Christine has been with Olalla Recovery Centers since 2000. Prior to her work in chemical dependency, Christine worked in the law enforcement and legal field for over ten years. She has a degree in psychology, business administration and human resource management. Christine oversees the organization as directed by the Board of Directors. She has a degree in Psychology, with minors in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.
Addiction recovery is a major feat, and you need to celebrate your achievements, whether big or small. Creating a healthy-rewards system for yourself can help keep you motivated.
As we know, the human brain is wired to respond to rewards. That, in fact, is one of the reasons behind drug and alcohol addiction. Because the brain is wired to pursue pleasurable activities, it has a sophisticated “reward circuit” — and substances create a huge surge of neurotransmitters that signal the brain to repeat the activity.
Substance addiction is often called a “family disease,” and for good reason. When an individual is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the entire family feels stressed and overwhelmed.
As much as it is difficult for adults to cope with a family member’s addiction, for kids, it’s much worse. Unlike adults, children don’t always know where to find a safe space and whom to talk to about their concerns. Yet a highly stressful family environment puts them at risk for physical and mental health issues.
At Olalla Recovery Centers, it’s very common for our counselors to see recovering individuals who have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. Many times, these individuals don’t realize the long-lasting effects of that trauma or how it affects their addiction recovery. Yes those experiences, however old, can jeopardize the treatment outcome if they’re left unresolved.
No matter how hard you work at your recovery, you may experience a relapse. While addiction treatments are designed to help prevent it, a relapse is not uncommon.
Individuals with various chronic diseases experience relapse, and addiction is no different. In fact, past research has found that the relapse rates for addiction are similar to those of asthma and other chronic illnesses.
It’s important to not see relapse as a personal failure, and to not blame yourself and others for it. While the human brain’s ability to recover from substance abuse is remarkable, relapse is a normal part of the process. If you continue to seek support from your medical and recovery team, and keep up your treatments, you’ll be able to rebound and get back on track.
One of the least-expected experiences for individuals starting recovery is the emotional roller-coaster, the extreme states of new feelings. Anger can be especially a struggle, not to mention very self-destructive.
As with other aspects of your life, you may be challenged to return to the basics. You may need to learn or relearn the tools of emotional control.
When you were addicted to drugs or alcohol, you likely never properly learned how to manage finances, take care of yourself and build healthy relationships. It’s the same way with emotions — addiction may have caused you to become numb for a long time, and you may no longer know how to respond to your emotional states.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. — Confucius
Living a simple life. Sounds boring, on the surface, but is it? And why should you even think about simplifying your life?
Over the last few decades of industrial and technological growth, we’ve been conditioned to want more, accumulate more, do more. In the whirlwind of this nonstop quest, it’s hard to find a moment to quiet the mind.
Every moment is a fresh beginning. — T.S. Eliot
As you begin your journey to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, one of the biggest challenges is to break your old habits. As an addict, you had certain routines and behaviors — and sobriety leaves a void that you’ll need to fill with new habits.
Don’t expect this to be easy or fast. Think about how long it took you to form your old habits — months? Years? While a popular concept is that it takes 28 to 30 days to form a new habit, some studies have shown that it takes much longer than that. You’re in this for the long haul.
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul…” —John Muir
The sun-kissed summer season is a special time in the Pacific Northwest. While we’re blessed with warm weather for much of the year, summer is when we can finally count on clear skies. The whirl of activity on the local beaches, at the campgrounds and on the waters of Puget Sound reminds us what a natural jewel this area is.
Do you remember the last time you hiked in the woods, relaxed by a waterfall or lake, or took a walk on a beach while waves splashed at your feet?
A variety of factors contribute to the likelihood of teens and youth turning to negative behaviors such as substance abuse, but research has found that the more protective factors are in place, the more risk can be reduced. Protective factors are internal characteristics that an individual has, as well as external conditions such as family, school and community, that can help a person cope with challenges in life.
When we previously discussed building resiliency in the journey to recovery, we talked about how by strengthening your mind, body and spirit, you can better cope with challenges such as stressors leading to substance abuse or relapse. However, for youth and young adults, the message of building resiliency doesn’t resonate in the same way.
Resiliency — the ability to bounce back after a setback and make positive choices — is built on the idea of long-term preparedness to withstand challenges.