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Overcoming Shame and Recovering From Sexual Addictions

Many of those seeking to recover from addictions of all kinds struggle in dealing with shame. Sometimes, you experience shame due to feeling weak, admitting that you need help, or having guilt over past actions. For those with sexual addictions, shame is a common barrier to treatment and many people may never find a way to recover.

Sexual behavior is a private and personal matter for most people. When sexual behavior is used to cope with other stressors in life, a person might become addicted to the feelings of excitement and release, much like an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

While anyone in recovery from sexual addiction or any other addiction has likely hurt others in their past, the key to recovery is separating your addictive behavior from your true self. During recovery, you have to accept responsibility for your actions and make amends.

However, you do not need to burden yourself with holding onto shame for your past. Hope is possible and you can change for the better.

Similarities Between Substance and Sexual Addiction

One way to overcome the shame of sexual addiction is realizing that the motivations for sexual addiction are similar to those of substance or alcohol addictions. When experiencing shame, you may feel that others in society will judge you harshly. You may feel like a criminal or that your actions are beyond redemption.

Society has come to terms with viewing addictions to drugs or alcohol as a problem that people can recover from. While in the past, many of those addicted might have denied their issues or hidden them from others, brave individuals have come forward to pave the path for others to heal from their addictions.

While sexual addiction might be a somewhat taboo topic today, those who come forward now to face their addiction head-on will help to clear the pathway for others in the future. Sexual behavior can have similar effects as other substances, which is why some people are vulnerable to addiction.

Sexual behavior, like drugs or alcohol, can make a person feel a “high” that they continue to chase. Some people might use sexual behavior to cope with stress or anxiety, just like others may use alcohol or other substances to achieve the same ends.

A sign of addiction is when chasing this “high” comes ahead of all other things. When prioritizing sexual behavior above everything else in life, the person might have an addiction. You might also be addicted if sexual behavior is the only way that you cope with any stressors in your life.

Many people are susceptible to addictive behaviors and are not alone in recovery. Although sexual addiction may be different from others, the motivations and emotions involved are similar and often the same.

Shame: A Barrier to Healing

Shame can get in the way of healing from all forms of addictive behaviors. For those addicted to sexual behaviors, feelings of shame may be the result of having victimized others or treating a romantic partner poorly. While you need to accept responsibility for your past and your behaviors, the cycle of shame only serves to prevent you from real change.

Shame can be a negative coping skill for you; shame enables you to avoid dealing with your addiction. When experiencing shame, you may feel like punishing yourself or feel like your guilt justifies any pain you may have inflicted on others. Shame becomes a layer that separates you from dealing with your emotional pain. Feelings of guilt and shame only block you from dealing with the underlying causes of your addictive behaviors.

Being vulnerable to share your experiences with others in recovery can help you begin the process of healing and growth. You will find that you are not alone in your experiences. Your addictive behaviors are different than who you truly are. Many people with sexual addictions think that they are flawed on the inside and are incapable of change.

They may be unable to recognize that their behaviors were the result of poorly coping with stress or other underlying issues. To recover from sexual addiction, you must realize that your past behaviors do not define who you are today. You have other qualities and values that define you.

While you cannot change your past or things that you might have done, you can change for the better. Recovery from sexual addictions—like all other addictive behaviors—is possible and there is hope for all those who are struggling. Let go of your shame and guilt; allow yourself to enjoy the gift of recovery.

You are not alone in your addiction, whether you are addicted to substances—like drugs or alcohol—or addicted to behaviors, like sex or gambling. Other people are in recovery from their addictions and are learning new ways to cope with life. They have separated themselves from their addictive behaviors and have broken down the barrier of shame, which impedes many from true growth and change. You may feel guilt for your past behaviors, or you may feel that all hope is lost. However, you can recover from sexual addictions as others have in the past. At Camelback Recovery, we open our doors to those suffering from all kinds of addictive behaviors. Our home environment is a safe place for everyone to share their stories and experiences.
Call us at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery today.

 

Discovering Purpose: Why Are We Here?

An important aspect of being successful in your recovery experience is discovering your purpose. Your purpose drives you toward your life goals and can help to push you through challenging times. When we live a life of purpose, we feel connected to something beyond ourselves.

“Purpose” is one of the pillars of recovery in many treatment programs. Without having a purpose in life, we may feel lost or we may easily stray from our recovery pathway. Having a purpose can give us a reason to wake each morning and face the challenges of the day.

Some of us in recovery may have never thought about our life purpose in life. We may not know what we are looking for in life, as we may have been living day by day while dealing with our addictions. Working on discovering your purpose can take some time, as you need to think deeply about your life and what you truly value.

