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Mental Health

Redpoint Center Holidays in Recovery

How to Embrace the Holidays in Recovery

By | Mental Health

Whether this time of year fills you with warm tingles or absolute dread, “the holidays” never fail to elicit great emotional charge. Though we are all different in terms of holidays and celebrations, the end of another year (especially this one) can bring about a tsunami of feelings. What’s more, when we experience the holidays in recovery it can all feel very different when we are sober

Embracing the Holidays in Recovery

If the holidays are like an old acquaintance you try to pass on the street without being seen, this could be your year. Strangely enough, a hero has arrived in an unlikely form: a virus. Let’s not underestimate this virus as an ally to get us out of challenging family dynamics. This is an unusual time and sometimes staying home is the safest option. Phone it in, zoom, or FaceTime, and never feel bad about putting your physical and mental health first. If your family tries to guilt you for not coming home, exercise your boundaries and know that you are not alone! Saturday Night Live depicted the trials and tribulations of dealing with family around the holidays. Enjoy this clip from SNL:

For those who adore this season and can’t make it home, grieve it! Yes, this will be a weird year in our memories but before weeping at the idea of spending it alone, remember, you can do this. Start your own traditions. These can never be undervalued. What did you like to do as a kid to celebrate? Do it! Make that hot chocolate with marshmallows, buy yourself the present, and get cozy. Self-care is key. If you are here in Colorado, take a drive or a hike on New Year’s Day and breathe in the peace and beauty of the snow-capped peaks. If you find yourself sliding into a peppermint flavored pity party, call someone! We are all in this together so don’t hesitate to ask for help when you are sad or lonely. You will probably find that you are not as alone as you think. 

Recovery and the Holidays

When it comes to recovery, this time of year can be one of the trickiest hurdles to face. Attending an office party sober may be torture. Though the pandemic may clear most of our holiday event roster, it can still be a tricky time emotionally. The most important thing to remember is that you are a different person now. You’re not that child who spent the holiday in tears. In addition, you are not that person who blacks out before noon. And, finally, you are no longer the person who spends the first day of the new year hungover. Stay present with yourself, smell the winter air, enjoy the lights, and for goodness sake don’t bankrupt yourself by buying everyone a gift. Your living amends as a sober, present, loving friend or family member is the best gift you’re giving to those around you. Most likely, our fear of the holidays (especially if it is your first one in recovery) is far greater than the reality.

T’is the Season: Tuning In 

Being alone during the holidays in recovery can feel daunting. Stay connected—to yourself, to your emotions, and to others, especially those who are also sober. It can be helpful to have an escape plan for any event you attend whether that means you drive separately, have the Uber app ready to go, or have an excuse lined up that you need to go feed your cat. Your well-being comes first. Hence, if seeing certain friends or family members is triggering, set a boundary, or cancel a plan. If you can, express to those around you that doing the holidays sober is tough for you and allow yourself to be supported. Remember, this time will pass. You don’t have to sit in the dark and grieve the entire year in review (though some of us will) on New Year’s Eve. Make new traditions and be gentle with yourself, we’re all only human. 

Image courtesy of Denys Nevozhai via unsplash

Redpoint Center Blog How to Feel Connected in Recovery

How to Feel Connected in Recovery

By | Mental Health

It can be hard to feel connected in recovery at times. Many of us know what it is like to walk into a new place and think, “I don’t belong here.” We can even have this feeling at work or places we have been a part of for years. Simply put, we feel disconnected. It’s a core part of the human experience to feel isolated at times. 

Feeling Our Feelings

The key is learning how to deal with these feelings. We may hear, “fake it till you make it.” AKA: “pretend that you aren’t wildly insecure and stressed at this moment…” Sometimes it feels like imposter syndrome. In addition, we may think we are just shy, but in our heads we hear “I’m different.” Well, get ready for the best news of your life: feeling different is actually the norm. In a strange way, we are all the same because we all feel different.

The Human Experience

It is our biology as humans to desire acceptance and to fit in with the group—the tribe—to survive. We are social creatures. Therefore, one of our greatest collective fears is that we won’t fit in. It directly impacts our sense of attachment and safety. If we feel disconnected, we feel unsafe. Also, if we are at a party worrying that everyone is judging, we isolate further. And the truth is, half the people we are intimidated by are likely in their heads wondering if we are judging them. Therefore, the thinking mind creates separation. This is taught to us for decades of our lives. We strive, we compete, we seek growth and success. And, at times this is antagonist or pits us against others. Hence, this is just part of being human. 

