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Setting Boundaries in Recovery

Healthy boundaries are essential to keeping your mental health in check. If you’re in recovery, it is especially important for you to learn to set healthy boundaries to help you understand your inherent value and the value of your healing process. This can present a challenge for people in recovery, as healthy boundaries tend to take a backseat to other priorities throughout your struggle with addiction. Learning to set healthy boundaries is a fundamental part of a balanced recovery. What does a healthy boundary look like?

What Are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits that people set for themselves to protect their overall well-being. These limits can help you define who you are while also letting others know how you expect to be treated. Healthy boundaries keep us safe from being manipulated or exploited. They help us populate our lives with people who are supportive and respectful. Setting healthy boundaries can give your recovery the chance to progress and flourish.

Boundaries apply to more than just your romantic relationships. It’s important to have healthy boundaries with every person in your life: your children, friends, parents, colleagues, and most of all, yourself. In recovery, having healthy boundaries with yourself can help you regulate your relationship with the person you wish to become. For example, healthy boundaries can cultivate self-discipline, which allows you to practice appropriate behavior, mental and emotional regulation, and impulse control. Setting healthy boundaries for yourself can enable you to follow through on commitments that you make to your highest priorities.

What Makes for a Healthy Boundary?

The purpose of healthy boundaries is to create respect, both from yourself and others. Self-respect is key to a successful recovery. Setting boundaries that generate that respect can help you internalize your worth. You can learn to love and appreciate yourself and invest in your well-being. Some examples of healthy boundaries include:

  • Thoughtfully evaluating how your interpersonal relationships affect your recovery
  • Maintaining your own identity in a relationship
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing your needs
  • Maintaining personal beliefs and values despite what others may think
  • Treating yourself with respect
  • Building relationships that are built on trust and kindness
  • Loving and accepting yourself

Why Do We Create Unhealthy Boundaries?

Many people in recovery have had an especially hard time setting boundaries with themselves and others. This issue can go as far back as childhood. Children raised by neglectful parents who fail to model healthy emotional relationships are more likely to lack understanding of the value of healthy boundaries as an adult. On the other end of the spectrum, kids who grow up with strict parents are at risk of becoming overly dependent on others, leading to codependency issues. Examples of unhealthy boundaries can include:

  • Impulsive behavior, especially within relationships
  • Beginning relationships that are toxic for your recovery
  • Self-doubting or belittling yourself
  • Ignoring personal values to please or gain acceptance from other people
  • Belittling others
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Forcing personal beliefs on others
  • Allowing others to tell you who you should and shouldn’t be
  • Making excuses for others who treat you poorly.

Enforcing Healthy Boundaries

Many people set healthy boundaries for themselves and then fail to enforce them. It is equally important to enforce your boundaries as it is to set them; otherwise, they’ll amount to nothing more than a well-intentioned piece of paper. Follow these steps to begin establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries for yourself:

  1. Know Your Worth. You have the right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs. You have the right to express yourself and to let others know how you would like to be treated.
  2. Identify Sobriety Risk Factors. Write down everything that can jeopardize your sobriety. This can include anything from people, places, and sensations to abstract memories. Be honest and thorough.
  3. Set Your Boundaries. Once you identify your risk factors, write down your boundaries. Use specific language, such as “I need to cut all ties with …” or “I will not go to this store because it triggers me to buy alcohol.”
  4. Enforce Your Boundaries. Enforcing your boundaries takes honesty, commitment, and patience. If you feel yourself slipping, take action.
  5. Remain Accountable. Reach out to your sponsor, family members, or support groups to hold yourself accountable. Your support groups are there for this purpose, so don’t ever think that you are bothering them or that they don’t have time for you. If your support groups start to make you feel this way, it’s time to find a new, healthier group of peers.
  6. Respect the Boundaries of Others. Just as your boundaries should be respected, make sure to respect other people’s boundaries.

Remember that setting healthy boundaries in recovery is not selfish. Healthy boundaries are vital to your emotional and mental health, your sense of self-worth, and your long-term recovery.

