Stepping Over the Bodies: Relapse & Recovery

What Do I Do If a Loved One Relapses?

Relapse is a part of recovery. It’s an unfortunate part, but a part nonetheless. It’s like the sky being blue, grass being green, or Taco Bell being the tastiest fast food. Addicts and alcoholics relapse. It’s that simple.

So, what happens when someone close to us relapses? It could be a family member, friend, roommate, significant other, sober support, or even a sponsor. What happens to us when they pick up that drink? What are our options?

what happens when a loved one relapses

This is a selfish way of looking at things, but an absolutely vital one to preserve our own sobriety! This goes double if you’re in early-sobriety when a loved one relapses.

What do we do? Find some of my (hard won) advice below. I hope it helps!

Limit Contact

This one’s kind of obvious, but limit your contact with a relapsing loved one! Now, this might be hard depending on who it is that decided to pick up a drink or drug. It’s one thing to limit contact with a friend, it’s a whole other thing to limit contact with a significant other!

If it’s at all possible, don’t spend as much time with them. See them only in social settings. Don’t hang out with them late into the night. Take these general precautions to protect your own sobriety!

These might sound harsh, but remember – it’s easier for a relapsing loved one to take us out, than it is for us to get them back into the rooms.

Don’t See Them Alone

This goes along with limiting contact. Don’t hang out with your relapsing loved one alone!

I know what you’re thinking. “But So and So loves me! He or she would never use around me. I’ll be fine!” Guess what? You’re probably right. 99% of the time you will be fine. It’s that 1% that makes seeing a relapsing loved one alone dangerous.

Remember, you’re dealing with the disease of addiction and alcoholism. It overwhelms us all. It doesn’t matter how much your loved one cares about you. If they’re drinking and drugging, all that love goes out the window. That’s just how it is.

Seek Professional Help

Seeking professional help can take a few different forms depending on who in your life relapsed.

Let’s say it’s your significant other. Well, then seeking professional help could include going to marriage therapy, going to couples therapy, joining a support group like Al-Anon, or simply placing your loved one in treatment.

Let’s say it’s a friend that relapsed. If that’s the case, seeking professional help could take the form of attending a support group, going to more twelve-step meetings, or even planning an intervention (with an interventionist, of course!).

Let’s say it’s a family member. In this case, maybe you should attend family therapy. Whatever form it takes, don’t be afraid to turn to the professionals. After all, there’s a reason they’re called professionals!

Encourage Them!

This might also be kind of common sense, but I see it get neglected a lot! Remember, your loved one is in a lot of emotional, mental, and spiritual pain. They’re drinking, using, and engaging in harmful and selfish behavior. They could use some kind words!

So, if someone close to you starts drinking or drugging, tell them some of the things your sponsor tells you. It’ll help more than you know.

Pray For Them

relapse and recovery

And here we’ve reached the most important thing (in my humble opinion anyway!) you can do for a loved one who’s relapsing. Pray for them! It’s that simple.

Alcoholism and addiction are diseases of powerlessness. Addicts and alcoholics are powerless over drugs and booze. They’re powerless to say no. They need something more powerful than they are to help.

That’s where a God of our own understanding enters the picture. This God is much more powerful than any drug or drink.

So, say a prayer for your loved one. It’s one of the simplest, and most powerful, things we can do!

How to Gain & Keep Emotional Sobriety

Emotional Sobriety: A Four Letter Word?

emotional sobriety

Ah, emotional sobriety! I’ve written about it before, I’m writing about it now, and you best believe I’ll write about it in the future.

That’s because this tricky little idea encapsulates, in my opinion, the rest of the program. Emotional sobriety is how we gauge how well we’re living. It’s how we tell whether we’re practicing spiritual principles in all our affairs.

It’s also super hard! Imagine going through life a serene, peaceful person. Sounds nice, right? Too bad it rarely happens! Now, that isn’t to say we don’t have minutes, hours, or even days of emotional serenity, but it usually doesn’t last.

So, how can we make it last? How can we stretch those minutes, hours, and days into weeks, months, and years? Perhaps that’s a questions best left to the old-timers. I’m taking a stab at answering it today though!

Find my tips and tricks for emotional sobriety below! Do you have any to add? Let us know on social media!

Learn these steps for maintaining a well balanced life!

Practice Radical Honesty

It’s hard to be bent out of shape if you’re honest all the time!

When I’m practicing radical honesty, I don’t have any secrets to hide. I don’t have any regrets or anxious thoughts clouding my mind. Basically, when I practice radical honesty, I’m also emotionally sober.

