Mindfulness for Addiction Recovery Boston Massachusetts

Mindfulness and Addiction

Mindfulness is generally understood as a state of mental focus and awareness that is used in meditation practices. More recently, it has become a popular aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy and has been used to help with addiction recovery.

What Exactly is Mindfulness?

When you are practicing mindfulness, you become aware of your inner self and your external surroundings. While engaged in mindfulness, you are focused on your responses to things that are going on around you in that present moment. The main goal of mindfulness is for you to become aware of your surroundings and feelings without getting attached to what you are experiencing in the moment.

Mindfulness itself is not difficult; however, it does require some self-discipline. When practicing mindfulness, it is important to bring your focus only to what is presently happening around you.

How Can Mindfulness Help with Addiction Recovery?

While mindfulness seems like a simple concept, it does require focus. It can help people who are working on recovery from addiction because it forces them to slow down and achieve a sense of tranquility and calmness. As you practice mindfulness during your recovery, you will be able to appreciate things that you did not notice before while engaging in substance abuse. When you allow yourself to slow down and take in the wonderful experiences that life has to offer to all of your senses, it can help you want to stop seeking out pleasure through your past addictive behaviors.

Mindfulness can also help you with recovery in that it can make you more aware of your reactions to what is happening around you. When you become more aware of this, you can start to better understand your own feelings and your own mind. This can help you stay in control of your mind moving forward and be less likely to return to substance abuse.

Another way you can work through the recovery process is to live in a sober living home. At Tharros House, we offer our residents many benefits as they work through recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

battling addiction sober living home Boston Massachusetts

Daily Exercise Practice to Battle Addiction

Exercise can have many benefits for you during the process of recovering from addiction. Also, it is important to keep in mind that there are benefits from light exercise—there is no need to start lifting weights and running several miles a day if you are not already used to that level of activity. Light exercise can have just as many benefits as a more rigorous exercise regimen.

Benefits of Daily Exercise

Research shows that a daily exercise routine can do wonders for your body and mind. One of the benefits you will get from daily exercise is that your exercise routine will provide much-needed structure to your day. It provides you with a certain level of responsibility to yourself that you may not have had while you were battling your addiction. Depending on how your addiction impacted your body, you may need to start slow with easier exercises like walking around the block or light yoga.

Another benefit to having a regular exercise routine is that exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good. This positive feeling will help you feel good about yourself on the inside, and regular exercise will help you to look your best on the outside, too.

Exercise is also good for your long-term health. There are studies that show that engaging in a regular fitness routine can help improve cardiovascular health and help to prevent the development of diabetes. Exercise has also been shown to help lower your risk of certain types of cancers and may even help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms. Research also shows that exercise may be able to increase the growth of new nerve connections in your brain, which can help to heal your brain from the harm done by the addiction.

Daily exercise is just one way to help yourself recover from your addiction. Sober living homes, such as The Tharros House can also help you with the recovery process. Contact us today for more information.

mindfulness for sobriety in Boston Massachusetts sobriety home

How Mindfulness Helps with Addiction Recovery

If you are working toward recovery from an addiction of any kind, you already know it can be an uphill battle. Fortunately, there are some techniques you can use and different approaches you can try to help you on your path to recovery.

Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery

One approach to addiction recovery is mindfulness therapy. Mindfulness is a state of mental awareness that is used frequently in the practice of meditation as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. The goal of mindfulness is for you to become aware of what is going on around you without becoming too attached to your experiences.

Achieving mindfulness requires self-discipline in order to get yourself to focus on the present instead of getting caught up in thoughts about the past and the future. Mindfulness can help you as you work to overcome your addiction because it forces you to focus on the present and to take in your surroundings rather than dwell on past mistakes or get anxious about the future.

When you experience mindfulness, you focus on the joys of the world around you in the moment. This brings you a natural feeling of pleasure and can help stop you from seeking out pleasure by falling back into your old habits of addiction. Entering a state of mindfulness can also give you an opportunity for self-reflection. This self-reflection can help you process what is going on around you and help you stay on the path to recovery from your addiction.

