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How Can We Teach Our Children to Express Their Emotions?

One of the things we learn as recovering addicts is just how harmful it can be to deny and suppress our feelings. The more we avoid feeling our difficult emotions, the harder they become to deal with, and we develop coping mechanisms that often coincide with, or develop into, addictive patterns. Many of us feelRead More

Self-Discovery for Recovery

We can truly start to heal and grow when we learn about ourselves. Self-discovery is the road to self-knowledge, empowerment, and inner peace. Here’s how it can enhance our recovery journeys.  Our recovery work is multilayered and multifaceted, and what it all boils down to, ultimately, is a process of self-discovery. We don’t always viewRead More

Wellness Tools in Recovery

It’s so important to have a set of wellness tools for our recovery and lives. Here, we take a look at the importance of mindfulness and self-expression.  Part of our recovery work is learning new coping skills and adding wellness tools to our mental and emotional health toolbox. Often when struggling with addiction and mentalRead More

Florida’s PRN and IPN Programs

Taking a look at the Impaired Practitioners Programs in the state of Florida. Healthcare providers need care, too. The state of Florida has two Impaired Practitioners Programs: Professionals Resource Network (PRN), and Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN). The PRN and its medical director work with the Department of Health and the Department of Business andRead More

Insurance Coverage and Substance Abuse

Worrying about the cost of recovery programs can be a huge source of stress. Thankfully, most insurance plans cover the cost of treatment.  One of our biggest concerns as recovering addicts, one that can cause us a lot of stress, worry, and anxiety, is how we will cover the cost of our recovery treatment program.Read More

How Are Individualized Treatment Plans Helpful?

When we enter treatment, we’re beginning a recovery journey that will be multi-faceted, with multiple different components to help us heal fully and holistically. One of the most helpful elements that many recovery programs offer is individualized treatment plans. With all the different approaches to recovery, not everything is going to work for everyone. SomeRead More

How to Handle a Drug or Alcohol Related Arrest

Discussing the stress of being arrested for a drug or alcohol-related offense. Here are some tips and ways to use it as an opportunity for growth. Being arrested for a drug or alcohol-related crime is an especially stressful situation that many of us experience. The arrest itself can be embarrassing and cause us a greatRead More

Humility, Pride, and Recovery

Humility teaches us that we have a lot to learn from others and it’s okay to accept help. Pride closes us off to other people and ourselves. Here’s why it’s important to drop the pride and embrace humility in recovery.  Part of our recovery work involves shedding certain personality traits and character defects as weRead More

Finding the Best Recovery Program

There’s a lot to think about when making the decision to enter treatment. Here are a few things to consider.  When we’re truly ready to do the work to recover, it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed in the search for the best treatment facility to meet our needs. The process can be daunting, scary,Read More

How Can Dissociation Impact Our Recovery?

Sometimes when we dissociate, or numb and detach ourselves from our pain, we’ve detached from certain truths and not others. Sometimes we can be fully aware of the extent of our addictions, and even of our mental health issues, but the reality of it all is just too much for us to bear. We feelRead More

How Does Dissociation Relate to Our Addictions? 

Dissociation is one of the many mental health patterns we can develop, especially after we’ve endured crippling trauma, grief, loss, and other painful experiences. Dissociation can lead to habitual behavioral patterns that we often aren’t conscious of but that can become our default habits. It can morph into anxiety disorders or identity/personality disorders. Dissociation refersRead More

How Can Loss Affect Our Recovery?

 As recovering addicts, we’re no strangers to loss. We’ve lost loved ones to their addictions. We’ve damaged and lost relationships because of our problems with addiction. We’ve experienced a great deal of tragedy, trauma, and grief related to addiction in our lives. The losses we’ve sustained can play a huge role in our recovery, bothRead More

Positive vs. Negative Thinking

When we obsess over positive thinking, it’s easy to forget the lessons that our difficult thoughts have to teach us. Let’s learn the healing power of negative and positive thinking. It’s all about how we work through it. The importance of positive thinking is fundamental in our recovery from addiction and mental illness. We learnRead More

SMART Recovery

Exploring the goals, beliefs, and philosophy of SMART Recovery, which offers support and independence to those of us in recovery. SMART Recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a network of addiction recovery support meetings that help people find independence from their addictive behaviors. Their focus is on abstinence, self-empowerment, and personal freedom from anyRead More

Custody Battles and Addiction

Custody battles can be an extremely painful time. It’s necessary to gather the tools we’ve learned in recovery and remain calm and sober during these trying times. Many of us struggling with addiction are also grappling with the difficulties of divorce. One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is a custody battle. These canRead More

Our Lasting Regrets

Painful memories and feelings of remorse can drag us down. When we start talking about them, they start to lose their power over us and true healing begins. We come to associate our addictions with the many things we regret. These regrets might include the ways in which we’ve hurt the people we care about,Read More

Addiction and Job Opportunities

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Exploring the difficult feelings that arise when we’re unable to find work and finding hope for a new career and future. One of our greatest challenges when in recovery can be finding a job, especially if we’ve lost ourRead More

Why Do We Use Denial as a Coping Mechanism?      

Denial, often considered the very first stage of addiction recovery, is also one of our go-to coping mechanisms. It is a form of emotional suppression, and we deny not only the traumas we’ve experienced but also the various feelings we’ve accumulated over the years related to those traumas, causing ourselves considerable mental and emotional suffering.Read More

Being Pressured into Relapse

It can be difficult to withstand pressure from friends who are actively using. It’s necessary to employ the resources in our recovery toolbox and self-care in order to avoid relapse.  When we’ve done the hard work of getting sober, one of the most disheartening and depressing things we can experience is a relapse. We’ve workedRead More

Why Should We Address Our Own Abusiveness? 

Part of our work in recovery is taking inventory of the ways in which we’ve harmed other people, what mistakes we’ve made, and how we’ve impacted our relationships in order to make amends as part of our healing journey. Sometimes this part of the process can be extremely difficult for us. We’re afraid of beingRead More

What is Emotional and Behavioral Relapse?

When we think of relapse, we think of falling back into our addictive patterns and picking up our drug of choice again after working so hard to get sober. We think of the temptation, addictive urges, and compulsive behaviors we associate with it. There are in fact other ways to relapse that don’t necessarily involveRead More

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure holds us back from our true potential. Sometimes, we’re truly afraid of success. It’s time to start believing in ourselves and overcoming our fears.  Sometimes we sabotage our recovery efforts not simply because we’re dependent upon our drugs of choice and have a hard time giving them up, but because deep downRead More

How Can I Stop Feeling So Disappointed in Myself?

One of our most persistent emotions when struggling with addiction is the disappointment we feel in ourselves. We’ve relapsed after working so hard to get sober. We’ve let down our friends and family. We’ve hurt the people we care about, we might be having a hard time making amends, and we’ve accumulated a long listRead More

Addiction and Negative Body Image

Many of us who suffer from addiction also experience body image issues, often perpetuated by mainstream media. This is a look into the painful causes of body image issues and the importance of embracing radical self-love. As we know, our addictions are often accompanied by mental illnesses, and they are connected and linked to oneRead More

Is It Helpful to Stay in Touch with Our Treatment Center?

