Advantages of the 12-Step Recovery Program

Are you thinking about joining a 12 step recovery program to help you overcome your addiction? Are you unsure on what the advantages of a 12 step recovery program are? To help learn about the advantages of a 12 step recovery program, I have interviewed therapist Dr. Ruthe Willis LCSW. Whether you’re struggling with alcoholism or polysubstance abuse, twelve-step is a wonderful option that helps many people.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a 60+year old clinical social worker specializing in addictions. I have almost 40 years experience. Good grief! I worked for 10 years at NY Hospital in White Plains, NY, and have been in full time clinical work on my own since then. I grew up in an alcoholic family and it was only natural to become a social work with addicted people.”

What are the requirements for joining a 12-step recovery program?
“Anyone can join a 12-step recovery program. The only requirements are showing up, listening, and if you want to get something out of it, say something. Woody Allan said 80% of life is just showing up. He’s right. If you miss the 12-step recovery meeting you were going to attend, go to the next one. Kind of like if you get thrown from a horse, get back on right away.”

What are the advantages of a 12-step recovery program?
:The advantages of a 12 step recovery program are: 1. You make friends and have people to talk to about your addiction. 2. Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) recovery meetings are very structured and cover a large variety of subjects. 3. You can get a sponsor and usually stay in touch with them daily, for the first 90 days. 4. Many people attend 90 meetings in 90 days and that helps give focus to your day. You are with helpful people, see some people are worse off than you are, and you might find someone to admire and use as a role model. 5. You can travel around the world (or less) and find Bill W. meetings almost anywhere. Instant connections when you go to a new town or city.

I like combining a 12-step recovery programs with therapy. Twenty years ago AA members did not like anyone taking medication or getting therapy. The old timers felt therapy was either “wrong” or would lead you to the wrong place or to the wrong conclusion. Now, it’s been years since I have gotten someone who was told not to come see me.

In my practice, of relatively well functioning adults, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you are in or out of 12-step recovery program. Both “get well” with weekly therapy in the same amount of time.”

Should a 12-step program be combined with other forms of therapy in order to maximize its positive impact?
“Absolutely therapy should complement a 12-step recovery program. Therapy allows the client to work on personal issues in addition to issues that people bring up in group. Especially after 2 years of a 12-step recovery program people should go into therapy. By that time the addiction is healing and personal work on family, job, or other problems can be dealt with between the client and therapist.

In 12-step recovery programs there is no cross talk, so you will get advice from members outside of the meeting, not inside the meeting. I give lots of advice to my clients and work with those who want to maintain controlled drinking. By large we are successful, though many people return to me after 6 months or a few years to get back in the wagon.”

What advice would you like to leave for someone who is considering a 12-step program?
“My advice for someone joining is to get a sponsor of the same sex and listen carefully in the meetings. If a meeting is a total turnoff to you, change meetings till you find people to relate to.

Thank you Dr. Willis for doing the interview on the advantages of a 12 step recovery program. For more information on Dr. Willis or her work you can check out her website on http://www.alcoholanddepression.com.

Recommended Readings:
Tips For Overcoming An Addiction
How to Overcome Internet Sex Addiction
How to Overcome a Drug Addiction

alcohol and drug addiction in the family

Memories of Family Alcoholism

After my grandmother died,the not normal, but familiar world I have known for so long was gone. No longer able to pick up the phone and call her,I felt like I had died too. I knew she was special, but I didn’t know just how much of an impact she would have on my life, until now.

At 12 going on 13, a young girl’s mind should be on things other than being the caretaker and defender of her family. With the death of my grandmother came a depression in my mother, that was deep and strong. I know now what she must have been feeling.

At the time, all I saw in her was a drunk. She was drunk from daylight to daylight most of the time. I had become the person who cooked and kept our clothes clean. My mother was either gone to work or in bed drunk everyday. Still living in the leaning house, I tried to get to school on time and to take care of my little brother. My older brother’s way of dealing with everything was to spend every waking moment at school or with his friends. He was old enough to drive and he stayed as far away as he could. I recommend reading Addiction Rehab Blog’s 5 Things You Can Do to Help a Drug Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help.

Not only did the drinking get worse, the beatings got much worse. One occasion, in particular seemed to stay planted in my mind for all of these years. It was a Saturday morning. My brother had brought his buddy home, who also had an alcoholic situation at home, we all went swimming down at the creek. When we got back around 2;30, my dad and mom were toasted to the max by then. As was a normal effort to keep everything peaceful, we attempted to eat watermelon under the trees in the backyard. My mom in all of her drunk glory, decided to come out to put her daily dose of venom into the events.

My brother’s friend recognized it was the perfect time to leave. My brother(17)knew it was going to come down to a knock-down, drag-out fight with my mom and dad. He stuck around to make sure she didn’t get hurt bad, or we didn’t. As was par for their fights, my mom went straight for the car after talking trash to everybody. She didn’t have the keys, but she was going to sit in the car and whatever.

