600 South Odessa Ave Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
Follow Us:

Tag: addiction

Meditation Isn’t Just One Thing

In the past 10 years or so, meditation has gone mainstream in a big way. Half the articles you see online about health and wellness are accompanied by a picture of someone sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed, looking very centered. This is due partially to the increasing popularity of yoga. Scientific research showing the benefits of meditation for both mental and physical health also validates it.

Meditation has increasingly been incorporated into treatment for addiction and other mental health challenges by forward-thinking therapists and treatment programs. However, there are also a lot of popular misconceptions about meditation. One is that meditation is one specific thing and there’s only one right way to do it.

In reality, there are many different meditation techniques and each one has different effects. Furthermore, many approaches to meditation combine different elements and different contemplative traditions emphasize different methods. If you’re incorporating meditation into your recovery plan, the important thing is to be aware of your own needs and how meditation can serve those most effectively.

Just relying on one method is a bit like going to the gym and just doing one exercise. For some people, that’s fine, especially if it’s a complex exercise, but it all depends on what you want out of it. The following are some common types of meditation and how they might help you when recovering from addiction.


Mindfulness is probably the most popular kind of meditation in the US today. It has been widely studied and incorporated into therapeutic methods, such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). It’s fairly easy to start learning and it has a lot of potential benefits in the context of addiction recovery.

While mindfulness itself really comprises several different techniques, the core of the practice is to bring your attention to the present moment and whatever you’re experiencing. This typically involves either focusing on your breath, scanning your body for physical sensations, or paying attention to something in your environment—typically sounds or some object in front of you—such as a flower or candle.

As noted, there are several ways mindfulness can aid your addiction recovery. Perhaps the biggest is that by keeping your mind in the present moment, you are not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness also lets you practice observing your thoughts and emotions nonjudgmentally, which diminishes their power to make you miserable.

For example, learning to simply observe feelings of shame rather than trying to push them away or bury them gives those feelings less control over you. With some practice, you may be able to treat drug and alcohol cravings in a similar way and “surf” them rather than feeling controlled by them.

Focused Attention

Focused attention is probably what most people think of when they think of meditation. This is the closest idea to the notion that meditation is “clearing your mind.” In reality, it’s almost impossible to “clear your mind” but you can learn to focus totally on your object of meditation—typically the breath—that you have the ability to exclude all other thoughts.

Few people develop their skills to this point, especially among casual practitioners. However, practicing this kind of meditation can help improve your concentration. There are two ways this can support your recovery. The first is if you have co-occurring ADHD, which is fairly common. Learning to better focus your attention can help reduce distractions and jumping thoughts and help you stick to important tasks.

Second, a lot of people find that when they first begin recovery, their concentration is terrible. There may be a number of reasons for this. If you’re quitting stimulants, for example, you may feel like you’re underwater and unable to focus.

Or, if your brain is mainly primed to look for drugs and alcohol, other things may just not seem that interesting and it’s harder to focus on them. By practicing focused attention meditation daily—such as feeling the breath as it passes in and out through your nose—you can gradually train your brain to focus.

Open Awareness

Open awareness is just what it sounds like: you accept whatever happens in the present, whether it’s an itch on your scalp or the sound of a truck outside your window. You let these sensations come and you let them go without judging them or following the train of thought they stimulate.

This sounds pretty easy, but it’s actually a more advanced mindfulness practice because it’s easy to start daydreaming and forget about the meditation entirely. If you can manage it, open awareness can be very good for helping reduce chronic pain and for becoming less sensitive to counterproductive thoughts.


Mantra meditations involve reciting—either mentally or out loud—specific words or phrases. In a way, the mantra becomes the object of meditation and excludes other thoughts. However, there are two important ways mantra meditation is different.

First, when you are reciting a mantra—which, in some traditions is called a prayer—the parts of your brain that produce speech are busy, so it interferes with your mental chatter. If you struggle with critical thoughts or rumination, mantra meditation may be a way to turn down the volume of those.

Second, when you recite a mantra, even mentally, it tends to slow down your breathing patterns. One study found that participants who recited a mantra or the Ave Maria in Latin tended to stabilize their breathing at around six breaths per minute: an ideal rhythm for creating a sense of calmness and wellbeing.


