Strengthen the resilience and self-efficacy of people facing addiction, mental health and aging-related challenges.
It’s estimated that 60% of people relapse before 3 months, but only 34% after a year. If a person stays in recovery for 5 years, the chance of relapse drops to 15%. The greatest indicator of success in recovery is length of time.
Research demonstrates that fitness and nutrition have significant influence over how the addicted mind and body heal, and normalize faster. Best outcomes require an understanding of the biopsychosocial nature of the problem. Our courseware and hands-on programs teach identification and remediation of unhealthy thought processes, attitudes and behaviors. We reinforce and maintain positive change by replacing maladjusted habits with a more structured approach that emphasizes personal aptitude and responsibility.
- Clinical organizations serving clients
- Corporations with employees at risk
- Public / Not-for-Profit such as schools, institutions and government agencies
- Turnkey courseware to supplement/replace existing clinical programs
- Didactic and experiential corporate/organizational program design and delivery
- Educational presentations/speaking engagements raise awareness/prevention
Each program is tailored to the needs of the organization. This may entail adding new course topics, restructuring content and delivery duration, and scheduling accommodations.
- More people in early recovery reach 1- and 5-year milestones
- Address and inhibit employee problems before they intensify
- Public and charitable institutions raise awareness in their constituents
Incorporated in Las Vegas in 2013; a 501(c) 3 public charity
It is amazing how many warning signs of stress look exactly like warning signs in the process of relapse! In fact, we know that many of these are identical – and that stress is a huge trigger in relapse. Well, it’s not actually the stress, is it? It’s what we do with that stress.
Group was focused on improving our knowledge and self-awareness in regard to identifying and managing stress in our lives.
What is stress? Is it always bad? What triggers stress? What are the negative health effects of being in a constant stress-state? Last night, we worked on these answers to these questions and more. We identified not only our own specific triggers – and what our number #1 current stressor is – we walked through a litany of coping skills and strategies effective in mitigating stress.
And not surprisingly to anyone who has been reading these blogs, but we followed up our education group with one of everyone’s favorite stress-reduction tools – EXERCISE. Remember, stress is a large part of everyone’s life in the 21st century. Just because you’re in recovery, doesn’t mean you have a monopoly on stress. If you’re a “normie” (i.e., not in recovery / no addiction condition), get your exercise on to reduce stress!
We worked on life skills Wednesday night. Just how do we go about setting goals that we can, and want to, attain? How can we leverage goal-setting to inspire motivation and confidence? Are there any goals too big? Too small? Where should we start this process – especially for those of us in early recovery?
First of all, we identified a strategy – the “Small Wins” approach described in the book Rebalancing the Addictive Mind: Beating Addiction with Exercise and Nutrition.
“Small Wins” is the overall strategy. This approach sets the foundation for accomplishment! With Small Wins, we strive for one or more positive actions or achievements each day. These smaller “wins” set the stage for the future – for the larger and more challenging objectives we may set for ourselves eventually. We get used to succeeding, and this builds a positive feedback loop encouraging confidence and self-esteem. We discussed the importance of social support helping us to reinforce our goals.
Tactically, we approach the goals with the SMART methodology. Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Reasonable/Relevant, and Time-Framed. In our goal-setting exercise, we carefully avoided the kind of distorted thinking that may put too much pressure on us and create a sense of being overwhelmed. Yup! Taking “should”, “must”, “need to” and “have to” from that goal-setting vocabulary. Instead, we set our goals with an acceptance of where we are today, self-honesty, and optimism about the future. We look at ourselves in the mirror – and compare-in. We start where we are, and we move forward from there. One step at a time. One day at a time.
The Davis House women sent me some unsolicited pictures representing them practicing the principles they are learning in our Sober Living Enrichment program. I was told that historically, these team dinners have not been particularly healthy. In fact, frequently quite to the contrary. Using the tools and education Living Free Health has provided, our program members took motivation to the next level. Not only did they cook for themselves, but they showed their non-participating peers how to get it done. And the verdict?
“Wanted to show you these pictures of our weekly house dinner. We made some healthier choices and everyone loved it!”
If this face doesn’t tell you it’s working, I don’t know what will. Education, skills development, fitness, healthy eating. The lifestyle of winners!
Last night we focused on the some of the basics of nutrition = How do we eat well, but on a budget? What sorts of marketing distractions might lure us into making less-wise choices? What tools are available to help guide us in developing and maintaining a recovery-oriented diet / eating lifestyle?
Here are a few slides from last night’s class:
After learning and prepping, we went to the gym for our evening workout. Several of our members are taking great advantage of the pool – swimming laps, utilizing smartphone apps to find favorite strength/stamina activities in a no-impact environment. The pool environment at our 24-Hour Fitness location is amazing – and they have all the resistance and strength tools we need to take full advantage of an aquatic workout!
Last night we focused on the detrimental effects drug and alcohol use have on both brain and body. Cellular, synaptic and chemical changes in the brain. Organ, tissue and metabolic changes to the body and body systems. Though many of our group have attended treatment in the past, our members found the graphic representation and understanding of the snowballing destruction both frightening and enlightening.
