Author Archives:

Sober and COVID-Friendly Activities

Even though 2021 is already looking a lot better than the year prior – made exceedingly evident by widely circulating Bernie Sanders memes – we are still in the midst of nationwide shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. For those of us who are in addiction recovery, this time has been exceedingly difficult, seeing as many of us rely heavily on in-person peer support groups in order to maintain accountability. We have all had to navigate a series of strange and unprecedented events, and many of us have slowly adapted to what can be considered (at this point) the “new normal.” At the same time, many of us are starting to get a little bit restless – which can be dangerous to our sobriety if we don’t learn how to manage the restlessness and pour our energy into healthy and productive activities. So what do we do? Where do we go from here?

At Chapel Hill Detox we sincerely believe that with the right tools in place, you can successfully stay sober through any challenge that life throws your way. But in order to stay sober, you also have to be having some degree of fun. We have compiled a list of healthy and recovery-friendly ways in which to have fun as you navigate a masked country with a super early bedtime.

Fun Sober Activities to Enjoy During Lockdown

Some examples of fun sober activities to enjoy during lockdown include:

  • Host a virtual arts and crafts night. Get a small group of friends together and settle on an art project, then host a virtual hangout and complete the project together. This is a good way to stay connected to others while engaging in an activity that can be therapeutic. You can look online for pre-organized craft kits, and easily order some to be delivered – or, completely DIY it and use items that can be found in every household.
  • Start a book club. Reading seems to be somewhat of a lost pastime, what with the emergence of social media and the popularity of Netflix and chill. Find a group of friends (or even acquaintances) and settle on a different book every month. Host a Zoom meeting at the end of the month to discuss the book. not only will this help you stay accountable, but it will help you stay connected.
  • Learn to knit. Knitting might seem pretty lame to those who have never tried it, but it is actually extraordinarily fun, and if you get a move on it now you might have a scarf or a beanie to give a loved one come next Christmas.
  • Learn to make memes and send personalized memes to your friends. Take advantage of new technology and make yourself laugh all at once. Making memes is actually pretty cathartic.
  • Learn to cook. Do you miss eating out at your favorite sushi restaurant? Learn to recreate the best rolls yourself. Do you wish that you could enjoy a pasta dinner in that dimly lit Italian joint down the road? Light some candles and learn how to make pasta. Cooking is a great way to pass the time and it can be extremely therapeutic. Not to mention, by the time quarantine is lifted you will be equipped with a completely new skill set.
  • Make a pie for a neighbor. It might be a little weird, but so what. Bake a pie for your favorite neighbor and hand-deliver it to their doorstep. You might accidentally start a movement, who knows.
  • Take an extended break from social media and get to know yourself a little bit better. This is a great time to get to know yourself on a more personal basis. What do you like? What do you dislike? You can even get really weird with it and have a conversation with yourself. Why not, it’s not like anyone is watching.
  • Make up your own TikTok dance. Once the social media break has ended, try choreographing your very own 60 second dance and post your moves online. This is a very new age way to fit some exercise into your daily routine.
  • Clean the living crap out of your personal space. Having a clean space helps facilitate mental well-being. Deep clean everything in sight – you’ll definitely feel good once the cleaning process is over.
  • Take a long bath and read a book. Treat yo’self. You deserve it.

Ways to Stay Sober Amid the Boredom

In addition to having extracurricular fun and finding hobbies and activities that you enjoy, remember to stay up-to-date on your personal program of recovery. Here are several ways in which you can adjust your daily routine but still stay sober long-term.

  • Get engaged in virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Most meetings have moved online, but that is not an excuse to avoid them. You can easily find a meeting in any city or state across the US – which is actually really cool. If you so desire, you can virtually attend a meeting in a different state every single day. There are many groups on social media outlets like Facebook that offer virtual meeting lists, you just have to know where to look. reach out to Chapel Hill Detox for more information.
  • Pray and meditate every morning and every evening (or whenever you see fit). Keeping up with your prayer and meditation is essential to the maintenance of sobriety. Now is the perfect time to explore guided meditations online, or explore different methods of prayer. Explore, explore, explore! There are many ways in which to make your spiritual journey a super fun one.
  • Incorporate a holistic treatment method into your daily routine. For example, Yoga Therapy or Nutritional Therapy. Look back to your treatment days and draw examples from that program. Did you find that yoga helped quiet your mind and relieve stress? Did you find that preparing nutrient-dense meals helped alleviate cravings? Try some alternative methods of therapy and self-soothing that have the potential to transform into helpful hobbies.
  • Find a recovery-related book and read a chapter or an excerpt before you go to bed every evening (or first thing when you wake up in the morning). not only will this add some much-needed structure to your day, but it will help you start and end the day on a solid note. Sometimes something as simple as an inspirational quote can provide you with the motivation you need to make it through the day.
  • Make sure that you are attending to your mental health. If you suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder – and even if you don’t – this is a really good time to keep up with individual therapy sessions. you might not be able to meet with a therapist in person, but you can still orchestrate online visits. Take whatever steps necessary to ensure that your mental health stays intact, seeing as this unique time has been shown to contribute to anxiety and depression.

Chapel Hill Detox and Addiction Recovery

If you are not currently in a program of recovery, and you have been suffering at the hands of a mild, moderate or severe substance abuse disorder, this is an ideal time to reach out for help. Chapel Hill Detox provides essential treatment services to men and women throughout New Jersey and all surrounding areas. Reach out today to learn more about our comprehensive detox program, or to begin your own journey of healing. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping out in any way possible.

Call us today. 844.526.0032

Interview with a Chronic Relapser

If you have already been in recovery for any extended period of time, you likely have extensive experience with relapse. Even if you yourself have never relapsed, you have heard about it in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis, or you have a close friend who has experienced a relapse. Basically, a relapse refers to a return to drinking or drug use after an extended period of sobriety.

For many people, this is simply a reality of the recovery process. Others never experience a relapse and stay completely abstinent from the time they enter into drug and alcohol rehab to the time they leave God’s green earth. While there is no “right way” to recover, it is obviously ideal to never experience a relapse – and if you do, to bounce back super quickly, learn from your mistakes, and never fall into the same pattern again.

There are those, however, who are considered “chronic relapsers.” These men and women cannot seem to stay sober for the life of them. They might scrape together a few days or weeks, but they eventually find themselves picking up their drug of choice or pulling into the parking lot of the neighborhood dive bar.

Learning from the Mistakes of Others

Addiction recovery is a process that relies heavily on peer support. If we allow ourselves to, we can successfully learn from the shortcomings of others and avoid making the same mistakes. We recently sat down with a young man who – up until somewhat recently – could not stay sober to (quite literally) save his life. We asked him for insight as to why he thought he struggled to stay clean, and what advice he had for those who might be struggling with the same issue. If you have had a difficult time staying sober in the past, remember that help is available the moment you reach out for it. At Chapel Hill Detox we have extensive experience helping men and women of all ages maintain long-term sobriety, regardless of how much they have previously struggled to do so. For more information on our comprehensive medical detox program or to get started on your personal journey of lifelong healing, simply pick up the phone and give us a call.

