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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Posts Tagged ‘sober living’

Bradley Cooper Talks Alcoholism, Depression and Recovery

Posted on: May 7th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is a famous and esteemed actor and producer.  He first achieved prominence with his work on the television shows Alias and Jack and Bobby. Since then, he has become highly esteemed for his roles in The Hangover trilogy, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle.  He has received two Academy Award nominations, and was named the “Sexist Man Alive” by People magazine in 2011.

However, like many people who seem to outwardly enjoy a great deal of fame and success, his personal life has been marked by struggles.   He has abstained from alcohol since he was 29, out of fears that “If I continued [drinking], I was going to sabotage my whole life.”  In a January 2014 interview with GQ magazine, Bradley spoke about his life’s struggles with alcoholism and depression, and told a story of hope and recovery that can serve as a great encouragement to anyone seeking freedom from the pain of addiction.  

There was a Problem

Many so-called “high functioning” addicts can use their outward success as an excuse to sink further into denial, telling themselves their addiction isn’t really out of control or something they need help for, because they are continuing to be able to do their jobs.  Fortunately, Bradley Cooper possessed enough truthful self-awareness to not fall into that trap.  His GQ interviewer, Zach Baron asked about the impact of his alcoholism, expecting stories of not showing up on set or of “work getting [expletive] up.”  

His response was that things didn’t have to get to that point for him to realize there was a problem. “The best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then whatever happens, happens.”  His alcohol abuse was taking him away from that and putting him’” farther away from fulfilling any potential I would have.” Emma Stone, an actress he has worked with on several films, noticed this transformation herself, saying “He’s gotten more and more present in his life as he got older.”

Personal Transformation

Because alcohol was interfering with his passions and his work, he threw himself into the process of recovery, and grew in a life-saving level of self-awareness and commitment to his career.  His low point occurred after an Achilles injury and accompanying depression that left him homebound and considering quitting acting altogether.  When he saw that the effects of his addiction was leading him to have less and less screen time, that was enough to motivate him to seek change.

After he got his own life in order, his film and television career enjoyed more success then ever, and he discovered that he could live a free and full life being “actually myself…I don’t have to put on all this air to be somebody.”   This outlook is showing a lot of wisdom, that the basis of recovery starts with learning to love and care for yourself. He learned how to get over his anxieties of how he came across to other people, and that led him into a career-inhibiting haze of alcohol.  Once he realized that he could be accepted as himself, he found this freeing truth enough to change his life.

It all starts with a moment of clarity, in which an addict realizes the harm he or she is doing to the well being of his or her self and others, and so seeks out help.  Because Bradley Cooper achieved a moment of clarity, we reap the benefits of his talent and creativity of a man deeply aware of and in tune with himself. 

Celibacy as a Part of Addiction Recovery

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Celibacy as a Part of Addiction Recovery

Quitting an addiction can be a very complicated process and there are many different elements to consider in making sure you can stay sober. Even though the main focus of recovery is abstinence from the drug you were addicted to, there are other aspects of a healthy lifestyle that can help support sobriety. Many recovery programs recommend that people take a break from dating at least for a period of time until they are more stable.

Relationships can be difficult to handle at any point in your life but when you are just beginning to work on your sobriety they can be too much to handle. Being celibate can be a good way for people to focus solely on themselves and their own recovery so that they don’t complicate their situation with sex. Although the goal can be different for everyone, many people avoid intimate relationships for at least a year until they are more confident in their sobriety.

People in recovery often don’t have the skills to maintain a relationship and be fully present with a partner because they are learning how to clean up and manage their own lives. Dating will most likely be a distraction from their goals and could even trigger a relapse if it becomes too emotional or intense. Celibacy is important because there is always the danger of replacing a drug addiction with sex as a way to self-medicate.

Recovery requires a lot of focus on the self and hard work in a treatment program. In order to fully heal and manage their life as a sober person, people in recovery need to be single until they feel ready to date again. When they have succeeded in developing their communication skills and are feeling more comfortable in their sobriety then they can once again be open to healthy and supportive relationships.

Sober Living Guide

Posted on: November 27th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Sober Living

For anyone that has gone through rehab, going back to your normal life can be an intimidating transition. Even though you might have made a lot of progress in your work at the treatment center, you could have a lot of legitimate concerns about going back home. There may be certain people or situations that you are worried about facing.

Sober living is something that takes a lot of time and practice to feel comfortable in. After completing rehab, don’t expect to feel totally confident right away when you go back home and deal with day to day stresses. Even though it might be hard, there are steps you can take to become more stable in your sobriety while living on your own.

There are many aspects of your life that you will have to learn how to deal with as a sober person. Your job, spending time with friends and family, or just getting through each day can be difficult when you have been accustomed to using substances for a long period of time. You may be faced with a lot of triggers and not know how to handle them at first.

Sober living is a learning process that will require your energy and commitment. As long as you stay focused on your goal of being sober and living a healthier lifestyle then you can safely get through the most difficult triggers and cravings. There are plenty of strategies that can help you make it through your transition from rehab to living sober on your own.

