Tag Archives: addiction recovery

Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Resolution Therapy is a gentle and effective therapeutic modality, created by Dr. John Connelly, LCSW that resolves trauma and other distress in as little as one session. Because the root causes of problems are pinpointed and cleared, positive changes endure. Negative emotions and destructive behavioral patterns are eliminated. 

Unlike other forms of treatment, with Rapid Resolution it is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. Rapid Resolution therapy integrates hypnosis, cognitive and playful techniques, to name a few, allowing for optimal healing through multiple levels of the mind. This type of therapy leads to dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Rapid Resolution Therapy has effectively treated PTSD, other trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aided in successful recovery from addiction.

Along with creating Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Connelly has also founded The Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence, a non-profit (501C3) organization providing mental health professionals with state-of-the-art training in advanced clinical methods of eliminating the negative influence of trauma. You can learn more about Rapid Resolution Therapy and how to find providers in Austin, TX and all over the country by contacting me directly for a referral or by visiting the main Rapid Resolution Therapy website: www.rapidresolutiontherapy.org

Schedule a Free Consultation with: Julia Thompson:

 MSW NBCCH

TEXAS LMSW #66100

FLORIDA LCSW #SW14616

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

https://juliacthompson.com/rapid-resolution-therapy

RESOURCES

Article on Army website discussing RRT:  http://bit.ly/2ZTmQxh

Ted Talks video: “Life Changing power of words.” http://bit.ly/2GZDQuw

Julia Thompson: https://juliacthompson.com/

Vacation Hacks for Staying Sober

Vacation is a great way to get away from the stresses of life, spend time with people you care about, and have fun. But if you’re in recovery, vacation isn’t as simple as getting away for a while. Everything you do need to help support your sobriety, including vacation. Just because you’re in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation. But if you’re thinking about taking some time away, it’s important to stay sober the whole time. Understanding why you should stay sober for life, including on vacation, and using some tips to help support your sobriety can make the difference between a great vacation and a relapse.

The importance of sobriety on vacation

When you’re in recovery, establishing routines in your daily life can make it easier to maintain your sobriety. You know what to expect each day, and your habits throughout the day help promote your sobriety. But when you go on vacation, your routines are disrupted. That can make it harder to resist temptations, especially if you’re in an environment where your will power is being challenged. But it’s just as important to stay sober on vacation as it is in your regular daily life. If you slip up, you run the risk of turning back to the life you had before and undoing all the work you did to get sober.

How to stay sober on vacation

Vacation should be a part of normal life. But when you’re working to stay sober, vacation can be a trigger for falling back into past behaviors. Here are some things you can do to help yourself stay sober when you’re on vacation.

Make sure you can handle the vacation

The timing of your vacation is a big consideration. Recovery is a process. The longer you’re sober, the easier it may be to go on vacation and use your willpower to avoid temptation. If you’re still early in your recovery, going on vacation may not be a good idea. Instead, it would be better to stick with your normal daily routine so you can reduce the risk of relapsing.

Communicate with your travel buddies

It’s also important to have open communication with the people you’ll be traveling with. They should know that you’re working on staying sober for life, and that a relapse could cause major problems in your life and recovery. Being open and honest with your travel buddies can help make sure that the vacation will be enjoyable for everyone and you’ll have the support you need to stay sober while you’re away from home. If your travel buddies can’t support your sobriety on vacation, it might not be the best idea to go.

Plan your itinerary around your needs

Staying sober means that you make decisions for your life based on your sobriety needs. The lifestyle you develop in recovery can be maintained while you’re on vacation. But that means that the itinerary for your vacation needs to be built around your needs for sobriety. If you need down time every day, make sure you get it. If you need time to exercise or have diet restrictions, make sure that your vacation can accommodate those needs. You want to have fun while you’re on vacation, but you still have basic needs that have to be met. If your vacation can’t meet your basic sobriety needs, it’s not a vacation for you.

Suggest activities that work for you

When you and your travel buddies are planning activities for the vacation, be sure to suggest activities that work for you. The people you’re traveling with may want to be supportive, but they may not know what that looks like on vacation. By suggesting activities you can do, it’s more likely that your vacation itinerary will be fun for you as well as for the people you’re traveling with. This is especially important if you’ve developed new interests and hobbies since getting sober. If your travel buddies are set on certain activities and those activities don’t support your sobriety, that may mean that you should reconsider going on vacation with those people.

Research destinations carefully

Some vacation destinations are better than others. Some vacation locations are built around drinking, for example. So if you’re working on sobriety, that wouldn’t be a good place for you to visit. As you’re planning your vacation, be sure to do research into what’s available in the area, what the big attractions are, and what you want to do while you’re away from home. For example, you might want to look for a destination that’s more “family-friendly.” Those locations tend to have activities that are good for people of all ages, which means there would be things to do that don’t involve substances or activities that might be triggering for you.