Practicing Mindfulness at the Tharros House

At Tharros House, we offer guided mindfulness meditation, and connect our clients with outside mindfulness groups if they find this technique useful.  There are also many other opportunities for exploring new tools in recovery. Contact us today to discuss what we offer in more detail and to find out if Tharros House is the right fit for you.

sobriety statistics beach Massachusetts

Statistics on Sobriety

While the goal for those recovering from addiction is to maintain their sobriety, it is unfortunately not always the case that they are able to do so the first time they attempt recovery, or at all. Luckily there are many different programs and approaches to recovery.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—Study on AA Members

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol performed a long-term study on the success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)members. The study focused on three groups, which included formally treated,informally treated, and untreated participants who suffered from an addiction to alcohol. After the one-year and three-year follow-ups, the results indicated that of those who entered into the AA program by their own choice, about half of them were sober. Only about a quarter of individuals who chose formal treatment were sober at these same check points.

The study concluded that individuals with alcohol issues who participated in AA along with formal treatment were more likely to be abstinent from alcohol between years one and three. Another follow-up was done at the eight-year point. At this follow-up, participants had a higher rate of abstinence if they participated in both treatments. The conclusion of this study was that AA attendance did positively impact recovery.

Additional Statistics on Sobriety

Another study found that only approximately one third of people who become abstinent from drugs or alcohol for less than one year actually remain abstinent. Once someone with an issue with addiction achieves a full year of sobriety, they have about a 50% chance of relapsing. Additionally,if a former addict is able to reach five full years of sobriety, the chance of a relapse is actually less than 15%.

For a sober individuals recovering from addiction, the Tharros House is an excellent sober living facility that can provide recovery support.

addiction recovery boston Massachusetts

Addiction Recovery

Recovering from addiction can be a difficult process.  The path to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is never quite the same for any two individuals.  When looking into rehabilitation and recovery programs for yourself or for a loved one, you will recognize some common steps.

Getting Sober and Drug-Free

To begin with, a person choosing to fight their addiction to become sober and drug-free needs a strong desire and serious determination to get clean.  If you are seeking help for a friend or family member fighting an addiction, it is important to realize that your loved one must be completely on board with the concept of recovery if they are to have a true chance at beating the addiction and staying sober.  If they have not realized that they have a true problem, you may need to have an intervention.

Starting the Path to Recovery

The early stage of recovery typically involves a detox of alcohol and drugs in order for the person suffering from the addiction to remove the unwanted chemicals and substances from their body.  The next step usually involves intense addiction recovery therapy.  Often, the recovery therapy can take anywhere from 28 to 90 days.  A recovery therapy program can provide the tools that are necessary to remain substance-free.

After leaving a rehab program, it is advisable to join a support group for recovering addicts.  Another way to continue with sobriety that may be beneficial for many people is to spend some time residing in a recovery home, or sober living facility.  The former addict will learn the tools they need to stay away from drugs and alcohol through relapse prevention taught in recovery programs, as well as learning healthy coping skills to continue their path to full recovery.

The Tharros House is a sober living home in Lexington, Massachusetts.  This sober living facility is designed to help individuals who are committed to maintaining sobriety live in a safe environment for recovery.

Bride to addiction treatment Boston Massachusetts

Three Alternative Addiction Treatments

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, involves using your fingertips to tap on a sequences of body areas which are related to acupressure points.  It is an energy psychology technique with the purpose of balancing you “energetically” and also benefits you by freeing up areas of blocked energy.  EFT is used to help work on the underlying causes of a person’s addiction and is believed to help an addict cope more efficiently with their cravings.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies—Yoga

Mindfulness-based therapies can be useful in that they help an addict increase awareness and give them the tools to reconnect with themselves in order to have a better understanding of the way their addictions play out in their lives.  This type of therapy can help addicts better respond to stressors in their lives.  An addict can learn to practice mindfulness by learning to be more present in their own daily life.  Another way to practice mindfulness is formal meditation.

Equine Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy involves assistance by a licensed mental health professional along with an equine specialist.  It is not required for you to have the knowledge and experience of riding a horse, since the activities you will partake in are performed on the ground.  You may be encouraged to participate in activities which are directly connected to taking care of the horse, or you may focus on more structured activities which are done in order to help you address therapeutic issues.

