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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Practice Gratitude

As you celebrate Thanksgiving week, consider this: Research shows that giving thanks and feeling grateful doesn't just make you feel good, it also helps your overall health. Better sleep, reduced stress, fewer aches and pains, less toxic emotions, and more resilience are just a few of the many benefits experience by grateful people. 

Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the small blessings in life will also help you on your journey toward addiction recovery. It will build your self-esteem, boost your outlook, and remind you that a sober life is well worth fighting for. 

Perhaps the best part: Developing an "attitude of gratitude" can be fairly simple. Here are a few tips to get you started.
  1. Start a gratitude journal and write in it for 15 minutes each night before lights out. 
  2. Call a loved one and express how much he or she means to you.
  3. Take a walk and take in the beauty of nature.
  4. Perform a small act of kindness for someone else – hold the door open for a stranger or write a thank-you note to a co-worker who has helped you in the past.
  5. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, or take it a step further and designate a “no-complaining” day once a week.
  6. Help others who are less fortunate than you by volunteering.
  7. Meditate and refer to your gratitude list, giving thanks to all of the small gifts in life.
  8. Cut out pictures of the things or people for which you are grateful and make a collage.
  9. Share your gratitude via social media. Post a tweet, Facebook post or photo on Pinterest or Instagram.
  10. Practice gratitude at the same time each day to make it a habit. For instance, begin dinner by giving thanks each night – not just on Thanksgiving! 
Finding Emotional Support at Hope Academy
A host of emotions inevitably arise as you begin working toward your sobriety goals. The professionals at Hope Academy can teach you to manage these feelings without resorting to substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Addiction: A Call for Action

It's been a busy week when it comes to raising the profile of addiction and advocating proven treatment options. A first-ever report dedicated to addiction, titled "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health," was just released on Thursday. 

Similar to the landmark Surgeon General’s report on smoking and tobacco, this report is set to change our national conversation and improve the health of Americans. But this time around, the topic is addiction – and how prevention, treatment, and recovery are all possible. 

"The most important thing is, we have to change attitudes towards addiction and get people into treatment," Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said in an interview. "Addiction is a disease of the brain, not a character flaw." 

Some highlights of the report include: 
  • One in seven Americans will face substance use disorder, but only 10% of those addicted receive treatment.
  • Every 19 minutes an American dies from opioid or heroin overdose.
  • The economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse and addiction amounts to $442 billion each year — topping diabetes at $245 billion.
In similar news, CNN ran a letter penned by Dr. Mehmet Oz and co-authors that urges President-elect Trump to focus his energy and resources on addiction and, in particular, opioid addiction. Part of the plea read: 

“Simply put, there is no reason we shouldn't approach addiction with the same focus and determination we do diabetes, heart disease or cancer.... [We] implore you, the 45th president of the United States, to make addiction a top priority in your administration. With millions of American lives on the line, how we respond to this crisis is a moral test for America; and how our next president responds to this crisis is a moral test for you, Mr. Trump.”

To correspond with the Surgeon General’s report, Dr. Oz also held a “National Night of Conversation,” urging “everyone across the country to have dinner with the people they care about and to break the silence on drugs and addiction by discussing it.” He created a printable guideline to help start the conversation at anytime.

Don’t Wait to Get Help
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Hope Academy is here to help. Our addiction treatment programs provides young adults with the tools needed to recover from drug or alcohol abuse, build confidence, and develop life skills for lifelong sobriety. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, November 11, 2016

6 Ways to Boost Your Body Image

Eating disorders and poor body image aren’t just “women’s problems.” And, in fact, food and body image struggles often surface for men after the substance abuse has ceased, during early recovery. 

Take heart: Help is out there and there are even ways that you can help yourself to feel better about your body. Start with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

Focus on what makes you, well, you. Your identity is not determined by body size, shape, or weight. It’s how you treat others and yourself as well as your unique gifts and potential. For example, are you patient, caring, creative, or a good friend? 

Remind yourself that everyone is unique. There’s no such thing as the “right” body or size; we are all different shapes and sizes. Spend less time striving for so-called perfection and more time accepting your body just the way it is. 

Marvel at what your body can do. The human body is pretty amazing, no matter what it looks like. Take note of the way your thighs help you run or jump or how your arms enable you to reach out and hug someone you love.

Think positively. Negative self-talk, like “I look fat” or “I’ll never lose weight,” does more harm than good. Replace any negative thoughts with positive messages. For example, “the number on the scale doesn’t define me. I’m a worthwhile person no matter how much I weigh.” 

Choose your friends wisely. Surrounding yourself with people who respect and support you is an important part of recovery, especially if you’re struggling with addiction and body image issues. Limit interactions with friends who are overly concerned with weight or appearance.

Reframe your thinking about diet and exercise. Physical activity and proper nutrition aren’t just tools for weight loss. Rather, they are critical in self-care and in providing you with the energy to succeed at sobriety.

Body Image Help at Hope Academy
For clients who struggle with body image issues as well as addiction, we offer dual diagnosis treatment. We encourage clients to address challenges they may be facing as their newly sober body begins to change. To learn more, call today: 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Habits That Do More Harm Than Good

Little acts of disorganization or dysfunction now and again may seem harmless. But, if you’re not careful, this type of behavior can turn into big confidence busters. It may even jeopardize your hard-won work during recovery. Ask yourself: “What are a few things that I do (or don’t do) regularly that may weigh on my confidence?”

Here are three common culprits:

Dodging adult tasks: Paying bills is frustrating but avoiding it isn’t the answer. Why? The bills pile up and so do your feelings of inadequacy. Enlist a friend or loved one to help you devise a plan to tackle those bills and stay accountable.

Uncontrolled clutter and disorganization: Constantly searching for bills, clothes, or even stuff in your purse or backpack can make you run late and reinforce habits of disorganization in other areas of your life. Simply put: Clutter drains your time, energy, and confidence. Since de-cluttering can be overwhelming, organizational experts recommend starting small – in time increments and space. Take one small section of your closet, for example, and set the timer for 20 minutes. When time is up, just leave it for another day.

Constant and deliberate procrastination: Waiting to the last minute to do something, whether pay a bill, fill up on gas, or buy that birthday gift for a loved one, may give you an initial rush but it can also lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Moreover, uncontrolled stress can be a slippery slope into using alcohol or drugs again.

Help With a Smoother Transition to Independence
Sobriety requires a lifetime commitment, but we’re here to help. At Hope Academy, our aftercare support services aim to help young adults ease the stress of overwhelming responsibility so clients can transition slowly back to the rigors of “real life.” To learn more, call 866-930-4673.
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