Feeling Like an Outsider in Recovery

Recovery is not a time to fake it ’til you make it. Chances are if you find yourself at an AA meeting, you aren’t faking. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Recovery is a golden oasis that encourages vulnerability and authenticity. Feeling connected in recovery is directly related to how much we show up. And it’s that simple. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be willing to be vulnerable. Communication is key.

If you show up as a hot emotional mess and you will probably receive more love and support than you have in years. Sit down, listen, cry, and come back again next week. It’s OK. You will likely be surprised just how many stories sound just like yours and include the phrase, “I always felt like I was different.” Also remember, especially with 12 step meetings, everyone is new once. We have all stood in the newcomer’s shoes and know how it feels. Hands will reach out to you if you reach back.

How to Feel Connected in Recovery

It can be liberating to remember that we are interconnected. Furthermore, we all seek connection and love. We need connection. It’s by letting go of the shame that we allow ourselves space to connect. Individuals that are connected in recovery become champions of vulnerability. We have to. It is what bonds us, saves us, and sets us free. Cherish when you feel different. It makes you human, it makes you real. What’s more, someday, you will be the one extending your support to that shaky kneed newcomer in the doorway. This is the gift of connection in recovery. Service saves us, literally, from ourselves.

OK, so here are the main takeaways to finding connection. Don’t be hesitant! We’re all in this together!!!

How to Connect

  1. Let go of judgment. To start, let go of shame. It’s easier said than done, yes. But it’s possible. It’s all about perspective. Know that you are doing your best.
  2. Start small. It can be intimidating to share vulnerable feelings. Take it one thing at a time and don’t be afraid to share your emotions with others when you feel comfortable. Your gut will tell you. If you feel it is OK to dig a bit deeper into how you’re feeling, you should.
  3. Be bold. While starting small is great, it’s also important to push past your comfort zone and be bold. Be brave. Some of the emotions we have come from years of patterns, from trauma, or from past experiences. Give yourself support and strength to courageously share what you’re feeling. Others no doubt feel the same.
  4. Share your experience. It is only by sharing our experiences that we can relate to one another. When we share our stories, we lighten our own burden. Research shows that social support, camaraderie, and overall peer support go a long way for mental health.
  5. Reach out to others. One of the easiest ways to get out of our own way and feel instantly connected is to ask others how they are doing. Call that strong friend! Ask someone how they are doing. You will always be glad you did. It is through service that we find ourselves.

Image courtesy of unsplash, Roberto Nickson

Redpoint Center Expands Mental Health Drug Alcohol Rehab Fort Collins Colorado

The Redpoint Center Expands to Fort Collins, Colorado

By | Alcohol rehab, Featured, Mental Health

Redpoint Center Fort Collins is here and we’re thrilled to offer our services to those in need. During the pandemic, the caring Redpoint team has been busy opening our new location in Fort Collins, Colorado. We are so excited to expand our facilities and bring professional care to the greater northern Colorado area. 

“I feel very fortunate,” says Redpoint Team member and Northern Colorado Program Manager and Senior Counselor, Wendy Stine, “to be helping in my community of Northern Colorado. We’ve been typically underserved and I am excited to be part of the solution. Covid has created a great strain on the population, particularly those who might have mental health issues and/or addiction. We are seeing a mental health pandemic as a result of the Covid pandemic. I’m witnessing some really good work being done with our clients under the circumstances.” 

Our founder and CEO, Cody Gardner, expressed his enthusiasm for the recent move saying, “This is a very exciting expansion for the Redpoint Center. Expanding our recovery services throughout Colorado means we help more individuals and families in need. Our licensed treatment professionals understand the complex challenges associated with substance abuse and mental health concerns. Now, more than ever, our citizens need professional treatment support”. The Redpoint Center focuses on an outpatient approach to drug and alcohol recovery as well as mental health services. Offering treatment for adults and adolescents, our new center will allow us to serve a greater range of clients seeking recovery and support. 

We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Fort Collins area and welcome our new move with tenacity and grace. “It’s an honor to provide the much-needed treatment needs of our community,” Gardner added. 

