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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Maintaining Your Sobriety on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many people are looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy their favorite dishes and gather with family and friends. However, if you’re working on your recovery, you might be dreading Thanksgiving and all the pressure it brings.

Even if you have successfully stayed substance-free for several months, holidays like Thanksgiving often represent a unique temptation to drink. How can you enjoy the long holiday weekend without jeopardizing all the hard work and progress you’ve accomplished up to this point?

1. Bring a Non-Alcoholic Drink

Many Thanksgiving hosts consider it polite to offer their guests a choice of alcoholic beverages. Someone might thoughtlessly hand you a beer without realizing what a risk that could represent for you. To combat this, arrive at the gathering with a cooler full of your favorite non-alcoholic drinks, and be sure to keep your beverage of choice close to hand at all times.

2. Have an Exit Strategy

Gatherings like Thanksgiving can be stressful and triggering for many people. Plan what you’ll do if you start feeling overwhelmed and need to take a moment to yourself. For example, you might find a quiet area where you can sit and practice deep breathing techniques until you calm down. In some cases, you may even decide to leave early. Have a polite excuse planned ahead of time, and if you drive yourself to the get-together, make sure you park somewhere nobody else is boxing you in.

3. Be Grateful

Don’t lose sight of the true spirit of Thanksgiving: practicing gratitude. Make a list of everything you have to be thankful for this year – improved physical and mental well-being, new friendships and the opportunity to make a fresh start in your life. You can even begin or end your day with a gratitude meditation to help you count your blessings and reflect on the things that bring you joy.

4. Rely on Your Sober Support Network

A sober supporter can keep you grounded and remind you of your goals to remain substance-free this holiday season. If you can’t find a friend to attend your Thanksgiving gathering with you, ask if they’re willing to respond to your calls and texts during the day. Attend a group meeting or schedule a therapy session before or after Thanksgiving dinner to stay on the right track.

5. Offer to Help

Staying busy is one way to keep your mind off any cravings that might arise. Before dinner, offer to pitch in with tasks like last-minute decorating or food prep. After the meal, lead the cleanup efforts by doing dishes, taking out the trash and tidying the kitchen. The host will appreciate having an extra pair of hands, and you’ll be able to demonstrate your commitment to your recovery by showing everyone how much progress you’ve made.

Cutting-Edge Addiction Treatment

If you’re exploring addiction treatment facilities and are looking for alternatives to traditional 12-step therapy, consider the holistic approach. At Complete Harmony, we provide a range of evidence-based options combined with complementary therapies that will start you on the path to a mindful, well-rounded recovery. Connect with us when you’re ready to learn more.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Popular Alternatives to 12-Step Treatment

Because Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the oldest and best-known solutions for people seeking to break the cycle of addiction, it’s become synonymous with recovery in some people’s minds. However, if you are exploring drug and alcohol rehabs for yourself or a loved one, you should know that 12-step programs like AA and NA aren’t your only choice.

No two people are alike, which means recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. While many people have discovered success in following the 12-step model, you may find a different treatment method resonates more with you. Knowing you have the power to customize your sobriety journey can give you the confidence to find a solution that fully suits your needs.

Reasons to Explore Alternatives to 12-Step Treatment

Why might you want to consider options other than the traditional 12-step path to addiction recovery?
  • You prefer to take a holistic approach to your overall health and well-being.
  • You’re seeking a secular alternative to the faith-based 12-step method.
  • You are returning to treatment after experiencing a relapse.
  • You have a dual diagnosis of addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder.
  • You’re looking for therapies that help you uncover and address the root cause of your self-destructive behavior.
  • You want a more flexible approach that allows you to choose between different treatment modalities.
  • You appreciate the option to participate in complementary therapies like massage, yoga and acupuncture as part of your rehabilitation.
  • You believe addiction treatment should empower and enlighten you.
  • You know your past doesn’t define your future.

You Have Other Options

If you aren’t religious, you might struggle to connect with the 12 steps because they specifically require you to surrender to a higher power. Though the program doesn’t necessarily dictate that your higher power must be a deity, you might still prefer a treatment option rooted in science instead of faith. Alternative addiction treatments like SMART Recovery and psychotherapy teach people with substance use disorders that they have the innate ability to overcome their addictions and live an independent, fulfilling life.

Overcoming an addiction involves not only committing to significant lifestyle changes, but also thinking differently about yourself and your relationships. Negativity is one common characteristic of addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy have proven highly effective for addiction treatment because they teach people to change their thoughts and habits.