Interview with a Chronic Relapser

Chapel Hill Detox: Thank you for agreeing to meet with us today! First of all, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and your personal history with substance abuse?
Mark: No problem! So, I kind of have what could be considered a classic story, and the sense that I was introduced to drugs and alcohol and early age and I had undergone some degree of trauma before that. So, when I did finally try drugs, I was immediately attracted to them because of the way they made me feel. I would say I probably started using around the age of 12, and things just progressively got worse over time. I ended up dropping out of high school because I just didn’t care and I couldn’t keep my grades up, and by the time I was about 17, I had started shooting heroin. For me, that was really it. Just being completely numbed out – not having to deal with anything or face any of the consequences that I had racked up, that was really nice.
CHD: When did you first decide to get sober, and what did that process look like?
Mark: I overdosed for the first time when I was 18, and my younger brother found me unresponsive in my bedroom. That really messed him up. At that point I wanted to get sober for him – I wanted to get sober for my family. But I just couldn’t commit, and I ended up overdosing again about six or seven months later. That’s when my mom involuntarily put me into rehab. She told me that if I didn’t stay sober, she would completely cut me out of her life and my brother’s life. I kind of weighed the options, and I realized that I had to get clean at that point in time.
CHD: What led to your first relapse, and how did straying away from your personal recovery program make you feel?
Mark: So, after I went to rehab – and I was there for I think three months – I got out and went into a halfway house, and I kind of got maybe a little too confident. I started to think that I could skip out on meetings and stuff like that, and also a lot of the guys in my halfway house were using steroids at the time. So, I started getting into that, and I was honestly prioritizing working out and bulking up way more than I was focusing on my recovery. Within the first 30 days of being at the halfway house I started using oxycodone, and then eventually progressed to using heroin again. I was kicked out of halfway and I lived on the streets for a couple of weeks until I was able to get into detox again.
CHD: How many subsequent relapses did you experience?
Mark: It can be kind of difficult to stay sober once you fall victim to that vicious cycle of detox, rehab, insurance fraud… There are a lot of people out there who don’t have your best interest at heart, who just want you to get into their program or halfway house so they can milk your insurance policy. I mean, I’m not blaming the system for my relapses, but it was really hard for me to stay sober because I kept landing in these really shady facilities. Like they didn’t really care if I was getting high or not. So, I don’t really know if you could consider them relapses, because I didn’t stay sober for longer than a week or two every time.
CHD: Do you have any idea as to why it was so difficult for you to stay sober?
Mark: I mean really, looking back, I just wasn’t doing the work. I was going to maybe two meetings a week just to get my slip signed, and I definitely wasn’t working through the steps with a sponsor. I would get a sponsor, and I would call him like maybe once a week, and then I would just fall off completely. I wasn’t being honest with anybody. I was lying to myself.
CHD: What did you finally change in order to maintain the amount of sobriety you currently have?
Mark: I finally called my mom and told her I needed to get into a program that wasn’t sketchy – I told her I needed serious help, and I needed her to do some research for me. She ended up finding a reputable, gender-specific rehab that helped me a lot. After that I just stayed committed to taking all of the suggestions and doing everything I had to do.
CHD: If you could give advice to someone in the same situation, what advice would you offer?
Mark: I would say that things definitely get worse. it can be a vicious cycle, and it’s better to commit to doing things right the first time around to save yourself the pain and the homelessness, or whatever else ends up happening.
CHD: Is there anything else that you would like to add before we conclude the interview?
Mark: I was too afraid to ask for help for a really long time. I thought that I could handle my affairs on my own, and I thought that I knew what it took to overcome my addiction. I would honestly say, even if you do think that you know what’s best for you, pretend like you don’t know anything.

Recovery Begins with Medical Detox

Most long-term journeys of addiction recovery begin with an admission to a medically monitored detox program. Regardless of what type of chemical substance you or your loved one has been abusing, the associated withdrawal symptoms will undeniably be uncomfortable enough to lead to a return to use before the detox process has even concluded. Many people believe that they can successfully detox in an at-home setting, only to find that the withdrawal symptoms are unmanageable, and that the psychological cravings that go hand-in-hand with detox are simply too much to bear. If you are serious about quitting long-term, simply give Chapel Hill Detox a call today. Our dedicated staff members are standing by 24/7 to help you get started on the road to recovery. We understand how difficult getting sober can be – in fact, the majority of our staff members have either battled addiction themselves or have helped a loved one through the addiction treatment process. This offers our staff a unique level of compassion and understanding – we are dedicated to providing you or your loved one with nothing but respect and empathy. For more information on the medical detox services we provide, reach out at your earliest possible convenience.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

How To Quit Drugs Without Going to Rehab

When given a chance, most people will opt to take the easy route – no matter what. Why make things more difficult than they have to be? This seems to be especially true for men and women who have struggled with substance abuse and dependence and who are now involved in a program of recovery. Cutting corners seems to be the name of the game. Honestly, it all does kind of seem like a lot. Going through detox, going through rehab, working through the 12 steps, living in a sober home, navigating an entirely new way of life… it does add up, for sure. But when it comes to addiction recovery, there really is no “easy way out.” You will have to put in the work, but there is a 100% chance that it will be worth it in the end if you do.

If you have been struggling with drug addiction for any length of time, you might be on the fence about going to rehab. This could be because you assume there’s got to be an easier way. Surely there is a way to overcome drug addiction without throwing yourself into the middle of a year-long process – maybe even moving to a different state in order to seek the professional treatment you need. Of course, no two experiences with drug addiction are exactly the same, and because of this no two recovery experiences will be identical. We have sat down and spoken with several men and women who have struggled with drug addiction in the past – men and women who are willing to share their experiences with treatment and whether or not they believe that rehab is always necessary.

Michelle M., Age 32

CHD: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your personal experience with drug addiction.

Michelle M.: So, I started using drugs at a pretty young age. I was the youngest of five siblings, and so I kind of had an early introduction to things like alcohol and marijuana. Like, my siblings would have friends over and they would all be smoking, and I would join in. One of my older sisters started using cocaine when I was maybe around 16. She tried to keep me away from it, but I used it with her and her friends eventually. I think I just liked it way too much, and I found out where I could get it without letting her know. So, I had a secret stash of cocaine by the time I was 16, and by the time I went off to college I was kind of just experimenting with everything. I didn’t have any limitations when it came to which drugs I was using. I was introduced to heroin when I was, I think around 20 years old, and that was kind of it for me. Things got really bad really fast.

CHD: How did you end up getting sober?

Michelle M.: For me, it was a life-or-death situation. I had overdosed at a friend’s house, and if they didn’t call the cops I would definitely not be alive right now. That was a wake-up call for me. Just seeing how devastated my parents were when I got out of the hospital and knowing that if I didn’t get help soon that would definitely be the way that I died.