By developing your relationship with the horse, you will better understand how you relate to yourself and to others, since this relationship with the horse will mirror your own relationships.  Throughout the process of equine therapy, your therapist will help you to identify patterns that fuel your addiction.  You will also learn to practice new ways of feeling, behaving, and thinking.

Tharros House

The Tharros House is a sober living home located in Lexington, Massachusetts.  This facility is a type of alternative addiction recovery support that can benefit addicts by giving them a live-in support group.

man in backpack thinking about addiction recovery programs

Types of Addiction Recovery Programs

There are many different types of addiction recovery programs out there.  For someone who is working to recover from an addiction, it is important to consider the pros and cons of the different programs in order to choose the best option for their individual needs.  A few of the addiction recovery programs available are explained below.

Alcohol Anonymous: This program is a 12-step program that provides support and guidance in the form of a support group for the recovering addict as well as their family and loved ones.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT):  Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been shown to be effective at using an understanding of how thoughts influence behavior and emotions to manage addiction.  It also works to change the underlying thoughts of an individual that contribute to the maintenance of the addiction.

Detoxification (Detox): A detox program involves a patient going through the withdrawal process being monitored and treated with necessary medications in order to manage the symptoms that occur during withdrawal.  A detox can be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis.  This is not a complete type of treatment and should be followed up with additional treatment methods.

Family Therapy:  Family therapy involves a therapeutic approach that takes into account the recovering addict’s family’s strengths and resources in order to help the individual live their life without the use of alcohol or drugs.  This method seeks to reduce the consequences of addiction on both the substance abuser and their family.

Group Therapy: Group therapy uses a group setting to provide positive peer-to-peer support and assistance and coping techniques.  This type of therapy can be more cost-effective than others.  Group therapy is often used in inpatient and outpatient facilities in addition to individualized therapy treatments.

These are just a few of the many addiction treatment methods out there.  Each person going through the recovery process will need to weigh their options and choose the best method for their own recovery.

Various types of addiction

Different Types of Addiction

When someone thinks of addiction, they typically are thinking of alcohol or other drugs such as heroin, marijuana, or cocaine.  However, there are many other drugs that are commonly abused that may not immediately come to mind when one first thinks of addiction.  Staying up-to-date on your knowledge of side effects and long-term effects of commonly abused drugs can help you if you find yourself in a position of needing to help a loved one who may be suffering from addiction.

Stimulants                                                                  

Simulants are a drug that causes levels of nervous activity in the body to rise.  These drugs have the effect of increasing mental alertness; however, they also can cause an elevated heart rate along with elevated blood pressure.  Common withdrawal symptoms include depression and sleep disturbances.  Long-term abuse of stimulants can lead to paranoia and potentially even heart failure.

Depressants

Depressants cause the body’s central nervous system to slow down.  Depressants have the effect of making the user feel calm and relaxed.  Individuals with anxiety or with insomnia tend to be the ones who are more likely to abuse these drugs.  In addition, depressants can lower a person’s inhibitions and affect their decision-making ability.  Some of the other negative effects of depressants include drowsiness, poor coordination, and slurred speech.  Abuse over time can lead to respiratory issues and liver damage.

Opiates

Opiates are often prescribed to individuals suffering from illness or injury to treat pain.  These drugs promote positive feelings coupled with blocking pain receptors in the person’s brain.  Since a higher dosage continues to be needed in order to result in the same positive effects, overdosing is common.  A consequence of overdosing may be cardiac or respiratory arrest.  Withdrawal from opiates is difficult, with those experiencing opiate withdrawal often reporting symptoms of fever, chills, insomnia, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These three categories of drugs are some of the most commonly abused drugs.  If you or someone you know is going through drug withdrawals or dealing with addiction, it is important to seek help right away.