6 Tips for Discovering Your Purpose

If finding a purpose is new to you, here are some tips to help you discover your purpose in life:

  1. Help Others: Volunteering can help you find your purpose in life. You may have a unique skill that can benefit others. You can even help your peers in recovery. Volunteering regularly can help you build relationships and connections with others. You may then discover a purpose as people come to value your help and your contributions.
  2. Spend Time with Uplifting and Positive People: Start spending more time with people who inspire you or who make you feel good. If you find yourself spending a lot of time with negative people, who often weigh you down with their troubles or tell you that you cannot achieve your goals, you may want to spend less time with them. Uplifting and positive people can help you maintain the positive mindset needed to discover your passions and your purpose.
  3. Explore Your Interests: How do you spend your free time? Do you watch specific types of television shows that might indicate an interest of yours? What things do you like to learn about? Start to explore the things that interest you. These could be new hobbies or new places to travel. Maybe you want to learn an instrument or take up yoga. Try something new to expose yourself to new experiences.
  4. Thinking Back to Our Childhood: When we were children, most of us had an idea of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Your childhood dreams might still be attainable. Try to think back on those times and see if those things still excite you.
  5. List Your Heroes: Who do you admire? These could be fictional characters or real people. They could be people you know or they could be people you have only heard about in the media. Think about who you admire and why you admire them. We often admire people who have characteristics we would like to have ourselves. Knowing these characteristics might help you understand what you value and can direct you toward your purpose.
  6. Social Causes: Is there a social cause that you are passionate about? Maybe you love animals or recycle each week? You might find purpose in exploring opportunities to aid social causes that you believe in. These passions can direct you to specific volunteering opportunities or career paths.

Making Sense of Your Purpose

Sometimes, we get caught up in specific details when we look for purpose in life. We may have the idea that only one or two specific things will make us happy and fulfilled. You may find it helpful to simplify your life’s purpose into one or two sentences. To simplify your purpose, you need to look at the underlying motivation for your actions.

For example, if you wanted to be a fireman when you grew up, you might consider connecting with a local fire company to volunteer. If your community may not have any opportunities available, you can consider your fundamental motivations. Why did you want to be a fireman?

Did you want to help people? Did you like the sense of adventure? Figuring out why you are passionate about something can help guide you to your life’s purpose. Understanding what you truly love about a hobby or an interest can point you in the direction of more things that you may find fulfilling.

Knowing what you care about—or who you care about—can also help you focus on being the best version of yourself. Keep in mind that finding purpose is a process. Be flexible and open to the multitude of avenues presented to you as you discover your purpose. Overall, having a purpose will help you in recovery because you will contribute to something greater than yourself.

Discovering your life’s purpose can be a rewarding exercise unto itself. Open yourself up to the process of understanding your passions and the things you care about. Engage in this process as you work on your recovery. Once you know your purpose, you will have something to strive toward to make the world a better place. You will be able to focus on your recovery, as you will best serve others when you have first helped yourself. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that having purpose is one of the pillars of recovery. We teach our clients about our five pillars of recovery: accountability, support, structure, community, and purpose. We believe these pillars are fundamental to the recovery process. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery journey!

 

How Does My Physical Health Impact my Emotional Wellbeing?

We are all working towards progress and bettering ourselves throughout early recovery. It is always our goal to keep working towards being the best people that we can be. Our recovery process gives us the tools we need to keep our mental health in the best spot. Throughout the entire treatment process, you will be taught specific tools that you can use to keep your head up, even through trials and low places.

We all know that mental illness doesn’t stop for recovery. Instead, it will continue to affect us in many ways and hound the steps we take in recovery. A good part of our lives will be spent focusing on learning what we can about ourselves, and how we can continue to adapt to what life throws at us. Still, recovery isn’t just about keeping our mental health in good shape through brain exercises.

We must also understand that physical fitness is vital to our mental health. Many people lose sight of the importance of physical health and how it works in conjunction with our mental health. But realizing its importance is powerful in helping our lives stay positive as we journey through recovery.

The Wondrous Inter-Connectivity of the Human Body

Our body and its many processes are complex and connected. Our mental state is closely linked to our physical health. Through physical exercise and activity, we can release feel-good chemicals and endorphins through our bodies, helping our moods and emotions improve.

A lot of times, just a quick 10-minute walk can make you feel way better than before. Sometimes all it takes is getting out of the house and into the outdoors. Getting fresh air and feeling the sunshine, in conjunction with the physical exertion, are a great recipe to help yourself feel the best that you can.

