There are many signs and symptoms of addiction and you may have some or all of them:
- You cannot stop - once you take some of the substance, you are unable to stop. You may have made one serious attempt to give up, but were unsuccessful.
- Withdrawal symptoms - when your body levels of that substance go below a certain point, you start to experience physical and mood-related symptoms — cravings, bouts of moodiness, bad temper, inability to focus, depression, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment.
Addiction recovery isn’t a one-time accomplishment that’s done and done after you quit. It’s a lifelong process and ongoing journey that will present speedbumps and potholes along the way. But don’t be deterred by rocky road conditions as these challenges can be sights to view along your solid path to recovery. In fact, standing strong when faced with adversity is the essence of successful sobriety. You are reclaiming your health, your life and your control!
Having the foresight to identify when relapse warning signs arise can arm you with the knowledge to respond accordingly. By recognizing warning signs early, you can take the necessary steps and actions to prevent relapse and remain sober. More often than not, triggers occur that prompt a desire to use. These triggers can be an event, an interaction, a relationship, or some other influence that is emotional or environmental.
The practice of mindfulness is an amazing tool for anyone looking for greater mental clarity and self-awareness. Particularly for those in early recovery, a mindfulness practice can help you navigate through the emotional highs and lows that are bound to come. In the initial stages of recovery, mental fuzziness is not uncommon – both your body and mind are healing and learning how to adjust.
Mindfulness is a conscious awareness of the here and now - a checking in with the self whereas, active addiction is the very opposite - it’s abusing drugs or alcohol to escape reality. By developing a practice of mindfulness, the practitioner learns how to gain control over their emotions rather than being ruled by them. This means, having the tools to deal with the stresses of life in a healthy way.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves purposely paying attention to the present moment. It requires being aware of thoughts, feelings and emotions as they occur and simply acknowledging them without judgement. By intentionally observing one’s own feelings in the present moment and remaining neutral, we come to see that emotions and thoughts are transitory in nature. They pass.
Mindfulness isn’t about not thinking or stopping thoughts altogether. Rather it’s about learning how to sit with our thoughts, feelings and emotions and realize we do not have to act on them. That we can simply acknowledge them, let them be and let them pass.
When an addict gives up their substance of choice, this is just the beginning of a lifelong recovery journey. Recovery truly is a process that requires learning how to deal with life minus the use of drugs, alcohol or other toxic behaviours. It involves establishing healthy habits of self-care, being accountable and responsible for one’s actions, and maintaining relationships that help to foster ongoing growth and trust in one’s new sober life.
If someone you love or care for is in early recovery, it is only natural to want to be supportive but sometimes knowing how to help can seem confusing or overwhelming. Below are a few options to consider that can help you to support someone in your life going through recovery. All recovery journeys will be different but all require the support of friends and loved ones to be successful.
Happy New Year from the House of Courage team! We are grateful for the year that passed and excited for the year ahead. The New Year ushers in new hopes, new dreams and a new beginning. By marking the passing of time, the new year also brings about resolutions like getting healthier, exercising more, saving money and for some, getting sober.
If getting sober or maintaining your recovery is on your resolution list, let’s talk about creating an action plan. The truth is, sobriety is more than a resolution, it’s committing to a new, healthier way of life.
Creating an Action Plan
The biggest cause of failure when it comes to New Year resolutions is that people set their expectations too high. Instead of thinking in terms of broad level resolutions, creating an action plan that breaks down the steps to achieve your goals sets you up for success. By setting specific and realistic goals you can work towards, achieve, and most importantly sustain, you build the momentum to maintain your sobriety and your recovery.
An action plan breaks down your goal into achievable steps that are much easier to accomplish. The age-old recovery wisdom of taking things one day at a time is supremely relevant. Start with a goal for the day or the week, rather than thinking about a goal for the entire year. Looking at an entire year of goal setting can be daunting and can feel overwhelming. Whereas by breaking things down, you can accomplish steps that will amount to your long-term success.