blank   Click to listen highlighted text! blank

No More Reactions: Learn to be Proactive Instead

Posted on :  June 5th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

One of the most common problems for people who are fighting addictions is being reactive. While trying to change behavior, it is easy to get overwhelmed and let negative emotions and reactions take over. Instead of getting angry, frustrated, or confused, you can respond in a way that allows you to not lose your cool. These tips are designed to help you be mindful about your behaviors so you can pause before you explode. While not all of the responses are appropriate for every moment, you should be able to use these tips in some way that can help you.

Count to Ten: The pause is a tool that can help save you from saying or doing something you could regret. Any time that you start to feel anger, the best thing to do is to pause and count to ten. This will give your mind the time to calm down so you can address the situation without losing your cool.

No Conclusions: Many people suffer from their thoughts about other people. When we start to worry about what people think about us, we lose awareness of the world around us because we are so caught up in our thoughts. Instead of jumping to conclusions about other people, it is better to only focus on the facts about your relationship with that person. Assumptions are not real, they are only thoughts that can cause unnecessary suffering.

Walk in the Shoes of Others: Like drawing unnecessary conclusions, when you look at the facts surrounding the people around you, you can think about the facts that those people are dealing with. Instead of worrying about what those people are thinking about you (because you do not know), look at their real struggles. Maybe they are dealing with a loss of a loved one, changes at work, family problems, or health issues. People are generally reactive because they have too many stressors in their lives.

Not Knowing is OK: If you need to make a decision and you are unsure of your answer, it is perfectly fine to say that you are, ¨Not sure, yet.¨ If you are being pressured, this answer will relieve the pressure. It is better to leave the situation open then to answer in a way that can create more stress. There is nothing wrong with thinking about an answer before giving it so you do not regret the choice you made in a reactive situation. You could always say ¨No,¨ too.

Experience Your Emotions: Your emotions are perfectly human, so it is better to experience them when they arise. However, when they have served their purpose and the body no longer needs them, do not return to them by thinking about them. Thinking about past emotions can create stress and cause unwanted reactions. Your body will feel the emotion when it is needed, then will send off the emotion when it the time is right.

Feed Your Body: What you put into your body will help with your reactions to stressful situations. One of the most beneficial foods that helps reduce stress is green tea, especially if it is decaffeinated. If you do not like the flavor of green tea, it is best for your body to avoid any caffeinated beverages because they increase feelings of nervousness.

Exercise: Raising the heart rate is good for the body. As your body becomes stronger, more flexible, and fit, your self-esteem will increase. You will notice how good you feel and this will help you avoid reacting in negative ways. Whether you go for a walk, lift weights, or attend a yoga class, adding regular exercise will do wonders for you inside and out.

Contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042 for more information.


How to Be Productive

Posted on :  June 3rd, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

There are plenty of ideas about productivity, but Franz Kafka seems to say it all: Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before. This idea is never more true than for people who are managing their lives while overcoming addictions. Learning to live life without addictive substances is like doing things you were never able to do before. Productivity is a key to success. Here are some tips to be successfully productive:

Being busy is not being productive: Those who are busy tend to be overwhelmed, so they do not get much done. It can be tricky to identify a productive person, because they are not overwhelmed with busyness.

Important is greater than urgent. Many people are distracted from what they really need to do with what they think they have to do. If something comes up at the last minute, you do not always need to get it done. Your priorities are usually more important than anything that is extremely urgent. Weigh the urgency and whether getting it done is worth giving up getting something else done. There are only 24 hours in the day.

Time management is controlled by you. Time goes very fast. When you choose to waste it, you are making that choice. Be aware of what you are doing and make sure that it is a useful and productive. And yes, even relaxing can be productive!

Your priorities can be managed by the 80/20 rule. This rule involves the idea that 20 percent of our activities include 80 percent of important tasks. If you can stay on top of the most important things, your productivity levels will rise. You will feel like you have accomplished more by the time you go to sleep which will make you feel less stress. When you know the 20 percent, then you are less likely to waste your time on the other 80 percent of useless things.

