positive psychology

The Power of Positive Psychology: Recovering From Addiction

Psychology is a science that studies people’s human behaviors. Human behavior is learned behavior, which is especially true with addiction. Various studies and psychological research has helped people to try and understand the motivations behind substance abuse, and the choice to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking and taking drugs. 

Drug and alcohol addiction are learned behaviors, and recovery from addiction requires individuals to be motivated enough to get help and make significant changes in their behavior and lives. The power of positive psychology has been proven to help people with substance use disorders (SUD) believe they can truly change their lives for the better. But, how? 

The addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare would like to teach you about the power of positive psychology in addiction recovery. 

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology (PP) is defined as the field of study called the “good life” phenomenon. The name refers to just what this notion means. It focuses on people and their beliefs and behaviors, and the makeup of their characters, and how that influences them to act the way that they do. 

Studies conducted at the Positive Psychology Center at The University of Pennsylvania describe the notion of positive psychology similarly to the socio-psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This theory refers to someone’s belief, prediction, or expectation that something will come to fruition because they believe it will. As a result, a self-fulfilling prophecy indicates that people’s beliefs influence their actions, which is true, just like Professor Jim Orford’s addiction theory stated. This is the foundation for the scientific study behind positive psychology. 

The theory behind positive psychology allows individuals to find a way to build a meaningful life full not just of survival, but one of purpose. It is all based on principles of having a positive mindset and shifting one’s perspective. 

For those with addiction, the use of positive psychology in treatment and recovery helps patients be able to focus on how they can not just survive, but also most importantly, become happier and more fulfilled in their lives, to have an optimal chance of a successful recovery and maintain long-term sobriety. 

Rather than focusing on the pain of one’s addiction and mental illness, the science behind positive psychology has helped addiction specialists, medical professionals, and caregivers understand what it is that helps to make a person truly happy and healthy. The emphasis of PP is to focus on someone’s mental wellness and not solely just their illness. 

Power of Positive Psychology for Addiction Recovery 

Benefits of Staying Positive During Recovery 

Having a positive outlook whether it’s for a situation or making a decision, is undoubtedly a huge predictor of an outcome. It is extremely true when they say if you have a negative attitude the outcome will not be positive. Positivity is extremely powerful.

Vice versa, if you have a more positive outlook on things, the outcome will be a positive one. Things do not always go as planned, but research has proven that our beliefs are greatly influenced by our thoughts. 

In terms of addiction and treatment, positive psychology is an extremely helpful tool. Despite the good intentions, many treatment strategies aim to help a person recover, but, aside from therapy, sometimes those who are going through recovery for drug and alcohol addictions are not taught proper life or coping skills to be able to properly manage and take control over their conditions. 

Therefore, while it is not intentional, some strategies weaken one’s belief in their power and abilities to take back control over their lives and stay sober. The possibility of relapse is always around the corner. 

During effective addiction treatment, positive psychological approaches do play a significant role in achieving long-term addiction recovery goals. Traditionally, people who have chosen to enter a rehab facility for treatment, they are diagnosed with a condition, told they will have to manage it, to expect the possibility of relapse, and that there is also a chance of death. While all of this is true, this negative prognosis can feel extremely demoralizing and can set someone back. 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our addiction specialists practice positive psychology. Based on our patients and their different needs, we try and suggest that their addiction is a behavioral disorder that was a consequence and result of poor choices. 

We not only diagnose our patients accurately but teach them that with the right help and techniques in therapy and throughout treatment, that these bad habits and behaviors can be changed. 

While we are not denying the negative side of addiction, and the statistics surrounding addiction recovery, we like to reframe a negative situation into a positive one, so people who suffer from substance abuse feel like recovery is possible. 

As a result of positive psychology and encouragement, we have seen a real difference, and most importantly, that with a different perspective and mindset, that people feel more empowered and motivated to tackle their recovery head-on. 

Understanding Addiction From A Psychological Perspective 

The Excessive Appetites Theory of Addiction 

Evidence-based research has demonstrated that much of our behavior as humans are generated from our thoughts and beliefs. This includes addictive behaviors, for example, binge drinking and taking drugs such as opioids.

