STARTING YOUR JOURNEY TO RECOVERY – IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW

Starting Your Journey
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There are several important things you need to know as you start your recovery:

  1. My book, Thriving Beyond Addiction, offers an ideal model. Strive for it, but feel okay with something less than ideal.
  2. You probably have many questions. Relax, breathe, get out of your own way, and engage in a recovery process that tens of thousands of people before you have successfully followed.
  3. I will offer many resources to help you clarify and find answers for the who, what, when, where, why, and how of recovery. It introduces you to traditional and cutting-edge recovery options. It helps you in adapting a program to meet your needs.
  4. The best approach for you is the one that fits or intuitively matches you, because you’re more likely to follow it. If you interpret this to mean an easy, simple, or limited approach, it’s doubtful that it will be effective. At the start, an excellent strategy is to embrace a universal, time-tested structure until you and your recovery support group members agree on how to improve your program. If you do change how you’re going to handle your recovery, stay active in your current approach until you are engaged in the new one.
  5. There may be some undesirable consequences in your decision to deal with your addiction. Examples are: you may need to let go of a true friend who’s still using, or your family might become upset because recovery is taking up a lot of your time.
  6. In your approach, you may need to let go of old beliefs, fears, and strategies that have guided your life thus far. This can be difficult; commit to new changes for a few weeks, and it’ll get easier. Your best approach will be a holistic one that includes:
  • Bio-Nutritional
  • Mental-Emotional
  • Learning-Growing
  • Relational-Social
  • Spiritual-Quantum Physics

Drug Free Means Life

  1. Whatever approach you choose, you must open up, become involved, and evolve. You may have to move out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to be enthusiastic or even like it, but you must be willing to go through the process. You may question whether you are changing and whether these changes will be permanent. Expect that others will have the same questions. Those closest to you will notice your behavioral and emotional changes, especially if you consistently follow your program to the best of your ability. Take this opportunity to be totally honest with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions. Listen for the answers. Sharing your journey with other people will help make it real.
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Wake Up & Thrive

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Move beyond your addiction and become who and what you really want to be!

The Thriving Beyond Addiction ™ model encourages you to move past your substance or behavioral addiction(s) and onto living your best recovering life!

The goal of Thriving Beyond Addiction is to offer you facts, resources, and wisdom about recovery in a user-friendly way. This information will help you to move through the recovery maze and onto better days. The process will be stimulating. Your beliefs will affect whether your experience will feel scary, sad, and limited, or happy, joyous, and free. If you accept that what you’re leaving behind is a destructive addiction, you’ll be more likely to embrace recovery.

A Defining Moment

I’m assuming you’ve had your moment-of-truth and that you’ve accepted that you are an addict. Hopefully, your Defining Moment brought you the clarity that it was time to accept the challenge of recovery. If not, ask yourself, why not? You may need to take a deeper look at your addiction, motivations, or goals. Take the Addiction Evaluation. Explore your answers for their accuracy and then make a decision. Do you want to recover?

If you want to help a loved one who suffers with an addiction, educate yourself so that you can be helpful when they’re ready to change.

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Breathe! – You’ll Be Okay

If you’re feeling down because you’re an addict and if in your mind you’re using words like “loser” or “stupid,” stop now. Give yourself a break! As Billy Joel sang in Second Wind, “You’re only human; you’re supposed to make mistakes.” The reality is that addiction is a human issue; many struggle with it to some degree. Among those who suffer from it, some struggle with addiction their whole life, while others are able to let go and embrace recovery.

It’s vital to know that you’re not responsible for your addiction, but you are responsible for your recovery. The family, genetic, nutritional, social, or spiritual issues that contributed to your addiction need to be managed, neutralized, or eliminated. You didn’t start out using alcohol, placing a bet or super-sizing your meal with the goal of becoming an addict. Yet, if you’ve had major life problems due to using and are not in recovery, you’re choosing to be ill. This is your Defining Moment! Please choose health!

Though emphasizing drug addiction, it is the approach is for those recovering from any addiction because:

  • The process of addiction and recovery is similar for all addictions.
  • Most addicts deal with two or more addictions. Recovery from all of them is best done at the same time, showing your total commitment to recovery.