Hybrid Addiction Treatment in California

At Complete Harmony, we believe the most effective addiction treatment program is one tailored to meet your unique needs. If you prefer a faith-based approach, we will use the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as the foundation of your recovery. However, if you aren’t religious and believe you’d benefit more from secular, research-based treatment methods, we leave that choice in your hands.

Our hybrid addiction treatment program relies on a synthesis of proven therapeutic modalities that teach you how to manage your illness and heal – mentally, physically and spiritually. Connect with us today to learn more about your alternatives to 12-step treatment.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Tips for Becoming a More Compassionate Person

Most people would probably agree that being more caring is a goal worth striving for. However, unless you consciously take time to do this, you might find it doesn’t always come naturally. Is it possible to purposely adopt a mindset of love and kindness? Yes! Compassion is a skill you can develop over time, even amid your daily stresses and challenges. Like an exercise, the more you do it, the more instinctive it will feel. Start cultivating more compassion in your life with these three tips.

1. Be Kind to Yourself

It’s impossible to love others if you don’t care for yourself first. To do so, you should silence your inner critic when it rears its ugly head with intrusive thoughts like “You’ll never be good enough” or “Nobody likes you; they’re only pretending.”

Instead of being so hard on yourself, give yourself permission to be imperfect. You might not have everything figured out – but who on Earth does? You’re trying your best and taking things one day at a time, just like everyone else.

2. Hone Your Sense of Empathy

If your goal is to become a more compassionate person, you must show more empathy for others – not only people you know, but also total strangers. It’s all too easy to get caught up in day-to-day worries and neglect to think about what other people are going through. However, people around the world are suffering – not only from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also from the effects of climate change, violence and poverty.

Every day, work to put yourself in others’ shoes. For instance, as you read news articles about the wildfires along the West Coast, try to imagine what people fleeing those fires have gone through. Many of them have lost their homes and businesses during this already difficult year. Some people are even mourning the loss of loved ones who died in the fires. If you’re lucky enough to be unaffected by these natural disasters, is there any action you can take to help ease victims’ suffering? Perhaps you can donate to a relief fund, or help share survivors’ stories.

3. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Small acts of kindness don’t cost you a penny to perform, but they can enhance your mental health by leaps and bounds. When you intentionally spread joy, it increases your brain’s production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that naturally boosts your mood and provides profound feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Consider these ideas to get you started.
  • Start a Little Free Library book-sharing program in your neighborhood.
  • Write compliments or affirmations on strips of paper and leave your notes on strangers’ cars.
  • Send a “just-because” gift to a family member or friend.
  • Volunteer to help an elderly neighbor with their chores or errands.
  • Let someone get in front of you in the checkout line at the grocery store.
  • Pay for the order of the person behind you at the drive-thru.
  • Clear the clutter in your home and donate anything you no longer use to a charitable organization.

Be Patient With Yourself

Nothing worthwhile in life comes without making an effort. If being more compassionate doesn’t naturally come to you, give yourself time. With practice, you’ll find it easier to show compassion for others – and yourself.

If you’re seeking qualified addiction treatment outside the structure of traditional 12-step programs, reach out to us at Complete Harmony. We offer a full continuum of care with a holistic framework that has helped empower people struggling with substance use disorders and given them the tools to live fulfilling, healthy lives.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What Is Hybrid Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a complex disease that requires a multifaceted approach to healing and recovery. While we know there’s no cure for this illness, it is possible for people to break free from the cycle of self-destruction and learn to manage their addiction for the rest of their lives. To succeed in your goals, look for a certified drug and alcohol rehab facility that offers hybrid addiction treatment.

A Closer Look at Hybrid Addiction Treatment

Many inpatient drug rehab centers use “one-size-fits-all” methods for treating addiction. The most prevalent example among these is the 12-step model. Though the 12-step program has helped many people find a path to wellness, facilities that rely solely on the 12 steps may leave people with fewer tools to maintain their long-term sobriety.

Another potential drawback of a more rigid approach is that the treatment philosophy might not align with everyone’s values. For instance, if you’re not a person of faith, you may struggle with the idea of surrendering to a higher power in 12-step addiction recovery. Ultimately, a rehab program that doesn’t click with you could make it even more challenging for you to get – and stay – on the right track.

