Where to Turn for Support During Recovery

Support In Recovery

It can be difficult to rely on others, but that’s one of the central themes in recovery – trusting others enough to let them be there for you in your more vulnerable times, especially when you can’t completely trust yourself.

For some, however, leaning on others for support might not seem like a feasible option at first glance. Or, you might simply not know how to ask for help. We’re taught to stand on our own two feet and pride ourselves on the things we get done by our own hands – but we need to realize that there are times when we truly need each other, when there’s no substitute for a good hug or a favor or an act of kindness.

Being open to others is hard when you’re fresh off an addiction, but you can start a step at a time. When it comes to looking for support, consider your options as layered, starting from the inside and spreading out.

 

From Within

It might sound ridiculous to look in yourself for support, but the message here is that addiction recovery is really a lifelong journey about learning how to live a sober life, with increasingly less assistance, while still knowing what it means to appreciate the help of those you love and care about.

This is more of a long-term goal, but it’s an important part of recovery nonetheless. Also known as “self-love”, learning to rely on yourself takes months, if not years of steady sobriety, and better living – the kind that involves having a new lease on life, perhaps a new purpose, or at least something to focus on while you go through your recovery. Some people find solace in a spiritual goal, while others pursue career goalposts, or just seek to better themselves as athletes, parents, or members of the community.

Whatever it might be, your new purpose will give you the ability to rely on yourself and your choices and be more confident in who you are. Recovery isn’t about giving yourself over to others, but it’s about getting the help you need to heal and be a healthier person, both emotionally and physically.

 

From the Partner

If you’re in a relationship with another person, depending on the strength and age of the bond you share, it’s likely that they’re going to be your first line of defense in the struggle against addiction, and in the fight for a better life – not just for you, but for both of you. Being accountable to another human being is a powerful motivator, especially when you realize how your addiction has affected your loved one.

But it can be difficult to sustain a young relationship, especially in the early stages of recovery. Many argue that it isn’t healthy to be with someone else while you’re in recovery, unless the relationship is stable enough that the long-term commitment has already been established. If you’re just dating someone and aren’t sure about your future together, it’s best to consider putting the relationship on hold until you’re a more secure and put-together person.

If your partner is your spouse or a person you deeply trust on the same level, then their support will be critical. Being in a committed relationship with someone means being there even when things are at their toughest. But it’s important to understand that personal boundaries exist. Try not to rely entirely on your spouse and give them room to breathe and do the things they need to do to keep themselves sane and ready to tackle anything.

 

From the Family

Not everyone has a family they can rely on, but if you do, then you are truly blessed. Parents, siblings, cousins and extended kin can all pitch in to help out when you need it, whether that means just talking for a bit, having a safe place to stay when you don’t want to be in your neighborhood, or just wanting some company to keep you sober when you’re in a particularly bad place.

It’s expected of most people to move out of their parents’ home when they reach adulthood and explore the world for themselves. But that doesn’t mean you should stop being their child. That means always having a place to return to in dire need, for words of comfort or wisdom, and critical emotional help.

Other people don’t have a family to return to, for one reason or another. But in many cases, people who don’t want to speak to their old family tend to build a new one – through friends.

 

From Friends

Friends are the people we choose to be with. Sometimes we make bad decisions – and those are the friends you don’t want to be with when you’re trying to stay sober – but if you have that one group or handful of friends who you know would stay with you through thick and thin, then asking them for help to keep you on the right track can be a good thing.

On the subject of friends, another thing to consider is the impact that toxic relationships might have on your support network. Having contact with people who still use, or drink can seriously endanger your sobriety, and tempt you when the cravings are already unbearable.

 

From the Community

Even when it seems like you can’t turn to your partner, your family, or your friends, there are still many ways to get help. Sober living homes are perfect for people looking for the kind of support you need when you desperately need something to keep you from making a bad mistake.

These are communities that function on a basic but strict ruleset to prevent any and all drugs from entering the community or being used there. At sober living homes, you get to live a normal life alongside other recovering addicts, learning more from them about the hardships and joys of staying sober, and growing stronger through it.

Basic rules include curfews and drug tests, but they are excellent havens for people who have just relapsed or are afraid they’re about to, as places to rededicate yourself to sobriety, figure out what it is you want to do, and find ways to cope with the stress of recovery without succumbing to temptations.

 

What Makes Houston An Awesome Place for Sober Living?

Houston is Great for Sober Living

Houston, with a population of 2.3 million, is the most populous area in the state of Texas and has traditionally been at the heart of a culture centered on oil, cattle, and Texan pride. Yet it boasts an even larger cultural heritage today, home not only to a long and storied history, but to various ethnicities, achievements, a historic space center, and the largest medical center in the world.

Following the decline of the Texas oil boom, Houston slowly reinvented itself as an urban metropolis, borne from the cooperation of Texan natives and late 20th and early 21st century immigrants. Today, it is home to people from cultures all over the world, while retaining its roots as one of Texas’ largest cities.

It’s a great place to live for many reasons – and if you’re on the journey toward permanent sobriety and need the right location for your sober life, Houston may be a great fit. With countless museums, parks, and culinary adventures, there’s little not to love.

 

Cultural Diversity and Amazing Eats

The biggest indicator of a diverse populace is the number of amazing local restaurants. With Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Mexican populations among many other communities, Houston boasts some of the best restaurants in the country and has frequently been named among the top ten food cities of the nation.

Also known as the most exciting food city in America, Houston’s culinary strengths stem from its wide selection. From eateries and food trucks to luxury dining experiences, Houston has it all.

Why does this matter? Because when you’re going sober, one of your many goals should be to discover a way to enjoy some of life’s simpler, healthier pleasures. For most people, one of the best ways to discover another array of joyous sensations is through the taste buds. Instead of going bar hopping with friends, consider visiting various restaurants, ordering just a dish or two to try out, and moving on to something else.

 

An Arts Scene Unlike Any Other

You may not be the kind of person to particularly enjoy photorealistic artworks, paintings of squares, or strange nonsensical sculptures, but there’s bound to be a form of art that captivates you in Houston.