Loving-kindness meditation, or metta, is one that tends to fall through the cracks but it can be very powerful. The idea is simple: you practice cultivating feelings of compassion for yourself and others. This has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep, improving mood, and improving your relationships. You start by thinking of someone close to you, someone you feel genuinely grateful is in your life.

It could be a best friend or a relative. You direct positive feelings toward that person, perhaps with a thought like, “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe,” and so on. You can notice whatever feelings this evokes and sit with those feelings for a few minutes. Then gradually try to apply those same feelings to people you feel less connected to, such as a work friend, someone you’ve seen but never spoken to.

Finally, you try to apply those feelings to someone who you find hard to like. There are a number of reasons this practice is excellent for addiction recovery, but perhaps two stand out among the others. First, you should be directing compassion toward yourself at some point in the process, and self-compassion is something many people with substance use disorders desperately need.

Second, having a strong support network is one of the most important aspects of recovery, and feeling genuine compassion for the people around you is one of the best ways to create that sense of connection. Keep in mind that any kind of meditation technique is just using your brain in a certain way and the more you use your brain in that way, the better you will get at that specific task.

This can help you overcome whatever weaknesses you happen to be dealing with. If you can’t focus, try a focused-attention technique. If you’re feeling isolated, try loving-kindness. The most important thing is for you to pay attention to your own needs and goals and figure out what works best for you.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that recovering from a substance use disorder is bigger than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it’s about living a more joyful, more fulfilling life. That’s why our program treats the whole person, using a variety of methods, including meditation and yoga. To learn more, call us today at (833) 801-5483.

How You Can Help Reduce the Stigma of Addiction

Although we’ve come a long way in our views about addiction, there is still a serious stigma attached to it. A 2018 poll by AP-NORC found that while 53 percent of Americans view addiction as a disease that needs treatment, negative views of addiction remain common. For example, 44 percent said they thought addiction showed a lack of discipline or willpower and 33 percent said it was a character flaw. This stigma has real-life consequences, since it compounds the shame people with substance use disorders already feel, prevents them from seeking help, and makes the public prefer punishment to treatment. Although no individual can significantly reduce the stigma of addiction, we can each do our part. The following are some ways you can help reduce the stigma of substance use disorders.

Learn as much as you can about addiction.

First, it’s important to learn as much as you can about addiction. You may feel that since you, or someone close to you, have struggled with substance use yourself, then you know all you need to know. While that certainly gives you valuable insight, many people who have been personally affected by addiction aren’t aware of the complex causes of addiction. In fact, addiction science is still relatively new and researchers are discovering more all the time.

If you don’t want to spread misleading information, you have to do your own research. You might want to start with oververviews of addiction by reliable sources, such as information available on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These typically share research-based information, about which there is broad—but not total—consensus. You can learn basic things like the role of genetics, mental health, childhood environment, and trauma play in addiction, as well as which treatment methods are backed by scientific evidence.

Beyond that, there are many good books about addiction written for a general audience. Some good ones include Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz, In the Land of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Mate, and High Price, by Carl Hart. There are also a lot of great addiction and recovery memoirs out right now. These can be especially valuable for people who have never personally experienced addiction.

Examine your own attitudes.

In the course of researching addiction, you will inevitably change some of your attitudes, but it’s also important to make sure that new attitudes inform your behavior. For example, you might understand, rationally, that addiction is caused by genes, mental health issues, and so on, and still feel judgmental toward someone with a substance use disorder. Additionally, even if you have struggled with addiction yourself, you may not necessarily have a compassionate attitude toward other people who are also struggling with addiction. In fact, sometimes people in recovery are even more judgmental, especially if they feel a lot of shame about their own substance use. If this sounds like you, it’s possible that you need to talk to a therapist to work on your own issues around shame and self-criticism. This will help you feel better about yourself, and it will help you feel more connected to others in recovery.

Use compassionate language.

How you talk and write about addiction and people with substance use disorders signals your beliefs and feelings about addiction. Avoid using language that’s judgmental, dismissive, or dehumanizing. Certainly never use derogatory terms like “junkie” or “crackhead,” but also be careful about other labels like “addict” or “alcoholic,” since they tend to reduce a person to their worst quality. Instead, remember that a substance use disorder is a disease and use “person-first language.” So, instead of calling someone an opioid addict, it’s better to say “person with an opioid use disorder.”

