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Getting Back to the Life We Love

Our addictions and mental health issues can cause us to totally lose sight of ourselves, our direction in life, our purpose, and our values. We become disconnected and misaligned. We neglect our health, our safety and our well-being; our work, our obligations, and our families. We forget what’s most important to us. We essentially abandonRead More

Reintegrating Back into Our Relationships

One of our greatest challenges in recovery is returning to our former lives and reintegrating back into the relationships we’ve left behind. It can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with all of the changes we’ve made in our own lives and reconcile those changes with the relationships in our lives. Some of ourRead More

Why We Don’t Reach Out for Help

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There are various reasons why we don’t reach out for help with our addictions and mental illnesses, and those reasons are unique to us and our experience. There are some common elements that can be found in all ofRead More

Access to Treatment

For many of us, the road to recovery starts with enrolling in a treatment program, but for many of us, we don’t have access to the professional treatment we need. Many of us don’t think recovery is possible for us, and we lose hope, never taking the steps to seek out help. Others of usRead More

Why We Can Feel Stuck in Recovery

When we’re approaching the recovery process, many of us are excited and optimistic about the journey ahead. We’ve completed a treatment program, created a support system for ourselves, and maybe even formed a relapse prevention plan. We feel ready to undertake the challenging work of recovery, and we feel confident in our ability to getRead More

Living with Integrity

Our struggles with addiction can cause us to totally lose sight of our values, our principles, our self-worth and our sense of self. We lose our conviction to live a life of purpose and integrity. We don’t feel clear within ourselves, at peace or aligned. We make the important choice as we’re healing to recoverRead More

The Wake-Up Call

When struggling with addiction, we don’t always know what it will be that finally forces us to stop, get help and get sober. We’re so deeply embroiled in our addictive patterns and the painful cycles we’re in that we don’t feel we have the clarity, the conviction or the willpower to stop our addictions ourselves.Read More

Reinventing Ourselves in Recovery

For many of us, the recovery process is about rediscovering and reinventing ourselves. Throughout our struggles with addiction and mental illness, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves. We feel out of alignment with our inner selves. We’re afraid to be our authentic selves and express ourselves. We don’t feel we’re being true to ourselves, inRead More

How Can We Heal Our Brokenness?

Our pain, our traumatic experiences, our fears and our difficult life circumstances can all leave us feeling broken, wounded, damaged and brokenhearted. We can feel empty, lost and incomplete. These feelings are normal, natural and common, they are part of human nature, but if we don’t actively work to heal them, they can contribute toRead More

Criminalization and Transformation

In the midst of our struggles with addiction, sometimes there are events that feel catastrophic at the time but that end up serving as deterrents to our addictions. In other words, they help us to finally stop our destructive patterns and get sober. At the time, we’re often filled with anger and resentment. We wantRead More

Are We Afraid of Ourselves?

We fear a great many things, especially when we’re struggling with addiction and mental illness, but what we fear most might very well be ourselves. We fear facing our difficult thoughts and feelings. We fear confronting our pain and fear. We’re afraid of what the world would think of us if we allowed it toRead More

Coming into Alignment

When struggling with addiction and mental illness, we tend to be quite out of alignment with who we are, with our intuition, with our instincts and our sense of direction. We feel unclear about what it is we want out of life and where we’re headed. We’re filled with confusion, anxiety, self-doubt and uncertainty aboutRead More

How Does Shame Fuel Addiction?

For many of us, our addictions are our coping mechanisms for the painful emotions we’re trying desperately to avoid having to feel. They are our escapism, our distraction, our way to numb our feelings. One of the most painful and debilitating emotions that many of us have a very hard time feeling, expressing and releasingRead More

Determining Our Values

An important part of the recovery process is getting to know ourselves better and therefore getting clearer on our values. When we’re embroiled in our addictions, we tend to lose sight of who we are and what values are important to us. We forget what principles we want to lead our lives by. We’re soRead More

How Can We Change Our Mentality to Manifest Healing?

In order to heal ourselves, we have to have a mental and emotional foundation that supports our recovery, that strengthens and empowers us to be able to heal ourselves. Oftentimes we have a mentality of self-doubt, insecurity and perceived inadequacy. We don’t actually believe we can heal. We don’t believe we’re good enough to haveRead More

Making the Most of Treatment

When we make the decision to get sober, many of us will seek professional help with our recovery program. For many of us, entering treatment is a scary and overwhelming undertaking. We might still be suffering from depression and other mental health issues. We might feel resistance to doing the work, partly because our addictionsRead More

Violating Our Own Boundaries in Recovery

As part of our recovery, some of the important work we’ll do is establish and maintain boundaries about things that are important to us. When we’re working towards sobriety, some of our boundaries will involve separating ourselves form people who use drugs, drink or otherwise engage in addictive behaviors that might be triggering or temptingRead More

How Do We Become Desensitized to Trauma?

When we experience something traumatic, we are usually deeply impacted by it, and sometimes there is considerable damage done to our mental, emotional and physical health. Over time, we can become desensitized to trauma in various ways. We start to forget and even trivialize just how traumatized we’ve actually been, and we therefore don’t takeRead More

Missing Out on Our Kids’ Childhoods

There are a great many things we regret about our experiences with addiction. One of the most difficult among them is when we miss out on our kids’ childhoods because of our struggles with addiction. Many of us find that our dependence on addictive substances and behaviors is so strong that we make regrettable decisions.Read More

Can Our Thought Patterns Worsen Our Mental Illnesses?

Just as our behavioral patterns and regular habits form our lifestyles, our recurring thought patterns and regular mental habits constitute our mental and emotional health. Many of us are perpetuating toxic thought patterns that feed and magnify our existing mental illnesses. Some would argue that for many of us our toxic, self-destructive thought patterns becomeRead More

Dealing with Misunderstanding

As we’re coping with our addictions and mental health issues, one of our greatest challenges can be in dealing with people who don’t understand us or our illnesses. Both addiction and mental illness are common and exist within every community, ethnic group, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and socioeconomic grouping. In other words, they are universal.Read More

Bringing Enthusiasm into Our Recovery

When approaching recovery, many of us feel mentally and emotionally spent, exhausted, and totally worn out. We’ve been doing intense inner healing work, confronting our fears and insecurities, conquering our inner demons, and battling our addictions and mental health issues head on. When we’re dealing with this kind of burn-out, it can be natural toRead More

Can Better Habits Help Us Recover from Addiction?

We tend to think of our addictions as these colossal, formidable, debilitating forces that control and overpower us, and while they can feel that way to us, they are also contingent on the behaviors and habits we develop and perpetuate. If when we first felt addictive urges, for example, we made a habit of examiningRead More

The Consequences of Our Addictions

Sometimes critically examining our addictions and all of the consequences they bring with them can help us make the choice to get help and actively work towards recovery. We often don’t want to look at the effects our addictions are having on us. We’re ashamed of all the havoc they wreak on our lives, onRead More

How Can We Regain Faith in Ourselves?

Our struggles with mental health issues and addiction can cause us to totally lose faith in ourselves. We have a very hard time believing in ourselves. We don’t have faith that we can get better. We’ve been so self-destructive all these years that we no longer have faith in the choices we make. We worryRead More

How Drugs Worsen Our Depression

Many of us who struggle with substance abuse also struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. When the two different illnesses affect us simultaneously, they are often referred to as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. Those of us suffering from these particular issues are aware of the dualistic nature of our illnessesRead More

How Our Addictions Limit Us

Of the many reasons why we want to quit our addictions and focus on recovery are all the ways in which we’re restricted and limited by our addictions over the years. When we’re working to heal ourselves from our addictions and mental health issues, we want to be able to feel at peace within ourselves.Read More

What Do Our Relationships Have to Do with Our Addictions?

Our close personal relationships can play multiple different roles in the development of our addictions. While we can’t blame anyone else or any particular relationship for the fact that we struggle with addiction, many of us do have relationships that trigger us, that fuel our addictive patterns and enable them, and that contribute to theRead More

Our Altered Brain Chemistry on Drugs

One of the hardest parts of living with addiction is trying to wrap our brains around why we would continue to self-destruct, essentially ruining our lives, even after we’ve experienced such painful consequences. We’ve already hurt ourselves many times over. Why would we continuously return to drugs, knowing how harmful they are? Aside from ourRead More

How Can I Learn to Speak My Truth?

Learning to speak our truth and empowering ourselves to speak up for ourselves is one of our greatest challenges, especially when we’re still struggling with addiction and mental health issues. We don’t feel confident and self-assured when we’re grappling with such intense emotional difficulties. We don’t feel secure, grounded, centered or at peace within ourselves,Read More

Using Drugs: A False Sense of Happiness

For those of us struggling with addiction, we aren’t usually aware of how our brains are impacted by the drugs we’re using. Our addictions can create a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding for our loved ones who are forced to watch us grapple with substance abuse problems. They don’t understand why we would everRead More

Celebrating Ourselves in Recovery

One of the things many of us share in common as addicts is our tendency to be super hard on ourselves, even in our recovery. We beat ourselves up for how long it took us to get here. We’re disappointed in ourselves for taking longer than we would have liked to get well. We continueRead More

Examining Our Childhoods

As much as we might want to leave our pasts behind us so that we can move forward and look to a happier future, we can only truly move forward once we’ve come to terms with our past. We are often still grappling with unresolved issues, unanswered questions and unhealed fears and emotions. We stillRead More

How Can We Learn to Detach from Our Pain?

When living with addiction and mental illness, we develop many emotional patterns that exacerbate our pain and contribute to our unwellness. One of those patterns is our tendency to form strong attachments to our painful thoughts, feelings, memories and fears. We cling to them because they are what we are most familiar with. We developRead More

The Strength in Vulnerability

Many of us have been conditioned to think that in order to be strong and competent, we must be totally independent. We think that we should never ask anyone for anything, and that we should be able to do everything on our own. We assume we’re weak if we need help. These thought patterns areRead More

How Do Our Lifestyles Contribute to Our Addictions?

Our addictions are so pervasive that they can totally overtake our entire lives, causing us to create lifestyles that are destructive and damaging to our health. Many of us are engaging in unhealthy and destructive habits, making poor lifestyle choices, and staying in toxic relationships. How do our lifestyles contribute to our addictions? Our homeRead More

Why Willpower Alone Isn’t Enough

There is a common misconception about addiction that if we just apply our willpower we’ll be able to stop our addictions in their tracks and keep them from overtaking our lives. People assume that addicts are weak, lazy, cowardly, and simply not trying hard enough to get better. The truth is, willpower alone isn’t enoughRead More

How Can We Create Lifestyles Conducive to Healing?

As we’re working to recover, one of the most important things we’ll need to address is the kind of lifestyles we’ve created for ourselves that have been contributing to our addictions and mental health issues. We make choices, both small daily choices and huge life decisions, that perpetuate our addictions and our overall lack ofRead More

How We Block Our Healing

When suffering from addiction and mental health issues, we often will get to the point where we know we can’t continue on the way we’re going if we want to be happy and healthy. We’ve dealt with harmful, even dangerous consequences. We’ve made choices we regret. We’ve hurt ourselves and the people we care about.Read More

How Can I Empower Myself to Reach Out for Help?

We tend to think of our addictions and mental illnesses as being signs of weakness on our part, moral failings that we are ashamed of and embarrassed by. We beat ourselves up and judge ourselves harshly for our struggles. We constantly replay memories in our minds of when we first became dependent upon our drugRead More

Preparing Ourselves for Recovery

Addiction recovery involves some of the most challenging work we’ll ever do in our lives. We’re taking on the tremendous task of confronting our deeply rooted pain, facing our fears, and transforming lifelong patterns. We’re facing ourselves, finally, without distracting ourselves or self-medicating. We’re allowing ourselves to feel our pain without filters, without anything toRead More

Can We Find the Deeper Meaning Behind Our Addictions?

We usually associate our addictions with being painful and debilitating illnesses that we want to rid ourselves of and heal from as quickly as possible. What we often don’t realize is that our addictions hold a deeper meaning and carry a deeper purpose beyond the self-medicating, the escapism and distraction from our difficult thoughts andRead More

Recidivism in Recovery

We think of recidivism as a bad thing when it comes to criminal offenses – it means we’ve reoffended and are facing even harsher punishment. When it comes to recovery, recidivism means we’ve relapsed and are returning to treatment again, sometimes after multiple attempts to get clean. In this case, recidivism is actually a goodRead More

The Spiritual Test of Recovery

Sometimes it can help us to cope with the many challenges of recovery to view it as a journey, an evolution, and a spiritual test. We’re being tested mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our willpower, resilience and inner strength are all being tested. How well we succeed has a lot to do with how muchRead More

The Harm in Being Pessimistic

One of the toxic thought patterns many of us find ourselves perpetuating is a thought addiction to pessimism, a negative outlook that causes us to feel dread rather than positive anticipation, anxiety rather than excitement. We have a pervasive focus on what might go wrong as opposed to what could go right. We think inRead More

How Are We Consumed by Our Addictions?

When living with addiction, we are not only consumed by our substance abuse or dependence on certain behaviors, we are also consumed by all of the other accompanying factors that come along with these issues. We can find our lives becoming totally overpowered and overtaken by our addictions and how they affect our lives. OurRead More

Thought Addictions

Sometimes our addictions don’t just involve substances, relationships and behaviors, they also involve our thought patterns. We develop toxic thought addictions where we’ve become so attached to certain thoughts that we can’t seem to let them go. As a result, we can develop obsessions and compulsions, intense anxiety and panic attacks, and depression. Our relentlessRead More

How Does Our Denial Compound Our Unwellness?

Throughout our struggles with addiction, we develop many coping mechanisms that we use in order to help ourselves cope with our pain but that are often means of trying to avoid it altogether. One of those coping mechanisms is denial. We can be in such deep denial about our substance abuse that we somehow manageRead More

Examining Our Fears in Therapy

As we’re working to recover from our addictions and mental health issues, examining our fears with a therapist can help us greatly in our healing. We are sometimes so clouded by our toxic thought patterns and so distracted by our life circumstances that we have a hard time looking at what is driving us inRead More

How Can We Take a Moral Inventory of Ourselves?

