How to Deal With Going Home for the Holidays When You’re in Treatment

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Every year, lots of our addiction treatment clients go home to see their families over the holidays. This visit might even be the first time visiting home since you started treatment. If it is, then congratulations! If you’re going home during the holidays, it’s because your therapist and sponsor have faith in you. That’s a great sign. Exciting as your trip home may be, however, it might also be very stressful.

Visiting home will likely present new challenges to your treatment process. Preparing for these challenges is the best way to stay on top of your treatment and have a great holiday season. To help, we asked Sea Change Recovery Clinical Director China Vangsness to share her best advice for clients headed home over the holidays. Here’s what she said:

Prepare Yourself

Going home is going to be stressful, especially if you haven’t seen some family and friends since starting treatment. There’s no point pretending it won’t be. Instead, take the time to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for that stress. Speak with your therapist about concerns you have going into the holidays. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice on anything you’re nervous about. Talking to your therapist can help put you in the right frame of mind to deal with potential stressors.

Another important aspect of preparing yourself is managing your expectations. Visualize how your holidays might go. Are there any stressful or toxic situations you should be on the lookout for? Make a plan for dealing with potentially triggering scenarios, like family judgment or discussions of politics. “Practicing self-care during the holidays is very important,” China says. That self-care can take many forms, including choosing not to engage in discussions or activities that feel stressful.

Encourage Communication

In the article we wrote about how your family can prepare for you this holiday season, we stress the importance of communication. That goes double for you. Often, a client’s family won’t know exactly how they should broach discussing your treatment with you. They may try to avoid the subject entirely, which never helps. If you’re comfortable with it, you should encourage your family to speak with you as openly as possible.

You should also encourage your family to clearly communicate their expectations to you. The better you know the guidelines and boundaries, the better you can avoid stressful passive aggression. Accept your family’s honest feelings and recognize that even sharing those feelings may be difficult for them. Communicating expectations honestly and directly is always better than avoiding the discussion, no matter how awkward it may seem. We also encourage you to involve your therapist whenever possible. You could even schedule a family phone call to get everyone on the same page.

Don’t Neglect Your Treatment

You might be back home, but that doesn’t mean your addiction treatment is over. Your recovery is still ongoing, but you’ll be managing it slightly more independently. Do what you have to do to stay sober this holiday season. Make a schedule with your therapist before you leave and stick to it. Keep up with your meetings and make regular, scheduled calls with your therapist and sponsor. Avoid triggering situations and practice self-care.

Even if you’re away from the facility, you have resources available to you. Never feel ashamed to reach out if you need help. Make sure you always have access to a local AA meeting—you can find them online before you travel. There are even 24 hour “marathon” AA meetings during the holidays in every state. Arrange transportation to these meetings, along with anything else you need to stay sober. Don’t forget to practice positive thinking and gratitude, either. Look how far you’ve come!

Give Back

Remember St. Francis’ prayer from step 11: “For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to your family. Go into this holiday season with the intention of making amends. Trust that you’re ready; you wouldn’t be going home if you weren’t. Making this effort isn’t just what’s best for your family. It’s what’s best for your recovery, too.

Giving back can be as simple as giving time and attention to your family members. Engage with them on their own terms, at their comfort level. Offer to help with errands, chores, planning, and other activities. Join them for meals, church, or whatever else they’re doing. Sometimes, the best thing you could possibly offer is just your presence. “The 12 steps are about giving, not receiving,” China says. The holidays are the perfect time to give.

You probably have a lot of complicated feelings about going home for the holidays. That tends to be true for everyone, whether they’re in addiction treatment or not. That’s ok!

Don’t beat yourself up for having conflicted feelings or anxieties—they’re perfectly natural. Instead, try to mitigate these feelings as best you can by preparing yourself mentally and emotionally. Follow these tips and reach out to your therapist and sponsor whenever you need to. You’ll get through this. We’re here for you. Have a happy, healing holiday!

How to Interact With a Treatment Client Who’s Home for the Holidays

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Somehow, Thanksgiving and the Holiday season are already right around the corner. Addiction treatment clients often visit home during the Holidays--sometimes for the first time since they entered the program. While this is probably exciting, it can also be stressful for both the client and their family.

With that stress in mind, we talked to Sea Change Clinical Director China Vangsness about how each respective party can best navigate their no-doubt complicated holiday seasons. These are her four top tips for families welcoming a treatment recovery client back into their home. If you have a recovering loved one coming back home this holiday season, keep these things in mind:

Communicate with your family

It’s a big deal that your loved one is coming home from treatment for the Holidays. There’s no sense in pretending like it isn’t. Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it! Figure out how everyone in your family feels, and discuss exactly how everyone wants the holidays to go. Make sure you’re all on the same page. If anyone has any concerns, now is the time to lay them out.

It’s natural to have complicated feelings about seeing your loved one again. Repressing those feelings out of shame or fear of judgment is never the answer. Respect the feelings your family members bring up and arrive at fair solutions together. Consider scheduling a time to get advice from your loved one’s treatment therapist as a family. We can help your family communicate honestly and openly. When you know where everyone stands, create a holiday plan that accommodates everyone’s needs equitably.

Communicate Your Expectations

Don’t just communicate amongst yourselves, either: it’s very important that you talk to your recovering loved one, too. Once you’ve come up with your family plan, explain it to your loved one directly. Tell them how you feel and what you need from them during the Holidays. Set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations. Create clear, concrete rules for keeping in touch, curfews, off-limits topics--whatever you need for everyone to feel safe. The more clearly you establish terms everyone can be comfortable with, the more effectively you’ll avoid hurting anyone.

Painful as it may be, communicating these boundaries is the most important way to prepare for the Holidays. Most problems that arise during Holiday visits happen when recovery clients aren’t on the same page as their families. “When clients go home, they feel like they’re finally getting a break,” China explains, “meanwhile, their family sees them just relaxing or laying around and thinks, ‘they haven’t changed at all!’” Avoid these situations by being as honest about what you want as possible--with your loved one and yourself. Trust that your loved one is ready to accept the responsibility of being home with you.

Don’t Tiptoe

This comes back to the trust we just brought up. The reason your recovering loved one is coming home is, in part, to re-enter normal life. Obviously, they can’t do that as effectively unless the life they come back to really is more-or-less normal! Often, families will go way out of their way to accommodate for or “tiptoe” around their recovering loved one. It’s an understandable and even admirable impulse to have, but ultimately, it’s one you should resist.

