SMART Recovery 101: Benefits & More

Mental health issues are among the most serious medical problems facing the healthcare system today. There are millions of people across the country who deal with a mental illness every day. Even though some people think mental illness is a sign of weakness, this is not the case. Thankfully, the stigma is starting to evaporate. This has led to the development of new addiction treatment options that can help everyone on the road to recovery. It is important to take a well-rounded approach to the treatment of any mental health disorder, including addiction. One tool that everyone should know about is called SMART Recovery. This treatment option can be used as a part of a well-rounded treatment strategy that can go a long way toward helping people not just get sober but stay clean as well.

What is Smart Recovery?

SMART Recovery is a new treatment tool that can be used to help people treat various forms of addiction and drug abuse. This tool was developed by professionals with a tremendous amount of experience in the field. Similar to other programs that have had success, SMART Recovery uses a series of steps through which people will work toward getting clean and staying sober. This treatment tool has been used with success in the treatment of various forms of addiction. It can be used along with counseling, group sessions, therapy, and medication to help people tackle their mental health issues. It is important for everyone looking for help with addiction treatment to know about SMART Recovery.

How Does SMART Recovery Work?

SMART Recovery is a novel treatment program that can be used to help people combat addiction and reach sustained sobriety. In order to follow the path that has been mapped out using this recovery method, there are a few steps that everyone will need to follow. These include:

Finding Motivation: The first step on the road to recovery is finding the motivation that is needed to change. It is critical for everyone to want to change for the right reasons. They need to do it for themselves. This is the focus of the first step. Without the right motivation, sustained sobriety will not be possible.

Coping Mechanisms: The next step is to learn about the various coping mechanisms that can be used to help someone sustain sobriety. From time to time, people are going to have the urge to use again. It is critical for everyone to know how to cope with these urges in a healthy way. This is an important part of staying sober.

Manage Emotions: Once people know how to deal with urges that come up from time to time, it is critical to focus on stress management and other emotions that will pop up from time to time. The urges to use often develop as a result of stress. Therefore, it is important for everyone to know how to deal with this stress. This is the focus of the third step.

Healthy Life: The fourth and final step of this program is learning to live a balanced, healthy life. This is where people learn how to create constructive habits that will eliminate the root cause of their addictive behavior in the first place. This type of balance will help people not only maintain sobriety but also rebuild relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers.

Why is it So Beneficial for Addiction Treatment?

This treatment method has already been beneficial for so many people. There are a number of reasons why. First, this treatment program maps out a plan that people can follow. By progressing through these various steps, people will have tangible success to which they can point.

Even though this treatment program has clearly defined steps, they can still be tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient. Some people might not realize this, but everyone’s root cause of addiction is different. Therefore, the treatment plans are going to vary as well. What works for one person might not work for someone else. The ability to customize these treatment plans is a major part of their success.

Finally, this treatment plan works because of the professionals who administer it. It is important to ask for help during the recovery process.

Let Us Help You During the Treatment Process

At Enlight Treatment Center, we are a drug & alcohol treatment program located in Moorpark, CA. We provide well-rounded treatment services that include detox and inpatient treatment for addiction. Our professionals have a significant amount of experience helping people with a variety of addiction issues. We also have a unique dual-diagnosis program that combines traditional treatment with modern therapies to help clients remain on the road to recovery during the long-term. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.

Financial Impacts of Addiction

Every year people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on various substances. Many people look at the cost of prescriptions as being exorbitant, however, in all actuality, the street value of substances far exceeds the costs of those purchased legally with prescriptions. For example, it was noted through a collection of data that at one point the money made from the sales of illicit substances, alcohol, and cigarettes comprised nearly 3% of the gross domestic product for the United States alone. This means that in a dollar amount, it accounted for nearly 130 billion dollars. In 2017, Australia was noted as having spent over 13 billion dollars on illicit substances. Going along with this statistic is the fact that those who were purchasing these substances were spending over 110% of their weekly income, which means that there was a deficit in their household income.