According to verywellmind.com, in 1985, Jim Orford, an Emeritus Professor of Clinical & Community Psychology at Oxford in the United Kingdom, developed a theory to help people better understand addiction. This “disease” model of addiction was outlined in his ground-breaking book titled, Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions.

In Professor Orford’s Excessive Appetites theory, he makes one of the clearest and strongest arguments surrounding behavioral addictions. He states the five core addictions are, gambling addiction, food addiction, drug addiction, and exercise addiction. 

In his research, Orford describes that addiction occurs in two main stages.  

Stage 1: Addiction is a major psychological process rather than a physical disease. 

Stage 2: Addiction occurs as a response or reaction to a wide range of different behaviors. 

In the book, addictions are described as types of excessive “appetites” rather than a dependency on drugs and alcohol for example. 

The theory depicts in-depth the idea that addictions are appetites, which are extremely common, excessive and troubling when strong attachments to the core addictions are developed. He states that addiction to drugs and alcohol are more recognized as examples of addiction. 

Orford’s model describes his main point, that addiction develops as a gradual process and because of compulsive behaviors, the main stage being appetitive behavior.

The whole point of his theory, in conclusion, is that there are negative consequences that occur as a result of our behaviors. As a result, it can cause serious harm to people and those around them. 

This is very indicative of addiction. An individual may or may not like a certain activity that they partake in, it is a choice, and not the act of liking or disliking that is the problem. 

The real reason behind why people psychologically become addicted, Orford states is because addiction is a result of the indulgence to do something, in other words, an appetitive behavior. 

Something we tend to want to do over and over again despite what can happen as a result. It is not because addiction is a disease, it is the degree to which one’s compulsive behavior ends up hurting someone. Despite the person wanting to stop, the behavior still persists, which is what the real problem is more than anything.  

To sum it up, Orford stated in the book, “The uptake of new behavior does not occur in a psychological vacuum, but as part of a constellation of changing beliefs, preferences, and habits.” 

So, in other words, this theory perfectly explains addiction as not just being a complex psychological process, but one in which involves a large number of contributing factors.

Contributing Factors Behind Addiction

Based on Professor Orford’s proven addiction theory, addiction is defined as chronic compulsive behaviors that occur despite the negative consequences that could occur as a result. 

Did you know, that people who abuse substances, such as opioids or cocaine, are four to ten times more likely than those who are not dependent or addicted, to develop other addictive behaviors, particularly to gambling. From discovering this, we can discern that addictions go hand-in-hand, substitute for one another, and reinforce one another. 

Addiction impacts the lives of people in various ways. Everyone is unique, and so is their battle. Due to this negative consequence to behaviors that they chose to partake in, addiction does not only cause health complications but socioeconomic ones as well. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It costs people their freedom, finances, relationships, problems at school and work, etc. 

However, the most important repercussion from addiction is definitely the human cost. Not only does this choice cause mental, physical, and emotional stress, what it does to the support system (friends and family) of a person suffering is unparalleled. 

Professor Orford states, that this cycle of addiction commonly begins in a person’s teenage years, as it is when an individual at this age starts to become more exposed to certain activities which tend to have addictive tendencies. 

Teenagers usually like to rebel or become experimental. They begin to gain more responsibility and chance at choosing what they spend their time doing, and how much they spend doing it. 

As teenagers grow into adults, they tend to mature out of addictive behaviors, but some do not. The reason why someone engages in a certain behavior or not is dependant on a few factors including: 

  • Personality
  • Environment
  • People
  • Culture 

Engaging in various addictive behaviors, it often allows people to cope and feel better about whatever it is that they are going through. This is especially true in the early stages of the addiction cycle. 

In other words, acting a certain way in situations all depends on various factors, including personality, environment, culture, socioeconomic status, etc. People tend to drink and take drugs to reduce tension, reduce inhibitions and self-awareness, and to escape from bad situations and negative emotions. Addictive behavior is also a result of the following contributing risk factors:

Mood

When people engage in addictive behaviors they discover that it enhances their mood. Due to levels of neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin being released in the brain, individuals can start to see their mood changing. 

