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Tag: Addiction Recovery

A Nurse’s Story of Addiction Recovery

Having an addiction while working in the medical industry can increase your chances of your addiction growing worse. You are constantly surrounded by painkillers and other drugs intended to help patients, but also present the temptation of giving you a feeling of euphoria. The true story below of a nurse who went into recovery can provide hope to others in the medical field who may be struggling with addiction.

The Start of a Nurse’s Addiction

A nurse who calls herself Samantha had been a nurse for two years before her substance abuse began. After starting with pills, she moved to an intravenous opiate since it was a stronger medication. She felt that her medical knowledge would protect her from any danger. The first time she took a controlled substance home from the hospital was an accident. Samantha found a leftover amount of IV pain medication in her pocket. She put the medication in her medicine cabinet with no clue what to do with it. She kept the medicine for a week before taking an insulin needle and injecting herself with the medicine out of curiosity. As the medication hit her bloodstream, Samantha felt like all of her pain was disappearing. This was just the beginning.

Addiction in the Medical Field

Because the population of those in the medical field who abuse drugs are the same as the general population, according to Carrie Kappel, RN of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, more is done at hospitals to create preventative measures for addiction among hospital workers. Most hospitals require fingerprint scanning and codes to gain access to medications from a Pyxis machine, where there are usually cameras. A second nurse is supposed to witness and sign off that the appropriate amount of medication was drawn up and any excessive medications were discarded. 

The problem is that nursing stations can be understaffed, meaning they may not always have the available time or personnel to have someone on standby to watch this protocol from beginning to end. Medical professionals also find their way around protocol by giving their patients smaller doses of medication than what has been ordered, enabling them to save the remainder for themselves. Because substances are well-controlled and monitored, someone would have to do something deceptive, illegal, or inappropriate for medication access. 

Caught in the Act

Samantha continued her substance abuse while on the job for years at two different hospitals in two different states before getting caught. A nursing colleague who was suspicious of her alerted her nurse manager and opened an investigation against her. Before the investigation was completed, Samantha resigned, but the Board of Nursing was still notified. Samantha was allowed to keep her license under a number of conditions, but she ultimately decided to give it up. Because Samantha was struggling with depression, she did not feel like it was worth it to pay expensive fees for treatment in order to keep her license. Despite everything, Samantha was never subjected to random drug tests.

The Importance of Random Drug Testing

Most hospitals test potential staff before hiring them, but those individuals are typically clean at the time. There is a lot to consider with random drug testing, like who you are testing (and why), when it will be done, and how much it will be. It may be a complicated issue, as any susceptibility of a staff member’s drug use leads to investigations into patient records to ensure that no harm has been done. This takes time and money, and requires access to private files. For these reasons, many medical professionals feel it makes sense to do testing only when there is a reason to. However, Samantha believes random drug testing can be beneficial for the patients and may uncover potential drug abuse earlier on. She argues that service members are required to be tested for the safety of our country, so the same needs to be said for hospital staff. 

Treatment Access

There are many hospital healthcare systems that have wellness programs to help staff who have substance abuse problems. Hospital staff first need to admit that they have a problem. There is an ongoing threat of losing their license and ability to practice if they reveal their addiction. Even if they do get help, they do not like the idea of being closely monitored. This was Samantha’s greatest fear—she had grown up in a poor area, gone through college, and ultimately made the majority of friends at her workplace. She did not want to destroy everything she had worked so hard for. 

Samantha noticed that management did not care if staff members had a disease like diabetes that affected their work performance, but individuals with an addiction or a mental illness did not receive the same type of treatment. Removing the stigma of addiction is the best way to help hospital staff feel comfortable about admitting they have a problem. Staff may be more likely to come forward if hospitals were able to remove the threat of revoking their license. 

