December 11, 2018

5 Keys to Staying Sober During the Holidays

There will be plenty of parties and lots of Christmas cheer, but the holidays can be incredibly difficult for those in early addiction recovery. The stress of traveling, shopping, finances, and expectations. The triggers are everywhere.

Don’t put yourself at risk. Start making a plan with your sponsor (and if you don’t have one, get one). Here’s five tips on how to stay sober during the holidays to continue your joyous and substance free life.

1. Make a Plan

Part of early recovery means narrowing down who, what or where could trigger relapse. Identify those factors that exist in your life – write them down if you have to. During the silly season, you’ll need to protect your sobriety – and the best way to do just that is with a solid plan. This means getting to a meeting every day and staying in regular contact with your sponsor.

2. Bring Your Own Car

You don’t want to have to rely on someone else for transportation. When you want (or need) to leave, you need to have the freedom of your own car. After all, you’re a safe ride for yourself being sober.

3. Help Others

Is there any greater feeling than giving back? The feeling of joy and thankfulness is contagious around the holidays. And if there’s one thing recovery has taught us, it’s that being with others can help us on our journey. Reach out to a local shelter or soup kitchen to see if they need some help around the holidays. Have a loved one or neighbor who can’t get around easily? Offer to help decorate for the holidays or watch a festive movie with them. You’ll be amazed at how much giving back can support your recovery. It’ll support your strength and courage.

4. Acknowledge the Risks

We all have those family members – the aunt who loves to interrogate you about rehab, the cousin who doesn’t understand what “no alcohol” means as she tries to hand you a glass of wine, the cool uncle who says "just drink less". You don’t have to be around these people. You don’t live like that anymore. The same can be said for events. If everyone gets drunk at the office party, only stop in for a short visit at the very beginning or don’t go at all. You need to put yourself and your sobriety first.

5. Make Time for Yourself

One of the best things you can do is take time for yourself, so you’re your healthiest self. Make time to relax, get extra sleep, cook healthy meals – whatever strengthens your mood and body. Don’t forget to feed your soul and spirit. The more time you spend on your well-being, the better equipped you’ll be to handle any obstacles that may pop up.

Staying Sober During the Holidays

You Got this!

Whether you’re fresh out of a treatment or have a few years under your belt, it can feel like you’re walking on thin ice from Thanksgiving to New Years. Just remember what the holidays really mean: a chance to share, heal, and rebuild bonds with those closest to you. Stay focused on the positive, be honest with yourself and your loved ones.

About the Author

Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.

September 13, 2016

Tips For Job Hunting In Recovery

Five Tips for Job Hunting in Recovery

Going to a job interview can be daunting in the best of circumstances. Now that you’re in recovery from addiction, you may bring a whole host of other concerns to the interview, like how to discuss the lapses in your resume. As you prepare for your next job application and interview process, here are five tips to keep in mind to help you land the job.

  1. Recognize negative thoughts. Reflexive, self-deprecating or pessimistic thoughts can do a lot of harm. Negative thoughts like, “I won’t get this job anyway,” or “They probably don’t want someone like me,” may be a defensive technique to avoid getting your hopes up only to be dashed, yet again, but those thoughts do not serve you. Turning those thoughts around by reframing them in the positive, such as, “They would be lucky to have me at this job,”will boost your confidence in a way everyone will be able to see. You are in recovery now and you deserve to work at a place that will appreciate that you have the gumption and capacity to change your life.
  2. Divide and conquer. One daunting part of applying to and interviewing for jobs is the large amount of unknown usually associated with a new work environment. Do you really have the skills to do the job for which you are applying? Meet the challenges you’re facing by identifying your overall task, then breaking it down into small, manageable parts. You’re more likely to feel prepared and the confidence this gives you will show.
  3. Accept some setbacks. At the end of the day, there a million reasons why a company might hire another person for a job you’re interested in that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Just like any relationship, the company you’d like to work for brings their own context and experiences to the hiring table, and many of those you just won’t be able to foresee. Next time you’re passed up for a job go easy on yourself. There are other companies and you’ll find a great place to work.
  4. Be proud of who you are. You may not have every qualification on your prospective employer’s wish list for the job, but you should know that almost no one will. Confidence in yourself goes a long way in projecting ability to your future employer. And while you may be sweating your lack of credentials, in entering recovery from an addiction you’ve already gone above and beyond what many people think they can do. Never forget that!
  5. Take a job while you look for something else. It’s a lot easier to get work when you already have something. The first job you pick up in recovery may not be your dream job, but take it anyway. Showing that you are willing to work, to show up on time and to give a little extra impresses employers and builds your confidence. Continue to look for the work you really want while you are building your resume and bringing in a paycheck.