Get a planner. Many of the most productive people have taken courses on using day planners. When you learn how to incorporate a day planner into your life, you will be able to better manage your day. You will learn to organize your life and make a habit out of filling in and checking your planner. You then take charge of time rather than letting it take charge of your day.

Manage your time like you manage your money. When you properly manage your money, you designate some of it to bills, to savings, and to discretionary funds. You can do the same with your time. Some of your time needs to be dedicated to obligations, like work. Some of it can be given to free time and that is the time that you need to manage because it is easy to waste that extra, discretionary time.

Make and use lists. People who are productive use their planners and they also use lists. When you are just starting out being aware of your productivity, the list should be a short one and should include what you would like to do on that day. As you get better control of your time, you can increase the tasks. Remember, that you do need occasional relaxation so that you do not get overwhelmed.

Work with your list. To make your list and planner more manageable, you can color-code or label the activities. Highlight the must-do activities in green. The activities that are not top priorities can be labeled in yellow. The other activities that can be done at any time should get a red highlight. If you can break up the big tasks into smaller tasks, you will notice the big tasks get done faster.

If you have any questions about addiction and becoming a productive citizen, do not hesitate to contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Could Journaling Help You Manage Your Addiction?

Posted on :  June 1st, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Journaling is a regular habit of several well-known celebrities. From Oprah Winfrey to Lady Gaga, celebrities use their journals to help them in a variety of ways. Journals help these people analyze their thoughts and dreams while also realizing possibilities. Sometimes, the celebrities will even share their deepest, darkest struggles, like the pop singer Fergie who shared information about her addiction to crystal meth.

Benefits of Journaling

Experts believe that journaling is a tool that offers several benefits. Taking a short amount of time each day to look at life helps keep people balanced. Addictions are tough to defeat and in many cases, recovery is a day-to-day process that can last for many years or even a lifetime. Journaling offers recovering addicts the place to remind themselves of their strengths, goals, and positive relationships, too.

Thinking on Paper

Writing is simply the act of thinking on paper. When recovering addicts write, they do it for themselves. They learn to process their emotions by reflecting on situations. They can use the journaling time to dig into those emotions. Addicts who are involved in therapy sessions can use their journals to work with their therapists or with their groups in a safe, judgment-free zone.

Writing Begins Now

If you want the most out of journaling, you actually have to journal. You only get the benefits if you actually write, rather than plan what to write. You should not censor yourself. Instead, take the topic and write. Use the valuable time to get thoughts out and free up your mind for other things.

Positive Support from Studies

There have been several studies conducted on the benefits of journaling and most found that regular writing is actually therapeutic. One of the most beneficial types of journaling involves writing about thankfulness. People who wrote about thankfulness ended up with better health than people who did not write. The indicators included feeling less fatigue and enjoying better moods. Researchers also found that regular journaling even improved heart health. People who write regularly describe it as being cathartic because they can unload their emotional baggage and begin to heal. This is why journaling is so helpful for people who are battling addiction and other health problems.

Decrease Health Problems

Journaling not only improves sleep and decreases stress, but it actually has been shown to improve the strength of the immune system, which in turn improves health. People who are out of work, managing addiction, or working through health problems will see better results when they write in their journals on a daily basis.

Get Started Now

The process of journaling is quite easy to begin. All you need is a notebook – you do not need to invest in a fancy journal – and a writing tool. Many people will write for 10 minutes, but you might need to build endurance before you commit to that time or a longer period of time. When you write, you do not need to make corrections to your spelling and grammar – you just write. When you are building your writing endurance, it is important that you write without stopping. Some people get so involved in their journaling that they forget the time. If you feel like this could happen to you, there is nothing wrong with setting an alarm. You can also use your smartphone or computer to journal. Using a smartphone gives you access to your thoughts at anytime and the work you do can be added to a computer to save it. There are plenty of apps for people who want to journal electronically.

