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Addiction Recovery

June Lawrence is a recovering alcoholic. She’s proud of her journey and knows the incredible amount of work that goes into sobriety every single day, and she’s on a mission to support others find their way to a happy, healthy life through her site, Recovery Island.


5 Tips for Managing Money While You're Recovering From Addiction

I spent the majority of my life wrestling with alcohol and drug addiction. It took a long time for me to realize I even had a problem. Rehab, support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings showed me ways to deal with spiritual, emotional and even physical aspects of recovery. Yet, what I wasn’t prepared for was the financial side of things.

During the peak of my addiction, money was nothing but a means to an end, the end being bigger and better highs. When I got into recovery the first time, money was a pretty big instrument to my relapse. I had a new job, suddenly had more money in my possession than I ever had before and the stresses of my “9 to 5” coupled with my well-satisfied wallet sent me straight down the dark path once more.


Resources for Parents

Drug and alcohol addiction are more common with adolescents than most of us would like to believe. Many parents also find that they’re unprepared when they learn that their son or daughter is using and has developed a substance use disorder. If you’re a parent who has an adolescent child with a drug addiction, there’s plenty of help available. However, it’s important to know how to approach the subject with teens.

Most Common Types of Drug and Alcohol Abuse With Teenagers
While vaping is on the rise, the good news is that fewer 8th to 12th graders are drinking alcohol. In a 2019 survey, approximately 29.3% of 12th graders reported using alcohol in the last month. This percentage is actually down from 2014; that year, researchers gathered a rate of 37.4% using alcohol within the previous month. Binge drinking was also lower in 2019. Nevertheless, the rate of 14.4% of 12th graders reporting binge drinking may still seem high.

Additionally, the same survey found that opioid use, which includes drugs like such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, declined over the previous five years. The use of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and over-the-counter cold medicine has remained steady. Unfortunately, the perceived danger of using cocaine has fallen since 2013, with only 48% of adolescent respondents perceiving the use of cocaine just once or twice as dangerous.

The age range of 12-17 is generally considered a significant risk period for substance use disorder. Researchers believe that people who use drugs or alcohol at a young age are more likely to develop an addiction later on in life.

Ideally, you’ll take steps to prevent your teen from becoming involved with drugs in the first place. If you do find out that your adolescent has started using drugs and alcohol, you should address the situation in a way that does not make them feel more alienated. While it’s a difficult line to walk, you must remain engaged and supportive without allowing the substance use to continue.

6 Signs of Self Medicating with Drugs or Alcohol

Substance abuse and suicide are often connected, as some people attempt to self-medicate deal with stressful and uncomfortable situations. Turning to self-medication could potentially lead to suicide if underlying issues are left untreated.

Celebrating National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month! A time to reflect and focus on addiction recovery as well as the journey those in recovery have undertaken to get to where they are today. An estimated 22 million Americans are currently in recovery.

What Happens When You Mix Gabapentin and Alcohol? Side Effects and Dangers

Substance abuse and suicide are often connected, as some people attempt to self-medicate deal with stressful and uncomfortable situations. Turning to self-medication could potentially lead to suicide if underlying issues are left untreated.

Questions & Answers
Some Popular Questions from our Q&A Resources
What Happens When You Mix Gabapentin and Alcohol? Side Effects and Dangers
Why is it Important to Have Patience with Myself?
How Do I Know When I’ve Hit Rock Bottom?
Why Do We Self-Blame?
How Can We Teach Our Children to Express Their Emotions?
How Can I Become My Own Best Friend?
How Can Dissociation Impact Our Recovery?
How Does Dissociation Relate to Our Addictions?


Substance Use Continues to Rise During Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 has created many challenges and conditions that can contribute to addiction. It has caused stress, uncertainty, financial strain, joblessness, isolation, and other conditions that could trigger problematic use of addictive substances. People, especially those who are prone to addiction, may turn to substances as a way to cope with or escape from these current challenges.

