How Social Media Affects Teens Body Image

how social media affects teens body image

Being a teenager is notoriously difficult, especially today. Teenagers are in the midst of vast changes, both physically and mentally, are developing rapidly during those years. Because of this, they are also susceptible at this age. External influences and factors can cause a variety of mental health issues if not handled properly.

What is Body Image? 

Body image is a general term for how we see ourselves in regards to features like weight, height, skin tone, build, facial features, and more. People can get ideas of what a body should look like from their peers or outside media, such as magazines, television, and social media. People who don’t internalize these outside messages of body image tend to have a more positive body image of themselves. However, people who do internalize those messages of what their body “should” look like tend to have a more negative body image

How Social Media Affects Body Image

Social media does not cause a negative body image in and of itself. For example, people who use social media to consume content exclusively from family members don’t seem to have an altered body image. However, if your teen is consuming certain content, they may be at risk of negative body image. Social media can increase the risk for negative body image in the following ways: 

  • Influencers: Influencers are people hand-picked by companies to market their products or messages. Oftentimes, influencers are attractive, and thus pick up a large following. Teens are very likely to engage in content created by influencers. Unfortunately, people who consume content from attractive peers are found to have higher rates of negative body image. 
  • Thin-ideal: Messages that promote and portray the thin-ideal are also associated with developing negative body image because it promotes unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, those who consume content more related to health and fitness on social media tend to have more positive body image as these results are more realistic and attainable. 
  • Photo alterations: Photo alterations through filters, photo editing apps, and photoshop tend to continue to permeate the thin-ideal message and make it much easier for individuals to alter their appearance to be more attractive. This makes it even more common for teens to come into contact with social media content that is likely to negatively impact their body image. 

Body Image and Mental Health

Being aware of the way in which social media affects teens’ body image is imperative. Social media is more accessible than ever and has been found to be associated with negative body image. Negative body image has been associated with a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, such as depression and eating disorders. 

Depression is a serious issue for many teenagers but becomes more common every year. Read more here on signs your teenager is depressed and what to do if they are depressed. 

Unsure of how to talk with your teen about their social media use? Learn more here

How Thrive Treatment Can Help

Thrive Treatment offers comprehensive services to clients experiencing mental health or substance use concerns. We have expert clinicians available that provide case management services, individual therapy, group therapy, and incorporation of family support. Each client has an individualized treatment plan unique to their recovery. We offer different levels of care, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, sober living houses, and aftercare. Contact us today to find out how we can help you through your recovery!

How to Support a Recovering Alcoholic

Recovering alcoholic support treatment rehabilitaiton

It’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with addiction and alcoholism. You’ve likely spent countless hours wishing and praying for them to find their way to sobriety. However, once they become sober, you may find that you don’t know how to support a recovering alcoholic. Loving someone active in their alcoholism is different than supporting a recovering alcoholic. It can be challenging to transition from one role to the other. 

At Thrive Treatment, we understand alcoholism and the work it takes to get sober.  We also understand how important it is to have support in recovery. We’re here to help your loved one get sober and to help you learn how to support their recovery. 

The Best Way To Support a Recovering Alcoholic

One of the best ways to support a recovering alcoholic is to ask them how they would like to be supported. One of the biggest mistakes we can make when dealing with loved ones in recovery is to assume that we know what is best for them. This is true even if we are in recovery ourselves. If you’ve been enabling the alcoholic in your life, you may have difficulty as they find their footing in recovery. If you were unable to trust them or you’re still stinging from the things they said while drinking, you might be struggling with their newfound sober happiness. A lot will change as your loved one grows in their recovery. The dynamics within your relationship may change, and their independence may be uncomfortable at first. What may be most vital for you to remember is that you are not responsible for another person’s sobriety. While you can offer support and be available, you cannot keep another person sober or cause them to drink. Each sober person is responsible for their own sobriety. 