Mental Health Treatment in Colorado

The Redpoint Center mental health and drug rehab treatment program is thrilled to expand our services to Fort Collins, Colorado. We will continue to offer quality care for those struggling with mental health and substance use issues, in Boulder Country and now in Larimer County. The Redpoint Center programming includes adolescent and adult outpatient treatment services that empower clients to find community, purpose, and recovery. 

 “This is a very exciting expansion for the Redpoint Center,” says Cody Gardner, founder and CEO of Redpoint. “Expanding our recovery services throughout Colorado means we help more individuals and families in need. Our licensed treatment professionals understand the complex challenges associated with substance abuse and mental health concerns. Now, more than ever, our citizens need professional treatment support,” adds Gardner

 Redpoint addresses alcohol and drug use, as well as trauma and stressors that influence destructive behavior patterns. The mission is to teach clients how to live a healthy life of recovery. Now, the Fort Collins facility now provides rehab in Larimer County, Colorado, to serve more of those who need drug treatment and alcohol rehab, as well as mental health support. With CSU and a younger community, outpatient services mean more of those who need it to find help.

“We are thrilled that The Redpoint Center is able to offer outpatient services to our home state of Colorado. Expanding to Fort Collins with another addiction treatment facility allows us to continue to serve the rehab needs, and beyond. It’s an honor to provide the much-needed treatment needs of our community,” Gardner added. 

If you or someone you love needs help, contact us. We are here 24/7 to assist you and yours on the path to healing. You are not alone.

Redpoint Center Blog Living With Uncertainty

Living With Uncertainty

By | Mental Health

On a daily basis, many of us experience overwhelm and fear of uncertainty. Now, more than ever, there is much to be uncertain about. In addition, during a global pandemic, the news triggers our fight or flight response. Hence, we worry about our families and ourselves. As a result, we try to control our environment to find peace. What do we do to create this sense of calm? How can we act normal when it feels as if the world is suspended in space waiting to drop? How do we live with uncertainty? 

The Gift of Uncertainty

There is a great metaphor that when we feel out of control and uncertain, it is like we are a jar of muddy water. The more we thrash around and panic, we kick up the mud and dirt around us. Furthermore, we cloud the water so that we cannot see through. However, when we remain still, the mud settles to the bottom and allows us to see again. In his book, The Way of Zen, Alan Watts writes:

“Furthermore, as muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.”

When we are feeling out of control, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and those around us is stillness. Whether we meditate, read, sit quietly with a cup of tea, take a bath, or go for a walk outside, we settle. When we allow ourselves to get in touch with our being and let our thoughts and feelings calm, we instantly feel better. Though the “mud” is still there, we will see more clearly.

How to Manage Uncertainty

Sometimes when we panic with uncertainty, thoughts swirl around, specifically, around whatever we fear. Most times, we either come from two base human emotions–love or fear. When we can practice self-awareness, we can move through the fear. Here are some tips for managing uncertainty.

Find stillness. Take time to get still and write out or express to a trusted friend what exactly we fear in the face of uncertainty can bring us great relief.

Observe your thoughts. We do not fear the unknown, we fear what we project into the unknown. When sorting out our worries- get specific! Turn “I’m scared” into “I’m scared that I won’t be able to pay my mortgage.” Breaking down the fears can help us digest them. When we do this, we can see where we have fear and where we don’t, instead of blanketing our entire life with “I’M FREAKING OUT!” Perhaps we are worried about our finances, but things with our partner or family are actually amazing. Getting still and sifting through our thoughts may seem simple to some and extremely difficult for others.

Be kind. Self-compassion is key. Do what you can. There is no need to beat yourself up if you can’t meditate for more than five seconds or if yoga just does not work for your body, find what does work for you. Gift yourself moments of calm self-care in whatever way feels most pleasing to you.

Get professional support. It’s OK to ask for help. We all need guidance now and again. Perhaps therapy would help gain perspective? And therapy can work wonders for anxiety and stress.

