How Teens Can Avoid Peer Pressure to Try Drugs and Alcohol

Peer groups often adopt similar behaviors and attitudes. When the members of the peer group encourage new members to drink or try drugs, the new member often feels that he or she is obligated to follow the example of other members.

Their social need to belong to a group and their fear that they will be ostracized from the group unless they go along with other members often makes them feel like they have no choice but try drugs and alcohol. Even though the new member may not want to drink or do drugs, they may succumb in order to cement their standing in the group.

This is peer pressure at its worst.

How Do You Avoid Peer Pressure to Drink and Do Drugs?

Peer pressure is a common motive for first-time drug and alcohol use among teens. When these situations arise, it can be difficult to know how to respond, but there are a number of ways to handle peer pressure and avoid substance use. Try these tricks for avoiding participating in activities you think are wrong or you don’t want to be part of.

Speak up. If you genuinely enjoy the peer group and you share other healthy interests, don’t be afraid to say no. Tell the group this is not something you intend to do and ask them to respect your decision. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover other members share your sentiments but were afraid to say so.

Avoid groups that center on alcohol and drugs. If you are currently in addiction recovery, you may tend to gravitate back to the people you hung out with when you were using. If the bond that held you together as a group was drinking and drugs, recognize that those people are no longer your peers. They will only try to convince you to join them in drinking and drug use. If you do find yourself socializing with your old peer group, be sure to have an exit strategy ready if things take a turn toward alcohol or drugs.

Find a new peer group. If the group you are hanging around with cannot or will not respect your wishes or decisions, they aren’t really concerned about you anyway. Look for other groups that share your ideals, vision and interests in life.

Join clubs. If you are struggling with finding a new peer group to hang around with, join clubs where you will meet people with similar interests. You may enjoy a book club, a photography club or even a gaming group with members who share your hobbies or passion.

Enjoying your recovery is easier when you associate with people who share your passion for life. While they don’t need to be recovering addicts themselves, they should accept the fact that those activities are off limits for you. Stop by our store for great inspirational reading to help you in your addiction recovery.

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Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Addiction?

If you are in addiction recovery, you have probably spent your share of time trying to figure out how you became an addict in the first place. While there are many reasons people turn to alcohol and drugs, if you experienced childhood trauma it may have contributed to your addiction.

According to Dr. Vincent Felitti, founder of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) project, with the exception of chronic reoccurring humiliation, all forms of childhood trauma present the same risks of later abuse. Those exposed to chronic reoccurring humiliation were 15 percent more likely to become addicted to food, alcohol or drugs than those exposed to other forms of childhood trauma.

The increased risk ranges from 5 to 46 times more likely to become addicted to substances in later life, depending on the number of traumatic events you experienced and your demographics.

Types of Childhood Trauma

There are several categories of childhood trauma. As a rule, the risks of addiction increases as children are exposed to a wider range of childhood trauma experiences. Nearly any imaginable trauma can be classified in one of the following groups.

Sexual Abuse/Incest: Children who are sexually abused by a trusted adult in their life are often reluctant to disclose the fact to others. Instead, they experience a sense of betrayal, embarrassment or humiliation. Because they are afraid to disclose the abuse or talk to a medical professional about it, they often turn to self-medication with drugs or alcohol to solve the problem.

Psychological or Physical Abuse: Children who experience abuse at the hands of their parents often feel powerless to change the situation. Fear and rage fester throughout their childhood and into the teen and adult years. They often turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to mask their rage and to quell the pain and embarrassment.  The program Adult Children of Alcoholics A.C.A. The term “adult child” is used to describe the adult child who grew up in a alcoholic or dysfunctional homes who exhibit identifiable traits that revel past abuse or neglect.

Death or Loss: Losing a parent to death, divorce or even to incarceration also causes childhood trauma. Dealing with the grief and anger that often accompanies losing a parent or loved one can lead children to drugs or alcohol and increase their risk of addiction.