Addiction recovery programs such as the Twelve Step programs encourage us to take moral inventory of ourselves and our lives as part of our healing. The thought of this can be daunting and overwhelming for us, so much so that we can feel it’s impossible. We’ve been resisting this process for much of our livesRead More

Reasons Why We Consider Suicide

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For some of us, suicide feels like the only way out, the only solution to our deep, relentless inner pain. We feel it’s the only way to relieve the sadness, shame and fear we’re struggling with. For manyRead More

Why Are We Afraid to Do the Work?

When suffering from addiction and mental illness, one of our biggest challenges is the resistance we feel to doing the work needed to recover. We postpone researching treatment centers. We stall on making an appointment with a therapist. We don’t go to support group meetings. We don’t feel ready to begin our recovery, and weRead More

How Addiction Makes Us Feel

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Those of us who struggle with addiction have grown accustomed to feeling certain intense emotions. How does addiction make us feel? Our experiences with addiction are different for each of us, and we will each have a uniqueRead More

Why is Communication So Hard for Us?

Our struggles with addiction and mental health issues can have a profound impact on our close interpersonal relationships, and specifically on our communication within those important relationships. We have a hard time expressing our feelings, our thoughts, concerns, needs and desires. We struggle with feeling good enough and worthy enough to be able to speakRead More

Staying Committed to Our Intentions

Part of our recovery work involves setting intentions for ourselves and our sobriety. Our intentions are the goals we have for ourselves, the practices we want to incorporate as regular parts of our routines, the ways we’ll actively work to keep ourselves on track with our recovery. When we set our intentions, we’re often brandRead More

Resisting Complacence in Recovery

When we’ve finished treatment, we sometimes want to think that the bulk of our work in recovery is over. While it’s true that we’ve laid the important foundation for our recovery program, the journey of our recovery has just begun. We sometimes think that because we’re no longer in treatment, we can ease up onRead More

Exploring Our Fears

As we’re working to heal from our addictions and mental health issues, some of the most important work we do revolves around exploring our fears. Many of us have a fear-based relationship with our fears, where we try as hard as possible to avoid having to think about them, look at them or feel them.Read More

Can an Accountability Partner Help Me?

There are certain tools we can use to help us move forward in our recovery, and one of the best tools we can equip ourselves with is an accountability partner. We can ask a therapist, recovery coach, sponsor or trusted friend to be a teammate in our recovery work. They can give us the encouragementRead More

Self-Worth and Self-Respect

Rebuilding our sense of self-worth and learning self-respect are hugely important in healing ourselves mentally and emotionally as we’re working to recover. Very often throughout our struggles with addiction and mental illness, we developed patterns of disrespecting ourselves and devaluing our worth. When we’re ready to recover, healing our sense of self and growing inRead More

What Do Healthy Boundaries Look Like?

Once we’ve lived with toxic relationships, we start to get a sense of what healthy boundaries would look like for us in more nurturing, supportive, compassionate relationships. We learn from all of the difficult experiences we’ve had. We’ve felt that our boundaries were not respected, and we felt mistreated by the people we cared about.Read More

Reconnecting as Part of Our Recovery

In order to heal ourselves as we’re recovering from addiction and mental illness, we want to repair the disconnectedness we feel in our lives that has greatly contributed to our addictive patterns. We want to reconnect with our inner selves, our internal guidance systems and our intuition. We want to reconnect with our sense ofRead More

How Can Travel Help Me in My Recovery?

As we’re working to recover, one thing we realize is that our healing journey is inviting us to find ways to love life again, to replace our unhealthy habits and activities with healthier ones, and to learn how to enjoy ourselves without the use of addictive substances and behaviors. We realize that enjoyment, recreation andRead More

Addiction and Disconnection

Addiction is often described as being a disease of disconnection. What do we mean by this? When we are disconnected from our inner selves, from our intuition, from our purpose, we suffer a great deal. We struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. We believe the worst about ourselves and develop limiting beliefsRead More

How Can I Learn to Nurture Myself?

Nurturing ourselves is something many of us with addiction and mental illness have a very hard time doing. We have adopted and perpetuated the belief that we don’t deserve to love ourselves and be good to ourselves. Many of us were not nurtured or supported by our caregivers growing up. The neglect and abandonment weRead More

Learning to Value Ourselves

One of the most important ways we heal ourselves in recovery is by learning to value ourselves. Very often, throughout our struggles with addiction and mental illness, we do the exact opposite. We devalue, demean and degrade ourselves. We engage in behaviors that are self-harming, destructive and even dangerous. We choose friends and partners thatRead More

Can We Heal from Mental Illness?

We tend to think about mental illness the same way we think about addiction, that these are illnesses that will always be with us and that we will always be working to recover from. Many of us believe that we are always addicts but that we become recovering addicts, and that we are always mentallyRead More

Staying Connected to Our Recovery Community

Many of us in recovery know that when we leave our treatment center, our recovery work is far from over. We’ll still have intense inner healing work to do. We still have to revisit our childhoods and retrieve suppressed memories. We have to reprogram our subconscious minds and confront the deeply rooted fears that areRead More

Tackling Addiction and Mental Illness Holistically

Addiction is multifaceted, impacting our entire lives and affecting us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We develop toxic thought patterns, limiting beliefs and recurring thoughts, as well as crippling mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These issues are matters of emotional health as much as mental, and they are often considered co-occurring disordersRead More

How Can I Attract a Healthy Relationship?

When recovering from addiction and mental illness, one of the things we discover is that the health of our relationships plays a huge part in our overall well-being. We realize that we were so filled with self-destructive ways of thinking and feeling about ourselves that we naturally attracted partnerships and friendships that made us feelRead More

Giving Our Children the Freedom to Live Their Lives

When addiction runs in our families, or when we fear addiction might develop in our children, we instinctively want to protect them and safeguard them from harm. We want to do everything in our power to keep the addiction from developing, or if it has already appeared, worsening and further overtaking their lives. When we’reRead More

Why Are Boundaries Important?

Learning to set and maintain boundaries in our daily lives and in our relationships is one of the best things we can do for our recovery. When living with addiction and mental health issues, we often don’t know what healthy boundaries look and feel like for us. We’re confused about our needs. Many of usRead More

Unconditional Love vs. Enabling

Confronting our children’s addiction is one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do. We want what’s best for them. We want them to be happy, healthy and whole. Learning they are struggling with addiction can be shocking, troubling and heartbreaking. Our instinct is to want to protect them and to lessen their burdens.Read More

How Can We Develop Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is one of the most important tools we can develop when recovering from addiction and mental illness. Self-awareness is the ability to be conscious of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When we are self-aware, we are able to monitor our self-talk, our choices, and how we interact with other people. When we are notRead More

Supporting Our Children’s Healing Without Enabling Them

When our loved ones are suffering, our instinct is to protect them and shield them from harm. We want to take away their pain and prevent them from experiencing yet more suffering. Our intentions are to support our children, but we can fall into patterns of enabling them instead. We enable other people’s addictions inRead More

What are Defense Mechanisms?

When we are living with mental and emotional health issues such as depression and addiction, we tend to be living with lots of fear that manifest in the forms of anxiety, worry, pessimism and self-doubt. When we are living in fear, we tend to engage in mostly negative thinking. We become suspicious of other peopleRead More

Mindful Listening to Support Our Children

Confronting addiction in our families can be a grueling and painful process, full of unforeseen mental and emotional challenges. We can feel as though we’ve let our children down and can therefore be filled with shame and regret. We can find ourselves analyzing all of the mistakes we might have made, all of the waysRead More

How Can We Recognize Addiction in Our Children?

Addiction has a way of sneaking up on us and overpowering us, overtaking our lives and robbing us of our happiness and purpose. While it can be hard to detect, there are some key signs we can be mindful of, that can alert us when there might be a problem. We can learn these signsRead More

Navigating Our Cravings in Recovery

One of the greatest challenges to our recovery is the persistence with which we feel cravings to use our drugs of choice. Our addictive substances and behaviors formed such a huge part of our lives and our identities that they often overtook us entirely. It’s not realistic to think that once we’re sober we’ll suddenly,Read More

Why is Happiness Important for Recovery?

As we’re working to heal, we learn that recovery is about more than sobriety. Abstinence is an important element of shedding our dependence on our addictive substance or behavior, but we need to tackle our recovery holistically to give us the best chance of being successful. Happiness is one of the most important ingredients inRead More

What Unhealed Fear Can Do to Us

Our fears have a way of overtaking our lives, bringing us all kinds of inner turmoil and emotional distress. Many of our fears are unconscious, and we aren’t aware of just how powerful they can be and what kind of impact they can have on our lives. We tend to want to avoid thinking aboutRead More

How Does Addiction Steal Our Identity?

Living with addiction, it can be incredibly easy to forget who we are. Our addictions and the lifestyles we create around them take over our entire lives. We give all of our energy to prioritizing our addictions and making sure we can get the high we feel we need. When we’re addicted to a substanceRead More

Can Panic Journaling Help Me?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Many of us in recovery are familiar with journaling, but we may be less familiar with panic journaling. What is it, and how can it help us? Panic journaling is the practice of journaling during a panic attack,Read More

Examining Our Unconscious Fears

When living with addiction and mental health issues, many of us know we’re in pain, but we don’t know why exactly. We can tell that we’re afraid, but we often aren’t conscious of what our fears actually are. Our fears are stored in our subconscious minds, beneath the conscious awareness of our thinking minds. ThisRead More

How Can I Help Myself During a Panic Attack?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Those of us who live with panic attacks know just how intense, all-consuming and terrifying they can be. We can find ourselves totally overpowered by the fear, sadness and shame we’re feeling. We can feel as though we’reRead More

Learning from Our Fears

When it comes to fear, many of us have a default reactionary response to our fears which is to run and hide from them. We’re so afraid to feel the anxiety and sadness that come with fear that we try to avoid thinking about our fears at all costs. We find ourselves being easily triggered,Read More

Self-Forgiveness for Healing

When we’re doing the emotional work of recovery, one of the hardest emotions to shed is our shame. Many of us were conditioned from early childhood to carry guilt and shame within us, not only for our mistakes and wrongdoings, but also for our shortcomings, flaws and imperfections. We constantly felt inadequate, sometimes because ourRead More

How Do I Learn Independence After Being in Codependent Relationships?

When living with addiction, we commonly find ourselves in codependent relationships full of neediness, dependence and attachment. We very often don’t establish or maintain healthy boundaries. We have poor conflict resolution skills, unhealthy communication styles, and a great deal of interpersonal turmoil. We become so dependent upon our partner that we feel as though weRead More

Creativity and Our Emotions

Our addictions and mental health issues often cause us to have an unhealthy relationship with our emotions. We become so afraid of feeling our emotions that we don’t allow ourselves to feel them fully. We’ve developed unhealthy patterns of suppressing, denying and avoiding our thoughts and feelings. We numb ourselves with our drugs of choice,Read More

How Do I Fill the Voids Within Me?

Our addictions very often develop from our need to fill the voids we feel within ourselves. We feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied in our lives. We feel lost, empty and incomplete. These feelings are so unsettling and cause us so much anxiety and uneasiness that we feel desperate to escape them and distract ourselves from them.Read More

Creative Expression for Recovery

Many of us were creative, expressive and playful as children but stopped expressing ourselves creatively after childhood. Growing up, we explored music, art, dance, drama, storytelling and other creative pursuits. Our classes and extracurricular activities exposed us to different art forms, and many of us were intrigued enough to continue studying them. For a lotRead More

How Can We Stop Self-Medicating?

Self-medicating is the process by which we use addictive substances and behaviors to numb the pain of our emotional issues, mental illnesses and difficult life challenges. We use drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling to cope with our anxiety, depression, panic attacks and other mental health issues. We use our go-to drugs of choice to tryRead More

Connection for Healing

When we’re struggling with addiction and mental illness, one of our greatest challenges is how disconnected we’ve become, from other people, from our families and communities, but even more so from ourselves. We’ve lost our connectedness to our inner selves, to the light that is within us. We’ve become disconnected from our purpose in life.Read More

Discovering Our Purpose and Fulfillment

Part of the important work we do in recovery is finding ourselves, rebuilding our sense of self and discovering our purpose. We can find that throughout our struggles with addiction, our sense of purpose eluded us. We didn’t know what we were meant to do with our lives. We were confused about our mission. WeRead More

How Do Our Toxic Relationships Hold Us Back?

As we’re working to recover, we find that we start to place more value on our inner peace, our sanity and serenity. We realize that a lot of the conflict and turmoil we’re experiencing in our lives is coming from our toxic relationships. We tend to manifest with the energy of our internal environment, soRead More

Fear of Confrontation

When struggling with addiction, there are some common fears that many of us suffer from acutely, that fuel and drive our addictive cycles. One of those fears is our fear of confrontation. We’re afraid of facing the truth of our addictions. We avoid the truth at all costs. We’re in denial about how serious ourRead More

How to Maintain Hope During Recovery

When we finish a treatment program, we’ve begun to build the foundation for our recovery work, but we will need to keep up with it consistently if we want to have lasting results. One of the most important elements of that foundation is the emotional work we do to restore our faith in ourselves andRead More

How Can We Break Family Patterns of Abuse?

Far too often, addiction and abuse go hand in hand. Our addictions can make us abusive towards our loved ones, and we try to escape the pain of our abusiveness (or of being abused) with our addictions. We get caught in vicious cycles where we feel unable to escape both our addictions and the abuseRead More

How Having A Support System Can Help Our Recovery

Working to recover is one of the hardest challenges we’ll undertake in our lives, and there are certain things we can do for ourselves to lessen our load. One of those things is making sure we have a support system to help us through the recovery process. Having people to support us can make allRead More

Why Do We Grieve?

Living with addiction and mental illness means we’ve likely sustained some form of grief in our lives. Sometimes it is our grief that is the catalyst for our addictive patterns. We use our addictions to try to escape the intense pain we’re feeling from our grief. Grief, like depression, can be debilitating and cause usRead More

Accessing the Subconscious Mind for Healing

One of our greatest challenges when it comes to healing are the discrepancies between our conscious and subconscious minds. Consciously we want to heal, and we want to be happy. Subconsciously, however, we’re still holding onto limiting beliefs that tell us we don’t deserve to be happy, that we’re not strong enough to heal, thatRead More

How Can I Cope with My Grief?

