We believe length of treatment directly impacts the chances for long-term recovery. For this reason we offer a variety of levels of care to better equip an individual to create the life they desire. Our caring and experienced clinical staff provides the emotional, physical and spiritual healing necessary to identify the core issues that underlie the addiction and in turn create an extraordinary life of productive, balanced sober living.

Its that time again for Chicago’s only LGBTQ recovery weekend. It begins August 15th and continues until August 17th at the Center on Halsted. Chicago Roundup, Inc. is a volunteer-based organization for the celebration of 12-step recovery from alcohol and drug addiction within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community. This organization produces engaging events in a safe environment, affording participants the opportunity to have a spiritual awakening.

The Main Event - We Can Go Anywhere

  • Is a weekend-long gathering of LGBT’s celebrating recovery and those interested in finding out what a life of recovery has to offer.
  • Provides thought-provoking panel discussions, engaging speakers, pure entertainment and fellowship opportunities intended to enhance your spiritual, emotional and sober life.
  • Offers the perfect opportunity to meet other recovering people from all of the world and make some wonderful new friendships in the process.
  • Is hosted in the heart of Boystown at the largest LGBT Community Center in the Midwest, Chicago’s state-of-the-art Center on Halsted.
  • Begins on Friday, August 15th and ends on Sunday, August 17th, 2014.

This collection of so many different experiences and perceptions makes our own recovery that much stronger.

Go to the Chicago RoundUp registration page to for further details and to register for this serenity filled weekend.

New Hope Recovery Center is the presenting sponsor this year, and we couldn't be more proud to help support such a wonderful organization.

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.
We believe length of treatment directly impacts the chances for long-term recovery. For this reason we offer a variety of levels of care to better equip an individual to create the life they desire. Our caring and experienced clinical staff provides the emotional, physical and spiritual healing necessary to identify the core issues that underlie the addiction and in turn create an extraordinary life of productive, balanced sober living. 
For more information about New Hope Recovery Center please contact us at 773-883-3916 or check out our website www.new-hope-recovery.com.

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

“Acceptance is not approval.” This saying reverberates through the rooms of 12-step meetings. The saying is common because acceptance is difficult to understand and not easy to achieve.  In fact, it may be easier to understand what acceptance is not: it is not approval, or forgiveness, or weakness.  It is: agreeing with reality AS IT IS, and agreeing to the past AS IT WAS, instead of fighting, denying, regretting or otherwise wasting energy on the unchangeable.  We don’t have to like reality or the past, but to be healthy we need to learn to accept them.

Acceptance is an important part of drug or alcohol addiction treatment and recovery. Gaining acceptance means overcoming denial and getting past emotional barriers such as anger and fear that keep a person from seeing clearly that they or their loved one has a disease called addiction.  For a family member or loved one of an addict, coming to terms with the addiction involves: 1) developing an understanding that addiction is a family disease; 2) gaining acceptance that as a loved one of an addicted person you have been affected by the disease; and 3) because you have been affected, accepting you will need your own recovery.

Acceptance also means understanding that you are powerless over the decisions of others. The first step of the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and other drugs and that our lives had become unmanageable”. Loved ones of an addicted person are powerless over the addict’s decision to get or stay sober. Family members often have a very strong emotional response to the choices an addicted person makes when they are abusing alcohol and/or drugs and the resulting consequences. This is understandable because these choices and consequences have an impact on everyone.

Many family members, not knowing what else to do, try to control the behaviors or actions of the addicted person.  This usually leads to conflict with and defensiveness from the addict. The resulting conflicts and divisions in relationships often lead to unhealthy behaviors throughout the family.   Instead trying to control, it is often best for family members to learn to detach and allow the addicted person to experience the natural consequences of their choices, including the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.  By experiencing these consequences, the addict often begins to see and accept their addiction.

