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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Why Substance Abuse and Intimacy Issues Go Hand in Hand

Addiction is, at its heart, a disease of isolation and secrecy. People who consistently misuse drugs and alcohol do so as an unhealthy coping mechanism that helps them mask unpleasant thoughts and feelings and makes uncomfortable personal interactions go more smoothly.

For example, perhaps you have unresolved issues with trauma, and drugs or alcohol have become a way for you to avoid thinking about the past. Or, maybe most social interactions make you feel anxious, so when you go to parties, you drink to the point where you feel more confident in socializing with others.

Reasons Substance Abusers Struggle With Intimacy

Many people with substance misuse disorders struggle to relate to other people and form close personal bonds. For obvious reasons, problems like childhood sexual abuse, anxiety and depression give rise to strong feelings of shame and guilt that tend to make people withdraw from society. The connection also leads to the urge to self-medicate and sweep those problems under the rug.

To make matters worse, many people who have underlying intimacy issues begin relying on drugs and alcohol to self-medicate relatively early in their lives, often in their teens or early 20s. As soon as they begin to form their addictive behavior, it stunts the process of emotional growth that forms the foundation of healthy adult relationships.

Often, those who enter recovery report feeling stuck at the emotional level of however old they were when they first began abusing substances. In other words, someone who began drinking or using drugs in high school will probably have the same emotional maturity as a 16- or 17-year-old until they eventually start their recovery journey and resume the process of growing up.

Others start off with deep-seated intimacy disorders that fuel their substance abuse, which in turn exacerbates their intimacy issues. Either way, for many people, substance abuse and intimacy issues become equal halves of a vicious and destructive cycle.

The Costs of Substance Abuse on Relationships

While addiction takes its toll on every relationship in someone’s life, the hardest-hit relationship is often the one between the drug or alcohol abuser and their spouse or partner. As the addiction escalates, it starts to create an emotional divide between the partners that is challenging to overcome. Worsening alcohol and drug use also leads to more arguments, which can sometimes become violent. In some cases, this tension can create an environment in which the partner with the addiction begins to rely on their substance of choice more and more to reduce stress and avoid having to think about the extent of the problems.

There are several telltale signs that drinking, drug use and self-destructive habits by an intimate partner are causing tension within the relationship to the point that drug rehab may be necessary to stop the cycle.
  • Drinking or drug use is one of the only activities the partners like to do together.
  • Domestic violence sometimes becomes an issue when a partner has been drinking or using drugs.
  • One or both partners need to be drunk or high to become sexually intimate or to discuss the problems in their relationship.
  • The substance abuser’s drinking or drug use has become the source of many arguments about failure to take care of household responsibilities, lying about where they are going or what they are doing, staying out too late, etc.
  • The non-addicted partner has had to make excuses for the drug or alcohol abuser by apologizing to others for their behavior or calling in sick when they are too high or hung over to report to work.
  • The partner with the substance misuse disorder drinks or uses drugs to alleviate tension or stress related to household conflict over their substance abuse problems.

Is Addiction Harming Your Relationship?

Don’t let drugs and alcohol destroy your life. Regain control with Complete Harmony’s cutting-edge holistic rehab program. Our professional California rehab team takes an individualized approach to healing every facet of the body, mind and spirit. Speak to one of our recovery advisors today to make a fresh start.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

5 Apps That Help You Develop Meditation Habits

It’s no secret meditation has an incredible array of benefits, from lowering stress to curing insomnia to helping you find a sense of inner peace. But if you’ve tried to build a meditation practice, you already know it can be a challenge. Clearing your mind sounds so easy when you read about it, but as soon as you sit down, those intrusive thoughts creep in – and before you know it, you’re thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner instead of focusing on your breath.

If you’ve ever gotten frustrated by your lack of success in building a daily meditation practice, the good news is that there are apps to help you. If you are ready to bring a better balance and perspective to your life through meditation, here are five of the best apps to help you achieve that goal.