Resources You Can Use To Learn How To Support a Recovering Alcoholic

Just as no one grows up thinking that they will become an alcoholic, no one grows up learning how to support a recovering alcoholic. Whether it’s your child, spouse, parent, or friend, you likely won’t know what to do. Depending on the relationship, you might consider attending family or couples counseling with the recovering alcoholic in your life. You may also want to consider attending groups such as Al-Anon or Alateen. Al-Anon is a support group for individuals worried about someone with a drinking problem. Alateen is a support group for teens who are worried about someone with a drinking problem. Both groups are peer support groups run by members where individuals share their experiences with caring about someone with a drinking problem. By hearing others’ experiences, you may find strategies for supporting the recovering alcoholic in your own life. You will likely also learn strategies for dealing with your own stress and emotions around their problem. In addition to Al-Anon or Alateen, you might also explore Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), a peer support group for adult children of alcoholics or dysfunctional families. Whatever resources you rely upon, you must find a way to support yourself as well as the recovering alcoholic in your life. 

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help your loved one succeed in sobriety.  We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put them on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  If you or your loved one has a problem with alcohol, we’re here to help. Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we will provide you with an individualized plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

s Drug Addiction Genetic?

The one thing that is certain about addiction is that it is not entirely understood. Countless hours have been spent in research labs and families, wondering why and how a person becomes addicted to drugs. Is drug addiction genetic? While researchers have found a genetic component to addiction, they have also found that it’s not the only factor. Addiction is a complex disease and requires a multi-faceted approach in treatment. At  Thrive Treatment, we understand addiction, we know how to treat it, and we’re here to help you. 

If I’m an Addict, Will My Child Be One?

When our children are young, we spend hours and hours looking at their faces and taking in their personalities.  We wonder aloud if he or she has mom’s nose, dad’s eyes, or grandma’s hair. But is drug addiction genetic? Yes and no. Will your child be an addict because you are an addict? Maybe, but not definitely. Most addiction professionals view addiction through what’s referred to as the biopsychosocial model. This model suggests that addiction occurs because of the combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. So, while yes, there is a genetic component to addiction, it is not the only component. 

Not every child of an addict becomes an addict, and not every addict is the child of an addict. While yes, it is not uncommon, it’s not a given. Environmental factors such as growing up in a house with active addiction, being the victim of trauma, and experiencing other adverse events in childhood increase the risk.  Social factors such as poor coping skills, lifestyle, and peer group will also impact addiction risk. Psychological factors, such as social skills and interpersonal relationships, will also affect your child’s risk of becoming an addict. 

So, while, yes, your being an addict is a risk factor for your child to become an addict, it is not the only factor. Talk to your child early and often about the risks of using drugs and alcohol. Be honest in an age-appropriate way and help them understand that they are at a higher risk for addiction. 

What Do I Do if I Think My Child Is Suffering From Addiction?

If you are in recovery and you think your child is suffering from addiction, you will find that you are in an interesting predicament. You know how you got sober, but you may also see that you didn’t listen much to those around you while being active in your addiction. Loving an addict is a tough road and is even more challenging when it’s your child. So, what do you do? Well, you start by sharing your experience with them because no one understands an addict like an addict. While we usually don’t want to talk to our children about our suffering, this is the time to share. Remember back to your early days and how knowing that you were not alone helped you. Talk to them about treatment and, if they’re willing, help them find it. If they’re not ready, then it might be time for you to set some hard boundaries around their drug use. 

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help you succeed in sobriety.  Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we integrate relational and behavioral therapies. We believe in a holistic approach and utilize holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety and overall well-being.  If you find yourself addicted to drugs and alcohol, we’re here to help. We can provide you with a tailored plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

Uncovering the Truth About Eating Disorders in Men

eating disorder in men

When we are thinking about eating disorders, we typically think about women. Movies, shows and the media often highlight the struggles of women trying to be a perfect size.  However, the National Institute of Mental Health found that roughly one million men struggle with eating disorders and others believe that number to be higher.  While much remains to be studied about eating disorders in men, we know that there are differences in how eating disorders present in men and how they are treated. At Thrive Treatment, we embrace these differences and can assist men struggling with eating disorders.  

Why Don’t We Talk About Eating Disorders in Men?

