Thinking about the triggers to abuse

Staying sober takes dedication and a constant vigilance to avoid the people and situations that trigger an urge to abuse. The triggers are not always obvious, and things like camping, watching football and making ribs are now off limits to me as I battle one day at a time to stay sober.

Only I can know when I feel the urge to drink, and therefore only I must be responsible for staying away from temptation. It’s not easy to change your life, but when you get sober, you relearn what’s really important, and avoiding the rest doesn’t seem so bad.

One of the best ways to ensure long term sobriety is simply to minimize the temptations, and make the daily battle as painless as possible. It sounds easy; I mean how tough is it to not walk into a bar right? But the reality is different, and the triggers to abuse can be very subtle and pervasive things.

Triggers

  • It sounds funny, but I can’t watch football anymore. I spent every Sunday for years at home with a case of cold beers, enjoying the games of the day. The memories of what I used to do, combined with more beer commercials than I can count, make a seemingly innocuous pastime a pretty dangerous thing for me. I can’t even read the box scores without thinking about a drink!
  • I also used to make some pretty mean BBQ, but although no one makes ribs like I do, I always drank while tending the cue, and even the smell of wood smoke gets me thinking about cracking open a cold one. Like everything else, these triggers to use are strong at first, and gradually fade in intensity, but I still pay heed to the teachings of my therapist, and I still avoid any situation or environment that has even the slightest possibility of temptation.

Rehab taught me to really examine my life, and to think about the situations that put me at risk to take that first drink. Not only the obvious triggers to abuse, like not hanging out with old drinking buddies and not visiting the places you used to abuse, but also the more subtle, and therefore more dangerous triggers. I know the responsibility to steer clear of temptation lies only with me, and only I can know when I start to feel that urge. No one would think less of me for wanting to go camping, but I know that in my mind, the great outdoors will be forever linked with Jack Daniels, and only I can know that camping is a very dangerous place for me.

To stay sober, you need to be vigilant and responsible for your own actions. Rehab taught me that I need to be accountable to myself and that only I could keep out of dangerous places. One of the best ways to stay sober is simply to avoid temptation, and for me that’s meant a lot of changes. I’d rather be at home watching the game, but on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll probably find me out with my wife, at an antique show, at the mall, or in the park…anywhere but home!

I may not love these pastimes, but I love my wife, and if I can make her happy while keeping myself free from temptation, it’s a pretty good thing. The sound of my kids laughing, and waking up clear headed to bagels, sunshine and a paper on a Saturday morning; for this…I’ll pay any price.

Staying sober takes dedication and a constant vigilance to avoid the people and situations that trigger an urge to abuse. The triggers are not always obvious, and things like camping, watching football and making ribs are now off limits to me as I battle one day at a time to stay sober.

Only I can know when I feel the urge to drink, and therefore only I must be responsible for staying away from temptation. It’s not easy to change your life, but when you get sober, you relearn what’s really important, and avoiding the rest doesn’t seem so bad.

One of the best ways to ensure long term sobriety is simply to minimize the temptations, and make the daily battle as painless as possible. It sounds easy; I mean how tough is it to not walk into a bar right? But the reality is different, and the triggers to abuse can be very subtle and pervasive things.

Triggers

  • It sounds funny, but I can’t watch football anymore. I spent every Sunday for years at home with a case of cold beers, enjoying the games of the day. The memories of what I used to do, combined with more beer commercials than I can count, make a seemingly innocuous pastime a pretty dangerous thing for me. I can’t even read the box scores without thinking about a drink!
  • I also used to make some pretty mean BBQ, but although no one makes ribs like I do, I always drank while tending the cue, and even the smell of wood smoke gets me thinking about cracking open a cold one. Like everything else, these triggers to use are strong at first, and gradually fade in intensity, but I still pay heed to the teachings of my therapist, and I still avoid any situation or environment that has even the slightest possibility of temptation.

Rehab taught me to really examine my life, and to think about the situations that put me at risk to take that first drink. Not only the obvious triggers to abuse, like not hanging out with old drinking buddies and not visiting the places you used to abuse, but also the more subtle, and therefore more dangerous triggers. I know the responsibility to steer clear of temptation lies only with me, and only I can know when I start to feel that urge. No one would think less of me for wanting to go camping, but I know that in my mind, the great outdoors will be forever linked with Jack Daniels, and only I can know that camping is a very dangerous place for me.

