90 Meetings in 90 Days

The Reasons for Keeping a 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

You are working hard to start a new path in recovery, and now your counselor just issued you a new challenge—keeping a 90 meetings in 90 days calendar.

Attending the 90 meetings in 90 days recovery program sounds intimidating enough already. Now they want you to track it, too? You can rest assured—the entire team at Pathfinders Recovery Center is rooting for you. We know you can crush this program, and the calendar is the easiest way to keep you on track.

Let’s take an up-close look at the 90 meetings in 90 days recovery program. You will learn why you should track your progress during that time.

Cold Turkey - Hello I Am ... Name Tag Words "Going Cold Turkey" in black marker.

Why Keep a 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

What gets measured, gets managed.”

You might have heard the cliché saying uttered by business guru Peter Drucker decades ago. The saying remains relevant today because it is sound reasoning.

When you write down a goal, you breathe life into it. You take ownership of the challenge and satisfaction in checking it off your list.

In the case of a 90 meetings in 90 days calendar, you can schedule a daily “appointment” with yourself. This habit ensures that your recovery remains at the front and center of your to-do list, and you do not overlook it. And, as you check off the meeting at the end of the day, you will feel proud of your accomplishment—another day of clean, sober, and healthier living.

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How About a 90 Meetings in 90 Days App

If you do not like keeping up with a paper calendar, you have another alternative—an app on your phone. Take a quick run through your phone’s application store. You will see with just a cursory glance that you have many apps to choose from.

Like the paper calendar, a 90 meetings in 90 days app will guide you through your ninety days, one day at a time (as you hear so often).

Additionally, apps offer some other fun functions, such as:

  • A calculator that tells you approximately how much money you saved each day by staying sober.
  • Badges and awards to motivate and encourage you to keep on the right course.
  • App community members where you can meet other people who struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol.
  • Meeting locator to find NA and AA meetings if you travel outside of your area.

Whether you have a smartphone or not, tracking your progress is vital. Paper calendars work best for some people. Others prefer the app. You have the flexibility to choose whichever tracking method works the best for you.

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Why 90 Meetings in 90 Days

You know you need to strive to meet the ninety meeting goal, but do you know the reasoning behind attending 90 meetings in 90 days?

The 90 meetings in 90 days origin stems from the fact that this program assists you in your recovery in the following three ways:

1 – You Develop New (and Healthier) Habits

In an article published in 2009 by the European Journal of Social Psychology, scientists agreed that it took study participants anywhere from 18 to 254 to develop a habit. They further concurred that, on average, most people adopt new, automatic practices in 66 days.

90 days provides sufficient time for the majority of 90 meetings for NA or AA participants to hone these habits in the early recovery phase:

  • Communicating effectively in a group setting
  • Expressing their feelings
  • Arriving at your meeting on time
  • Staying sober
  • Appropriate interactions with others

These habits are essential because many alcoholics or drug addicts abandoned these behaviors during the peak of addiction.

Cold Turkey - A man is exercising in his home. He has stopped drinking cold turkey and uses exercise to get past the withdrawal.
A man is exercising in his home.

2 – You Build a Reliable, Safe Network of Peers

In addition to the healthy habit formation, you will build a safe, reliable network in your peer group. These relationships are crucial on the most challenging days of recovery. You will meet others who can lift you up on the lowest days. You can also serve as a ray of sunshine to your peers on the days that they feel poorly.

Remember that Alcoholics Anonymous 90 meetings in 90 days, or NA meetings, are places where others who struggle with addiction come together for mutual support. You learn to lean on each other so you can succeed.

3 – You Found a Place of Acceptance

Many people who are in recovery feel isolated. Their family members have the best of intentions, but they offer advice that sometimes feels like a scolding.

Or, you might still be re-establishing bonds with family and old friends after years of neglecting those relationships.

The bottom line is this—you feel lonely or isolated, even when you are around people you love.

Your 90 meetings in 90 days alcohol or drug addiction workshop is a place where you feel accepted. You can reveal your innermost thoughts or share “war stories” without feeling embarrassed or as if they will use the information against you.

In the past, you turned towards drugs or alcohol for comfort. But now, you have a peer group who can soothe you, helping to prevent relapse.

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What To Expect as You Work Through the 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

Whether you are going to NA meetings or AA meetings, you find many similarities. You might be surprised to see how alike they are, really.

AA 90 Meetings in 90 Days

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings emphasize recovery from alcohol use disorder or alcoholism.

You will learn how to curb your cravings and other coping techniques. Also of note, other participants can help you develop strategies for avoiding alcoholic beverages in social situations—it is a legal drug, after all.

As you progress through your meetings, you will continuously build the skills you need to remain alcohol-free.

90 Meetings in 90 Days NA

Joining 90 meetings for Narcotics Anonymous works similarly to the AA version.

However, you will soon discover that people there used a wide variety of drugs of choice, from prescription painkillers they got hooked on after a surgery to street drugs like heroin. Regardless of the drug abused, you will learn how to prevent relapse and live a life free of drugs.