CHD: Do you believe it’s possible to overcome drug addiction without rehab?

Michelle M.: I think if you have a serious drug addiction like me, and if you’re addicted to something like heroin, which constantly puts you in danger of overdosing, rehab is completely necessary. The point of rehab is to teach you the tools you need to stay sober once you’re done with treatment. If I didn’t have those tools in place now, I definitely don’t think that I would be here.

Alex S., Age 22

CHD: How old were you when you decided to get sober, and what led you to that decision?

Alex S.: I actually got sober when I was only 19. Towards the end of high school, I started spending time with a group of guys that were into psychedelics. I took a lot of mushrooms and LSD, and I started to smoke a lot more weed. My senior year of high school kind of went to s*** – my grades dropped, I didn’t have any desire to go to college and everything that I used to enjoy just faded away. I was on the basketball team for a long time and I just stopped caring about anything other than hanging out with my friends and getting high.

CHD: Do you believe that you would’ve been able to get sober without going to rehab?

Alex S.: I mean, a lot of people think that if you’re just smoking weed or taking drugs that aren’t addictive, like hallucinogens, then you can just stop on your own anytime you want. But honestly, weed was kind of addictive for me, and I think that if I would have stayed at home then I would have just kept using drugs with my friends. Rehab was good for me because I really needed the time away. When you’re young like I am, peer pressure is actually a real thing, and it can really mess with your progress.

CHD: What words of advice do you have for anyone who is still on the fence about seeking professional drug addiction treatment?

Alex S.: I would just say it’s better to get help sooner rather than later. If I waited, I would have just kept frying my brain. I honestly don’t know where I would be right now. But now I’m back on track again, I’m going to college and I’ve successfully been able to reclaim my life.

Lisa W., Age 67

CHD: Please tell us a little bit about your personal experience with drug addiction.

Lisa W.: Well, my experience with addiction had to do with prescription stimulants. My youngest daughter was prescribed Adderall for the treatment of ADHD. I was feeling really, really burnt out – I was going through a divorce, my ex-husband wasn’t living at home, and I was taking care of everything all on my own. I had a friend who was like, “Hey, you should try taking one of her pills, it’ll help you get the housework done.” So I did. The feeling that I got was really appealing to me, I was much more productive, I had a lot more energy and I felt like I could actually do what I was supposed to do. But then, you know, I started taking her pills more regularly, and soon I was taking one a day. I had been taking one a day for a couple of weeks when I decided to get help.

CHD: When and how did you get sober?

Lisa W.: I got sober 5 years ago in an outpatient treatment program. I know that residential treatment is usually the best option for people with drug abuse disorders, but I had only been using Adderall for a couple of weeks and I still hadn’t built a tolerance or anything like that. So outpatient rehab really worked for me.

CHD: How do you continue to stay sober?

Lisa W.: I’ve been engaged in a pretty intense program of recovery, one that includes individual therapy, going to a 12-step meeting every single day and sponsoring other women. I attribute my sobriety to a combination of things, definitely to my outpatient program but also to working through the steps with a sponsor of my own.

Chapel Hill Detox

Chapel Hill detox provides a safe and pain-free withdrawal in a structured, medically monitored environment. To learn more about our integrated program of recovery or to learn more about what level of clinical care best suits you and your specific needs, reach out to us today.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Interview with an Adderall Addict

Adderall, a prescription stimulant most commonly used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, has been frequently abused since it was first introduced to the pharmaceutical market in 1996. According to a recent study published by John Hopkins University, the rates of Adderall abuse among young adults has been on the rise over the course of the past several years. (1) Emergency room visits associated with Adderall have been rising since the early 2000s, and misuse was found to be highest among individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Most of these young men and women obtain the prescription stimulant from family members or friends without a written prescription or the recommendation of a medical professional.

While much of the media focus still lands on illicit opiates like heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, it is important to note that “study drugs” like Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta are being frequently abused and are resulting in vast destruction as well. We sat down with a young woman who has suffered at the hands of an Adderall abuse disorder for quite some time, and who recently entered into a long-term program of addiction recovery. While we asked her many questions about her active substance abuse and subsequent recovery, please feel free to reach out to Chapel Hill Detox with any additional questions you may have. If you believe that you are someone close to you has been suffering from an Adderall abuse disorder or has been actively abusing any other prescription stimulant, it is important to note that medically monitored detox is an important first step. For more information on our individualized and comprehensive detox program, reach out to us today.

CHD: Thank you for agreeing to interview with us today! Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about your introduction to Adderall, and what the early stages of substance abuse looked like for you:

Carmen: I was first introduced to Adderall when I was a freshman in college. My roommate had a prescription, and one day she noticed that I was studying for a big test and she asked me if I wanted something that would help me stay engaged. I had obviously heard about Adderall before, and I knew that it was considered a study drug, but I had never taken it before that day. I just remember feeling like I was so much more capable than I was before, like I was so focused and alert and even like, excited to study. I remember having a hard time sleeping that night and being like, “Okay, this actually sucks. I need to wake up early. This is totally not worth it.” But then the next day, I was thinking about taking more all throughout my classes. I was wondering how I could get my hands on more, if I could find someone with a prescription and pay them on like, a weekly basis or something. I honestly feel like I became psychologically addicted super quickly.

I asked around a little bit because I didn’t want my roommate to get suspicious or anything. I found someone who had a prescription and who sold the pills for like, $6 a pop or something close to that. I bought a handful at one time and I went through them pretty quickly. At first, I was still using them before a big test or when I was writing a paper, but then I started taking them before going out and then just kind of on a day-to-day basis. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to develop into something more sinister, and I knew that was the case when my friend and I started emptying out the contents of my roommate’s pills when she was at class and refilling the capsules with vitamins. This was super screwed up, because she was actually prescribed the medication because she needed it.

CHD: What kind of consequences did you experience as a result of your Adderall abuse?

Carmen: Oh my goodness, the worse my addiction got the more consequences I experienced. It got bad. At first, I was just losing a lot of sleep and losing a lot of weight, which was really dangerous because I had struggled with an eating disorder in the past. I was kind of like a zombie all day long, and I also started getting really anxious – I had never struggled with anxiety in the past. I was getting to the point where I was taking like six or seven 20mg pills every day, before class, before work, before going out… if I was doing anything, I needed Adderall in order to do it. My grades started slipping because I was so scatterbrained all the time. I was actually on academic probation for a little bit. My boyfriend broke up with me because he found out that I had been stealing his Concerta. I started drinking pretty heavily to balance out the effects of the Adderall, and soon I was drinking in the morning after not sleeping all night – it was just a mess. I was totally out of control, and I was completely miserable. I felt like I had totally lost my grip on reality.

CHD: What made you decide to stop using and reach out for professional help, and what steps did you take to get the help that you needed?

