Not only does involving yourself in a sober community provide an individual with a sense of belonging, it also gives them a sense of accountability which is hard to find elsewhere. Two of the elements that we have seen repeatedly strengthen someone’s sobriety are exactly that – belonging and accountability.

buddhism in recovery addictionNew Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce Two Weekly Refuge Recovery Meetings
in Chicago.   The meetings are held at 7pm on Tuesdays and Fridays at New Hope Recovery Center, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 308, Chicago, IL 60657.

Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. Those struggling with any form of addiction greatly benefit when they are able to understand the suffering that addiction has created while developing compassion for the pain they have experienced. 
Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. Buddhism recognizes a nontheistic approach to spiritual practice. The Refuge Recovery program of recovery does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.
Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build an extensive and comprehensive network of Refuge Recovery groups, meetings, and communities that practice, educate, and provide Buddhist teachings and meditations for anyone seeking recovery from addiction.  
New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer these new unique additions to Chicago's Recovery Community.  For more information, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or 773-883-3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.  New Hope is located immediately North of the Diversey Brown Line 'L stop on Sheffield.

buddhism in recovery

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

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

Sober Thanksgiving“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”-Cicero

With the Holidays approaching, as well as throughout recovery, it is important to be mindful of the things we are grateful for, one of which could be your recovery. Being cognizant of feelings, emotions, and triggers that the Holidays bring is important for staying sober throughout the holiday season. Researchers have found that familial pressures are attached with celebrating the holidays, which could be an added stressor for individuals. The Holidays could also bring back using memories as these were times for some of heavy substance use.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is being thankful and appreciating various aspects of your life. Gratitude leads to happiness.  According to Robert Emmons, gratitude is “an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received.” He further mentions that “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…We acknowledge that other people-or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset-gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

This is important for us to recognize, as we are able to identify the source of personal happiness and evaluate where changes need to be made. We can relate the above definition of gratitude to recovery in the sense of one’s higher power, and being thankful for that, which helps him/her through the challenges that recovery can bring.

How does gratitude affect an individual in recovery?

Recognizing our gratitude towards the opportunity we have been given to become sober is important for us to be aware of. Research has shown that having gratitude decreases one’s feelings of anxiety and depression, improves one’s sleeping patterns, enhances relationships, increases resiliency, increases acts of philanthropy and kindness towards others, and encourages one to seek forgiveness. With these in mind, an individual in recovery who is thankful for their involvement in treatment, as well as with other aspects of their life, can be awarded with the abovementioned outcomes of having gratitude.

If you or someone you love is affected by an addiction, please contact New Hope Recovery Center for assistance. (888) 707-4673.  info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

sober thanksgivingWe are entering the time of year when parties, family get-togethers and excessive eating, drinking and merriment can create difficult or at least tricky situations for those in recovery.  Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging time.  Family interaction is often expected and it may be the first family get-together in a while.

6 Tips for Having a Happy and Sober Thanksgiving:

1. Review the Past.  If you are planning to be with family or friends during Thanksgiving, reflect on past Thanksgivings.  Were they stressful?  Was there a great deal of drinking and partying?  Did family members fight or bring up and/or re-inflict old wounds?  Did you feel comfortable and at ease?

By reviewing the past, you can look for things that may temp you to drink or use again.  When and where do you think your buttons will be pushed? What situations or encounters led you to feel stressed, angry, sad or hurt in the past? Just because you are sober doesn’t mean that things will be drastically different.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst and be ready for everything.  Being prepared is the best thing you can do.

2. Plan Your Entrance.  Now that you have reviewed where you could feel stressed, anxious, irritated/angry or triggered, plan how you will attend.  Is it better to go early and get comfortable?  Is it better to go later, to avoid certain encounters?  Is it better to go with a sober friend or family member?

Perhaps it is better to not attend at all?  If that is the case, is there a way you can communicate with your family to express your thankfulness for them, but yet keep yourself safe?  Look for sober friends you can celebrate with.  If you decide that it would not be healthy for you to be around family and old friends during Thanksgiving, plan something special with others. 