Even tending to your garden can be enough to boost your mood and increase feelings of positivity. Combine that with a proper diet, full of nutritious and healthy food, and you can increase that even more. There are a ton of different kinds of food that we need to take in to help our bodies work as efficiently as they can.

Essential fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water are integral parts of living a healthy life. Each of these things keeps your body oiled like a well-tuned machine, and encourages clear, positive thinking.

The Physical & Mental Impact of Addiction

This also means that a physical condition can cause you to suffer, mentally. If you are a smoker, it can really cause damage to your health. Obviously, we all know about the physical issues that it can cause. Still, those issues will then spill over into our mental health as well.

The nicotine in cigarettes can cause an imbalance with the chemicals in your brain. In the short-term, nicotine can boost dopamine production in your brain, and dopamine is a chemical that influences positive feelings. But, in the long-run, nicotine will shut down the natural dopamine factories in our brains.

Over a more extended period, we won’t produce the amount of dopamine that we need, resulting in lower positivity levels and a higher feeling of sadness or depression. Additionally, the ways that nicotine shuts down dopamine in the brain means that a person will become addicted to smoking to get that little hit of nicotine and experience a bump in dopamine.

Obviously, addiction is a massive problem for anyone, and avoiding it is paramount in leading a good life. Avoiding any sort of substance use in life after recovery is an essential tactic for everyone. Don’t let the short bursts of positivity you may feel convince you that you need to indulge, but steer clear of anything that can cause these kinds of imbalances.

Remember, recovering addicts are still extremely vulnerable to other addictive behaviors and substances. Remember that everything is connected in our bodies. Keeping our physical health up to par is just as important as practicing our breathing exercises or meditation.

We must also seek balance with all things in life. Make sure to keep your physical health in peak condition so that your brain doesn’t have to suffer. Always keep every avenue of improvement open and help make sure that your body and mind are working together to be successful. You deserve that kind of happiness, and you deserve to know how to reach that happiness. You will find that sense of peace, and you can do anything you put your mind to.

The body is an incredible piece of machinery, but it requires ongoing maintenance to operate at peak performance. Most people in early recovery have fallen into unhealthy habits, leaving both body and mind malnourished. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need to fulfill all the necessary elements of wellness. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Sobriety is not as uncharted as it may seem. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

Starting the Morning Off Wrong

A lot of us experience anxiety at specific points in the day. We have different kinds of triggers that can cause stress to appear in front of us, forcing us to deal with it. For many of us, we feel anxiety at night, as we are trying to sleep. This is the time when our brains decide to go into hyperdrive and send every thought it can through our minds.

This is how anxiety keeps so many of us up at night, and why we find going to sleep very difficult. But on the other side, some can experience anxiety in the morning. In a lot of ways, this can be a much more difficult situation to have to deal with, as you wake up to start your day already feeling stressed and worried.

You literally wake up, and the first thing you think is some sort of concern for something that is going to happen in your day. Before you even have a chance to hit Snooze one more time on your alarm, you are feeling anxious about something. It can be a crippling thing to wake up to, and can cause you to feel paralyzed, stuck in your bed.

If you are experiencing morning anxiety, especially if it is excessive and causing too many negative things in your life, you may have to consider the possibility that you may have a generalized anxiety disorder. It is essential to know what to do in case this is happening to you.

The symptoms of morning anxiety can often mirror the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. So, as you may know already, this could include:

  • feeling restless, on edge, or wound up
  • finding it difficult to concentrate
  • fatigue
  • frequent panic attacks
  • irritability
  • difficulty controlling nervousness or worry

Any of these can be signs that you are developing or struggling with some kind of generalized anxiety disorder. If you are feeling any of these things, you may want to consider seeking the proper help for it.

Where is this Anxiety Coming From?

Now, we get to the things that can cause morning anxiety to manifest in a person. There are plenty of things that can cause a person to experience these things. One of the biggest reasons for someone to experience morning anxiety is due to high amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol.

There has been a lot of research done into the cortisol awakening response (CAR). This research has shown that the production of cortisol is highest during the first four hours of the day for people who experience higher levels of worry and stress.

That, alone, can explain a lot of reasons why morning anxiety can be prevalent in someone’s life. It also may be dependent on what you eat or drink to start your day. Eating a high amount of sugar or caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety.

On the flip side, having low blood sugar can cause feelings of anxiety to be even worse. If you went to bed the night before with feelings of anxiety and thinking about whatever is worrying you, you can wake up feeling that way still. Sleep is often viewed as the best medicine, and that is correct to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean that it will always work. Those feelings can last through the night and into the morning.

