, think about what worked and what didn’t. Try to set specific goals about quitting such as a start date.  Remove all reminders of your drug or alcohol use from your home. Tell friends and family about your plan to recover and ask for their support.

Step 3:  Explore treatment options.

Choosing the right drug rehabilitation program to help you overcome drug addiction in 2019 can be a challenge.  If you search online, you’ll find thousands of treatment programs that claim to be the best. But, if you know the basics of what you need and what to expect, the decision will be easier.  For example, in most cases, a long-term inpatient program is the most highly recommended approach to treatment. An inpatient facility provides a safe, comfortable environment where patients remain 24/7 with no access to addictive substances.  In this way, they are not faced with everyday stress or other triggers and can focus on healing.

Other types of programs include Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), Self-Help, 12-Step, Sober Living, and SMART recovery programs.  Although each program varies in their philosophies and approaches to treatment, they all adhere to the basics of detoxification, relapse prevention, anger management, behavioral modification, and aftercare, to name a few.

Choosing the Best Treatment Program to Overcome Drug Addiction

In your search for a treatment facility, remember that the program should address more than just the drug abuse.  Addiction is a complex disorder composed of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors. No program works equally for everyone.  So, you’ll need to look for a facility that focuses on adapting the program to fit your specific needs. Also, many facilities offer considerations for sexual orientation, gender, age, physical health issues, and religion.

Still unsure?  We can help. Call us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today to learn more about how to overcome drug addiction.  We will be happy to answer your questions and recommend a treatment program based on your situation.

First Sober Christmas

Tips for Getting Through Your First Sober Christmas

If this is going to be your first sober Christmas, congratulations!  You’ve come a long way, and your success is commendable. Getting sober is tough, but staying that way can present a wide range of challenges.  One of the biggest hurdles for recovering alcoholics is getting through the holidays without drinking.

Of course, there are thousands of well-meaning tips, but many of them are easier said than done.  Even the stress of worrying about it can make you want to take a drink. So, how can you take part in the holiday festivities and maintain your sobriety? Maybe these tips will help you find joy in sober holidays.

Tips on How to Have Your First Sober Christmas

Most of the following tips have been around for ages, but even though they seem fairly obvious, we hope they’ll prove to be helpful.

Obvious Tip #1:  Decide not to drink.

This sounds like an obvious point but think about it this way.  You think you have made up your mind not to drink. But, deep down, you might still be a little undecided and planning to play it by ear.  If that little seed of doubt is planted, you’re going to struggle to say no to alcohol. Believe it or not, people decide they’re going to drink long before picking up that glass.  Actually taking the drink is just the final step in a long line of other subconscious or conscious decisions.

Obvious Tip #2:  Think positive.

Yes, we’re all tired of that bit of advice, but sometimes it works.  Remember, you’ve been strong enough and smart enough to get sober. Don’t undo all your hard work for one night of fun.  Visualize yourself having a sober good time and waking up without the dreaded hangover everyone else is gonna have.

Obvious Tip #3:  Just don’t go.

If you are firmly committed to your sobriety, you’ll have some tough decisions to make.  For instance, if you know the family gatherings or social events will be too difficult for you, just don’t go.  Of course, you don’t want to offend anyone by declining to attend, but you are the one who is in charge of your sobriety.  That puts you in the position of making unpleasant choices, but ultimately, you’ll be glad you stuck by your decision.

Obvious Tip #4:  Be in charge of your drinks.

Holiday events call for special drinks, but they don’t have to be alcoholic.  Plan ahead and come up with some unique non-alcoholic beverages that make you feel like you’re part of the celebration.  Don’t depend on the host of the party to have something you’ll like. Bring your own non-alcoholic specialty drinks if this is your first sober Christmas.

Obvious Tip #5:  Keep to your routine.

Holidays are notorious for upsetting our daily routines.  This can be troublesome for recovering alcoholics because they need to keep doing the things that keep them sober.  One way to avoid getting side-tracked is to choose three things that are vital to keeping you on the sober path. Running, reading, bubble baths, whatever works for you. Keep doing them no matter what. Anything you can do to reinforce your accomplishment is a step in the right direction. The holidays are temporary, so don’t let them cause permanent harm to your sobriety.

Setting Realistic Goals for the Holidays

Are you thinking you can handle your difficult relatives better now that you’re sober?  Maybe you can. But, don’t expect too much. If they get out of control, just focus on yourself and don’t let their behavior lead you to take a drink.  Set realistic goals that will give you a way out if things ramp up. For instance, take your own car so you can leave if necessary. Or, take a sober friend with you for added support.

