How to Stay Clean and Sober Over the Summer

sober friends on road trip during summer

How to Stay Clean and Sober Over the Summer

sober friends on road trip during summerIf you’re in early recovery, you know that recovery is a journey, you have to keep working for it. That can seem intimidating around things and events where you’d normally party or drink and use drugs or alcohol. For many of us, summer is about vacations, time off from school and work, and getting to party. For some of us, that can be intensely triggering. In other cases, it can mean facing the prospect of a “boring” summer, without the usual outlets of getting to let go and party.

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to have a great summer without drugs and alcohol. However, you might have to put in time to plan that summer. You might have to figure out what you can do, explore fun things to do, and look into ways you can feel social, get excitement, and enjoy being around others without drugs and alcohol. The closer you are to having been in recovery, the harder that might be. However, you can take steps that will ensure you stay clean and sober over the summer and hopefully enjoy yourself as well.

Mindset is Everything

It’s interesting how much of relapse is about mindset. For many of us, relapse is forwarded by finding ourselves reminiscing about the “good times” and getting to let loose, to party, to feel good. The minute you find yourself thinking in that way, it’s time to stop and reevaluate your mindset.

After all, it may be easier to let go of your inhibitions and go dancing or sing karaoke after a few drinks, but how much of it do you remember? How much of what is said is genuinely you? Do you get to make genuine connections with others? And what about the morning after when you wake up tired, dehydrated, and feeling bad? What about that? Most of us conveniently forget that drug and alcohol binges come with at least twice that amount of time of feeling bad. Correcting yourself by thinking about those bad times, thinking about throwing up, needing friends to get you home, passing out in places, being uncomfortable, having a headache – that’s all important too.

Glamorizing drugs and alcohol as part of your lifestyle is not going to get you a fun summer. However, you can actively confront your mindset when you do and make sure you remember the bad times as well.

And, having a summer without those bad times probably sounds pretty good right?

Make Sure You Understand Yourself

two friends chatting near the oceanIt’s important to know what triggers you. Chances are, if you’ve been going to therapy or addiction treatment, you’re already working on that. Understanding what is likely to trigger you means you can better plan having support networks around you when those triggers occur. You can also think about avoiding those triggers.

For most people, triggers look like:

  • Being around drugs or alcohol
  • Seeing people you used with
  • Being put in situations of stress
  • Being in situations that would previously have resulted in drinking or using
  • Being at parties or around others using
  • Being in certain environments like a beach, a bar, etc., that you might associate with getting drunk or using

For example, if you used to go to a resort in Mexico to get drunk and high over the summer, you probably don’t want to go to a beach in Mexico this summer. That will probably trigger you a great deal, and it will be difficult to avoid being surrounded by people who are heavily drinking.

Understanding your triggers means you can take steps to plan your vacation around those triggers and to have support when you can’t avoid those things. E.g., you’re going on a city trip and you know you can’t avoid bars, so you bring a sober friend you can talk to so you know you’ll get support even if you’re feeling cravings.

Here, it’s also a good idea to plan in how to react to cravings. That means figuring out how to take 15 minutes to do something with your hands, talk to a friend, solve a Rubik’s cube,

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Plan Sober Fun

two friends chatting near the oceanKnowing what to avoid is only half the battle. You also have to know what you think is fun, what you can do for fun, and where you’ll find enjoyment. You still want your summer to be enjoyable, relaxing, and entertaining. You still want to feel like you’ve had a good time. That often means planning in sober fun. What is “sober fun”? That depends on you and what you like. For most people, “fun” works out to:

  • Social time where you get to engage with others, including people you know and strangers
  • Challenge
  • Games
  • Feeling like you’re contributing or making a difference
  • Adrenaline

Not everyone will like all of these things. However, most people like at least some of them. You can work that out to:

  • Sober parties and social outings, like dance classes, where you get to engage with others without alcohol. Don’t be afraid to throw your own parties. But, keep in mind there are sober events in most areas.
  • Physical activities, especially group activities. Think dancing, skating, bouldering, and other similar activities. Swimming might be less fun because it’s less social on average unless you’re playing water polo. Hiking is a great choice whether you’re traveling or staying home.
  • Challenging activities, like bouldering, escape rooms, chess, or board games, are a great option.
  • You’ll still want to feel excitement, so do things that are exciting. That can mean taking spontaneous trips, going on rollercoasters or water slides, going skydiving, or asking people to dance. The point is that you want to feel excitement because that’s an important part of having fun.
  • Volunteering, helping out with friends, and contributing to your self-help group or family are also an important part of having fun. Especially as you move further into recovery, you’ll find that fun and enjoyment is more about building moments that are enjoyable and creating a life that is worth living, and that means giving back. You’ll find that volunteering is extremely rewarding, if not “fun” in the most classic sense.

