Category Archives: Addiction

Getting Started on Your Immediate Recovery

Start Your Journey into Your Recovering Future

Take appropriate action. Plan, build support for, or start a treatment program! You will benefit from reading my complete book – Thriving Beyond Addiction – but reading it without taking action only gives you facts, not results. Recovery is an emotional experience. You’ll need to open up and recognize your feelings, and allow them to guide you. Once you understand what you need to do, take action as soon as possible.

IMMEDIATE TASKS

Finding Support

Every recovering addict needs help and encouragement. Even if you decide to use only my book as the basis for your recovery (not recommended), you’ll want an active core support group. Consider friends and family as part of you support group, ideally who are in recovery and can relate, but only accept help from those who’ll give you quality support and good direction, who’ll be there for you in the hard times. Trust those you have chosen to work with, unless you discover you shouldn’t.

Eliminating Cravings and Neutralizing Triggers

Addictions occur because of excessive behavior, like the abuse of substances, that overstimulates the neuropathways in the brain, causing cravings that can be difficult to suppress. Cravings do not go away overnight. All addicts in recovery have cravings, which can cause a range of issues, from occasional discomfort to an addict’s return to using. Though cravings can develop on their own, they are also caused by triggers, environmental cues that initiate the rapid fire of neuropathways, such as when a smoker sees a cigarette. To be successful in recovery, it is mandatory to minimize or eliminate these triggers.

There are effective techniques for neutralizing triggers. Cravings can also be reduced or eliminated with options such as: awareness of your desire for recovery (called Your Heart Trigger); distractions like fun and humor, nutritional supplements (Vitamin D, Omega 3, and L-glutamine), and a high-quality diet. Always check with your M.D.

Reduce Cravings

Stress is a major cause of triggering. Reducing stress will neutralize triggers or at least lower the likelihood of being triggered and succumbing to relapse.

Other methods to deter cravings include acupuncture, meditation, progressive relaxation, and sleep.

Medical Exam

Medical Exam

A physical examination by a medical doctor is highly recommended, especially when abstaining from drug and food addictions. Be honest with your MD about your situation and issues. For instance, sex addicts need to get tested for STDs. Ask about vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and nutritional supplements. Medication for relief of physical withdrawal symptoms may be necessary. If possible, work with a physician who specializes in addiction medicine (or at least one who understands addictions) and who will consult with an addiction nutrition specialist. Ask for a referral through the association, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

 

 

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Common Terms Related to Addiction Recovery

Common Terms in Addiction

Some common terms you will become familiar with during your recovery:

Approach, program, and structure will be used to mean the same thing.

Addict will refer to someone actively involved with any physical addictions or addictive behaviors, or at least has not yet embraced recovery.

Clean and sober will mean abstinence from mind-altering addictive drugs or addictive behaviors.

Drugs will include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and processed food, especially (processed) sugar, sugar substitutes, and processed carbohydrates.

Feelings will mean emotional feelings and body sensations.

Higher Power, spirit, spiritual, Source, and The Source are used to mean the same thing.

Mental and emotional or mental-emotional are used to mean the same thing as psychological.

Recovery and recovering are used to describe an addict who is clean, or sustaining a maintenance addiction, and actively involved in a recovery program and personal growth.

Triggers and cues mean the same thing.

Using or use mean active involvement in any addiction or addictive behavior.

The 123 approach may not be enough!

Understand that, like every other addict, you can only stay clean by choosing to turn away from the darkness of your addiction and towards the light of recovery – one moment, one breath, one step, one day at a time. Know that every day, even every hour, that you are clean is a success for you. Your experience, knowledge, and confidence will build day by day.

Thriving Beyond Addiction offers you the knowledge that can enable you to have a second chance at a first-class life. And it’s yours if you choose it. Breathe slowly and deeply!

Feel your joy, love, & excitement!

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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

TBALogo

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.

TBA_Deep_Breathing

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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Summertime Setback Series – Part Three

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder or BED is a food disorder in which a person frequently consumes large amounts of food in short periods and suffers severe guilt when finished. This disorder is exacerbated by anxiety and insecurity and, in turn, causes the vicious cycle to repeat over and over again. An individual who suffers from BED understands that it is cruel, humiliating and can strike at any moment of vulnerability.

During months where routine in predictable – September to June for those who work or are in school – binge eating can be easy enough to hide. Everyday practices are its best cover as we are in more control of our lives during these months. However, BED should not be dismissed during this time, nor should its warning signs be ignored.

During the holiday months, BED becomes much more punitive and often unbearable for those who experience the disorder.

Now that summer is here, for most people that usually means going to the beach with friends, hanging out by the pool, endless summer cookouts, shorts and tank tops, and the anxieties that can arise along with wearing a swimsuit. If you are one of the millions with an eating disorder, this time of year may make it even harder to manage your symptoms. Body image issues often resurface and maintaining a healthy relationship with food becomes more challenging.