When we’re in recovery, it’s important to give thought to planning our after-care regimen. We don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that our work is done once we’ve finished treatment. In fact, our recovery journey is lifelong, and we’ll want to bolster our recovery with as much support and as many resourcesRead More

What Our Obsessive Thoughts Have to Teach Us

Obsessive thoughts are painful and consuming. However, if we tune into what they’re truly trying to say, we stand to learn a lot about ourselves and our addictions.  Many of us with addiction and mental illness struggle with obsessive thinking, and it can be debilitating and painful, to say the least. We might obsess endlesslyRead More

Empty Affirmations

Our positive affirmations might not work if we doubt their healing power. Here’s how to turn empty affirmations into powerful healing tools. One of the holistic healing tools prescribed most often is the act of repeating affirmations, which are statements and mantras that can work to reprogram our subconscious minds. We’re taught the importance ofRead More

When We Replace Our Addictions with Unhealthy Anxiety Responses

It’s common to replace one addictive behavior with another. This is a dive into some unhealthy anxiety responses and ways to avoid them.  Sometimes in recovery, we find that we’re ultimately replacing one addiction with another, and using unhealthy coping strategies for our anxiety to replace our addictive drugs of choice. We might stop drinkingRead More

The Need for Self-Expression

A look at the various ways addiction can impact modes of self-expression. Recovery helps us realize how important creativity and expression truly are.  Our struggles with addiction and mental health issues can cause us to stifle parts of ourselves that were once integral to our lives. We suppress certain qualities or interests out of painRead More

How is the Idea of Fearlessness Harmful?

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). As we’re working to get stronger, and as we’re healing ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually, some of our most challenging work revolves around our fears and how we deal with them. Upon examining our addictive patterns more closely, manyRead More

Recovery for Loved Ones of Addicts

Recovery is not just for addicts. It’s important that we look at our own health and well-being and find recovery, healing, and peace.  When our loved ones are struggling with addiction, we obviously have the desire to help them. It’s so difficult to see the people we care about in pain. However, it’s easy toRead More

Can a Recovery Coach Help Me?

Our recovery program can include multiple components to help us get well, and one that is growing in popularity is working with a recovery coach. Our treatment usually includes therapy, most commonly psychotherapy, traditional talk-therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapies. As treatment centers are taking on even more holistic approaches to recovery, they’re incorporating recovery coachesRead More

Why is it So Common to Lose Friends in Recovery?

There are countless challenges we face in recovery, and one of the hardest for many of us is the fact that we end up losing friendships that were very important to us. Why is losing friends such a common part of recovery for so many of us? There are many different reasons why this canRead More

Accessing the Deeper Meanings of Our Recovery

Sobriety is just one aspect of the recovery journey. Here’s a look at the wisdom and the lessons that recovery offers.  As we recover from addiction, we come to find that sobriety doesn’t just mean abstinence from our substance of choice, it’s also about developing a closer relationship with ourselves and searching for deeper truthRead More

Conscious Enlightenment and Recovery

Exploring some of the deep energetic possibilities that exist after we embrace sobriety. When we raise our consciousness, get to know ourselves and the universe, and remain open, the possibilities are endless.  The farther into our healing journey we go, the more we realize that recovery opens us up to deep and meaningful self-exploration thatRead More

How Can We Use Grounding to Offset Anxiety?

Those of us struggling with addiction and mental health issues are no strangers to experiencing intense and sometimes debilitating anxiety. We might suffer from anxiety attacks, panic attacks, eating disorders, insomnia, and other anxiety-related issues. We might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is an anxiety disorder that causes us painful obsessive thinking and/or compulsions. WeRead More

When We’re Paralyzed By Feeling Overwhelmed

Sometimes, it can all feel like too much. Breaking things down into small, manageable steps is one simple way to feel less overwhelmed and more empowered. Our addictions and mental health issues can be so debilitating, painful, and overwhelming that we don’t know how to cope with them or how to help ourselves. We canRead More

Signs of Anxiety in Young People

Taking a closer look at signs of anxiety in children, as well as the importance of listening to and communicating with the young people in our lives. When young people are struggling with anxiety, they very often won’t verbalize it. Instead, they might display other signs that appear unrelated but are actually their way ofRead More

Why is After-Care Support Important?

Sometimes as we’re finishing up treatment, we can become convinced that we’ll be able to stay sober easily because of how successful we’ve been with our sobriety so far. We feel confident and self-assured. We have faith in ourselves and our recovery. Unfortunately, sometimes our excitement can cause us to feel a premature sense ofRead More

The Pain of Our Secrets

Holding onto secrets is painful. Here’s why it’s so important to let go, speak our truth, and accept support.  When we abuse an addictive substance or behavior, it is often to try and escape some form of pain we have buried within us. For many of us, this pain lies in the secrets we’re keeping.Read More

What Are Some Specialized Court Programs?

Our criminal justice system has developed multiple different court programs to help offenders find more lasting and holistic approaches to their criminal problems than just punishment. Some of these programs include drug courts, veteran treatment courts, and problem-solving courts. There are thousands of examples found all over the country, with multiple different organizations involved inRead More

Lacking Connection

Many of us lack that special feeling of connection. Here’s why it’s so important to feel connected to yourself, a higher power, and your community in recovery and beyond.  Many of us struggle to understand the causes of our addictions and why our mental and emotional health has suffered so much. We know we haveRead More

How is The Florida Model of Addiction Recovery Different?

The state of Florida is known for having more cases of addiction and more recovery programs than anywhere else in the country. Given that there is such a high concentration of treatment centers in a relatively small geographic area, Florida is known as the recovery capital of the country. There have emerged some very well-knownRead More

Why is Recovery a Lifelong Process?

Addiction recovery is a complicated journey for many of us, one that lasts long after we’ve finished treatment and continues for the rest of our lives. We find, especially after relapsing, that we have to stay diligent with ourselves about staying on track with our sobriety. It’s not something we can become complacent about. WeRead More

What is the Minnesota Model of Addiction Recovery?

While each treatment program has a different and unique approach to addiction recovery, there are specific models that have become well-known standards for addiction treatment, the “Minnesota” is one that is known for being quite effective in helping people recover from addiction and reclaim their lives. Abstinence  The Minnesota model, also commonly referred to asRead More

Riverside Recovery to be Featured on A&E’s Docuseries “Addiction Unplugged”

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans need our help. Riverside Recovery’s VALOR program specializes in treating veterans who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues.  Riverside Recovery is a comprehensive recovery treatment center serving people struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health issues.Read More

Cries for Help

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Crying out for help can look very different, depending upon the person and circumstance. Here’s why it’s so important to listen. In recovery, many of us have a hard time verbalizing that we need help. We might not evenRead More

Catalysts for Recovery

Sometimes throughout our struggles with addiction, we experience certain events that act as catalysts for our recovery, that impact us so strongly we feel we have no choice but to get clean. For many of us, these catalysts can be the painful wake-up calls we needed to finally prioritize our sobriety. They often come afterRead More

Family Medical Leave Act vs. Short-Term Disability 

For those of us struggling with addiction and all of the medical issues therein, including needing time for detox and recovery treatment programs, we have certain options when it comes to taking time off from work. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Short-Term Disability benefits are similar in that they offer us flexibility withRead More

What Are Some Ways We Conceal Our Addictions?