If you’re traveling, it’s also important to make time to experience food, culture, and sights. That means hiking, eating, local music, and city trips as part of your planned fun.

Don’t Give Up Self Care Routines

Most of us learn significant self-care routines as part of rehab. That means you’ll have a routine of wake up at a specific time, eat something healthy, work out, clean a bit, do your therapy or maintenance homework, go about your day, come home, eat something healthy, clean up, have a bedtime routine, go to bed at about the same time every night. The order of that can differ a lot but all of those elements should be in it.

Here, it’s important that you stick to that routine as you go about your summer. It doesn’t matter that you might not be going to college or to work, you might be in a different location, etc., but you should still maintain the self-care routines. That normally means that you should exercise about 80% of days, you should eat healthy meals about 80% of the time, and you should go to bed at the same time about 80% of the time. It’s okay to give that up for 2-3 days of short vacation, but other than that, you should stick to your routines so you can maintain your self-care and your mental health.

If you think you’re struggling or you’re not sure about getting through the summer clean and sober, it’s always a good idea to ask for extra help. That can mean signing up for a self-help group at your destination, it can mean signing up for telehealth therapy, it can mean going into treatment over the summer. It’s important that you ask for the help you need so you have the support you need to get through your summer clean and sober.

7 Characteristics of a Good Drug and Alcohol Rehab

mental health expert at a drug and alcohol rehab

7 Characteristics of a Good Drug and Alcohol Rehab

a female client inquiring on a drug and alcohol rehab centerIf you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, getting help and going to rehab is the best way to get started turning your life around. Unfortunately, even choosing a rehab center can be a challenge. In 2022, there were 17,353 registered substance use disorder treatment facilities in the United States. This means you’ll have to navigate a large number of options, look at different treatment methods, and put in work to find the treatment center that works for you.

Those facilities also vary considerably in treatment options, luxury, treatment type, and treatment delivery. For example, you can go to a simple outpatient program where you visit the clinic daily. You can also go to a high-end luxury resort that looks and feels like a vacation with therapy on top. There’s also a large range of options in between, which is the best fit for most people. Whatever you go to, the following 7 characteristics of a good drug and alcohol rehab are crucial for your treatment.

1. They Accept Your Insurance

Substance abuse treatment can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re going to an inpatient treatment facility. Having the surety that your program is covered by your insurance allows you to get the help you need without adding on extra financial stress. In addition, if your treatment facility accepts insurance, that means it’s offering medically recognized treatment, has gone through the process of being locally licensed and certified, and meets the standards for quality set by whatever region it is in.

Of course, that’s not always the case. Some insurance programs simply won’t cover inpatient care. Others require that you go to outpatient care first and only cover inpatient care if you relapse after an outpatient program. So, your rehab center not being covered by your insurance provider may be about policy rather than about the rehab facility being part of an established medical network. However, in general, it’s best to work with rehab centers that work with medical providers, that are part of your network, and that can share data and medical files to your doctor and vice-versa, so you get the best possible care.

2. The Facility and Staff are Licensed

It’s important to check who you are working with and who is providing treatment as part of your rehab program. For example, are you working with registered nurses for your detox program? Are counselors licensed? Is there a psychologist or psychiatrist on the team? How much interaction will you have with those people?

Depending on the drug and alcohol rehab team, you’re likely to work with a mix of counselor, nurses, and doctors. You’ll want to see what staff are like and how qualified they. The best programs largely rely on skilled specialist counselors with therapists and doctors to back up those programs, so you get a mix of treatment.

3. The Facility Offers Personalized Treatment

Whether it’s called personalization, trauma-informed care, or a program that’s adjusted to your needs as you move through it, you want to look for personalization. This means that the facility adapts your treatment to you and your needs. This is important because many people going into addiction treatment struggle with unique problems like trauma, co-occurring mental health disorders, and behavioral problems. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to believe in therapy, therapy should adapt to offer you a motivational program. If you’re struggling to commit to treatment because you’re feeling suicidal, therapy should adapt to address that first.