Grief is one of the emotions we struggle with the most when living with addiction and mental illness. We’re often confused about how to deal with it, as it can be so overwhelming and overpowering. Our grief can be intense and palpable. We can feel it as a heavy companion that stays with us throughoutRead More

Emotional Patterns of Addiction

Working to recover from addiction is as much about working with our emotional health as it is abstaining from our drugs of choice. In order to recover, we have to develop new emotional patterns to replace the ones that were contributing to our unwellness. We have to create and practice healthy emotional coping skills. VeryRead More

Rebuilding Our Self-Worth in Recovery

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). As we’re working to recover, we learn that the challenges we face in our recovery journey don’t just pertain to maintaining our sobriety. They are mental and emotional in nature, and they actually determine how well we willRead More

Where Has All My Energy Gone?

Many of us living with addiction can remember a time in our lives when we had considerably more energy. We were able to tackle our daily routines and keep up with our regular schedules. We juggled multiple different demands all at once. Our work and other obligations didn’t feel so strenuous or tiresome. We didn’tRead More

How We Block Our Healing Subconsciously

When we are recovering from any kind of mental or emotional challenge, we often come face to face with different forms of internal resistance. This resistance often comes in the form of emotional blocks we’ve created out of fear. These blocks stifle our growth, keep us from learning about ourselves, and prevent us from healing.Read More

Why Do I Feel So Unfulfilled?

Our addictions are so overpowering and all-encompassing that they have a way of taking over our lives and causing us to feel a deep sense of unfulfillment. We don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied with our lives as they are. We don’t feel content with who we are as people. We struggle with feeling inadequate, undeservingRead More

Postpartum Depression and Addiction

When we have recently become mothers, we can sometimes experience a particular form of depression known as postpartum depression. We can feel many of the same symptoms of regular depression, along with the added challenges of recent parenthood and everything that can come along with it. Our postpartum depression can contribute to our struggles withRead More

Revamping Our Habits and Lifestyles for Recovery

When we are ready to recover, how successful we are in our recovery all depends on how willing we are to do the work to develop healthy habits for ourselves. We want to eliminate all of the destructive habits that were limiting us and holding us back, contributing to our self-destruction and self-sabotage. We wantRead More

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to Other People?

Along with our addictions and mental health issues, we often develop emotional patterns that contribute to our unwellness. One of the most destructive and debilitating of these emotional patterns is our tendency to compare ourselves to other people. We compete with other people and feel easily threatened by them. As addicts, we compare ourselves toRead More

Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, also known as Seasonal Depression, affects many of us in colder climates during the winter months. Knowing some of the causes and signs of this disorder can help educate us on this veryRead More

Why Do We Abuse Ourselves?

Our addictions are often accompanied by self-harm and self-abuse. They are themselves a form of self-abuse, as we do harmful and dangerous things to ourselves when we are driven by our addictions. Our dependence on addictive substances, behaviors and relationships, along with our deep unhappiness and fear, make us treat ourselves with unkindness, even cruelty.Read More

Avoidance as a Coping Mechanism

Knowing when our loved ones are struggling can be incredibly difficult and can impede our ability to help them get the support they need. A major sign of emotional suffering is avoidance. When our loved ones avoid their issues, it is often a sign that something deeper is going on. A common sign that peopleRead More

Emotional Blocks to Healing

When we’re in recovery and reintegrating back into our former lives, there are some emotional challenges we confront that can act as blocks to our healing. Part of our recovery work, along with our abstinence, is facing these blocks and doing our best to heal the parts of ourselves that are limited and restricted byRead More

Why is Self-Compassion So Important for Recovery?

Many of us living with addiction have developed mental and emotional patterns of criticizing and judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, and inundating ourselves with feelings of guilt and shame. We hold onto our mistakes and regrets rather than forgiving ourselves. We are unkind to ourselves rather than being patient and understanding with ourselves during theRead More

Signs that Troops and Veterans are Struggling

Troops and veterans are often accustomed to hiding their pain from the rest of the world, from their peers and loved ones, even from themselves. They’re conditioned to put on a brave face amidst the most difficult of experiences. They’re taught to pretend that everything is fine, even when they’re in pain. Their work requiresRead More

How Can I Stop Being So Triggered?

When we have unhealed wounds within us, we can find ourselves being easily triggered by events, by things people say and do, by memories or associations, or by anything that reminds us of our pain. Often we don’t know why we’re being triggered by something or someone. We can find ourselves being highly reactive, volatile,Read More

Challenges Troops and Veterans Face

Each of us has unique challenges to face in coping with our addictions and mental health issues, and the same is true for troops and veterans. What are some of the challenges that troops and veterans must contend with when returning home and working to recover? A major challenge is how displaced troops and veteransRead More

What Can I Do When I Feel Lost?

Those of us living with addiction and mental illness are no strangers to feeling lost every now and then. We’re coping with tremendous difficulties. Our dependence issues, along with our mental and emotional challenges, can make us feel as though we’ve totally lost our sense of purpose and direction. We can feel unfulfilled, discouraged andRead More

Supporting Troops’ and Veterans’ Recovery

Addiction and mental health issues are debilitating for all of us, and we each face unique challenges in our struggles with them. For troops and veterans who have been in active duty, there are specific difficulties pertaining to their experience. How can we support them in their recovery? One way we can support troops andRead More

Service as Part of Recovery

As alumnae in recovery, we often are looking for ways to give back to our communities after how much we feel we’ve been helped, by our family and friends, by the staff of our treatment centers, by our sponsors, therapists, recovery coaches, doctors and mentors. Many of us feel we wouldn’t have been as successfulRead More

How Are We Strengthened by our Experience with Addiction?

Living with addiction, many of us come to identify ourselves as being weak people, because we see our addictions as a reflection of our shame and immorality. We see ourselves as being too weak to withstand the temptation of our addictive urges and compulsions. When we’re working to recover, we start to see our addictionsRead More

Myths About Addiction

As prevalent as addiction is in our communities, there is still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding it. This can be attributed in part to the myths that circulate about addiction. There is a great deal of misinformation in these myths, in the stereotypes and in the stigmatization of addiction. Let’s take a look at someRead More

The Pain of Relapse

For those of us who have been struggling with addiction for any length of time, chances are we’ve experienced relapse and all of the pain that comes along with it. We give so much energy to wanting to be clean, sober or abstinent that we create expectations for ourselves, some of which can be unrealisticRead More

Reflecting on Our Treatment

A hugely important part of the recovery process is taking the time to reflect on our treatment. We want to give some thought to how effective our program was for us, whether we feel we benefited from it, whether or not we were able to take full advantage of it. It can help us inRead More

What Role Does the Subconscious Play in Our Recovery?

Everything we do, think and feel is governed by our subconscious mind. Our subconscious is where all of our emotional information is stored – our deeply rooted feelings, the memories of our trauma, our woundedness, and our emotional “baggage.” Our thought patterns, emotional responses, behavioral patterns, routines and life decisions are all impacted by theRead More

Rebuilding Our Lives

For those of us struggling with addiction, we know just how destructive and debilitating it can be. It can transform our minds, our relationships, and our lives, often in painful ways. It alters our sense of self and our self-image, impacting how we operate both inwardly within ourselves, and outwardly, in our relationships with otherRead More

How Can We Clear Our Resistance?

When it comes to our emotional health and well-being, many of us are holding onto what we refer to as emotional blocks. We experience blockages that prevent us from feeling our emotions fully, from expressing and communicating them, and from processing the challenging thoughts that contribute to our emotions. When we are blocked, we canRead More

Using the Principles of Manifestation for Recovery

Conscious manifestation is the practice of being intentional with our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and therefore our energy, to create the changes we want in our lives and to bring about the things we want for ourselves. We can use the same principles of conscious manifestation to help us in our recovery process. When we’reRead More

Self-Care to Prevent Relapse

When we’re working to recover from our addictions, it’s so important that we dedicate time and energy to self-care to help us prevent ourselves from relapsing. Addiction recovery is an especially strenuous and challenging time in our lives. When we’re first recovering, we’re particularly susceptible to the temptation that naturally occurs, and we can veryRead More

How Can I Reconnect with Myself?

Our addictions are so overpowering that they can totally alter our relationship with ourselves. We think and feel about ourselves in damaging ways because of all the shame, disappointment and regret we carry around our addictions. We create a self-perception and self-image based on the people we’ve become due to our addictions, rather than onRead More

Making Healthy Relationship Choices in Recovery

Whenever we want to start making healthier choices for ourselves, we first need to become more conscious of how we’re thinking, feeling and operating. Our thought patterns, emotional responses and behaviors inform and direct the choices we make. Our decisions are often dictated by our inner world. If we’re feeling down on ourselves for example,Read More

How Do I Motivate Myself in Recovery?

Our addictions are so debilitating that as we’re working to recover, we can find that our joy and sense of fulfillment have become totally depleted from our past experiences. We can find ourselves losing our hopefulness, our optimism and our positivity. We’ve been filled with so much shame and disappointment for so long that weRead More

Seeing Our Recovery as a Journey

When we’re in recovery, there are some shifts in perspective that can help us make our healing work as effective and as meaningful as possible. One of those mindset shifts happens when we start to see our recovery not as a fixed destination that we’re trying to reach, but instead as a journey that weRead More

Examining Our Relationship Choices

As we’re working to recover, there are countless choices we’re making in our everyday lives. We’re creating new lifestyles, habits and behavioral patterns, all of which require that we be conscientious about the daily choices we’re making. We make the choice to stay clean, to go to meetings, and to keep up with therapy. SometimesRead More

Do Ultimatums Work?

Living with addiction, it is not uncommon for us to experience our family, friends and other loved ones trying desperately to get us to quit. They will recommend therapy and rehab, stage interventions, or threaten to leave or kick us out. For many of us, it seems nothing will work, as our addictions have becomeRead More

Is There a Cure for Addiction?

Recovering from addiction and mental health issues is an involved and complicated process, and it can look different for everyone. No two addicts will experience addiction or recovery in the exact same ways. We all have differing causes, symptoms and manifestations of our illnesses. While there isn’t one cure for all of our addictions forRead More

Choosing Abstinence in Recovery

When we’re working to recover, it’s clear to us that we want to abstain from our addictive substances and behaviors. What is often less clear to us is how beneficial it can be to abstain from dating and relationships as well. Some of us identify as being love and sex addicts, so our relationships areRead More

Why is Untreated Depression So Dangerous?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Depression is an often misunderstood and confusing mental and emotional health issue. It often functions as a co-occurring disorder alongside addiction, meaning that they can co-exist in us simultaneously and can present themselves in similar ways, with theRead More

Dating in Recovery

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). While in recovery, our relationships can make all the difference between wanting to get better and actually accomplishing our goals. The kinds of relationships we choose mirror how we feel about ourselves and are an excellent indicator ofRead More

How Do I Develop Self-Acceptance?

When we don’t love and accept ourselves, we set ourselves up for the mental and emotional vulnerability and fragility that can easily lead to addiction and mental illness. Rejecting and hating ourselves keeps us locked in patterns of self-destruction and self-sabotage. We hold ourselves down, limit our potential and sabotage our well-being. We suffer fromRead More

Living with the Violence of Addiction

Many of us living with addiction also find ourselves in unhealthy relationships that are filled with toxicity, hostility and even violence and abuse. Many of us experienced relationships like these in our families while we were growing up. We witnessed domestic abuse within our homes, that we often were victims of as well. We tendRead More

Everything We Gain from Recovery

As recovering addicts, there is so much we stand to gain during the course of our recovery journey. More than just our sobriety, we get our lives back. We get back the chance to dream and to take full advantage of our opportunities. We get to choose to live. We get to shed the self-destructivenessRead More

How Can We Find Our Purpose?

Not knowing our purpose in life can be so overwhelming, stressful and painful that it can contribute to our addictions and mental health issues. We feel pressure to succeed and to make a name for ourselves. We want desperately to be perceived as good enough. We’re battling insecurity, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. WeRead More

Pregnancy and Addiction

For many people, pregnancy is a time of hopefulness and joy as we prepare to give life and live one of the most powerful and life altering experiences in human existence. For many others of us, we’re still battling addiction when we become pregnant and can feel especially sad, afraid and hopeless during our pregnancy.Read More

How Can We Learn to Prioritize Our Wellness?

When we are embroiled in addiction and mental health issues, our well-being is very often our last priority. We choose to place more importance on everything else in our lives – all our duties and obligations, our families and relationships, our jobs and finances. We don’t realize that when we don’t give time to ourselves,Read More

Dealing with Negativity

When living with addiction and mental health issues, one of our biggest challenges can be how we relate to other people and coexist with them. We can find ourselves surrounded by negativity, criticism and judgment. When we’re coming from a place of inner turmoil, we’re more likely to attract people into our lives that reflectRead More

Solidarity and Healing

When struggling with addiction, one of the things that can keep us caught in its grips is how alone we feel. We are often shunned by our loved ones, and by society as a whole, who share in the stigmatization of addicts and addiction. We isolate to protect ourselves, in what is often an attemptRead More

How Can I Take Responsibility for my Recovery?

Living with addiction and mental health issues, we very commonly lose faith in ourselves and in our ability to recover. We don’t see all of the possibilities for the future. We don’t feel positive anticipation, hopefulness, eagerness or optimism. When we’ve given up on ourselves, we can feel so hopeless and desperate that we don’tRead More

Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery

As recovering addicts, one of the most important elements of the work we do to recover is rebuilding the relationships that may have sustained damage during the course of our addictions. We may have separated ourselves from the people in our lives who were trying to intervene and convince us to get help for ourRead More

The Visible and Invisible Effects of Addiction

Addiction is a destructive and debilitating illness with effects that are far-reaching and all-consuming. It can take over our entire lives and affect everything from our daily circumstances to our inner perception of self. What are some of the effects of addiction, both ones we can see and those that are invisible? Some obvious visibleRead More

What is Fight, Flight or Freeze?

Living with addiction and mental illness, we are no strangers to emotional stress, trauma and anxiety. How we cope, what kinds of fear responses we have, has a lot to do with our body’s nervous system and how it responds to stressors. When we have been hurt or traumatized, the energy of that pain getsRead More

Examining Our Life Patterns

When we look at our lives closely and examine our issues honestly, we start to see that we have life patterns that are repeating themselves almost as if on autopilot, by default, without our even being conscious of them. Our issues tend to be recurring and constitute repeating patterns that we often feel powerless toRead More

Why Do We Mourn Our Old Lives?

