Recovery: Exercise, Prayer and Meditation

recoveryThe summer is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your program of addiction recovery. Especially if you find yourself with extra time on your hands. After all, you wouldn’t want free time to impact your program negatively, idle time being the devil’s plaything—and such. It isn’t a secret that addicts and alcoholics struggle with time management, and using their time beneficially. However, one can use downtime as an occasion to practice budgeting one’s time, to better round out their life.

For most people in recovery, their days often look somewhat similar throughout the year. The usual meeting, going to work, eat, sleep and sometimes a little idle time for relaxation in between. But many of those in recovery have seasonal jobs or go school. So, come summer you may be one of the people who finds themselves struggling to fill their day with healthy behaviors. To be sure, binge watching Netflix shows is not exactly conducive to strengthening your recovery. With that in mind, let’s delve into some practices that can increase your chances of avoiding relapse.

Exercise, Prayer and Meditation In Recovery

With the weather in high spirits, it is always a good idea to get outside and soak up some rays. Take a walk or hike, perhaps other members of your recovery circle will go along. In Florida, there is no shortage of sun or beachfront. You might try making a point of taking advantage of the sand and surf. Interestingly, it is when we are outside that we find ourselves most receptive to our “higher power.” A connection that is of the utmost importance.

While most people get down on their knees in the morning to pray and meditate, there isn’t any reason why you can’t take this beneficial practice outdoors. If you are with other people, take a moment to seclude yourself from the group, so that you can better establish contact with the spiritual realm of your recovery.

Spending an hour, or more, outside everyday can do more for your program than you might think. One way to look at it is like so, most of your substance use occurred indoors. So then, your recovery may flourish better in a setting that is not synonymous with abuse. Over the summer there are meetings you can attend that take place outside, weekly or at recovery retreats. Such gatherings can be a wholly spiritual experience.

Your connection to a higher power is paramount, but it is always worth remembering that your body is the temple that houses spiritual receptors. If your house is in disarray, it can be detrimental to your program. Eating poorly and not exercising can wreak havoc on your program. You may not like going to the gym, but during the summer you can exercise in the great outdoors. Walking, swimming and biking are few ways to better your health.

Getting Help This Summer

If you are still using drugs or alcohol, the aforementioned suggestions may not apply to you—yet. But they probably make some sense to you, either way. Maybe this summer is a good opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and seek help for the debilitating disease of addiction. Please contact us at Synergy Group Services to begin the process. Our holistic approach to addiction recovery has helped numerous individuals get their life back. Maybe this can be your summer of recovery. We can help.

Fentanyl Test Strips Could Save Lives

fentanylIt would be nice if everyone abusing opioid narcotics of any kind could be convinced that the best thing they could do today is seek help for their addiction. For unlike other substances that one could be addicted to, the likelihood of an overdose and potential death is so great with prescription opioids and heroin that it is simply not worth continuing.

Naturally, such a scenario could only exist if addiction were not what it is: A serious mental health disorder that fights to protect itself like a wolf backed into a corner. Addicts know that at any moment the drugs they are about to put in their body could be their last, yet they do it anyway because the thought of withdrawal sickness is so terrifying it is as if they have no other option.

There is not a formula to explain when an individual has had enough and will seek help. Even those who have survived an overdose will continue using despite the inherent risks. Which is why it is so vital that states and cities do their part to provide addicts with naloxone, clean syringes and a way to determine if the drugs they are about to do contain the deadly ingredient known as fentanyl.

Testing for Fentanyl

People can die from an overdose on morphine, they can die from an overdose on heroin. But if fentanyl is added to the equation the chances of an overdose death are exponentially greater.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) points out that fentanyl is anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Used in even small amounts it causes severe respiratory depression that can be deadly.

The drug is commonly mixed into bags of heroin to increase potency, without users having any knowledge of its presence. However, there is a way that addicts could determine if their bag contains fentanyl. In New York City, a program in the Bronx has begun equipping heroin addicts with easy to use fentanyl test strips, NPR reports. At St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, a needle exchange program in the Bronx, ordered test strips from Canada and are handing them out at the exchange.

“If you’re doing dope,” staffer Van Asher says to one client, “we’ll give you a test strip so you can test and see if there’s fentanyl.”

The Road to Recovery

There are some who might argue that giving out test strips and clean syringes encourages continued use. But, in reality, such practices prevent the spread of deadly diseases and can help prevent a fatal overdose. Needle exchange personnel typically talk with addicts coming in off the streets about the value of seeking recovery. Letting them know that it is possible. A significant number of people have gone to treatment based on recommendations from such clinics.

If you are actively abusing opioids of any kind, please contact Synergy Group Services to begin the journey of recovery.

Music in Recovery—A New Song

recoveryIf you are suffering from the disease of addiction, or a have just been introduced to a program of recovery (i.e. 12-Steps or Non-12 Step Recovery), it is likely that the thought of continued sobriety of long periods of time may produce dull and drab images. Addicts and alcoholics, setting the pain aside for the moment, often associate drugging and/or drinking with having a good time. It is probably fair to say that before your life became truly unmanageable, you had a number of wonderful experiences at parties and events. If you are considering addiction recovery it is likely that that ship has long since sailed, and you find yourself in a state of utter despair.