What we are seeing during the pandemic is a rise in alcohol and drug use and abuse. Some people may have started substance use while others have increased their previous use. Let’s take a look at the statistics, the impact of social isolation, how to avoid substance abuse and treatment options for those who are experiencing it.


Growing Up With a Parent or Caregiver Struggling with Addiction

Emotional Reasons Why We Enable Our Loved Ones’ Addictions

How Our Loved Ones’ Addictions Affect Our Mental and Emotional Health
The Habits that Form Addictions
Finding the Valuable Lessons Within Our Emotions
Understanding Behavioral Addictions
Remembering the Purpose Behind Our Goals
Dealing with Misunderstanding
How Drugs Worsen Our Depression
Thought Addictions

Living with the Violence of Addiction

Many of us living with addiction also find ourselves in unhealthy relationships that are filled with toxicity, hostility and even violence and abuse. Many of us experienced relationships like these in our families while we were growing up. We witnessed domestic abuse within our homes, that we often were victims of as well. We tend to choose the relationships that mirror what we are most familiar with and the most used to, what makes us most comfortable, essentially our emotional comfort zone. The patterns we perpetuate come from what we know to be reality. When we get accustomed to violence, we are more likely to attract partners who continue these patterns with us. They are often addicts themselves, and we fall into cycles of enabling each other, lying and deceiving one another, and abusing each other. The violence we live with that is compounded by addiction is filled with unique challenges.

When we are living with addiction in our lives, we tend to have turbulent love stories that are filled with issues, problems, and danger. We are reckless, risky and throw caution to the wind. Our relationships are filled with ups and downs, drama and high emotions. We’re constantly fighting, breaking up, making up and then repeating the cycle. With abusive relationships, there is a cycle of violence that includes the high of the honeymoon phase as the first phase. We’re high on love, and high on the substances we’re addicted to. We feel good about life, sometimes we feel like we’re on top of the world. When we haven’t yet felt the low that inevitably comes with addiction, we still think we’re invincible.

After the honeymoon phase, all of our old habits and patterns that are still unhealed will return. Everything we haven’t healed from will present itself as a lesson, a spiritual test. We usually fall back into our old habits of self-destructiveness, and with abusive relationships, there is a lot of anger, contention, bitterness and resentment that we haven’t healed from yet. The violence we experienced as children, within our families, and within past relationships will again resurface, and our patterns will re-emerge. We haven’t healed from the pain within us. We haven’t learned healthy coping skills to handle the difficult emotions that will naturally arise for us.

Understanding the violence of addiction often means working to unearth all the past violence in our lives that we haven’t healed from, so that we can move forward in peace.
Because we’ve lived with addiction in our own lives, we know firsthand all of the other life complications that come along with it. We’re here to give you the support you need to help you heal from all of it. Call Riverside Recovery at (800) 871-5440 for more information.


Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Designed for long-term healing

Every level of care all under one roof
Addiction treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all, so at Riverside Recovery, we make sure each client gets exactly the kind of support and guidance they need at every stage of recovery. We work one-on-one with every client to create an individualized treatment plan, not only admitting them to the most appropriate level of care but also customizing their schedule and their therapies with specialized programs and approaches. We are proud to offer multiple levels of care on-site and to have several tailored treatment tracks geared toward clients with specific backgrounds and lifestyles.

Levels of Care
From detox to residential treatment to outpatient care and beyond, Riverside Recovery offers every level of care, all under one roof. Experience seamless care transitions and enjoy our beautiful facility on the banks of the Hillsborough River — we’ll meet you where you are on your journey of recovery.
Detox Program
Residential Treatment
Day/Night Program
Intensive Outpatient Program


7 Step Process To Regaining Trust In Recovery

Drug addicts lose things. It’s just what happens.