Embracing Uncertainty

Ultimately, how do we embrace uncertainty? Here comes the answer you didn’t want to hear: embrace it. Life is uncertain. Life is ever-changing and in constant motion. The flowers grow, bloom, wilt, seed, and grow again. And so do we. When we allow this radical acceptance to overtake our fear of uncertainty it can seem much more manageable. Oftentimes, the thought “this should not be happening” is what causes us the most grief. If life is like a river, constantly flowing and changing, it doesn’t make much sense to turn your boat around and futilely fight upstream. Rather than thrashing about wasting energy fighting the notion of uncertainty, once we accept it, we can direct our energy much more productively. What could be the positive aspects of this situation? Maybe you have more time with your family, perhaps you are growing in knowledge and resilience on a daily basis without even knowing it (probably very true), perhaps you are honing the art of pivoting in the face of the unexpected. Spending time reflecting on the positive aspects of a situation that makes us feel uncertain can bring us great peace of mind to move forward. We can turn our fear into curiosity. If we can fantasize about the worst-case scenario, we can fantasize about the best case scenario, what we would like to happen, what we would love to change. 

The Future is Always Uncertain

Overall, uncertainty is a fact of life. The future is always unknown. Given this, it is important to remember that you are never alone. Every person faces uncertainty at points in their life and we are all trying to figure out this human experience. Sometimes it is the illusion that we are alone in such uncertainty that brings us pain. Rest upon the truth that what you are experiencing is normal. What’s more, thousands of humans have gone through similar before you. You are not alone.  

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, we are here.

Redpoint Center Blog Recovery Sayings

Recovery Sayings: Wisdom for Daily Living

By | Addiction, Mental Health

Recovery sayings may seem overly simplistic, but for many, they are powerful messages. Even if you don’t attend 12-Step programs, you may hear the same AA or recovery-oriented sayings and cliches from others in sobriety. Often, these phrases go in one ear and out the other. But every now and then, when we find ourselves struggling or having a rough day, these sayings hit us with such clarity and truth that we see them in a brand new light. Recovering from substance abuse and mental health struggles is a lifelong journey. These are just a few tried and true statements that circle addiction recovery on a daily basis. 

AA Sayings and Wisdom

One Day at a Time

Overwhelm can lead to a lot of destruction in our lives. We may feel powerless and small when fantasizing about the future, the bills we have to pay, and the unfathomable idea of being sober forever. Therefore this core saying is spoken in 12 steps rooms across the globe. One day at a time. Focusing on the now allows us to return to ourselves, our bodies, and our feelings right here and now. This is more manageable than getting swept away in a lifetime of worries, doubts, and fears. Staying present is one of the greatest tools in addiction recovery. This moment is all we have. Furthermore, this awareness is highly beneficial for mental health and stress reduction. What’s more, in many Buddhist and other wisdom tradition teachings, it is said that now is all we really have. The future and the past are an illusion. We have no control over the past and we do not know what is yet to come. Hence, staying present in the now is key. In recovery, we often say – just “take the next right step”. In addition, “just for today”, is one of the greatest assets for people who are sober—and all humans for that matter!

Keep it simple

In recovery, if you don’t have your sobriety, you don’t have sh*t. Most of us watch our professional and personal lives crumble when drinking or using. “Keep it simple” helps keep your ground and focus on what matters — the basics. Feed yourself. Get good sleep. Love yourself (though this may not seem easy all the time it’s a big one). Be grateful for what you do have, and be proud of yourself.  Even if you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing today, you are sober and that means everything. You are worthy of love and happiness. 

Life on life’s terms

Every now and then life hands you something unexpected. There are things that we can’t control. This saying helps us with radical acceptance. We didn’t choose addiction. Furthermore, only when we accept this can we get better. We don’t choose when loved ones leave us or what happens in the world. We don’t get to choose whether or not there is a worldwide pandemic. Accepting life on life’s terms allows us to not panic in the face of uncertainty. Allowing ourselves to flow with the punches of life actually returns power to our hands, granting us the ability to focus on what we do have control over, our actions and reactions. 

Cunning, baffling, powerful 

Straight from the big book of AA, this statement illustrates our addiction. Many of us have tried to have that “one beer”, only to find ourselves bewildered again at the depth of our addiction sometimes only days later. This describes the power that substances have over us despite our best efforts to remain in control. When we respect our addictive ways and no longer underestimate the power destructive patterns can have over us, we allow ourselves to no longer be consumed by them. 