In addition to an addict’s frequent denial of their disease, family members often have their own denial based on the belief that they aren't the ones with the problem. While they may not be addicted to alcohol or drugs, they are still impacted by the behaviors and choices of the addicted person, including the consequences and problems caused by the addict’s decisions and actions. It is helpful for each family member to identify how the addicted person’s abuse of alcohol and/or drugs has affected them and to seek help in healing themselves.

An excellent guide toward Acceptance is to remember the 3 C’s of Al-anon: You didn’t Cause it, You can’t Cure it and You can’t Control it. Having acceptance of these basic principles and engaging in a family recovery program and/or your own recovery program can lead to healing yourself and your relationships.

If your addicted loved one is in an addiction treatment facility (or rehab), be sure to participate in all family activities sponsored by the addiction treatment center.  If you or your loved one is looking to enter rehab, look for a treatment program that includes family in the treatment.  At New Hope Recovery Center we involve family and loved ones our addiction treatment through family group days as well as regular counselor sessions with family/loved ones and the client.

If you or your loved one is seeking treatment for drug, alcohol or other addiction, please contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.  We are located on the Northside of Chicago and have treated clients from across the country.

Contributing Writer for New Hope Recovery Center: Mauri Hackett CRADC

For other articles helpful to family and friends about addiction, please see:

Addicted Loved One? 5 Common Triggers You Can Help Avoid

Forgiveness: Healing from Addiction

Alcohol or Drug Addiction? Healthy Boundaries for Parents

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 1 of 3)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 2 of 3)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 3 of 3)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapeutic approach which examines the link between a client's environment, thinking and eventual behavior.  The premise of this approach is based on the idea that a person's particular way of perceiving an event or situation will determine how he/she feels and ultimately acts.  It is a model that has its roots in classical conditioning and learning theories.

As CBT has proven to have many benefits, more and more addictions treatment facilities are utilizing this model to assist clients in their recovery efforts.  CBT as applied to addictive substance use and behaviors has two main components: (1) analysis of faulty thought patterns and (2) skill building.

Initially, when entering therapy for an addiction, one must learn to identify the automatic negative thoughts that occur in response to situations, events or people (otherwise known as triggers).  Often a client suffering from an addiction does not know what causes him/her to use and is very detached from the thoughts and feelings that occur before, during and after use.  Working with a therapist trained in CBT, a client can learn to identify the irrational thoughts, challenge them with more balanced thoughts using available evidence, and gain confidence as more adaptive behavior begins to emerge from the new way of thinking.  In addictions treatment, this is especially helpful for relapse prevention, in that a client can learn to identify triggering circumstances and either avoid them or learn to circumvent the type of all or nothing thinking that more often than not leads to a return to using behavior.

In addition, the client will be building a "toolbox" of more effective coping skills that can be used when facing difficult or stressful situations.  Studies show that when CBT is combined with a 12-step intervention, the chances of long-term sobriety increase.  Many of the new tools that a client learns to use are associated with 12-step recovery such as reaching out to others as opposed to isolating, taking an active role in one's recovery with written step work, and helping others through service work.  As clients begin to relearn new ways of looking at their substance abuse patterns, new behavioral patterns emerge and confidence grows.

Although long term sobriety requires daily work and is an ongoing process, CBT is goal-directed, objective and relatively short-term.  Most clients show significant progress after 12-16 sessions with a therapist and studies show that therapeutic gains associated with CBT are usually maintained.  It is important, however, that clients do recognize the importance of continued support in order to strengthen the newly learned behaviors.  Taking an active role in 12-step life during CBT-based treatment is highly effective in ensuring this support and reinforcement, and has proven helpful in avoiding relapse.

New Hope Recovery Center is an addiction treatment center based in Chicago. If you or someone you know is suffer from addiction or any type of substance abuse please reach out to learn more. For more information please contact us via email or give us a call at 773-883-3916.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Drug Treatment HeroinHeroin has been receiving more attention in the news recently. CBS NEWS: Hooked on Heroin;  NY TIMES: Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly; BBC News: Cory Monteith: The Heroin users that don't fit the 'junkie' stereotype; USA Today: OxyContin a Gateway to Heroin for Upper-Income Addicts. Although it can be upsetting this is very helpful because greater awareness about Heroin and its warning signs can help save lives.   Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in Chicagoland area.

