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.

Addiction Hereditary in Boston Massachusetts

Is Addiction Hereditary?

When it comes to addiction, a question many people have is whether or not addiction is hereditary. Substantial research has been done on this topic, and there does seem to evidence that addiction may be hereditary. Specifically, there appears to be a connection between genetics and addiction to drugs or alcohol. If one or both of your parents has suffered from addiction, it does not necessarily mean that you will also have an addiction—it would just make you more susceptible to it and more likely to have one than the average person.

Genetic Links Associated with Addiction

Presently, scientists believe that heredity accounts for approximately half of the risk that a person has of developing an addiction. This understanding is based on the analysis of patterns of inheritance. It is important to remember that addiction is a medical illness, so it develops in the same way as many other illnesses. It is not simply a “choice,” as some people believe it to be.

How Does Someone Develop an Addiction?

In many cases, addiction occurs when a person with an underlying genetic vulnerability becomes exposed to an environment that triggers the addiction. When it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, stress is one of the common environmental factors that contribute to the development of the addiction.

Another environmental factor includes the availability of the addictive substance. Often, the surroundings in which people grow up in dictate what they crave and contribute to how they act—but ultimately, a person has the choice whether or not to consume alcohol or try a drug in the first place.

For individuals who have gotten sober and want to maintain their sobriety by living with other sober people, a sober living home is a great option. Contact the Tharros House today to learn more about the benefits of sober living homes.

I am not my addiction in Boston Massachusetts

You Are Not Your Addiction

One thing that is important to remember as you work on recovery from addiction is to remind yourself that you are not your addiction. Your addiction does not define you as a person. Rather, your addiction is something that you can conquer and overcome.

Rediscovering Your Purpose and Passions

As you complete treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, it is important to focus on your future. While in treatment for your addiction, you likely spent some time focusing on your addiction itself. This is often an important part of the recovery process—realizing how the addiction began, what fed the addiction, and how it manifested. These insights are often helpful to understand how to move forward, and in some cases, how to fix an underlying problem that may have contributed to your addiction.

At this stage of the process, it is time to move forward and shift your focus to developing a more fulfilling future. Now, you can focus on what makes you happy and passionate in life. True recovery comes when you heal your spirit and uncover the potential that exists within you without the constraints of your addiction. Instead of focusing on the past, think of your recovery as opening the door to a richer and more fulfilling future where you can finally be your true self.

Living a Sober Life

One thing you can do to help aid in your recovery from addiction is to seek out others who are in a similar situation as you are. With others around you who are maintaining their sobriety, you will gain many benefits. Sober living homes offer those in recovery the opportunity to live in a residence free of alcohol and drugs. Other benefits to living in a sober living home include having in-house meetings available, social events to help residents build relationships with one another, and the opportunity to learn from others. For more information about sober living, contact the Tharros House today.

Sober Woman Exercising Boston Massachusetts

How Do I Stay Sober?

For people who have recognized that they are suffering from an addiction, one of the first questions they may have is to ask for advice on how to remain sober. Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there for someone who is going through the addiction recovery process.

Focus on Your Health

One of the ways that someone can work on maintaining sobriety is by getting and staying healthy. As you recover from addiction, it is crucial to focus on your health by eating nutritious and well-balanced meals. It is also important to start exercising, which has many physical health benefits. Exercise also releases endorphins and helps with developing mental clarity. Being physically active also helps you to restore a sense of balance in your life, which is important at this stage of recovery.

Make Necessary Life Changes

Another way to help maintain your sobriety is to make certain necessary changes in your life to better facilitate recovery. It is often necessary to cut ties with individuals who helped to encourage your addiction or anyone that is negatively impacting your life. It does not mean that you need to end these relationships forever—but it is often helpful to take a step back from these relationships and focus on your relationships with people who are helping you maintain your sobriety.

An additional necessary life change is to avoid the locations where you used to partake in your addiction. For example, if you are recovering from an addiction to alcohol, you will probably want to avoid going out to bars or other locations where alcohol is present, and people around you will be drinking.

Develop a Structured Lifestyle

Incorporating more structure into your life is a good way to help stay sober. One way to include more structure in your life is to consider a sober living home, which provides structure for its residents. Contact us today to learn more about the structure that the Tharros House provides.

addiction to pills Boston Massachusetts

Common Misconceptions About Addiction

There are many misconceptions out there about addiction. One of the most common misconceptions is that people who appear to have their life completely together cannot be suffering from an addiction. For some people, addiction is easier to hide than for others.

Misconception #1: Addictions Are Always Obvious

Some people are able to hide their addictions and live their lives normally without most people suspecting that they are actually battling an addiction. These people often are able to maintain their day-to-day responsibilities, like working at their job and spending time with their families. The term often used to describe those able to mask their addictions from others is called a “functional addict.”

Misconception #2: Addiction is a Choice

While a person often takes the first initial step in trying a substance, such as alcohol, having an ongoing addiction is not by choice. It is important to understand that brain chemistry plays a significant role in addiction.

Misconception #3: An Addict Can Quit Anytime They Want

It is a common belief that addicts can simply quit using the substance to which they are addicted and be free from addiction. Unfortunately, this is not typically the case. It often takes more than just willpower and the desire to quit using the addictive substance.

Misconception #4: If A Person Has Not Yet Hit “Rock Bottom,” Then There is No Need to Quit

Another common misconception out there regarding addiction is that an addict must hit “rock-bottom” (meaning the lowest of low points in their life) before they finally take the steps to overcome their addiction. This is simply not the case. While some people dealing with addiction may need a big wakeup call before they seek treatment, others may come to understand the severity of their addiction and seek help before a major incident occurs.

identification with addiction smoking Boston Massachusetts

Identification with Addition

For those recently working toward recovery from an addiction, this process may involve a change in identity, meaning a change in how a person views themselves. During recovery, the former addict will need to change their mindset and stop viewing themselves as an addict. They will need to develop a different, more positive self-identity.

The Social Identity Model of Recovery

The social identity model of recovery involves the concept of changing a person’s identity from someone who is actively addicted to or using substances to someone who is in recovery. When a person develops a substance abuse disorder, they tend to lose their existing social identity—a good parent, a good friend, etc.—as their identity becomes more about being an addict to one or more substances. Under this approach to recovery, it is thought that regaining or restoring a person’s lost social identity may give them the motivation necessary to continue with their transition to sobriety and recovery.

Studies have shown that this change in identity is an important aspect of achieving a successful outcome. This positive identity change tends to have a better chance of occurring if the individual is involved with a network or social group that includes other individuals in recovery. This is one of the reasons that sober living homes are an excellent approach to maintaining sobriety in recovery.

Discovering a New Personal Identity

When a former addict begins the long road to recovery, it often includes a change in identification, as well as a shift in their former mindset. It can be challenging to work toward restoring your former identity. A sober living home can help someone at this stage in their recovery maintain their sobriety and continue working on their self-identity and other important aspects of the recovery process. Contact us today at The Tharros House to learn more about what we have to offer.