Personalized treatment means you get the care you need, when you need it, instead of being forced through a cookie-cutter program. That will improve your outcome and will ensure you get the support you need as you need it. However, it can also mean programs last much longer, as you might have to delay treatment to address other symptoms or slow down treatment to your pace.

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4. Low Patient to Staff Ratios

mental health expert at a drug and alcohol rehabThe more one-on-one time you get with staff and counselors, the more value you’ll get from the treatment center. Of course, you also benefit a great deal from interacting with your peers and from group therapy. That’s why basically every treatment option incorporates group therapy as a baseline. It’s good for you to see and experience how others are going through and have gone through addiction, it’s good for you to understand your peers, and it’s good for you to be able to see which aspects of your personality and behavior are you and which are “just” addiction. At the same time, the best drug and alcohol rehab centers maintain a low staff to patient ratio.

In general, ratings are:

  • 14+ patients per staff member – High
  • 4-14 patients per staff member – Average
  • 4 or less patients per staff member – Low

It’s also important to keep in mind that the lower staff to patient ratios are, the more you’ll pay for treatment. However, you’ll also get more direct attention, more personalization, and more insight into your own personal needs. And, that can be extremely valuable, whether you’re going to an inpatient or an outpatient program.

5. Diverse Treatment Options

Most people are aware that there are dozens of ways to treat substance use disorders. Here, you want to look for a program that uses multiple treatment options so that they can adapt your treatment and your program to your needs. For example, if your treatment center is only offering counseling, it might not be a great resource for you.

A good mix of treatment options looks like:

  • Diverse behavioral therapies like CBT, DBT, and EMDR
  • Counseling
  • Group Therapy
  • Motivational Therapies like ACT
  • Complementary therapies like music therapy, nutritional therapy
  • Exercise and fitness programs

Essentially, you want a program that uses a mix of resources, so it can offer you what you need, when you need it.

6. Aftercare Programs

The dream is that you go through rehab and you walk out the other side, a new person, ready to recover. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Most people end up needing aftercare including ongoing therapy and counseling. Sometimes that’s to give you the support you need to stay clean and sober. In other cases, it’s to give you the support you need to go back to recovery after a relapse. However, any good rehab program will realize that you need this aftercare. Aftercare can mean sober homes, ongoing support and counseling, telehealth support, fast-track readmission in case of a relapse, an outpatient program, checkups and key dates, etc. The important thing is that it’s there, that you discuss with your rehab center what you need and why, and that you have the tools to get that ongoing support.

7. Support for Co-occurring Disorders

More than half of all people with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Many of those include disorders that require medication and treatment. You need to ensure that your facility has the tools to help you manage co-occurring disorders, to help you treat the symptoms of substance use disorders around mental health disorders, and that address how substance use disorders impact your vulnerability to substance abuse and to relapse.

There’s a lot that goes into choosing a drug and alcohol rehab program. Often, you should start by talking to your doctor, decide what you’re looking for, and then figure out where you’re looking for treatment. From there, it’s easier to narrow down treatment options – and you may find that there are only a few that meet the criteria you’re looking for. Hopefully, you can find a great rehab center that meets your needs and helps you take the next step towards recovery.

Why Long-Term Addiction Rehab Produces Better Outcomes

a man from a long term rehab center looking at the camera

Why Long-Term Addiction Rehab Produces Better Outcomes

a man from a long term rehab center looking at the cameraFor most people, rehab means a 28-30-day stint in a recovery clinic. That standard care often feels like a long time for many of us, especially when we have to take time off of work, away from childcare, and away from other life responsibilities and goals. At the same time, modern medicine and research increasingly shows that 30 days is not enough to offer the full term of support and care that most people need. For that reason, long-term addiction rehab, or rehab that extends up to 6 months, is increasingly available. Here, long-term addiction rehab facilities often adjust the treatment model to the patient. This means that you receive care for as long as your doctor and provider thinks you need it.