Since language is fluid and can be implicitly negative as well as explicitly negative, it may help to adjust your mental model of what someone with a substance use disorder looks like. We all carry some stereotype of addiction and these may not bear much resemblance to reality. Keep in mind that addiction is largely invisible, since many people go to great lengths to hide their substance use issues. When you talk about someone struggling with substance use, you may be talking about a friend or loved one; perhaps someone who is in the room. Always remember that you might be talking about your best friend, your sibling, your child, or your parent.

Call out wrong or misleading information.

In addition to watching your own language around addiction, don’t be afraid to say something when you hear others use stigmatizing language or when you hear or read misleading information. Most people who repeat inaccurate information or use stigmatizing language just don’t know any better and are simply repeating what they’ve heard. Let them know—respectfully—that what they’ve said could be construed as offensive and damaging. Correct any misinformation so they can at least not plead ignorance in the future. Even if you don’t change the person’s mind, you might change the minds of some other people in the room or at least expose them to new information. This doesn’t only apply to casual conversation, either. If you happen to see stigmatizing language or wrong information elsewhere, such as the news media or social media, reach out—again, respectfully—and let someone know. Most of the time, content creators want to be objective and avoid giving offense, so you may be doing them a favor.

Share your own experiences with addiction and recovery when appropriate.

As noted above, part of the reason the stigma of addiction persists is that addiction is largely invisible, so the the most visible examples of people with substance use issues are the homeless, the unemployed, and the incarcerated. If appropriate, sharing your own experiences with addiction and recovery can put a real human face on addiction. People are typically persuaded by positive examples: both by people who have obvious positive qualities despite their substance use issues and by people who have recovered from addiction. You might be the example that disrupts someone’s negative stereotype. You may also be the example that gives someone with a substance use problem the courage to ask for help.

The stigma of addiction is real and it stands in the way of more people getting help. While you can’t get rid of the stigma on your own, you can certainly do your part. Educate yourself, monitor your own beliefs and language, and correct misinformation when you hear it. At Enlightened Solutions, we understand that people are complex and addiction is just one aspect of a person’s life. Our holistic approach to treatment aims to heal the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. To learn more, call us today at 833-801-5483 or explore our website.

How to Write a Compelling Intervention Letter

If you’ve tried reasoning with your loved one, encouraging them to get help, and yet their substance use only seems to be getting worse, it’s possible that the only thing left is to stage an intervention. Most people are familiar with interventions; they’re when you get some family members and possibly some close friends together, confront the person about the obvious damage their substance use is causing, and ask them to accept help.

A lot goes into a successful intervention and you should always enlist the help of an experienced interventionist to guide the process. However, one part of the intervention that you may be deeply involved with is writing an intervention letter. There are two main reasons for writing a letter beforehand. The first is that you want to have something to say and you want to say it without rambling. In other words, you don’t want to find yourself drawing a blank when it’s your turn to speak—after all, it is a form of public speaking—and you don’t want to go off on tangents that eat up everyone else’s time. The second reason is that interventions are often emotionally intense and you don’t want to get drawn into any arguments that might derail the process. With those two things in mind, let’s look at some considerations for writing a powerful intervention letter.

Start with love and support.

First, it’s critical to open your letter with a sincere statement of love and support. When someone walks into an intervention, they instantly become defensive. It’s important to remember—and to remind them—why any of you bothered to engage in such an unpleasant task. You wouldn’t do it unless you were genuinely concerned for the person and wanted them to be happy. It’s often a good idea to share a happy memory or express sincere gratitude for something the person did for you.

Emphasize that addiction is a disease that needs treatment.

When you’ve expressed your love and support, it’s typically a good idea to follow it with a statement about how their behavior when using drugs and alcohol is at odds with the decent, kind person you know they really are. What’s more, you understand that they have been behaving in this uncharacteristic way because addiction is a disease; one that needs treatment.

Give specific examples of how substance use has hurt your loved one.

After you’ve expressed your love and support and stated your belief that addiction is a disease, it’s time to move on to the meat of the letter: the real harm that drugs and alcohol have caused your loved one, and by extension, their friends and family. There are a few important points to keep in mind about this. The first is that you want to keep your examples as concrete as possible. Value judgments and generalizations open you up to arguments, so stick to facts. Instead of something like, “You’re always getting drunk and starting arguments for no reason,” go with something like, “Last Wednesday, when you were drunk, you were yelling at me so loudly that the neighbors called the police.” You can say that you felt scared, angry, hurt, and so on, but try to refrain from attributing feelings, thoughts, and motivations to the other person.