If you are looking for support with journaling through addiction, just give Towards Recovery a call at 905-527-2042.


Develop Long-Term Habits

Posted on :  May 28th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Whether you want to build a good habit or a bad habit, the process is exactly the same. While it would be nice to just be able to do everything we want, it is too easy to get distracted or to turn back to habits we have developed over time.

When you are working on rehabilitation from a drug addiction, it is important to know what you need to do to develop habits that keep you away from the thoughts and actions that typically brought you to your addiction. Here are a few ways to get the good habits started so they really do stick:

Make a 30 Day Commitment: Habits are generally built in approximately three or four weeks. We condition ourselves and the start of the month is the perfect time to start the process. It works with starting a habit and ending a habit, so if you want to break your social media habit, stay off of the sites for a good month and you will no longer feel the need to update your status.

One Day at a Time: When you are trying to build or break a habit, you have to work on it every single day. Those first 30 days are vital to your success. If you want to add exercise to your daily routine, you need to exercise every day for those 30 days. Once you have committed to that time frame, you will build that habit into your daily routine and keep it up indefinitely.

Easy Does It: The famous saying ¨Rome wasn’t built in a day¨ applies to building habits, too. You cannot change your life right away, so start slowly and work your way up to your eventual goal. If you want to run every day, you might have to start running for 15 minutes and add time as you build stamina.

Consistency is Key: It does not matter if you are trying to build a homework habit, exercise habit, or another type of habit, you should designate a time and place. When you do this, every time you see that desk or see the time on the clock, you will feel the urge to do your homework or start exercising. Consistency will eventually trigger the behavior, so you do not have to really think about it much.

Find Friends: Support will help you build the habit or break the habit. It is helpful to have friends who are involved in the same habit so you look forward to seeing them when it is time to run, do homework, or stop smoking.

Fill in the Blanks: All too often, we try to replace bad habits with other habits. This means that you might have to replace something that you need. Maybe you are trying to give up social media. This could result in less time communicating with people you know. To replace that need, you might need to schedule time to talk to your friends during your free time.

Accept Your Flaws: Everyone will make mistakes along the way, so you should not punish yourself if you skip a day of exercising or you forget to complete your homework. You might need to start over another month or you might fail completely. This is ok, because you are human and you will make mistakes. Your failure might lead you to a different type of exercise or to a new way of spending time with friends that you would have missed otherwise.

Butt In: If you start to hear yourself use negative talk, butt in with the word ¨But.¨ Let’s say you are having a difficult time staying off of social media, so you think that you will not be successful in establishing your new habits. Instead of getting down on yourself, say ¨But, I will keep working at it¨ so you can redirect your thoughts and stay positive.

If you have any questions about addiction recovery, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Improve Self Esteem to Recover From Addiction

Posted on :  March 23rd, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Working through any type of addiction can throw a monkey wrench into anyone’s self-esteem. People who are working through addictions often have specific themes in their lives that they need to address. Most are looking for a reason for living, a place where they can be sober, and some need to get back to work. Others need to work on their relationships with loved ones. When people who are working on their addictions, these themes are difficult to manage until they have worked on their relationships with themselves – which is often called Emotional Competence. Instead of taking care of external issues, people who have emotional competence will work on themselves first. Without working on themselves, they cannot work outside of themselves.

Emotional competence involves self-awareness, -regulation, and -motivation. People who are looking for this should ask themselves about their feelings and thoughts, as well as their personal understanding of strengths and weaknesses. They should be able to control their own responses to stimuli so they are not impulsive. They are also usually looking for results through their commitment, initiative, and optimism. For people who have been torn apart by addiction and recovery, achieving a sense of emotional competence takes time and energy.

