Woman laying down smoking in Massachusetts

What Are the Best Ways to Quit Smoking?

Many people decide to quit smoking once they realize the negative impact of the habit on their overall health. Fortunately, once a smoker does quit, there are significant health benefits that take place almost immediately.

Why Is Smoking So Addictive?

Smoking is an addictive habit due to the active ingredient in tobacco called nicotine.

When you smoke cigarettes, your brain quickly adapts to the nicotine, causing you to crave more and more of the chemical to feel the way you did after your first cigarette.

Over time, your brain begins to predict when you are ready to smoke a cigarette, then you have one, and then the cycle repeats again.

How to Quit Smoking, Once and For All

It probably won’t come as a surprise that the most challenging days of quitting smoking are the first few days.

Although it probably will not be easy to get through the first couple of days after quitting, it is essential to stick with it.

One helpful way to quit smoking is to choose a day and commit to being done with smoking that day and beyond. Having an end date that you commit to will make the process feel final and give you a better chance at success.

Another way to quit smoking is to make a list of all of the reasons you want to stop smoking and write down all of the benefits you will gain once you achieve your goal. Having a plan written out in front of you with reminders of why you are quitting in the first place can help you focus on your goal and move forward.

You may also want to consider nicotine replacement patches, gum, or prescription medications that can help curb cravings. These options can be extremely helpful.

Tharros House

Tharros House in Massachusetts is a sober living home facility where individuals can live and work on maintaining their sobriety in a collaborative atmosphere. Give us a call today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

MRI scan of the brain

What is Addiction?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction or substance use disorder is a complex condition in which someone uses a substance in an uncontrolled manner despite harmful consequences.

Individuals who suffer from addiction focus on using a particular substance (or multiple substances), such as illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, to the point where their ability to function in day-to-day life becomes impaired.

People addicted to a substance continue to use the substance, even when they know it is causing problems.

Why Do People Become Addicted to Substances?

Not everyone who tries drugs, alcohol, or tobacco will become addicted to those substances.

While no one knows exactly what causes someone to become addicted to a substance, we know that there may be changes in the brain structure and function of someone using certain substances, which may contribute to an addiction.

The changes in brain structure and function cause people to have intense cravings for a particular substance and may also lead to changes in personality and behaviors. In fact, brain imaging studies have been conducted that show changes in the brain area related to decision making, judgment, memory, learning, and behavioral control.

When someone repeatedly uses or abuses a substance, they may change the way that their brain functions. These changes can be immediate (during the intoxication period), or the changes may occur at a later time.

Intoxication symptoms differ for each substance, so the specific effects vary depending on the substance being abused.

Tharros House and Sobriety

When a person decides to conquer their addiction and live a sober lifestyle, a sober living facility can be a helpful step in this process.

Living among others facing the same challenges as you can be beneficial in many ways. Contact us today at Tharros House to find out more about how we can help you continue with your sober lifestyle.

Woman in yoga clothes meditating to battle addiction in park.

Does Meditation Help with Addiction?

Meditation has been found to support addiction recovery since it can help you feel calm, cope with triggers, and ultimately, help you to avoid a relapse. Although meditation cannot wholly replace a full addiction treatment program with professional medical support, it can still be a helpful tool.

Many rehabilitation facilities include mindfulness and meditation as therapy techniques. Whether you are currently battling an addiction, in treatment, or have been sober for many years, practicing meditation can be incredibly beneficial for your recovery.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mind and body activity that is intended to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. It can also help people improve their well-being and cope with illnesses.

You can begin meditating by sitting comfortably in a quiet environment. Next simply and effortlessly notice your thoughts as they come and go, allowing internal and external distractions to pass by without assessing them. Meditation may also involve deep and purposeful breathing during times of stress.

There are two main types of meditation. These types include guided meditation and unguided meditation. To practice guided meditation, a trained meditation or mental health professional will guide you through the session and work with you. Unguided meditation simply refers to meditation that is practiced on your own.

