Reasons to Stay Sober

Becoming sober after addiction is one of the most challenging decisions a person makes every day. Sobriety isn’t a cure for addiction. There is no cure for addiction. Addicts who seek treatment and find sobriety spend every moment of every day choosing to stay sober. Their illness can come back at any time if they fail to make good choices. No one can stay sober if they’re not aware and conscious of how their actions affect their sobriety. However, it’s less challenging to make wise decisions that benefit sobriety when an addict is aware of the many benefits of sobriety. Addicts who recognize the many benefits associated with sobriety are more inclined to stay sober.


Happier Lifestyle

Addiction doesn’t make for a happy lifestyle. Addicts might feel good when they are in the midst of a high, but that feeling comes crashing down quickly. Drug highs only last so long, and alcohol only provides temporary feelings of happiness as it’s a depressant. When an addict is using and abusing their substance of choice, it’s impossible for them to feel happy. Factor in the sadness, worry, and anger from friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else in their life, and it’s a depressing situation.


Sobriety allows addicts to live a happier lifestyle. They’re happier with their choices, and their loved ones are happier with them. It’s easy to wake up and feel good when nothing is clouding a person’s judgment or mood.


Better Sleep

Addicts are notorious for not sleeping enough. The average adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep per night to function at full capacity, which means it’s nearly impossible for addicts to function with no sleep. Alcoholics tend to stay up late drinking, or they blackout after so many drinks. This sleep is not quality sleep, and it doesn’t allow their bodies to regenerate throughout the night.


Better Diet Choices

Addicts aren’t overly concerned with what they eat. They don’t care if they eat potato chips for breakfast and ice cream for lunch. All that matters to them is satisfying a craving. When an addict seeks rehab and becomes sober, his or her eating habits improve immensely. It’s easier to make good decisions when a person’s not eating because of a craving. Sobriety makes it easier for former addicts to become thinner and healthier. It’s a great way to live, and it’s something many recovering addicts focus on as they experience recovery.


Better Overall Appearance

Even people who aren’t into their looks very much still want to be the most beautiful version of themselves. The problem with addiction is it leads people to stop caring how they look. They don’t care for their bodies. Substance abuse causes skin issues. It makes people age faster, look worse, and appear not to care about their overall quality of life. Sobriety clears up a person’s skin. It helps them have the energy to exercise more and to make more informed eating decisions. This works to help recovering addicts look better. They take more care in their appearance when they feel there’s more to care for.


Better Overall Health

When an addict finds sobriety and is able to sleep at night, their health improves. Good sleep benefits the mind and body in more than one way. One of the most important benefits of sobriety and good sleep is better health. When a person sleeps at night, their body has time to rest. More rest means a person’s immune system is stronger. When an addict’s immune system has time to rest and work correctly, it’s able to keep them healthier. This means fewer colds, fewer flu symptoms, fewer sick days, and a much better mood as a whole.


Improved Energy Levels

Sleeping better, a more efficient immune system and sobriety mean a person has more energy. When they have more energy, they’re able to function better. Sober people are able to get more done, they’re able to do a better job at what they’re doing, and they’re more productive. It’s easy to get things done when energy levels are high, which is one of the most exciting benefits of being sober. When addicts become sober, their energy level is one of the first major changes they notice.


Where they used to get up in the morning feeling exhausted, groggy, and unable to move, now they’re able to get out of bed and feel good about tackling their to-do list. This makes it possible for recovering addicts to live a more active lifestyle they enjoy far more.


Better Quality of Life

Everything mentioned here is a benefit of sobriety. It all works together to create a much bigger picture. People who have more energy are able to exercise more. People who exercise more are healthier. Healthier people are happier people. All this leads to fewer feelings of stress and anxiety. There’s so much to say about being sober and the benefits of being the person who takes control of their life. The biggest benefit is the overall better quality of life that comes with being sober. People who don’t use substances or drink are able to take control of their lives. They achieve more, they are stronger, healthier, and they’re happier. It all comes together in one big picture to create something much better. The mental clarity that comes with sobriety is undeniable, and people who feel what it’s like to wake up with a clear mind, a happy soul, and no hangover are less likely to want to jeopardize that.


Staying sober is easy for those who want to live a better life. It’s not to say there won’t be times when life gets in the way and makes a sober person want to go back to their old ways, but focusing on how beneficial it is to stay sober makes it all easier. Sobriety is beautiful, and recognizing how it makes such a positive impact in everyone’s lives is key.

Misconceptions of People Who are in Recovery

Making the decision to seek recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is significant. It’s what changes lives. However, that doesn’t stop people who suffer from addiction from feeling ashamed about their recovery. When it should be a moment of celebration, it’s more often a moment of embarrassment for those in recovery when someone finds out. The reason is the sheer number of misconceptions surrounding the recovery process. People who’ve never been through recovery view it as a negative rather than a positive. The truth is those who have the strength to go through detox, rehab, and recovery are often the strongest people. They are making a daily decision to live a clean life, and that’s not easy. Misconceptions abound, and it’s time they’re debunked.


