Tag: recovery

The Power of Group Therapy

Addiction is a formidable adversary, gripping individuals in its clutches and often isolating them from the support they need. However, one beacon of hope that has proven to be a transformative force in jumpstarting recovery is group therapy.

Understanding the Isolation of Addiction:

Addiction thrives in isolation, making people feel alone. The shame and stigma associated with substance abuse can be overwhelming, causing many to withdraw from friends, family, and support networks. Group therapy becomes a powerful antidote to this isolation by creating a space where individuals can connect with others facing similar challenges.

Building a Supportive Community:

One of the primary benefits of group therapy is the creation of a supportive community. Participants share their experiences, triumphs, and setbacks in a non-judgmental environment where empathy and understanding prevail. The camaraderie that develops within these groups fosters a sense of belonging and acceptance, crucial elements for anyone on the path to recovery.

Shared Understanding and Empathy:

Group therapy provides a platform for individuals to express their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgment. In these sessions, participants often find that others share similar struggles and emotions. This shared understanding creates a powerful sense of empathy, as individuals recognize that they are not alone in their journey. This mutual support helps to break down the walls of shame and guilt, paving the way for authentic connection.

Learning from Peers:

Group therapy offers a unique learning environment where individuals can glean insights from their peers. As participants share their coping strategies, challenges, and successes, others can learn valuable tools for managing their own recovery. The diversity of experiences within the group enriches the learning process, providing a multitude of perspectives and approaches to overcoming addiction.

Accountability and Motivation:

The group dynamic inherently introduces a level of accountability that can be a driving force for recovery. Knowing that others are invested in their well-being encourages individuals to stay committed to their goals. The shared motivation within the group helps each member to strive for progress, creating a positive feedback loop that propels everyone forward.

Skill Development:

Group therapy sessions incorporate skill-building exercises that equip individuals with practical tools for managing stress, cravings, and triggers. Sessions may include cognitive-behavioral strategies, mindfulness practices, and communication skills. The skills acquired in group therapy become valuable assets that people apply in their daily lives, strengthening their resilience.

Breaking the Cycle of Isolation:

As participants share their stories and challenges, a sense of unity emerges. Breaking the cycle of isolation is a fundamental aspect of addiction recovery, and group therapy serves as a catalyst for this transformation. The connections formed within the group extend beyond the therapy sessions, providing a network of support that individuals can lean on during their toughest moments.

The Power of Group Therapy

In addiction recovery, the power of group therapy weaves together the elements of connection, support, and learning. It jumpstarts the recovery process by breaking down the walls of isolation, fostering empathy, and providing a space for individuals to heal together. Through shared experiences and mutual support, group therapy paves the way for a brighter and sober future.

Intervention 101

Intervention 101: What is an intervention? It is important to know that not every situation is the same within a family suffering from active addiction. While there is not a one size fits all approach to intervention we wanted to share some insights to educate and inspire those seeking help for a loved one.

Alcohol and drug addiction can profoundly impact not only the individual struggling with the addiction but also their loved ones. Family intervention serves as a powerful tool to confront addiction, express concern, and encourage the individual to seek treatment. At CAST Centers we talk to families everyday about the basics of family intervention and how it can pave the way for recovery and healing.

Understanding Family Intervention

Family intervention is a structured process that involves a gathering of family members and close friends who come together to confront an individual struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. The goal is to communicate their concerns, express love and support, and encourage the individual to seek professional help. Family intervention creates a safe space for open dialogue, allowing family members to express their observations, emotions, and hopes for the individual’s recovery.

Preparing for Intervention

A successful family intervention requires careful planning and preparation. It is essential to educate oneself about addiction, treatment options, and the potential consequences of continuing substance abuse. Engaging a professional interventionist can provide guidance, expertise, and neutrality during the process. Preparing heartfelt letters or statements allows family members to articulate their concerns and express their desire for change. Additionally, making arrangements for treatment options and support services beforehand can facilitate a smoother transition towards recovery.