Often, when someone has an addictive personality and engages in certain behaviors, such as taking drugs and alcohol. The mood aspects of addictive behavior can also help with self-esteem or social image, and it can help people to cope with past trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, it does not necessarily make them feel better, it just masks it. This is because these addictive behaviors are mood enhancers. When someone takes a substance or engages in these risky behaviors, the feelings of sadness or depression become suppressed, while the body releases endorphins, producing emotions of happiness, pleasure, and euphoria. 

Social Factors 

The act of drinking alcohol especially is a very social activity. Also, alcohol is very accessible and enjoyed around the world by various cultures. The process of engaging in addictive behaviors is known to be a direct result of social and cultural situations. Research has shown that drinking or doing drugs is highly dependent on conforming to social norms and family history. 

The more that people are around family and friends who like to engage in risky and addictive behaviors such as drinking and doing drugs, strongly predicts whether they will go on to develop not just a dependency to the substance of choice, but an actual addiction. The people who usually become addicted, don’t, unfortunately, see becoming addicted as a personal choice. 

Learned Associations

They say from a young age that people, especially babies learn by association. People are natural observers and like to mimic or attempt to mirror other people’s similar behaviors. This is no different for those suffering from addiction and substance abuse. 

Once people have started to engage in certain behaviors, in this case, addictive ones, something called associations begins to develop. This means, that when a person feels a certain way, how they act is very much a reflection of that. 

The behavior and state of mind are closely linked. Therefore, these associations between mood and behavior develop within the brain, along the neurological pathways, and become involuntary. 

Certain things can trigger a person’s memory, and remind them of a certain behavior, which can influence someone to seek out these behaviors. As a result, over time our brain has taught us to associate a feeling with addictive behavior. 

For example, because a person realized that they felt less anxious after drinking, the brain and body crave that behavior, and tell us that it makes them feel better when in reality, it isn’t, and symptoms are just being suppressed. 

Individuals with addictive personalities or tendencies, attribute positive feelings with behavior and construct a whole belief system and explanation of why their behavior makes them feel better. They come to believe that drinking or taking drugs is the key to making them feel better regardless of the negative consequences that often follow, including health complications, coma, overdose, and death. 

Attachment and Commitment 

People who become more attached to their addictive behaviors are more inclined to engage in them and carry them out. This level of attachment gets higher and higher as time goes on. 

Committing and attaching yourself to these risky behaviors repetitively can lead to new ways of breaking down the walls and barriers surrounding these behaviors, automatically increasing one’s chances of increasing the effects of the drugs or alcohol, and becoming not just dependent anymore but addicted. 

Developmental Maturity

Psychologically, the capacity of aligning our actions or behaviors with our beliefs and values depends on someone’s maturity level. Maturity is what ultimately distinguishes one person from another. 

People with addiction or addictive tendencies tend to routinely act without thinking. And, with no regard to the consequences, these types of people are very focused and intent on pushing the limits. 

Ways to Practice Positive Psychology During and After Addiction Recovery 

So, we have talked about how we use the power of positive psychology to help our patients with substance use disorders recover. Have you wondered how you or a loved one can practice positive psychology on your road to recovery? These are some ways in which we have seen a difference:

  1. Meditation
  2. Connect with others 
  3. Keep a gratitude list
  4. Engage in activities that you enjoy 
  5. Talk to someone- know there is always help out there

There have been great strides made in quantifying which behaviors and attitudes foster feelings like, serenity, love, joy fulfillment and peace. Helping yourself practice this idea of positive thinking will then emanate to others going through addiction feel like they are not alone on their journey to recovery. 

Within itself, the idea of positive psychology is another component or resource of support that everyone, not just people with addiction should utilize more. 

Granite Mountain Can Help You Recover!

A life of health and long-term sobriety is attainable with our help. We work with our clients to help them re-envision their lives, putting them on a path of self-discovery, so, they can ultimately regain control over their lives and rekindle the relationships that are most important to them, to achieve optimal recovery. 

