How Quitting Alcohol Can Revitalize Your Life

When you stop drinking, you see immediate improvements in your life - you have more time, energy, and money. Quitting alcohol improves your physical health, your mental well-being, and your appearance. It can help you heal relationships with loved ones, excel at work, and turn your life around.

How Can Quitting Alcohol Improve Your Health?

Even drinking small amounts of alcohol can be harmful to your health. However, drinking more than the recommended guidelines significantly increases the risk of developing long-term health problems, including cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and a weakened immune system. Alcohol-related health problems are serious and widespread - more than 95,000 people die each year in the United States due to excessive drinking.

Luckily, your body is an incredible creation that can repair itself. Research shows that some of the damage alcohol causes to your liver, gut, heart, and brain begins to heal as soon as you stop drinking. This is true regardless of your age or how long you have been drinking - it is never too late to enjoy the benefits of being sober.

Quitting alcohol can also help you lose weight. Alcohol contains the second-highest amount of calories of any kind of food, and excessive drinking is often a key contributor to weight gain. Alcohol contains ‘empty calories’ that have almost no nutritional value - it doesn’t benefit our bodies in any way. 

Stopping drinking is a chance to start eating well, exercising, and practicing self-care - the foundations of a healthy lifestyle.

How Can Quitting Alcohol Make You Happier?

Drinking too much is not only damaging to your physical health - alcohol abuse and alcoholism (or alcohol use disorder) is also linked to mental health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Around 50% of people with alcohol use disorder also have another co-occurring condition. Quitting alcohol makes you less likely to develop anxiety or depression and is a crucial step in recovering from existing conditions so you can live a joyful and productive life.

Recovery from alcohol also helps you to improve your overall well-being and feel better in yourself. Heavy drinking often comes with feelings of guilt and shame, which can be exacerbated by difficult relationships with loved ones or problems at work and home. As you recover from alcohol, you may grow in self-confidence, appreciate your self-worth, and enjoy healthy and happy relationships with those around you.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Your Thinking and Memory?

Excessive alcohol consumption also affects your memory and other cognitive functions. It can make you think less clearly, decrease your attention span, and impact your problem-solving skills. Quitting alcohol can help you reverse these changes so you can increase your mental performance at work and in your daily life.

What Can You Do Instead Of Drinking Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol takes away your time. Getting drunk can take a whole evening, night, or day and the hangover the next morning may leave you confined to your bed. Stopping drinking gives you the chance to rediscover old passions, find exciting new hobbies, and leaves more time to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Alcohol is also expensive. Even moderate drinking can become costly - if you drink only one $5 glass of wine a day, you end up spending $1825.00 over the whole year. When you give up alcohol, you can use this money for other more valuable things like family holidays, home improvements, or just living a more comfortable everyday life. 

Quitting alcohol may not be easy, but you can overcome your addiction and revitalize your life with the right support. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients powerful tools to move forward in their sober lifestyle. 

We focus on healing the entire person and not just treating their addiction. Our recovery program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan. Our licensed treatment center near the southern shore of New Jersey is the perfect place for healing and relaxation. 

If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Are Stimulant Use and ADHD Related?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health disorders diagnosed in children. About half of childhood cases persist into adulthood, although it is normal for hyperactive symptoms to diminish somewhat.

Adults with ADHD are at much higher risk of developing substance use disorder; between 25% - 40% of adults in active addiction also have ADHD.

ADHD and Addiction

The exact mechanism of what causes ADHD is unknown, but we know that it often correlates with a deficit of dopamine in the brain. This characteristic poses a multitude of challenges to people with ADHD, including:

  • Difficulties with judgment
  • Impulsivity
  • Distractibility
  • Fidgeting
  • Overactivity
  • Short-term reward-seeking
  • Social awkwardness

These traits put people with ADHD at a unique risk of developing an addiction. Young people who struggle to control impulses or behavioral differences are often exposed to drug use earlier in life and are less resistant. At the same time, self-medication is extremely common among people who are not diagnosed. Adults with ADHD frequently abuse substances initially to quiet distractions, calm themselves down, and be productive.

