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All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Sober Club Life: My Experience and a New Miami Event

Sober Club Life: My Experience and a New Miami Event

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Author: Justin Mckibben

Probably one of the biggest misconceptions of recovery for people on the outside looking in, whether they are spectators or potential members, is that sobriety is boring. Many people believe that in recovery there is no room for excitement and adventure in the night life. Some people think it is hiding in meetings and holding onto a “Big Book” like a life preserver. So when we talk about the sober club life, people are frequently confused, sometimes even terrified for us.

But the truth is sobriety is about freedom. Some of us experience our recovery in different ways, and not everyone is the same. There is freedom in the fact you can practice your recovery in ways only you may have that intrinsic connection to. So the sober club life is not an theoretical concept, it is a gift some find in sobriety.

Now, as more young people are becoming active in the recovery community, the search for the night life in recovery is taking new form. New sober clubs are making waves and gaining fans all over the world. Now, one of the hottest Miami clubs is starting its own sober club life.

Sober Club Life: Daybreaker in Miami

In a city known for its nightlife, the sober club life finding such an exclusive spot something entirely new. Daybreaker, the early morning dance party, debuted at LIV nightclub this past Wednesday morning with a great deal of success. While it isn’t exactly a “nightlife” event, since it’s going down while the sun is coming up, it is a unique clubbing experience.

After over 4,000 people emailed Daybreaker about coming to Miami to bring its brand of sober club life to South Florida, co-founder Radha Agrawal told the Miami New Times,

“LIV then approached us to partner, and we are excited to help tell a different story and define a new way to connect and self-express.”

Instead of dark and brooding music, the soundtrack is fun and uplifting. Soul house, funk house, disco house. The goal is to start the day off right, with high energy and inspiration. The environment emphasizes joy, mindfulness, and intention. Last year Brimer went into detail about this, stating:

“We want to take out all the bad stuff associated with clubbing: the drinking and self-destructive behavior and mean bouncers, and just bring people together,”

The sober club life event begins at 6am. Tickets for the Daybreaker morning run around $20-$35. With growing popularity, some events have reached a crowd of around 400-500 attendees.

Sober Club Life: Daybreaker Lineup

The lineup for the Miami launch is currently a short list, but seems pretty legit. It’s not just for shaking respective groove things, but for a high energy start to the day. The big lineup included:

  • 6am to 7am- Yoga with “rockstar yogi” Pablo Lucero
  • 7am to 9am- Signature dance party with beats from DJ Alyx Ander

The idea is to wrap it all up in time for plenty of people to head to work. Since it is a morning affair, the menu makes sense.

  • Instead of a liquor bar, there is coffee and fresh juice (of the orange or fruit variety)
  • Instead of drugs, the club offers breakfast

The idea is to get the morning kicked off with dancing and movement, because these activities releases endorphins and other happy chemicals in the body. The Eventbrite for the Daybreaker states:

“Our goal is to bring Miami together with more mindfulness, wellness, mischief, self-expression and camaraderie.”

“With everything going on in the world these days, we need it more than ever.”

So, for those who want to start the day with sober clubbing, the Daybreaker give you yoga, dancing and good food for your good vibes.

Sober Club Life: My Experience

While I have not had the opportunity to check out the sober club life via Daybreakers, I was very fortunate to begin my journey in sobriety with a similar concept. A few years ago I was lucky enough to receive treatment at Palm Partners Recovery Center in Delray Beach, Florida. Every day starts off in pretty much the same way. After breakfast I was given a chance to dance with the community, with a colorful light show and live DJ. It was pretty counter-intuitive at first, but quickly became a highlight of the day. Over three years later, I am the DJ.

There is absolutely something to be said about getting up and active in the morning and what it does to set the tone for your day. I can only imagine Daybreakers is getting plenty of people looking for a sober club off to a great start.

Since my initial experience at Palm Partners, I can say I have continued the habit of being expressed, energetic and active in sobriety. I have been to raves with hundreds upon hundreds of people in Miami. I’ve had the chance to see a lot of awesome performers live in various venues across South Florida, and I have taken many opportunities to experience the fun that comes from the freedom of sobriety. All this makes me want to focus on one important concept.