Next, stick to incidents you’ve experienced firsthand. For one thing, this gives you more credibility since you’re not relying on hearsay and rumors. Another reason is that there is a room full of people who are going to share their own stories and there’s no point relating a secondhand version of their stories.

Finally, resist the urge to embellish or labor your points. The incidents you choose should speak for themselves.

Ask them to accept help.

After you’ve shared a few examples of how substance use is hurting your loved one, reiterate that addiction is a disease and ask them to accept treatment. Say that treatment can be effective and life can get better. If they won’t do it for themselves, ask them to please do it for you.

State the consequences of not accepting help, when appropriate.

Sometimes it’s necessary to spell out the consequences of not accepting help. This is only done in a small percentage of cases and your intervention specialist will make a judgment on whether an ultimatum is appropriate in your case. If you do give your loved one an ultimatum, you have to be prepared to follow through. If you say that you’ll take the kids and leave unless your spouse accepts help, then you have to do it. Otherwise, they’ll know they can just continue to do whatever they want because your threats are meaningless.

Ask for feedback before the intervention.

With so much at stake, writing an intervention letter can feel like a huge task, especially if you don’t write very often. To make it manageable, start by breaking it down into the smaller tasks described above. Do a little brainstorming. For example, when you are writing the part describing the effects substance use has had on your loved one’s life, see if you can come up with 20 examples—from those, pick the most striking three to five to detail in the letter.

After you have a first draft of the letter, the real work begins. Put it away for as long as you can, to get a little space. That might not be long under the circumstances. When you look at it again, read it to yourself aloud. When you do that, a lot of awkward phrases will jump out at you. Since you have to read it aloud anyway, you might as well do it early. Make sure to have someone else look at it, so you can get some perspective from outside of your own head. Finally, you will probably have an opportunity to read the letter during a rehearsal or at least to show it to the interventionist. Take their feedback seriously; they have a lot more experience with interventions than you do.

An intervention is typically the last resort, but they often succeed in getting people into treatment. The important points of an intervention letter include opening with love, emphasizing that addiction is a disease, spelling out as concretely as possible the consequences of your loved one’s substance use, and asking them to accept help. At Enlightened Solutions, interventions are one of the many services we provide. To learn more, explore our website or call us today at 833-801-5483.

Can You Exercise Your Way Out of Addiction?

Exercise is now an integral part of many addiction recovery programs. This may include mind-body exercise like yoga or tai chi, more intense physical activity like weightlifting—or outdoor sports, which is somewhere in the middle. In a similar vein, many therapists are now incorporating exercise into their treatment for substance use issues and other mental health issues. It seems like we are always seeing new studies about how exercise can improve your mental health and help you stay sober, so a lot of people get the idea that maybe exercise is all they need. Can you really exercise your way out of addiction?

Exercise supports recovery.

First of all, it’s clear that exercise does support recovery and that addiction treatment programs know what they’re doing when they make physical activity an integral part of treatment. Several animal studies and a few small studies in humans have found that exercise can help reduce the risk of relapse. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20529968] In this case, the animal studies may be more compelling, since rats rarely respond to therapy. There are three primary ways exercise supports recovery.

Improves Physical Health

Addiction can take a terrible toll on your health, leading to a range of problems including malnutrition, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and infections. Exercise can help offset many of these risks, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Improves Mental Health

While the physical health benefits are certainly nice, the mental health benefits of exercise likely contribute more to a prolonged recovery. Exercise increases levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin, as well as dopamine, endorphins, and BDNF, a hormone that actually grows neurons in certain areas of the brain. Exercise can improve your mood within minutes and regular exercise can actually create structural changes in your brain, such as thickening the prefrontal cortex, which helps improve your self-control and emotional regulation. Exercise also improves your sleep, which has both mental and physical benefits.

Reduces Your Reactivity to Stress

Perhaps the biggest benefit of exercise—and the one responsible for many of the other benefits—is that it makes you less reactive to stress. Chronic stress obviously increases anxiety, but it also disrupts your sleep, increases your levels of hormones such as cortisol that can damage your cardiovascular health, and increases inflammation, which has been linked with depression. Researchers believe that among the benefits noted above, regular exercise affects the brain’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, or HPA, axis, making you less vulnerable to stress and also less vulnerable to depression and anxiety—two challenges that commonly go along with substance use disorders. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/]

However, exercise alone is not enough.

