With every new convenience that arises, so do the issues that come with it. Social media has been immensely helpful for connecting people and building communities. It’s sparked movements for social and cultural change, and it’s compelled people to form a stronger sense of self-identity. These days we’re more digitally connected than we’ve ever been.

It’s been almost 15 years since Facebook ignited a social media revolution. Just enough time for us to begin to see the impact social media has left in our world.

Listen to this article here on the podcast:

Loneliness: A Growing Epidemic

Despite being the most digitally connected generation, we’re also the loneliest. A recent study of Australian teenagers showed that the heaviest social media users experience the greatest amount of anxiety. Research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine determined that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. One-quarter of millennials look at their phone more than 100 times a day setting the stage for depression and anxiety.

Just over a month ago, Katie, noticed the effects that Facebook was having on her life, and her recovery. What she discovered made her decide to quit the social platform for the time being.

“What I felt like, was that it was indicative of addiction the way I had used it. It came to the point where I would be on Facebook and not even realizing that I was using to check out of social anxieties that I felt. I wasn’t facing some fears because I was using it as a crutch.”

Social media was created to bring people together. We are more connected but in a less meaningful and engaging way. Click To Tweet

“You don’t realize how much time you are wasting on Facebook until you’re not using it anymore. For that first week or so you’re experiencing your downtime, and you go to grab your phone and go on Facebook, and you’re like oh, I don’t have it. You realize how much time you’re wasting when you could be doing something that is productive. Like going outside or calling somebody that means something to you in your life. Versus putting on a show for people you never even get to see.”

The Facebook vortex has more than an effect on your immediate social life. It’s making people lonelier. In the March/April 2018 print edition of Psychology Today, Jennifer Latson cites a British Study that found those between 16-24 were the most likely to report feelings of loneliness. Many experts believe the growing loneliness is linked to social media use.

Social Media is Making Us Sick: Here's What to Do

 Social Media Vs. Mental Health

Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that leads to higher cases of mental health issues. Namely because of FOMO – the fear of missing out. Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, dives in.

“I think one of the big reasons, especially now that we have social media, is it’s so easy to look around and say I should be doing something differently; everybody else has a better life than I do, how come everyone else is happier? And it just becomes really pervasive. We’re surrounded by it all the time.”

According to a recent survey, Instagram is the worst social network for mental health and well-being.

“Research will link spending too much time on social media to anxiety. Studies will show that the worst social networking site for our mental health is Instagram because it’s just images. And it’s so easy to look at images of other people, whether you’re looking at fitness models or you’re looking at people who are out celebrating something or they’re on vacation. And you start to think well gosh I don’t have all that going on in my life or I wish I could be like that. And rather than thinking, okay if I want to make changes in my life I can, we tend to think I could never achieve that or I’m not as good as that person is and it definitely takes a big toll on your mental health in terms of depression, anxiety. People start to experience these envious or resentful attitudes toward others, and for a lot of people it leads to despair.”

Facebook and Instagram have acknowledged how the social platforms affect mental health. They’ve even introduced tools and features to address it.

Instagram recently launched a “wellbeing team” stating that quote “making the community a safer place, a place where people feel good, is a huge priority for Instagram” end quote. It’s still not entirely known what the wellbeing team does or will do.

Facebook, on the other hand, proposes that we use the app more. Returning to its roots, the new mission for the company is to bring people closer together. Instead of scrolling passively, Facebook reps say that quote “actively interacting with people – especially sharing messages, posts, and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions – is linked to improvements in well-being” end quote.

Some people quit the social platforms with no issue. Others, especially young people who were raised on social media, have a much harder time cutting the proverbial cord. And despite #deletefacebook going viral last month, the Facebook user base has not decreased, it’s grown.

Is Social Media Making Us Sick?

So, is social media making us sick? The simple answer is yes. We now know that it’s making us lonelier and we see an increase in cases of depression and anxiety. But it doesn’t stop there.

Loneliness can seem non-threatening. After all, everyone feels lonely from time to time. But that’s exactly what makes it potentially dangerous. It’s a silent killer.

It can often lead to a variety of health issues such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and cancer. Chronic loneliness can also lead to isolation, which is a significant component in the disease of addiction.

When a person has depression or anxiety and is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s referred to as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. And it happens entirely too often.

To put it into perspective, 43.6 million (18.1%) Americans over 18 experienced some form of mental illness. Almost half also have substance use disorders.

