Celebrating The Holidays In Recovery
Many people in recovery from addiction have a bit of ambivalence about the holidays. After all, it’s good to be sober any day of the week. But the holidays are a time where people with a history of addiction typically struggle. Many people used to medicate heavily around this time of year. It was a way to avoid any guilt or feelings of trauma they dealt with in the past. Now that you are sober, the feelings may still manifest themselves from time to time. However, you don’t have to use substances to deal with those feelings. So how can you survive the holidays in recovery? Here are some great ideas.
Limit Your Time At Family Holiday Gatherings
If you are spending time with family and you feel uncomfortable, it’s a good idea to limit your time and give yourself an “out.” For example, you may want to arrive late, so you mostly eat the main meal, or you may want to arrive on time and leave after dinner. It’s up to you. However, if you feel uncomfortable, don’t agree to something that may upset you.
Make it a priority to check in with others in recovery if you go home for the holidays. There are often a lot of triggers that people have when it comes to family, even when the family is pretty functional. Addiction, after all, is a family disease. You may be in recovery, but not everyone is on the same page as you.
If you have somebody in the family who gives you grief, caused you physical or emotional harm, or who otherwise triggers painful memories, you don’t have to stick around. Instead, make sure you have an Uber app or a friend's phone number who can scoop you up if you feel like getting high or drinking. Your recovery is always more important than who you might “upset” by leaving a gathering early. After all, your life depends on staying sober.
Have a Friends Holiday Gathering, Instead
Some people may not have the family they want, but they spend time with their chosen family. In recovery, this is so important to understand; you don’t have to share your life with people you don’t want to. If you come from an abusive past, or have family members that always scold you or judge you, you can find an alternative to your traditional gatherings.
Many people in recovery have events that are open to others. For example, you may choose to go to a sponsor’s home or a special party or gathering. Or you may simply choose to go to a recovery group that hosts meetings during the holidays. It’s your choice, but it’s recommended that people in recovery don’t spend recovery stewing in old feelings alone.
You deserve to have a decent holiday; reach out to others if you’re not sure what plans you have. They can probably help you develop a plan for something healthy and friendly.
Interested In Sober Living?
Are you interested in living with others new to recovery? A sober living home can help you begin to adapt to life as a newly sober person, offer you structure, and help you plan for the next chapter in your life. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about our sober living options.
For people in recovery, coping skills can be a significant challenge. Unfortunately, when you were in active addiction, these skills may have been in short supply.
After all, when you were sad, you probably got high or drunk. When you were angry, you probably got high or drunk. When you felt lonely, happy, confused, or lost…you probably got high or drunk, if it was an option. When you get sober, you learn that you don’t have the best coping skills. Discovering new ones will be a lifelong process. But there are some you can try on for size right away. So what are some good ones to practice?
New Coping Skills To Try On For Size
Not every coping skill works for every emotion. Here are some ones to try on for size. If they don’t work for you, you can always try another one, instead. Keep what you need and leave the rest.
- When you’re angry: Go for a walk or a jog. If you don’t like that type of exercise, choose something like bicycling, surfing, or shadowboxing. Exercise can release calming hormones that also provide a mood boost.
- When you’re sad: Permit yourself to cry. Then, listen to sad music for 10 minutes, and let it all out. Or, pick up the phone and call somebody in your recovery network to talk it out.
- When you’re lonely: Send somebody a text message or get yourself to a 12-step meeting, pronto. People are the cure for loneliness. Yes, you can feel lonely in a room full of people. But, if you share that pain, it often is lessened.
- When you’re happy/excited/proud: Believe it or not, your coping skills for celebrating may not be the best! Many people use good news as a reason to use substances. Instead, make a date with a friend or your sponsor to go out for ice cream. Share your good news with friends in recovery. Happiness multiplies when it’s shared.
- When you feel like getting high/drunk: Call somebody who doesn’t, and make arrangements to get to a 12-step meeting. Share about how you feel, don’t hold it inside. The feeling will pass, but keeping it secret can be dangerous to your mental health.
