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Understanding the Basics of Relapse Prevention

Understanding the Basics of Relapse Prevention

These days, relapse prevention is the biggest buzzword in addiction recovery circles. Everyone wants to know how to stay sober once they stop drinking or using. The good news is that staying sober is something that everyone can do. The bad news is that it isn't always easy. Here are a few basic things to remember to keep the cravings at bay.

1. Create a new life for yourself.

Remember that coming into recovery means that you are creating a new life and leaving your old one behind. Old friends and family, unhealthy relationships, and old neighborhoods make it very easy and tempting to fall back into old behavior. This is one of the major reasons why people choose to go to sober living after treatment. It means that you've made a decision not to return to the risky environment from which you came. Keep on that track and avoid your old life. You know that if you wanted to, you know exactly how to get in contact with your old dealer, party with your old friends, or stop in at that old watering hole. Don't do it. Stick with sober living and make new friends in recovery that will help you along on your new journey.

2. HALT the cravings before they start.

We hope you've heard it already, but we're going to say it again because it bears repeating: you must take care of yourself first in recovery. You cannot help others if your own basic needs haven't been met. This is where "HALT" comes in. It's an acronym that we use in recovery to help us remember to care for ourselves every day. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Of the four, two are physical needs and two are emotional needs. Feeding yourself is number one on the list. We need proper nourishment to keep up our energy and keep our brains functioning properly. Something as simple as low blood sugar can contribute to a complete emotional meltdown, especially if emotions are already running high.

Angry and Lonely are two emotional needs that must be fulfilled by seeking out others. Your sponsor can help you process anger in a healthy manner. As for lonliness, we need to seek out real connection with others. We must have true friendships and healthy romantic relationships. If you're struggling with this even after speaking to your sponsor, it may be time to seek out a counselor to help you through these struggles.

Finally, we come to Tired, the last physical need. Lack of sleep can certainly make our days more difficult and broaden the temptation to relapse. Often in our addictions, we aren't sticking to a regular sleeping pattern. When we come into recovery, it can be difficult to reset those sleeping patterns. You will need to create a regular daily schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you find that you're having difficulty getting up on time in the morning, you'll need to move to an earlier bedtime. Continue to adjust your sleeping schedule until you no longer feel tired during the day. If you still struggle with sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you can do. Remember that you most likely won't be able to take prescription sleep aids in your sober living home, but your doctor may be able to recommend an over-the-counter sleep aid. Some people find that certain teas or homeopathic remedies help promote healthy sleep cycles as well.

3. Learn new anxiety management techniques and practice them every day.

There is an old joke that states that SOBER is an acronym - it stands for Son Of a B**ch, Everything's Real! Its funny because its true. We used to drown out our realities with drink or drug, and now that we're sober we must face everyday problems head on. For most, if not all of us, this is quite a daunting task. It may prove to be too much anxiety for us if we don't manage it in a healthy manner.

As you make your way around meetings, you'll hear the phrase, "Just take the next indicated step." It means the same as One day at a time, or baby steps, indicating that we don't tackle one whole problem at a time. Instead, we break it down into smaller pieces and take it step by step. Once one small step is complete, move on to the next.

If anxiety persists beyond handling of your daily responsibilities, you may have a more serious problem you need to address. Getting a little more agressive with your anxiety management, you may find relief through daily hobbies, excercise, or other fun. Try to plan something for at least a few minutes every day, and when the anxiety is at its worst, return to it for a few mintues.

If none of these things are helping you find peace, then its time to see your doctor or counselor and talk about your anxiety. Many times our anxiety is caused by poor stress management techniques, while other times its caused by chemical imbalances. Determining the root cause of your anxiety and applying the appropriate remedies will help keep you from reaching for a drink or drug.

4. Voice your feelings to trusted friends and have them help you process through them.

If most of us were to be honest with ourselves, we'd admit that the reason we sought a chemical escape was because we didn't want to feel our painful feelings anymore. The bad news is that when you come into recovery, you'll still feel them. In fact, it will be incredibly painful at times because those feelings never left - they only festered and grew while you were drunk or high. Now that you're in recovery, you're going to have to do some work on those feelings if you want to be successful in your recovery. If you went through a treatment center, then you've already started this process with a drug counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. This is certainly the most important step. These professionals will be able to help identify any underlying co-existing disorders that can prevent you from successful long-term recovery. Once that is done, we turn to our trusted friends and loved ones for help. If you have a spouse or significant other that you live with, that's even better. Now comes the hard part.