How can you tell if someone you love is abusing heroin?  Here are 54 warning signs to look for:

Physical or Bodily Signs of Heroin Abuse

Heroin causes a number of affects on the body.  It causes the body to release histamine (think of why you take antihistamines: for runny nose, itchiness), it slows down the body, causes constipation.  Heroin withdrawal largely shows the opposite effects from heroin use.

  • Persistent hacking cough (common if heroin is smoked)
  • Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Extremely small pinpoint pupils
  • Eyelids and arms/legs appear to be heavy
  • Cuts, bruises or scabs from skin picking (heroin causes the body to release histamine which leads to itchy skin, which may be scratched to point of causing a sore or scab)
  • Infections or abscesses (from injecting)
  • Sores on nostrils or lips (from smoking)
  • Nosebleeds (from snorting)
  • Burn marks on fingers or mouth (from smoking)
  • Dark circles or puffiness under the eyes
  • Flu like symptoms: fever, achy, vomiting, always cold
  • Runny nose or constant sniffing (from the release of histamine heroin causes)
  • Needle marks on arms or legs – could look like small bruises or red dots
  • Constipation (when using heroin), or diarrhea (when withdrawing)
  • For women, loss of menstrual cycle

Behaviors That May Indicate Heroin Abuse

  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions such as poor school or work performance, being expelled or fired
  • Movement is slowed or uncoordinated
  • Disoriented
  • Extreme alertness/jitteriness followed by suddenly nodding off
  • Excessive or sudden sleeping
  • Itchiness, picking at skin (histamine release from heroin)
  • Speech somewhat slurred, garbled or incoherent
  • Very little motivation, apathy, no interest in favorite activities
  • Hostility toward others
  • Lying or other deceptive behavior
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of hygiene and disregard for physical appearance, may not shower or bathe, repeat wearing of same clothing
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Spending a lot of time with new friends and/or alone
  • Wearing long pants or long sleeves (to hide needle marks) even in very warm weather
  • Suddenly wearing sunglasses frequently or inappropriately

Indirect Warnings Signs of Heroin Use:

  • Large increase in mileage on the car used by your loved one (showing trips to purchase drugs)
  • Missing prescription pills (or entire bottles), especially Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) or codeine
  • Missing money or valuables or frequent requests to borrow money, particularly with nothing to show for it
  • Needles or syringes (check sock and other drawers)
  • Tiny orange caps from syringes
  • Spoons with burn marks (used to heat the heroin in water prior to injection)
  • Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks (used to smoke heroin)
  • Missing shoelaces (used to tie off injection sites)
  • Rubber straps or bands (used to tie off)
  • Straws (used to snort), especially with burn marks (used to smoke)
  • Empty plastic pen cases (used for snorting or smoking)
  • Small plastic bags
  • Water pipes or other pipes (used in smoking heroin)
  • Bottled water (water used for mixing and cap used for heating)
  • Bottle caps (used in heating heroin)
  • Rolled up dollar bills or paper (used for snorting)
  • Razor blades, IDs and credit cards with a powder residue on them (used for snorting)
  • Empty plastic/drug capsules (heroin sometimes sold in capsules)
  • Antihistamine boxes (used to counteract histamine release)
  • Nasal spray bottles (used for snorting heroin/water mixture)
  • Unusual residue in coffee-bean grinder (to grind up heroin)
  • Very small cotton balls, Q-tips, or pieces of cigarette filter (used prior to injecting)
  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid packets/sachets (common in Europe to allow heroin to be water soluble)

If you do suspect your loved one is using heroin, get help immediately.  It is an extremely deadly drug.  It is highly addictive so persuading your loved one to go to treatment, or at least initially visiting a doctor is very important.  New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug addiction facility that has helped many clients successfully stop heroin use.  We are happy to answer your questions.  Contact us at 888-707-4673 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

 

Want to read more about Heroin? Check out these related articles:

America's Failed Drug Policy

Parents' Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction

Chicago's Heroin Epidemic - Parents Beware

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

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. From the moment you step on your plane, get to your hotel or go out to eat, alcohol is usually there. With some planning, any recovering alcoholic can enjoy themselves to the fullest anywhere around the world.

