Archive For The “SOBRIETY” Category

Guest Post: Am I An Alcoholic? I Don’t Care, I Just Can’t Drink Anymore

Guest Post: Am I An Alcoholic? I Don’t Care, I Just Can’t Drink Anymore

Guest Post: Am I An Alcoholic? I Don't Care, I Just Can't Drink Anymore. | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!The other day I saw a couple of memes on a popular women’s humor Instagram that I’m sure you are familiar with:

“You’re not really drinking alone if the kids are at home.”
“The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.”
“It’s Friday night…Time to be a hero and rescue some wine trapped in a bottle.”

I’ve drank an entire bottle of wine to myself on multiple occasions, but maybe that isn’t unusual. I could name plenty of female friends who have done the same. And based on the number of similar memes (and novelty wineglasses that hold an entire bottle) floating around that laud the magic of wine in ailing all of your problems, as stressed out adult females, we’re allowed, and even encouraged to respond to our problems with alcohol. Wow, sounds easy enough!

Still, I could never moderate. I mean, I could never moderate. And what I mean to say is…I could never moderate. Like, ever. If I intended to drink 2 drinks, it would always be 3 or 4. If I was intentionally “being bad” with 3 drinks, it was always 5. And if it were a night out, there was no cap on my number. And at 5’3,” this could be a real problem. For all other facets of my life, I was able to maintain a stellar grade point, graduate from one of the best schools in the whole damn world, eat healthy, and work out almost every day. But there was just this one thing that I couldn’t control, and it began to really eat at me. No matter how much I tried, I never felt in control of that one little thing.

And I felt tired of feeling tired and depressed, even if I didn’t drink that much—feeling as though I’d fallen flat on my face. I couldn’t admit to myself that I was hungover, because I didn’t exactly fit the classic definition. But I probably thought I was supposed to drink like others could—to fit myself into the package of those pseudo-female-positivity memes. Using alcohol to fuel my own positivity and strength as a woman, like everyone else.

Meme: "If you don't feel like rescuing wine out of the bottle... It's okay, you don't have to." | TheSunnyShadow.com

As I grew up and learned what moderation meant in conjunction with a responsible, productive adult life, I realized that I could not reconcile being a casual drinker and a happy person. Because my definition of casual drinking didn’t extend into moderation…it was casual by my own definition. And maybe that definition was flawed, and maybe it wasn’t my fault that it was flawed.

It’s been a long time since I drank alcohol, and it seems that every other day I turn around and find a new friend who is also trying out abstinence for the first time. Not even because they attend AA meetings, or admit they are an alcoholic (I have done neither). Sobriety is “trendy,” but perhaps we are learning to define it a little better. They are just people like me who look beyond standard definitions of drinking habits and find that abstinence is easier than moderation (though that isn’t always true). It’s better to start early, and for some, that doesn’t have to be at a rock-bottom moment—it can be a moment that helps you to find your own individuality and strength, in the face of popular culture that tells us we should never have a problem with drinking a little more than we should.

So when I see memes that preach to a larger audience that over-consumption is okay and even a positive response to stress as a woman, it pisses me off. What I’m trying to say is: I’m sick of the internet perpetuating the idea that drinking should be a response to life’s troubles. Especially for women. Especially when the line between casual and problematic drinking is just plain hazy.

» Shared Anonymously by An Amazing Reader of The Sunny Shadow

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Honoring Yourself in Recovery<br />~guest post by Rose Lockinger

Honoring Yourself in Recovery
~guest post by Rose Lockinger

Getting sober and staying sober is a wondrous journey that will take you on many different twists and turns. The work of getting sober isn’t always easy. For some of us, it takes many tries and a Herculean effort to get there. Staying sober is a challenge as well. We may have cravings, powerful feelings…

Accepting Our Shadow Self

Accepting Our Shadow Self

Carl Jung was a famous Swiss Psychiatrist and early friend of Alcoholics Anonymous, who came up with the idea of the shadow or shadow aspect of psychology. The shadow is an unconscious aspect of the personality, which the conscious ego does not identify itself with. Since a person tends to reject or ignore those parts…

Addiction May Not Be All Bad!