Recovery Sayings: Mental Health Healing

What happened is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility 

Much of our trauma, especially in childhood, was not our fault. We may harbor great resentment at the hurts of our past. We may sit angrily, arms crossed, waiting for the apology that may never come. If we want to heal, we must accept that we have to do the work. It is our responsibility, to no longer pass on the pain of our past by hurting those around us with our addiction and behaviors. Though this may be frustrating, it is truly a gift we give to ourselves to move on and heal. 

You can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick 

We are creatures of habit. Our biology is hardwired to return the familiar. In earlier times, these mechanisms kept us safe, knowing which berries were not safe to eat and which well-trodden paths would lead us home. Unfortunately, when struggling with addiction,  things that feel familiar and safe may be perpetuating our illness. It is our job to create new pathways of thought and action to lead to a healthier life. This may include hanging out with different people, not the usual crowd you partied with every weekend. It may mean different relationships: ie, find a partner who is nothing like your ex. No longer visit areas of town that trigger your cravings and remind you of your rock bottoms and drug dealers. In addition, we choose different activities. It can be amazing to rediscover what you love to do and how you spend your time soberly. Limit the amount of time we spend with people who belittle our worth. Though these people may feel familiar, after we spend time with them we feel bad about ourselves. Find people that lift you up and support you in sobriety and your dreams. It can be hard to recognize which behaviors and relationships need changing, but if we observe and remain present, they will become clear and our resilience and desire for well being will strengthen. 

 

Though we may tire of hearing these recovery phrases, evaluate them with a fresh eye. And lean into the wisdom of daily recovery and sober living. As a result, we have the chance to learn deep wisdom. If you or someone dear to you is in need of support, please reach out for help. You are not alone. 

Redpoint Center Blog Communication in Recovery

Communication in Recovery

By | Community, Mental Health

An Interview with Redpoint Center team member, Wendy Stine, Clinician and Program Manager for Northern Colorado

Communication in recovery is one of our greatest tools. So much of what we experience when we are in self-destructive behaviors is a lack of communication. Hence, communication in recovery and relationships is vital. The ability to express our needs and listen to others deeply allows for understanding and connection. Furthermore, we know that connection is very important and vulnerability plays a role as well. Whether at work, romantic relationships, friends, or therapists, expressing yourself honestly and being heard compassionately can provide a medium for growth and healing. We asked our counselor Wendy Stine a few questions about what healthy communication looks like, and how to get in touch with our feelings. After all, we need to understand what we are feeling to express it. 

Why Communication Matters in Recovery

Redpoint: What are some tips for getting in tune with our feelings, especially in early recovery?

Wendy: It’s always helpful to start from a place of groundedness. This can be as easy as taking a few deep breaths with eyes closed and being really “in your body.” Then ask yourself what do I feel- happy, mad, sad, hurt, or afraid? Keep the options simple. Maybe write a little bit about in a journal. The important thing is not to judge the feelings.  Don’t analyze anything- just acknowledge.

RP: What are some ways to soothe ourselves when we are feeling overwhelmed by emotion?

W: Some easy and quick ways to soothe oneself would be some focused breath work; I like to count my inhales, pause a second and count the exhales. Counting helps distract the brain. If you can manage to breathe in slowly to the count of 4, hold for one count and slowly exhale to a 6 or 7 count, you will calm the mind and body. Repeat the cycle a few times.

I also love getting outside for calming. If I can take my shoes off in the grass, even better! Sometimes I’ll just sit in my yard and look at the sky, hear the birds, and smell the fresh air. Works wonders.

It’s ok to give yourself a time out! Even a quick nap or “mind shutdown” can bring relief.

And there’s always the quick call or text to a supportive friend.

Relationship Goals: Healthy Communication

RP: What does healthy communication look like? What are some tips on being a more active listener/supporting others when communicating?

W: Healthy communication looks like being responsible for your own words and actions. Take ownership of the way you feel. “ I feel hurt when…” is more effective than “You make me feel”. I try and start feeling statements with “I”.  Don’t keep things bottled up. People are not mind readers, and often don’t know what we’re feeling. 

It’s super important to be a good listener in any relationship. Sadly, many people are busy planning a response rather than actually hearing what is said. Listen as if you are not going to answer. Ask questions, make eye contact, and stay off your mobile phone! It’s helpful to paraphrase back what is being said- it shows you are paying attention; it feels good to be a friend! 

