Experiential Mondays ~ Enjoying Nature in Austin

Experiential Mondays at Omega recovery include activities like hiking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, horseback riding, and tons of other outdoor adventures. Nature has unique and healing qualities that people have benefited from since the beginning of time. Balance is key to recovery and a healthy life.  Adventure therapy in nature helps our mind, body and soul decompress from our stressful, high-tech driven lives.

Drugs and alcohol dull the senses and shut off the user from the surrounding environment. At Omega Recovery we believe a healthy recovery includes an awakening of the senses and reconnecting with nature.

Nature adventures help recovery by restoring energy and confidence. Nature clears the mind, instills hope, and helps a successful life become conceivable. The Barton Creek Greenbelt located in south-central Austin, contains over 800 acres of beautiful nature trails, with the main trail spanning almost 8 miles.

Clients connect and transform with adventure therapy and the magic of the Austin greenbelts. Experiential Mondays at Omega Recovery sends clients on a journey of self-discovery, healthy recovery and personal growth.

Nature helps us to look at ourselves honestly, with regard to our gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Spending time on trails in the greenbelt, rock climbing, swimming in Barton Springs, exploring the hill country are just a few of the ways to help us see our true potential, to develop self-love and accept ourselves for who we truly are. Moreso, we’re able to invision who we can become. Adventure therapy at Omega Recovery is a big part of our program and we continue to see it inspire emotional healing in our clients. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 512-387-9575.

Rehab Tunes-Up, Is It Time?

(Rehab Retreats – Maui Recovery)

Anyone who has ever been addicted to a substance knows that fighting that addiction is a long-term battle. Fortunately, most choose to get into a rehabilitation center and gain sobriety. However, things do not necessarily get easier. A common misconception is that once someone has gone through their addiction recovery program and completed their treatment, they have recovered. This is not the case as recovery is not a one-time accomplishment. It is an ongoing journey with more than its share of speed bumps. It is a fight that you might have to battle more than once to win it.

 

As such, during the days, months, or even years after your treatment, one is still susceptible to slipping, relapsing, or falling back into their old ways. In fact, estimates show that over 40 percent of recovering addicts relapse. The unfortunate thing about relapsing, however, is that if the individual does not take immediate measures to curb it, they can quickly spiral down back the rabbit hole they had fought so desperately to escape.

 

Therefore, it is imperative that one notices these signs early so they can enroll for a rehab tune-up program to prevent them from falling back to addiction.

This article will discuss what a rehab tune-up is, how it helps curb a relapse, and how to tell when you or a loved one need a tune-up.

 

What is a Rehab Tune-up?

 

During your recovery after battling addiction, life may throw you curveballs or situations which make you reach for the drug or substance that you have worked so hard to fight off. In these moments, you might either slip and use, or feel a very strong urge to use.

 

If you do not take any preventive measures, you will risk relapsing. In a bid to prevent this from happening, drug rehab facilities often have tune-up programs that help you through those trying moments to ensure that your recovery is not compromised.

 

How to Know You Need a Rehab Tune-up

 

  1. You No Longer Go To Meetings, Therapy, Or Aftercare

 

Going to group therapies and meetings are one of the best ways of staying open about your experiences during recovery. It also allows you to be accountable. And like it was mentioned earlier, recovery is an ongoing learning lesson with no end. However, it offers you opportunities for growth. Therefore, if you find yourself or a loved one avoiding these environments that foster growth, it means that you are losing touch with what it means to be active in recovery, and are on the verge of resorting to old ways.

 

  1. Changes in Feelings and Attitudes

 

Relapsing does not always revolve around slipping and using. It can also be about the emotions you feel that might lead you back to the addiction. After completing your rehab program and going back into the world, unhealthy thoughts are bound to cross your mind.

 

For instance, a recovering alcohol addict might start thinking, “One beer for the night cannot be that bad. It is the weekend, after all.”

 

If you catch yourself thinking along those lines, take a step back and evaluate how far you have come. Think about the sacrifices, time, and money that your loved ones spent putting you through the program so you could get better. Think about the disappointment you will cause to yourself and your family if you were to relapse.

 

If the urges are still too strong despite being aware of the implications of relapsing, you need to visit a rehab tune up.

 

  1. Lying

 

Do you find yourself constantly making excuses for your behaviors? Are you avoiding the truth about your negative emotions and feelings? You always know when you are not honest about how you really feel, and this is a red flag. If you feel this way, seeking professional help will help you deal with those emotions.