1. Calm

You may have learned about Calm from seeing their instantly soothing “Do Nothing for 30 Seconds” TV commercial, or perhaps you became familiar with this app after hearing that Apple named Calm its 2017 App of the Year. Calm is effective because it comes with a range of meditation lengths, as well as seven- and 21-day programs for people who need help developing a healthy habit. For users with insomnia, Calm offers “adult bedtime stories” that will relax you off to dreamland in no time.

2. Headspace

Headspace likens itself to having “a gym membership for your brain.” Its easy-to-follow guided meditations are categorized by theme, but there are also one-off meditations you can do whenever you need a quick break. Going through an especially rough patch in your day? The “SOS” meditation option is ideal for anyone who needs to prevent a mental meltdown. Headspace also offers meditation geared toward kids.

3. Buddhify

If you struggle with anxiety, you might want to install the Buddhify app on your iOS or Android device. Buzzfeed rated this beautifully designed app as their top meditation app to ease anxious thoughts. Buddhify differs from other apps in that its meditations are structured to fit into a busy lifestyle. With Buddhify, you can meditate on the go, no matter where you are. Even if you only have four minutes to squeeze in a meditation session, Buddhify is there for you. Choose your meditation based on what you are doing or feeling at a specific moment. Buddhify also allows you to share the good vibes by sending a meditation to brighten a friend’s day.

4. Stop, Breathe & Think

Available for both iOS and Android devices, Stop, Breathe & Think teaches users to check in with what they are doing and encourages them to take short breaks. After you tell the app where you are mentally, it will provide you with a recommended list of tailored meditations you can try. The app can also provide motivation that keeps you on track with developing your meditation habits by allowing you to view your progress.

5. 10% Happier

If you’ve been curious about meditation, but have found yourself skeptical about its benefits, 10% Happier is the app for you. An offshoot of journalist Dan Harris’ bestselling book of the same name, the app presents the facts about meditation so you can learn how to apply it in your life. This app offers guided audio meditations for coping with stress and anxiety, as well as for specific daily activities like walking and falling asleep.

Your Path to Inner Peace

At Complete Harmony, we have integrated holistic healing treatments like meditation into our hybrid addiction treatment model. Our California drug and alcohol rehab facility offers an integrated approach for clients who wish to undergo healing in a therapeutic setting that treats them as a whole person and allows them to address the roots of their addiction from a mind-body-spirit perspective. Contact us to learn more about beginning your recovery journey.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Stress Awareness Month: Finding Inner Peace

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 – and for good reason. Chronic stress can take a major toll on your physical and emotional health. Plus, it’s one of the biggest risk factors for relapse, Here’s a look at some of the long-term side effects.
  • Mental health: depression, anxiety and personality disorders 
  • Heart health: Cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks and stroke 
  • Obesity and other eating disorders 
  • Menstrual problems 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Skin and hair problems: acne, psoriasis, and eczema and permanent hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems: GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis and irritable colon 

Focus on Inner Peace to Fend Off Stress

Some experts say that a stubborn focus on your inner peace is the perfect antidote for stress. When you focus on your inner calm, you protect yourself from the stress around you. Stress is like a contagious virus that spreads from person to person. Inner peace helps you create harmony with yourself and the world around you – and it keeps you emotionally balanced so stress doesn’t interfere with your goal of lasting sobriety.

Like most things in recovery, learning to be at peace with yourself will require practice and patience; it won’t happen overnight. It will take some time and effort to forgive yourself for past, poor decisions or choices and to embrace who you are and how far you’ve come in your new sober life.

