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.


Dealing with Chemical Dependency

Chemical Dependency

Drug addiction has claimed lives – much like many other diseases. Yet unlike many other diseases, we struggle to find a way to contextualize drug addiction in the same way. Instead of tackling it as a societal issue with clear risk factors that can be addressed and mitigated, many continue to endorse or vote for political policies that explicably cause more addiction and suffering, and needlessly harm or end the lives of thousands of Americans because of chemical dependency.

So, to better understand addiction in a way that allows us to tackle it both on an individual basis and as a society, it’s important to re frame what addiction is in a more concrete, biological manner. When a person is physically addicted to a drug, they develop a chemical dependency in their brain. This chemical dependency can be broken, just as it can be built up. Cost-effective treatment exists to help people who struggle with this dependence, and many other disorders related to it.


Addiction and  Chemical Dependency

Addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is described as a condition defined by compulsive substance use despite clear harmful and lasting consequences. When a person continues to use a drug even though it is putting them and their lives in jeopardy, they are struggling with an addiction.

Dependence is a bit more specific. Addiction implies dependence, but the two are not necessarily the same thing. It depends, of course, on the context of how the words are used – but where addiction describes the condition of compulsive substance use, dependence describes the enthrallment of the mind to the substance through the brain, specifically through withdrawal symptoms and extremely powerful cravings.

Chemical dependence is when a person’s brain chemistry has altered to be tied to the drug, inducing withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop using, or causing them to build an increasing tolerance to a drug, forcing a higher intake over time.

Not all cases of addiction need to be cases of chemical dependence. While addiction always implies that changes have been made to the brain due to consistent drug use, sometimes, it’s the emotional dependence that is the primary drive behind the addiction rather than the physical dependence.


Chemical vs. Emotional Dependency

A person who is struggling mostly with a chemical dependency may fully realize their addiction and may not even use drugs to cope with emotional issues – instead, they take drugs to keep the pain away, and because they cannot resist the craving. For others, addiction is a way to numb pain, forget memories, and distract the mind from deeper struggles. And for most, their case is somewhere in the middle, between both.

Addiction treatment is a highly individual thing but knowing how a person perceives their addiction and knowing why exactly they’re struggling to stay clean and get sober in the first place can shed a lot of light on how to best help them in the long-term. For someone with a chemical dependence, the goal is to break the conditioning placed on the brain by weeks, months, and years of drug use. This can take time, but it is possible to largely reverse the damage done to the brain by drug use, to the point where cravings begin to fade, and life can be lived normally.


Safely Overcoming Withdrawal

The first step to breaking chemical dependency is seeking professional help. Withdrawal symptoms are a mainstay for someone who is chemically/physically dependent, and these symptoms can range from extremely unpleasant to fatal, depending on the drug and the severity of the addiction. Alcohol withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal is very dangerous.

Seek out a safe, reputable clinic or sober living home, and get sober under medical supervision. If anything goes wrong, having professionals there to help you get through the first few hours and observe you over the next few days to come can make withdrawal much safer.

From there, the hard part is staying clean. A sober living community can help you take your mind off the cravings, by incorporating you into a living breathing community, with chores, group activities, and more.


Building Towards Long-Term Recovery

Many people struggle with the long-term part of getting sober. Sobriety itself just means not being high or drunk – and while for many that is an achievement in and of itself, it’s still one of the earliest obstacles. Right after comes the struggle to stay clean. And for the first few weeks, this can be excruciatingly difficult.

Rehab centers and sober living environments make this much easier. A good sober living facility can help you focus on building the emotional toolset you need to stay sober even in the face of stress and responsibility. But you’re not going to do it alone.

Arguably the biggest key to long-term recovery is surrounding yourself with friends and family, who can support you and help you stay sober even when times get tough.

It is undeniable that choice plays a role in the matter. But there is a reason addiction is much more common among young people and people with mental health disorders. Addiction is more likely to develop in people without stable lives and stable minds, in positions where they are most vulnerable and open to suggestion. Teens, by virtue of their youth, make mistakes and have problems. People who struggle with their self-esteem, social status or income are more likely to turn to drugs to cope than others.

But addiction is not wholly discriminatory, either. There are biological factors at play, genetics, and family history, and even the affluent and privileged can feel society’s pressures and find addiction as a form of coping.

Pushing blame, shame and the harsh “rule of law” onto people who struggle with addiction does not solve the issue, but turns addicts into an easy target for frustration, discrimination, and ostracizing. It considerably lowers the chance of people going out of their way to seek treatment, because revealing that you may have a substance problem lowers your value as a person in other people’s eyes.

Treatment is the individual’s way forward. By recognizing that addiction is not a terrible crime, but a health condition to be overcome and treated, and by surrounding yourself with understanding friends and family members who realize this, you can take your steps towards sobriety and commit yourself to recovery, no matter how long the road might be.

But to make treatment a viable option for all, we have to convince more than just a handful of families that addiction is not what it seems, and that being addicted is something deserving of a little sympathy, rather than fear or blame.


Relationship Consequences Of Drug Abuse

Relationship In Recovery

In most cases, love is a double-edged sword. When you emotionally commit to another human being, you grow empathic to their every feeling. When they’re troubled, you’re troubled. When they’re happy, it brings you joy. And when there’s serious strain in the relationship, it can send you into a fit of depression.

Love can strengthen, but it can also weaken. We risk that whenever we open our hearts to someone else, and even when a relationship’s future looks bleak, we are often inclined to work as hard as we can to save it. Sometimes, that is a good thing. At other times, this drive can only make things worse.