Setting healthy boundaries for yourself is vital to the success of your recovery. Although at times it may feel like you are being selfish for setting boundaries, it’s never your duty to sacrifice your self-worth or self-respect for the priorities of others. Setting healthy boundaries can let others know that your beliefs and needs are important to you. Investing in your self-esteem this way can help keep you on track to practice positive behaviors, combat impulsivity, and follow through on your commitments, all of which are beneficial to a balanced recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with establishing healthy boundaries and overcoming addiction, reach out to Achieve Concierge today. Our dynamic team is dedicated to helping individuals with their recovery journey. Gain the irreplaceable value of self-respect and move forward in sobriety. Your success is our mission. Call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344 to make a real change.

nicotine

When You’re Ready to Quit Smoking for Good

Deciding to give up tobacco is one of the most important decisions you can make to better your overall health. Just two years after you quit smoking, you’ll experience a wide range of benefits, including:

  • A tremendous decrease in risk of stroke
  • A decrease in heart rate and blood pressure: some former smokers achieve the same levels as a nonsmoker just a couple of hours after quitting
  • A 50% decrease in risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of lung cancer: over 80% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking
  • Significant financial savings from no longer purchasing tobacco products

Of course, quitting smoking is no easy task; for many, it can feel downright impossible. Despite wanting to quit, and despite knowing the negative effects on your health, the urge to light up can be simply overwhelming. Most smokers harbor the belief that their attempts to quit are sure to fail, making it hard to justify the agony of attempting to go cold turkey.

If you’ve struggled to quit smoking, you’re not alone. Tobacco use is a global addiction that affects roughly 1.2 billion people, creating substantial health and financial burdens. The CDC reports that there are over 7 million tobacco-related deaths worldwide every year. Nicotine is highly addictive, causing many to smoke for decades. Individuals who attempt to quit on their own often relapse within the first month; only 3-5% stay abstinent.

Here are some tips to use when you’re ready to quit smoking for good. This is an important and celebratory moment in your life, and it’s important to walk into it with as much strength and conviction as possible.

Find Your Reason to Quit 

The best motivation to quit any habit is to find what drives you. It could be to improve your health, save money, or protect your family from secondhand smoke. Whatever the reason, make sure that it’s strong enough to outweigh any urge that will compel you to light up. 

Know Your Triggers

A person who quits smoking can experience cravings years after they have quit. Make a list of things that trigger your urge to smoke and reduce your contact with them as much as possible. Some triggers are unavoidable; for these moments, you’ll have to learn to manage by using healthy coping skills or replacement behaviors. 

Set a Date That Works for You

Quitting smoking is a big decision that will come with trying times. Setting a quit date can let you prepare yourself for what’s to come. For some, setting a date can bring on negative feelings like anxiety or discouragement due to previous failed attempts. Think of those times as stepping stones on the road to success. Take into account what didn’t work for you the last time to avoid falling to the same obstacles.

Consider Using Medication

Quitting cold turkey isn’t right for everyone. It isn’t even always the recommended approach. Nicotine replacement products can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase your chances of kicking the habit. Because nicotine is so addictive, smokers who quit can experience serious withdrawal symptoms. Using medication to quit is not a sign of weakness; it’s designed to help you. If you’re unsure which options are best for you, consult with your doctor. 

Be Prepared for Challenges

Although the urge to smoke doesn’t last long, those few minutes can feel like an intense eternity. Before you quit smoking, look for replacement behaviors or ways to occupy your time when urges arise. Some people use exercise to help blow off steam, while others listen to music to promote relaxation. You can also try reaching out to friends or family to help occupy your mind. Write down all the ways you can help yourself make it through moments of temptation unscathed, and be prepared to use one or even all of them when urges arise.

Clean House

Get rid of it all – everything that reminds you of smoking and things that can set off the desire to smoke. Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette, throw away paraphernalia such as ashtrays and lighters. Clean any household items that smell like smoke to eliminate potential urges. If you smoked in your car, clean it out. One of the best things you can do to stay abstinent is to eliminate anything that reminds you of smoking.