Addiction May Not Be All Bad!

Active addiction is devastating to life. It takes. People range on the spectrum from those who’ve lost everything: Homes, businesses, financial security, family and friends, health and for some even life itself — to those who never had most of those things to begin with, who’ve never felt they had anything to lose. When they…

The Best Treatment for Co-Occurring Illnesses

The Best Treatment for Co-Occurring Illnesses

The Best Treatment for Co-Occurring Illnesses -by Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer via TheSunnyShadow.comIf we want something bad enough, we’ll find a way to achieve it. But I believe in taking advantage of the resources available to us, especially when that means increasing our chances of accomplishing our goals. And that’s exactly what co-occurring illnesses treatment programs do.

Co-occurring illnesses, also referred to as dual diagnoses, are when someone has both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem (like me). Can someone with a co-occurring illness accomplish both mental stability and sobriety by pursuing only traditional treatments? Sure. But it will likely be harder and take longer, ultimately decreasing chances of a successful long-term recovery.

People with mental illnesses are more likely to have substance abuse problems, and people who have substance abuse problems are more likely to have a mental illness. Either can develop first. For example, someone with a mental illness may develop a substance abuse problem as a result of self-medicating. And someone may develop psychiatric symptoms as a result of abusing substances. It’s important to note that alcohol and drugs exacerbate mental illness symptoms.


STATISTICS

It’s estimated that around 8 million U.S. adults have co-occurring disorders. About 1/3 of all people living with mental illness and about 1/2 living with severe mental illness also have substance abuse problems. Similarly, about 1/3 of people who abuse alcohol and about 1/2 of people who abuse drugs also have a mental illness.


Co-occurring illnesses can be difficult to diagnose due to their complexities. Symptoms overlap and many factors contribute to them (biological, psychological, social). When someone seeks and receives treatment for a mental illness, it’s common for others to go unaddressed. This not only makes an already difficult recovery even more so, it increases risks of hospitalizations, suicide, homelessness, incarceration, and other illnesses.

An integrated approach is most effective in treating co-occurring illnesses, as it lowers these risks and increases the chances of long-term mental health recovery and abstinence. This means simultaneously treating both illnesses and giving each the same level of care. While also recognizing that each are long-term, chronic illnesses with high risks of relapse. This requires a treatment team trained in addressing co-occurring illnesses.

The integrated approach eliminates treatment barriers and makes for a more seamless rehabilitation process. For example, prescribing psychotropic medication becomes safer when the prescribing doctor is involved in the client’s detox and recovery process.

Patients should be assessed for co-occurring illnesses early on in the diagnosing process. It should be routine for doctors to assess substance abuse patients for signs of mental illness and vice versa.

The most effective treatment for co-occurring illnesses…

…Is intensive inpatient integrative care where both illnesses are treated at the same time and receive the same level of care. Followed by long-term aftercare and support. Inpatient care may include a medical detox, group and individual therapy, and medication management.

Thankfully, co-occurring illnesses treatment options are becoming more prevalent. Though many are pricey, they often take insurance and are willing to work with you along the lines of a sliding payment scale. I almost made the mistake of writing off a facility because it looked too expensive. But I took a chance. And somehow the stars aligned. With the help of my family, my insurance and a sliding payment scale, I was able to attend 41 days at an inpatient co-occurring illnesses rehab facility. And that was the start of my new life.

Obviously, inpatient programs simply are not feasible for everyone. And that’s okay. There are outpatient programs, individual and group therapy, peer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other alternative options.

Everyone’s road to recovery is unique. What matters most is your willingness to make it to where you need to go. Never give up hope. You’re not alone. So ask for help in developing a plan of action. Recovery is possible and it’s waiting for you.

Sources: SAMHSA | NAMI | DualDiagnosis.org

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


Life Skills: Learning Them and Applying Them in Recovery -by Rose Lockinger

Life Skills: Learning Them and Applying Them in Recovery -by Rose Lockinger

Addiction stunts your emotional and mental growth. This is especially true for anyone who started using at an early age. If you grew up in an alcoholic or addict home there’s a good chance that you weren’t taught much more than how to survive. Surviving is what people with addiction learn to do best. We…

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