Carmen: I didn’t go home for Christmas my sophomore year of college because I didn’t want my family to see what a mess I had become, so I just stayed alone on campus and popped pills and drank myself into a stupor. I cried myself to sleep every night, literally. I hated myself so much, I hated what I had become and how little control I had over my own life. I had a friend, it was actually the friend who would help me steal Adderall from my roommate my freshman year, who had gotten increasingly concerned about me. He told me that he thought I should go to rehab or at least go check out a 12-step meeting. I didn’t want to stop, even though I was severely unhappy and at this point, I was even considering suicide. I wound up in a psychiatric ward because I hadn’t slept in several days and I did start threatening suicide. from the psych ward I went directly into a 3-month long inpatient program.

CHD: What does your recovery look like now?

Carmen: Now I’m almost 2 years sober, I have a 3.8 GPA, and I feel like I’m back in control of my life. I still look back and wonder how I let things get so out of hand, but I guess that I just have an addictive personality and I wasn’t aware of that before. I’m genuinely happy now, and I had completely forgotten what it felt like to actually laugh and smile and mean it. Things are just good, they’re honestly better than they have ever been.

CHD: If you could offer advice to someone who has been struggling with prescription stimulant abuse but who has not yet reached out for help, what would you say?

Carmen: I was embarrassed to reach out for help, because I thought that I should be able to handle stuff on my own. It also just feels like, I don’t know, struggling with Adderall addiction isn’t as “cool” as struggling with alcoholism or heroin addiction or something like that. It was just embarrassing, and I let that prevent me from reaching out for help sooner. If I was to give advice to someone, I would just say if you feel like you need help now, go out and get it. Don’t wait until things get really bad and you’re being held down in a psych ward because you’re seriously out of your mind. You only get one life, and there’s no sense in wasting it at the hands of a substance abuse disorder. If you’re battling an addiction there’s no way that you can live the way you’re meant to live and reach your full potential. There’s just no way.

   Call us today. 844.526.0032

Just One Drink

Being an alcoholic frickin’ sucks. Not only are you really, really bad at drinking, but come to find out, your body literally cannot process alcohol. On top of that, depending on how long your drinking career has been, you’re probably dealing with a giant heap of really obnoxious personal consequences. Maybe you’ve raked up a couple of DUIs, maybe your family hates your guts, or maybe you can’t hold down a job for longer than an hour and a half. Whatever the case may be, you’re a victim of your circumstances, and you flat out cannot drink. Not even a sip. You come to terms with that sad fact eventually and reach out for professional help. It’s a major step – and an absolutely terrifying one – but at some point, you know it’s a decision you have to make. At a certain point, that decision becomes a matter of life or death.

For alcoholics who are new to sobriety, this pill might be a little too hard to swallow. Never drink again? I mean, sure, alcohol wreaked nothing but havoc, completely destroying every single quality of your life up until you found yourself in a psych ward, in jail or in rehab. But never again? I mean, come on. That blows. Surely, there must be a time somewhere down the line when you’ll be able to enjoy just one beer or a single margarita. A time when you will be deemed “all clear,” and you’ll finally be able to drink in moderation. So… Do you really have to stop forever? What’s the point of Alcoholics Anonymous if the program can’t teach you how to successfully control and enjoy your drinking?

Drinking in Moderation

For all intents and purposes, “moderate drinking” is considered between one and two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink is either one 1.5 oz. shot of liquor, one 5 oz. glass of wine or one 12 oz. pint of beer (or one cocktail, if you feel like getting fancy). In most cases, men and women who struggle with a diagnosable alcohol abuse disorder will never be able to return to moderate drinking. Why? Most heavy drinkers eventually admit that they are powerless over alcohol – that they suffer from a physical allergy to the stuff, and even one sip will set them down a path of self-destruction. The idea of total abstinence can be difficult, which is why many alcoholics repeatedly attempt to control their intake. This stressful and fruitless process of rationalization, justification and bargaining generally occurs before an alcoholic commits to seeking professional addiction treatment, or before he or she becomes an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I remember that things started to get noticeably bad for me sometime in college. My friends were fed up with my antics, I was on academic probation, I wasn’t getting along with my roommates and I was really starting to loathe the person I had become. Let’s just say – I wasn’t treating myself with any level of respect. I was drinking on a daily basis, and I was drinking a lot. I knew that I needed to stop. I tried to stop on my own accord. After half a day of sobriety, I realized I didn’t have it in me to quit entirely – not like that, anyways, not cold turkey. So, I bargained with myself. I said, “You can have one glass of wine at dinner.” After a few hours, this changed to, “You can have one glass of wine with lunch and dinner – not breakfast, obviously, you crazy lush.” Then, “Well, if breakfast is at 11am it really doesn’t matter all that much. Maybe champagne rather than wine. Something a little lighter.” Then, “Well, if one glass of wine is good, two is even better.” You get the picture. Soon, I was right back to square one. If this story sounds familiar, there is a good chance that moderation is never going to be an option. I learned this lesson the hard way.

I found myself in a three-month long rehab program, and then transferred immediately into a sober living home, where I stayed for 6 months. Eventually, I had racked up a solid year of sobriety. It was amazing. I had landed my dream job, I had an amazing and supportive group of authentic friends, my parents were actually proud of me and I had become financially independent. Life was so good. Looking back, nothing was missing. I was genuinely happy for the first time in years and years.

Still, I got to wondering, “What would happen if I had just one drink?” I was 23-years old after all – still a youngin. Even though I had it all, my alcoholic brain was not yet healed, and I continued to fantasize about sipping a martini in a fancy restaurant with a hot date. Or something. So, I tried. Guess what happened? I wound up right back where I started – and THAT truly sucked. Sobriety was a blessing. Drinking was a curse, and it always had been.

Why Do You Need to Drink in Moderation?

If you have any length of sobriety under your belt, or if you are still on the fence about getting sober because you fear giving up booze forever – ask yourself, “Why do I feel the need to drink in moderation? What does alcohol really do for me?” You might be struggling with the idea of actually being an alcoholic. This is a pretty intense term – once you admit that all hope of moderation goes down the toilet, right? The truth is, there is really no shame in being an alcoholic. In fact, entering into a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous – a program of continuous self-betterment – allows you to become the very best version of yourself and go on to live a life that is truly beyond your wildest dreams. If you are still wondering whether or not you are actually an alcoholic (or just someone that likes getting drunk on occasion) there are several things to consider. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you answer “yes” to one or more, it might be a good idea to reach out for help (or at least for more information).

  1. Do I try to control my drinking, but find myself unable to do so?
  2. Have I subbed out hard liquor for beer, thinking that will help?
  3. Do I find that I lose control of the amount I drink regularly?
  4. Have people commented on my drinking habits, maybe even expressing concern?
  5. Do I black out regularly, forgetting parts of what happened while I was intoxicated?
  6. Do I find myself thinking about drinking when alcohol isn’t readily available?
  7. Am I avoiding seeking help because the idea of total abstinence is terrifying?
  8. Do I feel a life without alcohol will be unfulfilling?
  9. Do I justify the reasons why I drink and how often I drink?
  10. Have I experienced consequences as a direct result of my drinking patterns?