It’s important to remember, though, there’s a fine line between radical honesty and being mean! Let’s say I’m sitting in a meeting and I don’t like what someone shared. Do I raise my hand and tear them to pieces? That’s being honest, right?

Wrong! It’s being selfish! Just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean I have the right to act out. So toe that line, ladies!

Live on God’s Terms

This one might be kind of obvious, but here ya go. If I’m living life on God’s terms, rather than my own, I’m emotionally sober.

If I’m praying, meditating, doing daily inventories, going to meetings, reaching my hand out to struggling women, calling my sober supports, working with sponsees, and handling all of life’s responsibilities – I’m also living in emotional sobriety.

It’s that simple!

What’s EMDR and how can it help contribute to emotional sobriety?

Rework the Steps

emotional stability

I’ve found the best way for me to live life on God’s terms is to dive back into step work. Remember, that’s just for me.

If I’m struggling to live the sort of life I should be living, I need to get back to the book. I need to get back to what twelve-step sobriety is all about! I accomplish this by reworking the steps.

Sometimes this takes the form of reworking my steps with my sponsor. Sometimes it takes the form of working the steps with a new sponsee. Sometimes it takes the form of going to twelve step-series meetings.

Whatever the form, the result is the same. I end up feeling better. I end up living healthier. I end up in emotional sobriety!

Seek Outside Help

Sometimes our problems (okay, okay, I’ll only speak for myself!) are so big that I need to seek outside help. Think things like being sober yet acting out on self-harm or an eating disorder. Think clinical depression, anxiety, or other disorders.

When I’m struggling with issues like these, emotional sobriety is impossible. Not only is emotional sobriety and stability impossible, but so it being a decent human being!

So, when dealing with these game changers, I need to seek outside help. It can be from a private therapist, a therapy group, a mental health facility, or even from a friend who’s specialized in any of the above areas.

Basically, taking these measures is how I address all my emotional needs. And, dear readers, once my emotional needs are in order, I’m able to practice that ever so elusive emotional sobriety!

Learn how to deal with family members in sobriety!

Being an Alcoholic is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

The Benefits of a Deadly Disease

Chances are that if you ask ten random people the benefits of being an alcoholic, they won’t be able to list any. Well guess what random people, you’re wrong!

being an alcoholic rocks

It took me awhile to realize that being an alcoholic, in recovery of course, is actually a blessing. Think about it, we survived! We survived and we thrived! We survived, thrived, and now have pride!

Okay, lame rhyming attempts aside, it’s absolutely true that being an alcoholic is a blessing. Seriously, where else can you gain gratitude, humility, and a spiritual way of life? I can’t think of anywhere!

Take a trip with me, readers. Take a trip with me down a road by the name of “why being an alcoholic rocks!”

We Have the BEST Friends

Duh! I have the type of friends that I can call crying at three in the morning and they’ll stay up talking to me until sunrise. Where else do you find friends like that?

In the rooms of recovery, we’re in a life or death struggle with our disease. We’re all in the same boat, whether we have twenty days or twenty years. For this reason, and many, many more, the friendships that develop are extra special.

Not only do my friends and I share similar experiences, but we also share similar thinking! We share similar thoughts, neurotic or otherwise!

So yeah, being an alcoholic rocks because we have the best friends.

We Have Gratitude

I read these articles and watch these TV shows where they talk about how people need to have gratitude. Guess what? I have it in spades!

I’m grateful I’m alive. I’m grateful I’m able to help other women. I’m grateful I’m able to let other women help me. I’m grateful my parents answer the phone when I call. I’m grateful I can hold a job. I’m grateful I can grow at a job. I’m grateful.

Remember, though, gratitude is an action word. It’s easy for me to forget about gratitude and get caught up in life. When that happens, I need to start reaching out to new women. Then I’m knocked right back on the gratitude train!

We Have Perspective

You know what happens when I get cut off in traffic, am late for work, get yelled at, spill salad dressing on my shirt, and go home to find the cat threw up on my bed? I smile and thank God I’m sober.

Think about it, we’re sober today. How amazing is that! Alcoholics and addicts are hardwired and programmed to drink and drug. Today we’re not drinking and drugging. Today we’re living by spiritual principles. Toady we’re helping others.

That’s nothing short of a miracle. And that knowledge, my friends, is called perspective. So I had a bad day? Guess what, it’s better than any day I had a bottle to my lips or a needle in my arm. End of story.

We Have God in Our Lives

As if all of the above weren’t enough, being sober also let’s us have God in our lives. Now this is the biggest blessing of them all. This is how I’m able to experience all those other blessings. This is how I’m able to look the world in the eye and exclaim “Bring it on!”

benefits of recovery

See, normies have no need for God. Well, that’s not true. Most of them need God pretty badly! But they don’t always see it that way.

