holidays in recovery New Years EveHolidays in recovery are challenging, but perhaps none more than New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is a time when people typically celebrate the past year and make resolutions for the upcoming year.  The reality of most New Year’s Eve celebrations is that they not only include alcohol, the day seems obsessed with it.  Drunken New Year’s parties are so common they have become a cliché.  Obviously this can be a very difficult time for individuals in recovery.  Knowing how to navigate this challenging time is imperative for maintaining sobriety.

New Year’s Eve is an emotional time for everyone.  The ending of one year and the beginning of another usually leads to conflicting feelings of sadness, regret, loss, joy and hope.  This is often a time of reflecting back on the past year and past actions, sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly.  These intense feelings can trigger someone to using.

New Year’s Eve can feel lonely if you don’t have sober friends you can reach out to, because so many New Year’s celebrations involve alcohol and drugs.  If possible, contact friends and support several days prior to New Year's Eve to help you feel connected and to minimize feelings of loneliness.  Reaching out to your sponsor can be a big help and can provide positive support for you around New Year’s Eve.

It is important for individuals in recovery to have a toolbox of steps to take to enjoy a sober New Year’s Eve celebration. Having a definite safety plan is encouraged. Attending meetings is one way to receive support and partake in fun, sober, holiday-esque activities that are usually hosted by certain fellowships during this time. Hosting your own sober New Year’s Eve get-together is another way to make sure you resist the temptation to use.  Being around sober friends and family is a good idea for those in recovery.

If thoughts of using begin to creep in, it is important to remember how bad things were when you were in active addiction.  Remember the consequences you had from using. Realize that this time of year tends to glorify alcohol and partying.  So, don’t let fond memories keep you from realistically remembering the bad times and the consequences you faced from using.

If you must attend a party that will involve drinking, plan ahead.  Take a sober companion to accompany you to a party. You can hold each other accountable throughout the night. Have a nonalcoholic drink in your hand to avoid constantly being asked.  And leave promptly if you feel triggered.  See our 6 Tips for Sober Celebrating for additional ideas for handling a holiday parties.

If things get tough, remember, the day will pass and upholding your sobriety is something that you can cherish and applaud yourself for surviving New Year’s Eve.  Setting New Year’s resolutions enables you to identify goals that you can work towards throughout the New Year. Happy Holiday’s and a Happy New Year!

Finally, look for fellowship meetings in your area for sober holiday gatherings.  Here are some links to Chicago fellowship meetings that host sober holiday events:

Lincoln Park Alano Club: New Year’s Eve Dance http://www.lpac-online.com/2.html

The Rec Room: New Year’s Eve Classy to Sassy 2015 Event. 7:30pm. 4138 N. Sheridan Rd. http://recroomchicago.org/events

 

Happy 2015!

 

New Hope Recovery Center is available to answer your questions and help you or your loved one.  888-808-4673 (HOPE)

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Many faces of alcoholism and addiction exist. Below is a list of celebrities who struggled with alcoholism and are in recovery, plus a quote from each about his or her recovery, admitting to their addiction, and how life has been for them in sobriety.

Robin Williams: "It's hard admitting it, then once you've done that, it's real easy."

celebrity alcoholic radcliffeDaniel Radcliffe: "I became so reliant on [alcohol] to enjoy stuff." "As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn't work for me."

 

celebrity alcoholic

https://www.michaeljfox.org

Michael J Fox: ‘"Once I did that it was then about a year of like a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it … but then after that I went to therapy and it all started to get really clear to me. In treatment Fox said he learned to "take one day at a time." ‘

celebrity alcoholicJamie Lee Curtis: “My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart... Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in a shambles and you have to change it. I was lucky, I didn’t have to lose anything.”

celebrity alcoholicDemi Lovato: Demi Lovato explains with regards to her drinking, "I've slipped up a few times, but each time I have learned from it, and it's become further apart."

Russell Brand: “If anything positive can come of the death of Philip Seymour, it’s that. His death doesn’t make sense unless you accept that addiction is an illness. It doesn’t make sense any other way. Otherwise, you think ‘hang on a minute why he’d do that?’”  “Addiction is a mental illness around which there is a great deal of confusion, which is hugely exacerbated by the laws that criminalize drug addicts.”

celebrity alcoholicJohnny Depp: “I was poisoning myself with alcohol and medicating myself. I was trying to numb things. I was trying not to feel things, and that's ridiculous. It's one of the dumbest things you can do, because all you're doing is postponing the inevitable. Someday you'll have to look all those things in the eye rather than try to numb the pain.”

Mickey Mantle: " ‘All you've got to do is look at me to see it's wasted,’ he says of his life, with tears welling up in his eyes as he alludes to his 40-year bout with alcohol abuse that led to his liver problem.”

celebrity alcoholicRobert Downy Jr.:  In reference to his addiction, he stated, “I don't pretend it didn't happen. “More than anything I have this sense that I’m a veteran of a war that is difficult to discuss with people who haven’t been there.” He also stated that practicing yoga was a big part of his recovery.

Kristen Davis:  “I believe [alcoholism] is a disease. I don’t think you can mess with it. There was a time when people who didn’t know me well would say, 'Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?' And I would say, 'No.' I’m doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?"

Alec Baldwin: “God got me sober. That day, God was a black, 65-year-old retired postal worker named Lenny,” Baldwin writes. “Lenny said, ‘You never have to feel this way again if you don’t want to.’ ”

Alcohol addiction affects millions of people.  But there is help in overcoming this disease.  These celebrities show living in recovery is more than possible.

