Posted in Addictions and Recovery, Coaching and Therapy, Guest Posts, Mental Health Advocacy

Walking the Walk: Tips to Keep You Moving Forward After Addiction by Adam Cook


Avoid relapse tips

Addiction is a terrible disease that strips you of your life and tries to take you to the darkest corners of “rock bottom.” If you’ve given yourself the tools to begin your ascent toward a new and healthy life, congratulations. You’ve found an inner strength that can get you through the lowest of lows. But sometimes, even the strong need a little something to keep them going. Here are a few ideas that can help you on your journey.

  • Engage in exercise. Strong body = strong mind and your mind is what’s going to get you through this. If you don’t already make fitness a priority, begin a group exercise class, which will help your regiment your time and give you something to look forward to.
  • Create positive social relationships. If you’re like many addicts, you started taking drugs/drinking alcohol after succumbing to peer pressure. When you get sober, you have to leave the negative friends and influences behind. Surround yourself with people who see your best qualities and make you feel good about being you.
  • Nourish you mind. Read a book, work a puzzle, or enjoy a good laugh with friends. These things may not make you more productive, but they will help you keep your mind centered and clear of the clutter and confusion that might lure you off your path.
  • Learn a new skill. If you lost your job because of your substance abuse, there’s never been a better time to change careers. Don’t be afraid to pursue a new degree or take classes to help you learn new job skills. Fast Company cautions that the first few days and weeks obtaining new skills is the hardest; don’t allow yourself to give up. A new career might just be the long-term change you need to maintain your sobriety.
  • Do something good. Addiction can rob you of your sense of purpose, especially if you lost important parts of your life along with it. Start regaining your sense of self by volunteering for a cause near and dear to your heart. Psychology Today explains that when you volunteer, you make a choice to do something positive and can focus on something you feel strongly about.
  • Set goals. Goals are what keep us motivated. They help us create structure and allow us to draft our own plans, whether for professional success or personal freedom. Set goals for yourself that will help you turn your vision of the future into a reality that doesn’t involve the things that brought you down. Start with small goals that will lead up to larger, more meaningful ones. For instance, if you lost custody of your children, set the goal to earn those privileges back by creating a “to-do” list of actions you must take to prove you’ve changed so you can regain their trust.
  • Establish healthy habits. Your time as an addict was likely filled with negative actions: drinking, stealing and lying. Instead, replace these with healthy habits that can help to keep you safe and sober. Make a point to spend time outside each day, wake up in the morning and take a minute to just breathe and be alone with yourself, start cooking at home and make nutrition a priority. Other healthy habits include taking a time-out when you’re angry, limiting screen time and learning how to accept criticism without getting down on yourself.
  • Avoid relapse triggers. Perhaps most importantly, if you want to stay sober, you have to learn to identify and manage problems that might lead to relapse. This might be arguing with your spouse, stressing over money, or driving by the liquor store. Whatever your trigger, eliminate it from your life or take steps to change your reaction so you aren’t tempted by your vice.

Addiction doesn’t have to win. Celebrate each victory and know that you are strong enough to keep going. It takes work, and you have to fight for it constantly, but sobriety is a battle worth winning.

About the Author

Adam Cook is the founder of Addiction Hub, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.

P.S: I really appreciate being found out and by people with whom I share common passions, values and all in between. I am very grateful to Adam for finding my website cool enough to host his article. Such useful tips and I will sure be dispensing copies out to my clients. Such articles will go a long way to beat the Stigma surrounding addiction and recovery, and mental health/illness overall. Please while here, you can reach Adam via an email: information@addictionhub.org

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Posted in Addictions and Recovery, Coaching and Therapy, Guest Posts, Mental Health Advocacy

Embracing Alternative Therapies and Their Role in Addiction Recovery by Kimberly Hayes


Addiction by Tiffany
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Engaging in addiction recovery may be the most important challenge you ever undertake. It’s vital to use the best tools available to you. Alternative methods can help you achieve success.

Holistic therapy. There is an increasing awareness of holistic therapies, with some studies showing sixty-five to eighty percent of the population participating in holistic naturopathic medicine as a primary form of health care. Demand is so great, half of all medical schools offer courses in holistic methods. Holistic therapy is defined as treating the mind, body and soul of a person, and typically uses both traditional and alternative methods to address and prevent health conditions. Practitioners aim to treat not only symptoms but causes of issues, they encourage communication with patients, integrate whole-body approaches in their programs, and support not only physical concerns but also mental and spiritual ones throughout treatment.

Some of the alternative methods used in holistic-oriented addiction recovery are as follows:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a time-tested therapy using needles to reduce cravings, aching muscles, detoxification symptoms and withdrawal symptoms. According to HealthLine acupuncture works to help to restore the body’s balance.

  • Biochemical restoration. This treatment examines what imbalances in the body are producing cravings and restores balance through nutrition.

  • Biofeedback. As The Treehouse explains, with biofeedback, machines monitor brain waves to evaluate what is occurring during an addict’s cravings. By understanding the addict’s thought patterns treatment can be modified to address issues.

  • Exercise. Some experts note exercise helps improve mood, enhance brain function, and improves strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Addicts can enjoy achieving a natural, healthy “high” through the chemicals released in the body by exercise.