Us addicts and alcoholics, though, we know the score. We know that without some form of Higher Power, we’re toast. How cool is that?

We’re basically forced into letting God into our lives. Then we find out that having God in our lives is the best thing that could ever happen. She, he, it, them, whatever you want to call your Higher Power, is a source of inspiration, comfort, hope, and, above all else, love.

Am I missing anything? Let us know on social media!!

Mommy, Why Do You Go to Those Meetings?

How Do You Tell a Child You’re Sober?

I don’t have children, so this is a hypothetical question for me. For many women (hell, for many men!) in recovery, it’s a very real question. How do you explain to your kids that mommy or daddy is a recovering alcoholic?

I’ve been in meetings where there are young children present. This rocks for two reasons. First, they’re kids and they’re so cute! Second, it shows a huge level of dedication to sobriety. Think about it – the child’s parents are so committed to staying sober that they’re willing to bring their child to a meeting. My metaphorical hat is off!

how to tell your child you're in recovery

I always wonder, though, what the child thinks. Do they understand the seriousness of what’s going on? Can they pick up on the life or death struggle that alcoholics deal with? Do they think mommy and daddy’s friends are a bunch of tattooed weirdos?

So, with that in mind, I’ve gathered some of my thoughts about explaining addiction and recovery to children. They may be wonderful, awesome, one-of-a-kind thoughts. They may stink. I’m not sure! Like I said, I’m not a parent.

It’s my hope that the following can help someone struggling with the frightening question of how to best tell their kid that they’re a sober woman of grace and dignity!

What happens when you wait to change in sobriety?

Be Open & Honest From a Young Age

Children are smart! They pick up on than we give them credit for. If you bring your kids to meetings, or even if you used to drink around them, I’m sure they’ve figured out that something’s up.

So, lay it all on the table. Tell them that you used to drink or drug and no longer do. Don’t go into your war stories, or share details that are inappropriate, but be open and honest.

I’m speaking from personal experience. I have an aunt who’s sober. While being an aunt is different from being a parent, the same principles apply. When I started to get into trouble with drugs and booze, she sat me down and explained her past struggles.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back I appreciate her reaching out so much!

Have Your Sober Supports in Their Life

Did someone say free babysitting? I kid, I kid!

All jokes aside, introduce your sponsor to your children. After all, she’s the woman who taught you how to live. She’s the woman who gave you the chance to be a responsible parent. I’m sure your kids will adore her!

Sober supports, sponsor or otherwise, are the lifeblood of recovery. They’re the reason we’re sane members of society! At least, they are for me! Remember what I said about children picking up on things? I’m willing to bet they’ll pick up on your sober supports’ serenity and peace.

When the day comes that I have kids, I can’t think of a woman I want them to meet more than my sponsor!

Learn the importance of family dynamics in long-term recovery!

Let Them Read the Big Book When They’re Old Enough

Although there are sections of the Big Book that aren’t suitable for children, most of it is a great lesson in how to be selfless, patient, giving, and responsible. What more could a child ask for? Well…probably some video games!

Really, though, Bill, Dr. Bob, and the first one hundred managed to write an amazing manual on how to live the type of life everyone wants. They managed to write about how to be happy, joyous, and free.

That seems like the kind of lesson to pass on to a child!

Include Them in Your Prayer & Meditation

telling your kid you're sober

This is, for me anyway, the most important part about telling a child you’re in recovery. Although sober supports are the lifeblood of sobriety, prayer and meditation are sobriety itself.

What better way to expose a kid to what recovery is really about then involving them in your prayer life? They’ll learn that, no matter what, they can turn to a Higher Power for help.

In today’s tumultuous world, that seems like a priceless gift.

Do you have a family member in treatment? Learn how to help them!

Does Fame Breed Addiction?

Fame & Addiction

If you Google almost any celebrity, really almost any celebrity, chances are there’s going to be something about drugs, booze, or harmful behavior close to the top. I just tried it with Dustin Diamond, the most random celebrity I could think of, and immediately found this story.

Dustin Diamond played Screech on Saved By the Bell. He’s been out of the spotlight for years. Yet searching his name turns up numerous articles about his drinking and drugging. Why is that?

Dustin diamond

image via Cartoon Brew

Why is it that fame, current or past, seems to breed addiction? Why do we end up tearing apart our pop culture heroes? Why do we get entertainment out of watching them fall into active addiction or mental illness?

I’m asking these questions to myself as much as I’m asking them to you, readers. I’m guilty of all of the above. To make it worse, I’m a woman in recovery! If anyone should have compassion and love for those struggling with addiction, it should be me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I do feel compassion for celebrities who aren’t doing too hot. Remember when Amanda Bynes was all over the news? I found it horrible that we were making entertainment of her mental illness and possible addiction. Still, I found myself unable to turn away.

