5 Ways You Can Love Yourself Today

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

Contrary to what some believe, self-love does not equate to selfishness. In fact, learning to love oneself often prevents it. After all, to fully love others, one must first love oneself.

With regard to active addiction, love of self is typically completely lacking. The reasons vary, but the reality is the same and it is one of chronic self-sabotage. In other words, active addiction is a means of self-destruction, not an exhibition of self-love.

For these individuals, making a decision to seek help is the first step toward self-preservation and self-love. And, for the record, since active addiction is the acute situation, that particular step is most vital. It must be taken before any other efforts toward self-care or love of self can be employed.

That said, once treatment for active addiction is sought, the biggest and hardest step has been taken. As such, those in active recovery have already moved from a place of self-destruction to one of self-care. And, with that in mind, congratulations and a moment to reflect on that uplifting reality are in order.

But, as we know, the journey doesn’t end there.

For that reason, it is important to find ways to continue to practice self-love throughout recovery. Love of self is vital to relapse prevention and key to successful relationships, as well as holistic wellness. And, as with recovery, the practice of self-love is one we can employ one day at a time.

Let the first day be today by employing these five ways to love yourself:

Get rest and relaxation. Sleep is necessary for holistic health. Physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health rely on rest and plenty of it. Relaxation is also key to overall wellness. As such, making sure you get a good night’s rest (ideally, 8 hours) or find time to nap in an effort to compensate for any sleep lost due to situations out of your control is first on the to-do list. Finding ways to relax—taking a hot bath, going for a walk, yoga and meditation, etc.—throughout the day needs to accompany this step, as relaxation leads to a restful mind and body.

Take time for mental health. Whether you can afford to take the day completely off—no school, no work, no appointments of any kind—and enjoy a mental health day, or simply find an hour to devote to doing nothing, it is necessary to take time to let your mind unwind. Zoning out to music, watching a beloved movie, reading a book, etc., are all great options for “vegging out” and giving yourself a break from the stressors of everyday life.

Get moving. Exercise gets the blood flowing, stagnate energy moving and endorphins kicking in. All of the above are vital to overall wellness. It keeps you physically healthy and typically makes you feel better about yourself, all while relieving stress and promoting relaxation. Additionally, exercise is prevents and effectively helps reduce depression and provides a great distraction when and if cravings become an issue.

However, as with anything else, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Distraction is a temporary fix, not a permanent solution. As such, remember; the purpose of exercising is to maintain holistic health as a practice of self-love, not self-destruction. If you’re reasoning is based on self-loathing or insecurities, be sure to address this with a helping professional. Exercise bulimia is a dangerous reality and should not be taken lightly.

Get moving, but don’t get a substitute addiction.

Feed your body and mind. Food is necessary for survival. Healthy food is vital for quality of life. Making the time to prepare or acquire a healthy meal, at least three times a day, with healthy snacks throughout the day improves if not ensures physical and mental health.

Food for thought is also necessary, especially with regard to successful recovery. Employing daily affirmations, positive quotes and so on at the start or end of the day is a great way to feed the mind and nurture the self.

Get quiet. Quiet time is something we needed as children, and that does not change when we become adults. Getting quiet means turning off all background noise—no tv, radio, computer, video games. Nothing. Complete silence. Whether you choose to get quiet via the practice of meditation at a local yoga studio or decide to do so by simply sitting in the silence of your own home, finding ways to get quiet offers opportunities to sit with, face and lovingly embrace yourself.

These five steps don’t require much extra effort. Sleeping and eating is something we should already be doing, so employing the proper amount and method should be simple enough. However, if there is resistance to any of the above, that is not an abnormal experience. If self-love came naturally to us, addiction would have never been an issue.

The truth is self-love is not easy for the majority of individuals, mainly because it is not something we are taught. It’s something we generally have to teach ourselves. And, more to the point, it requires us to be our own best parent—setting boundaries and instilling norms and expectations we don’t always initially like. But, as with our need to access treatment and get recovery, the need to further our journey of self-love is a reality and one we will find gets easier and more fulfilling as we move along.

 

*Original version first published on soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/5-ways-you-can-start-loving-yourself-today/

5 Ways to Prevent the Relapse Grinch from Stealing Your Holiday Spirit

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

The holiday season is upon is, and it is one which typically brings social gatherings, time with family and friends and a varying degree of hustle and bustle. While all of the above can be enjoyable to a degree, many of us find ourselves dealing with family drama and dysfunction, financial stress and temptations and opportunities to use or drink.

The latter list is less festive and often causes a sense of dread prior to the holiday season. For those who are new to recovery, this time of year can be especially challenging. But, like the Grinch that stole Christmas, the potential for relapse threatens to steal the true spirit of the holidays and potentially more.

Remember, relapse begins with though, not action. And, as most of us know, much of that mentality is based around victimization and irrational thinking. With regard to both, the holiday season has a tendency to surface and sensationalize.

For that reason, it is important to know how to prevent relapse thinking and behavior during the holidays. Tips on how to maintain sanity and serenity and continue a journey of successful recovery, regardless, are vital.

As such, we’ve offered five important tips on how to prevent the relapse Grinch from stealing your holiday spirit, below:

Stay connected. Many people travel during the holidays, take time off work, spend days with family, leave the university for weeks at a time and become otherwise unavailable. As such, those who struggle during the holidays often feel alone.

