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Modalities of treatment

How do behavioral therapies treat drug addiction?

Behavioral treatments help engage people in alcohol/drug treatment, modifying their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use and increasing their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive use. Behavioral therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people remain in treatment longer.

The program curriculum at Another Road is made up of the following components:

  • Proper Rest and Nourishment
  • Stages of Change
  • 12 step principles/CBT
  • Managing Stress
  • Strategies for Coping
  • Preventing Relapse
  • Individual counseling (24x7)
  • Facilitated group sessions
  • Recovery Planning
  • Mindfulness techniques

If you or a loved one needs help give us a call 844-680-9269

 

Relapse Prevention

The Stages of Relapse

Relapse is a process, it's not an event. In order to understand relapse prevention you have to understand the stages of relapse. Relapse starts weeks or even months before the event of physical relapse. In this page you will learn how to use specific relapse prevention techniques for each stage of relapse. There are three stages of relapse.(1)

  • Emotional relapse
  • Mental relapse
  • Physical relapse

Emotional Relapse

In emotional relapse, you're not thinking about using. But your emotions and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse in the future.

The signs of emotional relapse are:

  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to meetings
  • Poor eating habits
  • Poor sleep habits

The signs of emotional relapse are also the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal. If you understand post-acute withdrawal it's easier to avoid relapse, because the early stage of relapse is easiest to pull back from. In the later stages the pull of relapse gets stronger and the sequence of events moves faster.

Early Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention at this stage means recognizing that you're in emotional relapse and changing your behavior. Recognize that you're isolating and remind yourself to ask for help. Recognize that you're anxious and practice relaxation techniques. Recognize that your sleep and eating habits are slipping and practice self-care.

If you don't change your behavior at this stage and you live too long in the stage of emotional relapse you'll become exhausted, and when you're exhausted you will want to escape, which will move you into mental relapse.

Practice self-care. The most important thing you can do to prevent relapse at this stage is take better care of yourself. Think about why you use. You use drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, or reward yourself. Therefore you relapse when you don't take care of yourself and create situations that are mentally and emotionally draining that make you want to escape.

For example, if you don't take care of yourself and eat poorly or have poor sleep habits, you'll feel exhausted and want to escape. If you don't let go of your resentments and fears through some form of relaxation, they will build to the point where you'll feel uncomfortable in your own skin. If you don't ask for help, you'll feel isolated. If any of those situations continues for too long, you will begin to think about using. But if you practice self-care, you can avoid those feelings from growing and avoid relapse.

Mental Relapse

In mental relapse there's a war going on in your mind. Part of you wants to use, but part of you doesn't. In the early phase of mental relapse you're just idly thinking about using. But in the later phase you're definitely thinking about using.

The signs of mental relapse are:

  • Thinking about people, places, and things you used with
  • Glamorizing your past use
  • Lying
  • Hanging out with old using friends
  • Fantasizing about using
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning your relapse around other people's schedules

It gets harder to make the right choices as the pull of addiction gets stronger.

Techniques for Dealing with Mental Urges

Play the tape through. When you think about using, the fantasy is that you'll be able to control your use this time. You'll just have one drink. But play the tape through. One drink usually leads to more drinks. You'll wake up the next day feeling disappointed in yourself. You may not be able to stop the next day, and you'll get caught in the same vicious cycle. When you play that tape through to its logical conclusion, using doesn't seem so appealing.

A common mental urge is that you can get away with using, because no one will know if you relapse. Perhaps your spouse is away for the weekend, or you're away on a trip. That's when your addiction will try to convince you that you don't have a big problem, and that you're really doing your recovery to please your spouse or your work. Play the tape through. Remind yourself of the negative consequences you've already suffered, and the potential consequences that lie around the corner if you relapse again. If you could control your use, you would have done it by now.

Tell someone that you're having urges to use. Call a friend, a support, or someone in recovery. Share with them what you're going through. The magic of sharing is that the minute you start to talk about what you're thinking and feeling, your urges begin to disappear. They don't seem quite as big and you don't feel as alone.

Distract yourself. When you think about using, do something to occupy yourself. Call a friend. Go to a meeting. Get up and go for a walk. If you just sit there with your urge and don't do anything, you're giving your mental relapse room to grow.

Wait for 30 minutes. Most urges usually last for less than 15 to 30 minutes. When you're in an urge, it feels like an eternity. But if you can keep yourself busy and do the things you're supposed to do, it'll quickly be gone.

Do your recovery one day at a time. Don't think about whether you can stay abstinent forever. That's a paralyzing thought. It's overwhelming even for people who've been in recovery for a long time.

One day at a time, means you should match your goals to your emotional strength. When you feel strong and you're motivated to not use, then tell yourself that you won't use for the next week or the next month. But when you're struggling and having lots of urges, and those times will happen often, tell yourself that you won't use for today or for the next 30 minutes. Do your recovery in bite-sized chunks and don't sabotage yourself by thinking too far ahead.

