Does the Food I Eat Affect My Mental Wellness?

We have often heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” but does the food we eat actually have that much of an impact on us? The short answer is “yes.” Eating healthy meals and choosing nutritional foods can have an impact on both our physical and mental health.

The mind and the body are connected and many wellness recovery programs emphasize the importance of the mind-body connection. The “mind-body connection” refers to the idea that our physical health can affect our mental health and that our mental health can affect our physical health.

The mind and the body relay messages to one another about how we feel. When we feel sick or ill, we tend to also feel “down” or “blue.” During physical exercise, our minds release a rush of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins that improve our mood. The foods we eat impact our physical well-being, and, by the mind-body connection, impact our mental wellness.

Replacing Unhealthy Diets with Healthier Options

A large part of recovery is replacing our unhealthy habits with newer, healthier habits. While we may think of recovery as a means of just controlling or changing our addictions, recovery is more accurately described as the process of making healthy life changes.

For most of us in recovery, we may not have learned the best ways to care for ourselves. We may have neglected our physical health and mental well-being while engaging in self-destructive, addictive behaviors. Most 12-step programs and recovery treatment may only focus on addressing our addictions.

Programs like these can be incredibly beneficial components of our recovery treatment. However, recovery involves much more than addressing our addictions. Recovery is about changing our way of life to develop healthy habits that we can utilize for a lifetime.

Holistic approaches that incorporate ideas from the “mind-body connection” can greatly enhance your current treatment. Your diet is one of these areas that you might be overlooking.

What We Eat Can Affect How We Feel

Anything that we put into our bodies will have some effect on our minds and our moods. Some foods will make us feel hyper and lead to a crash, like foods that are high in sugar. A “sugar crash” can make us feel moody and depressed for a short time.

Foods with high amounts of calories can leave us feeling tired as our bodies digest the food. We might feel like we have less energy as our body needs to divert its attention to the process of digestion. Other foods can affect our gastrointestinal systems, giving us heartburn or leaving us feeling bloated.

Those of us who experience heartburn may have a difficult time sleeping due to the painful sensations in our bodies. When our sleep is affected, our moods can become negatively impacted. We may feel tired and irritable throughout the next day.

Some foods, while leaving us feeling full and satiated, may not provide the nutritional content that we need to feel our best. Many people have deficiencies in certain minerals or vitamins that can alter the way that they feel. If we are experiencing any co-occurring mental health disorders while in recovery, we might benefit from checking with our doctors about any underlying medical issues that may be increasing our symptoms.

Some doctors might recommend blood work to verify whether or not a vitamin deficiency can be affecting our moods and mental health. Our doctors may even refer us to a nutrition specialist or dietician for ideas on how we can improve our eating habits. Doctors might also recommend dietary supplements to improve your mental health.

Making Small Improvements to Change Our Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits may be overwhelming for some of us to start. We may not know how to cook or what kinds of foods to eat. We can start by making some small improvements. For example, if someone is experiencing difficulty sleeping and they drink sugary sodas before going to bed, they might benefit from drinking water or some other sugarless, decaffeinated beverage later at night.

If someone eats a lot of fast foods because they feel rushed, they can ask for water instead of soda and resist the urge to “super-size” their meal. Sometimes, we do not eat enough during our busy days and then overeat later at night with unhealthy snacks.

We can plan for our day by packing healthy snacks, like dried fruits or nuts, to keep us from getting too hungry throughout the day. Overall, making some small changes with our eating habits can have a big impact on our daily lives. Take time today to consider your eating habits and how they might be affecting your mental health and well-being.

New research is coming out to highlight the effects of nutrition on our mental health. During our busy lives, we may feel too pressed for time to plan for healthy meals. We may be overlooking our eating habits and not prioritizing meal planning. When we are not planning or considering the importance of our diets on our overall health, we may eat fast foods with low nutritional content. We might also neglect to eat well throughout the day, which can lead to overeating at the end of the day. When we feel hungry, yet rushed to eat, we might be consuming whatever is immediately available with little regard for the impact the food will have on us. Camelback Recovery understands the importance of replacing unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones to improve our overall health. We provide healthy foods for our participants and even help with cooking meals. We believe that healthy eating habits are just one of the many ways to achieve the healthy lifestyle you may be seeking in recovery from addictive behaviors. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to speak with our staff about our treatment program.

 

Supportive Environments: Growth Occurs in a Fertile Garden

A rose grows best in a healthy garden. Provided with adequate, yet not overbearing, amounts of sunlight and water and fertile soil, a rose can blossom to its full potential. In a similar manner, when we are in recovery, we grow to our full potential within a supportive environment.

