5 Tricks for Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Now that the holiday festivities are wrapping up, people across the nation are planning the tradition that comes with every January 1st: New Year’s resolutions.

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time for fresh starts and clean slates. People hope to improve or even remake themselves in order to make 2019 better than 2018.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, however, many people kick off the first of January with good intentions and high expectations. After all, self-improvement is a shared American hobby! This tradition is the reason why so many people make New Year’s resolutions in the first place.

How to Stay Strong in Your Recovery

“For addicts, a New Year’s resolution can be especially risky because the stakes are higher and therefore, the opportunity to feel disappointment is greater.”

It’s easy to become discouraged with New Year’s resolutions. How many goals set at the beginning of each year end up forgotten by the time February rolls around?

For most people, it’s easy to become discouraged when they fall short of their goals – be it losing weight, finding a better job, or eating healthier.

But for those who are seeking to break free from the cycle of addiction, New Year’s resolutions can be especially risky. The stakes are higher and, therefore, the disappointment can be greater when the resolution doesn’t work out as planned. This can further exacerbate the conceived negative traits that were trying to be improved upon.

No matter what your pledge, it’ll be much more difficult to follow through if you make goals that, for one reason or another, are nearly impossible to keep. Don’t set yourself up for failure – heed these tips to see your resolutions through this year:

1. Abandon the “laundry list” method of resolution-making

If you have a lot of different things to accomplish, that’s fine – but start off going deep instead of wide. Filter your New Year’s resolution ‘to-do’ list to the fewest, most important ones and tackle those first, instead of scattering your time and energy on a broad range of competing ambitions.

2. Don’t confuse goal-getting with goal-setting

Oaths and promises to yourself are not enough to make a change. Once you have a vision on lock-down, it’s time to create an action plan. However, don’t confuse one with the other, as often many do. Goal-setting means that you’ve decided what you wanted to accomplish, while goal-getting is the “how” of getting to that – the action plan that will let you achieve it.

3. Keep your New Year’s resolution specific and tangible

Setting ambitious resolutions can be inspiring, but the difficulty in achieving them means that your elation can quickly give way to frustration. Set out just to “be sober” or “be healthy”, and you’re selling yourself short.

In health behavior change and maintenance studies, the effects of setting difficult but specific goals lead to higher performance when compared with no goals or vague, non-quantitative goals, such as “do your best.”

Vague goals give people too much leeway and lower their motivation to push themselves. For example, if your goal is to quit the bottle for good, give yourself a time-frame of accomplishment, enroll in a program that will help you achieve sobriety within that particular time, and chart your wins along the way.

4. Don’t expose yourself to temptation

New Year’s resolutions are hard enough to abide by, even when they’re made in the right way – so don’t make your job more difficult. Our resolve diminishes the more we’re forced to say ‘no,’ so avoid situations where you have to choose.

5. Keep your friends and family in the know

Whether it’s Weight Watchers or Al-Anon, social support groups exist because having the support of others is really helpful when trying to accomplish a difficult goal.

If joining a group isn’t really your thing, you can still increase your chances of success or reduce your level of stress and anxiety about achieving your goals by telling a few supportive individuals about it.

Ask them to help keep you motivated as you tackle the challenges ahead of you. If you feel comfortable enough, ask them to hold you accountable as well.

Keep these tips in mind when writing your resolutions for 2019, and make this coming year the best one yet.

7 Easy Ways to Recognize and Avoid Holiday Triggers

The holiday season is about to begin! Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away, and soon after comes the rush to find the perfect presents and host the best parties. Autumn colors will change to festive greens and reds, but the holidays aren’t always sparkling and festive.

For people struggling with addiction recovery, with the parties come the judgmental relatives and all-too-tempting cocktails. Not only that, but the financial pressures of gift-giving and even the lack of light can start weighing you down.

This volatile combination of external stressors and mental burdens – including anxiety, depression, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder – make attractive the thought of just one drink.

However, you don’t have to let your holiday problems lead to a relapse. Here are some tips to having a safe, sober, stress-free season!