When families tiptoe around their loved one, it usually does more harm than good. The client may begin to feel like their family role is defined by their addiction. This can be a stigmatizing, isolating, and even triggering experience. Yet another reason why it’s so important to communicate is so you can avoid making your loved one feel this way. By communicating early and often, you can normalize your loved one’s presence back in your life. Having a normal, happy Holiday season is probably is what’s best for both you and your loved one.

Be Open to Receiving Amends

One of the most important parts of addiction treatment is making amends. The 12-step addiction recovery program is about giving, not receiving. “Selfless acts are medicine for addictions,” China Vangsness explains. The Holiday season is a very appropriate time for making amends. If your loved one is coming home for the Holidays, they’re doing it purposefully. They aren’t necessarily “finished” with their program, but they’re in a place where they can begin to give back. Let them!

We’re not asking you to play therapist. Just be mindful about the fact that your loved one is still working through their treatment. They’re trying to reach out to you. Remain as open to these attempts as you can be. Actively engage with them when they want to engage with you. Allow them to help you with holiday planning, chores, or activities. Make yourself available to them as much as you feel you can. It’s up to your loved one to take the first step, but you can be ready to accept it.

You probably noticed a common theme shared among each of these: communication. Honestly talking through the process of accepting your loved one back home is always better than bottling up your feelings. If you get everyone on the same page and follow these four steps, you can help make your Holiday season a happy, healing time for everyone. Happy Holidays!

Heroin Skateboards X SCR Collaboration  | Fuck Drugs Let's Skate

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Heroin Skateboards X SCR Collaboration  | Mark “Fos” Foster, artist and founder of Heroin Skateboards and industry disrupter in his own right teamed up with Sea Change Recovery recently on a very special project.  The shirt, “Fuck Drugs Let’s Skate” emblematizes all the qualities that Sea Change Recovery and Heroin Skateboards demonstrate: Simple, bold and in your face.

 
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Fos came up with the idea for Heroin Skateboards when he broke his wrist skating in the late 90s.  Looking out the ambulance windows on his way to the hospital for the skate injury, Fos scoped out potential skate spots.  It was then that he realized he was “consumed with skateboarding.”  Skating was his addiction.  Hence, the catchy and blunt title for his company “Heroin.”

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On skating, Fos (who has never had a history with substance abuse) reflects, “personally, skateboarding always distracted me from all the other stuff and always been there for me- thats my thing.”  Though he considers himself straight edge, that doesn’t mean Fos hasn’t personally seen and felt the effects of drug culture and the consequences of substance abuse in his own community.  He recalled several friends who have passed as a result of drug and alcohol abuse and described the dark underbelly of the skateboarding community with drugs and alcohol playing a huge role in the culture.

Fos wants to be clear his “company stands against that-  never [utilizing] graphics that endorse drug use.” The collaboration with Sea Change came out of the idea to foil the expectation that drugs and skateboarding are compatible and inseparable.  He has broken boundaries in art, skate and now the culture of addiction and recovery from substance abuse.

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“I wanted to do something to try and give back and be involved in something that helps people through recovery,” Fos said.  “That was the idea of reaching out to Sea Change.” And the rest was t- shirt history.

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Learn more about Heroin Skateboards:

http://www.heroinskateboarding.com

Learn more about Sea Change Recovery:

Experiential Therapy: What is it and How it can Help in Overcoming Addiction

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What is Experiential Therapy?

As its name suggests, experiential therapy involves actions, movements, and activities rather than the more traditional “talk therapy.”

Developed in the 1970s, experiential therapy is a therapeutic approach that encourages clients to identify and address deep rooted issues and traumas through activities such as guided imagery, role-play, and a range of other active experiences.  

Experiential therapy is actually a category, rather than one specific type of therapy. Examples of experiential therapy include recreation therapy, equine therapy, expressive arts therapy, music therapy, wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, and psychodrama.

One of the many advantages of experiential therapy is that the experiences and activities that form the core of the process provide opportunities for the therapist to observe patients in situations where the patients are not focused on the therapy itself.

What are the Benefits of Experiential Therapy?

As clients progress through structured experiential therapy activities under the guidance and supervision of an experiential therapist, they have the opportunity to experience successes, identify obstacles, develop improved self-esteem, and take greater responsibility for their actions.

Change, emotional growth, and personal empowerment are all among the benefits of participating in an effective experiential therapy program. Because experiential therapy clients are often focused on the task or activity at hand,  rather than on the therapeutic aspect of the experience, they are more likely to behave in a less guarded and genuine manner.

When the experiential therapist and the client process the experience, the client will receive specific feedback regarding specific actions or behaviors. At the same time, the client has the opportunity to identify and evaluate the behaviors that he or she has exhibited during experiential therapy, as well as the thoughts or prior experiences that may have prompted those behaviors.

Though not necessarily a primary focus of experiential therapy, the activities that patients participate in may also serve the purpose of providing them with new ways of filling leisure time or other down time during their daily lives.  This may be particularly important for individuals who are in treatment for substance abuse or addiction, as part of the recovery process involves finding healthy and productive leisure activities to fill the hours previously occupied by searching for, acquiring, and using alcohol or other drugs.

Experiential Therapies Offered At Sea Change Recovery

At Sea Change Recovery, our clients participate in activities during experiential therapy sessions, which they can hopefully continue to implement in their daily lives upon completing our treatment program.  The following are some of the therapies offered:

Salt Water Therapy

At Sea Change, we believe that after years of receiving artificial joy from substances and escapism, that our clients must learn to once again take pleasure in nature and authentic experiences.

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The ocean offers many benefits to the people of Sea Change. Not only is spending time in the ocean a physically invigorating and relaxing experience, but ocean water itself is believed to have many positive health benefits on brain and body. Our Salt Water Therapy Program provides physical exercise, mental relaxation, and spiritual healing.

Salt Water Therapy gradually introduces men to the sea. Through careful instruction and patient leadership, our Salt Water Therapist, Jack Newkirk, teaches men how to safely and comfortably enjoy the ocean and the basics of surfing. While learning to surf can be tremendous fun, the primary focus of this work is coming to experience the profound peace of surrendering oneself to the overwhelming power of the sea, to understand our place in a greater natural ecosystem, and to become less focused on one's self and more connected to nature and others. The program also encourages men to help one another learn, a process that helps people redevelop trust, rekindle self-worth and form true friendship.