Natural Disaster: Witnessing or having close family members or friends involved in a natural disaster, like a flood, hurricane or terrorist act can instill fear and reoccurring memories of the traumatic event. The child may feel guilty or may feel responsible in some way, He or she often suffers from nightmares or becomes afraid the event will occur again. As the child gets older, he or she may turn to drugs and alcohol to drown out the memories or banish the nightmares.

Crimes and/or Accidents: Experiencing a crime or being in an accident can cause childhood trauma. It can set the stage for fear of strangers, riding in a vehicle or going to places where the crime occurred. As children age they may turn to substance abuse to suppress their fears.

Understanding how the trauma of your childhood may affect your addiction and recovery is an important part of your recovery. While you can’t blame all your problems on past events, knowing that they contributed to your tendency to reach for drugs or alcohol will make it easier to forgive yourself and learn to love yourself again.

Try carrying an acceptance affirmation stone to remind yourself that you can’t change the past. Visit our store and browse the uplifting posters or grab a journal to keep track of your recovery.

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Finding Love and Tolerance in Our Recovery

Nearly everyone thinks they understand what love and tolerance mean.  Both terms can mean a variety or things when used in everyday conversation, but the meaning is very specific when it comes to addiction recovery. Let’s explore what both love and tolerance really mean and how you can put them into action during your recovery.

What is Love?

Many people think of love as that head-over-heels feeling your experience when you fall in love. Others see it as the feeling you have for family or God. But love is both of these and more. Love is showing a deep value for and a desire for what is best for another individual. It is not self-serving and it doesn’t depend on your feelings. Real love is unconditional and is not dependent on your own personal desires.

What is Tolerance?

Many think of tolerance as the ability to survive something painful or harmful, or as the act of tolerating something they do not like or agree with. The truth is tolerance is not “putting up with” something you don’t like or tolerating the fact that others may have views that differ from yours. In addiction recovery, tolerance is the act of appreciating and respecting the differing viewpoints other people can bring to your life. It is accepting that you do not have all the answers and that you need the wisdom and perspective or others to help you through recovery. In addiction recovery, tolerance is a positive attribute to strive for.

How Do You Learn Love and Tolerance?

The first step to learning to practice love and tolerance in your life and relationships is to become self-aware and admit your inner thoughts and fears. It means letting go of all dishonesty, selfishness and the desire to control those you love.  There are many paths to self-awareness and cultivating love and tolerance in your relationships and life. Try these suggestions to further your self-growth as your work through your addiction recovery.

Visit our store and browse the many resources available to help you in your recovery. We offer everything from medallions and chips to spiritually uplifting books, CDs and DVDs.

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Rebuilding Trust During Recovery Takes Times

Addiction is a hard road to walk, but recovery can also be difficult. Although it’s not an easy path, the journey to recovery is very worthwhile for you and for the family and friends who care about you.

As you move through recovery, you may find that one of the things you need and want to do is rebuild trust with family and friends that you may have distanced yourself from during your addiction period. That rebuilding can take time, but can also be very valuable to helping you recover and strengthen the ties you have to the people who care about you.

Don’t underestimate how much your friends and family still love you. When they see how hard you’re trying to get better and live a good, happy life, they will support you.

Rebuilding Ties With Your Family

While it may be uncomfortable at first, going to each member of your family and talking to them openly about your addiction and your recovery can really start the process of rebuilding some of the ties that may have unraveled. Your family loves you, and do n’t want to see you hurting yourself or others through the pain of addictive behavior. Instead, they want to see you happy, healthy, and whole, the way they remember you before any problems may have begun.

You may want to bring them a small gift that’s sincere and personal, which can show you understand the journey you’re on and how dedicated you are to staying on the right path as you head toward a brighter future. That will help them see the seriousness you have for the task at hand, and help them start to trust you again.

Reaching Out to Your Friends

Some of your friends may have drifted away from you, too, but you can reach out to them. If they were true friends and addiction got in the way, they will still be true friends as you work through recovery. By reaching out and making amends you take an important first step toward showing your friends you’re serious about being healthy and living a better life, free of the trappings of the past.

