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Addiction treatment in America goes back a long way, through various psychiatric methods and outdated techniques, up to the modern-day approach.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.

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 Best Support Systems To Encourage Your Sobriety

Support Systems For Recovery | Transcend Texas

They say it takes a village to raise a child – but once we are adults, we do not magically go our own way and live our lives out alone. We all need mentors, friends, pupils, and partners as our support systems. Life is filled with relationships and people we care about, and not only do these interactions make our lives that much richer, but they can give us meaning and purpose.

When healing from addiction, it is important to realize how much addiction pulls a person’s needs and priorities into themselves. The need to be selfish kicks in as a natural consequence of how addiction rewires your brain – but as that fades away, our ability to exist for others and be dependable matters more than ever.

In come support systems. To understand why it’s important to be surrounded by the right people when fighting addiction, it’s important to understand what a support system is, and why addiction is not something fought on your own.


What Is A Support System?

A support system is a collection of people providing emotional or otherwise tangible support. Support systems sometimes exist for a specific purpose – to help an athlete stay at the top of his game – or exist in general to help you in life.

Support systems do not necessarily have to be formed – many people naturally surround themselves with supportive individuals and build their own support system with the help of their friends and family. A support system is defined not by unmitigated support or lack of healthy criticism, but by having a healthy relationship with those closest to you, one built on trust and reliance.


Your Support Systems In Sobriety

A support system is, if you care to define it that way, the complete network of everyone you interact with for emotional support during your journey through sobriety. But you can also consider yourself as being a part of several support systems. Most commonly, a person’s support system will be composed of:

Family: First and foremost, our family is central to recovery and sobriety. Some of us are on bad terms with our family due to misunderstandings or seemingly irreconcilable differences. Often enough, it’s due to addiction. It is up to you and your judgment as a sober person to decide whether making up with your family is worth it, and conducive to your emotional wellbeing and theirs. If yes, then family can be an incredible source of support.

Friends: For some, friends are their second family. For others, their friends are their family. Everyone needs friends, and luckily, we can choose them. One of the harder things to do in early recovery is cut out friendships that harm us and recognize toxic relationships where they can limit recovery or actively hinder it. By sticking only with the friends who truly matter to you – even if you end up with only one or two pals – you’re potentially saving yourself decades of grief and unnecessary drama, while gaining the benefits of having close friends to relate to, be open with, and share life with.

Sober Mentors: Sober mentors can be individuals you look up to as beacons of successful sobriety and personal mastership, or professionals with whom you have developed a personal bond as mentor and mentee. It is important to have people to look up to in recovery, both as an inspiration and as a guidance for when times are tough.

Sober Groups: Group therapy is about more than listening to other people’s experiences– it’s about making lasting connections with a few people, connections that can turn into friendships. It’s also about sharing your own struggles and triumphs, confirming the successes in your journey rather than dwelling on the mistakes, and helping others feel inspired or better able to take on their own difficulties with renewed confidence. This can be a tremendous source of emotional support as well.


Supplementing Your Support Systems

A support system can help you deal with the challenges of addiction and sobriety – but there’s more to a support system than the people you interact with. Actions, places, and hobbies can be part of your personal emotional support system. Each and every person needs to supplement their system according to their needs, passions, and interests.

Some find that the best way to help them cope with early recovery and find people to communicate with is through sports, or games, or art. Find a community that matches your personality and interests and turn to your hobbies when you feel stressed or bored.

Sobriety is not just about living life drug-free, but about having fun being alive. Find ways to support your sobriety by having fun and being yourself.


It Goes Both Ways

It’s best to think of support systems as a part of a larger organic social structure. It is not healthy to think of the individuals in a support system as functions to your recovery, or aids to your problems. Rather, they’re individuals. People, who love you or care for you, and are helping you from time to time. But it is never a one-sided relationship.

A support system exists as one definition of a collection of relationships from a certain point of view – your parents support you, but as their child, you provide them with a lot of emotional comfort as well. They care about other people, as well, and each lead their own lives, with their own thoughts, opinions, dreams, and experiences. Your friends are there for you when the going gets tough, but you’d do anything for them, too, respecting them and their time and not putting yourself over their own needs.

The people you met while going through treatment pitch in to help you stay sober, and tell tales of their struggles in addiction, their accomplishments, and regrets – just as you share your thoughts and experiences, helping others feel inspired, or gain much-needed insight into how addiction can unfold in other people’s lives. It’s never a one-to-one exchange, and it never has to be, but social support systems only function if everyone does their part in helping one another.

That’s a key difference between sobriety and addiction. In addiction, it’s about looking out for number one. But sobriety opens up the option of being part of a community.