The 30-day treatment model still offers convenience and an alternative to those who can’t afford a longer term of care. However, continuing with outpatient treatment after an inpatient stay is still recommended. There are many reasons why long-term addiction rehab produces better outcomes than the traditional model. If you’re considering investing in longer care for you or your loved one, it’s important to understand why, and what the differences are. 

Based on Biological Recovery

Most people are aware that recovering from the physical impacts of addiction can take a very long time. Few of us are aware of just how long. For example, the early impacts of addiction on the reward system typically fade within 30-90 days depending on the individual. After 30-90 days of treatment, your brain will be at a semi-permanent state of “recovery” for the next 12-24 months. From there, you’ll continue to heal, but more slowly.

For many people, it does take 1-2 years before your brain resembles a “control” subject of someone who hasn’t been addicted to drugs or alcohol. For example, it typically takes about 14 months for your brain to show levels of dopamine transporters at levels similar to those of persons who have never been addicted. Brain imaging from persons who were abstinent after alcoholism also showed that the longer individuals were abstinent, the better brain recovery was. For example, individuals who were abstinent for 10 months were significantly more likely to show normal volumes in areas of the brain related to executive control, salience, and emotional processing than individuals who were sober for 1 month.

On the other hand, your brain may never fully recover from addiction. The earlier you start using or drinking, the more permanent changes will be. For example, adolescents who heavily drink are likely to never have a brain that functions the same as a control subject who never had an addiction. Still, that just means you’ll need more ongoing support, rather than that you can’t live without drugs or alcohol.

Essentially, your body takes a long time to recover from addiction. Spending one month in rehab can help you to overcome the worst of cravings. For many others, that process takes up to 90 days. From there, you’ll still have a long uphill battle as your brain slowly returns to normal.

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Benefits of Long-Term Drug Rehab

people during group therapy a long term rehab centerLong-term drug rehab is typically delivered in one of several ways, depending on your resources and time. These include:

  • A longer stay of 90+ days in a rehab facility where you’ll receive full support and ongoing care in a facility, followed by aftercare when you leave
  • A 30-day stay in residential treatment followed by 6+ months of outpatient treatment
  • A 30-day stay in residential treatment followed by a stay in a sober home and 6+ months of outpatient treatment

Here, you’ll normally get a therapy and counseling schedule that’s very similar to what you’d get in a shorter-term rehab. However, it will extend for longer. You’ll also get additional tracks of long-term self-care, physical health, mental recovery, social recovery, etc., to help you rehabilitate back into your life, rather than just helping with the immediate pressing issue of the substance use disorder.

Building Structure – The longer your stint in rehab, the more time you’ll have to build the structure and habits that allow you to live in a healthy way. For example, most people are aware of the “24 days to build a habit” maxim. Few of us are aware that in reality that scales from 14-90+ days. The longer you have to repeat habits like daily exercise, cleaning, self-care, meals, etc., the more you’ll be able to make those routines a normal part of your life, without extra effort. Therefore, spending more time in rehab means you’ll have more time to make structure a normal part of your life. You’ll also have more time to benefit from structure set up by someone else, so you don’t have to worry about or think about things like ensuring you’re eating well, that you’re getting enough exercise, etc. You’ll get the healthy lifestyle while having the headspace to focus on your recovery, managing your mental health, and working through counseling and therapy.

Ongoing Care –Traditional rehab means you get a few weeks of detox followed by a few weeks of intensive therapy and care. With long-term rehab, you get detox and then as much ongoing therapy as you need. This means that your program is completely scaled to meet your needs to help you work through pressing issues as they come up and then to continue to help you build healthy coping skills, healthy life skills, social skills, etc.

A Focus on Life Rehabilitation – Long-term drug rehab means you can shift the focus of mental healthcare away from triage and focusing on immediate issues like cravings and addiction and towards helping you build the skills for a healthy and happy life. That means skills to cope with cravings, time management, emotional regulation, learning to build healthy and fulfilling social relationships, introducing self-care, learning to manage mental health, etc. That will, eventually, mean you’re set up to be much more stable and healthy when you do go back to your life.

Support as Long as You Need It – If you’re staying in rehab as long as you need it, you can get the care you need. That means continuing each part of your track until you’re actually ready to graduate. That means you can focus on recovering from and dealing with cravings for as long as you need. When you’re ready to move on from that, you can do so. You can spend as much time as you need to learn how to manage stress, emotional regulation, and anything else that comes up during the course of your treatment. That will, eventually, give you a much better baseline to deal with and manage yourself and your life. Recovery at your own pace also means you can get treatment for years on an outpatient basis, and you don’t have to stop going to care until you’re ready to do so.