Addiction is a Choice

Addiction is not a choice, no matter what people choose to believe. Addiction is an illness that can occur to anyone. Drugs and alcohol are both addictive, and people can’t control how their bodies react to something that makes them want more each time. While so many people view recovering addicts as weak for making poor choices, it’s not their fault. They aren’t living with the power to just stop using. They can’t do it because they’re addicted.


Much like a person diagnosed with cancer didn’t choose cancer, a person addicted to drugs or alcohol didn’t choose this lifestyle. They made one poor choice to try the substance, and their lives spiraled out of control from that point. People in recovery choose to recover. They didn’t choose to become addicted.


Recovery is a Cure

Addiction is a disease without a cure. There’s nothing that gets rid of addiction except the choice not to use drugs or alcohol in the future. Some diseases simply have no cure, and this is the case. Recovery is a form of treatment. It lasts forever. No one is cured of addiction; they simply go through recovery for the rest of their life. It’s how they stay clean, and it’s a choice.


Those not in recovery typically don’t understand the process. It’s an everyday choice, and that’s why people in recovery have a support system in place. It’s also why they refer to themselves as being a recovering addiction for however many days, weeks, months, or years it’s been since the last time they used their substance of choice.


You Have to Want to Recover to Make it Work

When someone’s family forces them into rehab or recovery, it won’t work. That’s the general misconception surrounding the entire process. While it is true for some people, it’s not always true. Many people are pushed into rehab to make their families happy only to come out the other side of recovery able to take control of their life each day.


Another misconception works the other way. Just because a person who hit rock bottom made the decision to seek help for his or her addiction doesn’t mean recovery will last. People have to continue to make the choice to want to get better every day. Whether the choice began as their own or someone else has no bearing on the outcome of their recovery.


Those in Recovery Are Dangerous

There are people in the world who see things in a positive light, and there are people who don’t. The people who don’t see things in a positive light see recovering addicts as dangerous and unreliable. Those who see the world in a positive light see that these are people who made a decision, and they’re working hard every day to continue to make the same good decision to stay in recovery.


There are people who won’t hire someone who is in recovery to work for them. There are people who won’t date someone in recovery or have kids with them. There are people who see recovering addicts as dangerous, scary, unworthy people. They’re not. They’re strong, they’re fighting, and they’re reliable. Addiction is not who a person is. It’s part of their life, but it’s not who they are as a person. Just because someone is in recovery doesn’t mean they can’t work for you, work hard, and succeed in life.


Former Drug Addicts are Criminals

Many people see recovering drug addicts as nothing more than a common criminal, but this is not the case. Criminals can be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and so can people who have never broken a law in their life. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, but people do. Former drug addicts can be anyone from a criminal to the local kindergarten teacher to someone’s grandmother, but it doesn’t mean they’re criminals. Addiction can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t make them bad people.


Recovering Addicts Can’t Have Fun

While it’s not a recovering addict’s favorite thing to do, they can still have fun attending parties and events where alcohol is being consumed. The longer a person is in recovery, the easier it is for them to be around others and still have a good time. Many people who just came out of rehab might want to avoid this kind of situation while they’re still learning to figure out their triggers, say no, and get better.


Recovering addicts can have fun, and they’re able to live a normal life. It might take more time for some than others, but don’t stop inviting them to events or having fun with them. They need people there for them to support their decisions, to be there throughout their recovery, and to have a support system.


Recovery is a life-long process, and it’s one many people mistake for other issues. People going through recovery deserve respect and understanding. Those who know little to nothing about recovery should look into it and educate themselves. It’s the best way to support those who are going through it.


How to Help a Loved One During Recovery

Loving an addict is difficult. It’s never easy to watch someone you care for as their choices turn their life upside down time and time again. It goes from bad to worse, and you want to help. It’s a natural feeling, and it’s admirable you want to do something proactive rather than looking the other direction in hopes your loved one will eventually figure it out. However, your help is unwanted in the eyes of an addict. Fixing problems comes naturally to many people, and an addict has a problem. All you have to do is figure out what you can do to help your loved one, and the problem will right itself. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The best way you can help an addict you love is to stay out of their personal business.


It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s often what works. Addicts aren’t a problem. They are people with a problem, and most people don’t care to have someone over their shoulder at all times telling them what to do, judging them, and running their life for them. The best way you can help someone you love as they go through the recovery process is to stay out of the way. Resist the urge to help them, and focus your energy on enjoying them instead. There are various stages of recovery, and it’s your job to be there for the person you love through every stage without micromanaging them. You can’t help them, but you can be there for them. There’s a difference.


