How a Gratitude List Can Help Your Recovery

During active addiction, individuals experience adverse and profoundly harmful effects that occur as a direct result of their chemical dependencies. The effects of addiction manifest rather quickly with some of the earliest being physical in nature; individuals often experience changes in weight and personal hygiene while generally looking unkempt and disheveled. Many users pursue substance abuse under the misconception that they somehow can prevent their budding addictions from affecting any other aspects of their lives; meanwhile, everything begins to unravel.

Attendance at work or school takes a turn for the worst, culminating in the loss of employment and many other opportunities, financial hardships, and perhaps even homelessness. “Rock bottom” is a concept that has emerged to describe the cumulative destruction wrought on an individual’s life by his or her own addiction, being the point at which one’s chemical dependency couldn’t possibly dig them any deeper into the hole of misfortune and ruin.

While it can be tempting to give up altogether once a person has reached the proverbial rock bottom, there’s a bright side or silver lining to the situation: When you’ve reached the ultimate low point of your life, the only place to go is up. People who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and even to behaviors like sex, gambling, and eating can find solace in the numerous recovery options that are available to help individuals overcome dependency to such harmful substances and behaviors.

The counseling and psychotherapy that form the basis of most addiction treatment programs help individuals to identify the altered patterns of thought that contributed to the development of addiction while learning healthier and more productive ways of thinking that will minimize the chance of relapsing back into destructive habits. Moreover, 12 Step recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous—and its many derivative groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and so on—help individuals to not only recover from addiction physically but also socially and spiritually.

The thought of recovery from addiction often conjures images of sterile rehabs and psychotherapy, but there are other equally important components to overcoming chemical dependency. As mentioned, there are many treatments and programs available that emphasize the path to emotional, social, and spiritual recovery after years spent in the throes of active addiction. Especially after a length of time of suffering from addiction, individuals often feel depressed, unfulfilled, lonely, unattractive, and even unhealthy.

Because of this sustained numbness, recovery can often be a very intense time. However, once individuals can process the flood of emotions that are realized during early recovery, they usually begin to feel very thankful for the opportunity to rehabilitate and right many of the wrongs in their lives.

What Is a Gratitude List?

Twelve-step recovery has become a prominent tool for people who have struggled with chemical dependency or behavioral addiction. Much of the 12-step method has individuals accepting powerlessness to the disease of addiction and turning themselves over to the higher power of their understanding to derive the strength for long-term abstinence from one’s spirituality. As one gets further into the 12 steps, amends are made with those who have been harmed and those who are finishing working through the steps themselves become ready to help others work through the steps.

A major theme of 12-step recovery involves aligning one’s mentality and spirit with the tenets of recovery. Through the course of recovery, individuals become increasingly aware of the things for which one can be thankful. For instance, non-addicted people tend to have better health than people who abuse substances. Additionally, those who have successfully overcome an addiction regain their independence by finding and maintaining employment and stabilizing one’s financial situation.

Recovery also allows individuals to repair relationships that might have been damaged when a person was in active addiction. On a daily basis, those in recovery will notice more and more things about which they can be thankful. As such, it’s not uncommon for one’s recovery treatments to incorporate what is called a gratitude list, which is a list that one writes, containing each of the things for which he or she is thankful.

Moreover, it’s often taught that an individual should write one gratitude list every day, or one list for every day of sobriety. As time goes on, those in recovery will notice that the list continues to grow as they find and gain more and more things for which they are grateful.

The Importance of Being Grateful in Recovery

When an individual begins his or her recovery, he or she will often have just reached the point of rock bottom or the lowest that they have yet been in life. This can take the form of having no employment or money, being homeless, contracting a deadly disease during one’s substance abuse, loss of important relationships, and so on.

As such, when an individual begins the journey of recovery, it can often feel like there’s nothing for which he or she can be thankful. However, with each passing day, he or she can add the previous day’s abstinence to the list, meanwhile accruing other things for which the newly sober individual can be thankful. As a gratitude list grows, individuals are further inspired by their progress in life.

Especially compared to the state of one’s life at rock bottom, a growing gratitude list can become to motivation to continue with one’s recovery; moreover, it can make individuals feel like they have a lot they could lose in a relapse. In short, gratitude lists help recovering users to focus on the progress made in life and sobriety, showing them the successes they’ve had and are continuing to have while maintaining abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

Get Addiction Help Today

If you or someone you love wants to overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs and would like to learn more about rehabilitation, Serenity of Summit can help. Our experienced recovery specialists help countless individuals find the addiction treatment programs that best address their individual recovery needs, allowing them to return to lives of sobriety, health, and fulfillment. Give us a call at 844-326-4514 or connect with us online today to learn about our services and how they can help you start your journey to a new life.

Best Time to Go to Rehab: Some Signs to Know

Coming to terms with a substance abuse problem isn’t easy. There is still a great deal of stigma associated with addiction, and this fact alone often keeps people from reaching out to their families, friends, employers or doctors when they suspect they have a problem. But that’s not all that stands in the way.

