The Best Way to Support Yourself and OthersPosted on January 16, 2020
As healthcare providers supporting for individuals and families struggling with Addiction, mental health, and chronic pain, the question of how best to support a loved one who is suffering comes up often. Family members, from a well-intentioned and caring place, can fall into wanting to control another person’s behaviour, health, and/or recovery. They have great ideas about what would help, work best, and provide remedy to their loved one, which may all be true; however, we have to look at willingness in the other individual and if they are ready to engage in these changes. It is common that loved ones will reach their turning point of change before the person who has the medical condition.
With this in mind, one of the best ways to truly support (not control, enable, or manipulate) others is by engaging in your own health and recovery plan. This provides you energy and resources to be able to cope and support your loved one, as well as the bonus of (potentially) providing some role-modelling to them. Now the caution here is that this is a bonus, not the intention of engaging in your own recovery plan because if that were the case, this would bring us back to control.
Taking care of yourself can also help clarify what is true help and support compared to control, manipulation, and/or enabling.
Enjoy the video, thanks for watching and sharing, and please check out our other posts!
Small Steps to ChangePosted on January 10, 2020
Small Steps to Change
As a new year and decade begin, many people are in the midst of thinking about change and perhaps even taking action on change. The New Year’s resolution has become a very popular thing in North American culture, but how helpful is it?
From a psychological perspective of change, not very. Resolutions set people up for a sense of failure, pressure, and a lack of reality that can do more of a disservice to goal-setting and change than help. Often people set resolutions based on what they think they ‘should’ change-weight, habits, etc.-though these changes may not actually be desired, personal, or realistic for them.
The healthier approach to change is small steps. Looking at where you want to go with a particular behaviour or perhaps even in life generally and then breaking it down into small steps. It’s impossible to go from where we are today to our end goal, whatever it happens to be, so we need to look at the next reasonable steps of action.
For instance, if it’s my goal to get educated and go back to school to get a degree, this isn’t going to happen overnight, nor is it going to happen by dreaming about having that degree in my hand. I need to look at the next step of action. Perhaps that is talking to people to gather information about their programs and trying to see what seems like a good fit for me. Perhaps I do some online research into programs and schools. Perhaps I go walk around the college campus I’m thinking of applying to and talk to an advisor there (this may be two separate action steps). There is no right or wrong with actionable items, the key is that it is something that challenges us but is still doable. If my next step of action was to go to a class that is not realistic or doable as I have not even decided on program, applied, been accepted, and set up all of the logistics to get to that class.
With any goal worth doing there is a lot of planning involved and lots of small steps. Take it one step at a time.
To learn more about our services for mental health support, visit www.healthupwardlymobile.net
Intensive Outpatient ProgramPosted on December 26, 2019
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) are an increasingly popular treatment option for Addiction recovery. Residential treatment can come with a number of challenges, notably: Cost, time away from home and other responsibilities or priorities, and artificial environment that does not reflect daily challenges of life to name a few. An IOP provides a number of advantages. […]
The Holidays Part 3: Self-carePosted on December 18, 2019
In this video series on the holiday, we initially encouraged exploring your feelings connected with the holiday season, followed by developing a plan for yourself through the holidays which includes boundaries, being thoughtful about invitations you say yes or no to, and incorporating a self-care plan into the season.
In this video, we expand on the importance of self-care during the holiday season (and at all times of the year). Some people believe they are not impacted by the holiday season and, if that is the case then you can continue on with your regular self-care and recovery plan, but realistically there will be an impact from the holidays as you will receive different invitations, there will be different events, and the energy in society is different during this season and that in and of itself can have a big impact.
Therefore, it is important to prioritize your self-care plan and revisit the plan. Perhaps modifications need to be made to accommodate for changed circumstances. For instance, more evening events may mean that things you would typically do at that time of day need to get shifted to other times, sleep and rest will need to be prioritized, and your self-care routine will then influence the boundaries you set for yourself.
Self-care is essential at all times and needs to be the priority, rather than fit in when there is time. If this is the approach, then time will likely get away with you and recovery will be a very small part of your day, if at all. Take some time to sit down with yourself and look at your day and weekly plan and schedule to see if you have enough of what you need to look after yourself and maintain healthy recovery. If you are new to recovery, now is a great time (though it might not seem that way) to start exploring things you can do differently to look after yourself.
Prioritize yourself and the rest will follow. Visit us at www.healthupwardlymobile.net to learn more about our programs and services.
The Holidays Part 2: The PlanPosted on December 12, 2019
The Holidays Part 2: The Plan
December comes with a lot of feelings for people, as discussed in The Holidays Part 1: The Feelings. People may have resentment, sadness, loneliness, or happiness, joy, excitement. The holidays tend to come with fantasy and expectation for people, which can lead to attempts to control, image manage, people please, and resentment, disappointment when these expectations are not met. You may be someone who does not identify with much or any feelings about the holidays themselves. If so, we would still encourage you to reflect on how you feel as sometimes the energy and atmosphere of others’ expectations and feelings can have an impact on self.
After identifying and connecting with the feelings, it is important to start thinking about the practical part of the holidays, which involves planning. For those with Addiction and in recovery, the holidays can come with a myriad of triggers and environments, exposures, and stressors that impact mental health and wellbeing. For those with other mental health symptoms, the same is true. Therefore, it is important to be prepared.
Build a plan for self-care. How are you going to take care of yourself regardless of how you are feeling? What rejuvenates you? You may already be doing this on a regular basis and, if so, that’s great, but it would still be important to re-evaluate your needs to see if your plan will suffice.
Build a plan for who you will see, where, when, and for how long. Exposure to environments, people, and substances that may be triggering need to be handled carefully and thoughtfully. It is important to give yourself the option to decline invitations. We encourage you to explore the motivation behind a desire and how that action would support your recovery.
Also, build an exit plan. Hope that things will go well and feel comfortable, but be prepared if it goes in a different direction. Have your ride set-up, preferably something that is independent and you can access as needed, be accountable to at least one other person there so you have someone to share with if needed, and give yourself permission to leave at any point rather than feel obligated to stay when it is difficult.
With some of these tips in mind, this season can be dealt with using the tools of recovery and health. For more videos and information, visit The HUM YouTube channel.
What people are saying
What I liked best about the IOP was “all of the aspects combined. This truly helped me connect with me and to feel content with me.”
What I liked best about the IOP was “the sense of belonging. Thank you for helping me on my journey.”
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help