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What Happens After 90 Meetings in 90 Days

You might wonder, ultimately, what happens after the first 90 meetings? First of all, your group will recognize your achievement by presenting you with a 90-day coin—an enormous accomplishment, indeed!

However, do not rest on your laurels. You still have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Recovery lasts much longer than your first ninety days.

Some people continue going to daily meetings because they draw so much comfort from the process. Others will scale back and attend several times weekly. There is not a single correct number, as every person will experience recovery at a different pace.

You will also probably keep meeting with a counselor for one-on-one therapy, attend relapse prevention classes, and work on all areas of your self-growth. The journey is just beginning—and you are in charge of mapping out your destiny.

If you are all ready to embark on a journey to recovery, we are glad to answer any questions you have. Please feel free to call Pathfinders Recovery Center at 855-728-4363 for assistance. We are always happy to help you.

Staying Sober While Social Distancing

How to Stay Sober While Social Distancing

Just a few short months ago, staying sober while social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak wasn’t something any of us anticipated.

Since then, social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have abruptly and drastically changed our day to day lives.

Even things that seemed simple before, like going to work and visiting your therapist, may be off limits now.

However, there are quite a few creative ways that we can maintain our important social connections while we follow the CDC’s best practices and precautionary measures.

Staying Sober - A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat. Staying sober is more difficult with social distancing. Those in recovery need new ways to connect for support.
A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat.

Staying Sober with a Video Chat

Facetime will never be a permanent replacement for in person social connections, but it can help us through this difficult time.

Ask your sponsors and therapists to make your meetings virtual for the time being. They’re stuck at home, too, so they’ll be happy to hear from you and to offer support in a new and unique way.

Whether it is weekly or daily, your sessions, meetings, and conversations can take place online so you don’t have to go too long without speaking to them.

Use a Virtual Meeting to Spend Time with Your Support Group

Most of us are well-versed in Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Facebook video chats by now, especially those who have been working from home since social distancing closed all non-essential businesses.

You can use these apps (and others) to meet with your support group once per week (or even more). Zoom can be used to merge up to 100 users into one virtual meeting, so no one has to be left out.

These meetings include two-way video, audio, or other collaborative features, and the basic version is free to download if you don’t have it already. If you’re looking for additional support, Facebook has a number of virtual recovery groups available.

Many of them will require a request to join, but they’re typically approved within a day or two, and then you will have access to many other individuals who are going through similar struggles.

Use this platform to swap stories and offer one another support.

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Join AA/NA Meetings Online or Over the Phone

Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are a resource that many people in recovery rely on.

While all large, in-person gatherings are canceled, you can find these meetings in a few other places.

There is a long list of online AA and NA meetings, as well as meetings that are taking place over the phone and speaker tape archives that you can listen to.

Virtual support can fill in the gaps until we can all recover together again.

Staying Sober - A woman does a video conference with her support group during social distancing. She is fighting to stay sober without the in person meetings she usually goes to.
A woman joins an AA meeting over a video conference during social distancing.

Spend Some Time in Nature

Whether we are talking a walk, riding a bike, reading a book, or simply enjoying the warmth of the sun on our skin, spending time outside can be hugely beneficial to our health.

Reconnecting with nature is a free and easy way to find inner peace without breaking social distancing rules.

Use this time to enjoy the fresh air or call a friend to catch up. While we are apart, continue to meet each day with integrity, honesty, and the will to work hard.

If you need help reach out. We are here for you.

Here are links to the resources mentioned in this article:

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Withdrawal Help: How to Fight Through Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms and Come Out on Top

Many of us know someone who has struggled with opioid addiction. If not yourself, perhaps it was a family member or close friend. Opioids affect a lot of families throughout the United States, so know that you’re not alone in dealing with them.

In fact, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate the numbers of affected patients is significant. Studies show that 21 to 29 percent of patients who were medically prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them. On top of that, over 72,000 cases of death due to drug overdose have been recorded in a single year.

It’s clear that opioids affect many people throughout the country. If you or someone you know is undergoing a transition to sobriety from opioids, he or she will likely experience opioid withdrawal. Even though the transition can be challenging, consider these tips providing withdrawal help for you and your family.

Know What To Expect By Doing Your Research

Every opioid abuser has a different physical composition. That means that each patient has a different relationship with the substance, including how their body will react to opioid withdrawals.

Still, there are certain things you can expect that most patients experience during opioid withdrawals. If you’re a serious opioid abuser, you might already be familiar with the first symptoms of opioid withdrawals.

Within 6 to 12 hours, minor symptoms start to appear. These include muscle aches, excessive yawning, trouble sleeping, headaches, or even a fever. It’s around this time that most common opioid abusers give in and go back to their substance.

If the patient holds out, though, the worst part of withdrawals typically happens around 72 hours after last using the substance. These patients experience serious nausea, stomach cramps, depression, and serious cravings for the drugs.

After these intense symptoms, patients will still exhibit irritability and trouble adapting to life without drugs for up to weeks after last using. It’s up to them and the community around them to maintain sobriety through every avenue possible.