The nature of addiction itself presents challenges. Denial is a huge factor and a powerful defense mechanism. Denial may have you believing you have things under control, that you’re not the one with the problem, or that you can quit any time—you just don’t want to.

Speaking of control, this is another issue that can keep people in the vicious cycle of substance abuse for far too long. Our society places a high value on control and independence. Admitting you have an issue with substance abuse, admitting you can’t stop, and admitting you need help is tough to do in a “do-it-yourself” world of people who don’t easily admit when they don’t have everything under control.

Deciding to Get Professional Help

You’ve been struggling for a while, and you’re tired. Oftentimes, it’s not one single, earth-shaking event that leads someone to want to quit using; it’s just the day-in-and-day-out chaos that becomes so exhausting, and you just want it to stop. Perhaps you’re tired of hiding your problem or tired of feeling trapped by your addiction. Whatever the case, you’re ready to get some help.

You may feel hesitant to take that step, though, and wonder if it’s really necessary. Do you really need to go to drug rehab? Maybe you should wait? You may have some fears around getting help or have some anxiety about committing to going to treatment.

It’s understandable that you may have some reluctance. A lot of it is simply fear of the unknown. You may not know what to expect from rehab, and you may have some misinformation.

How Do You Know Rehab Is What You Need?

Whether your problem is alcohol or other drugs, it isn’t always clear when it’s the best time to go to rehab. You may still feel that you can control the problem or quit on your own. It’s often when a person tries to quit and finds they can’t seem to do it that they realize they have a problem. Here are other signs that professional addiction treatment may be the way to go:

  • You’ve developed a tolerance or a physical dependence on a substance.
  • You have abandoned other activities that you used to enjoy because using substances is your primary interest.
  • You are experiencing problems at work or school, such as poor attendance or performance or job loss.
  • Friends and family have come to you with concerns about your drinking or using.
  • You are experiencing financial troubles related to your drinking or using. You find that you need to borrow money, you aren’t paying bills on time, etc.
  • You are engaging in unsafe or risky behavior.
  • You feel a need to keep your drinking or substance use a secret.
  • Substance abuse is interfering with your ability to spend time with your family or handle your responsibilities.
  • You are experiencing health problems as a result of substance abuse.
  • You’ve run into legal issues, such as a DUI or possession.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of red flags, but these arecommon signs that you have a problem that should be addressed immediately. Each person may experience the consequences of addiction differently. One common factor is guilt and shame. Most people find they feel badly about their substance abuse. If you find that you don’t feel good about your activities, if you find that you are behaving in ways that are out of character for you, that using is impacting your relationships, or that you are feeling depressed or anxious, it’s a good idea to talk to someone.

When Is It the Best Time to Go to Rehab?

The best time to go to rehab is right now. It’s an easy thing to put off. You can likely find plenty of reasons why you should go “later on.” You may have concerns about job or family responsibilities. You may be concerned about what other people think, or you might just be scared.

The reason right now is the best time togo to rehab is simple: It’s only going to get worse. Addiction is a progressive disease. However bad things may be right now, they can and will get a great deal worse.

If you’ve had an epiphany and realized you need some help,  you must seize that and pick up the phone. Denial may have you rethinking your decision. Talk to people. Talk to your doctor, your family, or trusted friends. Call a rehab, find out if you have insurance coverage that will pay for you to go to treatment. If you are employed, find out what their policies are on employee leave for rehab, many will allow you to take time off to get help without risking your job.

If you do have to leave your job to go to treatment, it’s important to realize that going to treatment can save your life and that eventually, addiction will take everything from you—including your job. And, if as things progress and the consequences pile up, you may find it difficult to find another job later on. It’s best to take the leap of faith and get help right now. Don’t let thesedrug rehab recovery myths deter you from your decision.

Considering Addiction Treatment?

Let us help you. If you, or a loved one, are fighting substance abuse or drug and/or alcohol addiction, call Serenity at Summit at 844-326-4514 today. Our advisers are standing by 24-7, ready to help you find a treatment program that will suit your needs and put you on the path to a new recovery and a new life. Make today your new beginning.

5 Stages of Addiction: What You Need to Know

Today, more40 million people in the United States older than age 12 are grappling with an addiction to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. With overdoses on the rise and a growing opioid epidemic affecting millions throughout the country, it’s more important than ever to spot and treat substance abuse early on.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from a drug problem, it’s important that you learn to recognize the different stages of addiction and how to take proper action to address substance abuse. Sadly, the path from drug experimentation to a full-blown addiction can easily be a downward spiral.

There are five major stages of drug addiction that manifest along this spiral. Below are some of the most common factors of each phase and recommendations on how to help users who are dealing with the five stages of drug addiction.