Why? Why do I, and why do we, do this?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. What I do have are some thoughts that, upon careful reflection and meditation, may lead to an answer.

It’s not all doom and gloom – there are some pretty amazing sober rock stars!

Why Do We Enjoy Watching Celebrities Fail?

Do we? I don’t know. What I do know is that I take some weird and twisted satisfaction from watching celebrities fall down. I’m almost ashamed to admit it!

You know in the Big Book when it talks about “murder by character assassination?” I think my fascination, all of our fascination really, with watching celebrities struggle is linked to that.

It makes us feel better to put other people down. It takes a lot of spiritual work to get rid of that simple truth. I’ve been sober for almost seven years and I’m still working towards it!

So, watching celebrities falter and suffer from addiction, mental illness, harmful behaviors, etc. may be a form of that. Like I said above, I don’t know for sure.

I do know it’s vital for our sobriety to treat everyone, no matter how high or low, with patience, tolerance, and love. We’re doing a pretty crappy job of that by taking part in the “celebrity shaming” culture.

Does It Makes Them Seem More Human?

Let’s look at Amy Winehouse. She of the smoky voice. She of the multimillion-dollar fortune. She of the addict and alcoholic disease.

I love Amy Winehouse’s music. It hit me right in the chest from the first time I heard it. Plus, she was talking about refusing rehab! That’s something most of us women in recovery can relate to!

amy winehouse

image via Billboard

Amy Winehouse seemed larger than life. She seemed like some sort of musical Goddess. Maybe watching her struggle with addiction made her seem more human. Maybe it made her seem more approachable, more relatable.

Again, I don’t know for sure. Maybe this isn’t the case at all. Maybe I’m just off on a tangent that I need to reel myself back in from. God knows that’s happened before!

Learn how to help someone with alcohol poisoning!

Do We Secretly Hate Celebrities?

Well, do we? I’ve thought this before. Are we so envious of the rich and famous that we’re secretly rooting for them to fail? Are we so jealous of their status that we take a sick pleasure in watching them fall?

Look, I want to be famous. I’ll just put it out there. I think everyone does. It’s not my primary goal in life (thankfully, my primary goal is to help other women!) But who wouldn’t want millions, billions even, of screaming fans? Who wouldn’t want to never worry about money again? Who wouldn’t want to have their every need taken care of?

Is my desire to be famous the reason I find myself glued to the TV and sites like Perez Hilton? Who knows. What I do know is I need to find a way to treat struggling celebrities with the same compassion and care I treat women in the rooms with.

What’s the Solution?

Yet again, I don’t have an answer to this question. I do have some ideas though.

I think the solution, like the solution to most problems in my life, lies in prayer and meditation. When I stop trying to answer these questions myself, when I give them up to a God of my own understanding, I’ll be able to practice love, tolerance, and patience for everyone.

So, how do I get to this point? Simple. I need to start praying for celebrities. That seems strange, right? I need to bring men and women who have everything they could ever want into my prayer life. Weird world!

It’s true, though. When I have a resentment, I pray for the person I’m resentful towards. I pray for days, weeks, months, however long it takes to get rid of the resentment. Why should celebrities be any different? Just because I don’t have a conscious resentment towards them doesn’t mean I can’t go to God with my issues.

Okay, ladies, starting right now I’m going to turn off my computer and go pray for some celebrities! I’ll let you know how it goes. If you find yourself unable to turn away from the TV, I suggest you try the same!

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Ten Weird Things You Can Do To Stay Sober

By: Tim Myers

Ten Strange Sober Life Hacks

Go to meetings, don’t pick up a drink, stay away from bars, and call somebody when you feel like drinking. Yes, those are the obvious things you can do to keep yourself standing up straight, away from a drink, and out of jail.

ten weird ways to stay sober

Everyone knows those, but not everybody knows the lesser-known tricks of the sober game.

There are some simple, weird, and crazy things that, if performed each day, will help reprogram your brain and set you on a path of health, happiness, and respect.

Before we get started – a quick shout out to the haters. These are to be used in conjunction with a twelve-step program. So, now that the disclaimer has been stated, I present to you:

Ten weird things you can do to stay sober!

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10) Take the Long Way to Work

Here you are, one day sober and driving to work. You’re passing the bar you drank at before work, the bar you drank at during lunch, and the bar you went to after you skipped out of work a half hour early.

You’re used to this path, even if the bars don’t dot the hillside. You know this path. Today, your first day sober, is about doing things you don’t know how to do. So, take the long way to work. See new things. Change your path and you’ll change your brain.