How Samantha Is Now

Several years after losing her license, Samantha is now sober and embarking on a new career path. She got married, had a child, learned how to function in her everyday life, and is now happily working in the corporate world. Samantha is still in the process of forgiving herself for her past mistakes and rebuilding her self-esteem. In addition to shedding light on some things that need to be improved in the hospital setting regarding addiction, Samantha’s story can help others learn to never give up on trying to rebuild themselves.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please contact us today. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A Promising New Treatment for Video Game Addiction

Last September, the World Health Organization added gaming disorder to the list of recognized diseases. Despite this, people still disagree that obsessively playing video games would be an addiction compared to drugs and alcohol. A recent study in Germany conducted a new form of treatment with 70% of its subjects falling into remission, showing that there is hope in helping control their video gaming habits before it takes over their life.

The Dangerous Effects of Video Gaming Addiction

Video gaming addiction is no joke—making video games your number one priority when you get out of bed can lead to serious consequences. You can deal with academic failure if playing video games takes priority over studying or writing papers for school. You can also suffer from financial ruin if you are spending too much money buying games, the equipment used for the games, or in-game purchases to improve your chances of winning. Your loved ones may also begin to feel left out as you isolate yourself from them and the world. 

Additionally, there are physical symptoms associated with gaming addiction like carpal tunnel syndrome, dry eyes, severe headaches, backaches, lack of sleep, not taking showers, or skipping meals. You could also develop depression or anxiety, as preferring to live as your avatar can lead to low self-esteem. The withdrawal symptoms are also very real, including mood swings, irritability, upset stomach, gaming fantasies, or boredom (since video games previously took up most of the day).

The Goal of the Study

If video gaming addiction is recognized as a true disorder, then thousands of people will be able to get themselves help. There have been past studies in regards to video game addiction, but there have only been small sample sizes or no control groups. Kai W. Müller, one of the authors of the study, said he wanted to avoid the types of problems—small and large—that past studies have made. He wanted to let people know that loving to play video games does not necessarily constitute an addiction. However, we still have to take people who are addicted to video games seriously and accept that they are in need of help. It is not about abstaining from video games, but to control their behavior with computers, the internet, and games.

Müller and his co-authors conducted this study from 2012 to 2017 in four outpatient clinics in Germany and Austria. The research was conducted on 143 men who were divided into two groups. 72 of them received treatment and 71 would act as the control group. Then, a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy was used that consisted of 15 weekly group sessions and eight two-week individual sessions. This form of therapy is about analyzing and adjusting your own thoughts. To better control the study, subjects who used psychiatric drugs and were not on drugs as part of the treatment were excluded.  

What Happened in the Study

The study started with an inventory of the patient’s characteristics that are believed to contribute to the development and maintenance of this gaming disorder. Using the scores from the Assessment of Internet and Computer Game Addiction survey, subjects were judged on 14 criteria including frequency of activity, video game preoccupation, withdrawal symptoms, and a loss of interest in other activities. Video game addiction was a score greater than 13 and remission was a score less than seven.

There were three phases in the study—education, intervention, and transition. Patients would be educated on their addiction as well as the effects. Patients also kept a diary of their video game triggers such as how they felt before a long gaming session and then learning to redirect that energy. This could mean enhancing how the patient reacts under stress, social skills, and understanding those emotional responses. By understanding them, you can create alternative explanations and reactions. 

The Results of the Study

When treatment was over, patients showed lower addiction symptoms like withdrawal and time spent online, as well as improved social, work, and daily functions. Patients also had an overall lower rate of depression with no important differences between the two groups. Only a small number of people became more depressed and had to be transferred to an inpatient facility. 

Limitation of the Study

As promising as this study was, it was not without its limitations. For example, the study was conducted exclusively on men. This was initially because it was said that men represented 90% of patients treated or diagnosed in outpatient facilities for video game addiction. The researchers later realized that it is only fair to represent both sexes in future clinical trials. Müller also feels that while women do get help for video gaming addiction, they do not seek treatment at rehab clinics—they find alternative forms of therapy for their problem instead of seeking addiction-related health care systems.