To stay sober, you need to be vigilant and responsible for your own actions. Rehab taught me that I need to be accountable to myself and that only I could keep out of dangerous places. One of the best ways to stay sober is simply to avoid temptation, and for me that’s meant a lot of changes. I’d rather be at home watching the game, but on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll probably find me out with my wife, at an antique show, at the mall, or in the park…anywhere but home!

I may not love these pastimes, but I love my wife, and if I can make her happy while keeping myself free from temptation, it’s a pretty good thing. The sound of my kids laughing, and waking up clear headed to bagels, sunshine and a paper on a Saturday morning; for this…I’ll pay any price.

A Considered Life – Addiction Treatment and the Secret to Lasting Happiness

In a funny way, drug addicts and alcoholics are some of the luckiest people around. Addiction brings only pain – but that pain, through the recovery process, sometimes births true self knowledge and the courage to truly live.

The considered life is a happy life. Living a considered life means appreciating life, and working towards a life you appreciate – and although conceptually simple, it’s a rare thing. It takes understanding and courage, and it takes effort.

Most of us live reactionary lives – Frenzied, busy lives; stuck on our paths, too busy or scared to think about change. The addicted life epitomizes reactionary living. It’s an extreme knee-jerk case, and so it brings us deep unhappiness. Some of us, when it gets bad enough, take a courageous step and get some help. We don’t know what we need, but we know that we’ve got isn’t it. We walk into that meeting or that hospital, yearning for change, and ready to listen. And if we do listen, we are taught the most important truths of all.

Addiction Treatment – Self-Knowledge, Courage and Spirituality

Addiction treatment, at its best, teaches us real personal honesty, it demands true courage, and it prompts emotional and spiritual growth. Teaching us who we are and what we want – and how to get there. Teaching us that change takes courage and determination, but that the rewards can be great, and teaching that however we define it, that we all exist within the spiritual realm, in part, and through spiritual self-knowledge comes peace.

We walk into treatment to learn how to live right, and we walk out having learned how to live happy. And that’s why we are so lucky to be drunks or junkies or what-have-you, because we are given a golden opportunity. Someone is going to show us the secret to happiness and unlike most people at most points in their lives – we are ready to listen!

Addiction Treatment and the Secret to Happiness

We would all like to leave this earth having few regrets, having no thoughts of time wasted and happiness squandered. Yet few of us are willing to look seriously at what makes us happy, and even fewer have the courage to strive towards happiness in life.

And that’s because it’s hard!

Some of us periodically consider our happiness, deeply; but it takes real effort to make the kind of changes that are needed to live an honest and considered life – and since life as we know it already demands so much from us, few of us can spare the time.

Addicts in recovery are given the time, in fact they are often pushed into the process. Not many are given a month or two to work on emotional growth, free from other responsibility or worry – addicts in recovery are given a gift.

Personal Honesty

Reactionary living has us blame other people and other things for how we feel and how we act. How we feel actually comes from inside, and so when we feel bad and we react against the world, we never change the source of our true discontentment.

Considered living has us recognize that we control how we act, and to a large extent, how we feel. When we feel bad, we recognize the discontent as internal, and take steps that will change how we feel, and will lead to greater happiness.

But to live this honest and considered life, we need to have an honest understanding of our strengths, and more importantly, of our weaknesses. Addiction treatment demands that we look at ourselves through new, and less distorted lenses. Something is clearly wrong, and we need to figure out how we are contributing to the problem – and whether it is through the 12 steps, and a personal inventory, group therapy or individual therapy; a large part of any addiction treatment is focused on gaining self awareness.

It’s often painful, and sometimes when we get to know ourselves a little bit better we don’t much like whom we meet, but it’s necessary, and once we gain a better understanding of our natures, we are granted the opportunity to improve ourselves.

Courage

We are brave to varying degrees, but courage takes practice and determination, and it’s something you can get better at.

  • It takes a great deal of courage to admit that you have a problem – that you are powerless to control yourself, and to reach out for help. It’s a very tough thing for most of us to do.
  • It takes courage to make amends. To approach people you have wronged and to try to make things right, knowing that some of them are justifiably angry with you, and not knowing what to expect.
  • It takes courage to look at yourself warts and all, and to reveal your true nature to others.