Make relaxation part of your recovery. Relaxation is an important part of relapse prevention, because when you're tense you tend to do what’s familiar and wrong, instead of what's new and right. When you're tense you tend to repeat the same mistakes you made before. When you're relaxed you are more open to change.

Physical Relapse

Once you start thinking about relapse, if you don't use some of the techniques mentioned above, it doesn't take long to go from there to physical relapse. Driving to the liquor store. Driving to your dealer.

It's hard to stop the process of relapse at that point. That's not where you should focus your efforts in recovery. That's achieving abstinence through brute force. But it is not recovery If you recognize the early warning signs of relapse, and understand the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal, you'll be able to catch yourself before it's too late.

If you or loved one is struggling give Another Road a call 844-680-9269

Reference: 1) The stages of relapse were first described by Terence Gorski. Gorski, T., & Miller, M., Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention: Independence Press, 1986.

 

Meditation as part of recovery

Meditation as Rehab Therapy

What fewer people realize is that meditation is sometimes used by recovering alcoholics/addicts as a means of getting and staying sober. Alcoholics Anonymous advocates meditation as a tool in the arsenal against relapse, and the American Journal of Psychiatry had already begun documenting studies that drew correlations between meditation and successful rehabilitation as long ago as the 1970s.

For anyone trying to overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs, meditation can be a useful practice for resisting cravings and avoiding relapse. It’s not a turnkey solution to alcoholism/drug addiction, but it does pair well with the sort of comprehensive treatments made available through alcohol and drug rehab centers.

How Meditation Helps People in Recovery

At the root of every meditative practice is a quest for detachment or inner calm. In this sense, meditation fits nicely with recovering alcoholics/addicts central goals, i.e. establishing distance between themselves and their desire to drink/use.

It’s this psychic distance between wanting to have a drink/drug and actually doing so that is so useful to recovering alcoholics/addicts. Meditation classes in a rehabilitation clinic, clients learn to view their own impulses from a third-person perspective. In so doing, there’s a potential to cultivate peace and contentedness without resorting to alcohol/drug abuse.

Another Road promotes and conducts meditation classes as part of our program curriculum.  Combined with the following...

  • Proper Rest and Nourishment
  • Stages of Change
  • 12 step principles/CBT
  • Managing Stress
  • Strategies for Coping
  • Preventing Relapse
  • Individual counseling (24x7)
  • Facilitated group sessions
  • Recovery Planning

Give us a call and come see us 844-680-9269

 

The Advantage of Residential Treatment

The Advantage of Focus

Residential addiction rehab provides clients the opportunity to leave behind potentially detrimental environments as they seek to break the cycle of addiction. Whether in the form of stresses which have triggered drug abuse, social connections which pressure drug use or any other environmental factor, residential treatment provides a safe haven from negative outside influences. Inpatient treatment offers a place where the one and only concern is recovery.

The Advantage of Structure

When the body is in the chaos of withdrawal, the mind can find safety in outward structure. Residential treatment programs often provide well-planned daily activities to help clients receive the maximum benefit from the program as well as help them cope with the inner turmoil they may be experiencing. Structuring the days with healthful and positive activities also begins to set the stage for choices that can be made post-recovery.

The Advantage of Support

Believe it or not, just being surrounded by other people who are likewise committing themselves to recovery has proven to be strengthening for patients. Knowing that you are not alone provides key emotional support during rehab just as support groups can do post-rehab.

The Advantage of Whole Person Treatment

Because residential addiction rehab has the advantage of time with the client, the whole person can receive care and healing. Individual and group counseling sessions are augmented with attention to nutrition, exercise and spiritual pursuits. The whole body and mind have been impacted by addiction and the whole person benefits from positive re-direction.

Another Road is a 28 day, 10 bed rehab for men with addictions to alcohol and other drugs. We are located in the Toronto area just outside Bolton Ontario. Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

We offer multiple modalities of treatment

At Another Road we believe the successful recovery from addiction involves re-integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of life that have been disrupted by addiction. We accomplish this by providing a safe, stable, and comfortable environment, delivering a range of treatment options, which include proper rest, a healthy nutritious diet, individual counseling, group therapy, an introduction to meditation and mindfulness, and participation in outside activities which promote an alcohol and drug free lifestyle.