Sober Club Life: The Freedom of Sobriety

There is a passage in the primary text of the 12 Step Fellowship that speaks on the freedom sobriety provides to those who seek it with honesty and thoroughness. It is possibly one of my favorite passages, and it states:

“He [the alcoholic] can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude.”

There are those who would debate the interpretation of these words. In the context, the quote is referring to an individual who was once considered an utterly hopeless alcoholic by a great physician. This expert opinion tells him he will never regain his position in society. However, the paragraphs following the pages further express the incredible phenomena of “spiritual experiences” that create exceptions to the most hopeless cases.

Some may take this story as one of warning. I, however, have a different perspective. These few sentences give me great hope, because they assure me I am a free man in sobriety.

The important piece for me is the “simple attitude” I keep. I believe that for me to keep this amazing gift of freedom, I have to maintain my understanding of who I am, what my experience has taught me, and how I impact others. The design for living to me means being introspective in personal inventory, faithfully accountable to those I can help, and willing to seek more extraordinary experiences that will inspire a new perspective. That same 12 Step literature tells me:

“We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.”

In this position of neutrality, I feel safe. The problems of the past, the obsession, have been removed. So I go where any other free man can go; clubs, concerts, anywhere that this new and amazing life has given me the opportunity to be, because I am a free man. A sober club life is nothing abstract at all; it is simply what some of us chose to do with the freedom recovery blesses us with.

Not drinking or using drugs is only the beginning. Life is so much more. I, as a man in recovery, must be willing to do more if I am to fulfill my life. That, in turn, has given me freedom. Taking the first steps can be the hardest part, but we want to help. You are not alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder or addiction, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

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Author: Shernide Delva

The list of talented people who have struggled with addiction is incredibly long. It would take way too much time to list them all. Do creativity and addiction correlate with one another? Are creative individuals more likely to be addicts? That controversial question has been debated for decades.

For the most part, researchers have concluded that people whose abuse substances are not more creative or more successful as a result. Neuroscientist, David Linden of Johns Hopkins University, declared in an interview that there was not a connection between creativity and addiction. He stated that suggesting otherwise confuses coincidence with cause.

Addiction is a disease, not a shortcut to success. When looking at famous writers who were alcoholics, like Fitzgerald or Hemmingway, it is easy to assume that alcohol helped fuel their creative process. However, this is just a perception. Creativity does not stem from substance abuse, nor should substances be the source of your creativity.

Substance Abuse = Source of Creativity?

Dependence on drugs and alcohol should not be the source of your creativity. We should not glorify substance abuse as a means to creativity. In the book, “The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent and IQ,”  author, David Shenk states extraordinary talent and achievement come from “the combined consequence of early exposure, exceptional instruction, constant practice, family nurturance, and a child’s intense will to learn.” Essentially, your creativity and intelligence come from your inner will to succeed along with the role models and guidance you have in your life. Behind every successful talent is a teacher, coach or motivator pushing them along.

The problem is highly creative people find their minds are overwhelmed with data streaming in and out of their consciousness. The average person has a cognitive filter that filters this information as a means to survival.  The creative person, however, does not have this filter.  Highly creative people let more of this data in their mind. Therefore, they need to process and organize the increased information flow in untypical ways.

Unfortunately, because creative people think outside of the box and look at the world differently, they look at rules differently.  The term for this trait is cognitive disinhibition which an article describes as “the failure to ignore information that is irrelevant to current goals or to survival.”

The “rules are meant to be broken” mentality both produces creativity and creates destructiveness.  Creativity can result in risky behavior. It is risky because creative people justify their creative behavior when they create while using substances.

“Mind Expanding” Substances

Famous artists were thought to be more brilliant because of their liberal use of “mind expanding substances.”  However, time and time again, it has been proven that creative people are able to maintain their creativity without substances. Those in recovery find that their mind is clearer, making them more able to follow through on their natural creative impulses.

On the contrary, long-term substance abuse can permanently damage creativity. Extended drug use can affect the brain damaging it in ways that may not even be recoverable even after years of sobriety. Scary, isn’t it?
The first time a creative person abuses drugs or alcohol, they may find they can express themselves better. This may cause them to believe they “need” these substances to be creative. However, reactions like this are temporary. Also, creative people may be using substances to self-medicate mental health issues they have not addressed professionally.