1. Make a list of potential problems.

What’s scaring you this season? Is it your overly-nosy aunt, or perhaps all the things you need to do between now and the next family party? Or are you afraid that if someone offers you a glass of champagne, you can’t say no? Once you have your list, move on to the next step.

2. Write down potential solutions to those problems.

Break each one down! Come up with a list of prepared answers to common questions to save you the stress of having to answer on the spot. Write a to-do list and try to get a little bit done each day! You can even write down some ways to politely reject drinks if you don’t want to tell people you’re trying to stay sober.

3. Find a support system.

You’re not alone – many people are going through similar struggles over the holidays. Find friends, family, or even online community who you can confide in and ask for advice! You don’t have to tackle everything by yourself. This way, you can have a list of people who can offer advice or some comfort if you’re feeling particularly triggered or upset.

4. Learn the signs of a craving and ways to get past them.

Cravings last approximately twenty minutes. When you feel one hit, find something else to do – going to a quiet room and meditate, for example. Come up with a list of distractions that you can fall back on until the craving passes.

5. Bring your own snacks.

Hunger, stress, and fatigue – all can increase your desire to pick up just one more drink. To help prevent this, bring your own snacks to munch on throughout the gathering; it’ll prevent you from becoming too hungry, and is also guaranteed to be a safe snack for your recovery.

6. Set a budget.

Ask yourself how much you want to spend this season. Budget out the extra expenses, such as gifts, so you have a clear plan when going shopping. Over-spending can strain your finances going into New Year, so preparing as early as possible can help reduce stress and the risk of relapse.

7. Forgive yourself.

Remember, you’re not alone. Struggling with sobriety is natural, and mistakes happen – the most important part is to keep moving. If you take one step back, take two steps forward. Acknowledge your feelings, especially the negative ones. Don’t blame yourself for mistakes, but forgive them and move on.

Prepare for the holidays in advance! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. Reducing stress during this busy time of year can grant you peace of mind and help you stay on the road to recovery.

If you have any questions, or are in need of assistance, please contact StepHouse Recovery today at (714) 394-3494 or toll-free at (888) 923-7623!

5 Simple Steps for Managing Stress

Managing stress is an everyday issue. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking a short walk or finding time to sit down and relax. But if you suffer from addiction, stress can trigger urges or, worse, a relapse. How you handle the stress in your life makes a critical difference in your recovery.

Just like with any skill, you must practice and refine your ability to handle stress. More importantly, learn to recognize the warning signs indicating unhealthy coping mechanisms. There are many techniques that can help manage your day-to-day tension, and in this article, we will explore some of them.

Step one: Self-assessment

Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself. Take daily stock of your feelings.  This includes sadness and anger, but also happiness and confidence.

Even if you’re feeling low and don’t even have the will to get out of bed, take a moment to write it down. It is helpful to verbalize your feelings to go over them later, and keeping a record can identify patterns in mood and behavior.

If you have never made a personal journal before, now is a good time to start.

 

Step two: Help someone.

We often wallow in our own problems and blow them out of proportion. To gain some perspective, or simply to have a small way to escape, reach out to others in need.

Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter. Get out there and contribute to your community. The productivity can help uplift your mood and outlook.

Not only that, but you may end up helping someone else in the process.

 

Step three: Physical Exercise.

Even something as small as a daily ten-minute walk can do wonders on your mood. It has been proven time and time again that exercise comes with numerous health benefits.

It’s not only good for your body but also good for your mind. Consistent exercise, no matter how small, helps reduce stress levels and is a healthy way of coping with long-term stress.

 

Step four: Create something.

If you haven’t exercised your creativity muscles, it’s time to wake them up. Finding a creative outlet can help you relax and may even give you a new way to express how you are feeling.

Contrary to what you may have heard throughout your life, we all have a creative side. If you have not exercised your creative muscles in a while, it’s time to wake them up. Find something creative you enjoy doing – you don’t even have to be good at it. As a matter of fact, it helps if you are a novice in this endeavor.