Social Media is Making Us Sick: Here's What to Do

How to Be Happy Without Giving Up Social Media

Is social media the root of all evil? Given what we’ve seen in the news lately, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise. I digress. It’s not inherently evil. When used a healthy way, social media can be incredibly fulfilling.

“I have attention-seeking behaviors as an addict. I want validation and I want it instantly. What better way form to get that from than Facebook?”

It’s nice to be liked. It’s great to be accepted. Respected. Supported. But we have to remember that social media isn’t the best way to go about it. Amy has a few ideas.

“It’s about figuring out, how do you use it in a way that’s healthy for you,” Morin shared.

She also shared with us a couple of ways we can do this.

First, ask yourself why you’re posting what you post. Do you want to inspire others, share with family or do you want to get likes and attention?

Then make a list of all the reasons you think social media could be a problem for you. Review your list and take note of any patterns. Weigh the pros and cons.

Use an app like Cold Turkey to limit or control the amount of time you spend on social media. Or set your social apps to do not disturb mode to help you stay focused and less distracted throughout the day. (Here are some other apps you can use to limit time spent on social media.)

Set limits by separating yourself physically from your phone or other devices. Amy notes that most people use their phone as an alarm in the morning. Therefore your phone is at your bedside. Try putting it across the room to prevent any midnight scroll fests.

Amy recommends a digital detox. Start with just one day a month or one day a week, where you leave your phone at home. It might be scary to be disconnected but you’ll find that just one day off once in a while can make a big difference for your mental health.

What we’ve started to lose sight of is the fact that social media was meant to be a tool for connection, not a replacement. If you think you’re spending too much time on your phone, I hope that this episode can help inspire you to shut it down, look up, and be present with the people you have around you.

 

For most Americans, drinking is no big deal. Some see it as a right of passage, others as a natural everyday pastime. A few years ago an experiment made us do a double take.

25-year old Louise Delage was everything any young woman could hope to be. She had great friends, impeccable style, and an enviable jet-setting lifestyle – all of which she documented on her Instagram. In just a few months she had amassed over 65,000 followers.

This was more than just another social influencer finding success. There was a dark theme beneath the perfect facade which the social platform hid so well.

As it turns out, the profile of Louise Delage was a fake. Set up by an ad agency in Paris to highlight the prevalence of alcohol use in young people. You see, in almost every single photo that was shared, she was holding a drink. Or there was one casually placed in the background just so.

What was most troubling about this experiment was not that she was drinking but even as her audience grew no one seemed to notice the pattern. It became a photo diary demonstrating how easy it is to miss the signs of alcohol misuse.

As drinking levels in the US are reaching public health crisis territory, researchers have found that women are particularly impacted.

Women, Stress, and the “Wine Moms” Movement

Alcohol has long been used as a way to unwind and relax. A crutch that allows us to deal with the hardships, stress, and monotony of life – especially for moms. Memes that read “Mommy drinks because you cry” or the wine glasses with the words “Mommy Fuel” emblazoned across them have become commonplace.

Writer Jill Di Donato for Romper wrote in 2016:

“Those “I need wine to parent” memes might be funny, but they are offensive to people who have struggled or are currently struggling with sobriety.”

And she’s right. It’s not funny for people in sobriety. But also, it’s not funny at all.

Ladies Who Lush: How Society Glamorizes Female Drinking

What it really comes down to is we’re not dealing with the core issues. Women are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, alone. The easiest thing to do for many of these women to cope is to pop a cork and pour a glass of merlot. It’s all backward. A recent article in the New York Times titled Being a Sober Parent in a Wine Mom Culture, notes that “Parents who don’t drink are not offered such a simple solution to stress.”

As drinking levels in the US are reaching public health crisis territory, researchers have found that women are particularly impacted. Click To Tweet

As women, we’re constantly getting the message that drinking is the answer to all of our problems. Bad day? Pour a glass of wine (or three, or five). Girls night? Let’s do shots. Going through a breakup? Drown your sorrows in a fifth of gin.

Drinking at the Barre?

You can’t swing a yoga mat without knocking someone’s wine over. From bars to book clubs and now yoga studios, no social space is safe. Laura Silverman, the founder of The Sobriety Collective, voiced her concerns recently in a two-part blog post about how alcohol is sneaking its way into our wellness routines.

 

A narrative that is, unfortunately, familiar to women everywhere.

Is social media to blame? Was it this bad five years ago? We could probably have an entire episode about the impact that social media has had on our drinking and drug use as a country. It’s a loaded topic. But let’s just skim over the essentials.

