What Causes Drug Addiction?

What Causes Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease of the body and brain. Also called substance use disorder, drug addiction triggers uncontrollable behaviors and renders a person unable to control their use of medication, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs—whether they are legal or not. Addictive substances such as nicotine, alcohol, opioid medications, and marijuana are considered drugs just as much as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Once you are addicted to a substance, you will feel compelled to use it, regardless of the damage that use does to your body, your brain, and your life. Continue reading…

How PTSD Can Affect Relationships

How PTSD Can Affect Relationships

People who have survived various kinds of trauma often emerge with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can make it more difficult to thrive within personal relationships, including those with spouses, partners, family members, friends, and even children. This can be true of people who’ve just begun to experience trauma and PTSD, or of longtime PTSD sufferers alike. Continue reading…

6 Signs of an Eating Disorder

6 Signs of an Eating Disorder

It’s easier to recover from most eating disorders with earlier detection. That’s just one of the many reasons why its important for families and friends to be on the lookout for signs of eating disorders. However, it’s not always easy to identify eating disorders. They are not all the same, and can present in different ways. Make yourself aware of some of the warning signs of the eating disorders so you’re in a better position to notice when something is wrong. Continue reading…

What Makes Heroin so Addictive

what makes heroin addictive

Public health officials and lawmakers alike seem to agree on something: the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Part of this American drug crisis is heroin abuse, which has been on the rise. In 2015, deaths from opioids soared past 33,000 people for the first time in American history. In fact, heroin deaths alone topped even gun homicides in 2015, another gruesome first in America.

Part of the reason this crisis is so severe is the incredible extent of heroin’s addictive power. But what is it about heroin that makes it so addictive? Heroin actually changes the brain, and it’s these chemical changes that make heroin so addictive—and so tough to resist. Continue reading…

How to Prevent Substance Abuse

prevent substance abuse

Recovering from substance abuse is incredibly difficult, and for many people, it is a lifelong journey. It stands to reason, then, that preventing substance abuse from ever happening would be a serious goal. While there is no foolproof way to prevent substance abuse in every situation, there are some good ways to start. Continue reading…

How to Identify Anorexia Symptoms

symptoms of anorexia

Are you worried that someone close to you might be struggling with anorexia nervosa, usually just called anorexia? If so, you probably want to make sure that have all the correct information before confronting them. This eating disorder is a serious and secretive problem, Which makes those struggling with it difficult to reach. Continue reading…

Supporting a Loved One During Recovery

Navigating the recovery process can be difficult for both the person undergoing recovery and their loved ones. Recovery can present new physical challenges as well as emotional hurdles. Often, the recovery process is also a period of repairing damage caused during an extended period of addiction.

Repairing and rebuilding relationships, along with forming new bonds, is an integral aspect of addiction recovery. It is important to understand that recovery is not a “one-size fits all” process, but rather a journey that is as unique as every individual that undertakes it. Because of this, the following tips are a general effort to provide guidance that may or may not apply to your specific situation.

Communication is key

Having strong communication skills is an important foundation to any healthy relationship. This is particularly true when your loved one is going through the recovery process. Maintaining open and honest channels of communication is an important way to support your loved one and strengthen the bond between you.

Open communication helps your loved one feel safe enough to share where they are in their recovery process. It also allows them to be vulnerable when discussing potential difficulties or setbacks they may be experiencing during recovery. Communication can help your loved one recognize negative patterns or emotions that crop up during recovery.

Recognizing these patterns or emotions can help them seek out alternative means of dealing with emotions, and guide them towards forming healthier lifestyle routines. Both of these are critical to ensuring the success of any recovery program.

Be open to supporting the addict in your life

Many people who are currently going through recovery have faced addiction in the past. Sometimes those coping with an addiction have failed to completely recover or made promises they have failed to keep or could not keep in the first place. Rebuilding trust after addiction is perhaps the most challenging aspect of helping an addict during recovery.

However, it is important to remember, in order for the addict in your life to have the greatest chance of success in their recovery, it is necessary that they have unwavering support from loved ones. Being mindful of past failures is acceptable, but also be open to treating this effort to recovery as a new experience.

This can be a difficult undertaking for you and can test the bonds of your love. However, being mindful of the previous tip: maintaining open and honest communication can help you to navigate this process.