Low self-esteem is caused by several reasons, but those who are recovering from addiction do not necessarily need to know why their self-esteem is low. There are usually several reasons that cause low self-esteem; but since the past cannot be changed, it is better to focus on the present and future. Here are a few ideas to focus on improving self-esteem:

  1. Write about yourself. In a journal, you can begin improving your self-esteem by writing about yourself. You should write sentences about all of the things you like about yourself and all of the things you could like about yourself. You can make lists of these sentences or you can write in any other way that works for you. Only write positive things about yourself.
  2. Talk to yourself. When you do this, you give yourself affirmations about the good things. Your affirmations should be said in the present time about realistic things. You should say them to yourself in a mirror or record them on your phone. This makes them more realistic and meaningful. After you have said them aloud, add them to your journal.
  3. Give back. One sure way to improve your self-esteem is to share with others. This can easily be done by volunteering your time. Volunteering is a good thing and you will feel so good about helping people without asking for anything in return.
  4. Meditate. This might sound “new-agey” and difficult to do, but simple meditation just involves the breath and a thought. Meditation begins by focusing on the breath. You can then think about something you really enjoy. It is important to not judge yourself, because meditation takes time to do well, so start by meditating for two minutes or less and slowly build up in time.
  5. Get help. You obviously care enough about yourself to recover from your addiction, so you should also care enough to work on your mental health. A licensed therapist is a good option for working on your own self-esteem. The gentle, non-judgmental ear and supportive voice of a well-trained therapist can do wonders.
  6. Build a hobby. This could be something new or something that you have done in the past. If you love to knit, knit more. If you find that you enjoy volunteering, volunteer more. The time you spend doing what you love will keep you feeling good and help you build your self-esteem without having to think too much about it.

If you have any questions about addiction recovery and building self-esteem, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Know Your Triggers to Avoid Relapse

Posted on :  March 4th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

After you have given your time and energy to recovering from your addiction, it is wise to be aware of the common triggers that can bring a relapse. Falling into relapse often takes recovering addiction unaware, so learning about the triggers and understand what triggers could be your potential weaknesses can help keep you on the path to success. Addiction recovery is difficult to manage twice, and it is even more difficult if you have to go through it a second time.

For most people who are recovering from any type of addiction, there are several common triggers. These are a few:

Joining up with old friends and the old favorite places. The most difficult place for recovering addicts to go is the places they went when they were high. These places bring back conflicting thoughts and feelings that can make the brain want the euphoric feeling again. If you do go back to the old haunts, you will most likely run into the people who you got high with and they most likely are still getting high. The best way to avoid visiting the old places and the old people is to spend your time with people who are leading a healthy lifestyle, just like you. The new friends you meet while you are recovering will help keep you on the path to success.

Thinking that “just one” will really be just one. If you think that you can have one glass of beer or a hit of your favorite drug and then walk away, you are seriously mistaken. For most recovering addicts, it only takes one sip, puff, or snort to get back on the road to addiction. While you are recovering, it is best to avoid going places that might offer temptations. These places could be weddings, work parties, and other celebratory events where people might imbibe, smoke, or snort. If you stay home or spend your time with people who are dedicated to remaining sober, you will not be tempted. There is no reason to test your willpower. You only need to be true to yourself.

Staying in harmful relationships. While you are in recovery, you are working on making yourself better and healthier. If you have to work on yourself and a relationship that wreaks havoc on your recovery, you can believe that either you or the relationship will suffer even more. It is best to let go of the relationships that break you down and make you feel horrible. Some recovering addicts, who are unable to let go, often end up going back to drugs just to get away mentally from the relationship. You should only surround yourself with people who will support your journey to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Making poor choices. When you are dedicated to getting sober, there is nothing wrong with going all-in. Making poor choices about your diet, sleep habits, and leisure time can make recovery take longer. While defeating your addiction, you can make your entire lifestyle healthier by eating real, unprocessed food; making good choices about your sleep and wake cycles; and building a healthy body by exercising during your leisure time. With a healthy body, mind, and spirit, you will be able to conquer your addiction before you know it.