Researchers have found that men represent between ten and twenty-five percent of all eating disorder patients.  Whether there has been an increase in the number of men with eating disorders or the number of men seeking treatment is unknown.  It is known that eating disorders present differently in men, which may be why they go unnoticed. 

The factors that predispose men to eating disorders are similar to those for women with some significant differences. Women who develop eating disorders feel that they are fat while being at a healthy weight.  Conversely, many men who develop an eating disorder typically are or have been obese at some point in their lives. Adding to the confusion, some men with eating disorders may gain weight and muscle, which may not present as an eating disorder. Both men and women who develop eating disorders may also have a history of sexual abuse, trauma, chemical dependency, and media pressures. 

Different Types of Eating Disorders Men Struggle With

Men may struggle with eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, anorexia athleticism, and muscle dysmorphia. Anorexia athleticism sees men using exercise excessively either with or without caloric restrictions. Muscle dysmorphia is similar but will often see the individual obsessed with certain parts of the body, muscle mass, or body size.  Muscle dysmorphia can be even more dangerous if the individual has added in the use of steroids or growth hormones. Anorexia nervosa, often referred to as anorexia, is characterized by abnormally low body weight, a distorted perception of weight, and an extreme fear of gaining any weight. While also concerned with weight, bulimia nervosa often involves a dangerous cycle of binging and purging. No matter what the disorder, all eating disorders can have serious health consequences if not treated. 

How to Get Proper Help With an Eating Disorder

Treatment for men with eating disorders is similar to the treatment for females but with some differences. The most significant differences will revolve around acknowledging that body image concerns for men and women are very different.  While women may be striving for unattainable thinness, men may be aiming for an impossible muscular physique.  Other aspects of treatment will vary depending on the individual’s health, trauma, substance use, and personal history. Most treatment programs will incorporate individual and group behavioral therapy.  Some may include some substance use disorder components if needed. 

How Thrive Treatment Can Help With an Eating Disorder

At Thrive Treatment, we believe in an approach that blends modern and traditional practices. We integrate relational and behavioral therapies and holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions to address eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other mental health issues. Located in Santa Monica, we have what is needed to provide you with an individualized plan. We’re also here to help you and your family understand the process and get help. Contact us today and let us help you and your teen face any mental health issues.  

What Is the Most Popular Drug With Teens?

popular drugs for teens

The most popular drug with teens varies by demographics and often changes annually. Nonetheless, there are a few substances that remain popular amongst teens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), alcohol remains one of the most abused substances by teens in America. In fact, close to 60% of seniors in high school abuse alcohol on a regular basis. 

The Effect of Alcohol on Teens                                       

Alcohol has been proven to have several negative effects on teenagers’ mental and physical well-being and development. Some of the consequences that teens face consist of memory impairment, isolation, difficulty concentrating and cognitive, stunted brain development, and increased violent and impulsive behavior. Additionally, research shows that students who abuse alcohol use are less likely to finish high school or go to college. Additionally, people are also more likely to develop an addiction if they start drinking at an early age.

Other Popular Drugs Amongst Teens

Although Alcohol seems to be steadily the most popular drug with teens is not the only popular substance that teens abuse. Research shows that marijuana is also another substance on heavy rotation amongst teens. Although the use is not as high as alcohol, almost 40% of seniors in high school use marijuana frequently. Similar to alcohol, this statistic is declining, however, marijuana use still remains a problem for teens. 

Sadly, many teens appear aloof regarding the consequences of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. It’s important that the consequences of substance abuse are not only known but also taken seriously and considered carefully. Fortunately, some sober living and treatment programs collaborate with schools to ensure that these consequences are discussed and that students are made aware. 

The Relevance of Nutrition in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

The Relevance of Nutrition in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

by David A. Wiss, MS RDN

Why is Nutrition Relevant to Substance Use Disorders?

