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Tag: Substance Abuse

The Sponsor/Sponsee Roles in AA’s 12-Step Program

There are many different support groups in the game of addiction. The few that fall into a similar category include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous (CODA). These all follow a 12-step program. Upon early recovery, it’s suggested to attend meetings daily. While finding meetings that fit, it’s important to keep an eye out for a sponsor. A sponsor is defined as another member who takes the sponsee through the 12 steps. A sponsee would be defined as a new member to the program or a member that wants to repeat the steps. A new member or newcomer should look for a sponsor that has what they want for themselves. This can mean a few different things that include happiness, spirituality, healthy relationships and so on. It’s suggested for the sponsee to interview the potential sponsor before entering an agreement that may as well be doomed from the start. Here are a few questions a sponsee might consider asking:

  • What is expected of me?
  • Do you have a call time? (A time each day to call)
  • How quickly will we be going through the steps?

Now that the sponsee has chosen the right fit. It’s time to establish boundaries. There are certain roles the sponsor may not feel comfortable playing. Bringing the family into the recovery of the alcoholic, or any other member seeking help should be not be taken lightly. There are boundaries that can be crossed left and right. It’s wise to make them clear from the start. That’s not saying the family should not be involved in recovery. The 12-steps were built to release the person suffering from the bondage of whatever addiction that may be. It is a sensitive topic that not everyone wants their family being apart of every step of the way. The information must be kept confidential between the sponsee and sponsor to maintain trust. That being said, the sponsor/sponsee relationship is about the sponsee. The sponsor will most times be there for the sponsee during hard times and make suggestions. The sponsor will take the sponsee down a path that they had followed themselves to get sober. This is meant to keep the sponsor sober, thus the beauty of the program. The sponsee must follow suggestions and do the 12 steps to remain spiritually fit and on the road to recovery.

Enlightened Solutions encourages our patients to take advantage of AA’s 12 step program. Our partial program will give the addict the ability to find what works for them our their journey to recovery. Given the opportunity to connect with the community is a life skill we believe in here in New Jersey. Please call for more information: 833-801-5483.

Female Cocaine Addicts

Female cocaine abuse is has been proven to differ from the male counterpart. It is well known that the predisposed female addict will be genetically more prone to addiction. You must consider the different hormones in male and females. With the substance of cocaine, a lowered amount of dopamine will cause the addict to crave this otherwise, unattainable high. However, female addicts start off in a more vulnerable state. This is caused by the increased amount of estrogen levels in women, but when lowered, the effects of cocaine are more comparable to men. Not only will the cocaine have a more intense high, it will also last longer in duration. Females also have been shown to progress in the disease quicker than males as well as finding themselves facing harsher consequences. In treatment, women learn how to cope in healthy ways that won’t include harming the body in any form. The goal is to heal from the outside in. However, the addict must rid the body of any substances before any real healing can begin.  

Female addicts suffer from a sufficient damage to the brain. This can lead to psychiatric, medical, employment and relationship problems. While addicted to cocaine, women are more likely than men, to suffer from depression and anxiety. The differences in the cerebral blood flow have been shown to be a contributing factor as to why men and women have these varying effects. Addicts in our environment is helpful in understanding that they are not alone in this process. While in treatment, it’s imperative that the patient feels they are in a safe environment. This allows for patients to communicate their feelings, which gives way for improvements and breakthroughs. The more honest and open the addict can be, the stronger of a foundation can be built. In the long run, any treatment geared towards these issues will be more effective.

The euphoria produced by cocaine is often sought after for its communicative aim. A woman suffering from low self-esteem can become influenced to reach for cocaine in social settings. With an already lesser body image, it can become a habit that an addicted woman feeds her habit at any cost. Cocaine is the boost of confidence needed to feel apart of and happy. This only last until the inevitable come down that is preceded by depression. Strokes, heart attacks, heart arrhythmias and palpitations are all prevalent as well. The cycle can go on for years until something or someone intervenes. Furthermore, overdoses tragically continue to take the addict’s life every day. The addict disregards all health concerns because the power of the addiction overrides all else. What’s most important to the addict in the disease, is how to continue anesthetizing themselves to fill an empty lingering void deep inside.

Enlightened Solutions safe and supportive detox will give the patient the ability to rid the body of it’s harmful toxins. The holistic, clinical and 12-step approach provides guidance and tools for success. This process is vital and we are qualified to help patients start their road to recovery. For more information call: 833-801-5483.

