Addiction

7 Recovery Mantras for Your Sobriety Journey


Nothing changes if nothing changes. Sometimes I’m still baffled by the fact that this didn’t resonate with me the first time I heard it.

When I stumbled my way into the world of recovery, I was met with many words of wisdom from people with good intentions. At the time it frustrated me, as these sayings about sobriety did not seem to ring true for me. They sounded too grateful and enthusiastic, and I was not in a place to be grateful or enthusiastic. I was angry at the world and resistant to recovery. I was early in my sobriety and had yet to realize what it had to offer.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 17, 2016


Before you run off to enjoy the last weekend of summer, take some time to enjoy the seriously random mix of mental health news and stories I've found for you this week!

Read on to take a look at data on how psychiatric drug advertising affects prescriptions, a study related to how writing down your dreams and goals increases your chances of achieving them, reviews on various self-help books for pet parents (you read...
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 10, 2016


On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and flown into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., killing more than 3,000 people, including police officers and firefighters.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of what we now refer to as 9/11, and people will pause and reflect and grieve just as they have for the past decade and a half.

They will take a moment or two or more to remember those who were senselessly killed during these attacks -- as well as their family members and other loved ones.

I know I, for one, will, too.

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Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction: Legal But Very Risky

Generally when we hear the terms "drug" or "drug addict" we assume the reference is geared towards illegal street drugs. There seems to be a silent acceptance of the addictive qualities and negative impacts that legal drugs have on society. When/if the negative impacts they have are addressed, an overt finger is pointed at the person who found themselves addicted to the substance that was either prescribed by a professional or advertised repeatedly through media outlets as a fun, enjoyable way to spend downtime. There are warning labels but for the most part these drugs are depicted as a fairly safe means to cure an ailment or a recipe for a good time.
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Addiction

A Higher Power for Those Who Don’t Believe in a Higher Power

This article is not directed toward individuals who do not find themselves struggling to embrace a Higher Power of their understanding while working toward recovery. It is directed at those who may want to embrace something, yet cannot identify with what they are comfortable.

Several of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and Narcotics Anonymous) involve a Higher Power, so one could imagine this being offputting to someone who does not identify one. It can be challenging to wrap your head around the steps if God or a Higher Power is not in your life.

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Addiction

Hitting Rock Bottom: Some, Not All

Hitting rock bottom is a phrase I hear all the time when people talk about addiction. “She needs to hit rock bottom to stop drinking.” “Once he hits rock bottom, he will realize the damage that drugs have caused.” “After they hit rock bottom, they will understand how negatively addiction has affected their careers, finances, and families.” These are common phrases I hear when people talk about friends, family, or acquaintances with addiction.

Yet, what does it mean to hit rock bottom? Literally speaking, it means someone has fallen so far -- perhaps off a cliff -- that they have hit the ground. Metaphorically, hitting rock bottom describes a point in one’s life when they reach a definite low as a result of addiction problems. People generally see it as the lowest point possible, an epiphanic moment or process where one becomes cognizant of their addiction’s destructive nature. This point may be financial, emotional, physical, social, or spiritual.

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Addiction

How ‘Mad Men’ Taught Us about Trauma, Shame & Healing

Don Draper, a character on the TV series "Mad Men," was a survivor of childhood trauma.

But when we first met Don, we met a man who had it all. He was at the pinnacle of his career, happily married to his gorgeous wife, Betty, and father of two adorable children. His haughty, arrogant and aloof facade was easily mistaken for genuine confidence.

We soon found out, however, that Don was a man with flaws. An alcoholic, a womanizer and an adulterer, he lied about things, not the least of which was his fake identity. These flaws, or what a therapist would consider symptoms, were an indication that Don was unwell. Symptoms are often brilliant clues that let an individual know they have underlying yet blocked emotions, often from the past, that need attention and release.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: March 26, 2016


Listen to that...do you hear that, sweet readers?

That's the sound of absolute silence. Well, at least, it is for me. The roofers are gone, our living room is safe again, and let's just say this week has presented far less work frustration over it, ha!

So, this week I've rounded up some exciting updates, research, and other findings on how learning to cook is helping one person's depression, why hanging with friends could actually cause super smart people to feel less happy, what advocates are saying about a plan to ease the rules on patients' privacy regarding addiction treatment, and more.

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Anxiety and Panic

For Those in Despair: You Are Not Alone

Whenever we’re struggling with something, we assume we are alone. We are the only ones. I’m the only one who can’t get through the day without crying. I’m the only one with sweaty palms and terror swirling through my body while grocery shopping. I’m the only one who isn’t blissed out after having a baby. I’m the only one who can’t shake this all-consuming sorrow or rage. I’m the only one who can’t sit still. Who can’t stomach myself.  

But you’re not alone. You’re not alone in your confusing emotions, dark thoughts and daily struggles. You are one of hundreds, of thousands and even of millions. Two recently published essay collections remind us of this. They remind us that while our stories may be unique, the themes are not. We are connected. And there is hope.
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Addiction

An Open Letter from a Wife in Recovery

Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any Al-Anon approved literature.
After reading An Open Letter From an Addict, I took the liberty of writing a letter back early on in my own recovery. Yes, my recovery.

After finding out my husband was actively using for years, I was devastated. How could I not know? What was I thinking this whole time?

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Addiction

How to Write a Daily Journal in Two Minutes or Less

Keeping a journal is often recommended as a powerful tool to aide addicts on their road to recovery. Journals not only help patients reflect on and express their feelings, but also to examine ways to avoid relapse.

However, many patients don’t stick with journaling because it can be a tedious practice. I work as an addiction psychiatrist, and I have developed a highly effective method of journaling that takes two minutes or less every day. This method offers patients personal accountability to understand the cycle of addiction.

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