Benefits Of Living A Sober Lifestyle

Sober Lifestyle | Transcend Texas

Sometimes, the call to get sober comes from the outside. An accident, a loss or a wake-up call might compel you to see that the damage you’re doing is serious, and not just a matter of choice. But to many who take the first step towards realizing their addiction is a problem, the prospect of going sober – and staying sober – means the death of all that is fun. They see their new sober lifestyle as an amalgam of obligation and chastity – having to live just to stop hurting others, a punishment for their bad choices and mistakes.

This is extremely wrong. Sobriety is never a punishment. And neither is it something you should be doing strictly for others. When your addiction starts to grow into something terrible, and the consequences start to pile up, then it’s abundantly clear that you need to make a change. But that should be a change for yourself, for the better. And sobriety is that change. A sober lifestyle is neither boring nor painful, and in many ways it’s far more exciting, energizing and life-changing than addiction could ever be.

On its own, a sober lifestyle is nothing more than just you not taking drugs or alcohol. But delve deeper into what that affords you, and you’ll come to realize that there are countless benefits to living a sober lifestyle. Here are just a few that immediately come to mind.


Much More Time & Money

The first thing you might notice during a sober lifestyle is that you have a lot more time on your hands – and a lot more money. Addictions cost a tremendous amount of money and can often financially cripple entire households. The exact cost never really matters – people deep in an addiction will seek out whatever is available, from expensive high-quality prescription medication to the least reputable black tar on the streets.

When you’re leading a sober lifestyle, you can finally put that resourcefulness to the test in productive ways, seeking out work and finding ways to use your time to support yourself and your hobbies.


The Ability To Stay In Relationships

There is only room for one person in an addict’s life – themselves. Addiction is a disease that rewires your brain to be selfish – more than anything else, you are made to care about the next high. Breaking that mentality while using is nearly impossible and keeping up a believable façade becomes harder the longer you use. Eventually, it’s on your partner to choose to stay and support your recovery or leave to save themselves from emotional destruction.

One way or the other, there is no way relationships can last or be healthy if either or both people struggle with addiction. But with a sober lifestyle, you have the chance to try again – and be happier than any high in the world.


You Get To Look Much Better

Drug addiction not only causes your health to deteriorate through organ damage, but it can drastically alter and affect your physical appearance. This isn’t just a matter of hygiene – abusing drugs excessively will take years off your clock, worsen your complexion, and give you serious health issues that can change the way you look, from hypertension to diabetes and heart disease.

Drugs like methamphetamine are especially well-known for affecting your physical appearance, while many irreputable sources of heroin can be spiked with other more dangerous substances, damaging your immune system, and eliminating your appetite.

By abstaining from drugs, you will find your complexion return to normal, your health improves, you gain or lose weight, and find the time to care about your appearance much more, caring for your hair and skin and appearing healthy once again.


You Have More Energy With A Sober Lifestyle

Even though drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine can give you unnatural amounts of energy and motivation, these boosts are just temporary. Drug use over time will lead to a lack of proper rest, sometimes developing into full-blown insomnia. Beyond that, constant drug use wears your body down, decreasing your energy reserves, cutting into your appetite, and generally leaving your body frailer – even to the point of damaging your immune system and vital organs.

Some people develop lesions and suffer severe symptoms from common infections, while others become unhealthy through poor hygiene and malnutrition. Addiction can make us forget to take care of ourselves, and can disrupt our natural instincts towards restful sleep, good food and regular washing. This only becomes worse as the addiction progresses into cycles of withdrawal and relapse, where often, individuals develop co-dependent illnesses like anxiety and major depression.

You may not realize it, but even “casual” drug use cuts into your regular sleeping schedule and can rob you of a lot of energy. Going sober early will not only save you from a host of physical complications and months of serious rehab and recovery, but it will give you a boost of energy and make you realize just how lethargic you have been feeling.


A Consistent Scale

A lack of appetite or rapid weight gain are symptoms of certain drug use – for example, cocaine and prescription amphetamines, as well as methamphetamine and other stimulants will often cut into a person’s appetite, causing drastic weight loss and malnourishment. In fact, some dangerous crash diets go so far as to recommend illegal stimulants or “weight loss supplements” with stimulant ingredients as way to quickly and efficiently lose weight.

Alcoholism, on the other hand, can lead to several different health issues including rapid weight gain due to the excess of liquid calories being added to a person’s diet over the course of the day. Other drugs can also affect the body’s metabolism and appetite, causing your weight to spike or drop significantly.

By going clean, staying clean and nursing your sobriety, you gain a shot at a stable and healthy weight. Some turn from an addiction to drugs or alcohol to an addiction to food or develop eating disorders to cope with post-rehab stress. It is important to continue to address your stress after rehab and figure out better and healthier ways to cope with problems, rather than utilizing negative coping mechanisms and damaging your physical and emotional health in the process.

