Recovery is a Choice

Recovery Is A Choice

When it comes to recovery, the only road towards real change for the better is the road you choose, and the road you walk.

Unlike many of life’s defining moments where the line between choice and circumstance blurs into the unknown, there is nothing clearer than choosing to get better. No one can force you into recovery. And only you can hold yourself accountable for it.


Recovery is a Choice, and It Can Be Yours

Sometimes, the debate between choice and circumstance is confusing, in relation to addiction. Yes, addiction begins with a choice. But the consequences that follow – and the actions many people find themselves guilty of – are not chosen freely. Just one hit from a drug like cocaine can tremendously affect the brain and predispose you towards another hit. And if you give in, it becomes a lightning-fast cascade down into addiction.

No one chooses addiction. People choose the high, to escape pain, or emptiness, or find a way to fit into a group. Then they realize the scope of their problem and find themselves trapped in a cycle. Without help, getting out is almost impossible. But with a little assistance, and the will to get better, you can break the cycle.

That is where choice comes back into play. If you’re stuck in denial, then you cannot break the addiction. If you’re sent into rehab for treatment but don’t choose to get better, then a relapse is imminent.

But if you choose to get better, today, and make that commitment towards a new chance at life, then you can claim a better life for yourself and those around you. But it’s not a single choice you make once, and then never look back. It’s a choice you have to make again and again, sometimes several times a day. That’s the commitment.


Recovery is a Daily Choice

Curing addiction is not quite like getting a tetanus shot. It takes time, depending on what you were taking, how long you were taking it, and other factors such as age and genetics. In most cases, the hardest part lasts a few weeks to a few months, where your newfound sobriety and recovery is coupled with mood swings. Over time, the cravings – which are very powerful to begin with – begin to subside. And within about a year, most of the changes made to the brain over the course of the addiction fade away.

Until then, the choice to stay sober will present itself again and again, adamant that you reiterate your commitment.

After a while, it can start to feel difficult to remember why you chose sobriety in the first place. Fond memories of old habits resurface, and the urge grows strong. That is why you’re not meant to walk this path completely alone. Having sober friends around to remind you why you’re doing this can help keep you on the straight and narrow – but even with help, you still have to choose to ignore the cravings.


Addiction is Not a Choice

When the brain is exposed to an addictive drug, it begins to change. The reward system in the brain, which releases dopamine based on certain actions and parameters, shifts to favor the next high over almost everything else.

You become a shadow of your former self, and the addiction grows stronger and stronger. In the meantime, it eats away at the brain, causing brain damage and affecting both memory and decision making.

As far as diseases go, addiction is terrifying. And it’s treatable. Recovery makes this possible.


Living with Your Choices

Sometimes it is hard to tell how much our actions are influenced by forces we do not usually control. Our brain is a very complex piece of biology, and certain parts of it heavily influence our decision making and our ability to make choices in life. So where does choice come into play if our choices are often affected by mood and base instinct?

There are many ways to approach this subject and discuss it in depth. Yet one simplistic way of looking at it is through the distinction between principle and desire. Principles help us shape who we are based on the virtues we value the most – by acting on our principles, we try and become better people, and aim to improve the world around us.

Principles are entirely a matter of choice. The ability to do something no matter how much we would rather do something else. In the case of addiction, many struggle to stick to their newfound principle of sobriety – and many relapse, at least for the first few times which is a set back for recovery.

Stumbling and making mistakes is part of becoming a better person. We do not change overnight. But we can change, and with time, your principles go from being lofty goals, to defining who you are and how you see yourself – and how others see you.

Choosing to stay sober is a choice. Maintaining that choice, however, is not always just a matter of sheer will. Will can only get you so far when it comes to addiction, especially early on. While your conviction is important, it is also important to spend the first few months in the company of people who can help you stay sober – or better yet, in a sober living community, where a drug-free environment is coupled with a community built around responsibilities, self-discipline, commitment and contribution.

Even after that, it is a good idea to surround yourself with friends and family who can help support you, while you support them. Interdependent relationships help foster trust between you and others and can help you become someone others can rely on once again, which makes recovery easier. If you ever have a day where making the right choice becomes hard, then having your friends and family around can make it a lot easier.

No one wakes up loving the sober life. But it gives you an opportunity to craft a life you can truly fall in love with. Getting there starts with getting help and choosing – every day – to stay sober and work on recovery.


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.


Making A Resolution To Kick Addiction

Resolution To Kick Addiction | Transcend Texas

While we’re still in the holiday season, the new year is drawing near – and to many, this is a reason to celebrate a meaningful ending to the year. With a new year come new opportunities, new possibilities, and a fresh start to something possibly much better after you kick addiction.

Of course, with these hopes come expectations, and with them, the distant yet noticeable anxiety of failure. Failure to be successful – especially at something life-changing – is a profound fear for many when stepping into the new year, and it’s an attitude like this that hinders progress and contributes to missteps.

Avoiding these feelings isn’t as easy as simply identifying them – you need to make peace with them, and find a way to breathe both optimism and a better chance into your new year – and carry that all way to next December, and far beyond.