 

  1. Depression

 

While everyday ups and downs are normal, a prolonged period of sadness is risky towards effective recovery. A lack of interest, motivation, concentration, and sleep are the most common signs of depression. If you notice these signs, do not sit on them as they will likely make you reach for the substance you have been avoiding. Contact the professionals.

 

  1. Overconfidence

 

After completing their rehab program, some addicts might feel that they can be in situations where drugs are present because they have been cured. If you feel this way, it means that you do not completely understand what the recovery process entails as putting yourself in such a situation is likely to trigger a relapse.

 

  1. Tunnel Vision

 

Do you find yourself directing all your attention to one area of your life? Are you neglecting other significant aspects of your life such as family and friends? This is a clear warning sign that you are on the verge of relapse. Taking some time in a rehab tune-up will help you realign your priorities.

 

  1. Irritation

 

Unfortunately, some recovering addicts might feel like abandoning their bad habits is a sacrifice, and that this gives them the right to be angry or demanding all the time. If you find yourself feeling like this constantly, it is imperative that you visit a recovery center.

(Adventure Therapy – Maui Recovery)

Benefits of Rehab Tune Ups

 

  1. Breaking the Cycle

 

Someone on the verge of relapse is usually around settings or factors that encourage them to return to their habits. By pulling them away from these situations and allowing them to think objectively about everything that surrounds them, rehab tune-ups set the individual back on track.

 

  1. Dig Into Underlying Issues

 

At times, the individual might not know what is triggering them to attempt the substance again. They might be depressed without even knowing it. A rehab tune-up has resources that can help the individual to dig into those underlying issues while assisting them to build coping skills, so they do not have to use the drug or substance as a coping mechanism.

 

  1. Encouraging Newly Adopted Habits

 

Addicts are typically people with poor discipline and self-care habits. During the rehabilitation process, they are taught new constructive habits that will help them become better individuals. However, maintaining these habits or practices can be hard once they are out of the rehab center.

 

This makes them vulnerable to falling back to old habits. The benefit of going to a rehab tune-up, therefore, is that it reminds the individual of the importance of maintaining healthy habits in helping combat the compulsive nature of addictions.

 

A rehab tune up is not a one-off thing. Rather, it is something that a recovering addict might need more than once. Tune-ups are not the same as rehabilitation programs. This is because instead of treating the individual, a tune-up helps the person to stay on top of their recovery program. And because one cannot always be strong enough to resist temptations, a tune-up offers you solace and support when you are at your most vulnerable.

 

Are you a recovering addict and need some help staying on course? Serving the residents of Maui and its environs, Maui Recovery is the premier addiction recovery center in Hawaii. While our primary goal is to set addicts back on the right path, we also have programs geared towards helping recovering addicts to stay on top of their recovery. For people who do not have a full 30 days for rehab, we have customized 1 week rehab and 2 week rehab programs to address your addiction and its underlying issues. The 1 week rehab and 2 week rehab programs also take care of individuals looking to take a time-out so they can connect with their true self. Do you feel this would be beneficial for you? Feel free to contact us for further information.

( 1& 2 Week Rehab Retreats at Maui Recovery)

Learn more about our Rehab Retreats at Maui Recovery.

 

Video Gaming Addiction

Addiction is a term that most people associate with drugs, alcohol, and junk foods. Getting addicted to something, especially if it is unhealthy can be detrimental to your mental and physical development. People not only get addicted to substances and drugs but also video games. Let us discuss in detail what video game addiction is, its causes, effects and how to help anybody trapped in their world of video game addiction.

What is Video Gaming Addiction?

Video gaming addiction is the inability to control oneself from playing video games. According to a study , 1.4 percent of gamers are addicted to playing video games.

In recent times, many video game companies release games on a yearly basis. Each version of an upgraded game promises players better graphics and increased in-game control among a host of other upgrades. Gamers, especially on the online platform, feel immersed into the virtual world and forget what is happening in the real world. The more you play, the more intriguing the gameplay becomes. Meeting fellow players online and making friends with them from the comfort of a seat in your bedroom accelerates the process of addiction. This makes it difficult to withdraw from gaming.

According to Game Quitters, a website that helps parents fight their children’s video game addiction, some of the most addictive video games include first-person player games such as Fortnite, Strike Team, Bullet Force, etc. A study done by a group of researchers from the Oxford university states that 2-3 percent of gamers are heavily addicted and display diagnosable symptoms associated with gaming.

The Proof of the Danger?

In some cases, they can be debilitating addictions and clinical disorders that have ruined peoples lives. A whole generation of “Failure to Launch” Millenials have seen their schooling, job prospects and/or interpersonal relationships suffer–or even destroyed–as a result of their screen or technology addiction.Now there is a dedicated specialized program at Omega Recovery to effectively treat this issue.