Beyond these benefits of a sober lifestyle, there are several others. For example: most cases of drug use and alcoholism lead to a steady decline in mental faculties, due to brain damage. Reversing this can take time, but you can improve your cognition in the long-term by staying sober. And of course, sobriety is about more than just enjoying better physical and mental health. It’s about your social health, as well. Through sobriety, you can have more fun than ever – it’s just a question of knowing where to look.

Tips To Avoid Relapsing

Avoid Relapsing | Transcend Texas

To most people in early recovery, there’s nothing more terrifying than failing. Falling back into your old ways and continuing to be consumed by the addiction. But that’s not necessarily failure. There’s a common misconception where many people feel like if they make one mistake – one misstep – they have failed themselves. Failure is giving up sobriety and using until you pass away. Failure is when you quit all hope of getting better because of a relapse and no long attempt to avoid relapsing.

Relapses, on the other hand, are not failures. They’re mistakes, but they’re mistakes we can learn from. For example – a relapse can teach you how to avoid another relapse, if you pay attention to the signs. But that doesn’t mean that we should embrace relapses as a regular occurrence, either. You should avoid relapses – but don’t let them consume you entirely and rob you of every hope for lasting recovery.

To get sober and stay sober, you have to want to be sober more than anything else – but it’s not enough to just want something. Addiction treatment can be long and arduous, and it involves many exercises, therapies, and steps. If you want to avoid another relapse, or avoid relapsing ever again, then here’s what you need to do:


Find Some Friends

Recovery is an individual task – but it’s best done together. Individual therapy is not enough to heal from addiction. It takes more than the knowledge of a therapist and the ability to tackle and improve your thoughts to overcome addiction – time and time again, the stressors of the real world will test your ability to cope with difficulty, and the cravings will grow stronger and stronger.

You need others for support, both as a way to rant and blow off steam, and as a way to hear from them, help them with their problems, and depend on one another. Group therapy and other sober group activities is a new way to meet new sober friends, and plan outings.

You don’t have to find dozens of new acquaintances – spreading yourself too thin isn’t a good idea either. Instead, hang out with different groups and find one or two people you really vibe with. If things work out, they’ll work out – if not, keep looking. Having a pal or two can make addiction recovery a lot easier – it gives you a person to talk to about issues most people would never understand, and the fresh perspective on a similar yet completely different struggle can give you new ideas on how to tackle your own addiction and help avoid relapsing.

Having someone close in your social circle also gives you the comfort of knowing that if things get turbulent, you have someone you can call and talk to. Relapses often happen because a single thing pushes you off the edge – hopelessness. Many are triggered by different factors, from cravings to old memories and more. But they give in when something inside of them convinces them that recovery won’t work.

A friend can help stave off that moment, and keep you sober. It won’t be easy, and some cases are harder than others, but it’s clear that reliable friends are important and can help you avoid relapsing.


Get A New Hobby

Hobbies are not just a way to spend time, but they’re a way to keep yourself stimulated, physically and creatively. From sports to art and academics, finding a hobby you can truly embrace and stick with is one of the most powerful tools for maintaining sobriety and avoid relapsing.

Hobbies are not just distractions for when you feel stressed, or when you need some time to yourself. They are meant to provide an additional focal point to your recovery and give you a progressive series of goals to strive towards, improving yourself and thus making gradual but significant steps away from addiction, and towards your new sober lifestyle.

A good hobby can also serve as an adaptive coping mechanism. That means it gives you a way to release stress and blow off steam without further worsening your situation, instead helping you adapt to it by improving your cognition or your health.

Drug use is a classic example of a maladaptive coping mechanism. While it does help you forget your problems, it creates an entirely new and incredibly destructive problem. The same goes for any form of addiction, including an addiction to food, or even to typically healthy activities like exercise. Too much of anything can be terrible – and if approached with the wrong mindset, something harmless can become a maladaptive coping mechanism.

To put it differently, your hobby should be something that makes you stronger, letting you face your problems head-on, rather than simply giving you a direction to run away from your problems.


Learn Your Triggers And Avoid Relapsing

Relapses do not happen out of nowhere. When addiction treatment begins, it is normal for someone straight out of withdrawal to experience powerful cravings. Sober living facilities and residential treatment facilities exist to help people cope with these cravings.

When treatment ends, and time passes, the cravings begin to go away. But certain triggers can bring them back. For example – the sight or sound of an old neighborhood, meeting an old friend, having a meal at a specific restaurant, hearing a specific song. These are cues for old memories to come flooding back, alongside powerful emotions, and the subsequent temptation of addiction.

Understanding these triggers, and learning which triggers you can easily ignore, and which you have to live with, is important to avoid relapsing.

With time, simply ignoring your triggers won’t do. But to overcome them, you need to get to a point where you can manage cravings and ride them out without giving into them. Before then, knowing what can and will possibly trigger your cravings can be very helpful.