Stress Around the Holidays

With the holidays approaching, it’s important to have tools set in place for all the unforeseen events that take place during this special time of year.There are many triggers that come into play, and it’s suggested that alcoholics in early recovery take all precautions seriously. There are many tips that make the holiday season much more tolerable and even enjoyable!. When the alcoholic is able to stay in gratitude, it becomes more of a pleasant experience. After living through certain tragic holiday scenarios with families, it’s a new opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. This is wonderful and will be cherished by all who can appreciate the miracle taking place. For those alcoholics that have lost everyone due to the consequences of the disease, there are ways to get through these times without falling into self-pity. It all comes down to gratitude. Staying grateful for each miracle, each day of sobriety, will always be helpful in staying connected to a higher power. When there is this connection, the alcoholic will be guided towards the light.

Alcoholics working a 12-step program must also stay connected to its members. There is an immense amount of support in these support groups and all alcoholics should “stay in the pack” when navigating life at this time of year. Being aware of triggers and hearing how others stay sober will keep the alcoholic in action. Being in a state of fear during these times can derail any alcoholic and hearing faith in others will hopefully give the alcoholic hope. In regards to the inevitable holiday parties,alcoholics must put their sobriety first. If that means skipping a year of festivities, then that’s what needs to happen. Nothing should come before sobriety. In many AA communities they offer meeting marathons on Thanksgiving and Christmas. These give alcoholics a safe place for 24 hours if needed. AA members are there to help each other through thick and thin, and these are especially dire times.

When the alcoholic begins to feel lonely and depressed, it’s time to remember what had gotten them to this point. Continuing down a path of self-love is imperative. Often times, people like to indulge in the holidays. The idea of giving a gift out of love and appreciation is wonderful. However, people can get too caught up in all of the stuff. While on a sober spiritual path, the alcoholic can begin to see that it’s not the stuff that makes people happy. It’s the love and laughter that brings joy. Abusing alcohol and drugs can skew anyone’s view on the meaning of the holidays. It’s when the alcoholic clearly sees the true beauty in why holidays are so special, that a transformation takes place. Grace flows freely and soon what felt like a chore to see family, will become a privilege. Those who are without families will find new ones in the rooms of AA and that is beautiful.

Our holistic, clinical and 12-step approach at Enlightened Solutions will teach patients the awareness of triggers and tools to stay on a solid road to recovery. Just like koi fish in our logo, patients will learn to rise prosper as they integrate back into the chaotic world. To learn more call: 833-801-5483.

The Ripple Effect of Making Choices

The journey of recovery is about smashing the illusion of separation and returning to the greater whole.  In some ways, we never stopped being part of the whole and once in recovery, this becomes evident. We awaken to all the ways that our addicted lifestyle impacted our loved ones with whom we share our life.  

Through this process of awakening to the ripple effect of our daily choices, we are returned to understanding how much power we have to influence the world around us by making our healing our greatest priority.  It is a choice about what kind of impact you want to generate with your one finite life.  

The power of focused choices and their influence on the greater ecological systems is demonstrated in the popular video, How Wolves Change Rivers.  In this video, there is  focused effort to increase the population of the wolves.  Increasing the wolf population also restored many species in the region and  transformed of the geography itself. Every facet of the ecosystem is renewed simply by focusing on healing one element of the ecosystem.  

Our recovery journey is the same. A person in their addiction will look at the goal of healing from the bottom of Mount Everest. Gazing at the peak, they imagine the weight 30,000 feet of elevation bearing down on every step.  They do not yet know the momentum that each step brings.  Or that the joy for progress accelerates this momentum.  They do not know that there is a point of being closer to the top than you are to the base of the mountain and that this changes the perspective of the peak.

When in our addiction, we are trapped in the physical and psychological cycle of self-destruction.  When in this experience, all of our important life experiences are out of control such as our most valued family and love relationships, our employment and the experience of development within it and financial planning for our future. As we look up at this mountain peak of healing, longing to deeply and truly return to vitality, it seems out of reach.  We must remember that there is also a systemic energy that is longing to return us to vitality.  It will magically propel us forward much more quickly than may be apparent from the base of the mountain.  

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Acceptance

Acceptance is the beginning of the journey of recovery from addiction.  It is where we begin to live on the actual canvas of the life that is ours for living.  By staying inside the space of our own life, we are able to be in partnership with the flow of life, supported by the whole of life and give up swimming against the tide.

However, for many people in addiction, acceptance can be hard-won.  In some cases, people find acceptance in a moment and live inside of that perspective from one point forward.  In other cases, people have a relationship with acceptance that involves a regular and necessary pattern of renewal.  While permanent acceptance may appear desirable, it is important to consider both patterns of acceptance ‘normal’ to the recovery journey.  

