How to Help a Relapsing Alcoholic

Even though recovery is a positive step for anyone addicted to alcohol, there is always the very real and present concern of relapse. Relapse is when a recovering substance abuser returns to using substances immoderately and threatens their recovery. You, as a loved one, likely want to help your loved one or be prepared for this possibility—and luckily, there are several ways to do that. Here’s how to help a relapsing alcoholic.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

What is Relapse?

But first, what is relapse? Relapse is when a person returns to substance use at an immoderate level for an extended period of time. It’s different from a “slip” when a person gives in to temptation once or twice, but then realizes the danger and returns to working on their recovery. Relapse has the potential to derail plans of recovery for the long term.

Symptoms of relapse include the following:

  • Cravings the individual cannot distract themselves from
  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Leaving support or recovery groups
  • Putting themselves into tempting situations
  • Talking and thinking about the substance excessively

How to Help a Loved One Who is Relapsing

Relapse is so dangerous because when a person stops using substances for a time while in recovery, their tolerance for the substance decreases. So, if they go back to using a substance at the levels they used before they began recovery, there is a much greater risk of overdose. If you are concerned that this is a real possibility for your loved one, here is how you can help:

Empathize

Realize first and foremost that relapse is not a matter of willpower. It is a very real and biologically rooted symptom of the disease/disorder itself. The brain is deeply impacted by addiction, and between 40 to 60 percent of people in recovery will end up relapsing at one point or another.

So, empathize with your loved one as much as possible. Recognize their suffering and be there to support them and love them through it—don’t accuse and condemn them. Guilt and shame are a big part of relapse, so be a rock of support to encourage them to return to treatment and recovery.

Prepare Yourself for the Worst

Relapse is very possible, and if not addressed, it can be fatal. Have emergency personnel numbers and any interventions you can have (i.e. naloxone for opioids) on hand in case you need to step in to save your loved one’s life.

Encourage Your Loved One in Treatment

Encourage your loved one to attend and stay in their treatment program. Help them access local resources with high-quality treatment plans that will help them have the best chance for success. This may include a 12-step program or access to trauma counseling, if needed.

Help Them Avoid Triggers

One of the most important things you can do is to help your loved one avoid triggers. Help them get away from friends who are bad influences, remove alcohol from the house, and don’t take them places where alcohol will be served.

Sobriety is the Goal

We hope you better know how to help a relapsing alcoholic. All in all, sobriety is the goal, and The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation can be an integral part of that process. Helping your loved one avoid triggers and manage stress properly will allow them to have the greatest chance for success in preventing relapse. Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

Sober New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

New year, new you. This is especially the case if you’ve become sober this past year, or you’re currently working on getting sober. The start of 2020 is the perfect opportunity to create goals for yourself that will help you stay successful on your path to sobriety. View some of the best sober New Year’s resolutions for 2020 that you can hold yourself accountable to.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

How to Set SMART Goals

First and foremost, it helps to know how to create smart, achievable goals. The goals you set need to follow the SMART acronym, meaning they should be:

  • Specific. Don’t define your goal too broadly. Make sure it’s something very particular on which you can focus.
  • Measurable. Choose a goal that is measurable so that you can see the progress you’ve made. This also helps you easily tell when you’ve achieved or are achieving that goal.
  • Action-related. Smart goals require a concrete, definitive behavior change or action.
  • Realistic. You know your abilities and limits. Find a goal that will be a challenge, but one that you know you can reach.
  • Timely. Choose a goal that has particular significance in relation to where you’re at in life currently.

Sober New Year’s Resolutions

Now that you have the tools and knowledge to set SMART goals for 2020, here are a few ideas to help get you started on your sober New Year’s Resolutions. Write the ones that stick out to you down, then place them in an area where you’ll see them and be continually reminded of them:

  • Ask for help when needed. Make it your mission to truly ask for help when you’re struggling in 2020. Don’t wait until you’re on the verge of relapse to do so. Know your triggers and be confident in reaching out.
  • Exercise for at least half an hour every day. Your health will benefit immensely from sobriety as well as exercise. You’ll begin to enjoy more energy and better overall health when you prioritize growing in strength and endurance every day.
  • Learn a new hobby to enjoy in sobriety. Fill your time with things you’ve always wanted to do and learn. Find a new hobby and spend time working on it, learning it, and enjoying it every week. You may even meet new people to call friends at the same time (see below!).
  • Make 1-3 new friends who are supportive of sobriety. Aim to meet new people who aren’t simply around you because of alcohol and drug use. You may find these people when you are exposed to new hobbies or family events. Finding supportive friends will help you stay focused and confident in your sobriety.

2020 is Your Year!