Self-Medication With Illegal Stimulants

Abusing stimulants to self-medicate puts users at the same risk of addiction as using stimulants to get high. In addition, most illegal stimulants cause mental dependence when they are taken long-term, meaning the brain slows down its dopamine production when the drug is consistently in the system.

Using stimulants to self-medicate increases the risk of addiction. To the user, it may feel like these drugs are necessary to function, but this self-imposed treatment sets the groundwork for psychological addiction.

In a user with ADHD, this could cause further issues and make recovering from addiction more challenging. Withdrawal can also heighten ADHD symptoms, and they can be more extreme due to initial low dopamine production in the brain prior to the use of any medication.

Prescription Stimulant Addiction

Prescription drugs used to medicate ADHD are addictive in their own right. The most common drugs used to treat ADHD (Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin) are all central nervous system stimulants with the potential for abuse.

Modern research hasn’t found an overall trend in people developing addictions to their prescription drugs, but it occasionally happens. ADHD stimulant medication tends to produce highs only when it is improperly used or used by people without ADHD - however, dependence can develop regardless.

In addition, when people in treatment start to increase their dose against their doctor’s guidance or use short-acting medications at times of day not prescribed (e.g. outside of regular working hours), this can suggest abuse.

Treating Addiction and ADHD

Dual diagnosis

If a person is suffering from substance abuse disorder and undiagnosed ADHD, addiction treatment is highly likely to help. Effective addiction treatment incorporates dual diagnosis from the very beginning, which highlights the presence of any underlying psychiatric or behavioural conditions. Recovery is different for everyone, and co-occurring disorders require individual treatment. In people with ADHD, an effective treatment program needs to focus on building healthy coping strategies for its mental and behavioral challenges.

Therapies

Attending any type of professional addiction therapy is universally helpful. However, in many cases, ADHD and drug treatment therapy compliment each other. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to strengthen resolve and empower people to make positive changes in their actions. These changes help people to manage ADHD symptoms and also cope with drug cravings healthily.

We Can Help

If a mental health disorder is complicating a substance use disorder for you or your loved one, we can help. Enlightened Solutions is licensed to treat substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders such as ADHD that frequently accompany them. We offer a range of modalities, including dual diagnosis, psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, art and music therapies, acupuncture, and chiropractic care - all rooted in the 12-step philosophy. If you would like more information about our ADHD and stimulant addiction treatment, please call us at (833) 801-5483.


Understanding MAT

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective approach to addiction treatment. As the name implies, MAT uses medications to help those struggling with addiction overcome their condition.

SAMHSA defines MAT as 'the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a "whole-patient" approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.'

Medical intervention is one aspect of a broader approach used in addiction treatment. Medication helps clients manage their problematic symptoms. As a result, they can engage more in other parts of treatment. Clients in addiction recovery programs receive intensive psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and counseling, as well as life coaching and skills building alongside medical support.

What Does MAT Treat?

MAT treats clients struggling with:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

The medications used in MAT promote healthy brain chemistry by rebalancing the hormones and chemicals in the body that have become out of balance due to alcohol or opioid misuse.

Some MAT medications block the effect of alcohol and opioids on the brain. This serves to reduce cravings and helps clients get through the withdrawal stage of recovery. 

Other medications prevent the body from becoming overwhelmed by abstinence from a given drug. For example, sudden cessation of opioid use can be dangerous if the client has a physical dependence. As such, MAT would involve substituting the client's substance of misuse with a safer, controlled substance, such as methadone. 

What Are MAT Medications?

Methadone

Methadone is an effective medication used in opioid addiction treatment. Methadone treatment aims to ease the withdrawal symptoms that occur when a client stops using opioids. Withdrawal is one of the leading causes of relapse. Methadone helps clients get through withdrawal safely so they can start the rest of their recovery.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine reduces cravings for clients struggling with OUD. Similar to methadone, Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which means it activates the opioid receptors in the brain, but to a far lesser degree than a full agonist. Buprenorphine, unlike methadone, does not produce a high. 