12 Step principles are just one aspect of our recovery program...here's why.

Effectiveness of 12 Steps Program

A review of the evidence for the success of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which was published in Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, summarized the following findings about the 12 steps approach to recovery:

  • Attending a support group is linked to abstinence, and while attendance falls over time, staying affiliated increases the likelihood of remaining abstinent, particularly for those in recovery from dependency on more than one substance. Enhancing motivation to keep clients participating in these support groups is therefore essential.
  • Best results are seen when the 12 steps are combined with further treatment for the addiction.
  • Taking part in at least 3 weekly meetings offers most success, but even attending once or twice weekly greatly boosts abstinence.
  • Adults who attend AA 12 steps groups are more likely to be abstinent at 6 and 12 months after treatment. Attending a group early after treatment also increases their chance of long-term success.
  • Outcomes are better among clients who believe the 12 steps approach is helpful. They report the benefits of being with other sober people, the support available and learning from the experience of others.
  • Becoming involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step groups beyond simply attending meetings enhances the chances of success.
  • Just 18% of clients with addiction disorders are dependent on alcohol alone and 36% on drugs alone, so addressing multiple addictions increases the chance of success.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol/drug addiction give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Benefits of Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre

There are many benefits to going to a treatment center for a drug or alcohol addiction. Below are some of the benefits that are most appreciated by patients worldwide. The best benefit of any centre is getting person with an addiction off of drugs or alcohol and teaching them how to live a life free from addiction.

Top 8 Benefits

Benefit 1: Stable Environment

The first benefit of a treatment centre for a drug or alcohol addiction has to be the stable environment it has to offer. This is especially crucial for a newly recovering addict of drugs or alcohol. A stable environment will be able to keep any drug or alcohol addict away from any kind of temptations, while being in a safe and secure environment.

Benefit 2: Counsellors

Counsellors that know about addiction are the best ones to help any addict get past their addiction and on to a better life. Having the right counselors can be the best benefit any treatment center can offer their patients.

Benefit 3: Learning

Learning about addiction, how to overcome it, relapse prevention, and more is another benefit that helps patients to realise there is a way to live a life without drugs or alcohol. Learning the proper tools and how to use them is key to any addict trying to recover.

Benefit 4: Peer Support

Treatment centers for drug or alcohol addiction are all people trying to do the same thing; get help for their addiction. This means that by going, a drug or alcohol addict is surrounded by people going through the same things. This will give the patient the much needed peer support that is known to help during this stage of recovery, and at the same time they are able to give and take advice.

Benefit 5: A Daily Routine

Drug and alcohol treatment centers make their patients participate in a daily routine. The patient will go to group therapy, one on one therapy, alternative therapy, and 12 step support groups at a given time. A good treatment center will even teach recovering addicts about good nutrition and have patients be involved in regular fitness daily.

Benefit 6: Zero Tolerance

A zero tolerance policy means that no one is allowed to bring drugs or alcohol into the treatment center. Most rehab treatment centers will ask the person to leave if they are caught with drugs or alcohol. No one needs to be tempted while in getting treatment; this is why rehabs enforce this policy so strictly.

Benefit 7: Privacy

When choosing a treatment center, most patients prefer to go to one that is private. Privacy is something that gives most drug and alcohol addicts peace of mind during recovery. No one should ever find out about anyone becoming clean, unless they want them to.

Benefit 8: Aftercare

Aftercare is the care you need after treatment. Treatment centers for drug and alcohol addiction know and understand the importance of aftercare. Aftercare planning begins when the person is at the treatment center. The treatment center will prepare the drug or alcohol addict for their transition back home, to help them stay free from drugs and alcohol. Aftercare is essential and should be part of any treatment centre’s program; it can help prevent a relapse, which keeps any drug or alcohol addict from returning to their addiction.

Helping a loved one

What to Understand Before Talking to a Loved One

Before you talk to your loved one about treatment options, you need to approach him about the drug problem. It's important that you don't confront your loved one in a way that will cause an argument. It's common for those abusing drugs to get angry easily, so you need to approach the situation with care.

It's natural to be afraid to approach your loved one about drug use, because of the uncertainty of how he will react. However, it could be a life-changing effort for you to overcome your apprehensions and work towards finding the substance abuse help he needs. A variety of addiction treatment centers and therapeutic approaches exist to best match the specific needs of each individual.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

People who use drugs tend to show sign of drug abuse in every aspect of their lives. The symptoms of drug abuse vary depending on the person and the substance. Common symptoms include:

  • Using drugs to get rid of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tolerance to the substance.
  • Continued use of drugs even though you know it's hurting you.
  • Neglecting family obligations and financial issues.
  • Decline in physical appearance and health.

Can Addiction be Cured?

Drug abuse usually begins when people using drugs develop a tolerance for the drug. This causes them to use drugs in higher quantities and more frequently to get the highs they are looking for. When you use drugs for a prolonged period of time, your body develops a chemical dependency to the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction occurs when the chemical dependency is combined with a strong desire to use the substance.

Treatment programs help drug users by getting them off drugs and stopping the chemical dependency.

While some recovering drug users report that they experience urges to use the substance they were addicted to months after treatment, inpatient treatment gives the person the tools he needs to live a happy and healthy life.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is here to help. We are a 10 bed facility with a 28 day program for men in the Toronto area just outside Bolton, Ontario. 

Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Addictions and Recovery

The First Rule of Recovery

You don't recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you don't create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again. Start with a stay in a residential treatment program.

You don't have to change everything in your life. But there are a few things and behaviors that have been getting you into trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.