9) Flick Your Forehead

Feel like a drink? Flick your forehead.

Thinking about snagging some pills? Flick your forehead.

Want to call your ex and tell her he ruined your whole life? Flick your forehead.

This simple little trick will train your confused and addiction-riddled brain to associate thoughts of bad behavior with pain. This practice will start to tear down the idea that it feels good to drink, use, and yell at people.

8) Sing Very Loud

If you can’t sing well, sing loud. If you can sing well, sing even louder!

What the hell, crank up some Kelly Clarkson and let the world know that “you can breath for the first time!” You’re not drinking anymore, so you’re “So, movin’ on.”

Singing will make you happy. It releases endorphins. It trains your body to recognize your behaviors with bringing joy. Music changes our thought patterns quicker than most other form of therapy. The more music you associate with your newfound happy, skippy, sober life, the better.

Learn how to regain trust and get your family back!

7) Dance Before You Get in the Shower

Get that blood pumping! Get that smile working! Take a minute just for yourself to be free, silly, happy, and alone.

We drunks and druggies associate being alone with bad things, but this isn’t always true. Being alone and dancing can twist your brain away from the idea that when your alone, you’re unloved and sad. Dancing alone each day will let you know that being alone is safe, healthy, and fun!

6) Replace Every Swear Word You Say With the Word Love

Don’t be so negative all the time. Yes, people act like jerks when driving, but as soon as you flip them off or drop an f-bomb, you start to feel guilty.

So, that bass-thumping, window-tinted, rap-blaring, big-rimed Toyota Corolla that sounds like the engine is going to explode, driven by a one hundred and thirty pound Eminem look alike, cuts you off…what do you do?

Instead of yelling, “I’m going to kill you,” say “I’M GOING TO LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!”

Don’t say, “Go f-yourself,” say “GO LOVE YOURSELF!”

You can even get creative with it. Try something like this, “YOU CUT ME OFF BUT THAT IS OK I DON’T REALLY MIND I STILL LOVE YOU JUST FOR BEING YOU!”

Do you mean any of these nice things? Absolutely not. But after you say it, you’ll feel good and start to believe it.

5) Eat Dessert for Breakfast and Eat Breakfast for Dinner

Again, change the way you do things. So what, your body has been through a war already. Ice cream for breakfast won’t kill you. Bacon for dinner? Do it! Just do things different and have fun with it!

This will make all the other new things you do seem fun too. Hell, you could even invite friends over for a morning piece of cake and coffee. Think how great you’ll feel heading to work!

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4) Write a Nice Poem about Someone You Hate

Okay, I hate Carly.

So, a good way to not hate her is to kill her…but that’s wrong in the eyes of God, and everyone, and I’ll go to jail. I’ll write a poem about her instead!

Make a list of all the things that Carly has going on and focus your poem on only those wonderful qualities. But Carly hasn’t one single good thing going on? Guess what? You’re wrong! Everyone has at least three positive things to focus on, I promise you.

3) Tell a Joke to the Cashier at Wal-Mart

Do you know how bad it must be to work at Wal-Mart? So, try and make someone else’s life better, if only for a few seconds.

Think of a joke and tell the cashier. If they don’t laugh or smile, so what? You tried and they’ll be glad that someone tried to make their day better.

2) Buy a Random Person a Lottery Ticket

Do it for no reason other than doing it. Yes, they could win a billion dollars. Yes, you won’t. It doesn’t matter.

Doing random awesome things for people is the best way to get outside yourself and make others feel good. You never know what’s going on in the life of a stranger. You never know what a simple one-dollar gesture will do.

Win or lose it will be the best $1 you ever spent.

1) Scream

Alone, outside, just do it. One long and angry scream. Then, move on with your day because things are starting to look pretty good. Soon there will be nothing to yell about!

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Binge Drinking Harms the Body’s Immune System

Binge Drinking & Our Bodies

binge drinking dangers

It should come as no surprise that binge drinking is dangerous! It makes people behave stupidly, puts them at high risk for all types of accidents and diseases, and costs society a ton of money. Well, now there’s one more harmful effect to add to the list.

According to a new study, conducted by researchers at Loyola University, binge drinking actually damages our body’s immune system. That doesn’t sound too good!

Okay, so binge drinking can lead to accidents, injuries, assault, general health problems, STD’s, and a damaged immune system. Seems like it’s time to stop knocking back the drinks and start taking a look at why people binge drink in the first place.

I’ll touch on that later, but first let’s look at the new research.

Is binge drinking deadlier than illegal drugs?