Never Give Up

Most people make numerous attempts before they can successfully give up smoking for good. If you slip, don’t let that discourage you from quitting. Remember to treat those moments like steps on the path that you must walk to reach success. Think about what led you to relapse and remember to avoid that trigger next time, and each attempt will bring you closer to your goal.

 

Deciding to quit smoking takes some serious mental and physical strength. Whether it’s your first attempt to quit or your hundredth, never give up, because the rewards are too great to pass up. Quitting will improve your health in a wide variety of ways almost immediately, elevate your physical appearance, and can even lead to significant financial savings. Despite knowing the benefits, quitting smoking can challenge you to muster all your willpower and more. If you’re ready to take advantage of professional-grade resources to overcome the habit for god, reach out to Achieve Concierge. From the initial moment of quitting to managing withdrawal symptoms and prolonged urges, our mission is to provide you with the tools and skills you need to successfully navigate every step of this important transition. Achieve Concierge is committed to providing the highest level of mental wellness care with personalized service that is second to none. Call us today at (858) 221-0344 to learn more.

health

Staying Healthy in Recovery

Addiction is a complex disease that leads to self-destructive behavior, a host of health problems, or sometimes death. When a person struggles with addiction or substance use disorder, they continue using drugs or alcohol despite any harmful consequences. This is due to the brain’s chemical and physiological changes that make an individual unable to stop using. A healthy lifestyle in recovery makes it easier to stay sober.

Lifestyle Changes

Since the brain changes with addiction, it will take time for the brain to learn how to function without drugs or alcohol. Focusing on healthy activities in recovery will help you maintain sobriety and sustain your physical and mental wellbeing. Physically recovering is a vital part of the recovery process, and establishing new, healthy habits can lay the foundation for years of health in sobriety.

Ways to Stay Healthy

Maintaining an active lifestyle will give you less time to think about using drugs or alcohol. Staying active lessens the risk of boredom and promotes mental, emotional, and physical health. Participating in healthy activities supports cardiovascular health, reduces weight, builds strength and stamina, and rejuvenates the immune system. Exercise and good nutrition can help decrease symptoms of depression or anxiety. It can also regulate restful sleep patterns.

Another way to stay healthy involves keeping a journal. Writing allows you to reflect on your progress and see how you managed emotions and challenges in early recovery. Developing new routines will replace old habits and helps you to avoid thinking about using drugs or alcohol.

Managing Stress in Recovery

Mindfulness of self and others allows you to be in the present. Meditation and yoga are healthy activities that use deep breathing techniques to clear the mind and renew the spirit. Meditation stimulates and trains your brain to be happy without the need for any addictive substance.

An article about oxygen levels and brain function for the Lung Institute (2016) states, “When you’re calm, breathing becomes easier, and stress levels are lower. Deep breathing, meditation, and positive thinking exercises are good ways to help you relax. Exercise also increases the oxygen in your blood.”

Certain drugs and alcohol can result in decreased blood concentration and deprive brain tissue of oxygen. A lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to brain cell death and coma. Staying active helps boost morale, reduces stress, and makes the recovery process much more comfortable.

Gratitude in Recovery

Substance use disorders and addiction can make you feel guilty, scared, and alone. Gratitude means being mindful of the positive things that you have received in recovery. Pay attention to the little details of your day that you can be thankful for, and you will discover the goodness in life. In recovery, you will find a new perspective on the world.

 

When you begin to feel the positive effects of the changes, it will be easier to stick to them. Having gratitude will increase your quality of life as you practice self-care. Focus on healing yourself first. Then it will be easier to work on broken relationships.

Leonard Jason, a community psychologist at DePaul University, remarked on the importance of helping those in recovery transition into society. He stated, “Just getting people clean and releasing them to the social environments that helped encourage the substance use and other negative behaviors (such as crime) has been shown to be not effective.”

