substance use disorder

11 Lessons Learned in 11 Years of Recovery

Originally published on  Workit Health ; republished with permission on  Shatterproof .

Originally published on Workit Health; republished with permission on Shatterproof.

The year was 2007. Phones were clunky and the opposite of “smart.” iPods were relatively new, MapQuest directions were printed, Amazon.com was a bookseller, Senator Barack Obama prepared to hit the campaign trail, the new ABC show Grey’s Anatomy was taking the country by storm, and Laura Silverman (aka yours truly) checked herself into an intensive outpatient program for alcohol abuse after six years of heavy binge drinking.

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The year is now 2018. Phones are pocket-sized computers. Amazon runs the world (and you can access it from your phone, natch). Former Senator Obama is now former two-term U.S. President (miss you, Barry!). Grey’s Anatomy is still around. And Laura, our protagonist, celebrated 11 years of continuous sobriety on July 14th.

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Switching over to first person now that I’ve set the stage for you. Without further ado, here are some nuggets of wisdom, lessons, and tools I use in over a decade of recovery - in meme and GIF form. It is 2018, after all ;)

1. I’m sober, not boring.

I go to concerts and sing loudly on karaoke nights. I date. I bowl. I play with my nephews. I go out on girls' nights to fancy dinners. I ice skate and rock climb and dance (like Elaine from Seinfeld).

And I wake up the next morning blissfully hangover-free. It feels fan-freakin-tastic.

2. Personal growth is necessary - and (sometimes) painful.

 

One of the things I have to work on daily is my need to people-please. Being bullied for years as a kid tore down any self-confidence I had; all I wanted was to be liked by you. To be your friend. To not be at the bottom of the social barrel.

But now? I still fall prey to wanting to be liked (even at 35 years old! I see it happen the most via social media). And I have to actively take a part in my daily recovery by knowing I’m whole and enough and beautifully radiant, inside and out, just as I am. With or without your approval. That’s personal growth. It sure ain’t easy.

3. Move that body!

Walking in nature, practicing yoga, hiking, weight lifting, busting a sweat. Releasing those endorphinsand feeling accomplished.

Honestly, the best way to get out of my head is to turn on some tunes and go for a walk outside. I always feel on top of the world and more peaceful in and post-workout...

I go to concerts and sing loudly on karaoke nights. I date. I bowl. I play with my nephews. I go out on girls' nights to fancy dinners. I ice skate and rock climb and dance (like Elaine from Seinfeld).

And I wake up the next morning blissfully hangover-free. It feels fan-freakin-tastic.

4. Exercise that brain!

Mental health is just as important as physical health. They are very much intertwined.

Exercise makes me feel more positive and happy and empowered. Feeling those feelings boosts my mental health, and makes me more inclined to want to continue taking care of my physical body.

This is why I love yoga so much. I get to amplify my physical, mental, and spiritual health. #NamasteSober

5. #MocktailLife

Gone are the days of just water or soda. (Those are still viable options.) Just the other night I had a delicious ginger/coconut/passion fruit NoJito . And it was glorious. I like to feel glamorous and holding a drink (especially in early recovery but even well into now) can give me more confidence on a date or at a work event. Booze-free, full of flavor, no consequences.

6. Take things one moment at a time.

To get anywhere with my sobriety, mental health, spiritual health, and just, well, life, I have to take things, as they say, one day at a time. Thinking in terms of “forever” will inevitably stress me out.

That doesn’t mean I can’t have goals or ambitions. But there’s no sense in agonizing over the future or regretting the past. Staying present is what it’s all about.

7. Stay grateful.

A daily gratitude practice—whether it’s just a mental acknowledgment of what I’m thankful for or writing a list—is crucial.

They say the sign of true gratitude is not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have.

8. Smile.

I love smiling. Have you seen my smile? It’s radiant if I do say so myself.

That doesn’t mean I’m always happy. If you’re always happy, how can you be grateful for true happiness? (see #7.) But I find that even a fake smile can turn into a real one; and a real smile is infectious.