With addiction in the picture, it’s difficult to tell where the pendulum swings. Sometimes, a loving, supporting partner can be the key to recovery. At other times, a partner struggling with addiction can tear the other apart emotionally, irrevocably destroying a once beautiful bond, and leaving a lasting mark.

Through hard work, commitment, and luck, addiction and drug abuse can be overcome in a relationship. But sometimes it’s better to spare yourself, than lose yourself and your partner over your partner’s disease.


Why Active Addicts Often Make Terrible Partners

There is a lot of stigma against people struggling with addiction, and many still view it as a consequence of moral failing, rather than a brain disease with behavioral side-effects. It is true that people who struggle with drug abuse usually become less pleasant because of their addiction, to the point where they may start lying and acting irrationally to support their habit. But behavior like this is not indicative of the person’s usual personality, rather, it’s part of the disease.

And it’s that part of the disease that makes addicts terrible partners. Trust is important in a relationship, and the ability to depend on your partner is the cornerstone of any romantic commitment. Addiction effectively steals your partner away from you, making them unreliable and often downright untrustworthy, introducing secrecy and drama into the relationship.

To overlook that long enough to survive recovery is difficult. Relationships have a hard time surviving addiction, and if you’re the supporting partner, then your biggest task is staying sane and not succumbing to codependency, or worse yet, enabling behavior. That being said, being in a relationship while fighting addiction isn’t all bad.


Relationship: A Boon Or A Bane On Recovery

One reason why many recovery groups explicitly advise against dating while in recovery is because the pain of rejection or of a break up can easily send a recovering addict spiraling back into addiction through relapse. Early recovery in particular is a very fragile time in a recovering addict’s life, as adjusting to long-term sobriety and life without drugs can take a while.

Relationships, as such, can present themselves either as a big obstacle in a person’s recovery, or as their saving grace, the one thing they have left to hold onto as a form of accountability and motivation for staying sober, and remaining abstinent.


Living With A Partner In Denial

If your partner is in denial, and refuses to get help, then you may be approaching a point in the relationship where the person you fell in love with is fading away, and you have to consider your own mental health and emotional wellbeing. Losing yourself trying to help someone else is not a reasonable long-term deal – even if your partner recovers, the guilt of leaving lasting emotional damage will drag them back down.

Be sure to practice self-care if you’re going to be an emotional pillar of support – even if that ultimately means making the difficult decision of stepping out of your partner’s life. For some, that might be the push they need to get them to realize that help is needed.


Codependency And Enabling

A relationship between someone struggling with addiction and their partner can devolve further into more damaging problems, including the enabling of addiction through lies and secrecy, and codependency – developing mental health issues including addiction in part because of your partner’s condition.

Often, partners (and parents) who enable their loved ones may not be fully aware of their behavior or may even be in denial. It might start off as trying to save your partner from embarrassment by lying to concerned friends about his or her addiction, but it can progress into bigger lies and manipulative behavior.

An important part of addiction is waking up to the consequences of being addicted and using that as motivation to seek help. By hiding your partner’s problems, you may be making things worse for them.


Getting Stronger By Healing Together

It’s not all doom and gloom. But it is a decision you and your partner have to make. If you’re the supporting partner, then you have to ask yourself if you can stand by your partner’s side throughout their recovery and trust their commitment to abstinence. Your support, unconditional love, and constant willingness to be there for them may save them in moments of weakness, especially if you aren’t alone.

In other cases, your willingness to forgive may mean your partner will feel less pressure to change – and over months and years, take you for granted. This toxic cycle is something no one should have to try and withstand.

The juggling act is to find the right point to make that crucial decision. Not too soon, and not too late. If you can find that point – and choose to stay – then with a little luck, your bond will strengthen through the experience of fighting through addiction together. It can be a growing experience, as well, pushing the relationship to its limits and discovering a new sort of love – the dependable kind that lasts through real crises.

What kind of effects does addiction have on your relationship – and how do you see your future? It’s important to sit down and think long and hard about these questions and decide what they mean for the future of your relationship, regardless of which partner you are.


Recovery Starts With Recognizing The Problem

The First Step Toward Recovery - Transcend Texas

When something breaks your heart, it takes time for the realization to set in. If the brain has ever experienced emotional pain before, then it may want to delay that realization even further. In that sense, denial is a protective instinct, when we feel like shielding ourselves from the truth. But just like addiction itself, this temporary measure for comfort will only lead to greater pain in the future. If drinking is a maladaptive coping mechanism for stress, then denial is a maladaptive coping mechanism for addiction – and letting go of that feeling to accept the truth is both a tremendously difficult thing, and the very first and most significant milestone in any person’s journey towards recovery, sobriety, and happiness outside of addiction.

Recovery indeed begins with recognizing you have a problem – it’s the first step, and there’s no going back.


Yes, Denial Exists

For anyone who has had to watch a loved one suffer and deny the cause of their suffering, denial is a very real – and very painful – thing. It is a tragedy for both the denier and the ones surrounding them, friends and family who want the person they care for to realize their condition and seek help.

Overcoming denial is a central part to defeating addiction, because you cannot force someone into getting better. Forcing treatment onto people does not work because addiction treatment is entirely voluntary. It’s not a pill, or a surgery. It’s a set of instructions, of ideas, of concepts and imagery – addiction treatment involves describing a path to a blind stranger and inspiring them to take the first bold step on the uneasy path to recovery. Without full willingness and a strong motivation behind them, they cannot take that bold step. You can technically force someone into rehab – but they have to decide to get better for real change.

