“Come on you can have just one drink”
I hear this over and again.
Ever since I stopped drinking people don’t invite me out anymore, call me weird and just can’t understand why I don’t drink.
I want to be sober because I want to live the best possible life I can. And alcohol messes that up.
I’m like Tom Cruise. Because not drinking in today’s society is basically Mission Impossible.
The problem is that now I don’t fit in with most people, workplaces or even my own family.
Every time I’m out with other people they have questions about my sobriety or make comments about their own habits.
“You never come to happy hours.”
“I don’t drink that much.”
“I just drink on the weekends.”
Looking back that’s probably why I started Live Rehab with my partner.
We were talking the other day about this exact thing, “People aren’t going to understand are they?”
I replied, “Nope. But we have to keep on trying anyway.”
She paused, then laughed, “There has got to be other people like us right?”
When we’re looking to help people through Live Rehab we look for people who want to live the same kind of life.
Fathers who don’t want to wake up hungover anymore.
Mom’s who are sick of drinking around their kids.
Athletes who can’t risk they professional careers by drinking too much.
Hollywood celebrities that aren’t interested in traditional rehab.
Because there is nothing better than finally getting sober and living the best life possible.
The key is to know you’re in the right.
Then live it consciously.
Today we want to talk about something really important – having an attitude of gratitude.
Now it might sound a bit funny or even a bit weird but having an attitude of gratitude is a very powerful tool in your addiction recovery process. What do we mean by an attitude of gratitude?
People that we often see in the addiction recovery field, specifically addicts, especially when they first ask for help, often find themselves in a situation where they feel like they don’t have a lot to be grateful for it. They may have really damaged relationships in the past they may have done some really messed up stuff they may have broken laws. There are even situations where they have potentially physically injured other people.
And so it can be difficult for them to get to a place where they have gratitude in their lives and they may not even believe they are worthy of gratitude.
One of the first things that we teach people is that there are lots of things in your life to be grateful for. Cultivating a strong practice of gratitude causes the universe to respond in a way that presents you with more to be grateful for. We learned a long time ago from a great spiritual teacher, Dr Michael Bernard Beckwith, who said essentially that what you focus on expands. For people that are struggling with addiction having a focus on gratitude ensures that you are able to focus on the positive things in life and then more of those positive things can come back to you.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy but coming up with an attitude of gratitude isn’t something that you can just switch on and off. It requires deep, thoughtful, hard work. How do you do this? One of the best ways that we recommend doing this is simply through the use of a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal works pretty easy and should be kept on a bedside table. Either right when you wake up, which is a great time to do it, or right before you go to bed, you just simply take a few moments to write out between five and 10 things that you’re grateful for. And that’s it!
We had a funny interaction just the other day with somebody who said “Five to 10 things? I can’t think of five to 10 things that and I’m grateful for”. To which we responded with:
Do you have fingers? They said yes. There’s one thing.
Do You have toes? They said yes. Now we have two things.
So you can see that there are things to be grateful for even if you can’t think of any even if you can’t think of something in your life big you start with something small.
Start with the small things in life like your ability to breathe for instance; it’s crucial, but it goes under appreciated. So every day as you develop this practice it’s OK to duplicate things. It’s perfectly ok to be grateful for things repeatedly as well – we just suggest that you mix it up a little bit every day so not every day you’re just thankful for your fingers and toes and breathing but you know find little things throughout the day.
Then, try and keep those things in your mind throughout the day. Think of those things whenever you can. And this is just a key pathway to developing these different skills and an attitude of gratitude will undoubtedly lead you into a much better mind spacing and a much better healing space where some of the really deep work can start.
So I ask you to put in the comments today – what are five things that you’re grateful for?
To your recovery,
Be an Expert but Have an Open Approach too
When majoring in counseling, psychology, or social work, colleges and universities teach a wide variety of approaches. During the time, it can seem quite overwhelming and oftentimes students are encouraged to be an expert in one thing. This is something I do agree with however, it is also important for professionals to be well versed in multiple approaches.
Re-Evaluate Rather than Force an Approach
When treating someone who struggles with an addiction, a professional should always try an approach they are good at because if it works, there is no need to explore another approach. But, if that approach isn’t working or it becomes exhausting because the professional and client are not jiving, it’s critical to re-evaluate rather than force a set of ideologies onto to someone who is resistant.
Professionals Need to Check Their Own Feelings
In order to do this, the professional must be able to check their own feelings at the door. Far too often, professionals get offended or stressed about the fact that a certain client isn’t responding to their method of treatment. Instead, professionals need to communicate with their clients constantly and collaborate with other professionals. There must be a respect for this type of practice across the board.
Finding the Perfect Professional is Crucial to Your Success
If you have a professional who is not willing to adjust their style to fit your needs, first, try to communicate what you are feeling. If that doesn’t work then finding another professional is essential to your recovery.
Behavioral Effects of Psychoactive Substances
Psychoactive substances affect the behavior of people using. Different substances affect different behaviors. For example, those who abuse alcohol may behave violently or belligerently. Those who abuse opioids may behave neglectfully. Not everyone behaves the same of course but it’s important for addiction professionals to understand how different psychoactive substances affect behavior.
Psychological Effects of Psychoactive Substances
The age old question: what came first? The addiction or the mental health struggle? This is important for addiction professionals to understand and uncover when working with clients. For example, did smoking marijuana cause their client’s anxiety or did their client smoke marijuana to try and get rid of their anxiety? Different substances have different psychological effects and it’s crucial for professionals to recognize this.
Physical Effects of Psychoactive Substances
Psychoactive substances have different physical effects too. While some effects are behavior related it’s important to know what kinds of physical effects different substances can cause. For example, opioids can cause constipation and alcohol can cause high blood pressure. Outward physical effects are more noticeable but the addiction professional should always ask the important questions and provide resources to a medical doctor if needed.
Social Effects of Psychoactive Substances
Some psychoactive substances are more social than others but when thinking about the social effects it is important for the addiction professional to gain cultural knowledge. For example, alcohol is often culturally accepted and when someone quits alcohol it can be shown as a sign of weakness. Other social factors to consider would be poverty and wealth. Addiction doesn’t just affect the poor it equally affects the rich but in different ways. Just because someone has a ton of money and can dress and look the part, doesn’t mean they are struggling any less. Addiction professionals need to be aware of this.
Effects on Significant Others
All of these effects can affect significant others incomprehensible ways oftentimes leading to exhaustion. Also, it’s important to connect the relationship between infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted infections and substance use. Significant others can be impacted.
Addiction professionals need to be sensitive to all of these influences and how the development of addiction progresses. I.E. initiation, intoxication, harmful use, abuse, dependence, withdrawal, craving, relapse, and recovery. [clickToTweet tweet=”Addiction professionals need to be interested in new research and findings so they can bring the latest developments.” quote=”Addiction professionals need to be interested in new research and findings so they can bring the latest developments to their practice ” theme=”style6″]to benefit their continuous efforts when working with clients.