If you can use your smile and aim it at a stranger, and they do that to another, and another, and another... imagine the impact a small, simple act of kindness can have on the world.

9. Surround yourself with love and support.

 

No matter if you choose a program (12 step, SMART, Refuge, LifeRing) or trail blaze your own path, find a support system of friends, loved ones, and professionals that works for you.

If you want or need it, don't be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness.

10. Be proud of how far you’ve come, no matter where you are in the process of recovery.

In the wake of Demi Lovato’s relapse, I thought it was only right to pay homage to someone who fights on the front lines of mental health and addiction recovery daily. We have lessons to learn from her - and that’s that this is a process and we must always support each other.

Maybe you’ve slipped, maybe you’ve stayed sober or drug-free without one lapse; maybe you keep trying. This is a process and you should be proud of where you are, forging your own path.

11. My sobriety goes to 11 (years).

*Raises mocktail* Cheers!

 

10 Songs About Addiction via Talkspace

10 songs via Talkspace

Via Talkspace (Joseph Rauch, Staff Writer)

Shame, guilt, desire, regret — these are only a few of the emotions people experience when they are dependent on a substance. This anguish has been fuel for thousands of beautiful, moving, raw and intense songs about addiction. For many decades artists have used their lyrics and melodies to tell stories of relationships with drugs and alcohol. Their songs have satisfied the curiosity of the sober and eased the loneliness of those who are struggling with the mental illness.

For many decades artists have used their lyrics and melodies to tell stories of relationships with drugs and alcohol.
— Joseph Rauch

Rather than using subjective rankings to form our list, we thought about which songs most vividly describe the experience of addiction, how the illness can destroy lives and bonds. We looked for tracks that detail the mindset and behavior of someone who is falling into the void of substance abuse or realizing they have a problem (Keep in mind that recovery is the other side of the coin and deserves its own list).

Use our playlist to sympathize with those afflicted with addiction or remind yourself that millions of others carry the same burden. Here are our picks for songs about addiction (in no particular order).

Read more for Talkspace's top 10 song picks...

Guest Blogger: DeAnna Jordan of New Method Wellness

It's been FOREVER since I wrote something for the blog, and today's post is certainly no exception.  Please welcome DeAnna Jordan, clinical director of New Method Wellness and person in long-term recovery.  I should note that this isn't a sponsored post by a rehab or treatment center, even though its author works at one.  I'm just happy to share a well-written, bite-sized piece in the hope that if you or someone you love is struggling with drinking, that you find help.  There's a fantastic list of resources right here.

-Laura


Are You Drinking Too Much?

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"It's happy hour--I'm only going to have a couple beers."
"I'm not an alcoholic--I only drink wine with dinner."

These are some of the most common phrases that stem from drinking. Typically, people who binge drink, don’t even realize they are binge drinking.  According to the CDC, more than 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month. So, how do you know if you are an alcoholic?

Coming to the conclusion about one’s alcohol abuse can often be a messy and confusing path. The most important question I ask my clients struggling with accepting their alcoholism is, “How often are you thinking about drinking?” We then can delve deeper into a series of questions that aim to create a conscious awakening:

  • Do you frequently feel compelled to drink?

  • Does alcohol, the thought of alcohol or the planning of your next drink occupy most of your energy and focus?

  • Have you wanted to stop drinking, but find yourself with a drink in hand just a short time later?

  • Have you sacrificed other activities that you enjoy because you plan to drink or were drinking?

  • Do you find that you need to consume more alcohol to get the same effect you once had?

While the questions above only spark the conversation on alcoholism, these questions can help identify the most common behaviors in a person’s alcohol dependency. These questions are not medically-approved, nor are they an official test for determining alcoholism, but they will guide you as you observe your drinking habits.

The only person who can determine whether you are an alcoholic, an alcohol abuser or a social drinker is yourself; no one can answer these questions for you. If you take an honest survey of yourself and your drinking habits, you can determine whether you have reached the point of alcoholism and only then can you receive the help you need. Doing so will teach you how to move through life without the aid of alcohol, allowing you to reconnect with your loved ones and to rekindle your desire to live another day.