Recovery is a succession of steps, all requiring courage – and the funny thing is, after a while it makes us courageous!

The considered life takes courage too. There is no sense in knowing yourself and understanding what makes you happy, if you don’t have the courage to make changes. Quitting a job that makes you miserable takes courage, finding real love takes courage; living as you are and not how others say you should be – takes courage.

Living the life you want on your terms is the only kind of life that makes any sense, but so many never do. Through recovery we find the courage to change.

Spirituality

We exist in the mind and in the body. Yet there’s more, we exist also on a spiritual plane – but figuring out this third part of our being takes a little effort.

Spirituality can mean religion or it can mean God, but it doesn’t have to – and many self professed religious people aren’t all that spiritual. Spirituality can be understood as an experience and understanding of our place in this greater universe.

At a very basic level, the interaction of body and mind together creates something larger than the sum of its parts. And learning to appreciate and understand the body-mind effect can lead to a greater understanding of our existence on a more metaphysical plane. Recovery activities like meditation or yoga attune us to this interplay. In many recovery programs, we go searching for God – or at least, God as we understand Him, as well.

And finding something larger than yourself, with the power to help you, can bring a lot of peace. We are spiritual beings. Humanity and the human experience has always been an oscillating quest for pleasure, power or spirituality. However you define it – spirituality is real, and coming to understand how you fit in the universe inures you from a lot of the inconsequential unhappiness’s of the unconsidered life.

Recovery Is for Life – and or Happiness

We create so much pain while using or drinking, that it hardly seems fair that we are also granted this opportunity for such lasting peace and happiness. But we are and we should be grateful and seize this opportunity – make up for time wasted and live a life that will leave no regrets.

In a funny way, drug addicts and alcoholics are some of the luckiest people around. Addiction brings only pain – but that pain, through the recovery process, sometimes births true self knowledge and the courage to truly live.

The considered life is a happy life. Living a considered life means appreciating life, and working towards a life you appreciate – and although conceptually simple, it’s a rare thing. It takes understanding and courage, and it takes effort.

Most of us live reactionary lives – Frenzied, busy lives; stuck on our paths, too busy or scared to think about change. The addicted life epitomizes reactionary living. It’s an extreme knee-jerk case, and so it brings us deep unhappiness. Some of us, when it gets bad enough, take a courageous step and get some help. We don’t know what we need, but we know that we’ve got isn’t it. We walk into that meeting or that hospital, yearning for change, and ready to listen. And if we do listen, we are taught the most important truths of all.

Addiction Treatment – Self-Knowledge, Courage and Spirituality

Addiction treatment, at its best, teaches us real personal honesty, it demands true courage, and it prompts emotional and spiritual growth. Teaching us who we are and what we want – and how to get there. Teaching us that change takes courage and determination, but that the rewards can be great, and teaching that however we define it, that we all exist within the spiritual realm, in part, and through spiritual self-knowledge comes peace.

We walk into treatment to learn how to live right, and we walk out having learned how to live happy. And that’s why we are so lucky to be drunks or junkies or what-have-you, because we are given a golden opportunity. Someone is going to show us the secret to happiness and unlike most people at most points in their lives – we are ready to listen!

Addiction Treatment and the Secret to Happiness

We would all like to leave this earth having few regrets, having no thoughts of time wasted and happiness squandered. Yet few of us are willing to look seriously at what makes us happy, and even fewer have the courage to strive towards happiness in life.

And that’s because it’s hard!

Some of us periodically consider our happiness, deeply; but it takes real effort to make the kind of changes that are needed to live an honest and considered life – and since life as we know it already demands so much from us, few of us can spare the time.

Addicts in recovery are given the time, in fact they are often pushed into the process. Not many are given a month or two to work on emotional growth, free from other responsibility or worry – addicts in recovery are given a gift.

Personal Honesty

Reactionary living has us blame other people and other things for how we feel and how we act. How we feel actually comes from inside, and so when we feel bad and we react against the world, we never change the source of our true discontentment.

Considered living has us recognize that we control how we act, and to a large extent, how we feel. When we feel bad, we recognize the discontent as internal, and take steps that will change how we feel, and will lead to greater happiness.

