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.

Leaving Self-Destructive Behaviors in the Past

Leaving Self-Destructive Behaviors in the Past

On page 137 of the Big Book, the author provides a shockingly detailed description of one man’s demise after two weeks of binge drinking: “After two weeks of drinking, he had placed his toe on the trigger of a loaded shotgun– the barrel was in his mouth.” It’s a graphic depiction, but it shows a situation that many addicts can be driven to. Even if it’s not physical, we can sometimes feel like a loaded gun is sitting right in our mouths, ready to go off. The agony and stress of our addiction can be that intense.

Self-destructive tendencies are innate in all of us. Just like we have the capacity to make decisions and exhibit behaviors that will do us good, we have the same capacity to do the opposite. Whether we’re addicts, have been addicted in the past, or have never touched a substance before makes absolutely no difference. We’re all capable of the same thing.

With that said, addicts do tend to have a higher propensity to display self-destructive behaviors during their addiction. After all, the very nature of substance abuse is nothing if not destructive. Self-destruction is, unfortunately, just one of the many results of the crazy mind warp that our addiction locks us in. As The Big Book says, “Yet no alcoholic [or addict], soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.”

While we can’t blame ourselves for an addiction we have no control over, it’s important that we learn to use treatment as a way to not only get over addiction, mend our spiritual maladies, and make amends with those we’ve hurt–  but also as a means of leaving our destructive behaviors in the past.

What Are Self-Destructive Behaviors?

Self-destructive behaviors usually stem from patterns of withholding or not completely expressing our feelings and emotions. If we really get down to the nuts and bolts of it, many of the primary causes of substance abuse stem from the same sort of patterns. Self-destructive behaviors aren’t necessarily always physical, but they do all do the same thing– placate our problems, instead of solving them. Many self-destructive behaviors even make our problems much worse. When addicted, our addiction is obviously the biggest thing we think of as destructive, but there are a number of additional factors that are just as destructive.

Telling ourselves that we can’t be helped, or that it’s too late for us is self-destructive. Rationalizing our addiction is self-destructive. Convincing ourselves that our addiction doesn’t need treatment, and/or that we can handle it on our own is also self-destructive (if we could handle addiction on our own, we would have done so long ago.) On the other end of the spectrum, there are also seemingly pleasurable things we do that are also self-destructive, though we may not think so. These are usually the behaviors that are immediately gratifying, but simply placate the deeper issue. If a trigger of ours is a spouse, for instance, and we simply cuss them out and tell them they’re no good before, say, hitting them, we’ve only added additional stress to a situation that was already toxic, even if it feels good in the moment. Self-destructive behaviors can be expressed in many, many different ways.

How Can Treatment Help Me Leave My Self Destructive Behaviors in the Past?

At treatment centers like Thrive Treatment℠, we focus on getting to the root of issues that cause us to use substances. For some of us, it’s past abuses, or traumatic experiences. For others, it’s an unhealthy living environment or trouble with expressing emotions. Still others can attribute substance use to being too stressed or too overworked. Finding the “why” behind our addictions is two-fold, however. By identifying what it is that causes us to use or drink, we often open up a path that allows us to see where our self-destructive behavior started, and why. You’d be quite surprised by how often the “where” and “why” of our substance use correlates with the “where” and “why” of other destructive behaviors.

Through treatment, we also learn new ways to deal with the issues that caused our substance use and destructive behaviors, and we’re able to do so in an environment that allows us to make mistakes and learn more about ourselves in the process.

In essence, treatment allows us to work through the kinks in our spirits, minds, and bodies in order to deal with the emotions that cause our self-destruction in healthier ways. The way we look at it, even though it is sometimes difficult to understand why we exhibit certain self-destructive behaviors, being able to work out the necessary strategies to funnel those behaviors into more positive alternatives is very effective in helping us eliminate them altogether, and that’s what treatment allows us to do so effectively.

Finally, treatment helps us leave destructive behaviors in the past by providing us with the outlets we need to express ourselves without judgment or repercussion. Treatment is a community. When the first treatment groups were founded in the 1930s, community was the largest part of what made them so effective, even before all of the guidelines of treatment, governance and procedures as we know them now were fleshed out. The community spirit treatment fosters provides us with a platform to reel in destructive behaviors for good!