Don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle

Ultimately, whether or not you can and should go on vacation is up to you. If there are any red flags about the trip, or you think it’s too soon for you to disrupt your regular daily routines, don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle and say no to the vacation. Your travel buddies may be disappointed, but they want you to be healthy, happy, and sober. They’ll understand if it’s just not a good idea for you to go on vacation with them at that time. Your sobriety is the most important thing, so every decision you make should be for that goal.

Your sobriety is important. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation with people, but if you’re going to, then you have to make sure that your vacation is going to support your sobriety. From communication to planning to being willing to say no, your vacation can be a way to get away from the stresses of life without relapsing. Use these tips as you prepare for your vacation, and then you can be sure that you’ll come home with great memories and that you’ll still be sober for life!

5 Addiction Recovery Hacks

Sober living can be a difficult feat for those who are dealing with alcoholism and other drug addiction problems. As much as you’d love to get through the initial stages of anxiety and depression so that you can enjoy sober living, your codependency on drugs can make a relapse feel like an inevitable instance. However, you can fix your codependency on alcoholism and drug addiction through the proper techniques of addiction recovery. We’re going to share with you some great ways to overcome anxiety, depression, and addiction in our five easy addiction recovery
hacks below.

Failure to plan is planing to fail.

1 – Create A Structured Schedule With New Habits

One of the biggest problems that you’re going to face is simply the urge to fall back into old habits. This becomes especially apparent when you don’t have any sort of structured plan. It’s easy to get bored and revert back. You need to think about the things in your life that need to be changed
first. This includes everything that would interfere with a drug-free lifestyle. Some examples include hanging out with people who do drugs or spending time with the same people who you indulged within the past.
Once you have a list of habits that will need to be changed, it’s time to create a structured schedule. We’re not talking about running yourself ragged trying to be someone completely new, but it will help to have a structure to each day to ensure that your mind is somewhat distracted
from your old habits. Take some time at the beginning of each day or week to plan out your schedule. This can help you focus on creating and obtaining long-term goals while protecting yourself from relapsing.

2 – Get Physically Active

While exercise may be the last thing on your mind right now, it’s going to help. You’ll need to be able to fill the void that used to be taken up by partaking in your favorite drug or drink of choice. What better way to fill that time than with some physical movement that will get your body feeling
alive? Exercise and general recreational activities can play a major rule in reducing your stress and restoring your sense of balance in life. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of better nutrition and overall health.
If you’re not overly interested in the traditional workout, then we suggest finding some sort of recreational activity that you enjoy doing. For example, join a local team sport, go hiking, go biking, or just simply get moving some other way. Something as simple as fishing a few times a week can get you outside and moving. The more used to the activity that your body gets, the more strenuous activities you can partake in on a regular basis.

3 – Develop New Relationships

While this may be a scary thought, the current relationships you have in your life can be triggers for relapse. We’re not saying to completely ignore everyone you’ve developed a relationship with up to this point, but realize they’re part of your old lifestyle. You need to introduce some new
relationships into your life in order to bring on a new life for you.
They always say to pick your friends wisely. Your thought process should be along these lines. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, don’t focus on creating relationships with those who spend their weekends at the bar. While they may be great people, they’re just going to enable you to relapse.
We know that it can be easier to make friends with those who you’ve had much in common with, such as hanging out at the bar. However, you must work to craft new relationships with people who have a different lifestyle than your older associates. For example, making friends with
someone from a local sports team can allow you to be influenced to participate in more physical activity.

4 – Wear Something To Symbolize Your Commitment To Sobriety

While there are many wristlets, shirts, hats, and other decors that you can sport showing off your sobriety, we want you to think beyond that. Instead, think about an item that you can wear each day. This may be a special watch or custom band. It doesn’t need to say recovering or sobriety on
it. Rather, you are the only one who has to know what it means to you.
When you wake up each morning and see your wrist band, you know that it means sobriety to you. It can help you take control of your choices and consistently remind you of your commitment to yourself to stay sober. Many recovering addictions find that it’s hard to remember their emotional
commitments in times when stress is high. They tend to make regretful decisions based on a whim. Imagine having something physically there to remind you not to drink or use. This is what your piece of adornment will do for you.