Admitting There’s a Problem


Most addicts have to realize there’s a problem, and many of them need to figure this out on their own. Denial plays a significant role in addiction, and it’s one of the least appealing aspects of the problem. When someone you love is addicted to substance abuse, you have to wait for them to see the problem. The worst thing you can do is tell them there is a problem and urge them to seek treatment. People with an issue don’t want you to see them in a bad light. They want you to think they’re amazing, and pointing out they’re not, makes the more combative. The denial doesn’t stop there. The addiction becomes worse because they’re looking to self-medicate feelings of sadness and anger that someone they love things they’re imperfect or a failure.


During this time, most addicts continue to ignore their loved ones. You can’t change their mind, but you can be there. Many users are forced to hit rock bottom before they can admit they have a problem. The best help you can offer at this point is your support. When your loved one tells you they might have a problem and they want help, ask what you can do and follow their lead.


Offer Support


Now that your loved one is going through rehab, your job is to support him or her. This means being there when they call, being there when they need someone, and listening. Your job isn’t to lecture or judge. It’s to be the ear they require, the shoulder to cry on, and the person who makes them laugh when the moment is sad. It’s not always easy to tell what they need at a particular time, but you know your loved one. Follow their lead and offer what they seem to need most. Sometimes all they need is someone to listen without offering an opinion.


Get to Know the Treatment Team


You can support your loved one through this process by getting to know the treatment team. Get to know the doctors, the nurses, the people who are there to support your loved ones. Maintain a good professional relationship with them. There are times you might need their help when your loved one seems out of reach to you, and these relationships are some of the most important. Don’t make a big deal of it to your loved one, but do make an effort.


Keep Stress to a Minimum


You can’t possibly remove all the stress from someone’s life, but you can minimize it. Now is a good time to help your loved one get rid of people in his or her life who don’t support them. This might mean deleting the phone numbers of friends who are still using. It might mean changing your loved one’s phone number so the bad influences in their life can’t find them. It might suggest keeping some of the small family drama from their lives, and just being there for them when things are out of control.


Stop Drinking


If your loved one is an alcoholic, consider getting rid of the need to drink in his or her presence. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a glass of champagne on your anniversary or a holiday, but perhaps you might wait until your loved one has had more time to recover. For instance, wait until your loved one has been clean and sober for a year or so before you break out the champagne for yourself. It’s the little things like this that show support for your loved one in their time of need.


Be Present


One thing that helps addicts with their recovery is a loved one who is present. Put down the phone when you’re together. Talk to him or her. Listen to him or her for the sole purpose of actually hearing what is being said rather than to reply. The most important thing you can remember in this period is to keep your judgment to yourself. Negative feelings aren’t productive in recovery, but someone who shows support without judgment is supportive.


Loving an addict is the hardest thing you can go through for many, but it’s not something you should attempt to handle on your own. Let your job be that of a supportive friend or family member rather than another person standing around waiting to point out you were right, and they failed once again.

How do you know if you have an addiction?

Addiction is a complex brain disease that can gradually take everything good and valuable from individuals’ lives and leave them jobless, in poor health and without close family and friends.

The progress of addiction can differ from person to person. Some individuals drink or use drugs and never become addicted. Others quickly find themselves in difficulty that threatens to completely overcome them. Still, others may gradually fall into addiction, while denying they have a problem. Admitting the problem is the first step in getting treatment that can help you to restore your life back to sanity. Here are some common signs that your social drinking or recreational drug use has become a problem that requires professional treatment.

Drugs or Alcohol Causes You to Neglect Responsibilities

One of the first signs of an addiction problem is the neglect of normal responsibilities, such as work, school or family duties. When an addiction has occurred, the chemistry of the brain is changed, and the normal chemicals that make individuals feel happy or fulfilled no longer work. Only the alcohol or drug can provide the feeling of relief, and increasing amounts are needed to achieve this pleasant effect. You may spend more time drinking on the weekends and are absent from work on Mondays. Or you may find you need a drink during the day and make sure you have lunch at a place that serves alcohol. An individual with a drug problem may have to stop throughout the day to use the drug. The drug use may affect your ability to perform your job or stay alert during classes. If you have family responsibilities, you may fall asleep while caring for children or need help from other family members to get your children dressed, fed and off to school. These actions are all signs that a drug or alcohol problem is present.

Drug or Alcohol Use Causes Legal Problems

When alcohol use becomes a habitual need, an individual may begin to use it under dangerous circumstances. They may drink and drive, which can lead to DUI convictions and jail time. For some people, excessive alcohol use can lead to aggressive behavior, fighting and being arrested for assault or other crimes. Drug use can also cause impaired driving convictions. In addition, the continuous need for more drugs may cause individuals to engage in theft of money or valuable objects that they can sell. They may write bad checks or steal prescription pads to get more drugs.

Drug or Alcohol Use Causes Problems in Relationships

Another sign that alcohol or drug use has become a problem is when its use disrupts normal family or intimate relationships. Many people who develop a drinking or drug problem prefer to use the substance above all other activities. They begin to isolate themselves or prefer to spend their time with other people who use alcohol or drugs. They may hide their alcohol or drug use, lying to their families or spouses, stealing money in order to keep using and manipulating people close to them to help them continue their substance use. In many cases, spouses or life partners lose patience with the erratic behavior and move out. Family relationships can become broken or full of arguments and stress. These patterns are classic signs that drug or alcohol use has become a problem.