The other side of acceptance is denial and denial is at the heart of addiction.  It is through denial that many people stay in their addiction long after it is apparent that their behavioral choices are devastating their lives and stealing the potential of their beautiful life.  Denial is very cunning in that it is obvious to those on the outside of it. Within the person in denial, it is very foggy and fuzzy often with an authoritative voice to the self.  Denial can sound compassionate, analytical or even sound like justified indignation.  With many unique voices, denial is often challenging to pin denial down. Since denial changes forms so rapidly, once we have cornered it, it may simply appear again in a different costume.  

However, once we are on our journey of recovery for some time, we will learn which costumes that our particular denial boogey-man usually likes to wear.  This will help us cue into when denial is seeping back in and do the awareness work necessary to come back into a position of acceptance.  

Acceptance is simply one stage of recovery and needs to be honored as such.  There are people who can find acceptance for the fact that they are an addict without discovering the willingness to embrace a recovery process and lifestyle.  However, simply arriving at acceptance beyond the stage of denial is progress and we want to acknowledge it as such.  

Beyond acceptance, it is hoped that person who needs recovery can find a place within themselves to surrender to a recovery process and lifestyle.  The experience of surrender is like being in the ocean and fighting against the waves and then suddenly finding the moment where you breathe deeply, relax your body and let it float to the surface of the water.  Surrender is when you give up the fight and allow the recovery community around you to buoy you to the safety of oxygen at the surface of the water.  

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Relapse Prevention

In the beginning of the recovery journey, it is important to become aware of the primary focal points for the recovery process to ensure lasting recovery.  In the dominant model, Alcoholic Anonymous, the primary focal points are unity, service and recovery. These focal points are intended to keep those in recovery grounded in the core principles while also bringing attention to maintaining tension between these three focal points.  It is thought that a balance between these objectives bring some measure of assurance in lasting recovery.  

The words unity, service and recovery when lived in a balanced tension with one another will bring forward a recovery lifestyle.  This lifestyle will contain intimately connected relationship with other alcoholics (unity), a consistent practice of carrying the message to other people in recovery (service) and recovery through an ongoing self-reflection process through the 12 Steps of the program (recovery).  However, for many people in recovery, especially those with some continuous sober time, these practices can become rote.  So in addition to doing all of these actions, there must be an honest reflection about whether these practices feel alive or if they have become rote.  

Beyond the practices mentioned and assessing the aliveness of them, it is important to cultivate relationships that the addict feels safe in being fully transparent.  In AA, for some, this shared transparency will only occur in the sponsorship relationship.  However, it is valuable to cultivate more than one relationship where absolute transparency feels safe, so that you have a network of support.  It is also important to recognize that being fully transparent in all of your relationships is not necessarily healthy either.  It is part of the recovery journey for many addicts to learn how much to disclose in each relationship according to the social context of the relationship.  

Finally, the goal is for recovery to become a lifestyle.  In the beginning, it can be overwhelming to take on so much change yet we must move towards these goals with daily actions.  As time goes on, recovery needs to begin to feel like an integrated essence across all facets of our life rather than being a siloed compartment of our life.  Yet, it takes time for this transformation to occur and it is imperative to support the addict with being focused on the goal while also gentle with the process.

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Why Drugs and Alcohol Block the “Sunlight of the Spirit”

The expression ‘Sunlight of the Spirit’ comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and refers to a state of being that occurs when we are free from our resentments.  Resentments are sometimes referred to as the re-feeling of an experience.  Put another way, it is when we continue to have feelings about situations or people that are not occurring in the present moment.  The process of writing an inventory is a wonderful opportunity to get present to all the ways that you are not fully living in the present! It is through this process that we become the sunlight of the spirit.  

When we are living life in resentments, we are not living life in the present moment.  If we are to live a recovered life, in a state free from being beholden to our addiction, then we must do the daily work necessary to live in the present moment.  This state is accessible through the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, particularly the inventory steps 4-9 in combination with Step 10.  Steps 4-9 allow us to become clear of the past and Step 10 allows to stay clear as we live our life forward from our initial clearing.  

It is this process of becoming clear and staying clear that allows us to become the Sunlight of the Spirit.  It allows us to become a channel of the divine as we are now clear to listen for the guidance of our Higher Power and to serve as this power directs us.  As we live in this essence of being fully present and being a channel of the divine, it is then that we are able to carry the message to others and to remain free from our addiction.  

The expression, Sunlight of the Spirit, is a tremendously accurate metaphor for the ongoing work of a successful recovery model.  As the sun must rise and set each day, so must we both be connected internally to our source of inspiration and also share outwardly with others.  So to fully embrace the sunlight of the spirit in our lives, we must find this daily flow of spiritual connection and service to others.  