We can become our best selves when we are nurtured with a sense of community and belonging. We thrive within stable and predictable structures. Much like a healthy garden, our environment can determine our potential for growth and change in recovery.

Some of us may not have the proper resources for recovery in our current or past home environments. You may have attended short-term recovery programs for only a week or two, then returned prematurely to an unstable home life. The instability, lack of support and structure, and overall feeling of chaos may have led you right back to engaging in your past addictive behaviors.

The Revolving Doors of Treatment

Short-term recovery programs sometimes operate as if they have “revolving doors.” People go into treatment, live a sober life for a few days, feel confident in their recovery, go home, and then find themselves seeking help again only a few weeks later. What happens? Often, we do not have the resources at home to maintain our recovery.

We might live with loved ones, who care for us but enable our behaviors. We could live in an area where access to our means of addiction—such as living near a local bar—is readily available. Living in unhealthy environments can lead to us feeling triggered and we can relapse. Then, the cycle of the revolving door treatment begins.

While short-term treatment programs have the best intentions, they may not always provide the adequate length of time necessary for us to change our behaviors. Humans are considered by many people to be “creatures of habit.” We thrive on routines and tend to resist change. Change, for many people, may seem scary.

Even change for the better can open the door for more challenges that we may not be ready for. Short-term care may help us find some coping skills or tools to help us manage our addictions. However, if we are returning to an environment that triggers our unhealthy habits before we have had time to develop a truly healthy mindset, we may be doomed to fail and find ourselves going back into the revolving door treatment.

Healthy Environments for Recovery: The 5 Pillars of Recovery

What constitutes a healthy environment for recovery? Mainly, a safe and comfortable home that encompasses these five pillars of recovery:

  1. Accountability
    We need to be held accountable for our actions in order to change for the better. Sometimes, in our homes, we are not held accountable by our loved ones. Though they care for us, they may unintentionally enable our unhealthy habits.
  2. Support
    A healthy environment is made of both the place and the people. Finding support among peers, who are struggling with similar issues, will help you recover. They will understand what you are going through in a way that other individuals in your life may not.
  3. Structure
    Some of us may live in chaotic environments with a lack of routine or structure. We may not have the skills to build a routine and find ourselves lost throughout the day. Healthy environments are structured and predictable. We may struggle at first with healthy routines. However, as time passes, we can adjust and learn how to put more structure into our lives.
  4. Community
    A sense of having a connection with others who are striving toward common goals can help us feel a sense of belonging. Healthy environments help us feel like we are accepted for who we are. Having common goals with those in our immediate environment can help us find support in achieving our goals.
  5. Purpose
    Being in an environment that encourages us to find or to live out our purpose in life can set us on the right track to recovery. When we are surrounded by positive and encouraging people for adequate lengths of time, we can find a new way of looking at life.

Time For Change

Learning new behaviors takes time. A healthy environment for recovery treatment will allow for longer exposure to a supportive and structured space. Often, short-term recovery programs do not provide us with enough time to learn new skills or build resilience.

Without building resilience and taking the necessary time to change our mindset, we may be unprepared to face our unhealthy environments and become tempted to utilize our negative coping skills.

By spending time at a long-term treatment program or a sober living home, we will likely have an adequate amount of time to acclimate to our newly found sense of hope in recovery.

Have you been struggling with relapse due to “revolving door” treatment programs? Is your home environment enabling your unhealthy habits and behaviors? Have you learned healthy ways of living during a week-long recovery program only to find yourself falling back to your unhealthy habits? You may not have had enough time to learn new habits and skills. Learning how to recover from addictions and how to live a healthy lifestyle takes time. You are unlikely to master the skills necessary to maintain sobriety for a lifetime in a short-term treatment program. Camelback Recovery believes that recovery habits need to be fostered in a safe and supportive environment over a long period of time. We use the five pillars of recovery to teach you how to cope with life outside of treatment. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information on how we can you or a loved one recover from addictions.

 

What Are Some Self-Care Activities That I Can Do for Recovery?

Self-care in recovery refers to activities that can help you improve your mental and physical health. Self-care activities are completed with the sole intention of doing something for yourself. For many in recovery from addictive behaviors, you may not know the value of scheduling activities that are meant to decrease your anxiety or just do things to make you feel good.

While you may be using your addictive behaviors as a way of treating yourself, self-care activities do not take away from your recovery. While you might engage in addictive behaviors thinking that they will help you feel good, addictions have detrimental short-term and long-term effects on you.

