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Addiction to alcohol and drugs affects one’s body, mind and soul. But the damage doesn’t end there. Families and friends also suffer as their loved one’s dependency progresses, stress builds, and communication starts to break down. Families need to recovery from addiction, too.
Family members and loved ones find ways to cope and adapt to the evolving lifestyle that addiction is shaping. It’s not uncommon for family members to feel imprisoned by this disease. As destructive, self-defeating behaviors increase, family members and addicts alike shift into survival mode, just trying to make it through another day of ever-worsening problems.
Alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease, not a lack of willpower, not a moral weakness, not a sign of a weak character, not a result of life’s pressures, and not a symptom of another disease or disorder. Alcoholics and addicts drink/use because they have a disease. The bio-chemical changes in their brains create a physical craving for the chemical. This makes it very difficult for them to abstain from (to choose not to use) alcohol or drugs, especially if they don’t realize that they are addicted. You may have noticed the alcoholic or addict in your life trying to “control” their alcohol/drug use in a number of ways, not realizing that the disease is deciding for them, and indirectly, you. You cannot control the alcoholic/addict, their alcohol/drug use, or their disease.
People in recovery must be especially careful when taking any kind of over-the-counter (otc) or prescription medications. Many otc meds contain alcohol or other ingredients that could endanger their sobriety by triggering a relapse. Even physicians not familiar with addiction may prescribe meds that are not safe for the addict/alcoholic. People in recovery must be vigilant in protecting their sobriety. They must read ingredients, ask questions, and use much caution in using any kind of medication. If in doubt about a specific medication, contact your psychiatrist/addictionologist or another knowledgeable person for guidance.
Communicating with someone you love is not always easy. Too often, conversations end with disagreements, misunderstandings and even broken relationships. If you are struggling to communicate with a loved one suffering from addiction, here are some helpful guidelines that may get your relationship back on track.
Always start with “I love you”
It’s true that “I love you” is one of the most powerful phrases one can say to another. Although it is not enough to cure a loved one of addiction, letting your loved one know that you are coming from a place of love is the best way to start any tough conversation. It assures them that what you are saying is not meant to cause hurt feelings but must be said because you care deeply about them and their well-being. Make your communication direct, honest and most importantly loving.
Gary Keller, Founder of Keller-Williams Realty, wrote the best-selling book The One Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. In it, he shares with readers his secret to success: Think big but focus on one specific thing at a time. He suggests that you ask yourself, “What is the one thing I can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?” By answering that question you will discover the most important thing on which to focus your time and undivided attention.
Starting a new life in recovery takes hard work and a long-term commitment. Developing good everyday habits can help you stay on track. Here are a few habits for success:
Each and every day, take a mental inventory of the things in your life that bring you joy or makes your life easier. No matter how big or small, finding something each and every day to be grateful for will help you find the good in even the worst of days and help you keep a positive outlook on life.
Mindfulness meditation has been proven to improve the chances of long-term sobriety for those in addiction recovery by giving you the tools to take life one moment at a time. Living life in the moment, allows you to experience less stress and anxiety, ridding yourself of worry and negative thought processes. Just 10-15 minutes of mindfulness meditation can make a marked difference.
The countdown to the holidays is on! For many, holidays mean delightful aromas, twinkling lights and celebrations with friends and family. For some, along with the anticipation of sharing joyous times together comes the realization that the holidays can be challenging when you’re in recovery. But, there is good news! It doesn’t have to be a struggle if you make a plan for your holiday self-care. Planning holiday self-care promotes your responsibility for recovery. It requires you to spend time and energy focusing on you and becoming comfortable with being clean and sober. The best part is you don’t have to do it alone. Here are five tips to help you develop an effective self-care plan for the upcoming holiday season:
Fellowship Hall has received certification from LegitScript, an organization that works to make the internet safe and more transparent for consumers. LegitScript strives to be the most trusted source informing the public about which online businesses are legitimate, legal, and trustworthy — and which are not.
This national certification process is designed to protect the public and stop the unethical marketing practices of profiteers who have entered the field of addiction. It is endorsed by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, (NAATP), and Google, and implemented by the company LegitScript (an agency with a proven track record for healthcare merchant certification) to help the consumer make informed decisions based on honest claims and legitimate content in their advertising and on their websites.