Entering into nerve-racking commitments. While you are recovering, you could take on a goal that you have always wanted to accomplish. But, it is not a good idea to enter into too many. When you take on too many commitments, you only add stress to your life. You have enough stress just taking care of yourself on a day-to-day basis. The best idea is to add balance, not to tip the scales out of your favor.

Contact us at 905-527-2042 with any questions about drug addiction and recovery.


The Change is Coming

Posted on :  January 26th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Addiction is not the end of the world. With help from Towards Recovery Clinics, you can get your life back by making a positive change. Quitting an addiction to anything – especially an opioid, but with our help and your dedication, you can recover successfully.

If you are considering making the move to end your addiction, you should be aware of the realities that come with making a major life change. Change is difficult for many people, but once you take the first step, the rest of the steps get closer. The steps might not be easy, but each one takes you closer to living a healthy life free of addiction. These are some considerations that you need to make before you take the first step towards recovery:

Do you feel the need to make a change? If your life is falling apart, you might be ready to change. Many people need to reach rock-bottom before they realize that they must change or they will die. Losing a job, a spouse, freedom, health, children, and life savings are good reasons to step into Towards Recovery Clinics and begin the road to recovery.

Can you see that you have a problem? Accepting that you have a problem is often the first step to getting help. If you know you have a problem and that problem is heroin, now is the perfect time to get help. For some people, the first time they recognize that they have a real problem is when they overdose and face death.

Are you ready to make a commitment? Recovery is not an easy journey; it will take time and energy. Making the commitment to living a better life does not involve anyone else – YOU are the only one who has to make the commitment. With a strong commitment, you will make it through the ups and downs that come with recovery.

Do you understand that the road to recovery will be unpleasant? Quitting an opioid addiction is one of the most difficult things that anyone can ever do. At Towards Recovery Clinics, we work hard to help you along the way, but you have to do most of the work. There will be times when you might feel like giving in to your addiction, but you should know that we are available to listen and help you continue down the path to recovery.

Are you willing to change? Whether you have a strong will or not, you will need to have the will to change if you want to actually change. There is no good excuse to return to opioids if you have begun the road to recovery. Your will and our help should keep you working towards success and away from your addiction.

Do you have hope? Before you can even begin to recover from an addiction, you have to have a vision of what your life will be like without addictive substances. Once you have the hope for success, you need to believe that your hope will come true. Your recovery might not be exactly the way you envisioned, but recovery is better than addiction.

Do you have a network of people who support you? While you are the one who will be working hard towards recovery, you do need people who will be your cheerleaders. A strong support system of family and friends can make a big difference in your journey to recovery. You cannot do this alone.

If you are able to answer these questions positively, then you are ready to take that step towards recovery. We encourage you to give us a call: 905-527-2042.


Natural Insomnia Treatments

Posted on :  January 12th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Patients who are recovering from addiction, even those who are in treatment with methadone, often have trouble with sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep, you could have insomnia which is a real sleep disorder that can become chronic. Getting regular sleep is important to maintain a good quality of life, especially when you are dealing with the stresses of recovery.

Recovering from opioids can lead to insomnia for several reasons. Because the brain is changing to life without heroin, the brain could have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Some people recovering from addiction could have other health issues that make it difficult to sleep. Even the chemicals in addictive substances can alter the cycles of sleeping and waking. Since many people who are recovering from addiction are used to passing out instead of falling asleep, they have to relearn how to go to sleep at night.

Instead of using chemicals to fall asleep, there are other options that work just as well. These methods can actually help with recovery because people learn how to use their bodies instead of medications to help themselves:

Build Sleep Habits

One of the best ways to defeat insomnia is to develop sleep habits. The best way to do this is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night and day. Sleeping in on the weekends can make a mess of sleep habits, especially if you are trying to get your body on a regular cycle. Eventually, your body will start to feel better after developing a pattern of being awake and being asleep. Sleep hygiene (in the form of sleep habits) can even help with headaches that can accompany recovery.

Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day

It is also a good idea to stay away from caffeine, especially in the afternoons and evenings. Caffeine can affect people for more than six hours after ingestion. Energy drinks, as well as coffee, tea, and sodas can affect sleep cycles, which can cause setbacks along the road to recovery. If you have questions about caffeine and how to fit it into your schedule, you should talk to your Towards Recovery therapist.

Build a Haven of Relaxation

Your bedroom should be a haven of comfort. It is best to remove distractions like televisions, computers, pets, and unnecessary lights. The room temperature should be comfortable – not too warm or cold. When you are in recovery, it is a good idea to sleep on your own, until you have developed a sleep pattern that helps you. Blue light inhibits sleeps, so turning on the television will not help you develop a sleep habit.

Do Not Hit the Snooze Button

Many people think that setting their alarm clocks early will help them get up earlier. Unfortunately, most people just hit the snooze button, which does not help people wake up any earlier than they planned. When you hit the snooze button, you actually end the best part of sleep – REM. It is best to set the alarm clock for when you really need to wake up.

No More Naps

Another way to mess with the wake-sleep cycle is to take naps because they will prevent you from falling asleep at night. Even though naps are an enjoyable way to relax in the afternoon, they do keep people awake at night.

Add Exercise to Your Day

It is also helpful to exercise every day. Even if you can take a short walk each day, try to do it. When you do exercise, you should avoid exercising close to your bedtime because your body could be too energized to fall asleep.

Create a Soothing Set of Rituals

Lastly, you can benefit from creating a ritual before bed. It is best to develop a series of rituals before bed. Some people enjoy reading or soaking in a warm bath along with taking care of the teeth and brushing their hair. Some will also pray or meditate as a way to relax the mind before resting for the night.

Contact Towards Recovery for more information. But if you need help or treatment, we encourage you to contact us on 519-579-0589.


Getting Back to Life after Addiction

Posted on :  December 4th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Addiction is a constant battle. There is nothing pretty or easy about addiction and those who have been stuck in the ditch of addiction have had difficulty getting out of the mud and back onto the road of life. Instead of continuing to suffer and be an addict, there are severals ways to defeat addiction and get back into the real world of normality.

Challenging Recovery Options

Addiction to opioids is one of the most challenging addictions to fight. Fortunately, methadone or another opioid replacement therapy can help make the fight more successful for you. The first step is the hardest.

Once you take that first step of looking for help with methadone, the rest of your addiction recovery will be easier to manage. You will be able to reflect on your addiction and your life. You will also be able to assess your way of life and community. You will be able to look into creating a life of successes that are not connected to opioids. You will also be able to manage the feelings that recur as you fight the good fight.

Recovery Takes Time

People with any type of addiction should know that you cannot recover overnight. Steps to recovery occur bit by bit, one day at a time. You might not ever completely return to a sense of complete normalcy, but that is not the goal of recovery. You need to experience progress, but you will never experience perfection. You might even feel like you take a step forward one day, only to take a step back the next. This is the normalcy that patients recovering from addictions experience. If you can take joy in the little things, you will have a better experience with your personal journey of recovery.

Commit to the Journey and Take the First Step

Fighting an addiction requires taking the first step. Like a hero on a journey, you must cross the threshold into your new life free from addictive substances. You need to commit to the journey. Then you can begin to count the steps and recognize that no journey ends in 24 hours. You will gather friends and companions along the way. You will have tests and quests, too. Your journey will be exciting and adventurous, but it will also contain fear and danger. These tests are what will help you grow and heal.

Learning about Patience

You will need to develop some abilities and traits as you travel along your journey to recovery. The first trait is patience. People fighting addiction will notice that the world might move faster than you remember, so you should look into yourself and enjoy the world at your own pace. To do this, you will need patience through therapy, mindfulness, and other methods. Once you develop patience, you will not lose it.