To help someone overcome denial, you must first be sure that what they’re going through is an addiction.


The Importance Of Defining Addiction

Everyone has problems, and sometimes, the way we deal with our problems can seem strange from the outside. Concern for others may lead to misconception, and a lack of trust or communication may lead to misunderstanding. It is important to be clear about addiction, because if you’re going down a path convinced that your loved one has a problem when they do not, you may find yourself inadvertently causing more harm than good.

However, it is not very difficult to tell whether your loved one’s behavior is problematic enough to warrant asking for a professional opinion. The amount does not define addiction someone drinks or takes, but rather, what counts is how it affects them as a person. Irritability, tardiness, inconsistencies, and constant lying are trademarks of suspicious behavior – but if it’s coupled with poor work performance, slacking off on responsibilities and stealing finances, it’s clear that a severe problem exists, regardless of whether substance abuse is at its core.

Addiction is defined by an obsession for something so powerful that it drives someone towards hurting themselves and ruining their lives. They break apart relationships, take unnecessary risks and, in extreme cases, even break the law to achieve the next high.

If your loved one is behaving very suspiciously and irrationally and has been drinking a lot or is in possession of suspicious paraphernalia, speak to them about their behavior. If they are in clear denial of their addiction, talk to a professional to help stage an intervention and hopefully put them on the path to recovery.


Taking The First Step

Interventions are carefully crafted conversations held between you and your loved one, or yourself and several others, including your loved one. The aim for these conversations is to make your loved one realize that their behavior is hurting them and others, and that whatever is causing it isn’t worth it. It’s to bring them to the realization that their unhealthy habits are causing major problems, of a scope that cannot be ignored.

This can be a painful burden to carry. Not only is the stigma of addiction heavy, but the guilt felt by those struggling with addiction for their actions and their denial can be emotionally devastating. However, only positive thinking will foster a productive recovery – even if it may seem impossible right now. Taking the first step is all about acknowledging the disease. Everything else comes after.


A Long Road Ahead

Seeking treatment for addiction can help you break the habit and prepare you for the road ahead. Ultimately, getting clean and staying clean is the key to beating an addiction. Treatment helps you get clean. But staying clean after recovery is something you will have to do without professional help.

That doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. While recovery treatment can help prepare you for the signs of a relapse and keep you mentally and emotionally strong, there will be days when the temptation to use again can seem overpowering. Especially on days of immense stress of overwhelming loss, not succumbing to the urge will require every drop of your will, and then some.

That is why it is critical to have a solid support system to help you stay clean for months and years after the end of treatment. Friends and family that know what you’re going through and understand that there will be days when you need help getting motivated, days when the fight feels like a losing one, and you need someone to tip the scales.

There are many ways to fight against relapses. One is to maintain a schedule that prioritizes the things that help you fight stress, including exercise or hobbies. Another is to regularly socialize with friends, while staying sober together. Go out on trips, go hiking, and see the country. Another tip is to help others get sober. Helping other people and seeing them grow – and pushing them through many of the same struggles you had – can be a great way to reflect on just how far you’ve come, while at the same time giving you the reminder of where you came from, and what you’re fighting for all this time.

Sobriety is not easy, and it’s something you have to maintain every day. But it does get easier to maintain, with time. And even if you do eventually slip up, what matters most is that you get back up, and push forward, past the experience, towards the future.


Avoiding the Temptation to Relapse

Relapse Avoidance | Transcend Texas

The early days of addiction recovery are the hardest to get through. Not only can sobriety take a few weeks to adjust to, but the consequences of going completely abstinent will reverberate within you for quite some time, often in the form of cravings and errant reminiscing as you work to avoid relapse.

A treatment program, such as rehab, or post-rehab programs like sober living, can help immensely at a trying time like this. Early recovery is not something you’re meant to go through alone and getting professional help can bolster your chances at staying sober and building the skillset you need to continue staying sober.

There’s more to relapse than early recovery. News stories of celebrities relapsing after decades of sobriety cast doubt on the idea that it gets easier to stay sober, and many fear that all their work spent fighting addiction will go down the drain one day.

The reason many relapses happen is often due to some form of emotional pain or stress. Many celebrities struggle with personal problems, problems they are used to hiding away from the world. For some, an event or trigger may push them over the edge and cause a tragedy. And while many have passed on, many have also stayed sober.

But for most people, these tragedies can be avoided. Even if you find yourself in emotional turmoil and the urge to use grows significantly, you can pull yourself out of that vulnerable state and avoid a relapse by having a pre-existing system to deal with these trying times.


Build A Solid Support System To Avoid Relapse

A support system is composed of the people you rely on the most to keep you sane and sober when times are hard. It’s not so much a planned system as it is your innermost circle of friends and family, the people you know you can rely on and talk to no matter what. Having a support system means trusting others and giving them good reasons to trust you.

Reconciling with family and building bridges between people you have wronged can build and expand your support system and give you more people to call when you really need someone to talk you out of a bad decision.


Release Your Stress

Stress management is a big part of leading a healthy life, addiction completely aside. Excessive stress can manifest physically and mentally as an increased risk of disease, lower longevity, and deteriorating mental health. If you lead a stressful life or experience high levels of perceived stress, you need to vent – and you need to vent in a healthy manner.

Taking the time to relax and spend an hour or so every day working on your hobbies can take a lot of pressure off. Exercise is another useful stress management tool, although it works best if it’s a form of exercise you earnestly enjoy.