Addictive behaviors, like sexual addiction or drug and alcohol addictions, may have been a negative coping skill that you used to manage stress or relieve feelings of depression. However, your addictions may have left you feeling guilty or shameful afterward. They also may have been negatively impacting your physical well-being.

Self-care activities are activities that are rewarding and meaningful to you. Unlike addictive behaviors, self-care activities are completed to leave you feeling positive and healthy afterward. Self-care involves doing things that will not negatively impact your mental and physical health.

You may have never learned to do healthy activities for the sole benefit of helping yourself. Self-care activities can range from simple acts of maintaining your hygiene to learning new activities. The purpose of self-care is to act with intention and to be aware that you are completing a task or engaging in activity to do something just for your happiness.

When thinking of self-care activities keep the following three tips in mind:

  1. Plan the Activity: You may resort to negative coping skills when you do not plan an activity for your health and well-being. You might fall back to bad habits when you have not scheduled time for yourself. Put the activity on a calendar or set a reminder on your phone.
  2. Do Something You Enjoy: You may be tempted to try something new that is challenging or something you feel others would want you to do. Although some of your goals may be in line with self-activities, self-care is primarily meant for your enjoyment. You do not need to set a goal or an expectation. The point is to do something that just makes you feel good.
  3. Keep It Simple: You do not need to invest a huge amount of time in your self-care activities. To give an idea of how much time you can spend, some recovery treatment programs encourage you to engage in self-care activities for at least five hours per week; this is less than one hour per day. Remember that you are the only person responsible for self-care. Just giving yourself a little bit of time each day can be a huge improvement in your overall wellness!

Common Self-Care Activities

Here is a list of examples of self-care to give you an idea of where to start. This list is by no means comprehensive. However, this can help you brainstorm to discover your activities:

  • Spending time outdoors
  • Spending time with a pet
  • Journaling
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Yoga
  • Taking a short walk
  • Listening to music
  • Drawing
  • Completing hygiene tasks, like combing your hair or dressing well
  • Making your bed
  • Cooking a healthy meal for yourself
  • Gardening
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Meditation
  • Taking a nap
  • Taking a bath
  • Exercise
  • Adult coloring books
  • Cleaning your personal space

Forming Healthy Self-Care Habits in Recovery

The sole purpose of self-care is to take time for yourself and engage in a healthy activity. You may have formed the habit of engaging in negative and unhealthy activities to feel good in the past. Now is the time to replace those habits. Thinking of scheduling time for yourself as a way of being your own self-care coach.

You are telling yourself that you deserve to do something fun that makes you happy. You may feel like self-care is selfish or you may feel guilty taking time out of your day for your own benefit, but it is okay to take a break for yourself.

By scheduling this time for yourself, you are reinforcing the notion that you are important and deserve recovery. You are valuing yourself and caring for yourself in a way that only you can do. Remember that you are the best expert on what you need to do to be happy and healthy.

You alone know what best makes you feel good. You may have never learned the value of setting aside a few minutes to an hour each day just to do something you love. Permit yourself to engage in a self-care activity by starting today.

You are the best advocate for yourself. If you do not speak up for yourself, who else will? You may not have learned how to care for yourself. You may feel burdened by the needs of others or bogged down by the requirements of each day. Sometimes you might feel like you have no control at all over what you do every day. By scheduling a self-care activity for just a short amount of time each day, you can learn to value yourself and improve your mental health and well-being. Take time to engage in a healthy activity that makes you happy! At Camelback Recovery we encourage our participants to engage in self-care activities for at least five hours each week. Call us to begin your path to health and wellness today at (602) 466-9880.

 

Overcoming Shame and Recovering From Sexual Addictions

Many of those seeking to recover from addictions of all kinds struggle in dealing with shame. Sometimes, you experience shame due to feeling weak, admitting that you need help, or having guilt over past actions. For those with sexual addictions, shame is a common barrier to treatment and many people may never find a way to recover.

Sexual behavior is a private and personal matter for most people. When sexual behavior is used to cope with other stressors in life, a person might become addicted to the feelings of excitement and release, much like an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

While anyone in recovery from sexual addiction or any other addiction has likely hurt others in their past, the key to recovery is separating your addictive behavior from your true self. During recovery, you have to accept responsibility for your actions and make amends.

However, you do not need to burden yourself with holding onto shame for your past. Hope is possible and you can change for the better.

Similarities Between Substance and Sexual Addiction

One way to overcome the shame of sexual addiction is realizing that the motivations for sexual addiction are similar to those of substance or alcohol addictions. When experiencing shame, you may feel that others in society will judge you harshly. You may feel like a criminal or that your actions are beyond redemption.