Begin Your Journey of Alcohol Addiction Recovery

For more information on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, reach out to Chapel Hill Detox today. Our comprehensive program of alcohol detox provides men and women of all ages with the first step on every effective recovery program – a safe alcohol withdrawal.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Filling the Void

People don’t usually start abusing chemical substances because they are way too happy and content, and figure that they might as well slowly (or rapidly) destroy their lives. People usually start abusing drugs and alcohol because they are experiencing something uncomfortable, and they want to make themselves feel better by numbing out whatever it is that they are feeling. A lot of the time, that feeling of discomfort stems from an aching pit of despair. Something is missing. The person doesn’t feel whole, and doesn’t know to satiate the non-descript emptiness ringing in the pit of their soul.

Sounds a little bit dramatic, perhaps, but if you’ve ever experienced drug addiction or alcoholism firsthand, you probably have a slight inkling of familiarity. The emptiness hurts, and we don’t know how to fill it. So, we try to fill it pills and weed and crack and booze, and whatever else we can get our hands on. Maybe it helps temporarily. Maybe we are able to numb out the pain of meaninglessness for just a few moments (or days, or weeks). After a while though, the pain comes back – more intense than ever before. Here’s the Catch-22 – for as long as you keep drinking and using, the deeper and emptier the void will become – and the deeper it becomes, the more chemical substances you’ll need in order to “keep it at bay.” So, what’s the fix?

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. But there is a solution.

The Early Recovery Process

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of exactly what to do. Keep in mind – filling the void won’t happen instantaneously, and it will take a lot of hard work. But the payoff is massive.

Step 1: Admit to yourself that you need help getting sober, because you sure as heck can’t do it on your own. Believing that we can handle our problems all on our own is the biggest mistake that most of us make. In truth, from the beginning of the recovery process through long-term aftercare, we will need to consistently ask for help. Additionally, admitting that we are powerless over chemical substances and that we need help in the first place is one of the most difficult things that most of us will ever do. Drugs and alcohol are just things, aren’t they? How can the thing be so powerful, how can a thing have such an intense negative impact on the quality of our lives? It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease, one that is both medically recognized and diagnosable. It is a disease that can be effectively treated – but never cured. Once you decide to seek treatment the majority of the hard work has already been done.

Step 2: Decide what program of clinical care best suits your personal needs and develop a viable plan of action. In most cases, clinical care will consist of four distinct phases – medically monitored detox, inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient treatment and sober living, and long-term continuing care. However, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Unique circumstances and experiences lead to different treatment needs. For example, the void that you are feeling might be partially attributed to unresolved childhood trauma. If this is the case, trauma informed treatment will be necessary. The void might be partially attributed to an untreated mental health condition like anxiety or depression. If this is the case, dual diagnosis treatment will be necessary. When developing a plan of action, it is always good to get a second and third professional opinion. For more information, reach out to us at Chapel Hill Detox today.

Step 3: Commit to your recovery whole-heartedly, no matter what happens. Things will get hard. This is guaranteed. When they do get hard, it is important that you stay committed and avoid veering off the path. The moment you decide to pick up a drink or a drug, the moment that void will reappear – and it will be more intense than it ever was before. Do what you have to do to stay committed, whether this be taking things one day at a time or hitting two 12-step meetings every day for several months. No matter how hard it might seem in the moment to stay sober, it will always be easier than it is to return to drinking or drug use.

Step 4: Continue on in a 12-step program of recovery once you have completed your program of clinical care, and work through the steps thoroughly with a sponsor. Medical detox and residential addiction treatment typically last for a combined three months. As part of every effective aftercare program, daily 12-step meeting attendance and actively working through the steps with a sponsor is highly encouraged. It has been repeatedly proven that men and women who stay involved in a 12-step program of recovery are able to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse at much higher rates than those who do not. At Chapel Hill Detox, we thoroughly introduce our clients to the 12-step model of addiction recovery, bringing in outside meetings to our facility at least once a day.

Step 5: Learn how to genuinely forgive yourself. This part is really tricky. We tend to be our own worst enemies and critics, which can definitely set us up for failure at some point down the road. In order for us to be successful long-term, we have to recognize the fact that we are human and that we are fallible. We are likely to make mistakes along the way, and as long as we stay sober these mistakes can all be resolved. Self-forgiveness is a lot harder than forgiving other people. It’s a skill that must be learned over time. But once we learn it, we can utilize it at any point in time and it will help us stay on the right track.

Filling the Void with Other Things

It’s super important to note that the feelings of emptiness won’t subside as soon as you get sober, and that while the void will be filled over time with meaningful human interaction, spirituality and faith in something bigger than yourself over time, it takes just that – time. When you first get sober that void will still exist, and you might find yourself frantically trying to fill it with anything other than chemical substances. Some of the things you might try to utilize include:

  • Sex.
  • Relationships.
  • Working out excessively.
  • Dieting.
  • Gambling.

Chapel Hill Detox – Begin Your Journey of Healing

If you are tired of feeling the way you feel, take the first step on the road to recovery. Give us a call today and we will help get you started. As soon as you become willing to seek the professional help you need, we will take care of the rest. Our Admissions Counselors are standing by to set up a date and a time for intake, once an initial evaluation has taken place over the phone and it is determined that our detox program best suits your unique, individual needs. For more information or professional advice and insight, give us a call. The only things standing between you and a lifetime of fulfilling and meaningful sobriety is yourself.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Staying Sober Over the Holidays

During certain times of the year, staying sober is liable to become a little bit more difficult. This is typically the case when holidays crop up that seem to revolve solely around excessive drinking – holidays like St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the 4th of July and… well, any holiday, really. For most of us, the holiday season (predominantly Christmas and New Years) features a great number of booze-fueled holiday parties, from White Elephant gift exchanges with friends and ugly sweater parties with co-workers to family dinners and get-togethers that somehow always happened to end in big political blowouts. This year, with the COVID-related restrictions and another looming round of nationwide lockdowns, the holiday season will look a little bit different. It might prove to be a tad bit easier to avoid holiday parties, seeing as most will probably be canceled in the first place. However, there will undeniably be a unique set of stressors and relapse triggers that go hand-in-hand with these newfound restrictions and guidelines.

