4 Important Benefits to Getting Treatment Out of State

A close friend and colleague wrote this post, just about a year ago, and I feel it’s just as pertinent to today!

I often get asked, “why do you live in Colorado and send people from all over the country to Florida for treatment?” Check out her post to see 4 of the key reasons.

Why leaving your hometown for substance abuse treatment is the RIGHT thing to do! Marie G. Guma, PsyD (ABD)

And, as always, if you have questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to hear from you and I’m here to HELP!

Clint Clark, MA, LPC – cclark@satoriwaters.com or 720.683.2639

Three Keys to Freedom in 2017

Happy New Year! My hope is that 2017 is a year of hope, prosperity and healing.

If this season has been one of relapse and significant struggle to stay sober don’t give up! Put your relapse plan into action, or create one if you don’t have one! Also, it’s important to use these as opportunities to learn!

Relapse doesn’t have to be a part of recovery, but if we fail to learn from them we’ve missed opportunity. Here are three helpful keys to addressing your relapse(s) and struggles.

Triggers

Triggers are events that happen externally and cause us emotional or psychological discomfort. When triggered, we might feel anxious, panicked, sad, hurt, disappointed, etc. Triggers are normal, and we can react to them in healthy, even beneficial, ways. However, many of us choose to self-medicate instead in an attempt to numb our feelings caused by our triggers.

Do you know what your triggers are? Do you know how they impact you emotionally or psychologically?

Make a list of your triggers. Look at the ones that can be avoided and make a plan to do so. For the ones you can’t avoid, come up with a plan to address them more effectively. In what healthy ways can you engage with these feelings rather than medicating or numbing them?

Shame

Shame is a big issue some folks are aware of, but many are not. Some folks might put this in the category of triggers, but I feel it’s much bigger and deserves its own focus.

First, I think it’s imperative that we make a distinction between shame and guilt. Guilt is I’ve done something bad. It’s a behavior or decision. Shame is I am something bad. This is more about identity. It makes a statement about who we are.

Guilt can addressed by asking for someone’s forgiveness, making amends and empathizing with how we’ve impacted others. Shame… shame just sits on us. It says, you suck! You’re a terrible person! You’re weak. Shame statements are devastating to recovery.

Dealing with our shame statements means we first have to recognize them. I’ve found that the best way to do this is to pay attention to our self-talk. How do you treat yourself when you make a mistake like when you miss a turn driving to an appointment? If you hear yourself saying things like, you idiot! Stupid! then you too are a victim being oppressed by shame.

So how do we deal with shame?

I have found that Brené Brown’s work has been the most beneficial for my journey. She talks about shame reduction and how to work through those shame-triggering experiences. If you want to start with a book, I would recommend starting with The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown.

However, I believe that the most effective way to tackle this issue is with the aid of a licensed professional counselor, whether that’s in treatment or individual counseling. If you decide to engage a therapist in your process, ask them about shame and how to address it. This can be incredibly freeing and live-giving when addressed appropriately.

Professional Help

Finally, I truly believe – and have seen repeated proof – that the best path to recovery is being proactive with treatment. All too often, treatment is considered as purely LAST resort.

People think, after I have relapsed repeatedly, then I’ll need treatment. If I was homeless living in my car, then it would be time for rehab.

Those statements are SO false. We have to get a handle on our addictions early. Repeated relapse begins to lock our brain’s neuropathway’s into patterns that are incredibly difficult to break.

Proactive treatment in a safe and appropriate center (that not only focuses on sobriety but most importantly deals with our root issues) is imperative! So much is at work ‘below the waterline’ of our addictive compulsive behaviors. Uncovering them, addressing them and learning healthy coping mechanisms is key. Sobriety is so important, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What now?

Reach out! Get help! There’s no time like the present to get 2017 off to a great start!

Do you need help finding a treatment center for you or someone you know? Do you need more information about counseling options, relapse prevention plans or any help with recovery?

Call or email me now: Clint Clark 720.683.2639 cclark@satoriwaters.com

I look forward to hearing from you. Also, as always, if you have feedback, questions or comments, please feel free to contact me!

Five Things to Help Stay Sober on New Year’s Eve

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Let’s face it. For many, celebrating the New Year has become more about alcohol and getting high than anything else. For those trying to stay sober, this presents a significant challenge.

What IF it could be different? What if the focus was welcoming a new year, with all its opportunities and possibilities without losing that focus in a haze of substances?

Here are five strategies to stay sober this New Year’s Eve.\

 

  1. Go with a supportive friend and/or celebrate in a supportive community.

Make this holiday about people who understand your goals and desires to stay sober. If the party you’re going to attend will have alcohol or drugs available, go with someone how has your back and will support your decision to stay sober.

Even better, celebrate in a community that supports you! This is an excellent time to surround yourself with a community that wants the best for you and your future. We’ve all made the mistake in our past of trying to get sober and stay sober alone. It takes support and community. Why not immerse yourself in such a community as you plan for the year ahead?

  1. Reorient the focus of your celebration!

Yes, many people focus their celebration of New Year’s Eve on getting drunk or high. Yet, many of us we’ve come to realize that the short-term, “perceived” benefits of that decision have lead to long-term, destructive consequences. We’ve experienced the negative consequences of our use of drugs and alcohol.

Now is the time to focus on the positive and lasting opportunities for the coming year.