Let’s face it, if the drugs and alcohol could still be balanced between work and responsibility, why would you consider renouncing all mind altering substances? The old saying “the road goes on forever and the party never ends” hardly applies to someone eking out an existence in the grips of addiction. When the party does in fact end for someone with a substance use disorder, it typically means one of two things; either you found recovery or you succumbed to your addiction. Those working in the field of addiction recovery know all too well that for many addicts and alcoholics, the latter is often the case—but we also know that it does not have to be.

Recovery Fun

In the United States and around the globe, millions of people wake up every day with the goal of not using a drink or drug—no matter what. What’s more, they also insist on thoroughly enjoying life. Recovery is not just sitting around drinking stale coffee in meeting houses with interior walls tinted yellow from years of chain smoking, pining for days of yore. On the contrary, people working programs of recovery resist the urge to pick up, help others do the same and have a good time in the process on a daily basis. It could easily be argued that recovery allows people to not only enjoy all that life has to offer, but remember it too—the gift of a clear mind.

Please do not read these words and think that they imply that recovery is all peaches and cream. Working a program involves a lot of hard work, introspective thinking, selflessness and reprogramming how one thinks. There will be hard times and good times, and everything in between. But those who stay committed typically find that life has so much to offer, and just about anything is possible if one stays the course. It will not happen overnight, but at some point owing to eternal vigilance, you will find that there isn’t anywhere you cannot go or any experience that will seem less sweet because you are not under the influence—especially when it comes to music.

Hearing the Music of Recovery

Looking back on the days of active drug and alcohol use, it is likely that you listened to music. There were probably times when you felt as though you were at “one” with a particular song. Perhaps you had the feeling that the musician wrote a song with someone like you in mind—and to some degree there is probably some to truth to that sensation. Now you find yourself sober. You may find that the music that once spoke to you is no longer communicating—which can be a troubling realization. Music was such an important part of your life and now you feel, to borrow from “American Pie:”

I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

Rest assured, music has not given you the cold shoulder, because you made the choice to live. In fact, you will realize that in sobriety new/different music will have a cathartic effect on you. Music is an invaluable resource that can pick you up when you are down or give you a joyous escape, and it does not require the use of drugs and/or alcohol to appreciate it. It is worth noting that many of the musicians you listened to when you were using, also struggled with addiction and found recovery. Not only are they still writing music and performing, much of what they create speaks to those working a program of recovery. James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Elton John are a just a few examples.

Music can be and often is therapeutic for many who are on the journey of recovery. Similar to other alternative therapies, like massage, art or biofeedback, music can assist people in managing mental health issues, cognitive processes and physical pain or discomfort.

The Wire and Inner-City Heroin Use

heroinIf you were watching programs on HBO between 2002 and 2008, you may have come across a show called “The Wire.” It is often considered to be one of the greatest television dramas of all time. If you have never seen it, you may be wondering what the show has to do with addiction recovery. The show centers around the City of Baltimore’s fight against the heroin trade, covering the many facets of inner-city drug problems. The highly acclaimed show won several awards season after season.

One the main characters of the show is Reginald Cousins (played by actor Andre Royo), affectionately called “Bubbles” by those who knew him. Bubbles was heroin addict, who like most addicts, would do whatever it took to support his addiction. Throughout the course of the show you are given a firsthand look at the life of an addict, the daily struggle that countless people deal with every day of the year. What’s more, you can watch Bubble’s transformation, as he begins the road to recovery. With the help of his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor named Waylon (played by musician Steve Earle), Bubbles manages to acquire over a year of clean time before the series ends.

“The Wire,” and many of the shows characters was inspired by a real drug kingpin named Nathan Barksdale, who went by the nickname “Bodie.” Barksdale passed away this week at the age of 54 while serving a four-year sentence in federal prison, The Baltimore Sun reports. In the 1980’s, Barksdale ran a notorious heroin dealing operation in the Murphy Homes public housing complex.

“In real life he was one of the most notorious and resilient gangster drug kingpins Baltimore has ever seen,” says Wood Harris, who played the character Avon Barksdale in “The Wire”. “He was a magnet for violence.”

While there isn’t any debate about the harm Barksdale caused, his life opened up the conversation about heroin addiction before the nation was even aware that we were at the beginning of an opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives. Every day, 44 people lose their life because of an opioid overdose.

The journey of recovery can begin in many ways. Recovery can start with a simple conversation with a stranger, happening upon a book about someone’s story of recovery, taking a seat in a movie theater, viewing a classic movie on television or even becoming engaged with an ongoing television series. The magic can be ignited with the smallest spark. If you have questions about addiction and recovery, feel free to contact Synergy Group Services. “We’ve been there as a family, now let us help yours.”

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