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Community: Finding Your Tribe in Recovery

Recovery from addiction can be difficult. We may need to distance ourselves from those who enable our addictive behaviors. Due to this separation, we might feel alone during a time where we may need the support of others the most. When you are in recovery, you can find a new sense of community among your peers. Your peers can help you fulfill your needs of belonging and teach you healthy ways of building new relationships. Your peers can also teach you new ways of having fun without engaging in addictive behaviors. Finding a new “tribe” in recovery can help you feel less alone and less isolated. Remember that you are not alone. You now belong to the greater community of all those in recovery, where a helping hand is always nearby!

Replacing Unhealthy Relationships with Healthy Ones

Much of the recovery process involves replacing old, unhealthy behaviors with new, healthy ones. Relationships are also important to our recovery, and we may need to seek building healthy relationships. Healthy relationships can give us the support and understanding that we need while going through the emotional process of recovery and healing. One way to start building healthy relationships is by looking to your peers in recovery. Your peers are also making changes in their lives and may have similar goals in recovery. Finding a common ground or similar interests is one of the fundamental steps to building any relationship. Peers in recovery already share many things, such as common backgrounds, similar struggles, and comparable goals for wellness. 

Recovery treatment programs and sober living homes foster a sense of community by bringing people together with the common goals of making their lives better and changing their lifestyle habits. The common bond of those in recovery gives us a sense of belonging and fulfills our need to find people from a familiar “tribe.” We share stories, express emotions, and help one another with our goals. Community is one of the pillars of many recovery programs. By supporting one another, peers build their own sense of community to ease the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can accompany recovery from addiction. Peers in the same recovery program help to hold one another accountable toward achieving common goals.

We may feel bad that we have to “replace” some of our friends. Some people have been in our lives for many years and will forever be a part of our stories. Unfortunately, sometimes our  closest friends do not respect our desire for change and may enable us to continue our addictive habits. Change can be difficult for anyone, and our friends may have a tough time seeing us change, even when we change for the better. They may also be struggling with their own addictions and might fear that they are losing a “partner-in-crime.” They may also enable your behaviors to maintain their own sense of belonging. When you notice that your friendships are not helping you change to build a better life, you may need to walk away from them. While saying good-bye and letting go of these people may be difficult, your fellow peers in recovery may have felt the same sense of loss. Your peers might be able to relate to the pain of losing friendships that you have built over the course of a lifetime. During recovery, you are not alone and you have the chance to rebuild a sense of community with others, who will support you in your goals.

Defining a Recovery Community

A community can be defined as a group of people sharing common interests that live within the same area. In recovery, our definition of a community may extend outward beyond a specific place or region. Often, those in recovery consider themselves to be part of a larger network of all others in recovery. We may find people in our community or “tribe” on online recovery groups or in our support groups, like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. Most recovery support groups consider themselves to be a part of a larger group of individuals attending groups across the nation. We may also meet community members during stays at long-term treatment homes. Community in recovery can consist of a sense of being part of a larger group within the entire country or being part of a smaller group of supportive individuals within your hometown. Remember that there are many others out there with similar struggles and challenges as you who can help you find the resources and the support that you need to continue with your recovery.

 

One of the most difficult aspects of growth and change is realizing that we may need to let go of some unhealthy relationships. Sometimes, these relationships keep us stagnant and prevent us from achieving our life goals. We may feel lost or alone when beginning recovery, as we may be cutting ties with people we have known for years. Long-term treatment programs and sober living homes can help you foster a sense of community during your recovery. Many programs emphasize the feeling of community among all those in recovery. You are not alone in your recovery and others are willing to help you with the process. At Camelback Recovery, we have a structured home environment with individuals learning to cope with similar issues as you. Through our common goals, we cultivate a sense of community among the peers within our home. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information!

Will My Children Ever Forgive Me?

As a child, seeing our mothers’ experience and struggle with mental illness is an incredibly difficult thing. We see them struggling day in and day out, and that can be confusing for a child who has yet to develop a stable conception of the world. Our mothers are our examples, our inspiration on how to act and behave.

When we see them behaving oddly or differently from how we have been taught to behave, we can be thrown for a loop. Furthermore, there can be a certain amount of blame that we can put on ourselves, which is even worse. A child who feels responsible for their mother’s sadness is more likely to experience heightened senses of anxiety and depression, as shown in research.

According to a new study performed by researchers at Southern Methodist University, children who feel blame for the sadness of their mothers can be more susceptible to these kinds of emotions and negative feelings themselves.

What Do Experts Say?

As explained by SMU family psychologist, Dr. Chrystyna Kouros: “Although mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms face increased risk that their children will also experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, our study showed that this was not the case for all children… Rather, it was those children who felt they were to blame for their mother’s sadness or depression … that had higher levels of internalizing symptoms.”

Kouros explains how vital it is for parents, or anyone else who frequently interacts with children, to pay close attention to the kinds of comments children make about their mother. If the child is expressing a belief that they are to blame, an adult must intervene.

