Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction TreatmentIf your loved one is in treatment, they’re taking the steps to change their life for the better. Whether that’s after a long and hard battle to get them there or a sudden decision on their part doesn’t matter. Chances are, you want to support them and to provide the kind of help and support they need to continue to get better at home. That can mean taking steps to get therapy yourself, to change how you talk about and see substance use disorder, and to provide the kind of support they need.

It’s natural that you want to help. Chances are, offering support will also make a lot of difference to your loved one and how they feel coming out of addiction treatment. At the same time, they need to be in charge of their recovery and that means they set the pace. You can’t decide things for anyone, instead, you can only provide the emotional support they need to keep moving forward. Sometimes that will be difficult, especially if your loved one is struggling, appears to be backsliding, or is too caught up in dealing with their own problems to notice the help.

Addiction Treatment Doesn’t Mean Complete Recovery

In an ideal world, your loved one would go to treatment and come back completely recovered, with no more substance use disorder. Unfortunately, nothing ever works that way. Even if you were to send your loved one off for surgery for a broken bone, they’d still have months of recovery to follow – and you’d have to support them as they struggle through healing. Addiction treatment is the same, as you’ll have someone who’s been handed tools and a means of changing their life, but who still has to figure out how to apply that and if that application fits their life or if they need further support.

They will still experience cravings, they will have mood swings, they will revert to behaviors from addiction, they may even relapse a few times. The important thing is that they always stop and recognize negative things and get back on track, because healing is very rarely linear. If you need extra help with that, going to support groups like Al-Anon can actually help a great deal

It’s also important to keep in mind that nothing is bringing the “old” them back. Most of us send our loved ones off to treatment expecting to get the “them” they were before addiction happened back. That’s never going to happen, and setting expectations for it will only lead to disappointment. You’re going to have to get to know your loved one as they are now, with the impact of everything that’s happened since they started using, with the impact of substances on their brain, and with the impacts of therapy and treatment. They won’t be the same as before – but chances are, you’ll like the new version of them just as much as you did the old one.

Understanding what Support Looks Like

It’s also important to consider what supporting your loved one actually looks like. That means stepping back and looking at which factor. In most cases, that means:

  • Having the ability to make informed decisions to support physical and emotional well-being
  • Having a stable and safe place to live
  • Having a meaningful and independent life with resources to participate in society
  • Having support, love, friendship, and family through relationships and social networks

You can often help with that in several ways. For example, you can help by listening, by providing a stable place to live, by offering respect, and by continuing to engage with them even when they are struggling. Support can look different depending on your relationship and for example, will take dramatically different forms depending on whether your loved one is living with you or not after treatment.

Committing to Healing Relationships

family members having relationship problems because of substance abuseIt’s important to keep in mind that substance use disorders often very significantly damage relationships. Often, you will build patterns of negative behavior and responses that can carry over, even after your loved one is in recovery. This means you may have to deal with your own negative emotions and being bitter, angry, or disappointed. Your loved one is not going to tackle those right away and may not even realize it has to be done. Putting the focus on their recovery first and working to build a relationship so you have the grounds to talk about the past is an important part of commitment.

  • It’s not about you, their focus on their recovery should be the most important thing for the first months out of recovery
  • It’s critical to set healthy boundaries and to say no when you cannot or do not want to do something or be involved with it
  • Setting guidelines on stepping out of situations where either of you is behaving or responding in a negative fashion is important.
  • Deciding to actively acknowledge and work around past behavior and patterns will be important, especially if you find yourself easily fighting, dismissing each other, etc.

Setting good boundaries can also help you to ensure that you behave in a healthy manner around your loved one. E.g., by ensuring that you aren’t enabling them or pushing them back into a pattern of substance abuse.

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Create a Safe and Welcoming Environment

It’s important that you take steps to create a safe and welcoming environment for your loved one. That means:

  • Practicing acceptance of who they are now, with all faults and problems
  • Accepting that they aren’t recovered and are instead in recovery
  • Making space for mental health problems
  • Accepting that they will not be fixing your relationship right away
  • Accepting that substance use disorders are a behavioral disorder or an illness and not a personal choice

It also means taking steps to make your loved one feel like they are accepted, welcome, and wanted. That means:

  • Treating your loved one like a member of the family even when they can’t contribute to the family
  • Involve them in plans, events, etc.
  • Plan around their obligations and needs. E.g., having parties that are alcohol-free, taking their therapy or 12-step obligations into account when making plans, etc. Simple things like going “We can’t go out to dinner at Thursday at 5 PM because X has their 12-step meeting then, why don’t we do it Wednesday instead?” can make a lot of difference to people feeling like their needs are being taken into account.