In contrast, a hybrid addiction program combines several treatment modalities, all of which work together to help ensure the higher probability of long-term success. In hybrid treatment, for example, clients who prefer a more secular approach may thrive in SMART® Recovery, which introduces people to a science-based, self-empowering pathway to lifelong abstinence from harmful substances. Adding holistic therapies such as yoga and acupuncture to the mix provides a well-rounded foundation for recovery.

Advantages of the Hybrid Approach

Hybrid addiction treatment has several notable benefits that set it apart from more traditional methods of achieving sobriety.
  • Helps avoid a relapse: Combining holistic and evidence-based treatments will give you a broader set of tools and skills to choose from when you leave rehab. Having these at your fingertips can be invaluable as you encounter the triggers and stresses associated with the “real world.”
  • Addresses the underlying cause of your addiction: Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are ideal for treating addictions because they help you relearn how to respond in different circumstances. You can learn to uncover the root of your addiction and why you crave substances in specific scenarios.
  • Heals all facets of a person: Hybrid addiction treatment can simultaneously address physical, mental, emotional and spiritual issues for comprehensive well-being.

Hybrid Addiction Treatment in California

If you’re looking for a program that combines conventional and alternative strategies for treating addiction, Complete Harmony can help. We provide a full continuum of care for people who need help turning their lives around. Our compassionate advisors are standing by to take your confidential call. Entering treatment could be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Rise in Drug Overdoses

Years before the emergence of the novel coronavirus, another severe public health crisis was causing shock waves throughout our nation: the drug epidemic. Fatal drug overdoses, largely resulting from the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, have killed around half a million people nationwide in the last decade. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be magnifying this risk for the millions of Americans living with substance use disorders.

What’s Causing the Surge in Drug Overdoses?

When the pandemic arrived in the U.S., some authorities hoped it might lead to a decrease in overdoses by disrupting drug traffic as states and nations closed their borders and shut major cities down. Sadly, the opposite seems to be the case. Emerging evidence indicates illicit drug use is on the rise as the coronavirus rages on. Stress, economic devastation and isolation may be driving increased alcohol use and prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, which had seen a 34% spike by late May.

The interruption to their usual supply lines has caused people who rely on drugs such as opioids to seek new ways to obtain their next dose. They might also be more willing to take unfamiliar substances such as fentanyl to get high. More and more drug dealers are turning to fentanyl because it costs less and is easier to transport than heroin. However, unbeknownst to many opioid users, fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, which substantially increases the risk of overdose. Ingesting as little as 0.25 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal.

Isolation Is the “New Normal”

In many cases, shelter-in-place orders have left people alone in their homes. If they take drugs by themselves, nobody will be around to call an ambulance or save their life by administering the opioid overdose antidote naloxone – with tragic results.

Loneliness and anxiety are two significant triggers for drug use and relapse. Compounding the issue, many therapists and recovery groups have stopped offering in-person services to help slow the spread of the virus. People who feel sad, frightened and desperate might turn to drugs and alcohol when they believe they have no other options for getting better. The result is worsening addiction, and in some cases, death.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many weaknesses in America’s infrastructure – public education, our health care system and our social safety net, to name a few. The way we, as a nation, had been responding to our drug epidemic was insufficient even before the emergence of COVID-19. Now, how many more people are at risk for dangerous substance abuse because of these systemic vulnerabilities?

Putting Hope Within Your Reach

Don’t become part of the sad statistics surrounding drug abuse amid COVID-19. If you’re seeking a holistic alternative to 12-step addiction recovery, find your solution at Complete Harmony. We help pave the way to lifelong wellness and sobriety by empowering our clients to reach within themselves to improve their well-being. If the cycle of addiction has been weighing you down, rediscover your freedom and passion for life with our comprehensive one-, two- and three-month residential treatment plans. We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

International Day of Yoga: How Finding Your Center Can Enhance Your Recovery

In 2015, the United Nations designated International Day of Yoga each June. If you don’t already have a yoga routine, now is an excellent time to start discovering the many benefits of this venerable practice. While yoga is an ideal way to build strength and flexibility, these seemingly simple poses go far beyond physical benefits. Should you think about adding yoga to your addiction recovery program? Here are some advantages you might wish to consider.

1. Enhances the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

The word yoga comes from a Sanskrit term meaning “union.” A typical yoga class combines a flow of poses, or asanas, with controlled breathing, and closes with a meditative period in which aspiring yogis seek to reach deeper within themselves. A regular yoga practice can bring you spiritual growth as you learn to quiet your mind and bring your body into balance.