For some reason, this just really pissed off my dad. In about 15 minutes, he came raging out of the back door and cussing at my mom. Her in all of her passed out state, jumped up and continued the rant she started earlier. The mood was right for an title bout. As soon as she stood up straight and called my dad a no-good cheating son-of-a-bitch, you could hear the bell ring.

My dad must have seen dark, dark red. He grabbed her and drug her around the car, towards the house, by her hair. This was the beginning of the battle. My brother ran and grabbed him, yelling let her go. As my dad let go, my mom managed to get to her feet and slap the living hell out of my dad. Wrong move. Before my brother could grab his hand,he knocked her off of her feet. He lunged at her to hit her again and my brother tackled him. In one swing he busted her mouth and nose. At this point blood was pouring. My brother and him wrestled on the ground for a few minutes and my brother let him up.

Helping Addicts who Dont Want HelpMy little brother and I were hiding behind the house, shaking with fear and crying our eyes out. We kept peeking around to see what was going on. When the blood shot from my mother’s face, my heart felt as though it was going to bust from my chest. I was so scared and just knew she was dying. When my dad got up, he headed straight for the house. My brother must have known what he was going after. He tried to get my mom off of the ground and in the car. She was so messed up, she was fighting him too. Within what seemed like hours, my dad came back out of the house with his rifle.

My brother ran to get us and took us out into the bamboo field behind our house. I remember him saying, Be still and quiet no matter what you hear. It still makes me shake to think of it. My dad saw us go in the field and started shooting in our direction. My brother ran screaming so he would shoot towards the sound of his voice. When he came back a few minutes later, he sent my little brother around the back of the house down the road to the neighbors to call the police. When my dad came around and saw him running, he fired at him 3 times. My little brother ducked down and kept running.

When the police came, no one was arrested. My dad did leave though. He went to Virginia the next week for work. It didn’t seem that bad when my dad left. My mom continued to be drunk and talk bad to us. She continued to try and be as crazy as possible with the alcoholic tirades daily. Life went on and we made do as best we could. I guess my dad must have sent money, because we paid the rent.

In the weeks and months that came, our lives made another drastic turn. My dad and mom were working out there differences and my mom seemed to realize she needed to slow down, if not stop the drinking. My dad came home one weekend and told us we were moving to Virginia. My older brother was in his Senior year and didn’t want to move. He was allowed to go and live with my mom’s brother until graduation.

As we arrived in Virginia to the “new” home, I started to cry when we pulled in. An old Airstream trailer in a dumpy trailer park. No real bedrooms, just a hall with beds to the side. I just had a bad feeling from the start. We were enrolled in school and my mom was attempting to stay sober. It wasn’t working. Within weeks of moving to Virginia, she was back to the usual passing out and talking trash.

As I tried to cope with the daily routine of caring for my 8 year old brother, going to school and avoiding being hit, my dad threw yet another curve in my direction. While watching tv one night, my mom passed out and my brother asleep, I leaned over the couch and looked out the poor excuse for a window in the Airstream. My dad parked our car out there. I thought I heard a noise and while investigating the source, I got more of an education than I had intended. My dad was in the back seat with the landlord’s wife, buck naked. No need to explain their obvious activities. That picture has stayed in my mind for over 35 years.

Needless to say, nothing had changed. Our world continued to deteriorate and my responsibility continued to grow. About 3 months before my mom made up her mind to wake up, I came down with pneumonia. I remember getting my brother off to school and going back to bed. I knew I couldn’t breathe, but I thought if I laid down, I would be alright. About 3 hours later, I went to a neighbor and called my mom and dad’s work. When they got me to the hospital, I had a 106 fever. I was put into critical care for almost 2 weeks.

When they finally put me in a regular room, my mom and dad showed up to visit. First time since I went in. My mom was falling down drunk and my dad was close. I was so embarrassed, I asked them to leave. When I got out, my dad left to go back home. My mom started making plans to do the same.

When we got home,once again, my mom and dad tried to make peace. It didn’t work. We moved to my grandmother’s old house and my dad stayed in his dad’s house. Just being back at her house and imagining her being there, gave me comfort. My mom was sober again and I thought we would be alright, finally. I was so glad to be back and to be on familiar ground. As the weeks and months came and went, my mom, my brothers and I were happy. My brother got a scholarship to college for football and we were doing great, without my dad.

I don’t know what makes a woman want to continue to hope her man will change, if only she can love him enough. This was the dilema my mother was in. She wanted to believe she could change him. So she let him come back. At first just to date, I guess. Then it was more frequent.

By then, she was starting to drink some again. This was like getting shot to me. I hated my dad and what he had done to us. Seeing him in that car, was the final straw. I told my mom not to let him come back. That was a wasted effort.