Build a support system for yourself

As the saying goes: no one is an island. No one person can hope to be the sole supporter of someone in recovery. Often, supporting an alcoholic or drug addict in recovery can be taxing. In order to give them the best support possible, you must also be sure that you have your own support system in place.

Friends, other loved ones, and relatives can all help give you the support you need to cope with loving an addict. Having a person or multiple people in your life that you can lean on for support during difficult times can give you the strength you need to see your loved one go through the recovery process. Your support system can also give you guidance, and even teach you how to help an addict throughout recovery.

Learn about the recovery process

There are many paths to long-term recovery. Spend some time to learn about the recovery process, and the specific path your loved one is taking to break the cycle of addiction. Being knowledgeable about the process will help you feel in the loop as your loved one progresses through their recovery. It will also give you a base of knowledge from which you can discuss recovery.

The recovery process is difficult – being knowledgeable about the process will convey to your loved one that you understand what they are going through. Being knowledgeable about the recovery process also enables you to spot potential setbacks or pitfalls as your loved one goes through recovery.

Knowledge about the path to recovery will both allow you to recognize if your loved one is returning to old patterns, while also giving you the foresight to guide your loved one to making beneficial and helpful life choices.

Actively engaging in the recovery process of your loved one along with the aforementioned tips provides the best benefit. There is perhaps no better way to support your loved one on their path to recovery. Engagement with the process is also the most effective way to determine how successful the recovery is going, and improve the odds of success for your loved one.

Having an engaged, informed, and communicative loved one can be a valuable asset of support and strength for the addict in your life. Learning about the recovery process, including speaking to professionals and staff in the recovery program your loved one is enrolled in, will empower you to stay informed, while also giving you a foundation of knowledge.

Having this foundation can open new avenues of communication, and will demonstrate to your loved one that you understand what they are going through. Engagement with the recovery process demonstrates to the addict in your life that you care about their future and invested in their success. At the same time, it is important for you to ensure that you are taking care of yourself.

Building up a strong support system can alleviate some of the stress and emotional fatigue that can arise through supporting an addict in recovery. Having others to rely on for support will allow you to be more available for support and guidance for the addict in your life. Helping an addict in recovery can be a balancing act, but with the right tools, knowledge, and mindset, it can be an uplifting and positive experience.

If you or someone you love needs advice or guidance to help an addict, call 888-481-4481 to speak to a medical professional at Casa Palmera.

Rebuilding a Relationship After Addiction

One of the most devastating and lasting effects of addiction can be on the relationships with loved ones and those close to an addict. Spouses and family members, in particular, can experience the alienation and loss of trust that often results from addiction and its accompanying behaviors.

Sometimes, the damage that an addiction has brought on a relationship can seem irreparable, to both the addict and those close to them. Nevertheless, navigating the process of rebuilding and repairing relationships after addiction is a cornerstone of any successful recovery program.

In this article, we will discuss some of the challenges that addicts and their loved ones will face when working to rebuild a healthy relationship in recovery and present some tips that we hope will prove helpful to those undertaking this journey.


Rebuilding Will Take Time

In today’s digital age, we as a society are more prone than ever to desire instant gratification. However, rebuilding a relationship after addiction takes time. For some, this process can take years.   Whether someone you love is an addict in recovery, or you yourself are going through recovery and seeking to repair damage caused by your addiction, you must be prepared to be patient. This can be difficult for many to cope with, particularly early on in the recovery process.

Many loved ones, or former addicts, want their relationships to return to a state of normalcy after an addiction. It can present a new source of stress if this does not happen immediately. Repairing the damage caused by addiction is going to be difficult or even painful at times. It is important to remember that the period of rebuilding is a process of reforming old bonds, and forging new, stronger bonds. This period of growth is essential to cultivating long-lasting, loving, and meaningful relationships.


Rebuilding trust is the most difficult and time-consuming part of recovering from addiction for many relationships. For the addict seeking to rebuild trust with those they love, they must demonstrate over time that they are trustworthy and this requires them to be vulnerable. Even when their loved one or significant other does not validate that belief, they must continue to show that they are worthy of trust.

