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The Importance of Nutrition in Your Teen’s Recovery

The Importance of Nutrition in Your Teen's Recovery

Addiction and substance use has several adverse effects on the body. These effects can be more severe for your teen during their developmental stages. You’ll begin to recognize the effects of addiction on your teen by the physical effects. Nutrition is exceptionally beneficial in your teen’s recovery as it can improve these effects and foster a healthier lifestyle overall. 

Addiction recovery requires your teen to be cautious about what they put in their bodies. This includes being cautious about the food they consume. Nutritional changes can make a difference in your teen’s recovery, and Clearfork Academy can help your teen develop a healthy nutrition plan.

Effects of Substance Use on the Body

The effects of substance use on the body vary depending on the body’s reaction and the substance used. In teenagers, the risks associated with the effects of drug use are more severe because the brain and body are not fully developed. 

Substance use can slow down the development process, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that regulates our decision-making. So, as a result of the impaired development, you may observe your teen making riskier decisions. Such decisions can wreak havoc, especially if they put your teen in danger.

How Drugs Affect the Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drugs affect three main parts of the brain, including: 

  • Brain stem: The brain stem regulates “all the functions our body needs to stay alive.” This includes breathing, blood circulation, and digestion. The brain stem signals everything going on in the body to the brain. 
  • Limbic system: The limbic system controls emotional and behavioral responses.
  • Cerebral cortex: The cerebral cortex regulates the senses, helps us process information, and is in charge of problem-solving skills. 

The vast majority of these parts of the brain are not yet developed until the age of 25. If substance use significantly impacts these parts of the brain in teens, there’s a great risk of having irrevocable effects on the brain of teens if untreated.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for in substance use among teens. It may include: 

  • Slurred speech 
  • Bloodshot eyes 
  • Disinterest in once pleasurable activities
  • Excessive weight changes 
  • Unusual sleep patterns

You may also infer that your teen is suffering from substance use based on who they are hanging around. You may notice they’re spending time with people unfamiliar to you or pushing the boundaries of curfews and home rules. It can be difficult to get them to open up, but recognizing the signs early on makes all the difference in preventing further adverse effects of addiction.

Behavioral Changes

Behavioral changes will present themselves in home life and school life. You may notice your teen’s grades dropping significantly or that they’re running into disciplinary problems at school. Psychologically, their personality may be completely different. 

It’s normal for teenagers to change as they grow. They mature and begin to have their thoughts and opinions. Noticing changes in personality is normal as they enter into early adulthood. However, certain changes will be drastic. Especially if you find your teen is engaging in behavior that’s putting others or themselves at risk more frequently, it’s more than just a change in personality.

Substance Use and Nutrition

Eating habits can be a big indicator of addiction and substance use. Therefore, dietary irregularities cause harm to the body. The body’s ability to process food changes, organ function may be impaired, and general mental health will suffer.

The effects of improper nutrition may vary depending on the substances used, but recovery is the ideal time to improve nutrition. Substance use disorder (SUD) can lead to a high risk of malnutrition, which can intensify substance-seeking behaviors; for this reason, making healthier choices today can be life-changing tomorrow. Your teen can make these choices by setting short-term goals, and incorporating movement into their day, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a few times a week.

The Path to Recovery and Better Health

Making these changes in diet focuses on being cautious about what we put into our bodies. This is a practice of mindfulness. Recovery is about living more mindfully. Mindful practices toward a healthier and nutritious life will help your teen practice choices of mindfulness in every area of their life.

Clearfork Academy’s residential treatment program for adolescents can help your teen live a life of recovery today. Our clinical interventions and program curriculum will allow your teen to practice mindfulness when it comes to nutrition, recovery, and other life choices. Reach out to Clearfork Academy for support in getting your teen treatment today. 

Substance use has adverse effects on the brain and body that could lead to an impaired ability to make decisions, think rationally, or malnutrition. Addiction recovery focuses on being more mindful about your decisions, especially decisions pertaining to what you put into your body. Prioritizing nutrition is essential for your teen’s recovery. Clearfork Academy’s substance use treatment program can help your teen practice mindfulness and improve life and nutrition choices. Such practices, in addition to our other effective individual and group therapy programs, work to help your teen develop the healthy habits necessary for sustaining recovery. With us, your teen will achieve the confidence and motivation necessary to pursue the future they deserve. If your teen currently needs help, don’t wait. To find out more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604

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What to Expect Through the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

What to Expect Through the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is not a linear process. Since addiction is a chronic condition, addiction recovery follows several stages. The first is pre-contemplation, where the person does not recognize a problem with their substance use disorder. Through contemplation and preparation, the person grows closer to realizing that they have a problem. Then, after gathering information and support from others, they begin their journey through action and maintenance.

One thing to remember is anyone can recover.

The Importance of Knowing the 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

When entering recovery, a teen may have to deal with cravings, irritability, and other uncomfortable symptoms. It makes it difficult to see the value of treatment or imagine a life free from drugs and alcohol. By understanding the five stages of addiction recovery, your teen can help empower themselves to get through the early stages of sobriety. Ultimately, knowledge about the five stages of addiction recovery can help you intervene at the right time to help a loved one who is abusing substances.

Addiction affects brain chemistry and wreaks havoc on the body, but your teen and family can recover with treatment.

The 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

The five stages of addiction recovery are pre-contemplation, contemplation, action, maintenance, and relapse. An individual recovering from SUD  may not necessarily go through all the stages in order. They also may need to go through the same stage again.

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

People in this stage of addiction recovery do not see a problem with their use of drugs or alcohol. They do not intend to stop using and may become defensive if confronted about their behavior. They may say, “I’m not addicted” or “I can quit whenever I want.” People will seek out “normal” experiences while they continue to use alcohol or drugs in this stage. Though their life may lack any balance, they can’t see what their drinking is doing to them or the people around them.

A person in this stage might think someone else, like their boss or spouse, is to blame for reminding them about their drinking. They usually need external pressure from family and friends to get them to consider quitting.

Stage 2: Contemplation

In the contemplation stage of recovery, people struggle with ambivalence about making a change in their lives; people may feel torn between the desire to move toward recovery and continue using drugs or alcohol. People contemplating constructing a change often ask themselves, “Am I an addict? Do I have a problem? Is it worth it to quit? Essentially, they begin to realize the negative impact of substances in their lives like:

  • Missing out on important social events.
  • Unable to achieve their life or academic goals.
  • May have lost interest in recreational activities.

Despite seeing the consequences of SUD, they still hold some ambivalence over sobriety and seeking treatment. In this stage, teens battling SUD try to find ways to use drugs and alcohol that allow them to function well enough to avoid any potential problems. Unfortunately, someone with a SUD can’t continue functioning well enough without treatment.

Stage 3: Preparation

In this stage, the teen starts working with their family on a plan to overcome their SUD. People in this stage will often make lists and set goals to prepare themselves for SUD treatment and recovery. With their family, they research their treatment options. At this stage, parents and family members must encourage the teen. Parents can do this by gently pressing them as they consider their options and decide whether or not to go to treatment.

Stage 4: Action Stage

The teen commits to remaining sober. This is when healthy behaviors begin to replace unhealthy ones. The teen with the SUD starts to make changes in their life and actively engages in recovery tasks like :

  • Avoid peers, situations, or locations associated with substance use.
  • Building a strong recovery network.
  • Going to therapy or support groups.
  • Attending 12-step meetings.
  • Learning new coping strategies for dealing with stress or cravings for drugs or alcohol.

An addict may make many attempts at staying sober before they manage long-term abstinence. Relapse is common during this stage, but it can also be a learning experience. Keep encouraging your teen as they work through this stage.

Stage 5: Maintenance Stage

Once someone has successfully graduated from a treatment program like a residential or outpatient program, they enter maintenance. This step involves your teen taking active responsibility for their sobriety by continuously using the coping skills and techniques learned during treatment.

Teens will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically, while avoiding triggers and stressors that could lead to relapse. To support your teen’s recovery, you will encourage him to continue his counseling, attend 12-step meetings, and avoid situations that could lead to relapse. While there is always a risk of relapse, a relapse-prevention plan will serve them well.

Are you tired of watching your child suffer through addiction? Knowing where your teen is in the process of addiction recovery enables you to talk to them at the right time. If they are in the pre-contemplation stage, a nudge in the right direction may be all that is necessary to help guide them toward seeking treatment. Whatever your situation, education can always give you an added advantage when dealing with adolescents suffering from substance abuse issues, and Clearfork Academy can help. Based in the mountains of Texas, our accredited treatment offers a transformational experience that helps teenagers struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties to grow and thrive. Our addiction recovery plan focuses on holistic, evidence-based treatments with personalized aftercare plans that guarantee long-lasting results. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their SUD, then the time to get help is now. To learn more about our programs, contact us today at (888) 966-8604.   

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6 Warning Signs of Relapse to Look Out for in Your Teen

6 Warning Signs of Relapse To Look Out For in Your Teen

If your child has previously completed an addiction treatment program, you should congratulate them on their success in quitting drugs. However, sobriety can serve as a challenge for teens following treatment. Knowing the warning signs of drug use can prevent relapse and help spot the signs early enough to seek help and avoid your teen from succumbing to addiction again.

6 Signs of Relapse

Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that requires a lifelong commitment to a drug-free lifestyle to recover. During sobriety, there is a chance that your teen may relapse and use drugs again. Being aware of the warning signs of relapse will keep you alert on when it is time to speak with a professional and prevent future addiction. Here are six warning signs of relapse

#1. Returning to Familiar People or Places

For most teens, their social circle influences their behaviors and what activities they engage in outside of the home. It is common for teens who engage in drug use to partake in using drugs with specific people and places. 

If you see your child hanging out with friends or in places where they once used drugs, there could be a chance that they are using again. However, it is important to encourage them to evaluate their social circle and sever ties with people who influence drug use. While this can be a difficult task, it is necessary. 

#2. Changes in Behaviors 

Retreating from social situations, loneliness, and isolation are common signs that a person has begun using drugs again. Isolation is a key component of addiction. When a person becomes addicted to drugs, their entire world revolves around satisfying cravings and dependence on the drug. This causes them to detach from relationships and friendships. They may also seek isolation because they feel embarrassed or guilty. 

Along with withdrawing from their social circle, they may stop participating in activities or hobbies they love. Changes in behavior can become evident through self-neglect like poor hygiene or lack of upkeep in appearance. 

#3. Experiencing a Trigger 

The most common reason people, especially teens, use alcohol and substances is to self-medicate and cope with uncomfortable feelings. Experiencing a trigger can be one of the biggest causes of relapse. Certain situations that once caused your teen to do drugs can trigger them to use again due to the feelings associated with the event. While in recovery, it is vital to stay away from anything that can trigger a relapse; triggers aren’t always something you can predict. A few examples of what can be triggers include:

  • Familiar people or places
  • Sensory triggers such as smells or sounds
  • Abuse 
  • Stress
  • Being around drugs or alcohol
  • Financial strain 

#4. Doubting The Recovery Process

Losing faith in the recovery process happens when a person has a mental relapse before a physical one. It can include things like your teen saying the sober life isn’t for them or that they don’t deserve nor want to be sober. When individuals start to develop a negative view of their recovery process, it is a sign that their sober lifestyle does not yet fulfill them. 

#5. Reminiscing About Drug Use

Reminiscing about old parties or other memories associated with alcohol or drug use is common during sobriety. This can happen when your teen begins to develop cravings. If you overhear your teen talking about how they miss using drugs or how they felt when using, this is a warning sign that they are close to using again. 

#6. Physical Relapse

Finding items related to drug use is an obvious sign that your teen has relapsed. They likely partook in using if they come home smelling like alcohol or other substances. While you will want to respect their boundaries, if you find items related to drug use in their personal space or while doing the laundry, you must take action and get help. Getting a professional involved will help you make the right steps towards getting your child’s sobriety back on track. 

Preventing Relapse

Many resources and options are available that help individuals in the recovery process stay sober and prevent relapse. If your child is currently in or has completed an addiction treatment program, speak with their provider about creating an aftercare plan. Aftercare plans include available resources such as therapists, school counselors, coping strategies, and other options that your child can use after initial treatment. 

Maintaining open communication with your child and building a trusting relationship with them will help them become more open to sharing when they are struggling. Being active in your child’s life and recovery process will reduce their chance of relapsing. 

The best way to overcome relapse is to get your child the adequate help they need. Relapse does not mean failure; it is just a sign that your child needs additional help. Residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs offer intensive professional help for individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Clearkfork Academy offers residential treatment programs for teens who struggle with addiction and mental health disorders. We offer therapeutic programs that will help your teen get back on track to long-term sobriety and identify and manage relapse triggers. If your child has previously relapsed or is showing signs of relapse, it is essential to get them the professional help they need to prevent substance use. The sooner you take action, the better chance your teen will have at lasting recovery. To find out more information about our addiction treatment programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.  

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What Is Trauma-Informed Care?

What Is Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-Informed Care aims to help relieve the pain and distress associated with the trauma. This type of care helps survivors rebuild their lives and sustain long-term health. Considering that substance abuse and trauma often co-occur, trauma-Informed care may best serve teens with a SUD since it aims to provide the highest level of care.

