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Posted in Early Recovery

Sober but Miserable: When Quitting Isn’t Enough

Carl is a soft-spoken screenwriter who grew up in an impoverished, alcoholic home. For most of his adult life, Carl has turned to alcohol to cope with grinding depression and a gnawing sense of not being good enough. One night after a weekend of drinking, Carl had a blackout. He awoke in his car with a horror unlike any other; he believed that he’d hit a pedestrian. He vowed that day never to drink again, and for five long years he didn’t, through sheer willpower. No rehab or 12-step meetings for Carl. But Carl was acutely miserable, prone to angry outbursts and just as anxious and depressed as ever.

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Posted in Early Recovery

For Lessons in Recovery, Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Therapists who treat addiction and co-occurring mental conditions have many weapons in their arsenal: psychotherapy, 12-step strategies, experiential exercises, education, medications and perhaps one more: Mother Nature.

In a novel experiment, researchers at Stanford University in California randomly assigned 38 people to take a 90-minute walk in either a natural or urban setting, then assessed them on their levels of repetitive negative thoughts about themselves, a behavior that is associated with depression and other mental health issues. The investigators found that after their trek, nature walkers reported a significant decrease in rumination and also had less brain activity in a portion of the brain associated with risk for mental illness. Participants who walked in an urban environment did not receive the same benefit.

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Posted in Early Recovery

Three Ways to Love Yourself in Recovery

We’re told we need to love ourselves. We are told we need to have a healthy sense of self-esteem. But after years of addiction, rebelling against God and making havoc of our lives and relationships, it’s hard to feel anything other than a deep sense of self-hatred and shame.

However, this kind of outlook doesn’t allow us to heal or to truly embrace the promises of recovery. Self-hatred fueled our addiction and kept us mired in a life that wasn’t going anywhere. Recovery allows us to move from a place of self-loathing to self-love. While we may not feel the love, there are a few steps we can take. Learning to love yourself after addiction starts with intentional practices.

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Posted in Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Need Help With a Loved One With a Drinking Problem? Look Online

When the love of your life has a drinking problem, it becomes your problem, too. Being the partner of a person addicted to alcohol increases your risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, relationship turmoil and emotional and physical abuse. If you feel like you’re all alone with these concerns, it only compounds the risk.

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Posted in Sex Addiction

Benefits of Couples Therapy After Infidelity

Although an affair is one of the most painful betrayals of trust that anyone can experience, it does not always mean the end of a relationship. Frequently, both partners hope to save the relationship and stay together despite the loss of trust and underlying problems that may have contributed to the affair.

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Posted in Mental Health

Mindfulness: Why Every Addict Needs It

The addict has a restless brain, and substances or compulsive behaviors are used to self-regulate the overworked brain. That process eventually leads to a trail of destruction: lost jobs, failed marriages, neglected children, plundered fortunes.

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Posted in Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders “on the Wire”: An Interview with Jenn Friedman

Food fuels the body and can nourish the soul. But what happens when it seduces and torments? According to information from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders:

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Posted in Early Recovery

Triggers: A Fact of Recovery

One of the most challenging aspects of recovery is how to handle triggers. No matter what the source addiction is—whether it’s alcohol and substance addictions, sexual addictions, addictive co-dependencies or something else—we all have to deal with things that make us want to re-engage in the self-destructive patterns that brought us into recovery in the first place. Triggers can be people; triggers can be places; triggers can be emotions; and triggers can be related to our five senses, such as sounds, tastes or odors. Even a vaguely familiar face can set off a pattern of thought that may lead us down the wrong road, and before we know it, we’re triggered and struggling to hold it together.

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Posted in Early Recovery

Six Essential Rules of Addiction Recovery

What does it really take to get sober and stay sober? If you talk to several people in recovery, you may get several opinions. Some will emphasize the importance of a sponsor or attending a lot of meetings. Others will insist that they couldn’t have gotten sober without the religious undertones of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Posted in Early Recovery

Trusting Your Gut: Developing Intuition in Recovery

One of the trickier skills to develop in early recovery is that of decision-making. While you were using, making decisions may have been a relatively simple affair—more often than not, you chose the path that protected your ability to continue to drink or use drugs. But now, in recovery, learning to trust yourself and make decisions that protect and promote recovery is an important task. Developing the parts of you that aid in good decision-making is a positive, fun and potentially even spiritually uplifting part of recovery.

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