Transitioning Into a Sober Lifestyle

Here are some helpful tips to help you transition into a sober lifestyle:

  • Eat nutritious foods. Most people do not maintain a healthy diet during their time of using drugs or alcohol. Eating healthy foods will help to restore physical and mental health.
  • Get enough rest. Addiction often disrupts sleep patterns. Ensuring you get enough rest will translate to higher energy levels, a better mood, sharper mental alertness, less illness, and more.
  • Find new, healthy, sober activities. While actively addicted, your mind is clouded with toxic substances, your mental and physical health is affected, and your spirit is broken. After treatment, you can discover your interests, find hobbies, and participate in healthy activities to maintain good health.
  • Learn to love yourself. Practice self-care and discover what your goals are. This will help you decide what you want to do and have in life.

 Getting Help

There is no cure for addiction, but treatment is available, and there is hope in recovery. Treatment can be tailored to your unique needs and will help restore your health, renew your spirit, and allow you to enjoy a new, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle in sobriety. You will have the ability to explore the world around you, find new things, and nurture your needs productively and healthily.

 

When using substances, health may not have been at the forefront of your mind. You may have neglected not only your body but your mind and spirit as well. You may have been broken and finally decided to seek treatment. While in recovery, learning to live a healthy lifestyle is essential. You must nurture your mind, body, and spirit. To do this, you can find a new diet and exercise routine, keep a journal, find new hobbies, and, most importantly, learn to love yourself. At Achieve Concierge, we believe in treating the person as a whole with a holistic approach that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. Addiction can make you feel isolated, but you are not alone. We want you to feel comfortable with our caring and dedicated team of professionals. We offer same-day appointments as well as at-home appointments. For more information about our services, call (858) 221-0344.

healthy

Finding Yourself in Recovery

Recovery means something different to every person. Your recovery can be a process where you combine group therapy and individual therapy. Others may prefer unique treatment and yoga. Individualized recovery meets the needs of those who are navigating their way through the path to healing.

Beginning the recovery journey means seeking healthy ways to cope with conflicting emotions and unhealthy lifestyle choices. You aren’t alone on your passage to forgiveness and understanding. We all have life experiences we seek help in addressing. Whether we face alcohol or substance addiction, a mental health disorder, or preventative services, we took the first step in learning about who we are and why we behave in specific ways.

Recovery

The process of healing from an illness or rebounding from a poor mental or physical state is recovering. The recovery process includes self-doubt, revelations, and adjusting to our responsibility in our past lifestyle choices. Be kind, be patient, and be willing to learn. Find what works for you and talk with your group or therapist about your preferences.

Recovery isn’t limited to a group or individual therapy. The commitment to healing our mind and body starts with recognizing we need help. Allowing ourselves to feel our emotions through treatment is essential to establish our pledge to self-discovery. Whatever the catalyst is for our road to health and understanding, we must realize we deserve to be kind to ourselves.

Ways to Heal

Accept your mental and physical state. Once we acknowledge where we are in our lives, we can assess what we need to accomplish to return to health. There’s no shame in admitting we have an alcohol or substance addiction problem. We can talk with others about our mental health without the fear of stigma. Conversations about our physical and mental health are necessary to move forward. If you find you can’t talk with those around you about your emotions or commitment to health, seek support from a group, a therapist, or those who love and support you. Explore what recovery means to you. How you envision recovery creates a foundation for you to build on in therapy and other activities. Discover what works by following these suggestions:

  • Try something new. Explore different community activities such as group sports, dance lessons, or more. Committing to a weekly activity helps you maintain a schedule. Community activities also are a stress-free way to meet people with similar interests.
  • Observe what makes you happy. We are prone to continue an activity if we enjoy how we feel. The purpose found in an enjoyable activity can unearth hidden emotions or strengths.
  • Push boundaries. Take on new opportunities you usually wouldn’t. Be uncomfortable in a new yoga position, a new form of art, or group activity. Explore the beauty, adventure, and space around you.