But to live this honest and considered life, we need to have an honest understanding of our strengths, and more importantly, of our weaknesses. Addiction treatment demands that we look at ourselves through new, and less distorted lenses. Something is clearly wrong, and we need to figure out how we are contributing to the problem – and whether it is through the 12 steps, and a personal inventory, group therapy or individual therapy; a large part of any addiction treatment is focused on gaining self awareness.

It’s often painful, and sometimes when we get to know ourselves a little bit better we don’t much like whom we meet, but it’s necessary, and once we gain a better understanding of our natures, we are granted the opportunity to improve ourselves.

Courage

We are brave to varying degrees, but courage takes practice and determination, and it’s something you can get better at.

  • It takes a great deal of courage to admit that you have a problem – that you are powerless to control yourself, and to reach out for help. It’s a very tough thing for most of us to do.
  • It takes courage to make amends. To approach people you have wronged and to try to make things right, knowing that some of them are justifiably angry with you, and not knowing what to expect.
  • It takes courage to look at yourself warts and all, and to reveal your true nature to others.

Recovery is a succession of steps, all requiring courage – and the funny thing is, after a while it makes us courageous!

The considered life takes courage too. There is no sense in knowing yourself and understanding what makes you happy, if you don’t have the courage to make changes. Quitting a job that makes you miserable takes courage, finding real love takes courage; living as you are and not how others say you should be – takes courage.

Living the life you want on your terms is the only kind of life that makes any sense, but so many never do. Through recovery we find the courage to change.

Spirituality

We exist in the mind and in the body. Yet there’s more, we exist also on a spiritual plane – but figuring out this third part of our being takes a little effort.

Spirituality can mean religion or it can mean God, but it doesn’t have to – and many self professed religious people aren’t all that spiritual. Spirituality can be understood as an experience and understanding of our place in this greater universe.

At a very basic level, the interaction of body and mind together creates something larger than the sum of its parts. And learning to appreciate and understand the body-mind effect can lead to a greater understanding of our existence on a more metaphysical plane. Recovery activities like meditation or yoga attune us to this interplay. In many recovery programs, we go searching for God – or at least, God as we understand Him, as well.

And finding something larger than yourself, with the power to help you, can bring a lot of peace. We are spiritual beings. Humanity and the human experience has always been an oscillating quest for pleasure, power or spirituality. However you define it – spirituality is real, and coming to understand how you fit in the universe inures you from a lot of the inconsequential unhappiness’s of the unconsidered life.

Recovery Is for Life – and or Happiness

We create so much pain while using or drinking, that it hardly seems fair that we are also granted this opportunity for such lasting peace and happiness. But we are and we should be grateful and seize this opportunity – make up for time wasted and live a life that will leave no regrets.

Relapse – Can It Wait 10 Minutes? What to Do When You Really Want That Drink.

Anyone who quits drinking or drugging, no matter who they are or how determined they are, comes to a point in recovery when the cravings to use or drink just seem overwhelming. And a lot of people (when they hit this point) do take a drink, or ten or 50 – For a lot of people, this is the end.

The urge to drink or use drugs can consume us, and when it gets bad, we can think of little else.

It feels like these urges will never end. We doubt we’ll have the strength to fight them for long, and since we feel like we’ll never succeed in the end, we can think of nothing else but using and we feel a craving so strong it’s almost physical – a lot of us just give in to what feels inevitable anyway.

One of the hardest things about overcoming an addiction is dealing with the weight of a lifetime of sobriety.

Forever feels like a long time, and when things are hard, forever feels way too long. And it is for this reason, that there is real truth and strength in the AA mantra of one day at a time. Forget about staying sober for life, juts worry about today. Stay sober for today, and that’s good enough – and the great thing is, add enough of those "today’s" together, and it just gets easier after a while. When relapse threatens, when you’re having a really tough time, and when you’re two seconds away from taking that drink…even staying sober for the rest of the day can seem an impossible goal.

Break it down!

You don’t need to worry about staying sober for the rest of the say – just think about staying sober for the next 10 minutes! Anyone can delay a drink for five minutes.

Distract yourself, make yourself a sandwich, walk around the block once, do ANYTHING BUT DRINK.

Urges, even the strongest of urges, are transitory things, and they will pass. There may be another one coming down the pipes, but deal with it when it comes, just as you dealt with the last.

If you can wait 10 minutes, you will find that more often than not, the urge subsides, and things seem a little less crazy. Things get easier in time, and we all go through a rough patch every now and again. Don’t worry about tomorrow; think only of the here and now.