The LegitScript seal of approval on our website signifies that Fellowship Hall is a treatment provider that adheres to a strict code of ethics to provide quality addiction treatment and complies with laws and regulations within the treatment field. For more information on our ethical standards and practices, see our webpage Why Choose Fellowship Hall.
By Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News
The number of people hospitalized because of amphetamine use is skyrocketing in the United States, but the resurgence of the drug largely has been overshadowed by the nation’s intense focus on opioids.
Amphetamine-related hospitalizations jumped by about 245 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That dwarfs the rise in hospitalizations from other drugs, such as opioids, which were up by about 46 percent. The most significant increases were in Western states.
The surge in hospitalizations and deaths due to amphetamines “is just totally off the radar,” said Jane Maxwell, an addiction researcher. “Nobody is paying attention.”
Doctors see evidence of the drug’s comeback in emergency departments, where patients arrive agitated, paranoid and aggressive. Paramedics and police officers see it on the streets, where suspects’ heart rates are so high that they need to be taken to the hospital for medical clearance before being booked into jail. And medical examiners see it in the morgue, where in a few states, such as Texas and Colorado, overdoses from meth have surpassed those from the opioid heroin.
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs, which are both legally prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and produced illegally into methamphetamine. Most of the hospitalizations in the study are believed to be due to methamphetamine use.
Commonly known as crystal meth, methamphetamine was popular in the 1990s before laws made it more difficult to access the pseudoephedrine, a common cold medicine, needed to produce it. In recent years, law enforcement officials said, there are fewer domestic meth labs and more meth is smuggled in from south of the border.
As opioids become harder to get, police said, more people have turned to meth, which is inexpensive and readily available.
Lupita Ruiz, 25, started using methamphetamine in her late teens but said she has been clean for about two years. When she was using, she said, her heart beat fast, she would stay up all night and she would forget to eat.
Ruiz, who lives in Spokane, Wash., said she was taken to the hospital twice after having mental breakdowns related to methamphetamine use, including a month long stay in the psychiatric ward in 2016. One time, Ruiz said, she yelled at and kicked police officers after they responded to a call to her apartment. Another time, she started walking on the freeway but doesn’t remember why.
“It just made me go crazy,” she said. “I was all messed up in my head.”
The federal government estimates that more than 10,000 people died of meth-related drug overdoses last year. Deaths from meth overdose generally result from multiple organ failure or heart attacks and strokes, caused by extraordinary pulse rates and skyrocketing blood pressure.
In California, the number of amphetamine-related overdose deaths rose by 127 percent from 456 in 2008 to 1,036 in 2013. At the same time, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths rose by 8.4 percent from 1,784 to 1,934, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Public Health.
“It taxes your first responders, your emergency rooms, your coroners,” said Robert Pennal, a retired supervisor with the California Department of Justice. “It’s an incredible burden on the health system.”
Costs also are rising. The JAMA study, based on hospital discharge data, found that the cost of amphetamine-related hospitalizations had jumped from $436 million in 2003 to nearly $2.2 billion by 2015. Medicaid was the primary payer.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see someone acutely intoxicated on methamphetamine,” said Dr. Tarak Trivedi, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties. “It’s a huge problem, and it is 100 percent spilling over into the emergency room.”
Trivedi said many psychiatric patients are also meth users. Some act so dangerously that they require sedation or restraints. He also sees people who have been using the drug for a long time and are dealing with the downstream consequences.
In the short term, the drug can cause a rapid heart rate and dangerously high blood pressure. In the long term, it can cause anxiety, dental problems and weight loss.
“You see people as young as their 30s with congestive heart failure as if they were in their 70s,” he said.
Jon Lopey, the sheriff-coroner of Siskiyou County in rural Northern California, said his officers frequently encounter meth users who are prone to violence and in the midst of what appear to be psychotic episodes. Many are emaciated and have missing teeth, dilated pupils and a tendency to pick at their skin because of a sensation of something beneath it.
“Meth is very, very destructive,” said Lopey, who also sits on the executive board of the California Peace Officers Association. “It is just so debilitating the way it ruins lives and health.”
Nationwide, amphetamine-related hospitalizations were primarily due to mental health or cardiovascular complications of the drug use, the JAMA study found. About half of the amphetamine hospitalizations also involved at least one other drug.
Because there has been so much attention on opioids, “we have not been properly keeping tabs on other substance use trends as robustly as we should,” said study author Dr. Tyler Winkelman, a physician at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis.