Along with this statistic, Lee Miller, Wei Lu, and Bloomberg stated in their article that in the same year, 70% of the illicit substances that were purchased were either cannabis or methamphetamines. Furthermore, breaking down the cost, even more, the cost of substances across the globe ranges quite a bit, but the prices are still extremely high based on their country of origin. For example, one kilogram of cocaine in Europe costs over $50,000, in the United States it costs over $30,000, and in Costa Rica, it costs just under $10,000. All different prices, but all relevant to the conversation of the amount spent on substances. Looking at the price listed for the US alone, that is the average household income of a lower-class family and depending on the household size, this yearly income would place them as being below the poverty level. When put into perspective, it is hard to imagine that an entire year’s salary could be spent on something that disappears so quickly.

Forcing Yourself to make Choices

When an individual opts into substance use, no matter the reason, they are impacted physically and mentally based on what they are experiencing within their lives and the effects of the substances. However, the financial impact also takes a large toll on users. Depending on the stage of a SUD, money may be pouring into the addiction in a way that there is no room for any other purchase. In some cases, people may be forced to choose between a substance or a physiological need. There is the choice of whether they would rather have food, electricity, water, a car, and in the worst of cases a home, or put their money towards their substance of choice instead. Even in the early stages of a SUD there is money here and there being put into substance use that could be going elsewhere, and even $10 or $20 here and there can begin to add up very quickly. Not to mention, when larger dollar amounts are being spent, there is nothing to show for where a person’s money is going, it’s just simply gone, as is what they’re spending it on. If a SUD is further along, there is also the chance that people will end up making a choice about whether they continue to go to work or whether they gravitate towards seeking out and using substances. Then, not only is there a loss of income, in some situations, people are placed in a situation where they choose to engage in negative activities in order to find some means to be able to obtain the substance of choice. Inevitably, it is a vicious cycle and one that can have the tendency to go from bad to worse fairly quickly.

Lack of Savings

Since the cost of substances tends to add up quickly, it can be hard to save money. Being able to save money is important for many reasons such as in preparation for the future. If you have a family, this can be imperative for financial security. Many families often have a household income that can pay for monthly expenses but doesn’t afford them to save money beyond that as it is, which can make money going to substances even more difficult for the rest of the family unit. In some cases, there may be family vacations that the family would love to have, or maybe a larger vehicle would be a good investment, but the money simply isn’t there because it’s going towards substance use. Making good decisions for yourself, especially when you have a family of your own, will only bring more positive results to everyone in your life. Choose to break use your resources to your advantage so that you have the opportunity to build savings, get back on your feet, and stop contributing to an industry that has a negative impact on the lives of so many.

If you are currently suffering from a SUD, it is likely that you’re not making yourself a priority. Financially speaking, there may be many things that you’ve wanted to save for or things you’ve wanted to buy or do, but your money is going to the wrong things. Make a personal investment in yourself and get help today. Put your money into something that will make a tremendous positive impact on your life. Call us today at (805)719-7954.

Creativity in Healing

Some of the greatest art and music ever made was the result of tortured lives riddled with addiction or mental illness. From artists like Van Gogh to Jimi Hendrix, they were innovators and transformed their pain into beauty for all the world to see and hear. But without treatment, their mental health and addiction also took their talents from us too soon. We will never know what they could have given the world if they were healthy, or how much more music and art they could have produced.

Many artists do not want to seek treatment because they feel like treatment will hinder their creativity. Which is an interesting perspective, because serious mental health challenges and addiction can take our lives, and nothing stifles creativity more than death.

We don’t need to use art or creativity as an excuse to avoid treatment. We don’t need to roll the dice with our lives and hope that addiction, mental illness, or both don’t take us prematurely, too. By giving ourselves the gift of a life in recovery, we also give ourselves the chance to create beautiful art and music through being alive and experiencing all types of emotions. We can find our creativity in healing.

Inspiration in Pain

There is something relatable when we hear a song by an artist that was motivated by pain or loss. Perhaps it is that our own pain connects to theirs through the lyrics and music. Or perhaps we may realize that we don’t have it as bad as someone else. Take Eric Clapton’s song, “Tears in Heaven,” which he wrote after losing his four-year-old son in a tragic accident. Hearing someone’s pain through music invokes deep emotion in us as fellow human beings.

There have been thousands of songs written about pain and suffering of another kind: mental illness and addiction. Through the instrumentation and lyrics, we can almost tangibly feel their suffering. Some sing to glamorize substance abuse. They sing as if they are invincible. Others sing about the consequences of untreated mental illness and addiction. Still, others seem to be reaching out and begging for help, even if they cannot seem to help themselves.