When you feel a relapse coming on, it is important to think back on these tips. What triggered it? Who should you call? And what can you do? Begin by taking a deep breath, and thinking of a single, simple thought that motivates you. Prepare that thought now and use it as a mantra – a phrase that reminds you why you stay sober. For some, that phrase can be to remind them of their loved ones. For others, it’s to remind them of their dream. Whatever it is, hold onto it, call your friend, and do not give in.


Why 2018 Is The Year For Addiction Recovery

2018 Year For Addiction Recovery | Transcend Texas

A new year has arrived, and with it, a hope for better times to come. With the cutoff of an old year and the celebration of a new one, it’s only natural to hope for terrible things to end and for good things to come. But one has to do more than hope if they want to decide what their future will look like. This year can be your year, if you want it to be. It’s a common tradition around the world to pick the new year as a time to make new commitments, and sign up for major changes. However, for many, these resolutions to be a new, better person lead to disappointment and procrastination. Too often, we set the bar too high and fail, causing more hurt than personal progress. That said, make 2018 the year for addiction recovery.

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about using the new year as the mark of something new and good. And if you go about it the right way, then 2018 can be your year for addiction recovery – and the start of a new chapter in your life.


Celebrating A New Year

Cultures as far back as early civilization have celebrated the end of an annual cycle, and saw it as the birth of something new and exciting. Not only was life for many civilizations rooted in seasonal changes and their effects on agriculture and commerce, but the astrological (and thus religious) importance of a full year ending made the new year special in nearly every culture.

Today, we celebrate the new year every 1st of January across the world, and we look back on the previous year, either to salute or mourn its passing. Sometimes, despite time only moving forward a single day, the shift from one year to the next can be emotionally invigorating, and signifies a time for letting go of the past and focusing on the new opportunities of the future.

For someone fighting addiction, you can make 2018 the year for addiction recovery and reclaim your life. But it won’t be quite as easy as jotting down a quick and short resolution, and then spending the next few months struggling to stay clean without a plan for relapse or other issues. 2018 can be your year for addiction recovery, because the year has just started and now is the perfect time to make full use of that fact.

But you have to approach your new resolution just right.


Make It Your Year For Addiction Recovery

The key to making 2018 a successful year for addiction recovery is by taking the right approach. The basic tenets for tackling recovery are:

  • Create a list you have easy access to and see every day.
  • Don’t tell everyone about your plans and aspirations.
  • Find a hobby or passion you are/could be deeply invested in.
  • Set short-term attainable goals to improve in your hobby.
  • Create a time-frame for the first quarter of the year.
  • Improve yourself – pick something to work on, and focus on it.
  • Make new friends and surround yourself with trusted old ones – use the support in times of hardship and loneliness to drive out the cravings.

A few things you absolutely want to avoid include being vague, focusing on your sobriety without having a concrete focal point in your life, and biting off more than you can chew when planning your resolutions for the year.

If you want to focus on recovery, then find healthy ways to cope with trauma and strong emotions, and improve your lifestyle to help reduce the impact of drug use and further learn what it means to be happy without drugs. Here are a few things you could do:


Getting Things Done In Recovery This Year

Addiction is more than just the presence of a set of destructive, maladaptive coping mechanisms. Addiction is also loneliness and negativity – so surrounding yourself by positive, strong people is the best way to ward off issues like a potential relapse.

Start by enrolling in a treatment program and a support group. Sober living homes are an excellent example for an environment that is conducive for both personal growth and long-term sobriety, as well as the tools needed to survive the world outside treatment.

After finding new people who likewise want to make it a year for addiction recovery and stay sober, it’s time to find healthy ways of coping. Some people prefer art, others prefer to exercise, and some have other unique ways of letting go of excess stress or anger. The ability to cope healthily with issues without the use of drugs is vital for snuffing out addiction.

From there, it’s time to focus on improving your skills, and working on all the things you wanted to work on. From starting a DIY project like room renovation to learning a new language, there are countless things you can learn and do throughout 2018 to mold yourself into someone you’re happy about and make it the year for addiction recovery for yourself.


Look Past The Present

2018 is one year – and in time, 2019 will come and 2018 will end. However, that doesn’t mean that your commitments should end. Drug addiction recovery isn’t a temporary thing tied to one year for addiction recovery. It’s a goal to spend the rest of your days not tied to your old addiction, and not driven towards bad decision-making by substance abuse.

Thus, see this 2018 as the year you begin your journey, and fight your way through the hardest parts of addiction recovery. From withdrawals to relapses and the emotional struggles of relearning what it means to feel good about yourself, and feel good in general without substance use, the first few months of 2018 will likely be rough. But if you continue to set new goals, and always leave room for growth and improvement, it’s only a matter of time before you make your addiction take the backseat.