Make this time about celebrating your accomplishments from the past 12 months. Reflect on what this next year might hold for you. It can also be a great time to plan things to look forward to throughout the year!

  1. Take care of yourself.

This is often one thing that we all neglect in our lives; and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when we neglect our own care, stress and exhaustion can become triggers for medicating with drugs and/or alcohol.

Most of us are also keenly aware of how we’ve struggled with some level of shame or self-contempt in our battle with addiction. The subtle (or not-so-subtle) message is often we don’t deserve to take care of ourselves. Good positive self-care can be one of the best cures to counteract this.

Eat healthy so you physically feel strong, are well fueled and not bogged down and sick from junk food. Get some physical activity going. Do things for yourself that show you matter, even to you! It will go a long way in helping you feel better physically and emotionally.

  1. Set realistic resolutions, and start now!

There’s nothing that says you have to wait until January 1 to start your resolutions. If you’ve decided to stay sober for all of next year, why wait? Start today!

Setting resolutions that are attainable and make you feel good about yourself can be a great motivator. Setting resolutions that are not realistic can be destructive. Be mindful of what’s possible, and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later.

  1. Get ready to reward yourself for staying sober.

Is there one thing you’ve been wanting for yourself? Is there a special restaurant you’d love to eat at? Is there an activity you really enjoy that you can set up if you remain sober? Will your spouse or significant other agree to take over some chore you may not be a fan of for the next week to reward you?

Whatever it is, give yourself something to look forward to if you stay sober on New Year’s Eve! So often in sobriety, we can get hyper focused on NOT using, on avoiding drugs and alcohol. Give yourself something positive to focus on instead. What is the reward you’re focused on?

These are just a handful of options available to you. Do you have some methods that work for you that aren’t listed? If so, let me know in the comments below.

If you have friends or loved ones that struggle with drugs and alcohol, encourage them to take some of these steps. If you’re concerned about them, talk to them about what you’re seeing and how it makes you feel.

If you need help, support or have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! I look forward to hearing from you.

Email: cclark@satoriwaters.com                 Cell: 720.683.2639

Do I say something? (But it’s the holidays…)

It’s that time of year again! A time for holiday gatherings with family, friends and coworkers. This holiday signals the beginning of a new year and sometimes new beginnings.

For many though it can be an incredibly difficult time of year.

Social and emotional stressors can trigger a desire to escape or self medicate, even subconsciously. Patterns of self-medicating pain then become destructive and lead to larger issues of addiction. Particularly during the holidays, addictive behaviors increase, and it’s important to recognize when someone may require treatment.

In his essay on addiction, actor Russell Brand wrote, “Drugs and alcohol are not my problem – reality is my problem. Drugs and alcohol are my solution.”

Why Treatment?

There are several important reasons why people with substance use issues need treatment. We’ll cover only a few here.

First, we know without treatment the problem will only worsen. No one chooses to become an addict and risk everything, but addicts eventually lose relationships, jobs, coping skills, legal rights and control in general.

Substance Use Disorder (as addiction is clinically known) is a process. Over time, the person finds that tolerance increases and their use becomes unmanageable. If caught and treated early, recovery can be a smoother process.

The second argument for treatment is that without it your loved one, friend or coworker will end up dead or in jail. We are seeing a tremendous rise in prescription drug and heroin deaths across the country, making it the leading cause of accidental death in 2015. (American Society of Addiction Medicine Facts and Figures)

Along with arrests for possession or illegal substance use, about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders1. Arrests come with obvious financial costs, as well as, deep emotional and relational impacts to family and friends. And though it may be obvious to some people, not everyone caught in the spiral of addiction can recognize their legal issues are a possible sign of being out of control.

Why now?

One of the largest misconceptions of inpatient addiction treatment is that it is a LAST resort and that people who go to rehab are unable to function – practically homeless. That’s simply NOT TRUE! The reality is the sooner the better.

Those who struggle with Substance Use Disorder are not only dealing with the issues caused by the substance use, but they are also changing their brain! As they continue to use, the brain will develop addiction as a neuronal pathway possibly causing permanent brain injuries.

The neurological changes of the brain caused by addiction are best addressed through treatment. Additionally failure to maintain sobriety will begin to establish a pattern of relapse decreasing the prognosis of long-term recovery.

How can I help?

First of all, be honest with the person. Let them know that you’re concerned about their habits, behaviors or decisions. It’s not often easy, but your honesty could be the difference between life and death!

If you have questions ask for help. There are professionals available throughout the country who are ready to help. If you don’t know someone in your area, call or email me. I will help you get the answers you need.

Finally, encourage them to have an assessment or consider an intervention if necessary. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can be critical.

When considering benefits for treatment, consider that an hour a day for most people – or even nine hours a week with intensive outpatient work – is not enough supervision time and support. Most addicts will still ravenously pursue that fix.  The benefit of constant supervision and support is imperative to help that person succeed. Also, removing the individual from their current situation is beneficial for focus and recovery.

If you have questions, need support or help, please feel free to contact me.

I’m here to help.

Clint Clark – 720.683.2639 – cclark@satoriwaters.com

www.satoriwaters.com

www.lakehavenrecovery.com

1Fell, Jim. “Repeat DWI Offenders in the United States.” Washington, DC: National Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Tech No. 85, February 1995.