How Does Meditation Help Someone with an Addiction?

For those dealing with drug and alcohol addictions, everyday stressors can be challenging to cope with and may even contribute to a relapse. Multiple studies have concluded that mindful meditation can reduce certain symptoms like anxiety, depression, poor sleep, and drug cravings. Meditation can also help people feel more aware of their thoughts and have better control over their emotions.

Compassion with Meditation

As you begin to simply allow thoughts and distractions to come and go, you may notice all kinds of wanted and unwanted thoughts / emotions. This is completely normal. It is important to keep an open mind no matter what comes up, and understand that there are people everywhere experiencing very much the same thing.

By sitting and allowing without getting involved, it is allowing your mind and body to activate its natural healing capabilities. Much of the excess thoughts and feelings are simply reverberations of past experiences, so this sitting meditation allows all of the noise to pass by. At first it may seem daunting, but as with anything, practice makes perfect.

Sober Living at Tharros House

Tharros House is a sober living community located near Boston, Massachusetts. Sober living communities are a great place for sober individuals to thrive and continue working on their sobriety among peers who share similar goals. Contact us today so that we can help you decide if our sober living community is right for you.

Man with cloud of cigarette smoke wondering if he is addicted to something.

How Do I Know If I Am Addicted to Something?

People can enjoy many pleasurable activities in a healthy way that does not cross the threshold of addiction. However, sometimes the line between healthy enjoyment of an activity and developing an addiction to it can be crossed without someone even realizing it.

What Is an Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic disease that impacts the brain’s motivation, reward, and memory functions. A person with an addiction will feel as though they crave that substance—and may even ignore other areas of their life in order to fulfill their desires and support their addiction.

What Are Some Typical Signs of Addiction?

While addiction may be hard to recognize at first, there are some indicators of addiction that everyone should be aware. This may help you notice it as soon as possible in order to turn it around. Some signs of addiction include:

  • An inability to stop engaging in a behavior or using a substance
  • Lack of control
  • Decreased socialization and neglecting relationships
  • Ignoring risk factors, such as sharing needles even though there could be severe health consequences to doing so
  • Physical effects, such as experiencing withdrawal symptoms

For someone with an addiction, it can be challenging to recognize that the addiction exists and take steps to overcome it. Many addicts will continue to find ways to continue and justify their behavior. It can be beneficial and even life-changing for supportive people in their lives to get them help if they begin noticing these signs of addiction.

Tharros House Sober Living Home

Tharros House is a sober living home that can be found in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Sober living homes are an excellent option for people who have gotten sober and wish to maintain their sobriety and live among other sober individuals. Contact us today at Tharros House in order to learn more about how we can help you continue and strengthen your sobriety.

Cigarettes of an addict

How Do I Know If I Am Addicted to Something?

It can be difficult to recognize when something has become an addiction.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is defined as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s memory, motivation, and reward functions.

A person with an addiction will experience feelings of craving that substance. In many cases, those with addictions may ignore other parts of their life in order to support or fulfill these addictive needs.

What Are Common Signs of an Addiction?

There are some commonly recognized signs of addiction that everyone should be aware of. These signs include:

  • Lack of control
  • Inability to stop engaging in the behavior or to stay away from a substance
  • Physical effects such as withdrawal or requiring higher dosages
  • Ignoring risk factors like sharing needles
  • Decreased socialization such as ignoring relationships or abandoning commitments

Typically, a person with an addiction will exhibit one or more of the above signs. The degree of intensity for each of these signs tends to depend on how long they have been battling the addiction.

Recognizing Addiction

When a healthy person notices a negative behavior, in many cases, they are able to get rid of it. However, this is not the case with someone who has an addiction.

Someone with an addiction will often find ways to justify and continue their behavior rather than admit that they have a problem. With real addiction, if it is left untreated, it can increase a person’s risk of illness or develop into a debilitating habit.

If you become aware that you are dealing with an addiction, it is essential to seek help right away.