Despite this limitation, this study shows that effective treatment does not rely solely on drugs and staying away from video games. Quitting video games cold turkey will only lead to the same withdrawal symptoms that you experience with drug withdrawal. By using cognitive behavioral therapy to learn more about your addiction and changing your thought patterns, you should be able to transition to a typical life that does not revolve around video games.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please contact us today. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How to Celebrate a Sober Father’s Day

It can be hard to know how to celebrate Father’s Day with your father when you know his normal routine was about having a cold one just like he did every week. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25% of American kids grow up in households where substance abuse is present. It is important to use this day to celebrate your father’s accomplishments and find sober activities to do with him that will make this day memorable.

The Impact a Father’s Drug Use Has on Their Child

When you have a parent who is struggling with substance abuse, you feel like the roles of parenting are reversed. Instead of your dad taking care of you, you have to take of him so that you can still have a father in your life. This can mean taking over the household chores and responsibilities, making sure to call 911 when your father passes out, or financially covering up for him. Because your father may be having bursts of aggressive which causes you to worry, this could mean that you are having trouble studying and getting your schoolwork done. You could be experiencing low self-esteem because of the mean things your father may have said to you while under the influence. There is also a greater risk that you may want to experiment with drugs or alcohol because they see that their father, who is supposed to be a role model, is engaging in it with no consequences.


One of the best gifts that you could give to your father for Father’s Day is your forgiveness towards him. Once you do your own research about what addiction is, you will see that addiction is a brain disease. It may have been your father’s choice to experiment with drugs or alcohol, but it was not his choice to suffer from addiction. Know that all of the bad things that he has done or said is not his fault as addiction makes your number one priority be to acquiring ways to get your next fix. It has nothing to do with you. Remember that he chose the path of recovery. Being there for his family may have been what played a big role in choosing treatment. Whether your father comes back home or he is still in rehab for Father’s Day, give him your attention and let him know that you forgive him. That you know this will be a tough journey for the both of you, but you are willing to start fresh with him and be on this journey with him. It will mean a lot to him knowing that Father’s Day will be a new day for both of you.

Make a Personalized Father’s Day Gift

There are only so many ties and mugs that your father probably already has. Instead of spending all of your time shopping for the perfect present for your dad during his sobriety, make him a gift of your own. You can make your father an engraved medal that congratulations him for passing a certain stage in his recovery. You can draw him a picture of the favorite memory of the two of you together that he can bring with him to rehab. When your father keeps looking at this picture that you made for him, it will further motivate him to get better so that he can be there for you. You can also make him a mixed CD of the songs that will bring him back to the fun times you two had together as another motivator to get better.

Send Your Father a Letter

Another thing you can do is write your father a heartfelt letter that he can read whenever he is thinking of you or something to make him feel better during any bad days. This letter can be about the progress you see in your father as he is in recovery. You can remind him about what he was like when he was under the influence compared to how much better he is now. Pride him for his accomplishments and let him know how proud you are of him. This will give him confidence in his recovery going forward. You can also include in your letter a thank you to your father for choosing towards the path of recovery. Your father will be able to bring this letter everywhere with him. Every time he reads this letter, he will know that he has a support system when it is time for him to come home. These positive words that you wrote to him will be a powerful tool to get him through anything.

Have an Adventure Together

Father’s Day should be about having fun with no alcohol to be found anywhere. You can barbeque with your dad by grilling your favorite meats like chicken, steak, veggies, etc. The two of you can also go to the beach together whether it means getting a tan by the sand or swimming in the tranquil, blue ocean. You can also plan a camping trip where you can go kayaking, fishing, hiking, etc. Going bowling can also be fun as you both congratulate each other on the number of pins you knock down just like you congratulate your dad for all of his successes. By focusing on having fun with your father, you will make him very happy on Father’s Day.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Boundaries to Set For Those Struggling with Addiction

Boundaries are important for any kind of relationship you have whether it is between you and a friend, spouse, who you are dating, a professional, or someone with an addiction. These boundaries lay down the ground rules of what is considered to be appropriate behavior and actions. By establishing boundaries between yourself and your loved one facing addiction, you will be able to take care of yourself and establish a clear understanding of your wants and needs and clear communication of your thoughts and feelings.