Artists and musicians today create amazing work, even while suffering from mental illness or addiction. Whether they are major pop-culture celebrities or unknown indie darlings, pain is such a common theme that some may have even dulled our senses to it. Many of us are drawn to their work because we relate all too well. Or maybe we are those artists and musicians, and our art is a manifestation of our pain, too.

Choosing Healing

The trouble with balancing some degree of notoriety is that we can’t hide. That can also be a blessing, however, because sometimes our being in the public eye forces us to get sober when we might not have otherwise done so. Or it can bring serendipitous moments like for Elton John, who, because of his celebrity status, met an AIDS patient who inspired him to change his life. After years of addiction, John has now been sober for 29 years.

Other famous musicians who chose recovery include Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler. In an interview with GQ magazine in January, he spoke of his substance abuse, “What happens with using is: It works in the beginning, but it doesn’t work in the end.” He has sought treatment for his addiction four different times, but this time around, he has been sober for nine years.

Some musicians use their celebrity to reach out and try to help others. One example is the song by Logic, featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, simply titled “1-800-273-8255.” That phone number is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The song talks about depression and thoughts that many can relate to, it humanizes the idea of reaching out for help and ends with a message of hope, which is punctuated by using the lifesaving phone number as the title.

The Co-existence of Creativity and Healing

For those who feel like treatment will dull their creativity, Tyler spoke about creativity and sobriety. He said, “All the magic that you thought worked when you were high comes out when you get sober. You realize it was always there, and your fear goes away… We all got sober, I guess, over ’88, ’89, and those albums were all off the charts. Finally had a No. 1 single.”

Healing provides ample opportunity for creativity. When we choose recovery, we begin a journey full of emotions and new realizations about life, love, and especially ourselves. As we heal, art, music, and other creative outlets are perfect ways to express our emotions and document our journey in recovery.

Without the controlling effects of drugs and alcohol to stop us, our creativity is limitless. We are able to feel again, and our minds and bodies are clearing away the shackles that addiction places on our souls. We can find inspiration in new things that we may not have even noticed before. When we choose recovery, we are alive again. To find out more about how you can seize your second chance at life today, call (805) 719-7954 to speak to one of our admissions experts.

The Power of Being Honest

One of the most difficult choices to make in recovery is to be completely honest. However, being truly honest with everyone in our lives, most especially ourselves, can be one of the most rewarding and empowering choices we make.

Being Honest with a Higher Power

One of the most tangible benefits of turning ourselves over to a power greater than ourselves is that divine power is not a tangible being that we have to confront face to face. That can make it easier for us to pour out our souls and be totally honest with God or whatever power we have found.

To believe in God or another spiritual power is to believe in the concepts of forgiveness and a complete lack of judgment. Prior to surrendering our lives to divinity, it is very unlikely that we have felt what being on the receiving end of true and unconditional love is like. That can give us so much power, and being honest in our spiritual journey can bring so much healing as well.

Being Honest with Others

Facing our loved ones, especially those we may have hurt before we started our recovery journey, can be incredibly difficult. We are already struggling with bridging the gap between forgiveness and self-acceptance and our past behaviors. Now we have to be honest with others, who may judge us, become very angry with us, or worse, not be willing to forgive us for our past. Whoever said, “Honesty is the best policy” probably never battled addiction.

However, being honest with others truly is the best policy for our recovery. To truly allow healing, we need to own up to the mistakes we have made and allow for natural consequences. No matter how the other people react, even if they no longer want to be in our lives, our conscience is clean and the healing can begin. And laying ourselves bare before another human being allows us to find, without any question, the people in our lives who truly love us and will support our recovery.

Being Honest in Our Recovery

Recovery only happens with complete surrender, and surrender means we don’t get to choose which parts of our lives we are honest about anymore. Complete surrender means complete honesty. No matter how hard it is for us to speak about, no matter how much we want to gloss over things we did that were embarrassing or harmful to others, our recovery will only be as complete as our honesty.

Being honest with our sponsors is important on so many levels. One of the most important reasons is that it builds trust in our relationships. Being honest can feel like we are jumping off of a bridge, however, in actuality, it helps to form that bridge between two people. Our sponsors are not going to judge us. Our sponsors have been right where we are now. Our sponsor wants us to be successful, possibly even more than we want ourselves to be successful.