Let your friends know what they mean to you, and give them time to come around if they’re uncertain. Keep your promises to them, so they can see the changes you’ve made and learn that they can once again rely on you. In time, true friends will regain their trust in you.

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Meditation Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety During Recovery

Meditate to Reduce Stress and Anxiety During Recovery

Recovering from alcohol or drug addiction often requires a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy, support groups and medication. Learning to take one day at a time and put your trust in a higher power is vital to success. Meditation can help you by reducing both anxiety and depression, two common triggers that cause people to reach for drugs or alcohol.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice thought to improve both mental and physical health. While there are several variations, it typically involves sitting quietly and focusing your attention inward. It may involve focusing on your breathing or a special mantra and learning to let all thoughts float away. Meditation that promotes mindfulness involves exploring your feelings and emotions and learning to choose how you will respond to them.

How Do You Meditate?

You can take classes or watch videos to learn meditation techniques. You will need a quiet place to sit comfortably where you will not be disturbed for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. To learn the basic technique for meditating, wear comfortable clothes and sit in a relaxed position. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.

You can repeat a phrase if you prefer. Many find it useful to use daily affirmations or inspirational quotes to focus their attention. Let all the cares and worries of the world float away. Some find it easier to learn if they concentrate on the sounds of nature. You could sit beside a brook, at the lake or in your own backyard and tune into the sounds or scents of nature as you breathe. If you are an urban dweller, try using a CD of nature sounds playing softly in the background to take advantage of the power healing force of nature.

What Are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditating is beneficial for nearly anyone but is especially true for those recovering from addiction. It reduces the underlying causes most recovering addicts experience that causes them to relapse. It reduces both stress and anxiety and creates a feeling of peacefulness. The practice of meditation changes the brain. A study conducted on recovering addicts who meditated 30 minutes a day for eight weeks revealed that the subject’s brains had increased grey matter in areas of the brain that control self-awareness, introspection, learning and memory and decreased grey matter in the areas related to stress and anxiety.

Meditation is another effective tool for those undergoing alcohol or drug addiction recovery. It helps to reduce negative feelings while boosting your sense of well-being and peacefulness. When added to your treatment plan, meditation can help you avoid relapses and build a stronger sense of confidence.

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Experiencing the 5 Stages of Loss During Recovery

Anytime there is a big loss in life, such as a death or a divorce, people grieve. It’s normal and natural. Sometimes recovering addicts experience grief at the loss of their addiction. After all, it has been a constant presence in their life for a long time and it may have been tied to a social group they no longer are a part of.

This, too, is normal and simply a part of the recovery and healing process. There are five stages you will go through, and some people stay at one stage longer than others. Understanding the stages and knowing they are a part of recovery can help you move through them more easily and with less anxiety.

1. Denial

When someone is addicted, they often deny that they have a problem. They may insist they have it handled, or that they’re just having a little bit of fun. At that point, you don’t really realize how deeply ingrained that behavior is becoming or how much you would do in order to keep the addiction going. Eventually, though, you will come to terms with it and where you are in your life.

2. Anger

When you move into anger, you see the addiction as a problem, but you may not be ready for recovery or treatment just yet. You might feel angry at what the addiction is taking for you, or upset at yourself that you have let things get out of control. Change is not what someone generally looks for during this stage because there is still more to be discovered before that change can take place.

3. Bargaining

As you advance into the next stage, you begin to bargain with your addiction and with yourself. You see that things are going wrong, but you want to find a way to keep your addiction and still be all right. It’s like a toxic relationship with another person, in that you are so involved in the relationship that you can’t see yourself without it.

4. Depression

Reaching the depression stage means you have realized that you can’t keep your addiction. That can make you very sad because you love your addiction in many ways. Still, the cost is simply becoming too high, and you know you have to do something differently in order to live a healthy life. Getting help at this stage can be critical.

