Finding Adventure Beyond Addiction

Life after treatment can be a terrifying leap for those who have worked hard to shed the hold of addiction on their lives. However, reaching true and lasting recovery can open up a life to more beauty and excitement than can be realized when in the midst of addiction. Beyond addiction, life is full of adventures to reach forward and grasp. Here are some tips on how to rediscover the adventure that life can offer after addiction…

Travel

Few things can be as invigorating after addiction as seeing the world through new eyes, and there are few ways to see the world through new ideas that are more fulfilling than traveling. Going places and seeing more of the world gives you the opportunity to make stories in recovery that help rewrite your own life story.

Serve Others

Once you have been through the battle that addiction puts your life through, it is difficult not to develop an empathetic viewpoint in life. There is great power in this viewpoint, especially on a road of service. In recovery, seeking out ways to serve your fellow humankind and make a difference in lives other than your own will help you flesh out this new outlook and give you more perspective on life than you had even before addiction.

Reinvent Your Social Scene

For many recovered addicts, the group of family and friends that supported them throughout their treatment played a major part in their physical, mental, and spiritual healing. However, there is a chance that the social circle from before your treatment was part of what led you to the path of addiction in the first place. Regardless of which of these fits your story more, meeting new people and finding new communities to be a part of are both great joys in life, and should be a part of life beyond recovery.

Find Activities that Inspire You

Find things in life that give you passion. Beyond recovery, you have the rest of your life to find new things to love and be thrilled about. Being free of addiction gives people a vibrant new outlook on life and all the wonders that it can bring people. Find the things that inspire you and follow those paths to your heart’s content.

Links Between Addiction And Athletes

Many people undertake athletic or sports activities as a way to be healthier. And athletes are much more robust than non-athletes, typically! However, there is one particular health problem that athletes might be more prone to, mainly because of their participation in athletics: addiction.

A 2017 study released in February by the University of Alberta examined the link between the high risks of addiction that are found among people who are athletes, and especially those who partook in team sports. Here are some of the surprising links that contribute to this higher rate of addiction.

Athletes are at A Higher Risk for Injury

When it comes to opioid addiction (although it could contribute to others, as well), the simple fact of the matter is that the high physical activity that most athletes participate in, puts them at a much higher risk of injury than someone who foregoes it.

Because athletes are at a higher risk of suffering injuries, it also means that they are more likely to get prescribed medical painkillers that are dangerous and addictive.

While these painkillers may be necessary, in some instances, they have also been provided at alarmingly high rates since 1999, which has led to the current opioid epidemic we are witnessing today. This connection to athletes isn’t especially surprising, but the connection goes deeper.

Cultural Aspects of Addiction in Sports

Some big reasons that athletes are at a higher risk of addiction are actually cultural, particularly when it comes to alcoholism and abuse. In team sports environments, the intense nature of what athletes are called to do lends itself to a type of work hard, play hard? Culture, which means that partying is quite popular in team sports.

Because teams often experience intense feelings of camaraderie, athletes are much more likely to drink when they see other members of their team doing the same thing. This phenomenon extends beyond alcohol, though, and can be attributed to different types of substances, as well. For instance, there are few athletes who utilize illegal steroid substances to boost their performance at sports.

Most Athletes are Younger

Another contributing factor to the link between athletes and a higher risk of addiction is that athletes tend to skew towards a younger demographic, for obvious reasons.

Young people, studies have shown, can be especially perceptible to trying new, dangerous substances. Because the athletic demographic is full of a younger crowd, more athletes are in a mental position to start abusing substances.

Americans Have Frequently Overcome Substance Abuse

When we think of the situation of substance abuse in the United States, it is frequently one of complete despair. We often hear about the spread of the opioid epidemic, and the rising numbers of addiction that we see in our society. However, the good news for those with addiction is that they aren’t alone in their struggle, and that there are plenty who have moved on from substance abuse. One particular new poll by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in New York found that a shocking 10% of American adults had beaten a problem with alcohol or illicit drugs (on top of that, 1 in 3 American adults had quit smoking, successfully).

Provides hope to those who struggle

These numbers should provide a great deal of hope to those who currently struggle with substance abuse. While it is easy to get caught up in our personal situations, which might feel bleak, it is important to remember that there are others who have climbed this mountain before us. If so many others can beat substance abuse, then surely we can, as well.

The shocking numbers who did it without treatment

When one breaks down the numbers, we begin to see how many people have beaten addiction in their lives. For example, about .6% of adults in the United States reported suffering from addiction in 2007. However, in that same study, nearly 3% of American adults reported having addiction in their lives, but not currently. By comparing these numbers, we see that well over 3 times the number of people have beaten addiction than are currently addicted.

Even when it comes to very severe and addictive substances, such as heroin, the numbers are more optimistic than you might think. One study on vets showed that only 1% of those who tried heroin had long term addictions. However, it is also important to see that most individuals do not develop a chronic disorder, and how that changes things.