Home to over 150 museums in the Greater Houston area, this is the city for celebrating cultural heritage and experiencing art on a whole new level. The Houston Museum District can guide you through any of the city’s various different art centers, with museums ranging from showcasing history to automobiles, planes, cowboys, cattle farming, big oil, local art, and more.

Being sober isn’t about being as touristy as possible, but early sobriety should be taken as an opportunity to do things you’ve never done before and see things you’ve never seen before. Life can be a little aimless in early recovery, and inspiration strikes at the strangest moments – by taking an afternoon when you’ve got nothing else on the docket to go check out a new art location, you might find yourself having the time of your life.

 

A Great Place to Find Work

Arguably one of the tougher tasks when tackling a sober lifestyle is finding a fulfilling line of work. As one of the larger cities least affected by the recent housing bubble and still sporting an incredibly robust economy with countless opportunities, Houston is an amazing place to seek out a well-paying job. With the right qualifications and a vision, you can place yourself in any of the city’s many upcoming startups or find work in its established local industries.

Work is important for sober life, and life in general. A steady schedule gives us something to build our week around, while a fulfilling job can help us provide for our family and ourselves, finance our pastimes, and add yet another reason to say no to cravings and keep holding onto sobriety.

 

More Green Than Meets the Eye

You’d be surprised what a stroll in the park can do for you – and thankfully, Houston has lots of parks.

It’s been previously researched and confirmed that any amount of activity out in nature, even for as short a time as five minutes, was enough to boost a person’s mood and self-esteem, with the greatest boost coming from waterside habitats.

As humans, we’ve generally spent most of our time as a species in the great outdoors, and as much as we’ve since migrated to living our lives within buildings and plazas, being among trees, plains, and rivers in places like the Buffalo Bayou can be a great plus for overall mental wellbeing, especially in recovery.

 

Affordable Living

Jobs in Houston generally offer larger wages compared to other cities in America, when adjusting for cost of living. Because the cost of living – including food, utilities, and rent – is comparatively cheaper than in other large cities across the US, you get more bang for your buck, and get to spare more of your paycheck for activities that might interest you outside of paying your dues and making ends meet.

That’s a good thing, too, because there’s a lot to see and do in Houston. And that’s ultimately what makes it a great place for a sober living journey – you won’t get bored, no matter how much of Houston you think you’ve already seen.

 

A Lot to See and Even More to Do

Between the culinary adventures, parks, museums, and countless places to go spend the day or just the afternoon, Houston is a city full of variety and filled to the brim with surprises. When you’re freshly sober, looking for ways to have fun without alcohol can be a challenge.

You have to practically rediscover what it means to enjoy yourself and discover hobbies that you might never have suspected you’d enjoy. Houston gives you plenty opportunities to do just that, and much more – all while offering a variety of the country’s best medical centers and clinics, and excellent recovery programs, rehab facilities, and sober living communities.

How Transitional Living Helps You Get Back on Your Feet

Transitional Living

It’s very hard to transition into normal society after addiction. Addiction melts rules and breaks inhibitions and can often force a person into a position wherein they act on their whims. As much as we dislike rules growing up, as adults we eventually realize that they are necessary for upholding order and civility, for remaining decent and for promoting decency in our fellow people.

Yet addiction often does away with all that, as the brain struggles to think beyond the short-term, and begins to prioritize the next high over other things. The first victim of addiction is rationality, and after that, it all goes downhill.

Bringing rules back into a former addict’s life is difficult. Especially so if an addict is thrust right back into their old life after a severe addiction. It takes time to adjust to rules, even if they seem quite simple. Someone in recovery doesn’t just have to deal with all the other things adults deal with, but they must adjust to ignoring temptations and cravings, remaining sober in the face of the smoking, and drinking around them, and staying strong despite the pressure imposed by high stress in a new environment. That is why transitional living homes and communities have enjoyed success as a place for recovering addicts to stay while they adjust to the rules of sober living, without a risk for relapsing.

 

What is Transitional Living?

Transitional living or sober living is a form of addiction treatment. All transitional living facilities follow a strict set of rules, while providing recovering addicts with an environment that is conducive toward their recovery: amenities for hobbies and stress relief, regular social events to encourage coming together as a group, and individual rooms to offer privacy and time for self-development.

While every transitional living facility has its own set of specific rules, there are a few individual rules that most facilities agree on:

  • Absolutely no drugs.
  • Absolutely no violence.
  • Strict curfews.
  • Timely payments.
  • Work and/or school is mandatory.
  • Keep your place clean.
  • Commit to shared chores.

 

Transitional Living is Still Treatment

One thing many people are confused on is whether transitional living still counts as treatment, or whether it is simply a complex housing arrangement. While transitional homes and communities are essentially residential areas for people with addiction troubles, they are a form of treatment.

It’s generally recommended that people go through an inpatient or outpatient drug recovery program before they enter a transitional facility, but it is possible to go from treating withdrawal at home to going straight into a transitional living community.

One major difference between most treatment facilities and transitional living is that there is no program end. A tenant can stay in a sober living community as long as they want to, provided they stick to the rules and continue to pay their monthly rent. In fact, many are encouraged to stay if they need to, rather than stick to an arbitrary time limit.

 

Transitional Living and Other Modalities

Transitional living pairs excellently with other treatment forms. In fact, many transitional living communities necessitate that their tenants attend at least one form of group meeting or step-based treatment outside of the community.

 

Transitional Living for Relapse Recovery

Relapses are terrifying, especially for someone on the heels of an addiction recovery program. Many addicts don’t realize this, but relapses are common in treatment, and don’t have much to do with an individual’s willpower. They happen far too often to be tied simply to individual differences and are more than likely simply part of the treatment process. Ideally, however, relapses become less and less common, until they eventually vanish completely. The key is to learn from each relapse and look back on it as a learning moment rather than a point of failure. Failure, in recovery, lies in giving up completely. A relapse, on the other hand, is just a clue that something has gone wrong, and you need to recommit.

Transitional living is perfect for recommitting to sobriety and recovery, and by spending some time in a transitional living community, you can get yourself back on track to be an accountable sober member of society.