The recent opioid crisis and increased insurance coverage for rehabilitation services has created a surge in individuals seeking treatment. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) are increasingly finding employment in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment facilities nationwide. What kind of evidence do we have to guide us in our nutrition assessment and intervention plan? Due to ethical limitations in conducting prospective studies with illicit substances, there is a shortage of high quality data. Retrospective human studies have demonstrated protein and calorie malnutrition,1 compromised immune status,2 micronutrient deficiencies,3 and antioxidant disturbances.4 Specifically, antioxidant vitamins E, C, and A are lower than controls,5 iron is decreased6 while copper and zinc are increased, indicative of inflammation.7 Detailed summaries of nutrient deficiencies associated with specific substances have been described elsewhere.8,9 

Lowered antioxidant response and increased inflammatory processes may increase the potential for the development of chronic disease. One example is the metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by impaired glucose metabolism, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.10,11 In one large US adult population study, cocaine use has been associated with elevated blood pressure.12 Other authors have suggested that diabetes counseling include interventions to interrupt drug abuse.13 With growing rates of addiction, the connection between SUD and nutrition-related chronic disease requires further study. Specifically, can nutrition interventions improve mental health outcomes? 

Dietary recall studies have indicated that people who abuse substances have low intake of fruits and vegetables and high intakes of low fiber sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.14,15 Individuals with SUDs typically have lower BMIs while using6 and gain weight during treatment.16 Excessive weight gain during recovery has been described in adolescents,17 men,18 and women,19,20 all of which have been associated with eating disorder (ED) symptomatology. Several studies have shown significant overlap between SUDs and EDs, with estimated comorbidity ranging from 3-50%.21,22 Studies to date have not differentiated between the temporal sequence of co-occurring SUDs and EDs. In other words, does dysfunctional eating emerge once abstinence has been achieved, or was it present before the alcohol or drug use began? The role of societal and social pressures (e.g. appearance-related or otherwise) in early SUD recovery may also contribute to the development or reoccurrence of ED symptoms.  In the SUD population, loss-of-control eating associated with binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa is more common than anorexia nervosa restrictive-type.23 Recently several authors have recommended integrated treatment for SUD and ED rather than separate sequential treatments.21,24,25 There is an urgent need for more research on the role of the RDN in SUD treatment in order to substantiate insurance coverage for these services.

How is the Microbiome Related to Substance Use Disorders?

An emerging area of investigation in the field of “nutritional psychiatry” is the link between the gut microbiome and the brain. Recent research has established connections between gastrointestinal microorganisms and mental health which has been referred to as the “gut-brain axis.”26 Known communication pathways include microbial production of short chain fatty acids in the colon,27 production of neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) in the intestines, the vagus nerve and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.28 Some authors have proposed that targeting the “crosstalk” between microbes and the central nervous system may have implications for anxiety and depression26 as well as drug addiction.29 Alcohol-dependent patients with gut “leakiness” and associated inflammation had higher measures of depression and alcohol craving.30 Another study showed that the depression, anxiety, and craving associated with compromised gut permeability was persistent after 3 weeks of sobriety.31 Data from rodent models suggests opioid-induced alteration of gut microbiota32-34 that are likely to persist into abstinence. Similar perturbations have been described with cocaine35 and methamphetamine.36,37 More research is needed on the connection between the microbiome and SUD, but it appears to be an important link in physiological recovery, providing strong theoretical support for nutritional interventions in early abstinence.

Emerging data on the microbiome presents compelling evidence why nutrition is important to the recovery process. Food service operations should cater to the clinical needs of the patients, rather than simply provide “comfort food.” Chronic low-fiber diets degrade the intestinal barrier, enhance pathogen susceptibility and promote inflammation.38 Western diets contribute to gut dysbiosis39,40 which may have important implications for dietary interventions during SUD recovery, both over the short (e.g. weeks, months) and longer-term (years). Clinical anecdote suggests that discussion of the gut-brain connection in SUD treatment settings has helped patients to connect nutrition to their recovery and subsequently become proactive in seeking dietary improvement. Recommendations for group topics in SUD treatment have been made elsewhere.41 


It appears that group facilitation can be covered by insurance as part of the overall treatment plan. Sadly, the author once encountered a situation where a medical biller (negotiating with insurance companies) recommended changing the group name from “Nutrition in Recovery” to “Self-Care in Recovery” for easier reimbursement (California). Because reimbursement is not yet established, RDNs should continue to advocate for individual counseling in addition to group facilitation and involvement in the food service operation.  A qualified RDN can help screen for EDs, as well as promote long-term healing and nutrition self-efficacy.  Do not be afraid to collect data and publish your findings! We need the data to move the field ahead. 