Drug or Alcohol Is Used in Dangerous Circumstances

Another sign that alcohol or drug use has gotten out of control is the use of these substances in dangerous circumstances. Because the chemical changes in the brain have become established, sound judgment and good decision-making are impaired. An individual may have alcohol in the car with them as they drive. He or she may drink excessively during social events, causing a scene or getting into a fight. The person may use alcohol or drugs on the job, and when discovered could mean the loss of employment and financial hardship. The alcohol or drug use may endanger their children or other people who drive with them or work with them. But the individual is unable to stop the substance use because the brain changes of addiction have already begun.

Drugs and Alcohol Use Cause Health Problems

Another sign that the use of alcohol or drugs has become a problem is the occurrence of health problems caused by the substance use. An individual may experience falls or other problems with coordination related to drinking. He or she may experience stomach problems or malnutrition from habitual drinking. Sexually transmitted diseases may occur because of impaired judgment. Similarly, drug use can cause blood infections from needle use, nasal problems from snorting drugs or impaired coordination from opioid drugs. When several health problems begin to trouble the individual, it’s an indication that substance abuse has reached a critical level.

If your alcohol or drug use has become a problem that disrupts your daily life, your plans for the future and your relationships, contact Meridian Treatment Solutions to provide you with information on how therapy can restore your life to sanity.

Tips to Maintaining Sobriety during New Year’s Eve


Almost all alcoholic individuals face challenges in the early recovery stages. For many people, celebrating New Year’s Eve includes sharing alcohol. For them, it is very exciting. However, for alcoholics, recovery is their priority and such kind of celebrations bear temptations and is not comfortable to partake. There is free alcohol that is shared during New Year’s Eve parties. Alcohol centered parties make it difficult for those recovering to avoid drinking. Here are some tips to enable alcoholics to stay sober during New Year’s Eve festivities.


Have a firm stand

Many people find themselves celebrating New Year’s Eve with a crowd of drinkers. The great temptations and the luring friends can easily influence one to consume alcohol. Saying no is an important art during this time. While it may be awkward to turn down a friend’s offer, the important thing at stake is sobriety. If saying no is difficult, understand that prior rehearsal allows one to say no with much ease.Explanations are unnecessary, and no one should feel pressured to explain their decision. An affirmative stand on alcohol is sufficient for other people to understand your position. Nothing matters more than what is good for you.


Exit when necessary

Never feel afraid to leave when the situation starts to feel uncomfortable. Individuals, who spend time around regular drinkers, should have their own transport. A personal car will allow one to leave as they please. Having personal means gives one a good excuse to avoid alcohol. As such, nothing should hold one from leaving when uncomfortable. Avert the temptation of sticking around parties that are full of drunk people. An exit plan is necessary for those who feel they may be letting others down. Communicate beforehand the necessity to leave early and apologize in advance. Do not worry about what others think if you leave early because the temptation to drink is unbearable at times.


Carry your own drink

Carry a non-alcoholic drink to the event. Holding the drink will prevent others from offering or serving you an alcoholic drink. Those invited to a New Year’s Eve party by a friend should feel free to suggest to the host that they have something non-alcoholic.


Hang around sober people or like-minded people

Being in the company of drinkers in an active drinking session is a bad idea. Hanging around sober people will eliminate the temptations to drink. Carry along a friend who will be supportive or bring a sponsor from the alcoholic anonymous group. Try to be in a company of at least one sober friend. Sometimes recovering individuals can group together and attend a New Year’s Eve party. Such groups check the safety of each other and have fun together.


Skip risky parties and explore new ways to have fun

Alcoholics should avoid attending New Year’s Eve parties that serve alcoholic drinks. People can organize and go out for a meal and have fun. New Year’s Eve parties that are alcohol-centered could make someone jump off the wagon easily. Try going to the theater and watch a movie or moonlit walk with friends. Such occasions are a gift to recovery. Very few alcoholics take the opportunity to enjoy such modest pleasures during active alcoholism. Board games and card games with friends are equally fun during New Year’s Eve.


Host a New Year’s Eve party

Attending a New Year’s Eve party even in a bar or other venues including friends’ houses can undermine early recovery. The chances are high that alcohol will be served and your ability to decline offers to drink may not be strong enough. Recovering persons can avoid the danger of relapse by throwing out their parties. The host has control of whom to invite and the kind of food and beverages to be served. Such a controlled environment allows people to be comfortable. The invited guest should be limited to those who understand, appreciate and support the host’s quest for sobriety.


Stay connected

There are many challenges faced by alcoholic recovery addicts. The early days of recovery can be challenging. Do not endure tough times alone. Share what you are going through with a friend, therapist, sponsor or spiritual advisor. Alcoholics should have someone to talk to especially about the tough holiday.