 

Learning to Be Back in Society Through Transitional Living

Addiction can rob individuals of their ability to be trustworthy. While it is a misconception to believe that all addicts lie – in fact, many do their best to remain honest despite their behavior and the stigma attached to it – it remains a fact that it is incredibly difficult to uphold promises and responsibilities while living through the haze of addiction.

Many lose their jobs and families because of the severity of the problem, and often that is because they are no longer accountable. Transitional living helps remedy this by helping newly sober addicts get used to a more rigid and structured lifestyle. But beyond that, this new sense of responsibility and heightened accountability comes with the boon of allowing a person to form stronger bonds built on trust and clarity. With addiction out of the way, former addicts will be able to salvage old relationships and seek out new ones, creating healthy bonds that help them uphold their sobriety by striving to remain accountable. Transitional living communities also work hard to incentivize sociability and encourage tenants to communicate, work together, discuss personal interests and struggles, and forge bonds not just through group therapy but through codependent living. These communities rely on tenants to perform chores and work hard to keep their homes clean, drug-free, and safe – fostering such an environment together can build long-lasting friendship and bring about a sense of social responsibility that is often lost through addiction, and hard to regain upon reentering society.

Feeling like we truly belong is something every human strives for, regardless of what position we try to achieve among our peers. We want to be a part of something greater and work hard to keep it safe and wholly good. Transitional living is the perfect place to regain that sense of community and belonging after recovering from addiction and going from a sober living community back to your old family or a new neighborhood will help prepare you for reintegration and a new, accountable, and sober lifestyle. In other words: it’ll help you get back on your feet.

 

How To Stay Sober With Temptation All Around

Learning to Stay Sober

The cycle of addiction is a devious one. When you quit using, your body begins sending you constant reminders of just how great it is to use. Moreover, as if that was not enough, your mind starts to go haywire, struggling to find a good way to cope with your life without drugs. It, too, wants to go back to how things were just a little while ago.

For a time, you will be fighting against your mind and your body. What is a person, if not mind and body? Fighting against addiction is not quite as simple as just making a choice to be a better person, and stop using. It is as difficult as giving up water, or going without food for weeks. Cravings, like hunger and thirst, constantly work to remind you how much easier it is to use and be happy. At least, for a time.

It passes. Unlike hunger and thirst, which can kill you, your body and mind eventually get over their losses and go back to being somewhat normal. It takes drugs anywhere from a few hours to about a month to leave your body, varying from drug to drug. While the effects only last a few hours, your system can take weeks to process a drug completely. Meanwhile, it takes at least a few months for the brain to recover from drug use, and about year for it to recover as much as possible.

It is a long time, but the cravings do go away. After that, all that is left are memories that might tempt you and pull you back into old habits, but they are much easier to manage, and fight back.

The trouble, however, is fighting against these cravings early on while they are at their strongest, especially when you find yourself surrounded by temptation.

 

Find Things To Do

Boredom is the beginning of many regretful things – when you are not sure what you should be doing, your mind begins to wander and come to mischievous conclusions. If you find yourself finding time to think about addiction, try to block it out by doing as much as possible, especially early on. Go to meetings, visit places, meet up with sober friends, and exhaust yourself as much as possible day after day.

More than just finding ways to block out thoughts of addiction, taking it upon yourself to do new things can be a great way to help your recovery. By finding new hobbies and new ways to relieve stress and energy, you build the base you need for a healthy life long after the initial period of recovery.

So visit new places, try out new things, and generally figure out what you want to do with your life now that addiction is out of the picture. Filling that void that drugs left as soon as possible is a good way to fortify your sobriety, and bring the kind of value to your life that you need in order to hold onto it when it counts the most.

 

Make a Schedule, and Stick To It

Spontaneously looking for new experiences is great when you are not sure what to do with your time, but once you find a rhythm, it is important to stick to it. Consider making a strict schedule for yourself – from waking up to heading to bed – and stick to it day after day.

Schedules can help immensely early on, giving you the structure you need to rely on, especially in times when nothing else seems reliable. Having a solid timetable to stick to can give you comfort and security, and you will never have a moment left to wonder what it is you should be doing next.

 

Seek Support From Others

While recovery is a path you ultimately have to walk alone, that does not mean you are in this completely on your own. In fact, a big part of successfully recovering from addiction is learning to seek help from others, and finding the key to staying sober lies in working together with others to support your own sobriety, and theirs.

By going to group therapy, making sober friends, and seeking help from friends and family, you can ensure that even if you are surrounded by temptation and find yourself struggling to resist, you can always call for help and get the affirmation you need to stay clean and stay sober.

 

Get New Friends, Move to New Places

Memories are a big obstacle when avoiding a relapse. They can come at the most inopportune times, and ruin an otherwise great day. While cravings that come out of nowhere trigger many relapses, other relapses are caused by memories, often coming from familiar places, familiar faces, and familiar sounds.

By moving away from these places, people, and memories, you can essentially start over and try to build a new and better sober life.

Of course, moving away is not an option for everyone, especially if you and your family are already rooted and settled. There are alternatives.

 

Enter Rehab or a Sober Living Home

When all else fails, it is time to rely on more than friends and family. Professional help and addiction treatment begins by taking a patient out of an environment of temptation, and bringing them into a place where they can focus on getting used to their sobriety.

If you have already been to rehab, or have spent time at a sober living community, consider going back. It does not hurt to enter sober living a second time around if you feel like you need some respite. Ultimately, you cannot live in a temptation-free environment forever – it would be like a prison – but there are times when getting away from temptation is the quickest and safest way to deal with it.

Keep working on your discipline, build up your hobbies, goals and relationships, and make sure that even outside of clinics and sober homes you have access to people who can help you stay sober when you desperately need their help. In time, you will stop worrying about the temptations, and instead just live your life and live it well.

Overcoming Self-Doubt About Getting Sober

Overcoming Self Doubt

When we feel good enough, nothing can bring us down. Being sufficiently confident lets you brush off negative comments and superficial critiques and move on with your life without a bruised ego or deep conflicting emotions. But when you yourself become your own worst critic, and you can’t find a positive bone in your body, then every comment turns into an assault on your person, and the compliments fall on deaf ears.

Your self-worth is more than just an opinion, it’s an integral part of your mood, personality, and your path through life. A low self-worth will lead to a more negative outlook on life, a lack of confidence or passion, and general discontent and unhappiness.