A recent article in Time Magazine noted that Americans, specifically women and older adults, are drinking more alcohol. The article cited a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism which compared two groups of people; one between 2001-2002 and one from 2012-2013. For women, high-risk drinking increased to 60% and alcohol use disorder increased to almost 84%. Men increased by 15% and 35% respectively.

Why is this happening? Individual, environmental and societal factors come into play but it could point to added stress as a result of income and educational disparities. Not to mention, cultural norms have changed over the years.

Using Male Signifiers to Empower Women

Looking again to the media, we see a lot of women in power – or vying for power – embracing risky drinking behaviors. Popular shows like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and The Good Wife grasp and exploit the trope. Alcohol isn’t just a part of the scene, it’s a part of the main character’s persona. A pillar of the character’s life. One can’t think about Olivia Pope without picturing an overflowing bowl of popcorn and a filled-to-the-brim glass of red wine.

Ladies Who Lush: How Society Glamorizes Female Drinking

We are starting to see incremental shifts toward more positive messaging for women and mothers specifically. Movements like Tell Better Stories 2018, are working to do just that – tell better stories – and challenge the media to produce more thoughtful messaging around alcohol.

Just last week we saw three mothers on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today talk about their struggles with alcohol.

What else can we do?

We can look to these women and follow their example. Share our stories, call out the media when we see something isn’t right, and reach out to other women and mothers when we see them struggling. Like Sarah said, we are disconnected. So, let’s do our best to reconnect.

Listen to the whole episode here:

When you meet Cynthia, you would never think she’s only four months sober. A wise woman and single mother, she started drinking at just 13 years old. Her recovery has allowed her to rebuild the relationships which are most important to her, with herself and her children.

“At the time I knew that what I was doing wasn’t the best situation. I told myself that as long as you’re doing X, Y, and Z, you don’t have child protective services at your door, they’re getting fed, you’re not driving drunk with them, you’re getting up when they wake up, that’s your business. You’re an adult, and you can drink when you want.

Now that I have reflection and hindsight’s 20/20 I was not the mom I could have been. I feel guilty. I did manipulate them. I haven’t made amends with them on that yet, and I’m sure that they’re well aware that I was doing that. Even though they were young. So, it’s going to be an interesting conversation because I’m sure I’m going to get that confirmation. It’s shameful, but I’m learning to forgive myself for it. At the time I did the best I could with the tools that I had. I wasn’t acknowledging at the time that I needed help.

I’m very close with my children now. I’m very fortunate that if any resentment they did have they seem to have put that in the past. All they ever wanted was for me to be well. The damage I did was making them worry about me. Things still got taken care of. I put my daughters through college; my son is finishing high school. They’ve had everything they’ve ever wanted except for a healthy mom. Now that I’m taking care of myself and doing what I’m supposed to do that washes a lot of that resentment away. As long as I continue to do what’s right for myself, for our relationships, and for the family.

I certainly didn’t want to risk not having a relationship with my soon to be grandaughter. I know my daughter is going to be a fantastic mom and a part of that would be not including me in her daughters life if I continued to drink and bring that kind of influence around. I’m very fortunate that they’re all incredibly supportive. They just want the best for me.”

Listen to the whole episode here: 

A few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk writing a congratulatory message to someone in recovery for their sober birthday. My favorite part of this work is to see someone make a change and thrive in their recovery.

Then I hear sirens for what feels like the third time that week and emergency responders are on their way to the street my office is on. A place where a homeless camp has been set up for weeks. It’s filled with people who have no place else to go – no more options. And they have been selling drugs, doing drugs, and overdosing for weeks.

How can this be happening, I wondered as I watched yet another body lifted into the ambulance. These people overdose, the emergency responders show up to take them away, and they end up right back here in a few days time. Why does no one help them, a coworker asked out loud. She took the words right out of my mouth.

On one side of the street, there’s hope and on the other hopelessness and fear. The only thing that is dividing the two is a small street, right? If only it were that simple.

We can do better. But how? Today’s guest doesn’t only know how the organization he represents has an action plan in motion. And guess what? It involves you, me, neighbors, friends, and family.

Beyond Awareness: An Interview with Michael King of Facing Addiction

Facing Addiction is a national nonprofit dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis by unifying the voice of over 45 million Americans and their families impacted by addiction. It has recently merged with NCADD (The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), and their action network is the most prominent coalition of organizations ever assembled around addiction and recovery.

Representatives are from diverse areas of interest, including people in long-term recovery, family advocates, prevention and education leaders, public health specialists, labor officials, faith leaders, justice professionals, and more.