Some people argue that when you go through something as substantial and potentially traumatic as an addiction, it’ll always be with you. And while that’s true, that doesn’t mean it gets to decide how you live. You should never forget your past – but you should be able to live with it, and move on past it, to a future where you make choices and decisions that positively reflect on what you learned while fighting your addiction. This 2018, take your first steps towards a life you can be proud of.


Benefits Of Sobriety

Benefits of Sobriety | Transcend Texas

The benefits of sobriety include many instantaneously obvious perks, the biggest being that you’re guaranteed survive your addiction days.

But beyond the fact that you get to live past an early age and stay sane enough to experience life around you as it occurs, there are many benefits of sobriety – many of which become apparent quite early on in recovery, and some of which become major perks down the line, decades after.

It goes without saying that staying sober is very difficult, especially at first. But it’s absolutely worth every bit of emotional energy and stress. Here are a few of the benefits of sobriety:


Better Health

Drug addiction causes different health problems largely depending on the drugs you took. For example, alcohol is notorious for causing liver damage – but excessive alcohol intake can also lead to obesity-related illnesses, as well as kidney damage, and even brain damage.

Excessive stimulants, such as amphetamines and cocaine, can cause serious heart strain and increase your chance of a stroke, as well as reducing appetite and often leading to unhealthy weight loss and nutrient deficiency.

Right off the bat, the first thing you can count on when going sober is that you’re going to be healthier. Every drug comes with side effects, but their addictive nature means that over time, substance abuse is likely to leave some long and lasting scars both physically and mentally.

While some cases of abuse are so severe that permanent damage is inevitable, a healthy lifestyle after years of abuse can still give you an excellent quality of life and improve both your mental and physical health. However, reversing the effects of drug use to reap the benefits of sobriety may take months, or years, and a disciplined healthy lifestyle.


Better Looks

Even though many manage to hide it during initial stages of abuse, excessive substance use does often leads to excessive weight gain (through alcohol) or weight loss (through stimulants). In both cases, the appetite-suppression or junk calories of drug consumption leads to the development of terrible eating habits, and deficiencies.

In addition to often leading people to neglect their nutrition, prolonged substance abuse may lead to other illnesses, a weakened and assaulted neuroimmune system, poor skin health (either due to the drugs themselves, poor nutrition, bad hygiene or self-harm), and a very messy or unattractive appearance due to memory loss, frequent blackouts and more.

More Time

Being addicted takes time. It takes time to find and procure drugs, it takes time to get high, and it takes an especially long time to recover from a high. Moreover, the time lost in blackouts or in emergency rooms further lends credence to the argument that one of the benefits of sobriety and giving up drugs can save you an enormous amount of time. Sobriety isn’t just about skipping out on a high, but also about avoiding the risks and side effects of long-term excessive drug abuse.

It’s not just that you lose time through addiction – you also lose the time spent forging friendships and working your way up the ladder in your own personal career. Many people go through recovery having a long road ahead of them when it comes to making up for their past mistakes – and making up for that lost time is impossible without that first crucial step towards lasting recovery.


More Money

Addiction is costly. One reason why it often ruins people financially is because there is a drug for every class and economic status. The more money someone has, the more they can afford expensive designer drugs – and as a person’s financial status changes, they will find another, much more affordable (and potentially more dangerous) way to get high.

Extreme examples include using mouthwash or other cheap toiletries as substitutes for alcohol, or even worse, synthesizing drugs at home and risking injury or death in the process.

Even just skipping the booze can massively change the way you spend your money, and in up to 7 percent of men, it could save you over $100 a week. For people with serious addiction issues, and a multitude of different substances, the benefits of sobriety could completely change their finances and even help them get their leg up on life again.


Stronger Relationships

Addiction tears through romantic relationships like a knife through butter – it’s incredibly difficult to deal with being in a relationship with an addict, and it is equally difficult to nurture a relationship with someone while you struggle with addiction.

In the short-term, the solution is to put the relationship on ice, or use it to empower yourself and your journey through recovery. Being in a committed relationship with another human being is more than having a roommate or a good friend. Loyalty and admiration for one another can be considered the tentpoles of a successful relationship – and when you’re struggling with addiction, compromising and making selfless choices can be incredibly hard. You’re compelled, more than ever before, to indulge and give in to personal temptations – and in turn, you’re often bound to hurt the people you love the most before things get better.

But by earnestly quitting and going sober, you have a shot at reviving or strengthening these bonds, and bringing the relationship back stronger than ever before.


Stronger Friendships

Much like romantic relationships, friendships can be torn apart by addiction. While your friends aren’t as intimately close to you as two people in a committed relationship would be, the bond between friends still means that addiction can cut a swathe through more than just your own life, and leave those you care about hurt by your actions.

Mending those relationships, and creating stronger friendships is one of the benefits of sobriety and the recovery process. Not only that – often, sobriety gives you the opportunity to make brand new friends as well, and meet all sorts of interesting people.