 3. Plan Your Exit.   Before you go, plan on how long you think you can comfortably stay.  If you know from past experience that staying for a full day, or a full holiday weekend will be too much or dangerous to your sobriety, then plan your visit accordingly.  Let your family know about your plans ahead of time.  This will help you set realistic expectations and allow others to understand your plans.  Be prepared to leave even earlier than you may have originally planned if you are triggered or feel unmanageable stress, anxiety or anger.  It is acceptable to explain that you feel you need to leave early.

 4. Have Support Ready.   Let your support group and sober friends know about your plans and any difficulties that may arise or did arise in the past.  Tell them your travel days and times.  Have a person available you can call if things get difficult.  Or perhaps ask someone to go with you.

If you decide that you cannot safely attend your family’s Thanksgiving, see what sober events are available near you.  Thanksgiving can be triggering even without family and old friends around.  It can also be lonely…most restaurants and stores (although fewer each year) are closed.  So plan ahead to share your Thanksgiving with others.  One great way to spend Thanksgiving is to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the day.  It can be an incredibly moving experience that will fill you with gratitude.

 5. Be Honest and Realistic.  It's best to be open about your addiction and recovery with family and friends.  At a minimum be clear about your boundaries and rules.  At a minimum tell your family that you are not drinking or using during the visit.

You should feel wonderful about your sobriety, however, don’t expect that everything within your family will be drastically different immediately.  People change and evolve in small steps, so look for tiny increments of change.  Sure, you are different, but give your family time to actually see and experience the difference.  Seeing truly is believing for family and friends, especially those you may have hurt in the past.

 6. Be Grateful and Enjoy – Now that you have planned ahead, you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving.  Relaxing during a holiday isn’t always easy, so remember to breathe deeply.  Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to being grateful, so think of at least three things you are grateful for, and try not to stop with three.  Our entire world changes when we see the world through gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you or a loved one would like help with an addiction, you can contact New Hope Recovery Center for assistance.  888-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

888-707-4673

info@new-hope-recovery.com

spirituality and addiction recoveryMany people enter addiction treatment rehab or walk through the doors of a 12-step room and struggle with the concept of spirituality.  For those beginning the journey of addiction recovery who do not identify as religious, or who did previously but have now rejected religion, or who have felt harmed by religion, the idea of spirituality or a higher power can be challenging.

For those who practice religion and identify God as their Higher Power, spirituality likely already makes sense.  They can fit spirituality into the framework of their current religion.  For someone who has never practiced, no longer practices or who feels harmed by religion, it can be difficult to grasp how spirituality can exist without the presence of religion. But spirituality and religion are very different.

The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion

It is helpful to separate spirituality and religion.  We often unconsciously link the two.  But spirituality does not need to be defined through the lens of religion.  Religion can be thought of as a set of beliefs, rituals and practices regarding belief in God or gods to be worshipped.  Spirituality is a personal search for meaning in life, for connection with all things and for the experience of a power beyond oneself.  Some find it helpful to think of religion as rules or practices agreed to by a number of people, whereas spirituality is completely related to one’s individual experience and connections.  Spirituality is recognizing a power greater than ourselves which is grounded in love and compassion.  It is a power that gives us perspective, meaning, and a purpose to our lives.  It is a desire to connect with more than ourselves, to connect with everything.

So, Why Is Spirituality Important In Recovery From Addiction?

Spirituality is important in addiction recovery because addiction takes away our ability to be spiritual.  It disconnects us from our spirituality and from powers, people and things outside ourselves.  To fully recover from our addiction we must reconnect to our spirituality, our search for purpose in our life and connections beyond ourselves.

How Does Addiction Take Away Our Spirituality?