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is prescribed under the brand name Vivitrol. Naltrexone reduces cravings and lowers rates of relapse in both OUD and AUD. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the brain's opioid receptors. As such, it becomes impossible to achieve the 'high' associated with opiate-derived drugs. MAT providers use Naltrexone after the detox stage of recovery, not before or during. 

What Are the Benefits of Medication-assisted Treatment?

SAMHSA reports that MAT helps clients struggling with AUD or OUD achieve and maintain sobriety. MAT supports clients on a chemical level while also supporting their behavioral health through behavioral therapies. 

Addiction treatment programs use MAT to suit the client's needs. Some medications and therapeutic approaches will be more suitable than others, depending on a range of factors, such as your history of drug misuse and your current health status. MAT's comprehensive and tailored approach offers a range of benefits to clients. Benefits of MAT include:

  • Increased engagement in rehab and therapy
  • Increased likelihood of completing a rehab program
  • Decreased symptom severity
  • Improved chances of gaining and maintaining employment
  • Reduced risk of relapse

Why Choose MAT?

There are many reasons to opt for MAT if you are struggling with AUD or OUD. MAT is an effective treatment approach for both of these disorders. Delivered alongside counseling and behavioral therapy, MAT is an integrated approach to addiction recovery. It can increase the time a person spends in treatment, which increases their chance of recovery success. 

Some people disregard MAT as substituting one drug for another, but this is not the case. MAT is safe. While MAT involves drugs, the medications used are highly regulated at a federal level and are FDA approved. MAT promotes addiction recovery by keeping the body as safe as possible. It reduces the risk of overdose that might happen if a client were to seek illicit drugs on the street. 

MAT is an approach to addiction treatment endorsed and supported by:

A comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment, MAT is a leading treatment type for both alcohol and opioid addiction. By easing withdrawal symptoms, MAT promotes greater resilience and encourages a deeper commitment to one's recovery. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients tools to use as they move forward in a sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person and not just treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center. We treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy and provides each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, massage,reiki, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our facility near the picturesque southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


Sponsor

New to Recovery? Find a Sponsor

You did it. You gave up drugs or alcohol and you are now sober. You have been through a treatment program, and perhaps have been in a sober living facility for a while, a controlled living situation designed to bridge the gap between formal treatment and living on your own. Now you are on your own.

Many treatment centers are based on the 12-Step philosophy. If the one you went through was, you probably began attending 12-Step meetings during treatment. Depending on where you went through treatment, you may be able to keep attending the same meeting, or you may need to find one closer to where you live.

If you need to find a new 12-Step meeting to attend, the standard recommendation is that you attend several until you find one that you really like. That meeting will serve as your “home” meeting, the one that you attend the most, and with regularity. Bear in mind that there are substance-specific meetings, like Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Crystal Meth Anonymous, to name a few. Also, in this time of COVID-19, many meetings are held virtually, so you can attend a meeting anywhere in the world.

After finding your home meeting, many people who have been in recovery for a while recommend that you find a sponsor. While you aren’t required to have a sponsor, most people in recovery find it helpful.

What Is a Sponsor’s Role?

A sponsor is someone who has been in a 12-Step program and who is stable in their recovery. Your sponsor is the person you will typically contact in between meetings if you have questions or concerns, although you can contact anyone you want. Your sponsor will work with you as you work the 12 Steps and will function as a guide to the 12-Step program overall. It’s helpful if your sponsor is aware of how AA functions beyond local meetings.

You will usually meet with your sponsor in between meetings to work on the steps and check in on how you are doing overall. A sponsor is good for your recovery by helping you in continuing to abstain from drugs and alcohol and to remain active in the recovery program. This has been shown to be the case by research done by an organization affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Qualities You Should Look for in a Sponsor

Finding a sponsor is relatively easy. At some meetings, the leader will ask people who are willing to serve as sponsors to raise their hands. Also, as people share their experiences during meetings, listen to see if there is someone whose story resonates with you and for someone you feel comfortable with. You will probably talk to your sponsor a couple of times during a typical week, so you should find someone you feel comfortable with and someone you can see discussing your addiction and the ups and downs of recovery.