What Is Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-Informed Care is an interdisciplinary approach to mental health care that addresses the neurobiological effects of trauma. It is a crucial tool for clinicians and caregivers to decrease the re-victimization of participants during treatment, especially teens. Effectively treating people with a history of trauma requires understanding how the human brain processes traumatic experiences and the resulting symptoms of such trauma. Armed with such information, qualified clinicians can properly assist individuals in managing the physiological signs of trauma.

The Neurobiology of Trauma

Understanding the neurobiology of trauma is an integral part of effective treatment. For instance,  trauma disrupts the flow of the limbic system, which stores emotional responses to incidents. It is why people commonly have strong emotional reactions when remembering stressful events. The brain tries to make sense of what has happened, but it is constantly overwhelmed by the emotions associated with trauma. This can cause fear, anger, and sadness that overwhelm the individual. In some cases, this can lead to physical symptoms such as loss of control over one’s movements or thoughts, increased anxiety or depression, or even a personality change.

The Three Foundations of Trauma-Informed Care

The three main themes of trauma-informed care are central to its effectiveness. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), three key ideas form the backbone of trauma-informed care. They include promoting recovery from a strengths-based approach, minimizing the risk of re-traumatization, and identifying and offering trauma-informed supports. Hope runs through these three foundations.

  1. Strength-based approach. Clinicians begin with helping the participant understand how most symptoms of trauma and trauma responses occur as a result of their brain trying to protect them from further harm. By imparting the psychoeducational behind a participant’s condition, a therapist hopes to instill a transformative understanding of their condition that can alter how they relate to it. The person will gain a newfound hope for recovery. Essentially,  if the person can see how they are already keeping themselves safe, it may be easier to help them adopt a more effective coping method.
  2. Minimize the risk of re-traumatization. Revisiting trauma is not easy. Trauma-informed care understands that when participants feel safe, they are in the best position to begin processing the trauma with the assistance of their therapist. From the beginning, the clinician will cultivate security and peace via sowing stability, adequate support, and coping skills. Trauma-informed clinicians focus on creating a safe place for the participant before asking the person about their trauma history.
  3. Identifying and offering trauma-informed support. Trauma-informed care provides trauma-sensitive interventions that link people with providers or services beyond therapy that assists with trauma symptoms. It may include medication management and social support.

Trauma Experiences Leading to Substance Use and Mental Health Issues

According to research, trauma experiences can significantly impact substance abuse. Substance use often occurs due to personal, family, social, and economic stressors. As such, people may turn to substance use to self-medicate, numb, or manage the symptoms of trauma experiences. Some of the main symptoms of trauma experiences often include mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Unlike other therapies, Trauma-Informed care focuses on treating the symptoms, not just the trauma narrative. Alleviating the trauma symptoms will relieve the person enough to not self-medicate or participate in self-destructive behaviors. They can find solace and hope in better coping skills and a caring team. Then, the person can safely face and process their trauma stories with far less likelihood of relapsing to substance use.

Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care has many benefits that are worth considering. Trauma-informed care:

  • Helps to prevent the re-victimization or re-traumatization of participants during treatment.
  • Prioritizes decreasing trauma symptoms, which helps a person get back on their feet sooner and longer.
  • Empowers participants to engage more fully in their overall treatment plan.
  • Participants can form a trusting relationship with their mental health care providers based on patience and sensitivity.
  • Improve the quality of life more immediately and thoroughly for the person by teaching them coping skills and empowering them with the knowledge of their condition.
  • Purposefully delivers a safe and calming environment to process their symptoms.

The central idea behind trauma-informed care is to shift the paradigm away from normalizing the devastating effects of trauma. It focuses on the problem instead of what is “wrong” with the teen. It seeks to understand the victim/survivor’s experience of the trauma symptoms to find out what methods produce results. Most importantly, it emphasizes that people who achieve healing find empowerment with knowledge and a safe, supportive treatment team. At Clearfork Academy, we help teens with SUD recover more effectively from the underlying symptoms of stressful and traumatic situations by creating a safe space for them, teaching them improved coping skills, and building trust with them. Our team of qualified clinicians took the initiative to understand the effects of trauma on the brain to more efficiently treat distressed teens with a SUD. Our approach leads to long-term recovery. To find out more about our programs, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How to Maintain a Relationship While in Recovery?

How to Maintain a Relationship While in Recovery?

Recovery is about creating a new life for yourself. It’s important to know that everyone’s journey of recovery is different. Such a path can impact a teen’s means to maintain relationships. For this reason, we recommend keeping relationships with people who support recovery. However, many teens may find it hard to find friends who understand or want to understand their recovery journey. Fortunately, there are steps that teens can take to ensure they find uplifting relationships and maintain those relationships.

Repairing  Relationships in Recovery

Healthy relationships are vital to a teen’s well-being and success. Similar to treatment, post-treatment care calls for prioritization. We recommend that teens develop and maintain a strong network of people who care and support their recovery. Failure to do so risks teens feeling isolated and alone, and these emotions could leave them vulnerable to relapse.

Addiction often causes severe damage to relationships with family and friends. There are ways to restore these relationships. To restore the relationships with your family or friends, consider these suggestions:

  • Make Time for Them: Spend quality time with your family or friends. It can be difficult when you have so much homework, but spending time with them can help your recovery. Engage in activities that you both find enjoyable, like going on a hike, cooking, or playing a game. Doing so will create positive memories.
  • Be Open About Your Struggles: Don’t hide what you are going through from your family members because they want to help and support you through this challenging journey. Maintaining an open line of communication allows them to avoid insensitive, detrimental comments or actions to your recovery.

Patience Is a Virtue

Sometimes, recovery can be difficult when friends and family don’t understand the realities of living with a SUD. People don’t know what to say or react when their loved one is managing addiction or mental health disorders. They may hold certain reservations due to the stigma around addiction and mental health issues. They may ask questions to help them understand what you are experiencing.

Listen and encourage them to do some research on their own. Don’t hesitate to provide a list of resourceful books or websites that help you understand SUD and mental illnesses. Try to mind that they might need time to process this information and adjust their perspective on substance use and mental health disorders.

Respond and Reciprocate

Respond positively to people who reach out to you during their times of difficulty. We must take care of ourselves and others in our lives. We should be there for each other and show compassion, even if we don’t always understand what someone needs at a particular time or how best to do so. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or colleague reaching out for support, the best thing that anyone can do is be there for them and offer help where possible.

Sobriety provides us with the gift to show up for others in need.

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

Some relationships and friendships are harmful to recovery. If you notice red flags such as increased jealousy, possessiveness, or unwillingness to share time, this indicates that this might not be a healthy relationship. They may also change their personality to be friendly only when they need something from you; this is a sign that they are trying to take advantage of you. These behaviors can be challenging to detect. Therefore, your friends and family must support you.

Surround Yourself With Healthy People

Before maintaining a relationship, you need to restore healthy, worthwhile relationships. Communities are full of support groups for teenagers who struggle with SUD. Look to your local recovery groups or online recovery groups for teens. These groups offer a safe place for teens to discuss problems in their lives without judgment or stigma. Often, these people will understand your struggles and triumphs since they are on the same journey. Moreso, engage in activities centered around recovery like volunteering, working at a program for teens in recovery, or participating in activities or events popular among teens recovering from SUD.

Take a break from social media for a few weeks and get back into being active in the real world. It will give you more opportunities to meet people and build relationships with people who choose sobriety. Furthermore, find someone with something in common with you besides substance use. Whether you are an artist, athlete, musician, or hobbyist, there are people that you can connect and build relationships with. You can look to your community for opportunities to participate in activities and meet other people.

Substance use and mental health disorders are difficult to manage alone. Developing healthy relationships are essential for recovery, and strong relationships will support your teen during the challenging times in recovery. At Clearfork Academy, we provide a safe and comfortable environment for your teen to develop the skills to cultivate healthy relationships. Our programs offer individual, peer, and family support groups to ensure your teen has the opportunity to develop strong relationships and understand that they are never alone in their journey of recovery. While we specialize in providing evidence-based therapies for teens addicted to drugs or alcohol, we provide various holistic therapies to help teens develop life skills necessary for sustaining recovery. If your child struggles to maintain healthy relationships and manage their recovery, then the time to reach out for help is now. To find out more about our treatment programs, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Valentine’s day is a special day to celebrate love and relationships. For some people in recovery, romantic relationships could be detrimental to the recovery process. This tip sheet offers some great ideas to help you plan a happy and healthy Valentine’s day celebration.

Factors to Remember When Planning Your Valentine’s Day

Our guide aims to help your planning process. We serve you some fun and budget-friendly ideas to make Valentine’s Day special. As you review our list, remember to consider if and how you can apply these ideas because the success of your Valentine’s Day could depend on the following:

  • Parental permission
  • Your Budget
  • Transportation needs and resources
  • Curfew times
  • Adult supervision requirements
  • Your interest and other participant’s interests

Using Your Creativity to Express Love

Often, the simple and thoughtful things bring our loved ones joy. To help, consider what makes the person in your life unique, rather than focusing on material things like gifts or expensive dinners. Instead of buying a generic gift, you create your own, like a beautiful card made from construction paper, glue, and scissors. You may consider writing a special poem or song for your loved one that expresses your gratitude for their support of your recovery.

Take Care of Yourself

We recommend not limiting this day to just your loved ones. Take time to give yourself love, too. Loving yourself can help your confidence in relationships. It helps to feel good about the person you are. Essentially, show appreciation for what you have and how far you have come in recovery. Take care of yourself by:

  • Waking up early and practicing positive affirmations
  • Arranging a “date” with yourself. Watch your favorite movie, go out with your favorite friends, visit a museum, play a sport, or read a good book.
  • Do something that makes you feel good about yourself, like a hike, meditation, or cooking.
  • Take time to reflect and express your concerns and happiness with journaling, therapy, or talking to a trusted loved one.

Valentine’s day calls for showing appreciation for all that you have accomplished and how much you care about the people in your life.

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Teenage Couples or Friend Groups

Valentine’s day is a special time when to celebrate love and romance. The holiday can be challenging to navigate as a teenager, and here are some ideas to help you find your way through this season.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Create or find a scavenger hunt that you and your partner can do together. Include unique or memorable spots relevant to your relationship, like the first place you met.
  • Romantic Stroll: Take a romantic walk around the neighborhood.
  • Be Active: Consider going on a hike, to an amusement park,  or bowling.
  • Nighttime Picnic: Consider having a picnic in your backyard.
  • Explore Your City: Take advantage of your city’s public art galleries,  museums, or parks. Art and nature often bring couples and friends closer.
  • Party: Invite your classmates and family over for a party. Just make sure there are rules in place, so everyone has sober, safe fun.
  • Baking or Cooking Get-together: Invite people over to hold a fun Valentine’s day cooking or baking session, then spend the evening enjoying the meal or treats together.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

Stores use this time of year to sell products. Yet, Valentine’s day calls for expressing love in meaningful ways, which applies to your gift-giving. You can create meaningful gifts on a budget that will please everyone. Here are some budget-friendly gifts to consider:

  • Make your own decoupage heart (or card) using your favorite pictures of loved ones.
  • Write a letter that tells your partner what makes them unique and how they make your life better. You can even make little cards with stickers that let people know how much they mean to you.
  • Have a photo session with family members. Ask everyone to dress up or wear their favorite clothes. You can use any camera, including the camera on your phone.
  • Give your significant other an edible gift. You can make a special homemade treat sweet or savory, so long as it is your partner’s favorite.
  • Get the perfect gift by taking pictures of yourself at places relevant to your relationship, like where you first met or your first date. Compile all those photos with meaningful captions into a slideshow video.
  • Buy flowers from a local shop or farmer’s market and ask them to create an arrangement with your loved one’s favorite colors. You might even include balloons and a card with the flowers.

Valentine’s Day encourages people to express themselves more openly to their family, friends, and loved ones. Teens can show how they feel about the special people in their life, regardless of whether it is a friendship or romance. It is important to put your recovery needs first when planning. If you cannot put your health first, or if Valentine’s Day is creating negative feelings, and you are considering using substances to cope, then the time to get help is now. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that while Valentine’s Day can be a day to celebrate love, it can also become a day where you feel lonely. Getting ahead and taking measures to help you manage a happy and healthy Valentine’s day is critical. Our treatment programs provide both initial and continuing care so you are never without a treatment option. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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How to Help Your Teen Build Recovery Skills?

How to Help Your Teen Build Recovery Skills?

Recovery is a lifelong and transformative process. Recovery is also not without its share of challenges. What does this mean for teens struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD)?

Teens need help to develop the skills necessary to stay sober and sustain recovery. Helping teens address and manage their SUDs can prevent relapse. Let’s take a closer look at different methods that will help your teen’s continued growth in recovery.

The Benefit of Recovery Skills

Developing practical recovery skills will allow your teen to maintain abstinence. Such a skill set will decrease the likelihood of them relapsing. Strong recovery skills will also help them “bounce back” should they relapse. Essentially, these skills provide the tools for navigating life’s challenges without resorting to self-destructive behaviors.

