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Celebrating Sobriety During Recovery Month

September 4, 2019

September marks a special time in the recovery community. It’s National Recovery Month, and while we’re on the heels of International Overdose Awareness Day, Recovery Month gives us something to be grateful for. For years, people who struggle with addiction, as well as people who live in recovery, have spent their lives in the closet. They haven’t felt like they can share their pain or their triumph because of the stigma attached to it.

That’s where Recovery Month comes in. Recovery Month is a national observance that is now in its 27thyear. It aims to celebrate the accomplishments of people who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors treatment and recovery service providers who help make recovery possible. Thanks to Recovery Month, many of us feel comfortable talking about what we’ve been through and where we’re going.

Here are 5 ways you can celebrate Recovery Month.

Find a local event near you

SAMHSA has a comprehensive list of Recovery Month events located on their website, where you can search and find one near you. If there aren’t any Recovery Month events near you, there is information on how you can start your own. These events can teach you and your community about local recovery efforts, what else you can do to make your community recovery ready, and actively promote the benefits of recovery in real time.

If you are in the area of the Fellowship Hall campus, check out the online calendar for events throughout the month of September.

Share your personal story

I cannot stress this one enough! Sharing my personal story of recovery has transformed my life in every way. Recovery Month is the perfect time to do this if you haven’t before. Fortunately, there are many different blogs and websites that collect personal stories of recovery. Our stories have power. By just sharing our personal narratives, we have the chance to connect with others on a human level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve related to other people’s stories and they’ve related to mine. When people who struggle read or listen to our stories, they can identify and picture recovery for themselves.

Write an op-ed or talk to the media

Another good way to get the word out about Recovery Month is to talk to your local media or write an op-ed for a newspaper or other media outlet. These talks or op-eds can be your story, or it could just be why you’re supporting and celebrating Recovery Month. Media outreach can increase awareness of Recovery Month events, clarify the importance of recovery in communities, and the local impact everyone can have by offering help. When communities are recovery ready, people are healthier and happier.

Start a conversation

People tend to underestimate the power of a simple conversation. Yes, we live in a digital world and sharing our stories and having conversations on social media are also important. But it’s in speaking with our neighbors, the people at our gym, and other people who we interact with in our daily lives that can really create an immediate impact. Not everyone will be understanding or open-minded, but it’s having these hard conversations that help us grow as people, and help educate the world about Recovery Month and all it has to offer.

Educate yourself and others

There is no better way to celebrate Recovery Month than to continue learning about what recovery is, how it’s changing, and what you can do to help this movement. There is a Recovery Month toolkit available on the Recovery Month website that you can download that has statistics, facts, a media guide, an event, and frequently asked questions about this month. It’s also a great time to research any other questions you might have about addiction and recovery, read the latest studies, and take your new knowledge with you as you go out into the world and celebrate.

Recovery Month is a time for us to reflect on the importance of recovery, how it changes lives, the many pathways that people take to get here, and the village it takes to sustain it. Recovery isn’t easy, but it’s an achievement. It saves lives, it makes our world a better place, and it should be celebrated any time of the year, but especially in September.

Article Written by AddictionCenter.com

4 Tips for Managing Prescription Medicine in Recovery

August 15, 2019

Are you anxious about undergoing a medical procedure while in addiction recovery? Are you hesitant to take prescription medications for fear of relapsing? These dilemmas pose unique sobriety challenges for those in both early and long-term recovery. With a little planning and a proactive approach to post-operative care, the following tips from Jerome Lerner, MD, director of Sierra Tucson’s Pain Recovery Program, can help lower the risk of relapse and guide recovering addicts into a successful healing process.

  1. Get Honest with Your Provider

Prior to surgery, talk to your health care provider and let him or her know you are in recovery. When treating a patient for pain, a doctor needs to look for potential risk factors of substance abuse. Having a conversation about your concerns of relapse will prompt your doctor to carefully assess your situation and select an anesthetic and/or medication that will be in the best interest of your recovery. When a situation warrants medication, it is not safe to under-medicate or over-medicate—the most effective route for managing pain is to consult your provider for post-operative recovery techniques and a tailored treatment plan.

  1. Ask for Help

If you are concerned about having medication in your home, ask someone else to monitor your follow-up treatment and dispense your medicine at the designated times. If that is not an option, a pharmacist can partially fill a prescription on a schedule.

  1. Take a Non-Narcotic Approach

Similar to tip #1, maintain regular conversations with your doctor after surgery and secure his or her permission to switch to non-narcotics as soon as possible. Examples of non-narcotics include Tylenol (chemical name: acetaminophen); non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, Motrin or Advil (chemical name: ibuprofen), Aleve or Naprosyn (chemical name: naproxen sodium); and hot and cold packs, to name a few. This approach to pain management post-surgery may help expedite the healing process, thereby resulting in less pain, and reducing the risk of opioid dependence.

  1. Get Real with Your Recovery Network

Honesty and open-mindedness are essentials in addiction recovery. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel or talk with your sponsor or support system if you are experiencing cravings or feelings of withdrawal or despair. There is strength in numbers—realizing you are not alone and that intense feelings will pass can help you stay sober throughout the process.

