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Archive for July, 2013

Stay Sober Over the Summer

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IMG_5025_docSummer is in full swing and for many of us it means time away from work, school and volunteer commitments. The warm summer days and upcoming holiday’s mean relaxing vacations, carefree outings to the beach with friends, boating trips to the lake and backyard barbeques. However, for those recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, each of these summer traditions can be a relapse waiting to happen.

The following five tips will help you remain sober, no matter what your summer holiday plans include.

Plan Ahead

Social situations offer an abundance of alcohol and days away from normal commitments with opportunities to relapse. If you are recovering from an alcohol addiction, you probably do not want to meet friends for drinks or go to locations where drinking is one of the main attractions. This is especially important for those in the early stages of recovery, as the temptation may be more than you can handle.

Actively participate in your recovery program 

This may be a time where you need to reach out to receive additional support from your network. Find groups such as AA in your vacation destination, and enlist the support of family, spouse and/or friends. If you see an outpatient provider on a regular basis, continue to keep those appointments

Plan an Exit Strategy

Whether you are on vacation or in at a neighborhood backyard barbeque, you should always have an exit strategy. Avoid people who are harassing you to drink or use drugs. Be prepared to leave or to tell them why you aren’t drinking. Don’t give in to the “one drink won’t hurt” mentality. Your sobriety is much more important than anyone’s definition of a “good time”.

Bring your Support Along

We are often away from our support network and our routines, enhancing making it harder to “work our program.” If you want to go to a barbeque or go on a trip but feel you might be tempted, bring someone you can trust along to keep you accountable. Knowing that there is someone with you can be a great encouragement when turning down drinks. You should also be honest with them if you need to leave and include them in your exit strategy.

Stay Rested

Don’t commit to doing more than you should. Activities in the sun can be physically draining. If you are tired, your resolve may not be as strong. Make sure you have had plenty of rest before participating in any summer activities where you may be tempted to drink.

Be Honest

Only you truly know how much pressure you can take and what situations lead you to temptation. Avoiding these situations is key to staying sober this summer. Be honest with yourself. It is important for you to know how much you can handle so you don’t try to do more.

Just like any other time of the year, the most important tips for staying sober and avoiding relapse involve being honest with yourself, planning ahead and having a trusted support group.  Keep in mind in most cities you can find a meeting every hour of the day during the major holidays.

Preserving Recovery through Surgery

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Bella Monte Recovery | California Rehab Pain is inevitable after most surgeries and the more extensive the surgery, the more severe and long-lasting the pain. Together with your doctor, you must come up with a plan for managing your pain after surgery, specifically if you are in recovery. 

If you are facing the prospect of an upcoming surgery, start thinking ahead of time about your pain management plan, as many of the painkillers used to treat post-surgery pain put you at risk of developing an addiction. Knowing what to expect can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable.

Now is the time to be very honest with your doctor. Your doctor needs to know about any struggles you have had with addiction in the past.  If your doctor is aware of your issues you can be given a medication that is less likely to create dependence.

Knowing that you have the potential to become addicted is powerful information and you should use it wisely. Below are some tools and strategies to help you maintain your recovery from alcohol or substances after a surgery:

• Communicate with your physician and surgeon 

It is important that you address all medical history, medication, pain management addiction history and surgery recovery issues with your physician and surgeon. That way going into the surgery your entire medical team is on the same page and can help support you as you heal from the surgery.

• Write down plan goals.

 • Actively participate in your recovery program such as AA, and enlist the support of family, spouse and/or friends in your pain management plan and surgical recovery.

This may be a time in your life where you need to reach out to receive additional support from your network. Find a support person or group that can be there to offers you what you need.   

• Maintain your mental health program with a professional, if appropriate. 

 If you see an outpatient provider on a regular basis, continue to keep those appointments.

Ensure correct dosing after surgery with the help of another person.

Enlist the help of a partner, friend or family member to help you stick to the correct dosing schedule. They can actually administer you the medication or just help to hold you accountable.

• Monitor pain and medications with physician after surgery and ensure that your physician tapers medicine dosages.

Keep all of your post-operative appointments. You can use these appointments to discuss your pain level and determine when the best time is to begin tapering off of your medications.

• Learn and engage in alternative therapies and a wellness program designed with your doctor’s approval. 

Take a yoga class, go to meditation, try acupuncture. Investigate alternative methods for controlling pain without the medication. With the alternative therapies you may be able to discover a better way to control the pain without the medication.

• Begin to schedule normal activities. 

As your health allows, return to work, school or volunteer commitments. The sooner you start back to your normal life the sooner you will begin to feel like your normal self.

Appropriate pain management is integral to recovery from surgery as well as continued recovery from alcohol and chemical addictions. By talking with your doctor and following employing these strategies you can preserve your recovery through a surgery.

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