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Recovery

Recovery, to recover, is the journey from the loss of connection to the authentic and whole self.  Some say that addiction forms when there is a fracture or a schism that occurs in the self.  The coping with substances and other addictions is the attempt to create a bridge to between these two places.  This bridge, though, is built on a shaky foundation and with faulty architecture.  Recovery is the process of bringing the entire structure down, usually in an act of self-demolition, and mending the schism so that a bridge is no longer needed.  

Returning to a state of wholeness is a reality that many addicts have difficulty imagining is truly possible.  Even when they can grasp this as possible for others, there are internal psychological mechanisms that block their ability to trust that it could be possible for themselves.  They must learn to let this internal dialogue exist while also taking the actions that others have taken to become free.  It is often only through the journey of doing recovery actions and experiencing the results when trust in the process emerges.  

The journey of recovery is a multi-pronged journey, involving healing on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes.  The initial process of opening oneself to new ways of living on all of these planes can sometimes be an overwhelming experience.  The way of becoming recovered is to begin to know and understand that some suffering, in the case of overwhelm, leads to evolution.  Drawing on the image of a baby bird emerging from an egg, embrace the discomfort of breaking out of the shell of addiction so that you may fly free in the blue sky.  

There will come a point that the addict will arrive at a place of being recovered.  The healing will happen on all of these planes and then, they will continue on the path of recovery by walking this journey with others who need to heal.  The point of being recovered is both a peak to a mountain and a plateau.  The choice then is to continue onward and deepen in the new life that has been created.

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Living Sober

Sobriety is a new world to those who find their way into it.  Living life without substances is unimaginable to many addicts. They arrive at this life that they are unprepared for and the concept of a blank canvas comes suddenly alive.  

In the early days of recovery, living sober is often about living in opposition to the way you once lived.  It is sometimes spoken in terms of avoiding people, places and things that you used to engage with and is often said that you must change everything to find a way of living sober.  This is true for many people as their old lifestyles become triggers for their substances use by virtue of habit.  So, success in breaking the habit of addiction, often means surrendering to letting many aspects of our lives also change.  

There is a crossroads in how this level of dramatic change can be oriented to: it can be viewed as a devastating loss or it can be viewed as a creative opportunity.  Sometimes, it may be a process to shift from one perspective to another.  The truth is that living sober and change many of the significant elements of your life truly does give you a creative opportunity to re-craft your life in the image that you desire.   

In some cases, people give up certain experiences and relationships temporarily while they build the foundation of their recovery.  It is later an important part of their recovery to rejoin these elements and explore how to relate to them differently.  In other cases, some people will commit to not doing any of the activities they did in their using life, ever.  The way that addiction overtakes the lives of different individuals is vastly different, so these different expressions of sober life are all valid.  

One key practice to a successful sober life is to learn from others who have restructured their life successfully.  Find others who have a life that you would like to emulate and ask them to guide you.  Similarly, when you have arrived at this place of a truly sober life, be willing to share your experience as to make the journey more accessible to those behind you on the path.  

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Bringing Meditation to Every Area of Life

Meditation is a powerful and accessible tool for someone in recovery. It transforms their state of presence and creates space to make an intentional choice in every moment.  With choice, recovery begins.

Meditation is many things. To beginners, it is commonly thought to be a period of time sitting on a meditation pillow.  Meditation is much more and can express in many other ways.  It can be explored in the following the realms: physical body, mental body and emotional body.

Physical body: the body as a moving meditation, for example, when walking down the street. You can engage the following focal points:

  • Notice when your heel is in contact with the ground and when the ball of your foot is in contact with the ground.
  • Play with making big movements with your body – exaggerate your steps or swinging of your arms, or exploring the full core length as you move.

Mental body: engage the mind to cultivate ‘the witness’ which is to create space between you and your mind.  You are not your thoughts. This awareness is the bridge to resisting cravings which can save lives.

  • Throughout the day,  write down your thoughts as you notice them.
  • In a seated-meditation, notice your thoughts, explore the space between ‘you’ and your thoughts, allowing your thoughts to be  clouds drifting by without attaching to them.

Emotional body: one challenge is the habituated avoidance of emotions. The emotions are a great playground for taking contrary actions to our habits:

  • When you notice an impulse to avoid, pause, and simply do the thing that you desire to avoid, even in the smallest measure.  For example, if you typically avoid eye contact, make eye contact intentionally, even if only for a few seconds.  Small changes lead to bigger changes, so celebrate the smallest contrary actions!
  • Remember emotions are simply energy that needs to move in order to be released.  As you feel an emotion, allow yourself to connect to the image of a wave, washing in and out.  As with waves, emotions will always change.  

With these simple focuses, you can bring more attention to many areas of your life.  You can begin to live with more intention by taking these small, tangible ways of being more fully with yourself in every moment of your precious life.  

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

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