Maintain a Positive Attitude, Even When It’s Tough

The first step to remember is to remember your perspective throughout the entire process of transitioning to sobriety. Though withdrawal symptoms may be physical, the battle you’ll be finding is a mental one. You will be challenged to work through your pain instead of reaching for the drug again.

Don’t be too hopeful about maintaining such a positive outlook, though. It’s going to be pretty tough at times to remember that sobriety is worth the effort.

Many people go back to misusing their drug of choice simply because they choose to ignore their pain rather than fight through it. Break the cycle be sticking through even the toughest parts of the process.

There are benefits to staying grateful for being able to challenge yourself with sobriety. Consider this guidance to remain grateful even during your darkest times of overcoming opioid addiction.

Stay Connected To Surrounding Friends and Family Members

Not only will transitioning to sobriety challenge you in physical and mental ways. You’ll also be tested in an emotional capacity.

Many people don’t realize that drug abuse affects their emotional stability. The effects of consistent drug abuse can numb the natural coping mechanisms we’re supposed to use. When patients quit taking those numbing opioids, they tend to struggle with coping with emotions again.

Some patients overcoming addiction are fortunate enough to already be surrounded by family members and friends. Not everyone is so lucky, though. That’s why it might be necessary for some people to enter into a treatment facility to be surrounded by caring hands.

A stable community of support is crucial for adjusting a patient’s emotions back to normal. Consider this guidance for dealing with emotions during early sobriety.

Cultivating genuine relationships during withdrawals can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you don’t try to handle the transition to sobriety all on your own.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

As mentioned above, you’ll need other people around you to be successful in your sobriety. At the very least, you need to be able to talk to someone about your struggles throughout the process.

Misusing opioid substances ends turning our brain chemistry to have a dependency on those substances. It’s no wonder that many who attempt to quit the drug abuse turn back to it. The brain literally becomes hardwired to need the substance for peace.

Take care, though, to allow your brain to readjust after dependency on opioids. You’ll find that your cognition and emotional stability seem much healthier when you’re sober.

For a while after transitioning to sobriety, many patients tend to deal with symptoms of anxiety or depression. It’s unfortunate that the mood is so affected, but it’s important to prepare for.

Sometimes it can seem as though the transition to sobriety is too much for someone to handle. As difficult as it can be to deal with these strong withdrawal symptoms, don’t be afraid to ask for help during your dark times. There are plenty of resources available to assist you, such as the National Helpline for substance abuse.

Exercise At Least a Little Bit Every Day

It’s no secret that your body is going to go through some serious changes during this transition. You know from your research that you’ll experience trouble with energy levels and sleeping habits. The good news is that there are efforts you can take to help regulate your body’s needs.

That regulation starts with a thorough exercise routine. Don’t worry – you don’t need to become a bodybuilder just to transition away from drug abuse. It is a good idea though, even if just to maintain some level of routine.

It’s common that opioid abusers don’t make a habit of exercising while abusing substances. Since transitioning to sobriety is such a dramatic lifestyle shift, exercising can help normalize a sober life. For many, exercise is even a chance to substitute unhealthy habits for healthy ones.

Don’t push yourself, though. Only work out to the extent of whatever is recommended by your doctor. Don’t expect to be very active right off the bat.

Even if you only take a brisk walk every day, you’ll be off to a good start in your new sober lifestyle. You deserve to make the most of your new, healthy life of sobriety.

Get Plenty of Rest

Along the lines of physical health, don’t forget about your sleep cycle. It’s an unfortunate truth that going through opioid withdrawals could negatively affect your sleep. Don’t worry, though – there are steps you can take.

It might be difficult to get to sleep, especially at first during withdrawals. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule anyway. Even if you’re only laying down without sleep for eight hours, your body will technically still get the rest it needs.

Over time, your brain will get used to calming down around the same time. The goal is to normalize a healthier sleep cycle than the one you had to rely on opioids for.

You’ll eventually notice that your sleep cycle becomes more regular. This is a sign that most of your withdrawal symptoms are wearing down. Work through those difficult withdrawal times knowing that a regular sleep cycle will surely be worth the investment.

Monitor Your Diet and Nutrition

Along with plenty of exercise and rest, don’t forget to watch your diet during addiction recovery. Your body is going to need all the natural help it can get to readjust without opioids.

The first thing to think about is making sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a huge problem for many patients overcoming opioid dependency. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day while you’re going through withdrawals.

When it comes to what you eat, do your best to stick to healthy greens and grains. That means you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also means you need to minimize the number of carbohydrates and fats you consume.

Examples of healthy foods to eat include leafy greens like spinach or salads. You should also look at nuts and non-meat proteins.

Your body is doing a lot of internal work when it is readjusting to a life without opioids. Give it the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong during this time.

Check Out Recovery Facilities

It’s clear that recovering addicts need to be surrounded by a supportive and helpful community. The withdrawal process can be long and arduous.