Dr. Kardaras, our Co-CEO and Chief Clinical Officer, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on digital addiction (social media, video games, smart phones, etc.) and its treatment. He is the author of “Glow Kids” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), the seminal book on the clinical, neurological and sociological aspects of digital/technology addiction and, over the past 10 years, he has clinically worked with hundreds of young people struggling with this issue. And now he has bought his years of expertise and developed the best evidence-based treatment protocols at Omega Recovery to address and treat the addiction of this millenium: technology addiction.

What causes video game addictions?

One factor stands out when it comes to video game addiction: video games are designed to be addictive. What other way is better than to keep players coming back for more? Video game addiction is also caused by the need to clear a mission and move to the next level. For example, some video game designers have their games structured in such a way that the gamer misses to proceed to the next level by a slim chance. As such, gamers have to repeat the mission until they are successful. Missions are usually harder as you proceed with the game, consequently resulting in addiction.

Video games become addictive by satisfying a gamer’s need to make social connections. Online video games offer gamers an opportunity to network and make friends with other players on the same platform. Players who lack social skills in the real world will be quick to jump into the virtual world and make friends with whom they share the same interests.

Other video games offer in-game rewards, which are seductive pursuits for some gamers. More rewards translate to more power, respect and ultimately ranking in the overall standing of the games table.

Symptoms of video game addiction

Research is still underway to disclose real symptoms of video games addiction. However,

studies published in the American Online Journal of Psychiatry indicates that there are more than five symptoms that can be used to identify an addicted video gamer.

Isolation
Many video game addicts will be quick to isolate themselves from social gatherings or events in order to play their favorite video game. They will come up with excuses to help them isolate themselves and play their favorite game.

Dysregulated gaming
Dysregulated gaming leads to significant distress, which is the first symptom of video gaming disorder. Online video game players will concentrate more on their gaming and procrastinate other duties. They are always preoccupied with the game they are playing or a new game that has just been released.

Observable shifts in interests.
Another way to tell if somebody is addicted to video games is by observing a shift in their interests. For example, if someone who would be happy to attend family functions prefers to play video games during such occasions, it is a clear indicator that they are getting addicted.

Lying
Most addicted gamers have been caught playing their favorite game after giving an excuse that they were preoccupied with some other different activity. Moreover, if all somebody can talk about is gaming and how good they are at a given game, it might point out to some significant extent that they are addicted.

     5. Treatment and cure from video game addiction        

Video game addiction always causes anhedonia, which is the loss of interest in things that excited or made someone pursue rewards. For an addicted gamer to find cure and treatment, they should:

Understand why they are playing a game.

Experts advise that to get out of video game addiction, a gamer should understand why they are playing the game in the first place. Most people play games to escape reality. As a result, gamers should set aside a limited amount of time to play video games. For instance, say, three to four hours of video games during weekends will go a long way in curbing addiction problems.

Find alternative hobbies

A gamer can find alternative hobbies and focus more of their energies indulging in them. Different hobbies take away the focus on video games and can allow someone to concentrate more on other things.

Cognitive behavior approach

Cognitive behavior approach is another way to treat video game addiction. Experts advise that you can overcome addiction by staying away from your playing station. Delve into the real world by driving a real car or attending social events that will cover up most of the time you use for playing video games.

Finding Help

The World Health Organization recognizes addiction as a condition in its international classification of diseases. And with numbers increasing, it is imperative that we address this societal problem. It is important for gaming addicts to speak to a professional if they are unable to overcome it by themselves. However, getting out of video game addiction narrows down to the addict and the amount of effort they are willing to put in recovery.

At Omega Recovery in Austin we’ve had success with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in helping the addicted gamer find more adaptive ways of managing moods, feelings and thoughts that may trigger impulses to game. Counseling supplemented with a good 12 Step program in a structured sober living environment is ideal to help overcome the addiction and return to society.

Dogs Help with Recovery

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is a big step towards reclaiming your life. However, given that addiction is a highly individualized disease, treatment may take several forms depending on your case. During the recovery process, support systems are vital in helping the addict not to relapse into the addiction. One of the popular support approaches is dog-assisted therapy. This therapy involves giving those healing from addiction a dog to aid them during the recovery process. The dog offers the patients a connection to another living being. This is something that most patients lack. For these reasons, Omega Recovery is dog friendly. Just down the street from Omega is a great place to find a new best friend, Austin Pets Alive. Austin is leading the way as a no kill city for over 8 years.