The Opportunity to Live Life

Ultimately, you’ll never live life again if you choose to reject sobriety. Being high is no way to spend life. You miss out on everything that makes life great – your mind clouds over, your senses go dull, and you gradually lose the ability to remember things. That is, in more ways than one, death rather than life.

But by going sober, you regain the ability to see life as it is, and live it. That can come with pain and sadness, and with the burden of seeing life through a clear mind, but it also comes with joy, happiness, and the potential to feel the love and admiration of your closest friends and family for years to come.


Tips And Tricks To Maintain Sobriety

maintain sobriety | Transcend Texas

Therapy and consistency are important to maintain sobriety – but having a handy list of personal tips and tricks can really help you flesh out your sober life and ensure that you have ways to deal with anything life throws at you. That means building habits that keep you healthy, sane, and happy.

Binging on TV shows, spending half a day playing video games or locking yourself in your room to go through an entire book series isn’t a constructive way to cut addiction from your life. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop consuming entertainment, or stop indulging in distractions from time to time.

Distractions have their place in recovery. But most of your habits should help you shape a better life. The best coping mechanisms for any of life troubles are the ones that help make you a stronger, better person – they help you build your focus, improve a talent, or make you happy.

Taking an hour or two out of your day to live in the pages of a book or play some video games can be an enriching experience and will in fact help you work off some emotional stress. But there’s a line between an effective way to deal with stress, and turning your new coping mechanism into a destructive behavior – which is exactly what addiction is to begin with.

Look for habits that pull you away from your cravings in a healthy manner as you maintain sobriety.


Achieve Accountability And Maintain Sobriety

Being accountable to others is an incredibly powerful motivator in life. People have turned their entire lives around and completely shifted their world views simply because of the birth of their child, or because they’ve fallen in love. Beyond immediate family, we can be accountable towards others who have certain expectations of us, and are supportive of our attempts to be better. Our coaches, mentors and friends, for example.

When you’re having a terrible day and you’re lacking the motivation to go through with your routine, then looking onto others as a source of inspiration is crucial. Through accountability, we remind ourselves that it’s our duty to maintain sobriety, and live up to our goals – no matter how hard things might be. Not out of a sense of compulsion or guilt, but out of a sense that this is important to who we want to be as people.

Be accountable to your friends, your family, and those who believe the most in your ability to achieve your goals – whether they’re in art, fitness, music, or in an industry.


Work Out (Often)

Building up a sweat on a regular basis is more than just a tool for losing weight or building muscle. It can be an indispensable tool for vastly improving your mood, and dealing with stress. If it’s within your ability, then exercise should be a part of your life – regardless of whether you’re struggling with addiction, mental illness, or just the day-to-day difficulties of living. Exercise is a boon to all, and it’s especially useful if you experience frequent depressive and destructive thoughts.

This is because exercise helps people tackle these issues in two major ways: through the release of endorphins, which act as natural anti-depressants and immediately shift your mood, and through the gradual improvement of your overall fitness and appearance, which can have a dramatic effect on your self-esteem and help you stave off irrational, self-deprecative and negative thoughts.

The key to maintaining a proper level of exercise is to do something you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to attend spin classes or go jogging in the early morning if you loathe both activities. Instead, try alternative ways to get your daily sweat on – like calisthenics, CrossFit, or weight lifting. Give everything a trial period – it’s normal for a completely sedentary person to dislike exercising regularly just because of the physical shock of going through a proper workout without prior experience. But if you still hate jogging after a few weeks, then it’s probably not your thing.

Don’t just restrict yourself to fitness. Look at other sports and activities like Latin dancing, martial arts/self-defense classes, basketball, or swimming. Having sometihng like working out to take up your time helps you maintain sobriety in the long run.


Read Up On Addiction & Mental Health

They say knowledge is power – and when it comes to trying to maintain sobriety, you will probably welcome all the help you can get. Addiction is not a completely understood condition – we’re still figuring out how best to help people treat themselves, and both the biology and psychology of addiction is being studied to come up with better treatment, and create a much wider understanding of the disease so that every case can get the help it needs.

That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on the science and the psychology on addiction. New drug treatments are constantly in development, alternatives to addictive painkillers are an extremely hot topic, and the scientific community is still working on ways to create treatments that help everybody in all stages of addiction.


Keep A Journal

Finally, a great tip for maintaining your sobriety is by recording your progress. Keep a journal – written, narrated or in video form – and update it regularly, or whenever you feel like you need to get something off your chest. You could publish it in a blog form, use it as reference some day in the future when producing a creative piece of work, or simply keep it close to you and in private, to look back on and see how far you’ve come since.

Recovery is a journey that lasts a lifetime – but that just means living life to the fullest, and doing your best every day to stay away from the darker days as you maintain sobriety.