The importance of controlling your stress levels through your actions – not through medication – is high for people struggling with sobriety. Stress can make it much more difficult to stay sober, as you’re tempted to use again to cope with your challenges in life.


Talk To A Support Group

Support groups, separate from the friends and family that make up your support system, can be a great way to seek out help and motivation in trying times. An addiction meeting can be a good and safe place to speak out about your experiences, confess your feelings and urges, and talk about your addiction without feeling judged or misunderstood, while getting the chance to hear how others deal with their lives and their addiction.


Stay Away From Triggers And Memories

Places, music, food, and other stimuli. Our lives are filled with memories of the good and bad, and these memories culminate in who we are. Yet when addiction has been a large part of who you were for many months or years, then anything that may remind you positively of those days can be a dangerous trigger for powerful cravings and temptations.

If a route to work reminds you strongly of your addiction days, then take another route. If a band or song reminds you of using, take care not to listen to it. These may seem like overly cautious measures, but they are temporary. These powerful reactions will fade with time, and you do learn to control them – but in the beginning, they can pose a threat to your delicate sobriety.


Get Out Of Harmful Relationships

Early on in recovery, a tip many treatment facilities and therapists give is to reevaluate the places you go to, and the people you live with. Relapse triggers go beyond sights and sounds but are often found in other people – especially those that might encourage you to use again or disrespect your sobriety by using around you.

Alternatively, you may find that sobriety gives you the clarity needed to realize that you’ve been in an abusive or manipulative relationship with friends and lovers, and that these relationships are harming you. Getting past the denial and realizing the truth can help your recovery – if you get out in time. By identifying and ending toxic relationships in any way you can, you do yourself and your abstinence a huge favor.


Check Into A Sober Living Community

If all else feels doomed to fail, then getting yourself out of harm’s way for a few weeks may be your best option. Sober living communities are homes and facilities dedicated to providing a drug-free environment for people to check into and mostly continue to lead normal lives as part of a group.

While regular drug testing and strict curfews are enforced to ensure nobody suffers a relapse at the facility, tenants are mostly free to do as they please, if they pitch in and help around the community and participate in group events.

Different sober living communities offer different amenities and work with different rulesets. But all sober living communities dedicate themselves to be a safe space away from drugs, where people can come to stay clean for as long as they need to.

Relapses can usually be avoided – but so can addiction, too. If you’ve suffered from a relapse, then the worst thing you can do is get hung up on that experience and see it as your point of failure. Statistics show that most people relapse even after they have gone through a treatment program – and the current addiction model suggests that, on top of being a mental illness, addiction is chronic in nature, requiring an intensive and long-term treatment plan that takes into consideration the frequency of relapse.

If you have relapsed, then use that experience to learn more about your weaknesses and triggers, keeping in mind what you have to be careful around in order to stop it from happening again in the future.

Community Can Make Or Break Your Recovery

Community in Recovery | Transcend Texas

As a medical condition, addiction is reliant on many factors. Many are quick to blame drugs for drug abuse – but it is not that simple. Others are quick to blame solely a person’s environment and suggest that loneliness is the driving factor. Yet again, it is not quite that simple. Addiction is dependent on a person’s history, mindset, genetics, environment, drug of choice, their mental and physical condition in the nascent stages of their addiction, sense of community and belonging, and more.

As such, when treating addiction, the answer is not as simple as just suggesting any one treatment. There is no quick fix, no one-size-fits-all. Every case of addiction comes with its own unique circumstances and differences – as such, experts today are trained to treat every individual as an individual.

But people sometimes overvalue the power of treatment in treating addiction and preventing a relapse. A big part of any treatment program is not just helping an individual through their withdrawal and early recovery, but it should give their patient the tools they need to continue their sobriety going forward – including important advice on community and social support.

The people we surround ourselves with after treatment can make or break the recovery process – and knowing what roles they play in your own journey can help you identify problematic relationships and move towards healthier ones.


The Role Of Community In Addiction

We rely on each other for emotional support and social bonds – by forming friendships and relationships with other people, we enrich our lives and those around us. We find affirmation, confrontation, inspiration and more in the conversations and experiences that we share with the people in our lives. And part of living means being among the living and finding meaning by examining how other people decide to spend their lives.

The importance of community goes far beyond addiction – it is integral to every person. But in addiction specifically, having a community around you that you feel supported by, a community you can contribute to and exist in, is important. Because without a community that lets you be a part of it, the alternative is isolation and loneliness. This builds a much more negative mindset, making it harder to resist cravings and stay sober.

No one can fight their addiction alone, even if they fight it without treatment. We need the support and compassion of our friends and relatives to stay strong, and we need a community we can be a part of. This is not to complicate the importance of being strong as an individual – it is to clarify that recovery is a journey where both the group and you as an individual matter.


The Individual And The Group In Recovery

Recovery relies on your conscious commitment to getting better. That decision must come from you, and you must actively seek out the encouragement and motivation you need to stay true to it.

That is your burden as the individual struggling with addiction, and no one else can make the choice for you, or stay strong in your stead.

However, while it is important that you realize how much your own choices matter and how they affect your path, you can always seek help and support to keep you on that path. Addiction recovery can be strenuous and difficult, and the cravings can last for weeks, making staying away from a relapse very hard. This is compounded by the emotional impact of early sobriety, coming to terms with a sober life, and the many responsibilities that come your way as a sober person.

Sober living environments can make this a bit easier by giving you a drug-free environment to live in and adjust to. But it is important to consider the power of support groups, from friends and family to group therapy and local addiction meetings.


