Feelings

Acknowledging and Honoring Grief

With addiction and mental illness comes something that we often don’t want to look at, which is grief and the deep sense of loss that arrives when we or a family member steps into recovery. Drugs and alcohol and/or mental illness are often viewed as the villains in the aftermath of addiction. But the underlying weight of grief often gets shoved to the side or bypassed entirely.   The truth is, grief can be crippling. It can take the wind out of us and make us feel like we’ve landed flat on our faces, gasping for air. When we ignore …

Asking for Help and Self-Care are for Everyone

Asking for help is a radical act of self-care. Removing oneself from the isolation of overwhelm and exhaustion and stepping into vulnerability is part and parcel to taking care of our own needs. It’s not necessarily a sign of strength to strong-arm our way through our difficulties; however, we often get stuck in this idea that we have to “soldier on,” regardless of our own immediate needs.   Emotions come in waves. They can be placid waves or they can feel hurricane-like in their strength. It’s ok to fall apart and feel what we are feeling. It’s how we heal, …

Mental Health is Mental Wealth

When someone suffers from mental illness, there is a deprivation of the joy and emotional wealth that’s present when there is ideal mental health. Mental illness can drain our joie de vivre, and make for a muddy emotional existence. Relationships with loved ones tend to be difficult, and there tends to be a propensity for loneliness and isolation. Worse yet, when mental illness is left untreated, the toll it can take on the one suffering and their loved ones can be taxing and sometimes devastating.   Some types of mental illness are more straightforward in their treatment: anxiety and depression, …

Wise Words on Self-Care: A Guest Post from Alumni

Self-care is one of the most important things we learn to do in recovery. When we drink and use, or when we suffer from mental illness, we look for outside sources to self-soothe. Our internal resources are often verboten to us; they are either non-existent or significantly unsafe. The recovery process helps us cultivate that inner resource, where we become able to self-soothe, and take care of our own needs without sacrificing our well-being.   Occasionally, one of our alumni writes guest posts for us, sharing what it’s like to be a young adult in recovery from mental illness and …

Is Your Teen Stressed About Graduation?

It’s time for Graduation! During graduation time, it’s not uncommon for many teens to fall under great pressure from parents and teachers to exceed in academia or to get accepted into the ideal university. Stress tends to be high at the end of the year, no matter how you spin it. Often times, stress is somaticized (converted into physical symptoms) and it shows up in the form of : stomach aches, headaches, difficulty sleeping, eating more or eating less, and even mood swings.   Unfortunately, some kids turn to drugs and alcohol to attempt to quell the anxiety and physical …

The Memorial Day Holiday Weekend and Self-Care

Memorial Day holiday weekend,  and holidays this time of year, tend to bring up an image of BBQs, beer and parties:  Lots of parties. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is emblematic of the beginning of Summer, despite it being a about honoring those who died in active military service.  When you’re an addict or alcoholic, however, most holidays take on one meaning, and one meaning only: a means to getting high. But when you come into recovery, the meanings of holidays need to change. They need to evolve into opportunities for making healthier choices, sober fun, and creating positive memories. In …

3 Things in the Way of Asking for Help

Is asking for help a challenge for you or someone you love?   We often create more suffering as a result of our desire to control the outcome of a situation versus lessoning our suffering by asking for help. Frequently for those in recovery, whether from substance abuse, mental illness, or a combination thereof, asking for help is a learned skill. It’s something that is derived from doing step work, working with a therapist, and going to process groups. Sometimes asking for help requires that we confront the very thing we are struggling with: ego.   What does not asking …

Emotional Sobriety: 5 Tools For Self-Regulation

What is Emotional sobriety? Is it perfection? Is it always feeling good or being happy, or optimistic? And what happens if you don’t meet perfection, or you have a bad day, feel anxious, angry, sad, or gasp, pessimistic?   Emotional sobriety is the ability to self-regulate– to self-soothe in times of duress. It is not a call to perfection. For an alcoholic, addict, or one with fragile mental health, learning to self-regulate is a foundational tool for their recovery and something they begin to learn in treatment. Therapists and counselors work tirelessly to encourage clients to begin the process of …

Resolution, Schmesolution: Create a New Year Theme

It’s that time: New Year’s Eve celebrations are upon us! For many, it’s the time of year often met with party plans and resolutions. Parties and resolutions together sound like a juxtaposition and affect some legitimate irony, but nevertheless, they go together for most people every 31st of December. However, if you are in recovery, have clearer eyes and hopefully a wiser mind, things might look a bit different during this time of year.   There are several articles offering tips and guidelines for setting up the “perfect” New Year resolutions, 0r embarking on a New Year cleanse, or signing …

Compassion and Kindness Over Holiday Hustling

We are neck deep in last-minute holiday madness! Traffic is catawampus, and the stores are loud and overly crowded. I am noticing and experiencing a real hustle and bustle to get things done for the upcoming Christmas holiday, but for many of us, holidays can represent added stress and perhaps anxiety.   How about flipping the holiday coin, so to speak, and leaning into the recovery work you’ve been doing around stress and anxiety? Try taking a look at this holiday as an opportune time to work with your discomfort and begin to hold some internal space for it. You may begin …

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