Here are the three most common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery.

Avoid High-Risk Situations

Some common high-risk situations are described by the acronym, HALT:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

How do you feel at the end of the day? You're probably hungry because you haven't eaten well. You're probably angry because you've had a tough day at work or a tough commute home. You may feel lonely because you're isolated. You don't have to be physically alone to feel lonely. And you're tired. That's why your strongest cravings usually occur at the end of the day. Here's another way of looking at high-risk situations:

  • People. (People who you use with or who are related to your use. People who you have conflicts with, and who make you want to use. People who you celebrate with by using. People who encourage you to use either directly or indirectly.)
  • Places. (Places where you use or where you get your drugs or alcohol.)
  • Things. (Things that remind you of your using.)

How can you avoid high-risk situations? Of course, you can't always avoid these situations. But if you're aware of them, they won't catch you off guard, and you can prevent little craving from turning into major urges.

After residential treatment, take better care of yourself. Eat a healthier lunch so you're not as hungry at the end of the day. Join a 12 step group so that you don't feel isolated. Learn how to relax so that you can let go of your anger and resentments. Develop better sleep habits so that you're less tired.

Avoid your drinking friends, your favorite bar, and having alcohol in the house. Avoid people who you used cocaine with, driving by your dealer's neighborhood, and cocaine paraphernalia.

Recovery isn't about one big change. It's about lots of little changes. Avoiding those high-risk situations helps you create a new life where it's easier to not use.

Make a list of your high-risk situations. Addiction is sneaky. Sometimes you won't see your high-risk situations until you're right in the middle of one. That's why it's important that you learn to look for them. Make a list of your high-risk situations and keep it with you. Go over the list with someone in recovery so that you can spot any situations that you might have missed. Make the list and keep it with you. Some day that list may save your life.

Learn to Relax

There are only a few reasons why people use drugs and alcohol. They use to escape, relax, and reward themselves. In other words, people use drugs and alcohol to relieve tension.

The first rule of recovery is that you must change your life. What do you need to change? If you understood the previous paragraph, then you need to change the way you relieve tension. Everyone needs to escape, relax, and reward themselves. Those are essential coping skills for a happy life. But addicts don't know how to do those things without using.

If you manage to stop using for a while, but don't learn how to relax, your tension will build until you'll have to relapse just to escape again. Tension and the inability to relax are the most common causes of relapse.

I know relaxation will help. I have treated thousands of patients. Many of them have told me that relaxation has changed their life. There is only one reason why people don't relax – because they think they're too busy to relax. It goes something like this, "I know it makes sense, but I've got so many other things I have to do."

Ask yourself how much time you spend on your addiction. If you add up all the time it takes to get your drug, use it, deal with its consequences, and plan your next relapse, you'll realize that relaxing for twenty to forty minutes a day is a bargain.

Relaxation is not an optional part of recovery. It's essential to recovery. There are many ways to relax. They range from simple techniques like going for a walk, to more structured techniques like meditation. Meditation is an important part of that mix because the simple techniques don't always work. If you're under a lot of stress, you may need something more reliable like meditation. Use any of these techniques, or any combination. But do something everyday to relax, escape, reward yourself, and turn off the chatter in your mind.

Be Honest

An addiction requires lying. You have to lie about getting your drug, using it, hiding its consequences, and planning your next relapse. An addiction is full of lying. By the time you've developed an addiction, lying comes easily to you. After a while you get so good at lying that you end up lying to yourself. That's why addicts don't know who they are or what they believe in.

The other problem with lying is that you can't like yourself when you lie. You can't look yourself in the mirror. Lying traps you in your addiction. The more you lie, the less you like yourself, which makes you want to escape, which leads to more using and more lying.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes. Ask yourself this: will more lying, more isolating, and more of the same make you feel better? The expression in AA is – nothing changes if nothing changes. If you don't change your life, then why would this time be any different? You need to create a new life where it's easier to not use.

Recovery requires complete honesty. You must be one-hundred percent completely honest with the people who are your supports: your family, your doctor, your therapist, the people in your 12 step group, and your sponsor. If you can't be completely honest with them, you won't do well in recovery.

When you're completely honest you don't give your addiction room to hide. When you lie you leave the door open to relapse.

One mistake people make in the early stages of recovery is they think that honesty means being honest about other people. They think they should share what's "wrong" with other people. But recovery isn't about fixing other people. It's about fixing yourself. Stick with your own recovery. Focusing on what you don't like about others is easy because it deflects attention from yourself.

Honesty won't come naturally in the beginning. You've spent so much time learning how to lie that telling the truth, no matter how good it is for you, won't feel natural. You'll have to practice telling the truth a few hundred times before it comes a little easier. In the beginning, you'll have to stop yourself as you're telling a story, and say, "now that I think about it, it was more like this..."