Why Are Creativity and Addiction So Prevalent?

Now that we know there is not a direct link between substance abuse and creativity, why do so many creative geniuses deal with addiction? Most of this has to do with the genetics and traits that make someone predisposed to addiction. Those same traits are a prerequisite for creativity.

Studies reveal that 40 percent of addiction is genetically predetermined. While family history is no guarantee that someone will have a problem, there is a strong connection between the two. There are several genes involved in addiction risk. Experts have not identified them all, however, the ones we are currently aware of affect the release of the happy chemical dopamine.

Dopamine Depletion?

Addicts tend to feel pleasure weaker than the average person. Because of this, addicts abuse substances in an attempt to achieve the same level of happiness that others feel natural. There may not be a direct link between drug addiction or mental illness and creativity, but science hints at a connection between substance abuse and traits that are a prerequisite for creativity. A low-functioning dopamine system can make a person more likely to misuse substance and engage in risk-taking, novelty-seeking compulsions.

This same low-functioning dopamine system relates to creativity. Individuals who have struggled with releasing happy chemicals  their whole life may latch on to creative outlets like music, art, and writing to help re-generate that dopamine and process information better.

Overall, your risk for addiction is up to you. You have a choice to use healthier outlets to compensate for genetic factors that may put you at risk for substance abuse. Creativity should not have to be fueled by addiction. You have the ability to be a creative person without the use of drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. 

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

6 Signs It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

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Author: Shernide Delva


“If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.”
― AesopAesop’s Fables

Friendship can be a beautiful thing if done right.  Letting go of a friend can be harder than ending an intimate relationship, but sometimes there are friendships that are better to let go of than continue. When you have a friend that has the potential to affect your life in a negative way, it might be time to finally let that friend go.

When you first get negative feelings about certain friendships in your life, it can be difficult to cope with those feelings. Those in recovery should know that the people you spend the most time with influence you the most, so spending a large amount of time with friends that are engaging in negative behaviors can bring you down. Unfortunately, learning to let go of friendships is part of the process.

Friendships can be a blessing, yet staying friends with someone who is hurting you can be a downright curse. However, if you put yourself above others and understand what your needs are, you will know when it is time to cut a person out of your life for good.

Still, how do you know for sure? Below are seven signs that it could be time to end a friendship:

  1. They Complain About Everything

Negativity is never healthy. Even if you are having your best day ever, this person will find something to complain about. Maintaining optimism is very important, so being around someone that brings your down is definitely unhealthy.

Of course, it is always a good idea to talk about your concerns regarding their negativity, however if you find they are too stuck in their ways, it might be time to cease that friendship altogether.

  1. They Are Judgmental

We all pass judgments.  Judgments are necessary to make decisions in our lives. However, when we make judgments about things we know nothing about, that often leads to more harm than good. Judgments can come across very ignorant and rude.

A friend who is overly judgmental may judge your behavior or even mock you for wanting to make a positive change. When you are making a huge change in your life, you need encouragement, not judgment. If your friend can not stop passing judgment, that is a sign to let that friendship go.

  1. They Don’t Listen

Listening is one of the most important characteristics a friend can have. You need to have someone who will listen to you when you are feeling down or just need to vent. Friends who do not listen tune you out, and churn at rapid rates when you tell them something.

If you have a friend who is more focused on themselves than they are on you that is a major red flag. Friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way street. A friend who only cares about themselves will only be interested in you if it pertains to them, or offers them some sort of benefit. Any friend like this is not a true friend at all.

  1. They’re Overly Critical

I am all for constructive criticism but being overly critical is a huge no-no. A friend who attacks or expresses disapproval can be extremely discouraging. You may feel insecure about talking about your struggles with that person.

There is a fine line between a friend who is trying to help you improve and a friend who simply wants to belittle your progress. Knowing the difference is the key. Once you acknowledge that your friend’s criticism is more destructive than constructive, it could be time to focus on friends who offer you more compassion and support.

  1. They Are Always The Victim

Friends that tend to blame the outside world for their own problems are not the healthiest to have around. In recovery, you learn to take control of your life and work on taking responsibility for your behaviors. Hanging around people who refuse to acknowledge their faults can be negative in your progress.