Thrive Treatment Can Help With Self-Destructive Behaviors

Thrive Treatment℠ is an intensive outpatient addiction treatment center located in Santa Monica, California. With over thirty years of clinical experience and thousands of success stories, we know the strategies and methods to help you end your addiction for good. Get started today by calling (888) 975-8474!

Making the Most out of a Second Chance

Making the Most out of a Second Chance

You’re hollow. You have no control. You feel pain, but you’ve gotten so used to it by now that it’s become your new normal. Friends have left you. Family is leaving. Work is all but a distant dream, because you can’t even bring yourself to concentrate on something else long enough to be halfway productive.

For many of us, this was the very scary reality of addiction. Perhaps we initially thought that picking up that substance for the first time would give us some relief from the pain we’d been dealing with. Maybe we thought that if we only took a sip, a sniff, or a shot, everything that was wrong would go away. Maybe we just wanted to forget, and the substance of our choice helped us do just that. Only it didn’t stop there. One drink led to two, one dose to another. We started to like the substance, or at least like what it did to us. Heck, who are we kidding? We didn’t like it– we loved it. We loved the euphoria we experienced. We loved throwing our inhibitions to the wind. We loved pretending, even if it was only temporarily, that our problems didn’t exist.

Then it started to take over.

They started slowly at first, almost innocently– the cravings. A little more of this, a little more of that. More time “at work” and less time with family. Using a little money from the savings account wouldn’t hurt right? After all, it was for emergencies, and we hadn’t had any emergencies in years. It would be okay. Before we knew it, we had no control over it. What we had enjoyed had turned into a habit, and that habit into an addiction. We were hooked, and couldn’t find a way out.

Somehow, however, we did. Maybe it was that family member who kept telling us we needed help. Maybe it was the day we forgot our only child’s name because that’s how out of our mind we were. Maybe it was when we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we had truly hit rock bottom. However it happened, it happened. We landed in a treatment facility, and in that moment, we knew just one thing: we had been blessed with a second chance.

Making the most of a second chance

Addiction treatment asks us to do two things– both of which are described in The Big Book. These two things transcend all types of treatment, and are completely universal.

First, we must admit that we are utterly powerless over addiction. Addiction is not our fault, it does not define us, and it did not happen to us because we aren’t good people. It is an illness, a disease that knows no color, gender, or age. It affects twelve year olds and eighty-two year olds. If it was something we could control, we would have stopped it long ago.

Secondly, we must agree that addiction can be cured. Though it is an illness of the mind, it is not terminal, and it can be resolved with the help of professionals and a willing mindset. The process to rid ourselves of addiction is methodical, as with any other illness. In short, it begins with diagnosing what caused our addiction, then addressing the spiritual malady within, and finally taking action steps to fix that malady.

Making the most out of our second chance means viewing every day as an opportunity. Even in the early days of addiction treatment, pioneers of Alcoholics Anonymous understood what an incredible opportunity treatment presented for them: “Many could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed” (There is a Solution, page 119). We have an incredible gift in treatment. To be able to recover from our illness in the company of others facing similar situations, at the instruction of many who have been through what we’re going through before, and in an environment that fosters collaboration, unity, and solutions is not something to take lightly. Out of the darkness, addiction treatment stands as a light for us.

Making the most out of our second chance also means doing our part in the treatment process. This may sound like a record on repeat, but the importance of effort and attitude in treatment cannot be overstated. (There’s a reason why the two words are mentioned 75 times in the 164-page Big Book). Addiction treatment is a guide for us, and provides us with the tools we need to take back our lives and say goodbye to addiction for good, but it cannot cure us on its own. There isn’t a magic pill that we can take in order to no longer be addicted. Treatment is hard work, and the more we put into it, the more we’ll get out.

Finally, making the most of our second chance means that after we’ve conquered addiction, we should act as a beacon of light for others that are struggling. Our story of treatment isn’t something we should keep to ourselves. Sharing it with others who need to hear it allows us to do our part to rid our world of addiction, one person at a time. As the Big Book says, we are to “carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles [what we’ve learned] in all our affairs.” Our second chance doesn’t stop after we graduate from treatment. It’s still just beginning.

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California. With a number of programs designed to cure addiction for good, we have something for everyone looking for help. Your second chance can start today. There’s no need to wait. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474!