Additionally, much of the holiday festivities involve social gatherings and parties stocked with    alcohol. For those in early recovery, this can be especially challenging. Relapse thinking often kicks in and tells us that “one drink to celebrate the holidays with family and friends won’t hurt.” Of course, we could never be more wrong.

As such, it’s important to stay connected to a recovery community, as well as your sponsor and/or counselor during the holiday season. Creating events like Friendsgiving—a gathering for friends during the traditional November holiday of Thanksgiving—and other holiday-inspired, friend-oriented festivities not only helps you stay connected to sober friends. It keeps the spirit of togetherness alive for those without or unable to be with family.

See the magic. Children truly seem to enjoy the holiday season more than anyone. Most would agree the reasoning is not necessarily completely to do with presents and time away from school. Children simply seem to see the magic.

It’s a gift many of us seem to lose as we move along life’s journey. Issues with family, grief and loss, our time spent in active addiction often steals the magic away. But, only if we allow it.

The magic is never gone from our lives. It’s always there, and the holiday season is the best time to attempt to reclaim it. Looking to children for the “how to” is likely the best way.

Of course, there’s no need to ask a child. Just observing children in the line to sit on Santa’s lap (or better yet, standing in line with them), watching classic children’s holiday movies, attending a holiday storybook reading, etc. offers the opportunity to see and feel the magic of the holidays and life, itself.

Heal the past. The holiday season has an uncanny way of surfacing unresolved issues, especially those involving family. As such, there’s no better time than the holidays to start working on those issues. Whether with a counselor or via a self-help book, attempting to heal the past rather than run from it prevents the overwhelming desire to find unhealthy ways to escape the surfacing emotions and memories.

Be objective. Though issues that occur with family members (or those that occur due to a lack of) feel and often are very personal, it is best to try to be objective during the holidays to avoid relapse thinking and behavior.

Being objective requires stepping back and simply observing the dynamic within the family or that which is surfacing due to a lack of family, rather than engaging or giving in to self-sabotage. It is an exercise in mindfulness, and it prevents over-personalization and irrational responses by allowing you an opportunity to simply be an observer, rather than an active participant in the dysfunction.

Get help. The holiday season can be extremely difficult for many, especially those who have no family or are unable to be with them. Though the aforementioned steps offer ways to get through the holidays, regardless, often the pain is rather overwhelming. And, when that is the case, these steps alone are not enough.

Do not hesitate to reach out to a counselor, life or recovery coach or even a crisis hotline (which are always available, regardless of the day of the year), if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion or a sense of loneliness.

No matter what steps you decide to take to keep the relapse Grinch from stealing your holiday spirit, remember there is a lot to celebrate this holiday season. You’re alive, you have a recovery community (even here, on this site) that cares about you and, because you are sober, you have you. As such, you’re not alone, and the potential for a bright future ahead is yours to fulfill.

For some of us, that new reality is quite the holiday miracle.

 

*Original post first published on soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/how-to-stop-the-relapse-grinch-from-stealing-your-holiday-spirit/

 

How Emotional Recovery Helped Me Lose Weight—Not Your Average Weight-Loss Story

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A

I am an adult child of an addict, referred to in the addictions field as an ACOA. That fact will never change, regardless of the years I spent in counseling and the lifetime I will spend in active emotional recovery. But, because of the latter, many things about me have changed, drastically, including the weight I once constantly carried around.

But, before I divulge that weight-loss story, let me share a little personal history.

THE BACKGROUND STORY

I was born into a severely dysfunctional family, riddled with addiction and abuse. My mother was hooked on drugs by the age of 15. At 17, she was pregnant with me. But, incidentally, she wasn’t my abuser. She was simply the one, other than my absent biological father, who abandoned me.

Born without obvious, physical drug-related deformities—thankfully, my mother abstained from heroin, her drug of choice, throughout her pregnancy—I was the only child to my mother and sole grandbaby to her parents. As a baby, we lived with my grandparents who helped my mother raise me—co-parenting, so to speak.

My grandmother was a teetotaler. She never touched an illegal drug or consumed an alcoholic beverage. But she was a heavy smoker, an addiction that would eventually take her life.

She was the daughter of an alcoholic; a very abusive man. According to my grandmother, he had subjected her to violence all her life. Witness to the beatings of her own mother, she suffered a great deal. Through broken conversations, she also revealed his tendencies toward sexual abuse.

Eleven years older than her only sibling, she was forced to bear the abuse, alone.

She never received counseling or help of any kind. Choosing simply to steer clear of the substance she blamed for her pain, she chose a life of sobriety. Her only tool for coping was to escape her home by marrying young and burying herself in work; distractions she acquired at the early age of 15.

Her only child – my mother – suffered at the hands of her father, too. Sexually abused, my mother became obese; a common defense mechanism for victims of sexual violations. The obesity was an embarrassment to my grandmother who, due to her adverse childhood, had become afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder tendencies and other ACOA-related issues.

At 11 years old, my mother was prescribed amphetamine-based diet pills, at my grandmother’s request.

Four years later, she was an addict, willing to try anything to get her fix and provide an emotional escape.

My grandmother took no responsibility. From her perspective, she simply became a victim of addiction, again.  Eventually, I became a victim to her and all her untreated ACOA issues, while she seemingly transformed into her father and became my main abuser.