If you’ve been working hard to get sober this year or you’re working on it right now, 2020 is definitely your year to shine. Employ a few of these sober New Year’s resolutions for 2020, and watch your life change for the better! And remember, if you ever need help staying clean and sober, a sober living environment can be of assistance. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

How to Tell Friends About Your Sobriety

If you’ve recently begun to pursue a sober lifestyle, you may find it difficult to tell those around you—especially your friends—about your sobriety. This can be especially hard during the holiday season when celebrations are more frequent, and you anticipate being one of the only people without a drink in your hand. However, we have a few helpful tips on how to tell your friends about your sobriety to ease this burden.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

When Someone Asks, “Why Aren’t You Drinking?”

First of all, when someone asks why you’re not drinking, you should know that you really don’t owe them any sort of answer. It’s entirely up to you how you want to answer that question. If you want to avoid getting too detailed about your recovery, there are a number of responses that work wonders to answer the question and then help the conversation move on (more on that below).

If you choose to be straightforward and explain why you aren’t drinking, know that you might receive positive responses, but you might also get some negative feedback as well.

Those around you—especially if they’re the people you used to drink with—may also have drinking problems and will associate this with a judgment upon themselves. In other words, your decision to get sober will convict them. However, be aware that this has nothing to do with your decision. You aren’t responsible for how your decision to be sober makes other people feel.

Responses to “Why Aren’t You Drinking?”

If you don’t want to tell your friends about your sobriety and recovery, consider a few helpful responses when someone asks why you aren’t drinking:

  • You’re the designated driver. This makes it clear that you won’t be drinking at all because you have the responsibility of bringing your friends home safely.
  • You just took some medication. This could be as simple as ibuprofen or something else, but you don’t owe them specific details. Most of the time, people don’t want you to mix alcohol and medication anyway, so the topic will be dropped after you use this answer.
  • You’re trying to eat and drink healthier. Most people can relate to this, so opting for something like water or tea will not look out of the ordinary.

But, if you do want to be open about your sobriety and recovery, don’t be afraid to be honest about why you’re not touching alcohol. It’s possible that you might lose a few friends who only stuck around because you had drinking in common, but real friends will stay by your side and support you in your sobriety.

Sobriety is Worth It

We hope these tips on how to tell your friends about your sobriety assist you during your road to recovery. However, regardless of how you choose to answer your friends’ probing questions, know that sobriety is worth the awkward social engagements. If you feel that you need help staying clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

Why is Life Better Sober?

If you’re working through a recovery program in pursuit of a sober life, you may be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel—especially if you’re early in your journey towards sobriety. But, it’s important to remember that a life of sobriety is truly worth it when you consider the many ways sober living will dramatically improve your well-being. Explore why life is better sober.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Build and Rebuild Strong Relationships

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When you’re addicted to alcohol, it can be hard to maintain strong relationships. When all of your time and energy are devoted to feeding your addiction, the connections you have with the people around you—both friends and family—inevitably suffer. Sobriety gives you the energy, clarity of mind, and the opportunity to build and rebuild strong relationships with family and friends. You will be able to be fully present with those you care about most.

Dramatically Improved Physical Health

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When you’re sober, life is better because your physical health will likely dramatically improve. Sobriety allows you to improve your diet because cravings will no longer rule your life, and you’ll have the clarity of mind to make healthy choices when it comes to food. In addition, you can also expect your sleep to dramatically improve, and you’ll notice your weight stabilize. In fact, you may even lose weight. This is because you won’t be sleep deprived and you will be cutting back on consuming high sugar and carb contents of alcohol.

Enjoy Financial Stability

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If you suffer from an alcohol use disorder, you’ve likely spent large amounts of money on alcohol. Sobriety frees you from the need to continue spending money on alcohol, which means no more draining your checking account within a few days. In sobriety, your hard-earned money will go to funding your future which can allow you to do more of the things you love.

Grow in Self-Confidence

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Addiction often results in a cycle of shame and guilt, but sobriety frees you from these feelings. Instead, it enables you to build and enjoy healthy self-confidence. It will also help you believe that you are finally in control, not beholden to the addiction that used to hold you back in life. Being able to make your own decisions with mental clarity and without giving in to impulses is one of the most empowering experiences a person can have in sobriety.

Life IS Better Sober!

Whether you’re moving through a 12 Step Program with ease or you’re struggling to have hope for the finish line, remember that life IS better sober. You have so much to look forward to in sobriety, from better physical health and improved relationships to more money in your pocket and improved self-confidence. But, if you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

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How to Support Your Spouse in Addiction Recovery

Millions of men and women struggle with alcohol addiction each year, and thousands lose their lives to alcohol-related diseases, illnesses, and accidents. When it comes to alcohol addiction, though, it’s not just the individual with the addiction that suffers. Alcohol abuse disorder is a disease that affects entire families, especially spouses of addicts. Read on to learn how to support your spouse in addiction recovery.