When It’s Important to Establish Boundaries

The time to establish boundaries with your loved one with addiction is when you are constantly criticizing that person. You keep criticizing them for their bad behavior, but they are still ignoring what you are saying and causing more trouble. It can also be when you keep covering for this person liking lying for them when others ask about their behavior, covering for them at work by calling in sick for them, picking up that person from the bar, or bailing them out of jail.

It can also be when you are taken advantage of or if that person is stealing your money. You have felt like letting it pass because you know that their addiction is not their fault. At the same time, it is your bank account that is being wiped clean. You may also feel like you have to walk on eggshells around this person because they are quick to anger and depression if you say something to antagonize them. To avoid being afraid of your loved one, setting boundaries will show how you feel about their unhealthy behaviors and not letting them get away with it.

What is Allowed Near You and the House

Let your loved one know that if they plan on staying in your home, let them know what is and is not acceptable in your home. If you do not want illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine in your home, let your loved one know about it. If you do not want your loved one to drink in the presence of children, tell them that. You are being nice by letting your loved one stay in your home knowing that they have a problem with drugs. Let that person know that if they do not listen to you, they can find somewhere else to live or will notify the police. This is your home that you are kind enough to accept a guest in. Setting boundaries will give you control over where you live as well as the safety of your children.

Who is Allowed In Your Home

Your loved one may be in recovery but is still inviting their friends who still drink or do drugs. You should not have to put up with the wild parties of people in your house smelling like booze or people shooting up on drugs. You and your children should not have to be a witness to unhealthy behaviors and you should put a stop to it. Let them know that you may not be able to stop your loved one from keeping their friends but that they have no business appearing in your house and substance abusing in front of you and others.

Refusal to Rescue

Many people with addiction end up in jail for either possession of drugs or crimes involving in acquiring drugs like robbery or assault. If your loved one is not getting help, then that increases their chances of many jail visits. Maybe in the past, you have bailed your loved one out more than once and brought them back home. This time, you need to let your loved one know that you are not to bail them out again. That they need to take responsibility for their actions. Your loved one may not want to acknowledge their drug problem, but they should acknowledge the punishments that arise when the law takes notice of your criminal activities.

Refusal to Lend Money

Another way that you could enabling someone’s addiction is lending money whenever they ask such as telling you they are behind on rent, groceries, bills. If they have a drug problem, you know that they are using it to acquire more drugs. You are no longer a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a neighbor, etc. You are instead an enabler, caretaker, or a pleaser. Always giving money whenever your loved one asks is not taking care of them but ignoring their problem. A boundary you can set on them is that you refuse to give them any more money. That if they are in a financial bind, they can seek treatment to fix their thoughts about needing drugs or to get a job of their own to fund their drug habit instead of continuing to come to you. It may seem harsh to refuse when a loved one asks for money, but you are merely doing it to take care of yourself and your own financial assets.

Refusal to Lie or Cover Despite Circumstances

The most important thing you can tell your loved one who is struggling with drug addiction is that you will not lie or cover for them anymore. That your loved one needs to take responsibilities for their own actions. Setting these boundaries will show how much you take that person’s drug addiction seriously and to help them better be aware that they need treatment.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Harm in Suppressing Our Emotions

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that expressing our emotions is a sign of weakness, and that we are lesser or weak if we are honest and forthcoming about how we feel. We’re taught to suppress our emotions. We’re conditioned to keep everything locked up and buried deep within ourselves. The problem with suppressing our emotions, however, is that their energy continues to hurt us when we haven’t faced them head on. Unresolved pain festers inside us, causing us all kinds of mental, emotional and physical health problems.

Suppressed emotions can cause our mental health to decline. We can experience worsened memory and cognitive thinking skills. We can have a hard time processing our thoughts. We can struggle to think clearly and logically. Our painful feelings can totally cloud our judgment. We might think we’ve buried them deep enough to forget about them, and we may forget about them temporarily, but they always return to remind us of the issues we need to address. Our feelings are like clues to the healing work we need to do. When we pay attention to the information they’re giving us, we can make important progress in our healing.