Consider Sober Living
Are you or somebody you love interested in a living situation that offers structure and aftercare? Sober living may be the right decision for you. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, with all of your devices turned off, you probably heard about singer Demi Lovato’s claim that she is “California sober.” In her depiction of this new term, she can use alcohol and drugs “socially” without falling into her former addiction to opioids or other drugs. (Deconstructing her life and her belief in this lifestyle can be a whole other article.)
One belief Lovato seems to have is the idea that marijuana (and alcohol) are just fine to use recreationally and no danger to sobriety. It’s simply not true; both alcohol and marijuana are addictive on their own, even if they never lead the user to opioids or “harder” drugs.
Weed’s Reputation Muddied Truths
Marijuana has always had a lot of stigma attached to it, which has helped muddy the water when truth and fiction about this popular drug. The “drug wars” of the past 30 years often treated marijuana possession harshly. Many police crackdowns on marijuana dealing and use heavily targeted Black Americans, leading to mass incarceration and further societal problems.
Meanwhile, nobody stopped using marijuana, and it eventually was decriminalized and legalized for recreational use, at least in many states like California.
Propaganda often gets in the way of prevention and education when it comes to drug use. Myths and misconceptions about the nature of marijuana use also have helped hide any truths about its harm. For example, for many people, marijuana is a “gateway drug” – often the first drug they try before moving onto their drug of choice. However, it’s not addictive in the same intensity as heroin or cocaine. Yet, it still can take a tremendous toll on your quality of life.
Now vs. Then: Marijuana Potency
Marijuana addiction is common, but there haven’t been a lot of studies on it. The active component of marijuana that gets people high, THC, has increased exponentially since the 1960s. In the ’60s and 70’s THC levels in weed were typically under 10%. Today, some marijuana products at dispensaries boast up to 70% THC levels.
No one quite knows the long-term effects of using such potent weed. However, anecdotally, many chronic marijuana users who try to quit have documented headaches, nausea, and cravings sometimes for weeks after they quit using. Many chronic marijuana users have trouble stopping despite the negative consequences of continued use.
A person who uses marijuana is not automatically addicted to it. Indeed, its draw is primarily psychological instead of physical addiction. Many people try marijuana and use it casually, walking away from it quickly after a phase in life. Some people move on to “harder drugs,” but they are not the majority.
Being addicted to marijuana on its own is possible. Some people who use marijuana lose interest in almost everything except getting high. Like other addicted people, they may suffer job loss, financial woes, relationship problems, and trouble with the law. And, when addicted, they may need help to quit.
And yes, a person who uses other drugs is much more likely to relapse onto their drug of choice. Marijuana, after all, is a drug.
If you choose to use it, you will probably find it is more trouble than it is worth; there are better choices for you when you stay sober.
Consider Sober Living
Sober living is an excellent way for a person to continue their recovery journey in a safe home-away-from-home. You’ll make friends and grow in your recovery along the way. Do you want to learn more about your choices? Get in touch at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.
Many people who get sober did so in the beginning because of legal troubles. The courts often sentence people with a DUI to 12-step meetings, drug education, fine and/or rehab. Not everyone who gets a DUI will change their ways. If you are sick and tired of the consequences of your alcohol use, you are more likely to seek recovery.
Once you have been sober for a while, you'll start to look forward to the future again. Drug treatment, therapy, and 12-step meetings provide you with a new strategy for life. However, even once you have completed rehab, you will still have to live with the consequences of your addiction. And if you have a DUI, you will also need to do what the government asks to comply with your probation.
Living With Humility After DUI
One thing that living with a DUI conviction can teach you is humility. Yes, you are sober now, but the consequences of your alcohol and/or drug use are apparent every day. Staying sober is the only way to avoid getting a DUI or drunk-in-public charge. And that makes the future up to you!
Being humble, asking for help, and doing what the court requires are critical aspects of your life in recovery. You're responsible for the damages you've caused and the laws you've broken. As a responsible member of society, it's up to you to accept this and do what is required to regain others' trust.