Recovery addicts need to take care of themselves during periods of distress. Engaging in activities such exercises and meditation is encouraged. Such activities are necessary as they help prevent accumulation of negative emotions. Simple workouts such as walking for a few minutes are recommended. Individuals should also engage in activities that uplift the spirits such as therapy sessions and attending anonymous alcoholic gatherings. A therapist can help particularly in sharing matters that are not easy to share with family. People recovering from alcoholism should shun feelings of anger, loneliness, tiredness and hunger. Avoid arguments with loved ones, and closest people as this can lead to relapse. Emotional health is vital and makes it easier for individuals to avoid temptations.


Be grateful

It is important that recovering persons be grateful for the achievements of the past year. One needs to sit down and make a list of things they are thankful for including sobriety, being alive and the things that are now improved. All accomplishment should be honored as one looks in a positive future.


Attend an alcathon

Alcathons are round-the-clock meetings that are organized and held by alcoholic anonymous groups, to help their members stay sober during holidays such as New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve can be hard for alcoholics. There is a lot of drinking in the festivities and alcoholics tend to feel lonely and depressed couples with the temptations to drink. Individuals that are uncomfortable staying at home during New Year’s Eve can attend an alcathon. The alcathon organization is very welcoming and all that is need is just check in and self-introduction. The alcathon meetings ensure that alcoholics have a secure place to go and spend time in an atmosphere of recovery. Alcathons can include a group meal, cookies and a sober party where everyone can have fun.


Now that you know how to avoid drinking, you are set for New Year’s Eve. Have a great alcohol free time, and as you cross to the next year, remember that it is the small things that matter!



How to stay sober during Christmas

Seeking recovery is a major decision the life of any addict. It’s a decision they make one time, and then they make it every single moment of every single day for the rest of their lives. Addicts are never cured. Recovery is a goal, but it’s not the end of the game. Recovery is a lifelong process. No one is recovered from addiction until they are no longer present in the world. An addict is in recovery from the moment they take their last sip of alcohol or their last drug, and that recovery lasts until they relapse or leave the earth. Recovery is a daily decision. It’s a minute by minute decision ever addict makes, and it’s never simple. It’s easy some days, and it’s difficult other days. It’s usually more difficult for addicts to stay sober during Christmas, and there are several tips addicts can use to help get through this time of year without a relapse.


Make Other Plans

Christmas is difficult for addicts because it means temptation after temptation. One of the best ways an addict can avoid temptation is to keep the holiday season busy with fun plans. Instead of freeing up every weekend for one holiday party after the next, book a camping trip with the family. Roast s’mores and play in the snow. Go skiing with people who support you. Make your own plans, and don’t wait around for other people to ask you to join their plans. There’s a reason for this. The busier you are doing things you enjoy, the less time you have to sit around and wish you were doing something else.


Limit Time at Gatherings

There’s some truth to the fact that you do have to make an appearance at certain events. If the boss says the company Christmas party isn’t mandatory to attend yet highly suggests you make an appearance, you make an appearance. The fun is flowing at parties like these, and it’s best to limit your time to just the most crucial point of the evening. For instance, if the party is a sit-down dinner, go for dinner and make your exit before the eggnog shots start flowing. It’s easy to say goodbye early than to miss something so important, but it’s often what’s best for sobriety.


The same goes for any family gatherings. Make an appearance at the events that you know are important to your loved ones, and make your exit before things get too rowdy. The beginning of most events is relatively laid-back, so this is a good time to show up, make some small talk, join the fun and festivities, and then head home.


Skip Family Drama

A family is both the most beautiful thing in the world and the worst. No one can love you like your family. In the same sense, no one can hurt you like your family. If there’s family drama, it’s a good idea to skip it. This is the kind of drama that likely causes addicts trigger points, and it’s best to avoid it. You don’t have to skip the entire family gathering throughout the holidays. You can host one of your own with family members who don’t stress you out, or you can visit your family individually throughout the season so you don’t have to spend time with the in-laws who treat you poorly, or the aunt who criticizes everything you do.


If you must attend a family function and drama ensues, learn to let it go. Don’t find yourself alone with the aunt who judges you. Don’t let yourself become cornered by your grandmother who wants to know why you did this or haven’t done that. If the family drama begins, simply excuse yourself without worrying about an explanation. People who can’t control themselves don’t need one.


Say No

It’s the simplest thing to say, but it’s also the hardest. No is a complete sentence, and it requires nothing else of you. You need not say anything after. If you aren’t sure you can handle any situation during Christmas, don’t go. It’s that simple. You can explain it if you feel it’s necessary to someone important to you, but you can say no in many ways. It works when someone asks you to go somewhere that might trigger you. It works when someone asks you to just have one drink. It works when someone is stressing you out.



The holidays are the best time of year to do for others. If you are worried you can’t make good decisions this time of year, try volunteering. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time, and it helps you feel good about yourself. It’s also one way to remind you just how good you have it in comparison to others.


