Tag Archives: Sober Living

What Does Dry Drunk Syndrome Look Like?

While many associate “drunkenness” with behaviours like stumbling around, slurring words, or excessively loud speech, these tend to be telltale signs of intoxication by someone who has been drinking. Dry drunk syndrome, however, describes the emotions, thoughts and interactive nature of someone who has not consumed any alcohol, yet continues to “act” drunk.

What Is A Dry Drunk?

When a heavy drinker quits drinking, their brain must adjust to the chemical damage that alcohol has caused.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Author R.J. Solberg defined the term as “the presence of actions and attitudes that characterized the alcoholic prior to recovery.”

Dry drunk syndrome manifests as part of a broader condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). When a heavy drinker quits drinking, their brain must adjust to the chemical damage that alcohol has caused. This process can last for weeks, months, or sometimes even years.

What Is The Difference Between Dry Drunk Syndrome and PAWS?

Even though it comes from the medical community, PAWS is not an official medical diagnosis. PAWS is how the medical community describes a collection of ongoing psychological and mood-related withdrawal symptoms that may take place long after addiction detox.

PAWS often comes in waves, and can continue in cycles long after receiving treatment. Each “episode” of PAWS can last for a few days or longer. How often and for how long a person experiences these symptoms depends on a variety of factors.

The following conditions can inform or worsen PAWS:

  • Which substance(s) were the focus of the addiction
  • How long, how frequently, and how much of these substances were used
  • Emotional issues that may surface during the first year(s) of recovery
  • Co-occurring physical and/or mental health conditions
  • The type of support and treatment options provided by substance abuse recovery professionals

Whereas “PAWS” is part of medical terminology, the idiom dry drunk is more of a colloquialism specific to Alcoholics Anonymous. It was coined as a phrase by AA creators to describe the emotional “roller coaster” that those in addiction recovery may experience even after acute withdrawal symptoms have gone away.

Dry Drunk Symptoms

Dry drunk describes the emotional “roller coaster” that those in addiction recovery may experience even after acute withdrawal symptoms have gone away.

Drinking–or whatever the substance of choice may be–becomes like a security blanket for an addicted individual. Thus, when that substance is removed from their life, things can get worse before they get better. Someone experiencing dry drunk syndrome may encounter any of the following internal or external symptoms during recovery:

Mood Symptoms:

  • Irritability, frustration, or anger
  • Impatience, restlessness, or difficulty focusing
  • Depression, anxiety, and fear of relapse
  • Resentment directed toward themselves, people who can still drink, or people who want them to quit drinking
  • Distraction or boredom

Behaviour Symptoms:

  • Dishonesty
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior
  • A tendency to judge, blame, or criticize themselves harshly
  • Frustration with treatment, which may lead to skipping meetings or counseling sessions, or giving up on them entirely
  • Daydreaming or romanticizing about alcohol use or their drinking days
  • Replacing the addiction with a new vice (e.g., sex, food, and internet use)

Why Might Someone Suffer From Dry Drunk Syndrome?

Both those struggling with an addiction and their families hope that, with the addictive substance removed, everything will be “okay.” The reality, however, is that the development of every addiction is complex. Furthermore, the addiction more than likely began because the person was not “okay” to begin with.

Recovery from addiction is not just learning how to say “no” to a substance. Because of the way the brain and body have become dependent upon and altered by a substance at the chemical (including emotional and psychological) level, addiction recovery essentially means rebuilding one’s identity without it.

Some people experience sobriety the way others process loss–or even death. They have to work through accepting the change, grieve, and learn to grow beyond it. Even someone who has willingly given up the substance of an addiction may struggle to be rid of the fixation or obsession with it.

The removal of this coping crutch can feel like the physical equivalent to losing your arm on the dominant side. When you’re used to relying on one particular thing to get through life, it takes retraining of the entire body and mind to make up for what used to be “auto-pilot.”

Addiction recovery essentially means rebuilding one’s identity without a dependence on any substance.

This is how dry drunk syndrome comes into the picture. The body, mind, and emotions are having to re-learn how to process the world. Before the healing is complete, they default to the ways it became wired to in addiction.

This can make recovering individuals feel that they are “white-knuckling it” through life. Some may still have strained relationships or maintain unhealthy physical and mental habits. The good news is that, with time and a dedication to counseling and learning new ways to cope with life, recovery beyond both addiction and dry drunk syndrome is possible.

We’re Here To Help

Many recognize the need to cease addictive behaviour, and this choice is an extremely important and courageous first step. However, all too often neither the person suffering from addiction nor their loved ones realize how long the road to recovery can be–or the likelihood of setbacks.