The Importance Of A Healthy Family

A healthy family means a healthy home, and a home should be the environment we are most comfortable in. There is no family without strife or conflict, but it is how families tackle each individual conflict and resolve each issue that determines whether they are healthy or not. Often, our families are our most staunch advocates and the only people we can rely on for unconditional love.

Addiction can strain even the most composed and loving families – it’s difficult to deal with an addiction, not only from the point of view of the addicted, but from the point of view of those around them. Most recovery programs will urge families to educate themselves on addiction and provide them with resources to help them better understand their loved one’s condition and sympathize with their thoughts and struggles.

Through professional help and solid information, a loving family can come together to significantly improve your recovery process and help keep you sober even when the threat of relapse draws near.

Not all families have the communication skills to resolve issues amicably, and create a positive, supporting environment. Sometimes, it’s necessary to make the hard choice to leave your family behind, and find a healthier home, one where you can be with friends and spend your time in recovery pursuing positive environments.


Getting Out Of Toxic Situations

An unsupportive or criticizing family can be very detrimental in recovery – but it is not the only issue to watch out for. If your community discriminates against you because of your history of addiction, or you find yourself in hostile situations with people in your neighborhood because of your past, then it may be pertinent to move.

Staying in contact with old friends from days past can also trigger cravings and even cause a relapse, especially if they have not moved on and are still stuck in addiction. If you cannot convince them to get help, then the healthiest thing for you to do is cut off all contact.

Early on in recovery, your sobriety is still quite fragile, and toxic relationships can break your efforts in two. Avoid unnecessary stress and conflict and try to seek out a healthier, better sober living environment, until you’re ready to confront your past – or move on entirely.


Why Sober Housing Is Effective at Preventing Relapse

Sober Housing Benefits | Transcend Texas

Sober housing effectively provides a haven for recovering addicts, but with a harsher ruleset than most residential treatment facilities. The onus in sober housing is not to transition into recovery, but to transition into real life without fear of relapse.

Residential treatment and other similar treatments exist to help people transition from addiction into recovery. That means surviving withdrawal, fighting against the cravings, and figuring out what to do with your day without falling back onto old habits.

With time, staying sober gets easier. But stress, tragedy and loss can still affect you heavily, compounding over time without proper coping skills. With addiction fresh on your mind, the possibility of relapsing remains high in early recovery. Yet even years later, people can still slip back, sometimes with fatal consequences. Sober housing can help many people better manage these challenges and develop stronger defenses against relapse.


What Is Sober Housing?

Sober housing provides a sober living environment for people struggling with addiction, looking for a treatment program to help them transition into real life after recovery. Sober housing allows tenants to life in a drug-free environment, and gives them the freedom to pursue their hobbies, if they follow the rules of the house as a template for their own responsibilities after recovery.

Often, sober housing tenants will be asked to seek/have a job, participate in certain events, perform mandatory drug testing, perform chores, and obey house curfews.

Most sober housing environments are built on a similar ruleset, with certain rules changing from group to group. In general, sober housing:

  • Does not allow drugs on the facility and will have regular drug testing.
  • Requires that all tenants pay rent on time.
  • Has a curfew, and limits on allowing guests onto the premises.
  • Makes it mandatory to seek work/education while going through the program.
  • Has no limits on how long a tenant may stay.


How Sober Living Prepares People

The established rules in sober living communities allow individuals to follow a guideline for living life without drugs – they provide structure, the kind tenants can take with them anywhere and everywhere.

But sober living is more than just a set of rules binding people together. Sober living means living in a community, coexisting with various people struggling to stay sober, each with their own methods and preferences, all sharing their desire to stay clean but with wildly different backgrounds and futures.

Just like real life, sober living is often about living in a diverse environment and becoming part of the group. You maintain your unique individuality, your approach to sobriety and treatment – but the ability to interact with others, support them in their quest, and seek support from them allows people to develop meaningful friendships, gain and give trust, and work together as a community. The community is central to combatting addiction outside of the context of recovery. We must stick together to support one another, be empathic towards each other’s struggles, and offer a helping hand when the odds are too great to face alone.

A united community is important to avoiding addiction in society. It is often the isolated and the ostracized that struggle the most with mental illness and addiction, because being unaccepted or discriminated against fosters negative thinking, low self-esteem, and can even lead to trauma.

In sober living communities, everyone can find a place to be with others, in a group, making friends and sharing notes. It is about more than just discipline and responsibility in a temptation-free environment. It is about the benefits of a tightly-knit community oriented towards compassion and support.


Transitioning Into Real Life After Treatment

Sober living environments mimic real life, with an added enforcing factor. Anyone with addiction issues can join into a sober living program, but they must follow the rules to stay in the program. In real life, all rules are optional. You must force yourself to follow certain rules and structures, for your own good. In the same way, relapse is always a danger no matter how long you have been sober – but you still have the power to continuously and consciously refuse to use ever again.

When transitioning into real life, you will find that you have the freedom to do anything – and the power to choose to do the right things. By transitioning into real life too early, that temptation to steer off the right path can be very powerful, and highly attractive. Sober living can help you steel yourself and maintain your sobriety, finding alternative ways to deal with stress, cope with the cravings, and manage your struggles and challenges without opting for old habits.

The freedom to do anything, and the power to do the right thing. No matter how bad things get, sober living treatment gives you the ability to choose sobriety every time, even if it is the harder choice to make at first.