An evening volunteering at a soup kitchen is often all it takes to show you what happens when people lose it to their addictions. Doing something that allows you to give back is all it takes for some addicts to get through the holidays. It provides you an opportunity to do something for others, which helps you continue respecting yourself. It also removes you from situations in which people might be tempted to party, and it makes your recovery more successful during Christmas.


Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it’s one of the most stressful. It’s expensive to buy gifts for the people in your life. It’s not easy to avoid temptation and some of the biggest causes of stress in an addict’s life peak this time of year. Your kids want this and you can’t afford it. Your family is around, and they stress you out. The reasons you might struggle this time of year are numerous, but you can stay sober during Christmas. Keep your sponsor close. Find a program in your area. Pick up the phone and call someone who supports you when you feel overwhelmed. There are people who want to help, if only you allow them to do that.


How to Stay Sober on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, to be surrounded by loved ones, and to reflect on life’s many blessings rather than its downfalls. Of course, food is always part of this equation, but for somebody battling addiction, these otherwise enticing qualities are more so dreaded than they are anticipated. Even for those who believe they have a problem but have not taken action yet, this time is stressful and prompts them with a temptation they would otherwise avoid. What is this group of people to do, though? Surely this time is unable to be avoided, but there is a multitude of options available that helps an addict stay sober on Thanksgiving. Before all else, though, it is fundamental to recognize potential triggers and reasons why you would ponder a relapse rather than the important sobriety.


Thanksgiving Triggers for the Recovering or Road to Recovery Addict

Most consider this holiday a stressful time for a cornucopia of reasons, even if they have never abused a substance in their lives. Typically, multiple people are gathering to celebrate, which can pose problematic when factoring different personality types, past disputes, failing to please the unpleasable, and the tedious tasks of cooking and cleaning. Aside from these realities, the following are considered triggers for addicts:

  • Family: Surely you love your family, but you might not be able to like them all of the time. Families are often the biggest critics and can be fairly relentless at times. As a result, it is immensely stressful to be surrounded by people who want the best for you, but who also stop at nothing to be fairly judgmental and unaware of your current struggle.
  • Large Crowds: It is common knowledge that most of the public is made uneasy by large crowds. Social anxiety is a notable issue and a reality that poses more difficult for somebody recovering from addiction.
  • The Desire to Please: Sitcoms, books, talk shows, and popular jokes all depict the stresses of the holiday season, most of which surround the desire to please certain relatives and guests.
  • Vices: Regardless of what you or a family member used to be addicted to, it is fundamental to recognize that other vices are problematic as well. Chances are, guests will be drinking during this time, taking their prescription medications before dinner, or even smoking outside. Being in the presence of these things is difficult for those in recovery, regardless of how long they have been clean.
  • The Meal: Perhaps you are responsible for the entire meal or a portion of it. Maybe you are responsible for ensuring that the guests have all that they need. Responsibility is stressful and perhaps the biggest trigger of all.


There are countless triggers for those in recovery, most of which are dependent on the person. Thankfully, there are ways to stay sober during this troubling time and most of them require very little effort in order to execute.


Planning Ahead with Meetings

Recovery centers understand the need for more support during these holiday celebrations. Whether they offer more meetings during the month leading up to Thanksgiving or provide their patients with the numbers to help hotlines or their personal numbers, these places understand the need for support to be readily available at all hours of the day and night. Consider frequenting these meetings before the holiday and expressing every possible concern and listening to those of others. If you were provided with a help hotline number, keep that close to you for the holiday.


Confide in Family

Are you especially close to a family member? Does this person listen to you rather than judge you? If so, stay close to them during the day. Never be wary of asking them to talk alone if you are feeling the urge to use, either.


Place Your Attention Elsewhere

There is no denying the difficulty behind remaining focused when you are attempting to refrain from relapse. However, you are prepared for this day and strong enough to conquer it. Rather than focusing on your urges, stay busy by helping with the meal, playing games, watching or playing football, or partaking in conversation. Whatever it is that you decide to do to remain grounded, repeat it throughout the day and attempt to enjoy it.


Take a Break

Even if you miss the first course, do not be afraid to take a break from what might be triggering you. If the noise is proving to be bothersome, remove yourself by going to the bathroom or another quiet room of the venue. Take a nap, read a book or magazine, or journal how it is you are feeling. Chances are, the company will understand your absence and be happy that you opted to take it rather than suffer through the trigger.


Ask and You Shall Receive

If you feel that you will be unable to enjoy this day or make it through without a relapse because of the other vices that may be around, do not be afraid to admit that and ask for the removal of a particular substance from the celebration, including alcohol. Usually, your family or friends would prefer your safety and wellbeing over their beverage.


Conclusively, staying sober on Thanksgiving is not impossible. The thought of anything seems far more intimidating than the action itself, a fact that should be more widely understood. For those in recovery, you are stronger than you believe and will enjoy this holiday just as you would any other. For those who love somebody in recovery, consider making this day stand for its true meanings of giving thanks, support, love, and happiness.