First, alcoholism or drug addiction takes away our ability to choose because EVERYTHING becomes centered on using.  Our entire focus is on the drug of addiction…how to get it, when to get it, who to get it from, where to get it, when to use it, actually using it, and recovering from using it.  The sole focus in life revolves around the addiction.  We tend to only value people and things based on our addiction.  An important element of spirituality is choosing for ourselves: deciding on our beliefs, exploring our purpose and meaning and honestly connecting with people and powers beyond ourselves.  Addiction keeps us from choosing anything but the object(s) of our addiction.

Second, addiction takes away our ability to grow and change.   Although the life of an addict can seem random, chaotic and uncertain, it is actually very predictable and extremely routine.  Because the addict focuses exclusively on their addiction, their life ceases to have any growth or change: it is solely about getting the drug, using the drug and recovering from the drug, repeated over and over.  Life become robotic, the addict is no longer themselves.  Not being able to be our true selves’ stops us from growing.  Spirituality is about growing, changing and evolving.

Third, addiction takes away our ability to have any real relationships because our sole focus and connection is wired to be exclusively with the addiction.  Addiction causes us to be dishonest, we say and do things based on the drug. Because we are no longer ourselves, we cannot form honest relationships with others (or ourselves).  We cannot connect to anything beyond ourselves and our drug.  Our world soon shrinks to become just us and our addiction, everything and everyone else just becomes a means to using.  Addiction eventually results in a loss of all real relationships and connections. An important element of spirituality is connecting to more than ourselves, ultimately with everything.

Finally, addiction takes away our ability to experience surprise, wonder and awe.  If there is one experience that can immediately let us know we are connecting with our spirituality, it is experiencing awe and wonder.  Many expect wonder and awe to come only in the form of extraordinary events with loud fanfare.  But actually wonder and awe come mainly during ordinary events and things.  They come when we take the time to recognize the incredible beauty and wonder in everyday objects and happenings.  The beauty and complexity of a sunflower, the wonderful fragrance of a rose, seeing the night sky filled with stars, and watching the sun slowly set are often sources of wonder.  Any moment can be an opportunity for awe and wonder:  a moment to feel connected to more than ourselves, to feel that there is a power or powers beyond ourselves, to appreciate things and people for their own beauty.

If we view spirituality from this perspective we can see how recovery and sobriety gives us our spirituality back. Spirituality is individually defined, it is however one chooses to assign meaning, value, and purpose to their life.  Therefore, someone who walks into a 12-step room does not have to be deterred by the spirituality of the program because they can choose anything greater than themselves as their Higher Power, such as their own sobriety.

Practicing Spirituality

Being spiritual is a practice that restores all of the things addiction takes away from us.  Addiction is a predictable disease with a predictable outcome.  Practicing spirituality involves getting comfortable with the uncertain.  It can be practiced and strengthened by taking the time to celebrate what we are grateful for, what we trust in, what inspires us, and how we exercise faith.  Being spiritual requires us to be mindful of the ordinary moments that make a simple life extraordinary and to be vulnerable to change, to risk having honest relationships and to grow.  It’s these ordinary moments and brave bouts of vulnerability that allow us to connect with others with love and compassion.

New Hope Recovery Center focuses on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our clients and their families as they journey toward recovery.  We understand the importance of spirituality in addiction recovery and guide each client to discover and experience their own spirituality.  If you would like more information about New Hope Recovery Center, please contact us at 888-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

From all the research that has been done in the field of addiction over the past 30-40 years, we know several factors are involved in the development and continuance of addictive behavior.   Within the disease model of addiction, we understand the development of an addiction stems from the genes we have inherited.  Once these particular genes are activated, the disease progresses, from the point of onset to chronic and often fatal stages, unless it is treated.

Through this medical model, we learn that addiction is a biopsychosocial disease, with many factors contributing to the development of an addiction including our biology or genetics (bio); our thoughts, feelings and emotions (psycho); and our personal histories: the way we were raised, the environmental and cultural cues and messages we are exposed to (social).