Being Honest with Ourselves

Looking into the face of a loved one and being completely honest can paralyze a person into inactivity. But looking into the mirror and being completely honest with ourselves is one of the most difficult things anyone can do in this life. We are the one person that we can never escape from. Our truths are the truths that only we have lived. Despite the fact that we already know those truths, deep down inside of us, where we stuffed them and hid them and numbed the pain with our addictions, looking in the mirror and truly being honest is one of the most powerful gifts we can give ourselves.

Around those things we did before we got sober, we may have added judgments, stigma, negative self-talk, self-loathing and more. When we truly unwrap our truths and face ourselves, we remove all of those other things. Now we can see who we really are as a person. We can look at what we have done, and we can make the choice to accept them for the scars that they are on our souls. We can learn from them, we can grow from them, and perhaps when we are strong enough again, we can use our truths to help others face their truths.

Looking in the mirror with complete honesty can be a massive stumbling block on our road to recovery. But removing our masks and looking at the person we really are, scars and all, we get to choose who we will be today. Then tomorrow. And every day of our recovery from now on. Only we will know when we have truly been honest with everyone in our lives. And only we will receive all of the powers of healing and growth that come from being totally honest. So talk to your higher power. Call that family member. Call your sponsor. Look in the mirror today, and call us at (805) 719-7954 to speak to one of our admissions experts. Tomorrow’s you will thank you.

Facing Fear of Recovery

Most people don’t like change, let’s face it. But when our bodies have come to depend on drugs or alcohol socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically, then at some point, our jobs, our families, health, our freedom, and even our very our lives may be on the line. Not to mention the lives of others. But recovery is scary. It means change. And our bodies don’t want to change, either. With everything on the line, though, we need to face our fears and step into the life-saving grace of recovery.

Fear of Change

We are creatures of habit. And when we have a drug or alcohol habit, that tends to make us fear change even more. We might have to change pretty much everything in our lives: where we socialize, how we socialize, even our friends and acquaintances. It’s possible that we may even have to make changes with our family members while we are changing. That would be scary enough on our own. But add to it the fact that we would be giving up the one crutch we have been hiding behind – our substance(s).

Depending on how long we have been using, we may not even be able to remember how to live each day without a drink and/or drug. Although that is scary, we have the opportunity to improve our lives for good. Change can mean better, changing our lives for our good and for the people in our lives. Or even changing the people who will be in our lives when we seek the help we need to make permanent improvements going forward.

Fear of Being Healthy

There is usually a reason that people begin using substances, and it is typically because they are not happy with the lives they have. If we were emotionally healthy in the first place, why would we have begun drinking and using, to begin with? But deep down inside of us, sometimes we are scared of being healthy.

Being emotionally healthy means being accountable. It means being present. It means being there for other people and having honest, meaningful relationships with the people in our lives. Many of us have never had that, and it is really scary. But if we set our fears aside, we might see that being emotionally healthy is a reward that pays endless dividends.

There is a saying that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and not only can we come out on the other side of our addiction, we can be stronger to make a difference for others. By bravely taking the journey of recovery, we can be a light unto other people who have struggled just like us. We can go from fear to empowerment and change not only our lives but the lives of other people as well.

Fear of Being Worthy

Worthiness can be scary. It doesn’t really make sense on the surface, but so many of us have lived lives of pain, abuse, trauma and more, and we have come to believe that we are not worthy. That nagging little voice in our head tells us that we don’t deserve to be healthy, we are not worthy of a rewarding life.

But that little voice is wrong. It comes from the same place as our addiction. It is masking our true voice, which tells us that we are worthy. No matter what we’ve done, no matter how long we have lived this tortured life, we deserve to stand up and find our own power, our true selves. We are worth recovering our lives and we are worth the love and forgiveness of the people who love us, too. If we listen to our true voice, we will know that we deserve life.

Fear of Life

Sometimes we get so twisted in our thinking that we lose sight of what we want most: Life. We have been in pain for so long and we are so accustomed to suffering that we actually fear truly living. Others may simply be reacting to their quality of life, assuming it won’t ever get any better for them. There are a lot of really hard things that happen in life, some of them a result of our own actions, others through no fault of our own whatsoever. Life can be scary, and it can also be very scary to embrace a life without pain.