While sobriety is a noble pursuit, dry drunk syndrome is most common for those to quit drinking on their own. Reach out to us today, and let Reflections Rehab come beside you for the long–but rewarding–road to recovery.

Living Sober

Sober living is  – you guessed it – a lifelong journey. It’s also a richly rewarding one, though it’s no easy task. Becoming independent of addiction can take months or even years, which is why it’s so important to maintain that hard-earned sobriety on a daily basis. Here are some tips and tools others in recovery have successfully used to stay clean and sober for life.

Sober Living Strategies

Have a Sober Companion

A sober companion (or sponsor) is someone who spends time with you and acts as a constant support system throughout your day. They provide emotional and physical encouragement as you maintain your sobriety.  Sober companions are also typically in recovery but have a long history of sobriety. Their experience means they remember how hard the beginning can be and know what helped them stay sober. The level of attachment is up to you. However, in the beginning, it’s important to spend most of your time with one or more sober companions. They will help you avoid triggering situations and people who could be a negative influence on the progress you’re making. 

Individuals new to recovery may also find it hard to self-motivate when working, cooking, and taking care of themselves. While a sober companion is not a maid or social worker, they can provide you with tips which have helped them steer their life onto the right path. Think of them as a close older sibling or mentor. 

Living Sober

Consider Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are group homes for people who have just finished an inpatient recovery program. Also sometimes called halfway houses, they provide a safe, and temptation-free environment as you transition into your new lifestyle. Alcohol and other drugs are not allowed on the premises, and visitors are usually vetted before residents spend time with them. Life in this environment is essentially like renting a house with roommates, but with intentional rules and guidelines. Residents pay rent, pitch in on cleaning and maintenance duties, and keep each other accountable. While living at a sober living home, you are encouraged to find work while still attending meetings. There is usually a house manager who supervises the house and enforces the rules. For the most part, though, you are in charge of your life and recovery work. 

The benefit to sober living homes is that they create a supportive environment with like minded people who encourage you to make the right choices. They will expect the same from you. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that a “lack of a stable, alcohol and drug-free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence.” Sober living homes can greatly increase your chances of long-term sobriety and help you build new, healthy relationships. 

Living Sober

Explore AA, NA, and Other Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the world’s best-known sobriety support group. It has chapters worldwide and most known for its “12-step program.” Joining an AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting puts you in community with larger groups of like-minded individuals. You will share stories, celebrate successes, and encourage each other to stay the path. Many people’s recovery journey begins at an AA-style meeting, and it is a great place to meet a sponsor or sober living companion. An AA program is more flexible and you can attend meetings that fit into your schedule. Joining a group like this is one of the best and most popular long-term sobriety tools. Even years after you move out of a sober living home and transition to a more normal lifestyle, going to meetings can help you stay grounded and intentional about your sobriety.

Sober Living and Avoiding Relapse

Addiction is a chronic disease. It even shares similar relapse rates with other chronic illnesses, such as type II diabetes. It’s no surprise that recovery is difficult- but that does not mean it is impossible. Statistically, relapse is most likely to occur during the first year of recovery. This is why long-term treatment programs and sober living houses can be so beneficial. Trying to assess how you will stay sober for a year is a daunting, even overwhelming task. Therefore, it is best to take bite-sized steps towards long-term recovery. Do not think of it as staying sober for a year. Rather focus on staying sober for a day, and watch that one day turn into days, weeks, and months. Take it one step at a time and find time to understand what your triggers are.

Triggers can be anything that causes you to repeat destructive behavior. It can be anything from being around intoxicated people to being stressed. Understanding and recognizing your triggers can help you avoid temptations to relapse. If you know that doing x will cause you to experience temptations, then avoid it as best as possible. It is easier to do so when you are surrounded by other people who are doing the same as with a sober living home. 

Living Sober

A common misconception is that “recovery” is complete when treatment ends. Recovery programs are intended to help set you on the right path, but actually staying on that path is your responsibility for life. You will probably always deal with certain substance abuse triggers and temptations. Recovery is about learning to avoid and manage them.  

Dealing With Relapse

If you have relapsed after attempting to get sober, it is not the end of the road. Many people experience a relapse at some point in their journey. Acknowledging that it is just a setback is the first step in dealing with it. Some people enter into a self-destructive mindset and convince themselves that since they have relapsed, lifetime recovery is impossible. This could not be farther from the truth. Remember that addiction is a chronic disease which means that statistically, relapse is more likely than not. What is important is the determination to keep trying. Reaching out to a recovery center is a helpful step in the right direction as it will realign you with your goals.