5 – Make Contingency Plans

A big issue with the task of staying sober is falling off the bandwagon. As human beings, we have this urge to think that we completely messed everything up when we do one thing wrong. For example, if you find yourself drinking one beer, suddenly you look at it as a failure on your part.
You say ‘screw it, I might as well have another cause I already messed it up!” This can lead to a drastic fall off the edge of the sobriety cliff. Instead, work on making contingency plans to help when you make that initial wrong mistake. This will save you from completely jumping off of the
edge and going way back into your addiction. Sit down and think up as many viable scenarios as you can. For example, in your old lifestyle, you
may have immediately pulled into the parking lot of a liquor store when you drove past. This is something that you’re going to have to create a contingency plan for. A solution may be if I pull into the liquor store parking lot, I’ll look at the picture of my son in my wallet, remember that I’m stronger than my addiction, and simply drive back out of the parking lot. This may seem like an easy plan, but you may be surprised just how quickly your mind will jump to pulling out that picture when you find yourself in that scenario. By having a game plan of how you’re going to
handle scenarios, it gives you a choice between old habits and new ones.
Overcoming addiction of any kind is a difficult feat for everyone. There’s no magical pill that will change you overnight just like there’s no diet pill that will take you from overweight to thin in a week. Creating a new addiction-free lifestyle for yourself is something that you’re going to have to
work for. The major components of success rely on being consistent and level-headed. Realize that mishaps are going to happen and that you can deal with them. No one is perfect and it takes commitment to live the life that we desire. The above addiction recovery hacks are a great basis to get you started on your new lifestyle. We encourage you to focus on all five areas and work on being as consistent as possible with them. As you endeavor more and more into your addiction-free lifestyle, you’ll be able to create new habits that steer your life in the direction that you want instead of in the direction that you don’t.

How Video Gaming Addiction Can Harm Your Marriage

It’s no secret that drug addiction, alcoholism, and even social media addiction are among the leading causes of divorces today. However, there’s a relatively new form of addiction that has begun rearing its ugly head and is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of failed marriages; video gaming addiction.

This form of tech addiction has a profound impact on the real lives of the gamers who spend their time immersed in virtual worlds. A good illustration of the consequences of screen addiction is the wildly popular and highly addictive video game known as Fortnite. 

Fortnite took the world by storm in late 2017 and currently has 125 million players. If Fortnite was a country, it would be the 11th most populous nation in the world. This just goes to show how enthralling the game is. 

Unfortunately, it is causing problems in marriages. In fact, a popular divorce assistance website in the U.K revealed that  over 200 divorce petitions filed recently cited Fortnite specifically as being one of the reasons they wanted the divorce. 

Why are Video Games Causing Disruptions in Marriages? 

More and more people today turn to the internet when looking for an escape from the stresses of daily living. Much like how some people turn to drugs. The internet is abound with endless amusement, communication, and information. Another thing that the internet is widely utilized for is video gaming. 

Since their inception in the 1970s in arcades, video games have influenced social dynamics in the way people communicate and build relationships. Online gaming has taken this a step further as it allows you to play with or against someone thousands of miles away while seated on your couch.

In spite of its good intentions, that convenience is causing problems in marriages since the interactive nature of the game causes the player to be so dedicated to their online character and building virtual relationships with other gamers across the planet that they forget about the person they are sharing a house with. 

2016 study done on the sales, usage and demographic data of the video game industry revealed that over 60 percent of American homes have at least one individual that regularly plays video games. Moreover, over 50 percent of the people who are frequent gamers admit to utilizing the social aspect of gaming. 

And because the average age of a gamer is 35 and the average age of marriage is 25.8 for women and 28.3 for men, it is safe to presume that a lot of young marriages have some kind of video game in their homes. 

Another study found out that 75% of gamers’ spouses said that they wished that their significant other would stop putting so much of their energy into video games and put more effort into the marriage. 

Immersive Video Games 

There is a specific genre of video games known as online role-playing games. Examples of games in this genre include League Legends, Dungeons and Dragons, Everquest, and World of Warcraft. 

This genre is immersive as it requires the gamer to devote copious amounts of time developing their virtual character inside the game. Perhaps, it is because they allow the gamer to develop the ideal character that they wish they were in real life. To the gamer, especially one looking for an escape, doing this is much easier than putting in actual effort to improve themselves in the real world. 

Nonetheless, this virtual character development takes so much dedication that the gamers’ outside interests and relationships are often left in ruins. 

The other genre of video games that has cultivated a cult-like following is the first person shooter games. A popular example of such a game is Call of Duty which is a battle simulation where online gamers can face off against each other. The game is further intensified because the gamers wear headsets so they can communicate with each other as they do battle. As you can expect, the language used during such situations can be quite colorful, and the game is likely to start using such language in their dialogue in the real world. 