Demonstrating that you are trustworthy is a process of showing that no matter how big or small the issue, the person you love can once again count on you to follow through. For former addicts, this process, while difficult, can be beneficial in multiple respects.

First, it helps to show your loved one that they can again rely on you or believe you when you say something. Secondly, it proves to yourself that you are worthy of their trust. This can be a validating and powerful way for you to further experience loving yourself once more.

For those that are in a relationship during addiction recovery, learning to trust them again can be especially difficult. Ultimately, allowing yourself to trust someone again, that has proven themselves untrustworthy in the past, requires allowing yourself to be vulnerable again.

Over time, you will begin to see that your loved one in recovery is not the same person as they were when they were using. Even if it is hard at first to trust your loved one in recovery, learn to trust in the recovery process itself. Over time, the trust will come.


Create and Maintain Structure

Creating and forming a new and healthy routine in an addict’s life is an important part of any recovery program. Building new life skills and creating routines that encourage accountability are a strong part of recovery programs.

Transitioning structure into your relationship is a useful tool to help you rebuild your personal relationship with an addict in your life. The structure can be useful to create and maintain healthy boundaries. While boundaries are particularly important for those whose loved ones are suffering from addiction but have not yet undergone the recovery process, creating clear boundaries in a relationship is also crucial in nearly any healthy relationship.

As such, when rebuilding a relationship with a recovering addict in your life, clearly defining and demonstrating boundaries can provide structure and consequently stability in your relationship.

Along with using boundaries to provide stability in a relationship, for loved ones seeking to rebuild a relationship with someone in recovery, a structure in their relationship can add a much-needed sense of normalcy. Addiction can affect the lives and relationships of those around the addict, and one subtle but profound result can be a constant feeling of instability. Creating and maintaining structure in the relationship with an addict can demonstrate what your expectations of a normal relationship are, and implement a form of stability in both your life and the addict’s life.

By creating a more stable relationship, you are also forming a relationship that integrally has a greater sense of normalcy. This can be particularly beneficial for both sides during the early stages of recovery when past hurts or suppressed emotions can come to the forefront.

Rebuilding a relationship after addiction can test the bonds that form between people. Those of us who have loved ones in recovery have already seen how drug addiction affects relationships. Although it can be difficult, rebuilding a relationship after addiction requires work, time, and patience. Trusting in the recovery process can help lay the foundation for rebuilding trust between yourself and the addict in your life over time.

It is important to remember that when rebuilding your relationship, the foundation you create during and after the recovery process can lead to a longer, healthier, and more meaningful relationship. If you or someone you love is struggling to rebuild a relationship during recovery or treatment call 888-481-4481 to speak to a medical professional at Casa Palmera.

Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution During Recovery

This year do you want to learn a new language, reconnect with old friends, learn to play the guitar, live a healthier lifestyle, save more money, or volunteer for a charity? There is an abundance of commendable, beneficial New Year’s resolutions to consider.

Unfortunately, making a New Year’s resolution is not typically the issue—the difficulty comes with keeping the resolutions. Setting a new goal can seem like a daunting, unobtainable task while in recovery. Many strategies can help you stay motivated and stick to your resolutions.


Choose Your Resolution Wisely

The first step to keeping your New Year’s resolution is to create the best one for you. Consider resolutions that put both your personal interests and sobriety in the forefront. Although there are a number of admirable goals, it is important not to pile your plate too high and make sure your goals are achievable. If you attempt to accomplish too much at once, you risk the possibility of becoming overwhelmed and giving up.

A good approach is to brainstorm about a list of possible resolutions that can contribute to your sobriety and happiness. Next, pick the resolution that speaks to you the most. This goal should be your top priority as you kick off the New Year. By narrowing your focus on one key resolution, you are more likely to achieve this goal.


Write Your Resolution Down

Once you have confidently selected a New Year’s resolution that will aid in a maintaining a sober lifestyle, you should write it down and keep it somewhere you can easily refer to it. According to a study conducted at Dominican University, those who write goals down on paper are more likely to complete them. It will also help you to make the goal more concrete and contribute to the likelihood of success.

Another astounding study conducted by Harvard University revealed that written goals could lead to successful outcomes. In the study, individuals who physically wrote their goals down made an average of ten times more financially as opposed to those who kept their goals floating around in their minds.

