Volunteering is a powerful way to aid you on the path to recovery from an addiction. Following a treatment program, it’s as natural to feel invigorated and ready to jump back in and reclaim your life and live a healthy lifestyle as it is to be confused about your next steps. Getting back into a normal routine can be equally as exhilarating as it is daunting. This is why it is important to have a purpose, and to contribute in some valuable way to society. One of the best ways to do this is through volunteer work. Volunteering can bring many different benefits, and you’ll find yourself growing and receiving much more.
If I stop using drugs, can I still drink?
Although I identify as an alcoholic, for several years marijuana was my first drug of choice – until it stopped working for me. All of a sudden, smoking pot made me paranoid and miserable. This was when I learned to drink alcohol. And, alcohol was what brought me to my knees.
Throughout my years in recovery, I have watched people get sober and work to identify the driving factors behind their alcohol or drug addiction, only to see them relapse after a while. I went through this myself.
I got sober but suffered from deep depression and debilitating anxiety. I was honest with my Doctor about being an alcoholic in recovery. My Doctor put me on an antidepressant and a Benzedrine for anxiety. I was feeling better but began to misinterpret normal anxiety about a given situation in life and anxiety that was abnormal. I was used to numbing my feelings, used to not feeling much of anything.
Expectations can be a real stumbling block in early (and even later) sobriety – especially after a stint in a drug rehab.
Expectation is defined as a belief that something will happen. When someone is active in the disease of addiction, beliefs or expectations can be, and typically are, extremely out of line. This distorted thinking can lead to disappointment, anger, frustration, or worse.
It’s been said that expectations are premeditated resentments.
To look at this statement and come to terms with what this means and why it’s important is one key to finding serenity in recovery from addiction.
When there is an expectation about how someone will behave or react to a certain situation, the expectation typically comes from how you perceive that you would act in that situation. This form of thinking can be dangerous. When you look at a situation this way, you are taking into account your own intention, your own experience, and your own thought processes. The person with whom you are projecting the expectation on to may or may not have any of these things in common with you and therefore, may or may not react in a similar way as you.
When you have created a picture in your mind of how a person or situation will be, you have set yourself up for disappointment or resentment.
Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. [Alcoholics Anonymous, pg 64]
Resentment is toxic to alcoholics and addicts. The longer a resentment festers, the more damage the resentment can do to our psyche, and harboring a resentment can lead to all kinds of absurd behaviors, including using so that we don’t have to feel the feelings of the resentment.
…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. [Alcoholics Anonymous, pg 66]
Resentment is like a thief, taking your energy, emotions, thoughts, and any hope of joy or serenity. The person or institution that you resent is not hurt or bothered by your resentment. The only person hurting over this resentment is you.
I’ve heard it said that having a resentment toward someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. This is a pretty good analogy for me to use when I’m looking at a resentment. It’s pretty easy to see how the other person is not going to feel any ill-effect of my resentment (poison) toward them.
In your recovery journey, you’ll more than likely hear about meditation. If you are like a lot of others in early recovery, sitting still and clearing your mind seems like an uncomfortable idea and a nearly impossible task.
According to Merriam-Webster, Meditation is to engage in contemplation or reflection, or to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.
Meditation, whether sitting alone in your bedroom or on a beach in Bali, has been proven to have many benefits, including lowering stress and blood pressure, to becoming more self-aware, and improving concentration and acceptance. In addition, meditation has proven to be an effective tool in drug rehab and maintaining sobriety.
There are some effective ways to begin to learn how to meditate without becoming overwhelmed with the idea of sitting quietly and trying to slow down all the thoughts and chatter in your head.
Your son is acting strangely. He has periods of extreme activity and seems agitated or upset. He is losing weight and has no appetite. He has sores on his face and arms and continues to dig at them as though bugs are crawling on his skin and he cannot get them off. You’ve noticed the behavior increasing over time and you suspect substance abuse. You start finding evidence that your suspicions are true – empty soda cans with holes in the sides, crumpled pieces of aluminum foil, and his manner has changed. You find yourself facing a harsh, upsetting reality. Your son is using “meth,” and you’re not sure how to go about helping him or if you even can.
In order to help your loved one struggling with meth addiction, it is important to understand “meth” and why it is such a popular drug of choice.
The use of Methamphetamine, or meth, continues to gain popularity with young adults. The stress of a fast paced lifestyle and the urge to have more energy often contributes to the desire to try meth for the first time. Methamphetamine is an intense stimulant that can last anywhere from 8 to 10 hours when it is ingested. Meth provides a fast, strong euphoria followed by a long, less intense euphoric phase. Meth is so addicting that users can become addicted within a few uses. Meth is easy to obtain and, according to HealthResearchFunding.org, costs about $25 for one hit, which equates to about a quarter of a gram. HealthResearchFunding.org also states that the first high from Methamphetamine is so pleasurable and intense that users feel compelled to keep chasing that high, trying again and again to replicate it. For a meth user, the craving is constant.
The horse was uneasy and had given his handler every sign that he was upset. The big gray gelding had tried to pull away, tried to bite, and finally, reared up on his hind legs and thrust his front legs forward, connecting his front hooves with his handler, one hoof landing square in the middle of his chest, the other on his shoulder. The handler cried out in pain as he tumbled to the ground, the horse stepping on his left arm as he landed. The handler let go of the lead rope as he grasped his arm and chest in agony. The big gray horse took off running, his black mane and tail flowing freely behind him. There was no catching him now. He had quickly found his stride and was eagerly distancing himself from the man that had caused his panic. He was free of the negativity shown by his handler and was heading straight to his place of comfort – his paddock on the other side of the ranch.
It has been said that animals are a good judge of character. Many people have stated that they do not trust someone their dog doesn’t like. In this particular instance, the horse was showing good instinct and protecting himself. Animals, especially horses, have an uncanny knack for sensing when something is off. If a person is angry or upset, the horse will pick up on that energy and respond accordingly. If a person is nervous, again, the horse will pick up on that energy and begin to act nervous. And in the case of the big gray gelding, he was responding to the tumultuous emotions raging through his handler, a horseman that is a professional farrier by trade, who was displaying erratic emotions brought on by an evening spent doing meth and drinking alcohol until the sun shown in the sky and it was time to start a new day trimming horses.
Understanding and living with substance abuse is challenging whether you’re the addict or the loved one trying to cope with it.
You cannot control everything. You have no influence over what other people say or do, and life will create circumstances that are uncomfortable. If you’re a recovering addict you know this, you’ve heard it a hundred times, and you’ve lived it. Yet there are things that make you want to use again. One of the most important aspects of recovery and staying sober is recognizing triggers – the things that make you want to justify using again.
There are many types of triggers, all of which can be a recipe for relapse. Recognizing these triggers and putting a stop to them can help you or a loved one avoid the trap of relapse and stay on the journey of recovery.
According to addictioncenter.com, triggers for relapse generally fall into three categories: emotional, environmental, or exposure. It is important to recognize these triggers and identify what makes you or your loved one justify wanting to use again.
Is it emotional? These types of triggers can be both positive and negative. Positive triggers can be the memories of celebrations in the past – good memories having fun with friends, falling in love, or achieving an important goal. Negative triggers can be memories of heartache, such as the loss of a loved one or a bad break-up. Memories that are so painful you wish to be numb or forget them entirely.
Many people have Botox injections to smooth out or prevent wrinkles and experience no side effects whatsoever. However, there are some side effects to Botox injections that can happen for various reasons. One of the more common side-effects is a drooping eyelid – called ptosis – when injections are placed close to the eye perimeter. While this can be treated with another medication it is better if it doesn’t happen at all.