When we have empathy and understanding for ourselves, we can extend that same compassion to others. Communicating with the intention of getting closer to those you love or interact with,  will always foster healthy conversations and progress for a better life. 

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, we are here.

Photo courtesy of unsplash~

Redpoint Center Blog Asking For Help Recovery

Asking for Help in Recovery

By | Mental Health

Asking For—and Accepting Help

Asking for help is not easy. In a lot of ways, it means letting go. In addition, many of us were taught to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Asking for help might feel like the opposite of self-reliance. But that’s a myth. What’s more, it’s one we need to break.

For many in recovery, the term surrender is common. But what does it really mean? Surrender is usually experienced involuntarily at first. We find ourselves in the midst of another personal mess, bender, hangover, or some other mistake. As a result, we are helpless—our egos bruised so much that for a single moment we surrender to the thought: I need help. As time passes, however, it is all too common for our tough exterior, ego voice, to kick in and say, “I can handle it. I’ll never get that bad again.” This leads us to the same cycles of addiction and isolation. So how do we accept support?

Mental Health, Substance Use, and Why We All Need Help

No one wants to struggle and feel like they can’t do it alone. Culturally, it can make us feel weak or impotent. Also, vulnerability is scary. It takes courage to share our pains and sorrows. But when we find ourselves in this position, momentary surrender can save our lives. And asking for help provides a gateway to vulnerability and courage. Our society today praises independence, being self-made, and fighting for what we earn. It feels good to be responsible and on top of our own lives. However, as many experience in addiction or mental health struggles, pulling yourself out of these dilemmas alone can feel impossible. In earlier times, the individual could not survive without the tribe. The safety, camaraderie, and power of the group allow for the conditions of survival. Biologically, we are no different than our ancestors. Sometimes, we need people. And it’s truly okay to need help. 

Quieting the Ego

The ego is the voice in our heads that defines our sense of self and the surrounding world. It assigns this meaning based on the past. Furthermore, the ego is influenced by childhood experiences and can impact the way we feel about ourselves and others. In addition, if we are not aware of it, it can drive our behaviors, sometimes into the ground. Depending on what kinds of experiences we had as a child, how we were spoken to, and what beliefs were instilled, we may have a healthy sense of balanced ego-awareness or a distorted one. When the ego is distorted, through abuse, neglect, emotional abandonment, or unhealthy attachment, it is traumatized. This trauma influences our lives. It can isolate us, it can mean we project our fears and insecurities onto others, it can tell us we’re not enough. Therefore, when we dwell in the ego state, we isolate. We don’t ask for help or reach out when hurting. Studies find that extreme self-reliance can be detrimental to our well-being, especially for our youth. 

Asking for Help in Recovery

For those of us in recovery, the ego surrender is a part of healing. We let go of the hardness, the layers of protection, the false beliefs to soften towards ourselves and others. Consequently, this allows us to give ourselves a break, and to accept help. We surrender to our humanness. The fellowship in substance abuse programs or AA reminds us of the tribal connection, where we could find help around any corner. Therapists and addiction specialists dedicate their lives to helping others because they truly love doing it. Helping others is their greatest joy. The reality is that we all need help sometimes, and it is there for us, if we surrender to it. 

If you are starting to awaken to your sense of self and wondering if support might help, know that you are not alone. Help is available. Whether it is a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional mentor, clinician, or therapist, don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t let your inner voice or resistance dominate. It is in vulnerability that we find true courage.

Redpoint Center Blog Sober Friendships in Recovery

Friendship in Sobriety

By | Community, Mental Health

Friendship is very important in our lives. Along with the simple fact that friendship provides key support, relationships are a big part of our mental health and well-being. The people we surround ourselves with and the environment we create is a crucial part of maintaining sobriety in recovery. In addition, studies show that friendships play a vital role in recovery. Often, those we spend time with before recovery indulged in our addictions as well. Making a drastic life change to recovery can cause a lot of shifts in our lives. One significant change can be the shifts in our friendships. 

Sober Friendships

As many can attest, early sobriety can cast a glaring light onto everything we do. Our life long friends who share addictive behaviors may seem more destructive (which they often are!) and unhealthy. You may come to see some friends could perhaps use an AA meeting. In addition, these running buddies often mirror our behavior and thinking. Furthermore, recognizing the unhealthy influence of old friends, or the lack of connection without the d.o.c. you once bonded over, can be a grieving process.

