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Mental Health

Cannabis-Induced Psychosis

By Addiction, Featured, Mental Health, Misc, Treatment

As of today, marijuana is legal for recreational use in twenty states.  While cannabis may have some legitimate medical benefits, the reality is that for many, there can be serious medical side effects that come with heavy use, including anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosis.

More frequent marijuana use is linked to an increased risk of psychosis, or losing contact with reality, according to research. Now, a new study that was just released in The Lancet Psychiatry shows that regular marijuana use—especially regular use of high-potency cannabis—increases the risk of later experiencing a psychotic episode.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical in cannabis that gives the drug its psychoactive properties. According to the study’s authors, high-potency cannabis is defined as products with more than 10% of this chemical. The fact that ingesting high-THC cannabis products has a greater risk is troubling because these products are increasingly widespread in the market presently.

Because they contain bigger amounts of resin than a typical Cannabis flower, extracts and concentrates are more potent than a flower. Resins, the separated active components of marijuana, have 3 to 5 times more THC than a marijuana plant, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Symptoms of cannabis-induced psychosis:


  • Delusions – characterized as fixed and false beliefs that contradict reality
  • Hallucinations – a false perception of objects or events involving your senses
  • Dissociation – a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories, or sense of identity
  • Disorganized thoughts – thoughts lose almost all connections with one another and become disconnected and disjointed
  • Affect and behavioral changes – alterations or adjustments of behavior that affect functioning


Three separate types of cannabis-induced psychosis can occur: acute psychosis while under the influence, acute psychosis following the drug’s intoxicating effects, and long-term chronic psychosis. Some users will continue to have episodes of psychosis after the drug has worn off, despite the fact that some psychotic effects (hearing or seeing things) are rather frequent during intoxication. Within a month or so, these signs and symptoms usually go away. For those who use marijuana frequently or chronically, especially high-potency marijuana, this poses an obvious difficulty.

The user finds these symptoms unpleasant, and a family finds them frightening. We advise quitting marijuana use and getting professional assistance if you or a family member is having a psychotic episode or any of the aforementioned symptoms while also using it. If you live anywhere close to Longmont or Fort Collins, give us a call at 888-509-3153 to arrange a consultation. If not, look for a local treatment center or seek a  healthcare professional’s advice.



The Importance of Community in Recovery

By Addiction, Alcohol rehab, Community, Featured, Longmont Drug Rehab, Mental Health, Misc, Treatment

When somebody is trying to recover from a battle with drugs and alcohol, there are several things that need to be addressed.  Physically, the drugs and alcohol need to leave the body and the person needs some time to heal.  There is often a need for clinical or therapeutic work so that the recovering addict and start to understand themselves and their relationship with drugs on a deeper level.

There is one piece of the recovery process that is often overlooked: the need for community.  Active addiction can be a very lonely place, and sometimes those who are experiencing that loneliness forget about the importance of human connection.  There are so many benefits to sharing experiences with other people, all of which can lead to a better understanding of oneself and one’s importance to society.

Isolation Is A Menace

The need to withdraw leaves us trapped in the grip of our addiction with little hope of recovery. The problem with isolating ourselves while we are still actively abusing drugs is that we keep reinforcing the lies the drug is telling us. The drug convinces us that we must have it to exist. We have to block everyone and everything out of our hearts and brains in order to keep that outlet in our life.

We need forms of social connection that provide coping skills, support, and opportunity for a healthy lifestyle because humans are, by nature, social beings. Disconnection can worsen melancholy, sleeplessness, low self-esteem, worry, and stress. Even if it’s only a small group of people, having a strong support system is crucial.

Leaning On Others

An important realization in early recovery is the understanding that you are not alone.  The idea that there could be others out there who understand the pain and misery that you’ve gone through, and have even experienced it themselves, is truly liberating.  The walls that are built up during the isolation of active addiction and be torn down, and the benefit of shared group experience can be utilized.

During the healing process, developing relationships with others can help you write a new chapter in your life.  When people in recovery surround themselves with healthy, like-minded individuals it creates a space for them to learn more about themselves and others.  The opportunity to openly exchange ideas and information with people who have the best interests of others in mind is an invaluable tool for growth.

A Whole New Life

Change is not necessarily comfortable for anyone, and that is often especially true for addicts.  Part of what keeps people in active addiction is the inability to break free from the lifestyle and routines that have been developed.  Despite the dangers inherent in the day-to-day activities of a using addict, many tend to find comfort in that familiar minutiae.