Recovering from our addictions means recreating our lives and letting go of our former selves. We want to release all of the elements of our personalities and of our lives that were contributing to our unwellness. We want to shed the self-destructive patterns in our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. We often are open to embracingRead More

Learning to Accept Ourselves

Self-rejection is a huge problem for those of us struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Deep down we hate ourselves, and this is often a contributing factor in our suffering. Our lack of self-acceptance can be debilitating. We don’t believe in ourselves. We lose hope. We can feel as though life is meaningless andRead More

Why is Suicide so Common in Young People?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Childhood and adolescence are especially challenging times for us, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We are embarking on a process of self-discovery that will enable us to understand ourselves on a deeper level. We are forming our identityRead More

The Role of Love and Compassion in Recovery

Treatment and therapy for substance abuse frequently focus on educating patients and families about the disease of addiction. We know it’s essential to show people who are affected by addiction that it is not a choice, it is an illness. It is no one’s fault that substance abuse happens. Blaming ourselves or one another, holdingRead More

The Practice of Building Self-Love

Growing in unconditional self-love is a practice that requires energy and commitment. We can’t expect affirmations to magically cure us of our self-hatred, or abstaining from our addictions to fix our relationship with self. The practice of building self-love is one we’ll have to dedicate ourselves to if we want to recover. Addictions and mentalRead More

How Are We Affected by Self-Medicating?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). When we use the term self-medicating, we’re referring to our dependence on behaviors and substances other than medication to manage our mental, emotional or physical pain. We might use alcohol or marijuana to self-medicate our depression and anxiety,Read More

Withstanding Temptation in Recovery

When we’re working to recover, one of the most important things we learn is how to withstand the very real temptation we face to fall back into our addictive patterns and start using again. We may have already relapsed, and many of us live with the constant fear that we’ll fail in our sobriety goals.Read More

Shedding Our Self-Hatred

Self-hatred is perhaps the most debilitating thing we adopt in our struggles with addiction and mental health issues. For many of us, our self-hatred was the catalyst behind the development of our challenges in the first place. When we’re ready to heal ourselves, self-love is one of the most important lessons we’ll need to learn.Read More

What is the Grieving Process of Recovery?

When we are approaching recovery, we have many things to look forward to, and although we may have anxiety about what the future holds, we also can have very positive, hopeful expectations of what’s to come. We’ll be sober, freeing up our energy which will allow us to create the space we need to findRead More

The Healing Process of Inner Integration

An important part of the healing process when recovering from any addiction or mental health issue is learning how to integrate all the different parts of ourselves so that we can heal holistically. We want to reestablish our wholeness and feel complete. We can’t do this when we’re rejecting entire parts of ourselves and refusingRead More

How Are Eating Disorders and Addiction Connected?

When we are struggling with addiction, we have formed a dependent attachment to a substance, behavior or relationship. We feel compulsiveness, chemical dependence, neediness and obsessiveness around our drug of choice. Our addictions are evidence of our lack of wholeness, as well as our means of trying to fill our emotional voids. Eating disorders areRead More

Everything We Leave Behind

When we commit to sobriety, we’re taking on new challenges that bring all kinds of new things into our lives. We receive hope and optimism. We are gifted new knowledge about ourselves and our lives. We make discoveries about who we are that propel us forward. In addition to all the new things we receive,Read More

Why Do We Isolate Out of Shame?

Those of us living with addiction can find ourselves isolating ourselves from our loved ones, from our friends and family members, from our communities and from the world around us. We isolate for many reasons, one of which can be our deep sense of shame. Why are we so unforgiving of ourselves, especially when weRead More

Warning Signs We Might Relapse

One of the most important things we can educate ourselves on when we’re working to recover are some of the signs that a relapse is imminent. While it doesn’t serve us to be overly afraid or paranoid that we’ll relapse, and while it doesn’t help us to assume relapse is inevitable, we can help ourselvesRead More

What Sobriety Demands of Us

When we make the choice to get sober, we’re being tested and challenged in all kinds of ways, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The process of choosing sobriety will demand certain things of us. When we accept the challenge and rise to meet it, we discover gifts and skills we didn’t know we possessed. InRead More

How Does Negativity Impact Our Healing?

How we respond to the world around us dictates our emotional energy and therefore how we cope with emotional challenges. Our healing depends on how well we can navigate the difficult circumstances and people we find ourselves forced to deal with. Negativity in particular can be extremely overwhelming and stressful, and when we succumb toRead More

Things We Share in Common as Recovering Addicts

When we begin the recovery process, we enter an international community of people who have all experienced similar struggles and reached a specific place in their journeys as recovering addicts. There are certain things many of us share in common, some unifying aspects of our experience. Our experiences with both addiction and recovery will beRead More

Choosing Sobriety

Living with addiction, we make certain choices repeatedly. We choose to keep using. We choose to prioritize our addictions over our lives, our families and our well-being. We choose not to get help. We choose not to admit we have a problem. We choose to hide in denial and secrecy. When we finally make theRead More

How Do I Stop Hating Myself?

Learning to love ourselves might sound like an impossible feat, especially when we’ve been inundating ourselves with self-hatred for so many years. Self-love is something we can’t just wish for, we have to actively work at it. We have to give it our time and energy. We have to view it as a practice andRead More

What Are Some Risk Factors for Addiction?

While addiction may be genetically inherited by some of us, many others living with addiction can’t determine familial predisposition to be the cause for us. We might be the only ones in our families struggling with addiction. When genetic traits for addiction are not involved, what are some other risk factors for addiction? An extremelyRead More

How Self-Care Empowers Us in Recovery

When we think of self-care, we sometimes associate it with luxury, extraneous pleasure or selfishness. We’ve been conditioned to think that taking care of ourselves is less important than caring for others or taking care of our responsibilities. We become our own last priority. Self-care, however, is hugely important to our feelings of wholeness andRead More

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

When we are new to recovery, we are often filled with a sense of excitement and optimism. We feel like if we can learn to abstain from our drug of choice, there’s nothing we can’t do. We can feel like we’re on top of the world, powerful and invincible. Being brand new to recovery, weRead More

What Can We Do to Curb Drug Use?

With drug use on the rise, and addiction and overdose so common, we can feel that the epidemic is utterly hopeless. We’ve experienced addiction destroy our lives and those of loved ones. We hate to see it affecting more and more people, including young children. There are some things we can do to curb drugRead More

Recovery Coaching

Treatment centers are implementing an extremely helpful resource in their work with addicts – recovery coaches. Many treatment centers across the country employ, and were founded by, people who are in recovery themselves, who have successfully worked to heal from their addictions and who are uniquely qualified to be able to help other people doRead More

Why is Drug Use on the Rise?

Drug use, abuse, dependence and addiction are all on the rise in this country. We see addiction devastating families, communities and entire towns. Overdose rates are also on the rise. More people are experimenting with different kinds of drugs, and at earlier ages. Drug use is becoming common in young people, even in small children.Read More

Finding Redemption in our Recovery

Those of us living with addiction know firsthand just how destructive it can be. Grappling with addiction can cause us to feel as though we’ve become different people, living entirely different lives, with dysfunctional ways of thinking and feeling, and tumultuous, conflicted relationships. We don’t feel like ourselves. We feel like strangers to ourselves. WeRead More

Family Therapy in Recovery

Family therapy is one of the best tools we can use to help ourselves when a loved one is struggling with addiction. Working with a therapist as a family can help us at various stages in the addiction and recovery process: when we feel we need an intervention, planning and executing the intervention, supporting eachRead More

Why Do We Fear Treatment?

When we’re facing recovery, there are many things we’re afraid of. We fear abstaining from our drug of choice. We fear withdrawal. Why do so many of us fear getting help? When it could help us succeed in our recovery, why are we so resistant to seeking out support? Many of us have been conditionedRead More

How Is Treatment Beneficial?

When addiction has become our way of life, we can be hesitant to consider getting professional help. Treatment can be extremely beneficial to our recovery, though, when we are open to it. Many of us have been in denial for years, trying to convince ourselves and others that we don’t have a problem. We mightRead More

Planning an Intervention

When we have a loved one struggling with addiction, it can be extremely painful to watch them suffer. For many of us, we feel compelled to stage an intervention to try to convince them to get help. Confronting someone on such a sensitive issue as addiction can become contentious. Emotions are high, and a lotRead More

Reasons Why We Relapse

Part of the work we do in recovery is understanding the reasons why we relapse, especially when we’re committed to our recovery and the last thing we want to do is let ourselves and our loved ones down. Our addictions are much more complicated than the substance use and behaviors we associate with them. OurRead More

What is Resistance?

Resistance is something we often hear discussed in terms of mindfulness, mental health and emotional well-being, but what do we mean by it? Resistance is any way in which we try to block the flow of energy, to try to stop something from happening, to push something away rather than allowing it to happen. WhenRead More

Tapping into our Innate Courage

Living with addiction and mental health issues can wear us down until we feel totally powerless, weak and afraid. Our relationship to our fears is full of resistance, avoidance and denial. We’re afraid of being afraid, so we run from our emotions and try to avoid having to feel them. Finding the courage to faceRead More

Why Do We Resist Sobriety?

For those of us who have been living many years, or most of our lives, addicted to a substance or behavior, our addiction has become our comfort zone. As painful and destructive as it can be in our lives, it is what is familiar to us. We therefore have a very hard time accepting anyRead More

The Facade of Functional Addiction

For many of us in recovery, we remember a time in the story of our addiction when we thought we’d be able to maintain our lifestyles the way they were and still continue to feed our addictions. We felt like we had figured out a way to manage our lives and still be able toRead More

Mindfulness for Sobriety

The work we do in recovery and how much energy we put into it determines how successful we ultimately are in our recovery. Being sober tests our power, our strength, our resilience, and our capacity for growth. When we’ve been struggling with addiction for many years, one of the skills we’ve lost or been unableRead More

Can Drug Use Lead to Sex Addiction?

We know that substance use can lead to abuse and addiction, but can it contribute to other kinds of addiction, such as sex addiction? We tend to think of our drug use and our sexual lives as separate, but for those of us struggling with addiction, they can be very much related and intertwined. AsRead More

Redirecting the Thought Patterns of Depression

As complicated as depression can be, for many of us it can all come down to the ways in which we think. The thought patterns we’re unconsciously repeating become our limiting beliefs. Some common thought patterns with depression include self-judgment, feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, and self-rejection. We develop limiting beliefs telling us that weRead More

What is a Gateway Drug, and Is That Even a Real Thing?

“Gateway drugs” are substances that lead to experimentation with other drugs, that act as gateways opening us up to trying stronger drugs and developing addiction. The gateway drug we hear about most commonly is probably marijuana, and marijuana smokers and proponents are often quick to dispel the idea of gateway drugs as a myth. ThereRead More

Learning How to Self-Correct

As we work to heal from our addictions and mental health issues, we learn that many of our emotional issues come from the thought patterns we’ve developed over the years. We perpetuate these thought patterns when we aren’t conscious of them, and for most of us, we haven’t become conscious of them yet so we’reRead More

Recap: Spotlight on Riverside Recovery by Florida Health Care News

The Florida Health Care News website recently published a feature article on Riverside Recovery and our unique approach to addiction recovery treatment. The article, titled “Restoring Health and Hope,” was the product of a collaboration with longtime Florida Health Care News writer Patti DiPanfilo — it highlights our process and raises awareness about addiction treatmentRead More

Why Do I Keep Attracting Unhealthy Relationships?

We manifest our outer world, the things we see in our realities, our circumstances, our health and relationships, from what’s going on in our inner world. Our thoughts, emotions and beliefs are so powerful that they bring about what we experience in our lives. When we have unhealthy relationships, it is often because internally weRead More

Meditation and Resilience

Our emotional difficulties, including our addictions, can make us feel totally overpowered, weakened and defenseless. We can feel completely overwhelmed and overtaken by our struggles. What if there were practices we could implement that would increase our resilience, our feelings of being able to cope with stress and bounce back from challenges? Meditation is oneRead More

The Lifestyle of Recovery

When living with addiction, we’ve developed lifestyles that not only maintain our addictions but also exacerbate and compound them. Our lifestyles are comprised of everything we do in our daily lives – our routines, our relationships, our thoughts and feelings, and our behavioral patterns. When we’re struggling with addiction, we’re also attempting to cope withRead More

Why Am I Haunted by the Past?

Many of us have a very hard time moving on from our pasts. We feel haunted by past traumas, relationships and incidents. Some of us are consumed by the past and feel obsessed about it. We wish we could live our lives again and change things for the better. Why are we haunted by ourRead More

The Cyclical Patterns of Addiction

Those of us struggling with addiction often find ourselves living with patterns that many of us share in common. There are certain life cycles many of us experience pertaining to our addiction. Addiction is all-encompassing and touches every area of our lives, from our mental and emotional health, to our relationships, to our work. UnderstandingRead More

Creating a Personalized Recovery Program

While there are some common themes in addiction and recovery that many of us can relate to, we are unique individuals with unique stories, gifts, strengths, challenges and weaknesses, meaning that each of us will have our own experience with both addiction and recovery that is unique to who we are. Because no two experiencesRead More

Does Addiction Only Affect Certain People?

Even though addiction is a common phenomenon in our society, affecting so many of us and our families and communities, there are still many misconceptions about addiction in our mainstream culture. The negative stereotypes surrounding addiction and addicts, coupled with serious confusion and misinformation, cause many people to believe things about addiction that simply aren’tRead More

The Importance of Enjoyment in Recovery

Because addiction is such a devastating and debilitating illness, we tend to think of recovery as a very serious undertaking. While it is a very significant endeavor in our lives, incorporating enjoyment into the process is just as important as any of the serious elements involved. In addition to the therapy and deep emotional work,Read More

Can Addiction Be Stopped Before It Starts?

