Friday, August 25, 2017

Guest Post: Traveling as a Coping Strategy for Addiction Recovery

When a person suffering from addiction decides to enter recovery, they are said to be beginning a journey - one that lasts a lifetime. This journey is a long one, filled with triumphs and potentially some setbacks. The path to recovery never really ends for those with addiction issues - it’s one they must stay on their whole life. But while they are making this metaphorical journey, they can take some time to make some other, more tangible journeys as well. Travel has an immense healing effect and is a wonderful tool for those in recovery. Here’s why.

Travel as healthy escapism

When you have an addiction, you are practicing unhealthy escapism. You drink or do drugs in order to escape from your daily life - your pain, depression, anxiety, work stresses, or family problems. The fact that we all need to find ways to take breaks from the daily stresses of life isn’t unhealthy in and of itself - it’s the method that’s unhealthy.

Travel can be that bridge toward a healthier form of escape. Day-to-day life is hard for anyone - but especially for those on a recovery path. We all need a break, and travel can provide this “escape” in a healthy, productive way. You’re not running from your problems, you’re simply taking a break to gain some perspective.

Get some perspective

Addiction is suffocating. When battling dependency on a substance, it can seem like all that you know is your addiction - everything else in the world is blurry or faded. Part of recovery is understanding that there is so much more to the world than you, your addiction, and your problems. One of the best ways to gain some perspective on your own life is to travel. When you visit other places, it’s nearly impossible not to see yourself as a small part in a large human play. With addiction, the world is small. With travel, the world is large and full of possibilities. Expanding one’s worldview is a crucial element of recovery.

Mental rejuvenation

If you’re in recovery, the chances are you’ve seen some very hard times in recent memory. Addiction takes the fun out of life. Recovery is discovering that there is fun and beauty in a sober lifestyle. Travel gives us the perfect opportunity for this mental rejuvenation.

When you travel, it’s a constant source of inspiration. You meet new people, see amazing sights, try delicious food, and learn about culture and history. You have experiences that you didn’t even know existed. At its core, travel is simply a lot of fun. Having sober fun is vital when it comes to lifting your spirits and giving you an emotional boost to continue down your recovery path. Feelings of depression are one of the most common issues people have in recovery (as addiction and depression are a vicious cycle), and travel may not “cure” this but it certainly helps you to understand that there are things in this world to be excited about. In this, way, travel has quite the healing power.

In the end, traveling not only expands your horizons, lets you discover new, exciting things, and gives you some time to mentally rejuvenate - it also grounds you. Spending time away from your friends, family, and job often illuminates why these things are so important to you. Sober travel is tough, as we associate traveling with wild times (and a lot of drinking). It may be smart to make sure you’re firmly on your recovery path before you venture out on an adventure, but once you are there’s no reason you shouldn’t experience new things. You can get away for some perspective but still stay connected to home (literally).

Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. Mr. Moore starts every day by looking at photographs of past travel, making plans for future travel, and committing to one new healthy goal. He enjoys travel, running, swimming and baking. His favorite place in the world is Venice, Italy. The next place on his list to visit is: Fernando de Noronha in Brazil.

Photo Credit

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Guest Post - Positive Changes Help Cope With a Major Life Event

Going through major life changes can impact us in so many ways; some are positive, some are negative. In many cases, it’s difficult to know the right path to choose after such a big change, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. However, it’s possible to take these occurrences and use them to your advantage.

Some of the biggest life changes we experience include having a baby, losing a loved one, going through a divorce, getting married, and buying a new home. These events all run the risk of becoming very stressful times in our lives, but they also have the potential to change us for the better. Taking a period of transition and turning it into a reason to make positive changes in our behavior or way of thinking is a wonderful way to start down a new path in life. Not to mention that these changes can be highly beneficial for our mental and physical health.

Here are some of the best ways to get started.

Get healthy

Having a child or losing a loved one to illness are two of the greatest motivators in the world for getting healthy. Often, new parents or people who are dealing with grief feel they can’t take the time to focus on themselves, but it’s important to pay attention to your body and mental state. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest complaints of individuals who are going through a major life event, so work out a way to get adequate rest. Take naps often, and stay hydrated. Eat well-balanced meals, and include lots of fruits, veggies, and proteins to keep up your energy.
A healthy diet can equate to a healthy mind.

It’s also important to get a little exercise every day, even when you’re feeling low or tired. Exercise can help boost your mood and give you a burst of energy, and it can actually help boost your mental health as it releases hormones in the brain that are associated with being happy.