Stage 1: Experimentation

Common signs:

People usually start experimenting with drugs during their teenage years. More than half of first-time drug users start experimentingbefore they turn 18 years old. They are often initiated or pressured into trying drugs by a friend, and, at this point, they still consider the experience to be fun and entertaining.

More than half of first-time drug users begin experimenting with marijuana first. Substance use during this phase is not frequent and typically happens during social gatherings.

Experimental users don’t have cravings and feel like they are in total control of their drug use. They can choose to stop using drugs whenever they want and can go for long periods without them.

How to treat this stage:

For some, drug experimentation never leads to substance abuse problems later on. For others, it can be the first step toward establishing a long-term addiction. Monitoring the frequency of drug use early on is an important step toward preventing more routine use in the future.

A good approach early on in drug experimentation is to ask the person why they are experimenting in the first place. If they are using drugs to cope with pain or emotional issues, try offering counseling or therapy as alternative solutions.

Stage 2: Regular Use

Common signs:

At this stage, substance use becomes part of a user’s routine. It doesn’t necessarily mean drugs are used daily, but there is a repeated pattern of behavior such as using drugs every weekend or at every party. Users also may start using drugs repeatedly to help them cope with a particular situation, such as when they are stressed out, or when they are depressed.

Regular users no longer need to be in a social setting to do drugs and begin to use substances when they are alone, too. They also may start experiencing drug hangovers the day after doing drugs, which may cause them to occasionally miss work or school.

Regular users still appear to function normally but start displaying certain changes in behavior including defiance, depression, aggression, and anxiety.

How to treat this stage:

If a person who uses substances regularly has tried counseling without positive results, it might be time to try going to anoutpatient facility for treatment.

With outpatient care, users typically visit a clinic for regular, scheduled appointments with medical professionals that can last from one to eight hours. The treatment is similar to what a person would receive at an inpatient facility but with the added benefit that they do not have to leave their homes.

Outpatient programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, stress management, motivational incentives, group therapy, and individual and family therapy.

Outpatient care works best for users who are still in good health, have a stable living situation, and a strong network of supportive loved ones. “The strongest thing that is helpful is having a system of care that can surround the person,” says Dr. Kelly Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Stage 3: Risk-Taking Use

Common signs:

During the risk-taking stage, users start to lose control of their drug use and start engaging in dangerous activities to fulfill their habit. Their drug use starts to negatively affect their job performance, grades, personal relationships, and financial well-being.

At this hazardous stage, it’s not unusual for users to:

  • Drive under the influence
  • Have unprotected sex
  • Get arrested
  • Lose their jobs
  • Spend irresponsible amounts of money on substances
  • Break up with partners and end friendships
  • Lie to loved ones

Physical symptoms in a risk-tasking user start to become more noticeable. Risky users often experience changes in weight, problems with memory, and poor coordination skills.

Users at this stage often realize they already have a substance abuse problem. Still, they might still refuse to get help or treatment, even though they are aware of the consequences of their use.

Risk-taking drug users begin to experience intense cravings for drugs, and the possibility of quitting seems much more difficult than it did in the past.

How to treat this stage:

For those in the risk-taking stage,inpatient rehabilitation might be a better option for treatment than therapy and/or outpatient facilities.

Users who have started engaging in reckless behavior can benefit from going to a short-term, inpatient program in a residential setting that will help remove them from situations where they are constantly tempted to do drugs. It also can help them avoid negative influences and people who have contributed to their addiction.

The length of stay for a user at a short-term inpatient facility can vary anywhere from a few days to up to 30 days. Longer-term stays may require a 60- to 90-day stay, depending on the severity of one’s addiction or dependence.

At an inpatient rehab, users are provided with round-the-clock care including but not limited to individual counseling sessions, family counseling, group therapy, medical care, and medication management.

Inpatient care is recommended for those who feel they can’t stop their drug use without being in a safe, supervised, and drug-free environment. Once their inpatient treatment is over, users usually continue their recovery with outpatient care and counseling.

Stage 4: Dependence

Common signs:

Users at this stage have become physically dependent on drugs. Their brain’s chemistry has now become accustomed to regular drug use and can’t function normally without it.

Dependent drug users suffer from constant cravings for substances as well as intensewithdrawal symptoms that depend on their drug of choice and can include nausea, shaking, sweating, muscle pain, rapid heart rate, and even seizures.

Dependent users have created a much higher tolerance for drugs and now need much higher doses of the substance than before to get high.

Dependent users are aware they are physically and psychologically dependent on drugs, but the possibility of stopping drug use can seem impossible without outside help.

Relapse often occurs for users who try to quit substance abuse on their own at this stage.

How to treat this stage:

Once a user has become physically dependent on substances, his or her body might need to go through medical detoxification first.

During detox, users go through the withdrawal process of drug addiction in a safe, monitored environment. They are also provided with medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms and minimize discomfort.

Going through detoxification first increases a user’s chance of staying sober. Those who detox safely from drug dependency are also more likely to seek treatment at inpatient and outpatient facilities immediately after detoxification.

