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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.

 

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.

 

Forging Your Own Path in Recovery

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer, and philosopher

We all have choices. We all made decisions that led us to become the people we are today. Therefore, we can make decisions to move us closer to becoming the people we want to become. The choices we make shape our days and our days shape the course of our lives.

These choices can be simple, like deciding what we will have for breakfast and what we will wear for the day. Conversely, our decisions can be more complex, like choosing a romantic partner or picking a career path. For individuals in recovery from mental health, substance use, and/or alcohol addiction, choosing a treatment program is vital to implementing and maintaining the lifelong recovery habits needed to stay healthy. Fortunately, there are countless treatment resources available. This means that you have options and can be empowered to make a decision based on your needs, goals, and lifelong dreams.

Limited Options in the Early Days of Recovery

In the early days of mental health and addiction recovery, clients’ treatment options were few and far between. The 19th century and early 20th century utilized mass institutes for “one size fits all” treatment. Therapy was generally reserved for the wealthy classes and limited to years and years of psychoanalysis.

In other words, therapy during these times still looked like that old stereotype of a detached, bearded doctor sitting on a chair scribbling notes as the patient lies on the couch, sharing the inner workings of their minds in narrative form. Soldiers were returning home from World War I with “shell shock,” or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

They had virtually nowhere to turn to for help, as mental health treatment was expensive and options were lacking. Many of them turned to alcohol and/or substance abuse to cope. Fortunately, 12-step programs emerged to help people abusing alcohol and/or other substances manage their addictions.

Similar to today, these programs were structured by meeting attendance and working the 12-steps with a sponsor. These programs continue to be a popular treatment today and have proven to be useful for many people. The ideas in 12-step programs have created the foundation for the more open and inclusive concept of “recovery” in the treatment of addiction and mental illness.

What is “Recovery?”

What do you think of when you hear the word “recovery?” For some, quite a few concepts and approaches might come to mind. However, those that have never heard the term applied to mental health and addiction will likely think of recovery in terms of physical ailments. Perhaps your mind goes to the idea of getting rest to recover from a bout of the flu, or maybe you think of recovering from a broken bone with a cast and physical therapy.

Can the same term be applied to mental health, trauma, and addiction? Yes! After all, people suffering from these issues require healing as well. Recovery from mental illness and addiction varies in approach from person-to-person. Recovery is best approached as an individualized journey, and many innovative programs have created treatment choices to empower their clients to make their recovery work for them. Here are some recovery treatment modality choices that may be new to you:

  • Canine Therapy
  • Peer Support and Peer Mentoring
  • Brain-Body Approaches
  • Wilderness Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Brainspotting
  • Resilience Training
  • Group Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Art and Music Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
  • And many more choices for your recovery journey!

We Have Come a Long Way

Things are not nearly as limited as they once were. Having choices makes us feel more empowered and less hopeless when beginning recovery. For example, imagine that you were buying tires for your car, and there was only one store selling one brand. How would you feel?

You would not have a choice! You would have to pay whatever they were charging, and you would have no options for road conditions you may encounter. Chances are, that would not make you feel very empowered as a consumer. Choices in recovery work the same way.

They allow you to truly personalize your recovery journey and try various options until you find something that works! To paraphrase the quote above from Ralph Waldo Emerson, you become the person you decide to be. By having treatment options, you have more decision-making power and become empowered to carve a path that will work for you!

We have come a long way in the treatment of mental health disorders, alcohol abuse, and substance dependency. Recovery continues to grow in terms of treatment options and resources. Additionally, the stigma associated with addiction decreases as people like you take steps to pave the way for others with similar struggles. Continue to forge your path. Make the best decisions for your recovery and become the person you were destined to be!

Recovery is an extremely personal process, and it takes time to discover your own path. Still, every recovery journey begins with a single step: admitting that you need help. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Sobriety is not as uncharted as it may seem. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.