Dealing With The DUI Aftermath
Recovery is full of ups and downs. After you've completed the bulk of your treatment program, you may feel different and healthier. However, you can't expect family, friends, and society to believe you have changed without proof. It will take time to grow your relationships and regain trust. Taking responsibility is an essential aspect of this.
After a DUI, you will probably be on probation and have conditions to meet before you are allowed to get your driver's license back. If it were your first DUI, you'd be without your license for six months. Subsequent DUI's and offenses combined with it (such as a controlled substance or aggravated DUI), will cause you to lose your license for longer.
Go to the meetings your probation officer requires. Call when you are supposed to. Check-in with your sponsor and work on your recovery program.
Living Life On Its Terms
While it may be a challenge to deal with these consequences, they are YOUR consequences. If you owe fines, it's up to you to find a way to pay them. (And if your family pays them for you, it's your job to pay them back, no matter what!)
While you may feel like your DUI has held you back from some things in life, this too shall pass. In some cases, you may even be able to get a DUI expunged from your record.
Getting where you need to go is one logistic you'll need to overcome in recovery. It will be humbling to ask for rides or take Uber rides for long distances. However, you can also get along fine in the California weather without a car at all. Skateboard, jog, or bike wherever you choose once you're out of rehab. AA meetings and NA meetings are currently online due to COVID-19.
Ask for help when you need it, and keep doing the right thing for your recovery! Time will make all the difference. One thing for sure: You'll never get another DUI as long as you stay alcohol and drug-free.
Consider Sober Living
Are you looking for a safe and friendly sober living home? By the Sea is a great community to support your sobriety, with lots of public transportation nearby and centrally located to lots of jobs and schools. Read about how our sober living home supports DUI offenders here.
The support of others in your household can help you learn to live life on its own terms. Learn more about the benefits of sober living by getting in touch at 760-216-2077.
Choosing a sponsor is one of the most important things to do when you start on your recovery journey. While you’re in treatment, you’ll begin to connect with others in recovery. Selecting your sponsor can be challenging when you’re in a treatment environment. After all, you are usually limited by the AA and NA meetings you choose to attend.
The good news is that it’s not a big deal if you change sponsors. If you’ve outgrown your sponsor or have trouble getting ahold of them, it’s time to consider a new person.
Whether you’re choosing a sponsor for the first time or selecting a new one, here is some guidance for choosing a sponsor.
Tips for Choosing a Sponsor
- Choose somebody who is the same gender or sexual orientation. Many people make the mistake of choosing somebody that they may have an attraction to. This can complicate the relationship and cloud judgment. It’s recommended that you don’t have a romantic relationship in your first year or so in recovery. Being able to relate without having a physical attraction or emotions cloud either person’s judgment is important.
- Do you want what they have? Choosing a sponsor who works a recovery program that inspires you is crucial. They may not be living their dreams, but choose somebody who is actively working a program and toward their goals.
- Do they have enough time for you? Make sure that they don’t have a lot of “sponsees” and that they are available to you if you need them. Are they available via text and phone calls? Ask what times are best to check in.
- Who is in their support network? A sponsor should have an active recovery program with supportive people in their network. When you become a sponsee, you join a family of other people in recovery. A healthy relationship helps you build a recovery program and support network.
Choosing a sponsor can be scary at first. Opening up to others in recovery helps you change your life and begin healing. In recovery rooms, you’re often told to “take what you need and leave the rest.” If you don’t feel supported by your sponsor, or you think that you need to switch, don’t worry. People in recovery change sponsors for many reasons. Your recovery is about you and your own needs.
Sober living homes can be an important step in transitioning back to the “real world” after treatment. Living in a recovery home helps you focus on yourself and your recovery in a supportive environment.
Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.
Many people in recovery, especially when they first get clean, feel depressed, lonely or “down” every once in a while. A person with addiction has a lot of loss to mourn when they first clean. If you’re afraid, angry, or sad, you’re not alone. Depression is also something you may experience as you gain your footing in your new life in recovery.