Drug detox programs are recommended for users who have become physically dependent on substances and those who have been abusing drugs for long stretches of time.

Stage 5: Addiction

Common signs:

Users in the addiction stage of substance abuse have become completely and utterly dependent on drugs. Addicted users can’t imagine life without using drugs and will do almost anything to get their hands on them.

Cravings have become unbearable, and it often feels like the only way to survive is to consume more substances. The search for more drugs dominates a user’s daily activities.

Users are compulsively dependent on their drug abuse and can suffer from chronic relapses when trying to quit their substance abuse.

The lives of people who are in Stage 5 are often chaotic and out of control.

How to treat this stage:

Different treatment options are available for people who have become completely addicted to drugs. A hospital inpatient treatment facility can provide several levels of care for addicts.

Users who are hospitalized first go through medically supervised detoxes, in which severe withdrawal symptoms are managed and eased. Medication to help manage their addiction, such as methadone and Suboxone may also be provided.

Users are also required to attend individual counseling sessions to understand the root of their addiction and to help them avoid psychological relapses in the future.

Hospital inpatient facilities are beneficial to most substance users but are typically aimed towards users who are addicted to substances with severe withdrawal symptoms and long-term substance abusers.

There are alsolong-term residential drug treatment programs for those who feel like they need a lengthier, more dedicated type form of treatment. In this type of housing facility, users often stay in treatment for at least 90 days, regularly attending counseling, group therapy, and educational classes on drug abuse. Medication management is also available.

Addiction can seem like a tough battle to fight, but it’s important to know it is possible to overcome. As is the case with most diseases, the sooner an addiction is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chance of recovery. Drug addiction doesn’t have to become a lifelong struggle, with the right amount of support and the proper course of treatment, addicts can regain control and live happy and fulfilling lives.

Get Help for Substance Addiction Today

If you or a loved one is battling with an addiction, you may feel like addiction has you trapped, but it doesn’t have to be that way. At Serenity at Summit, we understand how difficult it is to quit abusing substances, but we also know there’s always hope. Together, we can make an addiction-free life a reality.

From detox to ongoing care, we provide the full continuum of recovery treatment, offering a seamless transition between levels of care throughout your or your loved one’s addiction treatment program.

Call us at 844-432-0416 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our specialists, who are available 24/7 to help you navigate treatment options and answer any questions or concerns you have about treatment at Serenity at Summit. You also can reach us online for information.

Three Most Commonly Abused, Addictive Types of Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are one of the most rampantly accessible drugs on today’s market. Most people assume sleeping pills are non-addictive, yet they also report being unable to fall asleep without them. The inability to stop taking sleeping pills, the need to increase dosages over time, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms are all signs of a serious sleeping pill addiction.

Many patients begin taking sleeping pills for legitimate reasons, but soon after, many develop a dependency, increase the dosage, and begin using them recreationally. Knowing which sleeping pills are abused most often and which are the most addictive can help you avoid taking a drug that will cause serious problems in the future.

Benzodiazepines And Addiction

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” have been a popular solution to sleeplessness since the 1960s. In 1977, benzodiazepines were the most prescribed medications in the world. Benzodiazepines work on the central nervous system, targeting certain receptors in the brain to produce a sedative effect. Doctors commonly prescribe benzodiazepines for restlessness, anxiety disorders, and muscle spasms. These drugs work by depressing the central nervous system to cause drowsiness. Common benzodiazepines include:

  • Diazepam (Valium, Diastat, AcuDial)
  • Estazolam (ProSom, Eurodin)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane, Dalmadorm)
  • Temazepam (Restoril, Normison)

Many benzodiazepines stay in the system longer than other sleeping pills and can be effective for sleepwalking or night terrors. However, these drugs can also have a hangover effect, making the user feeling groggy the next day. This can make driving or other activities dangerous. They can also cause dependence to such a degree that the user cannot fall asleep without them. Valium is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs for the feeling of relaxation it gives to users. Valium addictions can cause mood swings, depression, memory issues, and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Z Drugs For Sleep-Aids

“Z drugs” encompass the medications zaleplon, zolpidem, and zopiclone. These drugs work well to help a user sleep, but they do not operate as a long-lasting sleep aid. They act in a similar way to benzodiazepines. Z drugs can also cause next-day drowsiness and have on occasion been linked to dangerous sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking, sleep eating, and sleep driving. Z drugs include:

  • Ambien and Ambien CR
  • Lunesta
  • Imovane
  • Sonata
  • Intermezzo

Ambien is a sleep drug often abused for its hypnotic properties. Z drugs largely replaced benzos such as Valium as a short-term insomnia treatment because they are supposed to be “safer.” However, people who take Ambien for longer than recommended or who use the drug recreationally can quickly develop a dependency. Like benzos, Z drugs can cause physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms and are highly addictive.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are mostly antihistamines. The active ingredient is one typically associated with allergies and common cold symptoms: antihistamines. These drugs work on the brain the same way as other drugs, but users are technically taking it for its side effect, not its treatment. Its treatment is to fight allergies – drowsiness just happens to be an after-effect. Common OTC sleep remedies used today include:

  • Unisom
  • ZzzQuil
  • Simply Sleep
  • Kirkland Sleep Aid
  • Melatonin

OTC sleeping pills are not as strong as prescription medications and are not recommended as a long-term sleep aid. The user can experience next-day drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and forgetfulness from OTC sleep aids. It’s easier for many addicts to abuse these drugs since they do not need prescriptions to purchase them.

