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Friday, October 30, 2015

It’s Not About You: 3 Ways to Avoid Letting Tough Customers Get the Best of You

avoid letting tough customers get the best of youWhen it comes to working with the public in your post-rehab job, it’s easy to get discouraged. Sometimes it seems that you’re surrounded by people who are stressed, overwhelmed, and angry—particularly if you work in a customer service setting. Conflict is unavoidable, but it helps if you prepare to deal with difficult people before you encounter them. Most importantly, remember that your old, maladaptive coping strategies (turning to drugs or alcohol) are no longer an option. Now is the time to develop constructive ways to deal with workplace and social stress.

Whether the people you encounter are handling situations poorly, taking their anger out on you, or are just plain rude—the following tips can help you remain in control of yourself and your responses.

1. Take a breath before reacting. 

Take a deep, abdominal breath before responding to an angry customer. If you respond in kind, the situation could escalate. Studies show that practiced, diaphragmatic breathing (1) increases oxygen to the brain, and (2) stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to induce a state of relaxation.

2. Remember—it’s not usually about you. 

There are times when it is appropriate to correct your behavior or apologize to a client, but don’t get defensive if their frustration has nothing to do with you. Defensiveness is the number one reason we overreact to a difficult person. When we feel personally attacked or begin to internalize criticism, it is tougher to problem-solve. An angry customer is most likely frustrated with their service experience or unhappy with a product they purchased. Begin repeating in your head, “This is not about me. He is not upset at me; he is upset about his circumstances.” Then, listen to understand and ask questions to clarify the complaint. You do not have to put up with continuing verbal abuse, though. If you cannot solve a customer’s problem, offer to involve a manager before the situation gets out of hand.

3. Lower your voice.

As a customer’s voice escalates, consciously speak lower and slower in return. This type of response indicates your commitment to handling the situation in a professional manner, and may also have a calming effect. If you are responding to customers online through email or instant chat, take a deep breath and compose yourself before firing off a response. Remember, it’s usually not about you, and this is no time to pour kerosene on an already fiery situation.

Maintaining Sobriety During Stress 

When life stress has you contemplating a drink or a fix, call your therapist, your sponsor, or the Hope Academy team. Our credentialed addiction specialists are here 24/7 to answer your questions and provide post-rehab support, and our relapse prevention planning and sober communities are designed to help you achieve sustained sobriety as you return to school, work, and social situations. To learn more about our vocational training and college prep services click here. Dial 866.930.4673 to begin the admissions process or inquire about insurance and self-payment options.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Returning to College as a Military Veteran

military college drug addiction rehabTransitioning from military life to academics is always a challenge, and can be particularly difficult for veterans returning from deployment. Most veterans find that college life lacks the structure and consistency they are used to, and that they must learn to manage their personal and school time while fighting to reintegrate themselves into an unfamiliar civilian environment. For veterans returning from war or dealing with duty-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this shift is even more difficult.

Addiction & Military-to-College Transitions 

In some cases, veterans who have trouble adjusting to college life turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape from anxiety, academic stress, and relationship challenges. Many develop alcoholism or drug dependencies due to circumstances outside their control. Symptoms that can lead to addiction when they go unchecked include:

• Nightmares & insomnia
• Mental health conditions like PTSD, OCD, or bipolar disorder
• Suicidal thoughts
• Inability to focus on school
• Difficulty making new friends
• Feelings of numbness & hopelessness
• Lack of social & academic motivation
• Feelings of paranoia
• Inability to enjoy leisure activities
• Irritability, frustration or anger

Veterans may be seeking temporary respite from these debilitating symptoms when they decide to drink or use drugs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for substance use to quickly move from occasional and controlled to frequent and addictive—which leads to further problems in the form of depression, physical and psychological dependence, social isolation, and academic failure. If you or someone you love finds themselves in this situation, sober colleges, sober living communities, and young adult addiction treatment centers can help. Veterans transitioning to college should also have a stalwart support system in place, including family, friends, pastors or therapists that they can turn to when civilian or academic life becomes too much to bear.