Letting Go of Destructive Relationships

It can be hard to admit that certain friendships only existed when you were using. Also, when you start to feel a lack of depth in a relationship, it can be painful and even isolating. Hence, it is best to assess things slowly. You do not have to “break up” with all your friends right away. And, more importantly, we have to remember we can’t make them get sober, too. Cultivating a curated list, however, of positive and negative aspects of friendships can be quite helpful. This is a big part of learning to set boundaries. Also, it will help you know what sober relationships are positive for you. Maybe you no longer go to your friend’s house who is an active user. However, you talk on the phone from time to time so they feel supported. You may express to a close friend that you no longer wish to golf on Sundays because folks are drinking. True friends will hear these requests and respect them. When they are not heard, or when a friend takes offense, this can be the indicator that this friendship may not be healthy for you.

Finding Our Sober Friendship Tribe

There is a lot to be said around finding like-minded people in recovery. Some people love being sober and feel it has saved their lives. Others do not or think AA, NA, GA, and on, are cults. Undeniably, however, sober living will put you in touch with people going through the same experiences as you. AA is not the only group for those seeking a sober life. There are many resources for support groups or non-12-Step addiction recovery groups that can help one branch out and meet other sober people.  If you have a passion or hobby that you already know about or want to explore, take a class! Even connecting with those not in recovery, but who share common interests, can lead to deeper, healthier friendships. It can be tricky with Covid-19 restrictions at the moment, but zoom meetings and online classes and support groups are always taking place. There is a world-wide network of people in recovery. Though it may be intimidating at first, taking the first vulnerable step towards connection can open up a whole new life. Also, almost everyone in recovery was new at some point and experienced the same fear and need to connect.

It may feel scary, to shift out of old support systems and comfortable friendships. You may feel isolated and lonely. But “nature abhors a vacuum.” In psychics, when there is a vacuum in space or empty space, nature seeks to fill it. So when we create space in our life by releasing what no longer serves us, new life, new friendships, will come. 

Image courtesy of unsplash

Redpoint Center How to Let Go Recovery Mental Health

How to Let Go: Guilt, Shame, and Self-Love

By | Mental Health

Do people sometimes tell you to just let go? It is not always easy. The truth is, change is hard. Furthermore, letting go, for many of us, is new. To let go means we’re enacting new behavior. Many of us hold on to things when we’re actively drinking and drugging. We hold on to resentments, fears, anger, betrayals, frustrations, self-doubt; the list goes on. Our mental health and well-being depend on our capacity for self-care. So, what does it mean to let go? And, more importantly, how do we do it?

What Does it Mean to Let Go?

The best apology is changed behavior. If you or someone you love is in recovery, you may know this statement to be true. But sometimes, even after we have changed our behavior in sobriety, something chips away at our progress and confidence: guilt and shame. Guilt and shame can be an indicator of how we don’t want to be. So often though, these negative states become chronic companions, controlling our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors. What can we do? Even after our families and friends have forgiven us, we may continue to harbor these heavy emotions because we have not forgiven ourselves.

When we make mistakes, especially large ones, we may let it define us. Hence, we label ourselves.  “I’m a terrible mother.” “I am a horrible person.” “We should have known better.” “It’ll never change.” And perhaps the worst of them all, “I don’t deserve to be loved or to be happy.” These feelings stem from not feeling we are enough. Thankfully, none of these statements have to be true. Furthermore, we are in control.

Defining Ourselves: Self-Awareness and Forgiveness

The first step to emotional well-being is reminding yourself that you are worthy. This is no easy feat. To start, we must know that we do deserve love, no matter what we have done, and that we can move forward. When we refuse to release our guilt and shame, we are in essence bringing the past into the present and creating more of the same. We become stuck. The experience might be familiar to many of us. Perhaps we did something embarrassing when drinking or drugging (um, haven’t we all?!) We may still feel shame and continue to grovel and apologize as if we just made the mistake this morning. What’s more, we punish ourselves with guilt and remorse. This self-abuse is no different than our addictive patterns. In fact, it mirrors our low self-worth. In addition, it erodes our relationships. Sometimes, when we exhaust our amends list and apologize to every person in our lives, we may still owe ourselves an apology. “I am so sorry I constantly put you in danger, abuse you, and neglect your needs and feelings.” Softening towards ourselves can be a crucial part of self-forgiveness and releasing guilt. 