The New Facts about Binge Drinking

Dr. Elizabeth Kovacs, the head of Loyola’s Alcohol Research Program (shout out to women in power!), is the co-author of this new study. In it, her and other scientists measured fifteen people’s immune system responses before and after drinking.

They took a baseline reading, gave the study participants four or five shots of vodka, and took another reading. Side note – where was this study when I was drinking and drugging?! I would have loved to get drunk for science!

Interestingly enough, when the booze was at peak levels in the participants’ systems, their immune systems were more active than before drinking. Weird, right? Then the researchers measured immune system response two and five hours after drinking.

By this point, all the participants’ immune systems were moving at sluggish levels. This could be due to the depressant effects of alcohol. It could be because of a million other factors. Who knows?

What this study makes clear is that more research needs to be done! After all, binge drinking is harmful in so many ways. It’s important to figure out all of them. If there’s more knowledge of the dangers binge drinking presents, hopefully fewer people will do it!

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Other Binge Drinking Dangers

Like I just mentioned above, binge drinking has a ton of negative side effects. That’s obvious enough to us, as recovering alcoholics and addicts!

There are the obvious dangers like being too drunk to consent to sexual activity. But then there are subtler dangers. Find a list of some dangers of binge drinking below:

  • Binge drinking has led to an increase of children being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. These are cognitive impairments similar to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but, generally speaking, less severe.
  • Binge drinking costs the U.S. more than $223 billion annually. Think about that number for a second. 223 billion dollars! That’s an obscene amount of money! These costs come from lost productivity, health care costs, and crime.
  • Here’s an obvious one – binge drinking can, and often does, lead to alcoholism!
  • Binge drinking is commonly associated with unintentional injuries (car crashes, falls, accidents), sexual assault, domestic violence, STD’s (too drunk to care about using protection), and many health problems. Health problems may include: high blood pressure, an enlarged liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.
  • Can young people get alcoholic cirrhosis?

    Okay…So What?

    That’s a good question! Everyone knows binge drinking is dangerous. The new findings about how it compromises our immune systems aren’t incredibly surprising. So why talk about it? Why devote an entire essay to it?

    binge drinking and immune system

    The answer’s simple – we, as a society, need to change how we view alcohol. Women in recovery know how harmful it is. But what about others? Generally speaking, American culture celebrates drinking. We don’t view it as something dangerous, but rather as something that everyone does.

    If we want to see less people binge drinking, and by extension less people being hurt by binge drinking, we need to change up the narrative! And what better place to start than by those in recovery? We’ve seen firsthand the harmful and sometimes fatal consequences of booze. We’re basically the experts!

    So, world, listen when I say that binge drinking needs to stop! If a normie wants to have a glass of wine with dinner, that’s fine. If that same normie wants to have six glasses of wine and four Jello shots in an hour, well, that’s not fine.

    Remember, we can all change!

    Tips & Tricks to Make Getting Sober Easier: Vitamins

    Vitamins Help in Early-Sobriety!

    Getting sober is tough! If it were easy, everyone would do it! The reality of getting sober is that it’s a scary, overwhelming, and often painful process. Being forced to sober up after years (or decades!) of drinking and drugging isn’t fun.

    Fortunately there are some things us drunks and addicts can do to improve our early-sobriety experience. These are things like eating healthy, seeking outside help to deal with unexpected emotions, and taking vitamins.

    vitamins in early sobriety

    Today, I’m going to focus on the benefits of taking vitamins in early-recovery. After all, anything that we, as newly sober women, can do to feel better and help our bodies return to health is key!

    Find a list of common vitamins and how they can help during early-sobriety below!

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    Multivitamins

    A once daily multivitamin is the easiest and most common type of vitamin to take during early-recovery. It packs in it all kinds of vitamins and minerals our bodies desperately need after an extended period of drug and alcohol abuse.

    Most multivitamins contain a mix of, well, multiple vitamins! These may include: vitamin C, a whole host of B vitamins, and vitamins H, A, E, D, and K. They also commonly include potassium iodide, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

    Thiamin

    Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. It plays a huge role in boosting immune and mental health. It also gives energy and focus, like most B vitamins, and helps to reduce stress.

    Thiamin helps our bodies process carbohydrates. When we’re in active alcoholism, we don’t get a ton of carbs. We’re mainly surviving off sugar from booze. I was anyway!

    So, in early-sobriety, taking thiamin regularly can help restore our liver to health quicker than it would be otherwise. Thiamin can also make this freighting and stressful period a bit more manageable!

    B-Complex Vitamins

    B-complex vitamins are all about energy! Do you find yourself dragging in early-sobriety? Are you tired after years of getting drunk? Fear not, simply take a B-complex!