Getting help

Recovery is a difficult journey, but is one which will change your life for the better. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please contact us today. Together, we can help you begin your journey to lifetime recovery.

Sober Living

Sober home living can be beneficial to anyone who is looking for a stable environment to assist them in transitioning from an inpatient program to living a free, independent and sober life. Sober living homes offer the flexibility and freedom of living on your own while still reinforcing lessons learned in rehab. Most sober homes require individuals to have successfully completed some inpatient recovery program in order to live at the residence.

What is a sober living home?

Sober living homes are group homes which are completely free of drugs or alcohol. It is essentially like renting a home with roommates- except with more rules. The residents are there to adjust to daily life outside of an inpatient rehab program. They do so while being surrounded by a supportive community of people also recovering from addiction. Residents will typically pay rent and pull their fair share of work by cleaning and maintaining the property. Individuals will also likely have to actively participate in regular meetings and some homes may require random drug testing. Homes may also have a resident manager who supervises the house and enforces the rules.

However, for the most part, residents are in complete control of their own recovery. This allows them to develop strong life management skills and increases their chances at long-term sobriety. They are free to come and go as they please whether that be for work, family or leisure activities.

sober living

Often times, someone in recovery will relapse and go back to their old life where they are surrounded by negative influences. Addiction is considered a chronic disease which means it has the same relapse rates as other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and asthma. Therefore, relapse is not only possible, but likely. Sober living homes, however, can take some of that pressure off by placing individuals in a highly supportive but monitored environment. At Reflections, we offer an Aftercare Plan for individuals who are looking for continued support in their journey to life-long sobriety.

sober living - aftercare plan

What is the difference between a sober house and halfway house?

It can be easy to confuse sober homes and halfway homes as they essentially provide the same service. However, halfway homes are typically associated with government housing which is provided as a transition for those recovering from addiction. In some cases, halfway homes are reserved for formerly incarcerated individuals (though this is not always the case). Halfway homes also tend to be cheaper than sober living homes as they are more crowded, state funded and provide less amenities. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the essential characteristics of a sober living home which distinguished itself from a halfway home are:

1) An alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

2) Members are either mandated or strongly encouraged to attend 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

3) Required compliance with house rules such as maintaining abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in household chores and attending house meetings.

4) Resident responsibility for financing rent and other costs.

5) Residents are able to stay in the house as long as they wish if they comply with house rules.

How much do sober living homes cost?

Sober homes will typically cost the same as an apartment in the area you are looking at. Locations such as San Francisco or New York will cost more than our locations in Prescott. They can range from $300/mo to $2000/mo.

sober living - financing

Some homes will accept insurance however it is up to your insurance company to determine how much they will cover. Reach out to the home and work directly with them and your insurance to see how you can cover costs. 

It is possible your insurance will not cover any of the costs or you do not have insurance. However, you still have some options to pay for your sober living:

  • Scholarships: Some homes will offer its residents scholarships if they have shown commitment and dedication to staying sober.
  • Finance the cost: Using your personal savings, bank loans or credit cards can help you pay for a sober house.
  • Earn an Income: Sober homes allow you to come and go as you please which provides the opportunity to work and earn an income.
  • Payment Plan: Some homes will allow you to set up a payment plan which will break down the overall cost of living into bite size chunks.

How long can I stay in a sober home?

The duration of your stay will differ depending on your needs. However, people can spend anywhere from 3-24 months at a sober home. Generally speaking, this will allow you adequate time to situate yourself with a job and develop confidence in your sobriety.

As stated above, often those in recovery face challenges to their sobriety when they return to the same life. Often, though not always, people were in situations that contributed to substance abuse and addiction. It is important to seek help for as long as needed. Further, a good treatment center will help patients figure out the best plan after completing treatment. Sober living is important to recovery and should not be discounted. In recovery, the initial few months and even year are often the most vulnerable.

Continue Your Journey With Us

Time at a sober living home is limited. Therefore it is important that you develop skills, relationships and resources to maintain sobriety when you eventually leave. Here at Reflections we emphasize the necessary skills to best prevent or manage relapse and continued sobriety. However, in order to reside in a sober home, you must successfully complete an inpatient rehab program such as the ones we offer at our Prescott location. We are here to help you on your journey, contact us today if you or a loved one is in need of assistance.