Getting Rid of The Morning Stress

There are plenty of ways to cope with morning anxiety, and they are all similar to how you can deal with anxiety in general. You can seek psychotherapy, which will give you the tools you need to understand your anxiety and make the most out of it. You may have to make some significant lifestyle changes to help ease the symptoms of anxiety as well.

You can indulge in a greater amount of exercise and physical activity, practice mindfulness, and meditation to help keep your body calm, and finally, when you have negative thoughts, tackle them head-on. You don’t have to shy away from what bothers you. In fact, tackling them head-on is paramount to overcoming them. We don’t have to be afraid of them but can use them to make ourselves stronger.

Anxiety, in any form, is hard to deal with. But in the morning, it can be even worse. Starting your day off with heightened feelings of stress is terrible. So, know what kind of things are giving you anxiety, how your body is responding to those things, and take the proper actions to help ease the feelings. There is no reason for you to have to suffer through it alone, and you are strong enough to get through it. All you have to do is know what’s going on.

Getting sober is one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences anybody can go through. Fortunately, there is a solution to both your history of substance abuse and the anxiety of early recovery. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Sobriety is not as uncharted as it may seem. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

How Can I Cope With Fear?

Mental illness includes all kinds of different anxieties and stress reactions. Each of these disorders may seem similar, yet there are significant differences between them. Each one is classified in its own right for its own reasons. You have to understand each one’s intricacies so that you can adequately know if each one is afflicting you in some way.

Take phobias, for example. Phobias are an excessive and irrational fear reaction. They are a form of anxiety disorder and can have a crippling effect on a person. Phobias are some of the most intense types of fear that you can experience. They cause anxiety so severe that they can stop you from functioning or doing your job correctly.

Unlike a generalized anxiety disorder, phobias are focused on something specific. As with many forms of anxiety, a person can realize that their fear is irrational. They are experiencing a phobia, but they still cannot will the fear. There are an estimated 19 million Americans afflicted with some kind of debilitating phobia, causing some sort of difficulty in some aspects of their lives.

Identifying Your Phobias

There are three main groups of phobias to consider: specific (simple) phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia. A specific phobia can produce intense fear of a particular object or situation that is relatively safe. These are phobias where people are aware of the irrationality of their concerns, but the thought of the object or situation still brings about intense feelings of panic or severe anxiety.

These can include a fear of dogs, snakes, insects, driving a car, and much more. No one is sure what causes these phobias to form, but they do know they can run in families and are also more prevalent in women. They usually begin to form in early childhood or adolescence. They can start suddenly and persist longer than most childhood fears. Sometimes, they can develop in childhood and disappear over time, but others will stick with a person into adulthood. No one is sure why some stay for some people but disappear for others.

On the other hand, social phobias produce a fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed in front of other people. It can be related to feelings of low self-esteem or inferiority. The feelings of fear and anxiety can be so strong that they drive a person to drop out of school or even leave a job. It also inhibits a person from being able to make friends.

Agoraphobia is probably a word you have heard before. It is usually used to describe a person who is afraid of leaving their home. It is also more general than that, as it can mean a person who suffers anxiety about being in places or situations where they feel trapped or exposed.

Fear of leaving their house is an extreme form of agoraphobia. This kind of phobia can often be misconstrued as shyness, but they are not the same. Shy people do not feel the severe anxiety that a person with agoraphobia experiences. Timid people do not necessarily avoid these kinds of situations like someone who has the phobia does.

Overcoming Fear

Luckily, proper treatment is available for people who are struggling with phobias. Phobias can be diagnosed by a medical professional and are an illness that should be taken very seriously. A complete medical and psychiatric evaluation should be carried out to ensure the diagnosis is correct.

From there, behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can be great options for anyone looking to treat their phobias. Both can help a person learn the tools to properly cope with fear. The skills a person can learn from therapy help them react to situations in different, healthier ways. No one needs to live in their fear, alone, and let themselves suffer.

Everyone has a fear of something, but when that fear gets so extreme that it paralyzes you, that is a phobia. That is when you cannot function with your fear, and it is a good idea to get help. There are many kinds of dread, and seeing a doctor about your feelings can help you identify your phobia and begin developing a treatment plan. Never feel alone in your fear, and know that you can get the help you need.

Phobias are a real thing, and they deserve to be treated the right way. More importantly, phobias can be conquered as part of the addiction process, as long as the people helping you are aware of them. Speak up and get the help you need!