It seems too easy, but it works!

Anyone who quits drinking or drugging, no matter who they are or how determined they are, comes to a point in recovery when the cravings to use or drink just seem overwhelming. And a lot of people (when they hit this point) do take a drink, or ten or 50 – For a lot of people, this is the end.

The urge to drink or use drugs can consume us, and when it gets bad, we can think of little else.

It feels like these urges will never end. We doubt we’ll have the strength to fight them for long, and since we feel like we’ll never succeed in the end, we can think of nothing else but using and we feel a craving so strong it’s almost physical – a lot of us just give in to what feels inevitable anyway.

One of the hardest things about overcoming an addiction is dealing with the weight of a lifetime of sobriety.

Forever feels like a long time, and when things are hard, forever feels way too long. And it is for this reason, that there is real truth and strength in the AA mantra of one day at a time. Forget about staying sober for life, juts worry about today. Stay sober for today, and that’s good enough – and the great thing is, add enough of those "today’s" together, and it just gets easier after a while. When relapse threatens, when you’re having a really tough time, and when you’re two seconds away from taking that drink…even staying sober for the rest of the day can seem an impossible goal.

Break it down!

You don’t need to worry about staying sober for the rest of the say – just think about staying sober for the next 10 minutes! Anyone can delay a drink for five minutes.

Distract yourself, make yourself a sandwich, walk around the block once, do ANYTHING BUT DRINK.

Urges, even the strongest of urges, are transitory things, and they will pass. There may be another one coming down the pipes, but deal with it when it comes, just as you dealt with the last.

If you can wait 10 minutes, you will find that more often than not, the urge subsides, and things seem a little less crazy. Things get easier in time, and we all go through a rough patch every now and again. Don’t worry about tomorrow; think only of the here and now.

It seems too easy, but it works!

Remember Those Good Old Bad Times – and Don’t Relapse.

Remembering the good times…

We all do it, when we look back, we always seem to remember the good times; and those tough times (although remembered) don’t seem as vivid as those happy memories and good experiences. Parents remember those first few toddling steps with greater intensity than those sleepless nights, and we remember the friends and excitement of high school more than we do the social insecurity. It’s human nature, and for the most part, it’s a good thing. But for recovering addicts or alcoholics, this kind of nostalgic thinking gets us into trouble.

Relapse can happen for any number of reasons, but at the root of a lot of slips are a combination of overconfidence ("I’ve got this thing beaten now…a few drinks won’t hurt me anymore") and reminiscent thinking. Remembering all of the good times we had while drinking, all of the fun and laughs, and minimizing the negatives. Truly a dangerous mental combination for anyone in recovery!

If you quit drinking or drugging, you did it for a reason, probably a pretty good one. People don’t, as a rule, quit drinking or drugging until the negatives start to outweigh the positives, and outweigh them by a lot.

And while it’s true that getting drunk or high with friends, hitting the club or a sharing a bottle of good wine with dinner were sometimes very enjoyable, for those of us with substance abuse problems, there were terrors lurking beneath the surface, and we do well to remember these. Most of us don’t quit until we feel the pains of our addiction. We all have our personal reasons for making a change and change isn’t easy, it usually takes some pretty strong motivation to overcome our using inertia.

What made you stop? Now write it down.

Seriously, if you are in recovery, write down what made you decide you needed to stop. Make a list of the harms that your drinking or drugging was causing, the things that finally forced you to concede of a need for abstinence. And whenever the past starts calling, whenever those good times start to outweigh the pains in your mind’s eye, take a look at your list – and remember.

Here’s my list:

1…People were obviously losing respect for me, to my face, and that was very painful – especially painful because I knew that they were right to think less of me.

2…I was 60 pounds overweight, looked 10 years older than I was and every day I endured a terrible hangover. I was on pace for an early grave.

3…I was useless for my family; too hung-over in the day to play with my kids, to busy getting drunk at night to help out.

4…My business was suffering. I didn’t have the energy to make it better.

5…My kids were starting to notice what their dad was.

And there’s more of course, but that’s enough for me. I’ve got it written down, and whenever I start thinking of the past through rose colored glasses, I just have a quick read of my list (I’ve got it in my wallet!) and I remember. It’s uplifting too! Remembering the truth about how bad things were makes me truly grateful for how things are now – and it keeps me very motivated to never go back to what I was, and what I did.