Friends who constantly complain about not having enough time or being “the victim” are not ideal to be around. Focus on friends who are proactive and goal-oriented. Your motivation is influenced by the inspiration you have around you. Surround yourself with inspiring people.

  1. They Are Not Trustworthy

Do you have a friend you would not tell a secret to?  That could be a sign to drop the friendship. Trust is a major component of friendship. If you have a friend who gossips a lot or tells secrets, it can be hard to trust them. Friends who are untrustworthy are a huge red flag. Let go of friendships that are disingenuous and focus on friendships that better suit your needs.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and good friends can transform you in the healing process. However, knowing when to let a friendship go is one of the most useful tools you can have. After all, you come first and your mental and physical health is of utmost importance.  Remember, you can always reach out to someone if you need help overcoming challenges in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

4 Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For You

4 Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For You

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Author: Justin Mckibben

As someone in recovery from one of the worst habits one could possibly have, drug and alcohol addiction, I can always be the first to admit that even once we get sober there are still plenty of bad habits to choose from, and there are plenty of everyday people who have some of these same bad habits without the prerequisite of a severe substance abuse issue.

Bad habits are not exclusive to anyone, we all have some pattern we run in our lives once in a while or chronically that just seems gross, annoying or even dangerous, but the truth is there are always two sides to every story. Some of the bad habits are actually good for you, to some extent.

  1. Chewing gum

This is definitely one I can relate to, and I’ve heard more than once that watching someone chew gum is not a pretty sight. However, there are those that advocate that chewing gum is a stress relieving activity with apparent cognitive benefits.

In the book Senescence and Senescence-Related Disorders, Kin-ya Kubo and colleagues noted that chewing gum immediately before performing a cognitive task improves task performance because chewing gum actually increases blood oxygen levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. This is an area of essential brain structures involved in learning and memory.

  • Another study by a research team lead by Yoshiyuki Hirano indicated:
  • Chewing gum boosts thinking and alertness
  • Reaction times among chewers were 10% faster than for non-chewers
  • Up to 8 areas of the brain are affected by chewing, particularly areas concerning attention and movement
  1. Fidgeting

Those little leg shakes or quirky foot tapping movements we call fidgeting might be annoying to people around you, or even you when they seem to go on all by themselves, but fidgeting actually expends energy and burns calories.

Fidgeting is one activity that falls into a category known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). A number of studies carried out by obesity expert James Levine at the Mayo Clinic have shown that fidgeting speeds up an individual’s metabolism by stimulating neurochemicals in the body, thus increasing the ability to convert body fat into energy, so individuals who fidget burn up about 350 kcal a day!

  1. Swearing

Most people (namely your parents) still consider that swearing (cursing/cussing) is a bad habit, even though now it is a lot more common than a few decades ago. Now while it can be associated with being rude or even downright disrespectful, research has shown that using bad words may be the cheapest painkiller on the &$%#! market!

Richard Stephens of Keele University (UK) recently pioneered and published a cuss-worthy study in Neuroreport. The results of the experiments by Stephens and his team compared individuals who swore to individuals that didn’t, and displayed the former could endure the pain of putting their hand in a bucket of ice-cold water nearly 50% longer than the latter.

  • Almost 2 minutes for those that swore
  • 1 minute 15 seconds for those that said a neutral, non-swear word instead

The researchers speculated that swearing might trigger our natural “fight-or-flight” response by downplaying a weakness or threat in order to deal with it, but the stipulation is that swearing may only be effective in helping reduce pain if it is a casual habit, with the researcher warning that swearing is emotional language but if individuals overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment, and is less likely to help alleviate pain.

  1. Daydreaming

I was the most happy to read this one, since I basically live in a perpetual state of daydream. Creative types can be like that, there’s not much else to it. Sometimes daydreaming can occupy up to 1/3 of our waking lives, it can become nightmarish and evolve into anxiety, and generally is often viewed as a sign of laziness or inattentiveness.

So when I saw something that said the “executive network” in our brain is highly active when we are daydream, I knew there was a reason why I stayed stuck in my imagination most days.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was conducted by Kalina Christoff established the presence of rigorous activity in numerous brain regions while daydreaming, including areas associated with complex problem solving, to the point where these regions were even more active during a daydream than during routine tasks.