  • Herbs. Symptoms of detoxification can be treated with herbs like valerian, kaya, and ginseng. Some herbs reduce insomnia and anxiety as well.

  • Hypnosis. By instructing the subconscious mind toward different thought patterns, an addict’s self-esteem can improve and the desire for drugs be eliminated.

  • NAD. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a derivative of vitamin B3 – also known as niacin. It’s a basic element in all living cells and plays a key role in metabolism. NAD is thought to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms during recovery.

  • Prayer and meditation. These two therapies are similar, requiring the addict to focus intently and embrace a higher level of understanding.

  • Yoga. Yoga encourages engaging mind, body and spirit to improve patience and relaxation. Addicts learn to look inward to understand their choices and navigate recovery.

Holistic treatments should be used in conjunction with rehabilitation and lifestyle changes. You should embrace a healthy diet and fitness program, and understand emotional wellness is a key component in recovery. Psychotherapy, mental health and behavioral therapies can help improve emotional health.

Exercises such as journaling benefit many addicts. Journaling provides the opportunity to review patterns and look inward for what drives your personal choices. It also encourages you to stay balanced and maintain a healthier focus on reality and on the present, reducing anxiety and stress.

What alternative methods aren’t. As explained by Psychology Today, alternative methods are not meant to be stand alone treatments. It’s important to participate in an organized recovery program guided by proven treatment practices. Ensure your care provider is using evidence-based therapies and treating your whole person with other proven methods. As some experts explain, everyone is different and your program should be tailored to your needs. Any treatments should be discussed with your therapist and used in conjunction with your entire recovery plan. Engaging in a treatment on your own, especially if it neglects another vital component, can be dangerous. Ensure you participate in a healthy, balanced recovery plan with the guidance of your therapist.

Alternative therapies can help. Addiction recovery is a difficult road, and with alternative therapies you can better navigate the obstacles. Discuss your options with your health professional. With a sound, balanced approach your recovery can be a success!

About the Author

Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.

P.S: I am sincerely very honoured that Kimberly sent me a request to do a guest article on a topic I was embracing after coming in touch with the terrifying reality on the ground. When I did my internship at the lone psychiatric ward in my city of Douala – Cameroun, about 2/3 of the teenagers admitted were for addiction and dis-intoxication. I definitely can’t wait for her book’s release and hope she writes another article for my blog.

Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

The Loo our Love


How Loveable is the Loo or any refuge of ours?
How Loveable is the Loo or any refuge of ours?

I have tormented my mind over this post for a while now. The first intention for posting it was to shame myself to stop loving the loo that much, and oh that was before my brother died.  Then he did and I went home for his burial and the loo’s love was so strong that I had to rush back there again for a whole night. The particular loo I slept in, was one he had often barricaded himself inside until the lock had to be ruined to get him out.

the-loo-wall-plaque

Well, the Loo or rather ‘toilet’ as it is known, was for a very long time our love Our place of refuge, calm and peace. The Us refers to my brother and I. My brother’s journey from a genius to a simpleton I am determined to publish by year’s end, while mine is already introduced in my thriller of a memoir published last February.

keep-calm-and-go-to-the-loo-2The last time I had a ‘loo episode’ (one where I will withdraw there and just stay there for as long as it took me to calm down or even fall asleep), I thought of writing a post about it. The intention then was to humiliate myself by making public one ‘bad’ coping mechanism (bad because staying shut up in there deprives others of the use of the loo, and I think it isn’t the nicest place to be right?). But the intention has changed and this post is both one of sensitization and one of farewell.

I want to in my typical way throw light on some flight technique mentally challenged people lie some of us, may gradually embrace and maybe later find difficult to abandon. In our case, it was our escape to the Loo. What started out of fright, became one out of love. In our minds, shutting ourselves up there was a way of staying away from the ‘noise and worries’ of the outside world. The threats that took us in there, could be both real or fake. I personally also loved going in there to cry (so that no one knew that the ‘tough’ Ayo ever cried).

Eventually, we each started loving the Loo. We retreated there each in his own time and place, we sometimes read in there, while our Father or whoever threatened, ranted outside. My brother told me how the Loo was his best corner while in a repatriation camp in Germany, or even in the group homes or institutions he was living or interned in out in the US.

My loos could even have candy bars
My loos could even have candy bars

On my part, I have always endeavoured since a teen and discovering this weird love of mine, to decorate my Loos, make them sweet smelling (mindful of the actual busines of the Loo). I have floor carpets just in case lying down on the floor will make it much better.

That is how, when went home to bury my brother and the panic, anxiety and irritations were threatening to overtake me, I lost sleep so much that I had to retreat to the Loo. Behold, my Love embraced me and made me lie my head down on one of the carpets l brought. I finally got to sleep for three sweet hours.

However, with my brother gone, and myself looking forward to heal completely and move on in a better spirit to better embrace my being and psyche, I have decided to say fare yee well to the Loo our Love.

So dear Loo or whatever ‘bad’ or difficult to abandon habit we may have, I know the tug of war to put an end to our love affair is just starting, but I really need to move on. Thank you for being such an unconditional love but now we have to draw a line.

Dear gentle readers and followers, do you have any similar strange habits too? How do you feel about them and have you tried getting rid of them and have anything to share?