They lose money, they lose weight, they lose jobs, they lose freedom. From time to time, they will even lose their drugs. We all remember tearing our rooms and our cars apart for that little baggie that was just on our lap. The struggle is real…

At the end of the road, almost every drug addict will lose trust. Losing trust is possibly the most painful loss of all. It’s agonizing, knowing that your family hides their valuables before you come over, or hearing the tone in your mothers voice when you tell her you will do something for her and she just doesn’t believe you. It fills you with guilt and shame.

Trust is never taken, it is always earned. It’s one of the few Universal truths. It will always be this way, and because we are unable to take or steal trust, it makes it even harder to regain. There are no short cuts when rebuilding relationships.

I have spent a long time putting this together in my head. Together, we came up with a 7 step plan in rebuilding trust. If you want to earn someones trust back, and you are willing to earn it, then follow us.
Step One – First You Must Focus On Yourself
tep Two – Avoid Victim Mentality
Step Three – Build A Routine And Stick To It
Step Four – Just Do The Right Thing
Step Five – Don’t Ask For Praise Or Expect An Award
Step Six – Be Impeccable With Your Word
Step Seven – Be Consistent


7 Ways Recovering Addicts Can Give Back to the Community
Addiction has a way of making you feel helpless. Substance abuse disorders rob people of satisfaction in their lives, replacing the potential of personal fulfillment with guilt and shame in equal measure. When the brain is re-shaped to respond primarily to drugs, other responsibilities fall by the wayside, and relationships falter. Effective treatment focuses on teaching people to re-engage with the world in meaningful ways as a means of staying sober for good, and volunteering during addiction recovery is one of the best ways to do that.
Article Contents
Neurology and Addiction
Reasons to Volunteer During Recovery
Ways to Give Back by Volunteering
Giving Back and Getting More



During an individual’s time in treatment, accountability will play a key role in the healing and recovery process. Once the individual leaves treatment, accountability continues to play a role in whether or not they remain sober. But who will hold you accountable day-to-day?

What is Personal Accountability?
Accountability is all about sticking to your plan and recognizing the rules of your plan in recovery. However, it is also about taking responsibility for your actions and behaviors – every time, not just when you want to.

Remaining personally accountable in recovery is one of the greatest challenges you will face because accountability is often the first thing to be let go when you are struggling with addiction. You begin to hold yourself less accountable for your actions, and your family or friends may also hold you less accountable—thus you slip into the pattern of behaviors in which you do not take responsibility for the things that you do.

How You May Have Avoided Accountability in the Past
Using drugs or alcohol may be done as an excuse for other behaviors. Maybe you used drugs to make yourself feel better or to not have to deal with different scenarios in your mind. Often those who are in the early stages of addiction or who may be new to recovery are avoiding accountability as follows:

Using drugs that they are not in treatment for so that they can make up a different excuse as to why they are using a substance.
Failure to accept responsibility for actions while under the influence.
Denying any previous substance abuse when it is brought up.
Failure to accept the severity of the drug problem despite the fact that it truly is bad.
Blaming others when relapse occurs.
Avoiding important treatment steps that are known to facilitate recovery.
Acting out when recovery doesn’t go YOUR way.


Ways to Stay Positive and Happy in Recovery

Happiness is a goal for most people. There are dozens of books on every shelf about how to achieve lasting happiness. Those in recovery from addiction are no exception. In fact, it is believed that those who drink alcohol and use drugs are in search of continual, ongoing happiness and drink to achieve this state.

No one wants to feel sad, depressed or angry. However, it is necessary to feel the full spectrum of emotions in order to feel joy or happiness. Addicts usually drink or take drugs to stave off emotional upset. When a feeling comes up that they do not like, they drink or use drugs to mask the emotion.

Newcomers to recovery have a difficult time identifying their emotions. Most treatment centers come equipped with charts that help new members identify anger, rage, sadness, depression, happiness, etc. For counselors and therapists, the process of getting newcomers to determine their emotions can be challenging. This emotional vagueness may also occur in recovering patients’ family members as well as specific cultures, where emotions are not recognized as being pertinent to life.

