Community Voices: Navigating Relationships

July 17, 2014

By Jeff Jones

My experience working with couples confirms my belief that relationships are difficult to navigate. There is a great deal of passionate emotion stirring at our core when our relationships are not going smoothly. Relationships in recovery are even more difficult. Not only is the relationship often in stormy seas, it’s as if the person in recovery is steering two ships—that of their recovery, and that of their relationship. A few new navigational tools for our relationships can help us get all the people in our life moving in the same direction and focusing toward the same goal: peaceful, loving, joyful clean and sober relationships.

onedayatatimeWe can start by applying the familiar recovery saying “one day at a time” to our relationships. This means looking at each other in a fresh, new way. And it involves some re-training of our brain because we tend to be “wired” by experiences we have in life, mostly when we are growing up, especially traumatic experiences. If I had a traumatic experience of a dog knocking me down when I was three years old, I will still have some wiring in my brain that reacts when I see a dog today, some 50 years later. My “thinking” brain may be able to overcome that wiring with thoughts like “I’m safe, the dog is not going to hurt me, it’s on a leash.” But my “old” brain is still reactive and I can feel the adrenaline course through me when I see a dog.

Likewise, our relationships are scattered with little traumas, many of which don’t sound traumatic, but to the old brain, it’s as if our survival is threatened when the person we love and hope loves us back is critical toward us (trauma!), doesn’t respond when we ask a question (trauma!), looks at us the wrong way (trauma!), teases us (trauma!) or ignores us when we come home (trauma!). See, these things don’t sound very traumatic, do they? But, that old part of our brain just wants to be loved and to have our love accepted and when this doesn’t happen we feel scared. And, we begin to make a fearful pattern in our brain associated with that person. So each time we see this person, we are a bit afraid of what might happen, and we may act out in some defensive ways that protect us.

wellness brainThe good news is the brain is amazingly resilient and capable of growing new neuropathways with different thoughts and novel experiences. It takes practice, just like recovery—being consistent with meetings, thinking positive thoughts about yourself, avoiding triggers, working your program.

Many people new to recovery expect those around them to accept their clean lifestyle and to be excited for them only to discover lingering doubts, lack of trust, and skepticism from their loved ones. You long for people to see you as you are right now. Clean. Sober. Free. Working hard. You feel invalidated and shamed when they bring up past behaviors from your using days and you cry out for others to see how far you’ve come. What’s happening is that the wiring in their brains attached to you includes all those old behaviors of yours when you were using. And they are a bit afraid, rightfully so.

Have a dialogue with your loved ones about the importance of your recovery program, the details of what you are doing, and explain how recovery works. Admit that your recovery has upset the ship by shifting the system your family and your relationships were accustomed to. Ask your loved ones to join with you and give them specific actions they can do: Attend appropriately matched 12 step meetings to learn more, help hold you accountable in loving ways, ask them to see you as you are today—and promise to do the same for them.

navigating relationshipsWe need to look at each other anew without all the old baggage attached, letting go of old hurts and disappointments, dropping expectations and entitlement. We need to look at each other as if this is a new day, a new person we are interacting with. Because it is. You are not the same person you were yesterday, and each day brings new possibilities. Your partner is not the same person he or she was yesterday either. If you continue to hold onto the brain pattern attached to them that brings up fear, you will not allow them to grow. This requires some self work, reminding yourself and your brain that this is now. Here. Present time. What is it you are seeing? Hearing? Feeling? Who is this person sitting across from you? Become interested and curious about how the day’s activities may have changed them. What new thoughts did they have today? What made them smile today?

Get on the same page by sitting down and having a conversation about your vision for your relationship. Write it out in present tense (e.g.. We meditate for 10 minutes each day. We treat each other with respect. We attend meetings together.). Post it somewhere easily viewed each day. Then commit to doing this as a partnership– together.

Recovery is said to be individual—we can only work our own program. This is true and yet we live in relationships, and we recover in relationships—groups, meetings, counseling, therapy. The world is in a relational paradigm.

THE BEGINNING

Want to submit an article, idea, or opinion in our Community Voices section:

  • Submit up to 300 words (not including lists – Top 10, Tips, etc)
  • Please include your name, email address, and phone number for follow up contact
  • Email submissions to mkelley@corr.us

 If you have questions about submitting or would like more information, please contact
Melissa Kelley 530-273-9541 ext. 226 or email mkelley@corr.us

 

 

 

Embracing Emotional Wellness

May 15, 2014

By Jeff Jones, Clinical Director Community Recovery Resources
Submitted May 8, 2014

Being emotionally well is more than just handling stress. It also involves being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative.

Time waits for no manPeople who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

What is emotional health?
Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

Emotional wellness is about finding and maintaining our emotional equilibrium, our feeling rheostat. Emotional wellness is tied up in our ability to self regulate; To bring ourselves into balance when we fall out of it. Balance is that place where our thinking, feeling and behavior are reasonably congruent; where we operate in an integrated flow.