David A. Wiss, MS RDN

Nutrition in Recovery, Los Angeles, CA 



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doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.08.113

During these uncertain times with the Corona Virus, Thrive is here to help

During these uncertain times with the Corona Virus, Thrive is here to help!

A Bit About Thrive
Thrive Treatment℠ is an intensive outpatient treatment center in the Santa Monica business district that focuses on addiction and co-occurring mental health struggles. We pride ourselves on creating a sense of community and peer support between our clients.
Dear Friends and Family,

On behalf of everyone at Thrive Treatment℠, our hearts go out to all those impacted by COVID-19. Our focus is, as always, on the health and safety of our clients, staff and communities.

With this in mind, Thrive Treatment℠ is diligently following the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization’s recommendations. We have implemented internal protocols including multiple daily sanitization of our facility, limiting the size of our groups, daily screening of clients and staff for symptoms, and staff training.

During a time of crisis, we know managing mental health is just as important as managing physical health. We are remaining open as a trusted provider of essential health services for our current clients in need of support. At this time, we are still admitting new clients who need our services, however will be under new assessment criteria during this ongoing pandemic. Any and all visitors to the Thrive Treatment℠ facility will be cancelled until further notice, unless otherwise authorized by our Medical Director.

This situation is changing rapidly, which is why we at Thrive will continually be meeting with staff to discuss next steps, the safety of our clients and staff and available community resources. While we don’t know exactly what the future holds, we feel confident that providing vital services to our community and supporting each other during this time, we will emerge from this stronger than before.

We wish you all health, safety and hope during this time.

Thank you for your support.

Breathwork in Recovery

Breathwork in Recovery

What is Breathwork in Recovery?

Breathwork is a broad term, which incorporates many different breathing techniques. Some styles of breathworks include Conscious connected breathing, also known as circular breathing, Holotropic breathing, and Wim Hof breathing just to name a few. Although breathwork and some new variations of its core elements have become more popular over recent years, these breathing techniques actually date back to ancient India.

What can Breathwork do for me?

The gifts of breathwork can be unique to the individual and range from a physical, mental, and emotional experiences. Some of the most common outcomes are relieving stress, promoting relaxation, natural sleep aid, increasing distress tolerance, furthering self awareness, processing or releasing suppressed emotions, processing grief, trauma and loss both emotionally and somatically.

Why is

Breathwork in recovery helpful while in treatment?

As drug addicts and alcoholics we often find ourselves holding on to baggage of the past or worrying about the future to the extent of completely disconnecting us from the present, feeling so overwhelmed and disengaged that we often choose to detach from ourselves through active addiction. In some cases we are not even aware of some of the things our subconscious is holding on to, yet our outlook, attitude, and behavior still align with these deep seeded emotions. This is where breathwork comes in, with this tool as part of our treatment we can begin to uncover, discover, and discard underlying issues that fuel our addiction. Breathworks is a great adjunct service to process through our wounds with the care and support of our treatment professionals at Thrive Treatment℠.

How is Breathwork Breathwork in recovery incorporated into the Thrive treatment program?

Evan Nicole facilitates breathworks every Monday afternoon, which is a great way to start off the week and assist clients in accessing and processing deeper emotions that they might be avoiding. Evan educates the clients about breathworks, and set intentiwithons them before beginning the process. Breathworks is conducted with a well thought out music playlist that Evan composes each week. Evan guides the group through the breathing technique, motivating the clients, correcting technique if needed and assisting them in a somatic release of emotions through various techniques. Following the session, Evan processes the experience with the clients to ensure that they have a safe space to understand what arose for them emotionally and to ground themselves after the breathwork session.