Many of us living with addiction were genetically predisposed to it. We were raised in families where addiction ran rampant. We inherited traits and learned emotional patterns that conditioned us for addiction. Could we have stopped our addiction before it took hold? Is there a way to halt addiction in its tracks, before it getsRead More

Emotional Attachment to Fear and Pain

Because our difficult emotions are so hard to handle, we would think we wouldn’t want to stay so closely attached to them, but for many of us, we develop a strong attachment to our fear and pain. We cling to them, afraid to release them. Our attachment is so strong that we don’t allow theRead More

Feeling Resistance to Recovery

When we’re in recovery, our emotional journey with addiction is far from over. We’ve started doing the emotional work we need to do to heal, but we still have a lot of work to do. For many of us, beginning the recovery process means we’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface of our deeplyRead More

Was I Already Self-Destructive as a Child?

Think back to your childhood. Do you remember displaying any worrisome signs such as experimenting with drugs and then finding relief from your emotional pain in them? Did you show signs of being self-destructive or self-harming, such as cutting yourself or having risky casual sex? Did you drive drunk with your friends, or steal yourRead More

Healing from Burnout

When we’ve experienced burnout, total exhaustion and a dangerous decline in our overall health, it is so important that we take the steps to heal ourselves. Burnout makes us more susceptible to substance abuse, dependency and relapse. We can’t tackle our addiction recovery when we’re not at our best and strongest. Here are some thingsRead More

What Do Our Habits Have to do with Addiction?

Our daily lives and the habits we develop can play a role in our addictions because mentally, emotionally and physically we set ourselves up to develop certain patterns that can contribute to how we function. Our habits might seem irrelevant to the deeper illness of addiction, but there is actually a strong relationship between theRead More

Understanding Substance Dependency

Abusing and overusing substances such as narcotic drugs and alcohol can cause us to become mentally, emotionally and physically dependent upon them. We feel as though we can’t live without them, and our dependence can very quickly and easily lead to a debilitating addiction. It is not uncommon for us to start to think thatRead More

Logistical Challenges to Reintegration

As if our emotional challenges during the reintegration process weren’t enough, we also face logistical challenges, the difficulties in our daily lives and routines that can threaten our sobriety if we don’t learn how to deal with them. These challenges can cause us a tremendous amount of stress and overwhelm, adding to our feelings ofRead More

Emotional Challenges to Reintegration

As alumni, we know just how challenging it can be to maintain our sobriety. We’re up against odds that feel insurmountable. Completing a treatment program is just the beginning of our work in recovery. When we’re reintegrating back into society and returning to our regular lives, there are some specific emotional challenges we can beRead More

How Can Reintegration Lead to Relapse?

When we finish a treatment program and are returning to our regular lives, there are some common factors in the reintegration process that can be particularly triggering which can contribute to our relapsing. We are often hopeful that we can continue our sobriety once we’ve re-entered our former lives, our homes, families, environments and lifestyles,Read More

The Benefits of Therapy

When we’re approaching the recovery process, one of the things we fear most is having to commit to the self-reflection we know will help us heal on a deeper level. We’re afraid of feeling the emotional pain that comes with healing. We’re afraid of having to do this with a stranger, in therapy, which canRead More

How Can Mindfulness Help Me?

Establishing a foundation of emotional mindfulness can be a major deterrent from the self-destructive and addictive cycles that so many of us fall into. We can practice emotional mindfulness in our daily lives, and the more we incorporate it into our regular routine, the more we can benefit from it. Developing our emotional intelligence andRead More

Learning to Cope with Addictive Urges

The process of learning to handle addictive urges and the temptation of our addictions is much like learning to handle our difficult emotions. We have to become better able to sit through the discomfort and the anxiety they can bring. We have to turn off our default instinct to run from the unpleasantness. We haveRead More

Allowing Ourselves to be Supported

Learning how to allow ourselves to receive help and support can be a real challenge for many of us. We’re often used to doing things alone and have become fiercely independent. We might be prideful and think of accepting help as a sign of weakness. We might feel so alone and isolated that we’ve comeRead More

How Can We Prevent Addiction in Children?

Children are experimenting with, and becoming addicted to, drugs and alcohol at astounding rates, and while it can feel like a problem with no solution, there are some things we can do to help prevent our children from developing an addiction. Children are being fed messages left and right touting partying, drinking and drugs asRead More

The Compulsions that Accompany Addiction

Sometimes our addictions aren’t the only thing causing us pain and turmoil in our lives. We’re also suffering from compulsions that accompany our addiction and mental health issues. Compulsions are behaviors we feel we can’t control. These behaviors and habits might be toxic, unhealthy or even dangerous, yet we feel as though we can’t stop.Read More

How Can I Transform My Self-Image?

Working to heal from our addictions entails repairing our damaged relationship to self and transforming the self-image we’ve created out of self-hate and self-rejection. We see ourselves as bad people, as ugly, worthless and shameful. We feel inadequate and inferior to other people. We don’t see ourselves for who we truly are. We don’t focusRead More

Changing Our Self-Talk to Be More Self-Loving

A powerful self-love practice we can implement in our lives is to start monitoring our self-talk. Very often the ways in which we think, feel and speak about ourselves is unconscious. We aren’t aware of just how self-hating we’ve become. Sometimes a concerned loved one will tell us to stop talking about ourselves in suchRead More

How Can I Heal My Relationship with Myself?

Healing from addiction means addressing the root causes of our emotional issues, and for so many of us, our lack of self-love and self-destructiveness are major driving forces. We might be self-destructive because we blame ourselves for the traumatic experiences we’ve had. We might be holding onto shame and self-blame for issues our families wentRead More

Ignoring Our Intuition

Our intuition is one of the best internal mechanisms we have for self-protection. Our intuition, and the instincts we develop based on it, alert us to danger, tell us when we need to change course, and show us how to redirect ourselves. Our addictions can cloud our thinking and manipulate our emotions so much thatRead More

How Do We Self-Destruct?

When we are lacking in self-love, we self-destruct and self-harm in countless different ways. We struggle with addiction and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and these can cause us to have such an unhealthy relationship with ourselves and our emotions that instead of being self-protective, we become self-hating and fall into cyclesRead More

Reconnecting with Our Inner Voice

The self-destructive cycles of our addiction can cause us to lose our connection to our inner voice. We can start to feel our inner strength waning as a result. Our inner voice can be confused for the voice of our inner demons, the crippling and destructive manifestations of our fears and unhealed emotions. We canRead More

How Can We Heal from Addiction as a Family?

When one of more of our family members is struggling with addiction, we are all affected and the negative impacts extend to all of us. We perpetuate toxic patterns of enabling, denying and exacerbating each other’s addictions. We are all hurt by the negative consequences, the arrests, accidents, abuse and self-harm. To feed our addiction,Read More

Learning to Feel Our Emotions

The ways in which we handle our emotions are often extremely toxic for our mental, emotional and physical health. Many of us have a very bad habit of suppressing our emotions. We avoid wanting to feel them, so we bury them, distract ourselves from them and deny them. When we suppress our emotions, often it’sRead More

How is Addiction a Family Disease?

Addiction is sometimes referred to as a family disease because it affects everyone in the addict’s life and also because underlying issues and contributing factors are often shared among family members. How does addiction function as a family disease? For some families, addiction is genetic, and we pass the traits onto our children. Families withRead More

Working Through Regret

If we allow it to, regret can totally consume us and the pain of it can contribute to our addictions and depression. Our cycles of addiction can bring us more regret as we accumulate years of self-destructing, making mistakes and hurting other people. Regret can be a bitter poison that eats away at our joyRead More

Handling Feelings of Hopelessness

Addiction, just like depression, can rob us of our hopefulness, our joy and our optimism. We can feel totally stripped of our faith and depleted of our energy. We might have had plans for the future, ambitions we held close to our hearts, things we felt hopeful about. Addiction can take all of that away.Read More

How Can I Talk to My Children About Addiction?

Talking to our children about addiction can be difficult. We might find it awkward or uncomfortable, or worse we might worry we’re putting ideas in our kids’ heads about doing drugs. The unfortunate truth, though, is that children are being exposed to drugs and alcohol at very early ages, from their friends, from marketing, fromRead More

Healing our Inner Demons

The term “inner demons” refers to the issues and worries in our lives, the troubling and distressing thoughts we find ourselves most plagued by. Our inner demons often cause a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress. Sometimes we obsess about them and experience recurring thoughts that we feel consumed by. Our thought patterns can becomeRead More

What Are Warning Signs of Suicidal Tendencies?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Knowing a loved one is suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts is one of the hardest things we can experience. While many people keep their thoughts of suicide to themselves and don’t share them with anyone, thereRead More

Holding onto Shame

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Living with addiction means we’re often holding onto many years’ worth of suppressed emotions. One of the most destructive and debilitating emotions that we hold onto is shame. We all make mistakes and have regrets that weRead More

Reflecting on the Past Year and Looking Ahead

Reflecting on the Past Year and Looking Ahead When we are working to move forward in our recovery, it is so important to look back and reflect on the past so that we can celebrate our successes and take inventory of what we can improve upon. Looking forward to the end of 2018 and theRead More

Why Should I Hold On?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you’re reading this, you might be contemplating suicide. You might feel as though you’ve completely lost hope. You might feel as though your shame is unforgivable and that you’d be better off dead, the pain ofRead More

Fear of the Future

One of the major things holding us back in our growth and recovery is our fear. While some of our fears are conscious and obvious to us, many more are under the surface and stored in our subconscious mind. One of the fears we’re not always aware of is our fear of the future. RecoveryRead More

How Can I Practice Self-Love?

We talk about self-love a lot pertaining to the healing process, but how do we go about actually practicing it? Instinctively we know it’s harmful to hate ourselves. We sense how limiting and destructive it can be when we don’t love ourselves. When it comes to practicing self-love and incorporating it into our daily lives,Read More

Addiction and Separation

When we’re in the grips of addiction, one of the things we’re known to do is distance ourselves from the people trying to help us. We prioritize our addiction, so we push away anything or anyone threatening to get in the way of it. The separation can be especially hard on our loved ones whoRead More

Does My Loved One Need an Intervention?

When our loved one is struggling with addiction, it can feel unbearably painful to watch them as they self-destruct and continually hurt themselves. We might have tried everything we can think of to help them, or we may have felt it was best not to get involved but then felt guilty for feeling like weRead More

The Ways We Hurt Our Loved Ones

Our addictions not only harm us, they also adversely affect our loved ones. Addiction rips apart our lives and the lives of everyone who cares about us. Since we don’t live in isolation, our addiction can touch anyone who has any involvement in our lives. Our partners, friends, family members and co-workers can all beRead More

How Can Mindfulness Help Us Prevent Relapse?

When we are struggling with addiction, we very often have not yet learned the important practice of mindfulness. Our addictive behaviors hinge on our lack of mindfulness. Rather than mindfully dealing with our thoughts and emotions, we bury them under distractions of all kinds. Our drugs and addictive behaviors turn our focus away from ourRead More

The Sacrifices We Make in Recovery

Beginning the recovery process is a demanding and challenging undertaking. We have to be ready to do the rigorous emotional work. We also have to be willing to make certain sacrifices. When we make the ultimate choice that our health and peace of mind are most important to us, there are some things we willRead More

How Does Trauma Impact Our Life Cycles?

When we’ve lived through trauma, we often find ourselves in life cycles where we’re repeating the same patterns and experiencing the same recurring life issues. When we analyze these cycles, we can see just how they were influenced by our trauma. What are some of the ways in which trauma can impact our life cycles?Read More

Confronting Our Trauma

The hardest part of the healing process may be taking the very first step – confronting our trauma. Very often our addictions rely on the denial of our trauma and the avoidance of our pain. We bury our emotions under our addictions to try to escape them. The substances and behaviors we’re dependent upon becomeRead More

How Are We Affected by Trauma?

Many of us experience some kind of trauma in our lives, and we’re all affected differently by it. We each develop unique thought patterns, behaviors, fears and emotional responses that can all be impacted by our trauma. What are some of the ways in which we are affected by our traumatic experiences? Trauma can beRead More

Healing from Trauma

One of the core elements of our recovery process is working to heal from the traumatic experiences we’ve endured in our lives. Our addiction and mental health issues are traumatic in and of themselves, so we’re often attempting to heal from multiple events and issues. This process can be an overwhelming and daunting one, butRead More

Why is Fellowship Important?

Fellowship is a core value for many treatment centers and support groups. Our approach to recovery is based on the premise that we are stronger together, that we are meant to operate in community and partnership with one another, and that we have much to learn from our shared experience. Why is fellowship so importantRead More

Avoiding Toxic People

Recovering from our addictions requires some necessary lifestyle changes to reinforce our goals of sobriety and to keep ourselves on track. There are some elements of our daily lives and our environments that derail our progress and pose a threat to our sobriety. When it comes to our interpersonal relationships, we want to learn toRead More

How is Family Involvement Beneficial to our Recovery?

At Riverside Recovery, we know how important family involvement is to the success of your recovery. To this end, we offer weekly family therapy sessions as well as monthly family workshops. Our goal is to help educate families on the nature of addiction and on ways in which they can help their loved ones, asRead More

Consciously Working Our Program

The vast majority of people struggling with addiction never get the help they need to recover. For those of us who are fortunate enough to get help, we have a powerful opportunity that we should take full advantage of. We might be well served remembering how common it can be to overdose, and what aRead More

How is Self-Expression Important for Recovery?

One of the most damaging things we can do when struggling with addictions and mental health issues is keep our emotions locked away within us. Suppressing our thoughts and feelings can be especially harmful to our mental, emotional and physical health. We can increase our anxiety and stress levels, contribute to our depression, and feedRead More

Bouncing Back from Rock Bottom

Hitting “rock bottom” is a term we give to the experience of reaching our lowest point in our addictions, when we’ve fallen so low we know we can no longer continue this way, when we realize our addictions have become unbearable, and we know we must make a change immediately if we want to survive.Read More

Is Recovery Possible?

Our addictions and mental health issues are constantly feeding us fear-based stories about ourselves, about who we are and what we’re capable of. One of the lies they tell us is that recovery is impossible. We believe we’re too weak, too far gone, too addicted to heal. We feel we’ve made too many mistakes toRead More

Finding Healthy Balance

Dealing with our addictions means confronting all of our unhealthy behaviors, all of the ways in which our addictions have impacted us. Many of us living with addictions have unhealthy relationships with other normal behaviors in our lives, such as eating and sex, things that we don’t necessarily want to quit or abstain from foreverRead More

How Do I Find Alignment?