It won’t be easy, but if approached the right way, you can take this New Year’s Day to be the occasion you need to finally kick addiction for good, and turn your back to an old chapter in your life, one full of learning experiences and painful moments.


Why Make A New Year’s Resolution To Kick Addiction?

People make new year’s resolutions for the simple reason that a new year is a clear-cut end and beginning – a fold in a person’s life, the time when it’s easiest to leg go of something old and dedicate yourself to something new.

It’s not just about looking forward to a new future, though. The New Year’s celebration is about the past, the present, and the future. All moments in time are considered when the new year draws close, and each for vastly distinct reasons.

First, the past. The end of a year is a time for reflection, when we can look back and think on what we did and what we didn’t do, and consider carefully what should be done going forward. It’s important to look to the past for guidance – but not to regret, or daydream of different circumstances and outcomes. What has happened, has happened – but you can change the outcomes you dislike by taking the initiative in the future.

It’s at this point that the new year offers us an opportunity to think about what we should do, and how we might do it. It’s a time for new plans, for new commitments and for new resolutions. A time when we can set ourselves up to the task of becoming better and kick addiction.

But to do so, we must time it just right. And that’s why we focus so much on the present during the new year, counting every second, living and breathing in that moment, savoring the countdown to a new year, and the beginning of a journey to a new you.


Don’t Announce It To Everyone

Announcing your goals to everyone can rob you of the satisfaction of having completed them. While it’s not nearly the same thing in any reasonable sense, it feels similar – to gain the approval of having decided to start bettering yourself, and then receiving recognition and support for that decision, can rob you of the feeling of achievement you would gain if you first worked a substantial amount towards achieving your goal to kick addiction before coming out with it.

When your goal is to kick addiction, you might not want to announce it anyways. However, that does not mean you should simply keep it a secret. Make it known to your family and close friends that you’re going to kick addiction, and that you will need their support – this means not taking drugs/drinking around you, and it’ll mean helping you stay away from a potential relapse.

If you’re supplementing your recovery with other goals – fitness goals, for example, can be extremely conducive to recovery, and can promote a great general feeling of happiness, self-appreciation and confidence – then try and work your way to creating a solid habit before you tell others about what you have been doing. The same goes for learning new languages, or playing an instrument. The rewarding feeling of recognition for a modicum of skill will help you keep going – while revealing the goal too early will rob you.


Create Short-Term Goals

A recovery journey lasts decades, and takes you to emotional places you may never have been before. Therefore, people often congratulate themselves with commemorative objects or events, to help them stay positive and reward them for, say, an extra month without booze or alcohol.

Create short-term goals for yourself that are like this, like giving up smoking or drinking for a month, or dealing with a conflict without resorting to a drug, or even finding an alternative way to work off stress.

Again, the same applies for any other commitments you may have made to improve your life this upcoming new year – by setting smaller goals for yourself, the overall goal will not seem so tremendously far away, and you’ll be able to reward yourself with a feeling of satisfaction every time you draw a little closer to your bigger, more challenging goal posts.


Be Prepared For A Long Journey Ahead

While a new year’s resolution is often a commitment to make a substantial change, some people take the opportunity to challenge themselves to do something different this year – be it learn an instrument, a new language, or a new craft.

But recovery is more than a habit you pick up for a few months, or a few years. It’ll be something you take with you for the rest of your life – and, if everything goes well, it’ll be a journey you can look back on with serene content, knowing you did enough in life to feel like you have truly lived.

With drugs and addiction, that feeling is unattainable. Drugs are the anti-thesis to life – not only do they kill in some of the most savage ways, but they also steal you away from reality, and put you in a fake world, filling you to the brim with fake feelings, leaving you defenseless for the crash of real emotion as it hits you during sobriety.

Dealing with those waves, learning to ride them, and savoring every significant moment by being fully aware of it and how real it is – that is life. And if you don’t get sober soon, that life can pass you by very quickly.


7 Recovery Mantras

Recovery Mantras | Transcend Texas

Recovery is not a simple thing to accomplish without the drive to succeed. When you are sober, you start to really pay attention the things that are said. Every now and then certain words and phrases tend to stick and make an impact. Some of those thoughts can be used as mantras to keep you going through recovery and resonate with great results. These mantras don’t just apply to sobriety, they apply to life on a daily basis.


  1. Strive For Progress, Not Perfection
  2. Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes
  3. No Matter Where I Go, There I Am,
  4. I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
  5. Easy Does It
  6. Live Life on Life’s Terms
  7. Take It One Day at a Time


For more on these mantras visit The Fix HERE


12 Signs Men are Suffering from Depression

Men Suffering Depression | Transcend Texas

In America depression is affecting an estimated 15.7 million people and is one of the most common mental health disorders. And a majority of those that are suffering from depression either aren’t getting the right treatment or any at all. There are certain groups are less likely to receive treatment, especially men suffering depression.

Those of whom are getting treatment often times aren’t being matched up the way they should in regards to diagnosis. People who are diagnosed with a mild form of depression are less likely to take antidepressants than those who are suffering from severe depression. The following 12 signs might provide insight on men that are suffering from depression and what to look for.