For many of us, our addictive patterns are something we try our hardest to conceal from the people in our lives. We don’t want them to worry about us. We don’t want them to judge us. Very often we don’t want them to try and force us to get help, because chances are we’re notRead More

Staying Sober Around the Holidays 

Maintaining our sobriety is always a challenge, but it can be uniquely so during the holidays because we tend to associate holiday celebrations with using our drug of choice, and we create holiday rituals around it. Our drug use becomes an important pastime for us and is linked to how we spend time with lovedRead More

What Happens When We Feel Supported? 

Many of us struggling with addiction, unfortunately, have grown accustomed to not feeling supported in our daily lives, around our addictions and mental health issues, and pertaining to the intense issues and deep pain we’re experiencing. We’re used to our loved ones telling us to just snap out of our depression or to calm downRead More

How to Interact with Old Drinking Friends 

One of the many challenges of sobriety is determining how to handle the relationships that were important to us in the past and navigating the dynamics within those relationships. It can be confusing and stressful trying to figure out how to interact with old friends and loved ones, particularly if they are still using ourRead More

How Can I Hold Onto Hope?

As we’re working to recover, it’s impossible to feel hopeful and optimistic all the time. We’re bound to have times when we feel hopeless, pessimistic, even cynical. We’re going to experience feeling down on ourselves, afraid, defeated and self-doubting. How hopeful we are about our recovery often determines how successful we ultimately are. If we’reRead More

Loneliness as a Trigger in Recovery 

As recovering addicts, we know that certain emotions can be especially triggering for us, emotions we’re particularly sensitive to, that make us feel increasingly depressed or anxious, that make us want to seek comfort and relief in our drugs of choice. For many of us, one of the strongest of these emotions is the lonelinessRead More

Staying Connected to Treatment as Alumni

As alumni of addiction recovery treatment programs, we sometimes have a tendency once we’ve completed treatment to disconnect from the program that helped us to achieve sobriety. We often don’t want to stay connected for various reasons, many of which have a lot to do with our inexperience with sobriety. Sometimes we assume that becauseRead More

What Can We Do When We Feel Paralyzed by Fear? 

Fear has a way of overtaking us and making such an impact on our lives that we feel there’s nothing we can do anything about it. Our fears contribute to our mental health issues such as our depression and anxiety, and they become these invisible but totally debilitating, overpowering, destructive forces in our lives. WeRead More

What Does Patience Have to Do With Resilience?

When we’re struggling with addiction, as with any other challenge, we sometimes have a tendency to rush to the finish line, to want to reach our end goal as quickly as possible. We’re tired of the struggle and want to finally experience success. We want to feel the relief of having finally finished. Seeing ourRead More

Discovering Our Life’s Mission 

One of the hardest parts of recovering from addiction and mental illness is trying to come to terms with how unfulfilled we’ve felt all these years, how disconnected we’ve become from our inner selves, and how much we feel we’ve strayed from our life’s purpose. We don’t feel we have a clear sense of ourRead More

Al-ATot and Al-ATeen Programs for Children

Young people living with adults struggling with addiction, face unique challenges, many of which are rarely addressed because, as we know, there is often a culture of silence, shame, avoidance and denial surrounding addiction. The Al-ATot and Al-ATeen programs are designed for these children who might not be able to discuss their parents’ or caregivers’Read More

How Can I Stop Letting Mental Illness Define Me? 

For those of us struggling with mental illness, we have a tendency to allow our mental health issues to define us and to let the stigmas around mental illness control our lives. We craft our identities around our struggles with illness. They become the foundation for our self-perception. They taint our self-image and our feelingsRead More

How Can We Restore Our Motivation When We’re Feeling Defeated?

The recovery process brings with it some intense mental and emotional challenges, many of which can be hard to contend with and can make the work we’re doing that much harder. One of these challenges is how defeated we can feel, especially when things aren’t going as well as we would like them to. WeRead More

Learning New Skills to Bolster Our Recovery 

Our recovery program can entail anything that supports our sobriety and helps us stay on track with our goals. For many of us, this work can include learning entirely new skills that we might not associate with recovery because they don’t necessarily relate to sobriety in particular, but that bolster our recovery in various differentRead More

How Exercise Can Help Us in Recovery 

As we’re working towards sobriety, there are many things we can use to cope with all of the different challenges that arise. Exercise is one of the most therapeutic and beneficial among them. Our struggles with addiction cause us to neglect our physical health, along with our mental and emotional health, and exercise is aRead More

How Can Negative Thinking Impact Our Recovery? 

Many of us struggling with addiction and mental health issues have developed strong patterns of negative thinking, and as we work to heal, we realize that our thought patterns have a significant impact on our ability to recover. Our negative recurring thoughts become our beliefs, and they become instilled in our consciousness, affecting everything fromRead More

Adjusting Our Lifestyles to Support Our Loved Ones’ Recovery

When we have loved ones in recovery, particularly if they have only recently achieved sobriety, we have many questions pertaining to how we should function around them. We wonder if we should modify our lifestyles and behaviors in order to support them. We think it might be insensitive to drink around them, for example, ifRead More

What Are Some Hidden Signs of Addiction?

Sometimes as addicts we engage in behaviors that are toxic and unhealthy, behaviors that reflect our addictions but that we don’t necessarily associate with addiction because they appear to be less dangerous and destructive as the ones we do think of us as problematic. We think because we’re not angry and volatile, violent or abusive,Read More

Why We Resist Programs Like Al-Anon 

Sometimes as the loved ones of people struggling with addiction, we might feel hesitant to join a support group of our own such as Al-Anon. We might feel resistance to any kind of healing work that pertains to us. This can happen for a number of reasons, and given that we experience a great dealRead More

How Do We Stop Resenting the Addicts in Our Lives?

 Sometimes as the loved ones of addicts, we have emotions surrounding them and their addictions that we don’t understand, that we can’t seem to come to terms with, accept or make peace with. Our resentment towards the addicts in our lives is one of these complicated emotions we struggle to make sense of. We’re filledRead More

Gifts We Receive in Recovery 

One thing that can help us in our recovery is to focus on the gifts we’re receiving by staying sober and by working on our health and peace of mind. Sobriety gives us so many life-changing gifts that we sometimes take for granted and forget to be mindful of. When we remember them and focusRead More

How We Can Benefit From Al-Anon

Al-Anon is a support group designed specifically for the loved ones of those struggling with addiction. When we have a family member or friend in the grips of addiction, we have a unique set of challenges that can be difficult to contend with, to say the least, in part because we might not have otherRead More

How Can We Reclaim Our Self-Worth?