  • There are meetings everywhere: Finding 12-Step meetings at your destination will keep you connected to a sober community and be a place you can openly share about triggers, reservations or anything else that seems to be on your mind while on vacation. Most hotels have a list of local 12-Step meetings, make an effort to find a meeting just in case.
  • Find fun, sober activities before you leave: Plan ahead to plan fun day trips while on your vacation. By having an agenda before you leave, you won’t have as much downtime at the hotel, which means you won’t be around the bars as much. Enjoy a nice relaxing massage or rent a canoe for a day. Sometimes alcoholics think everything revolves around alcohol, when the truth is there is much more to do while sober than while drinking.
  • Pick your destination wisely: It’s obvious that some destinations are more “alcohol centered” than others. For example, a recovering alcoholic is probably going to be less triggered going on a rafting trip in the mountains as opposed to Las Vegas. Do some research on what type of vacation you want to go on and make sure where you end up is not counterproductive to your goals in recovery.
  • You’re never alone no matter how far: Always stay in communication with your sponsor and other recovering alcoholics. If you get triggered while on vacation, never forget that you’re sober network may be miles away, but not too far for a phone call. Set up reminders to check in to keep yourself accountable and to stay connected to those who have helped you before.

These are just a few ways to make a vacation in recovery a success. Remember, you’re not the first person to take a vacation in sobriety, ask around at meetings for suggestions on locations, meetings in that area or even a sober contact to call when you land! Like anything in sobriety, a vacation can be a sometimes frightening journey, but if you utilize the tools you’ve been given, it could be your best vacation yet.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Residential Treatment, Intensive Outpatient, Aftercare, Extended Care and DUI services. 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. To find our more information about our treatment center and our services call 773-883-3916 or 888-707-HOPE (4673).

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

chicago rehab treatment centerOne overarching question exists for LGBTQIs facing addiction: “Where and how do I socialize after I get sober?” For most gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their 20’s and 30’s, their social lives often are centered in and around bars. There is no doubt that the prevalence of alcohol and drugs in the LGBTQI Communities is rampant for all age groups.  Several studies have shown the extent of alcohol and drug use in the Community.  Higher drug and alcohol use occurs in the UK, Australia, Ireland and in the US.

Gay men, for example, are significantly more likely to have used marijuana, stimulants, sedatives, cocaine, and party drugs (ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB) than men in the general population. And the use of crystal methamphetamine in gay and bisexual men has increased dramatically in recent years.  Use of alcohol and drugs among lesbian and bisexual women is higher than the general population. LGBT events/fundraisers/activities are usually sponsored by an alcohol company which is a clear indicator that the alcohol industry has used this research to their advantage.

As friends settle down into relationships and create families during the late- 30’s to 40’s many single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals become vulnerable to isolating socially.  This isolation often leads many addicts to avoid or delay treatment.  It can also trigger relapses and generally diminish the overall quality of life.

Many LGBTQIs in their late 40’s and 50’s suddenly realize that the crowd they used to run with no longer exists in the way that it once did. This can leave them scrambling for social activities to enjoy.  And if they are in recovery for alcohol or drug addiction, the old standby of going to bars and clubs is not a healthy choice.

Fortunately there are now a number of healthy sober social alternatives available… especially in Chicago.  For example, the Center on Halsted offers weekly art therapy workshops, luncheons for those over 45 and many affinity groups like Sage for LGBTQI’s over 40.  There are movie lover screenings, sober dances and gatherings and many learning opportunities. You can also join running groups, softball teams, volleyball leagues, or other fitness groups. These are great additions to recovery meetings and fellowship.