    B-complex vitamins typically include: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin, folic acid, B12, and vitamins C and E.

    The health benefits of B-complex vitamins are nearly endless. They help to produce healthy new blood cells, protect against free radicals, prevent heart disease, boost good cholesterol (HDL), prevent acne, boost reproductive hormones, regulate sleep and mood, promote hair, nail, and skin health, prevent memory loss, and even boost other vitamins (for example, B12 helps B9 which then helps iron carry oxygen to other cells).

    Whew, that’s a lot of good stuff! It’s important to note that taking a B-complex isn’t guaranteed to make all the above happen. Rather, B-complex vitamins promote general health throughout the body.

    It’s plain to see there are a lot of reasons to take B-complex vitamins!

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    Niacin & Glutamine

    You know those extreme alcohol cravings we sometimes get in early-recovery? Well, one of their causes is low blood sugar. Our bodies adjust to taking in hundreds, even thousands, of calories of sugar from booze. Once we stop drinking, our bodies don’t know what to do without this sugar!

    Niacin (also known as B3, see above for some more B vitamin benefits!) helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that also helps regulate blood sugar.

    Having an early-sobriety craving? Well, first call your sponsor, sober supports, and pray. Then pop a B3 vitamin and a glutamine tablet. Chances are your craving will subside in a matter of minutes!

    Vitamin C

    benefits of vitamin c

    And here we come to the granddaddy of all vitamins, vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes general body and brain health. It’s also been shown to help ease the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates, alcohol, and benzo’s.

    Vitamin C helps to restore hair, skin, and organs to health. In addition to all the above, vitamin C may also help the body fight immune system deficiencies (from the mild, like a cold, to the drastic, like Hep C and HIV), ease symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease and eye disease, and even prevent skin from wrinkling as quickly.

    Mark Moyad, a doctor from the University of Michigan, had the following to say about vitamin C:

    “Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health” (WebMD).

    What’s Your Point?

    That’s a great question, dear readers! Vitamins are extremely beneficial and important to take. Am I going to ask you to finish your broccoli next? Well, broccoli does offer some interesting health benefits…

    All jokes aside, taking vitamins in early-sobriety is important for the simple fact that they help. I destroyed my body for years with drugs and booze. Even after getting sober, I still ate unhealthy foods and didn’t take good care of myself.

    So, when I finally woke up and realized the substantial benefits that taking a few vitamins each morning offered, I jumped right on the train. Why is it important to take vitamins during early-sobriety? Try it out and let me know how much better you feel! You’ll have answered your own question!

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    Healthy New Year’s Resolutions!

    What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

    As 2014 winds down and 2015 fast approaches (by the time you guys read this it’ll probably be 2015 already!), we’re confronted with the dreaded New Year’s resolution.

    Why are they so dreaded though? They shouldn’t be! I mean, our New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be goals to work towards during the rest of the year. They’re the first sentence in the book of a new year. What are you going to write?

    new years resolution

    That’s how I’ve always looked at them anyway. It seems like most of the world looks at them a bit differently. New Year’s resolutions seem to be sources of stress, and eventually guilt, for everyone, but particularly for women in sobriety.

    This brings me back to the question of why? Why do we freak out over what to focus on in the new year? Why do beat ourselves up if we don’t reach a certain weight or go to the gym a certain number of times per week? It seems kind of silly if you ask me!

    With that in mind, I’ve come up with some tips for practical, realistic, and healthy New Year’s resolutions. I hope they help you wonderful ladies make yours!

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    Be Specific

    While thinking about how to best make a healthy New Year’s resolution, I kept coming back to this idea. How can we tell if we’re succeeding at our goal, if our goal isn’t specific and measureable?

    It’s great to say “I want to reach out to more people,” but what does that look like? How will you reach out to more people? What constitutes “more people?” Ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred people?

    Be specific! It’ll pay off when we’re able to measure how much progress we’ve made over the year!

    Plus, making a specific and measurable resolution may even help us to avoid unhealthy ones. It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight,” but when we get specific, we can see that losing weight isn’t as important as building friendships or getting outside our comfort zones!

    Be Realistic

    This goes hand-in-hand with being specific. Make a realistic New Year’s resolution! After all, it’s great to say “this year I’m going to make $10 million,” but how realistic is that?

    We set ourselves up for failure when we make unrealistic goals, both as New Year’s resolutions and in general. So, let’s avoid that! Instead of trying to make $10 million, let’s set our sights on getting a raise.

    What’s that you say? Oh, yeah, be specific! Let’s say, “I’d like to get a 10% raise during the new year.” Sounds good to me!

