Posts tagged with "Sober"

Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

The Truth About Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

by Mallory Neuberger

Wendy Williams made headlines last week when she revealed that she’s living in a sober house; but less than one week later she left work, checked out of the facility, and went on to drink alcohol until she was hospitalized. So, what went wrong?

Sobriety is not something that we can pay for. As a recovering cocaine addict, I had to admit that I was an addict and that I was ready for a drug free life. In essence, I had to hit my bottom. Some people die before they find the willingness to get sober. Others need to end up in prison, homeless, or selling their bodies and souls to feed their disease. And many, like myself, don’t lost their homes, cars, jobs or families, but find themselves spiritually void and miserable, with their drug of choice no longer providing the relief that it once had.

Wendy Williams is going through difficulties in her marriage. Her husband is rumored to be cheating on her, and his mistress is pregnant. Despite appearing on television daily, living in a sober house, and paying a sober coach to keep tabs on her 24/7, she still couldn’t handle her heartbreak and to alcohol to numb her pain. The next day she was back on TV. In my opinion, she isn’t ready.

Ethical sober houses keep residents safe by breathalyzing and drug testing them. They have guidelines to provide structure, including curfews, chore checks, and mandatory attendance at 12-step meetings like A.A. or N.A. There are organizations that certify sober houses as good operators, so it’s important to be sure that you are choosing a place that truly has the residents’ best interests at heart.

Sober houses offer a sense of community. They are filled with residents and staff who are all trying to stay sober and meet life head on. There is always someone to talk to, so we are never alone. In my sober houses we emphasize healthy living, encouraging good eating habits and exercise. We practice yoga and we meditate together. We offer fellowship where we eat, laugh, play games, make crafts, listen to music, and sit by the pool. We celebrate together, helping one another get through birthdays, holidays and anniversaries without picking up. We are houses filled with sober women and we are like a big family filled with surrogate mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. We cry together, and more importantly, we laugh.

Putting down drugs and alcohol seemed like the only way I could live, but what kind of a life was it going to be? I feared that I would be socially awkward without my expensive wines or a frozen margarita with salt. I didn’t think I would be able to stay awake without my beloved cocaine. I was losing my best friends – drugs and alcohol – how would I ever have fun again?

The sheer happiness that I have found as a sober woman is greater than any high that I ever experienced. I wake up every morning without a hangover or user’s remorse. I dance whenever and wherever I can, even while trying on clothes in stores, or at parties where nobody else has hit the dance floor. I run by the beach, singing out loud, without worrying that I may die of a stroke due to last night’s excesses. I practice yoga and can actually “be” on the mat for ninety minutes, breathing freely through my once stuffed nostrils.

I have a disease, and that disease is called addiction. I am no longer ashamed and hiding behind it. Addiction is not a weakness or a character defect. It is a debilitating disease without a medicine to cure it. Money cannot buy my recovery, but working a daily program can keep me sober, one day at a time. Every day I go to a 12-step meeting. I remind myself that I’m an addict in recovery and I reset my brain and ask for the strength to remain sober just for today. I am of service to others in recovery, showing them that this simple program works. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. My worst day sober is always better than my best day high, because I am authentic and free and living the very best version of myself. I hope that Wendy Williams hits her bottom soon, and without any terrible consequences. I would love her to live in one of my sober houses.

About Mallory Neuberger

Mallory Neuberger, MS, CRRA, author of Sober.House (My Story), is the executive director of The Frog Pad, a safe and structured holistic healing house for women in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After struggling with her own addiction, Neuberger has dedicated her life to helping others find sobriety, volunteering at drug recovery centers including Hazelden IOP, The Addiction Institute in NYC, Gods Love We Deliver, and soup kitchens. She was also employed at Behavior Health of the Palm Beaches before opening her first sober house.

Dating While Sober

When it comes to dating, “let’s grab a drink” is often the go to first date invitation. Many opt to cure first date jitters with a libation or two to “chill out” and feel more comfortable.  What happens if you are a recovering alcoholic and you can’t opt for “liquid courage” to get you through those awkward dating moments? For approximately 30-million Americans who identify as recovering from alcohol abuse, dating while sober is often a tricky reality. With tips on how to pass on booze but not on love, is Dr. Duy Nguyen, D.O., a Board-Certified Psychiatrist in General Psychiatry practicing at Beachway Therapy Center, a drug and alcohol rehab in Boynton Beach, Florida.