Aftercare – It doesn’t matter how long treatment is, you should always get aftercare. That means options to restart treatment and to have checkups, ongoing sessions with counselors, and meetups with your peers. Long-term addiction rehab typically provides that as a standard part of treatment, meaning you know that when you graduate from care, you’ll have follow-up sessions to ensure you’re still doing well, you’ll have opportunities to reconnect with people, and you’ll have opportunities to give back where you want to.

Long-term addiction rehab is an investment because it takes more of your time and for longer. However, it provides you with a baseline to build a healthy life, to get treatment at your own pace, and to stay in care for as long as you need it. It’s not the right solution for everyone, but for many people, it means you’re opting into long-term support and structure, so you get what you need to stay clean and sober.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

The Many Triggers that Precede Relapse

The Many Triggers that Precede Relapse

The Many Triggers that Precede Relapse

The Many Triggers that Precede RelapseIf you’re moving into recovery, you know that relapse is an ongoing threat to your health and your progress. Unfortunately, the risk of that will always be a problem, which is why many people in recovery continue to get help, go to aftercare, and continue to seek out both nonprofessional (self-help) and professional (counseling, therapy, sober homes, etc.) help. While it’s important to ensure that you have ongoing care and resources to reach out to in case something goes wrong, it’s also important to understand what can cause a relapse, how to recognize an impending relapse, and how to reach out for help.

That often starts out with understanding your triggers. Here, it’s important to keep in mind that triggers are unique and personal. Yours might be very different from what’s on this list. Therefore, managing yourself and your recovery will almost always include some amount of self-awareness, logging when you feel cravings, and figuring out what makes you crave drugs or alcohol. You can work on that with a counselor or therapist. However, many people experience some variation of the following triggers, which may help you to recognize and react to your own.

What Are Triggers?

Triggers are incidents which push your brain into a response to use drugs or alcohol. In some cases, the trigger is to directly drink or use. In other cases, the trigger is something that sets off a chain reaction that eventually results in relapse.

Triggers are things that most people think of as negative. For example, we’re all used to hearing about triggers for PTSD, where traffic jams can cause someone to relive the experience of a car accident or how fireworks may cause a veteran to relive an experience of gunfire or bombing. Yet, triggers can also come from positive events. A promotion may trigger you into feeling like you should get to celebrate and have a break and that might end up in a relapse.

It’s also important to keep in mind that triggers don’t have to kick off an immediate reaction. You could experience something that sets things in motion, resulting in a relapse in 2 months. However, the trigger remains the thing that kicked it off. Learning to recognize those triggers and cope with them in healthy fashions will help you prevent the relapse.

Triggers can be anything. They also vary per person. The things that cause you to drink or use won’t be the things that cause your peers to drink or use. However, there will be overlaps.

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What Are Some Common Relapse Triggers?

There are hundreds of things that can count as “triggers”. In fact, there’s no real limit on them. However, the following items include some of the most common triggers that precede a relapse.

woman feeling stress1.  Stress

Stress is the most common relapse trigger. It’s also one of the most common triggers for addiction. This means that stress management should be your number one priority in recovery. If you feel like you have to escape from life, you’re setting yourself up for a relapse. Learning stress management strategies, taking stress to directly reduce stress in your life, and proactively learning how to handle situations and incidents in a manner that mitigates stress will all help you to stay clean and sober. Taking steps might mean stepping to a less stressful job, trying to reduce commute, hiring a babysitter, working to live in a quieter area, getting rid of tasks that cause you a lot of stress, learning mindfulness or meditation techniques, improving how you dela with situations, and much more. The important thing is that you take active steps to reduce stress so that you don’t find yourself triggered into drinking or using. Here, talking to your doctor will be an important step.

