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Tag: Addiction Recovery

Working Through Grief When Losing Someone To Addiction

Addiction is a deadly disease. Without help or treatment, it can claim a life in a flash. Overdose is now a more common cause of death in America than car crashes and gun violence. Accidental deaths due to alcohol abuse is common. Drugs and alcohol kill people every single day.

Recovery can be a lifelong trend. Relapse does not have to be part of your story once you decide to get sober. Unfortunately, for many people, it is. Relapse is dangerous not just because you go back out to drugs and alcohol, but because there is no guarantee you will come back. When you have been in treatment and recovery for even a few weeks, you start to understand the magnitude of staying sober. One by one, you will witness people decide that sobriety is too much for them and that they would rather go back out and use their substances of choice. Some of them will come back eventually. Many of them will die. Problematically, most people think that after detoxing their body and spending weeks sober, they can return to drinking and using the way they did before getting sober. Their bodies are not equipped to handle the toxicity of the drugs and alcohol. Overdose happens more quickly than it would have before. Coping with grief and loss is a sad part of being in recovery. Tragically, learning to cope with the grief of losing a friend in recovery is a necessary skill.

Reflect On Your Relationship

Friendships have varying degrees in recovery, but that never makes the reality of the loss any less devastating. Each day sober is a gift which should be cherished. Watching a friend die to relapse is a reminder of the seriousness of the disease. Some friends are acquaintances you knew by name from meetings. Others are people you hang out with on a regular basis. Even more can be close friends and confidants. Reflect on your relationship with them and what they meant to you, your recovery, and your experience in sobriety.

Find Gratitude For Your Recovery

Your relationship to your recovery is one of the most important things to focus on when grieving a friend who has passed away due to addiction and alcoholism. Though your life might not look the way you want it to and things are difficult, you are sober today and that is crucial to your survival.

Take Time To Grieve

Grieving is a process. After learning the news of a friend’s passing, there is no need to hide the wealth of emotions you will be experiencing. Take the time you need to cry, feel afraid, feel sorrow, and call a friend. These are healthy emotions you need to let out in a safe and structured way.

You don’t have to lose your life to addiction. You can gain your life through recovery. Enlightened Solutions is here to bring compassion back into your life through integrative treatment and healing. For more information on our programs, call 833-801-5483.

Recognizing And Treating Trauma In Addiction Recovery Is Essential For Long Term Sobriety

Almost every human on the planet will experience trauma in their lifetimes. This is a fact. Trauma is no longer defined as being a soldier experiencing the active battlefields of war. Life is an active battlefield. When circumstances are taken out of our control, it can feel like war. Trauma cannot be defined by someone outside of a situation looking when. If a traumatic episode causes stress, distress, and ongoing mental health issues, the situation was traumatic.

Though most people will experience trauma in their lifetimes, they will not likely experience post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a specific clinical diagnosis given to those who have extreme reactions to trauma for an enduring amount of time. To be fully diagnosed with PTSD one has to meet specific clinical requirements. However, many people have symptoms similar to PTSD which negatively influence their ability to have relationships, perform at work, develop emotionally, and manage stress. Trauma, even though it might not be displayed through obvious symptoms like hyperarousal and hallucinatory flashbacks, can be debilitating and often lead to substance abuse.

Drug and alcohol abuse is an obvious answer to trauma. Euphoria, analgesia, hallucination- many of the physical and psychological effects of drugs and alcohol provide escape from trauma. Until trauma is worked through with a professional psychologist, one who has experienced trauma continues to live with it. Overlooking the presence of any kind of trauma in one’s life when attempting to treat their substance abuse problems is ineffective.

Treating addiction without treating trauma is like putting Neosporin on a severed limb. Regarding trauma with care and delicacy is essential for healing during the treatment process. How someone relates to their world is defined by mental illness. That mental illness can be enhanced or worsened by the experience of living with untreated trauma.

Defining Trauma

Bullying is trauma. Verbal abuse is trauma. Watching a sibling be taken away is trauma. Living in a non-emotional household is trauma. Rape is trauma. Divorce is trauma. Anything which creates a significant and life-altering impact is trauma. Your trauma does not have to meet any specifications. If it is affecting you, it is traumatic.