What’s more, violent video games have been shown to increase the actual aggression of the gamer. When you combine a lack of time for their loved one(s), curse words, and heightened aggression, the concoction that follows is one that has all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship, even without actual violence being involved.

The Risk of Addiction 

As we have noted, the immersive nature of online video games is the reason why gamers are unable to tend to the psychological, and sometimes physical, needs of their significant other. 

In fact, a study on the reasons for divorce found that of the spouses who cite unreasonable behavior as being the catalyst behind their need to end the marriage, 15 percent of them believed that their spouses put gaming before them and the relationship. 

Their need to constantly be gaming creates an impulse control problem, thereby leading to a video gaming addiction. 

Falling under the same category as screen addiction and tech addiction, video game addiction refers to an impulse control disorder that is characterized by the excessive and compulsive overuse of video games. People who suffer from this addiction will utilize the online gaming platform to connect with real people via the internet, as a substitute for real-life human connection. 

The following are some of the signs that your partner is addicted to video games: 

 They would rather be gaming than attend to you, themselves or their job. 

 They will play late into the night and are often sacrificing their sleep. Sex and nighttime conversations are often out of the question. 

 They do not want to discuss their mood or feelings. 

 They refuse to admit that there is a problem. 

 They refuse to reduce their gaming time. 

 They often forget about their commitments. 

 They consistently break their promise to spend more time with you. 

 They lash at you for ‘not understanding’ whenever you bring up the issue of their gaming compulsion. 

 They won’t consider therapy for their gaming obsession. 

Research done on the topic reveals that, at times, it is not the time spent gaming that causes problems in the marriage, but rather, it is the resulting arguments that accompany when the other spouse complains. 

Moreover, compulsive gaming causes issues such as poor marital adjustment that comes from not doing things together or having serious conversations. The result is that the bond that they had starts to weaken and eventually reaches a point where the marriage becomes insufferable. At this point, divorce is usually the only option left. 

Mental Health Problem 

Recently, the World Health Organization recognized and included video game addiction as a legitimate mental health problem. Fortnite, in particular, is one of the most cited games that have led to the addiction, affecting players of all ages, and even forcing some into rehab. Just as with any other kind of dependency, video game addiction strains a marriage in that one partner does not care about the needs of the other.

Admittedly, one can understand the allure of video games. Today’s video games, in particular, are designed to reel in the player and hook them. That is how some people get addicted. For others, they might already be having an underlying problem leading them to seek out video games and other technological distractions to feel the void inside without having to turn to something that might damage their health such as drugs. Nonetheless, an addiction is an addiction, and it will have a negative impact on your life. 

If you feel that your gaming tendencies are straining your relationship, seeking help to overcome the dependency should be your first course of action. At our Recovery Center, we help gaming addicts get control of their dependency, so they are able to get their priorities in order. Our experts will help you or your loved one through a holistic approach that not only treats the addiction but addresses the triggers so that they cannot relapse. Contact us today; we are waiting to help.

 

 

 

Texas Opiate Crisis

 

The increasingly prevalent use of opioids has triggered one of the most serious drug crises in the country’s history. In almost every state, fatal overdoses are being reported on an almost daily basis. Here’s what you need to know about the crisis in Texas.

 

The Use of Opioids appears to be Most Prevalent in East and North Texas

 

Reports show that opioid-related admissions and fatalities are concentrated in East and North Texas, which includes a lot of rural counties. Overdose fatalities due to opioid use in some counties in Texas surpassed 24 deaths per 100,000 in 2016.

 

Various counties by the Red River have also recorded increased rates of drug overdose mortalities. For example, Baylor County has recorded over 30 fatalities per 100,000, which is the highest in the state.

 

Half of all Opioid-Related Deaths Are as a Result of Legally Prescribed Opioid Medications

 

Interestingly, the majority of people who have an opioid use disorder trace their addiction back to legally prescribed opioid painkillers. The leading sources of these opioid prescriptions include doctors, dentists, and surgeons. Consequently, reports indicate that drug overdoses are most prevalent in areas where most opioid prescriptions are made.

 

And because prescribed opioid painkillers are becoming increasingly harder to get, individuals who developed a dependency on those medications transition to the use of illegal opiates such as heroin. Heroin produces a similar sensation to the medication while being easier and cheaper to obtain. What is even more concerning is that this drug is being laced with lethal synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Drug traffickers are lacing heroin with fentanyl to make their product even more potent as fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than morphine. As a result, the likelihood of an overdose is dramatically increased. In fact, deaths that were fentanyl-related almost doubled between 2015 and 2016.

Of the 1,174 opioid-related deaths reported in 2015, prescribed opioids accounted for 517, heroin had 516, while synthetic opioids resulted in 153 deaths.