Your teen can apply these skills in everyday life. For example, relapse prevention strategies such as self-monitoring and setting proper boundaries will help them navigate relationships with friends or family members in a healthy manner. Additionally, these skills will help teens find meaning in their lives outside of their SUD.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved relationships with loved ones and significant others
  • Healthier habits such as exercise or healthy eating choices
  • Reduced stress levels due to less anxiety about relapse potentials

Avoid Risky Situations

While in recovery, we suggest that your teen avoid situations that involve any alcohol or drug use. Therefore your teen must understand their limitations. Being in such risky situations can leave them feeling confused, unable to assess the problem, and incapable of making good decisions. They could succumb to their urges and return to patterns of addictive behaviors. Therefore, we recommend that they participate in activities that support their sobriety.

Find a Peer Support Group

Many teens who struggle with a SUD may feel isolated and alone. They might also find it difficult to discuss their problems with friends and family. Such a predicament may cause them to feel different or unable to fit in with other teens. However, a peer support group will benefit your teen.

In a peer support group, teens share their experiences with other teens managing a SUD. Being among peers that share similar experiences creates a comforting environment where your teen can express themselves without judgment.

A peer support group also helps teens develop communication, conflict resolution, and stress management skills. These are crucial life skills that will help them stay sober and safe in recovery.

Manage Triggers and Cravings

Triggers happen when individuals with a SUD are exposed to certain stimuli that remind them of using substances. Certain sights, sounds, or people could all be potential triggers. When triggered, the brain seeks to relieve stress and increase feel-good emotions, and too often, the method of choice is using substances. Therefore, such a process can make staying sober difficult for your teen.

However, your teen can manage their triggers using techniques that include:

Consider Behavioral Therapies

Research shows that behavioral therapies successfully treat SUD symptoms and causes. Such therapies focus on identifying, understanding, and changing behavioral patterns to achieve long-term change.

The goal is to replace harmful habits with healthy habits. Long-term therapy will also reduce negative experiences and implement positive ones.

Find a Distraction

Sometimes your teen may feel restless thinking about how they cannot use substances. Therefore, having a healthy distraction like a hobby or pursuing a passion will help distract them from thinking about substances.

A hobby can also give them a new sense of purpose and motivation. Such hobbies include:

  • Painting
  • Sports
  • Hiking
  • Playing music
  • Going for a walk

Ultimately, participating in healthy activities will help your teenager expand their outlook on life without feeling pressured to use substances.

Managing Stress

Many teens lead stressful lives. Schoolwork, peer pressure, extracurricular activities, and searching for colleges contribute to stress. Adopting healthy ways to manage stress can help them learn how to handle these situations.

Here are some of the most effective methods of coping:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Spend time outside
  • Talk about thoughts and feelings openly

Since stress can occur at any moment, your teen needs to understand their stressors and triggers. Knowing what contributes to their desire to use substances will help them manage their stress and cravings.

Support Good Mental Health

Untreated mental health disorders can also contribute to relapse. Individuals who struggle with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or bipolar disorder are prone to using substances. Therefore, seeking professional help for mental health disorders will help prevent relapse.

Recovery is a life-long journey that requires persistence, motivation, and support. At Clearfork Academy, we offer teen-specific treatments that appropriately speak to their needs. We also work with teens and their families to educate them about substance use disorders and how to work together to overcome challenges. Our resources to care also include individual therapy, peer-supported groups, and holistic approaches. With our help, your teen will learn to deal with stressors and manage their addiction. We understand that recovery can be challenging, which is why we remain a pillar of support should your teen need help at any point in their recovery. Our aftercare programs also ensure that your teen stays involved in the recovery community. If your teenager is currently having difficulty sustaining their recovery, then the time to seek help is now. To find out more about our therapies and treatment programs, contact Clearfork Academy today and call (888) 966-8604.

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What Are Some Common Obstacles in Early Recovery?

What Are Some Common Obstacles in Early Recovery?

Many teens in recovery face challenges that are hard to overcome. Such obstacles impede their ability to get through their day-to-day responsibilities. Therefore, support and guidance are necessary for sustaining recovery. At Clearfork Academy, we work to help your teen understand the journey of sobriety. Further, proper coping skills will help teens overcome these obstacles. Let’s look at ways to recognize and help with the challenges teens face in early recovery.

Boredom and Loneliness

Sometimes teenagers on the road to recovery become isolated. They may have to end friendships or take time off from school to attend a treatment center. Such loneliness can lead to a deep sense of boredom and depression that may cause them to relapse. Therefore, support and encouragement are necessary throughout the recovery process, so teens don’t give up when things get tough.

They may even need someone else to help them navigate the struggles of addiction recovery. We suggest they look to supportive family members and other peers in recovery to show more understanding and provide healthy support.

Teenagers Have Different Needs

Like any other young person, recovering teens have different needs, and they most likely can’t return to friends or hangouts related to their former drug use. However, they can benefit from forming new, healthy routines and meaningful activities.

Long-term recovery involves finding a healthy balance of self-care, hobbies and building healthy support networks of family, friends, and peers.

Leaving a Treatment Program

Qualified treatment centers like Clearfork Academy offer participants an intensive, specialized program that helps teenagers overcome substance use and begin their journey to recovery. While many teens leave treatment programs sober, adjusting to their new lifestyle will take time – especially without constant supervision. Therefore, post-treatment involves certain risks because they return to their everyday lives.

Such risks include:

  • Depression: They may experience a lack of motivation or need for continuous self-improvement outside of the treatment center. Make sure to find a recovery group to maintain motivation.
  • Anxiety: Without the intensive support of inpatient care, they could develop fears and anxiety about staying sober. Please encourage them to continue their growth. Consider helping them draw and work on an action plan to mitigate such fears.

Cravings for Drugs or Alcohol

Many teens experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings in the early stages of their recovery. They may find it increasingly difficult to manage them without proper coping skills.

We suggest these coping skills:

  • Attending recovery group meetings and finding a sponsor
  • Talking to a friend or family member
  • Seeking assistance from a therapist or drug counselor
  • Undergoing an outpatient care program
  • Joining a class or a sport as a distraction from using substances

End Toxic Friendships

One of the biggest problems that teenagers face is how to handle friends who use drugs. In such friendships, they may feel the pressure to use again, and their shared past of drug use can trigger a relapse. These kinds of friendships put your child’s recovery at risk. We suggest ceasing all contact with such friends. Doing so will prevent them from reliving or rationalizing their former drug use with that friend.

It would be more beneficial to form friendships that support their recovery.

Keeping Drugs and Alcohol in the Home

Without a doubt, keeping drugs and alcohol poses a risk in a teen’s early sobriety. They may become exposed to controlled substances such as prescription drugs and other potentially dangerous substances.

We recommend decreasing their exposure by:

  • Locking drugs or alcohol in a secure place and out of their reach.
  • Get rid of as many of these substances as possible.
  • Not bringing any of them into the house.
  • As a parent, consider having drinks only outside of the home.

Intense Emotions

Teenagers who have recovered from substance use or addiction can often experience significant irritability or emotional distress. Teens must learn to recognize the signs of intense emotions and deal with them appropriately. We recommend teens learn coping skills like meditation, breathing exercises,  or talking to a loved one.

When dealing with emotional issues, it can be helpful for teens to use physical activity like long walks or runs to release their emotions. Seeking professional care such as therapy or counseling will also benefit their recovery.

Untreated Mental Health Issues

Research shows that one of the most significant risk factors for relapse is untreated mental health issues. An effective treatment plan can help minimize depression symptoms caused by chemical dependency, trauma, or stress.

Effective treatments include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication therapy
  • Group therapy sessions
  • 12-step programs

Teenagers will face many obstacles in their journey of recovery. Some of these obstacles could interfere with recovery and perpetuate stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that addiction is a disease that requires accurate information about drug use and specific coping skills to manage life’s challenges. Our goal is to educate both teens and their parents about addiction so they can work together to overcome obstacles using healthy resources. We accomplish this through our family therapy and aftercare programs. At Clearfork Academy, your teenager will have the appropriate resources to achieve sobriety, build healthy relationships and stay involved in healthy activities within the community. Recovery is all about accomplishing goals and building the life you want. If your teen is struggling to manage their addiction, get help today. To find out more about our treatment and programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy and call us at (844) 387-8780.

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Understanding Self-Care as Essential to SUD Recovery

Understanding Self-Care as Essential to SUD Recovery

Addiction impacts various areas of your life, leading to serious self-neglect. Substance abuse causes poor diet and lack of physical activity,  affecting mental and psychological health. 

Due to the self-neglect that comes with substance abuse, you may find yourself engaging in self-destructive behaviors. During recovery, you will learn the importance of why self-care is essential for long-term sobriety.

What Is Self-Care? 

Self-care is understood as the conscious act of taking responsibility for oneself through behaviors that encourage overall healthy well-being. Self-care can manifest, whether spiritually, mentally, physically, or emotionally.  It can look like creating daily routines and incorporating habits such as exercise or journaling that help keep you grounded. 

Why Is It Important To SUD Recovery?

Substance abuse dramatically affects a person by negatively impacting different areas of life. Addiction affects your mood, appetite, physical and emotional well-being, personal relationships, finances, and many other areas of life. Maintaining long-term sobriety will require various lifestyle changes. The decision to actively commit to the choices that help take care of your mental, physical and emotional health is vital to overcoming addiction.

Mental Self-Care

How you think has a significant impact on your overall well-being—mental self-care consist of doing things that keep your mind clear from negative and self-loathing thoughts. The following actions will help you stay mentally healthy if you use them during stressful periods of your life. 

  • Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness means creating a space that helps you stay connected and conscious of the present moment. This is an essential part of recovery because you can easily find yourself thinking about the past and begin to feel guilt, shame, and sadness over the lifestyle you used to live. You can start practicing mindfulness in small ways like limiting your screen time each day. The most important thing to remember is to stay healthily connected with your day. Mindfulness is a practice, so it will take time to feel like second nature to you.
  • Have alone time. Spending time by yourself is an important form of mental self-care because it allows you to recharge your energy. Having time set aside to be alone allows you to take a break from the social responsibilities that may overwhelm you throughout the day. This gives you the chance to refresh your mind and thoughts while establishing a positive bond with yourself. 
  • Set boundaries. Substance abuse causes many individuals to damage relationships with their friends and loved ones. A part of addiction recovery will be learning how to repair and create new healthy relationships. Healthy relationships involve setting clear boundaries, which are not present while using substances. Boundaries teach everyone involved within your circle how to treat you through a set of rules. An example of setting boundaries for yourself can be not wanting anyone to bring drugs or alcohol around you at any given time.

Physical Self-Care

Substance abuse is a complex and aggressive disorder because it causes many forms of self-neglect such as lack of oral and physical hygiene, undereating, and reduced sleep. Your body and mind are connected, so it is essential to take care of both aspects for your overall well-being. Physical self-care involves incorporating activities into your day that keep your body healthy and active.

  • Physical Activity. Take some time out of the day to get your body moving. Physical exercise keeps your body in shape and even improves your emotional state. When you work out, your body releases endorphins (brain chemicals) that help improve mood, sleep, appetite and lessen depression. 
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in giving your body the rest it needs to recuperate from the day. Lack of sleep impacts many areas of your health, such as slower cognitive functioning, irregular heartbeat, and irritability.  Establish a set time at night that you decide to wind down and get sleep.
  • Personal hygiene. One of the most prominent aspects of addiction is the lack of personal hygiene. Many individuals neglect daily habits that take care of their hygiene.  In recovery, you may still find it difficult to form an effective personal hygiene routine. Work with your therapist and staff to get into the habit of creating a hygiene routine that works for you.

Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care is just as necessary as other forms of self-care. Spirituality is different for everyone and doesn’t have to be associated with any specific religion. Spiritual self-care is anything that allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level. It is necessary to stay in tune with yourself instead of masking your feelings. Here are a few ways to incorporate spiritual self-care into your life.

Holistic Treatment 

One form of treatment that has shown to be beneficial for some people is holistic treatment approaches. In addition to counseling and medication, facilities will also offer holistic wellness services that include:

Connect with Nature 

Going out and getting a breath of fresh air allows you to not only find mental clarity but allows you to connect with your natural surroundings. Putting down your phone and going out to get some sun or go for a walk is an all-encompassing approach to your self-care journey, as this action honors each modality of respecting who you are and where you want to be. 

Gain Insight from Better Sources

Being decisive about what you consume is a form of self-preservation as it impacts how you perceive yourself and the world around you. Reading books and articles or listening to podcasts that expand your mind and inspire different ways to connect with who you are, feeds you positive information you can use every day to establish symbiotic relationships at school, with friends, and within your home.

One of the key components to having a successful recovery is knowing how to take care of yourself, especially during stressful times in your life. Addiction causes self-neglect which can worsen symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and physical health. At Clearfork Academy, our goal is to give your teen struggling with addiction the tools to live a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. We understand the hardships teenagers may face and how difficult it can be for them to express their pain, causing them to turn to unhealthy coping styles. Through our residential and intensive outpatient programs, we are able to help your teen learn the importance of self-care and help them identify techniques they can use when life becomes stressful. If you are in need of a safe and therapeutic facility that will help your teen recover from addiction and other co-occurring disorders, reach out to Clearfork Academy today (844) 387-8780.