Identify your feelings and express them. As addicts, we've been denying our feelings for so long, we don't even realize when we're feeling something anymore. Keep a journal of what you're feeling with you everywhere you go and write down every feeling you have that you don't like. At the end of the day, sit down with someone you trust and talk through each one of those feelings. As you continue to do this, you'll become so much more in touch with yourself and your needs. You'll be able to process through past hurts and free yourself from some emotional pain. When you practice this with your significant other, you'll find that you grow closer with that person and your love grows deeper. Your trust will strengthen and you'll argue less because you understand each other more.

Do you have other methods you use that help you maintain your sobriety? What works the best for you? Tell us in the comments below!

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What its Like to Struggle with Addiction

What its Like to Struggle with Addiction

"I sat in the living room with my mom and dad," he said. "They told me that they wouldn't give me any more money or even talk to me if I kept on drinking. I wanted to stop, in fact I was miserable. I didn't want to drink anymore. But physically, or mentally, I knew I couldn't stop. I didn't know how. My parents told me that it was simple: Just don't drink. If only it were that easy."

This is a very common story. Unfortunately, people who have never had a problem with an addiction don't understand its complete power over you. Loved ones see the substance as the problem and believe that if you simply remove it, the problem will be solved. But for those of us who have actually struggled with an addiction, we know that the substance isn't the problem, its our solution. Our substance helps mask our pain and deal with the everyday problems of life.

Simply removing the substance doesn't create successful recovery, it merely creates an atmosphere where successful recovery may begin. Through treatment, we learn how to make it those first few days without the substance. We are supported every step of the way in early recovery in a very structured and safe environment. Once treatment is done however, we must seek out healthy avenues for handling the issues that continue to plague us regularly. For some of us, it is abuse or emotional damage from the past. For others, it is low self-esteem or the lack of value that we place on our own lives. Whatever the issue may be, it lurks there under the surface waiting to pull us right back into our addiction. Without the proper tools, we will continue to relapse until we confront these issues head-on.

An addict cannot merely stop using and be successful. Addiction will not just go away. It is important to remember that there is so much more to addiction than just a substance. Addiction is a perfect storm of personal discontent mixed with a substance that relieves this discontent. It collides in a way that creates a desire in the addict to never live sober again. Without replacing the addict's "solution", you will rarely be successful in creating an atmosphere where the addict feels safe without his or her substance.

If you have a loved one that struggles with addiction, you need to get help. If you are not experienced with addiction and its associated behaviors, please contact an addiction professional to help your loved one. At Chateau Recovery, we have some fantastic resources for people who are coming out of treatment. We can help relieve those distractions that trigger us back into our addictions, as well as facilitate the healing and recovery process through referrals to addiction professionals. Please call us today to see how we can help you be successful in your recovery.

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Six Reasons to go to Sober Living after Treatment

Six Reasons to go to Sober Living after Treatment

As people who are new in recovery, most experts highly recommend some sort of supportive aftercare to help you stay sober. For many of us, we’ve become so accustomed to our lives in active addiction that we may not remember, or perhaps never even learned healthy living skills. We don’t know what life is supposed to be like without drugs or alcohol.

It’s no secret that the relapse rate among alcoholics and drug addicts is very high. Having the right support for a period of time after treatment can help solidify the new skills and healthy patterns that often prevent relapses. If you are debating whether or not to go to sober living after you complete treatment, please consider these six reasons why sober living can help you achieve success in your long-term recovery.

1) In sober living, you are never isolated or alone.

One of the main reasons why sober living is beneficial for people who are new in recovery is that you are no longer alone in your struggle. In our addictions, we feel alone, isolated, and desolate. The world is an emotional desert, and our thoughts and emotions hold us captive. With others around, we not only have accountability to our sobriety, but we have people that will lend a listening ear through our struggles, offer advice and support, and who really understand what we’re going through. With so much support from others, we learn to let out our negative emotions and feelings and deal with them in a healthy manner, instead of running to a drink or a drug to numb the pain.

2) Sober living homes provide strong support for people in early recovery.

Aside from the accountability you’ll have and friendships you’ll develop, sober living homes are well prepared to handle the myriad of issues people face when newly clean or sober. Your sober living manager will know just what to do if you’re struggling with a craving or an emotional issue is causing you grief. Managers know how to amicably settle disputes between house members, or how to handle a roommate who has been drinking or using. Your house manager also has resources for you if you need a referral professional counselor or would like to register for an intensive outpatient program after treatment.

3) A sober living home will provide you with accountability and structure.

For most of us, we don’t like being told what to do. But when we’re in early recovery and we’re trying to figure out this thing called life, a little guidance can be quite the relief. A sober living home will help you learn that there are consequences to your actions. For example, a relapse may mean that you’ll be removed from the house for a period of time. You might need to enroll in IOP, or see a counselor on a weekly basis before you can be readmitted. On the other hand, positive behavior may be rewarded as well. After a period of sobriety or success in achieving your goals, you may be eligible for a manager position or a move into cheaper, “step-down” sober housing that provides more freedom.