Days at nearby Santa Monica or Venice Beach can include ocean front meditation practice, group discussion, surf lessons, and generally having a fun and relaxing experience with peers and friends.

https://www.saltwatertherapyla.com/

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Anyone with a little time under their belt will tell you that living sober is moment to moment—focusing on the present, on living life in the here and now, and getting into action. At Sea Change, jiu-jitsu allows clients to get into action in a way that’s both challenging and cathartic.

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu is known particularly for its ground level nature, for its real-life physical expression combining two of the most meditative martial arts, judo and original Japanese jiu-jitsu.

Sea Change offers jiu-jitsu experiential groups twice a week, helping people find their way forward by focusing on the present moment and getting into action. Jiu-jitsu can be a powerful way to channel addictive tendencies into a positive way of living.

Breathwork

Breathwork is a general term used to describe any type of therapy that utilizes breathing exercises to improve mental, physical, and spiritual health. Many forms of breathwork therapy exist today. Each has its own unique methods of using breath for healing purposes. It draws from Eastern practices like yoga and Tai Chi while incorporating Western psychotherapy techniques.

In general, the goal of any breathwork therapy is to support people in achieving a greater sense of self-awareness and capacity for self-healing. It also helps people work toward overall improvement in mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Breathwork therapists, or Breathworkers as they are sometimes called, guide participants through various therapeutic breathing techniques.

Yoga

Our therapeutic approach to yoga is low stakes. It is a safe practice that can mimic life off the mat. Yoga poses and stretches often carry similarities to themes and sensations that are inevitable in life. Our hope is to use the practice of yoga show our clients how to dialogue with pain and discomforts and make respectful adjustments without pushing past or ignoring them and without detaching or shutting down.

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Yoga was designed as a way to calm the nervous system and find more ease and stillness in the body and mind. We have a strong understanding of the science behind yoga and mediation, which we believe is crucial when teaching our patients how to self-regulate through potential triggers.

The body knows how to healthfully discharge unwanted stress and reset itself. Through moments of authentic, free-flowing movement our clients are able to strengthen this process and begin to trust their body’s intuition as well as create appropriate boundaries in physical space and also in relationships.

Community Work

Through helping others, we also help ourselves. Giving back is a fundamental part of the Sea Change philosophy. The disease of addiction can cause people to focus solely on themselves. The seemingly unstoppable need to feed one's cravings keeps them from seeing and responding to the needs of others. This is one of the reasons that drug and alcohol addiction can devastate families and personal relationships. As people begin to experience relief from the grip of addiction and substance use disorder, they can begin to re-establish their ability to empathize with and respect the needs of others. One's ability to give also coincides strongly with the 12 step tradition that is a major part of the Sea Change experience.

Sea Change takes an active role in community service. Whether helping to feed the hungry at local food pantries and shelters, or helping to set up 12-Step meetings, the men and women of Sea Change learn the powerful benefits of helping others. One of the most important lessons learned through community work is that true respect is earned through simple, selfless acts, not through the artificial trappings of material wealth that is overvalued by our culture. Community work develops authentic respect for the inherent value of ourselves and others. In many cases, the most profound personal satisfaction can be found in receiving thanks for being of true help to others in need.

Often, the practice of giving becomes one of the most desirable and memorable aspects of one's time at Sea Change, and many Sea Change alumni continue to take part in community service long after their time here.

 

For more information about our experiential therapy click the link below: 

https://www.seachangerecovery.com/experiential-therapy/

 

 

 

A Family Disease: A Look into How Addiction and Alcoholism Impact the Family Unit

Addiction and Alcoholism is a family disease in that it affects the family as a whole and each member individually. For an individual, living with alcohol and drug abuse means putting oneself in harmful environments filled with disruptions to normal routines, the tension of strained relationships, and dishonesty.  It weighs heavily on the family system in the same way.  Addiction impacts a family’s finances, physical health and psychological wellbeing.

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According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) one in every three people will develop a clinically significant alcohol problem at some point in their lives, and one out of eight people will become dependent on alcohol. Given these statistics, it is important to consider the significant impact substance abuse has on the individuals within a family system and the family system as a whole.

 

Emotions are a common part of recovery. It is important for families to acknowledge , express, and work through their feelings . If they are stuck, and can’t resolve some of the old conflicts or past issues, it may be useful for them to seek help through support groups or counselling. Some of the most common emotions that families experiences are: sadness, unhappiness, discouragement, dissatisfaction, and apathy; They also experience the following:

·       Guilt: We often feel responsible for a family member’s addiction. This can lead to feelings of guilt.

·       Anger When facing the never-ending challenges of addiction, family members may feel overwhelmed, frustrated and angry at the world, or at the addict.

·       Denial and shame addiction is frequently hidden from others. Family members feel the need to “protect” their family and keep addiction secret, or help cover it up.

·       Stress Family members suffer physical and emotional distress from being caregivers to the addict

·       Old or unhealthy patterns of behavior: In times of stress, people may fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior that interfere with effective communication and decision making.

In any form of family therapy for substance abuse treatment, consideration should be given to the range of social problems connected to substance abuse. Problems such as criminal activity, joblessness, domestic violence, and child abuse or neglect may also be present in families experiencing substance abuse.

At least when parents have teens and adolescents who have substance use disorders, they have some level of power in that they control the finances and the household. This power can be wielded to get them to accept treatment and cease substance abuse. With parents of adult addicts, however, the ability to impose consequences for substance abuse or the unwillingness to seek treatment is greatly diminished. This holds even truer when the parents live separately from the addicted daughter or son.

 

A family evolves with each individual change, both positive and negative, creating an ever ebbing and flowing system. The impact of substance abuse on the family system can be very complex and if not addressed can have a significant impact on all members of the family, throughout all stages of life and into the next generation. Evidence suggests family therapy provides the best outcomes for the substance abusers and the family.

For help with addiction treatment please call (888) 823-3310.  Or complete the form below and an admissions coordinator will reach out to you within 24 hours.

 

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Our Favorite Spots to Hit this Summer in Santa Monica

At Sea Change it can feel like its summer all year long.  It was hard to narrow down our favorite West Side spots so here it goes: 

Venice Skate Park

1500 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90291

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Skateboarding brings an immense amount of pleasure to a huge number of people. Just like people in recovery, skaters come all types of backgrounds but share similar stories and scars.

Venice Beach Skate Park is located right on the sand in beautiful Venice Beach California. The park is a favorite among skaters in California and it definitely deserves it. It’s all about location and it doesn’t get any closer to the beach then the Venice Beach Skate Park. The park is complete with plenty of smooth banks to gain a ton of speed in the flow bowl. There is also a large pool that we would not recommend for beginners but is a popular spot for the qualified vert riders. The street skaters love Venice too, there is a large street section with stair sets, ledges, rails, and boxes. If you are ever in the area you must stop and see the Venice Beach Skate Park.