The research was based on surveys completed by 129 mothers from the Dallas-Fort Worth community through schools, flyers, and the internet. On average, children included in the study were 13 years of age. The mothers in the study were asked to agree or disagree with 20 statements, such as “I could not shake off the blues” or “I lost interest in my usual activities.”

These answers were used to assess whether or not they were experiencing any kind of depressive symptoms. The study results found that nearly 12% of the women surveyed showed potentially clinical levels of depressive symptoms. The mothers were also asked whether their kids were experiencing any symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Why Do Kids Blame Themselves?

The kids were asked to complete a total of four surveys to see if they were dealing with any of these symptoms and whether they blamed themselves for their mothers’ symptoms. As Kouros explains, there are two possible reasons children may be likely to feel this blame for their mothers’ emotional struggles. The first is that children who feel this blame may be more likely to ruminate on their mother’s emotions.

Research shows that rumination on stressful things, especially those out of our control, can cause anxiety and depression to form. Second, a child who feels the blame can be more likely to try and remedy the situation with improper coping techniques. As a result, children experience feelings of loneliness, failure, and low self-worth—all of this because the child was misattributing their mother’s struggles to themselves.

The Way Forward

Of course, therapy can be a great way to help a child who is struggling with this blame. If you know a child, either your own or not, experiencing some form of guilt for the way their parents are feeling, consider recommending a therapist. Therapies that target negative thoughts can be especially helpful for such a child.

The study also notes that further research needs to be done to see if there is a link between a father’s issues and their child. The tie between a mother and her child is an incredibly strong one. The stressors affecting one can quickly impact the other as well.

Understanding that link is vital to understanding how we can improve these relationships and help children in need. They don’t deserve to feel any blame for something that is out of their hands, and they must be taught not to feel responsible for these things.

Starting the right conversations with kids can help them become better prepared for life ahead. We don’t need to let our children suffer along with us. Instead, we need to affirm to them that they are the bright spots of our lives. Our sadness is our own, and we are working through it. Once we can express this adequately to our children, we can relieve them of the burden of guilt.

If you’re a parent in recovery, watching the impact of your addiction on your children is heartbreaking. Fortunately, you have found a way out and can begin repairing your relationship with your child. 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.

Can I Develop Healthy Relationships In Early Sobriety?

As we all know, our mental health conditions can have a significant impact on our romantic relationships. It can happen before your condition is diagnosed, during your recovery, and even after you have gone through treatment. Nearly half of all adults will experience some kind of mental illness in their lives.

It doesn’t matter what kind of disease it is, it can still cause an impact in your life that you didn’t really anticipate at first. In many ways, no relationship is affected more by a mental condition than the romantic relationships in our lives. Of course, it is possible to have a healthy and proper relationship even when living with a mental illness.

If you or your partner are struggling with the illness, it is not impossible to have an excellent romantic relationship. There are many ways that you can help improve your relationship and ensure that it stays as a constant source of support for you in your life during recovery. Look out for the kinds of issues that can pop up and cause you to have trouble within your relationship.

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to the Stigmas

The presence of shame, guilt, or resentment can be a source of conflict for both people in the relationship. When a person is living with a mental health condition, they can be held down by the stigmas that exist around mental illness. Because of these stigmas, a struggling person is likely to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

They may try to hide their symptoms and signs, failing to get the help they need. This causes their situation to worsen, meaning that their symptoms and signs get even harder to manage, and their emotions get out of hand. Their partners may feel frustrated with their inability to help their ailing loved one.

They may have to work hard to ensure that everything is going the way it needs to go in their lives. A person who is suffering may find it difficult to follow through with household tasks, maintain employment, and earn an income. This means the partner has more stress on them to figure these things out.

These factors increase the strain on the relationship, and both partners can suffer. These strains can then create issues with intimacy in the relationship. Not only can the problems they have put a barrier between the two, but mental illness can cause a person to lose interest in sex.

It could be a result of their condition or the effect of their treatment. They could have performance anxiety and worry about not performing well enough for their partner. In turn, intimacy becomes more scarce and harder to come by.

The Dangers of Over-Dependence

Codependency can also form in these kinds of relationships. A person whose partner is struggling can begin to define themselves by their ability to support and help them. This can enable the other partner to indulge in more unhealthy habits and behaviors.

In the most extreme cases, codependency can increase the risk of abusive behaviors, including manipulation, mocking, and other unhealthy dynamics. Breeding these kinds of dynamics within a relationship can lead to incredibly harmful ways of living.

To help with these kinds of issues, it is always important to educate yourself. Each side of the relationship deserves to be understood, and educating ourselves is essential. Practice and maintain your communication skills so that both parties can express their concerns when they come up.

Always take care of yourself. Keeping up with your physical, mental, and emotional conditions can help us support our partners. It helps improve your mood processes, meaning you can be the best partner possible. If things get worse, seek professional help when you need it.

There is nothing wrong with going to a professional to help you when you feel like you can’t figure it out yourselves. Couple or individual counseling could be beneficial to both people.

No Cookie-Cutter Approach

It is important to remember that not all relationships are the same and that each one deserves different kinds of help. People deserve to feel like they can get help when they need it, and both people need to know that mental illness is not a character flaw or a sign of moral weakness.