Without further ado, I sat down with a very busy Michael King who is the National Director of Outreach and Engagement to talk more about how and what our communities could be doing better.

Listen to the whole episode here: 

It’s National Nutrition Month, and we’re talking about H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). If you’re in recovery, you’re probably very familiar with this acronym but it’s one of those things that we learn about, and it’s always in the back of our minds, but we don’t put it into practice as much as we could. So, today we’re talking through what each step is, why it’s a vital relapse prevention tool, and how to check in with yourself to make sure you’re on the right track.

Listen here:

Prioritizing Healthy Eating in Recovery

H =  Hungry

I’m not a nice person to be around when I’m hungry. I can’t tell you how many times a week I find myself apologizing for things I said to people in a state of intense hunger or reduced blood-sugar levels. We’re all a little guilty of getting “hangry” from time to time.

I don't know how many times I've apologized to somebody, like 'I'm sorry. I was just really hungry. I was hangry'. Click To Tweet

In recovery, especially early on, you’re still adjusting to a busy schedule. You’re going to work, group, meetings, and hanging out with friends or family. In this transitional period of your life, you’re bound to forget to eat or not prioritize meals. However, eating balanced meals and snacks can help in dealing with the cravings and mood swings which are synonymous with early recovery. 

So what’s a sober guy or gal to do?

Plan ahead. Whether that’s taking the time in the morning to throw something together or if you’re one of those people who finds it easier to do meal prep on Sundays – do that. If you’re a snacker, make sure to keep healthy alternatives to the junk foods you usually reach for when hunger suddenly attacks. Find what works for you and do that.

The Ultimate Recovery Self-Care Tool: H.A.L.T.

Check In With Your Emotions

A = Angry

Anger is a normal feeling or reaction to life. However, it’s an emotion that we may not have ever learned how to process or express effectively or healthily. Deb shared this cool way to check in with your feelings and logically process them. It’s called Detect, Debate, Discriminate, and it works to help you understand how your emotions work and what you can do when you feel like lashing out.

We talked a bit about anger and how holding onto it can be toxic in Episode 5: How to Truly Help Your Loved One (And Yourself) Recover.

Meditation, mantras, and breathing exercises are all great ways assuage feelings of anger. We also talked about how using technology can help you work through negativity as well as some options that we are using and loving right now. (Headspace, Calm)

And of course, writing in a journal or diary is also a good, healthy outlet for expressing one’s feelings if you don’t feel comfortable sharing them out loud. We talked about that as well as a few options you can try – especially if you don’t consider yourself a “writer.” (The Five Minute Journal, Live Journal)

The Ultimate Recovery Self-Care Tool: H.A.L.T.

One is the Loneliest Number

L = Lonely

Isolation is one the most telling signs of a potential relapse. It’s what you do in your active addiction so when you start pushing people away; it’s important to look at why. We’ve all heard that it’s important to have a strong support system in recovery. If you don’t have one, your recovery doesn’t stand a chance, to put it bluntly.

A lot of people are lucky to have that sense of support through family and friends but if you don’t have that – there are so many other sources within the recovery community that you can connect with and build your own recovery family or tribe.

There are tons of other people who are also on the lookout for the same type of support, whether it’s to seek for themselves or to be a pillar of support for someone else. There is this incredible community just waiting for you to join in and lean on them.

So, how do you get started?

Friends, family, fellow recovering addicts, and the like are all here to support you. And if you don’t have a strong support system or you feel like it could be better – make that a priority. Fill your life with people who are always going to have your back.

Go out and meet people – your people. Get to a meeting (find some great aa/na meetings in your area here). The recovery community is bursting with people who come from all walks of life – you’re bound to find someone (or even a few people) with whom you will gel.

Know your resources. Keep a list handy for those hard days when you just need someone to talk to. Speaking of, we love this checklist from the University of Colorado Wellness Center. (Everything is Awful, and I’m Not Okay: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Up on Yourself)

The Ultimate Recovery Self-Care Tool: H.A.L.T.

Get Your Beauty Sleep

T = Tired

Everyone is working 40+ hours a week, and on top of that having a social life, family, meetings, and making your recovery a priority – it’s enough to exhaust the heck out of anyone. There is a danger of lacking proper sleep. We talked about the effects of insomnia and lack of sleep over on the blog earlier this month. When you’re tired and feeling a sense of exhaustion or burn out, no matter what you’re doing, it’s important to find a way to let yourself take a break.