Here are some suggestions for people struggling with ideas: drawing, painting, photography, music.

There are endless ways to create something, so find a medium that suits you. These are only a few examples. If all else fails, look back at step one. Writing is a creative exercise, even if it’s writing about how you feel. The goal is to find something that helps you relax and explore alternative methods of self-expression.

 

Step five: Be calm and quiet.

Some people pray. Some meditate. Some simply sit still to find peace within themselves. It is important to have quiet time for yourself, especially in today’s busy world.

Every day, make time to turn off your electronics and find a quiet place to sit and be still. Examine your innermost thoughts and feelings. The world can be loud and sometimes hostile, and taking a break from the cacophony of life is a way to relax.

Take the opportunity to find peace within yourself whenever you can. Take deep, even breaths for a few minutes. Clear your mind and become calm.

I sincerely hope these suggestions help you in coping with the stress levels in your life.

 


 

Remember, managing long-term stress is not a sprint but a daily process. Doing even these small things every day can reduce your stress over time.

But remember – when it comes to your health, there is no shame in contacting a healthcare provider for help. While these methods can help you deal with your stress, sometimes things are too much for you to tackle on your own.

If you feel overwhelmed or helpless, you are not alone. There are professionals waiting to help you.

September 10, 2018: National Suicide Prevention Day

5 Steps to Prevent Suicide

Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States.

Since 2006, the rate of suicide has been increasing by as much as 21% for men and 50% for women. In 2016, there was approximately one death from suicide every 12 minutes.

If a loved one is struggling and you don’t know how to help, following these steps may help avert a tragedy:

 

1. Talking about it.

Suicide often has an associated stigma. However, most suicidal people are not ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ – they’re simply people who are hurting. Substance use and mental health disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder often occur in those considering suicide.

People struggling with their health should not be shamed for their pain or have to hide how they feel. Speaking out about the importance of mental health and opening up regarding suicidal thoughts is an important step toward prevention.

 

2. Know the warning signs.

The easiest signs to identify are verbal cues: “No one cares about me,” “I never want to wake up,” or other phrases that indicate hopelessness or worthlessness.

Other risk factors include a history of attempted suicide or childhood trauma such as violence, bullying, or abuse. A recent death or other stressful event – being fired or breaking up with their significant other – can also lead to suicidal thoughts.

Observe their behavior as well. Are they no longer interested in things they used to enjoy? Are they fidgety and anxious or persistently angry and reckless? Dramatic mood changes can be an indicator of a mental illness, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

 

3. Listen and try to understand.

Connect with the person. Allow them to speak their thoughts to you without fear of judgment. Support them by being there and acknowledging their pain.

Express your concern for them! Let them know that you are worried about them and want to help. Show that you genuinely care about how they are feeling. The simple act of saying ‘I care about you’ might not solve all their problems, but it can give a person struggling with suicide some hope.

 

4. Help someone else.

Have them volunteer at a homeless shelter or a soup chicken. Maybe even a pet clinic anywhere where they can focus on the problems of others and not their own. It is a productive use of time and can be a much-needed distraction from their own thoughts.

 

5. Find ways to help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

There are also other ways to help a suicidal person:

Seek professional help. The doctor, a mental health specialist, and/or treatment facilities are better equipped to handle a suicidal person and can help start the healing process. This is especially important to treat mental disorders.

Make plans. Discuss what to do if the person finds themselves suicidal and alone. Remind them that they are not alone.

Do a bit of research. Helping a loved one who is struggling can be difficult, but there are many resources (such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention) available for both the suicidal person and their friends and family.

Keep up your support. Even periodically asking “How are you feeling today?” can help. Check in on them or drop by and ensure their recovery continues.

Addiction Myths that Are Just. Not. True!

There are many addiction myths floating around out in the world and many people, unfortunately, believe them. This is not only problematic, but it can also be dangerous! While there more myths about addiction than there are days in a year, we at StepHouse Recovery are going over five of the most common addiction myths, why they are wrong and some true facts about addiction.