How to Let Go of the Past

The past cannot be changed so it does little good to dwell and stew in our mistakes thinking, “if only…”. We were different people then. We did not have the knowledge of self, wisdom and experience that we have now. Looking back, we were probably doing the best we could with the pain and misery inside us. Today, however, our best looks very different. Upon accepting your past behavior, knowing that you cannot change it, but recognizing that we no longer wish to behave in that way, we can finally move forward in peace as a changed person. 

No matter what you have done in the past, you deserve love now. You can let go, and move forward. You deserve to be happy, and you can be.

For those of us in recovery, even after we change our behavior we may hold onto our mistakes and allow them to continue to eat us alive: guilt. To truly accept forgiveness, we often need to forgive ourselves. But how? How can we forgive ourselves for what we did, the lies we told, the pain we caused? It can be helpful to picture yourself as a friend with a list of mistakes or harms done. You would probably reply in kindness and compassion with, “we love you, we forgive you, that’s all in the past now.” Why is it that we hold ourselves to such unreasonable standards and are so much softer towards friends and those we love. To forgive oneself is one of the greatest acts of self-care. Holding on to guilt is a form of self-punishment, only hurting ourselves further. Consequently, we are also most likely frustrating those around us. Therefore, letting go is true forgiveness. 

You deserve love no matter what you have done.

We do not deserve to be punished and suffer forever.

Allow yourself to be happy and feel peace.

Let go and let yourself be loved.

 

Image courtesy of unsplash

Redpoint Center Blog Recovery Vulnerability Sober Mental Health

Vulnerability and Recovery: The Power of Authentic Connection

By | Mental Health

We’re all human beings and we all want love and connection. So, how do we find it?

Vulnerability takes courage. And in recovery, it’s vital. In order to feel connected, we need to be vulnerable. Today, vulnerability is discussed widely. What’s more, this is largely thanks to one of our favorite researcher-storytellers, Brené Brown who famously charted the course into once uncomfortable topics in the viral TED talk she gave in 2010. If you have not watched this talk in full, we highly recommend it. It’s a game-changer. Specifically, it tackles shame and vulnerability and how important it is that we connect with others.

 Sobriety can be challenging. It can be rocky, uncomfortable, and frustrating at times as we unearth our behaviors and thought patterns. But it can also be a relief. No more hiding, cheating, lying, stealing. Sincere honesty can flow into your life like a cooling ocean wave. When we practice vulnerability and truthfulness in our communications, we deepen our interconnectedness with others. But how do we apply this in our lives?

Vulnerability in Sobriety

Many, upon hearing the word vulnerable, clench up. Fear can surround this word. But, many of us with consistent sobriety have found significant freedom in this word. Sitting in a room with others sharing vulnerable moments and struggles can be a great relief. It allows us to truly be seen, maybe for the first time in our lives, by people who know the experiences and feel what we are feeling. The best part about sobriety and vulnerability is that you are not the first person to experience it. Sharing from the heart connects us with those who have gone before.

Redpoint’s namesake is a climbing term for successfully free climbing a route that we have not been able to complete. Lucky for us, there is a worldwide community of folks in recovery that successfully navigate these routes of living sober. Tapping into this community and feeling the relief of being vulnerable can be life-saving and a testament of the human spirit. 

Mental Health and Being Vulnerable

The relief of vulnerability extends beyond the shared experience of addictive patterns and recovery. We, as humans, need each other. We need connection. Many of us have learned not to admit this for fear of seeming desperate or ‘uncool’. In addition, we may have endured trauma that causes us to distrust people, vowing never to be vulnerable again. This pattern can drive us back into addictive behavior because biologically, we NEED connection, touch, and love. The pain of isolation can run so deep, we use it as a punishment: solitary confinement. The whole world has been feeling the gravity of our need for human connection with lockdowns and quarantine. We are at the pace we are comfortable with and when we allow ourselves to physically connect with others and be in their presence, we can also motionally connect. Hence, we let this vulnerability flow forth. This is when true healing can occur. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t be afraid to seek professional support, ever. You are not alone. We all experience difficult times and we all need help every once in a while. 

We are here to help.



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