Show common sense. Not everybody is your best friend. And not everybody will be glad to know that you have an addiction or that you're doing something about it. There may be some people who you don't want to tell about your recovery. But don't be reluctant to tell the people close to you about your recovery. You should never feel ashamed that you're doing something about your addiction.

The Chance to Change Your Life

Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. Changing your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Recovery is difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don't think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren't happy.

If you use this opportunity for change, you'll look back and think of your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because their addiction helped them find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help you change your life.

 

References

1) Benson, H., & Wallace, R.K., Decreased Drug Abuse with Transcendental Meditation: A Study of 1862 Subjects: Congressional Record, 92nd Congress, 1st session, Serial #92-1, June 1971.
2) Shafil, M., Lavely, R., & Jaffe, R., Meditation and the prevention of alcohol abuse. Am J Psychiatry, 1975. 132(9): p. 942-5.
3) Vaillant, G. E., A long-term follow-up of male alcohol abuse. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1996. 53(3): p. 243-9.

Owning up about your addiction problem

Addiction is a disease just like cancer and diabetes, but unfortunately, it is never easy to open up to your loved ones about your addiction problems. Psychologically, you will be pouring out your imperfections to people who are only supposed to see the best version of you. However, with the appropriate guidelines, you won’t have to worry about the hidden skeletons in your closet anymore.

What is your Addiction?

A lot of questions will be running on your mind, and if not careful, your emotions will overwhelm you in return. You will ask yourself questions like, where do I start? What if they judge me? How did I end up being such a mess? Will I ever recover?

Such questions mean nothing if you are still not willing to take responsibility for your actions. To clear your conscious, you should note that you are not the first addict and you won’t be the last. Everyone falls but getting back on your feet separates the strong from the weak.

Everyone is addicted to something be it drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex and thus what makes you an addict is your inability to control how such things influence your life. Thus, you end up pushing yourself to an edge of moral destruction, and your character becomes impaired by the content or substance you regularly expose your inner self.

No one is born an addict, and no one has to live as an addict, and thus the following guidelines will help you come clean to your friends and family so as to receive the appropriate moral support through your recovery from addiction.

Where did it Start?

Firstly, no one wants to be an addict or addicted to anything as there is always a breeding ground that leads to the addiction behavior. The breeding ground may be at school, home, or the work environment and peer pressure from influential peers, high levels of stress, and the social media are its trigger.

At first, maybe you just thought you were hanging out with your pals and enjoying the little pleasures of life until it turned into something serious. Then the habit forced itself as a part of your character. You could no longer control yourself, and the fun part of the hangout turned you into a substance abuser.

The truth is a painful dose of reality and owning it will assist you through your rehabilitation process. Your loved ones will want to know where it all started as by hiding such facts from them might lead to a blame game. Do not let them take the fall. They will need to know if it is the environment that changed you or a specific sect of your friends. Just give them a reason.

If it is the environment, then your loved ones might consider changing it for a while so that you can regain control over your life once again. If it is your peers, then the appropriate council will be arranged for you.

Admit You Have a Problem

You will never find the courage to face your loved ones or any family member if you are still egotistical about the matter. No one is perfect; just admit that you made a mistake. Knowing that you went astray at some point in life will give you the strength to face your loved ones and admit your faults.

You will have the support of everyone through well wishes and prayers. Moreover, putting your guilt, ego, or pride aside will enable you to focus on your full recovery from the menace solely.

Take an Initiative

Taking the initiative simply means that you should be the one to take the first actionable step to show your willingness to change before facing your loved ones. Seek legal counsel or register at the nearest viable rehab center before meeting your loved ones. They will be happy to know that you became the bigger person by taking the first step towards change.

Moreover, research on the type of addiction you have and how best to cope with it. Your family members and friends will want to know your next move even if they don’t ask.

Talk To Someone Closest to You First

Maybe you are in sync with a loved one or a close member of the family; let that person know what troubles you. Admitting to that single person that you have a problem will give you the strength to face the rest of the family. That one person will give you courage and will be able to channel more strength in you to face the rest of the family members.

When a particular loved one knows what you are going through, there will be less tension in the room when it comes to pouring out your heart to the rest of the family member(s). That involved person will act as an accomplice to your confession, and it will not be about you and the faults in your life anymore but about a broken piece of the family unit that needs fixing. It’s psychology 101.

Plead Your Case

After closely digesting all the above-stated facts, you should be ready to take an actionable cause by requesting a close gathering involving your family members and close friends. Be as honest as possible with your words and in the process seek their moral support for you are going to need it. Being an addict is one thing but recovering from an addiction is another thing.

Recovering from an addiction is mostly about the strength you draw from others and never about how strong you are. Admitting your faults will take you to the recovery phase and the moral support from your close friends and family members will act as the major contributor. You will be happy knowing that the people closest to you feel your pain and struggles.