Addiction potential is how quickly an addiction develops for a person from when they start using to becoming an addict. The potential for an addiction to develop varies from person to person. There is no exact formula to determine someone’s addiction potential. Some may use substances several times and not develop an addiction (it is rare but not unheard of). Others use only once and signs of addiction begin to surface.

It is not only the act using a substance or engaging in a behavior that develops an addiction (although it is a big part). Many other factors determine a person’s potential for addiction such as:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental Factors
  • Developmental Factors like family upbringing or past trauma
  • Psychological Factors like depression and anxiety

What You or Family and Friends Can Do

While no one can force an addict to go into recovery (save for a court order) they can help bring to light their addiction through carefully planned interventions. Even during recovery, supporting an addict in rehab with letters, visits (if the treatment center allows it) and encouraging them throughout the course of their recovery.

It also helps for those who play an active role in an addict’s recovery to educate themselves in addiction. There are many things for them to learn such as:

  • About the substance or behavior that is the source of the addiction
  • detox for substances and the withdrawals of stopping an addiciton
  • what entails rehab, the role a strong support system can do
  • 12-steps (if practiced) and what they entail
  • Relapse Prevention

What are the Signs that you (or someone you love) Have An Addiction?

With substance Addiction, the signs can be easy to spot. With behavioral addiction, because they do not involve drugs or alcohol may be harder to identify.

Before you start becoming paranoid that you may have a Social Media Addiction just because you check your Facebook everyday take a look at these signs of someone with an addiction:

  • Changing Relationships and more conflicts
  • Poor attendance and performance at work or school
  • Changes in sleep and energy levels
  • Loss of interest in activities you (or a loved one) previously enjoyed
  • Financial troubles
  • Facing legal problems
  • Failure to stop using or engaging
  • Higher tolerance (needing to use more of a substance or activity to get the same effect)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (irritability, headaches, fatigue, etc.)

Your One-Stop Resource for All Addiction Education

StepHouse Recovery has all the resources you need to learn more about all the real facts about addiction and recovery.

If you have any questions about addiction or if you or someone you know and love has an addiction please let us know by contacting us below or call us at 888-923-7623.

StepHouse Recovery’s Top 25 Inspirational Quotes

Addiction recovery is a hard road to travel. At times one may wonder if all the pain and work to obtaining sobriety is worth it. To help in keeping up people’s spirits in the journey to recovery we provide many inspirational quotes to follow. These extend to anyone who is struggling, not just addicts.

We’ve provided many inspirational words over the past few years that now we have compiled our top 25 inspirational quotes based on popularity! Some are for reflection, some from famous celebrities or historical figures. Others are there to help you keep going. We also provide some of our own input on these quotes and what we get from these inspiring words.

No matter if you are battling addiction, struggling to get work or life just simply sucks. There’s a quote here for you!

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

Our Thoughts: For anyone trying to recover from addiction, or even just anyone in general, there will be setbacks. The important thing is to not give up and persevere.

No matter what, even if it’s slow progress is still progress. You’ll still be moving farther ahead than if you do nothing at all.

Have no fear. You will find your way. It’s in your bones. It’s in your soul.

Mark Z. Danielewski

Our Thoughts: We all fear our own shortcomings and flaws. We are almost programmed at birth to think little of ourselves. What we fail to realize is that we are also made to persevere. We are stronger than we think.

Our brains limit us from understanding the strength of our hearts and inner spirit. So even if you struggle or uncertain about what is ahead, keep moving forward. Even if you think you cannot your heart and soul knows better.

Recovery is about progression, not perfection.

Our Thoughts: Remember the old saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, whoever said had no idea what they were talking about. Perfection is impossible to obtain, especially in recovery. Progress is so much more valuable.

As humans, we are made to achieve things beyond our limits. Even if you achieve one goal there is still more to strive for. The journey doesn’t end, it just leads to a new beginning.

Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.

