Addiction & Recovery - Meet others & come say hi

Posted by Colleen Young, Connect Director @colleenyoung, Fri, May 17 1:07pm

Welcome to the Addiction & Recovery group on Mayo Clinic Connect.
This is a welcoming, safe place where you can meet people who live with and understand addiction and the journey of recovery. Together we can learn from each other and share stories about challenges and triumphs, setbacks and the things the keep you on track.

Pull up a chair and connect. Why not start by introducing yourself? What is your addiction experience? What helped you on the road to recovery? Got a question, tip or story to share?

Hi my name is Jenn. I've been in recovery for 2 years. I was addicted to drugs (any and all) and alcohol for over 20 years. I'm able to sustain my recovery only because of Jesus Christ.

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@zeph317

Hi my name is Jenn. I've been in recovery for 2 years. I was addicted to drugs (any and all) and alcohol for over 20 years. I'm able to sustain my recovery only because of Jesus Christ.

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Hi @zeph317, Jenn. Welcome to Connect. Thanks for getting this discussion started. May I ask what the turning point was for you? While your faith sustains you, was there a situation or event that made you be able to say no and change your patterns? I look forward to learning more.

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Hello @zeph317

I would also like to join Colleen in welcoming you to this new discussion group on Mayo Connect. Connect is a place where we can all share and support each other in our various health difficulties.

There has been a lot of addiction problems in my family. Many of those family members never realized recovery, which makes for a difficult family life. I am glad for you, Jenn, that you found a way to recover from your addiction. When you feel like sharing more of your story, we are here to listen.

Liked by lolly906, kclynd

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Because of my interest in recovery from addiction I subscribe to a blog from Smart Recovery. This week's blog had to do with
8 Tips for Successful Addiction Recovery. The link for this article can be found at, https://www.smartrecovery.org/8-tips-for-successful-addiction-recovery/?

It had so many good thoughts, that I'd like to post the article here. I'm wondering how many people who are in recovery now have utilized any of these tips. If so, would you share which ones have been most helpful to you?

How “decision fatigue” affects willpower and self-control

Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP

Slip Or RelapseRecent research on the topic of willpower shows that we, as human beings, have limited decision-making capacity. That is, in any given day, we may simply run out of the mental energy that is required to make decisions. Researcher Roy Baumeister, Ph.D. calls this depletion of mental energy “decision fatigue.”

Every day, we make hundreds of decisions, from large to small. Even something as simple as eating breakfast may entail many decisions, such as what, where, and how much to eat. We need to make decisions about our personal selves, our work, our relationships, how we move about and relate in the world, and how to resist temptation. The more decisions we must make, the more mental energy we use up. Making decisions, particularly making good decisions, becomes harder over the course of a day as our mental energy wanes.

So why is this important for recovery from substance misuse? Because the choice to not use is a decision. Much of drinking/using is automatic, that is, we use simply because it is our habit to do so. We step into the house after a long day, we have a drink or we get together with friends, we smoke a joint. It may cross our minds not to use, but to not use requires a decision. To say no, we must think about the consequences. When our mental energy is low, we tend to act impulsively or do nothing different than usual.

We need to give ourselves the best chance of making good decisions, particularly when we are trying to change our relationship with drugs or alcohol. Baumeister has shown that people with the best self-control set themselves up for success by conserving their mental energy. For example, they may arise at the same time daily, eat the same breakfast, eliminate temptations, and delegate authority. They don’t expend their mental energy on trivial decisions, instead of preserving their mental energy for making important decisions.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of saying no to addictive substances or behaviors, here are eight simple tips to conserve mental energy for decision making success:

1. Turn-on your brain. Become more aware of when and where you are most vulnerable to automatic use or when decisions are needed.

2. Restore your mental energy with good sleep. Make your important decision in the morning, when your mental energy is at its peak.

3. Fuel your brain. Your brain requires energy from food to make decisions. When blood glucose drops, our decision-making capacity decreases. Keep your body fueled to increase your mental energy.

4. Employ relaxation strategies. A calm state increases our decision-making capacity. Relaxation techniques, such as slow breathing or meditation, will help to decrease the stress response.

5. Conserve your mental energy. Decrease the number of decisions you must make in a day by creating healthy habits. Delegate some decision to trusted others. Reduce situations where you need to make decisions, such as shopping.

6. Reduce temptations. Move temptations out of your reach, when you have the mental energy to do so.

7. Recharge your mental energy throughout the day. Exercise has been shown to increase mental energy. Exercise regularly, on a set schedule. Even 5 minutes of daily exercise will help recharge your mental energy.