Allow ourselves the proper room to be able to improve and change in the ways we need to. Everyone deserves understanding and context to be given to their struggles. We don’t have to let our relationships suffer because of our experiences with mental illness and recovery.

One of the most painful elements of substance abuse is the way it disconnects us from our loved ones. If you’re struggling in relationships and are wondering how you can mend the bridges you’ve burned, there is a solution. 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. 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 doesn’t mean you need to turn your back on the people in your life. Instead, this is a period where you can grow closer to these people than ever before.

When Should You Consider a Sober Living House for Yourself or a Loved One?

For those working toward a life of sobriety, having an unstable home environment that is full of alcohol, drugs, and other possible triggers can push them into a relapse quickly. Sober living homes provide a safe, clean place to transition between addiction treatment and everyday life for people in recovery.

The Purpose of a Sober Living Home

A sober living home helps provide a balance between structured and independent living for those who are just out of treatment programs for substance abuse and other addictions, mental health disorders, jail, or other circumstances.

The structure provided by the homes comes in the form of rules and regulations that the residents must follow to maintain their place in the house. The rules vary from house to house, but they generally follow the same guidelines:

  • Go through detox and/or rehab, then plan on going to therapy or 12-Step meetings once a week (for potential residents)
  • No drugs or alcohol are allowed (exceptions for specific prescriptions, such as antidepressants, can be made)
  • Be willing to consent to random drug and alcohol testing to ensure sobriety
  • Participate in house activities (weekly meetings, chores, self-care tasks, etc.)
  • Sleep at the house at least five nights a week (occasional exceptions can be made for traveling)
  • Be accountable for your whereabouts at all times, and be back by curfew if applicable

Good Candidates for Sober Living Homes

Those looking to move into a sober living house must take into account the phase of life they are stepping into. Certain qualities and determination are needed to be successful. Individuals who need time to process what they learned in rehab, learn how to use their coping skills, and learn how to be independent are great candidates.

Other candidates who fit these criteria are also typically a good fit for sober living homes:

  • Those who have already been treated, such as in rehab or detox
  • Those who have had time in sobriety before moving in (to ensure they will comply with house rules)
  • Those who need a place to transition from treatment back to their normal life
  • Those with the desire for long-term sobriety
  • Those with high motivation to maintain their abstinence from substance abuse
  • Those who are aware of the challenges to come
  • Those with a proven ability to find a job
  • Those with the ability to budget and manage their own money
  • Those who are familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those with a strong desire to be independent and learn to support themselves
  • Those with the ability to cultivate relationships with others who are also sober, sharing a common goal of sobriety

Candidates Who May Not Benefit From Sober Living Homes

Just as there are those who may benefit from sober living houses, there are individuals who may not find the treatment they are looking for in these environments. This is not to say that something is wrong with them, but rather a sober living home is wrong for their recovery journey. Finding the right programs and resources can make a difference in your recovery progressing.

Those who may not benefit from a sober living home include:

  • Those with no prior job experience
  • Those who are bad at managing money
  • Those with social anxiety (although this can be addressed in therapy)
  • Those who tend to isolate
  • Those who are moving from far away and are not familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those who are looking to a sober living house as an alternative to a professional recommendation for a higher level of care

Sober Living Homes & Recovery

Sober living homes are good options for those in recovery because they provide a safe and secure environment without triggers like drugs and alcohol. These residences help hold you accountable on your road to sobriety by providing community support to stay abstinent.

The recommended stay at a sober living house is ninety days, but many patients stay longer. Studies show that the longer one stays in a sober living house, the more likely they are to fully recover. It is best to stay longer than you think than to leave before you are ready.

Many treatment centers have patients leave after ninety days, meaning they have to deal with everyday life on their own without acclimating to life outside of treatment. This often results in relapse. Sober living houses combat this issue by providing a safe place to continue progressing one’s recovery.

How to Find the Best Sober Living House for You or a Loved One

There are steps you can take to find the best option for the person in need. The best sober living home will depend on the addict’s needs and preferences in their sobriety. Here are some things you can do to find the perfect home for you or your loved one:

  • Do your research
  • Contact the homes
  • Visit the homes if possible
  • Understand the independence involved
  • Seek out support and community

One of the most important tasks is to make sure the residence is legitimate. Pay attention to red flags such as:

  • “Free“ programs
  • No admissions requirements
  • Building not up to code
  • No records on the premises
  • Doesn’t require abstinence
  • No safety or privacy rules
  • No clear house rules
  • Lack of obvious ethical and moral standards
  • Untrained/uncertified employees
  • No regulatory inspections

Sober living homes are a great option for those who are looking to become independent after going through treatment for substance abuse and other personal concerns. There are multiple sober living options for men and women to choose from. Remember to take the responsibilities of a sober living home into account when deciding if it is the best option for you or your loved one.

Camelback Recovery is a transitional living home in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson, Arizona. We provide a structured and supportive environment that promotes long-term transformational changes. Find out if a sober living home is right for you. Call us today at (602) 466-9880.