Our sense of self-worth is often extremely fragile and precarious when we’re struggling with addiction and mental illness. We don’t view ourselves with love and compassion. We tend to deny ourselves forgiveness and understanding, especially surrounding the mistakes and regrets we can’t seem to live down. We have a hard time accepting ourselves for whoRead More

Attending 12-Step Meetings

As we commit to our recovery program, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our sobriety is to make the effort to attend 12-Step meetings consistently. Just like working with a therapist and a sponsor, attending meetings can help us to address some of the deeply rooted mental and emotional healthRead More

How Can I Determine My Identity Beyond Addiction?

 Our addictions and mental health issues have a way of overtaking our lives and causing us to forget who we are beyond our illnesses. We can begin to feel as though our identities have been reduced to being merely addicts and people who are mentally ill. We have a hard time remembering what it wasRead More

The Benefits of 12-Step Programs 

There are multiple different options when it comes to addiction recovery programs, and one of the more common programs recovering addicts turn to is the 12-Step program. It is often used in conjunction with detoxification programs, professional treatment, and long-term therapy. Once people finish a treatment program, they will often continue to attend 12-Step meetings,Read More

 What Can We Learn From Our Mistakes? 

We tend to associate our mistakes with all of the shame, regret, and remorse we felt when we first committed them, the same emotions we can’t seem to let go of after years of trying, unsuccessfully, to forgive ourselves. We think of our mistakes as evidence of our failures and as defects in our moralRead More

Positive Thinking in Recovery

When we’re working to recover, we want to supplement our sobriety with as much self-supportiveness as possible. Often the ways in which we talk to ourselves and think about ourselves can actually hinder our sobriety. When we feel down on ourselves, self-hating and insecure, we’re more likely to want to return to our drugs ofRead More

Understanding the Marchman Act

If you or a loved one is struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Marchman Act is a Florida law that allows for addicts to be involuntarily stabilized and treated if they are unable or unwilling to seek out treatment themselves. Addicts’ loved ones might find thatRead More

How Can Setting Intentions Help Us Stay Sober?

When we’re working to achieve sobriety and stay on track with our goals in recovery, we can find ourselves totally overwhelmed with all of the different emotions that arise, many of which we’re feeling for the first time. We’re experiencing brand new things, the clarity of sobriety and how scary that can be because itRead More

Celebrating Our Recovery 

As we’re working towards recovery, many of us can at times feel disheartened, unmotivated and defeated when dealing with all of the many challenges that arise. We’re struggling to stay sober against what feels like insurmountable odds – pressure from family and friends, the expectations we hold for ourselves, the mental health issues we’re stillRead More

Where Do Our Coping Mechanisms Come From?

We’ve become so committed to avoiding and suppressing our feelings that we develop all kinds of unhealthy compulsions and defense mechanisms as our misguided, self-destructive attempts of protecting ourselves from more pain. We suppress our feelings and avoid our thoughts. We use denial, secrecy, manipulation, and control as coping mechanisms. We aren’t open and honestRead More

Shedding the Cultural Stigma We’re Still Carrying Within Us

Some of the hardest emotional work we do in recovery is releasing the ways in which cultural stigmas around addiction have hurt us over the years. We’ve been carrying and holding onto the very negative perceptions people have of us and allowed them to impact how we feel about ourselves. We’ve internalized the unkind, dismissiveRead More

Pain Management and Addiction 

Many of us struggling with addiction find ourselves needing to seek out prescribed pain management after an injury or accident, and specific challenges arise because our prescribers want to avoid our developing a dependence on a new substance, one that is originally prescribed for pain but that we might still end up abusing. There areRead More

What Happens When We Embrace Our Emotions?

Much of our lives revolve around finding ways to avoid feeling our emotions because they’re too painful, too scary to confront, too overwhelming and confusing. We reject our feelings and refuse to accept them as they are. When we do this, we’re not just resisting how we feel, we’re also rejecting entire parts of ourselvesRead More

The Benefits of Long-Term Treatment 

Sometimes as we’re approaching the recovery process, we’re tempted to think that a short stay in rehab will be all we need in order to achieve a full recovery. We’ve been struggling for so long, we want a quick fix and an escape from all of our mental and emotional pain. We want to feelRead More

Why Should We Discuss Our Trauma? 

Many of us struggling with addiction and mental illness have a hard time being open and honest when it comes to discussing our traumatic experiences. We shy away from talking about them at all. We avoid the subject and change it as quickly as possible whenever it comes up. We keep our traumas a secretRead More

Signs of Substance Use 

Very often addicts will show signs of substance use long before we know consciously that they, in fact, have a problem with addiction. It can help us to support our loved ones, or to initiate our own recovery if we’re the ones struggling, to know some of the signs of substance use and to familiarizeRead More

Why Am I Being Triggered by This? 

Very often we can become triggered by something specific, a person, event, situation, issue or problem, without understanding why. Sometimes our emotional responses baffle us. We’ve become hyper-sensitive. We’re feeling troubled, worried, bothered and much sadder and more anxious than usual. We might experience intense mood swings, along with trouble sleeping and eating. We mightRead More

How We Enable Our Loved Ones’ Addictions

When we have loved ones struggling with addiction, our inclination is to want to help, nurture and protect them in any way we can. It hurts us beyond words to see them suffering and living with so much pain. It causes us tremendous stress, worry and anxiety to watch them self-destruct. We love and careRead More

Why Should We Practice Healthy Confrontation in Recovery?

Many of us recovering from addiction are also struggling to figure out our relationship issues, our life challenges, our behavioral patterns, and all the complexities therein. We’re still grappling with contentious relationship dynamics, turmoil, instability and insecurity in our closest relationships. Many of us are in relationships with other addicts, and some of the issuesRead More

Surrendering to the Healing Journey

When we are actively working towards recovery, there are some habits we hold onto that can slow down our progress and impede our ability to get well. We have a hard time relinquishing control over how we think things should go. We hold on tightly to certain expectations. We worry excessively, we obsess about things,Read More

Finding the Strength to be Honest with Ourselves in Recovery

As we’re doing the work to recover, we find that many of our mental and emotional patterns have been contributing to our addictive patterns, often without our being conscious of them. We’ve developed patterns of denial, secrecy and dishonesty. We’ve been dishonest with the people around us but also more importantly with ourselves. We’ve liedRead More

What is the Difference Between Solitude and Isolation?

 When we’ve been struggling with addiction and mental illness, we often will fall into patterns of isolating ourselves and avoiding any kind of social interaction and interpersonal connection. We’re afraid to confide in people lest they judge us more than we’re already judging ourselves. We’re afraid of being told to just get over our depression,Read More

Cultivating Inner Peace

Our work when healing from addiction goes beyond sobriety and abstinence, although these are important to our recovery. The true objective of our recovery is to be able to cultivate the inner peace, calm and fortitude we need to handle anything life throws at us. We want to be able to stay grounded and centered,Read More

Navigating Confusion in Recovery

Our recovery can be an immensely confusing time in our lives, when we’re coming out of the dark cloud of addictive dependence but perhaps not feeling totally confident yet in our sobriety. We feel confused as to what path we should take in life, what our purpose is, and where we’re headed. We feel confusionRead More

Why Do We Hide From Ourselves?