The study of positive psychology and its relation to addiction treatment has been proven to be revolutionary. Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare believes in the power of positive thinking and has seen it keep our patients on track and motivated to reach sobriety and empower others to do the same. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and substance abuse, the addiction specialists at Granite Mountain can help. Contact us today to take back control over your life! 

References

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

https://www.verywellmind.com/psychological-process-of-addiction-22261

https://www.cascadementalhealth.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=58686&cn=1409

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ending-addiction-good/201407/the-use-positive-psychology-in-addiction-treatment

https://www.verywellmind.com/excessive-appetites-22259

 

5 Brain Benefits Of Exercise

There are many amazing benefits to regular exercise.  Weight loss, cardiovascular health, a reduction in the risk of developing diabetes to name but a few.  Recent research indicates that perhaps the greatest health benefits of exercise may actually take place inside our minds.  Regardless of age or fitness level the impact of exercise on the brain can be profound. Raising one’s heart rate for as little as twenty minutes three times a week can produce amazing results.  Keep reading to discover five immediate and profound cognitive rewards of regular exercise.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

  1. Get Rid of Stress and Anxiety:
    In the modern connected world where we are bombarded by 24 hour news, constant alerts from our mobile leashes (ahem…phones), and the rigors of career and family it is easy to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overloaded.  Exercise has been shown to have immediate effects in reducing the phenomenal experience of mental and physical stress and anxiety. It does this through several mechanisms. One of the primary ways it does so is by regulating our body’s stress hormones such as adrenaline.  
  2. Sleep Better:
    Studies have shown that up to 40% of the US adult population reports problems falling asleep.  Lack of sleep impacts our ability to process and retain information, affects mood, and diminishes one’s quality of life.  If you’ve ever been staring at your alarm clock at 2:30 in the morning knowing you have to be up early for a important meeting or other responsibility, I don’t need to tell you.  In a recent national study of sleep patterns researchers found that as little as 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week enabled participants to fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night.  
  3. Improve Cognition and Memory:  
    Regular exercise over a period as short as six months has been shown to increase the volume of both the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex.  Other research has indicated that regular exercise increases the production of cells in the hippocampus (a process called neurogenesis). These are all areas of the brain associated with memory and cognition.  When we exercise we actually make our brains bigger!
  4. Prevent Cognitive Decline:
    Perhaps the most exciting new research emerging concerning exercise and the brain is centered on exercise’s ability to reduce the harm associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia,  and other degenerative disorders of the brain. This is a truly amazing finding. These degenerative cognitive disorders are terrible to live with and anything that can help in our fight against them is welcomed.  Research indicates that regular exercise, can have a pronounced effect long term by increasing the chemicals in the brain that ward of degeneration of brain tissue.
  5. Be More Social:
    Many forms of exercise are social in nature.  Whether its a pick up basketball game, aerobics class, or working out in a Crossfit box, you’ll be getting a sweat in with many other people.  Connection and community are two very powerful contributors to a healthy mind and a fulfilling life. We are after all merely highly evolved pack animals.  We have been designed through evolution to create connection and exercise can be a great way to create connection with others in a safe healthy environment.
  6. Help Heal From The Effects of Addiction: (BONUS BENEFIT!)
    As this is a blog for a substance use and gambling treatment facility I would be remiss if I didn’t spend a bit of time talking about how exercise can impact addiction and the treatment of addiction.  As I have written elsewhere on this blog, addiction is a brain disease. One of the ways this can be quantified is by observing the fact that addiction like other brain diseases has predictable empirically verifiable patterns of brain damage associated with it.  In the case of addiction, over the long term, much of this damage occurs within the stress and avoidance centers of the brain. This causes a phenomenal experience for an addict of feeling stress, emotional and psychic pain more acutely than the average person. Exercise works both through direct and indirect mechanisms to offset and ultimately heal this damage.   Regular exercise produces, in the brain, both neuroregeneration and neurogenesis. Additionally, as touched on above exercise causes a flood of hormones to be released into the brain. These hormones are responsible for tissue growth (growth factors IGF1 and IGF2), regulating mood (dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine, and others). This release of hormones can reduce the experience of cravings and help to regulate the uptake and production of hormones within the body.  These are just two of the many effects that exercise has that lend themselves to the treatment of addiction. There are many others, I have discussed many aspects of this in other blog posts.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Our research and the research of others show that as little as 150 minutes per week can have a dramatic impact on the brain and its functioning.  Further, we have determined that in order to generate all of the profound impacts of exercise one should aim to get their heart rate in the range of 75%-85% of max heart rate.  Experientially you want to be breathing heavy but not be winded. For a period of 30-45 minutes. When one hits these two markers not only do they enjoy the benefits listed above but the individual’s brain will actually be functioning at a higher frequency (as measured by Electroencephalogram).  Your brain will be operating at a higher wavelength, literally!  

