Category Archives: Self-Help

Is it just a substance thing?

This guest blog post was provided by Toby LeBlanc, LPC.

Often substance dependence is associated with mental and emotional difficulties. Recovery from substances may mean a person will need to recover in other areas of their life as well. Here are three common issues which perpetuate the substance dependence cycle:

Depression: Depression is very insidious. It can sometimes manifest itself so slowly it’s hard to know anything is wrong. Most people recognize it as sadness but it has many other symptoms: low motivation, sleeping too much/insomnia, fatigue, not enjoying things which used to bring pleasure, isolating, etc. Using substances temporarily alleviates some symptoms of depression, though the fall out afterwards can be much worse. Because of this, users often use to ease this pain as well. See the cycle?

Anxiety: You’re getting ready for the big interview and your heart is beating quickly. You realize your mind is racing with the ideas of what might happen. Maybe you feel something like this when you are not getting ready for that interview. If this is the case you may be struggling with pervasive symptoms of anxiety. Many users self medicate these symptoms with drugs and alcohol. Many have been know to use in order to handle social situations or “wind-down.” When the drugs and alcohol wear off the symptoms can come back with a vengeance making the user think they cannot survive without their drug.

Trauma: The definition of this word has become broader. Once it was used only to describe the effects of war, rape, car accidents, and domestic violence. Now clinicians are recognizing trauma happens to almost everyone though to varying degrees and through differing events. Trauma leaves one feeling as if they have to constantly watch their back for danger. It makes individuals respond to situations in ways they don’t even understand. The experience of the traumatic event is something incredibly painful to carry. While substances can numb the heaviness of the burden, they do nothing to lessen the load.

This list is in no way comprehensive. There are many other issues not listed here which can complicate recovery from substances. The good news is all are treatable on some level. Whether it is to lessen the effects of the mental/emotional difficulty, or to heal from it completely, there is hope.

Moments on the Road of Happy Destiny

This guest post is brought to you by BagheadSponsor.

I was happy. A certain sense of peace washed over me. I was excited to be alive.

Here’s the kicker: I was clean and sober!

How did this happen? I mean, I wasn’t supposed to be alive at this point, much less happy. After all, I was once a “special guest” at the State Hospital. (Thank you for having me, San Antonio!)  And, yet, here I am. I’m free. I’m joyous. I’m comfortable. I’m courageous. How did this happen? How did I get here?

Well, I can tell you how it happened. It happened in a moment. Now, let me clarify that… My life in sobriety, over the last 18+ years has been a series of these moments, which have culminated into what is now a life that I am happy to live. The moments, themselves, are almost always terrifying. And I have only had the faith to live through moments like this because the people who have gone before me, in recovery, have showed me how.  The moments that make a difference are the moments when you say, “I was wrong.”  Or, when you admit, “I lied.”  Or when you say, “I quit. I’m going to follow my dreams.”  Or when you announce, to a room of strangers, “I’m so-and-so and I’m an alcoholic.”

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What is a Transitional Living Home?

If you have ever had friends or family members struggling to recover from a serious drug or alcohol addition, you know that the journey to sobriety does not happen overnight. Part of the process is making the transition from rehab to home. Transitional homes are places where individuals can learn to live as sober, productive adults before re-entering society.

Transitional homes have a rich history dating back to the late 1920s. They were originally created to counter the rise of alcoholism and addiction that came along with the Great Depression. These shelters served as spaces where people could find sobriety, and at the time were referred to as half way homes or three-quarter houses. Furthermore, when Bill W. and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, the sober living movement was bolstered even further.

Modern sober living facilities, known as transitional living homes, apply similar ideas in treating alcoholism. They serve individuals who have completed treatment at a rehabilitation facility but are still in need of the structure, strict rules of sober adherence, and support to help them transition back to their communities.

Transitional living homes provide recovering addicts with daily, personalized support and skills needed to help them achieve their goals of independent, sober living. A resident of a transitional home completes a personalized program consisting of services designed to help them meet their overall goals. Each person is treated individually and provided with a treatment plan specific to them.

Hickory Wind Ranch is a half way house where many unique individuals have recovered and learned to live again. If you know someone in need of help, please contact us today.


Welcome to the Hickory Wind Ranch blog!

Polly Parsons at Hickory Wind Ranch

The Hickory Wind Ranch community sure is a special bunch.  Each week, many of you share your love and support with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  While we appreciate all you do for us, we want to give back to you, too.

That’s what this blog is all about: helping our friends create more healthy, balanced lifestyles.   Between work, the kids, and whatever else you may have going on, it can be a challenge to live well.   Here, you’ll find advice on balancing the scales of life and living a fuller, healthier one.

Also, we’re keeping quite busy over here at Hickory Wind Ranch and we love giving our most loyal fans a peek at what’s going on with us.  Consider this your go-to place for the latest news on Hickory Wind Ranch.  We’ll be updating regularly with news, photos, and touching stories from real clients and former addicts.

We hope you’ll take this journey with us.  You’ll always have a home at Hickory Wind Ranch.


Polly Parsons & the Hickory Wind Ranch Team