5. Acceptance

Recovery and acceptance go hand in hand. You see the addiction for what it is, or was, and are able to move past it and realize the true value of avoiding the problems of the past. You feel and look better, and are happier without the addiction weighing you down. Like someone leaving a bad relationship, you accept that you can never go back, and that is just fine with you.

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How Yoga Can Help You Through the Recovery Process

How Yoga Can Help You Through the Recovery Process

For those in recovery, yoga can help create a fresh new outlook on life. There are many ways to feel better during recovery, and one of the ways to do that is to make new connections between things that make the body feel good and healthy behaviors. Yoga can be a big part of that, and can help you move through your recovery more easily. To understand how that works, it’s important to know what yoga is and what it really offers.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an Indian practice that has been around for thousands of years. Most people think of it as some type of exercise, which is true, but there are also spiritual, mental and emotional components to the practice. It includes ethical principles, spiritual practices, physical poses, breathing techniques, withdrawal of the senses (such as meditation) and concentration. As you move through the poses and concentrate, meditate and breathe, you learn to understand your body and mind so much better than ever before.

What Does Yoga Offer?

Among the biggest benefits of yoga is helping people handle stress more easily. Since stress can be what turns people toward drugs and alcohol, having another outlet for that stress can be vital to making sure you stay in recovery and are successful. You will also be more relaxed, which will help you sleep better, and the yoga poses can make you more physically fit and healthy. You’ll also see your circulation improve, and you may even find that your weight is better under control.

How Can Yoga Help You?

For those in recovery, yoga can help by getting them back in touch with their body and mind. The practice can help you feel comfortable in your own skin again, and you can reduce any emotional stress you’re experiencing. Recovery is a journey that can be difficult at times, but it;s one that is extremely worthwhile. Because addiction is mental, physical, and spiritual, it makes sense for the treatment of that addiction to encompass help and guidance in all of those areas. Yoga is able to offer that, so it can make your recovery an easier and more fulfilling time.

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Plan for a Fun and Sober Summer

Sober living is all about making the most out of life and finding fun and happiness without alcohol or drugs. Luckily, summer makes it easy to appreciate life and the world around us. The sun is out, the flowers are in bloom and there are plenty of activities and events to help you let loose.

But the summer can also be a challenging time for those in recovery. For many, summer becomes the partying season where friends and family spend time together quite often. People tend to enjoy backyard barbecues and outdoor concerts with a few drinks, which can put you in a difficult position. So, is it possible to blend summertime fun with sobriety? Of course it is!

Guard Against Summer Relapsing

There’s no way to remove every risk from your life, and recognizing this risk is an important step in protecting yourself. Studies have shown that 50 percent of recovering individuals relapse during their first year. During the summer months, it’s more important than ever to take steps to minimize risks whenever possible so you don’t relapse. Here are some ideas that can help you stay on the straight and narrow path:

  • Be active in an aftercare program or another type of 12-step program. If you’re already involved in a group, consider increasing the frequency in which you attend meetings.
  • Have a sponsor and one that will not simply pretend to be your savior and fail to pick up the phone during this high-risk time. You want someone who truly will have your back and are available whenever you need to talk.
  • Once you develop that relationship with a sponsor, find ways to spend time with him or her. You could even bring your sponsor as your plus-one to a party you were invited to. It’s a great way for you to stay focused on what’s important even in the face of temptation.
  • When everyone else is drinking, find something else to drink that’s still tasty and interesting. Be mindful that you don’t have to give up great food and drinks – just choose non-alcoholic versions. When it gets hard to watch others drink, use one of your 12 step chips or even a sobriety medallion to help. Rub your fingers on it and notice the value it provides to your life. And of course prayer always works in all situations.
  • If the event is going to be nothing but drinking, ask yourself if it really is worth going. Will it put your sobriety at risk? Instead, ask a friend to go see a movie, visit a local park or go bowling! There are plenty of engaging and fun activities out there that don’t involve alcohol.

Staying sober this summer is your ultimate goal. You need to get beyond that 12-month mark to really see the impact it can have on your life. You can have fun. To do so, focus on including the right people in your life, avoid high-risk situations, and participate other activities that are more enjoyable to you that won’t hamper your recovery.