Staying Sober Over the Holidays – COVID-Related Stressors

Below are a few examples of ways in which coronavirus could complicate the holiday season for men and women who are in recovery:

  • Social isolation. While many of us do have slightly (or severely) dysfunctional families, many of us still enjoy returning home for the holidays and visiting with relatives and old friends. This year, doing so might not be possible. For this reason, it is important to do what you can to ward off feelings of loneliness by staying in touch with members of your sober support system and staying engaged in other ways.
  • Fear of the unknown. This is a totally unprecedented time for all of us, and as we do our very best to navigate the new and unfamiliar circumstances, we also have to navigate the stress that tends to go hand in hand with not knowing exactly what comes next. As recovering addicts and alcoholics, many of us like to stay in control of our own lives – we have “control freak” tendencies (for lack of a better term), and we don’t like leaving our fate up to anyone else (other than our higher powers, perhaps). Because we are dealing with such unique circumstances, we truly have to learn how to operate without knowing what the next day will bring.
  • Increased financial insecurity. As it stands, we tend to spend a lot more during the holidays than we do during any other time of year. We spring for expensive presents for our loved ones, whip up fancy dishes to participate in holiday-themed potlucks and potentially spend money on things like traveling home (airfare isn’t cheap). This year, many of us are dealing with unexpected job loss, ongoing struggles with the unemployment department, pay cuts and a range of other financial issues and concerns. Cyclical closings and reopenings combined with the traditional stress of the holiday season can be a recipe for relapse if we do not learn how to effectively combat our financial relapse triggers.
  • An unwanted change to routine. As previously mentioned, we tend to be a tad bit controlling – any change to our daily routine has the potential to throw us completely off kilter. Most of us have developed a day-to-day routine that includes our personal program of recovery, and includes things like attending the same 12-step meetings every week and meeting one-on-one with a therapist. COVID-related restrictions have really thrown a wrench in the majority of our daily plans. Learning to adapt is not always easy, but it is necessary.

How to Stay Sober in the Face of Adversity

So how does one stay sober in light of these additional stressors and relapse triggers? There are several steps you can take to ensure that you make it through the holiday season with you sobriety – and your sanity – completely intact. Take the following advice into careful consideration before making any major plans – and remember that you can always reach out to Chapel Hill Detox for additional insight and tips on maintaining your recovery.

  1. Make sure that you have at least five sober friends on speed dial if you are going to a potentially triggering holiday event. There are few techniques more effective than stepping outside for a breath of fresh air and giving a trusted friend a call to discuss your current circumstances. If you know you’ll be attending a holiday party or another social event, let some people know ahead of time, and inform them that if they see your number pop up on their cell phone it is probably an emergency.
  2. Don’t make any major changes to your personal recovery routine. The typical holiday season includes a lot of traveling, which can throw a wrench in your day-to-day routine. Although you will have to adapt to some degree, try not to make any major changes that could compromise the integrity of your sobriety.
  3. Make sure that you’re making at least one (virtual) Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every day. what would the recent transition from in-person 12-step meetings to virtual in 12-step meetings, there is no excuse not to make at least one meeting a day. All you need is a laptop and a strong Wi-Fi connection.
  4. Participate in an amped up self-care routine. Maybe your standard self-care routine consists of individual therapy, 30 minutes of daily exercise and a nice bubble bath to round out the day. During this exceptionally stressful time of year, make sure that you are amping up this routine and keeping yourself as comfortable as possible.
  5. Say “no” when you need to – don’t be afraid of hurting feelings or offending anyone. Remember to set and maintain personal boundaries. The show will go on without you, no matter how it might feel in the moment. While refusing an invitation might hurt someone temporarily, they will get over it and you will be protecting what is truly important.
  6. Remember that you don’t have to answer any questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering. You might have that one grandma that always asks why you weren’t married, or that one cousin who is so intrigued by your war stories that he will not let it go. You don’t have to detail your addiction or your recovery, and you certainly don’t have to answer any prying, personal questions.
  7. Don’t forget to pray and meditate every day. Heck, twice a day. Prayer and meditation is not only part of every effective recovery program, but it should probably be a part of your self-care routine as well.
  8. Reach out for additional help and support whenever you start to feel even a little bit unstable in your sobriety. If you currently meet with your therapist once a week, you might want to up your therapy sessions to twice a week during the holiday season. If your mental health starts to feel a little bit shaky, reach out for additional support – do what you need to do to keep your recovery intact.
  9. Expand the support groups you attend, however temporarily. Maybe you currently stick to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and hit up the occasional Narcotics Anonymous meeting whenever you’re feeling a little bit daring. If you are heading home for the holidays, and if you have addiction in your family (which many of us do), it might be a good idea to attend an Al-Anon meeting or two as well. Al-Anon was developed for the family members of individuals who struggle with addiction. There are many support groups available, all of which can easily be found with a simple Google search.
  10.  Take care of your physical health. The holidays tend to be a time of over-indulgence. Make sure that you are exercising regularly and eating enough nutritious foods. Also, be sure that you are getting enough sleep – sleep is something that we all too often overlook during the holidays.

Chapel Hill Detox – Our Simple Admissions Process

Chapel Hill Detox is staying open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing as the services we offer are essential – in fact, they are often a matter of life or death. If you or someone close to you has been suffering at the hands of a life-threatening substance abuse disorder, we are available to help. Simply give us a call today to learn more about our comprehensive and individualized program of medically monitored detox, and to begin on your own personal journey of healing. The moment you give us a call, we will set to work developing a plan for your intake. When it comes to substance abuse and dependency, it is always better to seek professional treatment sooner rather than later. Addiction is a progressive disease – one that can be effectively treated if a long-term program of a dictionary recovery is sought and closely adhered to.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Perfectionism – The Alcoholic’s Blight

After spending several years in recovery, I can safely share what I’ve learned. Now listen closely, because what I’m telling you is right. This is the right way to do things. There is no other way to do things. If you want to stay sober, simply follow these five simple steps.

  1. Once you complete medical detox and inpatient treatment, start working through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with a sponsor. Make sure that your sponsor is really hot and has a lot of friends. Work through the 12 steps within a 6-month time period – no more, no less. Work through each of the steps thoroughly and make sure that you’re undergoing a complete personal transformation. As soon as you’re done working through the steps, get at least 10 sponsees of your own and take them through the steps. Make sure that they stay sober – if they don’t, you aren’t doing it right.
  2. Share at every single Alcoholics Anonymous meeting you attend. Make sure that your shares are always well put together and coherent, and make sure that they constantly inspire other people. You want to be impressive. If you aren’t impressive, you aren’t doing it right.
  3. Remember that staying sober is only part of the picture. Now that you are sober, you want to start taking care of your body so that you appear to be completely in control at all times. Wake up every morning at 6:00 a.m. and jog for at least three miles. Skip breakfast if you can, and be sure that you only eat lean protein and lettuce for the remainder of the day. You must be the epitome of comprehensive health and wellness. You can smoke cigarettes though, chain smoking cigarettes is totally okay.
  4. Stay as involved in the local recovery community as you possibly can. This means chairing at least one meeting a week, organizing fundraisers, bringing 12-step meetings into detox centers and inpatient rehabs, helping the newcomer and feeding the homeless.
  5. Make sure that all of your loved ones except your amends immediately, and be nothing but a completely exemplary role model for those who entered into the program after you. Dress in designer clothing, drive a nice car, only eat at the nicest restaurants and invest in some really expensive perfume or cologne. If you don’t smell good, you aren’t doing it right.