The Importance of Group Therapy

The Importance of Group Therapy

If you only read a part of The Big Book, you may have been startled by an assertion the author makes fairly early on in the reading. “We are powerless over [addiction], and our lives have become unmanageable.” Even as treatment specialists, we’ll admit that it can be quite scary to read something that basically tells us we have no control over an illness that’s quite literally killing us. Good thing The Big Book doesn’t end there. In reading just a little further, we find that the solution to addiction isn’t voodoo, magic, or happenstance. Instead, it lies almost entirely in community, fellowship, brotherhood, and unity.

In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous, the very first known support group for addicts (founded almost ninety years ago) still counts fellowship for men and women that are suffering through the same addictions as the primary reason it was founded: “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”

Group therapy is one of the practical ways we learn to find solace in fellowship with others, and its simplicity is what makes it so darn effective in treatment. In a group, the weight of our struggles doesn’t rest solely on our shoulders. It’s shared equally with our brothers and sisters in similar situations. We learn unity and partnership in group therapy (and also tend to make some of our best friends in life because of it). We also learn that struggles we thought we were alone in facing are in fact the same struggles many others are going through as well.

Group therapy, is, in a way, essential to addiction recovery, and we need look no further than The Big Book to affirm this. In speaking about the importance of unity, brotherhood, and fellowship, The Big Book says: “It became clear that if we ever were to feel emotionally secure among grown-up people, we would have to put our lives on a give-and-take basis; we would have to develop the sense of being in partnership or brotherhood with all those around us.”

At Thrive Treatment℠, group therapy is the bread and butter of our treatment programs, and for good reason. As an outpatient facility, we understand just how important it is to be able to learn and grow with supportive peers, and to have a dynamic community of graduates, current clients, and mentors to fellowship with during and after initial treatment. We take group therapy and fellowship with our peers seriously, and we foster the concept of groups in everything we do. We truly believe that there is no better way to conquer addiction than with the help of our peers. After all, as The Big Book says, “there isn’t a fellowship on earth which lavishes more devoted care upon its individual members; surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk, and act as he wishes.”

What makes group therapy so important?

Modern language is riddled with metaphors that describe the importance of collaboration. Sayings like “many hands make light work,” and “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” spring to mind almost immediately. In addiction treatment, groups are even more important, simply because they foster a culture that allows us to feel safe, protected, respected, and heard. When groups are cohesive, they act as an extension of ourselves, and can provide us with a feeling of family and belonging. This is important, particularly when we are dealing with issues that are hard to discuss, like latent problems, fears, or situations that may have caused our substance abuse in the first place.

When we’re addicted, we can often feel isolated. People that aren’t addicted may shun us, and we may lose contact with those we love and care for simply because our addiction prevents them from being around us. This isolation can often cause us to sink even deeper into our addiction, or to become depressed, anxious, or worse. Addiction is most effective in a silo, because there’s no one around to help us get back on the right track. That’s why group therapy is the exact opposite. By providing a safe space for all, we eliminate a lot of the anxious feelings we had on our own. Treatment isn’t a one-man job, and no man is an island. Group therapy makes sure we always have someone to lean on.

Group therapy also gives us new perspective. If one of our peers presents an issue that they’ve been struggling with in therapy, we may find that we, too, are in a similar situation. Hearing their perspective and listening to the advice the therapist gives them may just open our eyes to a whole new way of looking at our own problem! In a second, an issue that seemed almost impossible to overcome could have a very simple solution. Humans were built to live together, work together, and learn together. We’re all inherently social creatures. It’s fitting that the best way to treat an addiction illness, then, is to do it collaboratively!

Thrive Treatment℠ is a leading outpatient addiction treatment center based in Santa Monica, California. Our cutting edge strategies provide clients with the tools they need to not just beat treatment, but to become better people overall. Call us today at (888) 975-8474 to see what we can do for you!

Recovery Never Stops: How to Make the Most of Life After Treatment

Recovery Never Stops: How to Make the Most of Life After Treatment

Page 492 of The Big Book starts with a crystal clear assertion of what it means to be free after a life of addiction: “Those events that once made me feel ashamed and disgraced now allow me to share with others how to become a useful member of the human race.”

What is recovery, after all,  if it isn’t the road to becoming a useful member of the human race?

Being free from addiction means much more than no longer having the urge to drink or use drugs. Recovery means even more than being able to make up for past mistakes, make amends with those you’ve hurt, and start a new life free from the bondage of your disease.