A history of substance use disorder can mean there’s a history of avoidance, negative emotions, and not including people in plans. Changing that is one of the easiest ways to show that you accept they are trying and that they are part of the family.

Talk and Listen

Going into recovery and treatment often means that you’re basing your entire life around treatment. At the same time, your loved one is changing as a person. They’re learning new things, picking up new skills, picking up new hobbies, and making new friends. They’re in a state of enforced change and that can be difficult and traumatic. Making space to talk about that, about what they are learning, about what they are doing, about life goals, etc., is more important than talking about addiction, cravings, and getting better. Why? It makes your loved one feel supported, like you see that they are trying, and that you acknowledge they are a person beyond their substance use disorder and recovery from it.

Seek Out Family Therapy

people during a family therapyIn many cases, it’s going to be important to go to therapy and treatment yourself. That’s either by yourself or with your loved one. Family therapy can help you to improve your relationships, to undo old patterns, and to build new behavioral patterns with your loved one. It can also allow you to get support in figuring out how to be there for your loved one. That also often means having third-party insight into what your loved one is saying and what that means for you and for your family.

Family therapy can help you to work on healing relationships, to understand how your negative behavior patterns impact each other, and to see your relationship from their perspective as well as your own.

Building a Relationship

Moving forward from addiction means putting in a lot of work. It means accepting your loved one for who they are and as imperfect. It also means giving them autonomy, freedom, and privacy to make their own decisions. That means building trust and rebuilding a relationship based on who they are now. That can be difficult, especially if the past hasn’t given you the grounds to do so, but will give you a baseline to have a healthy and positive relationship with your loved one moving forward.

Rehab or addiction treatment gives your loved one the tools to move forward and to fix their life. It’s what they do with it as they leave rehab that counts. The most important thing you can do to support that is to make them feel loved, like part of the family, and like they are being seen for the effort they are putting in.

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.

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 Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?


How Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?

SuboxoneSuboxone is an FDA-approved prescription drug most commonly used to help people maintain abstinence from opioid drugs. As a result, suboxone is one of the most prescribed medications for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs. It’s also listed as a life-saving drug by the World Health Administration as an essential drug. At the same time, there’s a lot of controversy around Suboxone – both for use with opioids and also for extra strong opioids such as fentanyl.

Here, many people are concerned that they’re replacing one drug with another. Others are concerned that Suboxone also has a withdrawal period. And, in some cases, individuals are concerned about the potential of precipitated withdrawal, which means that you suddenly go into withdrawal from a very strong drug, which can result in hospitalization. At the same time, Suboxone is considered one of the most important drugs for helping people maintain recovery – so you don’t run the risk of overdose when you go back to fentanyl. What are the factors that impact this? And, how effective is it?

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved combination drug composed of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It’s typically orally administrated and is primarily used in maintenance programs to help individuals stay clean during recovery from opioid use disorder. The drug has been shown to greatly improve outcomes for individuals by preventing relapse, reducing cravings, and reducing the length and severity of the detox phase. It’s also comprised of two of the most important drugs in opioid use disorder treatment:

  • Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine is an opioid drug with a light side effect profile and a lower addiction profile than those used recreationally. In light doses, buprenorphine causes no euphoria or sedation, meaning that it doesn’t have a driver for individuals to abuse it recreationally. However, it does bind with the same opioid receptors in the body and brain as fentanyl, meaning that while you’re taking it, you don’t experience physical cravings and you don’t go into withdrawal. This drug is sold on its own as Subutex. Here, it’s an important and lief-saving drug. However, it still carries the potential of abuse as buprenorphine can cause euphoria in high doses and when injected.
  • Naloxone – Suboxone also contains Naloxone, which is known as a the opioid overdose withdrawal reversal drug. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which causes opioids to stop binding with receptors in the brain. This can pull individuals out of an overdose. It can also cause sudden onset withdrawal which means that someone taking Naloxone suddenly will almost certainly require hospital care and treatment. However, it’s poorly digested orally. This means that while you are taking the Suboxone orally or according to prescription, it won’t have an effect. However, if you take more than the prescribed dose or attempt to inject it, the Naloxone will take effect – and you will go into withdrawal.

In short, Suboxone is buprenorphine, an opioid drug with an anti-abuse mechanism built in. That makes it safer for people to take home and use on their own, even during early stages of addiction.