THE EMOTIONAL RECOVERY STORY

I suffered various forms of abuse and numerous traumas throughout my childhood. Though not all were at the hands of my grandmother, the vast majority greatly resembled scenes from Mommy Dearest.

My young adulthood saw the death of my mother, who died from the disease of addiction at the young age of 38, and my grandfather, who I truly believe died of a broken heart after the loss of his daughter. I was twenty years old, and I lost both of them in less than a year’s time.

Of course, their deaths left me with no one to call “family,” other than my grandmother.

Additionally, my grandfather was the only father I’d ever known. As such, that was certainly the most emotionally challenging year of my life. However, that wasn’t to say it was the worst thing I’d experienced. It wasn’t. But, as grief and loss often do, the finality unhinged the door I’d been closing and locking on my feelings for years.

That’s when the anxiety attacks and depression kicked in; a direct result of what would later be diagnosed as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As such, I found myself seeking counseling. Actually, initially, I just wanted to make the crippling anxiety attacks stop. A few bouts with suicidality also landed me in a counseling office or two, neither time of my own free will.

Eventually, the anxiety was so bad, I was willing to do whatever it took. Additionally, I was in a horribly dysfunctional and abusive relationship. The latter became the catalyst that set me on a path of personal growth and emotional recovery.

THE WEIGHT-LOSS CONNECTION

I spent the next seven years in counseling. After finding the right fit with regard to my therapist, I spent many sessions facing my pain, revisiting traumas in an effort to heal, dealing with myself and all the learned dysfunctional behaviors and finally grieving the multitude of losses. It was a long, painful and often terrifying process.

But, as I moved forward on that journey, I began to feel lighter. I was no longer carrying all the weight of my past, my dysfunctional family, their pain or stuffing down my own. The weight of their world was no longer mine to bear, and I was able to release the grief I’d been suppressing.

I had begun to write my own story, rather than just becoming another screwed up chapter in theirs. And, as such, my heart was no longer heavy. My pain was no longer weighing down my wings. I lost the dead weight of addiction, abuse and dysfunction and found myself.

 

*Original version first published on soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/recovery-hero-of-the-week-toshia-humphries/

Tips for Repairing Self-Esteem in Recovery: Six Things You Need to Have a Healthy Self-Esteem

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

As most addiction specialists and recovering individuals likely know, active addiction can wreak havoc on an individual’s self-esteem. In fact, a lack of healthy self-esteem is typically to blame for drug use, which eventually leads to active addiction, in the first place. The traumas and tragedies which often accompany active addiction negatively impact an individual’s perspective on the world around them and the one within. Certainly, the dysfunctional behaviors and developmental stunting resulting from active addiction aid in stagnating personal growth.

Additionally, since addiction is a systemic disease, the entire family is negatively affected. This reality no only adds to the detriment of the active addict’s self-esteem, but also that of the family as a whole; a process which typically becomes a vicious, codependent cycle. As such, it is vital for recovering individuals and their family members—especially spouses and children of addicts—to seek the information and tools to rebuild and/or establish for the first time a healthy sense of self-esteem.

According to Bettie Youngs (1991), there are six things every individual needs in order to acquire a healthy self-esteem. Though Youngs assessment was utilized in an effort to assist parents in the duty to establish a healthy self-esteem in children, the call of recovering addicts to be their own best parent to their inner child makes this information appropriate and necessary for repairing self-esteem in recovery.

In line with Youngs’ work and in an effort to establish or heal self-esteem, recovering individuals and family members must provide themselves (and be provided in rehab/treatment) with these six things:

  1. Sense of Physical Safety—Recovering individuals and family members need to feel physically safe within their treatment and home environment.

 

  1. Sense of Emotional Security—Open communication, careful confrontation and the assessment and potential removal of emotional toxins is necessary in treatment facilities and in the home to prevent shaming, verbal abuse, codependent behaviors and deadly habits, such as criticizing, blaming, threatening and punishing.

 

  1. Sense of Identity—Identity is almost always in question when active addicts enter into treatment. Additionally, the identity of the family is fragile and threatened as well. The re-establishment of identity without active addiction is a vital element of recovery and necessary to repair self-esteem. Recovering individuals need to look to other basic aspects of themselves as defining factors—i.e., parent, sibling, friend, student, employee, employer, recovering, etc.—to begin reforming a sense of identity.

 

  1. Sense of Belonging—Recovery and sober living communities are absolutely essential for achieving a sense of belonging and a healthy self-esteem. Recovering individuals and their families need to feel a sense of social acceptance, validation and connection.

 

  1. Sense of Mission—Recovering persons and family members need to find their individual passion or purpose. Some make their experience and personal journey from active addiction to successful recovery a passionate mission. Others may take that sense of purpose a step further and pursue an education in the addiction field to become addiction specialists, counselors and so on. Others may author a book detailing their experiences in the hopes of helping others. Some may realize a dream that has absolutely nothing to do with addiction or recovery. Regardless of the mission, each individual in recovery must find out what makes them tick and pursue it with fervor.

 

  1. Sense of Competency—Individuals in recovery, including family members (and especially children) of addicts, need to believe they are capable and competent. Codependency and enabling family members of addicts exhibit a great deal of control over each other and prevent a sense of competency (among other things) in recovering individuals and affected children. As such, family members of recovering addicts must keep in mind that a sense of competency is necessary to establish a healthy self-esteem, encourage successful recovery and prevent relapse.