Conducting the Intervention

During the intervention, family members share their pre-prepared statements, expressing their concerns, observations, and the impact of the addiction on their lives. It is crucial to maintain a non-judgmental and compassionate approach while highlighting the consequences of the addiction. The emphasis should be on expressing love, support, and the potential for a brighter future through treatment. The intervention should conclude with a clear and unified message, outlining the boundaries and consequences if the individual refuses treatment.

After the Intervention

Following the intervention, the individual’s response may vary. They may express a willingness to seek help immediately, or they may need time to reflect and process the intervention. In either case, it is important for the family to follow through with the established boundaries and consequences. Supporting the individual in accessing treatment options, such as rehab programs, counseling, or support groups, is crucial for their recovery journey. Family members may also benefit from attending their own support groups or therapy sessions to address the emotional impact of addiction on their lives.

Family intervention is a powerful intervention strategy that can motivate individuals struggling with alcohol or drug addiction to seek help. By creating a supportive and structured environment, families can foster change, encourage treatment, and provide a solid foundation for healing and recovery for both the individual and their loved ones.

In-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me?

In-person versus online therapy 

Many people have wondered, what is the difference between in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me? The popularity of online therapy has grown significantly as an increase in online therapy options have become more readily available. More and more people are seeking online help and utilizing virtual sessions for mental health. While there are a number of benefits to virtual care, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, many people benefit more from live, in-person treatment options. Part of the appeal of online therapy is that it offers convenience and accessibility. Convenience may not lead people to the outcomes they are looking to achieve and there are instances where in-person therapy may be a better option. Here are some considerations where in-person therapy may be a more appropriate option than online therapy.

Seeking help for a mental health condition

If you are seeking help for a mental health condition, such as addiction, bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression, in-person therapy is a better option. These conditions require structure, close monitoring, and face-to-face support. Learning to manage these issues in-person therapy helps to effectively detect any worsening symptoms during the course of treatment. Symptoms are often indicated by a person’s body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. This level of observation is difficult to achieve through online therapy. Additionally, for those who are struggling with certain issues, spending too much time at home or looking at screens may be tied to the problem faced.

Benefits of in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me?

Asking yourself the question is in-person vs online therapy, what’s right for me can be overwhelming. An advantage of in-person therapy is there is a greater opportunity to develop a more meaningful and interactive therapeutic relationship with your therapist or clinician. The therapeutic relationship is essential to the healing process and allows for direct feedback and deeper exploration, which can be limited in some of the available online options. Additionally, technology can pose a number of issues, such as poor internet connection, lack of privacy and other technological challenges.

With online therapy on the rise, accessibility has increased for some and many individuals are seeking help for mental health issues virtually. However, it is important to consider the benefits and disadvantages of online therapy when compared to in-person therapy options based on your individual needs. As always, asking for help is the first step to improving your mental health. Consult with your provider to identify the option that works best for you.

Addiction and the Recovery Process

What is addiction?

Addiction is a complex disorder that can take a tremendous toll on an individual’s physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. Fortunately, there is hope for recovery and a variety of solutions to help people create lasting change in their lives. The process of overcoming addiction can be a transformative experience that leads to a brighter, healthier future. Recovering from addiction can be a challenging journey, but it’s one that’s well worth taking.

What is the addiction recovery process?

While there are many paths to recovery, the process of addiction recovery typically involves a combination of care. This often includes, medical treatment, therapy, counseling, and support from loved ones and healthcare professionals. Some may require detoxification as the first step in recovery, which involves medical professionals and detox programs to monitor an individual during the process. However, recovery from addiction also often requires a combination of behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or motivational interviewing, to help individuals develop the skills and strategies necessary to maintain sobriety. These solutions are commonly provided in therapeutic settings such as Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) – two highly effective options that can help individuals successfully navigate the road to sobriety.

What are outpatient treatment options?