When our emotions are out of control, so is our thinking. When we can’t bring our feeling and thinking into some sort of balance, our life and our relationships show it. Emotions impact our thinking more than our thinking impacts our emotions. Our limbic system, where we experience and process emotion, actually sends more inputs to the thinking part of our brain, i.e. the cortex, than the opposite. (Damassio)

Mental-Hygiene1The essence of Emotional Wellness is good self regulation. Self regulation means that we have mastered those skills that allow us to balance our moods, our nervous systems, our appetites, our sexual drive, our sleep. We have learned how to tolerate our intense emotions without acting out in dysfunctional ways, clamping down or foreclosing on our feeling world or self medicating.

Addiction and compulsive, unregulated behaviors reflect a lack of good self regulation. To maintain our emotional equilibrium, we need to be able to use our thinking mind to decode and understand our feeling mind. That is, we need to feel our feelings and then use our thinking to make sense and meaning out of them.

Signs and symptoms

Next Issue – July 2014: How Do We Learn to Self Regulate?

Want to submit an article, idea, or opinion in our Community Voices section:

  • Submit up to 300 words (not including lists – Top 10, Tips, etc)
  • Please include your name, email address, and phone number for follow up contact
  • Email submissions to mkelley@corr.us

 If you have questions about submitting or would like more information, please contact
Melissa Kelley 530-273-9541 ext. 226 or email mkelley@corr.us

 

Special Guest Speaker, Dr. Christina Lasich presents Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse

March 10, 2014

Please join us for our second installment of the new Recovery Enrichment Series kicked off in February by coveted speaker, Father Tom Weston. We are pleased to announce that the distinguished Dr. Lasich will be presenting on Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be inspired and enrich your journey!  Space is limited so please RSVP right away to reserve your seat.

RES 04_24_2014 FeatureAbout Dr. Christina Lasich
Dr. Christina Lasich, M.D. began her medical career after graduating from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine with honors. Her interests in orthopedics and physical therapy lead her to the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. This specialty field serves those with chronic conditions with an emphasis on improving quality of life and independence. After leaving residency training, she returned to her hometown of Grass Valley, CA to open her practice in 2001. She quickly found an underserved population of people with chronic pain, especially women in pain. Her life, her practice, and her book – High Heels To Hormones – all reflect a philosophy that pain is a signal for the individual to improve habits, life-style, and nutrition. She views pain as the ultimate motivator and that pain is also a doorway to transformation.

Continuing Education Credits now available for the upcoming Recovery Enrichment Series: Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse, Presented by Dr. Christina Lasich, CoRR Medical Director.

Community Recovery Resources is approved to provide two (2.0) continuing education units (CEU’s):
BBS #PCE2459
, CAADAC #5-01-456-0215.

To read more about Dr. Lasich’s remarkable contribution to our community, visit her website. www.healingwomeninpain.comFoods that Trigger Pain and Relapse 4-24-14

April 24, 2014

5:30pm – 7:30pm

The Campus

180 Sierra College Drive

Grass Valley, CA 95945

RSVP to:

Email: srogers@corr.us

Phone: 530-273-7956530-273-7956

Click HERE to view and download flyer

If you have any questions feel free to call Shelley Rogers: 530-586-1088530-586-1088.

2014 Dare to Dream Gala – February 22, 2014

January 5, 2014

The annual Full Circle gala began in 2008 to highlight the work we do with adolescents and their families in our community and celebrate their success.

All proceeds raised at this event fund our programs to help teens who are experiencing challenges with substance abuse.

Our event is attended by the local police, Sheriff, city council, school personnel, hospitals and businesses in our area that support the work we do and contribute generously to ensure these important services continue.

For more information, contact Kimberly Lindberg 530.878.5166 ext 264 or klindberg@corr.us

 

Upcoming Events

January 3, 2014

Upcoming Events to Save the Dates

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

March 2014

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Special Guest Speaker, Father Tom Weston kicks off the Recovery Enrichment Series

January 2, 2014

We are so excited to announce the launch of the new Recovery Enrichment Series and our first very special guest speaker, Father Tom Weston.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be inspired and enrich your journey! Tom is a very highly regarded and popular speaker in the recovery community we anticipate filling up quickly. Space is limited so please RSVP right away to reserve your seat.

February 13th

5:30pm – 7:30pm

The Campus

180 Sierra College Drive

Grass Valley, CA 95945

RSVP to:

Email: lautiedottie@aol.com

Phone: 530-477-6759

Click HERE to view and download flyer

If you have any questions feel free to call Shelley Rogers: 530-586-1088.

Gratitude and Giving go hand in hand

December 2, 2013

Every year about this time, we’re presented with countless opportunities to give. As we gathered to give thanks on Thursday, some of us celebrated in the homes of family or friends. Others shared fellowship with recovery family and friends.

Either way, gratitude for new lives in recovery and hope for those still struggling was in our hearts and minds. But what if there was a day specifically designated to give a gift of hope?