You do not have to live with the pain of trauma forever. Healing is possible for both trauma and addiction. The integrative and healing programs at Enlightened Solutions are designed to help you find peace in your life through recovery. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

Using 12 Step Meetings For Recovery

Before there was a solution to the problem of alcoholism, there was no answer. People who had an uncontrollable relationship with alcohol were sent to hospitals and psychiatric wards. Doctors warned patients that their brains and livers would be damaged for good with one more drink or drug, yet patients did not listen. Around the country small groups were finding religious relief through simply programs of action that were helping them stay sober. The message of one such group found a man named Bill who had a spiritual experience. After discussing his experience, strength, and hope with a fellow struggling alcoholic, Bill and his new friend Bob, had an idea. That idea became Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12 step program. Since the release of the primary text for the recovery group, The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1939, millions of people have found a spiritual solution to alcoholism, all over the world.

Many people find sobriety through the rooms of AA or similar twelve step programs like Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Heroin Anonymous. For others, recovery programs are an essential supplement to their ongoing treatment and therapy. During treatment, you will likely be taken to multiple meetings of different kinds a week. In the meetings you can find a sponsor. Sponsors are meant to take a newcomer, someone with less than thirty days, through the twelve steps. After completing the twelve steps, you will then be in a position to sponsor someone else through the twelve steps.

Creating A Recovery Program Outside Of Treatment

When you graduate treatment you will either move to sober living or move on your own, which might include moving back home. Finding a new routine of twelve step meetings is easy to do with a few simple steps:

  • Research meetings online. All you have to do is do an internet search of “12 step meetings in ____” to find an online schedule
  • You can search for AA central in your area and call for a list of meetings nearby
  • Ask your AA central volunteer if they have ride shares in case you don’t have a way of getting to a meeting
  • Introduce yourself at a meeting and ask for phone numbers. New friends in recovery can take you to meetings, introduce you to new meetings, and support your recovery
  • Find a home meeting which you commit to attending every week
  • Get a new sponsor and work the twelve steps with them, call them every day, and check in with your daily inventory
  • Volunteer to a commitment at a meeting like being a secretary, a treasurer, or literature person

The spiritual solution of the twelve steps has worked for millions of people around the world. Enlightened Solutions adopts the twelve step philosophy as part of our integrative programs of treatment. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

10 Tips For Moving Into Sober Living After Treatment

  1. Create a routine of meetings:

    Treatment has a daily schedule to keep you occupied and moving through the day. Sober living can present a suddenly open schedule. Sitting around bored is usually a recipe for disaster in early recovery. Learning how to structure your day and create a healthy schedule can be a challenge after spending so much time in a place where that was being done for you. An easy way to create a backbone for your schedule is with recovery meetings. Until you have a job, go back to school, you have a lot of time. Spending that time in meetings will help you stay busy and help your recovery.

  2. Fill your schedule with friends and fellowship:

    Many people continue to take time off of work and school after moving into sober living. Some might get a part time job as a way to fill their time and create a bit of income. In between, fill your schedule with friends and fellowshipping. The first year of recovery is doing everything “sober”. Going to the movies, going shopping, taking road trips, having an adventure- they’re all things people do all the time. For you and your friends in recovery they are brand new experiences. Find out what living sober in recovery is all about together.

  3. Maintain healthy boundaries:

    The growing doesn’t stop with treatment. You’ll meet many more new people, start dating, and forming new relationships. As you make amends and reconnect with people from your past you rebirth old relationships. Relationships require healthy boundaries. Remember to make time to take care of you and clearly define when that time is.

  4. Stay honest with your house manager:

    Outpatient, intensive outpatient, or aftercare are all partial care programs you might continue to do when you’re in sober living. Sober living is also where people choose to live once they’ve completed all levels of treatment they need and start to live life again. Staying honest with your treatment team and your house manager is important. Throughout the first year to first eighteen months you will continue to experience cravings, obsessive thinking, and struggles. Just because you’re in sober living doesn’t mean you’re expected to do recovery perfectly.

  5. Continue seeing your therapist:

    If you aren’t in continuing levels of care, it is important to continue seeing your therapist or find a new therapist to see if you can’t see your treatment therapist. Ongoing therapy will help you stay connected to your recovery and work on underlying issues.

  6. Practice Self-Care:

    Your life is going to become full more quickly than you realize once you’re in sober living. Between the meetings, work, after care, therapy, and adventure, it’s important to slow down and take time for yourself. Create your routine of self-care and take time to nourish your soul in the way i needs to be nourished.

Enlightened Solutions provides partial care programs for those who have completed residential inpatient and are looking to continue their treatment. Our integrative and holistic programs are designed to create transformative healing in mind, body, and spirit. For more information on sober living, treatment, and how you can recover from addiction, call 833-801-5483.