If you or a loved one needs a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Take Actionsunset-3156176_1280

It’s especially important to take action once you’ve determined your spouse has a drinking problem that’s threatening their health, your relationship, and your family. Many people simply do nothing in the hopes that the problem will improve or go away on its own, but this is almost always not the case. It will only stay the same or get worse.

Stage an Intervention

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Support your spouse by confronting them and intervening—call them out on their drinking problem, gently and lovingly, yet firmly. Express your concerns and tell them how their drinking is negatively impacting you and the family. Convey your willingness to help them get professional help, and be sure to mention consequences if they refuse to get help.

In some cases, you may not feel safe with a confrontation like this. Unfortunately, alcoholism is closely linked to domestic violence. If that is a concern, you should have friends, family, or an alcohol counsellor with you for this conversation.

Don’t Be an Enabler

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You can best help your spouse in their recovery by refusing to enable them in their addiction. Obviously, don’t buy them alcohol or make alcohol accessible to them in any way. This also involves not making excuses to others for their behavior to cover up the drinking problem, and not helping them feel better during a hangover.

In order to do this, you may need to consider a short-term separation. Separation can be very hard for both parties, but sometimes, something this drastic is necessary. This may be the only way for an alcoholic to realize that their actions have dire consequences that seriously affect their family members.

Find Support

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Though your spouse is the one suffering an addiction, it doesn’t mean it’s easy for you to deal with. Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups offer support for family members. Reach out to support groups for solidarity and guidance.

Support During Treatment

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Knowing how to support your spouse in addiction recovery is imperative. While your spouse is in treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, you can best support them by first taking care of yourself and your family. If you are balanced and feeling healthy both mentally and physically, you’ll be better able to assist them in recovery. This may require counseling for yourself and your children.

In addition, you should set clear boundaries at home for your spouse in terms of former addictive behaviors, and make sure the consequences for relapses are clear.

Consider A Sober Living Environment

If you or a loved one are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

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Signs You May Be A High-Functioning Alcoholic

Everyone likely has an idea of alcoholism in mind from movies or popular culture. However, alcoholism comes in many different forms, and can even be difficult to identify. High-functioning alcoholics fall into this category, yet the alcohol abuse is just as dangerous and costly. These are signs you may be a high-functioning alcoholic and how you can seek help.

If you need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

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High-functioning alcoholics are those who abuse alcohol, anywhere from mildly to severely, yet are able to maintain relationships and keep up with work and other responsibilities. They give off the appearance of not having a problem with alcohol, when in reality, there is a deep and serious issue.

Signs of High-Functioning Alcoholism

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There are a few obvious, tell-tale signs of high-functioning alcoholism—relationships may suffer, responsibilities may be neglected, and a person may run into legal trouble regarding alcohol. However, some signs are much less obvious. Consider whether you or a friend meet any of these criteria, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help to take control of your life. These are signs you may be a high-functioning alcoholic:

Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking is a major sign of high-functioning alcoholism. For women, this is considered to be more than three drinks per day OR seven drinks per week. For men, this is considered to be more than four drinks per day OR fourteen drinks per week. Drinking a lot, and doing so consistently for an extended period of time, is just as much a sign of alcohol abuse as is drinking large amounts at once.

Drinking Alone

Another tell-tale sign of high-functioning alcoholism is if you drink alone or in secret. This includes if you go to great lengths to try to keep your day drinking or excessive drinking a secret. When you drink alone, you have a higher probability of drinking too much.

It also isn’t normal to drink at all hours of the day. Getting drunk unintentionally and making jokes about how you may have a drinking problem are also indicators that there is an issue.

Drinking for Every Reason

High-functioning alcoholics drink for every reason under the sun. If you find yourself drinking to relax, to fall asleep, to cope with stress and anxiety, and/or to be more comfortable with social situations, then you are at high risk for an alcohol abuse disorder. Alcohol should not be a coping mechanism nor should it be a need. It’s a clear sign that something is wrong when it becomes either one.

Defensiveness About Drinking

If a family member or friend confronts someone with a drinking problem about their habit, the alcoholic will likely get defensive. Pay attention to how you or a loved one responds when being questioned about drinking habits.

Get the Help You Need Now

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High-functioning alcoholics often look like they have everything together—that’s why they’re called “high-functioning.” But the truth is, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking will eventually catch up with you. It has the potential to interfere with relationships and work responsibilities, and could even result in legal trouble like DUI’s. If you, a friend, or family member exhibits any of the above characteristics, now is the time to reach out and get help for alcohol abuse.

Consider A Sober Living Environment

If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

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Tips For Dealing With Stress In Sobriety

Working on sobriety is a challenge on its own. Even once you reach sobriety and begin to gain traction in kicking your addiction, you’ll still encounter other day-to-day challenges. Stress is a natural part of life, so you’ll inevitably have to face it. If you’re worried about how stress will affect your sobriety, contact The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation for support and consider a few of these tips for dealing with stress in sobriety.