4 Steps for Finding Inner Peace

Consider incorporating the following steps in your recovery to find inner peace:

  1. Seek out moments of silence. When was the last time you just unplugged – no smartphones, no laptops, no television – and just spent time with you and your thoughts? Whether you sit still on your couch or take a peaceful nature walk, carving out time for quiet reflection is a great way to look inward and discover who you are and what you need to feel calm and happy.
  2. Make meditation a priority. The great thing about meditation is that it teaches you to notice your thoughts and accept them without passing judgment – and this, in turn, helps to generate inner peace. The peaceful practice of meditation can also enable you to find deeper calm as you release any built-up emotional tension.
  3. Say goodbye to regret. Unfortunately, a lot of people in recovery struggle with the toxic emotion of regret. Yet holding onto your pasts mistakes will hold you back from forgiving yourself and finding inner peace. Try talking yourself out of any negative self-talk that perpetuates regret. For example, tell yourself “I’m taking steps to change or "I made mistakes but I can also make amends.”
  4. Keep a journal. A great way to get back to who you really are is to write down and reflect on your feelings. Journaling is a safe and sacred way to connect with your inner dialogue and spirit. Make a habit of jotting down and reflecting on your feelings – for many, this process alone can be meditative.

Holistic Therapies for Recovery & Stress Management

Complete Harmony offers the ideal setting and programming to help you tap into your inner peace, keep stress at bay and heal your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Our model for hybrid addiction treatment includes holistic therapies like massage, meditation and yoga. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Volunteering Your Time This Spring

Spring is almost here and it’s a great time to grow your altruistic spirit and brighten someone else’s day by volunteering. National Volunteer Week (April 7-13) and Earth Day (April 22) are also right around the corner, so the timing couldn’t be better to give back to your community.

What’s more, as the weather warms up and the days get longer, you may find yourself looking for things to do to occupy your time in a healthy way.

How Volunteering Helps

Before we talk about the many ways you can donate your time this season, let’s talk about the numerous benefits of volunteering for your recovery and your overall health. Have you heard of the phrase “giver’s glow”? This describes the many health perks of giving back, including lower blood pressure, decreased risk of depression and anxiety, higher self-esteem and increased happiness.

Volunteering is great for getting out of your head and ridding yourself of negative emotions like shame, guilt or anxiety that can hold you back in your recovery. Helping someone else is also a surefire way to boost your self-esteem and gain a positive perspective on your life. Plus, you’ll meet new friends and gain some valuable skills that might help when you’re ready to find employment.

Spring-Themed Volunteering Ideas

Certainly, you can give back to your community all year round, but springtime means an array of fun outdoor and season-appropriate activities. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired!
  • Beautify a local park or beach. Volunteer to clean up your community park by picking up trash, fixing up the playground or planting flowers. You can also participate in a local beach cleanup to help protect the sand and sea.
  • Take a pup for a walk. Check your local shelter to see if they need any dog walkers. Together, you and your furry friend can reap the benefits of exercising outdoors. 
  • Clean up the earth. Find out what your community is doing for Earth Day and how you can help. This might include planting a tree, volunteering to clear off a road, helping out a climate change nonprofit or planting flowers around town. Or, gather some sober friends and plant a community garden for your local recovery community.
  • Make a donation. If you do a little spring cleaning, make sure to give away your lightly used goods. For example, you can donate clothes and household and entertainment items to small, local thrift stores or larger nonprofit organizations that run thrift stores. Craft supplies and books can be donated to churches or local youth groups.
Volunteering during recovery is a wonderful way to keep yourself busy in a rewarding and productive manner. Just be sure to always put your recovery first. If you feel overwhelmed, scale back so you don't sidetrack your own sobriety. Remember: every bit counts and no impact is too small this spring!

Staying Sober, Staying Involved

After recovery, the staff at Complete Harmony encourages you to find groups and community resources that support your commitment to sobriety. To learn more about our cutting-edge treatments and services, call today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Role of Self-Acceptance in Recovery

When your life has been turned upside by a substance use disorder, it’s hard to feel great about yourself. In fact, it’s more likely that you’re struggling with feelings of guilt, shame and low self-esteem. While this is normal, it can also jeopardize your recovery. If you’re busy beating yourself up, you’re not fully focusing on beating your addiction. For a successful recovery, you’ll need to work on self-acceptance.

