Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Archive for the ‘Wellness’ Category

How To Have Fun Without Drinking

Posted on: February 4th, 2020 by emarketed No Comments

How To Have Fun Without Drinking

As recovery professionals, we repeatedly have to explain even to people who have never struggled with alcoholism that you can have fun without drinking. And in rehab, recovering addicts generally spend more time focusing on the “serious” stuff than on thoughts of having fun. “Learning to have fun” is not a common reason given for going to rehab.

However, neglecting the question of how to have fun without drinking can lead to problems when people leave rehab. On a more fundamental level, disregarding the idea of fun as something unimportant neglects a key aspect of a recovering addict’s life.

Fun, in many senses, comes from open expression, connection, and a willingness to play. It comes naturally in childhood, but as adults, we close ourselves to these things for fear of getting hurt. When you use alcohol to have fun, you’re generally using it as a way to forget about that fear and self-consciousness.

If you’re not having fun while sober, you are missing opportunities to express yourself and connect. Now that alcohol is no longer an option, you need to work on finding more authentic ways of having fun.

Giving yourself permission

The first step towards having fun without drinking is giving yourself permission to play. We so deeply internalize the idea that playing is for children that playfulness starts to seem ridiculous through sober eyes.

To give yourself permission to play, you need to regularly remind yourself that play leads to self-expression and connection, and that is neither stupid nor childish. So many people have told me that they just want to splash around in the pool with friends, climb trees, and play games. They’ll say these things while sitting by the pool among friends, as if jumping in the water and playing is just not a real option for an adult.

You will need to push yourself to overcome your aversion to having fun while sober, but by consistently giving yourself permission to do so, you will get there.

A new environment

However, the struggle is not only internal. The same environments in which you used to have fun might no longer make sense. Bars and clubs are geared towards a specific type of fun – the type of fun that is almost accidental. In these environments, you may well struggle to have fun while sober, even if you’re getting comfortable with the concept. In a club, you’re having fun because the alcohol is helping you let go, not because you’re really connecting.

Think about the kinds of environments in which you will have the best opportunities to play and connect with others, without getting drunk. These will differ from person to person. Some enjoy sitting at home with friends, talking about life all night. Others like playing sports. Still others want to actually dance to music in an environment in which they have space and the music they like.

Learning to have fun again is a key part of the recovery process. It is a crucial cog in finding out how to live a happy, sober life.

4 Non-Addictive Ways To Manage Insomnia

Posted on: January 28th, 2020 by emarketed No Comments

How To Have Fun Without Drinking

Bedtime is difficult for many people suffering with various mental illnesses, not only addiction. At night, lying in bed, our thoughts can easily turn to all the most difficult aspects of our lives. We ask the unanswerable questions, remember everything we’ve ever done wrong, and worry about getting enough sleep.

However, insomnia presents a particular problem for people struggling with addiction, as most sleeping pills are addictive. The entire benzodiazepine class, for example, constitutes some of the most abused substances. The so-called “Z-drugs,” while less addictive, are still liable to be abused, especially by those already struggling with addiction.

Also, many individuals start using substances at least in part to help get to sleep. Alcohol and other substances provide temporary relief, while worsening the problem in the long-term.

Fortunately, there are non-addictive ways to manage insomnia that work for people who have abused substances.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene should be practiced by everyone, even those who do not struggle with insomnia. However, it is particularly important for those with sleeping problems. Sleep hygiene refers to the routines and practices that you follow at night to improve your ability to fall and stay asleep. Your body gets used to the routine and is able to identify that you are getting ready for bed.

Some of the most common sleep hygiene practices include:

  • going to bed at the same time every night
  • not using your phone or computer within an hour or so before you go to bed
  • avoiding caffeine and other stimulants in the late afternoon and evening
  • avoiding napping during the day
  • exercising daily

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown as effective for treating insomnia. CBT will provide you with techniques to challenge troubling thoughts, quiet your mind, and release your negative associations to sleep. Insomnia can be its own vicious cycle, as the more you worry about getting to sleep, the less likely sleep becomes. CBT gives you the tools to change these thought cycles.

CBT uses techniques like reality-testing (through which you test the validity of your troubling thoughts) and worry journals (in which you write down worrying thoughts at night to stop your mind from fixating on them). It requires work and preparation, and should be done with the help of a therapist who specializes in CBT.

They may also train you in mindfulness techniques to quiet the mind and to relax before bedtime.

Non-Addictive Supplements

While most prescription sleeping aids carry some risk of dependence, there are non-addictive supplements that can improve your sleep without negative side-effects. The most popular option is melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, notifying your body when it is time for bed.

Melatonin can help with insomnia, but is especially effective in improving your circadian rhythm. It has been shown to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, but if you have severe insomnia it is unlikely to be a perfect cure.

Non-Addictive Prescription Pills

Prescription sleeping pills generally build dependence. However, there are other medications that can treat insomnia that are not addictive. These are pills that treat other conditions and also have the effect of helping with sleep.

Seroquel is one such example. In its extended release form, it can be effective in regulating sleep on a uniform, nightly basis. The problem is that drugs like Seroquel are not prescribed for insomnia but rather for mood disorders and other mental illnesses. Therefore, if you are suffering from one or more mood disorders, your psychiatrist may prescribe these drugs at nighttime to treat both the mood disorder and the insomnia.

Speak to your psychiatrist to see if there are any such options for you. Many of these pills have side effects, and are far from ideal when not strictly necessary.

Treating insomnia is more tricky when you’ve struggled with addiction. However, there are effective ways of beating insomnia without requiring addictive pills.