Recovering individuals and family members who work to ensure the establishment of these six essential elements will not only repair or possibly establish for the first time a sense of healthy self-esteem. They will also most likely see successful, lifelong recovery for themselves as individuals and as a family.

 

Sources:

Bettie Youngs, (1991). The 6 vital ingredients of self-esteem and how to develop them in your child. New York: Rawson Associates. Retrieved on October 27th, 2016 from https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/fcs-467.pdf

http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

*Original version first published on www.soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/6-things-an-addict-needs-to-build-high-self-esteem/

 

Discovering Who You Are After Addiction

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

In active addiction, much of what we identify with is in direct relation to our addiction. In fact, many of us become quite known for our partying antics. Unfortunately, some of us become less labeled as the life of the party and more associated with the legal issues we find ourselves in as a result of the party.

Whether our reputation as an active addict becomes one of popularity among groups which have seemingly perverted the definition of fun, or finds us labeled “the black sheep,” our identity becomes defined by the drugs we do, alcohol we use, dealers we know, bars we frequent and friends (or enablers) we find in active addiction. That fact leaves the majority of us who enter treatment grieving not only our substance of choice and the connections we had, deemed toxic during recovery, but our very identity as well.

Because that can pose a very real and challenging threat to our longevity in recovery, we must find ways to discover who we are after addiction. Here are some steps to take in an effort to do just that:

  1. Shift your perspective. When we enter into recovery, it is vital to our success that we switch our perspective from one that sees a lost identity to a view which gently reminds us we simply gained one. We are now in active recovery, and that will be a new, positively-defining part of our identity. That does not deny us our need to grieve. However, it does give us a way to maintain gratitude and hope for a new normal within our experience of grief.

 

  1. Get back to basics. Entering treatment may threaten the identity we have unfortunately embraced throughout our active addiction, but it does not rob us of our basic identifiers. Our gender, race, culture, religion, ethnicity, etc., are still intact. Moreover, our role as daughter, son, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, family member and friend are not lost to us. In fact, many of those aspects are potentially strengthened. Returning back to basic identifying factors can help us ground ourselves in times where we feel as though we have no anchor.

 

  1. Embrace the new. Change is not easy for anyone. It can be a terrifying experience, even when we are aware that which we are leaving behind was destroying us. It is the fear of the unknown. And, as such, it is a common one which branches far beyond that experienced by active addicts entering into recovery. However, if we merely embrace the new life that lies before us and the simple fact that we get a chance to actually live it, we have a better chance of not only discovering who we are after addiction, but falling in love with the newfound freedom to become whatever we dream.

 

Though the challenges to losing a sense of one’s identity can be overwhelming, the aforementioned simple steps can truly lessen that load. Though the grief will still be valid and certainly needs to be processed, the journey forward will be an easier one if we are open to the progress. A great recovery community, addiction specialists and counselors can assist with the journey as well.

*Original version first published on www.soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/discovering-who-you-are-after-addiction/

 

It Will Hurt—A Reminder to Recovering Addicts, “You Are Supposed to Feel Pain”

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

Throughout life, all individuals experience a wide range of emotion. Everything from joy and ecstasy to grief and depression is possible. However, not everyone is comfortable with or even willing to accept variations of the latter. And, with regard to emotional pain, addicts are especially quick to kick and scream or attempt an avoidance or escape tactic.

The latter is due to one simple fact; they’ve spent the duration of their addiction and then some trying desperately to suppress and deny pain.

Active addicts typically utilize their substance of choice as a means or method of achieving that end. In fact, the drugs and alcohol begin to suppress and dull emotions so well, addicted individuals become seemingly numb. To a degree, that experience mirrors the initial stage of grief; denial. Incidentally, the latter is of course also exactly where active addicts typically sit with regard to their disease and the need for help.

But, in defense of active addicts everywhere, the state of denial isn’t populated by addicts alone. Generally speaking, it’s where humans feel safe and secure. It’s one reason any truth that shakes the core of one’s beliefs or forces feelings by shedding light on tragedy or injustice is typically met with resistance and distortion. To attempt to force anyone out of denial is to potentially actively engage in war with one’s ego.

Ego. It is the forerunner in the perpetuation of active addiction, and it’s not big on humility, accountability, personal growth or pain. And, as such, active addicts who are seemingly controlled by ego continue to refuse to deal with themselves, their underlying emotional or mental issues or the disease of addiction, itself. They remain in denial and defend their state with the fervor of native Texans.

That’s one reason rock bottom isn’t always low enough. The pain has to be so great that it outweighs any level of intoxication and outnumbers the enablers left standing in false support. More importantly, the active addict has to come to realize that the substance of choice is no longer suppressing or numbing pain, but seemingly adding to it.

That wakeup call occurs in seconds, and unfortunately it can be quite fleeting. Why? Because pain, however, is not.

Pain lasts longer than detox. It extends past twenty-eight days. And, typically speaking, when the drugs, alcohol and numbness wear off and the physical ramifications of withdrawal have dissipated, the guilt, shame, grief and pain floods in, along with numerous other overwhelming and sometimes mixed emotions.