What Is Self-Acceptance?

Many people mistakenly interchange self-acceptance with self-esteem – but they are different. According to Psychology Today, self-esteem refers to “how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves,” or our “esteem-able parts.” Self-acceptance, on the other hand, is a more global affirmation that requires embracing all facets of ourselves – including our weakness, limitations and faulty pasts.

How Can Self-Acceptance Help Your Recovery?
The more self-acceptance you have, the more strength you’ll have to overcome your substance use disorder. Getting on better terms with yourself and your addiction will open you up to grow in your recovery and give you the courage to move forward in life. Self-acceptance can bring you peace, as you’re no longer fighting against yourself or agonizing over your past or so-called failures. It can also make you more open to learn from others as you accept that you have more work to do to become a better, sober you – and that’s okay. Some experts say to think of self-acceptance as opening your heart to personal forgiveness and moving past any feelings of guilt, anger or depression.

Certainly, this all sounds great – but self-acceptance isn’t something you just wake up with one morning. It’s also easy to get off-track when you’re dealing with the day to day of recovery or struggling with the realities of addiction like relapse, damaged relationships, co-occurring depression and anxiety, or simply adjusting to life outside of rehab. As you grow your self-acceptance, it’s important to try your best to use self-acceptance as a calming force that helps you stay the course and/or get back on track.

Growing Your Self-Acceptance
There are ways to practice self-acceptance – here are a few to begin with:
  • Shift your thought patterns. For example, instead of saying to yourself: “I’m a bad person,” re-frame your thoughts to “I am a person who has acted badly.”
  • Be kind to yourself. Self-acceptance has to start and end with you – and so be patient with yourself and do your best to accept your flaws and give yourself permission to be you. 
  • Stay positive. In addition to surrounding yourself with positive people, surround yourself with positive affirmations or inspirational quotes – or anything that can help you when you’re feeling insecure or negative about yourself.
  • Accept imperfection. Recovery isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress. Perfectionism can stand in the way of self-acceptance and your recovery by preventing you from letting go of the past, learning from others, bouncing back from mistakes or taking the full amount time needed to undergo the recovery process.
  • Believe in yourself. You can grow your self-acceptance by working on positive self-talk. In other words, remind yourself why you are worth your recovery and how much you deserve to have a better, sober life!
Finding Self-Acceptance at Complete Harmony
At Complete Harmony, we use a combination of traditional and holistic treatment methods to help you manage your feelings, grow your self-confidence and self-acceptance and become a better, sober you. To learn more, call us today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Solutions to Common Meditation Excuses (Fears)

Meditation may have a long list of benefits for people in recovery, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to begin or stick with the proven practice. In fact, there are many fears and excuses that can prevent people from fully incorporating regular meditation into their recovery routine.  

Here, we take a look at a few excuses (or perhaps fears) and how to prevent them from interfering with the many ways meditation can help you stay focused, self-aware, spiritual, self-confident and in better control of your sobriety.
  • "I don’t have time." Meditation doesn’t require an hour or even 30 minutes. Experts say that even five minutes a day can have transformative effects; it can result in reduced stress and increased focus.
  • "I'm afraid to be alone with my thoughts." In fact, meditation can help free you from any thoughts you’re trying to avoid, say experts. Author Jack Kornfield wrote in The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology: "Unhealthy thoughts can chain us to the past…Fear can be transformed into presence and excitement. Confusion can open up into interest. Uncertainty can become a gateway to surprise. And unworthiness can lead us to dignity.” 
  • "It’s too hard." It does take practice and discipline, but so does most things that will help improve yourself. A tip from Yoga Journal: Start slowly and just focus on counting your breath. For example: Deeply inhale and at the bottom of your exhalation, mentally count one. Repeat until you reach 10.
  • "I can’t turn off my thoughts." Of course, you can’t stop your thoughts and that’s not the goal of meditation. Instead, meditation is about observing your thoughts and catching yourself so you can anchor yourself back to the present moment.
  • "I can’t sit still." You practice staying still each night, as you prepare to drift off to sleep. With this in mind, experts suggest meditating lying down if you have trouble sitting still. 
Finding Holistic Treatment 
At Complete Harmony, we specialize in different cutting-edge techniques to help patients recover from addiction, including meditation, yoga, massage therapy and acupuncture. To learn more about our programs and rehab facility, call today: 866-930-4673. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Apps for Addiction Recovery