New Hope Recovery Center is available to answer your questions and help you or your loved one.  888-808-4673 (HOPE)

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, a LOT of alcohol. For example, the original Listerine formula is almost 27% alcohol (54 Proof) and most mint-flavored mouthwashes are around 22% alcohol.  But drinking mouthwash can be dangerous.

Who would drink mouthwash?

Although it may not occur to most people to try drinking mouthwash, for some people, it is tempting.  Teenagers can get it without ID or find it in their homes.  It may be cheaper to buy than alcohol, or at least appear that way. It is often easier to steal mouthwash compared to alcoholic beverages. In most homes it is left out and not really monitored by anyone. And in many homes with recovering alcoholics, alcohol may be removed, but people often forget about mouthwash.

The Toxic Ingredients in Mouthwash

Mouthwash is designed to be expectorated (spit out) and not swallowed. Ingesting amounts large enough to cause drunkenness can be extremely toxic and may lead to serious consequences.

Although mouthwash contains alcohol, it is generally denatured alcohol.  Denatured alcohol means that it has additives to make it toxic or unpleasant for consumption.  (Perhaps no surprise that denatured alcohol is taxed differently/lower than drinkable alcohol.) In some cases these additives are even poisonous.  For example, some mouthwashes contain methyl alcohol (or wood alcohol), which is poisonous and can cause blindness, organ failure and death.

Mouthwashes also typically contain other ingredients that are toxic and harmful if ingested. Some mouthwash contains hydrogen peroxide, which can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Many mouthwashes contain compounds such as menthol, eucalyptol and thymol. These ingredients can be toxic when consumed in amounts large enough to become drunk from mouthwash.

Of course drinking mouthwash can be dangerous in the same way that drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages is dangerous. Large amounts of mouthwash can produce intoxication, which could lead to arrest for drunk driving, making poor decisions, putting oneself at risk for injury or death, and engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors.

 

If you are drinking mouthwash, you likely have an alcohol problem.  If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, you can contact New Hope Recovery Center for help: 888-707-4673(HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is proud of its President and Clinical Director, Jeff Zacharias.  Jeff was recently named one of the top 100 Graduates from the Loyola School of Social Work during its 100 year history.

Jeff Zacharias

Congratulations Jeff!

 

Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone connected to the addict. So what should family and friends do (and not do) when someone they love is addicted? 

Addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit from which people can and do recover. Like any other disease, no one intends to get sick or wishes it upon someone. Addiction recovery is a process of healing from the different layers of pain, disappointment, shame and guilt that come with addiction.

What not to do:

  • Do not think you can control the addict or the addiction.  Understand that the addict and the addiction are beyond your control.  You can only control yourself.
  • Do not enable the addict or alcoholic. There is a difference between helping and enabling someone.  Helping someone is doing something for someone which they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling someone is doing for someone something they can do and should do for themselves.  Helping looks at the long term benefits and consequences, whereas enabling only looks at the immediate situation or drama.
  • Do not make threats you won’t be able to follow through on. Addicts/alcoholics will continue to push any boundaries to the limits and weaken your resolve. Set limits you can keep and then keep them.
  • Do not shame or scorn the addict/alcoholic. Addiction is a shame based disease and does not need any more shaming to fuel itself. The addict/alcoholic often suffers from chronic shame which includes different levels of low self-worth, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a distorted self-image.
  • Do not make excuses or cover up for the addict/alcoholic.  Allow them to experience the full consequences of their addiction. Do not deny or minimize the addiction or its severity. Trying to fix their problems, manage their lives or control the addict’s behaviors only prolongs the addict from learning to be accountable and responsible for their actions. They are kept from learning the valuable lessons they need in order to grow and change.
  • Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. You have ridden a roller coaster of emotions long enough; it is now time for you to get off the ride. If you find yourself getting overly emotional in dealing with the addict/alcoholic, step away until you can be calm.  Addiction creates drama, so be prepared for how you will act before the drama begins.

What to do:

  • Be patient while the addict/alcoholic is in recovery. Recovery is a journey not a destination.  Recovery will happen in several stages and may not happen in a neat line.
  • Do what you can at the moment. There will be situations where you will be hesitant or confused about what to do. Make the best decision you can at the time and move one.  Learn what works and doesn’t work and act accordingly.  Remember to fully accept that you made the best decision at the time with the information you had available.
  • Do focus on yourself not on the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones need to focus their efforts on staying healthy. You can’t help the addict if you are not healthy and cannot help yourself. You and your families’ well-being depends on it.
  • Set boundaries for your long-term health and sanity. Lovingly (and frequently, if necessary) insist that your boundaries be respected and state the consequences for any violation of your boundaries.  Follow through on these consequences. See your follow-through as an act of love that builds trust for yourself and the addict/alcoholic.
  • Do identify and recognize the different areas of life that have been neglected as a result of your preoccupation with the addict/alcoholic and begin to rectify any damage done.
  • Do practice letting go of your need to fix, manage or control the addict/alcohol or situations and circumstances that arise from the addiction. This is sometimes called "release with love”.
  • Do seek help for yourself and other family members. Getting outside help is often critical for complete healing and growth. It can also provide a healthy perspective on your situation and interactions.  Seek out a therapist, counselor, Al-AnonNar-anon, Smart Recovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics or some other group that focuses on those who are affected by an addict/alcoholic.

Change will take time but will be a beautiful journey of uncovering, discovering, and recovering your lives. You will not only survive, but thrive.

Remember: Progress, not Perfection

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center