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  • Preventing Relapse: The Role of Lifestyle Balance

    Posted on April 22, 2016
    In addiction recovery, if your life is filled with non-pleasurable activities, you are more likely to relapse. The relapse will provide an intense, but only temporary, satisfaction. Perhaps the greatest risk for imbalance comes when we are too focused on what we “should” do and not enough on what we want to do. Of course, we need to do what we should do, but with balance! Lifestyle balance can be considered from a number of perspectives. Below is a list (taken from Dr. Horvath's book, Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate, page 191) that you might use to consider how balanced you are: Work and relaxation Activity and contemplation (self-assessment) Duties and fun Long-term projects and momentary pleasure Alone time and social time Routine household chores and new proj...
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  • On being a SEN Master, Part 1

    Posted on January 22, 2016
    by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP What did the Zen Master say to the hot dog vendor?  “Make me one with everything.” This article is NOT about gaining enlightenment.  Rather, I focus on gaining greater lifestyle balance and greater overall physical and emotional health.  The term SEN Master, which I coined a few years ago, emphasizes the benefits of good Sleep, Exercise and Nutrition.  Of course, there are other valuable health habits (not abusing substances, washing your hands regularly–so as not to spread germs, taking care of your teeth, limiting sun exposure), and other habits that indirectly promote health (having a good social life, having meaningful activities).  The term SEN Master, however, suggests that good sleep, exercise and nutrition are the core health habits. Physicia...
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  • Defend Your Recovery and Mental Health During Seasonal Changes

    Posted on October 9, 2015
    With the end of summer comes shorter days, less sunlight, less time spent outdoors and, for some of us, a bit of a negative shift in our mood. Known as the winter blues or even Seasonal Affective Disorder (in more severe cases), this shift ranges from feeling a little down, sluggish, withdrawn, or even depressed, as the colder, darker days begin to replace the rejuvenating days of spring and summer. We all know that taking care of our mental health is a key component of our recovery, that’s why it’s critical we address any negative feelings which start to creep in – including those brought on by a change in the weather. While you can’t control the seasons, you can stave off some of those ill feelings. If your mood is beginning to fall with the leaves outside, try these tips for a ...
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  • 8 Tips for Better Sleep

    Posted on October 2, 2015
    Sleep is a crucial element of healthy recovery from addiction. “Without sleep, we all become tall 2 year olds.” -JoJo Jensen According to a study by Harvard Health, lack of sleep affects many aspects of our overall well-being, including memory, metabolism, mood, cardiovascular health and disease. In early recovery, sleep is especially important, giving you energy and willpower to cope with cravings and make rational decisions. There are lots of ways to set yourself up for a restorative night of sleep. Here are some reminders: Set a regular time for sleeping and waking up. Stick to this schedule! (Even on the weekends) Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day if you’re sensitive, after mid- to late afternoon. (According to information from the National Sleep Foundation, once in...
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  • Building Trust in Recovery

    Posted on March 24, 2015
    By Devon Berkheiser You can build trust again! Often, building trust with loved ones is a significant part of the recovery process. It’s not uncommon for people in the midst of an addiction to engage in lying, sneaking, and other behaviors that create a loss of trust in relationships. While it can be daunting to think about repairing your important relationships, here are 5 ways to help you manage the process: 1. Be patient First and foremost, recognize that rebuilding trust takes time. Addictive behaviors may have occurred over a span of many years, so it’s not realistic to think that you’ll be able to regain trust immediately. Your friends and family members have their own feelings to work through, so give them time and space for that. It’s normal to want to make things better...
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  • Staying Friends with Using Buddies

    Posted on March 23, 2015
    By Devon Berkheiser In early recovery, many people face a choice: whether to continue friendships with people who may still be using or to end those friendships in order to protect their own sobriety. This is not always an easy decision to make. Some using buddies may actually be long-term friends, and it can be hard to handle another important loss when you’re already dealing with so many changes in your life. Additionally, you may not have sober friends, which leaves you with the option of going back to old friendships or essentially starting over, which can feel overwhelming. If you do decide to maintain friendships with friends who are not sober, here are tips to help you manage the situation: 1. Evaluate the risk Some using buddies may be supportive of your new sobriety while ...
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  • 7 Books About Addiction and Recovery You Need to Read!

    Posted on March 12, 2015
    By Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D. Just as there are many different ways to recover, there are many different resources available to help in recovery. One great resource is books, and there are practically an unlimited number of options! From self-help books to autobiographical accounts, here are our picks for interesting and inspiring recovery-oriented books: 1. "Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom," by Rick Hanson This book focuses on more than just addiction, exploring how readers can work toward greater overall well-being. It provides information about the core functions of the brain (regulating, learning, valuing), along with practical applications of neuroscience to everyday life. 2. "Her Best Kept Secret," by Gabrielle Glaser In this info...
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  • 5 Tips for Getting Used to Normal Life

    Posted on March 6, 2015
    By Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D. Recovery is a major change that affects your entire lifestyle. When your energy is not spent on obtaining or using a desired substance, you might wonder what to do with your time or how to exist in “normal” life. Additionally, it’s common for people in early recovery to experience something of a slump after the first few weeks of sobriety. Perhaps you were expecting everything to be magically better once you got sober, but instead feel disappointed with the somewhat mundane nature of life in recovery. Although it can be a big transition, there are some things that you can do in order to make the adjustment to regular life easier. Here are 5 tips for getting used to normal life: 1. Learn to tolerate boredom and discomfort While we all want to experien...
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  • Recovery Organizations You Might Not Even Know About

    Posted on February 27, 2015
    Looking for some additional recovery support? While 12-step support networks such as AA and NA are the most widely-known, it’s important to know that, just as with addiction treatment, you have choices when it comes to recovery support. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of self-empowering organizations that offer resources for mutual- and self-help support. The Best Approach to Recovery We strongly believe that the best approach to recovery is the one that works for you. You may find one of these organizations to be just what you need. Or, you may find the support you need through 12-step oriented groups. Maybe you’ll even decide to combine different approaches and customize your recovery support to fit your needs. Whatever you decide, remember it’s your journey – choose the path that’...
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  • DIY Moderate Drinking

    Posted on February 26, 2015
    Are you interested in moderating or cutting back your drinking? Many individuals are! Here are two books which provide everything you need to know about moderate drinking. Responsible Drinking: A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers This book, by Rotgers, F., Kern, M. & Hoeltzel, R. (CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2002) is the basic text of Moderation Management (MM), a support group which helps individuals moderate drinking, or abstain. The first two authors are addiction experts who also volunteer on MM’s Board of Directors. The final author was successful in the MM program. MM offers a summary of its program on its website, and you might wish to start there: www.moderation.org. This book, which provides in-depth coverage of MM’s rationale, the scientific rese...
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