Exercise for Recovery and Mental Health
Exercise as a Spiritual Practice
“Nature nourishes my soul, and so do other humans working towards a similar goal,”—Rachael Massaros, Outreach Coordinator at Redpoint Center
“Nature nourishes my soul, and so do other humans working towards a similar goal,”—Rachael Massaros, Outreach Coordinator at Redpoint Center
You or a loved one has completed residential treatment, now what? First of all, congratulations. Taking and completing that step is a huge one in and of itself. Typically the next step on the road of recovery after rehab is a sober living environment. A sober living home is a supervised, structured space in which folks new to recovery live. Accountability and monitoring are key components to what makes a sober living environment work effectively. In addition, these elements are key to help people stay sober throughout the transition between residential treatment and independent living.
Sober living homes provide a safe, structured environment for individuals to learn how to thrive in recovery. These homes are a vital part of the recovery process. Often, those new to recovery start to get back to daily living while in a sober house. In addition, sober homes provide camaraderie and peer support. Studies show that sober homes can increase the likelihood of long-term recovery.
How long do people stay in sober living? There is no set answer to this question. Some people are in sober living for as many as two years, some as short as a few months. Different people need varying levels of accountability and monitoring. Furthermore, a supportive living environment offers different lengths of time because some need more or less structured than others. Hence, the main idea of sober living is a group environment to learn how to practice the tools learned in treatment before living independently.
Professionals, especially clinicians and staff at inpatient or intensive outpatient programs are great resources to rely on. In fact, professional services are ideal when navigating your needs or the needs of your loved one. Those in the recovery field have experience with the varied types of programs and can make the best recommendation based on the individual.
Sober living homes are often helpful to live in when a person is in an intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization program. In addition, IOP or PHP helps to provide safety and understanding while that person is continuing therapeutic work at the treatment level. Peer support and safe housing is often recommended by a treatment team at this stage because of the risks associated with immediately going back to life as we once knew it. Consequently, when we return the same environment in which we were living prior to treatment, it can be stressful. Also, we may feel loneliness, misunderstanding, or simply have too much responsibility too soon.
Colorado-based recovery speaker Don C. often likens this process to the replanting of a dying tree into new soil. If a tree is dying, the soil in which it exists is often unhealthy. To rehabilitate that tree, one must relocate that same tree into new, healthy soil. Often, when that tree is relocated, it tends to thrive and pick up the nutrients from the new soil. Sober homes can be thought of in a similar way. It is the new soil and environment in which someone can begin to build their new life in recovery, rich in the nutrients of daily peer support, and monitoring. Hence, one builds the life skills needed to operate successfully in the world. Community and accountability are two keys to early recovery. A sober house is often the right choice for a person in early recovery to transition back to independence.
The Redpoint Center of Boulder County, Colorado, earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® Accreditation. This Gold Seal is awarded after demonstrating compliance with the necessary performance standards. Furthermore, it is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care. In addition, the Joint Commission Accreditation ensures clients feel completely confident in the mental health and substance abuse treatment they receive. Hence, it is literally the gold standard when it comes to drug rehab and mental health care.
The Redpoint Center fulfilled a rigorous, unannounced onsite review of its outpatient and inpatient treatment programs. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluates compliance standards spanning several areas. Furthermore, they review every aspect of the program. Hence, this includes individual clinical treatment, experiential modalities, addiction treatment care, and overall excellence.
The Joint Commission’s standards are developed by an exemplary team in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help behavioral health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The surveyors also conduct onsite observations and interviews. Consequently, the process is rigorous and attentive to every detail of care.
“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend The Redpoint Center for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”
“We are thrilled that The Redpoint Center meets every aspect of the intensive Joint Commission compliance process. This is a huge milestone for our Colorado addiction treatment facility. In addition, this will allow us to continue to serve the Boulder County rehab needs, and beyond,” says Cody Gardner, founder, and CEO of The Redpoint Center. “It’s an honor to provide the much-needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment needs of Colorado,” Gardner added. The Redpoint Center provides compassionate care to Boulder County, as well as other areas of Colorado where drug addiction treatment is desperately needed. “The more we can provide thoughtful recovery services to a community in need, the greater our mission is actualized,” adds Gardner.
For more information on the accreditation, please visit The Joint Commission website.