And when you’re tackling an addiction and looking to get sober, then a low self-worth can make you doubt whether you will ever get better, flushing your chances of a recovery down the drain. Being confident in your future is a big part of having the energy and the will to see a treatment through to the end, while learning important lessons along the way. Yet with self-doubt in the picture, it can be difficult to learn anything at all, or make any progress on your addiction.

To overcome self-doubt about getting sober and staying sober, it’s important to see how doubt and addiction are entwined, to give you a better idea of what you’re fighting for mentally.

 

How Addiction and Doubt are Entwined

Addiction is not the root of all evil, but it can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-confidence. Blame, shame and denial are often integral to people’s experiences with addiction, fighting hard to retain a sense of control over themselves while the cravings grow too strong to resist.

This betrayal, the fight between a person’s will and their body and brain, leads to a loss of trust in themselves, and that is often accompanied by a lack of confidence in the future.

To properly overcome addiction, it is important to regain that confidence, that self-trust – that self-love. Self-love is often noted to be important in the fight against addiction because if you don’t value yourself, you won’t be able to give the treatment your all. It’s not about being selfish – it’s about caring for your wellbeing.

 

Believe in Others If Not Yourself

For many, trusting oneself is a big step that is not easily taken. An alternative first step to begin with is to find someone who trusts you and supports you despite your own doubts – it could be a family member, or a partner. Whoever they are, rely on their trust for you, and their confidence in your ability to get better, until your own confidence can stand on its own two feet.

 

Lean on Someone’s Shoulder

When just believing in other people’s words isn’t enough, you’ll need to make sure that even if your sense of self completely erodes, you have people out there to help catch you when you fall. Self-doubt eventually paves the way to a relapse, and to prevent that, having outside forces ready to keep you clean and out of trouble.

Sober living homes are perfect for this, as they let you enter a completely drug-free environment to focus solely on your recovery, while continuing to live a normal life filled with responsibilities, obligations, and goals. Find either a special companion, sponsor, or clinic to call and go to when the need arises.

 

Reconcile with Family

Being surrounded by loved ones can help you drown out the voices of self-doubt and bring some much-needed banter and laughs into your life. But to do so, you need to reconcile with your family. If you left on bad terms because of your own mistakes, then attempting to bury the hatchet and recommit to a better relationship can bring many meaningful connections back into your life.

If, however, you left due to harsh judgments and an unhealthy family environment, then it may be time to create a new family by pulling together a group of your best friends – or working instead on making new friends.

 

The Silver Lining

Overcoming addiction is by no means a pleasant experience, so it’s easy to see how it promotes negativity. Often, people who struggle with addiction find themselves trapped in a cycle between trying to get out, and falling back in. As the cycle progresses, the doubt grows, and hope fades.

Do not let it fade completely. Grasp onto any silver lining – any at all – and do not let go. When there’s nothing left to grasp onto, then it’s time to call for help, until you begin to see that there’s more ahead than just the struggle.

Yes, many people fight their addiction for years. But they make progress along the way, making new friends, discovering new hobbies, maybe even getting a better job and exploring new fun places. Sobriety is about opening your life up to countless positive possibilities – it’s not about doom and gloom. Do not succumb to the idea that the path towards a happy sober life is suffering and atoning for your addiction – treatment is meant to be a positive experience, giving new insight into who you are, and letting you put the bad memories behind you.

By holding onto the positive things in life, you will make better progress in your recovery. There is a science to it – psychiatrists have discovered that thoughts, feelings and actions are inexplicably linked, and if you can direct your thoughts and actions towards positivity, your mood will invariably become better. This is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves working with a trained and professional therapist to teach your mind to be more positive, and thus be a little happier as well.

Start by trying to consciously catch yourself when you begin to think something negative. Whenever you feel a negative thought encroaching, try and think of something positive as well. While you may be physically and mentally struggling with cravings, consider the fact that you’re sober, and your future is bright as long as you hold on for a while longer.

With negative thinking comes blame and shame, and with that, a growing sense of doubt in yourself and tomorrow. Try not to let the negativity of addiction pull you down with it – stay above it, and turn towards your friends and family when you start to feel yourself slipping.

 

Advantages of the Houston Sober Living Community

Sober Living Community In Houston

As a major metropolis near the southern border of the United States, Houston faces drug problems. Amidst a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse and a newly reignited war on drugs, the fight to find solutions to addiction has never been this dire. Yet, while as a society we don’t hold all the answers on solving the addiction problem, sober living has come very far in helping individuals face their demons and overcome substance abuse.

Addiction treatment in America goes back a long way, through various psychiatric methods and outdated techniques, up to the modern-day approach. Although treatment modalities have made significant changes over the decades, it’s the fundamental approach that has changed the most.

Modern addiction treatment involves a more complete understanding of addiction, including its current model as a brain disease. Addiction treatment today tackles addiction as both a disease of physical dependence (through symptoms such as withdrawal and tolerance), and a matter of emotional dependence (where psychiatric treatment can help a patient overcome their dependency on drugs to avoid pain).

Yet as helpful as treatment can be, many Americans continue to relapse soon after their rehab/outpatient program is complete. In many cases, a relapse can be part of the learning experience. At other times, it leads to discouragement and loss of hope. This is where sober living communities can come in to help patients drastically cut down their risk of relapse and build a stronger base off which to kickstart their long-term sober life.

 

What is Sober Living?

Sober living communities first emerged and grew in the 70s and 80s, as a way to come up with new alternatives to residential treatment programs, although the concept goes back to the 1830s. During the 70s, there was a movement away from dedicated residential treatment and towards outpatient programs that allowed patients to continue contributing to the family through work.

Sober living communities present a place for people with substance abuse issues to stay, while enforcing an environment built around normal living: including obligatory chores and community involvement, as well as the need to continue your studies or seek stable work.

Today, sober living communities are not necessarily presented as alternatives to residential treatment. While you can sign into a sober living home instead of going through rehab, many facilities work together with rehab clinics to provide better comprehensive care, rather than recommending patients to commit to one type of treatment over the other. In fact, many transition from residential or outpatient care to sober living, and then into normal living.