Traditional learning theory (specifically operant conditioning) states that we tend to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable, thereby setting up a pattern of action, reward, repeated action.  Our brains are hard-wired to be able to learn this way, as it is critical for our survival.  For example, when we eat, dopamine is released in the brain, sending the message to repeat the behavior.  The concept of making associations is key to learning theory as are the concepts of reinforcement and punishment.   Getting a pleasurable response to a behavior (i.e. feeling satisfied after eating a tasty meal) increases the chance that we will seek opportunities to repeat the behavior.  On the contrary, being punished after doing a behavior (i.e. getting burned from touching a hot stove) drastically reduces the likelihood we will repeat the behavior.

When looked at against the backdrop of addictive behavior, it is easy to understand how one can get caught up in the cycle of repeating certain behaviors.  Although in time, addictive behaviors come with negative consequences (punishments), they are initially paired with the experience of pleasure.  In the case of certain drugs and routes of administration (for example shooting heroin), the behavior is paired with extreme pleasure.  In learning theory, the stronger the experience of pleasure, the stronger the association will be and therefore, the more likely one will want to repeat the behavior.

Classical conditioning, another subset of learning theory, can explain why formerly neutral stimuli become paired with the anticipation of pleasure as they become cues for the target behavior.  Environmental cueing and classical conditioning are theories that account specifically for relapse.  For example, a previously neutral or even negative stimulus such as a needle can in and of itself set off the phenomenon known as craving in an individual who is addicted to heroin or crystal methamphetamine.  In this case, one may experience intense psychological cravings without even coming into contact with the actual drug, only with the stimuli that have become paired associations with the drug.  These intense cravings can easily lead to relapse, if not addressed and dealt with properly.

Further, social learning theory, first explained by Albert Bandura in 1961, also explains addiction in terms of the biopsychosocial model.  Social learning theory posits that we can learn and make associations in a social context, simply by observing and imitating the behaviors of others.  The behavior(s) being observed are most likely to be repeated if reward is part of the observation.  For example, a person watching his/her peers drink, laugh and have fun will pair that association and increase the likelihood that he/she will attempt the behavior as well.  This is known as vicarious reinforcement.

With a pattern of addiction, social learning is often responsible for the initiation of drug/alcohol related behavior.  Once the addictive process has taken over, social factors fade out and become largely irrelevant to the maintenance of the addiction.  As the addiction progresses, opportunities to learn from healthy individuals engaged in healthy or adaptive ways of coping with stress become scarce, as healthy people begin to disengage from the addict and as the addict associates almost exclusively with other addicts or users.

Learning theory, including operant and classical conditioning and social learning can be applied to recovery as well.  In recovery, we re-learn the associations made in the brain during our addiction.  We pair craving and/or stress with picking up the phone and reaching out to our sober network.  We learn to avoid things, people or situations that will lead us back to using.  We make daily associations such as waking up in the morning and praying or meditating.  And finally, we learn socially acceptable behavior from our sober mentors, family and friends.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Aftercare. We also have a LGBTQI specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” We offer personalized, holistic treatment by examining the whole person: mind, body and spirit.  Our small intimate setting caters to your specific needs and we provide place of support, nurture and safety leading to hope and healing. If you are interested in a confidential assessment, or you know someone who is, call 888-707-4673 to talk to a staff member.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Some holidays are more difficult than others for recovering alcoholics; St.Patrick’s day is often one of those holidays. It was once celebrated as a day to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, it has evolved into an “all you can drink” party that has little to do with Ireland or St.Patrick at all.

In most American cities the holiday takes over and the parties spill out of the bars and into the streets. Chicago Taxi drivers now charge a hefty fee for anyone that  throws up in the cab, this is not an unlikely occurrence on St. Patrick's Day. There are green shamrocks as far as the eye can see and the sounds of bagpipes blow long into the night. Starting early in the morning and going strong into night, St.Patrick's Day is a holiday centered and focused on one thing; the consumption of alcohol.