    Pray & Meditate Before Making a Resolution

    This isn’t so much for New Year’s resolutions, but for everything! When we pray and meditate, our thoughts and actions are healthier. When we seek out God’s will, instead of our own, our thoughts and actions are selfless. When we seek to give, rather than receive, we get back so much more!

    Prayer and meditation are key to making healthy choices. Why not ask what God wants us to do in 2015? Right away, that’ll eliminate some obvious and unhealthy resolutions like losing weight. Would God rather we lose weight or help another woman? I’m guessing the answer is help another woman!

    Don’t Include Weight

    This is probably the hardest suggestion to incorporate into any New Year’s resolution. It is for me, anyway!

    It seems like our culture is constantly telling us to lose weight and be skinnier. So, it makes sense that a popular, probably the most popular, New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.

    And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to shed a few pounds. But when we make this our primary focus, our end-all goal for entire year, well, then we run into trouble. Especially as women in recovery from substance abuse and harmful behavior!

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    Don’t Beat Yourself Up

    I can’t stress this enough. Don’t beat yourself up about not sticking to a New Year’s resolution! Oh, it’s March and you only reached out to five people? Don’t sweat it! You have the entire year.

    healthy goals

    Now, there’s a fine line between not beating yourself up and slipping into apathy or avoidance. There is for me, anyway. I’m an alcoholic who tends to think in extremes. I’m either all in or all out. I’m either beating myself up or not caring at all.

    I need to find a medium. We, as women growing in the image and likeness of our creator, need to find a medium. That’s a whole other conversation, though!

    Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re struggling to accomplish your New Year’s resolution. Remember, it’s just a resolution. It’s not do or die. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t accomplish everything we want to.

    It’s the attempt that’s important. It’s the fact that we’ve striving to be better today than we were yesterday that’s important!

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    A Sober Holiday Season

    Sobriety is the Best Gift

    Okay, that’s kind of corny, right? Wrong! Sobriety really is the best gift! It’s the best gift you can give yourself. It’s the best gift you can give your family and loved ones. It’s the best gift you can give to coworkers. It’s even the best gift you can give to strangers. After all, they’re probably sick of dealing with a hungover and miserable woman!

    All jokes aside, sobriety is a one-of-a-kind blessing. It’s the foundation upon which we can build the rest of our life. It’s a way to grow as women and give back to those that have helped us time and time again.

    This last point, giving back, is huge. I’m going to tell you all about my first sober holiday experience. It should come as no surprise that giving back, being of service in all areas of my life, kept me sober during this time.

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    My First Sober Thanksgiving

    I got sober in April 2008. I was living in a halfway house in Delray Beach, FL and my parents were a million miles away. Well, they were really only a thousand miles away, but it seemed like a million!

    I skipped Thanksgiving that year. Even at around six months sober, I knew I wasn’t ready to deal with my entire family. I couldn’t wait to see my parents and brother, but aunts, uncles, and cousins? Thanks but no thanks!

    sober thanksgiving

    This is what my Thanksgiving looked like! Beats the snow, right?

    So, my mom, dad, and brother came to Florida. We had Thanksgiving at a local restaurant and then walked along the beach. We talked about what we were thankful for. Of course, my sobriety was number one on everyone’s list!

    That was my first sober Thanksgiving. It was pretty awesome and gave me some of the confidence I needed to tackle my first sober Christmas!

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    My First Sober Christmas

    This time, I couldn’t stay in Florida. While I’d missed Christmas the previous year, thanks to being in treatment, this time my family wasn’t having it. They wanted to see me and I knew I needed to be there.

    In preparation for my trip back home, I buckled down. I hit my knees more than ever. I finished my steps and started reaching out to newcomers. I got a sponsee and began to take her through the twelve-steps. I made sure to research meetings in New York and reached out to the local Intergroup office.

    When it was time to fly up, I did. The next week was a whirlwind of seeing family members I hadn’t seen in years. Most of the time, seeing them was great! Sometimes, it wasn’t. I have uncles and cousins who love to drink and smoke weed. They didn’t do anything around me, but it was plain to see they were messed up.

    What did I do? Did I join them in the backyard for a quick joint? Did I join them at the kitchen island for wine? Nope, I prayed for them! They may or may not be addicts and alcoholics. I don’t know and it’s not my place to know. It is my place to be of service to everyone, though.

    sober christmas

    So, I prayed and asked God how I could help those around me. I went to a meeting every morning. I raised my hand and shared at each meeting. I reached out to other alcoholics who were having a hard time during the holidays. In turn, God had my back. She kept me safe and protected. The thought of drinking never even crossed my mind!

    And that, my friends, is one hell of a miracle!

    How the drunk stole Christmas!