When taking it, you should mostly feel normal, but without cravings or withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting opioid drugs like fentanyl.

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Is Suboxone Effective?

Editorial License_Vial of Naloxone drug which is used for opiate drug overdoseSuboxone is one of the most-recommended drugs for medication assisted treatment. That recommendation comes from the fact that it works, it has a very low risk of abuse, and the safety mechanism of Naloxone means that patients can more easily use it unsupervised at home. That allows more freedom to individuals to live their lives rather than going to a doctor’s office or clinic every day for a dose of buprenorphine.

Suboxone is also fully FDA approved. It’s consistently pointed to as greatly improving outcomes in opioid use disorder treatment. However, it is not a treatment on its own. Suboxone does not help you overcome behavioral addiction. Instead, it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to go about living your normal life while getting treatment for substance use disorder. Without dealing with cravings, you’re more likely to be able to get through treatment without risking relapse and potential overdose on fentanyl. This means it greatly reduces risks of accidental death while also reducing risk of relapse to begin with. At the same time, you still need behavioral therapy to recover from a behavioral substance use disorder. For this reason, any substance use disorder treatment program offering medication assistance with Suboxone will pair it with therapy and counseling.

Overall, Suboxone is a very safe and effective drug that can function as a crutch while you learn the skills to stay clean. It reduces the impact of quitting right away, reduces cravings, and lowers the threshold to staying clean. As a result, people who use it are significantly more likely to stay in recovery than those who are not in a MAT program.

What’s are the Concerns of Using Suboxone with Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is widely known as one of the strongest opioid drugs on the market. It’s also increasingly finding its way into dozens of drugs, including faux prescription pills, drugs sold as heroin, and even directly sold as fentanyl. At 10,000 times the strength of morphine, fentanyl is extremely strong and has a very high risk of overdose and accidental drug death. In fact, more than 74% of opioid drug deaths are linked to fentanyl. When you use Naloxone to treat fentanyl overdose, it causes significant and immediate withdrawal symptoms which can require medical attention. This is known as precipitated withdrawal. Persons taking suboxone run a risk of precipitated withdrawal as well. However, according to a study published in 2023, about 1% of fentanyl users taking suboxone will go through precipitated withdrawal. This means that it is important to start using suboxone in a clinic if you’re a fentanyl user. However, risks are extremely low.

In other cases, people are concerned about using one opioid to recover from another. However, buprenorphine has an extremely low addiction profile. This means it’s very unlikely that you become addicted to the drug. You will become dependent on the drug, which means you’ll have to taper off it in order to quit. However, it also means you can safely quit opioids, with low risks of strong withdrawal symptoms, and low risk of relapse. As a result, Suboxone is associated with improved recovery rates, reduced risk of death, and decreased cost of treatment.

Seeking Out Medication Assisted Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to look into getting help. If that substance is fentanyl, withdrawal and recovery are difficult and can be dangerous. Medication assisted programs with Suboxone can greatly reduce those risks. However, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor and your rehab facility. Both should help you to look at your options, associated risks, and how those risks come into play for your recovery, your long-term health, and your short-term treatment. Chances are very high that you’ll be recommended into a tapering program to reduce fentanyl usage or directly into a detox clinic where you can start suboxone under medical supervision and then directly into a behavioral mental health treatment program.

Eventually, the right treatment for you depends on your mental health, your addiction, and what you want for yourself. Suboxone can be life-saving, it can reduce risks, and it can help you to stay in recovery. Either way, good luck getting treatment.

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.

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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.

Why Finding New Hobbies Is Important for Long-Term Recovery

a happy young woman found a new hobby painting

Why Finding New Hobbies Is Important for Long-Term Recovery

a happy young woman found a new hobby paintingIf you’re just getting started with recovery, it can be a lonely experience. The first thing that most of us realize is that we have lost our hobbies, the things we do with our spare time, and many of our friends. That can put you in a position where you don’t know what to do with your spare time and that can leave you feeling bored, lonely, and unfulfilled. Those and other reasons are part of why it’s important to find hobbies for your long-term recovery.

You’re probably accustomed to people pushing anything they can at you in recovery. Crafts, yoga, music, painting – pretty much anything. That’s often because picking up new hobbies can be immensely good for you, for your self-esteem, and for your recovery. At the same time, it’s also important for you to find hobbies and to move at your own pace, so you can invest as you’re ready to do so.