The benefits outlined above certainly tip the odds in your favor. Since most people cite stress as their biggest trigger of craving, anything that makes you feel less anxious or overwhelmed is certainly going to help you stay sober. The same is true for depression and other mental health challenges. However, there’s much more to recovery than turning down the volume on challenging emotions.

Doesn’t Teach Recovery Skills

While exercise is one lifestyle change that broadly supports sobriety, it’s certainly not a silver bullet. You won’t magically stay sober just by running 30 minutes a day. There are many skills specific to recovery. You have to know your triggers, learn to tolerate discomfort, devise behavioral strategies to avoid temptation and deal with peer pressure, learn to regulate your emotions, learn healthy strategies for managing and coping with stress, and other things that exercise alone won’t teach you.

One way to think of it is if you’re training for a sport—say, boxing. Obviously, a boxer has to be in good physical shape, which means running, push ups, weights, jumping rope, and so on, but no matter how fit they are, they won’t necessarily get better at boxing unless they actually train for boxing. It’s a high-skill activity that requires technique, timing, and knowing how to handle getting punched in the face. Similarly, in addiction recovery, you need both specific skills and lifestyle changes.

Doesn’t Address Mental Health Issues

Most people recovering from addiction will have co-occurring mental health issues, such as an anxiety disorder, major depression, PTSD, ADHD, a personality disorder, or others. As discussed above, exercise can help with these issues, but exercise alone is typically not enough. Some mental health issues require medication and most require some kind of specific therapeutic intervention. No matter how much you run, for example, you’re not likely to process your trauma or overcome your intense fear of social situations. That typically requires therapy. Exercise can improve your mood, but it often doesn’t change your thinking or behavior.

Doesn’t Provide Social Support

Finally, it’s important to remember that social support is one of the keys to a strong recovery. Exercise can certainly be social. In fact, studies have shown that team sports and other forms of group exercise are the best overall for improving mental health, both because they improve consistency through accountability and because they add a socializing aspect to exercise. While this is certainly good, the people you play basketball with every Saturday probably have no idea what it’s like to struggle with addiction. Any social connection with positive, supportive people is a good thing, but for the purposes of recovery, it’s especially important to have a group of friends who know what you’re going through.

Exercise is one lifestyle change that should be part of every recovery program. There are mountains of evidence that it improves mental and physical health and improves recovery outcomes. However, exercise in itself is typically not enough to keep you sober. Addiction is caused by many factors and a comprehensive treatment plan needs to recognize the specific factors relevant to you. At Enlightened Solutions, we know there is no one-size-fits-all in addiction recovery. We incorporate exercise and other activities into our individualized and holistic treatment programs. For more information, call us today at 833-801-LIVE or explore our website.

Egg Harbor Teen Raises Money in Memory of Father Who Died of an Overdose

It can be hard to see your parent struggle with addiction only to have them lose their battle with it. By keeping the memory of your parent alive by remembering the good times you had with them, they will always stay with you. One teen in Egg Harbor Township decided to take it one step further by raising money to spread awareness of addiction in honor of her father.

Megan Herbein’s Efforts to Break the Addiction Stigma

State data says that there have been 1,304 deaths in New Jersey in 2014 and have doubled in 2018. Four years ago, Megan Herbein, a 16 year-old girl from Egg Harbor Township High School, lost her father to an overdose. He would have been 49 years-old this year. One way that Herbein decided to break the stigma of addiction was by speaking highly of her father. When others ask her about her father, she always wants them to know that he was always happy, telling jokes, and always nice to strangers. That just because her father suffered the disease of addiction did not mean that he was a bad person. Herbein remembers her father going to dance competitions, loved roller coasters, and would drive his daughter to school.

Hope One Mobile Addiction Outreach Van

Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffer and his office wanted to help connect the community with treatments and services by launching the Hope One mobile addiction outreach van. This unit is meant to help promote substance abuse and mental health awareness. Contributions and donations were received through the nonprofit Atlantic County Sheriff’s Foundation. Ever since the start of this program, at least ten people who sought out help with at least one person requesting treatment. Services and arrangements were made for that person in helping them with transportation and finding a residential treatment center.