Ceasing the use of drugs and alcohol is often just the first step on the road to living a health lifestyle.  When the brain fog caused by substance abuse is cleared, mental and physical health can become more of a priority.  Yoga, exercise, and meditation are just a few examples of practices that can lead to someone become wholly healthy after getting sober.  Whatever mental, physical, and spiritual health looks like to each individual; the excitement comes in finding what speaks to you.  A life free from the bonds of active addiction provides an opportunity to create new routines and participate in new activities that promote a healthy mind and healthy life.

Giving It Back

When people are in the midst of a battle with drugs and alcohol, their thoughts and actions often become singularly focused on doing whatever necessary is to maintain the addiction.
The ways that the addiction is kept alive are often highlighted by thoughts and actions that are most accurately described as selfish and self-centered. The need to escape becomes so consuming that it can be difficult for addicts to make the basic needs of other people, or even themselves, a priority.

Many people find that one of the greatest joys of recovery is the renewed pleasure that is found in getting outside of oneself and helping others. Doing things from a place of selflessness and a desire to help others can keep the passion for recovery alive. In short: giving back can keep you sober. The best part is that there is no limit to the ways that people can be of service and help others. Whether that is service work within a recovery community, doing volunteer work, or simply sharing experience and hope with someone in need, the opportunities to give back are almost infinite.

Asking For Help in Recovery

By Addiction, Featured, Mental Health, Therapy

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.

New, Deadlier Version of Fentanyl

By Addiction, Community, Mental Health, Treatment

Synthetic opioids’ increased availability on the black market poses a threat to worsen the opioid overdose epidemic now raging in the United States. New synthetic opioids are evolving, being abused, and being trafficked, all of which pose serious risks to public safety.


A new deadly narcotic has surfaced in Colorado. “Pyro” (N-pyrrolidino Etonitazene) has already claimed the lives of at least one Denver resident. Pyro is a highly potent synthetic opioid having a chemical structure similar to that of the synthetic opioid Etonitazene, which is a restricted narcotic.

According to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Pyro has flecks of a darker blue color all over it and is almost identical in look to Fentanyl the counterfeit and deadly version of Percocet (M30’s). Replicating the image of both fentanyl and M 30’s – Pyro is branded on one side with an “M”, and on the other, a “30”.


The drug is anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 times more powerful than morphine, and 10 times more powerful than Fentanyl. Fentanyl, for reference, is about 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Pyro, unlike Etonitazene and it’s relative Fentanyl, does not exist in any earlier medical literature or patents, according to the Center for Forensic Science Research, & Education.  It is a brand-new medicine with a distinct mechanism of action that was probably developed outside of the influence of the American pharmaceutical industry. According to a report by the CFSRE, in just two years, at least 21 fatalities have been related to the substance, and up to 44 fatalities may be attributable to Pyro use.


A Pyro overdose resembles the majority of other opioid overdoses almost exactly, with respiratory depression being the most common fatal symptom.  Fortunately, the drug responds to Naloxone, and if the poison is immediately neutralized, the devastating effects of an overdose can be avoided.

For more information on Narcan and overdose education, please visit the Narcan website.

If you come across PYRO, please contact law enforcement immediately. You can also report drug-related crimes anonymously to Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Redpoint Center Mental Health Resources Building Resilience

Mental Health & Building Resilience

By Mental Health

Building resilience is not something we necessarily set as a life goal growing up. But, after a year (or more) of a COVID-19-afflicted life, it is almost certain that we personally and collectively have developed this great life skill: resilience. When we reflect, we see the small and great illustrations of this skill in our daily lives. While this time period has been challenging for all of us, our mental health in particular took on a heavy burden. As a result, we’ve cultivated emotional strength. It is worth celebrating. 

Building Resilience: One Stretch at a Time

Another way to view resiliency is the elasticity to be flexible, bounce back, and roll with the punches. One of the most rewarding practices in life could be cultivating our center, an inner peace, independent of things going our way. The ability to be still and resilient in times of trial is a life skill that helps not only you, but everyone around you. In addition, it builds your emotional intelligence and capacity for strength. Taking a deep breath, crying, journaling, pivoting towards a new plan, talking to a friend or therapist, or going to a support group strengthens our resilience to navigate anything life throws at us (and the serenity prayer never hurts). As a result, recovery nourishes resilience for all who walk the path. 