Dogs are compassionate and they love you

Dogs are very good at showing compassion to their owners especially when the owners are low in spirits. A recovering addict will have their moments of low spirits and may lack someone that can give you that touch of assurance. A pet can play this role perfectly. It can curl, perch on your shoulder or lie beside you. It reassures you that everything is okay and will be fine. Dogs are great partners who never get bored with you and can be with you wherever you go or are doing. Given that you may regularly suffer from these moments of loneliness especially if you lack family support, getting a pet to be on your side is a noble idea.

Helps return your mind to the normal routine

Drug addiction alters your normal habits and makes you forget your responsibility. A significant step towards recovery is getting back to your normal routine. For you to form new habits, you need responsibilities that need to be fulfilled on a daily basis.

One of these activities is to take care of a dog. If you have a dog that needs to be fed, a dog that needs to be walked and you are most likely going to push yourself to wake up and get going. This daily commitment eventually turns into a routine. With the basic routine in place, you can add in other routines such as cooking, bathing and so forth. With time, you are able to get your normal life back.

Unlike other activities that you may postpone, a task around a pet cannot be postponed. When struggling to complete the task, you will end up completing other tasks in the process.

Gives you a sense of purpose

Most people are engulfed into a sense of hopelessness when they cannot control their drug or alcohol habit. Over time the hopelessness leads to frustration and more drug use. Unfortunately, you may feel the same when trying to get out of addiction. You may be struggling so much to keep within the recovery boundaries especially if are on extended care at home or rehab center.

Pets can give you a sense of hope, self-worth, and direction. You may be having a hard time getting on with the family members or connecting with friends who may affect your social life as you feel unwanted. However, your pet depends on you for grooming, food, and shelter. It gives you a reason to wake up each morning and do something for it. This reason is what helps you to rebuild your self-worth and a sense of purpose. In the long run, it enables you to regain the confidence of the people around you that you can take care of more than just yourself.

Helps the Whole Family Recover

Dogs help families take time out for play, it’s fun to chase your dog around the yard, go for walks, play fetch, learn new tricks, etc. Dogs provide loyalty, companionship and love. Studies show that owning a dog reduce stress and lowers cholesterol, and can add years to your life. See this article at WebMD for a list of benefits. Dogs greatly enrich the lives and help with recovery for both individuals and families.

Helps in socialization

One of the things that drug abuse kills off is the connection between you and the people around you. Drugs may have ruined relationships through withdrawal, risky behavior or unpredictable temperament. It is always a tough task to learn to socialize again when you get sober again. In fact, one of the aftercare objectives is to get you to become integrated into society and enable you to create friendships with people around you.

Dogs can act as middle persons in your journey to socializing again. You can walk the dog to a pet park and engage in some talk with other dog owners. Friendship with other pets helps you to regain the ability to trust others and learn new ways to handle relationships.

Pets are also known to ease social pressures that your friends and companions feel when they visit you. Friends may not have a lot to share. However, on meeting a pet at home he or she can start a small chat around the dog. Soon, the ice is broken, and other topics come into the foreground.

Keeps you active

As you recover, you need to keep your energy levels up by keeping yourself busy. Unfortunately, you are likely to end up feeling worn-out. A dog can come in to keep you motivated. Animals are exercise ready and awesome exercise companions. You may put off your next activity if you feel like not doing it. However, you cannot keep postponing your dog care activities such a dog walking, playing with the pet, and grooming. You will be forced to compose yourself and do what you are required to do. This motivation slowly turns seemingly tough or boring activities into routine activities. In addition, remaining active improves the rate of recovery and lowers the risk of relapse.

Conclusion

If you are in Austin, sober living is possible. Adopt a dog at Austin Pets Alive within walking distance from Omega Recovery Center in downtown south Austin. Having a pet near you is one of the most effective ways of speeding up recovery. Visit the pets center today and let your new friend walk with you to a drug-free life.

Tech Addiction

Are You a Tech Addict? Here are Signs You Must Look Out For

Just this year, online divorce website Divorce Online cited addiction to the video game ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ as responsible for at least 200 divorce petitions since January that were filed through their site – a whopping 5% of the petitions the company received. This is startling evidence of the adverse impacts of this new form of addiction.

 

If you feel that your impulse to grab the phone when you do not really need to, or can no longer resist spending nights gaming, you may be suffering from tech addiction. Simply put, you may have a disorder that makes you lose impulse control when it comes to technology. This disorder may also be referred to as digital addiction.

 

How technology addiction works

 

Smartphones have been integrated so deeply in people’s everyday lives that the thought of living without a device is, for many, unimaginable. These days the addiction can start at a very young age. According to Dr Nicholas Kardaras, “Current clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis. Most shocking of all, recent brain imaging studies conclusively show that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s developing brain in the same way that drug addiction can.”