For those patients who aren’t fortunate enough to have family members and friends ready and available, recovery facilities are normally available. Do plenty of research to find the best treatment center in your area.

Stay Informed About Withdrawal Help

As you recovery from opioid abuse, you deserve to be around as much withdrawal help as is available. We know how important it is to take the matter of your recovery seriously.

We encourage you to stay as informed as possible about the recovery process. Check out the rest of our blog today to learn about withdrawals and other parts related to the recovery process.

 

The Stigma Of Addiction: How Do I Break It?

What is Alcoholism?

In 1956, alcoholism was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association. The definition of a disease is “a quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or a group of people.”

The AMA’s conclusion is fitting to say the least. Today, alcoholism is a part of a much larger epidemic – the disease of addiction. Unlike physical ailments, alcohol addiction has become a serious societal issue, one plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. People often say, “Addicts are weak, they just need to toughen up and quit,” or, “Addicts are liars, burnouts and waste of space,” and “Addicts are bad people and criminals.”

All too often these types of judgmental statements are spoken. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a glimpse into what it is like to be an addict.


How Alcoholism Starts

stigma-of-alcoholismOutside circumstances vary drastically, but internally most addicts, including myself, have similar experiences although it can often feel like they’re the only one.

You’re introduced to a substance, you try it, and you like the way it makes you feel. In the beginning the substances make you feel euphoria, and for the potential addict, you just want to do it again. It’s a slow and gradual decline of one’s power of choice and into dependency.

 


Becoming An Addict

beginning-of-alcohol-addictionAs time goes on our tolerance for the substances gets greater. Leaving us needing more of our drug of choice in order to become intoxicated. So, what does any motivated addict do at this point?

More drugs and alcohol of course.

A non-addict may be able to anticipate what might happen if they continue down this path and decide to turn it around. This isn’t so with the real addict from our experience. What we see is delusions crop up, and from this altered reality we are able to find justifications for our actions.

Here is an example: a close friend of yours approaches you and says, “I think you should slow down with partying. I’m worried about you and you do not seem like yourself lately.” The non-addict’s thought process might lead to some introspection like, “Are they right? Am I getting carried away? Maybe I should take it easy for a while.” An addict on the other hand may say, “They don’t know what they’re talking about! I’m fine and if they can’t accept me for who I am, then I don’t need them in my life.” This defensiveness and sometimes anger comes quickly when someone challenges them or they think they may lose their drug, which is one reason so many addicts become alienated from the people in their lives. This cycle goes on until you have reached the no man’s land of dependency.


Active Full Blown Addiction

Once an addict has reached the stage of full-blown dependency, it is incredibly difficult to stop. When I was using, you could have given me a lie detector test and I would have been telling the truth when I said I believed to my core that there was no chance that I could stop.

The physiological make-up of my body had changed. This is true with all addicts. As a person in long term recovery, I wanted to get clean for years before I was actually able to make it stick. Allow me to emphasize the important part of that statement. I wanted to get clean for years.

When an addict feels like they can’t stop using, they often feel ashamed, weak and like a failure. Having the world say the same and worse, contributes to an addict’s need to detach from those feelings on some level, so they just keep using. Punishing and condemning addicts, bad mouthing them and judging them will never help this problem. It doesn’t help the addict, nor does it benefit the world as a whole as society continues to perpetuate the cycle. What is needed is an educated society that understands the issue and its complexities, and how best to approach it.


The Recovery Process

Since the founders of Pathfinders Recovery Center have been in recovery we have found that addicts, and people in general for that matter, are capable of great things. The same men and women that come from dark, selfish, and lonely pasts are now selfless and caring, with a unique compassion for their fellow man. One in ten adult people in this nation are struggling with some form of addiction, and only one in ten of those people get help. These statistics are staggering. This disease does not discriminate. There are politicians, lawyers, policemen, doctors, pilots, therapists, and all other professions. We are your neighbors, your friends, your pastor, and your child’s school teacher. Before judging and condemning addicts, please remember that these people you are talking about are sick. Very sick. The power of choice is more than likely no longer in their grasp. They need compassion and understanding. They need help, and to be shown there is a way out.

For more information and the science behind each chemical’s effect on the body view our earlier blog posts or contact a Pathfinders Recovery Center founder directly at (855) 728-4363.

Dealing With Emotions In Early Sobriety

Early Recovery Can Be Hard

early-recovery-addiction
Early recovery is the beginning stages of the recovery process. Typically lasting at least through the first 90 days, early recovery is an emotional challenge as addicts navigate life without drugs or alcohol. Although everyone’s early recovery experience is unique, for most this readjustment period allows people to restart their lives, building a better, healthier and sober way of living.

Early recovery can feel like an emotional rollercoaster with all the ups and downs that can arise. This is not surprising for people that have felt numb for so long and can be extremely difficult on a day to day basis. That’s why emotional sobriety is also a key factor in early recovery. What is the definition of emotional sobriety? Emotional sobriety is the ability to cope with the many emotions that come with physical sobriety. It means being able to handle your feelings head on in a positive and productive way. Many addicts have a difficult time acknowledging and understanding how they feel, turning to alcohol and drugs instead. Emotional sobriety helps people stay in recovery no matter the circumstance.