(Valerie Brusmorello, Recovery Connection, 2016)

Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is a 28 day residential program for men with alcohol/drug problems in the Toronto area near Bolton, Ontario. Give us a call 844-680-9269

Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention

“It’s a human tendency to want to have pleasure and want to avoid pain or discomfort,” says Sarah Bowen.

But the University of Washington researcher adds that we’re often unaware of this tendency. We might reach for our cell phone to escape boredom or for food to escape stress, without knowing that these are coping strategies.

 

Traditional treatment for substance abuse often focuses on avoiding or controlling triggers that result in negative emotion or craving. While research has shown that this approach can help, substance abuse relapse remains a problem: about half of those who seek treatment are using again within a year.

Bowen has spent much of her career studying another approach: mindfulness which involves cultivating moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. She and her colleagues have developed a program called Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), which combines practices like sitting meditation with standard relapse prevention skills, such as identifying events that trigger relapse. Rather than fighting or avoiding the difficult states of mind that arise when withdrawing from a substance, this combination tries to help participants to name and tolerate craving and negative emotion.

But how do mindfulness-based approaches compare to traditional substance abuse treatments? And do mindfulness-based treatments work for everyone? Researchers like Bowen are beginning to answer these questions.

Tools for telling a new story

Bowen tells the story of a woman she calls Sophia, a MBRP participant who had a chronic issue with alcohol.

When Sophia got an invitation to help her co-workers set up for a party at work, she knew there would be alcohol everywhere—which, in Sophia’s mind, could only mean one thing: she’d start drinking and she wouldn’t stop. She’d drink during the party’s setup, and then she’d drink all night long, and then she wouldn’t go to work the next day, or attend her MBRP meeting the next week. But thanks to MBRP, when Sophia’s mind started telling this story, she recognized that that’s what it was: a story.

When Sophia recognized her thought patterns for what they were, she decided to try an exercise from her MBRP group (even though she thought it wouldn’t work).

She stopped to observe her present experience. In this pause, Sophia realized that she had a choice: She didn’t have to believe her mind’s story about what was going to happen; she had the choice to not drink.

 

From then on, when cravings or urges arose, Sophia could recognize them—and be aware of her freedom to act differently, and observe thoughts and feelings until they passed.

This, says Bowen, is the key to the success of the program: MBRP helps people to relate differently to their thoughts, and use tools to disengage from automatic, addictive behaviors.

The success of MBRP is not just anecdotal. Bowen and her colleagues recently published a study in JAMA Psychiatry investigating how effective the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention program is in comparison to a standard relapse-prevention program as well as a conventional 12-step program.

Six months following the intervention, the mindfulness-based program and the standard relapse-prevention program were both more successful at reducing relapse than the 12-step program. One year later, the mindfulness-based program proved better than the other two in reducing drinking and drug use.

Bowen says that when people cultivate mindfulness, they’re developing a tool to become aware of that inclination to want only pleasurable things and escape uncomfortable things.

Mindfulness also helps people learn to relate to discomfort differently. When an uncomfortable feeling like a craving or anxiety arises, people like Sophia are able to recognize their discomfort, and observe it with presence and compassion, instead of automatically reaching for a drug to make it go away.

Bowen says that awareness of our experience and the ability to relate to our experience with compassion gives us more freedom to choose how we respond to discomfort, rather than defaulting to automatic behaviors.

Mindful for the long run

More research is needed to determine why MBRP might be more successful than other programs in reducing substance abuse relapse, but Bowen speculates that MBRP holds an advantage because mindfulness is a tool that can be applied to all aspects of one’s life.

Standard relapse-prevention programs teach tools specific to struggles with substance abuse—for instance, how to deal with cravings or how to say no when someone offers you drugs. A year after completing the program, a person may have a very different set of challenges that the relapse-prevention program did not equip them to deal with.

But because mindfulness is a tool that can be used in every part of a person’s life, practicing moment-to-moment awareness could continue to be an effective coping tool.

 

Bowen and her colleagues are not the only researchers who are studying mindfulness as a tool to cope with addiction. James Davis and his colleagues at Duke University are investigating mindfulness training as a way to help people quit smoking.

Similar to Bowen, Davis speculates that mindfulness is likely an effective tool in helping people with addiction because it’s a single, simple skill that a person can practice multiple times throughout their day, every day, regardless of the life challenges that arise. With so much opportunity for practice—rather than, say, only practicing when someone offers them a cigarette—people can learn that skill deeply.

Their intervention targeted low-income smokers, because, says Davis, the the lower your socioeconomic status, the more likely you are to smoke. The results, recently published in Substance Use and Misuse showed a significant difference in smoking cessation for people who completed the intervention, as compared to people who were given nicotine patches and counseling from the Tobacco Quit Line.

“Some people might have a bias to say that mindfulness is kind of a ‘new age-y’ thing, or something that falls primarily in the upper-middle class, intellectual population in the US,” Davis says. “The reality is, mindfulness as a practice itself is very simple. You don’t need to be an intellectual to do it, and you don’t need much of an education.”