Additionally, the grief alone is a process. And, generally, it is intensified in recovery because addicts must let go of everything they know, including themselves, or at least the identity they have acquired during their active addiction. As such, emotional recovery becomes a vital piece of recovering from addiction.

However, not all recovering addicts seek or receive emotional recovery; a fact which may contribute greatly to the staggeringly high statistics on relapse. But, for the record, there isn’t an individual alive—addicted, recovering or not—who couldn’t benefit from emotional growth and healing. Why? Because everyone experiences pain. Everyone.

The experience of pain doesn’t always equate a diagnosis. More often than not, it’s simply part of being human. We are meant to feel pain. To deny, suppress, avoid and escape pain only prolongs and ultimately intensifies and multiplies it. In fact, eventually, the unresolved painful emotions can have a very detrimental physical effect.

Part of successful recovery is realizing it will hurt. Recovery, personal growth, letting go, starting over, being born again—whatever label is placed on the process, it will hurt. Why? Because it is birth; the birth of a new you.

And, yes. You are supposed to feel pain. Moreover, you are supposed to feel. Period. It is one way to know you are more than just merely alive. You’re living.

**Original version first published on www.soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/addiction/it-s-going-to-hurt-dealing-with-painful-emotions/

 

3 Reasons Why You May Need a Rock Bottom

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

Rock bottom is a term I’ve heard since I was a little girl. Why? Because my mother was a heroin addict.

Fortunately, my grandparents were around to raise me. But, regardless of that fact, the absence of my mother was painful and confusing. For her, seeing the broken heart of her own child was not enough to force her to get help. In fact, nothing was.

Placed in rehab against her will numerous times, recovery never stuck. The only explanation I ever heard was a simple yet then bewildering one; “She just hasn’t hit rock bottom.”

Evidently, for my mother, the pain never outweighed the level of intoxication she could reach to numb it or the number of enablers left standing to rescue her from it.

That last statement is one which generally applies to all active addicts, and it explains why the vast majority need a rock bottom in order to seek help.

Why Some Might Not Agree

Though there are some in recovery who might argue this point, saying they never actually hit an all-time low but simply decided to quit, the vast majority require varying degrees of low points to decide enough is enough. Additionally, there is another group who might challenge this point of view; the sober individuals who don’t necessarily refer to themselves as recovering, mainly because the affiliation with the recovery community implies a stint in treatment and the need to work a program to maintain sobriety and achieve successful recovery. As such, these individuals typically don’t claim a rock-bottom low point either.

But, regarding the above instances, it is important to keep in mind those individuals who merely made a conscious decision to quit without need for piling personal, financial and legal consequences or assistance to acquire and maintain sobriety may have been struggling with substance abuse rather than the disease of addiction.

Why Some Never Hit a Rock Bottom

There are individuals who are enabled heavily by family and friends. That fact does not stop them from entering a treatment program. In fact, the family often forces them to go, paying high prices for their care and rehabilitation, visiting if allowed and funding their second, third or fourth chance after leaving treatment.

And, in those instances, the constant financial support and connections with family members and friends prevent the addicted individual from reaching rock bottom. Sure. They may hit a low point. But, if during that struggle, they can call a friend or family member who will attempt to rescue them from their pain by way of emotional or financial support, they do not actually bottom out.

Instead, they are saved from the opportunity to hit that needed rock bottom and, as such, their chance to contemplate change is stolen from them by someone who typically intends to help. But, in these cases, helping is enabling.

What is Rock Bottom?

Rock bottom is not simply a low period. It is a point where all feels lost, as a result of active addiction. Friends, family, finances and possibly even freedom are gone. At this point, if no one steps in to rescue, the active addict will have to sit with the dire consequences of their disease.

3 Reasons Why You Need It

  1. It’s Like Any Other Disease. With regard to addiction as defined by the disease model which implies it is chronic, progressive and potentially fatal if not treated, a rock bottom is typically required to necessitate change. And, incidentally, treatment and recovery is the component needed to spur perspective and lifestyle changes in an effort to survive the disease.

Moreover, regarding any disease, symptoms may be ignored for some time. It is typically only   until these symptoms become so life-                 altering that they are no longer manageable that  individuals seek help. Addiction is clearly no exception.

 

  1. Sitting With Pain Spurs Contemplation. When left to sit at rock bottom without hope of being pulled up while still in active addiction or without consenting to treatment, the individual will typically realize that to be able to restore all the elements lost to them—family, friends, finances, freedom, etc.—they must get help for their addiction and enter into recovery.

 

  1. With Every Rescue, Rock Bottom Gets Lower. That’s one reason rock bottom isn’t always low enough; because some are never actually allowed to hit it until it’s rock bottom has descended to six feet under. The active addict has to be allowed to sit with consequences and with their pain. Even if a great deal of their initial story involves pain which was inflicted by someone besides themselves, they must come to realize that the substance of choice is no longer suppressing or numbing their pain, but seemingly adding to it.

 

Of course, there is no magic formula for how active addicts arrive at a realization and break free from denial. But, generally speaking, addiction specialists are aware that enabling certainly prevents either. Rock bottom is a tough place to be, and it is likely even tougher for a loved one to helplessly witness. But, with regard to addiction, requiring an active addict to climb up of their own free will, rather than jumping in to save them from themselves, is the definition of love and the opposite of enabling and codependency.