Your sponsor should be someone who has been sober for a year or longer, someone who has worked the steps at least once, and someone who has been through a whole year of events and happenings, like holidays, that can bring about urges and cravings. You may also want a sponsor whose addiction was to the same substance as yours--if your problem was with alcohol, you may want a sponsor whose issue was with alcohol. Also, you may want a same-sex sponsor. Although this is a recommendation, it’s not a rule--there are no rules to finding a sponsor. You may want to find a sponsor with who you share common interests, perhaps a love of running or classical guitar. Or you may want a sponsor who you wish to emulate in a way other than sobriety. For example, if one of your concerns is to get your professional life back on track, you may want to find a sponsor who is successful in their career.

Once you have identified a sponsor and they have accepted, it can be helpful to set up mutual expectations. This can prevent problems down the road. You and your sponsor will be spending time together outside of meetings as you work through the steps. Your sponsor will also be one of the first people you call if you are faced with a situation that could trigger you to want to drink or use again. Your sponsor should also have a clear sense of boundaries and understand and accept the limitations of the role; while your sponsor is an important person in your life, they aren’t your therapist or your medical doctor.

Benefits to the Sponsor

The sponsor benefits from the relationship just as much as the one being sponsored. For the sponsor, helping someone work the steps is a powerful refresher. Most people are flattered when they are asked to be a sponsor because it means the hard work that they have done in attaining and maintaining sobriety has paid off and now they are in a position to help someone else do the same. It’s a win-win situation.

Enlightened Solutions, a drug and alcohol treatment facility located on New Jersey’s southern shore, is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy. As such, we encourage clients to attend a 12-Step meeting after they leave formal treatment as part of their ongoing recovery. A big part of being a part of the 12-Step fellowship is either working with a sponsor or serving as a sponsor for someone new to recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we focus on treating the whole person as a unique individual with individual needs, not just the addiction. We are licensed to treat the co-occurring disorders that often accompany addiction.  As such, we offer a number of holistic treatment modalities including art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, family constellation therapy, and equine therapy. We also offer traditional psychotherapy to our clients. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, call us at (833) 801-5483.


How to Apply the 12-Step Program to Your Life 

While we’re still in the start of the new year with spring right around the corner, you may be considering ways that you can boost your recovery journey and enhance your daily life. New Year’s resolutions made with good intention have been left by the wayside, especially if goals are lofty and steps aren’t being made. However, you may still wish to strengthen your coping mechanisms, participate more in our support groups and engage in more material that uplifts the soul. If you’re currently seeking treatment at Enlightened Solutions, you’ve achieved an incredible feat – recovery is the first step towards greater living. No matter how challenging life can seem at times, it’s good to know that you’re not alone; as you’ll likely discover, there are so many people who are working hard to enrich their lives as well – and while it all takes hard work and dedication, the 12-Step program can help people achieve their recovery goals. 

The 12-Step Program: What it Is

Originally developed in 1938, 12-Step programs have changed the lives of thousands of people by providing them with tools and resources to heal. 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are meant for anyone and everyone – and the fellowship provided can greatly help people feel supported as they navigate recovery. In 12-Step programs, anonymity is a crucial component so that members feel safe – and that helps people to express themselves more freely in meetings as well.