If you or a loved one are experiencing anything like this, don’t worry, it is normal and there is hope. Here are some of the causes and some tips that help us get through these times. We hope you find this as beneficial as we do.


Early Recovery Can Be Hard

Some examples of emotions in early recovery that may come up are:

  • shame and guilt over past actions
  • anger over the past, or fear over the future
  • remorse or self-hatred, resentment towards yourself or others

Usually these come up as a result of having to face our past, while being present for our current emotional state after a history of numbing emotion. Physical detox also plays a major role in these emotions early in recovery.

Can quitting alcohol or drugs lead to depression? The withdrawal symptoms that are associated with detox can lead to some depression and anxiety-like symptoms. However, these are temporary and ease as the detox and recovery process continues.

On the flip side, some emotions that can emerge might be over excitement, over confidence, feeling “high on life” and sobriety.


Being Led By Emotions

This (being led by emotions) is dangerous for recovery for multiple reasons. If you feel poorly all the time and don’t take any action to better your mental and spiritual state, temptation may arise and you may not have a defense against the first dose or drink. On the other hand, over confidence and positive feelings can be a way to avoid reality or facing your past. It can also cause you to be much less motivated to take the actions to maintain your recovery. For instance, it’s extremely easy to avoid meditation, going to meetings, calling a sponsor, prayer, working with a therapist and making a daily honest self-appraisal when everything feels fine and dandy. Relapse can creep up on you. A lot of times people don’t see it coming and relapse during a time when they “feel like everything is going really well”.

The truth is being an addict is hard and it’s difficult to get sober. Many sober men and women I have interviewed say the same thing in regard to this…” getting sober is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and not a day goes by that I regret getting sober” seems to be the general consensus.


Some Tips To Help You Get There:

Find a therapist : This is a big help in continuing to grow and learn how to deal with your emotions.  There are some other great tips about developing a network and a happy lifestyle here in another article we wrote.  This can help in discovering specific emotional difficulties and developing coping mechanisms to deal with situations that can and most likely will arise.

Be gentle with yourself: This is so hard for us as addicts, but utterly important.  To this day, I constantly remind myself that I am a work in progress and a human that has flaws and will make mistakes.  My mantra is “Rome was not built in a day” and “I had to crawl before I could walk, and I had to walk before I could run”.  Affirmations can help.  I have found the most comfort in being open with my support network about the things that are going on with me.  They can offer much needed connection and feedback that is unbiased if I have a healthy A-Team.

Practice mindfulness: Another thing that myself and most of the addicted people I have worked with suffer with is honest self-appraisal.  It’s very easy to fall into negative thinking patterns and not even realize it is happening until it is too late.  Taking a daily time to reflect on how things are going will change your life.  Once you identify issues you can begin to work on them and get better.

Be Playful: This suggestion may seem silly, and well…that is because it is.  Go do something fun with people.  Go shoot pool, go bowling, go for a hike, go camping, go swimming, go to an amusement park.  This might seem like a strange thing to be reading in this article and that’s not far from the truth…just try it and you can thank us later.


What are the Stages of Recovery from Addiction?

There are many stages of recovery from addiction and every individual works through them at their own pace. Because everyone’s recovery journey is unique, there is no telling how long it may take a person to work through the many phases. Early recovery involves many of the beginning stages and is the most difficult part of the process for many. Typically the stages include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination. People tend to believe that they do not need to change their lifestyle, then begin to realize a change is necessary, and finally set an intent to find information and resources about recovery. Next, the individual begins to put his or her plans in action and finally maintain this new lifestyle while closing the chapter of addiction in their life.


Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752

Please call anytime and speak with one of our founders directly. We answer the phone ourselves any day and anytime. Thank you for reading and until next time, show yourself some love. You deserve it.

Alcohols Effects On Your Brain and Body

Alcohols Effects On Your Brain and Body

effects-of-alcohol

Alcoholism was first recognized as a disease in 1956 by the American Medical Association.  Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

This article is meant to explain and inform people on what exactly alcohol does to us on a physiological level.


Negative Side Effects Of Prolonged Alcohol Abuse

alcohol-abuse-consequences

A lot of people love drinking, but this is a very dangerous pastime when we are not able to maintain moderation like so many of us have not been able to. This is especially dangerous to a young brain that is still developing because of how damaging alcohol abuse is to the brain and other vital organs.

What are the Short and Long Term Effects of Alcohol?

There are dozens of negative side effects to alcohol abuse, in the short and long run. These effects can be extremely damaging to every aspect of an addict’s life.