As we learn more about our addictions, we come to discover that they are not just extreme attachments to substances and behaviors, they are also our way of distracting ourselves from our pain. They are our attempt at trying to escape from it. We run from our pain. We bury and suppress the painful memoriesRead More

How Social Anxiety Can Block Our Recovery

 Our struggles with addiction are often compounded by our battles with mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety, as well as the different kinds of anxiety disorders we experience such as social anxiety. Our mental illnesses can make coping with our addictions and trying to recover from them that much harder. When we have socialRead More

Should We Move On From the Past?

As we’re working to heal, something that often causes us confusion is knowing whether or not we should move on from the past, how we should let it go, and when we should be moving on from it. We don’t want to get stuck in an endless loop of our painful memories, constantly replaying themRead More

Believing in Our Future

As we work towards recovering from our addictions, one thing that can help us move forward is to focus on our future and really believe we’re capable of creating a happy, healthy life for ourselves. So often we find ourselves consumed by our pasts, weighed down by the shame we feel and the disappointment ofRead More

Can Writing Help Us Heal?

As we’re working to recover from addiction and mental illness, we want to develop new coping skills to replace all of the destructive, limiting, damaging patterns we’ve been perpetuating over the years. We want to tackle all of the different manifestations of our pain, our addictive patterns and the symptoms of our mental and emotionalRead More

Seeing Beyond Our Addictions 

Our addictions have a way of completely overtaking our lives and along with them our identity, our sense of self, and our feelings of self-worth. We label ourselves as addicts and can’t see beyond that label. We start to believe that our complex identities have been reduced to our addictions and the difficulties we’ve incurredRead More

Can We Put a Stop to Our Self-Destructive Patterns?

Very often our patterns, especially our patterns around addiction and mental illness, are so ingrained within us that they’ve become second nature. They become our impulsive, automatic, default, go-to behaviors. They’re part of who we are, how we function in life, and how we treat ourselves. So many of our patterns are self-destructive, full ofRead More

Witnessing Addiction as Children 

Many of us who struggle with addiction witnessed the illness in our families and communities when growing up. We may have watched parents, siblings and other family members drink excessively, use drugs or engage in reckless addictive behaviors. They may have included us in their activities, exposing us to their drugs of choice and addictiveRead More

Coping with Boredom in Recovery

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). One of our greatest challenges in recovery is figuring out how to find fulfillment and cope with the boredom that has been a huge factor in the development our addictions. Many of us find that it is our boredomRead More

How Can We Help Our Loved Ones Get Better?

When our loved ones are suffering from addiction and mental illness, our instinct is to protect them from harm, to shield them from hurting themselves more, and to rescue them from their pain and self-destructiveness. We want to fix their problems for them. We want to save them from themselves. While these instincts are normal,Read More

Allowing People to Help Us

When living with addiction and mental illness, there are some fundamental habits we have that can negatively impact our experience with recovery and our ability to get well. One of our most detrimental habits is our inability to allow people to help us. We’re afraid of being a burden on our loved ones. We’re afraidRead More

Rethinking Anxiety in Recovery

Those of us recovering from addiction are no strangers to the overwhelming force of anxiety. It often accompanies our depression and other mental health issues and makes our struggles with addiction that much harder. We often come to think of anxiety as something we have no control over. Once it hits, it takes over us,Read More

Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Mental Illness? 

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Our traumas are some of the most debilitating and painful experiences we’ll go through in our lives, and we can be totally destabilized and overpowered by them, especially if we don’t have the skills to be able to processRead More

Family Roles and How They Can Impact Us

Part of our recovery work entails looking at our childhoods, our families and our home environments to explore some of the hidden factors in our mental and emotional health issues. Our addictions are sometimes rooted in the family roles we experienced and witnessed when growing up. We might have had parents or caretakers who wereRead More

Why Are We Afraid of Personal Development? 

As we’re working to recover, we’re being called to make important changes in our lives, to create new patterns in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and to explore all of the choices we’ve made thus far in order to learn how to make healthier ones. We’re being invited to explore our self-destructive tendencies, our inclinationRead More

Our Fears Around Having Children

 For those us struggling with addiction, the decision whether or not to have children is fraught with some unique fears, on top of the common, universal fears we all experience around parenthood. When we’re making the decision to become parents, oftentimes we’re consumed with fear that our children will inherit our addictions. We worry thatRead More

How Does it Help Us to Stay Calm?

Our addictions and mental health issues bring us a great deal of stress, turmoil and anxiety. We can be consumed by the negativity and toxicity of our harmful patterns, our difficult relationships and our challenging circumstances. We can find ourselves feeling so overwhelmed that we react with intense panic, anger or volatility. We can findRead More

Remembering Our Well-Being 

As the loved ones of people struggling with addiction and mental illness, we often fall into patterns of neglecting our own well-being for the sake of theirs. We seem to think that by constantly worrying about our loved ones, by devoting all our time and energy to their care, and by taking on their recoveryRead More

Can We Use Self-Hypnosis for Addiction Recovery?

Self-hypnosis might sound complicated, difficult and elusive, but the truth is we’re always hypnotizing ourselves, each and every day, with the thoughts we think repeatedly and the beliefs we give the most energy to. When used consciously and with mindfulness, self-hypnosis can be applied to any challenge in our lives and can help us establishRead More

Toxic Positivity in Recovery

Positive thinking is something many of us start practicing when working to recover from addiction and mental illness. We learn that our thoughts create our attitudes and beliefs, and that in order to heal we want to be as positive and optimistic as possible. What we often aren’t aware of is that there is suchRead More

What Do Our Young People Need From Us? 

The stories we hear of young people experimenting with drugs and overdosing from them are becoming all too common. It’s so distressing to think of young people in that much pain that they’re willing to risk their lives, and it’s so unfortunate that they don’t know the life-threatening risks of experimenting with drugs, that they’reRead More

How Does Our Self-Perception Shift in Recovery?

Our struggles with addiction can cause us to form a self-perception that is dominated by the shame and insecurities we feel as addicts. We think of ourselves in terms of our mistakes and regrets, our shortcomings, wrongdoings and transgressions. We identify so strongly with our illnesses that we allow them to become the bulk ofRead More

Protecting Ourselves from Toxicity

Our struggles with addiction and mental health issues can bring us face to face with all kinds of challenging circumstances full of turmoil, conflict and toxicity. We manifest relationships, often with other addicts, that are unstable and full of insecurity, misunderstanding and miscommunication. We’re dealing with so much internal mental and emotional difficulty that weRead More

Why Do We Experiment With New Drugs?

Many of us struggling with addiction find ourselves dependent upon a specific substance or behavior, or a certain combination of them. We often don’t stray too far from this combination or veer too much from it because we develop a comfort level with it, we grow accustomed to it, we know how it affects us,Read More

How Do Our Relationships Change with Sobriety?