  1. Fatigue
  2. Too much/ Too little sleep
  3. Stomach and Back aches
  4. Irritability
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Anger/Hostility
  7. Stress
  8. Anxiety
  9. Substance Abuse
  10. Sexual Dysfunction
  11. Indecision
  12. Suicidal Thoughts


For more on these 12 signs of depression in men visit HERE



Raise the Bar on Your Recovery

Raise The Bar On Your Recovery | Transcend Texas

As you progress in your recovery from addiction, you may need to continue to stretch yourself. You may need to create new goals and set your sails for greater and greater horizons to raise the bar on your recovery. You might have gotten sober, but perhaps you’re still not living the life you want. Perhaps you’re still struggling with issues that feel like obstacles in your healing.

The following suggestions might be useful in giving your recovery a boost. It can help you raise the bar on your recovery so that it helps you heal all areas of your life, not just healing from addiction.

Focus on Hope – There are many definitions of hope. However, one that is simple and useful is: looking forward to something with desire and having a reasonable expectation that that desire will be fulfilled. If you don’t have any hope, it’s hard to create it. However, you can begin to focus on an imagined future. What do you hope to do, wish to have, or hope to become?  What is even the smallest possibility you wish to have in your life?

Set Clear Goals – With the above questions answered, you can start to create your goals. The advantage of having goals is that then all of your choices can be focused in the direction you want. And you can have your goals in mind throughout your day, which can trigger ideas and help you take advantage of opportunities you might not have thought of before. With goals in mind, you can move closer to them versus remaining stagnant.

Positive Relationships – Although there are some people who prefer to spend their time alone, when you’re in recovery, having a community of people around you to support you can be incredibly effective. This is especially true if those people believe in you and if they can see in you the possibility for change. Having meaningful friendships where you can be yourself is important during recovery.

Successful Role Models – When you spend time with others who have achieved long term sobriety, you can learn from them. But more than that, they tend to have a particular mindset that you may not have yet developed. And in their company and by conversing with them, you might start to develop the mindset that they’re in rather than a mindset that has been holding you back for so many years. Having successful and healthy people around you can support your growth.

Time for Self-Care – Relationships, careers, finances, and home life can begin to break down with the presence of addiction. For this reason, one way to counter the destructive elements of addiction is to find time to care for yourself. This might mean taking a long walk in the evenings or spending time with someone you care about. It might also mean time for yoga or meditation. Or it could simply mean playing ball with friends. Whatever activity is nourishing for you, making time for it throughout your day can be an essential tool to use during your recovery.

These are tips for expanding your recovery so that you feel supported in all areas of your life. The best recovery is a holistic one, one that addresses your physical, emotional, psychological, social, and even spiritual well being. If you would like support with your recovery, contact a mental health provider today.


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Sober Living Leads to Successful Sobriety, Reports Say

Recovery Mantras | Transcend Texas

According to an article in The Washington Times, hundreds of men and women pass through sober living homes and successfully reach sobriety. The Washington Times article describes a sober living home located in Mississippi where residents are given a chance to start a new life after addiction. But it’s not only in Mississippi, sober living homes around the country are essential for anyone who needs professional support with healing from addiction.

In fact, many of those who begin to get help for addiction are in dire situations. They often have little money, no housing, and a group of friends or family still involved in drug use. However, staying at a sober living facility gives a person the opportunity to make changes they want in life.

One study found that sober living homes are an effective option for healing from addiction. The research found that those who were involved in 12-step programs, had a strong network of support and were living in a drug free environment tended to reach sobriety with few or no relapses. The study made clear the importance of social and environmental factors in recovery.

Of those who participated in this study, there were improvements in the areas of alcohol and drug use, arrests, psychiatric symptoms and employment. The study also confirmed that there are certain factors that predict better recovery outcomes, such as high involvement in 12-step meetings, little alcohol and drug use among peers, and a low severity level for any presenting mental illnesses.

This is important for recovering addicts to remember. It’s not only having a safe and substance-free environment that’s important. Recovery also needs to include the participation in 12-step meetings, working through any mental illnesses – if there are any, and avoiding friends or family members who may still be using. And with this there is a good chance that a person will remain sober. Fortunately, many sober living homes provide not only a healing environment but also the extra support to stay sober.

In fact, research indicates that of those who get professional help, one third of men and women will achieve long-term sobriety with their first serious attempt at recovery. Another one third of will have brief relapse periods and then achieve abstinence, while another one third will go through chronic relapses before eventually recovering from their addiction. Of course, the journey of recovery is different for everyone. Whether one relapses or not can depend upon the length of one’s addiction, the drug of choice, psychological health, the level of support, and types of recovery services a person is involved with.

Just like the sober living facility described in the article and like most sober living homes around the country, having a place to live that provides a structured environment, healthy meals, a community of sober-minded individuals, and life goals to pursue helps recovery addicts stay sober.

Without residing at a sober living home, it might be challenging for someone to get sober on their own. There are frequently triggers in one’s home environment and there’s more probability for relapse to occur. Yet, even if someone were to relapse while at a sober living home, there’s a good chance that the support of professionals and friends can easily bring a person back to the road to recovery.


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