8. Reduce the number of times that you need to say no. By planning ahead, you can avoid those situations in which your habit to use requires mental energy to say no. If you know when you are most vulnerable and plan ahead, you will need to make fewer decisions about whether or not to use.

By employing the strategies above, you will give yourself a better chance for recovery success by reducing your decisions fatigue.

If you would like to read more about this topic here are two books you might enjoy

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney (2012).

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal (2011)

Reprinted with permission from SMART Recovery San Diego
Copyright (2012) Julie Myers, PysD: Psychologist in San Diego. All Rights Reserved.

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Hello! My name is savana I've been in recovery gunna be 3 years in August 🎉 .. what helped me was being in a residental program that also introduced me to Jesus Christ.. which helped me along with my recovery

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@savana1

Hello! My name is savana I've been in recovery gunna be 3 years in August 🎉 .. what helped me was being in a residental program that also introduced me to Jesus Christ.. which helped me along with my recovery

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Welcome to Mayo Connect, @savana1. I'm so happy to hear of your three years in recovery. As you feel comfortable doing so, could you share a little about what you learned in the residential program?

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@hopeful33250
Well what I learned, was that being in a whole different environment that had such an loving and caring atmosphere really helps because all knew was pain and hurt , I also learned that getting to the rooted issues of why I turned to drugs brought healing as well but it wasn't easy I had to pray through it and it helped. I also learned how to forgive the people who hurted me and also for forgave my self

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@savana1

@hopeful33250
Well what I learned, was that being in a whole different environment that had such an loving and caring atmosphere really helps because all knew was pain and hurt , I also learned that getting to the rooted issues of why I turned to drugs brought healing as well but it wasn't easy I had to pray through it and it helped. I also learned how to forgive the people who hurted me and also for forgave my self

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Wow, @savana1, you learned some incredible lessons! Yes, the support of people who care is so very important. No one can win the addiction battle on their own.

I also like what you said about the "root issues" that led to your addiction. Until we can "root-out" the problem it will continually come back.

Do you feel like addiction isolated you before you went into the residential treatment program? In other words, did you feel alone before?

Liked by kclynd

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@hopeful33250
Yes most definitely when the drugs become a very heavy habit in your life it does make you isolated from everything

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@savana1

@hopeful33250
Yes most definitely when the drugs become a very heavy habit in your life it does make you isolated from everything

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You seem to have a lot of insight, @savana1, so I'd like to ask you one other question. If a person who had an addiction came to you wanting help, what would you suggest that they do first?

Liked by savana1

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@hopeful33250
I would ask them how serious they are in getting help and if they are really serious (depending on the situation) I would go meet them or have them come to my house or convince them to go back home if there else were so they are away from that bad environment and start calling rehabs. In my honest opinion I think a long term residentials are more effective than a 90 day once a week treatment .. but everyone is different

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@colleenyoung

Hi @zeph317, Jenn. Welcome to Connect. Thanks for getting this discussion started. May I ask what the turning point was for you? While your faith sustains you, was there a situation or event that made you be able to say no and change your patterns? I look forward to learning more.

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Like I said I was an addict for over 20 years and I just came to the point where I couldn't do it anymore. I look back and I wishit hadn't taken me so long to hit rock bottom, but that is how long it took. When drugs control your life, there is no sensible thinking. It is a bondage. I also know that for me, in my mind I wanted to stop. I knew somewhere deep inside that this was not how I wanted my life to be, that there was something better if I would just stop the drugs. And I truly wanted to. But wanting to and being able to are two totally different things. I went to a faith based treatment facility and got help. But I absolutely wanted help. I was ready to change my life.

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@zeph317 and @savana1
Thanks for your great thoughts about recovery! If you think of other ideas that would help people reach out for help, I hope you share them. We want this discussion to be helpful to those who are contemplating recovery and also for others in recovery to share what helps keep them strong.

If you could both list 2 or 3 things that help keep you strong, would you share that?

Also, if you could both look at the list of 8 things in my post above, could you share one of those items that have helped you?

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Hi, I go my jay. I started recovery in 1988. I had a 10-year relapse. I have been sober 3 years now.

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@johnwhitfield

Hi, I go my jay. I started recovery in 1988. I had a 10-year relapse. I have been sober 3 years now.

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Congrats @johnwhitfield on being 3 years sober. I'd also like you to meet @zeph317 and @savana1.
John would mind sharing a bit more about you. Relapses are common. What helped you get back on the recovery track?

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