What’s Normal, and What’s Not?
Feeling sad or depressed is normal for many people, especially when you’re first getting clean. Many of the emotions that you feel are normal and will pass as you start to process them. You may feel like you’re in mourning for your old life. That’s normal, too. Many people grieve their own lives but start to feel better once they begin to rebuild their life in recovery.
Working the 12 steps, going to meetings, and making friends with other people in recovery will help you learn to work through your emotions. Sharing your feelings with others will often help you lessen their impact.
Feeling sad, let down, or blue is one of these feelings. You may feel like you’re holding on by a thread some days, while other days you’re full of hope and energy. In most cases, these feelings will pass. You’ll experience many emotions when you’re clean and sober, and learn how to cope with them.
If you wake up depressed and go to bed depressed, for weeks on end, there may be something else going on. Depression can also be a symptom of a mental health disorder. If you feel like hurting yourself, wish you were dead, or have other deep, sad feelings that seem like they’ve been going on forever, it’s time to get help. Any depressive symptoms that seem to stop you from working on goals, or make you feel hopeless are warning signs that you need to get help.
Getting Help for Depression
Getting help for depression is important. Depression can be a disease, and like any disease, especially addiction, the only way to get better is to seek out help. If you’re comfortable, ask people in your support group to help you. A psychiatrist, therapist, or treatment professional can help you with resources. Like all of recovery, you’re not alone. There are many people in recovery who are also recovering from a mental disorder.
Remember that in recovery, you’re never alone.
Sober Living Can Help
If you’re struggling with a mental health disorder, or just want extra support, sober housing is an option many people choose to help make the transition to life without the use of drugs.
Sober housing is a great way to make new friends and start adding inspiration and empowerment to your life. Learn more about your options for serene sober living at 760-216-2077.
Professional with sterling clinical performance record, including working with wounded warriors and law enforcement agencies, has assumed the role of Executive Clinical Director at Present Moments treatment center.
San Diego, CA – The Executive Team of Present Moments Recovery is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra Richardson as the organization’s Executive Clinical Director. Present Moments Recovery is a privately-held company dedicated to substance use treatment programs in San Diego communities.
Richardson has been working in the alcohol and other drug field for more than 24 years in various treatment facilities, including for-profit and non-profit organizations, private-pay clinics, residential, partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment programs. She has vast experience working with law enforcement agencies such as probation, parole, juvenile justice, family law and public defender’s office serving various populations including women, children and male/female offenders. Most recently, Sandra has been working with veterans and wounded warriors.
“We’re extraordinarily pleased to have someone of her caliber and vast success in helping individuals recover and get back to living rewarding lives,” said Mark Gladden, CEO. “Her broad knowledge of substance use and family health issues coupled with years of experience working with treatment centers makes her well positioned to lead us going forward. She’s committed to our cause which is to support people’s healing process.”
As Executive Clinical Director Richardson will be responsible for hand picking and overseeing the clinical team for Present Moments continuum of care model, as well as developing individualized curriculum based upon both customary methods as well as cutting edge approaches.
Richardson has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from National University and a master’s degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy from University of Phoenix. She is a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor with the State of California.
Learn more about Present Moments Recover by visiting our website at www.presentmomentsrecovery.com
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About Present Moments Recovery
Present Moments Recovery is a privately-owned business headquartered in Carlsbad, California with a mission to provide an individualized, multi-leveled treatment program that addresses the mind, body and spirit with compassionate, timely and effective treatment modalities. We do this by offering safe, nurturing, alcohol and drug free professional treatment and aftercare housing for men and women suffering with the disease of addiction. Present Moments Recovery supports industry non-profits for the good populations they serve to promote a greater access to treatment programs.
Everyone has fears, but for many in recovery, these fears can hold back progress and cause a lot of worries. When you were using, you probably were able to suppress some of your anxiety. As a person in recovery, however, fears will crop up now and then. Some types of fear are healthy and can be motivated to make a change. For example, if you’re afraid your temper will make you lose a relationship, you might decide to go to anger management classes and learn new coping skills.