 

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Santa Monica, CA

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Take a walk outside. Breathe in the fresh, crisp air, appreciate the trees and the birds – relax, knowing that everything unfolds just as it should, and that you will be okay.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes Malibu beaches, hiking trails, and cultural Native American sites.  Located adjacent to the city of Los Angeles, the second largest urban area in the United States, the Santa Monica Mountains represent one of the largest protected areas of the Mediterranean-type ecosystem.

Spending time in nature can provide important time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. Hiking requires you to be more aware of your surroundings and also of yourself. This heightened sense of self-awareness can lead to revealing emotional discovery and exploration as you embark on both a physical and an emotional journey.

 

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Watching tropical fish swim around a tank, it can seem like they don’t have a care in the world.

Try a visit to Santa Monica’s non-profit community aquarium, operated by the environmental organization Heal the Bay, to learn about and see species of sea life that can be found right in Santa Monica.  

Aquarium-watching helps reduce stress and anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation. In fact, staring at a fish tank for as little as five minutes has an almost hypnotic effect.  Watching fish swim around a tank has health benefits. Research has show that the tranquility of the fish rubs off on humans, boosting mood and lowering heart rate. The calming effect can lower blood pressure as well as relax the mind.

 

26 Mile Bike Park

Los Angeles, CA

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Feel the wind in your face as you accelerate up the winding path: Bicycling offers a sense of serenity.

With its unbeatable weather and bike-friendly streets, Santa Monica is a paradise for two-wheelers. Here at Sea Change, one of our favorite bike routes is the 26-mile bike path that follows the along the ocean.  Starting at the Santa Monica pier, this is a popular path for biking, jogging and in-line skating along the Pacific Ocean.

Bicycling can shut down the inner chatter in one’s head and have a meditative effect on a person.  It is sometimes the best place to process difficult feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Cycling has also been a major contributing factor in the journey towards health and wellness.  Cycling can benefit a person both physically and mentally. Endorphins can increase energy levels and release natural “feel-good” hormones.


 

Santa Monica Farmers Market

Santa Monica, CA

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We are so lucky at Sea Change Recovery to be located in Santa Monica: a hub for health and wellness.  

Addiction takes a such a serious toll on the body. Most people notice right away the emotional toll that addiction takes. However, many addicts don’t realize the physical internal damage that their addiction has done to their bodies. Restoring physical health through good nutrition is an easy and tasty way for recovery.

In Los Angeles, you can find amazing fresh produce at a handful of farmer's markets running every day of the week. In Santa Monica alone, you'll find four. During the weekend, there are two Saturday markets located in Downtown Santa Monica - at Arizona Ave between Second and Third Streets, and at Virginia Ave. Park - as well as a Sunday market on Main Street. There you will find nutritious  produce, eggs, meat, seafood and other treasures from area farmers.

Women Do Recover

Alcoholism and addiction does not discriminate.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH), 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014.  While addiction to alcohol and other drugs is an equal-opportunity disease, women are affected differently than men. The disease of alcoholism is a progressive illness.  In general, women tend to progress faster in their addiction than men and oftentimes face unique barriers to getting help. In order to determine the most effective treatment options, all of these differences must be looked at in closely identifying their addiction.

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Many life circumstances predominate in women as a group, which may require a specialized treatment approach. For example, research has shown that physical and sexual trauma followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in drug-abusing women than in men seeking treatment. Other factors unique to women that can influence the treatment process include issues around how they come into treatment (as women are more likely than men to seek the assistance of a general or mental health practitioner), financial independence, and pregnancy and child care.

Although men traditionally have had higher rates of substance abuse than women, some research suggests the gender gap may be closing. For example, a study published in 2015 found that rates between males and females ages 12 and older narrowed between 2002 and 2012 for current (past-month) drinking, number of drinking days per month, and past-year driving under the influence of alcohol.

Why Women Abuse Drugs

Trauma: There is a strong relationship between trauma and substance use—especially among females. Women are disproportionately affected by traumatic experiences such as abuse, assault, and domestic violence. Almost 80% of women who seek substance abuse treatment have a history of physical or sexual assault, or both. Rates of PTSD among women in treatment range from 30% to 59%. According to research, the majority of women diagnosed with PTSD and a substance abuse disorder experienced childhood abuse.

Romantic partners:  For many women, drug or alcohol use begins when a significant other introduces them to the substance—either a boyfriend, family member, or close friend.

Pain relief: Women are more likely than men to report chronic pain including arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome. They are also more likely to receive an opioid prescription than a man.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, 2 million women started using pain relievers in the past year compared to 916,000 men. In 2015, 5.5 million women (or 4%) misused pain relievers in the past year.

Life changes: Major events such as loss of child custody can also be a trigger to use-and women may use substances to cope with the overwhelming feelings.

Marriage status: Marriage can be a protective factor against addiction or a risk factor for using. Only 4% of married women abuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs. But approximately 11% of divorced or separated women abuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs, and 16% of women who have never married abuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Weight control: Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa commonly co-occur with substance abuse. Women with bulimia nervosa commonly abuse laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics. Misusing these over-the-counter medications can result in gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, and cardiac problems. These medications can cause serious health problems, and in some cases, be lethal.

Mental illness. Co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders are prevalent among women. In 2015, 7 million women had both a mental health issue and a substance abuse problem, and 1.2 million reported serious mental health issues co-occurring alongside addiction.

Types of Treatment Programs are Available to Women

Some programs may be specifically designed for women, while others may treat a mix of men and women.

Women who have medical or mental health complications should seek out programs that can address these issues, such as dual diagnosis inpatient programs or even hospitalization for more severe cases.

Levels of Care

Detox: During detox, clinical staff manage symptoms of acute intoxication and withdrawal. After detox, the woman is referred to the next and most appropriate step in treatment. If she is withdrawing from opiates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol, she will usually detox in a medical facility as detoxing from these drugs can have life-threatening medical complications. In addition, if a woman is pregnant, withdrawal should be closely monitored by medical staff.

Inpatient: Women who have complex needs or co-occurring disorders may benefit from inpatient centers. These facilities offer medical supervision 24 hours a day and provide a safe environment for women to stabilize in. Some inpatient programs allow children to accompany their mother. Studies show that when children are in treatment with their mothers, the mothers have better rates of abstinence, employment, child custody, and involvement with support groups.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOP programs provide a more intense level of care compared to standard outpatient. But they do not require the person to live on-site to receive treatment. IOP programs are beneficial for postpartum women: Studies show that this population of women has better completion rates in IOPs than traditional outpatient.