Though recovery is similar for all addictions, there are some behavioral differences that may arise when recovering from individual addictions, such as:

  • An anorexic’s voice saying, “You’re fat.”
  • Intense shame for a female sex addict.
  • The constant need to “look good” for someone who is a codependent partner.
  • Physical damage from consumed substances.
  • Food addicts who are overweight.
  • Reward-seeking for the success and fame addict.

By understanding exactly what recovery is, it’s more likely you will embrace it. Recovery isn’t a one-time event. There are some addictions in which you can’t be totally abstinent from, such as food for the food addict and shopping for the shopaholic. Therefore, recover is a lifelong process of observing your behavior while adapting and moving toward a more positive and healthier lifestyle. To succeed, you’ll need to change some of your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. You are intelligent; you just need to learn about the tools and strategies for successful recovery. In recovery, you’ll learn to be happier and healthier. Not entering recovery is a decision to walk the path of self-destruction. Make a commitment to do whatever it takes. This will make it much easier to live your best life, for the rest of your life.

Taking Action

At a basic level, there are two things you need to do:

  • Choose to be abstinent or abuse. Consult your MD before you stop using physically addictive drugs.
  • Your body will naturally detoxify from drugs and sugar, but work with your medical doctor to ensure no damage is done to your body during the detox process.
  • Connect with yourself, others, and The Source.
    • Yourself: Connect with your thoughts, emotions and sensations, needs, motivations, and goals.
    • Others: Find supportive, knowledgeable, and objective people.
    • The Source: Find a spiritual guide or participate in a spiritual or religious practice.

It’s frustrating and even overwhelming to start a new life journey without knowing the rules. Don’t Allow Yourself to Get Overwhelmed! Start by taking a few deep breaths and honestly acknowledging your current situation. YOU NEED TO CHANGE!

To do this, you’ll have many tasks ahead of you, but you have the rest of your life to work on them, one day at a time, or even one minute at a time. Recovery will move you forward and help you to create new life goals. The key is to do whatever it takes to get started and to keep moving until you are successful.

The pilot of an airplane must go full throttle to get the plane off the ground. Once the plane is flying, the power can be reduced and the plane will stay in the air. It may take a major effort to get your recovery off of the ground, but once you’ve leveled off, it will be easier. In addition, your life will start to change in many positive ways.

Take a desirable action right now, this very moment, because action breaks up the negative emotions that keep you stuck, unhappy, and in your addiction.

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10 Most Common Signs of Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol

Anyone with these symptoms should seek treatment right away.

1. Cravings

A person may undergo more intense urges or cravings for the drug of choice or alcohol as the addiction progresses.

2. Physical dependence

A physical reliance or dependency on drugs develops as a person becomes accustomed to the constant presence and influence of the substance. The physiological changes that go along with this process may cause the individual to feel poorly or to function inadequately when the drug leaves the system.

3. Tolerance

Persistent use of a substance builds up a tolerance that will mean the individual will need for more of the drug or alcohol to achieve the desired effects.

4. Withdrawal symptoms

Some individuals experience symptoms of withdrawal with an abrupt end to using or when attempting to wean off the substance over a period of time. This is a strong indication of physiological dependency is developing.

5. Poor judgement

An individual is addicted to drugs or alcohol is often likely to do anything to obtain the substance, including such risky behaviors such as stealing, lying, engaging in selling drugs or unsafe sexual activity or other crimes that could lead to an arrest or jail

Drugs and Alcohol

6. Drug-seeking

A person who abuses drugs regularly will exhibit drug seeking behavior and will routinely attempt to obtain prescription medications, such as opioids or tranquilizers, from medical facilities, such as emergency rooms and doctors’ offices.

7. Financial problems

A person may spend large amounts of money, drain bank accounts, and destroy a budget in order to get the drug. This is a major red flag and should not be ignored.

8. Neglecting obligations

A classic sign of addiction is when an individual opts to using or getting the drug in preference to meeting work or personal responsibilities.

9. Fostering unhealthy alliances

A person with a drug or alcohol dependency often seeks out those with similar habits. These new groups may also encourage other unhealthy habits.

10. Isolation

An addict will usually withdraw and isolate from others, hiding drug use from friends and family. The behavior may occur because of the perceived stigma of a substance addiction or increased depression, anxiety or paranoia resulting from substance abuse.

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