Learning to name emotions is an important beginning in early recovery. When we learn to identify our emotions before they escalate into dangerous territory, we can begin to regulate our moods. This way we can become more aware of what is going on within us, which is crucial to long-term abstinence.

How do I feel?
Once we identify an emotion, no matter what it is, we are checking in to ourselves. Most newly recovering addicts have a great deal of anger to work through. They have pushed their emotions down during their drinking and drug use, making them similar to a pressure cooker ready to burst when the emotions begin to surface. Knowing that anger is coming up within us can help us work through what we’re feeling before going off the deep end and “acting out” the anger. This is called emotional regulation, which is a mature and grown-up way of dealing with our feelings.

Those who have been abusing nervous system depressants such as alcohol, heroin or pain medication tend to have depressed mind states. While they may not require medication, it is important to know that the low emotional state is there. People with depression are living a life of ongoing sadness and can become suicidal or return to drinking and using in order to relieve their depression. Not knowing that the depression is actually caused by their drinking and drug use, they will spiral down into a deeper state of hopelessness. The same is true for some stimulant abusers who are experiencing the downside of their stimulant drug withdrawals.

Identifying all emotions is a good way to begin to enjoy life in recovery. Once we process emotions that are new and previously not dealt with, we can move through those emotions and into new territory.

Finding the Goodness in Life
At first, newcomers may experience what is termed a “pink cloud.” This is a state of bliss that some will get just because they are not drinking and drugging all the time. They begin to feel good about their new behavior and are proud to be off the drugs and alcohol. While little has changed in their behaviors and lives, they still feel optimistic and good about their ability to remain abstinent.

Building on good feelings about recovery allows us to stay positive and happy, even when faced with situations that usually leads to despair and hopelessness. It is good to also start identifying when you are feeling positive, upbeat and happy about your life. Then, when these moments happen, you can identify what is actually creating the feelings.

Some people will experience new and improved relationships with family members which then brings contentment for the recovering addict. Others may have improved situations in their home, work or social environments. Some will feel better about attending support groups or 12-step recovery meetings. At the same time, new friends found in these settings can also feed into increased feelings of well-being.

Throughout your recovery, it is important to reinforce these behaviors and work toward establishing stronger grounds for good feelings.


The Big Question: How Do You Give an Employment Gap Explanation After Rehab?

Before we look at ways to gain confidence for your post-recovery job interviews, let’s tackle the elephant in the room first. Employment gaps on your resume will be obvious to any potential employer: they’re guaranteed to ask about them.

How do you navigate such a tricky subject without damaging your employment opportunities?

Option One: Tell the Truth (But Not the Whole Truth)
You don’t have to go into detail if you’re not comfortable or think it may harm your chances of getting the job.

The most important thing about explaining any employment gap is to put a positive spin on it. This will show employers that you are an optimist and likely to be a solution finder instead of a problem-creator.

You can tell your interviewers that you spent a period facing ill health and that you’re now fully recovered. Alternatively, explain your absence from work as a family crisis that needed handling but is now over.

Both of these options are the truth – but they still cover your privacy. Addiction is a legitimate illness, and it causes family crises, too. You’re not lying by keeping the detail as minimal as possible, yet offering some explanation will put employers’ minds at ease about your employment gap.

Option Two: Be Totally Honest
If you feel comfortable, be totally open and honest about your employment gap. This may depend on the type of employer you’re trying to land a job with, too. With a little research, you’ll get a feel on their approach to employee addiction recovery.

Some jobs may even benefit from a completely frank approach. For example, if you want to use your recovery experience to help others by working for an addiction center or community program, your real-life experience is essential to understanding clients.

If your addiction has affected your criminal record, make sure you’re up-front about this. If you don’t admit to a record and you’re hired, but your employer later finds out, they can fire you for misconduct.



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