Outpatient: If a woman’s substance use is less severe, this might be the most appropriate level of care. Outpatient recovery usually involves 1 to 2 weekly sessions of group therapy or individual, one-on-one therapy. If the woman has a stable job and housing, outpatient can be beneficial. Women-only outpatient programs are available.

12-step programs: These programs are often incorporated into rehab programs. But some women make them their primary mode of recovery. Attending a 12-step or non-12-step program during recovery can help build coping skills, and these groups offer a step-by-step system of recovery. A woman can attend groups with other women to learn how they stay sober.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Finkelstein, N. B. (2011). Substance abuse treatment: addressing the specific needs of women. Diane Publishing.

  2. Campbell, C. I., and others. (2010). Age and gender trends in long-term opioid analgesic use for noncancer pain. American journal of public health, 100(12), 2541-2547.

  3. Harvard Medical School. (2010). Addiction in Women.

  4. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.

  5. Cohen, L. R., & Hien, D. A. (2006). Treatment outcomes for women with substance abuse and PTSD who have experienced complex trauma. Psychiatric services, 57(1), 100-106.

  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2009). (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51.) Chapter 2: Patterns of Use: From Initiation to Treatment.

  7. White, A., Castle, I.P, Chen, C., Shirley, M., Roach, D., and Hingson, R. (2015). Converging Patterns of Alcohol Use and Related Outcomes Among Females and Males in the United States, 2002 to 2012. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 39(9), 1712-1726.


 

When Rehab is Necessary

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In the United States, it is estimated that 23 million people need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, yet only 11% actually receive the treatment they need.  So when is it necessary to seek treatment and what does that look like?

You don’t need to be physically addicted to a substance to need rehab. If substance abuse is causing negative effects in your life, it’s time to take a closer look.

For those in treatment programs, alcohol-related disorders accounted for more than 23% of all admissions. Marijuana and heroin were the two most common drug addictions for which people sought treatment help, accounting for about 17% and 14% of treatment admissions, respectively. And still another 18% of people in treatment were there for alcohol abuse combined with treatment for another drug.

What to expect

Many wishing to get clean from drugs and alcohol make the decision to undergo substance rehabilitation.  An important first step in the rehabilitation process is to first complete a detox program. The detox period differs from person to person because of several factors such as length of drinking or using substances and severity of the addiction.  A professional detox program is at an onsite facility where a client can detox off all substances under licensed and experienced supervision.

The next step after detox is a longer-term inpatient or residential rehab, which serve to treat the underlying causes of the addiction that contributed and maintained it to help prevent relapse upon discharge.

Each person’s treatment needs are unique and will depend number of different factors, including the presence of polysubstance abuse, mental health issues, and any previous attempts at detox and rehab. Consulting with a treatment professional will be an important first step in selecting the right level of care.

Substance Dependence and Addiction

Alcohol and drug addiction develops over time, but in some cases, it can happen rather quickly. At first, when alcohol or drugs are used, it can create a pleasant high in the individual, filled with good feelings and a motivation to repeat the behavior. With repeated use over time, the person may develop a tolerance to the alcohol or drugs and need a larger amount of the substance to achieve the same high.

A person may then become physically dependent on alcohol or drugs—a point at which suddenly stopping or even cutting back on use may result in a number of withdrawal symptoms. And while it’s true that not everyone who becomes physically dependent is addicted, the two often go hand in hand.

Sources:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2011). DrugFacts: Treatment statistics.

  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). DrugFacts: Treatment approaches for drug addiction.

  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.

  4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Alcohol’s Effects on the Body.

  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). DrugFacts: Heroin.

  6. American Addiction Centers. (2017).

  7. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Treatment Improvement Protocols: Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal from Specific Substances. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


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Finding the Pause Button: Using Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery

“When in doubt we can always pause, saying, ‘Not my will, but Thine, be done.’ As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.”

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This is an extraordinary sentence.  In active addiction we are impulsive rash and reckless.  We never think or plan ahead; we act immediately on how we feel in the moment and getting that next fix.  We live from moment to moment, feeding our addictive and alcoholic desires. But what happens when we put down the drink or drug.  We still live that self-centered, desire driven lifestyle.

At Sea Change Recovery we try and teach our clients to change their patterns of behavior in order to alter their perception and inevitably change how they feel.  Ever heard the phrase “you can’t think your way into right action but you can act your way into right thinking”? Just as in 12-step programs, at Sea Change we believe in taking the action to change one’s life.  In addition to group and one- on- one therapy, we offer experiential therapies that allow clients to get out of their heads and heal.

Mindfulness- an all-encompassing idea- is a huge part of our philosophy here at Sea Change.  Whether clients are surfing with Salt Water Therapy, practicing Horticultural Therapy or participating in Meditation, they are experiencing some sort of mindfulness practice.  The ability to pause rather than react in any situation or at an emotion is a long term benefit of sobriety and something we teach our clients to incorporate into their lives for lifelong sobriety.

Get Growing

Horticultural therapy relieves anxiety- one of the underlying causes of alcoholism and addiction.  At Sea Change Recovery we use therapeutic gardens to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Gardening reduces stress and calms the nerves.  It reduces cortisol which is the hormone related to the stress response. After years of lying, cheating, stealing and other criminal activity that goes along with drug and alcohol abuse, cortisol levels are elevated and never go down.  When a client participates in horticultural therapy, the act of touching soil “literally makes the cortisol go down,” explains Gabrielle Samuels, MFTA and certified Horticultural Therapist.

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Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice and something that is utilized in the treatment program for alcohol and drug addiction at Sea Change Recovery. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented in several research studies.  The reason why it works, Samuels explains, is this type of therapy is an “interactive healing modality where we can take the concepts of substance abuse treatment and put them into action.”

Horticultural therapy techniques are employed to assist participants to learn new skills or regain those that are lost. Horticultural therapy helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. In physical rehabilitation, horticultural therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance. In vocational horticultural therapy settings, people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions.

When a client tills the soil and removes weeds, the first step in beginning to plant a new garden it is a “physical manifestation of turning things over,” says Samuels.  By employing the concepts of 12-step a struggling alcoholic or addicted person can take an active role in their recovery. The physical activity along with emotional and psychological issues that are being brought up is the experiential modality.  The movement of the body along with rebuilding the neural pathways in the brain work to restructure the mind-body connection.