Attending an Aftercare Program

If you feel particularly stressed or afraid of what will happen after you leave rehab, then take advantage of any aftercare programs that your treatment center offers. Most addiction treatment facilities provide some kind of option for former patients to continue receiving help and support in the first few months after they leave. Addiction treatment specialists understand how difficult it can be to return home and face numerous triggers so they are there to provide any kind of support you need.

Aftercare programs differ at each treatment center but most will allow you to continue coming back periodically so that you can speak to a therapist or a support group about the struggles you are facing at home. Aftercare may also offer important education opportunities such as relapse prevention which will teach former patients the tools that they can use if they are on the brink of a relapse. With relapse prevention you can learn about what to do in any situation where you feel overwhelmed by triggers.

Another reason aftercare programs can be beneficial following treatment is that they can also offer support for your family members. If there is tension in your household or your family members are not sure how to handle the issues you are dealing with then they can receive training and guidance. The more that your family understands about addiction and sober living, the more support and help you will have at home in difficult times.

The most important aspect of aftercare is having a place to talk or a channel of communication with people that you trust. You will be going through a lot when you go home and having professionals to talk to can help relieve stress and give you an outlet for your feelings. You can receive the guidance that you need and talk through all of your issues with people that understand.

Being Part of a Sober Community

Sober CommunityAs you attend aftercare and learn how to cope with your issues at home, it can be helpful to start establishing a support system by getting involved in a sober community. You can begin by finding a twelve step program in your local area where you can start to connect with other people going through the same issues that you are. Support group meetings are a great place to meet people you care about and make lifelong friends.

It is crucial when you go back home after rehab to have other sober friends that you can talk to in times of stress. If all of your friends still drink or use drugs then you will have no one you can rely on for support when you are struggling to stay sober. Make sure that you are a part of a sober community and have sober friends or mentors so that you have people in your life that can help keep you on track.

In some cases, building up your recovery community and network of friends that support you can mean ending some toxic relationships. You want to be surrounded by people that provide a positive influence and are there for you when you need them. If someone in your life proves to be a bad friend, a negative influence on you or doesn’t support your sobriety then it might be time to move on.

With a network of sober people you can start to feel more confident and secure whenever things get difficult. You will know that you always have someone to talk to should you experience a serious trigger or craving. Make a list of sober friends you can call whenever you are in a bad place and stay connected with them as often as possible.

Finding New Hobbies and Activities

As you spend time with your new sober friends you might start to think about what activities you can get involved in to keep life interesting and fun. Since much of your free time may have been spent engaging in substance abuse in the past, you may have to start developing new hobbies. This can be a positive experience as you can try things you have never done before and maybe even find something you love.

If there were certain activities you did in rehab that you enjoyed such as art therapy, music, hiking, swimming etc then you can continue to pursue these. Rehab is a time where people are often introduced to new experiences through the programs various classes and scheduled activities. If there was something you did in rehab that made you happy then make it a regular part of your life.

Planning group activities with your sober friends can also be a great way to keep yourself busy and learn how to have fun without the use of any substances. Instead of going to bars and parties as you might have in the past you can think of other group activities that don’t involve any alcohol. You can plan a group hike, go bowling, have a game night, go to a museum or even go on a camping trip together.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding hobbies and activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. You will find that being sober can actually open doors to things that you never thought of trying that actually make you feel much more happy and fulfilled.

Ongoing Therapy Sessions

After completing rehab it may be hard to go back to your normal life without having someone guiding you at every step. Some people need extra support in order to get through the painful transition to sobriety. Continuing to go to a therapist on a regular basis can be beneficial for mental and emotional health.

Living sober can be especially difficult if you have any mental health issues, personal problems or unresolved conflict. Having a therapist to talk to can give you the mental stability and guidance that you need as you continue to work through your problems. People with co-occurring disorders will need to have a therapist that they see regularly to prevent their mental illness from interfering with their recovery.

While your therapy sessions during rehab may have taken place every day, you may be able to continue to see a therapist on a weekly basis for support. Many people rely on therapy to help them work through the problems that they experience every day regardless of what their status is in recovery. Make sure to find a therapist that specializes in addiction recovery and has experience with helping people maintain their sobriety.

SoberGetting Involved and Helping Other Addicts

Sometimes a great way to stay on track with your sobriety is to be involved in giving back to your community. Doing something for others and providing your time, support and generosity can actually help strengthen your own sobriety. Giving back to others especially those in the sober community can be a transformative experience that helps to heal negative thoughts and emotions.

Volunteering in any way you can will help you avoid returning to unhealthy habits because it holds you accountable and creates a feeling of positivity and purpose in your life. You can work as a mentor to someone who is newly sober or work with organizations that need volunteers for charity events. Any way that you can give back will give you a chance to forget about your own issues and work to help someone else.

While they are in the midst of an addiction, addicts can become very self-centered and motivated by their own needs and pursuit of feeling good. Volunteering and working to help someone else can combat those selfish tendencies and help you focus your attention on others rather than focusing solely on yourself. Helping out in any way you can will create a feeling of gratitude that is very important in the process of recovery and sober living.