When we’ve grown accustomed to being in relationships while simultaneously struggling with addiction, we often don’t know what relationships could be like when we’re finally sober. We don’t know what kind of partner we’re capable of being. We don’t know what our relationships could look like, how they might function, and what we can expectRead More

Identifying Our Motivations for Sobriety

A major factor in why so many of us struggle with our sobriety is our inability to solidify and clarify within ourselves the specific reasons behind why we need to get sober, the motivating forces behind why we want to get well in the first place. We know our lives have become unmanageable and thatRead More

How Are We Impacted by Tragedy?

Those of us living with addiction and mental illness are also often coping with painful tragedies in our lives, traumatic experiences we’re still reeling from, events we don’t understand and can’t wrap our brains around, losses we feel we’ll never be able to recover from. Culturally we’ve been conditioned to avoid thinking and speaking onRead More

How Can We Change the Reward System of Addiction?

Our addictions are fueled by a phenomenon called the reward system, where we are driven compulsively to use our drug of choice or to engage in our addictive behavior of choice because we know that once we do, we’ll feel a certain kind of reward. The reward we feel might be a rush of dopamineRead More

Embracing Our Experiences as Gifts 

When living with addiction and mental illness, we accumulate layers of challenging experiences that make us question who we are and what our place in the world is. We tend to see our difficulties as a negative thing, especially when they bring us years of confusion and turmoil. As we’re working to recover, though, weRead More

How Do Our Personalities Hold Us Back?

Our personalities are the culmination of all the habits, patterns, thoughts and feelings that we’ve come to associate with ourselves and that we’ve used to formulate our identities. We tend to think that our personalities are permanent and set in stone, that they can’t be changed even when we’re not happy with them. We comeRead More

Reasons Why We Falter in Our Commitment to Our Sobriety

Sometimes when we relapse and fall back into our old patterns of dependence, it’s because we’ve faltered in our commitment to ourselves and our sobriety. We’ve lost sight of the goals and intentions we’ve set for ourselves to get well. We’ve lost faith in ourselves. Often the reasons as to why our commitment might waverRead More

How Can I Stop Feeling Like Something is Wrong With Me?

When living with addiction and mental illness, we have a tendency to always feel as though there’s something wrong with us, like there’s always something that needs to be fixed, added or taken away in order for us to be good enough. We feel inadequate as we are, unworthy, and undeserving of love and happiness.Read More

Welcoming the Challenges in Recovery

Recovery is known for being a difficult time in our lives, where we’re faced with obstacles that push us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, in ways we’ve never been challenged before. Our recovery is a time when we’re finally taking the steps needed to get sober, learning more about ourselves and deepening our understanding ofRead More

Why We’re Afraid of Treatment

When it comes to addiction recovery, there are many things we fear – the difficult symptoms of withdrawal, having to give up our dependence on our drug of choice, harsh judgments from other people, feeling alone in this new journey we’re taking. One thing many of us fear is entering treatment and getting professional help.Read More

Being Patient with Our Loved Ones in Recovery 

Being patient with our loved ones when they’re in recovery is one of our greatest challenges but also one of the most important things we can do, both for them and for ourselves. Throughout their struggles with addiction, we’ve watched them self-destruct, create turmoil everywhere they go, and wreak havoc on both their lives andRead More

The Habits that Form Addictions

We tend to think of our addictions in much the same way we view our mental health issues, as powerful forces beyond our control, as illnesses we were born with or inherited but can’t heal from. We fail to realize that the patterns we develop, the mental and emotional habits we practice and repeat overRead More

The Role of Self-Hate in Addiction

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  At the root of our addictions, for many of us, lies an emotional foundation we’ve created for ourselves of self-hate and self-rejection. We don’t feel unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves. We don’t nurture, support or protect ourselves. WeRead More

Finding the Valuable Lessons Within Our Emotions

Many of us living with addiction and mental illness have developed patterns of avoiding, suppressing and resisting our emotions, in particular the ones we find most difficult to handle. When we feel stressed out and overwhelmed, depressed and afraid, confused and ashamed, our instinct is often to shut down and try to stop feeling ourRead More

How Our Addictions Have Held Us Back

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  When we’re in recovery, many of us are finally starting to gain clarity and insight on our addictions. We’re starting to see things clearly for the first time. We have a much deeper understanding of who we are andRead More

What Can Our Codependent Relationships Teach Us About Ourselves? 

Our relationships have a great deal to teach us, particularly the ones that are unhealthy, because within them, we’re confronted with unresolved issues and unhealed pain in direct and irrefutable ways. Our conflicts, misunderstandings and relationship problems all stand to teach us a tremendous amount about ourselves, about who we are as people, who weRead More

Learning to Take Responsibility for Our Emotions

Our addictions and mental health issues have a lot to do with our mental and emotional patterns, and one of the most destructive ones many of us tend to develop is failing to take responsibility for our emotions. We can find our feelings so hard to cope with that we want to place them onRead More

How Can I Separate From My Abuser?

Those of us living with addiction and mental health issues often find ourselves in toxic relationships in part because the unhealthiness within us attracts people who reflect that back to us and who compound our issues, pushing us to learn even more about ourselves and gain a deeper understanding of who we are. Unfortunately, manyRead More

Understanding Behavioral Addictions

We most commonly associate addiction with a dependence on drugs or alcohol, but addictions can also be behavioral in nature. We can find ourselves forming dependent attachments on certain behaviors such as sex, eating, gaming and gambling, attachments that can be just as intense and detrimental as our attachments to substances. We can become mentally,Read More

Choosing Forgiveness in Recovery

As we’re working to heal ourselves and stay committed to our sobriety, there are certain emotions that can linger well into our recovery and bring us so much turmoil and conflict that we feel tempted to use our drugs of choice just to escape them. One of these painful and destructive emotions is the angerRead More

Can We Enjoy the Healing Process? 

When we’re working to recover, we tend to have our focus set on the end goal, the finish line, the goal of sobriety. Everything we’re working for is for our sobriety. Every change we make, every intention we set, every goal we have, is for our sobriety. We sometimes get so caught up on reachingRead More

How Judgment Hurts Us 

Whether because of our family patterns, our own insecurities, or our cultural obsession with critiquing people, many of us have a tendency to judge other people harshly, whether we know them well or not at all. We criticize people for their personal choices, for their ways of life, for their addictions and mental illnesses, evenRead More

Can Learning Patience Help Us with Our Sobriety?

When we’re struggling with addiction, our approach with ourselves and our recovery is often one of harshness and strictness. We’re aiming for total abstinence and complete sobriety, and while these might be what we need in order to recover, how we go about accomplishing them can be problematic. We are extremely hard on ourselves. WhenRead More

The Importance of Learning Healthy Communication Skills

One thing many of us struggling with addiction have in common is that we have a very hard time in relationships because of our lacking communication skills. We find it impossible to resolve conflicts amicably. Our interpersonal interactions are full of turmoil and misunderstanding. We struggle to find our voice and to speak our truth.Read More

How Are Our Addictions and Our Physical Ailments Related?