What It Means (And Doesn’t Mean) To Live With A Mental Illness

Mental health and mental illness are becoming more well understood, but continue to face harmful shame and stigma.

Living With A Mental Illness Means You’re A Human Being

Humans develop mental illnesses. You have a mental illness. Chances are, you’re a human being. Living with a mental illness simply means you’re a human with a certain set of circumstances to live with. Mental illness does not make you sub-human or any kind of different breed of person. You still have the same heart, same brain, and same chemical makeup as everyone else. A few special variations have given you some particular challenges to work with. These don’t make you abnormal, they make you unique.

Living With A Mental Illness Does Not Mean You’re Crazy, Dangerous, Or A Monster

There are severe psychiatric mental health disorders which can completely cut someone off from their own humanity. Extreme cases of mental illness without any kind of treatment or intervention can cause someone to head down a troubled path. Such pathology is often sensationalized in the movies and books by villains, “psychos” and other harmful people. Mental illness is treatable more often than not. Without treatment and the use of tools to regulate your emotions, balance your moods, and help yourself stay centered, you can start to act “abnormal”. However, the damaging stigma and characterizations of mental illness do not apply to you. You’re not crazy, you’re not dangerous, and you’re not a monster. You are not a bad person who needs to be transformed into a good person. You live with an illness which needs to be healed so you can live well again.

Living With A Mental Illness Means You Have To Work Extra Hard

You feel things, experience things, and process things differently than your peers. When you have ADHD, you have to put in extra effort to create an environment in which you can focus, organize yourself, and manage your attention. Living with depression means being sensitive to your sensitivities and practicing self-care. Those who live with addiction and alcoholism work hard to create lifestyle changes which keep them away from using drugs and alcohol.

Living With A Mental Illness Does Not Mean You’re Weak

Quite the opposite. Going to greater lengths to take care of yourself, create a healthy environment, participate in good communication, and continue to work on yourself is courageous. It takes bravery and courage to look yourself in the mirror and confront your mental illness. Coming to a place of loving-kindness, compassion, and healing with yourself is something many people will spend their lifetimes avoiding. You are not weak, deficient, or a victim because of your mental illness. You are a recovery warrior! Be proud of the work you do for yourself.

Recovery is something to celebrate, not to be ashamed of. Making the decision to seek treatment and work towards a better you is a tremendous moment in your life. If you are in need of treatment for addiction, alcoholism, and/or a co-occurring mental health disorder, call Enlightened Solutions today for more information on our integrative, holistic healing programs of treatment. 833-801-5483.

Saying “No” Is Easy To Do

No means no. We might mean to say no, but somehow it always turns into a yes. Learning to say no is an important part of addiction recovery. Each day we are saying no to our very impulses and brain chemistry asking us to go back out and drink or use.

Start Small And Work Your Way Up

Empowerment isn’t always comfortable and neither are boundaries. When we are raised in a home without healthy boundaries, we grow up without understanding what they are or how to set them. Learning how to say no and set boundaries can feel awkward at first because of this. Before you start saying no in big situations, try starting off small. You might be surprised to discover the amount of times per day you are given the opportunity to say no.

Learn More About “No” As You Go (And Grow)

Boundaries, or the lack thereof, are not the only reason we have a hard time saying no. How We think and feel about rejecting what we don’t want, don’t need, or can’t do, has been molded over time. Part of the empowerment process is learning about ourselves and what makes us who we are. Investigate how you’ve been shown “no”throughout your life. You might discover some of the insightful information which helps you release your past attachments and make more no decisions in the future.

Stop Apologizing For Saying No

Part of the framing we have around no often has to do with guilt. We might have been shown that it is wrong or bad to say no to people. In the past, we might have been shamed or even abused, for saying “no” to something. As a result, we experience pains of guilt and remorse when we simply say no. Overtime we learn not to apologize for standing up for ourselves, setting boundaries, and setting healthy limitations on what we are capable of committing to at any point in time.

Make Your No’s Clear And Concise

When we are learning to be empowered and still feel uncomfortable with saying no, we might try to find ways around just saying no. Being unclear in our assertions removes the assertiveness of our statements. It is unfair to ourselves and to the people we are communicating with notto be honest, concise, and clear about the limitation weare setting. No means no, and that’s okay.

Enlightened Solutions seeks to empower men and women to live their best possible lives in recovery, free from the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol. For more information on our dual diagnosis residential treatment programs, call 833-801-5483.

Massage For Addiction Treatment

In 2015, more than 20,000 people suffered from a substance use disorder. Substance use disorder is the general, blanket term given to describe addiction and alcoholism. Addiction to various substances and alcohol use disorder can affect up to 23,000 people per year in the United States. Problematically, only a small percentage of those people are able to receive any kind of treatment.

