3 Ways to Celebrate Your Recovery

3 Ways to Celebrate Your Recovery

What’s the sober equivalent of a champagne toast? In a culture that celebrates life’s successes with glasses raised, the recovery community gets to create their own ways of celebrating the joys that a life in recovery brings us. Here are three ways to celebrate your recovery:

1. Whether it’s been a day, a week, a month, or more, go get your chip. You deserve to have a room of people who know exactly what you’ve achieved cheer for you. Soak up that feeling of being congratulated by your community, and carry that chip like a trophy.

2. Set up a schedule for regularly celebrating you. Allocate time and/or money to treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a massage or a movie, a day to binge-watch a show you’re excited about, or a fancy meal with friends.

3. Pay it forward. Now that you’re enjoying a life in recovery, you have the ability to help someone else find it too. Talk to a newcomer at a meeting, volunteer, offer to be an alumni contact for recent alumni, become a monthly donor, or find another way to contribute to the recovery community that has supported you.

 

 

Understanding the DSM-V Handbook

Understanding the DSM-V Handbook

If you’re working in the mental healthcare profession, including addiction rehabilitation – or if you’re in recovery and treatment for addiction – chances are good that you’ve heard of the DSM-V (often referred to as the DSM-5).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been around since the 1950s, helping guide healthcare decision-making by doctors and other mental health professionals in North America and worldwide.

It’s not the only tool doctors use to help diagnose mental disorders like addictions, but it is a commonly used resource. And despite the criticism against it, and some of the challenges of using it in everyday practice, the DSM is a valuable tool healthcare professionals need to know about.

What is the DSM-V?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a handbook used by healthcare professionals to guide diagnosis of mental disorders. The DSM-5 (or DSM-V) is the latest edition of this handbook, published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

The DSM is constantly under review and revision by the Association as research and understanding of mental health increases and improves; further editions are expected if and when updates need to be made.

What makes the DSM so useful is its comprehensive catalogue of descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It provides a common language for doctors to use when talking to each other, and to patients and their families, helping ensure consistent and reliable diagnoses as well as usable data for research. 

Addiction in the latest DSM

The DSM is commonly used in addiction and rehabilitation to help diagnose and treat people’s addictions and other mental health issues.

Importantly, the DSM-5 defines addictions to alcohol and drugs as psychiatric disorders. By including addiction in the DSM as an aspect of mental health, the psychiatric profession has reinforced what we know from research and rehabilitation: that addiction is a brain disease.

The major change regarding addiction in the DSM-5 edition is that it combines together the categories of substance dependence (addiction marked by a pattern of compulsive use or loss of control) and substance abuse disorders (using in a manner that causes problems but does not have a pattern of compulsive use) under one broad category called “substance-related disorders”.

Substance-Related Disorders and the DSM

Specifically, the DSM-5 recognizes substance-related disorders resulting from the use of 10 separate classes of drugs:

Plus, the DSM-5 lists two distinct groups of substance-related disorders: substance use disorders and substance-induced disorders. Both groups are important in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of drug and alcohol use and addiction.

Challenges to Using the DSM

The DSM is not the only reference out there to diagnose addiction or any other mental health condition. The World Health Organization publishes the International Classification of Disease, which is often used side-by-side with the DSM as a compatible tool for diagnosis and monitoring.

Some, like the National Institutes of Health, have criticized the DSM for focusing too much on superficial symptoms and a lack of measurable, scientific signs of mental health disorders. Others, like Alcoholics Anonymous, prefer to use models outside such clinical classification systems.

However, here at Renascent we recognize that the DSM does contain the most up-to-date criteria currently used for diagnosing mental disorders like addiction, and that despite its challenges, it is routinely and widely used. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Even with tools and handbooks like the DSM, it can be difficult on your own to recognize and admit that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol

There is unfortunately no single question that will definitively determine if you are an addict, but if you are here asking that very question, you can likely use help and someone to talk to.

Addiction is a serious disorder and real help is available. We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, or to get information on how to refer a patient to us, contact us today.

 

 

6 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself in Recovery

6 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself in Recovery

Self-love in recovery can be a challenge, but it’s part of the process of overcoming all the complicated self-esteem hurdles that can come with the early stages of recovery. Before you can love anyone else, you have to truly love yourself!

1. Look in the mirror, honestly. Not just when you’re looking and feeling your best, but when you first wake up, before you’ve gotten dressed, in all your must vulnerable moments. To get confident with what you truly look like, start appreciating all the ways in which you are naturally perfect. Maybe your eyes are an amazing colour? Perhaps you’ve got an awesome dancing booty? Whatever you look like, start acknowledging and appreciating that you look great, just the way you are. 

2. Let go of shame. When you’ve made mistakes, do what you can to correct them, and move on. If you find you’re making the same type of mistake repeatedly, try to figure out why you’re doing it, but the same way you would forgive somebody else, forgive yourself. And remember that a lot of mistakes are also a chance to learn; what can you do better next time?

3. Pay attention when you do something you’re proud of. Acknowledge the moments you catch yourself doing the right thing for yourself or for others, and recognize that being a good person is part of who you are. You’re the kind of person who holds doors for others, who eats healthily, who volunteers, whatever!

4. On that note, volunteer! Spending some time focusing on other people and their needs is a great way to get some perspective and take a break from working on your own recovery. When you’re done, you’ve got one more thing to pat yourself on the back for. 

5. Practice self care. Doing little things to take care of yourself every day is a great way to build a habit of treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. For example, you might want to get in a quick workout every day, drink a certain amount of water, eat a proper breakfast, or sleep a minimum number of hours. While you’re still building these habits, use a habit tracker app to monitor your progress.

6. Celebrate your successes! Whenever you achieve something special or unusual, make a point of celebrating in some way. Did you push yourself to go rock climbing when you were pretty sure you’d be terrified the whole time? Did you pay off a credit card or finish a course or get a new job, or meet some other personal goal? Tell a friend about your accomplishment, and let them shower you with praise! However you choose to celebrate, be sure to also add your achievement to a list of reasons you’re awesome.