Exercise has many physical, emotional, and mental benefits.  It really doesn’t take much effort to begin to enjoy them. In conclusion, as Nike has been telling us for years
“Just do it”.

Until next time
Your friend in service,

Rob Campbell  


Source: Loprinzi and Cardinal, “Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep.”  Mental Health and Physical Activity. 2011 Vol.4 Issue 2, pg. 65-69.


Please reach out out to us to get help with substance use disorder. Call today at 1-844-878-3221

   

Transforming Your Life With Exercise

In as little as three to four thirty minute sessions of aerobic exercise per week Dr. Suzuki’s research indicates that an individual can significantly alter their brain at three levels. 

1. Exercise Increases Your Mood

“Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today.”

This is how Dr. Wendy Suzuki begins her talk on the power of exercise as a prophylactic to all manner of brain disease and disorder. Dr. Suzuki, who had been a neuroscientist focused on memory changed the entire course of her research when she inadvertently began doing exercise research on herself. She is now a foremost expert on the transformative impact on the brain of exercise.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

In as little as three to four thirty minute sessions of aerobic exercise per week Dr. Suzuki’s research indicates that an individual can significantly alter their brain at three levels. First, there are the immediate impacts on mood. A single workout will signal the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which not only boosts an individual’s mood but will also increase their ability to shift and focus their attention. These immediate impacts will last for at least two hours. Secondly, if an individual makes fitness a part of their daily life this decision will actually alter the anatomy of their brain and the way that it functions on a long term basis. That is to say that, regular exercise creates neuroregeneration in measurable amounts. Third, regular exercise has been shown to have protective effects on the brain. Exercise protects an individual’s brain from the impact of neurodegeneration and the effects of aging.

2. Exercise Can Help Make Changes In Your Brain

At Granite Mountain BHC we employ our Recover Strong therapeutic model in an effort to take advantage of these effects. Several times each week we begin our day in the gym. We exercise for forty-five to sixty minutes as a community. We move from this right into more traditional therapy. We do this to take advantage of the effects noted by Dr. Suzuki. When brain chemistry is at a peak in terms of being conducive to neuroregeneration and the processing of new information, we engage in therapy and learning. We do this day after day, in order that our clients may engage in a process of self discovery and heal their own brains. Substance use disorder is more than the chronic overuse of a mood altering chemical. At the very least what we can say about it is that it is a disorder of the brain. Traditional therapies, especially those that focus on the processing of emotional states are beneficial. Undertaking them within a framework that maximizes brain growth and repair from a biological level is what we have found to be most effective. At Granite Mountain we are always evolving. As our own research and the research of neuroscience continues to evolve our programing will evolve in lock step. Our purpose is to bring to bear the most recent revolutionary ideas in the treatment of substance use disorder and other behavioral health concerns.

I hope that the reader will find the above linked video as inspiring as I have. For all of us the beneficial effects of exercise are too numerous and too profound to ignore. Once again, in the words of Dr. Suzuki, “exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today.”