Summer is a time to relax and recharge, but it is important to stay committed to your recovery. Here’s why:

  • The increased “free time” that occurs during summer tends to create more “alone time” and eating disorder behaviors thrive in isolation and secrecy.
  • Body image issues may increase during summer months, as we tend to wear less clothing and show more skin.
  • Wearing a bathing suit can be particularly challenging for many.
  • The lack of structure in the summer months can lead to unhealthy routines like skipping meals or altering your normal sleep habits. This can make eating disorder and mental health symptoms worse.
  • Changes in the summer schedule can lead to an increase in physical activity and excessive exercise.
  • Co-occurring mental health issues like depression and substance abuse benefit from treatment and are not likely to go away in summer months.
  • Getting back into activities with “old friends” or even “new friends” can add to the social demand and thus increase overall stress.
  • Eating disorder behaviors may be exacerbated if stress increases due to new activities (taking courses or starting a new job) in summer.
  • Eating disorders are challenging to treat, require specialized treatment and have a high relapse rate. Anorexia nervosa, in particular, has the highest mortality rate of all mental health issues.
  • The longer that you wait to seek help for an eating disorder, the sicker you may become, making future treatment even more challenging.

But if you are struggling, or know that a loved one is struggling, do not delay seeking help any time of year. Call a professional for guidance. The courage you draw upon to choose treatment now will inevitably lead to improved outcomes and improved well-being.

Important information about Binge Eating Disorder

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder in the country and is defined by eating large quantities of food ” as much as 5,000-15,000 calories ” in a single sitting, then experiencing feelings of guilt and shame as a result. Binge sessions may occur after a period of stringent caloric restriction or dieting and they are often characterized by feelings of a loss of control.

Those who struggle with binge eating are often overweight or obese and, as a result, are likely to struggle with medical problems such as heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, high levels of “bad” cholesterol, and/or type II diabetes.

  • An estimated two-thirds of people living with binge eating disorder are obese.
  • Binge eating contributes to the development of obesity, which in turn can trigger a host of chronic health disorders, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Binge eating disorder is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder, and an estimated 3 percent of Americans are living with the problem. Additionally, about 50 percent of patients with BED are also diagnosed with depression, 24 percent are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and 44 percent self-report struggling with eating habit management.
  • Cortisol released during the stress response and the corresponding storage of fat in the abdominal area are increased issues for those living with BED and obesity as compared to the general public, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Stress can also be a trigger for binge eating.
  • Binge eating has been linked to increased rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially if the person with BED struggles with feelings of low self-worth and/or feels lacking.
  • People living with binge eating disorder very often also struggle with disrupted sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep, waking at night to eat, and struggling to go back to sleep.
  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that people living with binge eating disorder are at higher risk of developing such health problems as headaches, joint and muscle pain, sleep apnea, digestive problems, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and fatty liver disease. They also experience difficulty in getting or maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

For BED victims, though it may not feel like it now, it does get better. Here are a few extra tips to help with your recovery, keep you on track and reduce the possibility of relapse.

  • Set regular times for eating, but be careful about it. Do not starve yourself by allocating inconvenient times for a meal. The more control you have over food, the more you will find control in your mind.
  • Look at food in a positive manner. Food is not an enemy but key to your survival. Learn to manage food intake to your benefit and overall health.

Most importantly, accept that some days are better than others. Do not blame yourself if you don’t feel invincible every day. Accept that you had a moment of weakness and continue to strive for a better day and a healthier future.

Good luck and have a Happy Summer!

 

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Summertime Setback Series – Part Two

Summertime Alcohol Relapse

If you’ve spent your previous summers under the influence of alcohol, a sober summer is a formidable task. Fortunately, there are many wonderful relapse prevention strategies and sober things to do that will keep you feeling happy and healthy

Summer is, of course, about sunny beaches, cookouts, and Fourth of July fireworks. Grassy lawns and relaxing gardens are perfect for a cold beer or a refreshing cocktail and you see a lot of people, including friends and family, enjoying their drinks outside. This increase in public drinking means that a recovering alcoholic will be faced with more temptation under the guise of carefree, good times in the sun, making them forget that they have an alcohol problem.

Why do people relapse during the summer?

There are a number of reasons for why newly sober people may be at high risk of relapse during the summer months.

  • Most people are thinking about summer vacation and the summer celebrations such as July Fourth. Those who are recovering from alcoholism may associate vacation time with heavy drinking and find it difficult to imagine have a good time without alcohol.
  • As outdoor events are numerous, there tends to be more drinking outside during the summer months. Tempting as it may be, do not romance the drink as you watch people looking as if they are having a good time because they have a drink in hand.
  • The sunny, warm weather triggers all types of positive emotions, but the risk with this is that the individual may be feeling so positive that they forget that they have an alcohol problem. The person may mistake these positive emotions as a sign that they are now safe to drink again.

Preventing relapse during the summer months

Here are a few suggestions for helping prevent relapse during the summer months.