Recovery means that you are finally at peace with yourself.

At Thrive Treatment℠, we believe the “treatment” portion of recovery is but one aspect of a much, much larger journey, and we strive to build clients into individuals that are ready to tackle post-treatment recovery with as much gusto as they tackled treatment itself.

Life after treatment may not necessarily be easy. In fact, there may be many times where things seem the exact opposite of easy. However, learning how to apply the strategies you learned in treatment to life afterward can make you a more confident, resilient person that’s ready for anything life throws at you. With the right attitude, every challenge you may face in life after treatment will introduce a new opportunity for you to grow stronger, wiser, and better equipped to conquer whatever comes next.

Making the most of life after treatment

After treatment at any addiction facility, it’s not abnormal for graduates to experience a mix of feelings. How will their family react to them now? What will they do for work? Will they be able to stay sober when there are temptations and stimulations around every corner?

In short, the answers to these questions can be hard. Although many outpatient treatment facilities like Thrive Treatment℠ try their best to prepare clients for their eventual return to the rest of the world, it can still be a shock to find that you are, indeed out on your own.

That’s why the best way to get your feet on the ground is to find residence in a structured sober living, get plugged in with an alumni group, surround yourself with others who will champion your recovery, and remember that the recovery journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Making the most of life after treatment means being able to enjoy life safely and without the temptation of substances, but that journey is just beginning after leaving the treatment center. Patience is key.

Plugging into alumni groups

Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we champion alumni groups because we know just how beneficial a solid and extended connection with peers from treatment can be. As an outpatient facility, we place a premium on motivating our clients to forge lasting connections with people that will inspire them to do more, be more, and make their recovery journey richer and more fulfilling. Addiction recovery is not a solitary endeavor, and the importance of a tribe that motivates and supports one another is huge.

Having an alumni group to turn to after treatment gives you the confidence to step out of your comfort zone and the reassurance that your journey is one that you don’t have to face on your own. There’s a reason that treatment is most effective in a collaborative environment, and why The Big Book suggests the group environment as one of the best and most effective ways to treat a myriad of addictions. In fact, the very description of AA– as a “fellowship of men and
women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other” confirms the power of groups in recovery. Tribes are important, and they work in both treatment and post-treatment to help you make the most out of your process.

Surrounding yourself with the right people

You might have heard a saying similar to this, “You are who you surround yourself with.” This is especially important in life after treatment. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we help our clients process and defeat the behaviors that hold them down and keep them stuck in addiction and pain. One of those behaviors is often keeping poor company. In many cases, people get hooked on substances at the urging of a friend or colleague they thought had their best interests at heart, only to see later on that that “friend” was nowhere to be found when their support was needed most for recovery.

There’s no room for those kinds of friendships after treatment. Making the most of life after treatment involves being truly discerning about the people we surround ourselves with. While we can’t control every situation life throws at us, we can make sure that we surround ourselves with good people who truly care about us. After making it through addiction and regaining our confidence in treatment, we deserve nothing less than the best relationships we can find.

Finally, patience is key to making the most of life after treatment. As The Big Book expresses, “patience, tolerance, love, and understanding are the watchwords.” Just as patience was key in treatment itself, it is also key in navigating experiences that we may not expect in living life sober. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is our recovery. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can learn to use any mistakes we may make as learning experiences, and grow in the recovery process.

At Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California, our outpatient treatment services provide the very best in addiction recovery. If you are suffering from addiction, call us at (888)975-8474 today. Addiction isn’t final. Make the decision to get help today.

“I Don’t Like My Therapist”

“I Don’t Like My Therapist”

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for addiction. If there was, addiction treatment wouldn’t be nearly as nuanced as it is now. One of the most powerful advancements made in addiction treatment since Bill W.’s creation of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s has been the onslaught of new techniques, programs, and plans that cater to different types of addictions all over the planet. No matter what you may be suffering from– or how long you’ve been suffering from it– there’s a treatment plan for you. As The Big Book states, “upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, [there] surely is no monopoly.”

No matter how new or complex the treatment plan is one thing will no doubt remain the same: the concept of personal therapy. Addiction is a mental illness, and personal therapy is an absolute necessity for getting us to the root of our issues which may have led us to addiction in the first place.