Society has come to terms with viewing addictions to drugs or alcohol as a problem that people can recover from. While in the past, many of those addicted might have denied their issues or hidden them from others, brave individuals have come forward to pave the path for others to heal from their addictions.

While sexual addiction might be a somewhat taboo topic today, those who come forward now to face their addiction head-on will help to clear the pathway for others in the future. Sexual behavior can have similar effects as other substances, which is why some people are vulnerable to addiction.

Sexual behavior, like drugs or alcohol, can make a person feel a “high” that they continue to chase. Some people might use sexual behavior to cope with stress or anxiety, just like others may use alcohol or other substances to achieve the same ends.

A sign of addiction is when chasing this “high” comes ahead of all other things. When prioritizing sexual behavior above everything else in life, the person might have an addiction. You might also be addicted if sexual behavior is the only way that you cope with any stressors in your life.

Many people are susceptible to addictive behaviors and are not alone in recovery. Although sexual addiction may be different from others, the motivations and emotions involved are similar and often the same.

Shame: A Barrier to Healing

Shame can get in the way of healing from all forms of addictive behaviors. For those addicted to sexual behaviors, feelings of shame may be the result of having victimized others or treating a romantic partner poorly. While you need to accept responsibility for your past and your behaviors, the cycle of shame only serves to prevent you from real change.

Shame can be a negative coping skill for you; shame enables you to avoid dealing with your addiction. When experiencing shame, you may feel like punishing yourself or feel like your guilt justifies any pain you may have inflicted on others. Shame becomes a layer that separates you from dealing with your emotional pain. Feelings of guilt and shame only block you from dealing with the underlying causes of your addictive behaviors.

Being vulnerable to share your experiences with others in recovery can help you begin the process of healing and growth. You will find that you are not alone in your experiences. Your addictive behaviors are different than who you truly are. Many people with sexual addictions think that they are flawed on the inside and are incapable of change.

They may be unable to recognize that their behaviors were the result of poorly coping with stress or other underlying issues. To recover from sexual addiction, you must realize that your past behaviors do not define who you are today. You have other qualities and values that define you.

While you cannot change your past or things that you might have done, you can change for the better. Recovery from sexual addictions—like all other addictive behaviors—is possible and there is hope for all those who are struggling. Let go of your shame and guilt; allow yourself to enjoy the gift of recovery.

You are not alone in your addiction, whether you are addicted to substances—like drugs or alcohol—or addicted to behaviors, like sex or gambling. Other people are in recovery from their addictions and are learning new ways to cope with life. They have separated themselves from their addictive behaviors and have broken down the barrier of shame, which impedes many from true growth and change. You may feel guilt for your past behaviors, or you may feel that all hope is lost. However, you can recover from sexual addictions as others have in the past. At Camelback Recovery, we open our doors to those suffering from all kinds of addictive behaviors. Our home environment is a safe place for everyone to share their stories and experiences.
Call us at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery today.

 

What Is the Benefit of Paying Ahead for a Long-Term Recovery Program?

Some long-term recovery treatment programs and sober living homes may ask you to pay upfront for a few months of the program. Paying ahead for your treatment may seem like a hardship. However, this may help you stay committed to completing your treatment program.

Paying ahead is a way of investing in your recovery and yourself. You might be more inclined to stick to your program to “get your money’s worth.” During your program, you may face challenges and painful emotions. You may feel tempted to give up and leave the program prematurely.

You may also be accustomed to short-term programs and assume that you will be fine to leave the program after only a few weeks. Paying ahead will help you stay grounded and continue the program. After all, you have already paid for it; why not continue?

The Science of Paying For Therapeutic Treatment

Therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, life coaches, and other professionals specializing in therapeutic interventions usually charge a fee for their services. While these fees help to pay for business expenses, salaries, office spaces, and schooling, paying for services is symbolic of investing in yourself.

Recovery programs are a means to self-improvement and building a better life for yourself. While you might be feeling motivated to recover and improve your life, you may find it difficult to hold yourself accountable to treatment requirements without some form of personal sacrifice.

Preventing Revolving Door Treatment Habits

Committing to your program requirements might be challenging. You may experience some difficult emotions. Completing anything worthwhile will come with challenges, but the challenges will be worth it. Some recovery programs and facilitators have noticed a trend of “revolving door treatment.”

People come in and out continually. They come and go, in a cycle of relapse and recovery. Each time they come to a new program, they feel excited to recover and enter with enthusiasm. However, sometimes, their enthusiasm wears out quickly, and they have no reason to stick around.