 In Akron, Ohio, Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, two men who had battled with substance abuse, designed 12-Step programs based on what had worked for them personally in achieving sobriety: 

  •   Abstinence
  •   Fellowship with others
  •   Surrendering to a higher spiritual power

They ultimately wanted to create something that brought people together to gain a connection with a higher power, with honest, peer support and spirituality being several crucial components to recovery. Now, there are 12-Step programs that have become expanded all over the world – and their aim is now to not only help those who struggle with substance use disorders, but also those who battle with other addiction issues, such as gambling, sex, technology addiction, and others. Certain spiritual components associated with inner growth include humility – and 12-Step groups talk about these types of concepts while also allowing people to engage in discussion about these ideas. Humility is an incredibly important tool for healing because it allows us to gain perspective by doing the following:

  1. Realizing that a higher power has more control than our sense of ego
  2. Being honest with other people about our faults
  3. Attempting to make amends with others when possible
  4. Viewing recovery as a way towards greater spiritual connection

There are a number of topics that can be covered throughout the 12-Steps, such as honesty, faith, surrender, willingness, forgiveness, recovery maintenance and more. If you’re looking to really get involved in a 12-Step program this upcoming year, it’s time to get started.

 12-Step Program Application

The great part about 12-Step programs is that they’re incredibly straightforward and allow for easy application of what’s been learned in meetings. Even though each person may be experiencing something different, the reality is that the underlying pain is quite universal; this way, peers and advocates in recovery can be sure to speak the same type of “language” with one another because it’s through emotion and pain – and that is something everyone can relate to. If you’re looking for something that can be used to help you in daily life, 12-Step programs are incredibly helpful to get you there – and they’re not meant to serve as a cure.

It's easy to apply the 12-Steps if you think about it:

  1. Make a visual representation of the 12-Steps. Consider each step specifically and what it means to you, and this will make it much easier to apply to your daily life.
  2. Acknowledge some of the major questions that you may be having about the 12-Steps. For example, you may be wondering if you have any fears about believing in something greater than yourself – or you may like to contemplate on what the idea of sobriety means to you. Thinking and even writing out your answers in a journal can help you solidify the 12-Steps in your daily life.
  3. Read books that promote what you’re doing. Go to a library and take a look around – get recommendations from those who are in your 12-Step program. Reading can often open the gateway towards other perspectives and life circumstances, which can enhance your recovery.
  4. Make an active decision to add more love and connection into your life. Focus on looking at the good qualities that you have, as well as the good qualities in others. Connect with a Higher Power through meditation, prayer, nature walks and more. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we want to help you heal from addiction and are committed to putting you and your recovery first. We offer a comprehensive range of services including outpatient treatment, post-rehab services, continuing care, and long-term treatment including 12-Step programs. Enlightened Solutions offers a safe and nurturing space for recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


The Relationship Between Addiction and the Criminal Justice System: How We Can Improve Public Health Through Incarcerated Offenders Who Suffer from Substance Use Disorders

Currently, over 7 million adults are under criminal justice supervision in the United States, including probation or incarceration. Furthermore, figures estimate that half of all prisoners meet the criteria for being drug dependent or having substance use disorders. According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), if we implement effective addiction treatments into the criminal justice system, we could drastically improve public health and, therefore, reduce criminal behavior.

The Relationship Between Addiction and The Criminal Justice System

In the past three decades, there have been significant advances in the science of addiction. However, there is a gap between the research of addiction and the treatment of it, specifically relating to the criminal justice system. Although research repeatedly shows that addiction is a disease of the brain, most substance use disorder (SUD) sufferers do not get treatment. Incarceration may be a barrier to treatment, dependent upon the resources available to each particular prison facility and the prison culture in general. Often, incarcerated offenders who suffer from SUDs are not receiving proper psychological care while imprisoned.

Furthermore, illicit drugs are available to imprisoned individuals, regardless of the highly organized and structured environments. These drug-seeking behaviors often lead to illegal activities and disturbing actions within the prison. Therefore, there is a rare opportunity available in which changes to prison systems and their resources for these individuals may decrease substance abuse and thus reduce criminal behavior in prisons themselves. 