This year, December 3rd has been declared to be Giving Tuesday . . . a day defined by kindness, compassion, and generosity. By giving today, you are partnering with CoRR to help families recover and thrive.

Tell everyone you can about how you give and why it matters, and join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

CLICK HERE to donate online.

http://www.corr.us/donate-on-line/


 

From our family to yours…

November 26, 2013

As we approach the
Thanksgiving holiday,
Community Recovery Resources
wants to say

Thank You

for all you do to help children and families in our community.

CoRR wishes you, your family and your friends a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Seasons Greetings from the CEO

November 24, 2013

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I would like to thank you for your many contributions to our community, and to the successes of Community Recovery Resources (CoRR).

Thanks to our highly dedicated Staff; very generous donors; exceptionally passionate Board of Directors; and the inspiring families we serve, this past year was one of many achievements and affirmations of the value of CoRR’s services. Most notably we celebrated our first year at The Campus in Grass Valley, our local solution to substance abuse that is serving as a model to the nation and showing phenomenal success in its 1st year; then we completed the merger that created Full Circle Adolescent services, a division of Community Recovery Resources; lastly and for me most importantly we served more children and reunited more of them with their families than ever before. These children, the “silent victims” of substance abuse– now have a chance at a new life through the coordinated services that our Campus system of care provides.

Our programs have shown for every $1 invested in CoRR we return a minimum of $12 in reduced heath care and public safety costs. Our rate of completion is second to none as we now complete 70-80% of all individuals who enter our system and we are getting better.

As our community and country seek solutions to improve health and reduce costs, we look to 2014 with a renewed sense of confidence and belief in our programs.

I extend to you and your families’ seasonal greetings and wish you a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.

~ Warren Daniels, CEO

Holiday Tips for People in Recovery

November 24, 2013

Regardless of our life situation, one of the most difficult times of the year is the holiday season. With competing demands for time and unrealistic expectations, we find ourselves overwhelmed.

The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, and trying to afford it all, to name just a few. During this time, we strive to stay grounded in our health and recovery. We’ve offered some practical tips to help think about the holidays and plan ahead.

1.  Maintain your healthy habits: Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties; continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

2. Take a breather: Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, can refresh you and help you handle demands. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

3. Create a list: Make a list of people you can call if you feel like drinking. This list must consist of people who will support you and prevent you from drinking/using; it might be your sponsor. If you have a cell phone, and most of us do, carry it with you at all times. This tip applies anytime of the year. Don’t tough it out. Don’t give yourself an excuse to do something to jeopardize your sobriety.

4. Steer Clear. Stay away from all the slippery places you once drank or used. Be selective about what invitations you accept. If your family members are big drinkers or have other addictions, it stands to reason that you may wish to steer clear of celebrations on those days. Kindly and confidently reminding your family and friends that your health and safety is the most important way to show them you love them can ease the challenge of bowing out of holidays. If you are going to be in a situation where alcohol is present, mentally rehearse your actions; what you might fill your flask with.

5. Have an attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to turn the holiday blues around is to write a list of blessings. Write it each morning. It might seem silly at first, but by time you hit ten you’ll be much happier. You might give thanks for your sober days; counting up the days can afford a measure of comfort and peace. This is a big achievement, and one that you’ve worked hard for.

6.  Have back-up plans ready.  If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, it’s also essential. You’ve got an easy out, no one’s feelings are hurt, and you’ve been true to your sobriety.

7.  Spend your time with your recovery community. These friends will understand the impact of the holidays better than anyone. The truth is that those in recovery aren’t any more immune to depression and loneliness than someone who’s never had a problem with alcohol. Thousands of people of all ages experience loneliness and depression during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. But the difference is that you, since you are in recovery, have an automatic support network of your recovery community and 12-step sponsor and group members.

Remember, the holidays are a stressful time but they can be filled with great wonderment. Be a part of the joy and not the sorrow.

Also remember; a successful recovery maintenance effort is based on good preparation. Being aware of some of the warning signs that could lead up to relapse can make all the difference in maintaining sobriety through the stressful holiday season and throughout the year.

Warning Signs

1. Urges: Identify your thoughts or self-talk that support these feelings and behavior. Don’t ruminate on the urge…acknowledge the craving and move on.

2. Feelings: When feelings of anger, resentment, or self-pity start to dominate your thinking…remind yourself that these feelings, although real in the moment, will pass if you don’t act on them.

3. Boredom: An area of high risk is boredom and lack of energy; nothing seems fun anymore. Replace these thoughts with entertaining ideas. Throughout the holiday season, 12-Step groups often offer marathon meetings, meals, fellow-shipping, and sobriety inspired activities. Find out if this is offered near you.

4. Isolation: Often people who experience negative feelings and thoughts around the holiday season turn to isolation and don’t reach out to supportive individuals. Consider, when these thoughts and feelings come up, that perhaps there are others experiencing similar feelings. By reaching out and surrounding yourself with others who may need support, you avoid isolation and welcome bonding on a healthy level. 

See also: 31 Ways to Get Happy

See also: 101 Things to do instead of drugs