Stress And Sobriety

Part of working towards sobriety is learning how to deal with stress so as not to fall back into your addiction as a coping mechanism. Stress can come from relationships, work responsibilities, uncertain situations, or past experiences. In general, though, some stress is normal and can help you respond to situations with more focus and intention.

Prioritize Your Health Every Single Day

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One of the best ways you can combat stress is to prioritize your health every single day. This means making sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of exercise several times per week and eating a healthy diet. It’s also important to get enough sleep, setting a reasonable time to go to bed and wake up in the morning.

Dealing with stress becomes even more difficult when you’re achy, tired, and miserable from a lack of exercise, sleep, and a poor diet. When you feel better, are well-rested, and are generally healthy, you can tackle stress that comes your way with more ease and balance.

Find A Hobby That You Love

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In sobriety, finding a stress-relieving hobby will help you to take your mind off of the struggles and stressors of daily life. This could be in the form of exercise, like running or biking, or art-related activities like painting, drawing, or music.

Ideally, these hobbies will also help you to surround yourself with a community of people with similar interests. They’ll share a love of your hobby and encourage you to grow and pursue it.

Turn To Faith Or Meditation

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Turn to faith or meditation to find clarity of the mind and inner peace amidst the stressors of life. Many people find comfort and security in prayer or contemplation. Pairing this with prioritizing your physical health and maintaining a hobby will allow you to take on any stress that comes your way.

Surround Yourself With Support

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Surround yourself with family and friends who will offer a listening ear and support when you need it. Sometimes stress can get the best of us, so it helps to have a support system that will listen to you and offer guidance on how to move forward. It’s important that these individuals want what is best for you and want to see you succeed in your sobriety.

Consider A Sober Living Environmentjames-island-8

If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms & Signs

It’s no secret that by drinking alcohol, a person takes on significant risk. But alcohol poisoning is a hazard of excessive drinking that should be taken seriously, as it is potentially life-threatening. The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are an average of 2,200 deaths from alcohol poisoning every year. Know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning—it just may help you save a life in the future. Read more

Health Risks of Chronic Alcohol Use

Genetic factors often determine how your body responds to chronic alcohol use, but many scientists, doctors, and health professionals agree that heavy drinking for long periods of time is incredibly damaging for your health no matter who you are or what your genetics say. Consider these health risks of chronic alcohol use.

Mental Health

Excessive and prolonged alcohol use can contribute to poor mental health. Drinking has been linked to depression and dementia. Alcohol is detrimental to your ability to think clearly, and excessive use damages one of the most important organs in your body—your brain. It is harder to function when your brain is constantly under the influence of alcohol, and chronic exposure to this toxin can cause a breakdown of tissues and severe mental health problems.

Liver Disease

Your liver is what metabolizes alcohol in your body. Too much can overload the liver and cause problems like fatty liver or long-term inflammation that can cause hepatitis. Such extensive and prolonged damage can cause, ultimately, scarring of the liver and eventual failure.

Osteoporosis

When excessive drinking begins at a young age, it can negatively impact bone development causing severe problems and risks later in life. Even if heavy drinking begins later in life, excessive alcohol use impedes a balance of Vitamin D and calcium in the body, putting individuals at high risk for low bone mass. This can result in easier fractures and slower healing in adulthood and old age.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the most common repercussions of chronic drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption causes blood vessels to be constricted, which contributes to high blood pressure. This automatically puts a body at higher risk for heart attack and stroke, and therefore heart failure. Chronic alcohol use puts a very heavy strain on the heart and binge drinking can often prove fatal.

Cancer

It is perhaps a lesser known but equally disturbing fact that excessive drinking can result in a higher risk for various cancers. Alcohol can cause damage to cells in the mouth, throat, and esophagus—and it makes it easier for cancers of the liver and intestines to form.

Alcohol Abuse Isn’t Worth It

Mental health, liver disease, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancers are just a few of the health risks a person takes on when drinking. In addition to hurting your body, your drinking can also damage your social relationships and other aspects of your life as well. Stopping drinking can help to prevent further damage.

Consider A Sober Living Environment

If you are struggling to stay clean and sober, a sober living environment may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation offers men’s sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC.

Contact us today. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

10 Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

One of the biggest indicators that you may have a drinking problem is that you’ve already taken the step to search for articles with titles like this one on the internet. It can be a scary idea to face, but that’s the first step toward getting the help you need. The following ten signs are common indicators of a drinking problem. Individuals with a drinking problem don’t always experience all of these signs, but they often experience a few that become noticeable when drinking starts to play an unhealthy role in everyday life. Read more