Drug Use and Treatment Before and After Incarceration

It is a missed opportunity not to treat an offender with SUD, as it could instantaneously improve public health and safety to do so. Incorporating treatment for SUDs into the criminal justice system would provide treatment to people who would not receive it otherwise. Furthermore, it would improve and lessen their medical issues and rates of reincarceration or recidivism, which is characterized by the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend. Incarceration lacks in addressing substance use disorders for imprisoned offenders since over one-quarter of people reincarcerated test positive for drug use. Despite being incarcerated or not, the challenges of maintaining sobriety and recovery from alcohol or drugs are universal. Notably, the following multiple stressors increase the risk of relapse:

  • Being labeled as an ex-offender
  • Difficulties in finding housing
  • Finding appropriate employment
  • Reuniting with family
  • Various requirements for criminal justice supervision

Possible Interventions for the Criminal Justice System

Research reports the multiple benefits of treatment in addressing SUDs inside of the criminal justice system. In doing so, the criminal justice system can encourage those suffering from SUDs to enter treatment and maintain recovery. These possible interventions include:

  • Therapeutic alternatives to imprisonment
  • Treatment combined with drug courts
  • Jail and prison-based treatments
  • Programs focusing on helping offenders’ transition from being incarcerated to being released

Research consistently shows that community-based treatment reduces drug use and related criminal behaviors. Individuals who participate in treatment while incarcerated and enter a community-based program after being released are seven times more likely to remain abstinent from substances and three times less likely to be re-arrested than those not in treatment. Successful interventions depend on organization and cooperation between treatment providers, criminal justice agencies, social service organizations, mental health care institutions, and physical health care establishments. Each type of criminal justice organization, such as drug court, probation, jail, or prison, has a role in authorizing and supervising specific interventions. 

Drug education is the most common resource offered to imprisoned persons with SUDs. Although treatment during incarceration and after release proves to reduce drug use and criminal behaviors, less than one in five inmates receive any formal treatment. The prison system lacks the resources, groundwork, and competent treatment staff required to meet the needs of SUD individuals. Sadly, addiction and substance use disorders remain stigmatized and not recognized as a medical condition by the criminal justice system, and therefore, treatment is not guaranteed. 

Conclusions

There are therapeutic strategies for SUD sufferers that the criminal justice system could use that will alleviate recidivism, lessen substance abuse, and decrease criminal behaviors. The benefits outweigh the costs when implementing self-help organizations, like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, into criminal justice agencies. For every dollar spent on drug courts, over four dollars is saved per individual in costs related to avoiding incarceration and health care, while prison-based treatments can save over six dollars per individual.

Substance use treatment in criminal justice agencies needs to complement the setting. For example, since jail stays are shorter, screening for drug and alcohol use disorders, mental illnesses, and medical conditions would be useful. Then, those individuals can refer to treatment providers in the community. In prison, punishment is ineffective in treating SUDs. Therefore, the system requires the organization of treatment options that aim to help the individual battling their addiction to drugs or alcohol while reforming behaviors. 

Looking for Help?

Substance use disorders can lead to criminal behaviors due to the addiction itself and drug-seeking behaviors. Research is constantly evolving, especially relating to positive treatment options for addictions, which is changing the face of the criminal justice system. If you are battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone, and there is hope for your recovery. At Enlightened Solutions,  we understand the complexities of addiction and foster hope for the future. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.

 


Identifying Our Self-Destructiveness

Identifying Our Self-Destructiveness

For those of us living with addictions and mental health issues, one of the common underlying issues many of us share is that of self-destructiveness. We can become so focused on our day-to-day issues that we fail to see that it is our penchant for self-destruction that is at the heart of our difficulties. It can drive everything from our addictive behaviors to our unhealthy relationships, and everything in between. At the root of our tendency to self-destruct is a self-hatred we’ve developed after years of rejecting and judging ourselves. We’ve lost our ability to feel compassion for ourselves. We no longer have self-love or self-acceptance. Our self-worth has plummeted.

When we are self-destructive, we stop taking care of ourselves. We stop showing concern for our safety, our health and our well-being. We associate with people that hurt us. We stay in relationships that are abusive. We engage in dangerous behaviors. We put ourselves at risk. We self-harm. Sometimes we feel we have nothing to lose. We’ve lost hope and feel we have nothing to live for. We feel a deep sense of inadequacy, that nothing we do is ever good enough and that we’ll never live up to our standards of perfection or measure up to other people. We don’t feel worthy or deserving of love.