The fall was in sight. I knew we were not going to make it this time either. On Sunday morning in June, I came downstairs to start my day. My older brother was on the couch and my mom was just coming in. She came through the living room and started cussing my brother. As I walked past them, trying to avoid conflict, she reached by him and slapped me across the face, calling me a slut and a whore.

I guess I had taken all of the abuse I could. I immediately grabbed her and threw her on the floor. You have to understand. My mom was 5’7″ and never weighed over 95 lbs ever. I have always been tall. I sat on top of her and put my hands around her throat. I told her I hated her and if she ever put her hands on me again, I would kill her.

My head couldn’t stop spinning. I ran upstairs, grabbed my clothes and took off down the driveway. My Aunt Nora and Uncle Grover were across the golf course. Yea we lived on the golf course. Before it was cool to live there. I never looked back at that house. I told my Aunt I did not want to go back, even if it meant going to an orphanage.

My mom called me and tried to come see me. I wouldn’t talk to her. I was determined no matter what the cost, I wouldn’t go back. Bravery at 13 is also stubbornness. It proved to be my saving grace. It gave me a new place to start trying to figure out what the heck was my purpose here and why was I destined to go through everything the hard way?.

Meditation for ADHD

Treating ADHD Without Prescription Medication

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, seems to be gaining in momentum of it’s diagnosis with each passing year. Unfortunately, many children who are prescribed medication to control the symptoms of this disorder experience less-than-desirable side effects as a result of these medicines. Many parents these days are seeking out alternative routes to treat ADHD without harmful medications. With a little information and knowledge at hand, you may be able to find a far safer option. From meditation practices to diet, there are many things that can help ADHD symptoms. One Mind Dharma’s article Concentrative Meditation – Practices, Tips, and Explanation has some great tips on establishing concentration, along with some guided practices.

The first thing you need to take a close look at is your child’s diet. Too many children these days are filling their bodies with refined sugars and flours, artificially dyed and flavored foods, caffeine and other such “junk foods.” Plain and simple, it has been proven that what we eat also effects us both physically as well as emotionally. Many parents have seen for themselves the negative effects of artificial dyes in foods and medicines, specifically Red #40. Children prone to hyperactivity are often effected strongly by Red #40 and this one small step of removing this coloring from your child’s daily diet can truly make a world of difference. My advice to parents wanting to see a drastic change in their child’s impulsivity, sleep patterns, attitude and attention span is to try to keep their diet as natural as possible. Your goal ought to be to feed your child foods that look as close as possible to what they looked like before being shipped to the store. Fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grain breads, organic food items, etc… If a cheese is neon orange or the bread is pure white or the juice is bright green, it is undoubtedly due to some negative additives being introduced into said food item. This may require a lot more label-reading in the grocery store but the change will be well worth it. Also be aware of caffeine which may be in products like chocolate and soft drinks. At first, your child may go through a time of detox when their behavior may get a bit worse as their bodies go through withdrawal (because many children are literally addicted to these additives) but eventually the change in thier daily behavior will be abundantly obvious. Over time your child will surely develop a taste for healthier, more beneficial foods. In our home my eldest son has been on this strict diet for about 4 years now and to be fair we all try to follow it. Now, my children may pick at cake or candy at a birthday party but they will indefinitely devour fresh fruit from a bowl on the table or a salad with dinner. It gets easier the longer you stick to such a diet. And the benefits last a lifetime.

Herbal TeaAnother route to try is to supplement the dietary changes with a herbal or homeopathic remedy. For aggression and impulsivity and behavior issues including clinginess and arguing you may want to try the homeopathic remedy chamomile. For hyperactivity try an herb such as lemon balm or catnip tea. Hylands homeopathic remedy Calms Forte for children is also a wonderful remedy that can be used both throughout the day as well as at bedtime. Try a few drops of lavender oil in a bath before bed or mix in a few drops with a few tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil and massage into the temples or shoulders. Melatonin is a substance naturally produced by our bodies to soothe and relax us at night time and you may safely administer a dose of up to 3 mg for children ages 3 and up. This can be purchased at any local pharmacy over the counter. A bedtime tea such as a blend of chamomile, peppermint and lemon balm is also a wonderful way to ease that transition from playtime to bedtime. My children often enjoy a cup of bedtime tea iced and sweetened with honey with dinner to help them to relax.