In addition to putting your goal on paper, leave yourself little-written reminders in places you frequently visit throughout the day. These friendly reminders will help to reinforce your resolution and keep it fresh in your mind. The extra boost of motivation during the day will help to make you successful.


Make Your Resolution SMART

In addition to dusting off your journal and writing your goal down, you must ensure that your goal is “SMART.” SMART goals embody key characteristics that aid in increasing the goal’s probability of success.

The “S” stands for “specific,” meaning that your goal must not be vague. For example, instead of creating a resolution to lose weight, make a specific resolution to lose ten pounds by exercising for an hour every day and eliminating processed food from your diet.

The “M” represents a “measurable” resolution meaning that you must establish a way that you can track your progress and success. If your goal is to volunteer for a charity, make your goal measurable by saying you will volunteer for your local animal shelter once a week.

The “A” stands for “attainable.” In this case, attainable means narrowing your goal to something you can reach within your means. If your resolution is to learn a new instrument, think about what instruments you have at your disposal, what you have space for, and what skills you already have that may help with one instrument over another.

The “R” represents “realistic.” During recovery, it is important not to overwhelm yourself with an unobtainable goal. Think realistically about what is possible and recognize that even small steps toward a positive, sober life are good steps.

Lastly, the “T” stands for “time-based.” A time-based resolution is one with time-sensitive benchmarks that help keep you on track. For example, instead of making a resolution to save more money, create a time-sensitive goal to save $1,000 every two months.

By creating SMART goals, you will think about your resolution on a deeper level. This thought process helps you set realistic milestones that will bring you closer to achieving your resolution. Sometimes during recovery, a minuscule molehill can feel like a gargantuan mountain. However, by breaking your resolution down to bite-sized pieces with the SMART goal strategy, you will be able to retain focus and motivation throughout the New Year.


Combat Negativity

Another strategy for sticking to your New Year’s resolution during recovery is having confidence in your commitment to be sober and in your resolution. Temptations and naysayers are bound to cross your path at some point during your life and can lead to self-doubt and hinder your motivation. You can address this by preparing yourself before a negative encounter strikes.

One way to prepare yourself is to compile a list of all of the positivity related to your New Year’s resolution. Ask yourself how your resolution can positively affect your life. You can also try writing about why you chose this specific resolution and how you think your life will be different once you have accomplished it.

By internally rationalizing your goal, you can prepare for real-world experiences with individuals who may doubt your will power and positive life choice.


Stay Positive

One of the best ways to stay on track with your sobriety and New Year’s resolution is to keep yourself focused on positive and meaningful experiences. A large number of addictive substances release a compound called dopamine, which creates a sense of pleasure. This momentary sense of gratification leads to a harmful and long-lasting desire to seek pleasure and fill this need. It is important to replace the ongoing desire with experiences and activities that are authentic and gratifying. Boredom can leave room for temptation so fill your day with positive experiences that leave you with a sense of accomplishment and happiness.

A strategy would be to keep your calendar filled with things you enjoy. If your resolution is to live a more active lifestyle, try exercises that you enjoy such as joining an intramural sports league or a hiking club. If your resolution is to learn a new language, try collaborating with a friend over lunch to practice your skills.

If you or someone you love is having a hard time keeping a resolution of sobriety, Casa Palmera can help. Take the first step towards healing and call 888-481-4481 for more information about Casa Palmera’s treatment programs.

10 Tips for a Sober New Year

The New Year represents a clean slate and an opportunity to realign your life. With the New Year comes a refreshed sense of purpose and the motivation to create a happier, healthier you. This new beginning provides a great opportunity to focus on positive goals that will contribute to a sober New Year.


Set a Goal for the New Year

Take time to consider what you want to achieve in the New Year. Whether this goal is sobriety or a new goal you want to achieve with your newfound sobriety, it is important to think about what you truly want.

Take time to meditate, brainstorm, journal, discuss with loved ones, and reflect on what will make you happy this year. Once you have determined what you want to achieve, write that goal down somewhere visible in order to remind yourself on a daily basis.