Don’t fall into the trap. Make a list (and check it twice!) – You are better off now than you were when you were drinking or drugging. Don’t get fooled – stay sober, and stay happy.

Remembering the good times…

We all do it, when we look back, we always seem to remember the good times; and those tough times (although remembered) don’t seem as vivid as those happy memories and good experiences. Parents remember those first few toddling steps with greater intensity than those sleepless nights, and we remember the friends and excitement of high school more than we do the social insecurity. It’s human nature, and for the most part, it’s a good thing. But for recovering addicts or alcoholics, this kind of nostalgic thinking gets us into trouble.

Relapse can happen for any number of reasons, but at the root of a lot of slips are a combination of overconfidence ("I’ve got this thing beaten now…a few drinks won’t hurt me anymore") and reminiscent thinking. Remembering all of the good times we had while drinking, all of the fun and laughs, and minimizing the negatives. Truly a dangerous mental combination for anyone in recovery!

If you quit drinking or drugging, you did it for a reason, probably a pretty good one. People don’t, as a rule, quit drinking or drugging until the negatives start to outweigh the positives, and outweigh them by a lot.

And while it’s true that getting drunk or high with friends, hitting the club or a sharing a bottle of good wine with dinner were sometimes very enjoyable, for those of us with substance abuse problems, there were terrors lurking beneath the surface, and we do well to remember these. Most of us don’t quit until we feel the pains of our addiction. We all have our personal reasons for making a change and change isn’t easy, it usually takes some pretty strong motivation to overcome our using inertia.

What made you stop? Now write it down.

Seriously, if you are in recovery, write down what made you decide you needed to stop. Make a list of the harms that your drinking or drugging was causing, the things that finally forced you to concede of a need for abstinence. And whenever the past starts calling, whenever those good times start to outweigh the pains in your mind’s eye, take a look at your list – and remember.

Here’s my list:

1…People were obviously losing respect for me, to my face, and that was very painful – especially painful because I knew that they were right to think less of me.

2…I was 60 pounds overweight, looked 10 years older than I was and every day I endured a terrible hangover. I was on pace for an early grave.

3…I was useless for my family; too hung-over in the day to play with my kids, to busy getting drunk at night to help out.

4…My business was suffering. I didn’t have the energy to make it better.

5…My kids were starting to notice what their dad was.

And there’s more of course, but that’s enough for me. I’ve got it written down, and whenever I start thinking of the past through rose colored glasses, I just have a quick read of my list (I’ve got it in my wallet!) and I remember. It’s uplifting too! Remembering the truth about how bad things were makes me truly grateful for how things are now – and it keeps me very motivated to never go back to what I was, and what I did.

Don’t fall into the trap. Make a list (and check it twice!) – You are better off now than you were when you were drinking or drugging. Don’t get fooled – stay sober, and stay happy.

How My Dog Keeps Me Sober

Lord help me be the kind of person my dog thinks I am

Ran across this quote the other day, and I can’t think of a better ambition for life than that! My dog thinks I’m kind, generous (except with the doggie treats, which he must think I hoard miserably) wise and a whole lot of fun to be with.

I can’t think of anyone else in this world who thinks quite as highly of me as my dog. I gotta admit my inspiration is coming from some odd sources these days, but hey, I’ll take it where I can get it…(God works in mysterious ways?). So for today, I’m going to try to live up to these lofty doggy ideals of perceived conduct. I’m going to try to be as kind and wonderful to all as he thinks I am.

I’m going to try on wisdom for a change by talking half as much and listening a whole lot more, and when I have something negative to say, I won’t. I’m not going to drink too -he honestly doesn’t have strong feelings on this one – but I’m going to add it on the list. I’ll try it on for today, and see how it fits, and maybe tomorrow too.

I won’t be what he thinks I am, but if I can get halfway there, I’d be twice what I am now!

Lord help me be the kind of person my dog thinks I am

Ran across this quote the other day, and I can’t think of a better ambition for life than that! My dog thinks I’m kind, generous (except with the doggie treats, which he must think I hoard miserably) wise and a whole lot of fun to be with.

I can’t think of anyone else in this world who thinks quite as highly of me as my dog. I gotta admit my inspiration is coming from some odd sources these days, but hey, I’ll take it where I can get it…(God works in mysterious ways?). So for today, I’m going to try to live up to these lofty doggy ideals of perceived conduct. I’m going to try to be as kind and wonderful to all as he thinks I am.