Of course, nothing you give your child is going to magically cure ADHD. The best defense is an active parent. Pay attention to what your child’s triggers are. Keep a predictable schedule and routine day to day in your home. Don;t allow your child to skip naps or stay up all night long. If you are going to be late for a meal offer your child a snack to keep their blood sugar levels stable. If overstimulation is a problem make sure you take notice and lead your child into a quieter calming activity such as helping you knead bread, reading a book together or taking a bath. If boredom is a problem, be more actively involved in playtime, offering suggestions to your child of ways to stay occupied such as art projects, building with blocks or doing a puzzle. Allow your child creative outlets to let out excess energy such as bouncing on a trampoline (or bed if you so allow), roughhousing with Daddy, dancing, sports, outdoor play, etc…. Teach your child when it is acceptable to be loud and boisterous and when it is proper to behave a little calmer. If your child has a teacher at school who refuses to work with you or be understanding perhaps the answer is to switch teachers or even consider home schooling, which I know personally has benefited many high needs ADHD students who otherwise would get lost in the shuffle of overcrowded classrooms.

Most importantly, do not allow your child to become a label. Learn to see your child’s behavior as a blessing. At a young age it can all seem frustrating, and stressful and exhausting. But later in life these attributes may guide him in success. A hyper child may later learn to channel that energy into a career where energy is a must. Impulsivity at a tender age may result in dangerous situations but as you teach her to focus those impulses she may grow into a woman who can think and react fast on their feet. I myself am a woman who was diagnosed ADHD as a child and I can tell you as a mother of 4 young children, my need for less sleep and my ability to multitask serve me well. Instead of speaking negatively in regards to your child’s symptoms, try to point out their strengths in such ways that they are encouraged to grow and develop into an adult you are proud of. It may be a little more work than simply filling a prescription once a month at your local pharmacy for the latest drug, but the results that come with your effort make it well worth it. The goal here is not to silence your child, but to simply give a little guidance to their voice, to empower them to use their true selves in positivity. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. (As long as that pudding is free of all artificial additives 🙂 )

kava for opiate withdrawal

Using Kava for Opiate Withdrawal

Using Kava for Opiate Withdrawal

Kava kava can be an effective natural treatment for opiate withdrawal. As an anxiolytic and natural medicine which may promote relaxation, kava can help ease symptoms of opioid withdrawal. If you’re going through the detoxification process from heroin, prescription painkillers, or any other opioid, we do recommend reaching out to professionals. There are many residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs where you can receive quality medical and clinical care to get clean.

Kava Extract
Buy Kava Extract

What is Kava Kava?

Kava is a plant native to the Western Pacific, and sometimes known as kava kava. It’s a type of pepper plant, and has been used for centuries by the Polynesian people for its sedating qualities. Some cultures also use kava as a painkiller, as the active ingredients can help reduce the perception of pain in the body. Unlike medications that produce sedation, kava is known to not reduce mental clarity. Kava is sometimes treated as a sacred plant, and kava ceremonies may be held for its consumption.

Kavalactones

The active ingredient in kava kava are kavalactones. There are many known kavalactones in the kava plant, with most of them concentrated in the roots and stem of the plant. Together, kavalactones work to reduce stress, ease anxiety, and relieve pain. Different cultivars of the kava plant from different locations are likely to have different levels of kavalactones. There has been quite a bit of research on kava, with many studies finding the kavalactones effective at treating anxiety, insomnia, and pain.

Kava Tea
Buy Kava Tea

Kava Health Risks

It is worth noting that there are some health risks, especially with long-term kava use. Kava has been found to be especially damaging on the liver. There have been quite a few reported cases of liver damage from kava kava use, mostly with regular use. Furthermore, kava at high doses can produce psychoactive effects, and people may begin to abuse kava for its psychoactive properties.

How Kava Helps Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

As many people are looking for more natural ways to ease themselves off opioids, kava has made a comeback. It can be consumed a number of ways, but it is most commonly consumed as an herbal tea. There are also pills, powders, and extracts available.

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal can be quite unpleasant and difficult. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal may vary from individual to individual, and there are many factors that may affect the severity of symptoms. These include length of use, drug being abused, dose of opiates, and the individual’s body chemistry.

Common symptoms of opiate withdrawal include:

  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Sweating and fevers
  • Insomnia
  • Craving for opioids
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea and nausea
kava kava pills
Buy Kava Pills

Effects of Kava

Kava is most well-known for its ability to ease anxiety, promote sleep, and relieve pain. It’s easy to see how kavalactones may greatly help opioid withdrawal. Effects an individual may experience from consuming kava are:

  • Anxiety relief
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Anti-convulsant

Kava can be a great medicinal option for those struggling with withdrawal from opioids. You can find it at your local health food store, some grocery stores, and of course online on places like Amazon.

7 Places to Find Spiritual Inspiration Online

7 Places to Find Spiritual Inspiration Online

Over the past few decades people who consider themselves religious has been steadily declining. However, there has been a rise in people who are interested in some kind of spirituality that is not necessarily religious. The Pew Research Center found that just under 20% of people in the U.S. said that they had no religious belief whatsoever. Interestingly, 37% of those people considered themselves spiritual.