 

 

5 Ways To Prevent Addiction Relapse After Rehab That Are Worth Sharing

Relapse Triggers And The Science Behind Them

In order to understand how to prevent a relapse, you first have to understand re-lapse triggers – and how to avoid them. For example, H.A.L.T. is a recovery acro-nym that challenges individuals to stop and assess whether they are tempted to use because they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you identify the root of the problem, you can remedy the issue instead of reverting to using or drinking.

It also helps to understand the science behind triggers. Addiction is a two-stage formation process. The first stage centers on the pleasure and immediate reward of experiencing a high. The second stage – where triggers come from – is the re-peated overstimulation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain. That is what creates habits and associations with things that make individuals want to use when they see, feel, or experience something specific. The second stage influences a per-son’s decision-making, which further shows that a relapse is not a sign of failure — many people experience relapse.

Here are a few other examples of common relapse triggers:

  • Emotions and stressful situations. If drinking or using was a coping method for stress, sadness, or even happiness, it is tempting to fall back into those habits when those emotions reoccur.
  • Severed romantic and sexual relationships. The temptation for using or drinking after a breakup can put those in recovery at risk. Additionally, the pressure to ap-pear “normal” to others may add additional strain.
  • Overconfidence. For some who have been sober long enough to think, “I could handle it just this once,” the risk for relapse increases.
  • Availability. Situations where substances you formerly used are readily available put most at a huge risk for temptation and relapse.
  • Stressful Family Dynamics. Certain family situations create triggers, particularly if family members do not support recovery, or if the recovering individual’s home-life is tumultuous.
  • Panic Attacks. Anxiety can be a trigger for individuals who suffer from it. Rather than using substances to prevent attacks, using the R.E.L.A.X. method is helpful. This acronym stands for Recognizing worries, Eliminating stress, Letting go of anxiety, Adjusting attitude, and getting eXtra sleep. Some patients additionally require safely prescribed meds.

5 Ways To Avoid Relapse

Life, after rehab, is different. Every individual in recovery has unique triggers. Though there are many ways to avoid relapse, here are five common tactics for success.

Avoid Areas Of Temptation

First, and foremost, when in recovery, it is essential that you stay away from places where using or drinking are either common or encouraged, such as bars, clubs, or friends’ homes (if they use). Some may be tempted to attend these places in order to prove to themselves they can overcome the temptation, but this is unwise. It is best to avoid unnecessary temptation, particularly just after rehab. It is further recommended even after recovery to just skip these places altogether.

Get Rid Of Toxic Friends

If certain friends make you want to fall into old habits, keeping a distance may be necessary. It is possible that, at some point when you are further into recovery, you can reintroduce spending time with them. However, friends who are blatantly unsupportive of your sobriety often warrant permanent removal from your social circle. Ask yourself, “Does this person really care about me if he or she doesn’t want me to be healthy?”

Don’t Skip Therapy

After the intensive segments of treatment have ended, it is easy to think that you can handle life without the routine of a program. However, the latter parts of re-covery may be when you need the support of therapy the most. Even when you are not feeling tempted to drink or use, convening with other people going through the same things is helpful, productive, and encouraging. It is one of the best ways to stay on track, while also allowing yourself an outlet to express bottled-up emotions.

Have The Right Social Interactions

Being social in the right ways is integral to recovery. Isolation is a trigger for many people. On the other hand, going out in old circles often creates temptation. Con-sider reconnecting with friends you know will support your new goals, or consider hanging out with likeminded friends who are also recovering. Additionally, spend time with family – if you have a family that supports you and your mission of so-briety. It is important to live in the moment, focusing on enjoying every experience and interaction, rather than wishing substances were involved.

Take Prescribed Medication

If legally prescribed medication is part of your treatment, stay on track with taking it. Being consistent is key, particularly if you are aiming to control emotional or be-havioral tendencies. Stay in touch with your therapist, as well as your physician(s) about dosage, duration, and how you are feeling on certain medications.

What To Do If You Relapse

If you relapse, remember that you are only human and that recovery is a lifelong process. Talk to someone, dust yourself off, and remember that your life is worth the process of recovery. It is important to address setbacks if or when they hap-pen, but it is never the end of the road.

Treatment Options And Recovery Support

If you are searching for treatment or support during recovery, we have the re-sources you need. Reflections Recovery Center offers a retreat style, male-only ap-proach to treatment and recovery. Our center offers world-class therapy and phy-sicians, but what makes us different is our unique environment. Enjoy a new ad-venture everyday with outdoor activities, like hiking and climbing. In addition to excellent counseling, detox support, and support for families, we offer a life-changing experience of self-discovery and empowerment for staying sober after rehab. Learn more today.