Multiphase Approach

Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction needs to be multi phased in its approach. Most treatment centers, like Enlightened Solutions, has found that a holistic approach to treatment is the most effective in providing healing, learning, growing, and skillbuilding. Treatment must combine healing the body, healing the mind, and healing the spirit to encourage lifelong recovery. If someone does not physically feel good, is mentally unwell, and spiritually void, they are less likely to find meaning in recovery or feel healthy enough to try and continue staying sober.

Massage Helps

Massage therapy has become a normalized part of addiction treatment. Once considered a luxury accommodation unnecessary for treatment, research as proven the contrary. Massage therapy has a evidential effect on patients undergoing detox, residential inpatient treatment, and other levels of health care for their addictions.

A therapy provided through human touch, massage can help heal negative effects of trauma, abuse, and isolation. Healing touch has been shown to increase feelings of being loved and accepted which in turn promotes confidence in therapeutic work. Massage releases tension in muscles while also releasing toxins stored in them. During the early treatment months of recovery, the body needs support in clearing out the harmful toxins left over from chronic substance abuse. Providing deep relaxation, massage therapy can reduce symptoms of stress and distress which often arise in treatment. Anxiety is common both as a symptom of withdrawal as well as a co-occurring mental health diagnosis with substance abuse. Creating a sense of peace and calm, massage therapy provides numerous benefits to those in need.

Enlightened Solutions incorporates the healing modality of massage as well as other holistic treatment modalities as part of the solution to the problem of addiction and alcoholism. We believe a combination of twelve step philosophy in addition to holistic healing is the answer to lifelong sobriety. For more information on our programs, call 833-801-5483.

From Hopeless to Hopeful

You’re in the hospital, again. You’ve been arrested, again. You woke up somewhere without knowing where you are or how you got there, again. How does this keep happening? Didn’t you only mean to have just one drink? After so many times, it has stopped being a spectacle of entertainment. Nobody seems to be laughing anymore or considering your ‘crazy’ stories to be anything less than definitively insane. You find yourself with some startling thoughts. Thoughts which, once you start mindfully paying attention to them, feel familiar, as though you’ve considered their meaning many times; yet, at the same time, they feel incredibly foreign like a dress in a closet full of pant suits. These thoughts question whether or not you might have some kind of “problem”, if there is any chance for you to get help with this problem, or if there is any hope. When you touch on that word hope you feel your heart race, your stomach drop, and you can practically feel your pupils dilate as fear sets in.


What if there’s no hope for me?


The honest truth is this. There are likely many people in your life who are starting to have the same fear. Time after time, hope after hope, all dreams have fallen short of you finding recovery and getting sober. Learning that life can be lived without drugs or alcohol seems to be a lesson you just can’t pick up. Things are looking hopeless.


However, there is an even more honest truth to be told.


You are not hopeless.

In fact, your life is hopeful.


Indeed, there are many problems that come with being an addict or an alcoholic. Messes have been created and messes will have to be cleaned up both inside and outside. The fact that you are still here means hope for you has not been lost. Self-remorse, self-pity, shame, guilt, and all around self-centeredness are par for the course with addiction and alcoholism. Likely in this broken moment you are experiencing, you can’t see how you might be an exception to divine detention. You are. You really are.


Enlightened Solutions know that there is hope for you and great things ahead when you choose to get sober. We are here to help you every step of the way. It starts with you. So start with us. Call Enlightened Solutions today for more information on our treatment programs for addiction, alcoholism, and dual diagnosis issues. 833-801-5483.

Journaling as a Tool for Recovery

Writing for twenty minutes a day, for just three days, can change your life. Does it sound unbelievable? James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas conducted research specifically investigating the positive effect journaling could have on emotion. He found that across the subjects of his studies, there was a positive and effective aftermath. Half of his subjects were asked to write about experiences in their lives which held distinguished emotional meaning. The other half of his subjects were asked to write about everyday occurrences and observations.

For those who spent the 20 minutes of writing a day focusing on heavy emotional experiences, Pennebaker discovered definite improvements, including, but not limited to:

  • Less depression

  • Less anxiety

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Improved relationships, memory, physical health, mental health

Undeniably, in each of Pennebaker’s studies, the practice of expressing emotional experiences through journaling proves to be deeply therapeutic. Writing helped in coping with stress, grief, fear, and depression. Additionally, overtime, people who regularly journaled change their language. More importantly, they change their thinking. Insight, understanding, and perspective begin to develop, demonstrated through phrases such as “I realize”, and “I understand now”.