4) A sober living home will help you learn to function in the real world.

In a treatment center, you live in a very protected bubble. You have little or no contact with the outside world, and your days are highly structured. You are told where to go and when, and your actions are monitored 24 hours a day. Sober living homes are different though. Their goal is to actually teach you how to live in, and interact with the real world. You’ll learn healthy coping skills for the difficult parts of life, but you’ll also learn what it’s like to have real relationships with others. You’ll learn the importance of going to school, or getting and keeping a job. You’ll learn to succeed with humility and you’ll learn to fall with grace. And when you fall, you’ll learn how to pick yourself back up and start over.

5) A sober living home offers you a fresh start.

Let’s face it, when you enter treatment you rarely come from a stable, supportive, healthy living environment. If there is one primary reason why people relapse in early recovery, it is because they come out of treatment and go straight back into the unhealthy environment from which they came. Old habits die hard. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” (Ch. 5, p. 58) If you’re going to be successful in your recovery, you have to change everything about your life. If you’re coming from an unhealthy home environment, returning after treatment will almost guarantee your failure. Sober living provides a safe place to go to help you maintain your new-found sobriety.

6) A sober living home will help you learn self-sufficiency.

The ultimate goal in recovery is to learn to live life on your own, to support yourself, and to learn how to live a successful and productive life. We come into recovery with some very malformed ideas of how life and the world works, and learning, or relearning healthy living skills often needs to be guided. Yes, a sober living home costs more than renting a room or sometimes even an apartment. However, you’re not just paying for a place to sleep. You are paying for professional help as you learn to live and succeed in life. You’re paying to have 24 hour support and guidance as you strive to become the person you were meant to be. Don’t get discouraged, your efforts will pay off. You’re learning to become self-sufficient, something that will most certainly pay off much more generously than you think.

There are so many benefits to living in a sober living house in early recovery, and this article really only touches on the basics. You’ll make lifelong friends at your sober living home, find new fun things to do in sobriety, network with others and find new job opportunities, and much more! But perhaps the most important thing you’ll learn is who you are. You’ll learn to know yourself better and grow faster because of the support you receive. At Chateau Recovery, we value and cherish the time we had in sober living so much that our life’s passion became bringing that hope and strength to others in early recovery.

We’d love to talk to you more about your recovery journey. If you are looking for sober living, please consider giving us a call or filling out the contact form on this page. We love to make new friends and bring new family members into our home. Contact us today to learn more about Chateau Recovery.

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Chateau Recovery Opens In West Hollywood

Chateau Recovery Opens In West Hollywood

West Hollywood, CA – New to the recovery scene in West Hollywood, owner Ashlee Krichmar is beginning a new journey in her own recovery program. With the hope of sharing her experience, strength and hope with others, Krichmar has opened up the first of what she hopes to be many sober living homes in the Los Angeles area.

This new venture is called Chateau Recovery, and her business model is unique, even for the L.A. sober living community. Focusing on personal growth in recovery, Krichmar operates her home as a family, providing food, emotional support, and an environment of personal growth for all who pass through their doors.

The sober living home is open to both men and women over the age of 18 with the desire to recover from their addictions. Six beds in semi-private rooms allow ample accommodation for their "family members". The home is beautifully decorated and very comfortable, offering a wide range of options for entertainment and relaxation. Premium cable flat-screen TVs, Netflix, Hulu, an office and computer station, and Wi-fi throughout the house keeps the house connected to the outside world. There is also a pool table and beautifully manicured grounds to relax and recover from any addiction.

The home itself is a spacious, yet quaint 1930s style art-deco home in a well-established neighborhood of West Hollywood. The home is close to La Cienega and Olympic Boulevards, and a quick car or bus ride from Hancock Park and the Mid-Wilshire/Mid-City districts of Los Angeles. What’s more? Chateau Recovery is close to some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment that Southern California has to offer.

Perhaps the best feature of the home though, isn’t the home at all but the people who work there. Every single one of them has suffered with an addiction of their own and successfully overcome it. The staff really cares, and the owner is very hands-on when it comes to helping and guiding the family members of Chateau Recovery.

“We want to provide each and every resident with a safe, comfortable, and healthy living environment,” says Krichmar. “Our goal at Chateau Recovery is to help guide our residents through their own unique, individualized journey and help them to experience the beauty of a sober life.”

As far as sober living homes go, Chateau Recovery is pretty much the full package. If you’re looking for a comfortable and safe place to live in early recovery, Chateau Recovery offers one of the best deals in Los Angeles sober living for the price. For more information about Chateau Recovery or to schedule a tour, call Owner and Admissions Coordinator Ashlee Krichmar at (800) 379-4401 or visit them on the web at www.chateaurecoveryla.com.

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