About the facilitator

Evan has been with Thrive since August 2018 and is currently our lead counselor and case manager. He exhibits professionalism and passion in all areas of his job, always looking for new thought-provoking groups that he can bring to the clients. Through his personal experience he has found a new freedom in practicing breathwork and thus sparked the desire to complete teacher training, obtain his instructor certification, which has allowed him to share this profound healing journey with others.

Contact Us today on how we incorporate breathwork into recovery.

Counting Our Holiday Blessings

Counting Our Holiday Blessings

You might have heard: Christmas is literally right around the corner! By now Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, and while we may or may not still have any turkey left in the fridge, we can probably all attest to experiencing a generally more pleasant mood when we’re out and about. People tend to be nicer, friendlier, and happier throughout the holiday season, and we can’t say we’re complaining!

In fact, one of the joys of our outpatient treatment model here at Thrive Treatment℠ is the fact that many of our clients are able to enjoy quality family time at home with those they love during these times of peace and relaxation, and down time, peace, and relaxation can all be perfect supplements for a number of ailments– addiction included.

Sometimes, during treatment, we can become so inundated with learning and growing as much as we can that we forget just how amazing simply being able to get the treatment we need for our addictions really is. The idea of addiction treatment only took off less than a hundred years ago with Bill W. and Dr. Bob’s founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (there were other sobriety programs before, but none with as much of a lasting impact), and since then, countless men and women have been able to return to even more fulfilling and gratifying lives as leaders, teachers, and mentors in their own communities thanks to what they’ve learned and experienced in treatment.

Addiction treatment has helped numerous people make strides in their lives that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make, and as members of the recovery community, we have the joy of being able to spread their victory stories to many more men and women everyday. Our mission is simple, and designated by The Big Book– to be a guiding light for others seeking freedom from addiction and restoration. As The Big Book says, “many could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed.” Our goal is to make that opportunity available to them.

Here’s to all of the good the addiction treatment community does for the men and women it touches day in and day out!

Treatment gives us our lives back

This one almost goes without saying! The Big Book indicates that entering treatment signals “the beginning of the end of [our] old life, and the beginning of [our] emergence into a new one.” When we’re addicted, we can feel like our lives have been ripped apart. Addiction can change us into completely different people, and, through no fault of our own, we can become isolated from those we love and care about. Through treatment, however, reuniting is possible! Treatment teaches us how to address the problems that caused our substance use, how to make amends with those that we’ve wronged, and how to start over on the right track.

Additionally, treatment gives us the ability to extend our family through new relationships with our peers, and creates new outlets for us to find purpose even beyond sobriety. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, for instance, many of our former clients form lifelong bonds with the people they entered treatment with, and can count these friendships as some of the best relationships they’ve had in their lives. They go on to champion the treatment process with men and women in their communities, start businesses, and become pillars of their respective societies, using the guiding principles they learned right here as background.

After graduating from treatment, not only is addiction a thing of the past– but we have a new attitude and outlook on life that can take us to incredible heights in all kinds of fields. As The Big Book suggests, many find the lessons learned through addiction treatment to be of great help with many other avenues of their lives. A new shot at life is certainly something to be thankful for this holiday season!

The treatment community accepts us

When we’re addicted, we can quite often be shunned, even by the people who say they care about us and wish us the best. People who have never had the addiction illness don’t always understand it, and it’s no secret that we tend to fear what we don’t know. However, there’s always one place that will accept us for who we are, understand our struggle with mental obsession, spiritual maladies and physical allergies, and not judge us for it. That place is the treatment community. Even a hundred years back, before all of the rules of what would become Alcoholics Anonymous were fleshed out, there was one rule that was concrete: “The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one.” What a joy to know that now, even decades later, that same rule applies in our modern treatment communities!

There’s no better feeling than knowing that we always have somewhere to turn that understands us, and somewhere to go when times are tough and we need a shoulder (or a few) for support. With alumni programs, mixers and outings designed specifically to reunite graduates with those currently in the initial treatment process, the sense of community fostered by treatment programs is second to none, and that’s a holiday blessing if we’ve ever seen one!