For those LGBTQI’s in recovery, remember the old saying, “It is all about people, places and things.”  You don’t have to lose the ability to connect with people; there are many activities and social possibilities waiting for you.

New Hope Recovery Center has an Addiction Treatment program for LGBTQI individuals.  Treatment options include full day, morning and evening alternatives.  We are an LGBT-owned business that understands the unique issues facing the LGBTQI Community.  If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, please contact us at info@new-hope-recovery.com or call us at 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

In recovery for drug and alcohol addiction, unresolved issues such as grief, conflicts, and loss can resurface and create the potential for relapse.  Forgiveness by both the recovering addict/alcoholic and their loved ones is central to overcoming the conflicts and disillusionment that may exist in the relationship.  It can be difficult for the loved one of a recovering person to let go of past hurts, blame and disappointments.  They may feel the addictive person “chose” drugs or alcohol over the relationship.  It is also very likely that the behavior of the addict or alcoholic resulted in harmful consequences to both the recovering addict and their loved ones.

To restore a relationship, it is crucial that issues from the past be resolved and not carried forward into the future.   Understanding and acceptance are a good place to start.  There are 3 key factors in implementing forgiveness in recovery.

1.  Understanding Addiction:  Understanding that addiction is a disease can help everyone affected by addiction gain perspective on why an addict continues to use in spite of the serious consequences to themselves and their loved ones. It is important to understand the compulsion to use, how addiction erodes a person’s will, impairs their thinking and negatively affects their behavior.  Addiction causes a person to behave in ways uncharacteristic of their true selves.

The recovering person must also understand the nature of addiction in order to deal with the very common feelings of shame, inadequacy, and self-judgment.  Loved ones can benefit from understanding that these emotional states may affect the way the person in recovery deals with others.  Shame, inadequacy and negative self-judgment may cause a disconnect in the relationship leading to a breakdown of communication and feelings of alienation.  These heavy emotional feelings may also be emotional triggers that could lead to a desire to begin using again in order to numb from the emotional pain.

2.  Accept Reality:  Accepting reality as it truly is begins the next step toward forgiveness. Accepting your loved one as they truly are and the actual true state of the relationship is very beneficial.  We can get stuck in the fantasy of how we wish things were.  This can lead to feeling diminished, defeated or angry.  This wishful fantasy sets us up to never be happy and instead we live in disappointment and regret.   Although not easy, it is possible (and critical to your long term health) to accept the reality that you or your loved one has a disease called addiction.  This disease is part, but not all of, who a person is.  Look for the good qualities you and your loved one have and the positive aspects of your relationship then build on these good things.  This will help far more than focusing on deficits and shortcomings and imagining how you wish things could be.  Remember: “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.”

For the person in recovery, forgiving oneself can be very difficult. Letting yourself move away from the transgressions of the past into your sober future with a renewed sense of self is imperative.  Learn from your past and vow not to repeat it, but let go of the emotional baggage that comes with reliving past mistakes. Through step-work you will be able to take a fearless moral inventory, make amends to others, and promptly admit it when future mistakes are made. Trust this process….it can help you heal if you are willing to forgive yourself.

3.  Letting Go of Resentments:  Another part of step work and recovery is letting go of resentments.  A major cause of conflict in relationships is resentment. Resentment is defined as “indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance.” Letting go of resentments is also necessary to forgive. Here are steps to do that:  1) Identify the resentment, 2) determine what it will take to work towards a resolution that will allow all parties to leave the grievance in the past, and 3) move forward in the relationship without rehashing the past.

All relationships are influenced by mutual experiences. Any relationship that is affected by the consequences of addiction will no doubt have some painful and negative experiences that contribute to the current state of the relationship. It is important to create and build on new positive experiences. Intentionally spend time with the each other remembering why you care for and value each other. Enjoy and rediscover each other as you move into this new stage of sober life. In time, with positive experiences, restored health, and continued sobriety you can achieve a state of forgiveness.

If you are affected by addiction, please contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3912 or via email at info@new-hope-recovery for help.  We have seen many relationships survive and thrive following treatment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center