Depression & Substance abuse = suicidal tendencies?

robin-williams-depressionWhen one of the most loved personalities in the world took his life, we couldn’t help wonder. Did a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression as well as alcohol and drug abuse contributed to Robin Williams’ taking his own life? His struggle saddened everybody while highlighting how difficult it can be to live with both of these disorders – and the fact that the number of suicides among Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 has been rising in recent years, makes you be aware that “ …these disorders are made more complex and difficult to treat because they are accompanied by depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts” says the organization Freedom from Fear in their report about anxiety and depression.

Depression alone can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors; when compounded by drug use, especially alcoholism, the symptoms worsen considerably. The New York Times reports that Williams had recently left a treatment program for depression in addition to struggling with substance abuse early in his career and seeking treatment for alcohol abuse in 2006.

The combination of depression with drugs and alcohol abuse works like an evil twin. No matter which one started first, Many studies have demonstrated co-morbidity of alcohol abuse/dependence with mood and anxiety disorders but relatively little is known about anxiety and depression across the full continua of alcohol consumption and problems associated with drinking states the Cambridge Journal in their depression & anxiety with alcohol use document.

Does alcohol and other drug abuse increase the risk for suicide?

In a dual diagnosis, both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function, handle life’s difficulties, and relate to others. To make the situation more complicated, the co-occurring disorders also affect each other and interact. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse as well. And when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too., a guide to mental, emotional, and social health helps you to understand the link between substance abuse and mental health.

In studies that examine risk factors among people who have completed suicide, substance use and abuse occurs more frequently among youth and adults, compared to older persons. For particular groups at risk, such as American Indians and Alaskan Natives, depression and alcohol use and abuse are the most common risk factors for completed suicide. Alcohol and substance abuse problems contribute to suicidal behavior in several ways. Persons who are dependent on substances often have a number of other risk factors for suicide. Substance use and abuse can be common among persons prone to be impulsive, and among persons who engage in many types of high risk behaviors that result in self-harm.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective prevention efforts that reduce risk for substance abuse in youth, and there are effective treatments for alcohol and substance use problems. Researchers are currently testing prevention treatments specifically for persons with substance abuse problems who are also suicidal, or have attempted suicide in the past according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The first step to recovery, it`s always to make the decision. Remember, hope is never lost. Seek support and be patient.

The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery Starts at Meridian

“Start with a plant, then think about getting a pet. One step at the time, one day at the time.” -They said. I’ve always wanted a dog, but after being sober for over a year, and going through some of the toughest times in my entire 23 years of existence, I listened. And I decided to start my life over, one step at the time. Sarah, NJ. Alcoholic who no longer drinks.

People who share stories like this about addiction and recovery, speak from the heart. Someone helped them, someone gave them a hand to get better, to get to that point where they no longer abuse harmful substances. Sharing their journey and become a support for others who are in the same situation is a pay-it-forward path that leads to the recovery of others in need.
Overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. But it’s not. If you’re ready to stop and willing to get the support you need, you can recover from drugs, alcoholism and alcohol abuse—no matter how bad the addiction or how powerless you feel. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom; you can make a change at any time. Look for those who’ve been through what you’re going through. Get ready to get started on the road to recovery.

If you’re not sure if you’re ready to change or you’re struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the costs and benefits of each choice. Balancing both sides and doing the math of how much are you really saving/gaining from not doing it would surprise you. Better health, clear mind, more energy, and money in the bank are just a few of the positive things of stopping for good.

Setting goals and prepare for change is crucial step to achieve successful recovery. Once you’ve made the decision to change, establishing clear goals such as I will quit drinking/abusing drugs this date, I will stop drinking on weekdays, or gradually quitting from 3 to 2, to 1-0 drinks per week. Working this goals with the hand of a counselor will set up a road to success, and of course they will be different on every person. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better.

After you’ve set your goals to either stop or cut back, write down some ideas on how you can help yourself accomplish these goals. Like getting rid of temptations, announce your goal(don’t work alone, be upfront with your new limits and learn from past mistakes.

While getting sober is an important first step, it is only the beginning of recovery. Rehab or professional treatment can get you started on the road to recovery, but to stay alcohol & drug-free for the long term, you’ll need to build a new, meaningful life where abusing substances no longer has a place.

Understanding the Perils of Drug Abuse and Possible Solutions

Millions of people suffer from drug-abuse effects every day. Citizens might see addicts on the street, or dependent people may work diligently at a job each day as they stay under the radar. The perils of drug abuse are widely known, but many people don’t apply those ideas to their situations until it’s too late. Take a look at the mind of a drug user, and their choices for a healthy future in the form of rehab and support groups around town.