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DeAnna Jordan serves as the clinical director at New Method Wellness where she supervises a team of caring, well-trained clinicians who provide continued support throughout a client’s stay at New Method Wellness. Jordan has over 20 years of experience working with clients in recovery and is a marriage and family therapist (MFT), specializing in the maintenance of healthy relationships. As a result of her expertise, Jordan has been featured on “Dr. Phil,” “Jane Valdez-Mitchell,” National Geographic’s “Taboo,” and has been published in Elle Magazine as well as The Huffington Post.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from University of California in Irvine, Jordan did post-graduate work at Centaur University where she graduated in the top of her class with a CAADAC certification in Centaur’s chemical dependency program. Following her time at Centaur, Jordan received her masters in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is a current PhD candidate, studying depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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As a recovering addict, Jordan brings a breadth of personal recovery experience to her clinical leadership and believes a comfortable, structured and supportive environment is an essential part of maintaining long term sobriety. In addition to her passion for recovery, Jordan is extremely involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). As a current Woman of the Year candidate, Jordan is campaigning to raise funds for LLS blood cancer research in honor of local children who are blood cancer survivors. 

You Want to Help Others? Let TSC Help You.

The Link Love campaign was such a fabulous hit!  Thanks to all who participated and shared their websites, blogs, podcasts, and more! 
 

But here at The Sobriety Collective, we find it's even more paramount for people struggling with substance use disorder, mental illness--or both--and those who may be questioning their behaviors--that they find resources and tools that work for them.  

Leave a comment with the name of your organization (or an organization you'd like to nominate be listed), social media info (Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc.), and URL-- and you could be added to The Sobriety Collective's
Get Help.* 

There's a section to "Get/Stay Sober," a section for "Mental Health" resources, and a list of books/authors that have helped me and so many others. 

What's the value of being listed?

The Sobriety Collective has been featured on After Party Magazine's 20 Best Recovery Blogs of 2015 andAddiction Unscripted's Top 25 Recovery Bloggers of 2016.   Our founder, Laura Silverman (by the way, she's writing this right now because she's the one woman shop behind your favorite collective), was recently invited to be on a panel of sober bloggers at She Recovers in NYC in May 2017register today!  Some of the event's keynote speakers--Glennon Doyle Melton,Gabby BernsteinMarianne Williamson--just received a top honor of inclusion in Oprah's inaugural Super Soul 100.  

Love, 
Laura

 

*This is not a free-for-all for rehabs to get their sites listed.  Treatment is extremely important (trust me, I believe this wholeheartedly), but this page isn't going to turn into an A-Z rehab directory.  There are already a few websites I've listed that have those very things, for those who are interested.  /end PSA*

Do You Have a #RECOVERY Blog/Website/Podcast?

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Leave a comment with your name, social media info (Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc.), and URL-- and you could be added to The Sobriety Collective's Link Love, a fantastic, comprehensive list of recovery resources (from both substance use disorder and mental illness) that people refer to again and again.

What's the value of being listed?

The Sobriety Collective has been featured on After Party Magazine's 20 Best Recovery Blogs of 2015 and Addiction Unscripted's Top 25 Recovery Bloggers of 2016.  
 

Our founder, Laura Silverman (by the way, she's writing this right now because she's the one woman shop behind your favorite collective), was recently invited to be on a panel of sober bloggers at She Recovers in NYC in May 2017register today!  Some of the event's keynote speakers--Glennon Doyle Melton, Gabby Bernstein, Marianne Williamson--just received a top honor of inclusion in Oprah's inaugural Super Soul 100.  

To pay it forward, please visit one site of your choosing on Link Love, and either follow them on social media or comment on one of their blog posts.  Tell them The Sobriety Collective sent you on a mission to expand your heart, mind, and soul.  
 

No one is paying me to do this.  

I just think it's time we all connect.

 

Love, 
Laura