Our self-destructiveness is reflected not only in our external actions but also in our internal dialogue. We speak and think about ourselves in self-hating and self-disparaging ways. Notice how the voice in your head sounds and the words it uses. Chances are it is critical and judgmental, belittling and unkind. Many of us would never speak about other people the way we speak about ourselves. It’s impossible to love ourselves when we are inundated with such overwhelming feelings of self-rejection.

For many of us, our self-destructiveness comes from unresolved shame we’ve been carrying for much of our lives. We blame ourselves for the traumatic experiences we endured. We feel we are at fault even when we’ve been wronged. We’re always searching for evidence that we’re inadequate, and we cling to anything that makes us feel bad about ourselves as proof of our unworthiness. We refuse to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Subconsciously we seem to think we ought to be perfect, and we deny ourselves the understanding and compassion necessary for forgiveness.

Healing our self-destructiveness means developing our capacity for self-forgiveness, our ability to accept all of who we are, and the power of unconditional love. Until we heal from our instincts towards self-destruction, we’ll never be able to fully recover.

The staff at Enlightened Solutions has over four decades of combined personal and professional experience with addiction recovery. Let us support you. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.


Celebrating Our Successes

Celebrating Our Successes

Living with addiction can harden us to the point where we are quick to criticize ourselves and judge ourselves harshly. We create a self-image based on self-rejection and self-hatred. One thing we can do to soften our perception of ourselves and create a healthier sense of self is to start celebrating all of our successes, no matter how small they might be or insignificant they might seem. The more we can cheer ourselves on, the more we establish good habits for ourselves and mentally reward ourselves for reaching our goals.

When we’re overly focused on our failures, we are subconsciously telling ourselves that we don’t believe in ourselves, that we expect to fail, that we don’t have faith we’ll be successful in our recovery. When we’re working to recover, we need all the support and encouragement we can get. When we withhold these things from ourselves, we’re setting ourselves up for more failure.

When we put energy into celebrating our successes, we bolster our progress and reinforce our goals. We become our own source of motivation. Subconsciously we’re embracing ourselves rather than rejecting ourselves. We’re giving ourselves the love and support we need.

As part of our recovery work, we can set goals both large and small. We might want to give ourselves a goal of one year of sobriety. That would be a large goal. Small goals can be to attend a support group meeting once a week, to see a therapist on a regular basis and to find a sponsor to connect with. Along the way, as we’re working towards our larger goal, we can be implementing and working towards these smaller goals. Setting these small, more incremental goals helps us stay on track with our recovery, hold ourselves accountable, and keep ourselves focused on the daily things we can be doing to help ourselves. We can congratulate ourselves for each of these steps. Even the things that seem unimportant add up to and contribute to our growth and evolution. When we focus exclusively on the bigger goals, we can get overwhelmed at the loftiness of our expectations. Keeping ourselves on track with small, achievable goals helps us with our overall progress, and before we know it, we’ve reached our goal of one year, then two years, then three.  

Part of celebrating ourselves for our successes is learning not to be so hard on ourselves, to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, even when we falter. We set ourselves up for a successful recovery when we believe in ourselves and can celebrate ourselves.

Wherever you are in the recovery process, we'll meet you there and help you find your way. Enlightened Solutions has the caring and supportive team to help you achieve your recovery goals. Call (833) 801-LIVE today for more information on our treatment programs.


The Spiritual Side of Addiction

The Spiritual Side of Addiction

Examining addiction, we’re used to looking at the mental, emotional and physical factors of addiction, the correlations between addiction and our mental health, our emotional wellbeing and the physical effects. What many of us fail to realize is that addiction is just as much a spiritual illness as anything else. Looking at the spiritual side of addiction can give us more insight on how to heal from addiction.