Where are the recovering alcoholics during this time? Many recovering alcoholics despise this day for the obvious reasons. It is one of the few days out of the year they can have a hard time trying to avoid this type of behavior. While it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook on this day, impossible it is not. There is no reason a recovering alcoholic should feel worried, scared or intimidated on this day. Here are some helpful tips to stay sober and enjoy your St. Patrick's Day:

  • First and foremost, you don’t have to surround yourself with the mayhem. Plan accordingly ahead of time to leave the hotspots during this time. If you live in an area of your city that is a hotbed for bars, plan a day trip outside of that area and return once the festivities die down. In most cities spring is just starting to blossom. Celebrate by going to a forest preserve or nature sanctuary far secluded from any bars or parties.
  • If leaving isn't an option for you, try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. This means staying in and enjoying time at home. Plan ahead by getting all your grocery shopping done and making sure you have no reason to travel through the seas of people.  You can celebrate by making a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and watching The Commitments.
  • Find a sober St.Patricks day party. Keep an eye peeled for sober activities at meetings and clubs in the weeks leading up to the holiday. If you’re willing to venture through your city this is a great option for any recovering alcoholics. Most Alano clubs or AA groups have sober gatherings on holidays, and there is no better way to keep from drinking or being triggered than surrounding yourself with other sober friends.
  • Stay busy. Make a list of things you need to do and knock it out while everyone else is wasting time. By staying busy and proactive you will not only be taking your mind off of the drinking. You will be congratulating yourself and patting yourself on the back over what you’re getting done on a day most people don't remember. Make a list of ten things you want to accomplish and stay busy.
  • Keep on living your life like it’s any other day. Not all recovering alcoholics are triggered or feel uncomfortable around drinking or partying, and not all of us feel the need to change our way of living over other people just because we are sober. If this is the case, do what you would do any other day to stay sober and be grateful you no longer need to live that way.

New Hope Recovery Center is a substance abuse and addiction treatment facility located in Chicago, IL. If you know someone who needs professional help with addiction, please call for more information 1-888-707-4673.

Want more information about how to handle holidays when you are sober? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 
Family Matters and the Holiday Season The holiday season is stressful time for everyone. In this audio interview from Big Oldies 93.7 Dial-a-Doc, Charles Brookover MS, LCPC, CADC speaks about how to best handle holiday gatherings and properly set your expectations for holiday celebrations. Charlie Brookover works at FHN Family Counseling Center – Jo Daviess County at 300 Summit Street Galena, IL 61036.
Alcoholism and Addiction: How to Stay Sober While Traveling Travel season is here in full force and unless you’re going on an expedition through the Alaskan tundra, there is a good chance you will be around alcohol. Vacations are a time to relax, regenerate and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, for many recovering alcoholics and addicts, travel can cause a lot of anxiety. Many people associate vacations with alcohol and many popular vacation spots around the world use this as a main attraction.
Addiction, Recovery and Summer in Chicago With Chicago’s summer right around the corner, everyone is gearing up for baseball games, barbecues, street festivals and long days at the beach or on the water. For those who are sober, this can sound like a nightmare instead of a holiday. The majority of summertime activities often include alcohol, but most recovering from alcohol or drug addiction seem to think they revolve around alcohol. Just because you don’t drink anymore, doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the many summer activities you’re accustomed to.
Life After Rehab: 5 Tips for the Newly Sober So you've finished treatment…now what? This is a common question people ask themselves after finishing drug and alcohol rehab. Statistics show that the days, and even hours, after leaving treatment are incredibly crucial to long term sobriety.  Addiction treatment centers provide a safe, structured environment where someone is removed from their triggers and the pressures of everyday life.  Leaving the safety net of rehab can be intimidating and even frightening to some individuals although it doesn't have to be.  There are many things newly sober people can do following treatment to ensure they maintain the sobriety achieved in treatment.

“Admitted to ourselves, another person and our higher power the exact nature of our wrongs”

The fifth step in addiction recovery is one of the steps that has a large impact on members. After completing the fourth step by doing a moral inventory, you now share it.  This is considered to be somewhat of a spiritual experience in itself. The fifth step simply put, is taking your fourth step and thoroughly going over it (sharing it) with your sponsor and your higher power, whatever that may be.