Tech addictions have crept up on society, and the effects are so damaging that it will take a lot of effort to reverse these impacts. The potential to abuse tech devices is high. The internet offers a new dimension to access content, game non-stop, network with people, and a host of other things. Social media has become the nursery on which new addicts are born. The compulsion to like, comment, share, and tag selfies can drive people to develop attentional disorders.

 

Whenever the device vibrates because of a new notification or when your tweet gets more likes than you expected, dopamine, the brain’s neurochemical reward, is released. An itch is scratched. This can happen when merely thinking about what you really look forward to. The anticipation grows stronger over time until you can no longer stop playing, chatting, swiping, or doing whatever you do with your device, no matter how much you want to.

 

Symptoms of technology addiction

 

There are different types of technology addictions such as gaming addiction, gambling, texting, sexting, porn, and others. However, they all have similar symptoms because it is basically the same problem brought on by different pleasure preferences. Here are the most critical symptoms to look out for if you use technology on a daily basis.

  • If you cannot stop yourself from watching one more episode or playing one more game, then you may be suffering from video gaming addiction or screen addiction.

 

  • You feel depressed. This is particularly common among smartphone addicts. If you get to a point where you sleep with your phone next to you it is a symptom you may be addicted.

 

  • Like any other addiction, tech addiction causes the sufferers to lie to everyone including themselves. Dishonesty, often accompanied by guilt and anxiety, is a clear giveaway.

 

  • You feel euphoric when you use the device you are addicted to. Addicts to the Fortnite game, in particular, have attributed their problems to the satisfying feeling of euphoria when playing the 100-player multiplayer ‘Battle Royale’.

 

  • You cannot keep schedules or prioritize. You lose the sense of time but can always make up defensive explanations.

 

  • Procrastination and boredom with routine tasks.

 

  • Insomnia and dry eyes for video gaming addiction.

 

  • Lack of focus.

 

The people who are most susceptible to addiction are online shoppers and gamblers, gamers, texters, social media users, and video streamers.

 

Effects of addiction to technology

 

People suffering from addiction to technology could lose a lot in life. This is because the condition affects their work lives, personal and professional relationships, finances, and health. They often spend a lot of time in solitude and distrust stands out in the way they interact with people. As a result, the addicts may end up living alternate personas online to mask their online behaviors and minimize the guilt they feel.

 

The virtual relationships that most sufferers form online are often the primary cause of life dissatisfaction and emotional problems disrupting young children’s lives. The emotional impact of exposure to too much information has been documented to be noticeably destructive to their behavioral and empathy development.

 

Health problems including nervous system, dysregulated sleep and brain development delays among children. In addition, attentional problems can be traced to early exposure and addiction to technology. Screen addiction and exposure to blue light is also known to cause serious eye problems.

 

Overcoming technology addiction

 

The first step in freeing yourself from addiction to tech is acknowledging that it is a problem and resolving to fight it. An addiction is difficult to diagnose because most people do not even know they suffer from it. Health experts agree that addiction to technology and entertainment is today’s equivalent of a heroin addiction. If you have trouble saying no to a game, device, or online interaction, admitting it is the biggest step you will have taken towards freeing yourself from dependence on it.

 

The next step is to set goals to work towards the recovery journey. Write down when you can use the smartphone or when to sit in front of the computer and try to stick to it. You have the option to wean yourself off as you modify your behavior and regain impulse control or you can stop cold turkey. The former is effective in managing internet addiction while the latter works best for gaming addiction.

 

Replace your bad tech habits with healthier ones. Used to streaming shows every night after dinner? How about eating out and getting a drink with friends instead? Craving likes on Instagram? Uninstall the app instead and never have to worry about which filter to use when posting a picture on social media to get likes.

 

Perhaps the most rewarding change you can make in your life to solve problems caused by addiction to gadgets is mending fences with the people around you. Make a commitment to curb the addiction and spend more quality time with the people who care about you. This will speed up the recovery process while restoring your relationships with real value.

 

If you feel the degree of your addiction is beyond your capacity to overcome, consider talking to a professional for help. There is help available at Omega Recovery in downtown Austin, TX and Maui Recovery. Technology is supposed to work for you; if you have gotten to a point where it is ruining your chances of a good life, it’s time to take action.

 

Conclusion

 

Our culture demands that we rely on technology in our everyday life. However, you must take steps to ensure that you are not trapped in a spiral of addiction. If you find that you have no control over your use of gadgets, it’s time to seek help.