Sometimes doctors have trouble distinguishing symptoms of methamphetamine intoxication and underlying mental health conditions, said Dr. Erik Anderson, an emergency room physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif. Patients also may be homeless and using other drugs alongside the methamphetamine.
Unlike opioid addiction, meth addiction cannot be treated with medication. Rather, people addicted to the drug rely on counseling through outpatient and residential treatment centers.
The opioid epidemic, which resulted in about 49,000 overdose deaths last year, recently prompted bipartisan federal legislation to improve access to recovery, expand coverage to treatment and combat drugs coming across the border.
There hasn’t been a similar recent legislative focus on methamphetamine or other drugs. And there simply aren’t enough resources devoted to amphetamine addiction to reduce the hospitalizations and deaths, said Maxwell, a researcher at the Addiction Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. The number of residential treatment facilities, for example, has continued to decline, she said.
“We have really undercut treatment for methamphetamine,” Maxwell said. “Meth has been completely overshadowed by opioids.”
KHN’s coverage in California is supported in part by Blue Shield of California Foundation.
Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s no surprise, then, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress, trauma and unhappiness – or to just find greater peace and meaning in their lives. If you’re curious about what art therapy has to offer, you can try out some of these great solo exercises at home to help nurse your mind, body and soul back to health. If you like the experience, you can also seek out professional art therapy treatment in your area.
Hello amazing creative people!
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Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.
- Draw or paint your emotions. In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.
- Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.
- Make a stress painting. Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble and paint your problems away.
- Put together a journal. Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.
- Make sock puppets. Sock puppets aren’t just for kids. Make your own and have them act out scenes that make you upset.
- Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you’re feeling.
- Design a postcard you will never send. Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.
- Create a sculpture of your anger. For this activity, you’ll make a physical manifestation of the anger in your life.
- Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.
- Attach a drawing or message to a balloon. Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.
- Paint inside a heart. Using a heart as a pattern, fill in different parts of the heart with the emotions you’re feeling right now.
Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you’re looking to feel a little more laid back. I have also created free audio’s and visualizations you can use for yourself and for clients. I recommend my clients go to mindaudio1.com. these audio’s are for people who want healing whither it is for addiction, chronic pain, sleep problems, health problems, racing thoughts, managing critical self and more. For free audio’s to help heal the mind, body and spirit go to mindaudio1.com I use the healing visualization regularly as well.
- Paint to music. Letting your creativity flow in response to music is a great way to let out feelings and just relax.
- Make a scribble drawing. With this activity, you’ll turn a simple scribble into something beautiful, using line, color and your creativity.
- Finger paint. Finger painting isn’t just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well. Get your hands messy and really have fun spreading paint around.
- Make a mandala. Whether you use the traditional sand or draw one on your own, this meditative symbol can easily help you to loosen up.
- Draw in the dark. Not being able to judge what you’re drawing or having to worry about whether or not it’s “right” can be very liberating.
- Draw something HUGE. Then something very small. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release stress as you’re drawing.
- Use color blocks. Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you’ve created a colorful masterpiece.
- Let yourself be free. Don’t allow yourself to judge your work. After all, there’s no way to fail and no right way to make art. Just draw, paint or sculpt until your heart’s content.
- Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.
- Draw in sand. Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.
- Make a zentangle. These fun little drawings are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress.
- Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.
- Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.
Art can not only help you deal with the bad stuff, but also help you appreciate and focus on the good. Check out these activities all about reflecting on your personal happiness.
- Draw your vision of a perfect day. Think about what constitutes a perfect day to you and draw or paint it. What about this drawing can you make happen today?
- Take photographs of things you think are beautiful. No one else has to like them but you. Print and frame them to have constant reminders of the beautiful things in life.
- Make a drawing related to a quote you like. Take the words of wisdom from someone else and turn them into something visually inspiring.
- Create a drawing that represents freedom. This activity has you think about the concept of freedom and what it means to you, creating a work of art that showcases just what it means to you as an individual.
- Document a spiritual experience. Have you ever had a spiritual experience in your life? Draw or paint what it felt like.
- Make a stuffed animal. Soft, cuddly objects can be very comforting. Use this project to create an animal that means something to you.
- Work on a softness project. Using only soft or comforting objects, create a work of art.
- Build a “home.” What does home mean to you? This activity will have you create a safe, warm place– it doesn’t have to be practical– that feels like home to you.