Herbein’s mother heard about the Hope One project through social media and made sure to tell her daughter about it. This project inspired Herbein to want to raise money in honor of her dad. She emailed everyone she knew asking for donations in her father’s memory towards the Hope One van. In ten days, she was able to raise $1,100 with more money coming in.

Megan Herbein’s Hopes Going Forward

By the time her parents separated, Herbein knew that there was something going on with her father. Her half-sisters knew more about their father’s addiction since they were older at the time that it escalated. The older Herbein got, the more that she started to understand the way addiction worked. It was hard for her to see her father like this since she “idolized” him very much.

Herbein hopes that this fundraiser that she created could be an annual thing and to be on the lookout for more opportunities to volunteer. Her, her mother, and grandmother are figuring out more ways that they can raise money for next year. By speaking about the person her father was, Herbein was showing to the community that her father was more than his addiction and his struggles but a human being like everyone else.

What to Tell the Child of a Parent Struggling with Addiction

It may be hard to know what to tell a child when you know one of their parents is struggling with addiction. They may feel anger at their parent for not being able to stop or their age can make it hard for them to understand what addiction is. Herbein’s message that she wants others to know is that when someone is struggling to stop themselves from their substance abuse, it is no one’s fault and it does not mean that your parent does not love you.

Adults should let their children know that addiction is as much of a disease as when you need medical attention for a physical condition. That your parent might be behaving badly and saying mean things when the truth is, they have no control of what they are saying when they are drunk or high. Children should also know that addiction is not their fault or responsibility to try to stop it. All they can do if offer suggestions and find support towards when the situation becomes hard to handle. You should let your child know that there are many others out there whose parents struggle with addiction. You can give them the number in terms of statistics or find a support group for children to be able to speak about their experiences.

Let your children know that it is okay to speak to someone. There is still a big stigma of addiction where people tend to forget who the person struggling with their addiction was before. They do not need to be scared or embarrassed to speak about their parents. There should be no secret to having an addiction as people are going through it every day. Megan Herbein knew how important it was to speak about her father as people who heard about his death only know about the cause of death and not the person behind it. By letting people know who someone was outside of their disease is honoring that person in the highest light. By making attempts to break the stigma of addiction and mental illness in their own area will help honor the lives of those who died and making sure no one has to go through that type of loss again.

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.

Making the Conscious Decision to Choose Healing

Many of us living with addiction struggle against our illness, and therefore ourselves, for the entire duration of the addiction. We’re fighting against the truth that we are in fact addicts. We resist coming to terms with our harsh reality. When we’re ready, finally, to tackle the recovery process, the journey begins with a choice. We have to make the conscious decision that we want to heal, that we can’t possibly continue our lives going in this direction. Our lives have become unmanageable and our pain unbearable. When we’re finally at that point, what many of us refer to as rock bottom, we desperately want to get better. We miss our lives, the people we love, the people we used to be. We crave inner peace. When we’re not quite ready to do the work needed for recovery, we haven’t yet made that critical decision that we in fact need and want to heal.

We put off getting help even when we know we need it. We procrastinate on making decisions and deliberate on whether or not to seek out support. We try to convince ourselves our problem isn’t so serious. We try to persuade ourselves into thinking that we’ll be able to quit on our own. We tell ourselves this time will work, this time we’ll be successful. At the root of our ambivalence and procrastination is fear. We fear disclosing our secret to people, especially loved ones, because we don’t want to disappoint them. We don’t want them to be ashamed of us. We fear being judged, rejected, scorned and shunned. Many of us are already isolating ourselves so much that we don’t want to lose what little connection to our loved ones we may still have. Even though we’re struggling, we’re deeply afraid, so we continue to suffer alone.

Many of us are understandably afraid of doing the work of recovery. We might not be ready to undertake the biggest challenge of our lives and face the greatest hurdles we’ll ever overcome. When we’re ready to do the work, though, we’ll make the conscious decision that we can’t maintain our lives the way they are anymore. We can’t continue to be the person we’ve become. Once we make the decision and start doing the work, we’ll start to feel a sense of fulfillment and peace many of us have never felt before.

At Enlightened Solutions, we’re here to give you the supportive community, understanding providers, and professional care you deserve. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

The Danger of Judging Ourselves

When struggling with addiction, one of the most common emotional pitfalls we can find ourselves falling into is internalizing and absorbing society’s judgment of addiction and addicts and turning that judgment onto ourselves. We start to believe the things we hear – that addiction is not a real thing, that addicts are bad people and criminals, that we use our addiction as an excuse for bad behavior. We start to judge ourselves and think about ourselves disparagingly. Why is this self-judgment so dangerous?

