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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:

Guess What the Most Inspiring Day of the Week Is

Guess What the Most Inspiring Day of the Week Is

Author: Justin Mckibben

Sunday Funday? Hump Day Wednesday? Freaky Friday? Semantics Saturday… okay, maybe that last one isn’t a thing.

Still, the point is that we have these clever nick names and common associations with days of the week. We all hear that oh-so-clever cliché about the dreaded “case of the Mondays” and we all have our schedules to keep. But is there a day of the week that is commonly more inspiring than others?

While we can look back at examples in history it may be debatable since so many different amazing things were accomplished on different days of the week. Depending on your unique schedule there may be an alternative for you. However, some would suggest that there may actually be a more inspiring day of the week than any other.

Can you guess which day it is?

TGIT?

Yep, we’re talking about that frequently forgetful day with no clever name. This is a day of profound inspiration to some. It is the same day Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. It is the day Facebook was said to be created by Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. It is the day this article was written!

Thank God for Tuesday!

Now I’m sure a lot of you didn’t see that coming. Especially considering the famous reputations of Friday and Saturdays, not to mention Sundays. But as it turns out, studies have found this days to be uninspiring in comparison. A professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary named Todd Thrash became the lead researcher for a scientific study on inspiration. Almost by accident he came to this surprising conclusion. Thrash had collected a group of people to track on a daily basis:

Tuesday didn’t only barely beat out Fridays and Sundays, it demolished them in a landslide. In fact, the study suggests Tuesday is 79% more inspiring than Friday!

Why Tuesday?

Some answers as to why Tuesday would win over the others may vary. However one way to look at it is Tuesday puts us in the heat of our workflow for the week and challenges us to rise to the occasion. Realization strikes and we know we have stuff to get done, so this is the day we start really laying the ground work for our week.

In essence I guess it isn’t really all that shocking. If you look at it:

  • Monday- low energy as people return to work and find themselves back in the arms of monotony
  • Wednesday- People are happy to remind themselves they are halfway through their week
  • Thursday- Basically like “Friday’s Eve” for a lot of people
  • Friday- Happiness hits as joy and freedom follow the end of the work week
  • Saturday- Sleeping in and watching cartoons… (or is that just me?)
  • Sunday- Sacred for many cultures, also another chance to sleep in and catch up on rest before work week begins again

We are also talking inspiration in relation to productivity. Frequently moments of stress and work inspire us to produce results. We are inspired by challenges to overcome and goals to seek out. Tuesday is a perfect time for setting goals and assessing your challenges before pushing through the week. Most Mondays are too grumpy to get that far.

How About Now?

At the end of the day, you have to inspire yourself anyway. What better time than right now? If you ask me… the most inspiring day is TODAY… (Which just so happens to be Tuesday, but you get the point)… right now! Today is the best day to be inspired! But it is up to you to seek it out and bring it into your life. Look for things to be grateful for. Really look at the world around you and recognize the beauty of it staring back at you. It is always there.

No matter what day it is; no matter what time it is… be inspired NOW!

Every day is a chance to set your mind towards change. Every day we have a chance to make a difference. We can make this the day that we give up all over again, or we can make it the day we made a choice that inspired a new life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

Do You Struggle With Debt Addiction?

Do You Struggle With Debt Addiction?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

For many of us, our personal struggles reveal themselves in all aspects of our life, especially our finances. It may seem easier at the moment to ignore your money problems, but over time, mounting debt can lead to severe consequences…

A common result is debt addiction. Debt Addiction is more than compulsive shopping. A person with debt addiction uses debt as a crutch to solve their personal and financial problems. They hardly make a plan for getting out of the debt. Signs of debt addiction include living paycheck to paycheck and never planning for the future. Someone who struggles with debt addiction is always in a financial crisis, yet never manages to take care of themselves enough to pay off creditors.

There are a variety of signs of debt addiction.  Chances are, if you struggle with money, you already know that you do. It is easy to lose track of finances, even for the non-addict. However, when years or even decades past and no change has happened, that is a major sign that you have a debt addiction that needs addressing.

It can be confusing to understand debt addiction. After all, many people are in credit card debt or struggle with finances. Not everyone is a debt addict though. There is a difference between using your credit card because you have to, and using your credit card because you are angry, emotional or going through a rough time. Debt addiction is more of a mental issue than anything else. Often there is a mentality of “What does it matter if I put more on my card? I do not care about my balances, and I am going to ignore it.”

Those with debt addiction use debt as a way to avoid acknowledging that they do not have the money to provide for themselves or their desired lifestyle. Instead, they increase their debt and continue to ignore the problem. The good news is that there are ways to overcome debt addiction.

The first step is acknowledging you have a problem. I know, that may sound cliché, but it is true. There are groups like Debtors Anonymous, which is a 12-step fellowship group for those who struggle with debt addiction. Just by looking on the DA website, there is a long list of questions readers can ask themselves before going to a meeting.