Finding Your Spirituality

Many rehab programs and support groups include some type of spiritual aspect that can help people feel more positive in recovery. Spirituality is important to maintain in sober living because it prevents a feeling of emptiness or lack of meaning that can be dangerous and negative. Anyone who wants to maintain their sobriety will benefit from some type of spiritual practice.

Being spiritual does not necessarily mean that you need to follow any particular religion or go to a church. Spirituality can be very personal and can take many different forms depending on the individual. If there are certain ideas, teachings or practices that you feel connected to spiritually then pursue those as often as you can.

Sometimes spirituality can be as simple as meditating daily to keep your mind and spirit calm. Those without a spiritual practice may feel lost and struggle to find meaning in their lives. As long as you have some sense of spiritual connection then you will find it easier to live a sober lifestyle.

Focus on Sobriety

No matter what you discover in terms of hobbies, spirituality and a sober community the most important thing is to keep sobriety as your number one goal. Remember that you need to take care of yourself and do all that you can to prevent yourself from relapsing. Although relapse can happen and it is possible to recover from it, you should do your best to maintain your sobriety permanently.

If you find yourself in any situation or around any people that you feel are putting your sobriety in jeopardy then make sure to put your recovery first. Never put any one thing above your sobriety as it is thing that matters most at this point in your life. If there are any people that you don’t trust or feel are not being supportive enough in your efforts to become sober then you might need to take a break from them.

Keep in mind that even though it might feel hard to stay sober in the early months, over time it will get much easier. The longer that you are sober, the more confident you will become in your ability to remain a sober person permanently. You will become adjusted to the sober lifestyle and feel more comfortable every day as you grow more accustomed to your new habits.

As you develop your sober routine you will eventually that your life is happier and more fulfilled than it ever was when you were struggling with addiction. Sober living can be a healthier and more enjoyable than you have ever felt in your life before.

Tips for Staying Sober in Social Situations

Posted on: March 14th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 Tips for Staying Sober in Social Situations

However long you’ve been sober, you will inevitably end up having to attend social events or obligations around people that are drinking and who may not be familiar with your situation. There can be any number of awkward incidents that come up in a social gathering when you are one of the few sober people attending. People might politely offer you alcohol or even mistakenly buy you a drink without realizing that you quit drinking. It can be stressful to be in this type of environment especially if you are used to spending time mostly among other sober people. Although you may feel uncomfortable there is no reason to avoid social obligations simply because you are sober.

These are some strategies you can take to help you cope with parties, conferences, weddings or any social event that might involve alcohol.

1. Bring a Sober Friend

If you are really worried about attending a certain social event where you don’t know anyone, it may be helpful to have a safety net. Inviting a sober friend as your plus one can make you feel less isolated when everyone around you is drinking. You will have someone there who understands your situation and may be experiencing a lot of the same feelings. With a sober friend you will have someone supporting you and you can rely on each other to get through the night. Bringing someone from your inner circle will almost certainly guarantee you will have a better time.

2. Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages or Mocktails

Sometimes it may feel strange not to have a drink in your hand or something to do as you walk around and mingle. You can drink plenty of water, soda, juice or even order a virgin drink or mocktail. This can help you avoid people offering you an alcoholic beverage because you already have a drink in your hand. It can also make you feel less like you are sticking out like a sore thumb when everyone else is drinking something. If the party offers food or snacks they can also be a good distraction and will help you enjoy the experience a little more.

3. Be a Designated Driver

If you have the option to be the driver for someone else who is drinking then this can help you feel more comfortable in social situations. If you don’t feel like going into detail about why you don’t drink, being a designated driver gives you a quick explanation about your sobriety for the night. If you want to leave early you can always offer to drive someone else at the moment they are leaving so you won’t have to stick around longer than you want to. Being a designated driver also gives you a sense of purpose and can keep you focused on staying sober.

4. Be Prepared with What You Want to Say

Although you may find ways to avoid the conversation, you should always think about what you want to say if someone asks why you aren’t drinking. In some cases you may feel comfortable enough to tell them that you quit because it was a problem. With someone you don’t know very well, however, you might not be ready to tell them something so personal. There are plenty of answers that will suffice such as saying that you are not drinking for health reasons, you want to drive home sober or that you have to wake up early. It is always your choice who you want to tell about your personal life and there is nothing wrong with skirting the issue or giving lighter answers.

5. Have a Backup Plan

Even parties you are really nervous about may end up being uneventful, but in the case where you are really starting to feel anxious, tempted to drink or simply too uncomfortable it always good to have a backup strategy. You should have someone on hand that you know you can call for support if you can’t physically bring a friend. This could be your sponsor, someone you know from recovery or just a close friend that you trust. Talking to them might help you deal with the feelings you are having so that you can calm down and return to the party. If you are still feeling out of sorts should always have an excuse ready in case you need to leave early. When you are too stressed out the best option is just to tell the host you aren’t feeling well and leave right away.

As time passes, attending social obligations as a sober person becomes much easier and you learn how to handle any situation that comes up. The important thing is to be prepared and take care of yourself in whatever way necessary so that you are able to stay sober.