I’m going to try on wisdom for a change by talking half as much and listening a whole lot more, and when I have something negative to say, I won’t. I’m not going to drink too -he honestly doesn’t have strong feelings on this one – but I’m going to add it on the list. I’ll try it on for today, and see how it fits, and maybe tomorrow too.

I won’t be what he thinks I am, but if I can get halfway there, I’d be twice what I am now!

Can yoga help during recovery?

Although the benefits of yoga deny quantification, and are even elusive to describe, clinical studies and many anecdotal reports indicate that yoga may well have earned a place in addictions recovery, and yoga is offered with increasing frequency at holistic drug treatment facilities.

While I confess I’ve never done any yoga, and I fear my abysmal lack of flexibility would make my journey into yoga more painful than normal, I am intrigued by the numerous anecdotal reports, and as well certain clinical studies, that have enthused about yoga’s potential as a complimentary therapy in the treatment of addictions.

A recent contribution to a Harvard Medical School study, which compared methadone use and therapy, with methadone use and yoga, found that yoga alone seemed to offer as much incentive away from abuse as did therapy!

Perhaps it’s not surprising that holistic treatment facilities have been increasingly incorporating meditative yoga into their treatment regimens.

 

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an exercise of controlled breathing and of stretching the spine through the achievement of certain positions. Increasing proficiency requires discipline and willpower over discomfort to achieve the flexibility needed to attain the positions of advanced yoga.

 

The benefits of yoga

While performing yogic positions, the practitioner needs to focus completely on their breathing and on the attainment of the correct form. Total concentration is required, and there is no mental space left for the extraneous thoughts that normally cloud our minds. When we remain focused on the physical, our minds clear to a largely non verbal and extremely relaxed state, and while it seems contradictory; yoga enthusiast swear that by not thinking, you gain far more self awareness than you ever could by actively thinking.

The practice of yoga integrates mind and body, and there is a spirituality component to yoga as well. As addictions professionals call for a more holistic approach to recovery, yoga seems to meet the criteria of complete physical and mental therapy. Yoga requires discipline, and encourages patience and steadiness over rash action and hurry.

 

Meditation and yoga

I practice Theravada meditation, and what I get from my meditation sounds very similar to what practitioners of yoga are getting from their discipline. By thinking of nothing you conversely gain insight, and by concentrating on mindfulness (a part of both meditation and yoga) the stresses of everyday life are reduced. The benefits of yoga are additionally spiritual, and as such are difficult to quantify for treatment statistics.

Some things just don’t fit neatly into our demand for numeric values; but if half of what yoga advocates say about it is true, yoga offers quite a lot to anyone struggling with addiction and recovery, and as it strengthens the body, clears the mind and buoys the sprit, yoga seems to give people the strength to stay alcohol and drug free. Give yoga a try…I might even try it myself!

Although the benefits of yoga deny quantification, and are even elusive to describe, clinical studies and many anecdotal reports indicate that yoga may well have earned a place in addictions recovery, and yoga is offered with increasing frequency at holistic drug treatment facilities.

While I confess I’ve never done any yoga, and I fear my abysmal lack of flexibility would make my journey into yoga more painful than normal, I am intrigued by the numerous anecdotal reports, and as well certain clinical studies, that have enthused about yoga’s potential as a complimentary therapy in the treatment of addictions.

A recent contribution to a Harvard Medical School study, which compared methadone use and therapy, with methadone use and yoga, found that yoga alone seemed to offer as much incentive away from abuse as did therapy!

Perhaps it’s not surprising that holistic treatment facilities have been increasingly incorporating meditative yoga into their treatment regimens.

 

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an exercise of controlled breathing and of stretching the spine through the achievement of certain positions. Increasing proficiency requires discipline and willpower over discomfort to achieve the flexibility needed to attain the positions of advanced yoga.

 

The benefits of yoga

While performing yogic positions, the practitioner needs to focus completely on their breathing and on the attainment of the correct form. Total concentration is required, and there is no mental space left for the extraneous thoughts that normally cloud our minds. When we remain focused on the physical, our minds clear to a largely non verbal and extremely relaxed state, and while it seems contradictory; yoga enthusiast swear that by not thinking, you gain far more self awareness than you ever could by actively thinking.