 

Why Sober Living Works

Sober living communities are built on tenets that emphasize community and self-reliance. These are important values for people struggling with addiction.

It’s not to say that values help “beat” addiction, but that by combining modern addiction treatment with a drug-free environment where patients are free to build themselves up and gain a sense of independence and self-discipline by becoming productive members of a community, you can help people who are essentially lost find their way in a normal, sober lifestyle.

 

What to Look for in a Sober Community

Sober living communities exist to help tenants transition into normal life, but just like with residential treatment facilities, there are noticeable differences from community to community. It’s important to settle on a community you enjoy, and here are a few factors you should take into consideration when choosing a sober living community to settle into.

 

1. Is the Staff Friendly?

There’s a general rule that if you don’t like your therapist, your therapy won’t be very effective. In much the same way, getting along with the staff and employees at a sober living community is important. You need to be able to get comfortable within a sober living environment, so you can make good progress.

Of course, good relationships can remain good while being strained. There are times when therapists are at odds with their patients, and tensions rise. There may be times when you feel angry or upset during your treatment, either out of frustration at a lack of progress or because of a specific rule or policy. But part of the process is learning to cope with these frustrations, seek out solutions, and resolve the issue without turning to drugs or other ineffective distractions.

Pick a sober living environment with a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

 

2. Does it Have a Good Reputation?

Reputation is important, even if some sentiments are to be taken with a grain of salt. While the internet is a wondrous tool full of possibilities – including the ability to rate and review services and businesses – be sure to go through several sources and read through several reviews to form an opinion on any prospective sober living home.

A bad reputation is a bad sign, obviously – relying solely on the marketing and the tour of a facility to judge the full experience is flawed, but reviews from former tenants can give you a much more accurate and in-depth look at what you’re potentially getting yourself into.

 

3. Location

Houston may be a city, but Space City and its greater area features a remarkably varied number of sights, sounds and smells. Known for being dotted by several beautiful national parks, and home to some of the best urban nature integration in the country, it’s not hard to find a great sober living location in Houston. But it’s not about finding a good place to stay, but about finding the best place to stay. Take time to visit your favorite prospects and tour the surrounding area to see whether you like it.

If you already have a stable job, then location becomes much more important. Picking a sober living community near your workplace can save you a lot of time and money on commuting or transportation.

Sober living homes teach people how to live without drugs, through strict schedules, rules, and social interaction. By promoting group therapy and group activities, sober living homes also encourage tenants to find out more about addiction through the experiences of other tenants and encourage them to make new friends and pursue common interests.

Now is The Best Time to Begin Your Addiction Recovery

Addiction Recovery Starts Now

The best time to start your addiction recovery is now. If you’re wondering if you should do something about your drug use or dependent behavior, then it’s high time you start looking for help. The past is the past, whether it’s a year ago or a mere five minutes ago – and there’s no way to go back and do something in a time that’s already gone. But you can do something now, in this moment, a moment wherein you’re alive and have the means to live. The future is uncertain and not set in stone and putting the choice to get better into the future’s hands means not knowing whether that time will ever come.

If you are at the point where you’re asking yourself if you need help, you probably need help. Start your treatment today.

 

Define Life by the Now

Mindfulness techniques are an important part of mental healthcare. That is because a big part of struggling with mental illness – including addiction – is the fear of tomorrow, and the lingering regret from yesterday. Anxiety and depression are fed in part by twisted visions of what was and what could be. You get caught up on old mistakes and become anxious of repeating the past, filling your mind with what-ifs and what-abouts. These questions and scenarios worsen over time, and addiction amplifies them, making you crave release from the pain and confusion.

By letting go and focusing on the moment – on making things right, right now – you gain the incredible ability to pull your focus away from past and future and define your life by the present.

Mindfulness techniques, like breathing, focusing on a physical or mental task at hand, reflecting on your current feelings, and trying to meditate – more than just ways to pass the time, these techniques teach you to relax and stop worrying over what cannot be changed, or what could be, but does not have to be. Life is not predestined or set in stone – every moment is forged by the actions we take and choose to take, and once you start your journey into recovery and move away from addiction, you gain the ability to choose what you want to do, instead of spending every waking moment struggling for the next high, the next release.

 

The Importance of a Question

If you have asked yourself if you should get help, then it is likely that you need help. Addiction is not just a disease that attacks you from the inside, fighting against your brain, your personality, and your behavior – addiction often comes with the tragic side-effect of denial.

We live in a society where struggling with addiction is not very much like struggling with sickness. Instead, it is often seen as an incurable disease associated with violence and weak moral fiber. As a result, being addicted often means being judged, shunned, and looked down upon – for many, the stigma of addiction is too much to bear, and would jeopardize their positions in life, including their job, or their relationships to others.

To avoid the ostracizing that addiction often unfortunately causes, many people deny their symptoms, and even go so far as to involuntarily turn a blind eye to their own behavior. It is not until other people make it clear to them that they are being self-destructive and harmful to others than many people begin to realize how far they have come. Sometimes, that triggers the realization that they need to get help – at other times, it can trigger the realization that there is a discouragingly long road ahead to getting better. People fear that addiction cannot be cured, or that they are too far along. Or, possibly, that it just is not the right time.

The truth is very different. Addiction has nothing to do with a person’s morality. And there is no such thing as too late when it comes to treatment – if someone is alive, they can get better. While addiction is not a choice, addiction recovery is – you must choose to get better, and that starts by acknowledging that you need to get better. It starts today. It starts here.

Addiction is a scary nemesis to face for anyone. It can affect anyone, anywhere, and while it disproportionately affects people in high-stress and low-income situations, addiction can also be a problem for the affluent, the socially and financially successful, and other individuals we might see as fulfilled or otherwise happy and privileged.

Regardless of what your lot in life is, there are many resources to help you fight the disease and get support in your effort to stay clean. Some people think that part of addiction is the disciplined and strict effort of abstinence, and that a single failure spells the doom of your entire concerted effort. But addiction recovery is a process that takes years, bringing you from a dark place to a place of understanding, forgiveness, and self-love – often, over the course of several relapses and bitter lessons.