The Redpoint Center is an outpatient substance abuse treatment center. Located in Longmont, Colorado, Redpoint Center empowers clients through robust addiction treatment programming. Redpoint’s team teaches clients practical recovery skills through a multi-layered approach to addressing trauma and addiction. As the premier Boulder County mental health and drug rehab treatment center, Redpoint Center provides excellence in care.
So It’s Your First Holiday Sober…
Sober holidays can be a blast. They can also be challenging, stressful, and triggering. This is true, perhaps now more than ever. Following a number of troubled years and difficult decisions, in the fall of 2006, I checked into a treatment center for alcohol and heroin. I had a handful of unsuccessful treatment experiences before this. When I entered treatment, I was skeptical of my ability to be sober and find recovery.
Fortunately, when in treatment I began building relationships and doing “the work” that would ultimately sustain me in long-term-recovery. Following 40 days of rehab, I went to sober living and was able to quickly find employment. Luckily for me, this job afforded me the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time attending 12-step meetings and other recovery-oriented activities.
As time was passing and my recovery was progressing, I did not think much about the holidays. I can remember hearing people say, “Alcoholism is a three-fold disease; Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.” I remember having a vague idea that I ought to consider that the holidays were coming, but I was living day-to-day and focusing most of my energy on staying sober.
My parents had a quiet Thanksgiving in Boulder County that year and were very happy with my sobriety. I have vivid memories of going back to their house and following through with what my sponsor had told me. “This is not the time to spend with friends. In addition, while you are home, see where you can contribute. Wake up early, ask how you can be helpful, do the dishes without having to be asked. Clean up after yourself and go to bed early.” In the trust-building phase of early recovery, this is sage advice.
Christmas is where it got messy. I remember being at my job in early December in Boulder County. I got invited to a holiday party with a co-worker. She knew that I did not have a lot going on and I think she thought that inviting me would help me make friends. I was still in my first 90 days of sobriety. Without thinking, I accepted the invitation.
On the night of the party, I went to her house to meet her in Weld County and she told me that the party was an hour away and that she would drive. I can remember thinking I would have preferred to drive, but I acquiesced rather quickly to get in her car. I had yet to find my voice (and these were the days before Google maps!).
We drove for over an hour to Northern Colorado and ended up at a big holiday party. Immediately walking through the front door, I was offered a beer. I politely refused. After being introduced to a few people, the uncle of the woman I was with started badgering me about having some homemade whiskey. He offered and I said no thank you. Then, he asked why I wasn’t drinking and I said I didn’t feel like it. Next, he said, “It’s just one drink, what’s the problem,” I replied that he, “Didn’t want to see me drinking.”
He didn’t really get the joke, but luckily the woman I was with saw that I was struggling and came over and saved me. I walked with her for a minute and then excused myself.
Outside in the driveway, I frantically called my sponsor. He answered and I explained the situation. I can remember saying to him, “Maybe that guy is right. It’s just one. Also, the people at the sober house wouldn’t even know.” Like all good sponsors, he talked me through it. He helped me remember my life and asked me to explain some instances where I intended to have “just one” and had drunk myself into oblivion. Furthermore, he stayed on the phone with me for over an hour. He told me if anyone offered me any more booze to just say, “I am allergic to alcohol; I can’t drink it.”
After returning, re-committed to sobriety, I tried to enjoy the rest of the night and couldn’t wait to get back to my car. A friend once said to me, “I just don’t want to lose my place in line,” when referencing sobriety. Today, I can look back and say how grateful I am for holding my “place in line.”
In retrospect, I wish someone had given me a bigger list of things to consider during the holidays. Each situation is different and many of us struggle with creative ways to make it through sober holidays, parties, families, etc. The key is remembering you are not alone. Whether we decide to avoid social gatherings or go out and do volunteer work, the holiday season can be fulfilling. But we need to know how to do it.
Below are my top 10 tips of advice for someone in their first holiday season in recovery.
In conclusion, know that the holidays sober can be a beautiful time. You don’t have to be afraid of anything. The key is being prepared for what may come. And if you’re mindful of your sobriety, the holidays are actually more magical than they ever were before. You will remember everything that happened, you will enjoy the beauty of winter festivities, and you will remember you’re on the path to recovery. This is a beautiful thing.