Descending Into Drug Abuse

Every addict has a different path toward their drug of choice. Addicts might hang out with the wrong crowd and try the drug on a whim. Alternatively, people might turn to drugs as a way to escape an especially painful period, such as the death of a loved one. Drug abuse can happen to anyone, although some studies suggest that people are more vulnerable to addiction if a family member suffers from the same issue. Addictions occur with various substances too, such as prescription pills, nicotine or alcohol. The preferred drug solves a problem for the addict as they try to leave reality in one form or another.

Functioning as an Addict

In many cases, addicts aren’t obvious visuals in society’s landscape. Some addicts are entirely functional. They’ll go about their day as if it’s normal with drugs in the background. Work, school and family may seem to take precedence above other items, but the drugs underlie every action. In fact, that person might be high for most of the day as they take the drugs during bathroom breaks. Many addicts can appear normal for years at a time, but their dependence will soon be apparent and possibly damage their work and home life for good. That desired high will become harder and harder to obtain with just a short, drug break throughout the workday.

Recognizing the Signs of Drug Abuse in Others

A person’s best friend may be there for them over several decades. However, the person’s current mood suggests that something unhealthy is occurring in his or her life. The signs of drug abuse that a loved one might see can be both obvious and subtle. Struggling addicts might be short-tempered, depressed, euphoric and forgetful all in one day’s time. Their appearance will show visual signs too. Skin colors fade, teeth take on a yellow color and the hair might thin. Loved ones must be observant about these signs, and make it a point to ask about drug use when the person appears calm.

Applying Drug Abuse Concepts to Personal Behaviors

It might be easier to pinpoint drug-abuse factors in others than it is in oneself. If personal issues are occurring, it’s possible to fall prey to drug use without realizing it. A person might drink two or three extra glasses of wine one night instead of just one, for example. This situation begins to reoccur on a daily basis, however. At some point, those drinks become the only thing that’s positive about the day. This situation is the definition of being addicted. Personal situations change throughout a lifetime, but it’s how they’re dealt with that makes a person an addict or not.

Entering the Detoxification Process

The only solution to drug abuse at first is detox. This process is marked by entering an inpatient facility. The substance abuser must remain at the treatment center for several days at the bare minimum. Detox involves a complete removal from the drug of choice. Medical professionals will usually monitor each patient and their vital signs. If there are any extreme withdrawal symptoms, specific medications might be given to ease the pain. Detox takes significant strength on the part of the addict because the body is physically starving for the drug. As the system clears, the addict feels better about their state of health.

Improving Through Inpatient Treatment

Detox marks the first step on the journey to sobriety. The next recovery period involves the mental side of addiction. Patients remain at the facility as they enter treatment sessions. They’ll have one-on-one sessions with professionals along with group interactions. It’s the group sessions where many patients blossom into more caring and sober adults. Groups are designed for sharing among patients and professionals. Small groups might form during exercises that help everyone form bonds through the treatment program. Becoming close friends with fellow substance abusers makes each individual feel like they’re part of a community.

Exploring Outpatient Freedom

After several weeks or months within inpatient treatment, patients usually graduate to outpatient services. They’re allowed to return home, and rebuild their life into a sober and positive journey. However, patients must return to the facility on a regular basis in order to attend mandatory sessions. An addict is never cured of his or her dependence. These outpatient sessions continue the teachings of the inpatient treatment but just on a smaller scale. Outpatients can discuss the temptations found outside of the protective, facility walls. Recounting successes is also encouraged as every outpatient listens to everyone’s stories.

Involving the Household During Recovery

When an outpatient returns home, the household must be prepared. Ideally, a facility staff member can visit the home and speak with the residents about recovery processes. If a household member is currently using drugs, that person and their drugs cannot be in the home when the patient is released. The home needs to be a haven away from drug temptations. Loved ones may need to remove alcohol bottles from the kitchen, and discard any smoking paraphernalia from adjacent rooms. The transition back into the home will be a difficult one, but it can be easier with a clean household and supportive family members.

Using Community Resources

When outpatients are feeling tempted, the facility and household loved ones may not be enough to ward off the cravings. Patients are encouraged to seek out community resources, such as local meeting groups. When a recovering addict feels strong, he or she should put together a list of group locations and times. If a craving becomes overwhelming, walking to the community group can be a way to stay sober. It’s also a good idea to keep a treatment friend’s phone number handy. Contacting that person during a tempting period can help both addicts remain on a sober pathway.

Preventing Drug Abuse

Avoiding any drug abuse should be the goal for anyone dealing with personal issues. If a drug looks tempting to escape reality, consider talking to a loved one or seeking professional help. Most addictions start with a personal imbalance in life. A death in the family, disease and other stressful situations make drugs look like a comforting alternative. Be honest about emotions and frustrations, and let these feelings be heard. Releasing stress allows the mind to think more clearly and avoid drug use altogether.

Loved ones can do their part for a struggling friend or relative by supporting their recovery process. It’s not possible to force someone into rehab. They must want to get healthy on their own. Once that person dedicates their time toward recovery, loved ones can be there as much as possible. A supportive friend to lean on may be all that’s necessary to ward off those drug cravings in the future.

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