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How to Change Your Playground

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“Everyone in the recovery rooms suggest that you don’t make any major life decisions/changes within the first year of recovery however, they do tell you to also change your playground. That means; people, places and things. These guidelines are made for a good reason but I found in order to do one thing, I had to discount the other. I moved to Florida for a fresh start. I changed everything. Here, I know only family members that support my recovery and other than that, this place is like a foreign land. I have found that, despite the major change, changing my playground has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. It keeps me on track; no distractions, no temptations. Here are some tips of how you can make the change without going miles away!” -Love, Robyn

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One of the most crucial components of a successful addiction recovery is changing your lifestyle. This most often includes distancing yourself from old drinking friends and haunts, such as a favorite bar. Addiction recovery usually entails making new friends. This may seem like a daunting task, but it’s something we all do throughout our lives. Healthy friends are important to our emotional and physical well-being, and they can impact someone’s recovery by decreasing the risk of relapse.

Here are some tips from PsychCentral.com on how to find new friends while in addiction recovery:

  1. Making friends is not just for the young. Most friendships don’t span a lifetime, so many people are continually looking to replenish their group of friends. Remember that looking for friends at any age is normal.
  2. Pursue your passions to find friends who share similar interests. If you’re just starting to realize your passions during your new life in recovery, pick a hobby or try out a few. Look for local and online communities that are involved in the same activities.
  3. Put yourself in situations where you see the same people routinely. For example, the gym, a class, club, political group or volunteer organization. It’s often casual acquaintances that set the ground for new friendships. Start conversations and follow-up with people. Show you’re interested in others’ lives.
  4. Don’t shy away from online communities or websites, such as www.girlfriencircles.com orwww.meetup.com. Athletics, book clubs, films, gardening, or pets. Find people who are interested in the same things you are and there is potential for developing a new friendship. Enjoy friendships online and/or offline. Join neighborhood or apartment building listservs to try and meet those around you.
  5. Be prepared that not every person you try to befriend will turn into a friendship. This is a healthy and expected part of life.

Be patient. Friendships don’t just happen over night. Give it time and don’t give up if at first it feels awkward or intimidating. There are many rewards to growing new friendships while building your new life in addiction recovery.

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Find Your Drive with MET

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“One of my earlier post talked about how important it is to have motivation. But I was mainly referring to lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. I failed to mention its importance in recovery from addiction! This is a great article that outlines an actual therapy to help boost your mental and emotional strength called Motivation Enhancement Therapy or MET. The goal is to hit a breakthrough, a kind of enlightenment, that will enhance your drive for a life of sobriety. As they say, ‘the 12 steps doesn’t work for everybody,’ because you need that motivation to even show up at a meeting!” -Best of luck, Robyn

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Motivational Enhancement Therapy(MET), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “is a counseling approach that helps individuals resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their drug use.”

It is a method offering more to the substance abuser than simply the traditional 12-step programs of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous (AA, NA).  “This approach aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change, rather than guide the patient stepwise through the recovery process.”

MET is based on principles of Motivational Interviewing (an approach developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, clinical psychologists treating problem drinkers).  It elicits self-motivational statements in early discussion sessions. This is done to “build a plan for change” based on the patient’s observable commitment and verbal expressions of some level of movement toward healingsurrounding the problem.

This therapeutic approach specifically engages the patient in the process of putting a plan forward based on person-centeredmotivations, as opposed to societal. ((As such, it evokes the work of educator John Dewey and psychologist Carl Rogers.)) In uniquely notreiterating the 12-step approach, it can appeal to those having problems following a rote program that does not fully speak to them.

After all, the 12-step approach doesn’t work for everyone.

Developing problem-solving and interpersonal skills is a core component of the therapy. Often, this is introduced early on, in order to initially get past the denial of any substance abuse problem. In a sense, the therapist is guiding the patient to see for himself that there is a problem — all based on discovering what motivates the individual to live life as he or she is currently.

Enlightenment can only occur if an individual wants to learn (John Dewey), and MET is centered around this insight.  Once initial resistance has been countered — by reflecting back the patient’s own statements about desiring better outcomes — learning can really take off.  An introduction of behavioral techniques can be nicely mixed in to support the patient’s ability to better fend for himself when tempted by chemical or old, bad habitual patterns.

Therapists using this approach will often encourage partners and family to attend some sessions as well. This is to support the patient’s thinking and behavioral process changes, as well as to learn techniques for themselves. ((Those techniques could be to draw out the patient’s experience and feelings, or to find coping mechanisms as an addict’s or alcoholic’s family member, based on the MET approach.))

MET often is used in conjunction with other cognitive behavioralapproaches to problems; indeed its application can be much further-reaching than simply for substance abuse. It also has points of connectedness with dialectical behavior therapy-based approaches — utilizing principles akin to mindfulness and distress tolerance in session explorations.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy could go a long way toward offering new insights to those affected by the varied symptomatology of many mental illnesses, as well as interpersonal and professional human relations. Its applications are beginning to be far-reaching, as a simple search online will prove, with its healing offered toward everything from anxiety and depression to breathing problems connected to needed lifestyle change.

Source: http://www.psychcentral.com