Partial Hospitalization Programs offer a structured, supportive environment for individuals who require intensive treatment for substance abuse disorders. These programs provide a higher level of care than traditional outpatient treatment programs, and typically involve a combination of therapy, case management, and group support. These programs can be a good fit for individuals who require a more intensive level of care, but who do not require 24/7 supervision.

Intensive Outpatient Programs are another highly effective option for individuals recovering from addiction. IOPs are designed to provide a flexible treatment option for those who may not be able to commit to full-time residential treatment. Typically, IOPs offer a combination of group therapy, individual counseling, and family therapy, with a focus on developing coping skills and relapse prevention strategies.

Both PHPs and IOPs can be highly effective options for individuals recovering from addiction. These programs offer a supportive, structured environment that can help individuals develop the skills and strategies necessary to maintain sobriety over the long term. While recovery is never easy, the right treatment program can make all the difference, helping individuals achieve lasting success and a brighter, healthier future.

What is addiction support for recovery?

In addition to addiction treatment programs, support from family, friends, and addiction recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can be an invaluable resource for individuals in recovery. These groups are highly accessible and provide a sense of community, understanding, and accountability that can be critical to maintaining sobriety over the long-term.

It’s important to note that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and that relapse is a common occurrence. However, with the right support and resources, individuals can successfully overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. Whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, the most important thing is to take the first step and seek help. With the appropriate help and support, recovery is possible. 

The Responsibility We Have To Ourselves

By Michael Arndt

Growing up, I hated the word responsibility. I hated being told I was responsible for things. I didn’t want any responsibility, I don’t think I thought I was capable of taking any. I was so downtrodden and could not accept that I was responsible for everything that I created in my life. It felt overwhelming and caused me feelings of anxiety. It was easier for me to just blame others for my problems. As I have begun the journey into recovery, I have learned that I cannot fully heal and evolve into my best self unless I take full and ultimate responsibility for my life, my healing, my actions, and also the people I allow into my life.

I could wrap my mind around being responsible for my actions and my healing. But when I was told that I also had to take responsibility for the people I allowed into my life, I balked. At first I could not accept that level of responsibility. It would require that I push my sphere of responsibility outward. I had never considered this before.

But it sunk in, and over time I began to see what that really meant. It meant that if I make the choice to continue interacting with someone who has shown me that they are not capable of respecting my boundaries, or that they are not capable of respecting my desire to be healthy, I am responsible for the damage caused. Sometimes it can be as simple as not walking similar paths in life with similar goals. But if I try to force these relationships, or even simply allow them to continue, and continue to allow those people into my life and my space, I am responsible for the consequences. I cannot sit back and say to myself that I didn’t know better. I cannot sit back and complain that I am being negatively affected by the relationship when I allowed it to continue, whether it was out of fear of being alone, fear of confrontation, or because they were filling some base need for me. If I allow it, then I am responsible for it.

I began to see that just because I am responsible for something, does not necessarily mean something bad — it isn’t a judgment about who I am at my core. I think this was at the heart of my aversion to responsibility when I was younger. I thought that if I took responsibility and failed, it meant I was a bad person. This could not be further from the truth. Taking responsibility is ultimately about protecting one’s self and one’s energy. It is the tool by which we can honor our best selves, and protect our hearts and our minds. Without responsibility, we live in a perpetual disempowered state of victimhood in which we have convinced ourselves we have no power and are at the mercy of other people and circumstances.

Mourning the Loss of Our Destructive Behaviors

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
Follow Michael on Instagram:

Usually when we think of loss and mourning, we think of losing someone we love. But there are more kinds of loss than just the kind we experience when we lose someone close to us. There is the kind of loss we experience when we shed behaviors we have used to insulate ourselves from discomfort or a relationship that has run its course or is no longer healthy. It turns out, loss presents itself in similar ways, regardless of what we are mourning the loss of.