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or somebody you love is in need of help for substance use disorder, give us a call today at 1.844.878.3221

Changing the Stigma of Addiction

In the above video clip Michael Botticelli makes a compelling argument for the necessity of changing the stigma attached to addiction. In it He makes an impassioned plea from personal experience. At one point in the clip he makes the statement that he feels more comfortable coming out as a gay man than being transparent about his history of addiction. This he feels after more than twenty years in recovery. Those of us who have addiction in our lives either actively or in our past don’t need to be told this. We know first hand about the stigma of addiction.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

I have not had a drop of alcohol in my body for more than nineteen years and still find myself hesitant to disclose my recovery to people outside the recovery community. I want to be clear, I am in no way ashamed of my past. Perhaps it sounds paradoxical but, the single greatest thing to ever happen to me is that I became an alcoholic. How many people move through their lives feeling not quite right, being sad, isolated, or alone but don’t know why? I felt all these things and more. When alcoholism finally brought me to my knees, and I had nowhere to turn I found my answer. Through treatment and membership in a 12 step fellowship I was able to understand why I felt the way I did. I was also offered a solution. I have accepted that solution and have since been able to enjoy a life beyond my wildest dreams. A life of purpose, meaning, and connection.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

I do not bring this up to be self congratulatory. On the contrary I want to illustrate what is possible for every single person suffering from a substance use disorder if they are able to access treatment and recovery. In his talk Mr. Botticelli makes the point that the stigma attached to addiction is the single greatest hindrance to people who need help getting it. As a community we need to begin to recognize addiction for what it is. A brain disease, a medical condition. If we are to come to grips with our current opioid epidemic we need to begin to treat those afflicted as what they truly are, sick people who need help. There is no doubt this can be hard to do, but it is necessary.

I agree with Mr Botticelli that in order for this to happen those of us who have overcome this disease need to be open about that fact. This may enable those around us to begin to form a different viewpoint about addiction. They may be able to see that as Mr. Botticelli states, “people are more than their disease.” Moving forward I am committed to being open and candid about my own recovery with anyone who asks. I will weather the inevitable questions, the confusions, the awkward attempts at “protecting” me. I will do this not for myself, but as an example that addiction does not define a person, that as with most other diseases we can and do recover.

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or someone you love is in need of help for substance use disorder please give us a call today. We understand and we are here to help.


 

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_botticelli_addiction_is_a_disease_we_should_treat_it_like_one#t-570345

 

Transitioning Into Recovery, A Family Perspective: Part III

In the first two parts of this series we have examined how to approach the subject of treatment with a loved one suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Further we looked at how to help that individual make the transition into treatment. In the previous two pieces (which you can find here and here) I tried to make many helpful suggestions and to provide some insight into the potential pitfalls. In this article I would like to make some good general suggestions on how to help a loved one transition back into home life and their native community upon completing a treatment program. Getting sober is one thing, but of course the real goal is having someone stay sober. While we can’t do it for them, as the family of an addict we have a role to play in helping them stay sober. This article should is in no way meant to replace working with a professional. Every individual situation is unique and no one article could possible address every unique iteration of sobriety or family dynamics.

Returning To Your Home Environment

For many addicts returning home from treatment can be a shock to the system. For the past several months they have been sequestered in a supportive community with both staff and peers committed to their recovery. The individual has been receiving as much as six hours of daily therapy, in addition to their engagement in a 12 step fellowship. Upon graduation they return home and without a proper after care program in place can begin to experience a significant degree of loss. This experience of loss can be a major hurdle for one who is newly sober. For this reason it is often recommended to have the individual enter an aftercare program upon graduation from long term treatment. Aftercare programs take many forms. It can be as simple as seeing a therapist or other professional clinician once a week. On the other extreme it could be a five day a week four hour a day outpatient program. Each individual’s therapeutic need will be there own and any meaningful long term program will make aftercare recommendations to the patient and his or her family. In most cases the facility can and will help coordinate with local service providers on behalf of the patient. The important thing is that whatever the specific plan turns out to be the addict feels therapeutically supported and a part of a larger community of recovery.