2. Feeling Bad

Feelings of negatively such as anger, grief, sadness, loneliness, and boredom are all triggers for substance abuse. In fact, if it makes you feel like you want to get away from it, it’s probably a trigger for you. That’s especially true while you’re in recovery, because you’ve already trained your brain that drinking or drugs is a way out of whatever you’re feeling. If you feel bad for example because of a breakup, difficulties at work, a traumatic event, or even just feel lonely and sad, you’ll probably feel a lot of internal pressure to use. And, that can mean that you will be triggered to relapse because you’ll have pushed the buttons that lead to drinking or using again – providing you don’t find healthier coping mechanisms in the meantime. The bad news is that negative emotions are an unavoidable part of life. You’re going to want to start working on healthy ways to manage and cope with negative emotions, and the sooner you do it, the easier staying in recovery will be.

3. Feeling Good

It’s unfair that feeling good can also be a trigger, but it can be. Here, many of us associate good times with substance abuse. That can mean you are triggered into using by good times. For example, you get married, you get a promotion, a new car. What do you want to do? You want to celebrate. And, what do you associate with celebrating? Substance abuse. Being aware that this is a risk can help you to mitigate it. However, you’ll also want to make sure you have people to talk to, that you have a good idea of how to have fun without relapsing, and that you can figure out how to feel like you’ve had a party and an outlet without substance abuse.

4. Re-exposure

man drinking alcohol

The most common trigger that most people run into is exposure. However, that can be very multifaceted. For example, re-exposure can mean:

  • To Substances – If you’re not used to being around a substance you might find that even being able to smell it is a trigger. People with alcohol problems can relapse after smelling old beer in a cup. For this reason, most people eventually want to try to expose themselves to substances to ensure they can stay in control and that they learn to cope with cravings under the supervision of a therapist or counselor. If you do that, it should be after discussion and agreement with your therapist. However, sudden exposure to a substance can mean you end up facing unexpectedly strong cravings, don’t even think before using the substance, or otherwise just react and end up relapsing. Habit can take over but so can strong cravings.
  • Locations – You might be surprised to walk into a room where you used to get high or drunk and find that you’re experiencing cravings or worse just reacting without thinking but it’s a common experience. It’s important to watch yourself around places you used to abuse substances in, places you used to buy substances in, and places where you used to hide substances. For example, most people are aware that a liquor store is going to be a problem if they have an issue with alcohol. Most people don’t realize that taking the route home from work past the liquor store can trigger an automatic reaction to park their car in the lot and get out. Those kinds of automatic reactions can be surprising, and they can result in relapse because you’re just following habits without thinking.
  • People – People can be triggering in multiple ways. For example, if you used to abuse substances with them. Or, if they resulted in you using to begin with. People who caused trauma that resulted in escapism, people who were around a lot when you were using, and people who cause a lot of stress can all result in a triggering experience. Here, you’re typically better off working towards exposure therapy and learning to cope with these triggers, because you can’t always avoid people.

In every case, re-exposure can put you at risk of a relapse.

Getting Help 

Moving into recovery means dealing with yourself, your cravings, and your triggers. It means working to understand yourself, what makes you tick, and what makes you want to escape. It means talking to addiction treatment professionals and trying to work towards finding healthy coping mechanisms. And, it means having accountability so you can check in, have people help you when things are starting to go badly, and get support. Recovery is often not a straightforward path, you may have setbacks, you may need additional treatment, and you might slip up. It’s important that you have the support system in place to ensure you can get that help when you need it.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

How Scripture Can Help a Christian in Recovery

a man recovering from addiction reading his Bible

How Scripture Can Help a Christian in Recovery

a man recovering from addiction reading his BibleIf you’re recovering from a substance use disorder, you’re likely moving back into life one-step at a time. Here, God and your spirituality should be an important part of that. That’s so much true that more than 70% of all addiction recovery centers in the United States rely on Christian-based programs to help guide patients into recovery. As you graduate those programs and move back into life on your own, you’ll still need God to help you. And, what better guidance than his Word in the form of Scriptures.

Here, it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not enough to have a copy of the Bible. You need to invest, you need to go to church, attend your meetings, read from the Bible, and take steps to actively live in the right way. When you do, you might find that the Scripture is a powerful and motivating force, a comfort that you can turn to when you’re uncertain, and a source of wisdom you can look to again and again. You can find your favorite verses, take time to read chapters, and find time to spend with God every day through those verses.