Preventing And Recovering From A Sleeping Pill Addiction

Being aware of the risk of sleeping pill addiction can prevent this issue before it begins. Most people don’t realize the addictive nature of sleeping pills until they try to stop taking them. They might experience serious withdrawal symptoms or be unable to fall asleep without them. Other signs that usage has crossed the line into addiction include:

  • Doctor-shopping (visiting more than one doctor) for multiple prescriptions
  • Cravings for sleep medications
  • Taking pills despite negative consequences
  • Frequent memory loss from the pills

Most people addicted to sleeping pills developed the problem after slowly increasing their dosage. Over time, the recommended dosage doesn’t work, so they take more of the pill to get the same effect they did before. Combining sleeping pills with other drugs or alcohol is another common way in which users abuse these drugs. Failing to take sleeping pills as recommended by your doctor can be the beginning stages of a sleeping pill dependency. Overcoming a sleeping pill addiction typically requires help from a professional rehabilitation center.


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5 Uses for Aromatherapy in Addiction Recovery

There has been a boom of the holistic trend in addiction recovery. Integrating the mind, body, and spirit is something that Eastern Medicine has been centered on for thousands of years and more recently, Western Medicine has been catching on that there’s something to all this noise… err – rather, quiet.

Holistic modalities of wellness are becoming part of our culture. With all of the busyness that can consume our lives, people have taken stock in carving out some time to get grounded and connect with themselves. A yoga class, acupuncture appointment, reiki alignment with aromatherapy… add a message and it sounds like a perfect spa package! Although it’s nice to treat yourself, literature is suggesting that incorporating these practices into daily life may be just what the doctor ordered for health & wellness.

For those in recovery, holistic remedies can be an effective adjunct to treatment. There’s evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of many of these services and treatment programs have been embracing these additions to the healing process. If you’re interested in checking-out or continuing with holistic recovery, aromatherapy is an easy add-in to your personal recovery plan.

“Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological and physical well-being,” Wikipedia sites. These essential oils go through a distillation process and can be used in a variety of ways to adjunct any recovery regime. There’s a variety of uses of Essential Oils for stopping drinking alcohol and using drugs. Herein, we offer some insights into a few of the practical uses that aromatherapy and essential oils have for addiction recovery.

A quick note on usage – not all Essential Oils are created equally and they can be used in a variety of ways (some methods are more effective for certain oils, for certain effects – you’ll see as you read along). A word of caution: when ingesting Essential Oils for drug cravings (or for any purpose really) be mindful that you want to be sure you are only using therapeutic grade oils as non-therapeutic grade oils may have additives that can be harmful if swallowed. As always, consult a physician to check if any of these oils may interfere with any specific medical conditions. Specifically speaking, for those mothers-to-be out there, pause on Essential Oils until your baby is born.

Craving Control

Craving Control

One of the ongoing battles many have during the early recovery process is the struggles to calm down those cravings to drink or use. Cravings, known to go hand-in-hand with addiction, can have both psychological and physical roots. Regardless of their origin, they are still bothersome and can be a major distraction in your daily hustle. Thankfully, some aromatherapy can pre-emptively put these urges at bay.

Of the various oils studied to soothe cravings, Grapefruit, Black Pepper, Basil, and Cinnamon Essential Oils come up most frequently.

Grapefruit: Diffuse Grapefruit Essential Oil throughout the day. You can add 5-6 drops into a vapor diffuser or diffuse the oil by placing the oil into a small jar (an empty and cleaned out nail polish is perfect) and buy reeds to absorb and diffuse the oil into the air.

Black Pepper: Dip a wooden toothpick into the oil and chew several times daily. If you regularly chew gum, you may want to add 1 drop to your next piece.

Basil: Apply 1-2 drops topically under your nose or diffuse 2-3 drops aromatically in a vapor diffuser.

Cinnamon: Add 1-2 drops of the oil to hot water or herbal tea. You can also take 2-3 drops and topically apply to your neck/throat.

Gain Mental Clarity

Gain Mental Clarity

According to the folks over at alcoholrehab.com, the first year of recovery can be underscored by a fuzzy brain. If it’s any consolation, not only is this common but an expected symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Taking time and adding supplements to help gain some mental clarity can be such a relief. Add some Rosemary, Sage & Ginger into your routine to clear out that mental fog.