If you or someone you love is struggling during the holiday season, reach out for help. You are not alone. You can call us, any time, and we will provide professional support for you and your loved ones. Our Boulder County rehab offers top-level expertise in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.
How do you talk to a teen about addiction? Do we really need to talk to teens about addiction? Adolescence is a time of experimentation. Teens engage in high-risk behavior such as drug use, alcohol use, sexual relationships, and potentially illegal behaviors. Every year there are stories about how some of these teen behaviors have gone wrong. No parent wants their teen to be hurt. In addition, no one wants to see teens make decisions that can cause them harm. Or worse, that could affect the rest of their lives.
Relationships are all about connection. Furthermore, this connection comes through communication. At our drug rehab, The Redpoint Center, in Boulder County, Colorado, we work with families and teens to create healthy, realistic conversations about drug and alcohol use. We often receive questions from parents asking us how they can have conversations about addiction with their teens. Below are some tips to how to talk to your teen about their drug or alcohol use:
The key to positive mental health and good communication is awareness. When we model awareness for our children, they learn through action, not just through words. This is very important. Model patience, kindness, and a willingness to forgo judgment. This doesn’t mean we don’t teach discernment. We do. But, we also share the wisdom of positive life skills for developing minds. And this means everything.
Here are some steps to cultivate deeper awareness.
What teens really need is us. Adults need to talk to teens about addiction and substance use. And, they need our attention, openness, and compassion. It is not always easy. Teens can test even the strongest adult. But the payoff of truly attending to our kids is beyond measure. If we cultivate relationships every step of the way, during a child’s life, we build trust. Hence, trust is the bedrock of a solid relationship.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, seek professional help. Feel free to call us. We can help guide you and your loved ones on the path to recovery. As the top-rated addiction treatment provider in Boulder County, Colorado, we know how to help those in need. Even if our services are not the right fit, we will help you find what works.
Relationships in recovery can be complicated. And relationships take time to build or mend. Over the past decade, major strides have been made to de-stigmatize addiction and mental health concerns. The scientific consensus is clear, addiction is a diagnosable, treatable condition of the brain. Although there are similarities to other treatable conditions, there are also specific challenges for those in recovery. Of these, mending broken relationships is at the top of one’s list when in recovery.
Many people living in active addiction behave erratically. The central tenet of the disease model concept is that the brain becomes “hijacked” by the chemicals that produce happiness. Thus, people are willing to engage in erratic, dangerous, and alienating behaviors.
Relationships require work. Furthermore, new behaviors take time to develop. Some of these include accountability, dependability, and awareness. While using substances, we often sacrifice healthy relationships to consume drugs or alcohol. Sadly, many die due to substance and alcohol use disorders and can never mend what’s been damaged. But, in recovery, we can work on relationships and devote attention to their evolution.
Luckily, with proper treatment, those who enter into recovery can slowly re-build the relationships that matter most to them. In addition, healthy relationships aid in long term recovery. It is through connection that we nourish relationships in recovery.
The beauty of sobriety is that we can focus on ourselves and those we love. When we walk the recovery path, we’re willing to learn, to grow, to evolve. In addition, our loved ones can see the shift. It is truly magical. If you or someone you love is in need of support, professional help is available. The caring guidance of a thoughtful mentor or clinician can lead to better communication skills. Don’t wait to choose connection and real happiness. It can be yours whenever you are ready.
As rates of suicide, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder rise in Colorado, and the United States, more teen addiction treatment expands. Furthermore, parents seek teen addiction treatment that also provides mental health counseling and professional support for the family unit. Hence, families, in general, are more aware of addiction and mental health concerns and their systemic nature. Therefore professional addiction treatment that supports the entire family is key.
Although the teen addiction treatment paradigm is generally the same as adult: Residential, PHP, IOP, OP, etc., the needs of adolescents vary significantly from adults. While, for adults, the predictive factors for recovery are employment, financial stability, community engagement, duration of use, the intensity of use, marriage, parenthood, mental health treatment, etc., for youth there are different predictive factors.
For teens and adolescents, the factors that support positive recovery are: educational engagement, positive family influences, positive peer influences, pro-social leisure activities, etc. In addition, high school drug and alcohol use and abuse concerns, as well as rates of youth mental health and suicidal ideation, drive deeper concern. Teen addiction treatment centers need to respond to these specific needs. Furthermore, teen treatment needs to provide options that don’t just treat the symptoms but address the cause.