If you’re sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day, get up and step away from the screen for two minutes. Walk around. Studies have shown that blue light – the light that comes from the screen on your phone or your computer hurts your ability to fall asleep. It also lowers your melatonin production. If you’re staring at your computer all day then going home and staring at your phone – or even watching T.V. – that is going to affect you.

We’re all guilty of falling asleep with our phones in our hand. We have to make less screen time a priority – cut the cord. Try this: turn off your screens, play some soothing music or white noise, and get some good uninterrupted sleep. Pushing yourself to go when you need to rest will only hurt your recovery in the long run.

In conclusion, each part of the acronym works and leans on each other. They are all related and overlap each other. For example, when you don’t sleep you’re not going to make healthy decisions like eating well, and when you’re not eating well you won’t feel great, and your emotions aren’t regulated. When you don’t feel great, you tend to isolate, and it goes on and on.

Self-care starts with H.A.L.T.

It seems like a lot right now, and it won’t always be perfectly balanced. One day you will have it figured out, and that just comes from practice.

Watching someone you love struggle with drugs or alcohol – or both – comes with a LOT of feelings. We may feel anger, resentment, or sadness. Sometimes all at once.

It’s not all bad, though. There are those moments, that tiny sliver of hope and happiness that you feel when your loved one tells you that this time will be different. They love you, and they’re sorry. Things are going to change.

That feels amazing.

Until the next time they steal from you, lie to you, or you don’t see them for so long you start to wonder if they are even alive anymore. And all those terrible feelings come back. It’s like a rug is pulled right from under you. It’s the proverbial rollercoaster of emotions. And it’s a daily reality.

Can you be helpful to your loved one in addiction if you haven’t indeed forgiven them? Click To Tweet

This is not something I talk about a lot, but even though I’m not in recovery, I have experienced addiction as a spectator. I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts who I am now mostly estranged. I narrowly escaped a very different kind of life.

What I haven’t escaped, however, is the emotional baggage I carry from growing up around drugs and alcohol. That nagging feeling of should I forgive my mother for putting me through all that crap? Or an even better question, can I forgive her? How does this whole forgiveness thing work?

How do we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their side? Can you move forward with your life or an even better question can you be helpful to your loved one in addiction if you haven’t indeed forgiven them?

How to Truly Help Your Loved One (And Yourself) Recover

Empathy Vs. Sympathy

First, let’s talk empathy. A lot of people confuse empathy with sympathy, and they are VERY different.

No one knows more about empathy than our favorite storyteller and shame expert, Brene Brown.

Like most things in life, it’s so simple. Expressing empathy is a simple concept, but it’s not easy. When someone you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, it can be incredibly hard to empathize with them. Secondly, it can be hard to see past all of your pain and anger to help someone else deal with their own.

There is this excellent quote from Buddha, and it goes:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

So it seems that to really empathize with someone we have to let go of our anger and frustrations. How do we do that?

How to Truly Help Your Loved One (And Yourself) Recover

Letting Go Of Anger

As it turns out, holding onto anger, pain, and resentment can keep you back and has some severe mental and physical health implications. There was a study by the Erasmus University researchers asked participants to reflect either on a time when they had forgiven someone or on a time they had not forgiven someone. Afterward, subjects were asked to jump five times in the air as high as they could without bending their knees. Those who reflected on forgiveness jumped 30 centimeters on average; those who thought about holding a grudge only jumped 22.

So it entirely literally lifts a weight off your shoulders.

We also found this sort of social experiment through Soul Pancake where a group of people was asked to write down the name of someone that they had been holding a grudge against, detail what that person had done to them, and then subsequently “forgive” them. And then you’re supposed to read it out loud while looking into a mirror. They found that on average the group’s overall happiness increased by 8%. Not bad.

 How to Truly Help Your Loved One (And Yourself) Recover

Forgiving Our Loved Ones

On the flip side – you have people in recovery who are wondering, you know how can I get my family or my friends to understand what I’ve been through. You know, and say their loved ones are going to meetings and groups and they’re trying to do their best to help but how will they ever understand what I’ve gone through? And it takes a lot of work on both sides.

I was listening to one of my favorite authors and podcasters, Cheryl Strayed, who knows a thing or two about forgiveness. This was from episode seventy-seven of Dear Sugars, and  Cheryl said,

“I’ve had friends say to me before how can I support you in bearing this weight? And those friends who look at you and say that they’re going to be enormously helpful to you in your healing. Whether they’ve had the same experiences or not.”