**Original version first published on www.soberrecovery.com: http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/3-reasons-why-addicts-need-a-rock-bottom/

 

 

 

Have a Happy, Sober Halloween—A List of Local, Sober Halloween Activities

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By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

Though it may seem to some sobriety offers very little in the way of fun and festivities, especially during the holiday season, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, no group of humans enjoys Halloween more than children, and they certainly do so sober. And, since the holiday is truly a gift to the inner child in each of us and, therefore, a whimsical way of healing, it’s necessary for those in recovery to find sober ways to participate in and truly enjoy the magic of Halloween.

As such, I have taken the opportunity to provide a list of local events which offer opportunities for those in recovery to celebrate the holiday. These events are certainly better experienced in groups. So, make a plan with others in the recovery community to get together and take part. There are numerous events for you to attend with friends, family and the kids and even a few specifically designed for you to enjoy with your dogs.

Everything from Halloween and Fall festivities that begin tonight to those which celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and run through November are seemingly included in this list, which was copied from the Lubbock in the Loop website. There’s seemingly something on every day from now until November 2nd. Enjoy and have a happy, sober Halloween:

At’l Do Farms Corn Maize

Through November 12th

6323 FM 1294

Take a hayride out to the patch, stroll through the vines and pick your perfect pumpkin. Many varieties to choose from. Prices range from $1 and up. Hayride to pick pumpkins stops at dusk.

Nightmare on 19th Street

Through October 31st (Thursdays – Sundays)

Fridays & Saturdays (7:30pm – 11:30pm): Wrist Band Price $25

Sundays & Thursdays (7:30pm – 11:00pm): Wrist Band Price $20

Lonestar Events Center | 602 E 19th St

Scary haunted houses: Clowntown 3D, City of the Lost, The Wastelands, and Blood Moon Manor.

Halls of Horror Haunted House

Through October 31st (Thursdays-Saturdays)

9:00pm – 12:00am

Traders Market | 1301 84th Street

Halls of Horror is Lubbock’s most terrifying Haunted House attraction. Featuring over 20,000 square feet of SHEER TERROR! Five New Attractions for 2016, including PsychoWard. Ticket Prices: $20. Kids (9 and under): $10.

Haunted Woods of Smyer

October 28th, 29th and 31st

8pm-Midnight

$5

On the corner of 114 and Owl Rd.

The Haunted Woods of Smyer is a haunted house in a wooded area just a few short miles West of Lubbock on HWY 114. At just $5/person this is a great way to have some Halloween fun on a budget while supporting a good cause. All proceeds benefit the Smyer Volunteer Fire Department.

Lubbock Community Theater Presents: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

October 28th – 30th

2:00pm and 7:30pm

Lubbock Community Theater | 4232 Boston Ave

A classic horror story! A new and shocking version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of depravity, lust, love and horror. Tickets: $16.80 – $22.00.

Safe Treat at the Burkhart Center

Tuesday, October 25th

6:00 – 8:00pm

Burkhart Center | 2902 18th St.

Safe Trick or Treat Halloween Fun at the Burkhart Center. Free Event! Halloween crafts, games, candy and spooky punch. Come in costume!

Tech-or-Treat Halloween Carnival

Wednesday, October 26th

6:00 – 8:00pm

Texas Tech Student Union Building

Tech-or-Treat is a Halloween Carnival that provides a safe alternative to trick or treating, and is staffed by Texas Tech student organizations, sororities, fraternities, and campus departments. Free admission!

Bacon Heights Baptist Church Fall Festival

Wednesday, October 26th

6:00 – 8:00pm

5110 54th St.

Free food, candy, booths, and bounce house. All ages are welcome. Free!

LakeRidge UMC Trunk-or-Treat

Wednesday, October 26th

6:00 – 7:30pm

LakeRidge UMC | 4701 82nd St.

LakeRidge UMC fills their parking lot with trunks full of candy for this community wide event. A night filled with music, bounce houses, hot dogs, and fellowship. Free and open to all ages.

Alamo Drafthouse: Creep Show

Wednesday,  October 26th

7:30pm

Alamo Drafthouse | 120 W Loop 289

 

Silly Science Carnival

Thursday, October 27th

10:00am – 12:00pm

Science Spectrum | 2579 S Loop 289

Check out this exciting, fun Fall event just for pre-schoolers! This mini carnival takes place in the Exhibit Hall and Museum and is perfect for those younger ones that might not want to get out and compete with the older kids at the other Halloween events.

Spooky Science Carnival

Friday, October 28th

5:00pm

Science Spectrum | 2579 S Loop 289

One of the Science Spectrum’s most popular annual events! Join us for a night at the museum full SPOOKY SCIENCE! Enjoy spooky lab experiments, carnival games, prizes, trick-or-treats, the Spooky Scientist Show, spooky critters, children & family costume contests, as well as other spooky-not-scary Halloween activities!

Christ the King Annual Fall Festival

Friday, October 28th

5:30 – 9:00pm

Christ the King School | 4011 54th Street

Invite your family, friends, and neighbors! All are welcome to join the Christ the King Cathedral community for this event. Food, games, prizes, raffle drawings, bouncers, cake walk, bake sale and more!