Hence, both adult and adolescent care require professional support but teen treatment requires family integration.
It’s important that parents receive professional support during the teen addiction treatment process. When an adolescent is struggling it impacts the entire family. In addition, there is often a previous trauma or behavioral pattern that informs destructive habits. Consequently, parents need guidance and therapeutic care during treatment. Along with professional support, parents need tips on dealing with teens when it comes to teen rehab treatment.
Here are some simple tips to remember.
At The Redpoint Center, a teen and adult addiction treatment in Boulder County, Colorado, we offer specific treatment programs that address the individual. In our adult program, we focus on practical recovery tools so clients maintain their sobriety while living in the community. For our youth treatment program, we focus on family relationships, educational support, leisure activities that expose teens and young adults to healthy habits that do not involve substance use. In addition, we provide parent support groups and parenting workshops. Parent counseling is a key part of any good treatment plan. Compassionate care treats clients holistically, meeting them where they are.
“It’s important to treat the individual compassionately, based on where they are in their lives.”— Cody Gardner, Founder of The Redpoint Center.
As always, when considering a treatment program for your loved one, it is recommended to ask questions about how that treatment center will specifically address your loved one’s needs.
Interventions are a strong first component of recovery. Not only do they help families through a complex process, but they also provide professional guidance for treatment. Furthermore, interventionists help reduce the burden of shame and stigma. This value is immeasurable. Over the past 15 years, the stigma of addiction in America is decreasing. What used to be considered a moral or ethical failing is now considered a treatable condition. Groups like Facing Addiction, SAHMSA, and Shatterproof, work tirelessly to help others. In addition, these nonprofits help Americans understand that addiction and alcoholism can be overcome through treatment, communities, and cultural compassion. Interventionists do the same and offer powerful support along the way.
As more people learn that addiction is a treatable condition, people ask, “How can I get someone help?” Furthermore, when someone is in destructive patterns, it can be hard to stop. Also, it can be even harder to convince them they need to change their ways.
Premiering on March 6, 2005, “Intervention,” an A&E TV show, depicts family struggles when helping a loved one to seek drug rehab or mental health treatment. The show depicts participants using drugs and alcohol and subjects use interventionists as a wake-up call for family members. Interventionists are a key part of the process.
Interventionists usually make contact with the family, to start, to get a better understanding of what’s happening. Following an information gather process, the interventionist meets with the family to determine a course of action. In addition, they may work with clinical support to ensure the methods chosen are sound. They may also use various tactics to implore the person to accept treatment help. Following acceptance, the person goes immediately to treatment, generally for a minimum of 60–90 days.
In 15 seasons of the TV show, only 4 participants refused treatment. While the TV show can be helpful for families to understand the process there are many factors that can impact the experience. Therefore, it is best to find the right interventionist for each situation.
Make sure all of your questions are answered. As an advocate for your family, you have every right to make sure you have all the information you need. This is critical. It is also vital that you gain the support and trust of a seasoned professional in the field. At The Redpoint Center, in Longmont, Colorado, we can help with conducting an intervention. Our licensed, trained staff conduct dozens of interventions a year. Supporting families as they navigate the complex system of treatment is a core component of our mission. We regularly refer families to different treatment center’s when our program is not the right fit. This is what a good interventionist does—they work for you.
Call today for a complimentary phone assessment. We are here for you and your family every step of the way.
You are not alone.
How do yoga and recovery go hand in hand? Does yoga evoke spandex and tricky poses? Or do you imagine a yogi chanting by the side of a river in India seeking enlightenment?
In the context of recovery and addiction treatment, yoga has a profound impact. Yoga is an opportunity to engage sensory, non-conceptual awareness. In addition, it decreases emotional reactivity, increases relaxation, and shifts our concepts of self. Hence, it is a way to take ownership of ourselves, our emotions, and our thoughts. Recovery is about becoming who you are meant to be.
According to Khanna and Greeson,
“Addictions are born as a result of ‘mindless’ states involving escapist attitudes, automatic thinking, emotional reactivity and social isolation” (2013, p.3).
So, what is the antidote to isolation? Presence, conscious thinking, emotional regulation, and connection.
What’s one way to find that? Yoga.