Unlike many religions that have well established, texts, teachings, and places of worship, this new type of spirituality is a little more vague. If you consider yourself spiritual but non-religious it can be difficult to know exactly where to turn for community or inspiration. However, if you know where to look there are many places that offer spiritual inspiration.

1. Blogs from Elephant Journal

Reading about spirituality can be a great way to get inspired. Elephant Journal’s blog has some great content about yoga, spirituality, and wellness. They publish so much content that it can be difficult to weed through everything. We really recommend looking through the section titled editors picks. This section has content that is a bit more curated. Also, the section “non new-age spirituality” is also a great place to read about spiritual practices that aren’t too out there.

Spiritual Quotes

2. Quotes from One Mind Dharma

One Mind Dharma offers a huge array of interesting spiritual content. They definitely talk mostly about Buddhism and meditation but they offer some content that is a bit more secular. We stumbled on a page that offers mindfulness quotes. These quotes are a wonderful place to find spiritual inspiration. You can read the words of zen masters and modern mindfulness teachers.

3. Online Courses from Tricycle

Tricyle offers online classes about meditation, spirituality, and mindfulness. These are a great way to get some spiritual inspiration without ever needing to leave your home. These online classes are a little pricy but still much less expensive than many in-person workshops. They also tend to draw really big name teachers, like Sharon Salzberg, because they are a well-respected publication. If you are interested you can see the current course offerings here.

4. Books from the Huffington Post</2>

In addition to reading blogs it can be great to dive a little deeper into spiritual practice. One great way to find some inspiration is by reading books on the topic. HuffingtonPost.com has an incredible list of books for people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious. Whether you are looking for some light reading or deep books about complex spiritual topics there is something on the list for you. If you are a particularly techy person you can also buy many of these books on kindle and read them on one of your devices.

Spiritual groups

5. Groups on Facebook

There are many great spiritual groups on Facebook. It can take some searching around to find the few that are right for you. But, groups can be a perfect way to get some inspiration and connect with people who are on a similar path that you are. One group we recommend is the Practices of Gratitude group. This group is a place for people to share their gratitude about something every day. People post pretty frequently so it can be a nice way to interact with people or start up a gratitude practice of you own.

6. Spiritual Movement on Instagram

If you are looking for a great mixture of spiritual content that you can easily scroll trough we recommend that you check out @SpiritualMovement on Instagram. They post great content with photos, quotes, thoughts, and doodles. This is a bit of a surface way to consume your spiritual inspiration. But, it is nice if you have a few minutes and want a quick boost of inspiration.

7. Spirit Stream in your App Store

With Spirit Stream you can create playlists of spiritual music, talks, or meditations. These are a great way to have some spiritual inspiration right on your phone. It is helpful because you can get inspired while driving, working out, or just sitting at home. They have a ton available on the app so if you have a teacher or spiritual tradition you like you can find more of that content.

Take some time to explore your spirituality online! There are so many great resources available to help you find inspiration and get to know yourself better.

Benefits of Social Support

How Social Support Can Help Us Through Difficulties

Social support is something many of us neglect when we’re facing difficulties. We want to isolate, don’t reach out for help, or just slowly stop interacting with others. There are reasons that many cancer treatment programs incorporate support groups, Christian rehab centers incorporate Celebrate Recovery (Christian recovery) meetings, and mental health clinics encourage group therapy and exercises. It works. Although there are times that we need medicine, doctors, and professionals, we can always supplement our healing through difficulties by seeking out social engagement.

The Benefits of Social Support

Multiple studies have found that social support can help improve mental health. A 1996 analysis of studies done over the previous
twenty years found significant data to suggest social support can help improve mental health. A 2011 study found that social relationships can effect our health for better or for worse in many different aspects, including mental health, health behavior, and mortality risk.

Here are a few benefits of social support in your health and in facing adversities in your life:

  • Build self-esteem and self-worth through deep and caring connections with other people in your life
  • Reduce anxiety and stress, as found by multiple studies
  • Help alleviate symptoms of depression
  • Increased ability to cope with stress
  • Reduce fatigue and sleepiness during our days
  • Generally healthier psychological wellbeing
  • Better judgement and impulse control

Social support in addictionWhy We Isolate

You may have had the experience of isolating when things are rough. Whether you’ve dealt with clinical depression, faced times of grief, or struggled with everyday stress, you may have found yourself retreating into yourself. This can happen for a number of reasons, and it’s good to know why this happens so we don’t beat ourselves up too harshly.

From a biological perspective, we are especially vulnerable during times when we are struggling. Our minds and bodies know this, and we’ve evolved as humans to care for our lives. As such, the mind and body may respond to difficulties and stress by wanting to isolate and be alone so we are not as vulnerable to danger. This is perfectly natural, and we don’t need to blame ourselves for this. Rather, we can look at the experience with some care and compassion, as we don’t really have a say in how our biology works all the time!