Not everyone benefits

Both Bowen and Davis emphasize that mindfulness is not a panacea; it doesn’t always work for everyone.

How can we tell if mindfulness will be an effective tool for a given person?

Researcher Zev Schuman-Olivier and his colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine recently published a paper in Substance Use and Misuse suggesting that the type of therapy a person responds to may have something to do with their disposition—specifically, people who had the tendency to treat thoughts and behaviors with non-judgment and acceptance before the intervention began were more likely to be successful in reducing smoking following the mindfulness training. They write that if a person already has the skill to treat the self with non-judgment and acceptance, learning mindfulness practices likely comes easier to them than someone who has not previously practiced this skill.

Ultimately, the type of therapy that works best for a given person will likely capitalize on their pre-disposed strengths.

Of course, as Bowen and Davis both note, the skills of mindfulness can be taught to everyone. But Schuman-Olivier’s finding suggests that people who are not pre-disposed for mindfulness may need a more vigorous or lengthy intervention, in order to more thoroughly learn mindfulness skills. Or perhaps, people with less disposition toward mindfulness would fare better with a different therapy.

Another predictor of success in mindfulness-based treatment could be a person’s motivation to engage in the therapy.

In Davis’ study, the people that started the intervention with the highest level of nicotine addiction were the most successful in reducing smoking by the end of the treatment. Davis said that this seemingly counterintuitive result likely reflects their motivation to quit; the people that were the most addicted had, at that point, tried everything, and were willing to try their hardest to make this therapy work. Meanwhile, people that were less addicted saw their addiction as less of a problem. They reasoned, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll be ok—something else will work, eventually.” As a result, they were likely less motivated to quit, and less engaged in the therapy.

So where do the researchers go from here?

Bowen says she’d like to investigate how well MBRP does in different kinds of settings, as well as zero in on the mechanisms of mindfulness practices—for instance, what’s going on psychologically, and what’s going on in terms of neurochemistry when someone relates mindfully to a craving. Davis says that he also has plans to expand on his research, and that many are already applying mindfulness training for smoking cessation in new settings. Duke University wants to provide the training to cancer patients, and one company is even developing a mindfulness app to help people quit smoking.

Bowen says that it’s tempting to conclude that mindfulness is the “best new thing” for addiction treatment, but that in reality, further study is needed. “It absolutely has promise, we have a lot more to learn,” she says. “This is the beginning.”

(Emily Nauman, 2014)

 

Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention Therapy RPT intervention strategies can be grouped into three categories: coping skills training, cognitive therapy, and lifestyle modification. Coping skills training strategies include both behavioral and cognitive techniques. Cognitive therapy procedures are designed to provide clients with ways to reframe the habit change process as learning experience with errors and setbacks expected as mastery develops. Finally, lifestyle modification strategies such as meditation, exercise, and spiritual practices are designed to strengthen a client’s overall coping capacity. In clinical practice, coping skills training forms the cornerstone of RPT, teaching clients strategies to: (a) understand relapse as a process, (b) identify and cope effectively with high-risk situations, (c) cope with urges and craving, (d) implement damage control procedures during a lapse to minimize its negative consequences, (e) stay engaged in treatment even after a relapse, and (f) learn how to create a more balanced lifestyle. Encouraging evidence is provided by recent treatment outcome research for the effectiveness of RPT as a psychosocial treatment for alcohol and drug problems (Irvin et al., 1999).

At Another Road we are committed to treating each person with dignity and respect recognizing that each person is unique, with different qualities and strengths, different needs, aspirations, and hopes for the future.

Give us a call, and come see us. 844-680-9269

Can Addiction be Cured?

 

 

Drug abuse usually begins when people using drugs develop a tolerance for the substance. This causes them to use drugs in higher quantities and more frequently to get the highs they are looking for. When you use drugs for a prolonged period of time, your body develops a chemical dependency to the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction occurs when the chemical dependency is combined with a strong desire to use the substance.

Treatment programs help drug users by getting them off drugs and curing the chemical dependency.

While some recovering drug users report that they experience urges to use the substance they were addicted to months after treatment, the treatment program give's the person the tools he needs to live a happy and healthy life.

Need help with your addiction? Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is a 10 bed residential facility with a 28 day program for men. We are located in the Toronto area just outside Bolton, Ontario. Another Road will not offer false promises instead we will offer a variety of treatment options and strategies as well as family counselling and aftercare in an effort to guide and facilitate a healthy, lifelong recovery.

Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Happy New Year!

In the new year, I will live one day at a time. I will make each day one of preparation for better things ahead. I will not dwell on the past or the future, only on the present. I will bury every fear of the future, all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all my dislikes, my resentments, my sense of failure, my disappointments in others and in myself, my gloom and my despondency. I will leave all these things buried and go forward, in this new year, into a new life.