Some of these questions include:

  • Are your debts making your home life unhappy?
  • Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work?
  • Are your debts affecting your reputation?
  • Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself?
  • Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness?
  • When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief?
  • Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk?
  • Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation?
  • Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure?

More questions are found on the website, but those are some that stood out as  clear signs of debt addiction.  It is important to develop an action plan to deal with the debt. Facing the amount of debt you have is a big step to acknowledging the role you played in digging that financial hole.

Here are the four steps that can help you move forward:

  1. Make an inventory of your debt.
    Track the interest rates and total balance on everything you owe. You can also pull a free credit report to ensure everything is counted.
  2. Stop running new debt.
    If you can, stop using all credit cards. Make a budget that includes paying at least the minimal payment on all credit cards. You will also need to consider your needs seriously from you wants. That means fancy hair appointments and manicures may have to go. Only consider you daily necessities. Also, call your creditors and ask for help.
  3. Free up more cash to pay down debt.
    If your debt has become overwhelming, it is time to reevaluate your lifestyle and make some serious changes. You may have to consider living in a smaller home, driving an older car, reducing your utility bills. Do not think of it as a punishment. It is an investment in your future. Think of the freedom you will have when you no longer have to be burdened by debt.
  4. Consider Bankruptcy.
    Bankruptcy is a serious decision that should be discussed with a professional. However, if you are already cutting everything down to the bone, and still overwhelmed, bankruptcy may be an option for you. Bankruptcy could be looked at like an investment in your future. Still, it should not be considered lightly. Consider all other options first.
  5. Get support.
    There are so many people out there who have been in the same scenario as you. Search engines are your friend. Check out the many websites and blogs from others who are getting out of debt. Join Debtors Anonymous to have a support group that can keep you accountable. Talk to others about your struggle. You never know who might be willing to help. Stay focused and remember you are not alone.

Debt could be the one major thing keeping you from living life in recovery to the fullest. Instead of getting deeper into debt, you should focus on getting out of it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

 

4 Reasons Why We Won’t Let Ourselves Be Happy

4 Reasons Why We Won’t Let Ourselves Be Happy

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

When it comes to our own happiness, many of us love to let ourselves down. When we find ourselves sabotaging ourselves, we tend to put the blame more on the circumstances surrounding our situation, or we just chalk it all up to bad timing or divine misfortune. But the truth is much worse.

We are all, to some extent or another, intolerant of our own happiness.

When reading into this list I learned that accomplished author and nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a bestselling book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, where she reported that one of the most common regrets people have at the end of their lives is that they wish they’d let themselves be happier!

Evidence of this indicates as people we typically feel that while attaining happiness is well within our control, we somehow manage to block ourselves off from our own happiness!

I can identify with the idea of preventing myself from pursuing the things that I love out of some strange misconception of it being selfish or irresponsible, and we all have moments when we listen to an internal critical voice that encourages us not to set goals or expect too much for our lives, to settle for less than the joy we deserve, ironically triggered every time we start taking steps forward.

In addiction we see these kinds of self-deprecating patterns over and over again in a cycle of self-loathing and self-destruction. We get angry at ourselves for trying to stop using when we fail, and we punish ourselves or avoid the pain by getting trashed over and over.

These are just 4 reasons why we won’t let ourselves be happy.

  1. Identity

Who we are in our minds is a security blanket, even when our sense of self is based on a bad image in a broken mirror. If our perception of ourselves is a poor one, and we start to make positive progress it can make us feel anxious and uncomfortable in that we are afraid to lose our sense of identity.

Letting go of the old expired and negatively exaggerated perceptions we develop early in life is huge for allowing ourselves to have happiness. If we keep telling ourselves we have a limited worth, we confine our potential.

  1. Guilt

This is one I definitely can identify with whole-heartedly.

Sometimes we convince ourselves that choosing to be happy in the present represents abandoning our past. Naturally we feel guilty to step out of our imaged roles in life and leave them behind to be independent from that, or to grow out of old relationships from our past.

Changing our lives to pursue happiness can feel like separating from our identity, and also feeling like we are throwing away a bond with others that we had. I once made the mistake of believing that moving on was the same as never caring at all, and it kept me trapped in guilt for a long time.

Freedom to be truly happy is not about feeling guilty for surpassing our former selves, or even surpassing the connections we used to have. We should never feel guilty about living in the presence of our own happiness.

  1. Defenses

Humans spend a life-time building walls to defend ourselves from a world we may see as cruel, judgmental or harmful. We get jaded and shelter ourselves to adapt to our environment. We build up a tolerance to the injustice of our own self-defeat.

Then when we get older, those old defenses don’t always rise to the new challenges we are presented with throughout our lives and we find it difficult to rely on our default settings, so we undermine our happiness either by avoiding new situations that are unfamiliar, or by subconsciously recreating harmful situations so we are comfortable with mediocrity.