Emotionally, suppression is quite toxic for us. Our emotions grow stronger, fiercer and more ferocious when we don’t accept them and make space for them. Until we embrace them with acceptance and mindfulness, they will try to alert us and get our attention by causing us distress and pain. Our emotions accumulate and worsen the longer we try to deny or avoid them. Suppressing our feelings can lead to exacerbated depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other mental health issues. Since so many of us have been taught to suppress our emotions, we’re trying to cope with life while these feelings are wreaking havoc on our balance and peace. We feel increasingly stressed, worried, angry and destabilized. Our emotions provide us with important information to help us grow our awareness. When we don’t pay attention, we limit our capacity for development and stunt our growth. We derail our healing progress.

Suppressing our emotions can have harmful physical effects as well. We tend to think of our thoughts and feelings as being confined to our minds, separate from our physical bodies, but in reality, our systems are completely interconnected. Everything we think and feel affects us physically, and vice versa. Our minds, hearts and bodies are inextricably linked. Trapped emotions and stuck energy can cause us physical pain and discomfort. Physical health issues such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia and poor alignment, for example, are often attributed to our unhealed trauma.

A huge part of healing is learning to allow ourselves to feel, express and communicate our emotions in healthy ways.

At Enlightened Solutions, we are here to help you remember that life can be full of happiness and enjoyable moments, once we learn how to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.

Creative Arts Therapy for Recovery

A powerfully transformative but sometimes overlooked tool in our quest for wellness is creative arts therapy. Many of us are more familiar with traditional talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step programs and support groups, but creative arts therapy can be used effectively in conjunction with any existing program and can help improve our overall results. Whether it is music therapy, songwriting, sound healing, playwriting, visual arts, dance or movement, any kind of creative expression provides wonderful mental, emotional, physical and spiritual benefits that help us in our recovery.

When we engage ourselves creatively, we give ourselves an effective outlet to express ourselves, release our emotions and shift our energy positively. Creative expression is therapeutic and soothing. We find ourselves inspired and motivated. Pent-up emotions are allowed to come to the surface. We’re able to process difficult thoughts, feelings, fears and memories through our creativity, and this brings us feelings of well-being and comfort. Our productivity makes us feel satisfied and fulfilled. We can feel a renewed sense of purpose in finding our natural talents and passions.

Talk therapy can be intimidating, even uncomfortable, especially when we’re trying it for the first time. Delving into difficult subject matter can bring up very painful emotions. Arts therapy allows us to do this important emotional work but with the added benefit of creative expression, which can be disarming and comforting, not to mention fun and invigorating. We can find ourselves actually looking forward to therapy!

The goal with any kind of therapy is to dig deep and get to the root of our issues – our unhealed trauma, our unresolved fears and pain. When we’re working with creative arts, we can use our artistic medium of choice, whatever it is, to help us with that process. For example, you can try using a writing prompt and see where it leads:  

  • When do I remember first feeling afraid?
  • When was my first experience with addiction?
  • When do I first remember feeling depressed or anxious?
  • What will it take for me to be happy?
  • What kind of life do I want to live?

Writing prompts give us a question to try and answer as fully as we can. We can take our time to relax and free-write, without having any expectations of perfection or even cohesiveness. Don’t be unafraid to let your mind wander and write down anything that comes to mind. The expression and release of long-buried thoughts and feelings helps us to process them and make sense of them. We gain more clarity and understanding. We’re better able to communicate our feelings and open up to people, especially the therapists and other supportive people who can help us.

Through years of experience working with art and music therapy, we know how powerfully beneficial they are in healing and relapse prevention. Call Enlightened Solutions today: (833) 801-LIVE.

Men and Women Experience Addiction Differently

Men and women are scientifically found, generally speaking, to have different experiences with addiction. These differences are discovered both in the causes of addiction and the way that addiction presents in the lives of men and women.  These differences have been found to influence both the ability to maintain continuous sobriety and the quality of care received in treatment facilities.  Understanding how these differences correlate to mainstream gender roles in Western culture can increase potential for recovery success.