Surgical pain is common and often expected, but each individual’s pain tolerance varies. If symptoms evolve into chronic pain that disrupt normal movement, functioning, and daily activities, adversely affecting your overall quality of life, seek professional help without delay. At Sierra Tucson, we understand how debilitating chronic pain can be. Our Pain Recovery Program is tailored to meet the needs of men and women who are struggling with complicated pain and the conditions that cause it.

Article written and provided by Sierra Tucson


Mindfulness: A Secret Weapon Against Cravings?

July 31, 2019

If you haven’t heard of Mindfulness, it’s a form of meditation designed to bring greater awareness to your mind and body, allowing you to separate your thoughts from your emotions.

For years, Mindfulness has been used to help manage cravings; more recently, mindfulness-based interventions have been used to specifically target cravings to bring about relevant changes to behavior.

According to a new review from City University of London, mindfulness meditation strategies can help to prevent cravings for food and drugs including cigarettes and alcohol.

Dr. Katy Tapper, Author of the review and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at City University of London said, “The research suggests that certain mindfulness-based strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings by occupying a part of our mind that contributes to the development of cravings. Whether mindfulness strategies are more effective than alternative strategies, such as engaging in visual imagery, has yet to be established. However, there is also some evidence to suggest that engaging in regular mindfulness practice may reduce the extent to which people feel the need to react to their cravings, though further research is needed to confirm such an effect.”

Ready to give Mindfulness a try?  Allow yourself at least 20 minutes and follow these three steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair
  • Put your attention on how you’re breathing
  • When your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back to how you’re breathing

Practicing Mindfulness is simple, but not easy. Staying focused on your breathing keeps you in the present moment, but it can take 20 minutes or more to settle your mind. The more you practice, the better your ability to use Mindfulness as a tool to manage – possibly even prevent – cravings for the substances that challenge your recovery every day.

Letting Go Of Toxic Relationships After Rehab

July 8, 2019

Your recovery should come first. Don’t make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.

Rehab is about getting rid of the toxins that affect your life in a negative way. During detox, the physical substances that have been causing harm to your body will be flushed out in order to restore a neuro-chemical and physiological balance. During treatment, you will learn more about the relationships in your life and what kind of toxic aspects they may carry. Removing toxic people from your life is equally as important as removing the toxic chemicals, though in some cases, it may prove even more difficult. Ultimately however, excising toxic people from your life is going to prove beneficial to your overall mental, emotional, and physical health in the long term.

“People who are not happy with themselves cannot possibly be happy with you.”

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Setting Relationship Boundaries

June 10, 2019

Setting Relationship Boundaries

What’s a Boundary Anyway?

Boundaries are limits we set in relationships to take care of ourselves. They are guidelines we establish for people in our lives that teach them how to treat us. Boundaries are ours and ours alone, no one can set them for us, nor can we set other peoples. They are not attempts to control someone’s behavior. They are not contracts, threats, or ultimatums.

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May 27, 2019

Codependent is a word that is thrown around rather loosely, but what does it really mean to be codependent? By definition a codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior. As you might imagine most people are not fond of this definition and do not want to see themselves as either controlling or obsessed. It can be helpful to substitute the words concerned for obsessed and helping for controlling, as those words tend to be more palatable to most.

The reality is the only way someone suffering from substance use disorder can continue their addiction is if someone else is cleaning up the wreckage of it. In its truest form codependency is obsessive ‘helping”, doing things for another adult that they can and should be doing for themselves.

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5 Reasons to Attend Recovery Meetings

May 15, 2019

There are many benefits to consistently attending meetings throughout your recovery.  Here are a few reasons to encourage you to stay the course:

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Family Roles in Addiction

April 29, 2019

Oftentimes, when we talk about addiction, we discuss the addict themselves. Certainly, much of treatment program centers around substance abuse, mental health, and emotional and physical recovery of the addict, but there is another important element to observe and consider. The role of the family in the addict’s life is crucial. The family, good or bad, is part of the individual’s very core foundation. Family experiences and observations throughout life can condition and impact the mental and physical health of the addict, and ultimately influence recovery, relapse, and self-ideals.

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The Importance of Not Staying Silent During Treatment

April 15, 2019

The words treatment, rehab, addiction, and addict pack a powerful punch. Sometimes so powerful we are crippled into never saying them.

Whether we are the ones seeking, or in, treatment, or are family of someone needing treatment, the notion of sharing and discussing the topic of addiction is often silenced. Whether due to social repercussions, shame or guilt of not being able to help an addict, or the fear of failure and relapse, there are a multitude of reasons one may stay silent either as an addict or as their support system.

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Enabling Versus Caregiving

April 3, 2019

Enabling and caregiving both involve a strong desire to love, help and nurture another person. These desires are amplified, often with a sense urgency and desperation, for those with loved ones in active addiction.  The reality, however, is that many of the behaviors that seem “helpful” are actually quite the opposite. We can literally love others to death. Here we will differentiate between caregiving and enabling (which we can also refer to as “caretaking” or codependency), offering a more helpful approach to supporting your loved one in active addiction.

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