An important element in the recovery process is that of finding our alignment within ourselves, with our inner power, with our guiding higher power. When we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues, it is so easy to fall out of alignment, to feel lost, misguided and confused. Finding alignment is so necessary toRead More

The Importance of Making Amends

One of the hardest but most important things we can do when in recovery is try to make amends to the people we hurt as a result of our addiction. This can be extremely scary and difficult. We are filled with remorse and regret. We feel embarrassment and guilt for our actions. We feel deeplyRead More

How Can I Recognize Compulsions?

Our compulsions are the behaviors we feel we are unable to control. They can be tied to our addictions, as well as to our anxiety and other mental health issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Sometimes we are conscious of our compulsions. Other times we have yet to become conscious of them and are engagingRead More

Having Gratitude for the Lessons

When we are exploring holistic ways of healing our mental health issues and addictions, gratitude is one that many people find extremely helpful and therapeutic. It can be easy to find gratitude in the good things, in the things that make us happy, but it can be harder to find gratitude in the difficult things.Read More

How Can We Talk to Our Children About Addiction?

Addiction and other heavy subjects can be hard to address with children. Addiction has increasingly become a problem in younger children and adolescents. The same factors that cause adults to develop addictions are present in young people as well. How can we talk to our kids about addiction? A misconception we tend to have isRead More

Growing up with Addiction in the Family

When we witness addiction in our families, we can later find this to be reflected in some of our emotional patterns. Sometimes we ourselves become addicts, but sometimes there are other, less obvious effects. Addiction can create a great deal of turmoil in families. As a result, when we grow up witnessing it, we canRead More

Why Isn’t Willpower Enough to Kick Our Addictions?

One of the biggest misconceptions about addiction is that people struggling with them simply lack the willpower needed to kick their habits, that they are lazy and just haven’t tried hard enough to quit. The truth is there are multiple factors contributing to our addictions, and willpower alone often isn’t enough to work through them.Read More

Every Day is a New Day

Living with addictions and mental health issues can feel like an uphill battle, like a fight we aren’t meant to win. Much of our energy goes to fighting our issues, to the relentless struggle of trying to change, and we find ourselves drained and depleted. We have a tendency to dwell on the mistakes ofRead More

What is Withdrawal and How Can I Get Through it?

Withdrawal is the term given to the wide range of symptoms we can experience when stopping our drug of choice. Many of the symptoms are physical and have to do with our bodies’ intense reactions to withdrawing from the drugs they have become dependent upon. Some of the symptoms are mental and emotional, such asRead More

Why is Balance Important for Recovery?

Balance is one of the hardest things to achieve when we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues. We often are excessive in our habits. We go from one extreme to another. We might go from indulging in our addictive behaviors in reckless ways to isolating ourselves and separating ourselves entirely from the restRead More

The Ways in Which We Use Our Relationships

Many of us struggling with addictions and mental health issues use our relationships in unhealthy ways. This can have a lot to do with our deeper issues, and our relationships and other challenges often mirror each other. What are some of the ways we use our relationships that are similar to how our addictions function?Read More

Why Do We Hide Our Addictions?

When we are living with addictions, even when we are suffering the most, we often try to hide our addictions from other people. We try to keep them a secret from our loved ones and communities. We keep parts of ourselves, whole parts of our lives, hidden from other people. We live in secrecy. SometimesRead More

What are Some Signs a Child Has a Dependence Problem?

Sometimes children develop addictive, compulsive and dependent behaviors long before adulthood, long before the behaviors would be considered to be related to addiction. We associate addiction with adulthood but it can also develop in childhood. What are some signs that children might exhibit indicating they have a dependence problem? One sign is a child askingRead More

Practicing Patience

Those of us living with addictions and mental health issues have often been struggling with these things for many years, if not most of our lives. We can feel depressed about our situations and frustrated with our lack of progress. This can cause us to be impatient with ourselves as we’re trying to recover. ImpatienceRead More

How Do I Hold onto Hope?

When we are struggling with addictions, depression and other mental health issues, one of our greatest challenges can be trying not to give up hope. We feel desperate and hopeless. Our trials feel insurmountable. We feel we’ve damaged our lives, relationships and reputations beyond repair. We feel like we’ll never be able to fix theRead More

Choosing Clarity

Recovering from our addictions and mental health issues involves making important decisions about our wellbeing. It involves deciding that we are worth leaving behind the things causing us pain. It means deciding that we want inner peace. When we are ready to make these decisions, it is often because we have been languishing in confusion,Read More

How Do I Ignore the Stigmas Around Addiction?

The stigmas surrounding addiction can be really hard to ignore and can make us feel even worse about ourselves than we already do. The stigmas tell us that we are weak, lazy people. They tell us we are bad, immoral, promiscuous, dangerous people. They tell us that we’re doomed to fail and that we can’tRead More

Learning About Manic Episodes

Many of us can experience manic episodes, whether or not we’ve been formally diagnosed with mania or bipolar depression. The cycles of addiction can be very similar to those of mania and bipolar depression, anyone can experience them, and they are often related. Being able to recognize manic episodes is important for moving through themRead More

Riverside Recovery: Refuge in Tampa for Those Struggling with Addiction – Tampa WTSP 10 News

Riverside Recovery: Refuge in Tampa for Those Struggling with Addiction – Tampa WTSP 10 News We were recently featured by Tampa WTSP 10 News to talk about our treatment programs and our experience with substance abuse recovery. Two of our core staff members, Dr. Michael Sore, medical director, and Elizabeth Stockton, marketing director, were interviewed.Read More

How Can I Reprogram my Mind to Help Myself Heal?

Our subconscious minds store our emotional information and memory, including our fears, the pain we’ve held onto from trauma, the grief we carry from loss. Even when we consciously want to be free of these things in order to be happy, our subconscious mind, which directs the majority of our thoughts, is holding onto themRead More

How is my Thinking Fueling my Addiction?

Our addictions and mental health issues are often fueled by the destructive, limiting beliefs that we’ve adopted over time and allowed to become our truth. When we experience trauma or loss, we develop fears that inform how we feel about ourselves and how we operate in the world. We are afraid that we are inadequateRead More

Our Recurring Life Patterns and What We Can Learn from Them

When we experience the same patterns recurring in our lives year after year, it is often because we have unhealed wounds and unresolved issues within us trying to get our attention. We are being sent the same lessons over and over until we learn them, and often they come back bigger and heavier each time,Read More

Am I in Denial?

Many of us have a very hard time facing the reality of our addictions. It can be much easier to turn a blind eye to them. Sometimes we are conscious of our addictions and don’t want to admit them to ourselves or to other people. Sometimes we’re not yet conscious of them. We ignore theRead More

Strengthening Our Intuition

We very often ignore and neglect our intuition when we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues. The drugs and relationships have a way of drowning out our inner voice, along with all of the other ways in which we distract ourselves. We are too busy dealing with the conflicts in our tumultuous relationships,Read More

Am I Enabling My Loved One’s Addiction?

It is very easy for us to be in denial about our loved one’s addiction, to be unconscious of it, or even to enable it. The difficulty of addiction can be so overwhelming and so stressful that we want to pretend it isn’t there, sweep it under the rug, or hope the problem will goRead More

Using Fear as a Motivator

Living with addictions and mental health issues can mean we live with fear on a regular basis. Many of us struggle with chronic anxiety, debilitating panic attacks, fear-based obsessions and compulsions, neuroses and phobias. When struggling with addictions, fear can be one of the things that we allow to hold us back the most. WeRead More

How are Codependence and Addiction Related?

Codependence and addiction can be related to one another and can fuel each other. The same patterns we learn that develop into codependence can also lead to addiction, and vice versa. When we are in codependent relationships, we are emotionally dependent upon another person. We look to them for direction on how to feel, whatRead More

Developing Self-Respect

At the root of many of our emotional problems, including our addictions and mental health issues, is a lack of self-respect. We don’t feel we deserve respect from ourselves or from other people. This lack of self-respect manifests as toxic relationships, self-harming behaviors, and self-destructive patterns of addiction and depression. Developing a sense of self-respectRead More

How Can Grounding Help with Addiction?

Our addictions and mental health issues can contribute to our feeling lost, scared and overwhelmed. We can feel as though we are not centered or grounded within ourselves and our lives. We don’t feel safe or secure. We have a hard time being present and embracing the moment. Grounding is a way of reconnecting withRead More

Neglecting Ourselves for the Other Addicts in Our Lives

A common theme many of us share is our tendency to prioritize other addicts in our lives over ourselves. Their struggles become our main concern. We’re more worried about their wellbeing, or lack thereof, than our own. We give them the majority of our time, attention and energy and sacrifice our own needs. We doRead More

What is Smartphone Addiction, and Why is it so Harmful?

Smartphones are a helpful part of developing technology that help us to manage our lives, run our businesses and stay in contact with loved ones. Many of us use our smartphones for various purposes and have come to rely on them. Just like with any other behavior, using smartphones can become addictive, and we canRead More

The Rise of Addiction in Teenagers

Drug and alcohol use in teenagers is on the increase, and there are some key factors in this disturbing trend. Part of the problem is that young people’s brains are still developing, so when they start using drugs and alcohol at an early age they are putting themselves at greater risk for both brain damageRead More

How are Families Affected by Addiction?

When it comes to addiction, the addicts themselves aren’t the only ones affected. Their families and loved ones are also profoundly impacted, sometimes irreparably so. Addiction takes over our lives in various ways, and one of the ways it can be most destructive is how volatile it can make people. Addicts can be hostile, abusive,Read More

Self-Harm: Why We Hurt Ourselves

Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues also have a problem with self-harm – self-destructive behaviors which are linked to our deeper emotional problems and which compound and perpetuate them. We might hit, cut or burn ourselves or otherwise cause ourselves physical harm. We might be emotional cutters, where we are masochisticRead More

Seeing Things from Our Higher Power’s Perspective

One of the ways we can approach our mental and emotional healing is to try to replace our ego-based thinking with the perspective our higher power might see us with. When we are facing difficult challenges, we can ask ourselves how would my spirit view this? What would my higher power say about this? InRead More

Why is Isolation So Bad for Us?

When we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues, many of us have a tendency to isolate ourselves from other people. We retreat from the world and from our loved ones. We stop participating in the things we once enjoyed. We don’t communicate with other people about how we’re doing, and they often worryRead More

Accepting Our Flaws

When it comes to healing from our addictions and mental health issues, we are recovering from many different things, including the negative, self-hating perspectives we have of ourselves. To really love ourselves and heal, we have to learn to accept our flaws and weaknesses. This is one of the hardest things for us to do,Read More

Why Do We Procrastinate on Our Health?

It’s not uncommon for us to know that we have a problem, with drugs, alcohol, another substance, or an addictive behavior or relationship, but avoid dealing with it. We are aware that we have a problem but procrastinate on our health. We postpone making a therapy appointment, researching treatment centers or reaching out for help.Read More

Bingeing and Self-Destruction

Bingeing is commonly misunderstood as being simply an inability to control one’s self or a problem with greed and gluttony. Just like with any addictive or compulsive behavior, there are often deeper meanings behind people’s bingeing. Using food bingeing as an example, bingers will eat long past when they are full, until they are uncomfortable,Read More

How Can I Learn to Embrace my Pain?

When it comes to our pain, our usual and customary response is to want to reject it, remove it from ourselves, and feel it as little as possible. Our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are often the responses we have to our pain when we haven’t learned healthy strategies for coping with it.Read More

Understanding Bullying

We usually associate bullying with mean-spirited children picking on and abusing innocent children, but bullying is a phenomenon that happens with people of all ages, and the principles are the same for both adults and children. Many of us who experience addiction and mental health issues at one time or another have been bullied inRead More

How Can I Have a More Optimistic Outlook?

When we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues, many of us have adopted negative ways of thinking that influence our behaviors, our patterns, our overall energy. How do we change our outlook to be more positive, in order to manifest more of what we want in life? Being optimistic is a habit that,Read More

You Are Not Your Illness

Many of us living with addictions and mental illnesses can find ourselves so consumed with our afflictions that we end up centering our identities around them and creating our lives based upon them. As we recover, we come to see that our illnesses are just one part of us. They don’t have to define allRead More

What Can Celebrities’ Addiction Stories Teach Us?

When celebrities are vocal about their struggles with addiction, there is a lot we can learn from their stories. We are reminded of the realities of human nature and of the extent of our pain, how difficult and debilitating it can be. When a celebrity opens up about addiction, we are reminded that we areRead More

Becoming Aware of Our Stress

Often when we are struggling, we have buried our emotions so far down within ourselves, under our duties and obligations, under the logistics of our daily lives, under our prioritization of other people over ourselves – that we often aren’t conscious when we’re experiencing toxic levels of stress. Stress is a normal part of life,Read More

How Do I Transform My Limiting Beliefs?

When we become more mindful of our self-talk and limiting beliefs, we can start to shift our perception and create healthier, more empowering beliefs about ourselves. This process takes time and practice but is invaluable to our recovery. When we work to believe in ourselves, our potential for healing grows exponentially. Let’s take our limitingRead More

How Do I Discover What My Limiting Beliefs Are?

Many of our addictions and mental health issues are driven, compounded and exacerbated by the limiting beliefs we’ve developed about ourselves. We hold onto them as though they are the truth of who we are. Often they have become so ingrained within us that we can’t separate them from our true selves. They’ve become partRead More

Why Do We Become Addicted to Risky Behaviors?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We can be addicted to any number of things, not only to substances but also to risky behaviors that we engage in compulsively even though we know they endanger us and put us in harm’s way. Why doRead More

Share Your Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou After years of lived experiences both good and bad, we’ve accumulated stories that can be very difficult to face within ourselves, let alone share with other people. We hide our stories and bury them, blocking them out, trying to forget them.Read More

How Do Recovery Meetings Help?

Treatment programs and support groups offer recovery meetings to help in the recovery process. How do they help? When we are in recovery, we often isolate ourselves, out of shame, out of fear of burdening those around us, out of the sheer anxiety of being around other people. Living our stories is hard enough. HavingRead More

How Our Family Dynamics Affect Us

Energetically we are very connected to the families we live with and grew up with. Even if we’ve separated ourselves by space, time and emotional distance, we still share an energetic bond with our family. Their thoughts, emotions and behaviors affect us, and vice versa. Our family dynamics and how we relate to our familiesRead More

Why Do We Relapse?