Green Recovery House Sign

Alternatives to Twelve-Step Programs

When many people think of addiction recovery, one of the first things that come to mind is the group Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA) and the 12-step program for recovery.  While Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups are typically thought of as treatment, they are more accurately defined as support groups.  Unfortunately, according to addiction treatment researcher Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., studies seem to indicate that only 25-35 percent of addicts who attend an AA meeting actually go on to continue with the program and attend meetings regularly.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety was created by Jean Kirkpatrick in the 1970s.  Jean Kirkpatrick held a doctorate in sociology and focused her program on the premise that women with drinking problems require a different recovery approach and plan than men do.  Women for Sobriety is an abstinence-based program which sets out to first tackle the emotional issues that may lead to addiction.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery uses a cognitive-behavior approach that encourages its members to first acknowledge the emotional and environmental factors for drug and alcohol use and then to respond to these factors in new and more productive ways.  SMART Recovery is abstinence-based; however, it does welcome individuals who are ambivalent about their recovery.  It has over 600 groups based in the United States, and it also has a youth program along with a Family & Friends program.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery was formed over a decade ago.  It has three main principles— sobriety, secularity, and self-help.  This group focuses on human efforts instead of divine intervention.  It also holds the belief that the key to recovery is within the individual and is based on their own motivation and effort.

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit, mindfulness-based addiction recovery organization. They provide a community that uses Buddhist philosophy to help people recover from addiction. Inspired by the teachings of the Four Noble Truths, Refuge Recovery places emphasis on being more empathetic and understanding.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery was founded by John Baker in 1991. Focusing on a Christ centered approach, Celebrate Recovery has spread to recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and prisons around the world. To date over 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches have been opened with over 5 million individuals having completed the Celebrate Recover’s Step Study, a program created to bring the healing power of Christ to those that are suffering, broken, and having life difficulties like as addiction.

Although Alcoholics Anonymous is not for everyone there are many other support groups available, such as the groups listed above.  These other groups may be more useful approaches if someone struggling with addiction does not find Alcoholics Anonymous to be the best approach.

Types of drug abuse in Boston Massachusetts

Treating Drug Abuse in Massachusetts

There can be a fine line between regular use of drugs and drug abuse. To find out whether or not someone that is using drugs is dependent on them or just taking them recreationally you can ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Why does the personal use drugs?
  2. What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?

What makes someone abuse drugs?

Many times people with alcohol dependence and/or drug problems use the drugs to acquire a specific effect, such as escaping emotions.  While there may be many reasons for someone to use drugs, the people that become addicted usually all desire the escape.

It is still possible to like the escape / feeling that comes with alcohol and drug use while not having a drug problem, which brings us to the second question of ‘What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?”. Behaviors such as blacking out, uncontrolled drinking, and not caring about the negative consequences that come from drinking alcohol / taking drugs can all point towards a drug abuse problem.

Ignoring the Consequences

A major sign that someone has a drug abuse issue is that the user will continue using despite all the negative consequences of their actions. Take a DUI for example – a normal users would try to ensure that they never get in this situation again and avoid it completely. People with drug abuse disorders would recognize that they definitely don’t want another DUI but would continue to get themselves in the same situations and still take the risk.

Treating Drug Abuse

Once someone has accepted that they have a drug problem the first step, depending on the severity of the problem, is to go to a drug detox facility. Going cold turkey after years of abusing drugs or alcohol can have serious life threatening consequences, so it’s important to do it the right way.

Once completely detoxed the most important thing to do is to go through primary treatment, aka rehab. Rehab is essential to drug recovery as it removes the person from all the daily stresses and triggers in everyday life that play a role in their addiction. When the person leaves rehab there are oftentimes many challenges in the day to day life.

This is where sober living comes in. Living in a sober house helps by giving you the tools you need to succeed in everyday life. At Tharros, we work with people who have already finished some form of major alcohol or drug treatment.  Our clients are sober and free from drugs.  A commitment to staying free from all mind changing drugs is a condition of living at Tharros House.  People usually stay between 4-6 months, however some reside as long as a year, or longer.

We believe that learning how to live life without having to pick up a drink or a drug is seriously important, but it’s just part of the process.  At Tharros House, we concentrate on skills to maintain sobriety, but also on helping each client to build a life that they want to live in being sober.  Our staff helps each client to recognize how to include purpose, meaning, success, and other key factors of a joyful life.  Clients direct their personal recovery with support, suggestions, and accountability provided by our team and community.  Learning the skills of life are incorporated both on an individual basis through activities like grocery shopping, meal planning, and service commitments, and on a group basis, like cooking classes.

Rehabilitation from drug abuse isn’t usually a quick process.  It requires effort, and it takes time.  Building a solid foundation will serve you for your entire life, which is the reason why we solely accept clients ready to put sobriety and recovery as their top priority.  To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.