Rosemary:Add 1-2 drops onto hands and cup over mouth & nose, inhaling from time to time throughout the day.

Sage: Apply 1-2 drops topically under your nose or diffuse 2-3 drops aromatically in a vapor diffuser.

Ginger: Add 1-2 drops to hot water or herbal tea or apply 1-2 drops to your heart center.

Staying Present

Staying Present

One of the principle tenets of holistic care and mindfulness is creating space to be in the present. Think about it… how much of your day is spent doing just that – thinking? We are so wrapped up in our heads thinking about the past or what’s to come in the future that we miss out on everything that we have right here, right now. Some of the best healing can be done by being in the moment, practicing meditation, and staying present.

Having trouble staying grounded? Try using Sandalwood, Cedarwood, or Eucalyptus Essential Oils set the mood for a meditative state.

Sandalwood or Cedarwood: Add 1-2 drops to your hands & rub together and inhale directly, apply 1-2 drops to your heart center, or diffuse aromatically.

Eucalyptus: Diffuse 5-6 drops aromatically when initiating a meditative practice.

Ease Physical Ailments

Ease Physical Ailments

Physical ailments are another symptom of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) that many struggles within early recovery. Whether you’re experiencing joint pain, muscle tension, restless legs or any other malady, not feeling physically well can truly distract from the recovery mindset. Use of Essential Oils for massage and reflexology can serve as a buffer for some common aches and pains but do consult a medical practitioner to rule out any need for medical attention.

Peppermint, Clove, and Rosemary are among the several Essential Oils that have practical uses in easing physical pains.

Peppermint: For headaches & sinus pressure – apply 1-2 drops to fingertips and rub in circles on temples and over sinuses. For nausea – rub 1-2 drops onto stomach, or place 1-2drops onto the tongue. For muscle pain – add 5 drops to a carrier oil and self-massage the area with sore muscle.

Clove: For neck and shoulder tension – add 4 drops to a carrier oil and work into neck & shoulder muscles. For joint pain – work 3-4 drops of oil into your palms and rub into joints affected.

Rosemary: For stomach or digestive issues, rub 2 drops of oil onto the bottom of feet. For respiration, shortness of breath, and other breathing difficulties – rub 1 drop into hands and breathe directly into sinuses.

Regulate Emotions & Promote Relaxation

Regulate Emotions & Promote Relaxation

Let’s face it, emotions can be all over the place during the sobriety and because we are no longer regulating ourselves with external substances or behaviors, we need to hone in on developing an internal means of regulation. To have an expectation that this will come in early recovery is setting the bar way too high. It takes time to learn how to channel your inner peace and find a new normal when it comes to winding down and relaxing. Nonetheless, now is the perfect time to start practicing!

Aromatherapy is basically stereotyped for its soothing effects on emotions and touted for its ability to promote relaxation. If you use Essential Oils for nothing else, use them to help you chill.

Orange, Lemon & Lime: Apply topically on wrists and neck to experience the effects throughout the day or diffuse aromatically for 1 hour up to 3 times daily.

Ylang Ylang: Apply 1-2 drops onto wrists & neck, add 6 drops to a hot bath with 1 cup Epsom salt, or diffuse aromatically.

Lavender & Eucalyptus: Draw a how to bath and add 10 drops to water with 1 cup Epsom salt and ¼ cup baking soda, diffuse aromatically in the evening prior to falling asleep, or add 10 drops to a spray bottle with water and lightly spray pillows and bedding prior to sleep.

Chamomile: Add 1-2 drops to hot water or herbal tea, diffuse aromatically, or rub 2 drops onto the bottoms of feet prior to bedtime.

Bergamot: Diffuse aromatically, apply topically while showering and inhale deeply, or add to hot water

While aromatherapy is not the end-all answer for people seeking sobriety, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that adding this and other holistic elements to your daily grind can add value to your efforts and improve results for keeping you on track with your personal recovery plan. Do some research on the different brands, check-in with others who have used them, and consult a physician regarding any possible reasons to not use them.

If your overall goal is wellness, it’s worth your time and attention.

About the Author: Paul Lavella Jr. MA, LPC, LCADC, ACS

Wellness Based Counseling is a concept very dear to my heart. At the root of it, the counseling relationship is not solely focused on “the problem,” rather how you go about life’s journey in a way that leads you toward feeling and being well. Counseling is not about pathologizing; it’s about learning what’s not working and figuring out what will.

Paul is dually Licensed in the State of New Jersey as a Professional Counselor and a Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor with thirteen years of professional experience working with adolescents, adults, and families. As an Approved Clinical Supervisor, I also provide supervision for those seeking licensure for counseling or addiction counseling.

Embarking on a journey towards wellness and recovery is perhaps the bravest and most inspiring thing a person can do. At Serenity at Summit we are here for you every step of the way.