It is okay to feel alive. It’s okay to allow ourselves to feel pain because we will also be able to feel true joy. We want to not only survive but to thrive. To be alive and to feel and to breathe in the fresh air and feel everything again. It can be scary, but it is also worth it. Our lives matter, and our recovery matters.

Conquer your fears and make the call today. Change can save your health and save your life. You are worthy and you deserve to feel alive again. Be fearless. To speak to one of our admissions experts, call (805) 719-7954.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

We used substances because of the pain. Then in our addiction, we inflicted pain on the people we love most in our lives. That made us try to numb the pain more. It is a vicious cycle that is created, and maybe it felt like it would never end. Until we were brave. Even braver than we have ever been. We took the steps to enter recovery. That was the first step toward our healing from the pain.

The power that heals the pain is forgiveness. In our cycles of addiction, there are three levels of forgiveness that we should strive for. Each level will bring more healing, not just to us, but also to those we love.

Ask for Forgiveness from Those We Have Harmed

There is a reason that this is part of the 12-Step process. We must acknowledge all those that we brought harm to when we were using our substances, writing them down. We must not only ask for forgiveness but also do our best to make amends wherever possible. In doing this, we show our Higher Power, those we have harmed, and ourselves that we are truly sorry and are committed to making things right as much as possible.

This process can be very powerful for those that we have harmed. Perhaps they have heard us apologize a thousand times, only to keep doing whatever we did to harm them. Now we are apologizing, showing them physical retribution where possible, and truly asking for their forgiveness. They may not believe us, but this time it really is different.

Those we have harmed may not forgive us. That is their own emotional process, and we need to respect that asking for forgiveness does not mean that we will get it. But the power of this level of asking for forgiveness lies within us. We have done our best to clear our conscience and to demonstrate our sorrow and repentance. We have asked for forgiveness, and for us, that is the empowering part. We only have control over ourselves.

Forgive Those Who Harmed Us

Many of us had people in our lives who harmed us, even before we started drinking or using drugs. For many of us, it was this pain that made us want to use substances. It hurts. It is difficult not to blame or hold grudges, especially for childhood traumas or violence against us.

However, this painful burden will be ours to carry until we choose to forgive and let it go. The person who harmed us probably doesn’t even know about our suffering. Maybe they harmed us because they were abusing substances. We might want to hurt them back, cause them pain in return for ours. Or at least maybe get some justice.

Only justice doesn’t solve anything. Many people who get justice report that the pain is still there. Perhaps there is some solace in knowing the person is in prison or whatever, but our pain will still be there until we take matters into our own hands: forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t always come overnight. We were hurt, sometimes very, very badly. Often, we did not even do anything wrong, we were just victims. That hurts. But as we move forward in our recovery, and as we ask others to forgive us, we can heal, and at some point, whether it be a simple realization or something we actively work on very hard for a long time, we can forgive those who hurt us. We will know when we have forgiven them because our burden will be gone, and our pain lessened or even gone. This is so powerful.

Forgive Ourselves

This level of forgiveness is the hardest. As human beings, we often judge ourselves the most harshly. We can bring ourselves to forgive others, but forgiving ourselves is a whole new level. We hold onto our mistakes more than we hold onto happy memories. We cling to our past as if it is going to protect us or something, when in fact, clinging to our past is often keeping us from being happy.

Recovery provides us with a chance to look deep in the mirror of our souls and learn new ways of looking at ourselves. The process is incredibly difficult, but at some point, we can look at ourselves in that mirror and say “I forgive.” We have to let go of the pain, let go of the blame and guilt, and let go of our past actions. When we have asked for forgiveness from others, there is no more need to hold onto our errors. We can forgive and forget and wipe our slate clean. Because recovery is hard enough without carrying all of our guilt around.

Forgiveness carries the power to heal us from the vicious cycle of pain in active addiction. It makes our burdens lighter, it helps repair relationships and helps us learn to love ourselves again. We can start our forgiveness process when we choose to give ourselves the gift of Making the call today helps lighten our burdens tomorrow. To speak to one of our admissions experts, call (805) 719-7954.