At the Redpoint Center, we recognize that being in recovery means more than not using substances or alcohol. It is about a neurobiological and relational shift. Furthermore, it is re-engagement in life. This is why we have yoga classes in our treatment program. And it’s why we are constantly exploring more ways that we can amplify one’s sobriety.
What does yoga do exactly? There remains academic uncertainty as to how and why yoga “works.” This ancient practice has been changing lives for centuries. One hypothesis is that yoga, particularly the meditative aspects of the practice, shift our “default mode network” (DMN). Our DMN is comprised of brain regions that are highly self-centered and self-referential.
When operating from the DMN the brain is hyper-focused on self-narratives. This provides little space to gain perspective on one’s life or behavior. However, studies show mindfulness activities like yoga and meditation increase the functional connectivity between the DMN and other brain networks. Furthermore, this results in a decrease in our attachment to the “narrative self” and an increase in the ability to regulate emotions. Consequently, we feel calmer. This allows us to put ourselves and our lives into perspective. Perspective is key. When we get caught up in our past and our personal pain, it is easy to get swept away by stress. We are no longer in the moment when stressed. We are in the past or the present and this causes suffering.
Research shows that yoga decreases overall stress. And stress is known to trigger substance abuse relapse.
“The relaxation response achieved after yoga may confer the ability to face situations in a relaxed state of mind.” (Khanna & Greeson, 2013, p.3)
The practice also increases mindfulness. In addition, this supports individuals to target mindless thoughts such as the automatic behavioral and mental patterns associated with craving. Furthermore, yoga is gaining momentum as a treatment for PTSD and trauma. Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk practices and teaches trauma-sensitive yoga. He believes that,
“The big benefit of yoga is that you learn to breathe yourself into body positions that are potentially very triggering, but by having the voice of your yoga teacher and having that deep attention to trying to breathe while you do the posture, you can detoxify that particular interoceptive awareness into a piece of safety… once that part of your body becomes a safe part, you become liberated (Van der Kolk, 2015, p. 3).
As we know that trauma and addiction are deeply connected. This growing methodology brings somatic awareness to our known methods of healing. And many are finding contemplative practices to be powerful in transforming PTSD, stress, and trauma.
Yoga gives us the regular opportunity to move the body, practice mindfulness, and often leave feeling more relaxed. And that alone is a gift we all could benefit from.
Learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
Khanna, S., & Greeson, J. M. (2013). A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction. Complementary Therapies in Medicine,21(3), 244-252. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.01.008
Van der Kolk, Bessel (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York (New York): Penguin Books.
Self-care in recovery is key. After struggling, a person can believe that they are not good enough. And they may feel they don’t measure up. This is what I thought about myself.
In active addiction, I didn’t take care of myself. I wouldn’t wear my seat belt all the time. In addition, I had a bad diet. Furthermore, at times I would even skip showering.
Substance use disorder negatively affects self-perception, mood, motivation. Also, it can hinder personal well-being. It can make you feel overwhelmed and bad about yourself. Hence, at times it seems there is no way out.
When I finally got sober I wasn’t sure what self-care meant anymore. There were mentors to show me the way, including our founder at Redpoint. I also internalized self-care as being selfish. During my active addiction, I had been selfish for so long that the last thing I wanted to do was pay attention to the things that I needed.
I realize now that there is a difference between being selfish and taking care of yourself. What I learned was that you need to implement self-care when you get sober so that you can replace selfish, addictive behavior with healthy alternatives.
Once you are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it is common to use these addictive behaviors to cope with negative feelings. Some even use these addictive behaviors as a type of reward system for themselves.
During my active addiction, it got to the point where I would tell myself, “I worked all day today, so I deserve to get high.” Or “my boyfriend made me mad, so I can get high to make myself feel better.”
Now, I take care of myself. Self-care in recovery means I work out, do art, get my nails done, and take time out of my day to just sit and think. By doing this, I can change my own thoughts about myself and my life.
Now, the more I take care of myself, the better I feel, and the more I want to keep that feeling going. I also know that in order to keep this positivity, I need to maintain awareness, help others, and maintain my sobriety. This self-growth is an important part of self-care.
When I was using, I couldn’t take care of myself, let alone help someone else. Now that I take time out for myself, I have more positive energy to help other people.
I’m a huge fan of self-care now. If you haven’t tried it, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Don’t miss out. You deserve to be truly happy.