Having an After Care Plan…. And Following Through With It

This thought brings us to our next point which is the importance for the addict of engaging in a 12 step fellowship and the recovery community upon arriving home. The old suggestion of a 90 in 90 (attending 90 12 step meetings in 90 days) is advisable but not mandatory. Almost everywhere in this country these days has a wealth of 12 step meetings on a weekly basis. One can find a meeting directory most often by Googling the name of the 12 step fellowship (i.e. AA, CA, GA, HA, NA, etc) and the name of your town. 12 step fellowships are still the largest support network for alcoholics and addicts available. To this day they are also the most effective. The important aspects are to attend often enough to first create the habit of attending. Secondly, attend regularly enough to become a part of the community of support. There are certain aspects of an addicts life that only other addicts will be able to understand. Membership in a 12 step fellowship not only provides a foundation for recovery, but also friendships, fellowship, purpose, and meaning. It is possible to stay sober without membership in a 12 step fellowship. However what is vital to recovery is community, fellowship, purpose and meaning.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

One of the most important aspects and perhaps the one addicts are least equipped to address is the necessity of creating a life of meaning and connection. How to do this is a difficult question to answer and in much detail lies outside the scope of this article. That being said, I think, I can provide some helpful suggestions. Engaging with family is a very important part of recovery. Include the addict in family life and events as much as is possible. The greater the connection becomes between the addict their family and community the harder it becomes to go back to the old way of living. Substance use takes away many of the things that once made life meaningful. In order to help your loved one think back to a time before their addiction really took hold. What were their interests and hobbies? What did they like to do with their free time? Encourage your loved one to return to these interests, especially those that were community based activities.

Finding Meaning and Remaining Accountable

One of the biggest helps you can provide to the addict is to help them feel fully responsible for their life and recovery. Try not to allow the addict to impose on you for money, or other material support. Encourage them instead to be self supporting as much as possible. Support them mentally and emotionally instead of financially and materially. For recovery to be long term the addict must take the lead and be fully responsible for their own lives. As loved ones we can be supportive and compassionate but must be careful not to assume the responsibility for them. If we allow this we may be hindering their growth.

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Our last point is to make sure, as much as possible, that the addict is able to have fun. Life is meant to be enjoyed. If our new life is a happy one it will be harder to return to our old way of living. There is no easily definable recipe for fun. However, if you and your loved one work to accomplish the above points and take some time just to enjoy each other and the new life he or she has been given, this should put you on the right track toward a happy, fun, fulfilling life.

Once again this article is not meant to replace working with a professional. Nor is it within the scope to address each individual situation. Rather it is my hope that it has answered some questions, while maybe posing others, and that it has been able to give some comfort to those who are bound to one suffering from substance use disorder by ties of affection.

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development


If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use disorder, give us a call today. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our program.

“The Opposite of Addiction is Connection”

An Inability To Connect

In his Ted Talk from TEDGlobal London, Johann Hari makes the statement that, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.” This powerful statement is at once a message of hope to those suffering from addiction and an indictment of the way our culture has treated addicts for the last 100 years. Mr. Hari spent three years studying addiction by traveling the world speaking to individuals on all sides of the issues. What he was left with was an understanding that behind and underneath addiction of all sorts is an inability to connect, to engage in a life of purpose. While I do not agree with everything Mr Hari says during his talk, I am passionate about this idea of connection. The most common experience for any addict is a feeling of isolation and inability to connect in a meaningful way with others and the world around them.

Overcoming The Mental Challenges

In order to overcome addiction and transform our lives we need to do many things. First we need to be in a community that encourages connection and commitment. Many addicts find this community in treatment. In this safe community we can take the next step which is to address the root causes of the lack of connection. For many this will be some form of trauma they have suffered which causes their lack of connection. For others it is underlying behavioral or mental health disorders. Therapeutic measures can be utilized to great effect in both sets of circumstances. Once an individual has begun this work the next step is to find a life of purpose that they can show up for. There are as many ways to find a life of purpose as their are individuals. The challenge for many who suffer from addiction is they don’t know how to go about it.

Constantly Seek Purpose

At Granite Mountain BHC we first find purpose in the gym, and in the commitment to our peers not to quit. We build from this initial purpose by drawing parallels from our experience in the gym to the rest of our lives, and by creating meaningful connections within our Granite Mountain community. If I can meet and overcome challenges during the Recover Strong group, maybe I can push through when I’m having a bad day at work, or my relationships are difficult. Our clients are able to transform their lives through the three pillars of commitment, connection and community. At Granite Mountain they are able to experience connection with their peers, staff, and themselves. This connection is at the heart of their purpose as they strive to better themselves and the community they are a part of. After their time with us they are then able to take these three pillars back to their community of origin and continue building upon this foundation, a life of meaning and purpose.

