Month: November 2021

Relationships and Recovery: Maintaining Sobriety After a Breakup

young woman looking to the side with a sad face

Breakups can be devastating for anyone. For those who struggle with a substance use disorder, maintaining sobriety after a relationship ends can be a major challenge. Intense emotions such as jealousy, insecurity, and uncertainty can all be potential triggers. However, it’s very important that we do not give in to the negative emotions that are often associated with bad breakups and resort to alcohol or drugs to numb our pain.  The “Splitting-Up” Spiral and Sobriety  What could I have done differently? They were the one; what happened? How can I ever move on from this? These are just some of the many questions that we may find ourselves asking after a breakup. Whether the breakup was mutual and amicable or not, this negative loop of emotions and questions can persist for days, months, and sometimes even years.  According to marriage and family therapist Courtney Geter, “The negative thoughts that breakups…

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On the Mend and Making Amends: The Step Nine Struggle

man in long sleeve shirt hugging a friend

Making amends can be incredibly difficult and uncomfortable. How do we navigate potentially opening old wounds with old friends and family members? For many, this step can seem counterintuitive to growth in recovery. However, it is a necessary part of the process of working the steps. Step Nine allows us to let go of our past transgressions while also working to mend old relationships and provide closure for ourselves and the people we harmed while in active addiction.  Breaking Down Step Nine According to the Big Book, Step Nine is defined as the following “Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” So, we’ve made our list, checked it twice, and now we need to make amends with those that we can. This step is particularly distressing for many people. Reliving our past harms might give rise to harsh situations…

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Newfound Sobriety and Loneliness: How We Can Build Better and Healthier Friendships

depressed man sitting in dark room

Shortly after we enter recovery, it can seem like we’ve lost a lot of friends in the process. Our “party” groups, the people we associated with, and the environments that we spent time in suddenly become triggers to avoid. However, it is important to remember that these friendships were built on the house of cards that is addiction. A friendship that is contingent on the presence of a substance is not a friendship at all. This temporary “loneliness” can be triggering for many people during the early stages of recovery. Our day-to-day lives may seem a little slower, more stable, and more predictable. These are all good things! However, our intuitive, kneejerk reaction to removing ourselves from certain environments and limiting contact with specific friend groups for our own health can be difficult to manage. Reentering the World in Recovery  One of the more difficult aspects of leaving a treatment…

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Forget the FOMO: Adjusting to Sober Life After the Program

thoughtful middle-aged man looking up

Whether you just completed an inpatient stay or an outpatient program, adjusting to life outside of treatment can be difficult. It is important that we try our best not to romanticize or obsess over the “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO) if we see people out partying or posting on social media about it. We know that life and we left it behind for a healthier one! That being said, learning how to have fun without drugs or alcohol is one of the many lessons that we learn on the road to recovery. As people in recovery, we are constantly learning good habits and unlearning bad ones. For us, fun and substance use are mutually exclusive, despite the messages we may be exposed to after we leave a program and reenter daily life. Let’s Be Honest: We Aren’t Missing Out on Much After completing an inpatient or outpatient program, we reenter…

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Battling Boredom During Recovery

Young man chatting on the phone

For those of us who associated “fun” with substance use for many years, boredom can be a leading cause of relapse, struggles, and anxiety. In order to cope with this, it is imperative that we restructure our idea of “fun” by building new hobbies and spending time with ourselves without drugs and alcohol. Sober Stimulation  When we leave the structured life of a treatment program and return home with a commitment to sobriety, we are suddenly forced to deal with the monotony of day-to-day life with a clear mind. This can be especially difficult when we are dealing with “boredom” while in recovery. This is why so many programs and addiction experts recommend finding hobbies and activities that we can invest our time and effort in. During active addiction, we try to control our emotions with substances. We avoid discomfort by using. Boredom can be a very uncomfortable emotion, and…

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