We use our smartphones to shop, count calories, track sleep, meditate, stay connected with loved ones and more – so why shouldn’t they help with recovery, too? Over the past several years, more and more mobile apps have been created to address the needs of people in recovery. Some apps make it easier to find meetings and/or support from others in recovery. Others are designed to help with triggers and relapse or to provide inspiration and motivation to maintain healthy habits.

While apps can’t and shouldn’t replace professional addiction treatment, they can be a smart tool in your recovery. For one, they can help prevent isolation and connect you with others who understand what you’re going through. Proponents say these apps are especially great for those who don’t have help or support groups nearby. According to CNET, the National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $11 million in grants to explore the role of social media in the prevention and treatment of addiction.

Both the App Store and Google Play have a slew of social apps that aim to help people in recovery – but don’t download one without asking your addiction counselor or healthcare professional. You’ll want to vet the app together to determine whether it aligns with your specific stage of recovery and recovery goals. You might even be able to use them together to set goals and track progress.

Here is a sampling of a few popular recovery apps to evaluate. Ask your addiction specialist or recovery peers to recommend others that have worked for them.
  • SoberTool: This app has a sobriety counter that calculates days clean and sober as well as how much money you saved. It also offers daily motivational messages, a community forum and process to avoid relapse. 
  • recoveryBox: This app tracks daily life activities to identify and break unhelpful habits that may impact recovery. Daily activities are broken down into green, amber and red lights. 
  • Sober Grid: This app helps users build a strong recovery network by connecting them with other nearby sober users. It also provides a function so you can reach out for help if you’re showing signs of relapse. 
  • Pocket Rehab: This app connects you with others in recovery – both online and in person. It offers a journal feature to track events and feelings and includes a “lifeline” to text/talk/video chat with other members of the community who are online and ready to help. 
  • I Am Sober: This app allows users to create daily pledges to keep them honest and remind them why they are sober. It also provides daily motivation to reinforce recovery and sobriety. 
Cutting Edge Holistic Rehab
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Link Between Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation

mindfulness meditation
Learning to be more mindful – or paying attention on purpose without judgement – has been found to be a vital tool in emotional control. This is because mindfulness can help prevent you from simply reacting without considering any consequences.

"Being aware of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions – both pleasant and unpleasant –can help us choose how to respond, rather than simply react," Dr. Timothy Riley, an assistant professor in the family and community medicine department at Penn State Health, said in a news release.

This is an especially helpful skill for people in recovery, who need to ride out cravings and gain greater control of negative emotions.

Riley offered an example of how mindfulness can help in an everyday situation: You see a cookie at Starbucks and want the cookie, he explained. Then you may become guilty for wanting the cookie. If you're mindful, however, you notice the cookie and are aware of your emotional response – and you can let it be without judgment, Riley added.

"It puts you in this observer stance where we can witness what is happening without getting wrapped up in it," he said. "It gives you a bit of space."

In other words, being mindful allows us to sit back and think whether or not it’s wise to buy the cookie and why we really want the cookie. Is it because of hunger or are you looking to fill another void? It also helps quell your inner child, who may feel like screaming, yelling, crying or throwing a fit because she can't have that cookie.

This might seem simple but being more mindful is something we all need to work on daily. Luckily, a little bit of practice goes a long way.

Helping You Become More Mindful in Recovery
Meditation is a great way to strengthen your mindfulness muscle so you’ll find it much easier to become present throughout the day. At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit, including mediation. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

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