Nourishment

Feed your body and mind with recognition, acceptance, and love. We can’t be healthy unless we learn to nourish ourselves through exercise, culture, beauty, and proper nutrition. Without bolstering our entire self, we lose the chance to grow. Our body requires an abundance of sustenance to accomplish our hopes, dreams, and goals. There are several different ways to feed your mind, body, and soul. A few methods are:

  • Proper nutrition. Healthy eating is integral to healing the mind and body. Foods free from sugar, unhealthy fats, and fillers help regenerate cells and create new cells. Our body is continuously repairing, constructing, and sloughing off dead cells. We grow when we mentally and physically fill ourselves with healthy food. Learning how to identify healthy food, the proper amount of calories required each day, and cooking is essential.
  • Exercise. Moving, playing, and connecting with your body builds a sense of self. When we feel how our bodies respond to positions in yoga, dance, or another form of exercise, we learn to listen to what our body is telling us it can achieve. Listen, don’t push, and give yourself a day of stillness. We don’t grow when we don’t rest. The saying “no pain, no gain” is harmful to our body and mind. Our goal in recovery is to find healthy ways to avoid pain. Use exercise to develop your listening skills and communicate with your body.
  • Discover culture and beauty. Culture and beauty surround us. Culture exists in places such as a mural painted on a wall. Murals tell stories of the community; they express the beliefs of the people who created them. Musicians playing instruments or singing aren’t limited to concert halls and stages. Listen to the music nature provides. While walking down the street, pause to take in the sounds around you – expand your definition of music.

There are limitless ways to nourish our body and mind; we only need to be open to new experiences.

Therapy

Integrative therapy or alternative therapy establishes our mind-body connection. When combined with group or individual treatment, it gives us comprehensive treatment. We all need someone unbiased and willing to help us find healthy coping techniques. Alcohol and substance addictions can occur with mental health disorders. When we learn about what motivates our destructive behavior, we will start to move forward.

While you are in therapy, discuss how genetics affects alcohol or substance addictions and mental health. Genetic testing is a useful tool in the recovery journey. Once we know how genetics can play a part in our addiction or mental health, we can work with our therapist in creating an individualized therapy program.

 

The road to recovery isn’t linear. Building a successful treatment plan requires an integrative group or individual therapy. Therapy sessions give us the freedom to discuss feelings of depression, anxiety, self-doubt, or cravings. Therapy helps us distinguish the difference between nature and nurture through genetic testing. Group therapy, nutrition counseling, and new experiences expand our boundaries and connect our minds with our bodies. Discover recovery while learning to love and understand yourself. We can push boundaries without pushing ourselves to the point of pain. Individualized treatment allows us the freedom to figure out our strengths and beauty. Yoga, meditation, art, dance, music, or group sports are essential in loving ourselves. Understanding the impact our genes have on our lives grants us the chance to forgive our past. Achieve Concierge provides genetic testing, integrative therapy, group, and individual therapy. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact us at (858) 221-0344.

athlete kneeling

Athletes Facing Mental Health Challenges

The invisible battle of mental health discriminates against no one, including professional athletes. We’ve seen Olympic World Record Setter Michael Phelps bravely address depression on national television. We’ve watched MMA superstar Jon Jones repeatedly commit drug and alcohol-related crimes. We’ve lost prolific performers like San Diego Chargers fan favorite; Junior Seau, who succumbed to the void that calls to some of us, all too loudly. For those of us who are the best at what we do, what do we do when our current “best” isn’t enough? 

 

Brain Matter, Matters

Most athletes sustain a significant injury at some point in their careers, and the brain is not exempt from that category. Some athletes experience injuries alarming enough to lead to a diagnosis of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and some collect many minor injuries and quietly slip into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Many athletes are hesitant to try traditional medications for depression and anxiety since side effects can include weight gain, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, etc. which makes TMS is a viable option for those who are seeking a non-invasive, medication-free treatment. Here are some alternative therapies Achieve Concierge offers:

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has become popular for athletes who sustain brain injuries. TMS is also effective for treatment-resistant depression, OCD, ADD, autism spectrum disorders, and in Europe, is used to treat PTSD, stroke after-effects, bipolar depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. TMS stimulates neuron activity, and “clears traffic” on neural pathways to optimize Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Theta brainwaves. Each kind of brainwave corresponds to a mood or function, so many recipients of TMS initially experience a lift in brain fog (that “why did I walk into this room? What was I looking for?” feeling), and eventually find that their ability to function on a higher level increases. TMS continues to work even after treatment has ceased and many patients report feeling like they “got their life back” and have been able to build a life they “never thought would be possible.” Bellator MMA fighter Cat Zingano famously documented her success with TMS treatment on the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Podcast, Episode #29, explaining that the symptoms of depression and anxiety affected her memory, her startle reflex, and sleep quality, her adrenal system, and even digestive system. For many, those symptoms get “band-aid” treatments without a deep-dive investigation into how optimal the brain and body function and synergy are.
  • Bioidentical Hormone Replacement can make a world of difference for athletes. Hormones are traditionally measured within a “healthy range,” but if someone is at the lower end of “healthy,” nudging them toward the higher end of the “healthy range” can result in an increase in recovery time, endurance, maintaining their optimal body composition, and overall energy levels. Male-identifying athletes may experience drops in testosterone earlier than is biologically “normal” since the physical challenges are consistently far greater than that of someone whose physical activity is more casual. Some female-identifying athletes can experience increased testosterone levels as a result of the physical demands that training and performing at an elite level and a subsequent rise in estrogen, as the body attempts to meet the elevated testosterone levels. Naturally elevated levels of testosterone, or being at the higher end of the “healthy range” can mean just an increased performance. However, acceptable levels of testosterone have been a long-standing point of contention within athletic commissions, including historical cases such as the one that ordered two-time Olympic track champion, Caster Semenya, to decrease her testosterone before becoming eligible to compete. Estrogen levels that rise to meet elevated testosterone in female-identifying athletes can cause symptoms such as poor circulation, fatigue, and chronic exhaustion, sleep disturbances, memory problems, bloating, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, and panic attacks. Any or all of those symptoms can significantly affect an athlete’s ability to train well, recover effectively, and mentally be present when it counts.
  • Medication Efficacy Testing helps your clinician determine what class of medications and what doses are ideal for your body. Gone are the days of trial-and-error, and waiting two weeks to see if something will “maybe” work. If non-medicated options have not been effective enough, ask an Achieve clinician for more information about the testing process as well as medical-grade food, herbal supplement, and naturopathic options to integrate. 

Okay, Okay I’ll Take Time off. What Can I Do in the Mean Time?

Proper nutrition for healing is crucial; you wouldn’t put low-grade fuel in a Ferrari, right? Your body is a fine-tuned machine that requires the proper fuel to perform optimally. Undergoing food sensitivity and allergy testing can identify nutritional factors that may be negatively affecting your performance. 

Low-impact activity such as Functional Movement Patterns, plyometrics, yoga, and swimming can help maintain cardiovascular endurance, VO2 output, and keep fresh, oxygenated blood circulating. Any activity that engages core stabilizers builds skeletal muscle mass, and you are able to participate in without aggravating an injury, will help you stay in a positive mindset as well as help you feel like you aren’t “wasting” all your hard work. 

Good sleep hygiene will go a long way. The body repairs and restores at night, getting quality rest is essential. Tracking Heart Rate Variability (HRV), amount of time spent in REM sleep and SWS sleep cycles, and respiratory rate can help you assess how much effort you can afford to exert, and for how long. Quality sleep also helps manage stress and cortisol levels, ensuring a rapid recovery. 

Accepting nature’s medicine by being in awe of the world around us, and appreciating that the sun manages to rise and set every day without us controlling it, helps us stay “right-sized” and on the path to fulfilling our purpose. Spend some time in nature, among trees or near the ocean, take deep breaths, and find things to be grateful for. 

When your body is your primary vehicle for expression, overcoming mental health challenges can seem daunting. Years of ignoring our bodies’ pleas to slow down, and pushing past pain and exhaustion can disconnect some of us from all the other facets of our identity, and we lose sight of who we are as people, in the grand scheme of things. Outside of our athlete identities, we have basic needs which include varying levels of care to handle life on life’s terms. Achieve Concierge is available in-office or via TeleHealth to create a custom continuum of care to optimize your brain, body, and performance.

To schedule an appointment, call (858) 221-0344.