Inspiration

The Bible is full of beautiful verses that are often extremely relevant to those of us struggling with addiction. The Bible even talks about recovering from addiction. In those verses, you can find inspiration, empowerment, and the realization that you are not alone.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” _ 1 Corinthians 10:13

You will take inspiration from things that matter to you. However, the Bible is a wealth of inspiration, stories of people who succeeded against terrible circumstances, and the ongoing reminder that God is there. Taking time to find inspiration, to remind yourself that you are walking paths that others have walked before you, and to remind yourself that you can do this will give you inspiration to keep going.

Motivation

Motivation is not how you make it through rehab and recovery. At the same time, it can be a powerful force in getting you started and keeping you on track. The Scripture can offer that motivation, reminding you of what you are fighting for, giving you reasons to fight, and reminding you of how good life can be when you’re healthy and whole.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” _ 1 Corinthians 6:12

Here, you can look for reasons to keep going, you can find scriptures that talk about who you are, that represent you, that represent who you want to be, and you can continue to find motivation in those, even as you grow and change in your recovery.

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Comfort

a woman recovering from substance abuse getting comfort from reading the scripture in the BibleMaking space in your life for daily prayer, reflection, and reading the Scripture can be meditative, calming, and a good way to find peace. It’s important to take time to Talk to God. But, it’s also important to take time to Listen. That means taking time to read his Word, even if it’s a few verses per day.

For example, it’s often a good idea to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with God before bed or when you wake up. Following that with reading the Scripture gives you a way to calm down, to find peace, and to find comfort before moving to bed or before starting your day. Taking 15 minutes a day to read through the Scripture will give you insight and food for thought over the day, it will mean you’ll be in touch with God, and it means you’ll have a space of calm to look forward to every day.

Taking that time and space to listen to God also means you’ll be feeling more in touch with yourself, more able to experience gratitude, and better able to see the good things in your life. The perspective of the Scripture can shift your view of the mundane to one of gratitude, calm, and peace at what you have, and that can be a powerful part of recovery.

Guidance

Figuring out who you are as you move into recovery can be a challenge. For many of us, moving out of addiction means feeling line a sinner, like we are unworthy, and like we must earn our place at God’s side before we can call ourselves a Christian. The Bible is full of sinners and from Eve to Ruth to Saul on the Road to Damascus, who would later become one of the greatest of the Apostles, it’s full of redemption.

That can be an extremely important part of your recovery. That’s especially true if you’re looking to frame your past, to find a place to fit yourself in your faith, and to figure out how you can be Christian despite your past. The Bible will offer you that peace

That will help you find peace and find quiet, to find meaning, and to come to terms with yourself and with the world around you.

Getting in Touch with God

For many of us, the scripture is a way to talk to God, not to say things to him, but to listen. That means opening your mind and your heart to experience wonder, to acknowledge the higher power of God, and to recognize yourself in His plan. The Scriptures are the closest we have to directly listening to the Word of God, and making time to listen to read, to talk about, and to understand it is an important part of finding ourselves again as Christians. That will help you to feel connected, like you’re part of your community, and like you get the guidance and support you need from God, even though most of that support will come in the form of the people he puts into your life.

Moving Forward

As you move into recovery, your faith, your ability to dedicate time to it, and your acceptance of God as part of your life will be an important part of your recovery. Making time to read the Scripture, to find motivation in it, to find inspiration in others who have pushed through, and to find new ways to connect with God will give you the help you need in that recovery.

Eventually, recovering from a substance use disorder means taking care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit. That means going to rehab and getting mental health help and counseling, it means taking care of your body and eating well and exercising, and it means investing in your spirituality by connecting with God, talking to him, and setting aside time to Listen and read the Scripture. Of course, none of that will ever replace going to treatment, connecting with your Christian community, and being part of it, but all of it will help you as you move towards Recovery and building a new life for yourself.

How to Take Care of a Pet When You Are Newly Sober

Woman Taking Care of her Pet after recovery

How to Take Care of a Pet When You Are Newly Sober

Woman Taking Care of her Pet after recoveryIf you’re just out of recovery and you have to take care of a pet, it can mean extra challenge. In fact, if you don’t yet own a pet, most recovery groups will recommend waiting to get one. Here, recovery groups often start individuals out on buying a plant and keeping that alive first. Once you’ve proven you can do that, you can start with pets. But, if you already have a pet, you’ll have to jump right into taking care of and managing the life that is in your care. That can be a massive responsibility.