- Document an experience where you did something you didn’t think you could do. We all have to do things that we’re scared or unsure of sometimes. Use this activity as a chance to commemorate one instance in your life.
- Think up a wild invention. This invention should do something that can help make you happier– no matter what that is.
- Make a prayer flag. Send your prayers for yourself or those around you out into the universe with this project. find more helpful blog articles at
Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.
- Create a future self-portrait. This drawing or painting should reflect where you see yourself in the future.
- Draw a bag self-portrait. On the outside of a paper bag, you’ll create a self-portrait. On the inside, you’ll fill it with things that represent who you are.
- Choose the people who matter most to you in life and create unique art for each. This is a great way to acknowledge what really matters to you and express your gratitude.
- Draw a portrait of someone who changed your life. If someone has ever helped change your path, for better or worse, draw this person.
- Create an image that represents how you think others see you. Then, have someone in the class draw a portrait of you. Compare the results.
- Draw yourself as a warrior. Start thinking about yourself as a strong, capable person by drawing yourself as a warrior in this activity.
- Create a transformational portrait series. This project will help you to see how you’ve changed over time and represent those changes visually.
- Imitate Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Using objects that have meaning to you, create a portrait of yourself.
- Create a body image sketch. If you have issues with your self-esteem and body image, this can be an interesting way to see how your perceptions match up with reality.
- Draw a mirror. This activity is based around a Piet Mondrian quote: “The purer the artist’s mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it.” You’ll need to figure out what is still cloudy in your own reflection of yourself, drawing a mirror and depicting those elements on paper.
- Draw yourself as a superhero. If you could have a superpower what would it be? This project asks you to depict your own image as a superhero with these powers.
Trauma and Unhappiness
These activities will ask you to face some unpleasant aspects of life, but with the goal of overcoming them.
- Draw a place where you feel safe. The world can be a scary place but in this project you’ll create a place, draw, painted or sculpted, that makes you feel safe.
- Create a mini-diorama. This diorama can showcase an important moment in your life or some trauma that you’ve experienced.
- Create a collage of your worries. What worries you in your life? Cut out pictures from magazines to represent these worries.
- Draw something that scares you. Everyone is frightened of something and in this project you’ll get a chance to bring that fear to light and hopefully work towards facing it.
- Turn your illness into art. Facing a potentially terminal illness? Turn your illness into something beautiful by creating art about it.
- Paint a loss in your life. If you’ve lost someone you love or something, paint it. This will help you to remember but also to recover.
- Make art that is ephemeral. Sometimes we have a hard time letting go, but this project will teach you that it’s ok if something doesn’t last. Use materials like sand, chalk, paper or water to create art that you will destroy when it’s done.
If you prefer to cut and paste rather than draw or paint, these projects are for you.
- Create a motivational collage. You can hang this collage somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Filled with images you find motivating, it’ll help you keep pushing on.
- Create a face collage on a mask. We all wear masks of some sort. This project lets you showcase what’s in your mask and the face you put on for the world.
- Create a clutter collage. Are there things cluttering up your life? In this project, use words and pictures to show the clutter in your way.
- Create a calming collage. Choose images that you find soothing, calming or even meditative and combine them to create an attractive collage that can help you to relax.
- Collage a painting. To complete this exercise, you’ll first need to create a simple, abstract painting on paper. Then, tear this painting up and create another. Think about how you felt when you had to tear up the first painting and which you like more.
Examine aspects if who you are and how you see the world through these amazing art projects.
- Draw images of your good traits. Creating drawings of your good traits will help you to become more positive and build a better self-image.
- Draw yourself as an animal. Is there an animal that you have a special interest in or feel like is a kindred spirit? Draw yourself as that animal.
- Create a timeline and draw the most significant moments in your life. This timeline will be the story of your life, with the most important moments highlighted visually.
- Put together a jungle animal collage. Choose jungle animals that you find the most interesting, draw them, and then reflect on why you’ve chosen these specific animals.
- Sculpt your ideal self. If you could make yourself into the perfect person, what would you look like?
- Paint the different sides of yourself. In this project, you’ll paint the different aspects of your personality, giving each a visual representation. You might only have one or two, or maybe even twelve.
- Make art around your fingerprints. Your fingerprints are as unique as you are. Use ink and paint to make art that uses your fingerprints.
- Draw yourself as a tree. Your roots will be loaded with descriptions of things that give you strength and your good qualities, while your leaves can be the things that you’re trying to change.