To prevent this cycle, many recovery programs and sober living homes have adopted the policy of paying ahead for long-term treatment. When your enthusiasm runs out and you begin to work on forming new habits in recovery, knowing that you might take a financial loss by quitting early can help you to stay in treatment.

Long-Term Treatment

At first glance, a three-month commitment may feel over-bearing. You may not be accustomed to programs with such long-term requirements. As humans, we can often be resistant to change, even when those changes can improve our lives. We feel great discomfort in changing our habits and feel our minds pushing back.

We might hear a voice telling us that life would be easier by falling back on our old habits and addictive behaviors. You need time to change your inner voice. You need time to invest in yourself and your recovery. Changing your addictive behaviors is complex and requires time to make lifelong improvements.

Why is changing our addictive behaviors so complicated? Why are we prone to do things that are bad for us? You may be asking questions like this. You might think that by realizing your behaviors are destructive, you can fix your addictions easily and quickly. Human behavior is incredibly complex and can be difficult to change.

Wanting to make a change is not enough to change; you need to invest time and work into the challenge. Ultimately, our addictions have become a part of our lives because they have worked to fulfill some sort of need. You may have begun to drink alcohol to cope with underlying depression or anxiety.

While the alcohol may help in the short-term for a quick fix, it does not help to solve the underlying issue and creates even more problems. While in recovery, you not only need to understand the underlying motivation of your behavior, you need to replace your unhealthy habits with healthy ones.

Discovering the reasons behind your addictions takes time. You may need time to build a level of comfort with your peers, coaches, and therapists to reveal your innermost thoughts and feelings. Next, you will learn replacement coping skills. Learning these new coping skills will take much longer than a week or two.

By paying ahead for recovery treatment, you will feel more obligated to take the time needed to get your money’s worth for your recovery. The time, hard work, and money that you put into improving yourself will be worth the investment.

Have you been in recovery for years only to find yourself in and out of treatment? Do you feel like you are stuck in a revolving door cycle between recovery and relapse? You may need to invest in a longer-term recovery program. Many recovery programs and sober treatment homes require participants to pay ahead for their treatment. Investing ahead will help you stay on track of your recovery and give you the time you need to build healthy habits and coping skills. Recovery takes time and you are unlikely to build lifestyle changes within only one or two weeks. Camelback Recovery understands the importance of investing in recovery. We ask that our participants pay in advance for at least three months in our program. We believe that this time gives you enough time to build skills that can last a lifetime. Call our staff today to begin your recovery treatment and invest in yourself at (602) 466-9880.

 

Replacing Unhealthy Behaviors with Healthy Ones

Recovery can be defined as a process of building a healthy lifestyle and making lifelong changes to better our lives. If you are in recovery, you have most likely had some unhealthy habits and behaviors that have held you back from growth and change.

When you engage in the recovery process, you may have to give up a lot of your unhealthy habits. While these unhealthy habits or behaviors were not conducive to building a meaningful life, they were likely motivated by fulfilling some need or want.

To find suitable replacement behaviors, you have to consider the underlying motivations of your unhealthy behaviors. When you know why you engaged in your addictive behaviors, you can start to explore healthier options to meet the same needs, wants, or desires.

Behavior: A Form of Communication

Most of our behaviors serve as a way of communicating something to ourselves or others. Generally, behaviors are ways of communicating about what we want by taking action to obtain those things. What purpose did your unhealthy behaviors serve? What were you trying to communicate by engaging in them? Here are six common reasons people give for their unhealthy behaviors:

  1. The need to belong. Peer pressure is a common reason that people engage in risky behaviors. Peer pressure is motivated by the need to be accepted and liked. The need to belong and having a sense of community is a strong motivator for behaviors, both healthy and unhealthy.
  2. Boredom. Sometimes, we are simply bored and are unsure of healthy ways to quell our boredom. We may have grown up with parents who also engaged in unhealthy recreational activities, such as drinking excessively or using drugs. We may not have a good example to follow for how to occupy our time appropriately.
  3. Co-occurring disorders. Some of us have underlying co-occurring mental health issues that drive our unhealthy behaviors. Some people use alcohol to cope with social anxiety. Others may become addicted to drugs to cope with depression. If our primary motivation is that we are seeking relief from mental anguish, then we can seek healthy treatment options for our mental wellness.
  4. Pain management. We may be suffering from chronic pain and use unhealthy methods of numbing the pain by using alcohol or other substances. We also might find ourselves addicted to substances following dependence on pain management medications. Underlying emotional and physical issues might need to be addressed for recovery.
  5. Trauma. People may behave in unhealthy ways to deal with trauma or to numb themselves from past experiences. Risky or unhealthy habits might serve as a distraction from thinking about our traumatic past.
  6. Stress. We may not have learned healthy ways to manage stress or other emotions. Unhealthy behaviors might be our way of coping with stress. However, they usually lead to a lower quality of life and can cause more problems than the issues we sought to solve. Stress management techniques, like mindfulness and deep breathing, can enhance our quality of life and help us in our recovery.