We learned about how tolerance develops, why cold-turkey withdrawal is potentially fatal, and why we can never use safely again. Next time will not be different – and we learned the hereditary, genetic and medical reasons why this is so.
Sadly, we know that this disease involves chronic relapse for some. The goal of the Sober Living Enrichment program is to foster resilience in our members and to promote them becoming more and more intrinsically motivated.
How will our members stay sober and clean when they get back to more traditional living arrangements? By feeling that nothing changes, except their address, upon discharge from the sober living home.
That is why we are not only educating, but teaching the practical skills and lifestyle changes that will be carried for a lifetime of recovery!
And oh yes, we hit the gym again last night as a team! Each session I am witness to our members’ increased enthusiasm, strength, endurance, and CONFIDENCE!
Last night we worked on identifying early warning relapse signs. We recognized that impulsive behaviors and neglecting to work on delaying gratification undermine our resilience to relapse.
Dopamine is a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) messenger that is responsible for several (among other) things including our sense of motivation, attaining a sense of reward and our ability to learn. We also feel pleasure from dopamine.
Some ways we can reinforce the production of dopamine and hence, improve our motivation is in delaying gratification. Neuroscientists have found that lowered levels of dopamine in laboratory animals resulted in those animals taking “the easy way out”. Our sense of reward is generally increased when we delay gratification. Example: Having to work harder at something before we attain it, versus being given it.
Our Sober Living Enrichment Program depends upon your support! Please help us today by using your credit card (or PayPal account) to make a donation.
$10 provides the educational materials’ workbook.
$35 supports a month’s 24-Hour Fitness SuperSport membership for one of our women.
$55 supports a cooking practicum and food for 12.
$420 will keep our team of 12 in the gym for an entire month!
“It’s a daily intervention that allows her to break the cycle and helps her self esteem…”
Getting smart about getting fit. Enhancing our self awareness and honesty with ourselves.
We started with describing the mechanics of metabolism, caloric intake and healthy weight loss strategies. Most importantly, we learned how to set healthy goals and what it takes to attain them. People often have unrealistic expectations of results and timelines. Which results in disappointment, and sometimes giving up before the “magic” happens. It’s a lot easier to be patient when one’s expectations are tempered by knowledge and understanding.
Next, on to the topic of the process of relapse. That’s right. A process. NOT an “event”. Despite what it might seem like, feel like or appear to be. We began identifying our personal early warning signs – those thought, attitude and behavior changes – both subtle and overt.
Of course, no evening is complete without a visit to our happy place! Yup! 24-Hour Fitness’ great facility on S. Rainbow Blvd. (Click here for website) What a difference a couple weeks makes! We not only have excellent participation rates, but the women are starting to function as a team – encouraging, motivating and challenging each other.
This is some kind of awesome!
Our resident food expert Casey (not pictured) knocked it out of the park last night!
We got answers to our questions!
How can I eat well while on a budget? What are some simple ways to ensure my meal includes healthy measures of protein, carbohydrates and fat? Can you provide me recommendations for prepping meals that can be served multiple ways, and be used for both lunch at work, and a quick, yummy dinner?
We prepped Waldorf , chicken curry , egg , tuna base recipes that can be used in either salad or sandwiches. And, no one could resist a tasty BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), which, sans bread, makes a very healthy salad, as well.
It was a lot to prepare, but we did it in an hour! How, you might ask? “Mise en place”. Organizing and arranging the related ingredients, utensils, bowls and measuring cups, etc. This might be the best way to eliminate stress, confusion and kitchen-catastrophes when cooking! Makes for quicker, more methodical clean-up, as well.
So we prepped, created and then stored! Because it was off for another great evening at the gym. And when we returned, we had plenty of healthy food to eat – making it much easier to resist unhealthy urges for snacks and junk food! We also welcomed yet another member to our group! Success and happiness motivates!
Great evening in sober living enrichment land! We started with a presentation and discussion on how exercise helps us feel better, faster – especially when we are in early recovery.
How? Why? In a nutshell, exercise helps stimulate brain repair. Improvement in brain cell regeneration, stronger connections / better communication between neurons (brain cells), and a rebalancing of neurotransmitters (brain messenger chemicals) that make us feel happier, calmer, focused and energetic.
Exercise is critical to managing some diseases and shielding against others. We might think of well-known diseases – such as heart disease and diabetes type II. But did you know that exercise has been shown to protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases?
Physical activity – and you needn’t be a gym rat to accomplish this – also reduces depression and anxiety. It’s a great coping skill and super way to reduce stress, worry and anger.
No doubt, working out with others, joining a team, or a club, works wonders for reducing our tendency to isolate, reconnect with old using buddies, or begin venturing into sobriety-risky environments.
One of the great success stories thus far on this front: “Joanne” has several limiting health conditions. Yet, she has not used this as an excuse to stay home. Just the opposite! She has been taking great advantage of the swimming pool. Several people her age, who regularly exercise in the pool, have been willing to teach and share with her what they do for their workouts. This has encouraged “Joanne” to do more and she looks forward to seeing her new friends and working to heal her body.
Ask yourself whether your lifestyle is 100% supportive of not only recovery, but of life!
Check out Shelley’s book on this topic and more: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO