Early AA /From the Foreword to the second edition, pg xx Big Book

Of Alcoholics who came to A.A and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder those who stayed on with AA showed an improvement.  Other thousands came to a few AA meetings and at first decided they did not want the program but a great numbers of these (about 2 out of 3) began to return as time passed.

Pretty staggering statistics…   “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned — and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong — and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.

If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.

I had a quite personal reason to set out for these answers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and not being able to. Ever since then, I have been turning over the essential mystery of addiction in my mind — what causes some people to become fixated on a drug or a behavior until they can’t stop? How do we help those people to come back to us? As I got older, another of my close relatives developed a cocaine addiction, and I fell into a relationship with a heroin addict. I guess addiction felt like home to me.

If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: “Drugs. Duh.” It’s not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in theArchives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.

After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days — if anything can hook you, it’s that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can’t recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is — again — striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them. (The full references to all the studies I am discussing are in the book.)

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be? This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense — unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Matewas the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

When I learned all this, I found it slowly persuading me, but I still couldn’t shake off a nagging doubt. Are these scientists saying chemical hooks make no difference? It was explained to me — you can become addicted to gambling, and nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. You can have all the addiction, and none of the chemical hooks. I went to a Gamblers’ Anonymous meeting in Las Vegas (with the permission of everyone present, who knew I was there to observe) and they were as plainly addicted as the cocaine and heroin addicts I have known in my life. Yet there are no chemical hooks on a craps table.

But still, surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre’s book The Cult of Pharmacology.

Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism — cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.

But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That’s not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that’s still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about The Cause of Addiction lying with chemical hooks is, in fact, real, but only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

This has huge implications for the one-hundred-year-old war on drugs. This massive war — which, as I saw, kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool — is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction — if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction — then this makes no sense.

Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona — ‘Tent City’ — where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages (‘The Hole’) for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record — guaranteeing they with be cut off even more. I watched this playing out in the human stories I met across the world.

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world — and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn’t theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them — to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

One example I learned about was a group of addicts who were given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other, and to the society, and responsible for each other’s care.

The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminologyfound that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I’ll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country’s top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass — and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal’s example.

This isn’t only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s — “only connect.” But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live — constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.

The writer George Monbiot has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander — the creator of Rat Park — told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery — how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.

But this new evidence isn’t just a challenge to us politically. It doesn’t just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.

Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention — tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won’t stop should be shunned. It’s the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives. But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction — and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever — to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can’t.

When I returned from my long journey, I looked at my ex-boyfriend, in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along.

The full story of Johann Hari’s journey — told through the stories of the people he met — can be read in Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, published by Bloomsbury. The book has been praised by everyone from Elton John to Glenn Greenwald to Naomi Klein. You can buy it at all good bookstores and read more atwww.chasingthescream.com.

The full references and sources for all the information cited in this article can be found in the book’s extensive end-notes.

What are the Keys to Drug and Alcohol Recovery?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are more than just mere problems or bad habits. They are diseases that can take control of lives when drug use and abuse start to increase and become a regular everyday occurrence. Drug and alcohol addiction usually begin with recreational use. Partying on the weekends and getting high or drinking with friends may seem like normal activities for young adults and teens, until use begins to increase. Once an individual starts to take or drink more and more to achieve the same effect as when they started, they begin to develop tolerance and dependence, which ultimately lead to addiction.

Alcoholics and drug addicts become so used to being intoxicated that their body and mind crave the substances and need them in order to function normally. Without drugs or alcohol, they will go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of drugs or alcohol being consumed. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, irritability, sweating, shaking and even seizures which can lead to cardiac arrest. With certain substances, especially alcohol, withdrawal can be fatal if the symptoms are not properly treated by medical professionals. When individuals suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction want to get sober, drug rehab and alcohol rehab are most often the best solutions for treating their disease. In a controlled environment, recovering addicts can be monitored and treated with certain medications that will soften their withdrawal symptoms and potentially save their lives.

Although drug rehab and alcohol rehab can be extremely effective in treating the diseases of drug and alcohol addiction, it’s up to the addict to commit to their recovery. If they do not have a serious desire to get clean in order to better their lives, and they feel that they are there only because they have to be, they will most likely not have a successful recovery. Even if they never take drugs or drink again, recovery is a physical, mental and emotional process that must be taken seriously in order to work. There are various methods for treating patients in alcohol recovery and drug recovery, such as group therapy, one-on-one assessments with treatment professionals, and psychiatric studies that are meant to get at the root of the issues that led to addiction in the first place.

Most addicts take drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for some deep underlying traumatic experiences or stress-inducing situations in their life. They may not realize that they are trying to numb themselves and forget the issues that are driving their addiction. When in rehab, treatment professionals will work with recovering addicts to uncover these issues, open them up, and teach patients how to deal with them in a healthy fashion, without taking drugs or alcohol. It’s important that drug addicts and alcoholics in recovery fully participate in this process, otherwise they will not get all they can from treatment and learn how to effectively deal with the problems in their life without taking drugs or alcohol.

Another key to drug and alcohol recovery is sticking to a healthy routine and using the tools learned during treatment to deal with life’s problems after leaving the facility. Drug rehab and alcohol rehab are not easy fixes to addiction. Alcohol and drug addiction are incurable diseases, but they can be treated. Upon leaving treatment, it’s up to the individual to stick to their sobriety, resist the temptations of drug and alcohol, and stay focused on their recovery. This may require a lot of changes. Some recovering addicts may have to find new jobs, new friends, and new places to hang out that do not involve drugs and alcohol. It may seem hard at first, but in the long run, they are minor changes in the lifetime recovery of an alcoholic or addict.

Recreational Drugs: Affecting Our Mental Health More Than We Realize?

Used as a temporary escape from our everyday lives, recreational drugs offer an escape from our everyday lives and the problems that come with them. When used as a means of escape, recreational drug use can actually end up worsening their mental health situation, causing users to need help with substance abuse treatment.

Recently, scientists have only just begun to make the connection between mental illness and drug use. In fact, 75% of those attending drug treatment services have had a psychiatric disorder within the past year, and the same percentage of people diagnosed with mental illnesses have used drugs in the last year, which is three times the national average.

One former drug user who first began using ketamine at age 14 explained that, “my head wasn’t silent enough by itself and taking drugs calmed me down. I was still developing. For me, the world outside drugs is very dull and boring – nothing matched the pinnacles of taking drugs when I was turning from a child into an adult.”

In fact, those who start smoking marijuana before the age of 15 are four times more likely than non-users to develop a psychotic illness, mainly because the brain is still developing.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, “a massive process of neural pruning is going on, like streamlining a tangled jumble of circuits so they can work more effectively. Any experience, or substance, that affects this process has the potential to produce long-term psychological effects.”

from www.treatmentalternatives.com  blog

What is a common challenge cited by patients early in recovery?

One of the biggest challenges I see patients confront is learning how to manage their emotions in healthier or more effective ways without turning to substance use or other behaviors as the primary way of coping.

In early recovery, self-regulation is a good core capacity to develop, because a recovering addict’s long-time go-to strategies for dealing with day-to-day occurrences, significant life events, relationship complexities, and so forth is to engage in some form of addictive behavior to deal with the feelings and reactions that come up. Learning to self-regulate emotion is a significant task when those primary modes of coping are no longer available, and a lot of people struggle with learning how to tolerate strong emotions and react effectively to them rather than anesthetize themselves or try to eliminate the feelings they don’t like. This is a really significant component of the work done in early recovery.

Beyond that, in terms of what I hear people cite, a lot of it relates to coming to terms with the full gravity of the life circumstances people find themselves in and beginning to look at the extent to which changes are needed to support long-term recovery in various different aspects of life – addressing longstanding issues in relationships, coming to terms with unresolved conflicts or traumas, evaluating day-to-day habits and the extent to which drinking or using became a central component, looking at routines throughout the day/week, understanding and learning how to deal with triggers or situations that activate the person emotionally, dealing with family members or friends who are unsupportive of the person’s recovery or are engaged in their own addictions, etc. – all oriented to modifying the different structures and aspects of life to support a new way of being.

The process of coming to an awareness of the extent of these issues, and the steps required in treatment and recovery to address the issues and modify life, is a significant challenge that people tend to confront early on. How they navigate all those things becomes the long-term path they take in treatment and recovery, and it helps shape the different resources that the person can utilize for assistance.


Rebuilding Trust During Recovery

People in early recovery often raise some variation of the following issue at group sessions:

“I’ve been sober for 6 months and my mother still doesn’t trust me to be on my own. She thinks that if I spend a single day out of her sight I will pick up a bottle again.”

You cannot force trust; it will take time and patience to restore. Think back and try to understand how your drinking has affected your loved ones. They will need to process everything you have been through together and go through their own healing. While you walk through your recovery, don’t lose sight of these 3 important details to help you rebuild trust:

Accept and Forgive

Turn your focus inward and start work on bettering yourself. You should be practicing forgiveness with yourself and others, now is the time for healing. While it is true that rebuilding trust in recovery means taking a hard look at your own behavior, you need to realize that you cannot control the actions or reactions of others. You must learn to accept this because letting go of that control is an important step in your recovery.

The same is true about waiting for apologies from those who have wronged you. Forgive them, and move on.

Show. Don’t Just Tell

The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” may ring a bell. You have probably heard something similar from an addictions counselor.During recovery you must use actions, instead of just words, to start restoring trust.

Use every opportunity you can to show that your behavior has changed. Don’t expect immediate results, be patient and your loved ones will notice your positive pattern.

Be Patient

Some people will take longer to come around than others, and that’s okay. If they want to rekindle a relationship with you, they will do so on their own time.

Rebuilding trust in relationships takes time, but it will happen. Walk your road and lead by positive example. Your new patterns and habits will have incredible effects on your life and relationships.


Kathleen Esposito is a certified addictions counselor in the Pacific Northwest. She helps individuals recover from drug, alcohol and gambling dependencies through group and individual therapy and regularly speaks at treatment centers.



Pieces of drug paraphernalia are clues. Heroin users are often equipped with syringes, pipes, dirty spoons and lighters used for preparing the drug for injection, or belts or rubber tubing to enlarge veins.


A heroin user typically has constricted pupils, dry mouth and flushed skin.


Users may fade in and out of consciousness, or fall asleep suddenly. When awake, the person may think unclearly, have some memory loss, and show changes in decision making and self control.


Needle marks on the skin are also telltale signs. Frequent injectors may always wear long-sleeve shirts to hide the marks.


Users also may suffer from itching, nausea and vomiting, as well as constipation. Skin infections and lowered immunity to illness are also common.





What are important things to look for in drug rehab? If you’re looking into addiction treatment, you’re probably already aware just how important it is to get the right treatment facility for you. Drug rehab can help you recover, learn to enjoy and love life, and put the unhealthy, negative effects of drug addiction behind you. And then you can begin a new life you love that is healthy. But what are some of the most important factors at effective drug rehab? One of the most important factors that you might not be considering is how healthy food and nutrition can be very important for your recovery experience. Nutrition could even mean the difference between recovery and relapse. After all, if you’re not feeding your body the right things, how can your body heal, restore, and keep up its energy for the renewal of rehab?


Drug Rehab—How Nutrition Can Help You Recover

When you have the right nutrition in the right program of drug addiction rehab, then it becomes much easier to keep up your energy level and focus on your recovery. After all, how can you keep up your motivation if you don’t put the right food into your body? If you’re running on bad food, it can sap your energy, make you feel queasy, and keep you from achieving your full potential in making progress toward your recovery. On the other hand, healthy, nutritious, well prepared food can give you the energy for healing of body, mind and spirit that brings the health you are seeking in recovery as you overcome addiction. We don’t offer ‘detox’ drinks or vitamins. There are no quick fixes, and it is your liver that does the detoxing in your body, not your food.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, HuffPost blogger and author of Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for A Healthy Diet, says:

If I could erase one word from the dietary dictionary it would be ‘detox’. The idea that certain foods or nutrients will speed up or enhance your body’s detoxification process is just silly. The best way to help your body get the toxins out is to put fewer in.


And, of course, your body’s condition has a huge effect on where you are mentally. If you’re feeling out of sorts because of poor nutrition, you’ll be thrown off of your tranquility or centeredness. On the other hand, if you feed yourself good, high quality, nutritious food, you’ll be in a much better mental space. The mind and body are not two separate things. In fact, the condition of either one of them can influence the other one to a huge degree. That’s why it’s so important to keep your body and mind healthy. And that way you can make progress toward recovery and overcome addiction.


Where can I go for the best in luxury rehab? Serenity Vista offers you the highest quality drug addiction rehab  with wonderful healthy meals so that you can change your life for good. With the best in Caribbean luxury rehab, Serenity Vista offers you mouthwatering nutritious and healthy food along with all the comforts and amenities that you would expect with high quality luxury rehab. Click here to learn more about our culinary accommodations and nutrition.

Prayer and Meditation

What really is prayer and meditation? Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. I was raised Catholic and I was told to pray to God for things that I wanted. Well, after much thought, I realized, “Doesn’t God already know what I want?” They were basically saying that if I didn’t “pray” to God, He would be clueless as to my desires. That is ridiculous! Of course “God” or the “Universal Mind” or whatever you want to call the All That Is knows my desires! It knows it before I know it!

Prayer and MeditationPrayer is this: It is the direct application of our energy towards a goal, whether that be to acquire something or bring about a desired state (like praying for someone else to be healed). Quite simply, prayer is the directing of our energy. This is no different than the manifestation techniques I use to manifest my reality. When we go about our lives mildly wanting and wishing for things, our energy is like a light bulb for it is going out in 100 different directions and is almost useless. When we “pray” or purposely use manifestation techniques, we turn that same scattered energy into an exponentially more powerful energy laser. God already knows what you want, but you have to apply yourself and ask for it with energy defined by will and passion. In fact, the more passionately and fervently you wish for something, the greater the energy will be directed towards that goal. This is why I specifically state that the will power must be increased in order to manifest effectively. I also encourage you to create written goals, as those are “prayers on paper.” You can’t direct your thoughts if you don’t even know what you want and articulate them. What do you want? Ịs it written down? Are you directing your will and passion towards it?

On the other hand, meditation is the art of quieting the inner noise in the mind to allow the higher self to “descend” into your consciousness. Every moment of your life, your higher self (or God or whatever) is sending you messages about life, yourself, and the universe, but because the noise in your head is so loud and constant, you rarely hear it. By going within, quieting the chatter, you will start to experience such things as psychic messages, bi-location, parallel dimensions and more. You will start to broaden your sense of “self” and realize that you are more than your physical body and in fact, have no real boundaries! Eventually, you will experience the God state and be one with all things. Meditation mixed with things like prayer, light work or affirmations increase results in those areas as well. Meditation can be a primer for any of those things.

Mediation and prayer are our natural tools to create and experience life more fully. Learn them, use them and expand your life.

Most Popular Addiction Triggers

June 16, 2015

So after years of trying, you’ve finally managed to get clean and sober. While you are rightfully feeling pretty good about yourself, the hard part, staying sober, actually begins now.Many addicts relapse for a variety of reasons. Here are 5 of the most common triggers for both newly recovering addicts and those with years of sobriety under their belt.

1. Holidays

This is a very common reason for relapse and one to be wary of at certain times of the year. The temptation to indulge can be enormous when the world and his wife appear to be imbibing and getting into the swing of festivities.

It is vital as a recovering addict that we put measures in place to guard against what can seem like overwhelming temptation. What can help strengthen our resolve is telling our loved ones if we are feeling vulnerable, having someone to look out for us and to whom we can be accountable. Whenever possible, avoid situations that may encourage your relapse. Speak to your recovery group or sponsor if you have one. Remember to always be prepared, use the tools you learned in rehab and remind yourself of what you were like before you got sober.

2. Stress

Whether it’s about work, financial concerns or relationship worries, we all have times when we experience stress and need to work harder to maintain our recovery. Stress is one of the biggest reasons people reach for their substance of choice—wanting to take a break from reality for a short space of time.

Learning to manage our stress in more productive ways will guard it from causing a relapse. You can do this by exercising regularly, sleeping well and eating a healthy diet. Some meditation, time out for yourself and willingness to ask for support during a stressful situation can do wonders in reducing your stress levels and preventing it from becoming a trigger.

3. Tiredness

Being tired and cranky leaves us feeling emotional and more susceptible to a relapse. When we’re tired, we become like cantankerous children—snappy, irritable and unreasonable. This is the perfect set of emotions that can lead to us blowing our serenity and reaching for our old coping strategies.

The importance of getting a regular night’s sleep cannot be overemphasized.

Maintaining our equilibrium and functioning in a calm and thoughtful manner is pivotal when it comes to staying sober. If you find it difficult to sleep, try breathing exercises, a hot bath or a warm milky drink before bed. If nothing seems to help, speak to your doctor.

4. Boredom

Boredom is one of the most common feelings in early recovery that can lead to a relapse. Once we are over the “pink cloud” of our initial achievement, we often struggle to find activities that fill the huge amount of time we used to spend abusing substances. Now that we are no longer using, the amount of drama in our lives is vastly reduced. This is when boredom sets in.

You have to put effort in finding new activities to fill the time you spent using your substance of choice. This can be anything, including sports, exercise, reading, a new hobby, watching TV, journaling, tidying up around the house or something you used to enjoy before you started using. The options are virtually endless. Find something that will distract you and take your mind off the urge to use.

5. Complacency

This is one for those with longer sobriety. Complacency is a very dangerous thing. It can make us feel as though we’ve already made it to the top and cause us to relax our vigilance. Truth is, this is the time we are actually highly vulnerable to a relapse. It is crucial that you always remain vigilant, keep in touch with your support group, attend meetings if you have to–anything that reminds you of the continuous work that needs to be done in order to maintain sobriety.

Although recovery gets easier with time, it is also often easy to forget where we came from. Even many years down the line, we must always remind ourselves about the risks that come with complacency.

For as long as you remain aware of the most common causes of a relapse, you’ll be able to successfully guard your sobriety. It pays to always remember that when it comes to staying clean, your abstinence is dependent on your continued vigilance.

Original Article from SoberRecovery.com