It begins with a question. Should I get help? The answer, if you are asking, is yes. More specifically, you need to get help now and start the road to addiction recovery.

 

Addiction Recovery Going Forward

As previously mentioned, addiction recovery takes time. During this time, there will be moments of weakness and doubt. Times when you want to desperately give in. Times when the stress of the outside world and everything in your life is so overwhelming that the need for release seems too much to resist.

Treatment, therapy, steps, and lessons will not do you much good when the craving becomes unbearable. But that is why we need friends and family – support to keep us on the straight and narrow, care for us and our sobriety when we feel our control slipping away and be there for us when we feel at our most alone, and at our most vulnerable. Surround yourself with trusted loved ones and keep them close in times of stress. Repay them with gratitude, and a commitment to your own accountability and growth as a person.

With time, it becomes easier to resist the relapses – you begin to tell when one is coming, and why it is coming, and you learn to live with the cravings, denying them, starving the addiction of every hope of returning, so you can completely focus on living a life worth living in sobriety.

Again: it begins with a question. The answer is simple. The best time to get clean is now – and no matter how long your journey takes, no matter how often you may circle back, as long as you start moving and never stop, there’s ultimately no where to go but forward.

 

How to Determine the Best Sober Living for You

Best Sober Living for You

The best sober living homes are communities designed to provide a drug-free environment for individuals struggling with addiction. Unlike residential treatment, sober living homes are structured similarly to the outside world, necessitating social participation, housework, and the fulfillment of certain responsibilities – from finishing school to seeking employment – in order to help tenants build a good work ethic, find self-discipline, and take control of their lives. Sober living homes also often work with residential clinics and other facilities, to provide a better and more comprehensive recovery plan.

Yet sober living homes share different philosophies, amenities, programs, and facilities. Finding the right one will take some time, and a lot of reflection.

 

Shop Around For The Best Sober Living

There are hundreds of sober living homes around the country, catering to individuals from all walks of life, struggling with all manner of addiction. However, some specialize, or set themselves apart with specific rules and philosophies. Some are stricter than others, abiding by principles that are not universally shared.

Don’t be afraid to look around, compare, and figure out what kind of structure you need in your life and which is the best sober living for you.

 

Gender-Specific or Co-Ed?

Men and women face different challenges in addiction, and addiction treatment. Men are more likely to struggle with addiction in general and consume more drugs. But women are more susceptible to addiction after beginning drug use, and they struggle more with mental health issues, as well as symptoms of depression and self-harm. While a substantial amount of men struggle with addiction due to a history of risk-taking and experimentation, many women begin their drug use as a way to cope emotionally with pain.

For women, addiction can also be one of many consequences from a long life of violence and loss, and treatment for them is best sought among other women. For men, living in an environment separate from women can help them focus entirely on their recovery and develop a brotherly bond with other men, fostering a kind of encouraging environment not always found in co-ed sober living facilities. By catering to a specific gender, certain facilities and communities can focus on the unique differences between male and female cases of addiction, while addressing each individual.

It’s important to note, however, that statistics don’t determine a person. There are women who first got addicted not because of violence or pain, but risk-taking. And there are men with deep histories of trauma, suicidal tendencies, and depression, for whom addiction had been a way to cope with terrible loss and sorrow. People come from all walks of life, and all sober living homes realize that on top of treating an entire community as a single unit, they have to cater to each person and their unique issues.

Co-ed environments provide the benefit of a more realistic mixed experience, where men and women can go about their day together, returning to split living quarters afterwards. Some might suggest that transitioning from a single-gender community to the outside world is harder than a co-ed environment, but all sober communities focus on teaching their tenants how to cope with the challenges of living a sober life out in the real world, regardless of what kind of gender structure the community follows. Determining the best sober living for you is about your needs in a recovery community.

 

How Supportive is the Staff?

A knowledgeable, caring, and experienced staff is crucial in the best sober living option for you. If you cannot trust the people working for the community, and cannot trust in their ability and know how, then you won’t be able to make any progress.

Part of recovery is finding someone who can guide you through the hoops to come to the conclusions you need to commit to your sobriety – but if you feel conflicted by the staff’s philosophy or commitment to tenant care, then you’ll be uncomfortable, and not in the right state of mind for recovery.

Being uncomfortable with certain stages of recovery is normal. But there’s a difference between being uncomfortable with the message and its implication and being uncomfortable and anxious about the person conveying the message.

It’s important to like your therapist. There will be times when you will be told things you may not want to hear, and your mind will search for ways to discard these things, by attacking the person’s credibility and eroding their trustworthiness in your eyes. But if you can trust in them, then you will be able to overcome these initial feelings and come to see that they have your best interests at heart.

 

Best Sober Living: Keeping Reputation in Mind

At the end of the day, a medical practitioner, tax attorney and artist all have one thing in common – no matter how passionate or skilled they are, they are running a business, and offering a service. It’s important to feel comfortable with the prospect of your sober living home, and excited at the idea of giving it a go – but be sure to do your research. If you’re looking for the best sober living environment for yourself or your loved one as your next step in recovery, be sure to sniff around.

In the past, doing so was not exactly the easiest thing in the world. You could ask around and hope to get lucky, but it’s only with the information age and the beginning of social content and communication like forums and instant messaging services that people began to realize how the ability to publicly share and compile data could push businesses to be more honest, transparent, and consumer-friendly. This goes for all businesses across all industries presenting themselves online – and a poor online reputation is often a red flag.

Dig into any sober living homes and see just what former tenants have to say. Tempering your expectations and hype with real reviews from real people can give you a better insight into what to expect. Remember that there will always be people looking to malign others through the internet, so take in several reviews and make a judgment call on which reviews are most likely to be genuine.

Ultimately, moving into a sober living facility for the first time can be scary – so it helps tremendously to set your worries aside by hearing first-hand what others thought about the staff and scheduling. While horror stories do exist, the best sober living homes are renown for outstanding facilities and amenities, solid treatment, a strong and forward-thinking philosophy, and a long list of former tenants whose lives have changed considerably and for the better after staying at a sober living facility.

This will be your new home for a while, so choose wisely. With the tips above and some help from friends and family, you’ll be sure to find the best sober living for your recovery journey.