Procesion

Friday, October 28th

5:30 – 9:30pm

Buddy Holly Center | 1801 Crickets Ave

Join the Buddy Holly Center for Lubbock’s citywide observance of Día de los Muertos, at the annual event Procesión, an evening of activities coordinated with the International Cultural Center, Texas Tech University School of Art and the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts., 2016. The Buddy Holly Center will host a live performance and a make-and-take arts project. These events are free to the public.

Halloween Costume Party

Friday, October 28th

6:00 – 8:00pm

Rawlings Community Center | 213 40th St.

Come dressed in your favorite Halloween costume, and enter to win a prize for best dressed costume. Ages 6-17. $1.00 admission.

Redeemer Church Trunk-or-Treat

Friday, October 28th

6:30 – 8:30pm

Redeemer Church | 6402 Elgin

A safe environment to Trick-or-Treat on a newly paved parking lot! There will be food, coffee, and some bounce houses.

Tricks & Treats: A Halloween Spooktacular

Friday, October 28th

8:00 – 10:00pm

LHUCA | 511 Ave K

Presented by Flatlands Dance Theatre. The talented artists of FDT will present seven original dance works celebrating their favorite holiday – Halloween! Some dances are boo-tiful, some are fang-tastic, some are wicked and some are just plain fun! Come dressed in your best costume for the chance to win great prizes in our costume contest! At the Firehouse Theatre inside LHUCA.

Wicked Waggin’ Walkathon

Saturday, October 29th

8:00am – 12:00pm

Higginbotham Park | 19th St and Vicksburg

This is a fundraiser walk benefiting the TTU Pre-Vet Society and the South Plains SPCA. There will be a dog costume contest!

Grow With Me Fall Festival

Saturday, October 29th

9:00am – 3:00pm

Grow With Me Learning Academy | 5173 69th Street

Grow with Me Learning Academy is hosting our first annual FREE fall festival! Come out for tons of family fun with the kids. Open to all kids! Face Painting, Photo Booth, Bounce House, Cotton Candy, Games & more.

Truckin’ It At The Park

Saturday, October 29th

11:00am – 7:00pm

McAllister Park (where Legacy Play Village is located)

This event will have various food trucks, vendors & a Halloween Trunk or Treat so gather the family and come have a great time. Event is free to the public, but please bring a canned food donation to help the South Plains Food Bank.

Fall Fest on Buddy Holly Ave

Saturday, October 29th

1:00 – 6:00pm

Buddy Holly Ave

Artist showcase, music, vendor market, kids area.

Caprock Behavior Halloween Fun Fest

Saturday, October 29th

2:00 – 4:00pm

6104 66th

This fun fest is geared more for children with special needs.

Connect Church Trunk or Treat

Saturday, October 29th

3:00 – 5:00pm

13101 Hwy 87

Free for all! Trick or Treating will never be the same! Fun will be had by all!

Trunk or Treat at Chaparral Motors

Saturday, October 29th

4:00 – 6:00pm

Chaparral Motors | 1702 Clovid Rd

There will be candy, games, prizes, photo taking, face painting. Wear your costumes!

Hallelujah Night

Saturday, October 29th

5:00 – 9:00pm

Celebration Christian Church | 8001 Upland

Activities will include children’s games and prizes, food, and a family-friendly movie. A Halloween alternative. Come join the fun!

Howl-O-Ween Walk/Run in the Park

Saturday, October 29th

6:00pm

Mackenzie Park

Dogs are encouraged to dress up in their Halloween costumes and join their owners on a nice 1.5 mile walk/run at Mackenzie Park. Family and dog friendly. Hosted by Texas K9 Enforcement.

Premiere Cinemas: Rocky Horror Picture Show Party

Saturday, October 29th

Midnight

Premiere Cinemas | 6002 Slide

 

Growl-O-Ween at Three Dog Bakery

Sunday, October 30

1:00 – 4:00pm

Three Dog Bakery | 98th and Slide

Costume contest with prizes. Free food, drinks and cake! Microchip clinic, adoptable dogs, and vaccination vouchers. Pre-register by calling (806) 317-1237.

Hallelujah Night

Sunday, October 30

5:00 – 7:00pm

Celebration Christian Center

Enjoy children’s games and prizes, a bounce house, carriage rides, music, and a short movie. Costumes welcome!

Alliance Trunk-or-Treat

Sunday, October 30

5:30 – 7:30pm

Alliance Church | 5825 34th St.

 

LifePoint Baptist Church Trunk-or-Treat

Sunday, October 30

6:00 – 7:00pm

Wayland Baptist University parking lot | Quaker and Erskine

 

Debbie & Patti’s Haunted Graveyard

Monday, October 31st

5:30 – 10:00pm

3718 103rd St

The theme is always zombie related – some scenes maybe a little to intense for the smaller children. The event is free to the public… come join the fun!

Bodyworks Halloween Safe Zone

Monday, October 31st

6:00 – 9:00pm

Bodyworks | 5402 4th St.

Bodyworks’ Halloween Safe Zone will feature carnival games, face painting, haunted houses, indoor ropes course, prizes, and tons of safe candy for the kids. Pre-register online. Free and open to the public.

Historic Redeemer Trunk or Treat

Monday, October 31st

6:00 – 8:00pm

Historic Redeemer Church | 2221 Avenue W

Join in to give the neighborhood kids a safe and happy Halloween! There will be popcorn, candy,

and games to be played as well as live music.