“When we turned over the soil, helping to clear the vegetable bed, it allows clients to move forward and do more scary emotional work,” Samuels recounts one of her sessions.  In the same way 12 - step programs encourage clearing the wreckage of one’s past to recover and heal, clients must clear out the vegetable beds before planting a new crop.

In sobriety it’s important to remember: you can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full from yesterday’s junk.


 

Get The Mind Ready to Heal

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Could your own thinking be keeping you from getting well?  Anyone ever tell you that you’re “too smart for your own good?”  The brain is the most powerful organ in the body, but many people either forget this or don’t know how to “adjust” their thinking. In order to harness the power of your brain you must shift from accepting that you will “always” have x or feel this way to the possibility of recovery from your condition. No medicine, therapy or other intervention can even have a chance of helping you move from being sick to becoming well until you change your mindset.

So how can you open your mind up for recovery?

Take Opposite Action

Taking contrary action goes against everything we are used to.  It’s all about taking action that is different than how you feel.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  In order to gain emotional health it is important to break that cycle. Nothing changes if nothing changes. In order to change your way of thinking first you must take the action.  Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change its physical structure and function based on input from your experiences, behaviors, emotions, and even thoughts. It used to be believed that except for a few specific growth periods in childhood, the brain was pretty much fixed. Now, we know that’s not true. Your brain is capable of change until the day you die.  

So remember: Every new day is a chance to right the wrongs of yesterday.

 

Feel Your Creative Energy

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The great fear of so many artists who get sober is that sobriety will ruin their imagination or creativity.  Art takes so many forms including music, photography, writing and even film.  Many of the creative minds behind these art forms fear that they will not be able to get their creative juices flowing without “mind-enhancing” substances.  This is a myth.

Creativity often blossoms in sobriety once we put down the drugs and booze.  For example, the famous painter Jackson Pollock crafted some of his most well known works during a 2 year period of sobriety.  So many of our own clients here at Sea Change are guided back to their artistic routes, which drugs and alcohol had stolen away.

So what holds people back from tapping into their imagination? The answer is fear.  Fear of the unknown; fear of success; fear of opening up to this great creativity energy.

Don’t give in to that fear.  Jump in and just create!

5 Ways Sea Change Will Give You a New Experience

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  1. Community - Community plays a crucial role here.  At Sea Change, we believe that some of the most important results of one's time here are the friends one makes. Leaving treatment with a network of sober supporters with shared experience can help sustain recovery for a lifetime.
  2. Holistic Therapy - Rather than focusing solely on addiction, holistic therapy facilities treat patients in terms of their whole being. Holistic therapy is about more than just addiction and sobriety – it addresses the person’s life in its entirety, including career, physical, familial, and spiritual aspects.

    Other therapies offered:

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Individual Therapy

    Trauma Therapy

    Group Therapy

    Experiential Therapy

  3. Salt Water Therapy - At Sea Change, we believe that after years of receiving artificial joy from substances and escapism, that men must learn to once again take pleasure in nature and authentic experiences. The ocean offers many benefits to the men of Sea Change. Not only is spending time in the ocean a physically invigorating and relaxing experience, but ocean water itself is believed to have many positive health benefits on brain and body. Our Salt Water Therapy Program provides physical exercise, mental relaxation, and spiritual healing.
  4. Jiu Jitsu - Anyone with a little time under their belt will tell you that living sober is moment to moment—focusing on the present, on living life in the here and now, and getting into action. At Sea Change, jiu-jitsu allows clients to get into action in a way that’s both challenging and cathartic.  Brazilian jiu-jitsu is known particularly for its ground level nature, for its real-life physical expression combining two of the most meditative martial arts, judo and original Japanese jiu-jitsu.  Sea Change offers jiu-jitsu experiential groups twice a week, helping men find their way forward by focusing on the present moment and getting into action. Jiu-jitsu can be a powerful way to channel addictive tendencies into a positive way of living.

  5. 12 Step - At Sea Change, we believe strongly in the power of the Twelve Steps. Simply put, it works for the men we treat. Learning and working The Steps, attending meetings, and finding a sponsor provides a positive, safe and mindful path to lasting recovery and sobriety. But in addition to The Steps themselves, we also believe that process of participating in Step-based groups provides an important opportunity for clients to interact in a new way with the community at-large. Here, we consider attending meetings a privilege, an opportunity to demonstrate respect, and a chance to earn recognition and belonging.

Heading into the Holidays

10 Tips to Get Through the Holiday Season SOBER

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year - or so it may seem.  The holidays bring together family and distant relatives along with a whole host of other stress factors that can leave you feeling anxious, insecure, resentful or just plain down in the dumps.  Here are some tips that will carry you though so you can make it through this season and stay sober.

  1. Be prepared: Have a plan.  Whether you are staying in town or leaving for the holidays, keep up with your meetings and have a set schedule that you will stick to.  Also plan your “escape” from any potentially triggering situations.

  2. Stay connected: Set call times with people in your sober support network; a sponsor, therapist or sober friend can keep you grounded when you feel yourself starting to lose it.  Bookend holiday events or parties with a quick check-in phone call before and after with someone who can help you out with a sober pep-talk.

  3. Pause when agitated: A potentially triggering argument or resentment can be avoided if you stick to this mantra.  Remember that restraint of pen and tongue can completely make the difference between a tense family dynamic and stress free holiday fun.

  4. Stay busy- Ask what you can do to help.  Be of service at a family dinner.  Volunteer and ask for tasks be helpful in the kitchen.  Keeping busy will keep you out of your head.

  5. Take opposite action:  Acting on first impulse isn’t always a safe bet.  Taking contrary action can be uncomfortable but it can keep you from falling back into familiar patterns that lead you into trouble.

  6. Have no expectations:  Holding yourself and others to unattainable standards can lead to disappointment.  This can leave you feeling all those negative feelings that you are trying to avoid in the first place.  So don’t set yourself up disaster.

  7. Avoid self pity: Shaming yourself or wallowing in your own negative self talk won’t lead you anywhere pleasant.  Stay positive and focus on all the good things your have accomplished.

  8. Family Drama:  Avoid gossip or getting involved in other people’s drama. If people try to vent about their drama with another family member, direct them to addressing that person directly.

  9. Compare and Despair:  This can be very dangerous especially when being in the company of family.  Try not to compare your insides to others outsides, meaning just because your cousin Joe has the great job, car, new wife etc.  that doesn’t mean he is necessarily happy and problem free in his own life.  Keep everything in perspective.