Karen Salmansohn

Our Thoughts: This is especially true when you are just starting out in your recovery. Even with StepHouse Recovery’s successful Detox program withdrawals can be very painful.

However, that pain is a sign that you are alive. In order to get stronger, you will have to go through some suffering in order to realize how much stronger you can be because of it.

It’s gonna be okay. No matter how hard your rock bottom is, you can rise above it and you can come back.

Demi Lovato

Our Thoughts: Ah yes. The first celebrity quote in our top 25! For those who have an addiction which controls your life, it may not be until you’ve hit rock bottom to know when you need help. That is okay. Even after you go through rehab you may go into a relapse. That’s okay too.

The important thing is to get up, brush yourself off and take two steps forward for every step back you take.

Sometimes You have to get rid of all the bullshit in your life and just focus on the things that make you a better person.

Our Thoughts: All swearing aside (we apologize) this is a great quote for those who need to make a change in their lives. Take a look at what things may deteriorate you from your change for the better and leave them by the wayside.

This is easier said than done, but getting rid of negative impacts on your life is a big step in recovery. Before anything, you need to take care of yourself first.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe

Our Thoughts: When one wants to initiate change it may be hard to figure out where to even begin. The first thing you need to do is want to change, once you do that you’ve already begun your evolution to a better person.

It may also be hard to change by yourself, but that’s where your friends and family come in. Having a solid support system is very important.

Don’t let your struggle become your identity.

Our Thoughts: It’s hard not to let your struggle run your life, especially if you are undergoing detox or rehab where you are trying to deal with your struggle with addiction 24/7.

The important thing to remember is you are so much more than your struggles in your life. And Just think of how much stronger you become because of these struggles.

Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of strength. However, there are times in life in which it takes much more strength to just let go.

Our Thoughts: As hard as it is to hold onto something or someone, it’s much harder to let them go. This is especially true if you’ve been in a long relationship and have just broken up or if you lost a loved one. It is hard to let go, you need a lot of strength to let go. But there’s another saying to remember: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, then it is yours.”

Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.

Our Thoughts: This is something that definitely reaches those who have been through a traumatic experience. Often times it is because of these traumatic experiences that some addictions develop. When this happens talk to a therapist or counselor for coping mechanisms. Remember, for the scars you bear, whether they are physical, mental or otherwise be proud that you have them. They are proof that you are stronger than what made them in the first place.

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.

Oprah Winfrey

Our Thoughts: It is hard to admit when we have a problem, and asking for help is even more so because we feel ashamed, like we are failures. The biggest failure we make is having a problem and not asking for the help we need to fix it.

Addiction recovery is something that no one can handle alone. Asking for help is a big sign that we have the courage to make a change for the better. It is the first, and perhaps the most difficult step in addiction recovery.

Our Thoughts: It’s good to have dreams, but without the work you put into making them come true they remain just that, dreams. It is not enough to just wish upon a star like many old Disney movies led you to believe.

You work hard to make them come true. It is only when we work hard that are dreams truly mean something.

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right to your purpose.

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Our Thoughts: Even for people who have completed their degrees in college, many of us still have no idea what our purpose is or why we are alive. Finding our passion can be just as hard.

Times like these are when we start to undergo some self-discovery. Start by finding out what makes you happy, what can you not live without. Look at things like that you may find your passion is closer than you think.

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.

C.G. Jung

Our Thoughts: With all the judging and hate we see today this quote comes to mind every time someone turns on the news. Judging people without thinking who they are or what they have been through is simplistic, arrogant, and crude.

Same is true for how most ordinary people see addicts. They do not take the time to think about what an addict must go through to recover. If more people would think before we judge, the world would be a much kinder place.

When we feel stuck, going nowhere, even starting to slip backward, we may actually be backing up to get a running start.

Dan Milliman

Our Thoughts: No matter how much progress we make, setbacks will happen. That’s just how life is. When that happens and we keep coming up against a brick wall, the best thing to do is walk away from it for a little while. Focus on another task, take a break and walk a bit outside, read up on StepHouse Recovery’s Blog. About 90% of the time when you get back to it with a fresh mindset you can break through that wall and go even farther ahead.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each one of us has cause to think deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame for us.