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Cutting Ties With People Who Imperil Your Recovery

4 good sober friends

When addiction develops, substance use takes priority in your life. In recovery, it is important to maintain positive relationships and avoid the relationships that influence harmful behavior. Depending on your age, you may discover the effects of substances through peers. You may even find yourself surrounded by friends that encourage substance use. However, recovery requires more than quitting your substance use; it requires you to rid your life of the people that enable and contribute to your triggers to use. 

Evaluating Your Relationships

While it might be obvious to recognize what friends or friend groups contribute to your substance use, it might be more difficult to recognize who else may be toxic to your recovery. After being in a bad or harmful relationship, you might struggle to understand what a healthy friendship looks like. 

When evaluating your relationships, try to recognize what friends put your recovery first and support you in your journey. If you have friends that still use drugs or alcohol, it does not mean that they are bad people. It means that those people will try to encourage you to use. No matter the age, people want to experience similar altered states of mental consciousness with other people. It is crucial that you do what you can to avoid these people entirely so that they do not cause damage to your treatment and recovery journey. 

While you are evaluating your friendships and relationships, reflect specifically on:

  • The friends that always need to be drinking or using drugs
  • The friends that always seem to be discussing some drama
  • The friends that enable your substance use
  • The friends that do not openly support your recovery
  • The friends that struggle with their own mental health conditions
  • The friends that continuously criticize you and your actions
  • The friends that always seem to be negative

Look For Positive Qualities, Too

From the opposite perspective, you can also look for positive qualities in the friends that you believe will add to your recovery experience. 

Reflect on qualities such as:

  • The friends that support your recovery journey
  • The friends that make you feel comfortable
  • The friends that want the best for you
  • The friends that share similar interests outside of substance use
  • The friends that help foster healthy habits when dealing with stress
  • The friends that encourage self-discovery and foster personal growth

Your recovery and health must be the most important thing in your life to achieve lasting recovery. It is essential that you learn to separate yourself from the people in your life who encourage substance use and cause you to experience stress and anxiety. As you learn to work through these emotions in a healthy way, you must avoid any unnecessary additions of stress.

How to Cut Ties With Toxic People

There is no right way to cut ties with someone. In most cases, no matter how you say it, the other party will not take it lightly. Speak with a therapist or counselor who can offer you guidance on making your recovery process go more smoothly. Further, professional help will provide you with ways to navigate and manage any negative responses and emotions that you may experience. 

While you evaluate your relationships and reflect on the person you’d like to be, here are some general tips that may help when looking to cut ties with a friend. 

  • Establish Boundaries: Boundaries help you keep yourself accountable, especially in your recovery. Do you think it is best to quit all communication with this friend? Is there a realistic way to avoid them altogether? Create boundaries that you will be able to follow. It might mean stopping all discussions about drugs and alcohol, only seeing a person at a sporting event, or cutting ties altogether.
  • Practice Honesty: Try not to beat around the bush when you decide to have a conversation with a toxic friend. Be confident about the person you would like to become and that their behavior will not benefit your recovery. Be honest if you need to end a friendship so that neither of you has to wonder why.
  • Avoid Feelings of Guilt or Shame: You will likely experience feelings of guilt for ending a relationship. You should neglect to feel guilty about doing something good for yourself- as you deserve it! If they are a true friend, they will support your attempt at recovery. Maybe in the future, they will realize their harmful behaviors on their own and want to make amends.

Recovery requires you to evaluate many different categories of your life, including your relationships. Toxic relationships enable you to think, feel, and behave in certain, often unhealthy, ways. When your life becomes overwhelmed with addiction, you are more likely to prioritize the friends that enable your substance use. When this happens, it is time to reach out for help. At Clearfork Academy, we can help you recognize the toxic relationships that contribute to your feelings of stress and negativity. It is essential that you evaluate your relationships to deem what friendships need to be cut out of your life and what ones need to be more emphasized. When you are ready, we are here to help you. We offer a range of treatments and therapies to assist teenage males in evaluating boundaries and practicing honesty. Remember, your recovery comes first. Let us guide your recovery journey. To learn more, reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 866-5212.

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Thoughts on a New Identity: Hope for a New You in Recovery

woman smiling in a mirror

An element not often discussed in addiction recovery is the identity change you experience while recovering from substance use or chemical dependency. While the change is ongoing, recovery is a huge life transition. It is much more than just stopping or quitting harmful substance use habits; it is about altering your lifestyle and understanding your worthiness of sober, joyful living. 

Explaining Identity

The term identity encompasses the set of qualities, experiences, relationships, and values that make one person different from others. Everyone’s identity is subjective and shaped through personal experiences. Everything that makes you, you contribute to your identity. Identity consists of all characteristics that determine who a person is. 

Examples of identity include:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality
  • Physical attributes
  • Gender
  • Religious beliefs
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Age

When addiction and substance use becomes an important factor in your life, your identity becomes clouded. Since drugs and alcohol cause intense and severe cravings, especially long-term, you could prioritize substances over everything else. Soon, your identity could become only drugs and alcohol. 

What is an Identity Crisis? 

An identity crisis is a period of mental fog, confusion, and uncertainty regarding understanding your identity. Identity crises usually happen during big transitions or because of intense stressors in life. Sometimes, you may experience an identity crisis first, which leads to substance use. Other times, substance use comes first, and the identity crisis happens due to your use. 

Rebuilding A New Identity In Recovery

Some factors of your identity are ones that you are born with and others become shaped through challenging or difficult life experiences. Although identity crises can seem overwhelming and scary, it can be great to have a fresh identity. One major benefit of recovery is that it allows you to start over. By learning and understanding your need for recovery, you are already building and establishing new boundaries for yourself. 

Self-awareness is a key factor in being able to recognize unhealthy feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Recovery will give you numerous tools and resources to help you discover deeper parts of yourself, which will increase your sense of self-awareness. It will help you achieve resilience and sustain recovery because resilience enables you to persevere through adversity. 

Stay Motivated

If you truly want to live healthily and be a better person for yourself and your family, it is essential that you recognize the importance of motivation. What is your motivation for recovery? If your only reason for recovery is that others forced you to do it, you will not experience success on your journey. 

If your motivation for recovery is that you know you deserve to be healthy and not rely on substances to cope with stress, you will experience success. You have chosen to walk away from substances, and your purpose for recovery will fuel long-term success. 

Here are some examples of ways to kickstart your recovery and self-discovery journey:

  • Switch up your daily routine.
  • Drink more water. It is so simple but also life-changing!
  • Meditate, pray, and focus on the present moment.
  • Reach out to your loved ones and let them know how grateful you are for them.
  • Journal your strengths, weaknesses, goals, passions, etc. Revisit these weekly.
  • Try a new sport or hobby.
  • Build new friendships and connections.
  • Switch up your wardrobe.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Find new responses for battling stress and anxiety.

Understanding That Recovery is Uncomfortable

It may be helpful to understand and prepare that recovery is an uncomfortable experience, especially when it comes to rebuilding your identity. As you become a new version of yourself, of course, you will be nervous and perhaps uncomfortable. Remember that growth happens outside of your comfort zone. 

Many people who go through the recovery process will feel periods of emptiness, numbers, and loss. Recovery means that you are actively choosing to give up a considerable part of your identity, being your addiction. It is time to acknowledge that you are more worthy and deserving of a life where your substance use does not determine your identity. 

Surrender to Recovery

Part of recovery means accepting your past. If you continue to hold onto the past, you risk creating more challenges in recovery. Therefore, you must surrender to your recovery, your treatment experience, and your former self. You can reclaim your identity by reconnecting with the deepest parts of yourself. What were your interests and goals before using substances? What are your goals now that you are sober? By redefining yourself and your life, you will connect better with your thoughts and experiences. 

At Clearfork Academy, we understand that identity evolves through a collection of experiences, behaviors, relationships, and qualities. Although self-discovery and forming a new identity can be uncomfortable, it is necessary for long-term recovery. Our effort is to help teenage males establish the foundational elements necessary to create a healthy identity. Our programs involve both conventional and holistic approaches that will motivate, inspire and educate teenagers on mental health and substance use disorders. We also work with the whole family. Our family programs allow parents and their teens the opportunity to communicate in healthier ways and work together to handle the challenges of addiction and addiction recovery. We believe that substance use rehabilitation requires more than just quitting a substance, but requires a change of heart. Of course, we remain a pillar of support should a teenager need help following treatment. For more information about our programs and resources, call us today at (866) 650-5212.

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Moving Past the Stigma of Taking Medication For Mental Health in Recovery

woman talking with doctor

Although the stigma associated with mental illness has decreased over the last few decades, there is still a heavy stigma associated with taking medication for mental health. Therefore, millions of people neglect to get the help they need to alleviate their physical and mental distress. 

Additionally, unhelpful, stigmatizing attitudes towards taking medication could exacerbate symptoms. While many people can experience an alleviation of anxiety from psychotherapy, many treatment experiences also involve prescription medications to help a struggling person experience mental clarity and bring balance to the chemicals within their brain. 

Stigma and Medication

It is important to understand that the stigma associated with taking medications does not target just one drug category. The stigmas surrounding taking and being prescribed medication involve all drugs related to mental health conditions. 

Prescription medications for mental health include, but are not limited to:

  • Antipsychotics (for conditions and symptoms related to delusions or hallucinations)
  • Antidepressants (for depression symptoms such as being unable to get out of bed in the morning)
  • Anti-anxiety medications (for anxiety symptoms such as panic attacks or extreme worry)
  • Stimulants (for increasing attention, concentration, and energy)
  • Mood stabilizers (used to treat mood and personality disorders for symptoms such as mania)

Understanding When And Why Medication Is Necessary

After clinical evaluation, a therapist or psychiatrist may recommend or prescribe medication for a variety of reasons. Each condition may require a different dosage or type of medication based on the intensity of negative symptoms experienced. For example, antidepressant medication treats people experiencing intense, negative symptoms associated with a depression diagnosis. 

As depression can be crippling, depression occurs through faulty mood regulation within the brain. Antidepressant medications increase and balance the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, lessening the distressing symptoms associated with the condition. In many cases, medication is necessary because certain mental health conditions cause an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. 

Medication and Physical Health

Another way to understand the importance of medication in mental health is to look at medication associated with physical health. Most medications treat or cure a given condition. For example, antibiotic medication helps to cure infections, and in some cases, is the only solution to cure a certain infection. Further, medication for mental health is prescribed for a certain amount of time to attempt to cure a condition or relieve symptoms completely. Sometimes, this requires a person to wean off medication and lessen dosages over time. 

In severe cases, medication also helps people with certain mental conditions return to a normal (or a new normal) version of functioning. Medication can also reduce symptoms enough to enhance the effectiveness of other treatment modalities. For instance, psychotherapy is often recommended to enhance wellbeing and help people navigate through social situations. 

If a person presents psychotic symptoms, they may not feel safe enough to explore their concerns and intrusive thoughts in a psychotherapy setting. In this case, antipsychotic medication may help the psychotherapy process and help a person get the mental clarity that they deserve. 

Addressing the Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions and beliefs about the use of medication to treat mental health disorders. Some of which prevent individuals from seeking the help they need. 

Common misconceptions and stigmas associated with taking medication might include:

  • Taking Medication Makes a Person Weak: When people use medication, it is highly likely that they truly need that medication in order to function properly. Therapists and psychiatrists do not take prescription medication lightly, especially because certain medications are often abused. Stigmatizing taking medication as being weak implies that if an individual only worked harder and more intentionally through their mental distress, they would not need to rely on medication. It is both insensitive and inaccurate. If anything, there is strength in acknowledging and accepting the help that an individual may need from a particular condition. 
  • Medication Does Not Provide a Long-Term Solution: As mentioned previously, medication can help to reduce and alleviate negative symptoms associated with certain mental illnesses. Medication is not merely a solution to mental illness, although it is a great start. Medication can enhance a treatment experience and make a person discuss and work through their mental processing. Medication allows individuals to reach a point where they are able to cope and manage their symptoms. Sometimes people can continue their prescription for years, whereas others may only need them for a short period of time. Although it may not provide a long-term solution, it can encourage a person to accept further support and guidance in their treatment experience.

The stigma surrounding needing and taking medication for mental health continues to cause people to neglect to get the help they need for their symptoms of distress. Many mental health conditions create an imbalance of chemicals and hormones in the brain and body, causing severe negative symptoms. Medications are necessary because they help to increase and balance chemicals in the brain necessary for overall wellbeing. While some medications reduce symptoms, others can cure conditions. In many cases, medications help enhance the mental health treatment experience, especially in psychotherapy settings. At Clearfork Academy, we acknowledge that prescription medications may be necessary in severe cases of mental health distress. We offer intentional, comprehensive treatment experiences for teenage males suffering from the effects of addiction and mental health challenges. We believe in a better future for your teen and will celebrate their victories with them during their journey. To find out more, call us today at (866) 650-5212.