1. Take the lead and suggest a dry date.

The easiest way to maintain sobriety is to avoid situations where alcohol is present. Having several alcohol-free dating options already in mind can empower you to steer the date in a dry direction more easily.  Opt for daytime dates that are more activity focused, get you outside enjoying quality time together away from any bar. “Doing activities that aren’t conducive to drinking such as museums, galleries, fairs, and festivals could be fun. People who don’t drink often are the most creative when it comes to choosing fun dates,” says Dr. Nguyen.

2. Create your new story and get honest.

In the spirit of 12-step recovery, which emphasizes the importance of self-honesty, aim for truthfulness in how you present yourself. If an on-line dating profile questionnaire asks how much you drink, don’t let fear about what others may think prevent you from checking the “Never” box. “Frame out when and how you plan to reveal what inspired your decision not to drink. Simply saying that you no longer drink alcohol is enough in the beginning. When you get to know someone better then share your story from a place of an achievement you’re proud of,” Dr. Nguyen encourages.

3. Get clear on what you want in a partner.

If someone has an issue with you not drinking, then they clearly aren’t the right person for you and that’s okay. Decide if you would prefer to date someone who understands recovery, may even have been through it themselves or is a health enthusiast who also doesn’t drink.

Dr. Nguyen says that, “While there are a lot of benefits to dating those in recovery, it can also lead to risky situations. There are often times in which one partner relapses and the other follows, although this isn’t a guarantee.”

If you decide that you want to date non-recovering people, it’s best to have some clean time under your belt and be solid in your recovery, as this can lead to tempting situations.

4. Trust your gut, nerves can be a good indicator!

Your nerves could very well be indicating that there is something there. That is, chemistry. Dr. Nguyen says, “Alcohol typically dulls our sensory and emotional experience so without it we’re open to the raucous disarray of emotions that warp us when we’re under the spell of a potential new love. Of course, that doesn’t make the experience of a new relationship any easier. Try to reframe the experience in a way that embraces these jitters.”

5. Don’t make love the new addiction.

On top of the excitement that comes with meeting a potential new partner, scientifically we produce numerous hormones that can increase that excitement. “A new relationship can very much become a replacement drug,” says Dr. Nguyen. He adds, “Many confuse infatuation with love, so it’s a good idea is to take it slowly. Again, make sure that you are at a place emotionally that can handle all of the new feelings that come with dating and be prepared if relationships don’t end the way you expected.”

6. Embrace the awkward.

“Being sober will probably increase the number of awkward pauses, says Dr. Nguyen. “We’re sharper and more present when we’re not drinking which can actually be used as an advantage to navigate conversation and ask the other person about themselves which enables a deeper connection and more trust,” he adds.

7. Keep first dates short.

The majority of first dates that extend into the wee hours of the morning are alcohol fueled and can lead to unintended promiscuity. Dr. Nguyen suggests going into the date with a self-imposed time frame in mind, two to three hours and then making another date if there’s interest. For a recovering alcoholic, especially someone in early sobriety, being “forced” to bar hop will be like white knuckling it on a scary roller coaster.

If you feel dating is hard enough and are more comfortable with dating others who practice a sober lifestyle, there are many options:

https://www.sobersinglesdate.com

https://www.12stepmatch.com

https://www.singleandsober.com

https://www.aadatingservice.com

https://www.soberdatingservice.com

Demi Lovato’s Overdose

25-year-old American singer, songwriter, and actress, Demi Lovato was found lying unconscious in her home on Tuesday after a suspected overdose. She is currently recovering and receiving treatment at a hospital in LA. Lovato has stated how she has previously had issues dealing with eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, and mental health problems. She had also made a documentary regarding her struggles that affected her daily life along with trying to stay sober, but in June 2018 Lovato released a new song titled Sober in which she sings “I’m not sober anymore.” Her documentary went on explaining how these problems began at a very young age, such as having suicidal thoughts and bulimia when she was only 10 years old, and trying cocaine for the first time when she was 17. Even before starting the hit series on Disney Channel’s “Sonny with a Chance” and “Camp Rock,” she had been a huge target for bullying. There were many struggles and pressures on her as she drove quickly to fame at such a young age. Lovato is currently receiving lots of support from fans and celebrities throughout social media while wishing her a quick recovery.