Prior to starting the fifth step in addiction recovery, it is important to thoroughly complete the fourth step. Once you have a properly prepared fourth step, it’s time to pick a date, a safe place and begin your fifth step with your sponsor. Going through your moral inventory can be a rigorous, emotional task that takes time and determination, but the reward is far greater than the struggle.

What does Step 5 do for our addiction recovery?

The fifth step gives us an opportunity to put to rest any resentments, fears or harms we have accumulated over the course of our using or drinking. The big book states that these are what lead to relapses, and until we say goodbye to them we will never fully recovery. In many ways, the fifth step is a way for us to say goodbye to our old behaviors as alcoholics and addicts and embrace our new sober way of living.

How do we do this?

We do this by being completely honest with ourselves, our sponsor and our higher power. We acknowledge what we have done, how it was wrong and why we did it. We see our part in what happened in the past.  This allows us to consider taking the next steps necessary to right the wrongs from our past.

The fifth step is not designed to make us feel guilt or shame for what we have done.  It’s there so we can let go of any feelings of guilt and shame we may have been holding on to. We do this in a safe place with a person we trust, and we process our entire fourth step during this time. We can only move beyond guilt and shame when we admit to our part in our wrongs.  By sharing, we remove the secrecy, shame and guilt we may feel.  Many feel liberated after completing the fifth step.

Once you finish this, it’s time to move on to the sixth step of addiction recovery, where we learn to accept our past. The fifth step is one of the more difficult steps to work through and brings up a mix of different emotions, but the necessity of this step cannot be stressed enough.  The rewards are certainly worth it.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility.  New Hope With Pride  provides specific programming for our LGBT community members. If you would like guidance or help in handling your own addiction or that of a loved one, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

New Hope Recovery Center supports recovery addiction by offering a number of open meetings at our facility for those looking to participate in a 12 step program.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Perhaps the hardest part of drug or alcohol addiction treatment is actually getting there. The fears about entering an addiction treatment program or facility (rehab) can overpower the will to get sober and keep someone from getting the help they need. With so many unknowns involved, it’s not surprising many people initially decide against treatment for their addiction.

But how many of these fears are healthy and how many are irrational? It’s important to remember that fear or anxiousness surrounding addiction treatment and sobriety is normal and is something most people go through.

People have all sorts of fears about treatment that can range a variety of different questions.

  • Will I have to stop using/drinking forever?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who can find out I went to treatment?
  • Will I be able to see my family?
  • Can I leave work to go to treatment?
  • Will I have to miss work to go to treatment?
  • How will addiction treatment impact my insurance?
  • How long will I be in treatment for?
  • What happens after rehab?

These are excellent questions.  But fear based on assuming certain answers can deter someone from getting help.  So get actual answers to these questions.  This will allow you to see what addiction treatment is like.

The best way to do this is to reach out to local treatment centers and ask them these questions directly. Most treatment teams have employees knowledgeable about almost all aspects of treatment.  Often you can make a confidential anonymous phone call or have an anonymous electronic chat to you’re your questions answered. Understand that the answers will vary based on different addiction treatment programs.  So be sure to contact more than one to make sure you find a treatment center that will fit for you and minimize your fears.

Another great way to get answers is to talk to others who have been through rehab. There is no better way of learning about something new than picking the brain of someone who has been there before. Have an honest conversation with someone who has been through it before, this can help alleviate your fears.

You can also ease some of your concerns and unknowns by doing do some research online.  Most treatment centers will have a frequent asked question page, or something comparable.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to change your life forever. If you’re thinking about going to treatment for an addiction, but are struggling with fears and unknowns surrounding it, do what you can to address those fears. Write down your fears down and questions and get answers.