2. Helps Heal Your Brain

Long-term substance abuse alters your brain chemistry, adversely affecting the pathways regulating decision-making, emotions and memory. Though drugs have lasting impacts on the brain, it’s not impossible to rebuild this organ once you start recovery. As you begin to heal yourself from the disease of addiction, yoga may act like a “reset button” for your brain’s chemistry and neural network.

3. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are genuine threats in recovery because they can serve as significant relapse triggers. If you don’t learn healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga, a family argument or stressful day at work can cause intense cravings for your former substance of use. As one study by researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found, the regular practice of yoga may enhance gray matter and the areas of the brain that play an active role in stress relief, like the hippocampus.

4. Better Overall Health

Addiction takes a toll on your overall physical, mental and emotional health. When you make yoga part of your recovery routine, you can enjoy more energy, an improved mood and better quality of sleep. You’ll also start feeling stronger every day, and will notice a boost in your self-esteem because of the changes yoga will make to your body.

5. More Self-Discipline

Walking away from the temptation to use drugs and alcohol is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do, but committing to a regular yoga practice can give you the discipline you’ll need to keep saying “no” for the rest of your life. When you notice how much better you feel overall, it will help keep you motivated to continue with your yoga routine.

Begin the Journey to Healing at Complete Harmony

If you are seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction or dual diagnosis, but wish to explore alternatives to traditional 12-step recovery, find your home at Complete Harmony. We offer a holistic treatment program that includes comfortable, non-pharmaceutical detox and cognitive behavioral therapy alongside therapies such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture to give our clients the best chance of lifelong recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stay Connected: Avoiding Loneliness in Self-Quarantine

It’s been a little more than two months since a wave of school and business closures swept the nation and most people began sheltering in place. And even as some cities and states are relaxing COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many of us are remaining homebound as much as possible to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of contagion within our communities.

Though experts currently don’t have an estimate for when we’ll be able to resume our pre-pandemic lifestyles, we could be a year – or more – away from returning to normal. What can you do if you’re craving human contact and struggling with a touch of “quarantine fatigue,” but don’t want to loosen the measures you’ve put in place to stay safe?

Organize Virtual Get-Togethers

Some people have become more relaxed about social distancing by inviting people over to their homes or meeting them in newly reopened restaurants. However, epidemiologists caution that there are still too many unknowns to make even small in-person gatherings safe. Why? Many people who get COVID-19 have mild to no symptoms. That means you could feel perfectly healthy and still infect others with the virus.

Instead of jeopardizing public health by taking these risks, invite friends and family members to virtual meetups. Don’t be afraid to get creative – for example, you can coordinate an online game night, or mimic the experience of going out to eat together by arranging a shared meal on video chat. Start a quarantine movie or book club. You don’t need to be in the same room to feel a satisfying sense of connection.

Find Online Workout Buddies

Since coronavirus spreads via airborne droplets, heavy breathing in a shared space will likely do you more harm than good. However, if you’re having trouble staying motivated to work out without the extra accountability of a friend or two, the need for social distancing has probably affected your fitness routine. Many gyms and fitness studios are offering free streaming classes to create camaraderie, or you can agree on a time to meet up with real-life friends for an online sweat session.

Explore Opportunities for Growth

Following an effective routine can provide a much-needed sense of normalcy and control amid uncertain circumstances. However, if your days are starting to run together, begin to set aside time and space for things you want to accomplish. Perhaps there are new skills or hobbies you want to cultivate, or you thrive on intellectual challenges such as learning to code.

Intentionally making room for growth will give you something rewarding to look forward to and break up the monotony of spending every day at home. Just remember, if you’re not feeling up to your chosen pursuit every day, it’s OK to take mental health breaks whenever you need to.


Nonprofits still need willing and able volunteers, even during this significant crisis. Though you might not want to break quarantine to volunteer in person, you can still give back to others through opportunities such as manning a crisis hotline, tutoring underprivileged students online or donating extra money or household goods you may have.

Seek Help When You Need It

During quarantine, many of us have been struggling with a heightened sense of anxiety, but living in a constant crisis mode can take its toll on your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. At Complete Harmony, our caring recovery advisors are here to answer any of your questions about holistic addiction treatment and getting on a healthy track. Connect with us today.
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