Admitting You Have a Problem With Drugs and/or Alcohol

As the saying goes, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” Denial is a large part of addiction, and breaking through self-deception can be very difficult. Many addicts have to reach a low point to before they will accept that their drug use is a serious problem in their life. This low point may be different for different people, and it could be as simple as realizing you are neglecting other hobbies, or as serious as legal trouble or divorce.

Recognizing Consequences

It’s easy to justify drug or alcohol use as something you want to do, even if others don’t approve and your level of use is higher than most. However, living life constantly under the influence of drugs often leads to depression, anxiety and cognitive impairment. Drugs and alcohol actually affect brain chemistry after continual use, so even if you think you are all right with your current drinking and drug use, eventually your body may be damaged by their long-term effects.

Be Honest With Yourself

Knowing you have a problem and accepting it are two different things. Accepting that your drug and alcohol use is a problem means admitting to others that continuing to use is detrimental to your health and safety, even if you are unable to stop on your own.
You may not think you are worthy of being sober, of living a normal life, but everyone has the right to live a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Even if there are other barriers to the life you want, becoming sober makes every aspect of life easier. Addiction treatment can help you uncover your potential.
 

Take the Next Step

If your drug and alcohol use is creating problems at home or in your professional life, it may be time to consider getting help. There is no shame in reaching out to learn how to manage your life without drugs or alcohol. While it seems like a lot to give up, you will gain so much more in the manner of a balanced, healthy life. If you would like to talk to someone about your drug or alcohol use, or learn about options for treatment, call us to speak to one of our counselors. 844-680-9269

Shame, Shame, Shame

Shame is so painful to the psyche that most people will do anything to avoid it, even though it’s a natural emotion that everyone has. It’s a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. You might blush, have a rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, hang your head, slump your shoulders, avoid eye contact, withdraw, even get dizzy or nauseous.

Why Shame is so Painful

Whereas guilt is a right or wrong judgment about your behavior, shame is a feeling about yourself. Guilt motivates you to want to correct or repair the error. In contrast, shame is an intense global feeling of inadequacy, inferiority, or self-loathing. You want to hide or disappear. In front of others, you feel exposed and humiliated, as if they can see your flaws. The worst part of it is a profound sense of separation — from yourself and from others. It’s disintegrating, meaning that you lose touch with all the other parts of yourself, and you also feel disconnected from everyone else. Shame induces unconscious beliefs, such as:

  • I’m a failure.
  • I’m not important.
  • I’m unlovable.
  • I don’t deserve to be happy.
  • I’m a bad person.
  • I’m a phony.
  • I’m defective.

Chronic Shame in Addiction and Codependency

As with all emotions, shame passes. But for addicts and codependents it hangs around, often beneath consciousness, and leads to other painful feelings and problematic behaviors. You’re ashamed of who you are. You don’t believe that you matter or are worthy of love, respect, success, or happiness. When shame becomes all-pervasive, it paralyzes spontaneity. A chronic sense of unworthiness and inferiority can result in depression, hopelessness, and despair, until you become numb, feeling disconnected from life and everyone else.

Shame can lead to addiction and is the core feeling that leads to many other codependents’ symptoms. Here are a few of the other symptoms that are derived from shame:

  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Guilt

For codependents, shame can lead to control, caretaking, and dysfunctional, nonassertive communication. Shame creates many fears and anxieties that make relationships difficult, especially intimate ones. Many people sabotage themselves in work and relationships because of these fears. You aren’t assertive when shame causes you to be afraid to speak your mind, take a position, or express who you are. You blame others because you already feel so bad about yourself that you can’t take responsibility for any mistake or misunderstanding. Meanwhile, you apologize like crazy to avoid just that! Codependents are afraid to get close because they don’t believe they’re worthy of love, or that once known, they’ll disappoint the other person. The unconscious thought might be that “I’ll leave before you leave me.” Fear of success and failure may limit job performance and career options.

Hidden Shame

Because shame is so painful, it’s common for people to hide their shame from themselves by feeling sad, superior, or angry at a perceived insult instead. Other times, it comes out as boasting, envy, or judgment of others. The more aggressive and contemptuous are these feelings, the stronger the shame. An obvious example is a bully, who brings others down to raise himself up, but this can happen all in your mind.

It needn’t be that extreme. You might talk down to those you teach or supervise, people of a different class or culture, or someone you judge. Another tell-tale symptom is frequent idealization of others, because you feel so low in comparison. The problem with these defenses is that if you aren’t aware of your shame, it doesn’t dissipate. Instead, it persists and mounts up.

Healing Shame

Healing requires a safe environment where you can begin to be vulnerable, express yourself, and receive acceptance and empathy. Then you’re able to internalize a new experience and begin to revise your beliefs about yourself. It may require revisiting shame-inducing events or past messages and re-evaluating them from a new perspective. Usually it takes an empathic therapist or counselor to create that space so that you can incrementally tolerate self-loathing and the pain of shame enough to self-reflect upon it until it dissipates.

(Psych Central)

Are you or a loved one ready to make a change? Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269