What Makes Synthetic Drugs So Dangerous?

Synthetic Drugs are dangerous

The term “synthetic drug” has become more popular over the past few years, with growing awareness of the fact that new drugs are being developed in labs around the world, sometimes for illegal profit, and at other times for benign research, misused and sold on the black market. Synthetic drugs differ from the more common illicit substances that the public is commonly aware of, like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. However, the distinction is neither immediately apparent, nor is it emphasized enough.

Understanding the dangers of synthetic drugs – and what they are – can help you identify them, report them, and warn your friends and family to stay away from them. While all drugs are dangerous in their own way, there are certain factors that specifically make synthetic drugs much more potent.

What is a Synthetic Drug?

Synthetic drugs, as opposed to other psychoactive and addictive drugs, are specifically designed to function like other drugs while evading the law. These so-called designer drugs are built in laboratories from an assortment of entirely legal and mundane chemicals available globally as research material. Because of their synthetic nature, they are often far more potent than their “natural” or original counterparts and come with a bevy of extremely dangerous side effects.

The biggest danger in synthetic drugs is the fact that they are often complete unknowns. These are drugs built to be chemically like popular illicit drugs whose side effects are known, sold under the guise of being a legal alternative. Legal, because due to the speed at which these drugs are developed and sold, it is difficult to catch up and regulate each iteration.

Instead, awareness is needed. Not only are these drugs dangerous in general, but their nature as knockoffs makes them dangerous to addicts with preexisting drug use, and an intimate knowledge of their own limits and tolerance. Because these drugs are often more potent than their counterparts, synthetic drugs have caused countless ER visits and several tragic overdose deaths – a figure that is unfortunately rising, in no small part due to these drugs.

Synthetic drugs have existed for decades, termed after the fact that they are completely synthesized in a laboratory without the use of “natural” ingredients. To process cocaine, you need to harvest the coca plant. To make heroin, you need poppy. To sell cannabis, you need a cannabis plant. Alcohol is made from fields of hops, barley, grapes and more. But drugs like fentanyl, LSD, MDMA, and synthetic cannabinoids can be made anywhere with the right equipment and the right chemical compounds, cutting out the logistics of growing and transporting plant matter for drug production – a fact that allows synthetic drugs to grow unhinged across the world, aided by faster delivery systems and online black markets.  

Commonly Known Synthetic Drugs and Their Effects

Synthetic drugs come in many forms, but the most popular have been around for years. These include:

Methamphetamine: Known also as meth or crystal meth, this drug mimics the euphoric and empowering effects of amphetamines, together with numerous side effects including tooth decay, skin irritation, open sores, and rapid cognitive decline.

Synthetic Cannabinoids: While these drugs bind to the same receptors as THC, a drug that is debatably harmful, synthetic cannabinoids are much more powerful than their natural counterparts and can cause severe side effects such as nausea, hallucinations, psychosis, and organ damage.

Synthetic Cathinones: Known also as “bath salts”, these drugs are powerful hallucinogens and highly addictive, mimicking the psychoactive compound present in the Middle Eastern khat plant. An amphetamine-like substance in these drugs gives the same feeling of euphoria as ecstasy and meth, furthering its addictiveness. It acts as a stimulant.

LSD: While not addictive and rarely the cause of an overdose, LSD is potentially dangerous due to its nature as a powerful hallucinogen, and it is a synthetic drug, accidentally conceived by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in the 30s. It is illegal due to its nature as a powerful mind-altering substance, rather than severe side-effects or addictive properties.

Krokodil: A notorious albeit rare drug used in Eastern Europe and more recently in the US, Krokodil is a mixture of several substances for the explicit purpose of a very powerful high, at the cost of poisoning, tissue necrosis (tissue death), and death. Known as desomorphine, it is made by mixing codeine with household items including paint thinner and petrol.

MDMA: Also known as Molly or Ecstasy, MDMA is a “euphoric stimulant” much like cathinones, popularized through rave culture and dance festivals for years – and in other circles, more recently. Abundantly available as colorful tabs and tablets, MDMA is a common party drug, known for altering perception, and causing long-term negative side effects such as depression and addiction. Like LSD, the medical and psychological potential for MDMA is under research, but recreational use of the drug is very dangerous.

One or two positive experiences with these drugs does not negate their dangers. Side effects are a possibility, rather than a guarantee, but they are often more severe and more common with synthetic drugs due to manufacturing mistakes, bad mixes, and other elements of human error. Synthetic cannabinoids, for example, are mixed and sprayed onto desiccated plant material. Sometimes, this spotty application can result in plant pieces with a much higher – and much more dangerous – concentration of the active drug.

Why Synthetic Drugs are a Growing Issue

Synthetic drugs like meth, LSD and ecstasy have been around for decades, but the recent explosion in their use and popularity has several factors. For one, they’re part of a growing trend among teens. MDMA, and to a lesser degree, synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, have become popular at parties and gatherings. Furthermore, meth production has increased as the number of meth users continues to grow. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

Beyond that, these drugs are relatively easy to produce from a logistical standpoint and by continuously changing their makeup, labs can keep them dubiously legal, marketing them as harmless household items like jewelry cleaners or potpourri, while catering to a clientele that knows where to find these drugs.

Over the last decade, synthetic drugs have left in their wake countless deaths, long-term injuries, hospitalizations, poisonings and even comas. Staying away from them is an important priority for parents and teens alike.

All Drugs Have Potential for Abuse

There is little doubt about the dangers of synthetic drugs – we’ve gone over their death tolls and injury statistics, the potential side effects and the growing popularity – but it’s important to remember that this does not make other illicit drugs any better, or substantially safer. A “clean” cocaine or heroin addiction is going to land you in the ER and kill you at a statistically slower pace, but regardless of what you’re addicted to, not seeking treatment means accepting the risk of death from every high.

That, and with the flooding of synthetic drugs in the market, many “plant-grown” drugs are being sold laced with synthetic drugs and cut with dangerous and cheap fillers to drive up profitability. Street-level heroin in particular has often been notably laced with fentanyl, a far more potent synthetic opioid. If mixed badly, one hit can cause an overdose.