  10. Stay in gratitude:  Remember just how bad things used to be and how far you have come.  Making a gratitude list or simply reflecting on the good things in your life will keep your in a good headspace so you will be heavily armed against the first drink.

If you follow these 10 tips, it’s a sure-fire way to get through the holidays without having to raise your hand again as a newcomer.

Seasons Greetings!

Ride the Wave

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Mindfulness is a huge part of recovery.  In fact, one of the twelve steps teaches recovering addicts and alcoholics that prayer and meditation must be practiced in order to treat their disease.  Meditation can take many forms.  Its not necessarily sitting cross legged, eyes closed at an altar with burning incense.  It can take the form of paddling out against the harsh salty foam of the great pacific ocean to catch a ride on the perfect wave. At Sea Change we incorporate surfing as part of our mindfulness practice.  

The ocean offers many benefits. Not only is spending time in the ocean a physically invigorating and relaxing experience, the ocean water itself is believed to have many positive health benefits on brain and body. In ancient Greek and Roman tradition, salt water was recognized as having regenerating and relaxing properties.  They benefited from salt's natural healing properties often by swimming in it as well as drinking it.

Swimming or floating in the sea brings about many different healing effects to the physical body.  It helps to pump blood from the lower limbs upward, bringing about a flow of more oxygen to the brain.  The sounds from the ocean waves alter the wave patterns of the brain, bringing the body into a relaxed and revitalized state.

After years of receiving artificial joy from substances and escapism, we must learn to once again take pleasure in nature and authentic experiences.  Sea Change has partnered with Salt Water Therapy to show our clients the magic that the ocean can bring to our recovery programs and our lives as a whole.

So get out there and catch a wave!

 

 

Bored to Death

 For most people, boredom is a passing, nearly trivial feeling that lifts as soon as their number is called, their chore is completed, or their train arrives. But, boredom has a darker side: easily bored people are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, hostility, anger, and yes, addiction.  It’s hard to imagine anyone being bored today. Computers, iPods, iPhones and gaming consoles can provide hours of activity, right? All these things are supposed to keep us happy and interested. Yet, we’re somehow more bored than ever before.  So, given that all our devices and gadgets haven’t made us any less bored, what can we do to fight boredom? The first step is to understand what you’re up against. John Eastwood, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, has given boredom a lot of thought. After talking to patients and studying the topic, he identified three core characteristics of the emotion:  You’re unable to engage your mind in a satisfying way  You’re aware of the situation and consider it a problem  You blame the environment (“this is so boring” or “there’s nothing to do”)  But no one is doomed to boredom. In fact, many of our best ideas and inventions arise from boredom. Philosophers have intuited this for centuries; Kierkegaard described boredom as a prequel to creation: “The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.” It’s sort of like the phenomenon of children inventing games when they have nothing with which to distract themselves.  The problem is that these days we don’t wrestle with these slow moments. We try eliminating them. “We try to extinguish every moment of boredom in our lives with mobile devices,” says Sandi Mann, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire. This might relieve us temporarily, but it shuts down the deeper thinking that can come from staring down the doldrums. Noodling on your phone is “like eating junk food,” she says.  So, instead of fleeing boredom, lean into it. Don’t jump to your phone to distract yourself. Summon your inner child-inventor and create something out of the tedium of life. Boredom, it turns out, may be super-interesting!

For most people, boredom is a passing, nearly trivial feeling that lifts as soon as their number is called, their chore is completed, or their train arrives. But, boredom has a darker side: easily bored people are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, hostility, anger, and yes, addiction.

It’s hard to imagine anyone being bored today. Computers, iPods, iPhones and gaming consoles can provide hours of activity, right? All these things are supposed to keep us happy and interested. Yet, we’re somehow more bored than ever before.

So, given that all our devices and gadgets haven’t made us any less bored, what can we do to fight boredom? The first step is to understand what you’re up against. John Eastwood, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, has given boredom a lot of thought. After talking to patients and studying the topic, he identified three core characteristics of the emotion:

You’re unable to engage your mind in a satisfying way

You’re aware of the situation and consider it a problem

You blame the environment (“this is so boring” or “there’s nothing to do”)

But no one is doomed to boredom. In fact, many of our best ideas and inventions arise from boredom. Philosophers have intuited this for centuries; Kierkegaard described boredom as a prequel to creation: “The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.” It’s sort of like the phenomenon of children inventing games when they have nothing with which to distract themselves.

The problem is that these days we don’t wrestle with these slow moments. We try eliminating them. “We try to extinguish every moment of boredom in our lives with mobile devices,” says Sandi Mann, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire. This might relieve us temporarily, but it shuts down the deeper thinking that can come from staring down the doldrums. Noodling on your phone is “like eating junk food,” she says.

So, instead of fleeing boredom, lean into it. Don’t jump to your phone to distract yourself. Summon your inner child-inventor and create something out of the tedium of life. Boredom, it turns out, may be super-interesting!

Survival Mode

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For hundreds of thousands of years prior to the advent of modern agriculture, humans lived as hunter-gatherers, traveling in small bands of thirty or forty people. They survived by hunting wild animals and gathering wild fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other occasional delicacies, such as eggs or honey. Before the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, there was simply no other way to meet the most basic nutritional needs.

Music Soothes the Savage Beast*

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Imagine that you’re a newborn in an intensive care unit. Maybe you were born prematurely, or you didn’t get enough oxygen during the delivery. Everything around you is chaos. It’s as if you were safe in your nice warm bed and suddenly, out of nowhere, someone rips the sheets off of you, opens the window, shines a flood light in your face—and you’re powerless. How can you be soothed in an environment where you are confused, terrified, and lost?