After you have begun the recovery process, you can also look into sober living homes such as the Tharros House to live in to retain your sobriety.

Importance of Structure for Addiction Recovery in Massachusetts Squares

Why is Structure So Important for Addiction Recovery?

You have likely heard that structure is an important aspect of addiction recovery. The importance of structure for addiction recovery cannot be overstated. Structure helps to treat the underlying issues that contribute to addiction.

Structure Helps Treat Addiction Behaviors

When people suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they have developed certain behaviors and ways of thinking. Whether they realize it or not, these behaviors and ways of thinking enable their addictions and discourage healthy habits.

Many addicts who seek treatment choose to because their lives have become too difficult and unmanageable due to their addictive behavior. When someone has an addiction, it becomes hard for them to prioritize things other than obtaining and using the addictive substance.

For this reason, their addiction causes them to create new habits that are stronger than their old ones. The new habits and compulsions cause their lives to become more chaotic and disordered. Sober living homes often focus on providing structure back into the lives of residents. This structure helps to put a former addict onto a path toward healthier habits, thoughts, and actions.

Structure Helps Combat Stress and Anxiety

Many people who struggle with drug dependency have dealt with a lot of uncertainty. They may have even faced dangerous and risky situations. With a structured and safe recovery program, these individuals can remove some of the pressures from the outside world. They can now feel at ease to begin the hard work of self-reflection.

Structure Promotes Long-Term Recovery

Addiction can cause long-term changes in the brain that affect behavior, attitudes, and thinking habits. It is not easy to simply change these patterns. To continue with sobriety, a sober person must apply what they learned in recovery treatment to a long-term lifestyle.

One way to do this is to live in a sober living home. The Tharros House in Massachusetts offers many benefits to its residents. Contact us today on our website or call (617) 249-1087 to learn more.

Beautiful yellow flower representing a fresh start to sober living

Letting Go of Addiction

In many cases, there are two things that keep people with addictions trapped in the addiction cycle: physical dependence and psychological dependence on a substance.

Physical and Psychological Dependency

A person is physically dependent on a substance when their body has become dependent on the substance in order to continue functioning and avoid withdrawal symptoms. A person is psychologically dependent on a substance when they become afraid to stop drinking or using drugs because as much as it may cause problems in their life, the thought of being completely sober seems worse to them. It is often difficult for non-addicts to truly understand psychological dependency. From an outsider’s standpoint, it is hard to picture anything being worse than the mess that addiction often makes of people’s lives.

Letting Go of Your Addiction and Starting Over

Conquering an addiction and becoming sober is not just about the physical detoxification. This process also includes a psychological detox. When it comes to letting go of something, humans have a natural fear that they will just end up with nothing.

However, that is not really what happens. Letting go of everything when it comes to getting sober and beating your addiction simply means that you have given yourself a fresh start and a clean slate. It means that anything is now possible. You can use rehab and the recovery process to give yourself a new beginning and move forward with your life, focusing on the positives.

Once you have made the decision to let go of your addiction and begin recovery, you will have a fresh start. When you are ready to start reacclimating into an independent home environment, the Tharros House can help. The Tharros House is a sober living home located in Massachusetts, where residents can live among other sober people as they maintain their sobriety.

Man holding blank card, not identifying with his addiction.

Identifying with Your Addiction

An individual’s identity, or self-image, constantly adapts to the environment, rather than just remaining static.

Most people are able to incorporate multiple different identities into their daily life. For example, someone may have a work identity in the workplace, along with a different identity while they are relaxing with friends and family.

Since identity is never fixed, as an adult, a person may have an evolved identity or self-image from their teen years.

The Identity of An Addict

People who fall into an addiction tend to adopt a certain new type of identity. Their new self-image is typically influenced by other substance abusers.