Take it Step by Step

In the beginning, your big picture goal may seem overwhelming. However, everything must happen day-by-day and one-step at a time. Take your goal and create a timeline that outlines the small steps you must take each day or month to achieve this larger goal. By breaking your goal up into digestible steps, it will not seem so daunting. Make your plan and make it happen.


Choose Your Circle Wisely

Some believe that we are a reflection of the five people who we are closest. Our relationships can greatly affect our lifestyle, choices, and attitudes; therefore, it is crucial that you choose your innermost circle wisely.


Although sometimes the choice is difficult, take the New Year as an opportunity to let go of individuals bringing negativity or temptation into your life. When you let go of those no longer uplifting you, you make room for the positive people. Be mindful in choosing your circle, you are not only shaping yourself, but also creating a support system for your sobriety and new goals.


Eat Delicious & Nutritious Meals

The saying “you are what you eat” may be cliché but it certainly rings true. By maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet, you will physically feel better. Refined sugars, high sodium, empty carbohydrates, and artificial fats are satisfying in the short-term, but leave your body feeling empty and sluggish.

When your body is recovering, it is important to arm it with the best nutrition possible. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, non-processed foods will help keep your body at its best. Take the New Year as a chance to make healthier choices in all facets of your life.



When exercising, your body releases endorphins, which naturally creates feelings of happiness. Regular exercise helps to improve your mood naturally as well as necessary for keeping your body in shape. Remember that as you move from place to place in life, your permanent home is your body.

Treat your body with respect and keep it in the best condition that you can. Regular exercise is an important component of overall good health. You can diversify your exercise routine by incorporating yoga, hiking, biking, nature walks, dance, sports, strengthening classes, running, and more.

Staying active will keep your mind focused on positivity instead of the slippery slope of boredom and negativity. Adopt a regular exercise routine this year in order to feel better both physically and mentally to support your sobriety.


Stress Less

Stress affects everyone and can severely affect your health. Stressors may include financial, work, relationships, and sometimes the list seems endless. The impact stress has on you is not always defined by what happens, but rather how you react to it.

When you are feeling stressed, try taking ten deep breaths as you take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. Reflect on the stressful situations you conquered in the past and how you got through it. Remind yourself that you will get through this too.

Identify the root of your problem and make an action plan about how to resolve the issue one-step at a time. You may feel overwhelmed resulting in a higher stress level. An action plan will help you to better analyze the situation and keep stress manageable.



Consider Spirituality

Feeling connected to a higher power can help you keep life’s speed bumps in perspective. Whether it is religion or a spiritual connection to the universe, a bond with something larger than yourself can remove stress and provide guidance.

Studies have shown that a large number of individuals who identify as being spiritual also identify as being happy. Whether it is going to church or giving mediation a try, consider spirituality as a tool to maintaining your sobriety in the New Year.


Support Yourself with Self-Confidence

Unfortunately, we tend to be our harshest critics. Take time to celebrate yourself and all that you have accomplished this year. It is easy to become obsessed with what you have done wrong instead of looking toward the future. Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, concentrate on everything you have done right.

Every day is a new opportunity to make good choices. It is important to believe in yourself and be your own cheerleader. Do not beat yourself up over the little things. Try to maintain focus on the larger goal. Give yourself a pat on the back and trust that you can do it.


Be Gracious

Negativity is a dangerous path that can lead to choices that are more dangerous. Try to be aware of your thoughts and actions and take notice when you are being negative. Instead of thinking about everything that is going wrong, think about everything that is going right.

A simple change in mindset can work wonders when it comes to your happiness. Try starting a “positivity journal” where you write one thing you are grateful for each day. Whether it is a major accomplishment or a simple smile from a stranger, focus on the things that make you feel grateful.


Reward Yourself

With big goals for the New Year, do not forget to reward yourself. Treat yourself for each little benchmark that you have accomplished towards your goal. Keep track of your progress on a timeline. Whenever you take a step closer to your goal, acknowledge that accomplishment.

Rewards may include taking yourself to dinner, seeing a movie, having a cup of your favorite tea, going on a weekend trip, or doing something you enjoy. Self-recognition about your progress toward sobriety will aid you in staying motivated to meet your goal.

If drugs and alcohol are causing added negativity and stress in your life, call Casa Palmera at 888-481-4481 to speak to a caring professional about treatment options.