- Design a fragments box. In this project, you’ll put fragments of yourself into a box, helping construct a whole and happier you.
- Paint an important childhood memory. What was a pivotal memory in your childhood? This activity asks you to document it and try to understand why it was so important to you.
- Write and illustrate a fairy tale about yourself. If you could put yourself into a happily ever after situation, what role would you play and how would the story go? Create a book that tells the tale.
- Design a visual autobiography. This creative journaling project asks you to look back at your life and make a visual representation of it.
- Create your own coat of arms. Choose symbols that represent your strengths to build your own special coat of arms.
- Draw a comic strip about a funny moment in your life. Enjoy a moment of levity with this exercise that will focus in on a comical even that happened to you.
- Build your own website. Websites are very versatile ways to express yourself. Build your own to express what’s most important about you.
- Create a box of values. First, collage or paint a box the represents you. Then, place items inside the box that represent the things you value the most. has a blog to help you find your top ten values.
Here you’ll find a collection of projects that will help you be happy about what you have and express your gratitude for it.
- Document your gratitude visually. What things are you grateful for in your life? Paint or collage a work that represents these things.
- Create a family tree of strength. This exercise honors those around you who support you. Paint those close to you who offer you the strength you need.
- Make something for someone else. Making something for someone else can be a great way to feel good and help someone else do so as well.
- Make anchor art. Who are the anchors in your life? In this project, you’ll make an anchor and decorate it with the people and things that provide you stability and strength.
- Draw all the positive things in your life. Everyone has at least one good thing in life, so sit down and figure out what makes you happy– then draw it.
- Sculpt your hand in plaster. Once it’s dry, write all the good things you can do with it right onto the hand.
- Paint a rock. This project is meant to offer you strength. You can approach it in two ways. One option is to paint the rock with things that empower you. The other is to paint it with struggles you overcome.
- Write on leaves to create a gratitude tree. What are you grateful for? This project asks you to write those things on leaves to construct a tree or banner of gratitude.
- Map out the connections in your life. Draw yourself at the center of this project, then map out how you’re connected to everyone else in your life. It will help make you feel much less alone.
- Create a snowflake out of paper. Write ideas about how you are unique on the snowflake.
- Build a personal altar. This is a highly personal project that will help connect you with your spiritual side and honor your resilience.
Inside the Mind
Take a look inside your mind to see what’s going on with these projects.
- Create a blot art. Like a classic Rorschach test, fold paper in half with paint or ink in the middle and describe what you see.
- Map your brain. Make a visual representation of your thoughts to figure out how your mind works.
- Make a dreamcatcher. Having bad dreams? Create this age-old tool for catching your dreams with a few simple tools.
- Draw your dreams. You can learn a lot from what goes on in your dreams, so keep a dream journal and use it for inspiration to draw or paint.
If you’re still looking for something to empower, help or soothe you, these projects may fit the bill.
- Use natural materials. Leaves, sticks, dirt, clay and other natural materials can help you get in touch with the natural world and the more primal side of yourself.
- Build an archetype. Check out this series of projects to build a set of archetypes, or ideal examples, that can help you explore how you see the world.
- Use your body as a canvas. You don’t need paper when you have you body. Paint on your hands and feet or anywhere else to feel more in touch with yourself.
- Sculpt spirit figures. Connect with those that have passed on or your own spiritual essence using these sculpted figures.
- Make art out of recycled items. You can reuse old items that have meaning to you or just re-purpose something you have laying around. Either way, you’ll get insights into how you can reshape and reevaluate your own life.
- Collage or draw on top of old photographs. If you’re uncomfortable using old photos you can make copies, but with this project you’ll draw out one characteristic you see in the person in the photos.
- Create your own interpretation of a famous work of art. How would you have painted the Mona Lisa? Using a famous work as your inspiration, create your own work. It could help reveal more about your lens on the world.
- Work collaboratively. Art can be better when two work at it together, so find a partner and collaborate on just about anything.
- Use a found or made object as a paintbrush. Whether it’s something sharp or something soft, make your own artistic tool and use it to express what you’re feeling.
- Make crayon stained glass. Reflect upon your spiritual side with this project that lets you create your own stained glass window.
- Paint a window. Windows let you see in and see out. Paint yours with things you want to hide or show to the world. Enjoy more blog articles at
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