Please take a moment to view this inspiring video, and perhaps re-conceive what you think you know about addiction.

 

Until next time,

Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell

VP of Communications and Market Development


If you or someone you love is in need of help for substance use disorder please give us a call today. We understand and we are here to help.

How to Identify Opioid Abuse and Addiction in Your Household

Identifying The Issue

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with any addiction is admitting or identifying when the addictive cycle has gotten a hold of an individual.  This is especially true when the individual is a loved one.  We all want the best for our loved ones, and hate to think of them as having a personal problem especially one they may not be able to solve on their own.  This tendency to want to see the best in those we love is a very natural tendency.  However when dealing with addiction it makes the identification of a potential or actual addiction issue even harder for one to spot. Simply said, we do not want to see what our senses are showing us. At extremes this can become denial of the reality in front of us. This is harmful to ourselves, our ability to function as well as not being helpful for the addict.

Breaking The Stigma Of Addiction

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Added to this is the persistent nature of the cultural stigma associated with addiction. Even today some in our community view addiction as a moral failing on the part of the addict. This is an outmoded view of substance use disorder and has no clinical or medical support. If however we were taught this view of addiction it can be easy to view our loved ones as failing in some respect or as having a moral or constitutional shortcoming.  If you gain no other insight from this article please believe these words, addiction is not a shortcoming it is a disease. Your loved one is suffering. If a loved one had cancer that was ravaging their body we would not look down on them as lacking the moral fiber to overcome the cancer. Rather, we would look upon them with empathy and compassion. While at the same time firmly insisting that they seek every known medical remedy for their disease. I urge every reader who has a loved one suffering from addiction to take this same point of view.  

granite mountain behavioral healthcare

Spotting The Signs Of Opioid Addiction

As with cancer, the sooner we can identify a potential substance use disorder as it develops the easier it will be to solve the problem and help the individual to a full and speedy recovery. Unlike with cancer and other bodily diseases wherein the sufferer once diagnosed freely admits they have a problem. Substance use disorder is characterized by the seeming inability of the suffer to admit they have a problem. Due to this challenge I have undertaken in this article to list several early signs of an additive cycle. Please find below a descriptions of many of the early signs and symptoms of addiction. These should prove useful for the loved ones of anyone currently using opioids and other addictive substances.

  1. Unexplained or excessive absences from work or school

  2. Negative consequences at work or school

  3. Hyper emotional behavior

  4. Loss of interest in hobbies, activities that used to be important to the individual

  5. Withdrawal from friend and family relationships

  6. Important engagements are not attended

  7. Important commitments are not fulfilled

  8. The individual continues to use in the face of consequences

  9. Drugs , alcohol, and using behavior is a consistent topic of conversation

  10. Disrupted sleep patterns (Sleeps far more or far less than usual)

  11. Persistent financial problems (never enough money)

  12. Increased levels of secrecy about activities and lifestyle

  13. Minimization of responsibility when questioned about life circumstances

  14. Excessive itchiness of skin

  15. Persistent sniffles or runny nose

  16. Rapid weight loss

  17. Consistent defensiveness

  18. Inability to deal with normal levels of stress

  19. The individual looks paler than usual

  20. Loss of control over the amount of a substance (including alcohol) consumed

The above list is not meant to be inclusive of every possible scenario. It would be impossible to create such a list as the behavior patterns of people vary. Instead it is meant to give a rough picture of the emotional, mental, and behavioral changes that can be an early sign of substance use disorder.  If you are concerned that a loved one may be suffering from addiction seek a consultation with a qualified professional immediately.  The old saying of, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is never more appropriate than when dealing with addiction.  If in reading this article you find yourself wondering if you or someone you love has a problem please reach out to us right away.  We can provide a no obligation no cost substance use disorder evaluation that may save years of heartache for your loved one and your family, and in many cases may save his or her life.  We are here to help.


Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell
VP of Communications & Market Development