You’re going to deal with therapy a lot in addiction treatment, through many different forms. Even at Thrive Treatment℠, an outpatient facility that places a premium on using modern techniques and thinking outside of the box, our clients go through therapy sessions almost every day of the week. We believe that you can’t have a successful addiction treatment program without therapy, so we incorporate it into just about everything we do.

So, what if you aren’t particularly fond of your therapist? Therapists are human too, and they can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable, annoyed, or, quite frankly, angry. It’s natural to experience unpleasant emotions when we’re in situations that require us to peel off scabs and reopen old wounds, and therapy does just that. We know the importance of therapy in recovery, but there has to be some way we can get past our personal feelings in order to make the best of it, right?

Absolutely!

Learning to appreciate your therapist

Addiction is a complex illness, and it requires complex strategies in order to defeat it. Therapy is one such strategy, and as long as addiction stays around, so, too, will therapy be here. One of the best ways to learn to appreciate your therapist is to take a closer look at just how important their job is in the recovery process. Even as far back as the 1930s, when the first addiction treatment group was founded, early adopters of the 12-step treatment process and Alcoholics Anonymous held therapists in high esteem, and regarded their skillset as one that was invaluable in addiction treatment: “Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his own personality flaws and for a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person.”

Therapists provide us with the strategies we need in order to look inside of ourselves and make the changes, address the hurt, and identify the spiritual maladies that caused us to start and continue using substances, even against our better judgment, in the first place. Without therapists, treatment wouldn’t be effective. Sure, nurses could assist us in the detoxification process and facility staff could ensure we didn’t use any substances while in their care, but the mental portion of our illness would be largely untouched without the care that therapists provide, and we’d likely fall into the same traps soon after leaving treatment.

It isn’t personal

It’s also important to remember that addiction treatment therapists, like the rest of the treatment staff, have a very specific role to play in treatment, and it’s one that requires impartiality, strategy, and empathy above all else. Many therapists have gone through treatment themselves, or have been in similar situations as us, and it’s these experiences that they rely on to guide discussions and activities. Our therapists don’t have a personal vendetta against us. They’re simply there to help us get better. As The Big Book states, “God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds.” They are trained to equip us with the tools we need to recover from our illness, but it is up to us to heed their suggestions if we want to see any results. Sometimes, the only way to grow and develop in addiction treatment is to let our guard down and open ourselves up to receiving help from others.

Not liking your therapist is no excuse to stop yourself from getting the help you deserve. Therapists are only interested in doing one thing: helping you process and discard the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that kept you stuck in addiction. The processes they take you through in order to do this are not all easy, and many may touch a raw nerve (or ten), but going through the fire is the only way you’ll be able to identify your flaws and impurities and come out even better on the other side. If addiction treatment was easy, we’d all be able to do it ourselves, right?

At  Thrive Treatment℠ (and many other addiction treatment facilities) there are often a number of different types of therapy offered. From art therapy and daily group sessions to multi-family therapy and individual therapy options, there are plenty of options for even the most skeptical of clients. All therapy options may not appeal to you, but you are bound to find some therapists, strategies, and therapeutic activities that you’ll gravitate towards, and it’s important that you do your absolute best to make the most out of all you’re presented with.

If you are suffering from addiction, it is never too late for help. At Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, our specialists know just what you need in order to make a complete 180 and get back on the right track. Call us at (888)975-8474 today!

Addiction is Not Your Fault… But It Is Your Responsibility

Addiction is Not Your Fault… But It Is Your Responsibility

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is specific and definitive in its definition of alcoholism, which can be applied as a definition of addiction. Addiction, according to the AA philosophy, is a disease characterized by three components, in three different spheres: a physical allergy, a mental obsession, and a spiritual malady. As it’s explained throughout the book, the physical allergy occurs when drugs or alcohol are consumed, and sets off a reaction in the body to crave another, and another, and another. The mental obsession is that even when an addict is off of a substance and entirely sober, the craving to use is so strong that it overpowers any rational thoughts that would tell him or her that it’s not a good idea to use. The spiritual malady is best described in The Big Book: “we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” The spiritual malady is a sickness in our soul, developed over time from hurts and traumas, poor coping behaviors and personality traits, that can only be truly uncovered by looking deep within ourselves.