Some of the short term signs and side effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Lower inhibitions
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Slowed brain activity
  • Poor vision
  • Slurred, disoriented speech
  • Vomiting
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Difficulty breathing

Here are some health risks and other long term effects associated with repetitive over consumption of alcohol:

  • Intense physical and mental cravings for alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking including nausea, vomiting, shaking, sweating, seizures and death
  • Lapses in memory (complete black outs)
  • Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
  • Physical and mental deterioration
  • Legal issues
  • Marital problems
  • Decreased performance at work and/or job loss

How does alcohol affect the digestive system? Alcohol’s effect on the digestive system creates unpleasant symptoms for consumers. Irritating the entire system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and internal bleeding. These effects can be seen after one time use, long term abuse and during withdrawal during detox.

 

How Does Alcohol Affect The Brain?

Alcohol that is not broken down in the liver runs through the rest of our body through our blood stream.  This includes passing through our brain’s cerebral cortex, medulla, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cerebellum, and frontal lobe. Alcohol can affect parts of the brain that command our movement, speech, judgement, inhibition, and memory. This is why we see drunk people having difficulty walking, slurring their speech, acting impulsively and having memory lapses. We have probably been in that state many times ourselves, and seeing this can be a harsh reminder of how we used to be. After prolonged use of alcohol negative side effects such as depression and anxiety disorders may develop.

 


 

What are the Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body?

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood, stomach and small intestine immediately after a drink is ingested.  The effects are felt within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking.  Blood alcohol content usually peaks between 30-90 minutes after being consumed and is carried throughout every organ in the body. Many people question, “What does a beer do to the body?” Or, “What effect will hard liquor have on me?” The answer is dependent on the amount of alcohol consumption and the time period that the alcohol is consumed. The more consistently a person drinks alcohol in excess, the worse the negative effects on his or her body will be.

Here are some of the ways alcohol will affect your body after prolonged use:

  • Immune system – an immune system weakened by alcohol consumption cannot properly fight off germs, viruses and illnesses
  • Muscles and bones become weakened
  • Erectile dysfunction and infertility are common side effects of overconsumption
  • Stroke, heart attack and cardiomyopathy (poisoning of the heart’s muscle cells) are common amongst heavy drinkers

Here to Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, please contact us for help; we have been there. We have found through many different experiences a way of life that is much more gratifying, and pleasurable as time goes on. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we are here to share this message of redemption and recovery with the world. At the end of my own alcoholism I had wanted to stop for about two years but could not do it on my own. We are a community of men and women that walk through this sober life together and we never have to be alone again.

5 Important Things To Do After Addiction Treatment

post-addiction-treatment

Many people attend detoxes, short-term and long-term addiction treatment centers. A common issue for clients exiting these facilities is a lack of a sound aftercare plan. This article is meant to address this issue and provide you with some tips on what to do when you have graduated from your treatment center in order to optimize your chances of success in recovery. Before we begin, and before even checking into a treatment center you should discuss in detail their practices regarding aftercare planning. Here is an article on what to look for in a treatment center.

1. Be Open To Feedback

Not sure where to turn after treatment? Gather your resources, seek information and ask those around you. Sometimes what we think want and what is best for us are two very different things. That is why it is so crucial to be open to feedback from professionals and your peers when leaving your treatment center. They only want to see you succeed and become a more healthy and active members of your community..

2. Consider Sober Living After Primary Treatment

Sober living is a great option when leaving an addiction treatment center. Here you gain the freedom of being independent and self-sufficient with just enough structure and people around to help you through the transition of leaving your treatment center. A good sober living home will allow you to work, have a late curfew, and help you with practical life skills such as budgeting finances, relationships, healthy communication, nutrition, health and wellness and more. They will help you stay on track to long term recovery, reducing the risk of a relapse.

3. Develop a Sober Network

addiction-aftercare-planningA good group of peers is so imperative during the recovery process, people that we can trust and stay committed to.  Not to mention people to enjoy life and have sober fun with. We call this having an “A-Team” and it will save your life time and time again. Make sure you choose your A-Team wisely and be sure to stick with the winners. If you don’t know anyone sober outside of treatment, or if you have a fear of meeting new people, don’t worry we were all there once. We recommend looking into your local intergroup and attending, 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy. There you find a bountiful amount of sober people that will be willing to help you anyway that they can. A solid, safe support system can be the difference between sobriety and relapse.

4. Set Goals To Work Towards

A wise man once told me after years of sobriety, “You’ve wanted to die before…you have wanted to get sober before…now that you ARE sober…you have to find a reason to live.” This was a powerful statement for me because he was absolutely right.

I related to this on many levels; in regards to my son, towards helping others, having fun with friends, respecting myself on a daily basis, supporting my family and friends, and many more. It is important to figure out what is important to you and go for it.

Do what you love and love what you do.

5. Remain Humble And Hardworking Even After Treatment

It is all too common and very easy to stop working on ourselves and growing in recovery. After years of suffering, then months of feeling good it is impossible to remember the suffering you endured at all times. This ties into the last entry, as well, but you have to find a life worth being sober for. There is a catch here. Once you get the job, a place, a car, a relationship, and some money in your bank account, it becomes easy to become complacent and lazy. Don’t get caught in this trap, don’t let your sober life get in the way of what sobriety has given you.  