No matter how tough we may present ourselves to be, we’re all afraid of something. For some of us, recovery can bring out our very worst demons, elevating common fears into full-blown phobias. Fortunately, help is available. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. People in recovery have walked through the most intense challenges, including phobias, and remained sober. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

Stop! Think About Your Decisions Before You Act

Decision-making occurs daily throughout our lives. These decisions can be simple, such as choosing what time to wake up, deciding what to eat for lunch, or choosing what to wear for the day. Conversely, decisions can also be complicated, such as choosing a career path or choosing a romantic partner. Often, decisions are important and life-changing, such as accepting a new job offer or deciding to seek help for a problem. Therefore, when making decisions, it is essential to stop and think before acting.

Life can be viewed as a series of decisions and associated consequences or results –either positive or negative— of those decisions. Some decisions are constructive, such as choosing to exercise daily or choosing to attend classes. Others can be destructive, such as choosing to “tell off” a supervisor or choosing to stay out late on a work night.

Destructive Decisions

Generally, destructive decisions are made impulsively and without any thought about the consequences. Sometimes, destructive decisions can seem relatively harmless in the moment yet can lead to long-term destruction. Examples include overeating while stressed, which can lead to forming bad nutritional habits.

Other destructive decisions are immediately destructive, such as walking out on the job due to a disagreement with a coworker. Utilizing the technique of “STOP, THINK, ACT” can help prevent acting on impulse.

Stop Think Act

“STOP, THINK, ACT” is a simple way of redirecting yourself to consider the consequences –either long-term or short-term– of your decisions. Remember, this technique can be utilized not only to prevent yourself from making bad decisions but also to help you make positive ones as you navigate your wellness and recovery journey. The steps are as follows:

1. Stop: “I will take time to calm down before making a decision.”

Emotions like stress and anger can often lead our minds astray, so the first step in decision-making is to calm down. Impulsive and destructive decisions tend to be made as an automatic reaction to a situation when our emotions are running high. For example, being criticized by our boss at work may make us feel inadequate. We may then act defensively by quitting on the spot.

Decisions made reactively like this can have negative impacts on our lives. If you struggle with impulsivity when feeling upset or angry, it is helpful to recognize your emotions and intervene before reacting automatically. Think of what activities or actions calm you down and do those things before taking the next step. Some common practices include:

  • Taking deep breaths
  • Going for a walk
  • Talking to a friend
  • Counting to ten
  • Mediating
  • Listening to music
  • Looking at photographs or watching videos
  • Playing a video game

What are some things that help you to calm down?

Once you are calm, you can begin working on the next step in decision making:

2. Think: “I will think about what I need and consider solutions.”

What needs are you trying to fulfill at this moment? What are you attempting to accomplish? Begin to brainstorm your options and be creative! Try some of the following:

  • Discuss things with a friend. They may have gone through a similar issue and may have some good suggestions on what to do.
  • Consider alternatives to fulfilling your needs. Often, we get stuck thinking that there are only one or two solutions for our problem. However, by generating more options, we become more empowered and do not feel as helpless or “stuck” in old patterns of behavior.
  • Think about people that you admire – either a person you know, a person from history, or a character from fiction – and imagine that they are in a similar situation. What would they do in your shoes?
  • Ask yourself honestly: “Do I need help?” And reach out to others, such as friends, family, counselors, or mentors, to get the help you need.
  • Ask yourself, “what will I gain from making this decision?” You may find it helpful to develop a list of pros and cons. In other words, write out a list of potential benefits and a list of potential losses.
  • Remember, there are potential gains and losses to nearly every decision we make. For example, choosing to sleep in could give us extra rest, but we may run late for work. Deciding to take classes at night could help us build new skills, but we may have less time to spend with friends. Only you will be able to decide what you value more and what you are willing to give up!

Once you have thought about your choices, it is time to:

3. Act: “After I choose a solution, I will begin to take action!

After you have generated options, consider which decision will be best and begin putting that decision into action. It may be helpful to write out a list of your choices and then choose the best one. Remember to evaluate the decision as you put it into work.

Sometimes, what we thought was best does not fulfill the needs we were expecting –and that is okay! We are always learning new things about ourselves. If something does not appear to be working, try one of the other options, go back to the first step (STOP), and work through them again.

Impulsivity is the undoing of many a recovering alcoholic or addict. In early recovery, we are particularly vulnerable if we aren’t surrounded by a loving and supportive community. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Remember – you don’t have to do this alone. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober is one of the most important and healthy decisions you can ever make. Now, choose a sober living that offers you the support you need for long-lasting sobriety.