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How Does the “Flight or Fight” Response Affect Recovery?

man looking stressed while in traffic

Most of us have experienced the “flight or fight” response at some point in our lives. It is an involuntary response to stress in the human body when someone becomes startled, threatened, or scared. Such stressors can also be a significant trigger for substance use disorders (SUD) and lead to relapse. Let’s take a look at the relationship between “fight or flight” responses and SUDs to help you understand how to manage these behaviors and lead a healthy recovery.

What Is the “Flight or Fight” Response?

The “flight or fight” response is an instinctive reaction in your body’s survival system. When you are scared, anxious, or in a stressful situation, the body sends “fight or flight” hormones to help get you through the situation. Therefore, when you see a threat in a trauma situation, your brain automatically releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are what help you think logically to respond to danger. However, when stress is overwhelming, these hormones can inhibit your ability to respond to triggers and disrupt normal thought processes.

Anxiety Is a Byproduct of “Fight and Flight” Response

“Fight or flight” is a natural reaction to danger. However, such a response often creates intense episodes of anxiety. Although anxiety can be a natural reaction to scary situations, it can also lead you to experience anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and social anxieties.  

Anxiety can affect how you think, feel, and behave. It can take over your life and leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. Anxiety can also cause you to feel like you can’t cope with daily life anymore. All these tense feelings could cause you to seek substances to help you cope. 

The Dangers of the “Fight or Flight” Response

The main downside of the fight and flight response is the fact that it triggers intense stress. In this period of crisis or danger, the body produces stress-related hormones. It can also cause a decrease in GABA, the neurotransmitter that helps relax the body and mind. 

Subsequently,  because the body produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, it could leave you even more susceptible to prolonged anxiety. In some cases, such prolonged feelings could perpetuate symptoms of other mental health issues like PTSD. 

It Affects the Whole Family

Unfortunately, mental health issues like anxiety can be debilitating to the whole family – especially if SUD is a concern. It’s important to remember that dealing with a SUD requires shifting from your worries to focusing on the present. Living in constant fear or under the weight of anxiety will not help you. Being in such a state is detrimental to your recovery and family relationships. 

If you experience constant anxiety, you risk relapse or developing a drug and alcohol dependence to self-medicate your symptoms. However, drugs and alcohol can also bring about heightened anxiety levels and make your symptoms worse. Over time, you might find yourself caught in a cycle of frequently managing your anxiety with substances. 

When this happens, it can cause you to isolate yourself from family or become irritable with family members. 

Taming the Fight or Flight Response for Your Recovery

Chronic exposure to stressful situations can increase the risk of relapse. Anxiety can also cause overwhelming fear or a sense of helplessness that often leads to self-defeating behaviors. Ultimately, finding ways to manage your stress and cope with the stress-related triggers that lead to relapse is an essential part of staying sober. 

There are many different ways to manage stress and anxiety. Some of them, such as exercising and listening to music, are not always effective for everyone. Yet, some find comfort in practicing mindfulness and yoga to manage stress and anxiety. Additionally, participating in activities that bring you joy helps alleviate stress and negative emotions.  

Other stress-relieving activities include:

  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Getting enough nutrients and water
  • Making time for your self-care
  • Participating in hobbies and activities
  • Practicing mindfulness meditation
  • Joining and attending recovery support groups

Seek Help From a Professional

Sometimes the fight or flight response can be a beneficial instinct. However, it can also become a chronic response that can lead to stress and anxiety. Too much cortisol circulating in the body can trigger too many uncomfortable emotions. Not only does this affect your brain and behavior, but it also impedes your ability to recover from substance use disorder. Therefore, If you can’t handle your stress and anxiety, you should talk with a mental health professional about treatment options.

Living under the weight of anxiety can hinder the quality of your teen’s life. However, they are not alone and help exists. At Clearfork Academy, we focus on the needs of teenage males and provide appropriate care to address their mental health and substance use disorders. With a range of behavioral therapies and activities, we will create a treatment plan that will speak directly to your teen’s needs. During these sessions, your teen will learn strategies and practices on how to process their stress and develop coping skills to manage them. The foundational elements learned with us will set your teen up for a lifetime of success in recovery. We also provide resources to aftercare should your teen need additional help getting back to their everyday life. With us, you will always have support and options to care. Don’t wait to get help. To find out more, contact us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (866) 650-5212. 

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Why Clean Eating Is Important for Recovery: The Benefits of Eating Clean

Eating Clean

Addiction recovery requires healthy lifestyle changes to get your mind and body healthy. One of the most important aspects of getting both your mind and body healthy again is clean eating.

Substance use changes the mind and body in major ways, as it influences negative lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes reflect a poor diet and a fluctuating appetite. Clean eating offers many benefits for addiction recovery and plays a vital role in regaining your health back. Let’s look at some ways you can understand and incorporate healthy eating into your recovery regimen.

How Addiction Affects Nutrition and the Body

Abusing substances makes major changes to the body. It can damage major organs such as the brain, heart, liver, and lungs. Substance abuse affects aspects of your health, such as:

  • Changes in Appetite: Substances can influence and change your appetite. Stimulants (such as methamphetamine and cocaine) suppress appetite, which causes weight loss and overall poor health. Marijuana mainly increases appetite but could also reduce appetite.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Long-term alcohol and drug use can lead to many digestive disorders. Your gastrointestinal system is in charge of breaking down and digesting food. Drug use can cause digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, and intestinal inflammation.
  • Poor Mental Health: Nutrition is known to play a key role in mental health. A poor diet can lead to worsening mood disorders, increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your body and mind are connected, and therefore when you neglect your health, each is affected.

Once you start your addiction recovery process, it is necessary to learn the benefits of clean eating to your journey. Clean eating contributes to both the mind, body, and spirit. Here are a few advantages that you can experience with a clean diet in recovery.

Increased Energy Levels and Mood

Being able to function efficiently throughout your day requires a decent level of energy from your body. Healthy eating fuels your body to produce and sustain higher energy levels and boosts your mood. After having a few drinks, you might feel relaxed. However, over time alcohol begins to harm your energy, mood, and mental health. Alcohol is one of the most major causes of nutritional deficiencies in the US, with the most common deficiency in Vitamin B. Vitamin B deficiency is associated with depression, low moods, and lethargy.

Making the switch to adding meats such as fish, chicken, and beef into your diet gives you a great source of B vitamins. Leafy greens, eggs, and yogurt also serve as a great source of B vitamins. Increasing your water intake will also help you feel more refreshed and hydrated, which will benefit your energy levels and mood. Cutting out processed and fast food and replacing your diet with fruits, vegetables, and proper meat is essential for clean eating.

Stronger Immune System

Your liver is what collects waste from chemicals that have entered your body. Alcohol and other drugs contribute to adding these chemicals into your body. A weekend immune system makes it harder for your body to fight off disease and infections. However, eating whole foods gives your body nutrients that can help repair the immune system.

Foods that help you build a stronger immune system include:

Incorporating plant-based foods into your diet like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts helps build a healthy immune system. Eating nutrient-rich foods allows your body to repair itself, which is necessary for fighting off diseases. They also help contribute to better focus, memory, and energy.

Healthy Nutrition Supports the Detox Process

When you begin your recovery process, the first step is usually going through detox. The detox process is physically demanding on your body and includes intense side effects such as vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and fatigue. A healthy and clean diet can help lessen and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Light and fresh foods that sit easily on the stomach help relieve nausea and vomiting. Foods that are high in fiber help relieve and lessen constipation.

As you continue to feed your body nutritious foods, you should start to feel better overall. The recovery process requires much time, patience, and compassion for yourself. Treating your body with the proper care by clean and healthy eating will help repair itself from the damages of previous substance use. Finding a treatment center that also teaches the importance of a proper diet gives you the tools needed to make necessary lifestyle changes important for lasting recovery.

At Clearfork Academy, we offer a range of treatments and therapies to help teenage males safely detox and create a healthy lifestyle. Our programs include guiding teens to develop self-care routines, from coping strategies to maintaining a clean diet. Our therapists will help teens identify what steps they need to create a healthier lifestyle conducive to their sobriety. We provide teens with the tools they need to overcome negative habits, form healthier habits, and provide life skills they can use throughout recovery. Finding the best-suited treatment facility for your teen requires a center that focuses on the unique needs of a teenager’s circumstances. We also work with the whole family so that you and your teenager can understand addiction and face the challenges of addiction recovery together. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their recovery, seek help today. To find out more about our programs, call Clearfork Academy at (866) 650-5212

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Give Yourself Grace: The Importance of Self Forgiveness During Recovery

side view of woman looking up during sunset

Practicing self-forgiveness plays an important role in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD). Self-forgiveness is another form of self-compassion that pertains to the ability to use kindness and gentleness with ourselves, particularly when we make mistakes or cannot live up to our expectations. 

Let’s explore why self-forgiveness can be an effective tool for teenagers struggling with a SUD. The article will highlight the steps to cultivate self-compassion in the application. 

Why Is Self-Forgiveness So Important for Teens?

Many teens find the period of adolescence to be a difficult and exciting time. They experience changes in their body and brain as social and emotional development forms the complex and crucial parts of their identity. Researchers note that these changes often create insecurities. Teens often feel like they’re on stage with the entire world watching. Teenagers place so much pressure on themselves due to constantly comparing themselves to others or setting high expectations. Their perceived failures, mistakes, setbacks, and other challenging times lead to intense amounts of shame, guilt, and humiliation within themselves. 

Self-compassion, or self-forgiveness, is an incredible resource for teenagers. When a person forgives themselves, they can see past their shortcomings. Thus, they can rediscover their strengths and potential for growth. Studies show that forgiveness or compassion allows the person to accept their mistakes and shortcomings without falling into self-criticism. Instead, mistakes and wrongdoings turn to opportunities to make amends, improve, or practice self-acceptance. And that attitude is so valuable for recovery. By releasing former feelings of shame and guilt, individuals can cope better with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Overall, it also helps them deal with their SUD by them choosing to admit and seek help.  

Social Pressure and Compassion

Social pressure plays a significant part in causing SUD or alcoholism in teens. Most teens who have experienced a SUD will testify to their peers, encouraging them to take part in drug use. Often, peer pressure stems from the desire to fit in. Unfortunately, failure to fit in produces a sense of inadequacy in teens. Teens tend to over critique themselves when experiencing feelings of inadequacy. It often leads to negative self-talk in teens. Because the teen considers him or herself not good enough to receive group acceptance, self-forgiveness, or compassion, it can help a teenager break this cycle of negative self-talk. 

A sense of inadequacy can trigger SUD, as adolescents in their early teens (and sometimes even earlier) are put under great social pressure to achieve and belong. According to some research, a teen with a SUD cannot afford to hold on to negative self-talk. It places their recovery at risk because it encourages low self-worth and shame in the teens. Self-compassion counteracts these social pressures and negative self-talk. For this reason, the best treatment programs advocate for their participants to work through their feelings of inadequacies and negative self-talk with self-forgiveness and compassion. Treatment that advocates self-compassion helps the participants to give themselves the grace to accept being imperfect. Imperfection is just a byproduct of being human, not a condemnation of misery. 

Self-Forgiveness Benefits Long-Term Recovery

Self-forgiveness addresses the unpleasant feelings accompanying failure, helping us understand we do not need to be right or make excuses for our mistakes. Our SUD recovery and well-being are affected when we lack the ability to forgive ourselves. Researchers note that a person who has shame could feel self-deprecating, hopeless, and unmotivated. However, they can avoid self-deprecation and regain hope when they shift the focus away from shame to self-forgiveness.

Essentially, by choosing to practice self-forgiveness, you will reap many benefits that strengthen your recovery from relapse

These benefits include:

  • Ability to reframe thoughts
  • No longer depending on external affirmations
  • Able to make healthier, wiser decisions
  • Regain motivation and focus on pursuing goals
  • Rebuild and maintain positive relationships with our loved ones
  • Better able to avoid future substance abuse
  • Help overcome destructive behaviors that may have grown out of self-destructive patterns 

Tips for Practicing Self-Forgiveness

Remember that self-forgiveness is essential for moving forward in recovery. It is far better to use kindness and gentleness with ourselves than to use harsh words. 

The following steps will help you in this process:

  • Pay attention to your emotions and thoughts with an open mind of compassion
  • Forgive yourself for what you feel is the mistake or the action that brought you to this problem
  • Mindfulness practices such as gratitude, journaling, and meditation can cultivate compassion towards yourself
  • Remember that practicing kindness and gentleness towards yourself doesn’t mean you can’t have imperfections, shortcomings, or faults
  • Consider treating past wrongdoings as a “teachable moment” to share with someone in need of a message

Unfortunately, blaming ourselves for failures will not help us avoid them. Nor will it aid us in finding alternative solutions. Yet, practicing self-forgiveness provides us with solutions along this road of recovery. 