Addiction is, by no stretch of the imagination, our fault. No man wakes up one day with the outright intention of becoming an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”. Even in his deepest denial, even in his greatest enjoyment of the euphoria put forth by substances, he still does not want to be someone who is physically, mentally, and spiritually sick as a result of addiction. Numerous factors which have compiled upon themselves since before his birth have predisposed him to addiction and the substances themselves have taken over his mind in a way he cannot control. As The Big Book famously suggests, we are utterly powerless against addiction when we try to fight it ourselves. Thankfully, we never have to fight alone.

Although addiction isn’t our fault, the way we respond to our addiction and take charge of our recovery is our responsibility. By seeking treatment– be it at an inpatient facility or an outpatient facility like Thrive Treatment℠– we’re making the statement that we are willing to believe that we have what it takes to beat addiction. We are taking responsibility for our addiction when we take responsibility for our recovery. Nobody can recover for us. This statement is huge, and sets the path for a successful recovery journey. Just as addiction is a mental illness, recovery relies on mental strength.

Taking responsibility doesn’t stop at declaring that we need help and making the brave decision to find treatment. Throughout the recovery process, responsibility is preached and expected at all times, from both us and the people we surround ourselves with. As The Big Book states, in time, responsibility will become such a large part of our recovery journey that we will even “awaken to a new sense of responsibility for others” as well.

How can I take responsibility for my addiction?

Admitting that only you can find recovery and create a new life for yourself, then seeking treatment is the first step. Committing yourself enitrely to your recovery is the second.

Thrive Treatment℠, like many other treatment facilities across the nation, offers outpatient services. Our treatment plans don’t isolate clients in one setting away from the rest of the world, and it’s this concept of bringing our addiction recovery community right to our clients’ doors that we feel provides our amazing results. However, this does mean that the responsibility lies on the client to attend the meetings, therapies, and activities designed for them. Sometimes, when we’re tasked with doing something difficult or challenging for our own good, we falter at the added responsibility of doing it. At these times, it’s important that we remember that addiction doesn’t just leave us when we declare that we want treatment. Ridding ourselves of the factors that caused our addiction takes time, and, more importantly, commitment. The Big Book couldn’t illustrate this point any better. It says that “the idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” If we were able to control our addiction without treatment and the support of a recovery community, we would have done it a long time ago. The fact that we decided to pursue treatment speaks to the fact that we know we need it, and the millions of successful recovery stories speak to the fact that treatment works. All we have to do is stay committed to it.

I didn’t cause my addiction. Why should I be responsible for it?

For some of us, substance abuse was a result of circumstances that we didn’t make, and that we couldn’t fix. Adverse life experiences like abuse, trauma, neglect, and undue stress happen in our lives. After using substances for an extended period of time, we became addicted, and we often feel like our addiction never would have happened as long as that stressor was never there. We also tend to feel that we are justified in our using because of what has happened to us. Since we the responsibility of events external to us is not ours, then, by addiction-logic, the responsibility of events internal to us shouldn’t be ours either.

Unfortunately, our stressful live events were there, and a truth we come to accept is that stressful live events are always going to be there, everywhere we go. While addiction isn’t our fault, it is still our responsibility to control how we handle it.

It can be hard to understand the logic behind assuming responsibility for something we can’t control and didn’t cause, but we need look no further than The Big Book, which encourages us to go as far as to assume responsibility for others going through similar pain, for clarity.

The AA Responsibility Pledge reads as such: “I am responsible… When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”

Addiction is an illness that needs a responsible party to get rid of it. It won’t go away on its own, and it will only get worse if left unmanaged. We say we’re responsible for our addictions, even though we didn’t cause them, because in doing so, we give ourselves the keys to lock addiction away for good and in so doing give others the key to free themselves from addiction forever.

Acknowledging that we are powerless over addiction, but that we do have complete power in how we deal with it, is the entire goal behind assuming responsibility. If, as in AA, we are to be tasked with being there for others that need our help, we must first understand that responsibility begins within ourselves.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica offers premium outpatient treatment services that may be right for you. We’re just a phone call away from helping you reclaim the life addiction took from you. Call us today at (888)975-8474!

Don’t Just Give a Man a Fish

Don’t Just Give a Man a Fish

Ever fished before? It’s therapeutic, in the kind of way that makes some people sit for hours on end hoping to catch “the big one”, or really not caring about what they catch and just enjoying watching the water lap back and forth. It isn’t really about the fish, but about the experience. Fishing teaches you patience, poise, and more patience. It’s relaxing, and calming. Eating fish, on the other hand, is a whole different experience. You eat for sustenance, and don’t have to particularly enjoy what you’re eating. You just have to eat. So you do. There isn’t any lesson to be learned from eating fish, and it isn’t really a joyous experience. It’s just done.