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center in beautiful Santa Monica, California. We have over thirty years of collective experience in some of the most innovative and effective addiction treatment practices in the world, and one focus: making our clients better mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let this holiday season be one where addiction isn’t invited. Call us today at (888) 975-8474, and see how we can help you!

Believing in Ourselves

Believing in Ourselves

There are a lot of folks that say that seeing is believing. That’s true, to an extent. There’s plenty of things we want to see to believe. Even more that we have to see to believe. Cops usually have to see a crime scene to know it happened. We have to see a storm coming to decide to evacuate. We have to see a million dollars before we believe it’s ours.

However, when it comes to addiction treatment, it’s important to remember that just because we may not always see physical progress, doesn’t mean that there’s not a wonderful transformation going on inside. Not only is treatment largely a mental process (remember, The Big Book tells us that we’re combatting a “mental obsession and a physical allergy”), but what are our eyes are trained to see as “progress”  may not really be what we should be looking for at all. Think about it: for many of us, this may be our first time going through treatment. How can we really know what to count as progress? To us, simply not craving a substance any more may be suitable progress. However, if we still have untouched issues that contributed to our substance abuse laying right underneath the surface, how can we truly judge “where we are” in the process? Even for those of us that have gone through addiction treatment before– every experience is so nuanced and individual that it’s almost impossible to “predict” exactly where we should be simply by looking for physical signs! Recovery is lifelong for a reason!

Ok, so what exactly am I believing in?

Here’s a kicker: belief in treatment doesn’t actually mean believing in treatment itself.

Funny to hear, right? Actually, Step Two of The Twelve Step program says as much. In treatment we aren’t demanded to believe anything about the process. Every step and skill taught is merely a suggestion, and we have the total right to take it or leave it. So when we refer to “belief” in treatment, we mean believing in ourselves. We mean taking what we learn, the strategies we develop, and the tools we forge through treatment, and believing that they can actually work in our own situations– then actually using them. Remember, even the most incredible, progressive of treatment programs can’t help us recover without our say-so.

Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we know just how important believing that we can make a change in our lives is to helping us actually do that. That’s why our programs focus on building life skills, fostering a sense of community, and learning how to process and discard the self-defeating stories and behaviors that keep us stuck. We get it– it’s not always easy to believe in ourselves right away in treatment. For many of us, our addiction can sap away belief in even what we thought we knew about ourselves. Addiction may have forced us into the deepest, darkest corners of our lives, and created a person that we didn’t recognize. Regaining who we are takes time, as does beginning to believe in ourselves again. Through community, we grow and learn with others that are also struggling with the same things we are. We organically build camaraderie with our peers, and eventually forge a family that helps us believe again– both in our ability to recover, and in our ability to conquer anything else that life throws at us.

What does The Big Book say about believing in ourselves?

It’s ironic, really. When The Big Book was originally published in 1939 by Alcoholics Anonymous founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith, both men seemed like they would have had every right to negate the importance of believing in ourselves. Smith had been an alcoholic since his undergraduate years at Dartmouth, and by the time he teamed up with Bill W. and began what we now know as AA, he’d been to dozens and dozens of rehab centers over the span of some thirty years, to no avail. He was a certified physician, and all of his belief in practice and medicine could not seem to curb his drinking. Bill W. was a stoic drinker as well, and was threatened more than once with being locked up due to wet brain. He drank so often that doctors routinely advised him that he was at risk of killing himself with every additional drink he took.

Yet both men made sure to highlight the importance of belief early and often in the book that would become the metaphorical addiction bible for addicts. In fact, they stressed two forms of belief– belief in God, and belief in ourselves. Even though they had every reason not to believe based on their own experiences, they knew that in order to combat a spiritual, mental, and physical ailment, they had to believe in something: “Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.”

Believing in ourselves gives us great power in addiction treatment. It allows us to see progress where we wouldn’t otherwise look, sunny skies when everything seems gray, and a future, that, a few months ago, we may never have imagined!

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center in sunny Santa Monica, California. We invest ourselves into our clients and their families, and we provide care that is transformative and long-lasting. We all have a purpose, and addiction simply isn’t help. We help our clients discover that purpose. Get started today by calling (888) 975-8474.