Learning To Live with Relapse

In addiction recovery, a relapse is defined as a deviation from the program, when someone who was previously clean uses again. Relapses occur for many reasons, from specific triggers that cause extreme urges and cravings, to emotional distress too great for someone in early recovery to handle.

Relapses are most common in early recovery, when a person is still learning about their sobriety. However, it is not only the relapse that deals damage to your recovery – your perception of it affects how you act going forward. Many people relapse once or twice and give up, seeing it as a sign of emotional and mental weakness, and choosing a life of addiction as their only option.

This is terrible thinking. Relapses are not failures, they are setbacks. And life is full of them. Very rarely does someone do something perfectly. We all make mistakes, and have crude, difficult beginnings. Relapses are not a sign that you are incapable of getting better, they are a sign that you still have much to learn about your own addiction and what keeps you sober.

In other words, a relapse can be a teaching moment, and it always should. It should teach you to be mindful of certain triggers and avoid certain stimuli until you are more capable of confronting it, until you have a more solid foundation under your sobriety.

When you relapse, the best course of action is to get back on the horse, so to speak. Most people will hit a snag at some point in their early recovery, and the key to overcoming it and letting it not happen again is to simply not give up and be mindful.

If you let mistakes and misfortune turn into reasons to give up, then your recovery will be short lived. But if you turn them into learning opportunities to keep going, you are going to get through this addiction no matter what.


What Challenges Can I Expect To Face On The Path to Sobriety?

Path To Sobriety | Transcend Texas

When a person struggles with an addiction, their brain rewires what it means to be motivated and happy. Drugs can change our reward system, make us think and feel different, and ultimately make the path to sobriety extremely difficult.

But it’s not impossible. Now more than ever, modern medicine and psychiatry have combined to create multiple different effective treatment methods for addiction. There is no one-size-fits-all – instead, there are dozens of therapy and treatment types, applicable for different circumstances, and for different goals.

Yet the treatment can’t do all the work for us. Addiction treatment at the end of the day is still just a curriculum, and it’s up to each individual student to put in the work to graduate. The first step is accepting your problem and recognizing the need to fight against it. The second step is choosing to fight, against all odds. From there, each path changes – but every path is filled with challenges, temptations, fears, and anxieties.

To overcome addiction and maintain sobriety, you must overcome each challenge. And knowing what you’re likely to face can help you prepare.


The Fear Of Relapse

Relapse itself is a challenge, but it’s the fear of relapse that might present an even bigger problem for most people in early recovery. No one said the path to sobriety was going to be easy, but the fear of making even a single, simple mistake builds up this incredible tension that finally explodes in painful regret and shame.

While relapsing is by no means a picnic and signifies that something has gone wrong in the recovery process, it should not be something so devastating that it sets you back several months’ worth of progress. A relapse is a mistake, but the damage it does is often due to the fear we have of relapsing, rather than the relapse itself.

By instead treating it as a teaching moment, to learn from and understand its trigger, and thus better prepare yourself in the future so that it won’t happen again, you can be more calm and secure about taking the path to sobriety rather than feeling anxious of its perceived frailty.


The Temptation Of Drug Use

Drug cravings are common while you’re still addicted – but even after treatment, cravings can develop all throughout the early recovery period, tempting you especially in moments of great stress or overwhelming emotion. Additionally, returning to everyday life after treatment can bring back many memories associated with drug use, making the temptations grow stronger.

For the first few months on the path to sobriety, dealing with these temptations and cravings can be torturous.


The Fear Of Being Different

There is more to addiction than simply using too much of a certain drug. Sometimes, drugs like alcohol are part of everyday life or work culture. Resisting the urge to drink on a social occasion and refusing drinks when they are explicitly offered to you can be difficult. But part of the urge to drink comes from the sheer pressure to conform and be like everyone else at the party.

Be different. And embrace that uniqueness. Dare to be yourself, and uphold the sober you by drinking coffee, or ordering a virgin drink. Keep yourself from being asked awkward questions or offered drinks by always making sure you have something to sip on and assert your sobriety and ignore those who might ridicule it – because in the back of your mind, you know it’s good for you and those around you. Remind yourself of embarrassing and painful memories, rather than thoughts of how easy it would be to get yourself a drink.


Declining Social Events

Similar to the peer pressure at work or at parties when being offered something you don’t want, learn how to say no to social occasions when you don’t have the energy for them and feel the urge to drink arise as a way to cope with the stress of being around people. Sometimes, we use alcohol or other drugs to bring out our extroverted side and suppress the introvert.

Embrace the introvert instead. Go out when you want to go out and be adamant about spending your free time alone or in the comforts of your own home when you feel like you don’t have the motivation to be with others while sober. Don’t let others dictate who you should be, or what you should be like, and don’t let them rob you of your comforts as you work to maintain everything you’ve gained on the path to sobriety.


Quitting Old Friendships On The Path To Sobriety

One of the biggest challenges in early on the path to sobriety is fighting against the common temptations faced by most fresh out of a treatment program. Many of these can be spontaneous, but they are often triggered by memories, caused by sights, smells and sounds.

Friends can be a powerful trigger for drug cravings, especially if they refuse to accept or respect your sobriety or continue using around you. If so, it’s critical to cut them off and end those relationships for your own good. And most of the time, that can be a very hard thing to do.


Making Sober Friends

Just as it is important to cut off old friends who hurt your efforts of staying sober, it’s important to make new friends you can support you and keep you sane throughout your sobriety. Yet overcoming your fears and potential trust issues enough to open to others and let them in on your recovery can be difficult. Nevertheless, it’s a critical step towards long-term sobriety, both for you and for them.