I think Johann Hari put it correctly, too, when he said this in his Ted Talk called Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong – which is an incredible Ted Talk. If you haven’t heard it yet – make a note.

“And what I’ve tried to do now, and I can’t tell you I do it consistently and I can’t tell you it’s easy, is to say to the addicts in my life that I want to deepen the connection with them, to say to them, I love you whether you’re using or you’re not. I love you, whatever state you’re in, and if you need me, I’ll come and sit with you because I love you and I don’t want you to be alone or to feel alone.”

In conclusion, it’s just about being there and even if you don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to help – just say that you want to. That you’re there for them. Break down the wall and allow yourself to connect with your loved one.

Listen to the whole episode here:

Matt grew up in a fear-filled home, and for years he took this fear with him wherever he went. It was this fear that held him back from pursuing a football career and ultimately from dealing with his addiction head-on, and it almost kept him from sticking around the NA meetings that subsequently saved his life.

When he finally decided to choose recovery, he was living alone in his car on a diet of Sunny D and peanut butter sandwiches, kicked out after his girlfriend at the time found out he had kept on using. He had lost everything, but life had given him a chance to fight for it all back.

And fight he did. Now he’s got over 21 years under his belt.

Now Matt loves to surf, has a not-so-secret affinity for Marvel movies, and at his, job he gets to help people every day who are struggling with addiction.

Matt joined us on the podcast to share his incredible story, how he conquered his fears and how every day he fights to break the cycle of addiction and abuse for himself and his daughter.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes from the show but there are so many more nuggets of wisdom to hear for yourself. Listen to the entire episode below.

  • I think a lot of my life there was a lot of fear I’ve experienced. I think the fear of leaving home to pursue that football career scared me and I didn’t know how to deal with it, and it was easier to bury myself and continue to use. I look back now, and I find that there was a lot of fear growing up in the household.
  • The only times that I remember feeling safe was my maternal grandmother lived in Torrance, and we would visit during the summers. As a young kid, she was very religious. I would get up early in the mornings because she would be up around four or five in the morning reading the bible and I would get up and just sit up with her. I remember always feeling safe.
  • It wasn’t easy in the beginning. If anything I want to point that out. There were many times I had thought about using and going back.  I wanted to see my daughter again, that was one of the reasons that I got clean and try to stay clean, and that didn’t happen right away.
  • My life today is something that I couldn’t imagine. I worked with some great people. I have traveled to places that I never thought that I would never go. I’ve done things and have experienced things that I never thought I would and in ways that I think that is deeper than that I would.
  • One of the things I heard, which is so right is forgiveness in their time and not in my time. I just need to continue on my path of living spiritual principles and the rest will work itself out, and that’s all I can worry about, and that’s all I can do.

*Matt’s last name and photo have been kept private for anonymity purposes. 

If you love Matt’s story as much as we do, please share it your friends and family or anyone that you think may find it helpful. We are always looking for new stories to share and inspire others. If you would like to share your story with us, let us know by filling out the form below.

This morning we announced to the whole world (i.e., the world wide web) that we have now fully launched our podcast, TDH Voice. But you know that because you’re already here.

Officially, it’s been about six weeks since we kicked off our first episode with none other than Tawny Lara of SobrieTea Party (which was freaking awesome, by the way). We wanted to wait until we had gotten into a good flow with creating the episodes, securing fantastic guest hosts, and distribution. And we wanted to make sure we knew who we were talking to and how we could genuinely be of service to the recovery community at large.

We created this podcast because, yes it’s fun, but we wanted to create a platform where people from all walks of life could tell their stories. Tons of recovery podcasts strictly share recovery stories, and there are power and value in that, but we wanted to bring something more to the table. More from the other sides of addiction like law enforcement, community organizations, politics, recovery advocates, and most notably, the friends and family who are also affected by substance abuse.

The podcast has had a terrific response thus far, and we are so grateful for that. Not only are we having fun but we are helping all of our listeners connect with something that could potentially help them out of dangerous situations, work through issues they may be having either personally or with loved ones, or at best we’re passing on the message of recovery and that it’s 100% possible.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far. We are excited to see how this little podcast can grow in 2018.

If you’re new here, please check out our episode list and subscribe to be informed as soon as a new episode drops. Our plan right now is bi-monthly on the first and last Wednesday of the month, but we are looking forward to bringing you more over the next few months. You can find TDH Voice on iTunes, Pocket Casts, Spreaker, our website, or anywhere you like to listen to podcasts.