An Unattainable Ideal

If this sounds ridiculous… good. It’s because it is. (In case you didn’t pick up on it… the above is all satire. However, I did feel this way when I first entered into recovery. I used to constantly compare myself to others, which led to me constantly feeling as if I was falling short.) However, many men and women who are new to recovery fall into the vicious cycle of perfectionism without even knowing what is happening. They believe that if they are not living the “perfect” sober life, then they might as well not be living sober at all. The truth is that sobriety is messy. Recovery can be chaotic. Not only are we learning to navigate an entirely new way of life, but we are now dealing with a wide range of uncomfortable feelings and emotions that we were likely anesthetizing for years beforehand. The only thing that’s really important is that you stay sober – everything else is open for interpretation. Putting pressure on yourself to mimic some unattainable idea can actually lead to relapse, because you’ll never be “as good” as you feel you’re meant to be. Go easy on yourself! Note that you are doing the best you can, and as long as you don’t pick up, your best is absolutely good enough.

Still, if you find yourself falling victim to perfectionism in recovery, there are several steps you can take in order to start going a bit easier on yourself. Below are five examples of ways in which you can beat the desire to be perfect, and start meeting yourself exactly where you are – and exactly where you are meant to be.

5 Tips to Overcoming Perfectionism

  1. Take a close look at unrealistic expectations, and gauge your standards. Are your standards for yourself higher than they are for other people? Are you more forgiving of others? For example, say that you expect yourself to effectively regulate your emotions 100% of the time. You never let yourself cry or get upset, and if you have an off day you stay inside so no one can see you when you aren’t at your best. Would you expect the same thing from, say, one of your sponsees? If they were struggling with something would you tell them to buck up and face the music, or would you be understanding and remind them that everyone is human. Remember to treat yourself with the same kindness that you show other people.
  2. Relinquish control and do what you can to get more comfortable with the unknown. Perfectionists like to be in control – they like to know what is happening at all times, and they like to know exactly how things will unfold. for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction, blah blah blah. Trying to control everything results in little more than frustration and anxiety. the sooner you relinquish control and understand that things are unfolding the way they are meant to, the better off you will be.
  3. Rather than defining yourself by counting your accomplishments and focusing on your external appearance, define yourself based on your character and the way you treat other people. Perfectionists like to count accolades while making sure that other people are aware of all they have achieved. In recovery, this often comes into play as far as sober time and sponsees. Yes, it’s absolutely great that you have been sober for three consecutive years and that you are helping other men or women through the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. But this doesn’t mean you are more sober or better equipped to stay sober than anyone else.
  4. Engage in self-compassion on a daily basis. If you mess up, guess what – that’s okay. Everyone messes up from time to time. (Note that messing up does not equate to picking up.) If you have an off day, if you make a mistake or if you fall short of your own expectations, say something nice to yourself rather than engaging in self-criticism or self-deprecation. “Everyone has tough days. You’re doing awesome.” Rather than focus on the things you feel you are doing wrong, focus on what you’re doing right. Hone in on your personal accomplishments, no matter how small they might seem.
  5. Take note of how being open and honest about where you are at positively impacts other people. Some of the most powerful shares I have personally heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous come from a place of messiness and vulnerability. Those are the shares that ultimately help me the most, because they are real. They remind me that it’s okay to fumble and even fall down, so long as I do what I can to pick myself back up and forgive myself for falling in the first place.

Chapel Hill Detox

In short, we’re all human. Human beings struggle with a variety of different things. Some struggle with perfectionism, others struggle with standards that might be a little bit too low. Still others struggle with active addiction. If you still fall into this category, note that help is available. For more information on our comprehensive program of medically monitored detox, reach out today.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Just on The Holidays

Let’s start off this article with a little anecdote. When I was in my early twenties, I found myself in a gender-specific rehab facility in Southern Florida. I wound up there because of a series of self-destructive bad decisions – if you have ever suffered at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, you might know just what I mean. I was truly a victim of my own circumstances and trust me when I say that I would have rather been anywhere else in the world. But alas, I woke up in Florida in a residential facility with very little wiggle room or personal freedom. Little did I know at the time, but this is exactly what I needed. I spent a total of three months in the facility, learning about the disease of addiction, working through unresolved trauma and relating to a group of dysfunctional addicts and alcoholics on a level that I never deemed possible. Once my inpatient rehab experience was complete, I transferred into a sober living house and continued on in my journey of clinical care. I attended an intensive outpatient program for several months and then transitioned into an outpatient program. I learned vital life skills and relapse prevention techniques, and I eventually transitioned back into fully independent living. I was dedicated to my recovery, and for this reason I was able to maintain my sobriety. I attended at least one 12-step meeting every day, worked through the steps and began to sponsor other individuals.

Friendships that Last a Lifetime

While I did love Florida, I eventually decided to move back to the West Coast. I still live on the West Coast, and I stay dedicated to my personal program of recovery while balancing a social life, work and whatever else adults tend to balance (which honestly seems like an awful lot). I also still stay in touch with many of the people that I met while immersed in the recovery scene in Southern Florida. Many of the friends I made are still sober and are living in various places across the United States. It has been completely awesome and so, so rewarding to see how recovery has changed all of their lives for the better. Seeing as I am currently in the middle of a cross-country road trip, I have been getting in touch with and seeing many of these old friends (COVID-permitting). I was fortunate enough to see one of my Florida friends that I hadn’t seen in probably close to for years. He and I met up and decided to stay at a hotel; a hotel that offered a free wine reception. While I thought nothing of it, because we had arrived far after the reception had ended, he asked the hotel concierge if there was any way we could partake. while I of course refused, he accepted a glass of wine and let me know that he only drank when he was on vacation.

Exceptions to the Rule

I was pretty surprised, not only because he had recently picked up a 30-day chip after experiencing what he referred to as a pretty nasty relapse, but because the flawed thinking that goes hand-in-hand with making exceptions to the rule was something that we learned pretty early on in recovery. Staying sober is staying sober. If you are drinking, even if you are limiting your drinking to vacations and holidays, you are simply not sober. No matter how hard you try, you cannot define sobriety on your own terms. Imagine if we all made up our own rules. “Yes, I did struggle with a pretty gnarly heroin use disorder, but as long as I only use heroin after midnight, I think that I’ll be fine.” “Sure, I spiraled out of control after a 5-year run in with oxycodone, but hydrocodone is different, and I’m sure that I can consume it safely.” “Yes, I did lose absolutely everything in my life as a direct result of my drinking, but so long as I stick to wine and beer and avoid whiskey and other hard liquors, I don’t think that I will get into a car accident or undergo a violent divorce again anytime soon.”

This sounds crazy, no?

While my friend and I sat down and had a lengthy conversation about this very topic, he insisted that because he was able to control his drinking and limit it to certain events, times and places, he was no longer problem drinking. It can be a little bit frightening when you are faced with a situation like this. How can you talk sense into someone who seems so mentally out of whack? The truth is you really can’t. You can try and try until you’re blue on the face, but if someone is convinced that they can successfully drink on vacations or follow any other one of many ridiculous self-imposed rules, it can be difficult to speak logically and be heard. As addicts and alcoholics, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that drug use and drinking is totally fine so long as we effectively control it. However, most of us know that based on our past experiences, we cannot effectively control our drinking or drugging for any extended period of time. Still, we tried to convince ourselves and others that everything is just peachy as we struggle through finishing one glass of wine without immediately reaching for another.