Socially, we are taught as a society to be happy and show our best face. Social media is a major culprit here. Not that all social media interaction is bad, but we are often seeing the good things happening in peoples’ lives. When we look at magazines, watch TV, or go online, we are being shown happy and healthy people often. It’s a subtle message that can make us feel like we “should” be happy. Like that is the correct way to be. Because of this, we may feel embarrassed or even ashamed when we are struggling, and not want to show our faces.

Mentally, we may simply not have the energy to engage socially when we are facing difficulties. Stress and pain sucks up our energy and can leave us feeling tired and defeated. It takes mental power to deal with anxiety, stress, worry, grief, etc. After a day of facing adversity, we often don’t have the mental energy left to get up and interact with others. If we do, we often don’t want to talk about what’s going on or show up with deep honesty.

Ways to Build a Support Network

Whether you’re in a moment of pain or you know that difficulties are a part of life, it can be incredibly helpful to have people toward whom you can turn when things get tough. Everyone is different. Some people like having one best friend with whom they are super close, while others prefer to have a larger group of friends to talk to and share with. Try to be careful not to fall into the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” trap by thinking that your support group should look any specific way. Investigate for yourself what works and what is beneficial.

You may start by looking at your closest relationships you currently have. Maybe you have family, a significant other, or a close friend who you are extremely close with. Make an effort to cultivate this relationship. Part of being in a social support network is showing up for others and building trust. If you haven’t spoken with someone in a while, give them a call or go visit. Connect with the person as regularly as you’re able in order to keep the relationship fresh, personal, and supportive.

You can also reach out to build new relationships. If applicable, find a support group. If you’re recovering from addiction or process addictions, there are many support groups such as twelve-step, Refuge Recovery, and secular groups. There are support groups out there for almost everything. If you struggle with a chronic illness, physical or mental in nature, you can likely find a group. You can also make new friends at places like Meetup.com, in person at yoga studios or meditation groups, or your everyday life. Put yourself out there, especially when you’re feeling well.

If you need support badly and don’t know who to turn toward, know that there are options. There are hotlines you can call, places on Reddit where you can post for support, mobile apps to chat about difficulties, and people you can turn to. We all want to stay safe when we’re struggling, but sometimes we make things worse in our heads than they end up being. Keep yourself safe, but also put yourself out there and reach out to somebody for help. We’re often surprised at how well we are received and supported.

Home Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate Withdrawal Remedies and Relief

What Helps Ease Withdrawal Symptoms?

Let’s start off clearly before discussing things that may help with opiate withdrawal… If you are going through opiate withdrawal, our first suggestion is to seek professional medical help. Find a professional detox service and go get help from trusted professionals. We highly recommend seeking help from Elevation Behavioral Health, a top quality addiction treatment center in Malibu, California. You don’t need to go it alone. There is opiate withdrawal help out there.

Over the Counter Remedies

Opiate withdrawal can be incredibly unpleasant as is. There are some over the counter medications that can help greatly in dealing with the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. One of these is ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Ibuprofen is a non-narcotic painkiller, and can help take away some pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

Ioperamide/em> is a medication commonly used to help treat diarrhea, and it’s common trade name is Imodium. Because abusing opioids causes constipation, people are likely to experience diarrhea and nausea when going through withdrawals. Imodium can help combat this, acting on your stomach in a similar way as opioids and causing the flow to slow. Imodium is not a narcotic and doesn’t get you high.

Nausea is a common symptom people experience when going through opioid detox, and there are quite a few options to help with this. Meclizine (Antivert) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) are two common medications that can help relieve nausea.

Clonidine is not truly an over the counter medication as it requires a prescription, but it is a non-narcotic medication that can help in opioid detox. Clonidine is a medication often prescribed for high blood pressure, and can help ease symptoms related to anxiety.

Herbal Withdrawal ReliefHerbal Relief from Withdrawals

You can try finding some good teas that help your body detoxify and stay healthy. There are some teas and herbs that may be especially helpful. Here are a few of our favorites.

Lavender has been studied a lot, and has many great benefits. It’s been found to help with pain, act as an efficient sleep aid, and reduce stress. Overall, lavender helps alleviate almost every symptom of opiate withdrawal. Although it may not take the symptoms away completely, it can make them significantly better.

Another herb we love is ginseng. Ginseng is an herb that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It is believed to help with many things, including reducing stress and promoting relaxation. You can take ginseng supplements, make tea, or find natural herbs.

You’re probably familiar with ginger already. Whether used in tea, as an oil, or consumed in foods like stir fries, ginger has great benefits. It of course helps with digestive issues, and also can help lessen nausea and vomiting.

Kava is another natural supplement with which you may be familiar. It has been used for years across the world, and is an effective anxiolytic. It lessens anxiety and stress, promotes relaxation, and can help in sleeping. Drinking some kava tea before bed is a great way to promote a good night’s sleep when going through opiate withdrawals!