Mental Health – Finding Emotional Balance

Having a “thick skin” in today’s world may sound like the best way to develop resilience. However, a less popular path may be softening towards the parts of ourselves that need healing when faced with adversity. Gifting ourselves the opportunity to truly feel our way through an obstacle promotes lasting growth and resilience. A beautiful thing to remember is that there is no timeline on our healing. It could take an hour, it could take months. Feeling, grieving, and recovering back to good standing takes however long it takes. What is important to remember is that we can bounce back. Holding space for ourselves in rough times while keeping our intention for a peaceful life will always afford us the resilience we need to get through to a better place. 

Our resilience affords us the ability to have a plan B (or sometimes C D,E,F & G). This quality can truly provide us lasting peace knowing we have the power to stay present with ourselves and others regardless of what may come, and possibly, the excitement of life’s future unknowns.

How to Build Resilience

Here are some simple tips to build that inner capacity.

  1. Breathe. When we start in the body, with the breath, we hold space for our awareness. In addition, research shows that breath work has a profound impact on our physical and mental well-being.
  2. Move. The research is conclusive that exercise is hugely beneficial for our mental health. Whether you head to Crossfit or simply walk in the trees, movement is vital for daily health. And when we move our bodies, we tell ourselves we matter, we care. This may sound corny but it’s true! When we consciously and intentionally move, we are investing in our own well-being.
  3. Try Compassion. We live in a culture inundated by notions of perfectionism. This can permeate our sense of self, sometimes making us hard on ourselves. We may judge our feelings, our emotions, our thoughts. But when we hold a sense of compassion for ourselves and others, our entire perspective changes. This is profound and really benefits one’s outlook. If we can incorporate this practice – this awareness – into our daily lives, perhaps through meditation, a mindful walk, or even a few moments of breathing quietly to start the day, we reap huge benefits. Here are some compassion practices from Dr. Kristin Neff, PhD, who’s work in this area has had a great impact on modern psychology.
  4. Connect. Communicate with those you hold near and dear. When we feel connected, a part of, we are able to hold a more upbeat attitude and experience an overall feeling of wellness. Isolation is not ideal, especially for those struggling with alcoholism and addiction. When we share our experience, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and connect with others. Connection is where we find healthy relationships, with self and others. There is a very famous TED talk from Johann Hari on this subject. We strongly encourage you to check it out.



Image courtesy of unsplash Holly Mandarich

Redpoint Center Managing Trauma

Managing Trauma, Together

By Featured, Mental Health

Managing trauma and finding solid support may not feel easy but it’s something we’re doing collectively and independently. Over the past week, we’ve all been focused on supporting one another following the horrific Boulder shooting at King Soopers. When we go through tragedies like this, it’s natural to feel grief, anger, overwhelm, or stress. It’s also completely normal to feel fearful or concern when violence touches close to home. The first key step toward feeling connected is knowing you are not alone. We are all going through this together.

For Redpoint, it hit particularly close since the location is so near our Longmont outpatient program and our team shops at the King Soopers market for our clients.

Managing Trauma

The first, perhaps most important step when we are managing trauma, is to breathe and hold space for ourselves. Your feelings are valid. What’s more, there are others feeling exactly the way you are. In addition, it’s natural to feel confused, upset, or despondent when something awful happens. Depending on whether you know someone directly connected to the shooting, or not,  the impact is felt. Sometimes, when we don’t know someone directly associated, we minimize our emotions or feelings. We don’t need to do this.

Normalize Mental Health

We may tend to think we need to muscle through or wear a brave face after going through a traumatic situation. But we don’t. In fact, when we talk about our experiences, and share the pain we may be feeling, we tend to feel better. Research shows that problems spoken and shared often feel less overwhelming. This is important when it comes to minimizing stress. Speaking to our feelings is also a direct part of taking care of ourselves. Another powerful component of reducing societal stigma around mental health concerns is pulling back the covers. What is held in isolation may invoke shame or feelings of denial.

Make Room for Boundaries

Practicing self-awareness means also carving out healthy boundaries for our mental health. When it comes to managing trauma, in particular, this might mean avoiding excessive news exposure, talking to people with whom you feel comfortable and safe. It also may mean that we take a mental health day at work or turn off certain notifications we don’t need right now. Whatever it is that you feel helps to preserve a sense of support for ourselves is what we need.

Practice Healthy Self-care

There are lot’s of ways to care for ourselves. It may mean we take a day to rest, we might reach out to others in service to get out of our heads, or we may go for a run to let off steam and get into the moment. Perhaps we take some quiet time to read a book or cuddle with our animals. Whatever self-care you feel is right for you, do it. This is important regardless of a tragedy but when trauma hits, we need the comforts of activities that help us to feel grounded.