Elks Lodge Trunk or Treat

Monday, October 31st

6:00 – 8:00pm

3409 Milwaukee

Free trunk or treat event for kids through age 12.

Fall Festival from Church on the Rock

Monday, October 31st

6:30 – 8:30pm

United Express parking lot | 4th and Milwaukee

Trunk-or-treat, food trucks, games, prizes, bounce houses, face paint. Free.

Halloween: Alamo Drafthouse

Monday, October 31st

7:30pm

Alamo Drafthouse | 120 W Loop 289

 

Premiere Cinemas: Rocky Horror Picture Show Party

Monday, October 31st

Midnight

Premiere Cinemas | 6002 Slide

 

Fall Plant Sale at the Arboretum

Saturday, November 5th

9:00am

Lubbock Memorial Arboretum

 

First-time fall plant sale to benefit the Arboretum and its ongoing projects.

 

 

**All event information directly copied from and courtesy of Lubbock in the Loop. Be sure to check their site for updates and additional events:  http://www.lubbockintheloop.com/fall-festivals/

 

Trick or Treat—A Reminder to Guard Against a Tricky Ego this Halloween and Treat Yourself to Continued Success in Recovery

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

As Halloween quickly approaches, invitations to festive events and costume parties may be pouring in. For those in early recovery, this can pose a potential challenge. It seems that everyone has plans to dress up and head to the bar, enjoy live music and participate in the fun a costume contest can bring.

Equally as challenging to all recovering individuals may be the fact that, during Halloween and all throughout the holiday season, people who seemingly aren’t addicts or alcoholics start stocking their homes with alcohol in preparation for adult guests who will be enjoying an evening of fun and entertainment.

These realities can bring a sense of resentment to those who have found themselves diagnosed with alcoholism or addiction. Those in early recovery may not feel safe to go to the local bar for fear of relapse. As such, it may feel as though the alternative is to stay home and miss out on the fun.

Additionally, for all individuals in recovery, the fact that some can seemingly consume alcoholic beverages in moderation with no negative consequences can cause a great deal of frustration, regret and possibly even self-loathing; a huge threat to recovery. Moreover, it may make those in early recovery question their own ability to do the same. And, of course, those whose substance of choice was never alcohol to begin with may find it tempting to partake in the consumption of what is likely intended to be just a few beers.

But, just as diabetics have a disease, addicts have a disease. And, for the record, Halloween is quite a challenging time for diabetics as well. In fact, the entire holiday season can pose some serious threats, if diagnosed individuals don’t find healthy ways to balance their desires to enjoy holiday treats and festivities while still respecting the critical needs of their bodies.

Individuals in recovery from addiction must do the same.

It is important to remember how tricky the ego can be in rationalizing relapse thinking and behavior. Moreover, it’s necessary to reach out to others in recovery for support. Work together to find or organize sober events, costume contests and Halloween parties that provide your inner child with the joyful experience of Halloween without risking your success in recovery.

“I’m Stuck with You”–A Caution to Guardians

By | Guardians | No Comments

By Toshia Humphries, M.Ed., M.A.

Children of addicts are often raised by grandparents or other family members, single parents, etc., as a result of active addiction. This can be a challenging and often painful reality for both guardians and the children affected. Confusion and constant questioning often surface quickly with children of addicts, once addicted parents are temporarily or permanently removed from their lives. All too often, guardians are not properly equipped with information or education about addiction and sometimes lack communication skills or the ability to carefully confront the delicate issue with honest explanations.

This combination of potentially overwhelming experiences can try even the kindest heart and potentially turn the best of intentions into an innocent child’s worst nightmare. As such, it is necessary for guardians to take a personal inventory, gain self-awareness, practice self-care and get professional help for themselves and the child, if necessary. Because, though the experience and responsibility of raising someone else’s child coupled with the resulting added stress, concern and frustration can wear a guardian down, patience and complete compassion are the guardian’s responsibility.

Remember, children—regardless of circumstance—require more than just food, shelter and clothing to survive. They need emotional and physical safety, love and belonging and self-esteem to thrive. Taking on the responsibility of a child implies the added accountability for providing those key elements, as well. With regard to children of addicts, the degree to which those components are needed is critical.

In essence, children of addicts have already been and currently are grieving the living. As such, they generally already lack a great deal of their basic physical and emotional human needs. Therefore, they will likely act out in response to that reality and throughout various stages of their ongoing grief process.

The latter possibility depends greatly on their age and development, but it is important to remember children of addicts often experience stunted development. This results from their experiences of living with an active addict. Additionally, the emotional trauma of losing a parent to active addiction negatively affects the development process.

As such, it is very important for guardians—temporary or permanent—of children of addicts to express gratitude for the privilege to raise the child, rather than making disparaging comments during moments of frustration. Guardians must remember, making hurtful statements—with or without negative intentions—about the effects of addiction that imply the child is a burden only worsen the child’s suffering and potentially result in the progression of any existing emotional/behavioral issues.

Moreover, guardians of children of addicts need to keep in mind, the children are already struggling a great deal, feel burdensome, abandoned and confused. It is vital for guardians to know what to say to these children to explain the situation, how to get help for them and how to ensure they do not feel like burdens or unwanted in any way.

If you are a guardian of a child of an addict and have questions or need further information, call our hotline: 1-844-6-GETHELP