Sources:

http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction-treatment/aromatherapy-for-people-in-recovery/

http://www.biosourcenaturals.com/pure-essential-oils/physical/essential-oils-for-addictions/

https://blog.aromatools.com/2014/07/21/essential-oils-the-road-to-addiction-recovery/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatherapy

4 Relapse Warning Signs

.In recovery, much of the work to be done involves learning strategies to avoid a relapse. This is because a single lapse in sobriety can lead to a rapid spiral back into full-blown addiction. To prevent relapse, it’s important to develop the skills to identify warning signs.

Four Relapse Warning Signs

The following are four key warning signs that communicate that it may be time to regroup and refocus on recovery or even obtain relapse prevention treatment.

1. You Avoid 12-Step Meetings

For most individuals in recovery, 12-step meetings are very important. Not only do these meetings remind you of who you are and what is at stake, they also provide a network of others who serve as an effective check and balance system. Often, a recovering addict at risk of relapse begins to make excuses for not attending meetings. Yet, it’s these excuses that indicate that attending meetings is more important than ever.

2. You Become Selfish And Moody

A recovering addict who acts this way is often referred to as a “dry drunk.” It’s not uncommon for those heading to a relapse to act like they did prior to recovery. Those who are at risk of relapse often personalize things and overact to situations. There can be a lower than normal tolerance for frustration and even a selfishness that can have a profoundly negative impact on relationships.

3. You Break Healthy Habits

In recovery, most addicts embrace new activities and lifestyle decisions that replace unhealthy habits. From healthy eating and sleep habits to journaling, meditation and exercise, productive, beneficial habits are incredibly important to staying sober. When someone is struggling with recovery, one of the first signs of impending problems is a lapse in healthy habits that are supporting sobriety.

4. You Revisit The People And Places From Your Substance-Abusing Days

It can seem innocent enough to go visit an old friend or to head to a familiar location where you used to have fun. However, this could be a big red flag that relapse is a very real possibility. One of the most important tools to prevent relapse is to identify the people and places that can trigger a relapse and to stay far away from them.

Are You Or Your Loved One Struggling With Relapse?

You or your loved one may not have been able to clearly see the warning signs and now find yourself back to what led you to treatment in the first place. While this can be incredibly frustrating, there’s still hope for your future. The most important thing you can do is call for immediate help. At Serenity at Summit, our addiction specialists are available 24/7 to support your recovery. Call us today at 844-432-0416.


Preventing a relapse is possible. We can help!

See Tips To Prevent Relapse

NJ Alcohol Detox Treatment Experts Explain How You Can Tell if Your Teen Drinks

It’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs that your teen is drinking alcohol says Serenity at Summit, a NJ alcohol detox treatment center.

Suspecting that your teenager may be drinking alcohol is certain to be disturbing to parents, and rightfully so. Early age alcohol use is dangerous, even deadly in some cases, and it is widespread – affecting teenagers and younger children from all backgrounds, reports Serenity at Summit a New Jersey alcohol detox treatment center. Young people who drink alcohol are more likely to be involved in car accidents, to be victims of violent crimes, and to suffer from depression and anxiety. Underage drinkers also have a better chance of being involved in violent behaviors and crimes, attempting suicide, engaging in unprotected sex or risky sex practices, and becoming addicted to alcohol.

Statistics show that girls are as likely as boys to drink when they are young, and more than half of kids aged 12 to 20 years old have tried alcohol. The average age that girls have their first drink is 13, and for boys it’s 11. With statistics like these, it is easy to see why parents are concerned with teenage alcohol use.

So, how do you know if your teenager (or younger child) is using alcohol? There are some signs to look for that fall under three categories: physical, behavioral, and psychological.

Physical Signs Your Teen is Using Alcohol

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Insomnia or sleeping significantly more than usual
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Deteriorating grooming, hygiene, or physical appearance
  • Difficulty speaking clearly or slurring speech
  • Problems with motor skills or coordination
  • Unexplained injuries or bruising
  • Alcohol odors on breath or clothing
  • Overuse of mouthwash, breath mints, or gum
  • Finding hidden alcohol with your teen’s belongings
  • Missing or watered down alcohol

Behavioral Signs Your Teen is Using Alcohol

  • Poor attendance or tardiness at school
  • Suffering grades
  • Discipline problems at school or with law enforcement
  • More arguments or fights
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Missing money or asking for money more often
  • Being withdrawn or isolating
  • Increase in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Secretive about new friends and activities
  • Locking doors
  • No eye contact
  • Change in group of friends or favorite places to hangout
  • Increase in using eye drops

Psychological Signs Your Teen is Using Alcohol

  • Unexplained or confusing differences in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Irritability, aggression, or angry outbursts
  • Laughing at nothing in particular
  • Unusual hyperactivity or excessive energy
  • Laziness and lacking motivation
  • Inability to focus or appearing lethargic
  • Seeming fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid

Obviously, some of the signs above may just be a teenager being a teenager; it’s the nature of adolescence. But, if you notice several of the signs, you may want to be on the lookout for more. The consequences of teens drinking, especially if they do it routinely, can be severe and life-long, so ignoring the signs can have a devastating effect.