As many of us come to discover, our ailments tend to operate in tandem with one another. Rarely do we have only one affliction we’re struggling with. For us as addicts, we also tend to be struggling with mental health issues, and for many of us, we’re also coping with physical health issues as well.Read More

Making Sense of Our Pain

The pain we experience in our lives, especially the pain of our addictions and mental health issues, can be so hard to understand, to make sense of and to find clarity around. We feel confused, overwhelmed and perplexed by it. We feel lost, abandoned and alone trying to figure out why we’ve gone through theRead More

How Can We Define Our Boundaries? 

One of the things we rely on drugs and addictive behaviors to help us avoid are the conflicts in our relationships, many of which are a result of unclear or nonexistent boundaries. We tend to choose unhealthy relationships full of control, manipulation and toxicity. We allow ourselves to be abused, and we’re abusive towards others.Read More

Being Diligent in Managing Our Stress

As we’re working to recover from our addictions and mental health issues, our stress levels are a crucial thing for us to pay attention to and monitor as part of our everyday recovery program. Excessive stress contributes to our depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It compels us to turn to our drugs of choiceRead More

Energy Healing in Recovery

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For many of us, recovering from addiction and mental illness entails a multipronged approach, where we’re not just relying on the traditional forms of treatment of medication, therapy and professional rehabilitation but also exploring other avenues of self-healing. WeRead More

How Can We Protect Our Energy?

We often find that our energy is being attacked from all sides, by all of the depressing things going on in the world, by the conflicts we’re dealing with in our personal lives, even by ourselves with our self-deprecation and self-destructiveness. We aren’t self-protective, self-supportive or self-nurturing. We allow our energy to be exposed andRead More

Creating Action Plans for Ourselves 

Sometimes when we’ve achieved some success in our recovery, we’re so optimistic that we feel total faith in ourselves. We feel invincible. We feel like we’re on top of the world. We feel proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. When we’re in this place, we sometimes have a tendency to fall back on our goalsRead More

Exploring Our Beliefs

Many of the emotional issues we have surrounding our addictions are built upon beliefs we’ve been practicing thinking and believing for much of our lives. As part of our recovery, want to examine those beliefs and explore their origins, where they came from, why and how we adopted them in the first place, and whatRead More

Learning Healthy Coping Skills

Our addictions are very often the coping mechanisms and defense mechanisms we’ve adopted to help ourselves deal with the pain in our lives. We use all kinds of thought patterns, emotional patterns and behavioral patterns as our ways of coping with the stress of everyday life, our complex relationship issues, and the tough situations andRead More

Why is Solitude Important for Resolving Conflict?

Many of us struggling with addiction are also grappling with unhealthy relationships, complex life circumstances and difficult issues we’re trying to resolve. We experience a great deal of conflict, misunderstanding and tension in our interpersonal relationships. When we’re living with addiction, we’re also often living with mental illness, which can greatly exacerbate the difficulties weRead More

Quitting Cold Turkey

When deciding how to quit our drug of choice, some of us make the choice to quit “cold turkey,” abruptly and with finality, without any form of intervention, medical or otherwise, to help us quit. Some of us don’t put thought into it, we just are able to quit for good, in one shot. ForRead More

How Can We Deal with Regret?

Of all the things we use our drugs of choice to cope with, our regret might be one of the most painful. We live with intense regret for the harmful things we’ve done and the ways in which we’ve hurt people. We regret all the things we wish we had done and said but weren’tRead More

Learning to Control Our Impulses

Some of the most important work we do in recovery is completely internal, the outside world might not see it, but we feel huge changes taking place within us. One of these crucial changes is the ability to control our impulses, something we really struggle with as addicts. Our impulses that are related to ourRead More

How Can We Stop Using Drugs to Cope with Our Grief?

When we use drugs and addictive behaviors to cope with our grief, many of us find that not only are we not helping ourselves heal from the pain and sadness of our loss, but we’re making that pain worse by adding on all of the self-destructiveness and pain of addiction. We find that our addictionsRead More

Remembering the Purpose Behind Our Goals

Sometimes as we’re setting goals for ourselves, outlining our intentions and clarifying our objectives in our recovery, we forget why it is we’re working so hard to recover in the first place. When we remember the purpose of our work, the meaning behind why we’re in recovery, all the reasons why we want to beRead More

Why Should We Stop Guilt Tripping Ourselves?

When we make mistakes or feel we’ve let ourselves or others down, our instinct is usually to react with harshness – judgment, criticism, self-blame, self-deprecation. We berate and belittle ourselves. We put ourselves down. We call ourselves a failure. We tell ourselves we’re stupid, weak, not in control. We guilt trip ourselves, exacerbating our alreadyRead More

How Our Dysfunctional Families and Our Addictions Are Connected

Many of us who identify as addicts also identify with having come from dysfunctional families. Our families were broken apart by separation, neglect, abuse and abandonment. We didn’t have healthy family dynamics, strong communication or effective conflict resolution. We grew up being traumatized by loved ones and watching others be hurt. We grew up blamingRead More

Why Do We Self-Blame?

Many of us have a tendency to form unhealthy attachments to our emotions, and among the feelings we commonly become unhealthily attached to are our guilt, shame and self-blame. We instinctively blame ourselves for things that aren’t our fault. We hold onto our mistakes and wrongdoings long after they’ve stopped hurting anyone else, but forRead More

What Are Emotional Addictions?

We tend to associate addiction with a dependence on a substance or behavior, drugs and alcohol, gambling, sex or eating, to name a few. Some of us become addicted not to something external but to our own emotions, feeling compulsively attached and dependent upon feeling these emotions in order to cope, to be happy, orRead More

Believing in Ourselves and Our Recovery

As we’re taking on the process of healing ourselves, one of the things we sometimes overlook is how we feel about ourselves and our recovery, whether or not we’ve lost faith in ourselves, whether or not we still believe in ourselves and our ability to recover. Many of us have very mixed emotions about ourRead More

How Does Admitting “Powerlessness” Work Against Us?

Many addiction self-help programs advocate admitting we’re powerless over our addictions, our emotions and our mental illnesses as part of our recovery. The idea is to admit we need help and support, to lean on our higher power for strength, and to stop feeling as though we’re invincible, which can actually hold us back inRead More

Learning from Our Inner Demons

One of the things we learn in recovery is that our addictions and mental health issues have caused us to create a very disconnected, disharmonious relationship with ourselves and our inner thoughts and feelings. We resist our fears. We don’t work to heal our wounds. We don’t resolve the deep relationship issues and recurring lifeRead More

Life Skills in Recovery

Sometimes our addictions and mental health issues are so debilitating we feel as though we’ve forgotten how to live our lives in healthy, empowering ways. We don’t feel able to function normally, accomplish our goals, or even get through the day. We feel so depressed we can’t get out of bed. We stop taking careRead More

Why is it a Good Idea to Stop Watching the News?

One of the first things professionals recommend when treating depression and anxiety is to stop watching the news. We’re hesitant to stop watching altogether because we feel it’s our civic duty to stay informed, to know what’s going on in the world so that we can somehow make a positive impact in our own way.Read More

Loving All Versions of Ourselves

One of the things that holds us back the most in our recovery are our lingering feelings of self-hatred, insecurity and self-rejection. We’re still feeling down on ourselves for being addicts, for all the mistakes we’ve made and ways in which we’ve hurt ourselves and others. We feel ashamed of ourselves. We don’t love andRead More

How Do Our Belief Systems Affect Our Mental Health?