If you are unaware of how you came to be on this website, home of the newest and coolest podcast about addiction and recovery, here is the link to the press release.

Catch the latest episodes of TDH Voice here.

 

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and love is in the air. For some, this is a reason for celebration; for others, it’s a source of anxiety. Whether you’re spending time with a significant other, a friend or family member, or anyone else who floats your boat, we’ve got some outing ideas for a day (or night!) of sober fun.

Grab an Ice Cream 

There’s nothing more fun than grabbing a sweet treat with a sweetheart! Satisfying your sweet tooth — in moderation, of course! — is a wonderful way to spend time with a friend. And since we’re in LA there’s no shortage of places to get the scoop. Our favorites? A light and refreshing treat that isn’t just a cone full of sugar, we love Wanderlust Creamery. All of their flavors are inspired by vacation hotspots from the world over and the tastes of which they are synonymous with.  Salt & Straw is notorious for its twists on classics. They have a peanut butter, chocolate, and banana flavor that is so good you may not want to share. Lastly, Diddy Riese (in the UCLA/Westwood area) draws a younger crowd and are most well known for their ice cream cookie sandwiches. Deb even went so far as to dub them the king of the ice cream cookie sandwich. You can’t beat that. 

Go for a Stroll 

Although “Nobody Walks in LA”, from time to time, it’s nice to get some sun and ‘commune with nature.’ Not to mention, getting active in any capacity can have amazing benefits to your recovery. You will sleep better, look better, and feel better. And doing that with someone you care about? Best of both worlds. 

Try: Descanso GardensSelf- Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, or Greystone Mansion & Gardens

Take Your Sober Date Ice/Roller Skating

One of the most important things to have in a relationship of any kind is being unequivocally accepted for exactly who you are. Whether you’re an ice king (or queen) or a wall-hugging novice, ice and roller skating is a fun way to spend an afternoon. If they still like you even when you’ve fallen or made mistakes – they’re probably a keeper.

Try: LA Kings Valley Ice CenterMoonlight Rollerway, or World on Wheels

Thrill Seek at an Amusement Park

One of the best things about living in California is the proximity to all the best theme parks. If you and your date are both thrill seekers, this can be a great way to break the ice and just have some good old-fashioned fun. And there’s no better feeling than a natural adrenaline rush.

Try: Santa Monica PierSix Flags, or Universal Studios Hollywood

Peruse a Museum or Two

Even if you’re not a museum person, it can be an incredible venue to connect with someone on a more intimate level.Museums are quiet so it’s easy to have a conversation and if it turns out you aren’t feeling it, it’s really easy to get lost in one.

Try: LACMAThe Broad, or MOCA

Sneak in a Picnic

A picnic is a very simple yet effective (i.e., perfect for surprising your date or meeting up with them on their lunch break) date idea. Indulge your foodie side and assemble a basket of your favorite snacks from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or wherever and get ready to nosh away the afternoon.

Try:

Dockweilier BeachGrand Park, or Echo Park Lake.

Hit the Trails for a Hike

Take your relationship to new heights with breathtaking views of the city. Even though we might not walk in LA, we definitely love a good hike. There are tons of places to hike, whether you have 15 minutes or the whole day.The benefits of fresh air and sunlight for people in recovery is invaluable. Sometimes all it takes a mildly strenuous journey to put everything into perspective.

Try:

Mt. Hollywood TrailVasquez Rocks, or Fryman Canyon.

You can do anything sober. Anything. What we love about these sober date night ideas is that, for the most part, they are all great environments to get to know someone. Which is not something you can do if you’re headed to a bar or club.

Getting sober is hard and staying sober can be even more difficult. But with the right mindset and by surrounding yourself with a strong support system, it makes it all worthwhile.

We’ve shared our favorite ideas for sober dating and now we want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite sober date ideas? Tweet us at @TDHRehab with the hashtag #TDHVoice and let us know.

Listen in next week – we’ll be talking to a very special guest about his recovery journey. It’s incredible – you don’t want to miss it.

Listen to the whole episode in all its glory.

 

A question we get a lot is how can I help my son, daughter, friend, husband, wife, co-worker, etc, how can I help them overcome their addiction? How can I be most helpful? And what we always turn to is knowledge. Knowledge is power. And having the most factual information possible is key.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is a national health observance which links teens to science-based facts and information about addiction to Shatter the Myths about drugs and alcohol. So we figured it would be a perfect time for us to talk about some of the major myths of addiction and how even though they are just myths, not having the facts can be incredibly dangerous when we’re talking about helping people who are addicted. So, here we go. The top ten most harmful myths about drug and alcohol addiction.