If your first sober Christmas must be spent away from home, you can still attend AA, NA, or other meetings to help you stay focused. Spending a sober Christmas will take some planning, but you’ve already come this far. You can get through the holidays without drinking and still have a good time.   All of us at Awakenings Rehabilitation wish you a successfully sober holiday season.

Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

Why Do Rehabs Recommend Aftercare in Addiction Treatment?

The role of aftercare in addiction treatment is vital to helping a recovering addict maintain sobriety and prevent relapse after leaving rehab.  Most treatment providers work with clients during intake to create a plan for continuing support after they complete rehab.

Aftercare helps provide the encouragement and guidance a person needs while attempting to rebuild their lives.  After being sheltered within the rehab facility for a few months or more, the outside world can seem overwhelming to the person.  Also, the individual has been accustomed to a daily schedule of goals to achieve and activities to keep them busy. Leaving that structured environment behind can throw a recovering addict off balance, and possibly result in relapse.  For these reasons and more that we will cover below, aftercare in addiction treatment is a must.

Acclimating to the Outside World After Rehab

Most people who have been struggling with addiction for an extended time have lost touch with how to perform daily routines. Throughout their addiction, the main thing on their mind was being high and finding money for more of their substance of choice. Daily responsibilities such as paying bills, cleaning house, personal hygiene, attending school or work, and maintaining relationships are long forgotten.

Now that rehab is over, it’s time to take up where they left off, and the person is not sure that they can handle it all.  With the right aftercare program, a recovering individual can find a compassionate person to talk to when things get tough.

Words of encouragement and praise are often hard to come by for someone just out of rehab, especially when friends and family have turned their backs.  The staff and counselors of an aftercare program understand the challenges that await a recovering addict. Their advice and empathy are valuable to someone who is in a transition from addiction.

Other Benefits of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

Studies reveal that relapse rates are as high as 40 to 60 percent during the first year after leaving rehab.  However, it’s important to stress that relapse does not mean failure on the part of the individual or the rehab.  It merely means a little more work must be done. Many factors contribute to relapse, so it’s necessary to ensure that the individual has a variety of resources available.  An effective aftercare program can provide those resources or recommend alternatives.

One of the main goals of aftercare in addiction treatment is to help prevent relapse.  But, the role of these programs also extends to helping the individual find the right balance in their new life.  The person must learn to manage new responsibilities while also focusing on remaining sober. It won’t take much to tip the scale the wrong way and send everything tumbling down into the black hole of addiction once again.

An aftercare therapist can help the individual maintain balance by keeping them on a regular schedule of meetings and therapy sessions that cater to the person’s specific needs.  These sessions help renew their commitment to sobriety.

Types of Aftercare Programs Available

Recovery doesn’t stop the day rehab ends.  It is an ongoing process that will continue for a lifetime.  For that reason, the aftercare program a person chooses should be one they can trust and depend on for the level of support needed.

There are a variety of aftercare programs available today, and a recovering addict can take part in more than one at a time.

Here are a few of the most commonly used services:

  • IOPIntensive Outpatient Programs: Typically provides four of five days of programming per week.  The program can include group and individual counseling sessions, wellness programs, and more.  The person can live at home or in a sober living home during this time. IOP’s are designed to support a person physically, mentally, and emotionally as they transition back into society.
  • 12-Step Programs – These fellowship programs such as AA and NA help provide continuing support and guidance as they navigate the complexities of recovery.  Participants share their experience with addiction and recovery, give and receive tips and advice, and improve communication skills and self-confidence.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Known as CBT, these programs are short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment.  It focuses on problem-solving and changing patterns of behavior and replacing negative thinking with positive attitudes.
  • Support Groups – Local support groups are often designed to cater to a specific addiction.  Recovering addicts are advised to surround themselves with people who are sober, so these groups are excellent resources.  Many new and lasting friendships form among members of these groups.

If one of these programs doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it is okay to try another.  It may take a few attempts before finding the right one.

What’s Next for a Recovering Addict?

Completing rehab is a milestone to celebrate.  It took a lot of commitment and hard work to get to this point.  But, the hard work doesn’t end the day you leave the facility. You will have to work on recovery each day as you face temptations and challenges.  At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we understand that you may be a little apprehensive about getting back into daily life. That’s why we recommend aftercare in addiction treatment that includes community support and transition planning. Contact us today if you would like more information.

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