Building a Sense of Purpose

You also will need to develop a sense of purpose. You need to commit to a person or a goal. Your first goal might be to avoid your addiction. You then might develop goals about your mental and physical health. When you have a purpose, you will enjoy waking up in the morning and going about your business. You might even decide that you want to have a purpose of being a good spouse, parent, child, student, employee, or friend. You might even decide your purpose is to help others with their recovery. But, you cannot gain the sense of purpose if you do not take that first step to get the help you need.

Contact Us for Help with Your Journey

If you are in the early stages of recovery, you might not have developed patience or established a purpose. Do not worry. The time for both will come. At Towards Recovery Clinic, we can help you with all of your opioid recovery needs. Our progressive counselling team will guide you through the first steps toward success. Contact us on 519-579-0589 if you have any questions.


Beware of Isolation During Recovery

Posted on :  October 22nd, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When going through the recovery process, a substance abuser has many challenges to face. However, one challenge that an individual may not be aware of is isolation. Isolation is both an obstacle and an enemy to recovery efforts—and is often a major culprit when it comes to relapse. Recognizing and dealing with the symptoms is crucial to ensure a successful recovery.

Isolation signs and symptoms

Isolation is more than just feeling lonely or being separated from others; it is a complex phenomenon that can trigger a number of signs and behaviours—ones that may lead to a relapse. Here are some common signs and symptoms of this danger.

  • Blaming others. Pointing the finger at other people is often an indication that a recovering addict is attempting to isolate himself, often as a form of self-protection. However, doing so creates emotional distance that could lead to a relapse.
  • Ceasing healthy or enjoyable activities. If during recovery an individual gives up hobbies or other pleasurable activities, consider it a warning sign. The same goes for changes in other healthy behaviours such as exercise and eating well.
  • Engaging in secretive behaviour. Sneaking around or simply withdrawing from family and social settings is another indication of potential trouble.
  • Falling back into negative self-talk. Many recovering addicts have self-esteem issues, which often improve during recovery. However, if a former substance abuser falls back into negative self-talk, it is often a sign of isolation.
  • Feeling hopeless or defeated. Feelings of hopelessness or defeat often lead to a person distancing himself from others.
  • Feeling lonely. Isolation is often characterized by feelings of loneliness. If they intensify or become more frequent, it is a cause for concern.
  • Feeling bored. Boredom is another danger sign during recovery. Not only can it lead to isolation, it can tempt an individual to start abusing again, simply because there is “nothing else to do.”
  • Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed or experiencing a lack of control can cause a person to withdraw and seek solace in drugs and alcohol, instead of talking with others.
  • Having heightened feelings of anger or resentment. Increased feelings of anger, resentment and frustration pose a danger to those in recovery. In an effort to hide or escape these feelings, isolating oneself is, usually, the end result. This could potentially lead to a relapse in order to avoid looking at the issues behind the feelings.
  • Having stronger or more frequent cravings. Problems with cravings can also lead a person toward isolation. Many times an addict feels shame or failure for experiencing cravings and hides instead of seeking help.

Dealing with isolation and its symptoms

Although dealing with isolation is a challenging prospect, it is important to tackle it head on as soon as possible. Ignoring symptoms in the hopes that they go away is risky at best and damaging at worst—with the possibility of a relapse always hanging in the balance.

The most effective strategy for dealing with isolation is to have a strong support system, one that includes a variety of sources such as family, friends, groups and professionals. There is no underestimating the value of supportive family members when dealing with the isolation experienced during recovery. The same goes for nurturing friendships. However, a support system must include more than loved ones. Although their love and concern are helpful, a recovering addict also needs people who can specifically relate to his unique experiences of isolation, such as other recovering addicts. Group therapy or 12-step meetings can fill that gap. Finally, professional counselling or a treatment recovery program can successfully help an individual deal with the difficulties of isolation during recovery.

Isolation is an issue to be aware of while going through recovery, but thankfully, it’s an issue that doesn’t need to be faced alone.

If you’d like to learn more about dealing with isolation during substance abuse recovery, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, you can make the first step by contacting Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey. Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.




Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
Click to listen highlighted text!