The practice of yoga integrates mind and body, and there is a spirituality component to yoga as well. As addictions professionals call for a more holistic approach to recovery, yoga seems to meet the criteria of complete physical and mental therapy. Yoga requires discipline, and encourages patience and steadiness over rash action and hurry.

 

Meditation and yoga

I practice Theravada meditation, and what I get from my meditation sounds very similar to what practitioners of yoga are getting from their discipline. By thinking of nothing you conversely gain insight, and by concentrating on mindfulness (a part of both meditation and yoga) the stresses of everyday life are reduced. The benefits of yoga are additionally spiritual, and as such are difficult to quantify for treatment statistics.

Some things just don’t fit neatly into our demand for numeric values; but if half of what yoga advocates say about it is true, yoga offers quite a lot to anyone struggling with addiction and recovery, and as it strengthens the body, clears the mind and buoys the sprit, yoga seems to give people the strength to stay alcohol and drug free. Give yoga a try…I might even try it myself!

The motivations that influence men and women to complete a recommended aftercare program differ dramatically

Being aware of the gender differences and respective indicators of success may be useful when thinking about how best to ensure an addict completes their recommended aftercare programming.

There seems to be significant gender differences in the factors that make continued aftercare more likely. It can be useful to be aware of the factors that make the completion of a treatment program more likely, when considering how best to help an individual suffering from addiction.

For Men

Surprisingly, the factors that increase the likelihood for men to complete an aftercare program do not seem to be at all influential to women, and vice versa. For men, the single greatest indicator of successfully completing a treatment program is the threat of losing employment. Other factors that increase the probability of completion are a relatively older age at the start of treatment, and a determination to remain abstinent instead of a belief in moderation. Shorter periods of rehab were also associated with severe drug problems and addictions to stimulant type drugs.

For Women

For women, the single greatest indicator of continuing treatment is being married and living with a spouse. Other indicators that increase the probability of completing a period of aftercare are higher income, being unemployed, and having less severe psychiatric symptoms.

Obviously every one is different, but these gross gender differentials can be useful when thinking about the best available treatment options, and as well how to best ensure a drug or alcohol dependent person maintains their treatment for the recommended duration. Unfortunately, being married or not is not something that outsiders have the power to influence, but for women, the importance of psychiatric health should be emphasized, and regular therapy and appropriate medications need to be used.

Employers seem to be uniquely able to assist men in maintaining sobriety, and employers should use their position of influence firstly to convince addicted employees to receive treatment, and secondly to mandate continuing sobriety as a required factor for continued employment. When dealing with addiction, knowledge is power, and anything that we can do to increase the probability of long term sobriety needs to be enacted.

Being aware of the gender differences and respective indicators of success may be useful when thinking about how best to ensure an addict completes their recommended aftercare programming.

There seems to be significant gender differences in the factors that make continued aftercare more likely. It can be useful to be aware of the factors that make the completion of a treatment program more likely, when considering how best to help an individual suffering from addiction.

For Men

Surprisingly, the factors that increase the likelihood for men to complete an aftercare program do not seem to be at all influential to women, and vice versa. For men, the single greatest indicator of successfully completing a treatment program is the threat of losing employment. Other factors that increase the probability of completion are a relatively older age at the start of treatment, and a determination to remain abstinent instead of a belief in moderation. Shorter periods of rehab were also associated with severe drug problems and addictions to stimulant type drugs.

For Women

For women, the single greatest indicator of continuing treatment is being married and living with a spouse. Other indicators that increase the probability of completing a period of aftercare are higher income, being unemployed, and having less severe psychiatric symptoms.

Obviously every one is different, but these gross gender differentials can be useful when thinking about the best available treatment options, and as well how to best ensure a drug or alcohol dependent person maintains their treatment for the recommended duration. Unfortunately, being married or not is not something that outsiders have the power to influence, but for women, the importance of psychiatric health should be emphasized, and regular therapy and appropriate medications need to be used.

Employers seem to be uniquely able to assist men in maintaining sobriety, and employers should use their position of influence firstly to convince addicted employees to receive treatment, and secondly to mandate continuing sobriety as a required factor for continued employment. When dealing with addiction, knowledge is power, and anything that we can do to increase the probability of long term sobriety needs to be enacted.