Addiction recovery is a process, one that for many of us takes the rest of our lives to uphold. Sobriety, or abstinence, or being “clean” are not finite destinations, single points in time and space that we reach and our problems are erased. Recovering from our addictions is not a one-time thing, where we goRead More

How Self-Hate Fuels Addiction

Many of us aren’t aware of just how pervasive and all-encompassing our self-hatred is, as well as how much it can contribute to our addictions. When we struggle with insecurity, jealousy, envy, bitterness, resentment and judgment, very often it is our self-hate that is at the root of all of that. We instinctively try toRead More

Why is it So Hard to Recover Alone?

For those of us struggling with addictions who have tried to recover, we know just how hard it can be. Many of us try to face the recovery process alone. We think that because it is our issue, we should get through it on our own. We feel we’ve burdened the people who care aboutRead More

The Joy of Recovery

When we are in the midst of our struggles with addiction, it can be really hard to see our way out to the other side. We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve given up hope that we will be able to recover, and we’ve lost faith in ourselves. If you’reRead More

How Do We Stop Sabotaging Ourselves?

Because our self-sabotage often comes from our underlying fears of inadequacy and unworthiness, stopping our self-sabotaging behaviors and patterns comes down to changing our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. As part of our healing, we can choose to start seeing our traumatic experiences not as evidence of some kind of failing on our part, butRead More

Finding Emotional Freedom

In our quest to heal from our addictions and mental and emotional health issues, perhaps our greatest goal is to find emotional freedom. What is emotional freedom, and how can we achieve it? A common misconception about emotional healing is that we are trying to replace any negative emotions we feel with positive thinking andRead More

What is Self-Sabotage?

Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues share patterns of self-destructiveness that drive our actions. For many of us, this can occur as self-sabotage. What does this look like, and why do we do it? Self-sabotage can take on many forms – interrupting our healing progress, choosing unhealthy relationships and behaviors, physicalRead More

Seeing the Possibility in Confusion

In times of difficulty when we feel a great sense of confusion, sometimes our instinct is to see our confusion as a negative thing. We feel afraid of it. We think it is working against us. We reject it and want to run from it. Confusion can be very difficult. We can choose to seeRead More

What Happens When We Don’t Feel Heard and Understood?

One of our basic emotional instincts is the need to feel heard, understood and validated by the people around us. We crave safe community within which to be supported and accepted. When we don’t have this, it can greatly impact our mental and emotional health in limiting and destructive ways. Our fears can be reallyRead More

Believing in Our Inner Power

Our addictions and mental health issues can cause us to lose faith in ourselves and to stop believing in ourselves. As we go through the difficult experiences in our lives, we often don’t believe we have the strength to get through them. We can feel hopeless and without direction. We give up on ourselves. WeRead More

How Can I Reframe Things More Positively?

One of our biggest challenges when it comes to addictions and mental health issues is our tendency to think the very worst – about the events and situations in our lives, about our relationships, about ourselves and our lives in general. We see things through a lens of negativity. This can lead not only toRead More

Staying Calm in a Crisis

Living with addictions, depression and other mental health issues means we will inevitably experience difficult moments of crisis in our lives. How we respond to a crisis can determine how we will manage to get through it. We experience conflicts in our relationships, difficult matters related to our health and wellbeing, financial difficulties, and muchRead More

Where Do Our Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Many of us with addictions and mental health issues share in common a tendency to carry within us deeply disempowering limiting beliefs. While everyone’s beliefs are going to be unique to them, there are some limiting beliefs that many of us share – that we’re not good enough, that we are shameful, bad people undeservingRead More

The Miracle of Getting Through Painful Times

Sometimes when we are feeling extremely depressed, struggling with our addictions and going through especially difficult times, we can forget how far we’ve come, how much we’ve survived, how much we’ve already gotten through. The truth is we have already endured and survived so much. We are strong. We are survivors. When we are inRead More

What Happens When We Feel Rejected?

Rejection is a common theme for many of us. At some point in our lives we’ve felt rejected and then internalized that rejection. Many of us whose families separated or experienced any kind of loss developed deeply rooted fears of abandonment, especially if we were abandoned in one way or another, emotionally if not physically.Read More

Stigmas Around Mental Health and Addiction

One of the biggest things preventing people from getting the help they need is the pervasiveness of the stigmas still surrounding mental health and addiction. These stigmas cause us to fear being judged and shunned, so we isolate ourselves and struggle with our challenges alone, in silence. What are some of these stigmas, and howRead More

My Loved One is in Denial About Addiction – What Can I Do?

It can be extremely difficult to handle our loved ones’ denial about their addictions. To us it’s evident they are struggling and need help. We are so worried about them. We fear for their safety and for the safety of the people around them, including ourselves. When they are in denial, they are convinced theyRead More

Giving Ourselves Emotional Space to Heal

Often when we are struggling with addictions, depression and other mental and emotional health issues, we don’t have the space to focus on our healing. Many of us are in relationships that are so consuming that we can’t focus on ourselves, often because they are toxic or abusive. We prioritize our relationships over our ownRead More

What is at the Root of our Compulsions?

Our addictive urges and compulsions can be all-consuming and debilitating. They can drastically interfere with our daily routines. They can deter us from our healing progress. When we aren’t able to stop ourselves from acting on them, we are often filled with sadness, guilt, embarrassment and regret. We feel angry with ourselves. We know ourRead More

Embracing the Moment

When we are struggling with our cycles of addiction and mental health issues, we often have a very hard time being in the present moment. We dwell on the past and worry about the future. We replay things we find bothersome or troublesome. We give a lot of our attention and energy to the thingsRead More

How Can I Be Happy When I’m Struggling?

Our addictions and mental health issues can take over our lives and make us feel like there is nothing to be happy about in life, nothing to redeem us, nothing to look forward to. When we are struggling, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn how to look for theRead More

Pushing Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

When it comes to living with addictions and mental health issues, we can find that our addictive behaviors, relationships and thought patterns become so ingrained within us and so familiar that they, in a way, become comfortable. It can be easier to stay in our comfort zone than to do the difficult work of creatingRead More

Investigating Our Emotional Patterns

Sometimes when we are approaching recovery, it is relatively easy to identify our behavioral patterns. They’re pretty clear and easy to see. We can pinpoint our go-to drugs of choice and addictive behaviors fairly easily. What can sometimes be harder to identify are the emotional patterns underlying our behaviors. These patterns often drive our addictions,Read More

How Do I Stop Feeling Like I’m Not Good Enough?

One thing so many of us share, whether or not we struggle with addictions, is this incessant feeling that we’re not good enough, that we don’t measure up to other people, that we aren’t who or what we wish we were. These limiting beliefs are a part of what connect us as human beings. TheyRead More

Being Honest with Ourselves

Facing the truth of our addictions and mental health issues is one of the most challenging things we’ll ever have to do. It means owning up to our mistakes and the ways we’ve hurt other people and ourselves. It means recognizing our shortcomings and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. It means embracing humility and theRead More

How Can I Start Letting People Help Me?

Many of us living with addictions have a very hard time accepting help. We might be prideful and not want to show our vulnerability by asking for help. We might be afraid that people will judge us as weak, or hold it against us that we needed help. People who we hoped would help usRead More

Releasing Self-Blame

One of the patterns many of us share is our tendency to blame ourselves for our traumatic experiences. Our self-blame causes us to feel deeply ashamed of ourselves, often for things we could not control and that weren’t our fault. We take the blame away from the people and events that traumatized us and putRead More

Can Addiction Start in Childhood?

We often think of addiction as something we face as adults, but when we look back at the development of our addictions over the course of our lives, many of us find that we were beginning our addictive behaviors early on, as children. We can see evidence of our addictions tracing back to when weRead More

Learning to Live with Loneliness

One of the most pervasive emotions we deal with when struggling with our addictions is loneliness. Much of the time we’re trying to avoid feeling lonely and trying to escape our loneliness. We’re afraid to be alone, we’re afraid to feel the painful weight of loneliness, and our go-to coping mechanisms for loneliness are oftenRead More

How Can Writing Help Me in My Recovery?

Living with addictions means dealing with some very intense, very difficult emotions, including the sadness, fear and anger we’ve been carrying for many years. When we don’t have healthy ways of processing our emotions, we often turn to substances and addictive behaviors. Writing can be a powerful way to handle our emotions and is aRead More

What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For those of us living with addictions and mental health issues, we can have times when we are in so much emotional pain and distress that we feel like we want to give up. We struggle withRead More

Should I Seek Treatment?

The decision whether or not to seek treatment for our addictions can be a difficult one. When making the decision, we are often confronting some very real fears- the fear of having to face the reality of our addictions, the fear of being judged by people, all the fears we have about ourselves that we’veRead More

Meditation for Navigating Painful Emotions

When we are struggling with addictions, one of the hardest things we’re dealing with is the abundance of painful emotions we feel on a regular basis. We react to our emotions in unhealthy and self-destructive ways rather than choosing healthy coping mechanisms. Many of us have lived through traumatic experiences which can influence us onRead More

Can I Recover?

When we are in the thick of our addictions, we often can’t see our way out. We’ve lost hope in ourselves and in the possibility of recovery. We feel despair and desperation, and recovery can feel like a distant, impossible ideal that we will never realistically be able to attain. Can we hope to recover?Read More

Separating Ourselves from Toxic Relationships

One of the best things we can do for ourselves in recovery is separate ourselves from the toxic relationships that have been bringing us down. When we are struggling with addiction, we often attract other people also living with addiction. Our relationships are often toxic and destructive, we enable one another’s addictions, and we contributeRead More

Learning How to Handle Our Emotions

Learning how to deal with our difficult emotions is one of the most important things we’ll do in our recovery from addictions and mental health issues. Our tendency when dealing with our challenging emotions is to want to avoid them at all costs. We don’t want to feel the weight of their pain. The painRead More

How Do I Find Inner Peace?

This question is at the root of our healing and recovery. Without inner peace, we can’t really experience true wellness. How do we find inner peace? The process of finding inner peace involves going beyond our pain, beyond our fears, to access that deep part of ourselves that is connected to our spirit and ourRead More

Service as a Tool for Recovery

Often when we are caught in the destructive cycles of our addiction and depression, we lose our sense of self-worth and value in the world. We become stuck in our pain and feelings of worthlessness, and we forget that there are infinite ways we can give back and help other people. Serving others is aRead More

Why Do I Feel So Numb?

When talking about our addictions, we often are dealing with some very difficult and painful emotions. Some of us, though, don’t feel like we understand our emotions or have access to them. We have become so emotionally blocked that we no longer feel anything at all. We have become numb. How does this happen? ManyRead More

Connecting with Our Inner Selves for Recovery

When we are embroiled in our addictions, we very often lose our connection to our inner selves. We lose our sense of identity, purpose and direction in life. We forget who we are. Recovering from our addictions and mental health issues is largely about reconnecting with our inner selves for true healing. To reconnect withRead More

Why Do I Judge Myself So Much?

The tendency towards self-judgment is something many of us share. Those of us struggling with addictions can judge ourselves so harshly and be so critical of ourselves that we feel like we’re our own worst enemies. We might think that we are judging ourselves because we don’t approve of our addictive behaviors, but another wayRead More

Who Am I?

When we have been living with addictions for much of our lives, we can easily lose sight of who we are. Our attachments to substances, behaviors and relationships can cloud our vision, and we lose touch with our identities, our purpose, our connection to our higher power. We can feel like we’ve lost everything. ItRead More

Connection as a Remedy for Addiction

There are many tools to help us in our recovery from addiction, and one of the most powerful ones we can access is that of connection. We very often feel disconnected from other people and from our higher power, making us feel even more alone. How can we develop a sense of connection, and howRead More

Can Therapy Help Me?

Many of us have associations with therapy that are negative, based on our past experiences or on cultural stereotypes around therapy. We may have had an experience with a therapist that made us hesitant to try therapy again. We might have heard other people discount therapy as being useless and a waste of time andRead More

Setting Intentions for Recovery

Often when we are thinking about recovery, we don’t know where to start. We think of recovery as an overwhelming process and don’t know how to go about it. To help us work on our recovery, let’s set some intentions for ways we can implement healing in our lives. Reach Out We very often wantRead More

What Does it Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

Many of us living with addictions also identify as having addictive personalities. What does this mean, and how do you know if this applies to you? When we have healthy ways of coping with life’s challenges, we can handle our emotions in productive ways. We have emotional independence, and we feel strong in our abilityRead More

Facing Our Fears

Our addictions, depression and mental health issues are very often manifestations of our fears. The inner pain we feel about our fears can develop into many of the emotional challenges we face, such as our addictive behaviors and toxic thought patterns. Sometimes we focus our recovery on stopping our behaviors, because it is in thoseRead More

How Can I Learn to Appreciate My Story?

Each of us has a unique story, full of the lessons we’ve learned, challenges we’ve faced and experiences we’ve had. Sometimes when we’ve struggled with addictions, we have a very hard time looking back at our life story. We are overcome with embarrassment, shame and disappointment with ourselves. We carry so much remorse and regretRead More

Developing Emotional Resilience

Those of us living with addictions and mental health issues can find ourselves struggling with emotional overwhelm – feeling anxious, overly worried and frightened when challenges arise. As part of our recovery process, we can work to increase our emotional resilience by adopting a few changes to how we go about handling things. For one,Read More

What Are My Emotions Trying to Tell Me?