The good news is that there are plenty of strategies you can use to ensure you’re providing good care for the animals in your life – even when you’re newly sober. These tips will help you make the right decisions and the right calls.

Take Your Pet to Rehab with You

An increasingly large number of rehab and treatment centers will offer pet care during recovery treatment. This means that you can simply bring your pet with you and continue offering it care while you work on yourself. That’s often relatively easy as you can keep a cat in a room with you, birds in cages, and rehab often involves hiking and plenty of time to walk, so dogs can also get exercise.

Of course, bringing a pet to rehab with you will reduce the number of rehab centers you can choose from. On the other hand, it means that caring for your pet is part of your schedule from day one. It is good to be able to focus on yourself first and foremost during recovery. However, rehab offers plenty of time for pet care, which means this can be a great option.

Ask for Help When You Need It

You won’t always have the headspace or the time to care for your pet. It’s important that you learn to reach out and ask for help when you need it. That might mean having a pet sitter. It might also mean having someone come over to help you with cleaning a litter box or cages when you notice you’re having trouble keeping up. If you treat early sobriety like being in recovery from being sick or like having a depression diagnosis, you’ll understand that you will have good and bad days. Some days you will need help. That may mean having someone on call to help you with your pet so that you know your pet gets the care it needs. Asking for that help can be hard because it can make you feel like you’re not being enough for a pet, but it’s important to recognize that you are sick and you do need help sometimes. If you can’t do that, then your pet may actually go without because you are in recovery and you won’t always be healthy enough (mentally or physically) to offer the care your pet needs.

Work Pet Care into Your Routines

Moving into recovery often means building good routines into your life. That means good food, exercise, and taking care of your home and space. It’s important that your pet be part of those routines from day one. For example, if you have a dog, you can make multiple long walks a day your exercise routine. That means you and your pet get the care you need. You can also work cleaning up after your pet into your morning routine. For example, taking 10 minutes before and after bed to check food and water, to clean up messes, etc., can be extremely good for your pet. Of course, any pet will also need extra time for play and for enrichment, which means setting that time aside. But, providing you make it part of your routine, you’ll have a better idea of when to do it and how to do it. Creating that routine will also help you to maintain good pet care even when you are having a bad day and are having a hard time.

Get Your Questions Answered

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Have Someone Check in on You

have someone check on youKeeping up with your mental health and your recovery can be difficult. It’s important that you have someone looking in on you. That means two things. The first is social accountability. Here, you know someone is checking in on you so you have external motivation to do something that should be done. That can be more helpful than most people realize. For example, if you’ve ever suddenly had the motivation to clean right before guests show up, you’ve experienced social accountability. It can be surprisingly powerful, even for things you want to do like taking care of your pet.

In addition, having someone check in on you can help you to notice sooner when you start to do badly. You might be struggling but someone will realize it and may help you to break out of it before things go bad. And, if they can’t, they will likely be able to help you take care of your pet so your pet does not lose the added care. That will be better for your pet and its wellbeing either way. Of course, that does mean having a self-help group, having people visit you, having that check-in, and that can be hard to ask for and hard to maintain.

Talk to Your Therapist

You might not be ready to take care of a pet. It’s important to accept that. It’s also important to accept that if you can’t take care of your pet right now, you should be getting help. That help might mean having someone drop by daily to help you with pet care. It might also mean having your pet live with a friend or family member for a bit while you work to recover your physical and mental health. Recovering from a substance use disorder is a lot. You might need help. You might have ups and downs. Your bad days might be so bad you cannot or can barely take care of yourself. Having a pet at the same time means taking on responsibility you might not be ready for. That means talking to your therapist, getting help, and figuring out what you’re capable of.

It’s always a good idea to wait with getting a pet if you can. However, pets can help with loneliness, they can help you to feel loved, they can give you a good baseline for self-care, and they can provide external motivation for doing things. On the other hand, if you wait till you’re further into recovery, you’ll be in better shape to ensure your pet has the care and emotional stability from its caretaker that it needs. Whatever situation you’re in, don’t be afraid to reach out, ask for help, and try to involve your pet in your therapy and recovery. Eventually, taking care of a life is a big responsibility and it should be an important part of your life, including your rehab and your self help and support. That can mean added complexity, but it will mean you get companionship, and your pet gets the care it needs.

Good luck with your recovery and with taking care of your pet.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.