Myth number 1: Addiction is not a disease.

This one is probably the most frustrating because addiction has been studied quite extensively in this regard and has been considered a brain disease by most of the mental health community for some time now. Specifically, The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a definition of addiction highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.

Myth number 2: You must hit rock bottom before seeking help for your addiction.

While many people do hit bottom before seeking help, it’s not a requirement for recovery. A lot of people will also cite you know, having this great moment of clarity when they decided to get sober or clean. Again this is not necessarily the rule.

10 Myths About Addiction and Recovery

Myth number 3: People who are addicted to drugs WANT to overdose. They do it for attention.

I was waiting in line for my coffee the other day and overheard this woman telling a group of people about fentanyl, its potency, and how many people will seek it out knowing that they could potentially overdose from it but do it anyway because the high is so intense. Naturally, my ears perked up and I was totally eavesdropping. One of the people asked a fair question. But why would they do that knowing they will overdose, that they could die? She then went on to say that they just wanted attention, so they overdose on purpose. And that just made my blood boil.

Myth number 4: You don’t need treatment. AA is free.

Yes, AA is free and it’s helped hundreds of thousands of people to reach recovery over the years. So many people are able to get sober and stay sober with the help of AA which is amazing. But for many others, this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recovery. From medication to one-on-one therapy, to residential treatment and Intensive Outpatient programs (IOP), there are many options to help you in every step of your recovery. It’s important to know your resources and where and how to reach out. Everyone experiences recovery in different ways and has different needs.

Myth number 5: If you’re loved one was an addict, you’d know about it.

Though we’d like to think we know our loved ones well enough to know if they were having a problem, the truth is that addicts are very good at hiding their addiction and masquerading as “functioning” despite their addiction.

10 Myths About Addiction and Recovery

Myth number 6: Addiction only happens to bad people.

Addiction can happen to anyone and does, regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, etc. Being an addict does not make someone a “bad” person. Consider the myriad of high-profile celebrities who have sought treatment for their addictions and are now living a happy life of sobriety.

Myth number 7: Being sober is so boring.

There are so many different ways to enjoy life in recovery. Going on outings, catching up with old friends, and having adventures become all the more fun when you’re clean and serene.

Also, shameless plug here, but the next episode of TDH Voice is going to be all about fun stuff to do in recovery – just in time for Valentines Day – so stay tuned for that.

Myth number 8: The only way it works is if the person WANTS to get clean or sober.

This one I can see because there is always that dialogue about having to hit rock bottom or having that quintessential moment of clarity that changed everything but that isn’t necessarily the way for every person. Plenty of people are in recovery today because they were “forced” to start rehab as a result of a DUI or trouble with the law. Not everyone is 100% sure they are ready for recovery once they decide it’s time to go. Even those who are already working a program, whether that’s AA or through a treatment center, have thoughts like “is this really what I want – or is this really how I want to live?” Even when you’ve been sober or clean for years you might still have those moments of is this the right thing. But you’ve just gotta keep going or “keep coming back” as they say.

10 Myths About Addiction and Recovery

Myth number 9: The 12 steps are archaic and don’t work for the modern day person in recovery.

“Different strokes for different folks,” as the saying goes. As with everything in life, you might find that what works for someone else doesn’t work for you and vice versa. Though the 12 steps were first published in 1939, and therefore might be viewed as “archaic”, there is something to be said for the fact that nearly 80 years later, the steps are still being utilized by addiction recovery groups worldwide.

Myth number 10: I’m too old for treatment or recovery.

This honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we had a woman share with us recently about her treatment experience. She said, quote, “I was 46 when I went I started rehab & a month-and-a-half later celebrated my 47th birthday at their sober living house. (I’ll be the big 50 this fall!) I didn’t mind that a big majority of the residents were young enough to be my children. We were all there with the same goal and objective – to get to the root of our issues and learn how to live a clean and sober life. I made friends that are like family today.”

The truth is that there really isn’t a good or bad time to start your road to recovery. The key is just to get started.

And that’s it. There are tons more myths about addiction and recovery – too many to fit them all in one episode. But we want to hear from you. What are the most ridiculous or harmful myths that you’ve heard about addiction and recovery? Tweet us at @TDHRehab with the hashtag #TDHVoice and let us know.

Tune in on February 7th when we’ll be talking about dating in recovery.

Listen to the entire episode here: 

 

Scroll to top