Hobbies Build Your Self-Esteem

Starting and sticking to a hobby can boost your self-esteem and your confidence. Both of those are an important part of long-term recovery. However, hobbies can help you to build those skills in a natural way, which will in turn influence your behavior, attitude towards recovery, and your approach towards your life. Hobbies give you something to work on for yourself, meaning you can start out being proud that you’re sticking to something that you’re not yet good at, learn to be good at things, and build your skills – increasing your confidence not just in your ability to do the hobby well but also your ability to learn new things, to get good at things you started out being bad at, and to understand how you progress at those new skills.

That’s even more true if you make that a social hobby, like pottery or dancing, where you’ll get into contact with others and you’ll be able to grow as a group.

Hobbies Build Your Self-Discipline

Hobbies can require significant self-discipline. That can mean emotional regulation and managing your emotions when you fail. It can mean discipline and practice and ensuring that you keep going, keep making classes, keep practicing. It can also mean sticking with a schedule and a program so that you do actually learn. All of that will help you to develop your sense of discipline, which will transfer to other parts of your life.

Being Comfortable with Yourself Alone

Being comfortable alone and by yourself also means knowing what to do with yourself. And, knowing what to do with yourself means having an idea of what you like, what you’re good at, and what makes you feel like you’re spending your time in a way that you want. Investing in hobbies means that you’ll be able to build those skills and figure out what is a good way for you to spend your time. For example, you might find out that you really like making things with your hands. You might find out that bullet journalling is a great way to help you feel in control of your agenda. You might also decide you like getting to move and exercise. Knowing what you can fill your time with when you’re alone will make you feel less alone because you’ll be more open to spending time with yourself. And, that’s important even if your preferred hobbies are something like watching TV or reading a book rather than making something. Knowing how to keep yourself company is important, and many people just out of rehab don’t know how to do that.

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Finding Enjoyment

Finding EnjoymentDo you know how to have fun with your free time without drugs and alcohol? For most of us, long-term substance abuse means we’ve mostly forgotten. Sure you used to have hobbies and you might even want to go back to those, but remembering how to just sit down and have fun with something or with people without any substances can be hard. Building hobbies means you’ll get to find that again, to build up to it slowly, and to learn how to have fun with nothing but what your brain produces naturally. Of course, that might not happen right away. Many people actually experience emotional blunting in early recovery, where the brain is incapable of correctly regulating serotonin and dopamine, which means that it can feel like you feel nothing at all when you think you should be enjoying yourself. Hobbies help with that further by building up slowly – you’ll start out in positions of not being good at what you’re doing and the enjoyment will come with practice -and that’s perfect for learning how to enjoy yourself again.

Finding new Coping Mechanisms

Most people don’t think of a hobby as a coping mechanism. However, once you start a hobby, even something like knitting can help you to stay clean and sober. Why? It gives you something to fill your free time with without getting bored. It forces you to concentrate and do something with your hands, which can help you wait out cravings. It gives you something to de-stress with (although that will require a certain amount of fluency with the hobby). You won’t try to play guitar and feel less stressed a week into learning, btu long-term, it will give you something to turn to in order to reduce stress and to relax. And all of that can be a powerful addition to your recovery now and for the long-term.

Meeting New People and Friends

Having hobbies is an important part of meeting people, of finding people you have things in common with, and of sharing achievements and goals. People who share hobbies feel more emotionally fulfilled, more connected, and more in-touch with those around them. That’s especially true when you turn to physical hobbies like dance, yoga, martial arts, etc. However, you can share a lot with your class even with something simple like sharing a pottery class, learning to play a game together, meeting up with a group of people to play boardgames once a week, or learning cooking together. Of course, not every hobby should be with other people. At the same time, ensuring that at least some of what you do with your free time is social can be a great way to add that connection into your life – and that will be good for your long-term recovery. Most importantly, hobbies don’t have to be about other people in order to include them, because groups, classes, and meetups are all extremely common and you can just look for one and join it.

Moving Forward

New hobbies can be hard to start. It can be difficult to figure out what you like. And there’s a lot that goes into trying new things, figuring out what you want to stick to, and then doing so. At the same time, taking that time and investing in finding new hobbies can help you to improve your quality of life, improve your recovery, and give yourself coping mechanisms for the long-term. Not every hobby will be good for you or good for your recovery. However, finding something you can invest in, can stick to, and can work on improving at will improve your sense of self-esteem and confidence, your discipline, will broaden your social circle, will help you feel connected to yourself and others, and will give you a way to have fun, while reducing stress levels. And, all of that will be good for your recovery.

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.