Treatment is still needed, in many cases

Although these numbers are heartening, it’s important to note that there are still plenty of cases that necessitate treatment. Many substances that have a physical dependency associated with them can be dangerous for those who try to quit, and even lethal (indeed, this is how many overdoses occur). If anything, this information shows us that the numbers of those who quit substance abuse make it even more possible for those who are currently undergoing recovery treatment.

How to Help A Loved One Struggling With Addiction

If someone you love fights with an addiction, you might be left feeling helpless and unsure of what to do. Understanding addiction from the outside can be difficult. Here are some suggestions that should help you get some direction so that you can be an ally in your loved one’s recovery.

The first step is to encourage them to seek professional help. You can research doctors and resources that have experience with addiction. Your loved one should be evaluated by a mental health professional, as well as a physician. This allows them to understand more about the severity of their condition. It’s the first step in making things better. Help your loved one explore a few different options, and encourage them not to get disheartened if the first time doesn’t feel right–it might take a couple tries to find the right resource.

Once your loved one is getting professional help for their addiction, here are four ways you can continue to be a support:

1. PARTICIPATE IN GROUP COUNSELING

Many recovery programs offer group counseling or family counseling in which others are invited to participate. Let your loved one knows that you’d be happy to be a part of it, and then go in with an open mind. Be ready to confront your own misconceptions and feelings.

Other times, you’re not explicitly invited to group counseling, but very few places will turn you away if you’re just there to support a friend. So, if your friend’s first step in seeking help for addiction is to go to a group counseling session and learn more, you can hold their hand through it. Often, whether or not you struggle with addiction, there are amazing things that you can learn in counseling that will benefit you in life and empower you to help your loved one better.

2. LEARN ALL YOU CAN

Understanding more about addiction can help you be more sympathetic, and counter the frustrations that crop up for both you and your loved one in the process of recovery. Learn what you can do to help them avoid relapse triggers, and build up new, effective coping techniques. You can also learn about things that you can do to help them be healthier, like nutrition, or emergency resources, like Naloxone to counter opiate overdoses. If you’re worried your loved one is suicidal, or that they’re driving under the influence, there are plenty of resources you can reach out to here. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs)

3. EXPRESS LOVE, SUPPORT, AND CONCERN

The scariest thing about addiction is the way that it fills us with shame and causes us to withdraw. Addiction thrives in isolation and secrecy, so the best thing that you can do is offer your love, support, and empathy. This is an especially important step to remember when recovery takes longer than you or your friend both thought it would. After a relapse, it can be hard to stay positive and supportive, but it’s important that you keep showing them love and patience. Recovery is an ongoing process, not a quick fix.

4. SET BOUNDARIES AND STICK TO THEM

It’s important to remember that while helping someone struggling with addiction, you also need to take care of yourself. Don’t put up with violations of trust and personal boundaries. Draw a line between what behavior you are and aren’t okay with. For example, set a rule that your friend has to be clean and sober if they’re in your house. Or you can walk away from a conversation if they’re being irrational or violent. Setting your own boundaries and sticking to them can (1) help your loved one learn to set and honor their own boundaries, (2) remind them about goals that they’ve already set, (3) help them understand how their actions affect others.

The Myth of Harmless Hallucinogens

Hallucinogenic drugs have been available in the market for thousands of years, and have actually had cultural implications in many ancient societies. However, modern chemistry has led to the rise of several new hallucinogens, which are the most popular, such as LSD and PCP. As the usage rates of hallucinogens continues to rise, it has led to an increasing acceptance of the myth that hallucinogens are a harmless drug, since they pale in comparison to harder drugs, like myth or methamphetamines.

Here is some information about why this is a myth, and the dangers that are still associated with hallucinogenic drugs:

Behavioral Dangers

While there are far less physical dangers associated with hallucinogenic drugs than other substances, the physical factors of drugs like LSD are not what is actually dangerous. Indeed, the real danger of hallucinogenic drugs has to do with the fact that people under the influence of acid and PCP are going to do stupid things that they wouldn’t normally do. For example, driving under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug is incredibly dangerous.

Wide range of Hallucinogenic Drugs

The other thing to note is that not all hallucinogenic drugs are the same, in terms of their risks and dangers. While drugs like LSD and peyote might have minimal physical effects, other substances, such as PCP and Psilocybin, have much more extreme symptoms, such as vomiting and comas. Because of this fact, it is important to not apply your understanding of the relative lack of risk associated with one hallucinogenic drugs to all hallucinogenic drugs.

Long Term Brain Damage

For consistent use, year over year, hallucinogenic drugs can severely impact the way that the brain is supposed to function. Because of this, consistent hallucinogenic usage can contribute to long term brain damage, and especially memory loss. This very aspect of hallucinogens became a massive hot topic when government agencies experimented with the effects of LSD and similar drugs in the 1950’s. This led to a long string of lawsuits between agencies like the CIA and people who signed up for the tests.