Stories about new and powerful drugs don’t make the other ones any less dangerous, and it’s important to remember that all addictive drugs can easily lead a person to a life of struggle and possible overdose.

Addiction to Synthetic Drugs Can Be Treated

An addiction to these types of drugs is more dangerous because we don’t really know what it might entail. While unpredictable side effects, violent physical reactions, poisonings and even comas caused by badly mixed drugs are part of a growing list of worries, the long-term effects of many synthetic drugs are virtually unknowable, especially drugs like synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, because studies were never organized to research just how the body reacts to long-term use. Speculation includes potential heavy metal poisoning due to the heavy metal content in drugs like K2/Spice, among other dangers.

Yet aside from these factors, an addiction to synthetic drugs is similar to an addiction to other illicit substances – which means it can be treated in much the same way. While the risk of death or overdose from a relapse is higher with synthetic drugs, treatment does exist – and an addiction to these new drugs can be overcome. Sober living homes can help individuals completely distance themselves from these substances and take the time they need for their bodies and minds to recover.

Outside of treatment, family involvement and a strong support system  of friends is important to maintain abstinence and stay strong in the face of stress. It may take months or years to cravings to completely subside, but as with other addictions, it does get easier with time and accumulated experience.

 

The First Steps After A Relapse

First Steps After Relapse

You finally check into a treatment facility and take the first steps towards a new kind of living after a relapse. You have come to terms with the reality of your condition, gone through the program to get better, and you know the road ahead and have a taste of its many possibilities. Sometimes the future looks bleak, and sometimes it looks promising – but you know that, at the end of the day, there is a future.

But then a relapse kicks in. It happens to many people in recovery, and it’s always a painful experience. More than just the physical trauma of going through withdrawal again and reaching that same point that previously took you months to achieve, a relapse feels like a failure to most people, an inability to stick to recovery and a confirmation of all your worst fears and biggest worries.

But it is not. To take an analogy out of sports, people see relapses as bone-breaking and career-ending injuries, when they are in fact just stumbles in a long and possibly fruitful journey. It’s important to remember, above all else, that it isn’t the relapse that kills a person’s chances at living a sober life – it’s giving up on sober living.

 

A Relapse Isn’t The End

Before we get into the how of recovering from a relapse, it’s important to understand the why. Relapses can be demoralizing and the idea of going through it all again just to potentially face another one can cripple anyone’s motivation to stay strong and keep going. But it’s important to realize that a relapse isn’t just a forced reboot – it can be a chance to learn, and more importantly, you can turn it into something positive for your long-term sobriety, rather than a painful setback.

Perspective is important in life, and in recovery. The way you approach problems determines how you handle them, and if you handle them effectively. By understanding that a relapse is an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a waste of time and effort, you can prepare yourself for a new kind of recovery, one marked by an experience that helps you better understand yourself and your addiction, rather than being stuck in a cycle that feels inescapable.

 

Learning From Our Mistakes

Relapses are triggered. Sometimes the trigger is internal, and most of the time, it’s external. People in early recovery will always be plagued by temptations from old memories, places, and people. Learning to live with these temptations and shut them out is central to permanently overcoming addiction.

The first step is to remove yourself from potential triggers as much as humanly possible. For most people, the idea of completely uprooting just isn’t feasible – but there is a lot you can do to change the way you live, from taking a different route to work, to taking the necessary steps to remove yourself from relationships that you know are harmful to your recovery and your long-term sobriety.

Beyond that, however, it’s also important to learn to manage your stress. Relapses are not just triggered by memories, but they can also be triggered by a need to self-medicate under extreme stress. If you find yourself needing an outlet and immediately think of release through drugs, then you’re on a bad path. Get help, call someone, and learn to cope with difficult times and stressful situations by adapting healthy and constructive coping mechanisms, such as exercise and art.

When relapses do happen, they’re an opportunity for you to think back and reflect on what caused them to begin with. Was it a particularly stressful episode in your life? Was it someone, or something? Think back to what exactly pushed you over the edge and made you think that everything you had done prior to that point was worth erasing over the ecstasy of another hit.

Sometimes, it does not have to be particularly profound. Addiction can affect thinking and decision-making, thus leading people who struggle with their sobriety to be prone to risk-taking. However, thinking back to what led you into a state of mind where relapsing became possible can help you identify how to change your recovery.

Following the exact same treatment and changing nothing about your recovery plan is not the correct response to a relapse. Instead, analyzing where things went wrong and adjusting can help you fortify yourself from that same mindset, and better prepare yourself for temptations and stressful situations in the future.

 

Recommitting And Moving On

The hardest thing to do after a relapse is accept what just happened and decide to soldier on. Even if you manage to point out to yourself that this can be a learning experience with which you can further build your sober life, it’s impossible not to feel a little bit compromised. However, life is not about guarantees. It’s about chances, choices, and circumstances. If you’re struggling with addiction and are fighting to live a sober life, then your circumstances have many odds stacked against you. But through your treatment, you’ve got the chance and you’ve made the choice to get better.

After a relapse, embracing your newfound ability to choose outside of addiction and recommit to staying sober for yourself and your loved ones means embracing that life has no guarantees, and it’s on you to lead your life in the right direction. You made a mistake, because you’re only human. But it doesn’t make you a bad human, or a failure. Instead, it’s another pivotal moment where life gave you the choice to give up or keep moving forward – and as long as you keep moving forward, you’re on the right track.

 

Overcoming Your Fears

The fear of  relapse is a very real thing. Fear as a psychological concept can be a tool or a hindrance. The fear of death can drive us to live in the direst of circumstances, to survive even against terrible odds. However, fear can also paralyze us and keep us from living. If you fear something excessively, then it keeps you from moving past it.

The fear of death kicks in when your life is truly in danger. But the fear of a relapse only keeps you fixated on the possibility of relapsing again, instead of allowing you to embrace the confidence you need to put relapses behind you and focus instead on living each day committed to sobriety and your own happiness.

Relapses are painful and can be difficult to overcome. It’s not easy to get clean again and recommit. But it’s possible – and if you want to get sober, it’s necessary. It will get easier to resist temptations and ignore cravings with time, and with a little help from friends and family, you can keep on the right track even on the bad days.