Gender roles, although generalizations, can bolster a recovery foundation that increases odds of continuous sobriety.  Women are found to engage addiction as a coping mechanism for trauma whereas men become addicted through peer pressure and the pursuit of power.  Working with these basic themes can aid in cultivating healthy relationships with the self.  Those working with women may support them in establishing alternative coping mechanisms and encourage them to pursue trauma treatment.  With men, fostering an internal sense of approval will support them in resisting pursuits of peer approval or unhealthy power dynamics.

While these basic gender differences occur, be mindful to recognize that these two basic themes can be interchanged.  Misuse of power in men may be later processed as a trauma healing process; untreated trauma may make women susceptible to entering codependent relationships as another form of peer pressure.

Once awareness of gender roles has entered the recovery process, a solid foundation for a deeper self awareness can begin.  This can be either in alignment to or opposition to these gender roles.  Actions exploring these typical ways of being can become a playground for recreating the life of the addict.  In other cases, playing with discovery outside of these generalization can be wonderful method to healing codependency.  Awareness of either journey is an avenue for actualizing a life that is happy, joyous and free.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.

How Somatic Experiencing can Help with PTSD

There are many ways Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect the life of an alcoholic. Often, symptoms are overlooked and the trauma persists to keep its hold. First, it’s important to find out what’s actually causing the PTSD. Symptoms can be caused by dangerous life-threatening situations that require any means to survive. For example, those in the military, dealing with the effects of being at war. There can be negative childhood trauma that is caused by something like bullying or being misunderstood. This can include seeing parents go through a divorce, death in the family, and other difficult times in life. There are those too who suffered through a sexual assault, mental or physical abuse and other events that no one should ever have to experience. With each of these traumatic events, those affected may not have been able to process what had happened thoroughly. At this point, if and when the victim gets triggered by the identified event, a feeling of unease unexpectedly begins reliving the trauma all over again. It doesn’t have to be this way and it is impossible to move on from such trauma.

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a holistic therapy of “resetting” the nervous system. This is done by reestablishing the nervous systems rhythm, meaning that there must be a break in the natural flow. This kind of treatment should always be executed by a professional with a background in SE. Going through the experience and pinpointing each feeling for what it is will allow the patient to recognize what is going on in their bodies. The doctor conducting the session will ask that the patient embrace the fear with respect. The act of letting the body physically feel what’s happening instead of mentally can establish a new reaction. The stimulation that is brought on by triggering the PTSD, with time, will regulate. The differences between the ups and downs will show signs of improvement, settling back down to the baseline.

Once the patient can become at peace with the identified event there will be less of a physical and mental response to the PTSD. This gives way to new feelings and new events to take place. Lacking the ability to move forward stalls the growth process. This will become a never-ending cycle of reacting out in an unhealthy manner each time a trigger occurs. If there is a break in the cycle there can be many aspects of life that will be interrupted as well. This includes appetite, sleep, digestion, and other main body functions that a person needs to survive. When new situations arise, as they will, the only way to push forward in this process is to complete the old. It’s not about forgetting what had happened but letting the body heal properly. As humans, we don’t get to erase the past, but we can let go of the power it has over us.

Our holistic approach at Enlightened Solutions gives our patients coping mechanisms and insight into painful past or events. Processing trauma is a key factor in moving forward and we are here to help. For more questions call: 833-801-5483.

The H.O.W. Of Recovery: Honest, Open Chakras, Willingness

We are repeatedly told that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, as well as most co-occurring mental health disorders has to be holistic. Holistic healing, holistic wellness, and a holistic approach all mean the same thing. The word holistic means comprehending that everything is made of many parts and all of those parts are intimately interconnected. Addiction and alcoholism are not isolated to the mind or the body or even the spirit. When someone is overcome by addiction and alcoholism they have to recover in mind, body, and spirit. Trying to define mental illness by just one part of the equation does an injustice to the complexity of mental health disorders and often does an injustice to someone getting the treatment they need. A key to understanding the holistic approach is understanding that the only way to explain mental illness is by referring to the whole person- mind, body, and spirit.