Our Thoughts: If someone you know or love has an addiction problem then you can be there to support them. It may be staging an intervention which makes them admit they have a problem and need help. Even while in recovery a solid support system is fundamental to recovery. Be the hand that helps them through their recovery.

One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.

Michael J. Fox

Our Thoughts: This is a quote that really speaks to people who have been bullied or verbally (even physically) abused in some form. The thing to remember is not to give in to what people say or do — if you do, that means they win. Do not give them that power. If you never give in to the people that hurt you that proves that you are stronger than the people who try to hurt you.

Don’t judge me by my past. I’m not in the past anymore. Accept me for who I am because this is me today.

Our Thoughts: The general public has a lot of misconceptions about people with addiction. They think that because they have an addiction they have no self-control or they are a hopeless cause. This could not be further from the truth.

People who had addiction problems in the past and recover from them become much better people. Many of whom start their own behavioral centers to help others struggling with addiction, like StepHouse Recovery Center!

I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Mother Teresa

Our Thoughts: It cannot be a list of the top 25 inspirational quotes without at least ONE from Mother Teresa! While it is true that you cannot end all of the world’s problems you can still make a difference for some. Even just making one life better is a big change for a better world than if you resign and do nothing.

There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they’re the way they are. Think about that before you judge someone.

Our Thoughts: This quote extends fromm quote #8. With every addiction, there is a story behind it. Something that occurred in someone’s life that made them turn to drugs or alcohol. Everyone knows how bad addiction is and you can avoid it by not using drugs and alcohol. Addictions occur for people who feel they have nowhere else to turn. Instead of judging people who have turn to addiction, see what you can do to help them recover from it.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.

Our Thoughts: For a loved one you know in recovery this quote pertains to you as someone who supports them in recovery. Instead of standing aside while they go through the weeks of work it takes to transition back into sobriety do something to help them get there. It can be simple like sending a letter, visiting them, even a phone call can do wonders to help them in their recovery process.

Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap, What you give, you get, What you see in others exists in you.

Zig Ziglar

Our Thoughts: It is true that we get out of something that we put in. This applies to recovery. Rehab has all the tools you need to make a complete and easy transition into sobriety. However it is up to you to use those tools and put in the effort to get clean and stay clean.

This also applies when comparing yourself to other people as well. We have all done it at some point in our lives. However, the good qualities you see in a person are also qualities in yourself. After all, for every finger you point at somebody, three more are pointing back at you.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

R. Buckminster

Our Thoughts: It can be impossible to change the reality you are in right now. However, there are some things in your life you CAN change. When you are in recovery you will have to look at the triggers that may cause you to use again.

Make a list of goals that you want to achieve for after you discharge, think about the kind of person you want to be once you are discharged and the person you want to be a year or even six months afterward.

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Winston Churchill

Our Thoughts: Every good choice we make for ourselves boils down to our courage. For someone to admit that they have an addiction problem shows courage. To ask for help and enroll in a rehab program takes courage.

Courage is within everyone. It does not mean you do not have fear. It comes when you face something despite the fear, and you always get stronger because of it.

Show me a person who has never failed, and I’ll see a person who never attempted anything.

Our Thoughts: Now this is perfect for our number 1 Inspirational Quote. It speaks to everyone, while it is true you cannot fail if you do not try you also cannot succeed either.

You can also look at not attempting anything as a failure in and of itself. We all try and fail at some point, more often than not, in fact. The big thing is to learn from our failures to do better next time. This is especially true in recovery and in life.

We hope you like our StepHouse Recovery Center’s Top 25 Inspirational Quotes. Let us know what you think of these words of wisdom or what you think of our take on them by commenting below.

As always, if you or a loved one has suffered from a substance addiction you can reach out to us today by calling (888) 923-7623 or by contacting us with the link below. We hope you got just what you needed from our inspirational quotes.