Prevent Relapse – The Best Ways To Stay Sober

Prevent Relapse | Transcend Texas

There is a reason why the relapse statistic is quite high when looking at the numbers in addiction recovery, and that reason isn’t a matter of willpower or a lack of personal responsibility – it is a testament to the fact that relapses are part of the recovery process, and they’re common in early recovery even when trying to actively prevent relapse.

That doesn’t make them a good thing. However, neither does a relapse signal the total failure of your recovery process. Trying to prevent relapses from occurring first requires an understanding of what they are, why they occur, and what causes them. It also takes time and patience. While recovery is all about growing, early recovery can be a time of fragile emotions and mood swings. The body, the brain, and the psyche must get used to long term sobriety, and the stress of not only staying sober but dealing with life’s many complications and challenges along the way while working through the issues that an addiction tends to bottle up and bury inside you.

It’s a highly emotional experience, and everyone struggling with addiction goes through it in their own, unique way. Some struggle far more with the emotional aspect of addiction than others. Others struggle with physical dependence.


Understand What A Relapse Means

Relapses, like addiction itself, are learning experiences, moments wherein we can potentially discover new ways to control our behavior, focus our thoughts, and learn a bit more about ourselves. When a relapse does happen, it’s typically due to a trigger. Identifying the trigger and avoiding it during early recovery can prevent relapse, and later, provide the potential for growth by overcoming the old memory.

The most important thing to know about relapses is that they’re not the end of your journey. Think of them as speed bumps, obstacles in the road that slow your progress but only temporarily.

Relapses occur because the relationship between the brain and addictive substances is immensely strong. People spend years struggling with addiction not because it’s so much fun to fight your way through the emotional roller coaster and host of physical withdrawal symptoms repeatedly, but because being a functioning human being in society requires staying sober long enough to get things done. They sacrifice and sacrifice for weeks, months and years, and some people have entire families depending on the success of their recovery.

Addiction hooks its claws into your brain and your mind, creating a hole for itself that is hard to fill out again. Learning to prevent relapse can teach you more about how to slowly undo that grasp, and replace the void in your mind with new, awesome experiences and fresh living sensations.


Find New People To Hang Out With

One of the first things to do when deciding for a life of sobriety is some self-reflection. This involves figuring out what aspects of your life are worth keeping, and what aspects should be abandoned. For the most part, it can mean entirely changing your definition of friendship – and who you are friends with. Announce your decision to go clean and stay clean, and see how many of your friends are willing to support you and respect your decision to prevent relapse, so much so that they’d be willing to drop their own vices at least around you to avoid any complications.

In most cases, it’s for the best to cut off your relationships to anyone who got you involved in drugs, from booze to harder things, and instead focus on making new friends. Fresh new friendships can make early recovery much more bearable, help prevent relapse, and be far more interesting than forcing yourself through the first few months all on your own. Aside from providing immense amounts of support, new friends can bring excitement and new perspectives into your life. They can replace the temptation to drink or use with the temptation to learn more, try new things, and meet more people, all while helping to prevent relapse.

The trick is figuring out where to find new people to hang out with. You have several options depending on what you’re most comfortable with. If approaching strangers in the real world at the gym or in malls is too frank or forward for you, then consider the advantages of anonymity and distance in the online medium. Meeting people through the Internet is no longer strange, but has rather become the norm with the rise of blogging and social media.


Find New Places To Hang Out At

Aside from finding new people to spend time with, another solid way to avoid the triggers of the past in early recovery is to find new places for new memories. Consider making a routine for yourself involving a part of town you usually don’t spend much time in. Hit the gym if you don’t already, and visit parks. If you can afford the time and money spent on it, get a pet like a dog for both the companionship and the excuse to go on long walks. The responsibility of taking care of a pet and the stimulation of a daily walk can keep your mind off the need to use, and give you a calming way to remain stress-free.

Avoid dive bars, raves, dance clubs and the homes of friends who still use drugs. Instead, look towards new ways to spend your weekends and nights – sober raves are an option, or you could enlist in workshops, meet new people and learn new things.


Join A Sober Living Home To Help Prevent Relapse

Sober living homes, or a sober living community, are facilities dedicated to providing strictly sober lodging to people out of rehab looking for a way to integrate back into life and prevent relapse. Sober living facilities have a few general rules that differ from home to home, but for the most part, they involve having a strict curfew, a no-tolerance anti-drug policy, mandatory unannounced drug testing and the requirement of either being in school, having a job, or looking for either. These are homes designed to both get people back on their feet while giving them an environment in which they can live among others who are struggling with addiction, so the residents can bond and share their experiences and learn new things from each other.

People all have one reason or another to turn back to drugs, and convincing themselves otherwise will take time. With time, you won’t have to actively prevent relapse anymore – you’ll be able to live life fully, knowing you have it in you to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety even if the worst happens and you find yourself back at square one. Because recovery only ends when you give up on yourself in the fight against addiction and let it end you instead.