Everyone’s perception and struggles with addiction are different, and there is guarantee that you’ll encounter any or most of these challenges. And there may be challenges that cannot be accurately described or summarized in a single article. Sometimes, life hits you with a curveball you can’t be prepared for – and it’s then when everything you learned in addiction treatment becomes extremely valuable.

Living is hard, not because the day-to-day breaks us, but because it’s the little accumulative stresses and giant gut-punches that wear down our defenses. By staying together, finding people you can support and be supported by, and by sticking to your own inner lessons on recovery and sobriety, you can keep your defenses strong even against the greatest challenges and tragedies.

Think of it as a dance. If you trip, then you tripped. And all you must do is get back up. And next time, it gets a little easier to see that tricky spot as it comes towards you, and you can prepare for it. If you don’t give up and trust in yourself and those around you, your path to sobriety is a sure one, no matter how long it might be.


Personalized Care Makes Transitioning Into Sober Life Easier

Personalized Care For Addiction Recovery | Transcend Texas

As a disease, addiction has a certain pathology. It develops as a result of repetitive substance use or certain behavior. It is triggered and builds in the reward center of the brain, creating a craving that overpowers a person’s motivation for many other things in life, taking center stage. Addiction can make a person do things they would otherwise never have done. In a way, it changes people, especially at its peak. But there are differences, many of which are not necessarily very subtle. Some people develop a host of co-dependent illnesses as a result of their addiction or had tendencies towards certain behavior that is extremely exacerbated. Others suffer from conditions due to their drug use, including infections, sleep disorders, lesions, paralysis and more. The exact cause and effect of an addiction changes from person to person, based on their personal history of drug use, their family history and medical records, environmental factors, and more; which makes personalized care in addiction recovery so important.

In a way, addiction can be simplified into a loss of self-control, the development of a brain disease that urges its victims to constantly obsess over the object of their addiction, and the pursuit of it. But there is so much more to it on an individual level.

Just as the disease itself can be intricate and complicated, so must the treatment match in its individualized and unique goals. Addiction cannot be treated with a blanket one-size-fits-all program – just as any other complicated disease or mental illness requires a very specific set of tools and a program tailored to each individual. That is where personalized care comes into the picture.


What Is Personalized Care?

Personalized care, or individually-fitted, or tailor-made care, is any form of medicine that tackles a patient’s needs individually, understanding that individual differences between patients matter greatly.

A disease as varied as addiction cannot be tackled on the presumption that one case is just like another, and cookie-cutter treatments do not work as effectively as personalized treatments, nor are they as inclusive, as certain methods are sure to fail with some individuals despite producing excellent results elsewhere.

Personalized care also encourages a deeper understanding of addiction and the many factors that affect its development in an individual.


Why Addiction Treatment Is Individual And Group-Based

Personalized care caters to the individual – and in a way, addiction itself is a battle between you and the disease. But there is more to defeating addiction than being on your own – and many would argue that it’s next to impossible alone.

Personalized care is important in the context that it eliminates cookie-cutter practices and makes it an industry standard to treat patients individually, as per their own circumstances and needs. But that does not mean addiction treatment should only factor the individual.

As such, any treatment has to focus on the individual, while also giving room for people to interact with one another within the treatment, in order to get a perspective of how others live their lives while dealing with addiction, and in order to understand just how addiction can touch the lives of anyone, regardless of gender, race, age or status.

Group meetings, group outings, and encouraging individuals to make new friends in different environments – not just in circles of sobriety, but in relation to their old or newfound hobbies, as well – is important. It helps patients create a circle of friends to rely on when things get tough.

Some treatment facilities even help close friends and family become better “therapists” for after the end of a program, helping them understand addiction, and the do’s and don’ts of helping someone fighting against it.


The Difference Between Treatment And Living

Residential treatments, sober living facilities and outpatient programs – these are possible treatment templates, existing to cater to people throughout various stages of addiction, in various stages of their life. When they end, you are going to be in the “real world”, facing everyday issues from a perspective of stone cold sobriety, with the task to survive, function, and learn to enjoy it all again.

It can take time, and you should never be alone. Whether you’re with family, friends or professionals, the transition from treatment to living life again may be the most crucial aspect of sobriety. While fighting against withdrawal and addiction in a sober living environment is hard, it is an altogether different experience from living your everyday life, knowing where to get what you need to be right back where you started.

Some people make it easier on themselves by moving and cutting off contact to old acquaintances – but the memories are still there, and the stress of living is accumulatively stronger than the stress of treatment.

It is important to be prepare. And there is no better preparation than personalized care. These personalized treatments are your best shot at developing the skills and abilities to stick to your sober routine – and they will help you transition from treatment into a sober life.


Dealing With Addiction In The Long-Term

The treatment is just the beginning. The goal of addiction treatment is not necessarily to beat the addiction within the given time limit of the program, regardless of whether it is three months, or half a year. The goal of addiction treatment is to help each patient build an assortment of tools and skills with which to troubleshoot life’s problems, particularly helping individuals tackle stress and loss and everyday life without succumbing to the urge to use again.

As the months and years go by, each day after day of sobriety well-spent, it may get easier to stay sober and not think about the old days. Sometimes, relapses still happen. But if you survive, it’s certainly not the end of the fight. You simply pick yourself up, go back for treatment, and figure out where things went wrong – where you felt the urge to use so strongly, and how you can go about it the next time.