 

Texas’ Opioid Crisis Could Get Worse

 

While fentanyl-laced illegal opiates are the leading cause of recent overdose fatalities nationally, in Texas, fentanyl has only caused about 4 percent of heroin-related deaths. This is because the most common type of heroin available in Texas, known as blacks tar, is a lot harder to mix with the synthetic opioid as compared to white powder heroin.

 

However, that safety bubble is about to bust as reports indicate that white powder heroin is becoming increasingly available in Texas. Moreover, drug dealers are already mixing fentanyl with black tar. Additionally, more and more illicit drugs are getting laced with fentanyl, thus increasing the risk of fentanyl-related overdoses.

 

As we have covered, opioid use is very likely to result in dependency and addiction. This addiction is eventually what leads to an overdose as the addict needs to take more and more to achieve the same level of high.

 

What Happens When You Take an Opioid?

 

Upon ingesting, inhaling, or injecting an opioid into their body, the opioid enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. There, it attaches to an opioid receptor which reduces the perception of pain thus having a sedating effect.

 

For most people, the stimulation of opioid receptors causes a mild pleasurable sensation. Others report feeling a sense of well-being while others say they feel motivated or energized. Others might experience unpleasant side effects such as irritability, nausea, and vomiting.

 

There are also those who experience an intense euphoria upon taking an opioid. Unfortunately, these are the individuals who are likely to develop a dependency on the drug thus leading to addiction.

 

Nonetheless, the body gradually builds a tolerance towards the drug. As such, the individual has to take larger quantities of the opioid to achieve their desired euphoric sensation. This results in long-term changes in the brain’s structure and function. Consequently, this results in changes in their behavior as well.

What is Opioid Dependence?

 

This is an addiction to opioids. Thus, it is a brain condition characterized by both a physical as well as a psychological need for the drug and therefore requires opioid addiction treatment. A dependent or addicted individual is one who exhibits compulsive opioid use despite the obvious harm the drug poses. They cannot seem to stop their use even though they know that they should stop.

 

An opioid addiction is typically characterized by intense cravings and the subsequent loss of control over their usage. Behaviors that signal a need for opioid dependency treatment include:

 

 Loss of control over usage

 Denying that there is a problem

 Spending a lot of time looking for and using opioids

 Missing out on important obligations because of opioid use

 A persistent desire to quit but failing frequently

 Continued use despite the harm it poses.

 

Getting over an opioid addiction can be a challenging endeavor. This is because, as mentioned earlier, an opioid addiction typically results in long-term changes to the brain’s configuration. Consequently, the individual is unable to stay long periods without using.

 

Moreover, the withdrawal effects that follow the stoppage of use are dangerous and can even be fatal. As such, professional help is necessary to help the addicted individual to get over their dependency safely while reducing the chance of a relapse. The following are some of the most effective opioid addiction treatments available in Texas:

 

  • Inpatient Opioid Rehab

 

Here, the patient checks into a rehab facility where their treatment is overseen by a team of medical specialists. First, the addict is helped to cease their drug use through structured pain management programs that help them deal with the withdrawal effects that follow stoppage. Additionally, the patient receives psychological treatment that aims to address the root of their addiction while helping them find better ways to cope so as to prevent future relapses.

 

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs

 

Also known as partial hospitalization programs, people who opt for intensive outpatient programs will still receive the necessary medication to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms and to aid in recovery and sober living. Thus, the patient will still be living at home, going to work, and spending time with their loved ones.

 

Nevertheless, they will have to make regular clinic visits up to 6 times a week so their progress can be monitored. The individual will also receive mental health assessments as well as therapy.

 

Partial hospitalization programs are a good substitute for inpatient rehab in certain cases. Your doctor should help you determine whether they are a good fit for the addicted individual.

 

  • Partial Hospitalization

 

An ambulatory detoxification program is a type of outpatient treatment as it provides the benefits of inpatient detoxification but at a less restrictive and more cost-effective setting. Ambulatory detox programs typically offer all the services expected in an outpatient program.

  • Ambulatory Detoxification Program

Nevertheless, this treatment is only suitable for patients who have or are expected to have, mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal. Therefore, a person who experiences severe withdrawal symptoms needs inpatient treatment as this will allow for medical oversight to ensure that the withdrawal symptoms do not result in a fatality.

With opioid use becoming more prevalent in Texas, it is necessary that we do what all we can to prevent unnecessary deaths. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid use or abuse, getting them to an addiction treatment center sooner will help you turn their lives around, so they do not end up as another opioid-related statistic. Guide them to the path to sober living.