Until next time… stay humble and love yourself, life is what you make it.


Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752

Gratitude: How to Remain Grateful

Gratitude:

The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


Someone recently messaged us at Pathfinders Recovery Center and asked for a blog on the topic of gratitude. We thought to ourselves, “that is a great idea,” especially considering gratitude is so essential in everyday life and our in level of happiness. It is so easy after some time sober to ‘let the shine wear off’, but here are some tips and tricks we use to better our attitudes daily at Pathfinders Recovery Center that really work!

For starters to establish a little credibility let us take a quick look at the research. The results of an 8-year study from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley indicated that a regular and continuous gratitude practice results in the following benefits:

  • Progress towards important personal goals
  • Higher alertness and longer attention span
  • Increased determination and Energy levels
  • Greater Sense of feeling connected to others
  • Better all-around health
  • Quality and duration of sleep were increased
  • Higher levels of self-discipline

Here are some methods we use as daily gratitude exercises that have really worked for us.

Get A Journal And Dedicate It To Gratitude

addiction-recovery-tips

Jot down 3 things that you truly feel grateful for. This will not work if you don’t take a minute or two in between each entry to really internalize and feel the gratitude for these things on an emotional level. This will also only work and last if you do the exercise daily (we challenge you to do this for 2 weeks).

Remember Where You Came From

Typically, alcoholics and drug addicts have been to some of the darkest and loneliest places that anyone could imagine. Therefore, when some time in recovery passes and we start getting things back in the monetary and spiritual sense (i.e. car, home, good job, relationship, happiness, confidence which are all good). It is extremely easy to forget where we came from by becoming complacent and comfortable and no longer prioritizing our recovery or connections with other people. This does not serve us well for the long term.

Remaining humble is key, and realizing that you are always 100 percent capable of going back to the dark lonely place that we come from.  Not to live in fear, but to remain humble and level headed is the goal here.

Set Goals And Act On Them

One thing we’ve often noticed in this field is that people are happy typically have a goal, a hobby they LOVE, or something positive to direct their energy towards that no one can take away from them. The opposite appears true in our experience as well.  We must be honest with ourselves and set some small goals, and some big goals as well, and start taking baby steps on a daily basis to chase our dreams. Do not let yourself get too comfortable; this is a natural state that we gravitate towards, and our growth stops when we are too comfortable and complacent. The magic happens outside of our comfort zone and that goes for people of all walks of life and every stage of spiritual and emotional development.

Serve Others And Socialize With Like Minded People

addiction-treatment-helpThe most rewarding times in our lives are when we can truly step out of ourselves. To show up for another person in a capacity that makes their life better in some way is incredible. Drug addicts like us have taken enough from this world during active addiction, and it is a phenomenal feeling to give something back. Also, surround yourself with people that bring positivity and love into your life. Negative influences can deeply affect your level of happiness, so we highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who share your goals and are willing to take actions with you toward generating real happiness; we do not do this thing called recovery alone!

10 Defeating Attitudes in Early Sobriety and How To Combat Them

Getting sober is one of, if not the hardest thing that us addicts will ever have to do. The journey to long term recovery is a hard one, often bumpy and filled with difficult personal and emotional challenges. Here are some thoughts and belief systems that commonly come up for us amongst early sobriety to be aware of, watch out for, and discard when they creep in!

1. The Non Sober People Are More Fun

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Addicts in general, myself included spend our time trying to do WHATEVER we can to “feel good” in the moment.  Sometimes life is not going to feel good and that is when we do not know how to handle it. That being said, the guys and gals that are goofing off, not working on themselves and acting out in negative self-defeating behaviors may appear to be having more fun…but talk to them when they relapse, get arrested, or end up back in treatment or at a 12-step meeting getting another new comer chip and ask yourself if that looks like fun? No judgement here, the thing is nothing changes until something changes and you must do things you have never done to get where you have never been period – simple as that.

2. I Am Not Ready To Be Sober Yet

You have hit your bottom once you have quit digging. Some people lose everything, die, get locked up ect…some other people end up realizing it much quicker and don’t lose much but can see where their life is heading and make the effort to change it quicker. So please don’t let your mind give you this excuse, it’s not true!

3. This Won’t Work For Me

Here is the thing…how can we know something that we don’t know…we can’t. Just because my mind is telling me that I know something does not mean it’s true. Find a mentor that has been where you’ve been and be open minded to having a new experience. Do what they say and great things will follow.

4. I’m Unique and Worse Than Everyone

This one always gives me a laugh because I can relate so strongly. Almost every addict I’ve had the pleasure of working with at one point or another experiences this thought. I have found out that I am not special or different and when I look for similarities instead of differences I can relate to some people I would never have expected to be able to.

5. I can do this on my own

In my experience this was not true. However, I will say if you truly believe that you can give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then try a treatment center and entering into a 12-step program.