It can even be true for giving up drinking or drugs, self-harm, lying, or lashing out in anger. All of these can, for some people, serve the same purpose: to help us deal with feelings we have a low tolerance for. When we start the road to recovery, we actively work to lessen our engagement in these behaviors or rid them from our lives entirely. In doing so, we are often confronted with feeling “torn.” On one hand we know that these behaviors/addictions are destructive, and on the other hand, we cannot imagine life without them.

We also often mourn the loss of our behaviors and addictions. We go through stages where we miss it terribly, even when it is harmful to us. We will avoid going to places that remind of us it, just like we might when we have lost a person or ended a relationship. Some people, especially in early sobriety cannot eat certain foods without thinking too longingly of the drink they used to have with it.

It is also common to go through a phase where we try to bargain and justify, like by saying we’ll only drink wine instead of liquor, or only binge once a week, or self-harm without puncturing skin. Not unlike people do when they lose someone and try to bargain with God or the universe. Making all manner of promises and oaths to have the person brought back or to be able to see them one last time.

When we think of the bonds we create, we almost always view them as bonds between other people. But we also form very close and intimate bonds with our destructive coping mechanisms. They occupy huge parts of our minds and our lives, and over time we become just as attached to them as we do to family, partners, and friends. This explains why they’re so hard to break. It requires a ton of patience and practice and leaning on others to process the experience. It is a relationship, and when we start to view it as a relationship, it becomes easier to speak about, and to say goodbye to.

Our Relationship With The Truth

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
Follow Michael on Instagram: @michaelcastcenters

Before I got sober, my life pretty much revolved around lying. I led a double life that required keeping a lot of secrets and telling a lot of lies. It is an uncomfortable topic for us to discuss, and though almost everyone lies, if you ask them, they will vehemently deny it. There is a lot of shame around our relationship with dishonesty. We are taught that it makes someone a bad person if they lie.

My experience has taught me tha is almost never the case. Often, people lie because they are in pain, shame, or fear. I think we can all have compassion for a person who is experiencing these emotions — they are difficult and we have all been there.

I am not advocating dishonesty, but advocating instead for compassion for those who struggle with it. There are those too who are so hurt, ashamed or fearful of reality that they have no accurate perception of it and therefore cannot speak to it; It is often not even conscious.

As we all know, being as honest and vulnerable as we can in recovery is a crucial piece to getting well. We cannot change that which we do not acknowledge. The more tightly we hang on to our pain, the more it will hurt us. It is helpful, if you are struggling with it, to take a step back from it and gain some perspective on it. Ask yourself, what is the reason that compels me to be dishonest? Am I attempting to control a narrative because I am scared of being seen for who I really am? Am I so hurt at the prospect of rejection that I would rather be dishonest and inauthentic?

There are some valuable lessons surrounding discomfort with the truth. These areas in our lives and in ourselves are worthy of nonjudgmental exploration and can expand our growth and sense of self.

A Delicate Balance

Director of Admissions, Robert Lien, MHA was interviewed about his role in the client journey towards recovery. Read an short excerpt below:

“Healthcare administration, in my experience, has been a delicate balance of patient safety and staff safety. The screening process allows us to gather information regarding the patient’s current medical and mental health status. This helps us evaluate a level of care recommendation that will determine the cost for services.”

Read the entire article on the Rasmussen College blog.

The Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

CAST Centers Resident Advisor, Michael Arndt, was quoted on the Thriveworks blog, on the best advice he was given as a client.

“Some of the best advice I was ever given while I was a client at CAST was that my past, and all the baggage that came with it, did not have to dictate the trajectory of my life, unless I allowed it to,” says Michael Arndt, Resident Advisor at CAST Centers.

“That I did not have to continue being a victim of what had happened to me before entering treatment. That was such a powerful thing for me to hear; it helped me shift my perspective on what I was struggling with. It was a message of empowerment and of taking responsibility for myself and my actions from that day forward. I believe it was one of the most important turning points I had on the road to recovery.”

Check out the full article.

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