California Sober College for Veteran Drug & Alcohol Treatment

If you are a veteran or college student caught in the throes of substance abuse, Hope Academy could be the ideal rehab program for you. If you’ve recently returned home from deployment or are considering a transition from military to civilian life, our peer-based rehab program can help you manage stress without relying on a dangerous drug or alcohol addiction. Blending evidence-based addiction recovery programs with the opportunity to attend college or vocational training, we help military veterans and civilians prepare for a life of sobriety and success. To learn more about our college home and sobriety program, click here. To discuss insurance coverage and payment options, call 866.930.4673 today.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Politicians Reflect Changing Attitudes on Substance Abuse

politicians changing attitudes substance abuseFor decades, if drugs and alcohol were mentioned at all in a presidential campaign, it was in reference to the “war on drugs” or some scandal. Now, with the 2016 Presidential Primary season fast approaching, a new narrative about drug use is emerging from both Republican and Democratic candidates. Some presidential hopefuls are recognizing the terrible toll that substance abuse is taking on families and on society in general, and they are starting to move away from the policies of the past.

Less Incarceration, More Treatment

One of the biggest changes in the drug-use conversation has to do with sentencing of young adults and nonviolent offenders. In the past, much of the dialogue was centered on mandatory sentencing for illegal possession of drugs. In recent months, however, both conservative and liberal candidates are bringing attention to the fact that, as Carly Fiorina has put it, “When you criminalize drug abuse, you’re actually not treating it.”

Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Martin O’Malley have all either proposed or signed legislation that makes substantive changes in the way non-violent drug offenses are prosecuted. Hillary Clinton is advocating a federally funded drug treatment program as one of her campaign issues. Jeb Bush, Christie, and Bernie Sanders have visited treatment centers and talked at town hall meetings with families touched by addiction. These politicians are starting to recognize addiction as a disease that can affect anyone.

Ditch the Stigma 

Part of the change in drug-related rhetoric is coming from candidates whose lives have also been touched by the tragedy of substance abuse. Christie lost a close friend from law school to addiction, and Fiorina’s stepdaughter died of an overdose. Bush has watched as his daughter deals with ongoing issues of recovery.

Perhaps, it is this first-hand knowledge of the heartache of substance abuse that is leading to a political shift from stigmatizing addiction to calling for effective treatment. Whatever the reason, recovering addicts, their families, and drug abuse specialists welcome the change.

Restorative Addiction Treatment

At Hope Academy, we recognize that the stigma of addiction can sometimes impede drug and alcohol recovery efforts. When you come to our beautiful CA seaside recovery center, labels are left behind. Individualized treatment, holistic therapies, college classes, and vocational training help you restore your mind, body, and spirit and prepare you for a life beyond drug abuse. Our skillful medical professionals and caring staff focus on helping you achieve sobriety and lasting recovery. Call 866-930-4673 to learn about our credentialed addiction specialists or to check out insurance and financing options for your individual recovery needs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rock and Roll: Does It Help or Harm Recovery?

rock and roll therapy addiction treatment rehabRock and roll has been synonymous with sex and drugs for decades, two things that people recovering from substance abuse are decidedly better to avoid. However, music therapy (and particularly rock therapy) has recently emerged as a supplement to traditional addiction treatment approaches, and a growing number of experts are getting on board with the positive results. Even so, a central question still lurks in the minds of both patients and caregivers alike: can rock and roll provide an energetic and positive creative outlet, or are the life
style messages too counterproductive and damaging?

The Positive Aspects of Rock and Roll Therapy

While rock and roll has, since its very inception, come under fire for glamorizing dangerous and self-destructive lifestyles, this is not what rock and roll therapy is about. Addiction treatment programs that incorporate rock therapy don't engage with this aspect of music culture; instead, they provide participants with a healthy, creative outlet for working through stressful situations that might otherwise lead to relapse.

Participants in sober living and aftercare rock and roll therapy programs have been singing the praises of this creative approach to addiction treatment, citing a long list of benefits. First, music has been clinically proven to be one of the very best natural "medicines" for the soul; its ability to transcend everyday experience and create positive feelings in the listener or participant is second to none. Beyond the inherent healing power of music, rock and roll therapy provides an expressive outlet for working through the everyday problems and frustrations that tend to send addictive personalities spiraling into a cycle of self-medication.

While exposure to a genre of music that has historically celebrated indulgence hasn't yet caught on in the addiction treatment mainstream, a growing body of evidence seems to show that, in the right environment, there are many advantages. The key is to be engaged with this type of therapy alongside a group of people striving toward the same positive goals. Done right, rock and roll therapy can be a powerful alternative to conventional treatments—and is ideal for a young adult population that relies heavily on music as a source of creativity and empowerment.
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