Spiritual wellness, spirituality, and spiritual healing are an important part of the recovery process. Most treatment centers take the holistic approach and include some therapeutic components in their programs which reflect spiritual wellness. Massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, reiki, are common examples. One area many treatment centers don’t focus on is healing the chakras and opening them up. Opening the chakras allows the energy in the body to effortlessly flow from head to toe. Chakras which are closed and have been closed for many years stop the flow of energy which can cause emotional as well as physical health problems.

Chakras are seven energy centers in the body starting from our sacral region in our low back and center all the way to the top of our head. We work with our chakras through yoga, meditation, and reiki to release the energy. Breathing exercises focused on opening the chakras can help release the blockages there. Most often, our difficulties in treatment are reflected in which chakras are closed. There are correlations between what each chakra represents and regulates to what we go through on a daily basis. Keeping the chakras open helps us to be more open to live, recovery, and the freedom recovery promises.

At Enlightened Solutions we provide an integrative program of holistic healing, clinical therapy, and 12 step philosophy for total transformation. Our partial care programs are designed for dual diagnosis patients needing healing for substance use and mental health disorders. Recovery starts with you. Start your recovery with us. Call us today for more information at 833-801-5483.

3 P’s For Relapse Prevention In The Heat Of The Moment

The way relapse is described often finds itself at a cross roads. According to neuroscience, relapse is a process. Over the course of many weeks, the brain builds up a case against logic and reason convincing such areas of the brain to give in to cravings. Euphoric recall, which is when one spends time reminiscing about good times and how rewarding addiction was, can start the process. Stress, emotional pain, and not utilizing the tools of recovery can also contribute. Essentially, the brain becomes so alive with memories of drinking and using that it signals cravings as if it has already had drugs and alcohol, therefore experiencing symptoms of withdrawal all over again.

On the other hand, according to many people in recovery who have experienced relapse themselves, it isn’t a process but a spontaneous instant. In one flash of a moment all judgment and reason is lost. There are no consequences, no thinking. From black to white, A to B, there’s no stop in the middle. A drug or a drink is picked up and consumed. What happens next defines the course of their recovery. Either there is immediate regret and a return to working on recovery, or there is a period which can never be determined in length, of no sobriety.

Relapse does not have to happen. In addition to numerous therapeutic and holistic tools for relapse prevention there are a few key strategies you can apply when your chemical mind is taking over and you’re inches away from picking up.


Pausing is the one thing most people who relapse say they were not able to do. If you feel insatiable cravings coming up, do everything you can to try to pause in between. Take a moment to call a friend, call a sponsor, or take a walk. You might not be able to think clearly in that moment. However, if you stay away from the thought process long enough you will most likely see the cravings subside. Often, cravings get worse merely out of the anticipation that they are about to be satisfied.


Prana is a word for breath and pranayama is the practice of breathing. Using breath work of any kind, even just taking deep breaths, can have a wealth of benefit in a heated moment which could lead to relapse. Breath circulates oxygen to the brain which can help it calm down from the distress it is causing. Additionally, physical signals of cravings which have been sent out will benefit from the total body relaxation of breathing. Breathing also helps focus the mind, which can bring it out of hyper focus on drinking and using.

Present Moment Thinking

Being in the height of cravings often means one of two mental states: living in the future or living in the past. There’s fears about the future which come up in recovery, fears of the unknown and the uncontrollable. Likewise, there are fears about the past, regrets and mistakes which cannot be changed. Let go of the past and the future and focus on the choice you have right now in the present moment. In this instant you can choose between repeating the past or defining a new future. You are empowered to make the choice.

If you are struggling with chronic relapse, there is a solution. Enlightened Solutions has created an integrative program which brings together healing for mind, body, and spirit. Our integrative programs create transformational change. For more information, call us today at 833-801-5483.

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