Other Methods of Withdrawal Relief

Natural treatments like acupuncture can help greatly. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture may help treat many symptoms of opioid withdrawal like headaches, hypertension, back pain, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and more. Many insurances cover acupuncture, and you can find local practicioners near you.

You can try taking a bath with epsom salt to help soothe the muscles. Epsom salt helps relieve muscle soreness and pain, which is common during the detox process. As an added bonus, you can add some lavender to your bath to further promote relaxation and a sense of ease.

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid found in many meats like chicken, beef, and pork, as well as dairy products like eggs, milk, and cheese. It turns into L-dopa in the brain, which is a precursor to dopamine. You can find L-Tyrosine supplements as well. Taking L-Tyrosine helps your brain produce and take up more dopamine, helping with the depression and crippling anxiety that may be felt while withdrawing from opioids.

My Favorite Teas

My 7 Favorite Teas

A few years ago I stopped drinking coffee. The biggest reason I quit was because I didn’t want to be a slave to the caffeine addiction anymore. Every morning I woke up needing a shot of espresso and around 2pm I needed another pick me up. One day I just decided that I didn’t want to need the coffee anymore.

When I stopped drinking it I needed something else to fill the void. I didn’t want to just get addicted to other caffeine drinks like energy drinks or black tea. Instead I started drinking herbal tea and I really found out a lot about tea in the process.

What I love most about tea is that it can be used to help a variety of things. Everything from indigestion to insomnia can be helped with a little mug of herbal tea.

1. Ginger Tea for Digestion

Ginger tea is incredibly helpful for indigestion. You can buy tea bags that are just plain ginger tea. However, I prefer to grate fresh ginger because it makes the tea more potent. The key with ginger tea is to steep it for at least 10 minutes. Drinking tea like this will help relieve upset stomach and nausea.

kava tea

2. Camomile For Sleep

Camomile tea is wonderful for helping you get to sleep at night. It can really allow you unwind at the end of a long day. My biggest tip when buying camomile tea is to get one that has whole flowers. These tend to be fresher and stronger than the tea you get where it is shredded camomile.

3. Anise For Sore Throat

When you have a sore throat you really want something that is going to coat it. Anise or licorice does the trick perfectly! It will coat the back of your throat and relieve any pain, scratching, and even mild coughs. This is even better if you add a little honey to it. The honey can also help with the taste because I don’t tend to love the flavor. If you don’t like the flavor either you can also add another type of tea to cover it up.

4. Mint for Breathing

Mint tea can help with breathing. If your lungs are hurting from dry climate or even a little cold virus, this can be a great way to help yourself feel better. If you have mild breathing problems this can help open up your airways. Before you start drinking it allow yourself some time to breathe in the smell of the tea through your nose and mouth. This will start the process of opening up your lungs. The other benefit is that it is great for your breath.

5. Kava for Deep Relaxation

Kava tea is really powerful stuff. This being said you need to be careful where you buy it because you want to make sure that it is organic and sourced naturally. When you brew this type of tea it helps if you steep it for 20-30 minutes. This might seem like a long time but the tea is expensive and you will want to get the most out of it.

Kava tea is incredibly helpful for muscle relaxation and insomnia. Like I said before, this is really strong tea. You don’t need to drink a lot of it for it to work. I also know people who have trouble flying and they drink kava to help them get some rest and relaxation on flights.

6. Spiced Tea for Warmth

I really love chai tea but it has way too much caffeine for me. However, I recently have discovered spiced teas that have all the warmth of chai tea without the caffeine. They often have cardamom and cinnamon just like normal chai teas. The great thing about spiced tea is that it warms you up and make you feel emotionally warm. It is great for a cold day or when you are wanting something comforting.

7. Hibiscus for Fun

Hibiscus tea is an incredibly beautiful bright pink color. I really like to make it into iced tea so that you can see the pretty color in a clear pitcher. It is great if you are looking to make a lot of iced tea for a party. The other benefit is that it tastes great! Hibiscus tea is the perfect fun tea to make.

Natural Help For Depression

What are the most common treatments for depression nowadays is antidepressants. Prescribing antidepressants has become an epidemic in the United States, and most of the world is following suit. It seems like doctors are prescribing antidepressants for almost everything, including just being sad for a few days out of the month.

While antidepressants are definitely useful, and have their purposes, they are often over-prescribed, and carry some harsh side effects with them.

One great idea under the supervision of your doctor, is to try some herbal supplements and natural treatments before going down the road of prescription antidepressants.

It’s important to make sure that you inform your doctor, and talk through any supplements or herbs you are planning to take before using them, but many people often find success with natural remedies.