Did any of these stick out to you as a motivation for some of your unhealthy habits? If so, now you can begin to find healthy methods of obtaining the same needs. When you engage in healthy behaviors, you set yourself up for growth and positive changes.

Healthy Replacement Behaviors

Healthy replacement behaviors are ways of meeting our needs with ways that do not cause more problems in our lives. For those of us in recovery, we may need to explore some of our hobbies and interests to find new activities to fill our time.

We might want to try physical fitness or other exercise programs to release natural endorphins that make us feel good. We may need to learn to express our emotions to heal from them, rather than numbing them to escape our pain. We might need to make some life changes to manage our stress levels.

We also may need to learn how to say “no” and set boundaries with others, who pressure us to do things we do not want to do. Once you understand your motivations, you can begin to find healthy coping mechanisms. Recovery is the process of replacing your unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones.

Healthy behaviors enhance our lives and help us change for the better. On your recovery path, you will learn new ways of living that may not have been apparent to you before. Be open-minded and try new things to live the best life on your journey of recovery.

One of the hardest parts of recovery is changing our habits. Most of us are so accustomed to our routines that we have a difficult time making any changes, even changes for the better. Sometimes we know we want to make a change, yet we are unsure of where to start. By understanding our underlying motivations, we can begin to find healthy replacements for our unhealthy and unfulfilling habits. Once we understand why we behave a certain way, we can begin to find alternatives to achieve similar ends. We might need some time in a positive and supportive environment to create new habits. Change is hard, but you do not have to do it alone. At Camelback Recovery, we teach replacement behaviors to help others learn new ways of replacing bad habits. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information to help you or a loved one!

 

How Can Teaching Others About My Experiences Help Me in My Recovery?

Learning to achieve mastery of a subject occurs over the course of time. If you can teach a skill to others, you are likely nearing or have achieved mastery of the topic. In recovery, peers support one another in the recovery community. You might meet peers during treatment programs or at support meetings.

You may also meet others struggling with addiction in online support groups or internet forums. We can all offer something new to our peers in recovery. You can offer a unique perspective to your peers or might be able to teach a new coping skill. Teaching reinforces the value of our own life lessons as we can see others benefiting from the things we have learned.

Levels of Learning

Learning a new skill can be broken down into these four steps. You can gain feedback from peers and your support network throughout:

  1. Watching and Observing:
    By observing others, you can begin to see what sort of skills you would like to learn or what behaviors you would like to emulate. You might observe by listening to peers in group sessions. Once you have an idea of what you would like to learn, you can move on to the next step.
  2. Ask Questions:
    This step is simple. When you want to learn something, just ask questions. Asking others questions on coping skills they have used or methods they use in treatment can teach you a lot about recovery. Asking questions is also a great way to begin participating in group therapy sessions.
  3. Take Action:
    Once you know what you want to learn, you can take action and begin applying the skill to your life. Maybe a peer of yours encouraged you to try yoga or practice mindfulness. Take action by signing up for a class or session. When you practice your new coping skill, you can begin to share your experience with others. Once you are comfortable in your ability to demonstrate competence, you can move to the next step.
  4. Teaching Others:
    Teaching others what you have learned is a great way of cementing the skill to your memory. To teach others, you have to break your skill down into steps. This will require you to think about what aspects of the skill lead to success. Creating a curriculum to teach others will reinforce the lessons that you have learned. Teaching is another way of re-learning.

Making Personal Changes

Throughout the process of learning and teaching, you will get feedback from others. At first, you will get feedback from your peers or your recovery coach. They will give you some tips and help you learn new skills. They will also support you in making positive changes in your life by learning new recovery coping skills. When you teach others, you might also get feedback from those learning your skill.

They may have suggestions for how the skill works best for them, which you can also try or pass along to others. Remember that accepting constructive feedback on your skills and teaching will help you learn to get better. Honest communication is the key to gaining useful feedback for you to grow.