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How to Enjoy Summer Barbecues While in Recovery

Summer barbecues can be a challenge when you are going through recovery. You don’t want to isolate yourself from those who may enjoy a few drinks in the sun, but you don’t want to be pressured to join in either. By thinking ahead and making some plans, you can participate with your family and friends without compromising your sobriety.

Have an Exit Strategy

There is no shame in planning an easy escape if things get too stressful or old friends get out of hand. Try these solutions to ensuring you will be able to leave when the time is right for you.

Don’t become the designated driver. Your old buddies may think that now that you are enjoying sober living that you can fill the role of designated driver. Make it clear at the beginning of the night that you aren’t willing to play chauffeur if your buddies get out of hand and aren’t able to drive themselves home. You can call them a cab, though.

Don’t offer rides to and from the event. This sets the stage for you to become stuck and unable to leave if things become stressful. Arriving solo, with a sober buddy or with someone who won’t mind ducking out early if you begin to feel uncomfortable gives you the freedom to leave when you’re ready.

Set a time limit. It is perfectly acceptable to set a time limit for your stay at the barbecue. Let others know at the onset that you only have an hour (or two) and then you must be on your way. You don’t need to explain why, but if you feel more secure with a justified reason, make plans that require you to leave at a specific time. Meeting an old friend for coffee, picking up your dry cleaning or simply getting back to some work waiting at home are all legitimate reasons to leave the party.

Go Easy on Yourself

Gatherings of families and friends have a way of taking on a life of their own. If the barbecue suddenly takes a turn that makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to make an early exit. Give yourself permission to consider your needs first and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re not ready to be around that kind of environment. Recovery takes time, and you don’t want to jeopardize anything by putting yourself in an uncomfortable position.

Reward Yourself

Everyone deserves a reward for a job well done. Plan an activity to help you unwind and relax when you get home. Reading a good book, such as Mindfulness and the Twelve Steps, watching a favorite movie or spending time journaling are all great ways to reward yourself at the end of the day. They also give you something to look forward to and will take your mind off any difficult moments at the party.

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The Newly Sober Pink Cloud: What You Need to Know

Today you are sober. And today, your journey in sober living seems like a very good thing. For many individuals who are newly sober, it’s possible to just float on that so-called pink cloud. Life seems very good; everything is on the right path. But pink cloud syndrome can actually be very, very bad for you.

What Is Pink Cloud Syndrome?

Those who have lived through addiction and are long-time sober individuals will tell newcomers to sober living that pink cloud syndrome happens to many people in the first few days and months of sobriety. To define it isn’t easy, but it is the sense that everything is just fine and that life is great right now, even though, in reality, it’s not quite as perfect as it seems.

Those who are facing addiction and recovery may find themselves in a place of self-delusion. It is a type of self-defense mechanism that individuals face in which they don’t fully accept their current circumstance. But that pink cloud can dissipate very easily when you eventually come to grips with where you’re at in life and why.

You may be facing criminal charges. You can’t drive. You may have lost your job. You might even be seriously injured. The problem with not recognizing and accepting these things now is that, when you do begin to try to put the pieces back together, it becomes much harder to do because you’ve been living in denial for so long. This can, in turn, lead to severe depression and, in some people, relapse.

What Can You Do?

What’s most important is that you have made the decision to get sober. That’s a huge step, and you should be proud of yourself for making it.

Unfortunately, if you’re riding the pink cloud, you may not be as willing to listen to the words and wisdom from friends, family and those in your support group. Only you can begin to recognize that, while sobriety is excellent for you and you are on the right path, you have to understand that recovery is an ongoing journey that needs to be focused on one day at a time. Use daily meditations to help you or even journal about your life right now. Be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling and how you’re dealing with things, and don’t overlook the importance of taking this slow. Attend 12 step meetings where you can share and perhaps you will be able to talk about your situations, maybe others in the group will have solutions from experience that will help you.

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