Prolonged periods of unemployment and continual job hunting can wear down even the most confident person. By recognizing your own negative self-talk, preparing as best you can, being proud of who you are and accepting setbacks as they come, you will shore up your ability to stay in the search for as long as it takes to find the work that has meaning for you and in which you will thrive.

August 9, 2016

3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Congress’ Opioid Bill

Last week Congress passed a landmark bill authorizing a significant increase in the level of support to addicts and addiction treatment providers throughout the country. However, like all political events there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Whether you’re the loved one of an addict, an addiction treatment provider, or an emergency medical professional, here are three things you should know about Congress’ most recent bill aimed at tackling the opioid epidemic ripping across our nation and ending countless lives.

  1. Treatment is at the forefront. The bill passed by Congress highlights a broad spectrum of treatment tools and modalities, from providing more life-saving medicines like Naloxone to increasing the capacity of short- and long-term treatment facilities so that more people can get help when they need it. The bill’s primary focus on the availability of life-saving medical support for people struggling with an opioid addiction means that Congress has heard their constituents’ demand for an end to the drug’s national epidemic, loud and clear.
  2. This level of partisanship is historic. It should come as no shock to anyone that legislation so well received by both political parties is atypical for congressional bills. As a country we’ve gotten so used to Congress in a deadlock, unable to pass anything, that collectively we’ve almost come to expect little to no progress on any meaningful issue. With a final Senate vote of 92-2 in favor of passing this bill, we can celebrate Congress’ decision to act on addiction treatment as the serious public health issue that it is.
  3. The bill isn’t funded – yet. The biggest obstacle the newly passed bill will face comes after Congress’ summer recess, in September, when representatives will begin work on approving a budget for the bill to carry out the activities it details. Many critics of the bill go so far as to say that without having approved funding for this bill in Congress, it may very well fail to be fully funded, becoming just a skeleton of its original intention and a far cry from the escalated level of support this country needs around opioid addiction. Congress has yet to pass any spending bills in their current session; advocates of this bill should carefully monitor this bill’s progress and call their representatives to ensure this important legislation is funded.

Congress may be ready for a vacation over their upcoming seven-week recess, but their work is far from done. Having beaten the odds once to secure bipartisan support, our representatives must go back to work to ensure that the important support provided in this bill is actually funded. We can’t let this bill be written off as lip service; if we can see through our differences to one goal we all have in common – saving lives – we can change the face of addiction treatment in this country and avoid untold pain and suffering in our own lives and communities.

Republished from Cliffside Malibu

June 30, 2016

3 Simple Tips To Become More Resilient

Everyone knows someone who’s been through a unimaginable experience, yet somehow manages to keep smiling. People like that usually come to mind when we lose it over small things, like having trouble finding a parking spot or unloading the groceries only to realize we forgot the milk. Although there are some people whose natural predisposition lends itself to a greater resilience against hardship and trauma, resiliency as a trait is nuanced and to some extent can be developed. If you’re in the midst of a difficult time or just looking to prepare yourself for life’s inevitable bumps, here are four things you can do to strengthen your own resilience.

1. Stop Blaming Yourself
Many of the environmental factors that affect us the most, like the income bracket you were born into or the educational levels of your parents, are things you did not choose and cannot change. Still other experiences that seem even more personal, like losing a job or becoming ill, are generally the product of either unforeseen or uncontrollable forces in our lives. Stop blaming yourself for the negative experiences that come your way. The way out of or through your situation may not be clear, but I can promise you this – it doesn’t begin by bad-mouthing yourself.

2. Make a Plan of Action
Any experienced planner knows that there will always be unforeseen obstacles that appear more challenging and intimidating than you can handle. One of the most effective ways you can combat the obstacles you have yet to encounter is by creating your own ideal timeline or plan of action to accomplish whatever goal you are setting for yourself. This way your plans won’t be determined by accidents or challenges you couldn’t predict; obstacles that appear without notice will have to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

3. Do Something Kind for Someone Else
Even when your bank account is empty it’s free to smile or open the door for a stranger. By being generous with others in whatever way is manageable to you, you’re sending subtle signals to your brain that not only do you have enough to take care of yourself, you have more than enough to share with others. Don’t forget that you are more than a collection of dollar signs or lumps you’ve taken; you are human being whose relationships with others make the world a better place.

The serenity prayer, long quoted by those in recovery from alcohol addiction, encourages the individual to take charge of their own life while accepting the things that won’t change. By taking on a similar attitude towards your life while being kind to others along the way, you’ll be strengthening your resilience against the unavoidable challenges in life. As a more resilient person, you’ll do more than just survive the turbulent periods of your life; you will thrive.