Self-compassion does not provide quick fixes to the substance use disorder or any other behavioral problem. What self-compassion can do is lead us down a path of active self-forgiveness. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that self-forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting inappropriate behavior or agreeing with others who invalidate our feelings or experiences. Instead, self-forgiveness involves a progressive, compassionate understanding of how our flawed thinking, feeling, and behaviors contribute to a history of poor health and suffering. Teenagers need self-compassion to cope with SUD and other negative emotions that can affect their mental health. If your loved one is struggling with forgiveness, it might be time for professional help. The path of self-forgiveness offers the opportunity to redeem the past and recover. Talking to a therapist, going to a treatment center, or attending a support group are healthy ways to build self-compassion. Find out more, and call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Social Media’s Impact on Recovery

man is checking his cell phone at a conference

The term “social media” refers to types of digital platforms that encourage people to converse through digital forms of communication. Such digital platforms include media like email, text, message boards, games and entertainment apps, and social networking sites. Such platforms allow both adults and teenagers to communicate and share information with a broader audience. While social media can be a positive experience, it can also perpetuate stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, navigating social media can be especially difficult for a teenager. Social media can even influence one’s recovery. 

Let’s look at social media’s impact on teenagers and how it influences recovery. 

Facts About Teens Using Social Media

Research shows that young adults use social media to explore their identity and learn about health and risk behaviors. They are forming opinions on what they should do and how they should behave. About 90% of young adults with Internet access use social media. Even more, 97% of teens between 13 and 17 years old use at least one of the main social media platforms. 

The most prevalent social media platforms that teens commonly use are:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit

The average teen spends about 7-9 hours a day on social media, with the largest amount of time dedicated to YouTube. 

Benefits of Social Media for Recovery

Social media holds certain advantages in recovery work. Social media gives teens a sense of community. It can provide teens with a feeling of comfort and happiness by helping them make connections with others, especially with fellow peers managing a SUD. 

Further benefits of social media include: 

  • Helping teens stay connected to family and friends
  • Finding support via online recovery groups or forums
  • The anonymity of online connections makes it easier to share and confide in people
  • Liberating for those who struggle with self-disclosure
  • Friends and family can offer support by simply liking, sharing, or commenting on posts
  • People sometimes feel more open to sharing their challenges with writing than during in-person interactions
  • A good way to perform outreach or serve the sober community

Social Media Can Delay Progress in Recovery

While social media can help teenagers maintain a connection with the outside world, it can also hinder their progress in recovery. Social media causes people to compare themselves, which can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy. People are constantly comparing themselves to others on social media. The more time a person spends scrolling through social media, the more likely they will compare themselves to others.

Social media is not a replacement for real-life interactions. An over-dependence on online interactions can lead to a person withdrawing from face-to-face interactions. This can cause depression and chronic stress, which can lead to a relapse. Also, teens have the added challenge of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a genuine concern, and internet “trolls” love to use social media platforms to argue with people. Therefore, teens need to understand that they have every right not to engage in online discussions if the atmosphere doesn’t feel supportive. 

Social Media Glamorizes Substance Use

As social media usage increases, so have reports of the glamorization of alcohol and substance use. Social media strengthens peer pressure’s grasp on adolescents, especially regarding their consumption of substances. Information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that many celebrities regularly post pictures of themselves drinking alcohol or using drugs. Regardless of these celebrities’ intent, their posts associate substance use with fun. Unfortunately, young people may wish to try substances after seeing them glamorized online. 

Treatment Works Better

Social media is not the best source for recovery. There are too many risks to using social media as the primary source of treatment. Successful recovery requires professional care at a treatment center and participating in support groups and other forms of therapy. If teenagers are engaged in social media so much that it affects their mental health, academic performance, and overall confidence, it is time to seek help.

Finding the Best Care

Finding the right care for a teenager requires proper diagnosis and treatment that focuses on a teenager’s needs. Clearfork Academy is a treatment center that checks all these boxes. Our model of care functions to provide support and guidance for teenagers struggling with SUD. Such settings help provide an appropriate and comfortable space for teens to learn and grow.  

Our therapies include: 

As social media becomes more and more prevalent in society, the psychological effects have become increasingly clear. We can help teenagers learn to use it responsibly as they recover from SUD. 

Social media can build positive online communities and help people connect. It can even provide a voice for the voiceless. However, there are also risks to be aware of with social media. The overuse of social media can lead users to struggle even more with mental health issues, drug cravings, or substance use. At Clearfork Academy, we strive to help young teenage males develop the skills necessary to cope with the negative aspects of social media. Our licensed clinicians will help you find the best treatment to address your teenage son’s needs. We offer a continuum of care to meet individual needs, whether your son is just starting recovery or looking to get back on track. Our programs ensure that those who seek help with us feel safe, secure, and comfortable throughout treatment. We aim to educate, motivate and inspire teens to flourish into the people they want to become. To learn more, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

 

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How Can Core Values Assist Your Recovery?

Happy Family Standing Close to Each Other and Spending Time Together During Weekend

As you enter recovery and begin the task of identifying your reasons for healing, remembering your core values is necessary. Core values vary from family to family and in individuals. However, values assist you in moving forward with your recovery. Understand that everybody makes mistakes and abandons their values at some point in their lives, so try not to become discouraged if you have lost touch with your values. With forgiveness, self-love, and trust in your Higher Power, you can reconnect with your core values.

What Are Core Values?

Core values are your beliefs about right and wrong and include those most essential to you as an individual. Core values can consist of honesty, perseverance, consistency, accountability, and many other beliefs about the right and wrong ways to approach life.

Having a solid set of core values improves your self-confidence, self-esteem, and relationships with others. Your core values also give you a sense of purpose and belonging to others who share your values.

Core Values Help You to Know Who You Are

Identifying who you are as an individual comes from knowing your belief system and understanding what is most important to you. In the beginning stages of recovery, not being able to identify those core values is not uncommon. You may have spent a significant amount of time avoiding the idea of those values as you succumbed to the weight of addiction.

Addiction can rob you of integrity, loyalty, kindness, meaning, and purpose. As you lose your most important values, you might begin to feel like you are losing yourself. Slipping further into addiction is often the result of this loss, and the cycle continues.

What Happens When You Lose Your Sense of Core Values?

Losing your sense of core values can set in motion an emotional roller coaster of anger, shame, self-loathing, and a sense of failure. You do not have to stay on this roller coaster. There is hope to rebuild your life. The disease of addiction robs so many of who they are and what they value in life. Addiction does not have to be lifelong.

You can rebuild your life, rediscover your values, and maybe even discover other core values necessary to who you want to be. As you learn about yourself and the changes addiction made in your life, you will rediscover what is most important to you. With this growth, your shame and suffering will cease, and you will rediscover joy.

Three Examples of Core Values 

#1. Honesty and Integrity

Honesty and integrity are two values similar in that they encourage being truthful in your life and how you live your life. Being honest is critical to recovery as you face the effects your addiction has had on your life and the lives of those around you. Integrity is about living a good life and doing your best, being honest, and faithful to yourself and others.

#2. Being a Good Steward in Your Education

Addiction often steals a person’s sense of accomplishment and willingness to engage with life surrounding careers and education. Failing classes and recognizing the importance of learning about others and the world could create a significant setback as you again try to engage during recovery. As you enter recovery from your addiction, your willingness to engage with the world and be a good steward of your present education and future goals will become easier. You can overcome your previous lack of engagement and focus as you relearn how to live out your core values and identify what is most important for you and your future.

#3. Sense of Loyalty

Your relationships with family and friends may have suffered due to your addiction to alcohol or other substances. You may have lied and stolen and disregarded your values as you fell deeper into addictive behaviors. Your acting outside of your values does not make you a bad person, but one who is fallible. You can make amends and build friendships once again. Understanding the importance of loyalty and trusting your friends, and being trustworthy will assist you in creating a life worth living within your core values.

Your recovery is dependent upon you identifying what is most important to who you want to be as a person. You need to identify your values and relearn how to apply them to your behaviors. You can create a new legacy for yourself and become the person you always wanted to be. Addiction does not have to be lifelong. You can overcome the behaviors,  your mistakes and build the life you want and deserve. There is hope and healing.

Learning who you are as an individual might be difficult after struggling to manage addiction; you may have abandoned or even forgotten your core values. Rediscovering your core values will help you heal from addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available now. You and your family do not have to suffer alone. At Clearfork Academy, we assist with every step of the recovery process. We offer Christ-Centered treatment in residential and intensive outpatient settings, providing options for your family’s individual needs. We can also help you relearn your core values and identify the person you want to be. We believe that there is always hope for healing from addiction. Find out more and call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604. Remember, there is always help for you to live the life you want, free from addiction

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Adventure Therapy Can Help With Addiction Recovery

Campers on an adventure

Adventure therapy is beneficial for teenagers in recovery because it incorporates real-world challenges to help them cope with behavioral, social, and emotional issues. Further, such practices create an environment that engages the mind, promotes communication skills, and helps teens get out of their comfort zone. Ultimately, adventure therapy will have a positive impact on your teen’s overall mental and physical wellbeing. If your teen has not considered adventure therapy, perhaps now is the time to start. Let’s take a closer look at this model of therapy and how it can become one of the best choices your teen will make for their recovery.

How Does it Work?

Adventure therapy is a form of experiential therapy that incorporates elements from many other beneficial practices such as exercise, mediation, and relationship-building skills. Perhaps, the best part about this therapy is that it provides natural healing properties because most activities happen outdoors.

Additionally, many teenagers discover that they feel more confident after they participate in these activities.

What Does Adventure Therapy Include?

Addiction and risky behavior go hand in hand; however, the risks associated with addiction are unhealthy and could cause your teen to harm themselves or others. Further, risks associated with addiction are often motivated by the need to find the next drink or drug.

Alternatively, adventure therapy is effective because of its ability to present healthier risks and challenges conducive to your teen’s development. Encountering these risks and challenges will help your teen discover confidence and trust within to handle challenging situations. Developing these skills is essential to sustaining recovery as it will translate into their everyday challenges such as school, home life, and work.

Certain risks and challenges include:

  • Bungee jumping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Zip Lining
  • Paragliding
  • Camping

Adventure Therapy Helps With Expressing Emotions 

Developing a strong emotional range is also important for recovery. Being able to express oneself will help a teenager process and discover feelings attached to emotions that feed their impulses and cravings. However, sometimes teenagers become apprehensive about sharing their feelings with family or healthcare professionals. Adventure therapy can help teenagers express their emotions more comfortably.

Adventure therapy accomplishes this by:

  • Helping Teens Develop Good Self-Esteem: Addiction can diminish confidence, communication, and social skills. During situations where a teen’s self-esteem is low, it’s hard to communicate mental health challenges. Adventure therapy helps teenagers regain their self-esteem and express their problems to address the source of their negative thoughts and emotions and work to find resolve.
  • Helping Teens Develop Problem Solving Skills: Adventure therapy plays a crucial role in developing problem-solving skills. When teenagers undergo challenges during their adventures, they consciously and subconsciously learn how to deal with every challenge coming their way. It might require developing navigational skills during forest expeditions or reaching the summit of a mountain by traveling through difficult terrain. Developing these skills is great for continuing to build confidence.
  • Helping Teens Develop Social Skills: One of the most important parts of any recovery regimen is developing a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Such skills can deteriorate during active addiction and create residual feelings of isolation and detachment even after becoming sober. Some adventure therapy practices depend on strong communication between peers. Since everybody is focusing on the task, it can be easier to open up and communicate needs. Over time, this kind of communication will create healthy communication skills that your teen will become more comfortable using in their everyday setting.

Adventure Therapy Develops a Sense of Service 

Guilt and shame are commonly associated with early recovery. Such feelings can perpetuate negative self-perceptions and one’s overall outlook. While your teen might not like the way they behave, they might also feel helpless to change. However, adventure therapy can help your teen develop their self-worth through the art of giving back. Team-building skills help teens participate, allowing them to see how they can help and contribute their skills and ideas within a group setting. It also allows them to understand that there is a sense of shared support and that they and their peers are never alone when facing a challenge. It also helps them understand that mistakes happen and how to move forward from them.

Adventure Therapy Promotes Good Mental Health

Mental health is important during the recovery process, and participating in adventure therapy will provide opportunities and places where your teen can sit silently and meditate. The calmness of forests, mountains, and seas encourages positivity that fosters healthy thoughts and behaviors. Such reflections can lend a sense of empowerment and inspiration for the teen to realize that they can become whoever they want to be.

While being resilient and proactive is necessary for lasting recovery, this doesn’t mean mistakes won’t happen. Real recovery is about making mistakes and learning how to move forward from them. Your teenager has their entire life ahead of them, and at Clearfork Academy, we want to ensure that they live their best life. Therefore, if your teenager is currently struggling to manage their addiction, Clearfork Academy can help. We provide both conventional and holistic approaches to care to ensure that we meet your teen’s individual needs. Part of our treatment includes adventure therapy because it incorporates many helpful tools that will provide your teen with the know-how to handle life and recovery’s most difficult challenges. If you or your teen are currently struggling to manage and confront the challenges of addiction, then the time to seek help is now. To learn more, reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How Do I Navigate Recovery Following Treatment?

woman in black outfit sitting on concrete railing

Preparing to leave your treatment facility is an exciting time because it will allow you to put your sober abilities to the test in the “real world.” It can also be an intimidating experience. While in treatment, your inpatient rehab center might help you with plans and goals following your treatment. However, it is ultimately up to you to find ways to stay proactive, focused, and motivated in your recovery journey. Understand, you are not alone. The support networks you develop in treatment will be the same support you have in recovery. Let’s take a closer look at how to navigate your recovery after treatment.