Addiction recovery can either be like teaching a man to fish, giving him life skills, or it can be like giving a man a fish to eat. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we see recovery as teaching you to fish. We don’t just provide treatment and send you home, catering to your wants instead of your needs. That’s just like eating fish. In our minds, treatment without explanation, without reason, without instruction, has very little point. Good treatment needs background, and sharing the whys and hows about what we do will make it clear to our clients just how we can help them. Without understanding how we work, whether or not we’ll be able to work for you is up in the air, and that simply isn’t fair. Not knowing what lies ahead for you in a program means the treatment we provide may help you, or it may not. It may be tailored specifically to your needs, or it may be what some programs belive to be a “cure-all curriculum”. Your recovery is far too important to be dealing in the unknown because your life is too important to be treated lightly. As an outpatient treatment center, we pride ourselves on making our treatment process as simple, understandable, and straightforward as possible. After all, no one wants to enter a treatment program with no idea of what they’re getting themselves into, or whether the process will work for them.

How We Teach Men To Fish

At Thrive Treatment℠, we’re a family with a focus on making the addiction recovery process as convenient, practical, and life changing as possible. We wholeheartedly believe in The Big Book’s teaching of educating our communities, so they can go out and educate others. Altruism is a powerful thread in recovery, and as The Big Book suggests, there’s very little that can “contribute more to rehabilitation of men than the altruistic movement.”

A large part of the treatment we extend here at Thrive is also rooted in helping you forge the bonds and connections that you need to successfully recover, because again, recovery is just as much about knowing how to work your plan as it is about working it. Learning how to rely on friends and connections gives you the ability to deal with struggles that you may not think you can do on your own, and it you that dealing is possible. After all, recovery shouldn’t be a one-man job!

At Thrive Treatment℠, you’re always a part of our family, and our resources are always available to you. In recovery, it’s important that we know that we always have someone to turn to, and that we are never alone, even when we think otherwise. In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous tells us just how important it is to be able to work together to maximize recovery. The organization says “critical in the relationship between A.A. and its nonalcoholic friends, a relationship forged in the pursuit of common goals– how to best help the still-suffering alcoholic and provide an ongoing means for recovery from the effects of alcoholism– is the spirit of collaboration.” Forming a tribe is an effective way to grow through recovery, because it allows us to both offer and receive support when it’s needed most. This tribe is what our family provides.

Finally, we teach men to fish by showing them how to make good use of our alumni networks and the organizations that exist outside of primary treatment, instead of ending our assistance at graduation. Our alumni network is a  huge resource for many of our graduates, and many of them are now lifelong friends with individuals they graduated with years ago. Other organizations, like sober living homes, are also great resources for post-treatment, and many people find living in such a facility to be a tremendous help before they make the transition to life back at home.

How do I know Thrive is right for me?

We were founded on the premise that recovery should not be a foreign or difficult concept to grasp, and we make sure to be as transparent as possible about what we’re doing at our great little Santa Monica facility. Our staff members are normal folks with a passion for assisting the recovery community, and their own incredible journeys with recovery in their own lives often lay the foundation for what is shared with our clients. Our joy is that our stories are able to change lives, and we truly offer a remarkable experience that is unmatched in the Santa Monica region.

We care about every single one of our clients, because we have been in your same shoes. We know what it is like to go through addiction, only to find that the resources we thought were available were not available, or were not accessible, or, frankly, weren’t right for what we were dealing with.

Thrive Treatment℠ is a family. It always has been, and it always will be.

We’re interested in teaching you how to fish, not just giving you something to eat. Dealing with addiction is an intense and unfortunate ideal. The very least we can do is make your treatment decision as easy as possible! Call us today at (888)975-8474!

Cutting to the Chase: Owning Your Recovery

Cutting to the Chase: Owning Your Recovery

There are millions of people suffering from addiction in America alone. The age range typically starts at 12 and has no limit. Addiction, by far, is one of the most dangerous epidemics this world has ever faced. The CDC estimates that in 2017, around 72,000 people lost their lives to opioid overdose and opioid-related deaths. Opioid-specific deaths have increased by about 10,000 more lives per year since 2015 at least, and the projections aren’t approximated to decrease.