Journaling as a Tool for Recovery

How does journaling lead to a greater sense of wellbeing and understanding in the world? Your average “dear diary”, as exemplified in Pennebaker’s studies, doesn’t exactly cut it. The human brain processes billions of intricate and detailed thoughts throughout the day. Emotion is one of the curious things about human beings, which we have a language to express. However, most modern culture suggests, in one way or another, against expressing emotion. From trauma to tragedy, accomplishment to happiness, there is general instruction not to feel too much- or at least let anyone know about it.

Mistakenly, emotions are thought to be passing experiences. While it is true that “this too shall pass”, the energy of each emotion we experience does not just go away. When we lose that baseball tournament at 7 years old and our father says “suck it up”, we don’t just “suck it up” and forget about it. We experience a colorful array of emotions that, until dealt with, stay with us a lifetime. Guilt, shame, disappointment, fear, loneliness- so much can be felt and it is completely unique to who we are as individuals.

Many of us drank and used drugs as way to simultaneously “let loose” to express ourselves, and shut down our persisting emotions. We wanted to feel everything by feeling nothing at all. When we get sober and start living a life of recovery free from drugs and alcohol, we are suddenly presented with all those feelings. Though we thought we had done away with them for good, we had only anesthetized them temporarily. Begging to be reconciled, every single emotional experience begins to surface. The fact of the matter is it has to go somewhere. If we are lucky enough to be in treatment, we have multiple therapy sessions a day to divulge. Still, at the end of the day, there may be more to process. Just 20 minutes of writing at the end of the day can help unload and make sense of all those emotions.

Journaling as a tool for recovery is an important and useful tool because it helps support emotional regulation. After years of consistent substance abuse, we have trained our brains to run at the first hint of uncomfortable feelings. Journaling is a way to make peace with the art of emotion, and possibly learn a thing or two from feeling them.

Enlightened Solutions has seen the incredible transformations which take place from the simple act of asking for help. If you are ready to change your life and ask for help overcoming your battle with drug addiction or alcoholism, call us today. 833-801-5483.

Finding your Fulfillment

Defining fulfillment takes on two forms. First, fulfillment means satisfaction. When we are fulfilled, we are satisfied. Specifically, we are satisfied because we have fully developed our abilities or character through something we have done. Second, fulfillment means achievement. When we are fulfilled we feel we have achieved something “desired, promised, or predicted.” The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a special section of text that people fondly refer to as the promises. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,” the book states, “we will be amazed before we are halfway through.” Fulfilling these promises takes work, the book explains; for, we may have faith these promises will come true, however, “faith without works is dead.” Some of the promises include new happiness, comprehending the word serenity, and a whole new outlook on life. Extravagant? Hardly. Achievable? Fulfillingly.

Finding your Fulfillment

Taking the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous will be a fulfilling event. Having experienced both a spiritual awakening as well as achieved their completion, it will be time to discover more. Recovery isn’t about getting and taking more and more fulfillment. On the contrary, a truly disciplined spiritual approach will encourage detachment from the idea of “more”. However, even Siddartha, the Buddha himself, discovered enlightenment by way of a journey searching for “more”. Along his path, the Buddha tried a variety of means to find the spiritual fulfillment he was seeking. For Siddartha, his faith that there was more than the impermanence of life required work.

As you travel your path in recovery, be encouraged to seek your fulfillment in different ways. Doing this “work” will result in discovering what fulfills you, which will bring incredible joy and meaning to your life. Here are some suggestions for finding your fulfillment.



Volunteering opportunities range across a wide variety of interests. Pick one or two causes, activities, or interests you are willing to dedicate free and unpaid time to. Devote a few hours a week to being in that place, giving yourself to whatever it is you have volunteered to do.


Be of Service in your 12 Step Community

Being of service is a way for getting out of one’s own way. Helping others can include reaching out to a newcomer, sponsoring someone through the steps, or taking a commitment at a meeting. You might be of service to people in need of rides around town, or help with their life. Working with a newcomer is one of the most rewarding experiences in recovery.


Try new things

There may be fulfillment out there you haven’t discovered yet. Explore your vulnerabilities and try new things. You might unearth an unknown satisfaction!


Enlightened Solutions sees the promise of a fulfilling future in each one of our clients. Through holistic healing and a mind, body, spirit, approach we offer a solution to the problem of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on our programs of treatment call us today at 833-801-5483.

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