When we are working towards recovery, we need all the support we can get. We need all the inner resources and strength we can muster. Self-judgment depletes our inner strength, our confidence and our sense of self. We start to believe that we can’t recover and that we’re doomed to a life of active addiction. We knock ourselves down rather than building ourselves up. Our self-talk becomes cruel. The voice we’re listening to all day every day is full of self-hatred. We’re up against not only the force of our addiction but our own self-disparagement as well. We deny ourselves of hope, optimism and positivity. Our energy becomes full of negativity and cynicism.

When we judge ourselves harshly, we’re more likely to relapse because we’re not giving ourselves our own support and encouragement. We’re putting ourselves down. Our negative energy taints everything we do, from the habits we perpetuate to the relationships we choose. We’re manifesting with an energy of pessimism which brings about the circumstances we don’t want rather than the ones we do. We give up on ourselves. We lose faith in ourselves. We stop believing in our ability to heal ourselves. Self-judgement can be the catalyst for our self-destructiveness. Feeling bad about ourselves can be the reason we self-harm.

When we find ourselves judging ourselves, we can make the conscious choice to turn that judgment around and choose compassion instead. Ask yourself, would you be so judgmental of someone else, someone who was struggling with depression and emotional pain, or a physical illness? Addiction is just as debilitating and destructive, and those struggling with it deserve to be understood and embraced rather than judged and rejected. You are no different. You are battling a tremendously painful illness, and just because it can operate invisibly and be less easily recognizable than other illnesses, doesn’t mean it is any less difficult. Choose to be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people who understand addiction. Be in community with other people in recovery. Self-judgment is dangerous. Let’s work to eradicate this judgment in ourselves so that we can empower ourselves to heal.

The staff at Enlightened Solutions has a combined 45+ years invested in our personal recoveries, and we have assisted in the restoration of countless lives. We can help you too. Call us at (833) 801-LIVE today.

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

When we are in recovery, we soon discover that the challenges of addiction don’t disappear overnight. We still face the same addictive urges and temptations. We still live with the stress and overwhelm that drove us to our addictions. One of the best ways we can maintain our sobriety is create a relapse prevention plan. When we are hit with urges, our instinct is often to respond with frustration, resistance and panic, which can make us more likely to run to our addictions to escape the painful emotions we’re feeling. Creating a relapse prevention plan for ourselves provides us with a useful and effective tool we can keep with us moving forward, to help keep us on track with our sobriety.

1. Create a Routine

One of the greatest threats to our sobriety is a lack of routine. If we are on vacation, are not working or in school, or don’t have another outlet for our time and energy, we are more likely to find ourselves swayed by the temptation of our addictions. Create a routine for yourself full of things you enjoy, healthy activities, and productive ways to spend your time. Make attending meetings, going to therapy and working with your sponsor part of this routine. Give your energy to keeping this routine and make it a commitment for yourself.

2. Find an Accountability Partner

When we have someone to be accountable to, we’re more likely to stay the course of our recovery. This partner can be a sponsor, another friend in recovery, a family member, therapist or mentor. This person should be someone with whom we feel comfortable checking in and giving regular updates on our progress. We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss with them any challenges, temptations or even relapses that may arise. Keeping track of our progress, even when we stumble, can help us keep ourselves on track.

3. Choose Calm

We commonly become stressed, anxious and panicked when we’re faced with an addictive urge. We worry we’ll relapse. We fear we’ll always be suffering in this way. When we practice mindfulness, we can more easily calm ourselves down, which can help us avoid some of the emotional overwhelm that can lead to relapse. Practice doing things that bring you feelings of peace and calm. Repeat calming affirmations such as “I will get through this. I am at peace. I am reaching my goals.” Use other calming practices such as meditation, journaling and talking with a supportive friend.

Enlightened Solutions was created to help people learn more about addiction and to find the support of a community that understands the struggles firsthand. Call (833) 801-LIVE today to get the help you deserve.