Find an Aftercare Program

A study published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy looked at the recovery paths of 4,165 persons. Regardless of the severity of addiction, researchers discovered that all these persons benefited from aftercare programs. 

Some aftercare programs include: 

  • Sober living homes
  • Therapy
  • Counseling
  • 12-step programs

When attending an aftercare program, you continue to engage with others, check up on your health, and ensure that you don’t fall into the same addictions again. 

Find a Support Group in Your Community

Support groups are an essential part of the recovery journey. Having support within your community will help motivate and inspire you to keep moving forward, despite challenges and setbacks. With support, you will have access to guidance and advice from peers that will be helpful to your recovery. You will also meet new people, learn ways to overcome cravings, and have others who can hold you accountable. Having peers who share similar experiences will provide you emotional support because they will understand the challenges you face while managing addiction. It is reassuring to know that you are not alone in the process. 

You can find local support groups online or through telehealth services. These services can notify you of the various recovery-based activities and events happening within your community. If you cannot find anything local, there are supportive recovery communities online. 

Become a Part of the Alumni Group at Your Facility

Getting sober is a transformative experience. Many things might appear and feel different to you. Therefore, if you don’t have adequate support, it can become a challenging experience, and returning to your everyday life following treatment can be difficult. Alumni programs can help you acclimate back into your everyday lifestyle. Almost every rehab facility has its own alumni group that works as a helping hand for the people residing there. 

Alumni programs offer opportunities to engage with fellow peers and to motivate and help them through challenging times. Joining an alumni program and helping another at a different point in their recovery can instill a sense of leadership, empowerment and help you appreciate how far you have come in your journey. Being in an alumni program will also help hold you accountable as you will be a point of guidance for another. Therefore, once you’ve completed treatment, it’s important to understand what your treatment center offers and how you can take advantage of alumni programs.

 Find a Job Following Treatment 

Finding a job following treatment can be a difficult process. However, a job is necessary for helping you with financial stability. Having a job will also help you develop a strong sense of independence. Rather than relying on another to support you financially, you will support yourself, which is very empowering. If you are uncertain about where to begin, you can look to your support network. Peers, sponsors, and counselors can connect you with job opportunities. If they do not currently have something, they will always act as a great reference. Remember, it will take time and patience to establish everything you need. Attending support programs, group therapy, or pursuing volunteering opportunities are all great ways to continue building your network and can lead you to find a job you love. 

You can find additional support from these organizations: 

  • The Department of Labor’s One-Stop Career Center
  • America in Recovery
  • The National Hire Network

There are also many freelance opportunities offered online where you can create a flexible schedule to accommodate other obligations such as making meetings and appointments. 

Start Exercising 

Addiction changes your brain chemically over time; therefore, after heavy use or years of use, it will require time and developing healthy habits to rewire how your brain functions.  

One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health is exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being active for at least 150 minutes per week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of malignancies, and other chronic diseases. Regular exercise can also help the brain recuperate from the adverse physiological effects of frequent substance use by increasing the brain’s number of new nerve connections.

Rehabilitation centers have their advantages as one can stay under expert supervision in the absence of drugs. The environment and peer support are amazing and the activities performed are meant to prepare any addict to lead a healthy life. However, at some point, you will need to return to your everyday life. At Clearfork Academy, we understand the challenges that come with leaving treatment. However, just because you leave does not mean that your support stays behind. Recovery is an exciting journey that will offer you the ability to recognize all the opportunities you have waiting for you. We offer both a conventional and experiential approach to care to ensure that you are developing the skills necessary to face real-world challenges. We work with parents and teens to help the family understand addiction and set the teenager up for the best success. Find out more and reach out to us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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How Do I Navigate Recovery While in College or High School?

Student couple posing for photo with their masks on

Research shows that approximately 840,000 full-time students currently attending U.S. colleges are in recovery. Therefore, the key to living a successful life in college requires maintaining an honest dialogue with your peers, educators, parents, and healthcare professionals. In this guide, we will explore how those recovering from a substance use disorder can navigate the unique challenges of college or high school without using substances. 

The Challenges of Being a College Student in Recovery

Going to college is a time for transition and excitement because it offers the opportunity to begin a new life of growth and adventure. You are about to embark on a journey to meet new people, try new experiences, and learn new topics. For many of us, college and high school are a means to developing the skills and relationships that will make us successful in the adult world. However, some may face certain challenges because of trauma, substance use, and other mental health issues. 

Some of these challenges include:

  • Facing academic and legal consequences of past actions
  • Transitioning from a treatment facility to an academic institution
  • Sharing recovery status to faculty and friends
  • Attending or forming recovery support on or near campus
  • Juggling responsibilities as both a student and a person in recovery
  • Finding sobriety-friendly social activities
  • Managing triggers and peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs
  • Relearning life skills, such as time management and budgeting
  • Navigating stigmas surrounding SUDs and recovery

These issues may surface in ways that present challenges and leave the student more vulnerable to drug or alcohol consumption. 

Know the Signs

During a person’s time in college or high school, stress and anxiety run high because of the pressure to use substances and the array of challenges that stems from starting or continuing one’s education. Too many experience overwhelming feelings that often lead to relapse or continued substance use. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides some key signs of stress and anxiety:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done
  • Feeling tired no matter how much sleep one gets
  • Difficulty concentrating on anything for more extended periods
  • Procrastinating on completing necessary tasks
  • Not eating enough or eating too much
  • Physically feeling ill or not well
  • Isolating or withdrawing from peer
  • Avoiding any previously enjoyed activities or fun
  • Using unhealthy coping methods

By being aware, you can take measures to reduce the impact stress has on your well-being. 

How to Stay Clean During College or Highschool

Living a drug-free life will take some planning, patience, and discipline. Certain recovery skills allow a person to identify what’s going on in their life. Therefore, using assessment shows how to process and form a plan when faced with challenging situations. Finally, you can manage their action plan to resolve difficult situations. 

Good resources to help your action plan include: 

  • Student Health & Counseling Center: Most colleges or high schools have either a Student Health & Counseling Center or a Guidance Office. Both provide a range of counseling, and life-skills programs students can access freely. Students can receive individual and group therapy, mental health assessments, and referrals to other available services. Some might offer resources, such as hotlines, for students considering self-harm or are distressed. Most academic institutions provide educational programs or books on managing stress, developing coping skills, substance use, and mental health management.
  • Self Care Opportunities: Most schools create an environment where students can practice self-care and learn how to take care of themselves. They offer opportunities for students to consume healthy foods, take part in fun activities like outdoor group activities, and participate in volunteer opportunities. They also allow students to meditate, practice yoga, and attend to their faith in practice.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Schools provide academic resources to help students stay on track. Students can turn to their guidance counselor, dean, or Center for Academic Success for help. These officials provide students with the strategies and resources necessary to improve their grades and succeed in their classes. Students can also book free consultations, tutoring sessions, or workshops to help with difficult academic tasks like completing assignments, developing a study plan, or managing course material.

Clearfork Academy Partnership With University of Texas Charter School

We are excited to partner with the University of Texas Charter School to prepare our participants when they finish our program. Participants can join classes right at our facilities through a University of Texas Charter School satellite campus. Teachers who receive special preparation to work with the young adults in the program facilitate these courses.

For many of us, college and high school provide an environment necessary for developing the skills and relationships that will make us successful in the adult world. Nevertheless, some may face certain challenges due to trauma, substance use, and mental health issues. At Clearfork Academy, we believe that recovery is possible and that treatment centers like ours can help. We offer a variety of SUD treatment programs that can be tailored to meet the needs of any individual especially those with mental health disorders. Our center offers a holistic approach, which includes more than just medication and therapy. We also provide educational resources, such as group classes, workshops, and access to academics. Due to our partnership with the University of Texas Charter School, our participants also have access to academic success while in treatment. Our program is designed for individual students’ needs. To learn more, reach out to Clearkfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604.

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5 Psychologically Damaging Things You Can Say to a Teen in Recovery

A teenage girl sitting in front of a female psychologist and talking about teen problems

One of the most damaging misconceptions about addiction is that it is a moral failing. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain, not an individual’s character. This disease can happen to anyone, but too many use psychologically damaging statements that can either prevent or hinder a teen’s treatment for SUD. For this reason, Clearfork Academy encourages our team and parents to approach teens with a supportive and non-judgmental attitude.

#1. Refrain From Stigmatizing SUD

The stigma around SUDs continues to persist because of the residual presence of unevolved language and ideas regarding SUDs. Today, doctors and clinicians alike recognize SUDs as a chronic, treatable medical condition. Often, misinformation results in stigmatizing language being used. Unfortunately, teens with SUD often suffer the brunt of the stigmatizing language.

Affected by peer pressure and insecurities, any stigmatizing language, especially from the public, can prove detrimental to these teens and their treatment. Whether their peers, loved ones, or the public use stigmatizing language against SUD, it fosters certain sentiments like fear, pity, or anger amidst teens with SUDs, which will make it harder to convince the teen boys to enter treatment.

To assist their recovery, refrain from labeling your child with the term “addicted” or “alcoholic.” Such labels reduce their personhood to this chronic condition. Instead, choose “person-first language, which focuses on the person — not their illness.” Also, consider applying the following terms:

  • Person with a substance use disorder (instead of addict, user, substance or substance user, Junkie)
  • Person with an opioid use disorder (OUD)
  • Person with alcohol use disorder (instead of using alcoholic, drunk)

Listen instead of being condescending to people. Encourage them and give support in the right ways. They can provide you with the words that they prefer to describe their illness.

#2. Don’t Minimize Their Circumstances

Teens suffering from SUD benefit from the boundaries of sobriety. The structures of sober living clarify that all substance use should cease. Refrain from minimizing the severity of their addiction regardless of the length of sobriety. It’s not uncommon for those managing addiction to replace one addictive behavior with another. To show your support, avoid such sayings:

  • “One hit, puff, drink, or a few grams won’t hurt you.”
  • “You’re not addicted to marijuana. Just take it to relax.”
  • “It’s just beer.”
  • “You deserve to have a drink now and again.”
  • “It’s all about balance.”
  • “Just step away from the drink now and again.”

A part of recovery is avoiding other substances, such as alcohol, to minimize any relapse. Rather than minimizing the journey of recovery, find new sober ways to accompany them.

#3. Don’t Ignore Them Sharing Their Experiences

When a person shares their experiences regarding SUD, others may find the process of active listening challenging or daunting. If you find it hard to know what to say or do, don’t panic. Teens, at such a young age, particularly desire a listening ear. Try asking them a few open-ended questions that show you’re interested. You can even offer to listen at another date. It’s not always easy for people to talk, but it makes all the difference if you remain present.

#4. Avoid Complaining About Their Treatment Plan

Despite the cost of treatment, the time it takes out of the family schedule, and the impact on family dynamics, critiques can hurt your child’s chances. Your child will need a support system through thick and thin of their treatment plan. Complaining about the plan shows a lack of support for your child. When their recovery inevitably affects your time, finances, or emotional labor, it is essential that you are prepared to do what needs to be done for them to continue their recovery. For instance, they may desire your help with:

  • Taking them to or joining their weekly/daily recovery support groups
  • Attending family therapy sessions
  • Rearranging work or family responsibilities so they can attend to their treatment

Though the quick fix is tempting, the path to recovery from a SUD is often complex. Be patient, show up, and listen compassionately, for the reward of recovery is worth it for both you and them.

#5. Limit the Ultimatums

Ultimatums rarely work. Don’t create unnecessary added pressure by giving an ultimatum to your child with SUD. Instead of ultimatums, consider motivating them to seek treatment. Motivation is the key to making difficult lifestyle changes. Helping your child strengthen their own motivation increases the likelihood of them committing to treatment. Having a sense of confidence and independence also sets them up for sustaining recovery long after treatment.

It’s never too late to seek addiction treatment. This chronic condition holds a harmful influence over teens’ minds, bodies, and emotions. At Clearfork Academy we believe that having help and encouragement from loved ones makes all the difference. Often, people with SUD notice the stigma surrounding addiction. Stigmatizing language can stunt their motivation for finding treatment. Therefore, as you seek help for your son, we recommend educating yourself on this disease and how to address it with your child properly. As a parent, you want to help your children. Let them know that you’re here, that you’re listening, and that you care. It’ll help them feel less alone in the challenges they will face. The Clearfork Academy takes a supportive, non-judgmental approach to SUD education. We focus on the effects of drug use, the social contexts of drug use, and the treatment needs of teens who use substances. To learn more about our approach, contact us at (888) 966-8604.

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Teen Detox: What to Expect

It can be scary to watch your child struggle with substance abuse. Detox for your teen can be just as scary, so it’s important for them to have a safe facility to clear everything out of their bodies and a strong support system at home — you! 

What is Drug Detoxification?

Detoxification, more commonly known as detox, is the process of allowing the body to naturally expel any drugs or harmful substances within it. This process is most beneficial when a trained medical professional is present to manage withdrawal symptoms and administer treatment. 