Each mistake we make throughout our lives is but an opportunity to learn, improve, and prepare. And as long as you’re still living, the fight against your addiction has not failed.

Some days are worse than others. That is what friends and family are for. Stay close to the people who mean the most to you and accept their help when you know you need it. And before you know it, you’ll be out of early recovery, and in for a long life of cherished sober living.


How Addiction Changes Behavior

Addiction Changes Behavior | Transcend Texas

Addiction changes behavior because it is a disease of the brain, wherein chemical changes introduced by a reaction to a certain behavior or substance cause a lasting change on the way the brain works, sometimes developing into an unmanageable and unhealthy habit. The brain cannot get addicted to a drug on the first hit. But the first often leads to the second, and so on. If nothing stops the behavior, or if anything encourages it, then a few bad choices can cause can lead to what feels like the loss of choice itself.

Addiction treatment is a route to retrieving the ability to choose a better life and reinforce that choice above the ruinous alternative. It takes time, though, because of how addiction changes the brain. Understanding that can give you keen insight into the disease, and help you see just why it can be so difficult to fight against.


How Addiction Changes Behavior In People

Addiction changes behavior, not by forcing them to do something, but by heavily encouraging it. People who struggle with addiction are just that: people, from all walks of life, with a unique and varied list of problems and concerns, living with the symptoms of a disease that compels them to do anything and everything for the next high due to how addiction changes behavior.

This disease does not transform a loving and kind person into a stereotype. But going through an addiction and coming out the other side can change someone. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of time to beat an addiction, and for many, this journey causes them to reflect, consider, reprioritize and, in some cases, relearn what it means to live life.

It is difficult to pinpoint when exactly an addiction begins, but the telltale sign for when an addiction has taken hold of a person is when they try to stop doing something and find that they just cannot. The horror of that realization might be prefaced with justification and excuses for a while – we are all very good at lying to ourselves. But at some point, the truth becomes undeniable, and by then most people are in the thick of it.

The brain’s reward pathways are at the center of it all. Drugs and certain behavior cause the reward pathways to essentially get confused – addictiveness correlates strongly with how pleasurable something is, and the high of an illicit drug is essentially so powerful that the brain is desensitized to other pleasurable stimuli and begins to strongly crave that same high repeatedly. Addiction changes behavior because of the constant need to find the next high and that’s what makes it so easy to fall into the trap.

Other hobbies fall to the wayside, relationships falter, and focus becomes harder to come by. In addition to completely hijacking and manipulating the way the brain keeps you motivated, addictive drugs often damage the brain as well, reducing cognition and problem solving, increasing risky behavior, cutting down on inhibition and memory. These issues all contribute to how addiction changes behavior in a person, making them less reliable, less attentive, cutting into their focus and determination, and changing their motivations in life.

The likelihood of someone suffering an addiction depends on many possible factors, some of which are external (mental health, emotional state/stress, peer pressure, the addictiveness of the drug), and some of which are internal (genetics). But once it happens, getting out is tough.


Seek Out A Professional

Addiction treatment is not an exact science, but it is still best left to professionals. Treatment for addiction comes in dozens of shapes and sizes and determining what to suggest and what to leave out depends entirely on a patient’s circumstances, the logistics of the situation, the extent to which addiction changes behavior in them, and the skills and specializations of available professionals and treatment centers in the area.

Professional help is more than a prescription and some therapy – addiction treatment is a long road, unique for every individual, tailored to their needs. Professionals communicate across all levels of care, helping patients find a path that will get them the best results. While some people have had success in fighting addiction on their own, with the help of friends and family, it never hurts to seek a professional opinion – especially when nothing else seems to work.


Why Is Addiction Shunned?

The mind and the body affect each other, and trouble in one brews trouble in the other. In the same way, a mental illness can be as much a “physical illness” as a compound fracture or the flu. A mental illness can be caused by, or can cause physical change, just as how physical change can cause mental illness. Sometimes it is a matter of genetics, and at other times, external factors (i.e. environmental factors) play a major role instead.

Addiction is a condition caused and linked ostensibly to “feelings”. The inner workings of the brain and the way it struggles to work the same way after substance misuse is hard to see in everyday life, and it makes addiction harder to “see”. Someone struggling with addiction invariably feels certain things differently to others, which makes it an incredibly difficult thing to relate to, something quite difficult for many to feel naturally compassionate towards. When someone has a major gash in their leg, the visceral nature of the injury and its healing process evokes sympathy – an “unseen” condition is harder to empathize with, but it is every bit as real.

Awareness plays a big role. While many lives are touched by addiction indirectly, fortunately only a relatively small percentage of people have struggled through this issue. It is important for others to realize what it truly means, and why it deserves a little more sympathy rather than judgment and prejudice.

Only by approaching addiction both individually and on a larger scale from a place of care and love can we find a solution to it. Individually, support and care are critical for successful recovery. And in society, we could use a little sympathy for the people who struggle with the condition.


Quitting An Addiction

Addiction relies on support. Cravings are a big part of addiction, especially early on in recovery right after quitting, and the key to maintaining sobriety is having people around you who encourage you to stay sober, such as in a Houston sober living community.

The only prerequisite to getting better is wanting to, even after a relapse. From there, your path differs. Some people have incredible success stories, going through decades of addiction and then going sober for one goal or purpose, never looking back and never relapsing. Others have longer journeys, in and out of rehab, through several different treatment methods and centers. Some think that addiction is a life-long battle, while others see it as a chapter.

Regardless of what your recovery journey will look like, quitting addiction is always hard – and always worth it.