How Our Lives Benefit from Inner Peace

Having peace of mind changes everything for us and drastically transforms our lives for the better. We experience an internal well-being that can feel totally new and different for us when we’ve been consumed with inner turmoil for so long. The health of our relationships improves, and we repair those that have been broken and heal the conflicts that contributed to their demise. We change the energy with which we manifest in our lives moving forward, bringing us happier circumstances and easier navigation through life’s challenges. We start to see things working out more easily for us. We feel happier and more secure within ourselves.

Stress is a normal part of life, and recovery doesn’t mean our stress disappears. With inner peace, though, we can more easily deal with the stresses in our lives. We are more centered, balanced and grounded. We are less triggered by the things that formerly knocked us off our center. We become less reactive and less emotionally swayed by challenging things, events and people. We find it easier to stay true to ourselves and to keep our focus on our emotional well-being.

Inner peace allows us to reclaim the dignity many of us lost when we were at our lowest point, when we were most self-destructive and self-harming. We learn what it means to love and accept ourselves. We forgive ourselves for our mistakes rather than condemning ourselves to live in shame and self-deprecation. We’re better able to release the past in order to focus on the future ahead. We find ourselves wanting to move forward with hope rather than staying stuck in our pain.

With inner peace comes self-empowerment. When we’re at peace within ourselves, we mentally and emotionally start to uplift ourselves more. We shed the disparaging self-talk that dominated our minds. We stop being our own worst enemy and shed our self-hatred. We find it so much happier and easier to be our own ally instead. We start to shower ourselves with self-love and self-acceptance. We stop denying ourselves the gift of our own compassion and understanding.

When we have peace of mind, we start to make better choices, in our relationships, habits and behaviors. We shed our self-destructiveness. Being good to ourselves comes much more naturally. We become better able to recognize our harmful patterns, and we develop the mindfulness to stop them in their tracks. Our energy is one of peace, and we manifest more peace in our lives rather than the tumult, confusion and conflict we grew accustomed to. Our lives and everything in them benefit tremendously when we work to develop our inner peace.

At Enlightened Solutions, our holistic and multidisciplinary approach is focused on healing the whole person and invigorating your soul. Call us at (833) 801-LIVE today.

The Challenges of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is most commonly associated with cheer, joy and nostalgia. Our cultural traditions are intended to bring us together with family and friends to celebrate gratitude and appreciation with loved ones. For many of us, however, this time of year brings with it some very real challenges that can make the season stressful rather than joyful. We can be filled with fear, anxiety and sadness rather than with the merriment the holidays are traditionally known for.

Some of the challenges we face with the holiday season come from the fact that we don’t have the family or other close relationships that other people are joyfully celebrating this time of year. We can feel an acute sense of loneliness seeing other people with their loved ones when we aren’t able to be with ours. For some of us, we have isolated ourselves so much that we no longer have close relationships to benefit from. Our addictions might have caused so much damage to our relationships that we are now totally estranged from them. We might have lost our loved ones, and this time of year serves as a painful reminder of our grief.

The sadness and loneliness we feel are some of the emotions we grew accustomed to avoiding through our addictions. The holiday season can make us want to return to our old behaviors to escape the pain we’re feeling. We might find ourselves feeling anxious and afraid that we’ll relapse. We can find ourselves tempted by the holiday parties and celebrations that are often centered around alcohol. We might be spending time with people who themselves are not sober and who might not realize the difficulties we’re having. The heightened emotions and temptation surrounding the holidays can be overwhelming, and we might find ourselves increasingly worried about relapsing.

There are some ways we can handle the challenges of the holiday season. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to prepare and plan ahead. We can plan which parties we attend and choose events hosted by other sober people in recovery. We can plan ahead to attend extra meetings whenever we’re feeling particularly challenged. We can make a plan with our sponsor to communicate more than usual. We can ask our loved ones to support our efforts and make parties more inclusive of people who don’t drink. The holiday season can be overwhelming, but with preparation, we can allow ourselves to partake in its fun and celebration rather than becoming depressed and risking relapse.

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that every addict can recover. We want to help you remember that life can be full of happiness and enjoyable experiences. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.

Contact Us

We are here to help. Contact us today and get the answers you need to start your journey to recovery!

  • Discuss treatment options

  • Get help for a loved one

  • Verify insurance coverage

  • Start the admissions process

Get In Touch

Fill out this form and we’ll respond to your message

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    You Have Any Questions?

    • Don't hesitate to contact us or visit our clinic.

    Copyright © 2023 Enlightened Solutions | All Rights Reserved