One of the first things to do is to figure out if there are any underlying causes of your depression that relate to your day-to-day life. For example some people may have an extremely stressful job, or an extremely stressful family life. Stress can definitely contribute to depression, especially when it feels like there is no end to the stressor.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you are eating enough. Caloric restriction can bring on mood swings and depression, this is especially true if you’re eating infrequently and allowing your blood sugar to drop.

It’s important to make sure you’re exercising enough and eating a good clean diet. Many times people are wondering why they feel so horrible and depressed, and don’t realize that the fast food they’re eating for every meal could be the culprit. This is especially true when you are not taking any multivitamin supplement.

Another thing which reduces serotonin levels is caffeine. Caffeine is responsible for many beneficial features, but with chronic usage, can deplete serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for helping us to be happy and upbeat as well as many other things, when this hormone gets low your mood will definitely suffer.

Supplements

Some of the best supplements for depression are able to be purchased over the counter, these include supplements such as 5-HTP, st John’s wart, fish oil, and magnesium.

5-HTP is the precursor for serotonin. This means that by supplementing with 5-HTP in your body exactly what it needs to create more serotonin. This can help the balance out any low serotonin deficiencies you might have. It’s very important to make sure you don’t take 5-HTP you are using antidepressants, as this can create too much serotonin, and lead to some serious interactions. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about which supplements you take.

Fish oil has shown to boost DHA and EPA levels which help your brain function more efficiently, and produce feel-good hormones. Some people swear by it for treating depression, and anxiety.

St. John’s Wort helps to prevent the degradation of Serotonin, and work similar to an antidepressant. Some people find a lot of success with this herb, but other people seem to have some sensitivities to it, so it’s important to start slow and work your way up.

Magnesium is a supplement that most people have heard of before. There’s so many uses for magnesium and it is used by the body very frequently. It is the building block for many different hormones and neurotransmitters in your body. A deficiency of magnesium can impact your serotonin levels, and cause you to feel depressed, stressed out, tense, and can also cause insomnia.

Another thing that’s important to do is to get your blood tested by your doctor. In addition to the normal work up that he might do it’s important to get your vitamins, minerals, and other not often tested things checked.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though your vitamin D might be in the normal range, a lot of people feel better when their vitamin D is towards the upper end of the range. For example: If your vitamin D level is 21, and the minimum vitamin D level is 20, even though you are normal, you are still very close to the low end of the range and can still have symptoms.

One of the last things that might be helpful a trained psychiatrist or counselor. These mental health professionals are extremely good at getting to the bottom of your issues, I can often help you reduce your stress levels enough to make a significant impact on your health.

Hopefully the above recomendations will help you in your quest for health!

Supplements for Liver Detoxification

One of the most important organs in your body is the liver, without a liver there is no way for you to survive. This is why it’s incredibly important to take care of our livers, and ensure that we prevent any unnecessary damage to this vital organ.

The liver is important for many reasons, one of its Chief responsibilities is to filter out harmful toxins from our body. Without a healthy functioning liver, we would have no way to free ourselves from the toxins we encounter every day in life. There’s so many toxins around us that we don’t even see. From the water we drink, to the air we breathe, to the food we consume, to the product we put on our skin, the toxins in today’s world are never ending, and it’s important to have a healthy liver to keep us safe.

All of our other organs depend on our liver to keep them functioning properly. When liver performance become sluggish, all of her other organs start to not work properly. This is because toxins can build up in these organs once the liver is overwhelmed, causing sometimes irreversible damage, and bringing on a whole host of health problems.

Luckily there are quite a few Herbs & supplements which have been shown to help improve liver function, and keep our livers functioning properly.

It’s important to remember to talk to your doctor before starting any herb or supplement.

One of the first supplements that has shown promise in helping to enhance liver function is milk thistle. Milk thistle is incredibly good at optimizing and helping the liver and gallbladder function together. It is a supplement which helps to boost glutathione, and helps your liver detox effectively. Another great thing about this herb is that it is very non-toxic. Some other benefits of this herb are that it helps to increase digestion, and repair damaged tissue. Since it is also a potent antioxidant, it helps to scavenge free radicals and protect your body.

The next supplement which is helpful for Liver Health is called chicory root. Chicory root as helpful for cleansing the liver, and stimulating hormone and digestive enzyme release throughout the body. This is especially important in the stomach and intestines, because so many people are deficient in digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are also not produced very effectively when our liver is burdened and not working properly.

The last supplement or herb that has been shown to be effective is dandelion root. Dandelion root was helpful for many reasons, one of which is to increase bile flow from the liver. It also helps to thin out the bile in the liver and prevent it from building up and becoming sludgy, and accumulating gallstones. Another added benefit of the servers that it has been shown to reduce acne, and help to smooth the skin.

Over all these herbs have shown promise in helping to boost liver and gallbladder function, and are able to help the body detoxify when there is a toxic load placed on it. In today’s world there are so many toxic materials, that most people can benefit from a little bit of liver boosting action.