The detox process is different for everyone, and the length of time it takes the body to work through these substances depends on a variety of factors such as:

        • The types of substances used

        • Their genetic makeup and family health history

        • Pre-existing medical or mental health conditions

        • The duration of their addiction

        • The amount of a substance that has been taken at one time

        • The method of usage (smoking, snorting, injecting, etc.)

The average drug detox time takes between 3 and 7 days, but varies based on your child’s unique situation. 


What are the Side Effects of Drug Detox?

Drug detox can be a frightening experience for your teen. It is important to know exactly what they may experience so you can give them the support they need, from a place of understanding. Symptoms of drug detox include:

        • Anxiety or nervousness

        • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

        • Body aches and body discomfort

        • Nausea

        • Mood swings

        • Difficulty concentrating 

Because these side effects can be severe, a medically-supervised detox is almost always recommended. Fortunately, Clearfork Academy is medically licensed to have up to eight beds for medical detox. This means that we have a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, and a psychiatrist on hand to ease this process for your child. 

We have medical protocols in place to handle each symptom at varying severities. That includes medical rounding, medical intervention, and medication administration to lessen some of these symptoms as necessary. 


How Does Clearfork Academy Handle Drug Detox?

Our first priority when handling a teen going through detox is to ensure their medical stability. The drugs are allowed to flush out of their bodies so restore health to their organs and brain before we begin next steps. Detox may remove the impurities from your child’s body, but it is not enough by itself to keep them healthy long term. 

Clearfork Academy also addresses the heart and mind of each teen to facilitate lifelong recovery. Our therapeutic process encompasses one-on-one sessions, group therapy, and the deeper exploration of their unique thoughts and feelings. The psychological part of their addiction needs to be discussed as well. Our multi-step approach to drug detox is focused on immediate medical care, but also the mental and emotional care that must be completed afterwards to ensure lasting success. We take care of the medical aspects of their recovery first so that we can focus on repairing their self image, confidence, and address the factors that led them to drug abuse in the first place. 

 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at [email protected], or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

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Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now
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6 Dysfunctional Family Roles

Does someone you love have a substance abuse problem? Addiction is a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, when someone struggles with addiction, there is a ripple effect that leaves no one in the family untouched. How well is your family coping? Is your family managing the stress of addiction in a healthy way? 

There are six dysfunctional roles we often see within the family system of addiction. In order to break the cycle of dysfunctional family roles, you must first understand each role and the part it plays in the family unit. Take a look at this list, and see if you can identify any of these roles within your family:

 

#1: The Addict:
The entire family life revolves around the addict or alcoholic. Each codependent role has been taken on in order to “make sense” of, and handle, the dysfunction in the everyday life of the family.

If the dysfunction within the family unit is not acknowledged and addressed, the addict is more likely to continually relapse. This is why we believe strongly in family therapy. Family therapy is critical in helping teenagers recover from substance abuse.

#2 The Caretaker:
The caretaker will often cover up the addict’s problems and responsibilities to keep everyone happy. The caretaker role often enables the addict. 

Enabling may look like : Disbelief and denial of addiction, covering up the problem due to parental guilt and shame, attempting to make life easier as a solution by giving money or gifts not earned, expecting less, removing responsibilities, etc., overlooking bad behavior to keep peace, trusting the promises of an addict, inconsistency – not following through with logical consequences, preventing natural consequences, forgiving too quickly, blaming his or her peers, believing lies.

The caretaker works hard to keep everyone in the family happy, for fear that if the real issues are realized, the family could fall apart. What the caretaker doesn’t understand is that their fear of addressing painful issues is actually preventing the family from operating as a healthy unit.

#3 The Hero:
The Hero devotes time and attention to making the family look “normal” and without problems. By overachieving and being successful in school, work or social activities, the Hero feels he/she can mask or make up for the dysfunctional home life. 

Many times the Hero feels pressure to keep the family’s success and image afloat. This is a huge burden for one person to carry!

#4 The Scapegoat:
The Scapegoat often acts out in front of others. They will rebel, make noise, and divert attention from the person who is addicted and their need for help in addiction recovery. The Scapegoat covers or draws attention away from the real problem.

#5 The Mascot:
The Mascot’s role is that of the jester. They will often make inappropriate jokes about those involved. Though they do bring humor to the family roles, it is often harmful humor, and they sometimes hinder addiction recovery.

#6 The Lost Child:
The Lost Child is the silent, “out of the way” family member, and will never mention alcohol or recovery. They are quiet and reserved, careful to not make problems. The Lost Child gives up self needs and makes efforts to avoid any conversation regarding the underlying roles.

 

Were you able to identify a few of these roles within your household? If your answer is yes, you’re probably thinking “what now?” As we said, family therapy is so important! It not only helps the addict find recovery, but it also helps his/her family recover! 

At Clearfork Academy, we know addiction is a family issue, and we want to support each family member throughout the process. In addition to family therapy sessions, we have support groups for parents of kids in treatment, and for parents of alumni. We also have a private Facebook page just for parents, to help you connect, and have a safe place to ask questions and find support. 

If your son is “The Addict”, don’t try to cover it up or struggle through it alone any longer! Get him the help he needs, so everyone can begin to heal. We’ve helped thousands of boys find recovery, and we’d love to help your son too! Our clinical specialists are available to take your call any time of day, and offer professional guidance on your son’s unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

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Shame “Less” Recovery

SHAME – How often in addiction do we hear people say, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” or “Look what you’ve put us through!”? It is likely more often than we should.

Shame is a real, raw and painful emotion. It brings in alliance the ideas of regret, self-hate, and dishonor and boils them together into a chaotic muddling with often devastating results and sometimes even addiction. People tend to align guilt and shame jointly, however, they are vastly different. Guilt says, “I did something wrong,” while shame says, “I am something wrong.”
Theologically shame has been around since the first humans, Adam and Eve, roamed the lush fields in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were both warned not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and after Eve was so easily tempted by the serpent they indulged, thus resulting in the first sin. The writer of Genesis tells us “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness…” (Genesis 3:7a, NLT.) Later, when they heard God, they hid (as if the all-knowing, all-powerful God could not see them.) God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9, NLT) To which Adam replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:10, NLT) In that very instant the sin that so easily entangled them led to the shame that is now woven into the thread of, not only this story but religion, culture, society, and even our belief system.

Adam and Eve after they were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. The beginning of shame.
Adam and Eve after they were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. The beginning of shame.

Shame has become the mushy, pliable foundation on which we construct lies, develop secrets, and contrive facades of who we pretend to be. If unaddressed it continues to increase slowly and persistently in our psyche; establishing itself with one singular internal insult at a time. It then has the capability to cultivate itself into an incredibly sized festering monster of self-hatred, doubt, depression, and worry that will demolish everything in its path.

The shame cycle states that if shame is not addressed it will continue to worsen.
The shame cycle states that if shame is not addressed it will continue to worsen.

Recognizing shame within oneself is a critical part of the process to overcome the negative impact on the live’s of our clients here at Clearfork Academy. We are affording them the opportunity to step out of the Shame Matrix: Attacking Self, Avoidance,  Attacking Others, and Withdrawal using a simple awareness assessment.

  • I physically feel shame in/on my…
  • It feels like…
  • I know I’m in shame when I feel…
  • If I could taste shame, it would taste like…
  • If I could smell shame, it would smell like…
  • If I could touch shame, it would feel like…

One step for defeating shame is to “break the silence.” Becoming transparent and exposing the secrets and lies that were so flaw-fully fabricated provides open channels to gaining freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NIV) Accepting emotions is also a pivotal part of ridding one’s life of shame. Shame is afraid of exposure, however, providing the opportunity for a client to contain their guilt while also releasing the shame can prove to be difficult if you are not prepared.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)
“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

Strategically, addressing shame is similar to addressing trauma and often it is directly connected to trauma. It is always expressed as a present event in its exposure. Applying an empathetic approach is the catalyst for the continued sharing of the shameful thought processes. Empathy continues to establish, confirm, and solidify the safe environment in which shameful thoughts can be revealed. Providing positive reflection of how you presently view the client should always be introduced into the process.
We teach our client’s to be appreciative of what they do have and to develop a sense of gratitude. Each morning as the clients gather around for their morning devotional we begin asking them three questions to start the day:

  1. What is good about today?
  2. What are you grateful for?
  3. What is your goal for the day?

The most amazing part of asking the “3 G’s” is that the answer does not have to be eccentric or elaborate. This simple exercise teaches the client to be grateful for the small things first. They are now aware of and able to acknowledge a shared experience of receiving things of worth. More importantly, this proves to them that they are worthy recipients of positive things. Worthy enough to receive the blessings and glorious riches that can only be given by a redeeming father, God. A process that we call Belief Transformation, rather than Behavior Modification.

We believe that shame becomes unbelief that materializes as a God-shaped-hole in the heart. But by applying these methods and practices we can begin to see the developmental adjustments of the belief system.

 

If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse. Call us today. 817-382-8463
If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse. Call us today. 817-382-8463

In recognizing and becoming aware of shame and its damaging effects, there has to be a full transformation. Pathologizing states, “I am bad” and “Something is wrong with me” and “I screw everything up.” On the other side normalizing enforces a separation between the individual and the event, “I did a bad thing” and “I’m not the only one” and “I made a mistake this time.” This transfiguration develops and eventually becomes shame resiliency.

Shame resiliency allows for a client to recognize their shame triggers (person, place, statement, or event) and see the personal vulnerabilities that led to the feelings of shame much like doing an accountability inventory. After this, they can grasp an awareness of the external forces that introduced shameful thinking into their life. Accessing empathetic support such as a mentor or sponsor then allows the individual to voice the shame (it cannot survive exposure.) This approach diffuses any avenue that shame will take to manufacture and introduce negative thoughts and feelings back into the individual’s belief system.

Developing compassion for those individuals that are suffering in shame shows applied empathy and further nurtures the person’s identity. Our counselors use all of these techniques while concurrently developing the clients through teaching/education and mindfulness to show them that they can learn new acceptable behaviors to counteract the shame and other behavioral disorders. By design, over the course of 90-days the walls come down, the shame comes out and the clients are ultimately provided with a safe environment to embrace the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ and journey on to a #NewLegacy.
If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse please contact us today at 817-382-8463 or go to our admissions tab.
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5 Self-Care Tips

Self-care is very important! We can often get overwhelmed at what life can throw at us and with the hurried mentality that the world has today we made this infographic of tips. Enjoy!

Here are 5 Self-Care tips to help you center and regain your energy: 5 Self-Care Tips

Prayer

1. Pray -It’s no surprise this is first. Jesus prayed constantly. He prayed at his baptism, he prayed alone on a hill, he prayed for Peter’s faith, he prayed for forgiveness, and he even prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, a moment of suffering, praying for his Father’s will. Prayer connects us to the Healer whose loving presence ought to be a part of our self-care practices. Since prayer is often reflective, it allows for inner healing as we become attentive to the movements within us, how our day to day experiences (and even burnout) are affecting us.

Prayer is that place we can grapple with the pain but also where we can find inner peace. This is why making a retreat can be so helpful. Luke 5:16 says, But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Set healthy boundaries. Connect spiritually for the journey ahead. Even if your prayer is as simple as, God, thank you for blessing me. This simple task will adjust your perspective on things and help you to slow down and focus on the present.

Expectations

2. Lower Your Expectations – The higher your expectations the lower your serenity. If happiness and compassion are your sole goals, lower your expectations. Through the floor. Expect no good things to come to you, from you, from circumstances or from others and you’ll be eternally delighted, grateful for any good things that happen. No expectation of a pony means no risk of disappointment. Find peace in lowering your expectations and you will become happier in difficult situations and know how to handle them.

Not only does lowering expectations help you to become happier but it also allows you to lower your anxiety and depression as well.

Meditation

3. Practice Mini-Meditation – One minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole. Incorporating this simple self-care exercise into your day can transform your relationship to yourself, to others, and the world around you. While the practice of meditation dates back centuries, it has recently gained newfound popularity. Why the sudden popularity boom?

Meditation is accessible to everyone and can be tailored to accommodate a variety of time constraints, demanding responsibilities, physical disabilities, and lack of space. Meditation is a healthy form of self-care and both experts and meditation enthusiasts say it’s a valuable antidote to the fast pace of our technology-driven culture. Taking this short period of time out in your day will help you to become more effective and productive.

Rest

4. Find Some Rest – Catch a few extra Z’s. Unwind before you conk out. Go to bed early one night a week and see the difference it can make for your stress levels. Studies have shown that children and teens need the most amount of sleep. From 1-5-years old 10-14 hours is sufficient, and from 6-17-years old 8-11 hours of sleep per night is more suitable. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.

Relaxation

5. Goof Around A Bit – Stop taking yourself so seriously. Schedule in five minutes of non-directed activity several times throughout your day to make yourself smile. Laughter has a wealth of unexpected wellness benefits. Laughter has a ways to go before it becomes formally accepted by the medical community as a legitimate form of treatment and therapy. But do we really need a gold stamp of approval before embracing it more? Laughter feels good and is an immediate mood booster. That alone justifies adopting it and incorporating it into your self-care routine.

So, If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse please call us today: 817-382-8463

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