The belief systems we carry with us into adulthood are often formed during our childhoods. We inherit them from our families. We develop them on our own from our own experiences and unique perspectives. We adopt other people’s beliefs as our own when they resonate with us. Our belief systems inform how we feel aboutRead More

The Myth of the “Last Time”

When we’re still embroiled in our addictive patterns, one of the things we tell ourselves the most is that this time will be “the last time.” This will be the last time we go on a binge or bender. It will be the last time we use at all. It will be the last timeRead More

Can Envy Contribute to Addiction and Mental Illness?

We know that our addictions are often the coping mechanisms we develop to deal with intense pain, but we don’t always explore in depth what those sources of pain are for us. We feel deep sadness and fear that contribute not only to our addictions but also to our depression, anxiety and other mental healthRead More

Learning to Accept Uncertainty

As we’re working to heal ourselves, one of the obstacles we find ourselves up against is all of the uncertainty we’re feeling around the recovery process. We’re uncertain of what the future holds. We feel uncertainty about our ability to get well. We feel uncertain about the timing of how things are going for us,Read More

Finding Our Voice

Addiction and mental illness can cause us to become completely disconnected from our inner selves, so much so that we lose sense of who we are. We lose our voice. Our voice is how we communicate our innermost thoughts and feelings with the world, with the people in our lives, and with ourselves. It’s howRead More

How Can Expectations Hurt Us?

Having expectations for ourselves and our recovery can be helpful. Expectations can help us to define goals for ourselves and to set intentions, to design plans and to create visions for ourselves. Our expectations can hurt us, however, especially when we become so consumed with trying to attain perfection that we don’t allow ourselves toRead More

Putting Energy into Our Intentions

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Part of our recovery work is creating goals for ourselves and setting intentions. Sometimes we set those intentions without making sure we’re putting the necessary energy behind them in order to follow through with them. When this happens, ourRead More

Can We Learn to Embrace Uncertainty?

For many of us, our uncertainty around the future, our recovery, and our lives in general tends to fill us with fear, worry and trepidation. We feel unsure of ourselves and lacking in confidence and self-assuredness. We feel dread about the future and all its unknowns. We’re consumed by questions and feel angst and anxietyRead More

How Compassion Can Help Us Heal

We might not usually think of compassion in terms of addiction and mental illness, but the more we learn to have compassion for ourselves and others, the more we can help ourselves during the very challenging recovery process. Our addictions are often coping mechanisms for our pain, the pain of our mental health issues, andRead More

When a Loved One Disappoints Us

As the loved ones of addicts, we know all too well the disappointment of seeing them relapse after promising us they would get clean, after making the commitment to us and to themselves to be sober. We feel they’ve let us down. We had expectations that they would be true to their word, and we’reRead More

Can I Heal Myself?

One of our greatest misconceptions around recovery is that we need something outside of ourselves in order to heal. We think we are dependent upon doctors, therapists, sponsors and treatment centers to get well, and although these are all extremely helpful along our journey, they aren’t the ones responsible for our healing, we are. TheyRead More

Transforming How We Self-Identify

As recovering addicts, there are different ways in which we self-identify that hurt us, that hold us back, and that are defined by the limiting beliefs we believe about ourselves. We feel as though we’re not good enough. We feel unworthy and unlovable. We feel ashamed of all the things we’ve done wrong and theRead More

Letting Our Recovery Be an Example for Others

Sometimes as we’re recovering, we feel ashamed and embarrassed about where we are in our journey. We feel down on ourselves. We feel disappointed that we haven’t made as much progress in our recovery as we would have liked. We feel like we’re so far from our goal of sobriety that we might as wellRead More

How Do Our Mental Illnesses Affect Us Physically?

We tend to think of our mental illnesses as affecting our minds and our emotions, our thought processes, behaviors and emotional responses, but what about our bodies? Are our bodies affected as well? Are we impacted physically by our mental illnesses? For many of us, our mental illnesses do manifest physically, and we are impactedRead More

Finding the Lessons in Our Pain

One of the best things we can do for ourselves as we’re working to recover is transform the relationship we have with our pain, our difficult emotions, our addictions and mental health issues, and our tough life experiences. Our instinctive response to pain is to resist it. It hurts, so we try to avoid feelingRead More

Can Having Goals Help with Sobriety?

Sometimes to help ourselves stay on track with our sobriety, it can be extremely helpful to focus on reaching for our goals. Feeling successful and fulfilled can be a powerful deterrent to our drug use, because we feel happier, more confident, and more at peace within ourselves. We’re not giving our energy to beating ourselvesRead More

The Different Stages of Relapse

When we think of relapse, we usually associate it with the act of returning to our drug use after a period of abstinence. We think of all the painful emotions associated with it, the disappointment, shame and regret. We think of falling off the wagon and picking up our drug of choice after being soRead More

Staying Fully Involved in the Recovery Process

The recovery process is something we have to commit to and then continuously recommit to if we want to stay aligned with our goals of sobriety. There are countless things that can work against us, countless obstacles we’re up against, and one of them is our tendency to start to slip in our recovery, toRead More

Why We Should Stop Trying to Constantly Fix Ourselves

The recovery process, like any personal development journey, is full of ups and downs, challenges and obstacles, successes and perceived failures. What we come to realize is that what feels like a failure, or a mistake, or a flaw, is actually an invitation to open ourselves up even more to the process of learning howRead More

Forging a Connection with Our Higher Power

Many recovery programs stress the importance of developing a relationship with our higher power, knowing this power, connecting with it and recognizing its existence within us. They view a religious or spiritual practice as being an important part of the recovery process. Many of us don’t already feel connected to a higher power, and weRead More

Suicide and How Alone We Feel

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Too many of us have known or been connected to someone who took their own life, and the tragedy of it stays with us forever. Many of us want to find a way to address suicide within our familiesRead More

Admitting to Our Mistakes

As we’re working to heal ourselves and recover from our addictions, an important part of the recovery process is developing our ability to admit our mistakes. For years, many of us were resistant to admitting when we felt we had done something wrong or hurt someone. Our pride, our fear of being criticized, and ourRead More

Respecting Our Boundaries in Recovery

One of the elements of the recovery process that we often find challenging is establishing boundaries for ourselves and ensuring that the people in our lives respect them. Setting and maintaining boundaries takes a level of self-respect and a strong sense of self-worth that many of us haven’t attained yet. We’re still struggling with feelingsRead More

Self-Actualization in Recovery

One of our greatest challenges in recovery is working to implement the changes we envision for ourselves and holding ourselves accountable to the goals and intentions we’ve set for ourselves. This is where self-actualization comes in, where we summon the inner motivation and drive to push ourselves to make our recovery goals a reality forRead More

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? Displacement A major challenge is how displaced troops andRead 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? Patience One way we can support troopsRead 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