Addiction, like other mental and emotional health issues, can arise from the spiritual disconnection we feel from our higher power and our inner selves. When we feel disconnected, we can feel alone and isolated, lost and hopeless. We can feel empty and deeply lonely. We turn to our addictions to fill the void we feel within ourselves. Our addictions are our attempt to escape the deep pain we feel at not being spiritually connected and fulfilled. We’re avoiding confronting the spiritual emptiness we feel, that can make life feel pointless, hopeless and sad. It can really hurt to feel unfulfilled, to feel uncertain of our purpose in life, and to feel as though we’re not living up to our potential. When we don’t feel connected to our true selves and our greater purpose in life, we can be self-destructive and direct our energy in unhealthy ways. We can feel too afraid to do the work we need to do to explore ourselves and learn about ourselves on a deep level. We can grow to hate ourselves.

When we look at our addiction as a spiritual manifestation, we can address the spiritual causes – the trauma we’ve experienced, the losses we’ve sustained, the pain we have yet to heal from. Our spirit is at the core of our being, so everything we experience has a spiritual effect. To heal from our addiction, we can focus on our spiritual healing. How can we heal ourselves at this core level?

Since our disconnection is such a major factor in our unhappiness, we can remedy it by seeking connection – connection to our higher power, to our inner selves and to kindred spirits. We can try praying to our higher power, to our source of creation, to the greater power within our life force. We can explore different religions and spiritualities to find one that resonates with us, that brings us feelings of peace, comfort and security. To help us connect with ourselves, we can use meditation, journaling, and creative expression. To connect with kindred spirits, people who understand us on a soul level, we can seek out opportunities to create community and fellowship, through support groups, recreational activities, attending classes and volunteering.

Healing from addiction is as much about healing spiritually as it is achieving sobriety. The two are interconnected. When we are working on our spiritual health, we are more likely to be able to heal emotionally and to create lifestyle changes that will serve us in our recovery.

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in treatment that connects the mind, body, and spirit. We employ holistic therapies, community building and reflection to support our recovery. Call us today: Call (833) 801-LIVE.


The Unseen Challenges in Recovery

The Unseen Challenges in Recovery

When we think about the challenges we face in recovery, the most obvious one is probably staying sober and resisting the temptation to use again. There are some additional, unseen challenges that we might not be aware of if we haven’t experienced them firsthand. These difficulties can be so overwhelming and disheartening that they deplete us of our willpower and contribute to our chances of relapsing. Many of these challenges are things people don’t necessarily want to talk about publicly, because there is still stigma surrounding them. People in recovery can suffer in silence and isolate themselves rather than seek out the help they need.

One unseen challenge that affects people in recovery is unemployment. Many of us lose our jobs because of our addictions or have to take time away from work to complete treatment. Once it’s time to reenter the workforce, we can find it harder than expected to pick up where we left off. Employers can be hesitant to employ us if they know of our history with addiction. Interviewers can take our lapse in work to mean we are undependable and not a good hiring choice. Even if we are working our recovery program successfully, hiring managers can assume we will fall off the wagon and be a liability. The stress that can come from joblessness can contribute to our inability to cope with the demands of life, leading us back to our drug of choice to try to escape that stress.

A harsh reality of unemployment is homelessness. We know that many addicts find themselves homeless because of their struggles with addiction, but what we may be less aware of is that many people still grapple with homelessness even when recovering. It can be tremendously difficult to get back on our feet after addiction has taken over our lives and totally destabilized us. If we can’t find work or if no one will rent to us, we can easily find ourselves homeless. Without the stability of work and shelter, we can become depressed and susceptible to relapsing.

When we are not financially independent, many of us find ourselves forced to be dependent on other people. Unfortunately for many of us, the relationships in our lives that developed out of our addiction are abusive, and in recovery we find ourselves dependent upon abusive partners. Domestic violence is a huge problem for people struggling with addiction and those already in recovery. When we can’t find the resources we need to make a life for ourselves and be independent, we are more easily caught in cycles of dependence and abuse.

The year following treatment is a vital time in our recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in supporting you after you’ve completed treatment. We have relationships with a number of sober living houses, and we also work with you on life skills and relapse prevention. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.