What is possible is that when we use conscious thought our thinking becomes too rigid and limited, so daydreaming is an important cognitive state in which we can navigate our attention from immediate tasks to unconsciously think about problems in their lives.

Eric Klinger of the University of Minnesota also supported the amazing positive attributes of the daydream, asserting it also serves an evolutionary purpose by triggering reminders of additional concurrent objectives when we are doing something else so that we do not lose sight of them, like it opens a little memory or hope to remind us why we are moving forward.

Sure, the present is where beauty often lives, but that doesn’t mean that the beauty in our deepest daydreams is any less real or necessary.

Some of the things we do the world tells us are irritating impulses or harmful habits, but in reality some of these things are the things that keep us growing and evolving, or serene and grounded. Feel free to fidget and embrace those twitches and subconscious tactics once in a while… I’ll be here daydreaming.

Habits haven’t yet “hijacked” the brain circuits that play a part in addiction, such as memories, emotions, and impaired decision-making; all of which are not yet intricately linked to the substance or the behavior as they are with a full-blown addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling from a habit that has become a dangerous or deadly addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Drug Addicted Men in Treatment Turn to Crossfit

 

Drug Addicted Men in Treatment Turn to Crossfit

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By now, we know how beneficial exercise can be to our health. Exercise can be an excellent alternative to drug addiction because exercise relieves stress and reduces the chance of a relapse. Now, drug addicted men are turning to the popular fitness program Crossfit to help them in their recovery process.

Whether you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other addiction, you understand how your addiction can help you temporarily escape the stresses of daily life. Fortunately, exercise releases the same chemicals in the brain, like dopamine, that help with increasing mood and reducing stress. It can be very helpful to establish a routine exercise pattern to help heal the mind and body from dependency on drugs

Furthermore, the Charlotte Rescue Mission out of North Carolina, is setting a new approach to drug addiction recovery by incorporating Crossfit exercise for more than 100 men in addiction recovery. The Mission is a treatment program that brings in people with drug and alcohol addictions for a 90-day treatment program.

The Mission brings addicts into their in-house program for free and helps them get on the path to recovery. Just recently, intense exercise was added as another element to the healing process.  Crossfit instructors volunteer their time to help the men in recovery.

“Just to instill this idea that proper movement is going to help you feel better,” Michelle Crawford said.

Michelle Crawford is one of many instructors donating their time to teach CrossFit classes to men at the Mission each day.  The Mission has been around for over 70 years but only recently have they implemented such an intense exercise regimen into their program. More than a dozen gyms got together and donated equipment to fill a full-size gym at the Mission.

Those who run the facility insist that the exercise program is helping men recover from the physical pain their drug and alcohol abuse has done to their bodies.

“I think it give them some confidence in their physical abilities, some of which they’ve neglected over the years,” Charlotte Rescue Mission’s John Snider said.

Fighting Drug Addiction With Exercise

This is not the first time exercise was considered to be an excellent treatment for drug addiction. Scientists have done extensive research to understand the relationship between drug addiction and exercise. Exercise, as we all know, gives us endorphins which in turn, make you a much happier person. By replacing the endorphins released from drugs with exercise, addicts have a much lower desire to return to their addiction.

Over the past decade, Crossfit has become a huge fitness craze. Everyone is doing it.  Soon, rehab facilities started to pay attention to the program and many, like Mission in North Carolina, have implemented similar intensive exercise programs as part of their treatment plan.

In a 2012 study, researchers examined the impact of running on neuro-biological rewards and it garnered positive results. However, not everyone enjoys running and Crossfit is a great way of incorporating repetitive exercises in an exciting way. Crossfit allows addicts to strive for a goal. Invitational meets are held for the chance to compete in CrossFit Games which is an exercise version of the Olympics. The program airs on television on a yearly basis.

The numbers are in and it reveals that exercise greatly benefits those recovering from addiction. Still, one must remember to use exercise in a healthy way. It is possible that exercise can become just as addictive as drugs. However, when used in moderation, exercise can be the stepping stone to a healthy life after sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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