Clean up

Being in a clean environment can help you feel more in control--which is important after a major change, when everything can seem to be in chaos--so get organized and start de-cluttering. Go through closets and cabinets and donate or toss anything you haven’t used in a while. Give each room a good cleaning and air out your home. Not only will it be a better environment for your family, it will help you feel better, too. Having a clean, well-organized living situation can be beneficial for your mental health; after all, coming home after a long day to a cluttered home where chores await can amp up your stress levels and interfere with your sleep cycle. Read on here to find out more about how cleaning up and de-cluttering can improve your mental well-being.

Chuck those bad habits

Going through a major life change can be a great motivator for other areas of your life, such as smoking, using substances, or allowing toxic people to stay around. Take stock of what’s really important to you and think about the best ways to make some changes for the better. If you feel you need help getting past those habits, reach out and garner support from your friends and family.

Working on yourself and focusing on what makes you happy can allow you to enjoy life more. Finding a hobby or taking an interest in something new--such as learning a new language or traveling--will give you a new view on life and can help you be your best self inside and out.

It’s not always easy to make changes in your life, even when you know they’re best for you and your family in the long run. Take things one day at a time and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t reach your goal right away. Making changes for the better takes time.

Guest Blogger Bio: Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder. With, Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.

Photo via Pixabay by Jill111

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Guest Post -Taking Back Their Lives: Dual Diagnosis Recovery Survivors Share Their Stories

Taking Back Their Lives: Dual Diagnosis Recovery Survivors Share Their Stories
by Constance Ray

I am a strong woman and I can do whatever I put my mind to. ... I'm caring, honest, and most importantly ... I love who I am today.” - Elizabeth, Proud Recovery Graduate

The connection between substance abuse and mental disorder is a strong and complex diagnosis. Left unchecked, the combination of the two can have devastating consequences. But how on earth is someone in pain supposed to claw their way free? It feels like a Sisyphean ordeal with no way out, and so the vicious cycle continues.

Treatment is, without question, the best way to battle the dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness. To the uninitiated, it’s a terrifying and suspect gamble, but with therapy and group counseling, recovery victims can arm themselves with the tools and skills necessary to face down their personal demons and whatever life throws their way.

Survivors are proof that there is life after addiction, and hearing their realizations and discoveries can be the motivation others need to take the plunge themselves. Consider the stories of these brave women.

Katherine’s Story
Alcohol had consumed Katherine’s life.

“I drank pretty hardcore and it got to the point where I was drinking in the morning, at my lunch, drinking before I went to work, all night long. I was constantly buzzed or intoxicated. I went to my doctor. She let me know that she thought that maybe I was bipolar, and I asked her, ‘Why?’”

Her doctor pointed out that Katherine was making a lot of bad decisions and insisted that she take medication. Resistant to try anything, Katherine went home to reflect, and then a light went off.

“... I realized that I probably wouldn’t make any of these decisions if I was sober. I knew that I needed more help than doing it on my own.”

Katherine reached out to an alcohol treatment center, and from there, her life changed forever.

“Once I started learning more about my underlying causes and why I did the things I did, getting all the stuff out — all the guilty feelings, all the stuff from childhood, things I didn’t deal with — life just started to get a lot better. I started to understand my addiction. And I’m extremely excited to get out of here and experience a sober life for the first time.”

Audra’s Story
On the surface, Audra had the perfect life: a great job, great kids, a nice house. But it was all
a facade. Inside, she suffered from deep depression and despair that stemmed from an adolescent trauma. Audra started drinking when she was 12, and at 42, she finally realized her world was spinning out of control.

“I knew I was going to die if I didn't stop, and I didn't see any way that I could. I took a video of myself in a really drunken state, and the next day I had my aunt call me and ask me, 'Honey you need some help — what can we do to help you?'” Audra said.

The next day, Audra packed herself off to a treatment facility.

“I knew that I needed help, and I had faith that God was going to put me in the right place.
Within about a day or two of being [in treatment], I truly believed that this is exactly where I needed to be.”

Sober and prepared to move on with her life, Audra is grateful for what she has learned about herself, and she is grateful for the new opportunity.

“Without the counseling, I don't think I really could have gotten to the root cause of why I was drinking. I have learned so much. With those counseling sessions, we were able to open up all those wounds and just put them on the table and just let them heal naturally and on their own,” she said. 

Katherine and Audra are living proof that there is hope for those who suffer a dual diagnosis. There is a way to take back life and move forward. The process can be arduous, and it lasts a lifetime, but in the end it’s the survivors who win — not their disease.

-- Constance Ray started with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it.

Photo by Pixabay