If you’re worried you may be an addict or an alcoholic, here are a few signs you might be right. Unfortunately, no one but you can decide if you are truly addicted to a substance. Interventions can sometimes help bring the severity of a situation to light, but the acceptance of this disease must come from within. There was a time I was spending $200 a day on opiates, and I legitimately believed I was not a drug addict. In contrast, my sister, who has never had trouble with addiction, refuses to take any narcotics out of fear she may be an addict. The disease of addiction is manipulative, and this can perpetuate denial. Denying we are addicts allows us to keep using, keep excusing our actions, and keeps us from getting clean. Everyone is different, and every story of addiction varies from person to person. Whether it’s all, one, or none of these signs; here is a helpful list of some symptoms of addiction.
In my active addiction, I don’t remember my family being affected much at the time. Of course, that’s ridiculous, but the truth is: I was so immersed in my own pain and struggles that I didn’t realize that not only was I suffering from this devastating disease, but that it had spread to my loved ones as well. I may have been the only one using drugs, but the truth is: addiction had taken over my whole family.
It has long been believed that an altered mind state with drugs and alcohol make people more creative. Writers like Ernest Hemmingway or musicians like Janis Joplin are highly regarded artists that sadly met an untimely demise due to their addictions. The truth is, drugs and alcohol may loosen your inhibitions and allow you to initially create your art, but addiction suffocates creativity over time.
Reducing stressors in your life can significantly improve your chance at lasting sobriety. So much of how we process our emotions rely on the chemical makeup occurring inside our body. By reducing the stress hormone, cortisol, we can get out of a chronic stress environment and manage our feelings and reactions much more effectively. In this series we will discuss four main ways to decrease cortisol- through our food, through physical exercise and sleep, through mindfulness, and by connecting with others, ourselves and nature. These things come together to prevent relapse in addicts.
Reducing stressors in your life can significantly improve your chance at lasting sobriety. So much of how we process our emotions rely on the chemical makeup occurring inside our body. By reducing the stress hormone, cortisol, we can get out of a chronic stress environment and manage our feelings and reactions much more effectively. In this series we will discuss four main ways to decrease cortisol- through our food, through physical exercise and sleep, through mindfulness, and by connecting with others, ourselves and nature.
Has this thought ever crossed your mind? Many people reach a point where they begin questioning their drinking habits and wonder if they might be an alcoholic. Maybe you are a functioning alcoholic? Most people do not decide to quit drinking completely without a catalyst like the loss of a spouse, a job or a physical injury or illness. For others, they may recognize that they simply need to cut back or have more control over their drinking. If you are in this situation but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips.
First, what is drinking worth to you? Weigh out the pros and cons. Do you need to stop completely, or can you just cut back? Be very clear on your goals so you know what you are working towards.
Certain occupations have an increased risk of injury or death, some see pain and suffering on a frequent basis, still others are under consistent high levels of stress. Many different jobs encounter one of these conditions. For example: truck drivers have an increased risk of injury due to the long hours they spend on the road; counselors see pain and suffering every day; sports professionals are often in high stress situations. But what happens when there is no release from injury or death, pain and suffering, and high levels of stress? First responders – fire fighters, police, EMTs, military personnel and others – work under these conditions constantly.
I, like many I know, moved far away from home for my recovery. My addiction was so deeply imbedded in my home town that I knew in order to give myself a fighting chance I needed to ship out in order to shape up. So, I went to treatment across the country from where I grew up. I left my home, my friends, my family back in New Jersey and I headed out west. First to Arizona and San Francisco, finally settling in Southern California.
The saying that “the holidays are stressful for everyone” has become the cliché we hear year after year. But, like most clichés, it’s rooted in truth. Take your average person, even without substance or alcohol abuse issues, and put them in a room full of distant family members and dry turkey and there will be some friction. But, for us addicts, it can be even harder.
So, maybe this is your first round of holidays after getting sober, maybe you’re coming off a rough relapse, or maybe you could just use some advice before walking into the proverbial lion’s den. Here is my list of what to expect—and what to do—these upcoming holidays.