Revisiting the 12 Steps of AA After Treatment

12 steps of aa

Alcoholics Anonymous is the world’s longest-running support group for recovering alcohol abusers, operating continuously in countries around the globe for more than 80 years. If you find the 12 steps of AA resonate with you, you’ll want to integrate the program’s teachings into various facets of your life. Often, people who enjoy the supportive nature of 12-step communities continue participating in meetings for many years after getting sober. Since the program emphasizes helping others, you may also choose to pay it forward by sponsoring a fellow group member. Because the 12 steps are so well-known and have helped thousands of […]

Postpartum Depression

postpartum depression

Bringing a new life into the world comes with a range of powerful emotions, from excitement to anxiety. For some people, it can also cause a form of depression. May is Women’s Health Month, Mental Health Month and National Maternal Depression Month, which makes it an excellent time to talk about postpartum depression and steps you can take to manage this condition. Many new mothers and even some brand-new fathers can become severely depressed after the birth of a baby. However, women who go through challenging or unplanned pregnancies or who have a history of mood disorders may be more […]

Your Life Changes When Your Feet Start to Move

your life changes when your feet start to move

In the BRC family of programs, we have a favorite motto: “Your life changes when your feet start to move.” What do we mean when we say this, and how can you incorporate this philosophy into your recovery journey? People in Recovery Must Keep Making Positive Progress Most substance abusers don’t start drinking or using because they want to destroy their lives. However, people who try to quit may find their substance of use calling them back in the form of cravings and withdrawal. Eventually, drug and alcohol abuse becomes a self-sustaining cycle – a rut that’s challenging to find […]

Overcoming Codependent Tendencies After Treatment

codependent tendencies

The term codependency refers to specific behaviors and emotions that interfere with your ability to form healthy relationships. When one partner in a relationship has a substance abuse disorder, codependency can also involve enabling. After you’ve worked to put drug and alcohol use behind you, how can you overcome codependent tendencies and enjoy mutually beneficial relationships? How to Recognize Codependent Tendencies Codependency can take many forms, but its characteristics often include one partner’s compulsion to help or look after the other. Someone who wants to feel loved, needed or appreciated may be more likely to take the “martyr” role in […]

Addiction Is Isolating. Recovery Requires Connection.

recovery requies connection

Though researchers are still working to unravel all the interwoven threads that might lead someone to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we have learned addiction is a disease that causes various mental, physical and psychological problems. Self-isolation is one hallmark of a worsening addiction, making people take extreme measures to hide their behavior from their family, friends and colleagues. Why Do Substance Abusers Self-Isolate? Over time, drug and alcohol use can chip away at the foundations of even your most stable relationships. Becoming reliant on these substances to feel “normal” fosters a mindset of chasing the next drink […]

Non-Stimulant Treatments for ADHD

non-stimulant treatments for ADHD

Ritalin and Adderall are many people’s first experience with potentially addictive prescription medications. While doctors commonly prescribe these drugs to help ADHD patients focus and achieve mental clarity, they are stimulants, which makes them Schedule 2 drugs – the same category as cocaine and opioids. Once you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, you’ll want to avoid taking Ritalin, Adderall or any other risky medications that might threaten your sobriety. However, if you have ADHD and need help managing your symptoms, you might worry about how to do so in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your health. What […]

Prefrontal Cortex Activation in Addiction Recovery

brain

Nobody deliberately starts drinking or using drugs intending to develop an addiction, but many people get caught in the vicious cycle. Understanding how intoxicating substances impact the brain explains why some people continue to misuse alcohol and drugs despite a cascade of adverse life effects. The Brain’s Role in Addiction Substance abuse disorders develop because drugs, alcohol and other intoxicants jump-start the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which stimulates the brain’s reward center in the prefrontal cortex. The dopamine rush leads to pleasurable feelings, creating an unconscious association between drug and alcohol use and satisfying experiences. Once that connection […]

My Family Is Sabotaging My Recovery

sabotage your recovery

In substance abuse recovery, you’ll encounter various obstacles to overcome. One of these is coming to terms with the fact that some people in your life might not want you to succeed in sobriety. While they don’t necessarily wish you ill, their behavior may sabotage your progress. It’s crucial to develop a strategy for dealing with people who come between you and your goals. Why Would Anyone Sabotage Your Recovery? One group of family members who may try to get in the way of your recovery are those who still regularly use and abuse substances. To these people, your newfound […]

OCD vs. Daily Worries: How to Tell the Difference

obsessive-compulsive disorder

Many people find themselves wondering about what characteristics separate obsessive-compulsive disorder from typical anxiety. Nowadays, it’s common for detail-oriented people to jokingly describe themselves as being “so OCD,” which might make you ask yourself whether doing something like straightening a stack of menus at your favorite takeout restaurant indicates you have a disorder. What is the difference between OCD thoughts and behaviors and everyday concerns? What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? OCD consists of two components: intrusive thoughts, followed by specific actions taken to neutralize these disturbing ideas. These behaviors only provide temporary relief, which traps people in an ongoing cycle of […]

Tips for Coping With Pandemic Trauma, Stress and Depression

coping with pandemic stress

Though the novel coronavirus reached U.S. shores in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t significantly affect most people’s lives until March. Then, schools, professional sports leagues, major attractions and international travel shut down nearly overnight. As the one-year pandemic anniversary approaches, you might find yourself dealing with more mental health challenges than usual. Here are some strategies you can try to manage your emotional ups and downs. 1. Give Yourself Permission to Express Your Emotions The pandemic might make you feel a sense of grief, even if you haven’t lost any loved ones to COVID-19. Perhaps your inability to see […]