From Sober Living To Living Sober

From Sober Living To Living Sober | Transcend Texas

Sober living homes are environments specifically designed around creating an average living situation for those recovering from addiction, to prepare them for the challenges of living with the early consequences of recovery, and the struggle of maintaining long-term sobriety. However, instead of seminars, lifestyles built around residential treatment, or a focus on rehabilitation and hospitalization, sober living homes are designed as post-rehab centers created for those who want a transitory period between their rehabilitation and “real life.”

Of course, life is life – rehab is no less real than any other period in your life, but the struggles of dealing with the responsibilities of a fully-fledged life after a crippling addiction can be difficult. Sober living homes are usually for those who have struggled with addiction to the point that they’ve lost their jobs, lost their homes, and lost every anchor point to a previous life, aside from, perhaps, the support of their loved ones.

Through a sober living home, those recovering from addiction must dedicate themselves to a strict set of local rules, usually loosely adapted from a generalized rule set present in every sober living facility:

The Rules of Sober Living

Sober living homes take no measures to implicitly remove responsibility from you. Instead, they exist to place you in a community of other people who struggle with recovery, as both a source of motivation and long-term inspiration. Typically, they require you to:

  • Consistently pay rent and utilities.
  • Attend a form of treatment or group activity.
  • Actively look for work, or attend a school, or some other form of activity promoting self-improvement.
  • Accept regular and random drug testing, commonplace in the workforce.
  • Agree to refrain from parties and overnight guests.

Sober living entails active sobriety – that means no drugs or alcohol, although exceptions are made in certain cases due to the need for prescribed medication by some struggling with addiction.

All in all, sober living homes aren’t meant to be a permanent solution, but rather a transitory situation – a place to go after recovery to grow and improve, work through your emotional turmoil and the common difficulties of early recovery, and then move out on your own into the world with confidence in yourself, your abilities, your identity as a strong and willful individual, and your sobriety.

Some sober living homes are co-ed, most are not. This is to avoid any complications of sexual tension – recovery can be a period of emotional turmoil, and relationships aren’t a good idea in early recovery, unless they’re a steady and sure source of strength, accountability, and responsibility.

Additionally, some sober living homes are staffed with psychiatric professionals to provide in-house therapeutic treatment, and help in medical emergencies and other situations where a professional is needed.

Through these simple rules and structures, most sober living homes achieve a spectacular success rate. They’re often combined with a treatment program such as the twelve-step program to create a structured life for those struggling with early recovery, and the sense of community and responsibility can be enough to discourage relapse and create a sense of self-worth powerful enough to deny addiction.

What Does It Take to Be Successful?

There are no tricks, no distinct steps, and no strict pathways when walking the road of recovery. Every single person’s struggle is individual, and ultimately, everyone should work to find their own way to cope with addiction without resorting to the addiction’s unhealthy habits. Stress management through meditation, mindfulness, sports, art, writing, acting, work – the idea is simple: “whatever floats your boat.”

All you need to bring to the table is the will to improve. Even when faced with setbacks and relapse, all it takes is your dedication to getting back onto the horse and trying harder. When you enter a sober living home, you’re entering a community, and the rules of the community apply. Every community has its own rules, and abiding by them is critical if you want to be a part of that community.

Will is critical to the success of recovery in a way that is entirely separate to sober living homes, and that’s the fact that even with the help that a community can provide, addiction is something you must actively fight. You can’t be “carried” through your recovery – every step is one you must make on your own, and it’s your will that will drive you towards long-term sobriety, and not the will or strength of those around you.

In a way, addiction can be described as a learning disorder – one where you must overcome addiction by realizing its viciousness, and seeking out the long-term benefits of sobriety over the short-term pleasure and solace than addiction gives you. That is something you should do on your own – but it doesn’t mean you’re alone in the fight.

You Are Not Alone

The final key thing about sober living homes is that they ultimately exist to assist those who seek help in regaining control over their lives. It’s one thing to stand back up when life beats you down. It’s another to have the strength to call out for help, and fight back against your misfortunes with the help of others.

It’s when we find meaning in ourselves through how we can help others and become an important figure in the lives of those who matter most to us, that we finally overcome addiction. In a way, addiction feeds on our insecurities, and the misguided realization that we’re weak. However, if we can find passion within ourselves, and accountability towards others, a reason to be responsible and possess the will to do what must be done rather than what is easy, then we can deny our addiction at every step of the way, and lead on towards long-term recovery.

Sober living homes embody this philosophy perfectly by creating an environment where you are encouraged to be strong, to be independent, and yet to seek help whenever you need it. It encourages you not to be shy of opening to others, and helps you see the benefit in both asking for help, and helping those who ask for it. They blend both the individual journey, and the aspects of community that are necessary within recovery. And to many, they’re the best available approach for long-term sobriety.