Those of us struggling with addictions have a tendency to want to ignore our emotions and avoid feeling them because they can be painful and difficult to cope with. Our addictive behaviors are very often what we use to try to escape our emotions, but when we can look at them closely and figure outRead More

Self-Empowerment for Recovery

When we are working to heal from our addictions and mental health issues, we often carry within us limiting beliefs that we’ve developed over the course of our lives that tell us we aren’t strong, powerful or capable. We believe that our illnesses mean we are weak. We believe we don’t have the power toRead More

How Do I Know When I’ve Hit Rock Bottom?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). When we use the term “rock bottom,” we’re referring to that point we reach in our addiction where we simply can’t go any further. The pain of our addiction has become unbearable, life has become unmanageable, and weRead More

Healing from an Inadequacy Complex

Many of us living with addictions, depression and other mental health issues also suffer from deeply rooted fears that we are inadequate or not good enough. These fears can be so deeply ingrained within us that they become thought disorders. When we are struggling with an inadequacy complex, it can make recovering from our addictionsRead More

Accepting Ourselves and Our Addictions

One of the most significant moments in our addiction journey is when we are able to come to terms with our addictions for the first time. Accepting that we are addicts and all that that means for our lives can bring up a whole range of emotions. We often are in such denial about ourRead More

How is Grief Related to Addiction?

The more we learn about ourselves and our addictions, the more we come to see that our addictions are very often our attempts to escape the pain within us that overwhelms us and that we feel is unbearable. One of the sources of our pain that many of us share is that of grief. OurRead More

Embracing the Idea of Emotional Freedom for Recovery

Many of us living with addictions and depression have been living under the weight of our emotional challenges for most of our lives. We feel sadness and fear on a regular basis. We feel ashamed, and we often hate ourselves. When we think of recovery, we might think of it as this impossible, insurmountable ordealRead More

Confronting Our Unhealthy Behaviors

As we are working to recover from our addictions and mental health issues, one of the things we will inevitably have to face are the unhealthy, self-destructive, harmful behaviors we have developed over the course of our lives. We are often in denial about our behaviors, have yet to become conscious of them, or areRead More

Why is Friendship Important in Recovery?

Many of us living with addictions isolate ourselves from our loved ones, for various reasons. Sometimes we can’t invest in our friendships because we don’t have the emotional energy or strength to, from battling our addictions day in and day out. Sometimes we retreat from other people because we’re afraid of being judged by them.Read More

Sit with the Pain in Order to Heal It

Our addictions, depression and other mental health issues are often manifestations of our resistance to our pain, the ways in which we try to run from it, hide from it, bury it, avoid it or escape it. Healing on a deep level means being able to face our pain, to sit with it and withstandRead More

I Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol, But Am I an Addict?

Addiction is most commonly associated with a dependence on drugs and alcohol, but any substance or behavior can become addictive. Any time our reliance on something becomes problematic for us and causes us distress, we can consider it to be an addiction. Do you find yourself worrying about your use or behavior? Does it causeRead More

Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

As we do the work to figure out our unhealthy behaviors, patterns and coping mechanisms, we can also be creating new healthy ways to cope that are self-affirming rather than self-destructive. We’ve created coping strategies over the years to deal with our trauma, our woundedness and our fears, but these strategies not only don’t healRead More

How Can I Calm My Thoughts?

One of our biggest challenges when dealing with the stress of addiction, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, is our overactive minds and how much our thoughts race. We often think that there is nothing we can do about this and that we can’t control our thoughts, but with some practice and some helpfulRead More

How Can I Face My Fear of Getting Help?

Many of us share the fear of reaching out for help in our recovery. When we are still caught in the cycles of our addictions, we often aren’t ready to take the steps needed to stop those cycles. We’re afraid of the withdrawal symptoms, the painful emotions of losing the substance or person we’re attachedRead More

Our Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

One way to understand our addiction, depression and other mental health issues is to see that they are essentially the unhealthy coping mechanisms we’ve developed in response to our emotional pain. Very often we don’t understand why we struggle the way we do, why we’re suffering so much. While we’re in the midst of ourRead More

Why is it Important to Have Patience with Myself?

When we are working towards recovery, it is often after years of suffering with addictions, depression and other mental health issues. Oftentimes we’ve been struggling so long we feel fed up. We want to feel better as quickly as possible, which is totally understandable, but sometimes we are impatient with ourselves in recovery which canRead More

Supporting our Loved Ones in Recovery

Supporting our loved ones through their recovery process can be incredibly challenging for us, whether or not we ourselves struggle with addictions. Each recovery process is different and unique to the individual, but there are some things we can do to support our loved ones as they recover. Listen When it comes to addiction recovery,Read More

Why is Fun Important in Recovery?

Living with addictions and mental health issues presents us with some very difficult challenges, and an important part of recovery is discovering ways to find enjoyment in our lives again. We often neglect our happiness and stop doing the things we love. We think we don’t deserve to be happy because of our shame andRead More

Making Peace with the Past

Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues have a hard time letting go of our pasts. We carry the weight of our traumatic experiences. We struggle to forgive our mistakes. We dwell on our regrets. We cling to our shame and embarrassment. We tend to be emotionally self-destructive rather than self-protective, oftenRead More

How Do I Actually Learn to Love Myself?

When we talk about self-love, it can feel like a foreign concept that we don’t know how to apply to our lives. How can we actually learn to love ourselves? In what tangible ways can we implement self-love in our lives? How can we incorporate self-love into our healing and our recovery process? Self-Acceptance ARead More

How Acceptance Can Help Us Heal

Many of us with addictions and mental health issues have a tendency to resist our pain rather than accept it. We have developed such a resistance over the years, often unconsciously, that we are giving our painful thoughts and emotions even more power over us. When we can learn to accept them, we are ableRead More

How Can Self-Love Help Me Get Better?

Of all the healing tools we develop in our recovery process, self-love might be the most important. Self-love is the active process of giving ourselves love, accepting ourselves unconditionally, and respecting ourselves. Self-love is offering ourselves compassion, understanding and forgiveness. When we love ourselves, we set ourselves up for a greater chance of recovery. Self-loveRead More

Developing Emotional Independence

Many of us with addictions and mental health issues find ourselves in codependent relationships, and we often are emotionally dependent on the other people in our lives. We base our emotions and moods on other people’s and are emotionally susceptible to their changing feelings. As part of our recovery, we can choose to develop ourRead More

Why is Self-Love Important for Recovery?

Many of us living with addictions and mental health issues believe on a fundamental level that we are inadequate, that we are unworthy, that we are undeserving of happiness. We believe we are unlovable because deep down we don’t love ourselves. These beliefs are often what drive us to try to escape our pain withRead More

How Nature Can Support Us in Our Recovery

Many of us live in cities without much regular access to the natural world. This separation from nature is known to contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues and is sometimes referred to as Nature Deficit Disorder. Spending time in nature, even in small amounts, can be wonderfully beneficial to our healing andRead More

How Can I Calm My Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues we face when living with addiction. When we learn ways to manage our anxiety, we have more control over our daily lives, and we are better able to navigate the many challenges that come with mental and emotional health difficulties. Anxiety is essentially our innerRead More

Common Signs of Addiction

Many people living with addictions go to great lengths to hide their behaviors from other people. They find ways to normalize their behaviors and minimize their addictions to keep others from suspecting how serious their issues really are. Addicts will sometimes need their drug of choice or compulsion in order to cope. They might useRead More

How Can I Become My Own Best Friend?

When we are living with addictions and mental health issues, we are often our own worst enemy and harshest critic. We adopt the voice of our inner demons and forget that they aren’t our true self. We live in fear rather than self-love. How can we change our inner voice to be our own bestRead More

Self-Acceptance as a Practice

Coming to accept ourselves is a process, and it takes time, practice and patience. We’ve grown so accustomed to hating parts of ourselves, wishing certain things about us were different, feeling ashamed of certain things about ourselves. When we’re in recovery, we’re actively working to process our addictions and mental health issues, all of ourRead More

What Can I Do When an Urge or Compulsion Hits?

When we are faced with an addictive urge or compulsion, there are other things we can do that are healthier and more self-protective. The more we practice giving our energy to these other healthier things, the more we’ll develop them as coping mechanisms that we can use to help us recover from our addictions. JournalRead More

Healing Our Wounded Inner Child

When we talk about trauma and healing, we often use the term “inner child,” which represents our childhood self. Our inner children are a part of who we are. We don’t leave them behind in the past as we get older. They stay within us. We carry their hurts and wounds with us. Our traumaRead More

How Can I Overcome Addictive Urges and Compulsions?

Mindfulness can be an invaluable tool in our recovery from addictive urges and compulsions in that it allows us to bring our conscious awareness to our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. When we are in the grips of addiction and depression, we very often are not conscious on a deep level of what we’re experiencing. We’reRead More

Working with Affirmations to Heal Anxiety

When we are most anxious, we tend to let our thoughts run out of control, often without realizing it. We believe that we don’t have control over our minds and that we are powerless over them. We create beliefs around this powerlessness which actually work against us, but we can work to consciously direct ourRead More

How are Addiction and Mental Health Issues Related?

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Many of us struggling with addictions are also living with mental health issues, and vice versa. Oftentimes we aren’t aware of the connections between the two. Many of us don’t have a deep personal understanding of why we’re strugglingRead More

Suppressing Our Emotions

One of the worst things we can do for ourselves is suppress our emotions. When we don’t allow our emotions to flow in healthy ways, we create blockages within us that can cause us tremendous amounts of pain. Our emotions are a significant part of who we are, and when we don’t allow ourselves toRead More

What Am I Running From?

Often when we are caught in our addictions, we haven’t yet gotten to the point where we are clear on what exactly it is we are running from that is fueling our addictions. We are obsessed with our drugs of choice, our addictive relationships and our compulsive behaviors. These things are on the surface ofRead More

Finding Sources of Strength in Recovery

When we are struggling with our addictions and mental health issues, we very often aren’t tapped into our inner strength to guide us. We feel powerless in dealing with our challenges. Along our path to recovery, however, we find sources of strength that help us to believe in ourselves and our recovery, that remind usRead More

What Do I Have to Look Forward to in Recovery?

Sometimes when we are in the midst of the cycles of our addictions, we are afraid of recovery because we think we can’t live without our addictive substances and behaviors. We associate recovery with painful withdrawal and abstinence. We dread recovery. We can choose instead to focus our energy on all the wonderful parts ofRead More

Limiting Beliefs of Addiction

Our beliefs are the thought patterns that we choose to give our energy to, that over time become instilled in us. Our limiting beliefs about ourselves are the beliefs that disempower us, that hold us back, that chip away at our self-worth and self-esteem. We form our identities around these beliefs. We stop believing inRead More

How Can I Heal My Inner Demons?

Many of us with addictions and mental and emotional health issues have “inner demons” we wrestle with, that cause us extreme mental and emotional distress over the years. Our inner demons are the difficult thoughts, emotions and beliefs we’ve developed, that can often morph into obsessions, complexes, neuroses and phobias. They are what keep youRead More

Healing Our Suicidal Thoughts

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Living with suicidal thoughts, ideation and urges is one of the hardest, most painful things we’ll experience in dealing with our addictions, depression and other mental health issues. For many of us,Read More

Why Am I Afraid to Get Help?

Many of us struggling with addictions are afraid to get help. Wherever we are in the timeline of our stories, the fear of getting help often holds us back from recovery. For many of us, we have become complicit and comfortable in our addictions. We’re afraid of being pushed out of our comfort zones. SometimesRead More

True Recovery is Inner Peace

We often think of recovery as abstaining from our drugs of choice and addictive behaviors. It might serve us to think of our recovery as being deeper than that. Inner peace is the foundation for lasting happiness, and chances are that when we make abstinence our goal without also prioritizing inner peace, we will alwaysRead More

How Can I Create a Healthy Self-Image?

Many of us suffer from low self-esteem, and our addictions, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to it, compound it and exacerbate it. The self-image we’ve created for ourselves is often tainted by our fears of inadequacy, unworthiness and inferiority. We’re afraid that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, thatRead More

How Can I Heal From Shame?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Shame is one of the most painful and debilitating emotions we can feel, and it can be a huge factor in our addictions, depression and other mental health issues. How can we heal from shame and forgiveRead More

Shame and Self-Destructiveness

One of the most damaging and painful emotions that we experience as human beings is shame. Most of us feel guilt for the ways in which we’ve hurt other people, for the mistakes we’ve made, and for the wrongdoings we regret. This is normal. It tells us that we have a conscience, that we haveRead More

Why Am I So Self-Destructive?

Underneath our addictions and mental health issues, many of us will find that our troubling thoughts and behaviors point to a common theme – self-destructiveness. Why are we so self-destructive? Why do we engage in risky and dangerous behaviors even when we know they aren’t healthy for us? Why do we self-harm? Why do weRead More

Daily Gratitude Practice for Healing and Happiness

Many of us have developed thought patterns that repeatedly flood us with the thoughts we most associate with fear and sadness. It can feel like we’re drowning in our emotional pain. One way to transform these vicious mental cycles is to consciously choose to focus on gratitude. Oftentimes when we are suffering, we have comeRead More

How Can Gratitude Help Me With my Addiction, Depression and Anxiety?

Many of us living with addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues develop certain thought patterns that can contribute to our challenges and exacerbate them over time. We form these thought patterns by continually, habitually choosing to focus our attention on certain thoughts. When we are in the midst of our cycles of addictionRead More

Gratitude Practice for Forgiveness

One thing many of us share is a history of trauma. Our traumatic experiences can affect us deeply and can contribute to our addictions, depression and other mental health issues. As we are healing from our trauma, we might find ourselves still angry with the people who hurt us. We might feel we are unableRead More

How Can I Start Believing in Myself More?

Those of us living with addictions and mental health issues often share in common belief systems based on low self-esteem and shame. We believe we are inadequate and inferior to other people. We believe that we are a failure, that the mistakes and regrets of our past dictate who we are. We believe that weRead More

Finding the Joy of Our Hearts

Finding true joy means discovering what brings us peace, fulfillment and satisfaction. Joy is not dependent upon external conditions or our current circumstances. It doesn’t only reside in the things we do or have done, but also in who we are as individuals, in what lies in our hearts and souls. We can lose ourselvesRead More

How Can I Find my Joy?

Joy is an energy source within us that we can tap into at any time. Joy is what makes our souls come alive and our hearts sing! Joy is different from happiness in that it is not based on our current circumstances. We can find a joy that is unconditional and then access it regardlessRead More

Riverside Recovery Hosts Pam Bondi Opioid Presser

Riverside Recovery of Tampa was honored to host Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at our facility on Tuesday, May 15th, where she announced the state’s lawsuit against large pharmaceutical producers and distributors of prescription opioids like OxyContin, Dilaudid, and Percocet. Announcing her lawsuit at a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center like Riverside Recovery ofRead More