Sober is Sober is Sober

Ask any longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and they will tell you with certainty that sobriety entails staying completely free of all mood- and mind-altering substances. Even taking one small sip of alcohol counts as a relapse. Remember that if you are considering only drinking on holidays or on vacations, that there is a reason you entered into recovery in the first place. You probably cannot control your drinking, and you likely have a very healthy relationship with alcohol. This is not something that can be fixed or changed. This is a fact of your life, one that can be easily worked around, but never one that can be effectively “cured.” If you have already started to weigh your options, there is a very good chance that you are on the road to relapse. Rather than desperately try to develop loopholes and exceptions to the rule, it is a good idea to work towards acceptance sooner rather than later. Acceptance can be quite difficult. Accepting that we do not have the ability to drink like other people can be a painful and drawn-out process. Still, it is necessary… Otherwise, we will inevitably find ourselves right where we left off before we entered into a program of addiction treatment.

Chapel Hill Detox

At Chapel Hill Detox we not only focus on physical stabilization, but we focus on instilling our clients with the life skills and relapse prevention training they need to maintain sobriety for years to come. We believe that addiction recovery is a lifelong process, and that setting a stable and solid foundation for continued sobriety is absolutely essential. We also thoroughly educate our clients on the disease model of addiction, so that they understand how important it is to stay on the right path as they continue along in their recovery journeys. For more information on our medical detox program or for more information on the disease of addiction, please feel free to reach out to us at any point in time. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032

Talking to a Friend in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is one of the most harshly misunderstood diseases on the face of the planet. Unlike cancer, heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis, individuals who suffer from a substance abuse disorder are very often met with harsh judgement and skepticism. Many people assume that because drinking and drug use is initially a choice, it stands true that individuals who use chemical substances excessively can effectively stop any time they want to. This could not be farther from the truth. Addiction is widely recognized as a chronic and relapsing brain disease – one that devastates the lives of everyone it touches and can be successfully managed – but never entirely cured. What is widely known as the “Disease Model of Addiction” was first developed in the year 1956 by the American Medical Association. Despite this official classification, the dispute regarding whether substance abuse is a diagnosable and treatable medical condition or simply a matter of compromised will-power continues to rage on throughout the country. Anyone who has lived through addiction firsthand will likely tell you that after a while, they lost all choice in the matter. This is because addiction is a progressive and relapsing brain disease, one that strips individuals of the luxury of choice while continuing to worsen if left untreated.

The development of an addictive disorder depends on a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, the presence of any undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions and environmental factors – including upbringing. It is not like someone picks up a drink one day and thinks to him or herself, “You know what? I think I’ll be a heavy drinker. I’m going to suffer as many consequences as I can before finally agreeing to go to rehab. Once I’m out of rehab I think I’ll struggle immensely to stay sober, finally experiencing a relapse that pushes my family and friends far, far away and destroys any semblance of the trust I was beginning to rebuild. Fun!” Even if you have not experienced addiction firsthand, it is important to educate yourself on the disease model if there is someone in your life who has been battling substance abuse. Once you have an introductory education, you might be wondering the best way to communicate with someone who is in addiction recovery. What are the classic “do’s” and “don’ts?” Here are a few.

How to Talk to Someone in Addiction Recovery

First of all, keep in mind that everyone who is in addiction recovery has a different personal preference. Some people feel entirely comfortable discussing the finer details of their active addictions – other people prefer to remain anonymous and keep their past struggles private. Some people will readily confirm, “I don’t drink because I’m in recovery” whenever they are offered an alcoholic beverage at a social gathering. Others will say something like, “No thank you, I’m driving.” The most important thing is that you avoid prying – no matter how curious you are. Here are some examples of things you should probably avoid saying to a friend that is in a program of addiction recovery:

  • “Hey, I know you’re sober and everything, but I kind of miss how much fun we used to have when we were partying all of the time.”
  • “Are you sure you can’t just have one?”
  • “So, I heard that you went to drug rehab. Everyone is talking about it. What was that like? Were you basically locked up with a bunch of crazy meth heads, or what?”
  • “Doesn’t Alcoholics Anonymous require you to believe in God? Gross.”
  • “What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you while you were intoxicated?”
  • “God, don’t you miss drinking? I definitely would.”

Basically, be sensitive. Remember that if your friend is in early recovery, he or she might still be experiencing drug or alcohol cravings, and might get triggered by certain things that you say. Try putting addiction into the context of another life-threatening disease. If you had just been diagnosed with diabetes, for example, would you want a friend to approach you and say something like, “Damn dude, I can’t believe that you got diabetes! Why did you do that? I would totally hate to have diabetes, that would suck so much.” Always come from a place of empathy and compassion. Here are some examples of things you can safely say to a friend regarding his or her recovery, on the other hand:

  • “Hey, your mom let me know where you were for the past month. I’m sorry that you were struggling, hopefully you have had a positive experience in recovery so far. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the process any easier, and know that I will always support you on your path to self-betterment. If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know.”
  • “I understand that recovery is a personal experience and I want you to know that I don’t expect you to share anything that you don’t feel comfortable sharing. I do, however, want to better understand your current situation. Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions about your personal experiences with addiction and recovery?”
  • “I have no idea what exactly you’ve been through, but I do know that it must have been tough. While I can’t relate based on my firsthand experiences, I want you to know that I support your recovery and I would love to help in any way that I can. I’m completely fine doing anything you want to do that doesn’t involve drugs and/or alcohol. We can go to the movies, go mini-golfing, have a beach day or hang out by the pool. I am completely onboard for whatever you want to do. In fact, I’ve always been interested in taking salsa lessons – maybe that’s something we could do together.”
  • “I’m so proud of you.”
  • “I can tell that you’re a lot happier than you used to be, and seeing that makes me so, so grateful. You have seriously come so far. I hope you know how inspirational you are, not just to me, but to everyone who knows you. I really admire your strength and your willingness to do what you need to do in order to have the best life possible.”

Overall, offer support knowing that your friend has recently gone through an unimaginably difficult time and made it through to the other side. It can be difficult to grasp the ins and outs of addiction, but even if your friend does not feel comfortable openly discussing his or her personal experiences, there are steps you can take to get informed. Reach out today for a list of available resources.

Chapel Hill Detox – The First Step on the Road to Recovery

Chapel Hill Detox provides men and women of all ages and walks of life with the clinical care they need in order to begin their own personal journeys of healing. If you have a friend who has been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder and you feel as if you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, we are available to help. Simply give us a call and we will gladly give you a list of resources while doing everything we can to help point you in the right direction.

  Call us today. 844.526.0032