Better Than Dope: Natural Highs

 Why does pleasure exist? It’s the carrot dangled by the body to get us to do the things we need in order to survive and prosper. It’s what helps us reach survival goals and reproduce. But experiencing and appreciating pleasure is also necessary for true happiness and contentment. We’re not ascetics, living our lives like monks in rigid self-discipline and abstention. That is, unless you’re actually a monk, in which case I don’t know why or how you’d be reading this. Our genes expect us to feel good, and not just do the tasks that feeling good compels us to do.  The good news is that it’s possible to ‘get high’ the natural, primal way, and I’m not talking shamans and ayahuasca. Our bodies can naturally achieve mind-blowing, consciousness-expanding levels of elation and euphoria.  In the 1950’s, animal studies by Olds and Milner showed that electrical stimulation to a rat’s pleasure center was more reinforcing than food or sex. In 1974, Hughes and Kosterlitz discovered endogenous morphine (endorphin) in a camel’s pituitary gland, proving that the brain produces its own internal opiates. We’re not rats or camels, but the findings were important. By uncovering two key sources of pleasure – dopamine and endorphin – we gained a deeper understanding of addiction.  The research also supported the idea that long before we humans discovered the euphoric effects of MDMA or the blissful sleep of morphine, our ancestors were already developing complex internal systems for regulating pain and managing mood. Drugs activate these receptors, tapping into systems that have already been doing their thing for eons, serving up relaxation and reducing pain when we need help the most.  As we continue to learn more about our bodies’ diverse toolkit of built-in relaxants, stimulants, and pain-killers, we can get better at turning on a natural high right when we need one, served up for free by the highly advanced manufacturing equipment in our own bones, brains, and muscles. So, exercise, fall in love, take a walk through nature, play music, go hang-gliding, eat some really spicy food… They’re all great ways to tune into that natural high.

Why does pleasure exist? It’s the carrot dangled by the body to get us to do the things we need in order to survive and prosper. It’s what helps us reach survival goals and reproduce. But experiencing and appreciating pleasure is also necessary for true happiness and contentment. We’re not ascetics, living our lives like monks in rigid self-discipline and abstention. That is, unless you’re actually a monk, in which case I don’t know why or how you’d be reading this. Our genes expect us to feel good, and not just do the tasks that feeling good compels us to do.

The good news is that it’s possible to ‘get high’ the natural, primal way, and I’m not talking shamans and ayahuasca. Our bodies can naturally achieve mind-blowing, consciousness-expanding levels of elation and euphoria.

In the 1950’s, animal studies by Olds and Milner showed that electrical stimulation to a rat’s pleasure center was more reinforcing than food or sex. In 1974, Hughes and Kosterlitz discovered endogenous morphine (endorphin) in a camel’s pituitary gland, proving that the brain produces its own internal opiates. We’re not rats or camels, but the findings were important. By uncovering two key sources of pleasure – dopamine and endorphin – we gained a deeper understanding of addiction.

The research also supported the idea that long before we humans discovered the euphoric effects of MDMA or the blissful sleep of morphine, our ancestors were already developing complex internal systems for regulating pain and managing mood. Drugs activate these receptors, tapping into systems that have already been doing their thing for eons, serving up relaxation and reducing pain when we need help the most.

As we continue to learn more about our bodies’ diverse toolkit of built-in relaxants, stimulants, and pain-killers, we can get better at turning on a natural high right when we need one, served up for free by the highly advanced manufacturing equipment in our own bones, brains, and muscles. So, exercise, fall in love, take a walk through nature, play music, go hang-gliding, eat some really spicy food… They’re all great ways to tune into that natural high.

Chaos is Good For You

 Logan Gelbrich is a busy man. As the owner of the highly regarded Deuce Gym in Venice Beach, you’d think his days would already be filled to the brim. But between traveling the world with the CrossFit Strongman Seminar and slinging top-of-the-line supplements with ORIGINAL Nutritionals, he’s also writing his first book.  I sat down with him expecting to chat about fitness and maybe get some nutritional tips for myself—and while we did hit some of those topics, our conversation wound its way through some delightfully unexpected territories, like the works of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the influential Lebanese-American scholar and statistician.  The belief system that guides Logan’s coaching and approach to fitness is largely informed by Taleb’s concept of the ‘anti-fragile.’ When you ask people what the opposite of fragile is, they mostly answer something that is resilient or unbreakable. However, the opposite of fragile is something that actually gains from chaos, disorder, and stress. In the case of evolution, nature uses chaos to grow stronger.  Logan explains that the impulse to avoid stress, while very human, ultimately makes us weaker. “Developing a positive relationship to stress is critical; this is an under-nurtured skillset,” Logan says. “On the other side of adversity, whether it’s adversity you seek out or enters your life on its own, that’s where the juice of life is. If you can seek out that which is difficult, it makes you a less fragile person for the world that you’re living in.”  Not only are we fragile, but we also want to protect our fragility. “Seeking safety and avoiding adversity only increases our fragile characteristics,” Logan says. “It puts off what’s true, and what’s true is that what’s coming down the line might be painful, chaotic. It seems to be that you’d rather me more fit for that interaction.”  For Logan, the goal of physical fitness isn’t to get ripped just for the sake of getting ripped—a pitfall he often sees in the gym. It’s about putting yourself through stress and even pain in order to become ‘anti-fragile.’  So, do what challenges you. Welcome stress. Welcome chaos.  You can check out Logan’s gym and learn more about his philosophy at  deucegym.com

Logan Gelbrich is a busy man. As the owner of the highly regarded Deuce Gym in Venice Beach, you’d think his days would already be filled to the brim. But between traveling the world with the CrossFit Strongman Seminar and slinging top-of-the-line supplements with ORIGINAL Nutritionals, he’s also writing his first book.

I sat down with him expecting to chat about fitness and maybe get some nutritional tips for myself—and while we did hit some of those topics, our conversation wound its way through some delightfully unexpected territories, like the works of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the influential Lebanese-American scholar and statistician.

The belief system that guides Logan’s coaching and approach to fitness is largely informed by Taleb’s concept of the ‘anti-fragile.’ When you ask people what the opposite of fragile is, they mostly answer something that is resilient or unbreakable. However, the opposite of fragile is something that actually gains from chaos, disorder, and stress. In the case of evolution, nature uses chaos to grow stronger.

Logan explains that the impulse to avoid stress, while very human, ultimately makes us weaker. “Developing a positive relationship to stress is critical; this is an under-nurtured skillset,” Logan says. “On the other side of adversity, whether it’s adversity you seek out or enters your life on its own, that’s where the juice of life is. If you can seek out that which is difficult, it makes you a less fragile person for the world that you’re living in.”

Not only are we fragile, but we also want to protect our fragility. “Seeking safety and avoiding adversity only increases our fragile characteristics,” Logan says. “It puts off what’s true, and what’s true is that what’s coming down the line might be painful, chaotic. It seems to be that you’d rather me more fit for that interaction.”

For Logan, the goal of physical fitness isn’t to get ripped just for the sake of getting ripped—a pitfall he often sees in the gym. It’s about putting yourself through stress and even pain in order to become ‘anti-fragile.’

So, do what challenges you. Welcome stress. Welcome chaos.

You can check out Logan’s gym and learn more about his philosophy at deucegym.com