Other fears can make you stagnant, however. Some people fear change, for example. They’ll do anything to keep from changing, even when changing would benefit them.
Anyone can change, however, and anyone can learn how to cope with their fears.
Many of these fears are ones that are experienced regularly – and you’ll want to learn how to cope with them. Luckily, as time goes on, you’ll learn to be less frozen by fear and begin to walk through your concerns.
What are some of the most common fears in recovery?
- Getting sober: A lot of people fear the “unknown” when it comes to sobriety. Will you be able to cope? Make friends? Will you be bored in recovery? Change is scary, and that’s true for almost everyone. Don’t let these fears get in the way of seeking help. These questions will be answered in time, once you get sober. You’ll probably find that the answers are pleasing.
- Fear of failure (or success): A lot of people fear failure because they are worried about what people think. At the same time, others fear success because they’re not sure what it will bring or if it will be satisfying to them. Addiction is a disease. There is no failure or success for the person suffering from it. If you can’t get clean, it’s not that you failed. It’s that you’re sick and the treatment hasn’t “taken” yet. Keep getting help for your illness, just like you would for any other serious disease.
- The future: A lot of people fear what tomorrow will bring. Will you be able to live a life free of drugs? Find a job? Live happily? The future can seem like a vague and frighteningly blank canvas. Take life a day at a time while you’re getting sober. Making goals can help with this fear, but your primary goal is to get and stay clean.
- Fear of feeling: Emotions can be scary, and when you’ve been using for a while, you may be used to the sense of “numbness.” Getting clean and learning to cope with emotions -not only fear- can be difficult. Being afraid of how you’ll feel is natural. You can’t control your feelings, but you can control how you react to them. When you’re feeling something that scares you, pick up the phone or go to a meeting. Other people can share their experience with coping.
- Fear of rejection: What if you change so much that people don’t accept you anymore? Fear of rejection is something everyone has faced. You’re not getting clean and sober for anyone but yourself. People in 12-step meetings are there to help you grow and will lend their support if you need it. All are welcome there! If you face other rejection, your time in treatment will help you learn how to cope with it.
These are just a few of the fears many people face in early recovery. You may have others that crop up along the way. Fear is a universal emotion that you will learn to cope with after you have walked through it a few times. Don’t hesitate to share your worries with others – they, too, have had to face many of them. Although it’s not a “fun” emotion, it is a normal one. If you let it control you, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on a lot of good things in life.
How Sober Living Can Help
In recovery, it’s often said to take things “one day at a time.” This is an excellent mantra to live by, especially when you feel overwhelmed by various emotions. Things will get better, and this too shall pass. A supportive environment can help make things more comfortable when you've started your journey.
Living in a community of supportive peers can help make your recovery journey easier. By the Sea Recovery in San Diego sets the tone for the top recovery houses, offering help with aftercare and day-to-day living in a group setting. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. All calls are 100% confidential, and we are happy to answer your questions.
Over 1000 meetings. You bump into everyone in recovery from the gas station to the grocery. Is this good?
Well, being alone and isolated leads to the city of no bueno. Accountability, friendship, support and activities will make anyone worried or stress think twice about being lonely.
By the Sea recovery is San Diego's premiere sober living home. Call us for help & answers on how to live in a great sober house.
Here's a list of AA meeting finder as well as sober activities in San Diego.
Everyone's first thought. Must be overwhelming. Impossible. Luck. Miracle. Well, there seems to be a pattern with those that 'got it'.
Lots of meetings. Sponsorship. Stepwork. Personal growth. Education. We've seen it all. From big book thumpers to higher education, there seems to be an underlying factor: being connected and being thirsty for growing as an individual.
Paradoxically the inner growth is balanced by the connections for it is easy to get lost wanting to be 'spiritual'. The sense of bond in early recovery is spiritual in itself given the distance from others during addiction. The vulnerability of sharing and being open with others in sobriety psychologically develops trust and belonging, a highly elating feeling and chemically supportive to the healing.