Connect with Others and Showing Support

When we are struggling, it can be hard to reach out. However, it is vital that we stay connected to those we love. It may also be important to lean on professional support. This may be a therapist, counselor, or group therapy. It may be inpatient or outpatient care is needed. Don’t hesitate to be an advocate for yourself and others as needed.

If you wish to support someone who is struggling, there are some ways you can do so skillfully.

  • Communicate. The best way to connect with someone is to start a dialogue. If you fear someone is really having a hard time, reach out and show them you’re there. Sometimes, that is all we need. You can ask them how they’re feeling, if there’s anything you can do to support them, and you can remind them you are present to share the experience. Communication goes a long way.
  • Show empathy. We sometimes hesitate to share feelings if we feel uncomfortable or wrong to have them in the first place. Normalizing others’ feelings is one way to relate to them and make them feel less alone. This may be an opportunity to share how you are feeling or how you went through a painful period. It’s ideal to avoid words or phrases that might seem judgmental and ensure that your friend or family member knows you get it.
  • Stay in touch. If you don’t get too far or someone needs more time, come back to them, perhaps later or the next day. Let them know you’re here if they need you.

Managing Trauma Through Professional Support

Ultimately, as noted earlier, if you need professional support, reach out for assistance. The team at Redpoint Center is always here to assist and we can help guide you toward the right services if ours are not a good fit. We are here to help. If there’s anything experience has taught us, it’s that now more than ever, we need each other. Together, we can get through. Sending so much love to you and yours. May we all feel supported.

Redpoint Center Blog Do I Need Therapy

Do I Need Therapy?

By Mental Health, Therapy
It’s not always easy to determine if we need therapy. And what does it even mean to need therapy? While it would prove beneficial if everyone processed their experiences with a skilled professional, many do not. Furthermore, there are some who may need it more, or sooner, than others. In addition, trauma and the processing of traumatic experiences can make support even more necessary. Of all those who struggle, research shows 57.2% of adults with mental health issues do not receive treatment. Some people may be afraid of trying therapy because they don’t understand how it will help them. It’s also possible they feel the stigma around mental health struggles. Consequently, there are some who think they are “weak” for needing to go to therapy. The truth is, getting therapy is not shameful and may improve your life a great deal.


Why Do We Need Therapy?


Some people get therapy to help them cope with anxiety and depression, substance use disorder, or a stressful event happening in their life such as divorce. Others may seek professional help to learn to navigate everyday life more effectively or to learn how to take better care of themselves. Attending therapy is nothing to feel shame around, though our culture has at times marginalized mental health concerns. Attending to one’s self is an admirable act, as it demonstrates self-awareness.


When mental health issues are left untreated, all parts of a person’s life may become more difficult. Hence, this can mean it gets too difficult for someone to attend school, get to work on time, complete tasks. Once life is impacted, this can mean it is time to seek therapy. If family or friends begin to express concerns about one’s mood or lifestyle, this also might be a good time to seek a professional.


Life is difficult at times for all of us. In recovery, we often say that pain happens but suffering is optional. Can we avoid suffering entirely? No, of course not. But having the support of a skilled mental health expert, who’s familiar with various ways to support the process, can be life-changing. A therapist is someone to bounce things off of, to receive feedback and guidance from, and to feel supported by.


How Do I Find Therapy?


OK, now we know it’s OK to need therapy. If you have insurance, you can usually go online to the insurance’s official website and find a provider who takes that insurance. You can also ask for a referral from someone you trust, like a doctor or close friend. Depending on the type of support you need, there are different approaches that may benefit you. For example, if you are in relationship struggles, having a therapist who understands attachment theory is a great place to start. If you are experiencing trauma or traumatic stress, a therapist who specializes in trauma is best. Think of a therapist as a wise friend who only wants the best for you. If you try it and don’t like it, try another therapist. Maybe therapy can help you get out of a rut or it will become a lifelong part of your routine, either way, it’s definitely worth a solid try.


If you or someone you love is having a hard time, you are not alone. There are resources available to ensure you get the guidance you need. Our team is available to assist you so feel free to contact us at any time. We are here for you.

Boulder and Larimer County Mental Health and Drug Rehab Do I Need Therapy? Photo

Boulder and Larimer County Mental Health and Drug Rehab Do I Need Therapy? Photo

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 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