6. Thinking The Answer is on the Outside, Not on the Inside

I need to quit smoking, get a job, enroll in college…TODAY !”. Relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have to crawl before we can walk. You do not have to conquer all of your problems today. Keep it simple and make small realistic goals for yourself and overtime the upheaval and redemption of your life will be astonishing! Give yourself some time to really work on you in the beginning the rest will follow.

7. I Don’t Deserve A Better Life

This is not true for anyone – ever. Period. There is a little bit of good in the worst of us and a little bit of bad in the best of us. Take it easy on yourself, learn to forgive and love yourself. This is a process that is difficult and takes time but I promise you can do it and we will love you until you love yourself!

8. Nobody Cares About Me Anyway

I felt this way coming into recovery and what I found was the exact opposite. It was amazing how many people put their hand out to help me when all I did was simply become willing and ask for the help.

9. I’ve Tried Everything And Nothing Has Worked

No one has tried everything. There are variables to consider here. For instance, something I may have “tried” could work if I changed my perspective, applied myself and engaged in it with an open mind if I was closed off the first time. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective.

10. I will control my use… it will be different this time!

If you are really an addict or alcoholic your own experience is the best test here.  Did you ever “just do one”?  Were you able to easily stop all substances at once at any time without any difficulty?  If you’re truly an addict or alcoholic all you have to do is be honest with yourself and reflect on your experience to see that this not true.  You’re not alone here we have all fallen victim to this way of thinking and it keeps us in addiction much longer than necessary.

Addiction and Loneliness

loneliness-and-addictionIf you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction this article will cover a perspective proven through clinical studies that you must not miss. Society in general has led addicts to feel ashamed of the insidious affliction they suffer from. Addicts cause pain and confusion in themselves and anyone that truly deeply cares for them.

What Does Loneliness Look Like?

Loneliness may not be the same for everyone. The Huffington Post explains, “Being lonely is more of a state of mind and that state of loneliness can change on a dime if one so desires.” Loneliness in addiction can look like:

  • Disconnection from others
  • Little to no interest in relationships
  • Feeling depressed and anxious
  • Thinking there is no one to talk to
  • Believing there is no hope
  • Feeling like no one cares

A History Of Failure

A little over a century ago this country made the decision to ban and make illegal nearly all drugs.  They instituted punishments as an incentive to deter people from abusing these substances.  This makes sense on a basic level of thinking, but the issue is that it is clearly not working, as shown in this chart. In my experience When something doesn’t work, you either have to fix it or throw it away.

overdose-death-stats

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Adapting To The Environment

In the early 1920s there were some interesting experiments conducted regarding addiction. They took a rat, placed it in a cage on its own and put two water bottles, one with Cocaine laced in the water and one containing fresh water.  The rat drank the cocaine water until it overdosed and died. Bruce K. Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University conducted some similar experiments but added some new variables. He made a “rat park” with cheese, tubes, toys, and most importantly friends!  In this rat park he put the same two types of water bottles, one with cocaine laced water and one with pure water.  The following observation was astonishing. The overdose rate amongst the rats dropped to 0 percent.  Most rats didn’t even touch the cocaine water, and the ones that did stopped before overdose. Professor Alexander questioned, “What if addiction is not about being hooked on chemicals but it is instead an adaptation to your environment?”

The message to be heard here is that humans want to bond and connect. If our self-esteem is low, or we have been beaten down emotionally, we will naturally feel a desire to bond with something other than people.  This could look like food, gambling, drugs, sex, television, shopping…really anything that makes us feel okay for a short period of time and provides relief. Therefore, it is counterproductive to punish addicts, remove them from society, label them felons, make them unemployable, shun them, etc…it just perpetuates the cycle.

Finding Solutions To The Drug Problem

In 2000, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe with 1 percent of their entire population being hooked on heroin.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs and set up social programs to help drug addicts reintegrate back into society. They took all the money they were spending on housing, feeding, arresting, and policing these addicts and put it into social programs where they would set drug addicts up with jobs and pay half their salary for the year, thus incentivizing companies to hire them and affording the addict the opportunity to reconnect with people and find a sense of purpose. Fifteen years after these programs were set in motion the addiction rate is down 50 percent, overdose is down, HIV rates have gone down drastically in addicts, and in EVERY addiction study shows massive decreases.

Hopefully one day our society can catch on and be this progressive and in the solution.

Helpful Tips to Overcome Loneliness and Addiction

  • Build a social network from the ground up. We addicts are intelligent people; we can see who is healthy and working on themselves and who is not – stick with the winners and you will become one.
  • Find someone that you can trust that understands addiction and talk to this person VERY REGULARLY about your feelings of loneliness, anger or whatever it is that you’re experiencing
  • Volunteer work and support groups such as 12-step fellowships are great places to make new healthy connections this will take time and attendance and may not happen right away so you have to keep going.
  • I want to reiterate the importance of cutting out negative connections – not all connections are good connections.
  • Make friends and family a priority in your life.  When you’re down and out it’s not going to be your online “friends” there that save your skin; the real connections that you make will be there for you when you need them the most.
  • Commit to people and make a plan to show up for them and then follow through with that plan!

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752