An addict identity may involve different beliefs, ideas, behaviors, and motivations, such as:

  • The priority in life is getting drunk or high
  • A belief that substance abuse causes people to be more creative
  • A distrust of addiction professionals
  • The idea that sober people are boring
  • A higher tolerance for sexual promiscuity than the average person
  • A willingness to use dishonesty to achieve a goal
  • An “us against them” mentality used to bond with other groups of addicts

How to Escape the Addict Identity

When an addict decides to become sober and to recover from their addiction, part of the process involves shedding the negative aspects of the addict identity. A recovering addict will often need to avoid friends and acquaintances with whom they used to drink or do drugs. These individuals will only pull the recovering addict back into their former identity.

To escape the addict identity you may decide what type of person you would like to become, and then move forward with building those positive personality traits.

The environment that you are in can have a huge effect on your identity. Therefore finding a sober living home can be one of the best steps to changing your life.

Contact the Tharros House today to learn more about how a sober living home may benefit you in your recovery.

Man Thinking About Alternatives for Alcohol and Drugs While Stressed

Alternatives to Drugs and Alcohol for Stressful Times

Experiencing stress can be a trigger for the consumption of alcohol and drugs. For former addicts, stress can contribute to a relapse of alcohol or drug abuse. Since many substances can give you temporary relief of the negative effects of stress, it may be tempting for former addicts to return to using these substances again. In order to be able to maintain your sobriety during stressful times in your life, it is crucial to learn to cope with stress without using alcohol or drugs.

Identify What You Can and Cannot Control

One of the first steps to coping with stress is to identify the source of your stress. From there, you can begin to identify what aspects of it you can and cannot control. For example, during this nationwide pandemic due to COVID-19, you may not be able to control whether or not you contract the virus—but you can control the steps that you take to protect yourself.

Make Time in Your Day to Do Something You Enjoy

Distraction can be a powerful tool in managing stress. During stressful times in your life, make sure to take time for yourself and engage in an activity that you enjoy. Having a happy experience may help alleviate some of the stress you are experiencing. At worst, it may provide a welcome distraction.

Participate in Physical Activity

Another way to cope with stress is to do a physical activity. One example would be to go for a run, as physical activities can release endorphins, which make you feel better. Staying physically active also has many health benefits—not only for your physical health but also for your emotional and mental health.

Sober living homes can provide structure for former addicts who are working hard to maintain their sobriety. These facilities can also help their residents by providing the tools to cope with stress in other ways. Contact the Tharros House today to learn more about how sober living homes may benefit you.

Woman Running for Healthy Immune System

How Alcohol Addiction Affects the Immune System

Alcohol can have an impact on your health in many different ways. Most people know that drinking excessively can cause damage to the liver and the cardiovascular system. However, there can also be other negative consequences, like damage to the digestive system, which can lead to malnutrition and may even increase the risk of cancer. Alcohol addiction can also cause serious problems for the body’s immune system.

Alcohol Addiction and the Immune System

Over time, alcohol addiction can cause damage to your body’s immune system, which may increase your risk of contracting potentially fatal illnesses, like pneumonia. The microbes living in your intestines (your gut’s microbiome) work to fight off diseases. When someone consumes a lot of alcohol, it is detrimental to their body’s digestive system and makes it harder for the body to absorb many necessary nutrients. This disruption to the body’s digestive system disturbs the gut’s microbiome, which alters the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria. Alcohol impacts the way that the body’s gut microbes interact with the immune system.

Alcohol intake also affects the respiratory system. The function of immune cells in the upper respiratory system and the lungs are impaired by excessive drinking. This can lead to an increased risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. In fact, any disease may become more severe when the immunity of the mucus is impaired in both the digestive tract and the lungs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that although regular heavy drinking has serious negative consequences for your immune system, even a single night of binge drinking can also impact your immune system. Consuming several drinks over the course of one night may temporarily impair your immune system. This can be dangerous, particularly if you are binge drinking in crowded areas. Your lowered immune system defense response may have a hard time fighting off any viruses or bacteria you encounter.

If you are in recovery from alcohol addiction, sober living homes can be a great resource. Contact the Tharros House today to learn more about how a sober living home can help you maintain sobriety.