New Hope Recovery Center would be happy to answer any of your questions.  Ideally we would love to answer the questions here, but because each person’s situation will be different, it is better if you contact us so we can fully understand your situation.  You can call us at 888-707-4673, email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com or chat with us online by visiting our website: www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about seeking help? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Intensive Outpatient: The New Standard? Drug addiction and alcoholism is a progressive disease, so there are many stages of the disease and many different levels of care in which you can treat them. Although the 28 day treatment programs are effective for the severe/chronic cases, Intensive Outpatient is a great alternative. Most people think of a 28 day treatment program when they think of rehab for alcoholism or some other substance addiction.

Residential Drug Rehab: The Inpatient Treatment Option: Finding the right drug and alcohol treatment center can be overwhelming with all the different types of programs available. With so many terms, acronyms and levels of care, many are overwhelmed before they even decide on a program. Residential Day Treatment, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, Inpatient are just a few of the more commons ones. The most well known, inpatient and residential is what has become synonymous when people think of “drug and alcohol rehab.”

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago: Seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction is often an overwhelming and confusing process.  Deciding to get help is a huge step, but can often lead to feeling  overwhelmed wondering where to start.  With so many options (including self-help groups such as AA, NA, CA, CMA, etc.) available, it can seem like a daunting task.

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago: If you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one for the first time, searching the Internet can be extremely overwhelming. There are numerous treatment centers in Chicago, and even more throughout Illinois. Whether you are searching for yourself or a loved one, it is important to know the right questions to ask a drug and alcohol treatment center. It is also important to look at the needs of the individual and make sure you are preparing for long term care.

Insurance Coverage & Rehab – Will your insurance pay for treatment? The reason for having health insurance is to alleviate the large financial burden when dealing with any type of illness.  However, insurance providers are not forthcoming with all the information related to an individual with chemical dependency or substance abuse treatment needs. Insurance providers claim there are no “limits” on benefits for rehab, but all benefits are based on medical necessity. What often goes unstated, is the insurance provider is the sole entity determining what constitutes to be medically necessary.

Do you worry that you or a loved one is an alcoholic or is abusing alcohol? What factors distinguish the difference between a “social drinker” and someone that has a problem?

A huge factor in what people consider to be “normal” drinking is how they grew up and the habits of those around them. Just like many things in life, people choose to compare themselves to those around them. Although you or your loved one may feel your/their drinking is normal, it could be you have set your standard of “normal” based on who you/they surround themselves with. For example: If you grew up in a home where every family gathering involved large amounts of alcohol, family members falling asleep or blacking out, this may be considered normal to you. If your friends drink daily, it is more likely that you will feel that your drinking is normal since you only go out a few times a week.

The main focus in determining alcoholism is on how drinking affects your life, your activities and your body.

Behavior Symptoms of Alcoholism

  • Hiding your drinking, drinking alone or feeling guilty about your drinking
  • Drinking alcohol at times that are not considered “normal” (morning, during the day, before you go to work, etc)
  • Regularly feeling hungover in the mornings
  • Canceling plans or other responsibilities in order to hide your drinking
  • Failing to meet obligations, commitments and responsibilities due to drinking
  • Once you start drinking you cannot stop or control your drinking until you black out or people “cut you off”
  • Worry that your drinking affects others, such as your relationships with your family and/or friends
  • Drinking has impaired your ability to function in regular activities such as working, paying bills, keeping up with personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in things that at one time brought you pleasure (reading, working out, traveling, volunteering)
  • Drink to “escape” issues, stress, problems, or feelings (such as sadness, loneliness, anxiety)
  • Keep or store alcohol in unusual places
  • Spend a lot of time and energy on drinking and recovering after drinking

Physical Symptoms:

  • Feel physically sick when you don’t drink (sweating, shaking, nausea)
  • Develop a tolerance, a need to drink more to feel drunk
  • Redness of the nose and cheeks
  • Swollen or bloated face
  • Retain water in your abdomen
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Poor complexion, large pores

New Hope Recovery Center  treats clients who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction problems. The lists above identify a partial list of symptoms of alcoholism or alcohol abuse and should only be used as a preliminary screening. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment.