Adolescence

I’m Sorry but I’m Not Sorry

“I’m sorry.” “No, really, I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry. Can you help me?” “I’m sorry. I really appreciate it.”   Is “I’m sorry,” the unconscious mantra you use when you engage with the world? For years, I said, “I’m sorry” for some of the most banal reasons: To a server who brought me the wrong order; To someone who had issues pronouncing my name; To a person who didn’t know an answer to my question; To someone for a mistake that they made; For asking a question, and better yet, for asking a “stupid” question.   The list can go on …

New Study Talks About Stress and Teen Girls

Adolescents experience a lot of stress, more than we may even realize. Stress can come from the natural ups and downs at school because of academic pressure, or via social circles, or from an overwrought family system. For some kids, one thing leads to another, and they find themselves trying to process all of that at the same time. How often are these kids who are struggling in this way, boxed into the at-risk nomenclature? Naming the problem and doing something about it are very different things. Further, if we tell these kids they are at-risk, it evokes a negative …

Taking Care of Yourself While Being of Service in Recovery

We need to be of service in recovery. Getting out of ourselves and helping others is a time-tested component in the recovery puzzle. When we suffer, helping someone else can be liberating. Being of service acts as an unexpected and welcome emotional salve. Being of service shows us that we are not alone in our suffering; it shows us that relief is available. Being of service provides support, and it encourages community. Service work is a wise requirement.   There is a shadow side to service work, though, and it rears its head when we don’t take care ourselves. Sans …

Parenting Teenagers and Maintaining Our Self-Regulation

Teenagers are changeable creatures. Their moods shift rapidly, their bodies change non- stop, and it’s sometimes difficult to notice if something is really wrong or if the persistent eye-rolling, parental irritation is par for the course. In addition to the eye-rolling, teenagers are also not known for their critical thinking skills or wise decision-making. This might mean they will intentionally like/not like a person or situation you dislike, or they may do something just because you don’t approve. It’s frustrating for parents, but it may also be a subtle sign for us pause and look at the larger picture.   …

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 …

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