Yet, there is hope. For every one of those individuals suffering from addiction to drugs, alcohol, or other substances, there is oft a family member, friend, or loved one on their side, fighting in their best ability every day for their survival. Even if there is no one on a man’s team, there is always an addiction recovery center or treatment facility somewhere nearby as well, teeming with trained professionals waiting for a chance to help curb those painful addictions and get men back on the right path to a healthy and fulfilling life.

When pursuing treatment, many individuals that are suffering from addiction are not always sure what the best path for them is. With a myriad of options all designed to assist, making a decision can sometimes seem overwhelming or difficult. In the past years, researchers have worked to make these options clearer for individuals, so they can make decisions faster, and get the quality help they deserve as soon as possible. Addiction is progressive, and every second counts when it comes to making the decision for treatment.

In choosing treatment options that will help you own your recovery and maximize the process as a whole, it is ideal to look for facilities with a no-nonsense approach to treatment. Directly addressing issues in recovery is the fastest and most efficient way to break through barriers and maximize recovery time, particularly for those of us who have suffered from chronic addiction for a long period of time. Many of us often have so much piled up in the way of unaddressed feelings, concerns, and pain that it would be almost impossible to address every single one of these issues  adequately without a direct approach.

The methodology is simple here.  In the span of the treatment process (usually a few months), we are encouraged to speak as openly and candidly as possible about what we have been going through with Addiction, with our lives and  how we suppose our life has come to be where it’s ended up: in treatment and recovery.

Trained professionals focus on curating specific solutions and strategies to help us keep pushing through and discussing. Once all is unpacked, these professionals assist us in organizing, prioritizing, and defining issues until we get to the roots. Through it all, we are given strategies to solve, rectify, and overcome each issue holistically and are also championed to pursue creative, collaborative, and stimulating outlets that we can continue long-term as safe and effective alternatives to substances and addiction.

While very intensive, this direct approach is not the only way that the treatment center encourages individuals to own their recovery. In fact, the majority of the process involves training clients to understand the importance of aligning mind, body, and spirit so that they can continue to be successful after treatment has ended. This approach is so effective because it addresses something that often leaves individuals trapped and unsure: the notion of how to put skills and traits learned in treatment to good use when faced with difficult situations in recovery.

Aligning mind, body, and spirit to make the most out of recovery often lends itself to a multi-faceted approach. Many treatment centers, like Thrive, encourage, support, and host robust alumni groups designed to help individuals keep the faith by keeping them close to and in contact with the individuals they met and grew close to during the actual treatment process. These groups have been shown to work wonders for individuals that may be at risk of getting hung up in the recovery process because of factors they did not face at the treatment facility. Individuals can speak candidly and openly about their progress to people that already know them, share stories of success, and even feel comfortable asking for help with issues they may not have been able to address with anyone else. As was the case during treatment, a no-nonsense, direct approach is always celebrated, and allows these individuals to return home refreshed, re-energized, and renewed.

Another way that treatment centers use mind, body, and spirit alignment to help individuals own their recovery is by placing a premium on healthy stimulation and encouraging individuals to get involved in exercises, groups, and activities that do the same. Treatment is not always able to save an individual when they are faced with difficult situations in recovery. Even though treatment is chock-full of excellent resources to make the recovery process as easy as possible, the fact of the matter is that individuals need to face difficult situations outside of treatment in order to become stronger in their recovery and better suited to face more difficult challenges. That is what makes the emphasis on healthy stimulation such an important part of teaching these individuals to own their recovery. Combined with a direct, no-frills process, encouraging individuals to pursue exercise, difficult and engaging hobbies, and things that push them out of their comfort zones and force them to rely on their collaborative, creative, and constructive skillsets encourages them to not take no for an answer, to fight their way to the top, and to strive to win in everything that they do. It is this gritty, passionate determination that gives these individuals what they need to face, assess, and overcome difficult situations in recovery on their own!

There’s no question: cutting to the chase with a no-frills approach to recovery is one of the best ways to teach clients how to own their recovery. If you or a loved one is still suffering from addiction, look no further than Thrive Treatment℠. We wrote the book on straightforward recovery methods that get results, and we’re ready to help you change your life. Please, call us at (888)975-8474 today!