Peer Support and Mentoring

Peer support is an important aspect of recovery. Your peers are either in a similar position as you are or they have already been through similar events. They may have faced challenges you are not yet ready for. They can prepare you by teaching you from their experiences. You can also teach your peers new things that they may not know.

Mentoring others is sometimes a step in some recovery programs that can help you in your recovery. You might be asked to lead a group session or teach a class on your preferred topic. You may also teach an alternative or diversionary skill, such as painting, drawing, woodworking, or music.

Mentoring and teaching can fill you with a sense of purpose along your journey to recovery. You might find that helping others with their struggles is a rewarding experience. You and your peers can foster a sense of belonging and community within your recovery treatment program.

Teaching and cultivating a passion for learning recovery skills can build a supportive environment, where peers are willing and able to learn from their mistakes. Being in a safe and supportive environment is conducive to learning. You need to feel that you will not be judged by making mistakes and that your peers will support you through your recovery process.

Teaching can be considered one of the best ways to learn a new skill. You need to have considerable knowledge to teach others. You need time to absorb and utilize your skill in order to pass the information to those who may benefit. Mentoring in recovery can help peers feel connected to their program and give them the support that they need. You can teach others to learn from mistakes along the way, and you can also learn from their mistakes. Many recovery treatment programs promote a peer-to-peer support network, where individuals in recovery learn from one another. Camelback Recovery cultivates a safe and supportive environment for peers to learn new things from one another. We encourage honest communication among our staff and peers as we hold everyone accountable for their recovery. By creating a space for honest communication, you can best learn new coping skills to change your behaviors. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your learning process!

 

Discovering Purpose: Why Are We Here?

An important aspect of being successful in your recovery experience is discovering your purpose. Your purpose drives you toward your life goals and can help to push you through challenging times. When we live a life of purpose, we feel connected to something beyond ourselves.

“Purpose” is one of the pillars of recovery in many treatment programs. Without having a purpose in life, we may feel lost or we may easily stray from our recovery pathway. Having a purpose can give us a reason to wake each morning and face the challenges of the day.

Some of us in recovery may have never thought about our life purpose in life. We may not know what we are looking for in life, as we may have been living day by day while dealing with our addictions. Working on discovering your purpose can take some time, as you need to think deeply about your life and what you truly value.

6 Tips for Discovering Your Purpose

If finding a purpose is new to you, here are some tips to help you discover your purpose in life:

  1. Help Others: Volunteering can help you find your purpose in life. You may have a unique skill that can benefit others. You can even help your peers in recovery. Volunteering regularly can help you build relationships and connections with others. You may then discover a purpose as people come to value your help and your contributions.
  2. Spend Time with Uplifting and Positive People: Start spending more time with people who inspire you or who make you feel good. If you find yourself spending a lot of time with negative people, who often weigh you down with their troubles or tell you that you cannot achieve your goals, you may want to spend less time with them. Uplifting and positive people can help you maintain the positive mindset needed to discover your passions and your purpose.
  3. Explore Your Interests: How do you spend your free time? Do you watch specific types of television shows that might indicate an interest of yours? What things do you like to learn about? Start to explore the things that interest you. These could be new hobbies or new places to travel. Maybe you want to learn an instrument or take up yoga. Try something new to expose yourself to new experiences.
  4. Thinking Back to Our Childhood: When we were children, most of us had an idea of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Your childhood dreams might still be attainable. Try to think back on those times and see if those things still excite you.
  5. List Your Heroes: Who do you admire? These could be fictional characters or real people. They could be people you know or they could be people you have only heard about in the media. Think about who you admire and why you admire them. We often admire people who have characteristics we would like to have ourselves. Knowing these characteristics might help you understand what you value and can direct you toward your purpose.
  6. Social Causes: Is there a social cause that you are passionate about? Maybe you love animals or recycle each week? You might find purpose in exploring opportunities to aid social causes that you believe in. These passions can direct you to specific volunteering opportunities or career paths.

Making Sense of Your Purpose

Sometimes, we get caught up in specific details when we look for purpose in life. We may have the idea that only one or two specific things will make us happy and fulfilled. You may find it helpful to simplify your life’s purpose into one or two sentences. To simplify your purpose, you need to look at the underlying motivation for your actions.

For example, if you wanted to be a fireman when you grew up, you might consider connecting with a local fire company to volunteer. If your community may not have any opportunities available, you can consider your fundamental motivations. Why did you want to be a fireman?

Did you want to help people? Did you like the sense of adventure? Figuring out why you are passionate about something can help guide you to your life’s purpose. Understanding what you truly love about a hobby or an interest can point you in the direction of more things that you may find fulfilling.