  • Talk it out. If the thought of relapse worries you, share those worries with others. Discuss these feelings at your next recovery group meeting or attend more meetings as to reinforce determination to stay sober. Call on family and close friends for comfort and reassurance as they will help look out for you. Most importantly, seek help immediately and do not ignore your feelings if they seem to be getting out of control.
  • Nix nostalgia. Avoid romancing the drink as you watch your friends enjoying alcoholic beverages. This is simply false nostalgia – snap back to reality. You know that alcohol is a problem and remember the pain caused by your addiction. If you do not feel very secure in your sobriety, it is best to avoid bars – only go to these places if you have a valid reason for doing so.
  • Explore options. The hot sun is not a reason to drink an alcoholic beverage. It dehydrates your body and is much more harmful on a hot, sunny day. There are many better options to quench your thirst – ice water – iced tea – and to a lesser degree, cold sodas. Bring your own nonalcoholic drinks to barbeques, to the beach, or wherever your friends and family gather over the summer. It is important to drink plenty of water on those days when it is hot outside – carry a bottle with you everywhere. The risk is that if you become thirsty it may trigger intense cravings for alcohol.
  • Move and keep moving.  Become physically active and direct your energy into productive and fun exercise. Not only is it good for the body, it is good for your mental well-being too. Hike – bike ride – train for a half marathon. There are so many things to do outside and they are all better and easier to without alcohol.
  • Be thankful and reflect. Look over your accomplishments in your efforts to stay sober and how far you have come in your recovery. Remind yourself of all the reasons to stay sober. Reflect on those who love you and who are supporting you in recovery.

Staying sober on vacation

Most of us take a vacation during the summer and often travel involves a destination of sun, fun and evening gatherings. Though this break is usually well-deserved, those who have had drinking problems often indulged in partying to excess.  It may be extremely difficult to imagine fun without alcohol. Here are a few suggestions to remain sober during a vacation:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that members do not make any major changes in the first year sobriety. A vacation could be a major change if not part of an annual routine.
  • Ensure that the people you are vacationing with understand and respect your need to stay sober.
  • Try to have another person in recovery be part of your vacation.
  • Check the availability of some recovery meetings at the location you will be staying.
  • Take along some recovery resources such as books – with the availability of tablet devices, it is much easier to access to e-books, videos and forums.
  • Speak to your therapist about your vacation plans before you leave.
  • Make sure that there are going to be many non-drinking activities available for you on this trip.
  • If you want a specialty beverage, try a non-alcoholic cocktail.
  • Make sure when ordering food in a restaurant that it contains no alcohol. If you are unsure, it is always best to ask.
  • Online options such as Skype are a good way to stay in touch with your recovery friends back at home.

Staying sober at parties

Prior to attending summer gatherings and parties, it is important for a recovering person to make a promise not let the event breakdown a hard-won abstinence.

It is important to note that those who are recovering from substance abuse that did not include alcohol are still advised to abstain from alcohol consumption. Any intoxication qualifies as a relapse. Recovering individuals should bring their own non-alcoholic beverage to a party to avoid going to the bar or drink table. Also, people are less likely to offer a drink to a person who already has a beverage. For this same reason, it is recommended to keep a non-alcoholic drink in one’s hand throughout the party. To avoid any drink confusion after putting down a beverage to dance or use the bathroom, it is always best to get a fresh drink – so it is wise to bring more than one beverage to a party in the event the host runs out of non-alcoholic beverages.

Find support during the summer months

Here are some options for support during the summer months:

  • Your addiction therapist is an excellent source for support and encouragement.
  • Regular attendance at recovery meetings is a good way to get support during the summer months
  • Friends who have been sober for a long time are usually a good source for advice and support.
  • Friends who have never had a problem with addiction can be a very helpful provided they respect your situation related to alcohol.

If you are newly sober, you may worry about how you are going to manage during the summer months, as this may be a time of year where you have traditionally used alcohol heavily. The good news is that so long as you follow the previous steps to protect your sobriety, you may be about to enjoy the best summer ever.

Good luck and Happy Summer!

 

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Recovery Coach Tom Rohrer – Tips For Recovering From Addiction

Getting help from a professional that approaches addiction as a disease is first step to a successful recovery. Here are some key tips for making a successful recovery.
 

 
Want to take the right path for recovery? Call me now at 925-595-6433 Thriving Beyond Addiction book will surely help you stand up Recovery Coach
 
Recovery Coach Tom Rohrer - Tips For Recovering From Addiction

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Recovery Coach Tom Rohrer – Most Common Signs of Drug Use and Addiction

The signs and symptoms of drug addiction vary according to the individual and the substances they are using. There are, however, a number of classic drug addiction signs that tend to run across most people and specific drug dependencies. Know some of them with this video.

Thriving Beyond Addiction Book is a great tool in helping men and women against drug addiction. Know more about this book, visit us at www.thrivingbeyondaddiction.com/sample-page/healthy-living

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Recovery Coach Tom Rohrer – Questions For An Alcoholic

Are you concerned about the role alcohol plays in your life? This questions will help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism.
 

 
Are these questions all answered by YES? Then you must consult an expert now… I can help you fight addiction to alcohol. Call me now for a free consultation 925-595-6433

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