The Risks of Teenage Drinking

The dangers of teenage drinking are not limited to the ones listed at the beginning of this post. There are a number of reports that show underage drinking can have long-term effects as well. The human brain is still developing until the mid-20s, and heavy drinking before that time can cause various problems. Drinking alcohol while the brain is still developing can damage brain growth and it is irreversible. And it doesn’t take a significant amount of drinking to see that result; young people who drink half as much as adults whose brains have fully developed can have the same negative effects.

Teens who drink are more likely to suffer from blackouts, loss of short and long-term memory, and alcohol poisoning than adults. All parts of the growing brain are affected negatively by alcohol, with memory being the most impacted. Additionally, a study done at the University of California, San Diego found that teens that drink routinely typically have damaged nerve tissue when compared to teens who don’t. It is believed that this can negatively affect boys’ attention spans and girls’ ability to understand and process visual information.

Because the brain (specifically, the serotonin regulation, which dictates balance and impulsiveness) becomes tolerant of the use of alcohol, individuals who begin using alcohol at a young age are likely to develop full-blown alcoholism at some time in their lives. In fact, according to another study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine of over 43,000 adults, 47% of those who started drinking at age 15 or younger became addicted to alcohol during their lifetimes, compared to only 9% of those who didn’t drink until at least 21 years of age. And, teenage drinkers are more likely to become susceptible to chronic, relapsing alcoholism at much younger ages than adults who abuse alcohol.

Getting Help for a Teenage Drinker

Most parents of teenage drinkers will agree that they found it hard to believe that their child was drinking. They didn’t see the warning signs, and it took something serious (like an accident or arrest) or someone else telling them to realize that there was a problem. It’s a shocking and upsetting realization and parents will often blame themselves or their teenager. It’s important to try not to assign blame, but instead to work on getting your teen help and on the road to recovery.

If you are seeking help for your teen, and you don’t know where to begin, you can talk to your child’s doctor, school guidance counselor or teacher, or your clergy. Your medical insurance company can also help you find behavior health professionals to assist you.

For more information about how to tell whether your teen needs a medically supervised detox program read “Does My Partying Teen Need Detox?”

At Serenity at Summit, we can also answer your questions about your teenager and drinking, and help you decide which course of action is best for you and your child. If you suspect your teen is drinking, don’t delay in contacting us for guidance. The earlier you intervene on their drinking, the better.

Serenity at Summit

12 Steps: Step 7 – Humbly Asking A Higher Power To Remove Our Shortcomings

Editor’s Note: This post is the seventh in a 12-part series on the 12 Steps of Addiction Recovery.
Step 6: Trusting God To Help With Your Imperfections
Step 8: Making Amends With Those You’ve Hurt

Step 7 of the 12 steps is the next logical step after accepting one’s character defects exactly as they are (which is no small feat in itself) and then becoming willing to let go of them. Too often, people only want to see the best in themselves, and push the things that they don’t like to the background. Step 6 challenges 12-step group members to look at the things that they aren’t comfortable with or proud of and accept them as part of the package that makes them who they are.

In step 7, the focus is on humility. No amount of determination will remove these shortcomings. Only a Higher Power can do that. In order to get help with this step, a person needs to know exactly which traits they want to have removed. The homework involved in doing the soul searching and admitting the nature of one’s wrongs all form the basis for getting ready for this important step.

Help To Remove A Variety Of Shortcomings In Step 7 Of The 12 Steps

Sitting On The Shore At Sunset-12 Steps Step 7-SummitDetoxWhat types of shortcomings could someone ask for help with while working step 7? Addiction is a disease that robs people of many things, including their relationships with family members and friends. “Faults” that may need to be removed can range from being dishonest about whether or not a person has been using to denial and self-centeredness.

Family members and friends of addicts have no doubt been lied to more times than they can count, and a fault that could be on the list may be that of lying or being untruthful. It’s not uncommon for people who are in the active stages of addiction to steal to support a habit, and that shortcoming needs to be on the list, if applicable.

Addiction also makes people quite selfish, in that they only see the world and people in it in terms of how they can be used to reach their goal of feeding their addiction. Anyone who gets in the way of that may be treated with anger and resentment. Another fault that may need to be removed during Step 7 could be any remaining resentment toward family members and friends.

Turn Shortcomings Over To A Higher Power

Once a person working this step knows exactly what help is needed, they can go to their Higher Power (however they perceive it) and ask for assistance with their shortcomings. This is a deeply humbling experience that prepares program members for the next step: Making a list of all persons we had harmed, and becoming willing to make amends to them all.

Serenity at Summit offers expert, compassionate 12-step group therapy on a residential basis in Massachusetts.

Call Serenity at Summit to Find Out How We Can Help You Move Away from Drugs or Alcohol
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