Knowing what you care about—or who you care about—can also help you focus on being the best version of yourself. Keep in mind that finding purpose is a process. Be flexible and open to the multitude of avenues presented to you as you discover your purpose. Overall, having a purpose will help you in recovery because you will contribute to something greater than yourself.

Discovering your life’s purpose can be a rewarding exercise unto itself. Open yourself up to the process of understanding your passions and the things you care about. Engage in this process as you work on your recovery. Once you know your purpose, you will have something to strive toward to make the world a better place. You will be able to focus on your recovery, as you will best serve others when you have first helped yourself. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that having purpose is one of the pillars of recovery. We teach our clients about our five pillars of recovery: accountability, support, structure, community, and purpose. We believe these pillars are fundamental to the recovery process. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery journey!

 

How Can Making My Bed Impact My Day?

Having a sense of structure is one of the pillars of recovery that many treatment programs can teach you. Structure means that you know what to expect from your daily schedule, your relationships, and your environment. Your daily routine can set up the structure of your day and give you a sense of stability.

Routines can help you alleviate anxiety, since you will know what to expect during your day. For many of us, our routine begins in the morning with the simple act of making our bed. Can making your bed each morning have a profound impact on your day?

Building Positive Momentum

You have most likely heard the famous Chinese proverb along the lines of “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” How you start your day can build positive momentum to push you through the day’s tasks and challenges. Making your bed each morning can be the first item that you cross off your daily “to-do” list.

You can start each morning with one accomplishment before moving on to other tasks. Building momentum always begins with taking the initial step in a positive direction. Starting your day by creating a comfortable and neat personal space can set you up to make more positive decisions throughout your day.

When you are trying to build positive habits, you may find that starting small is the pathway to success. You might be overwhelmed when beginning recovery. Making changes can be hard for anyone. Many people find that they build momentum to achieving greater long term goals by starting off with completing smaller, simpler tasks.

If you feel that you are struggling with finding motivation, begin with setting a goal to make your bed each morning this week. You might be surprised how this one task can improve your motivation.

The Two-Minute Rule

The principle of the “two-minute rule” is similar to making your bed each morning. You are minimizing your expectations to finish one simple task with ease and without a huge time commitment. Making your bed tricks your brain because your expectations are not demanding.

Often, once you make your bed, you will feel better completing this task and will carry this momentum into your day. You start your day off with a positive chain reaction. Let’s explain the “two-minute rule” in more detail. When beginning a new habit or goal, some of us use the “two-minute rule.”

This rule can help you manage your expectations while setting new goals. When setting new goals, people often set their expectations too high and set themselves up for failure. To incorporate the “two-minute rule” into your routine, set the expectation that you will work on each of your goals for only two minutes at a time.

Similar to making your bed, this can set off a positive chain reaction to propel you forward in achieving new goals. For example, let’s say you want to work out each day. If you set your expectations too high, like working out for one hour each day, you might set yourself up for failure.

However, if you set your expectations lower, like exercising each day for at least two minutes, you trick your brain into starting because the demands are low. Often, getting started is the hardest part of any new habit and the “two-minute rule” tricks us into getting started with ease. Once you start engaging in a task, you will most likely find that you exceed your goal of two minutes.

The Importance of a Neat and Clean Environment

Making your bed is also one way that you can have control over the neatness of your immediate environment. When you begin recovery, you may feel like your life is chaotic and out of control. By making your bed, you have improved at least one thing in your home that can make you feel refreshed and in control.

Keeping a neat and clean home can also help you feel more relaxed. If you are looking around at a messy room or a disorganized home, you may feel anxious. You may find relaxing to be difficult, which will have a negative impact on your overall wellness.

Being able to come home to a nice, restful home is a gift that you can give yourself. Start today by simply making your bed. You will be surprised at the impact it has on your day.

Accountability is one of the pillars of recovery used by many treatment programs. By holding ourselves accountable, we put hard work into making ourselves better through the recovery process. Sometimes, we may feel like the work involved is insurmountable. Often, this is because we have set our expectations too high. By completing simple tasks like making our bed each morning and using the “two-minute rule,” we can build up the positive momentum we need to get through the rest of the day. Beginning your morning by completing one simple chore can have a profound and immediate impact on your mood and overall well-being. Setting up a welcoming and comfortable home environment will help you feel more relaxed and in control. At Camelback Recovery, we ask our participants to make their beds each morning as they begin a structured routine in daily recovery. We emphasize the importance of setting realistic expectations for positive growth and change. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your first steps to recovery!