Dropping our defenses is the only way we can hope to escape the solitary prison of discontent we hold ourselves in. If we take the risk of something new in our lives, we have greater opportunities at genuine happiness. Too often do we avoid a perfect opportunity for an amazing piece of life waiting for us because we are too busy comparing it to the past.

  1. Pain

The fear of pain keeps so many of us from really trying to seek happiness, and I have seen this and felt this intensely throughout my own experience. Sometimes we forget the world isn’t so black and white.

Psychologist Pat Love once said:

“When you long for something like love, it becomes associated with pain.”

Have you ever felt like getting what you wanted made you feel pain and sadness?

It’s because it reminds you of something you didn’t get in the past. It takes you back to a time you were hurt in contrast. Maybe when you are finally chosen by someone, you remember the suffering of a rejection, and your mind scrambles for those old defenses to protect itself.

In life, we must all eventually face one very real, very profound inevitability- We. Will. Hurt.

We will be sad; we will feel crushed under the weight of existence; we will feel defeated. We may have moments where happiness seems like an abstract feeling far beyond the comprehension this world will ever allow us, and in times most vulnerable we will feel lost… but with all the pain comes beautiful uncertainty; that is not all there is.

A full life experiences these things, but it allows itself to experience love, gratitude, pleasure and ambition. A fulfilled life has rain clouds and thunderstorms… just like it has sunshine and clear skies. We can intrinsically be resistant to our own happiness, but we cannot falter, for it is our responsibility to fight for it.

Happiness is what we make of it. In addiction it seems nearly impossible, and in recovery we find a new freedom and a new happiness, but that still takes some effort. Allowing ourselves to be happy can be hard, but once we reach for it, it is always obtainable if we are willing. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

How My Friends Saved My Life

How My Friends Saved My Life

Author: Justin Mckibben

When I say this, I say it with absolute certainty; the people around me today that I have the privilege of calling my friends have saved my life.

I mean if I’m being completely honest, there is a group text that has probably saved me from my insanity more times than I can count… those 3 guys know who they are… (Insert emoji hands).

Recently I’ve talked about me feeling feels and what-not, and to be honest I’ve been through some things recently that has brought this subject to the forefront of my life… If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would have the kind of men and women in my life today I share this level of love and respect with, I would have thought you were on more drugs than me.

Now before I hurt any old friends, I had some friends before I got sober that were of the same caliber, but I failed to recognize them for the true relationships they were. Resentment and selfishness kept me from seeing the people around me who actually loved me unconditionally, even so with my family, and the fact I can see their compassion and understanding in retrospect is largely due to the lessons I have learned through the friends I have today from being in recovery.

I just want to take some time to talk about some ways these bonds have changed me, and for all intents and purposes saved me from myself. I want to honor the people who have given me more than I could ever expect from individuals who planted the seed of fellowship in my life as strangers, and have grown to become vital extensions of the happiness I have found in the world.

In so many ways these people have worked in my life in a way that is nothing short of spiritual, and they have enriched every element of my life. I am who I am thanks to them.

Breaking My Ego

I have a few friends (yea, especially those 3) who I never wanted to be friends with in the first place. Some of them I couldn’t wait to hate, and we had nothing but contempt when we met.

Then my ego was broken, because as I stuck around and as I listened more and lashed out less I realized I wasn’t any better than these people, and in fact looked up to them. They were just like me, and who was I to try and belittle anyone when I was afraid of being who I really was anyway.

Soon, either after living in close proximity in a halfway house after rehab, or by being forced to see one another by meetings and mutual friends, we developed a new respect for one another. I heard their stories and what drove them, I learned about their ambitions and their hardships and ultimately came to admire many of them for every inch of footwork they accomplished in their own sobriety.

And when they hurt, I hurt with them.

My ego was constantly shattered by sharing mutual struggles with others and understanding that it wasn’t all about me, and that my troubles were not as unique and complex as I liked to believe.

Today as close friends they continue to remind me when my motives exist only in my sense of self, and when I do not act in the spirit of helping others. My friends save my life constantly when they remind me that if what I say is not followed up with what I do, then I can talk (text and type) all the game I want, but if I don’t put forth the action I am just another shell of the person I have potential to be.

And when I let my ego rule my life, a drink or a drug is not too far behind. Humility was taught to me through caring about these people, and caring less about my ego’s perception of them.

Principles and Philosophy

My life today only exists as it is because of the implementation of some form of a spiritual practice. In my own experience I cannot expect to stay sober without it, and the ones closest to me today have helped save me by sharing their philosophies and experiences with me in way that give me a broader and yet more intrinsically intimate understand of what spirituality can mean, and why I needed it.

I have friends who are devoted in their faiths, and I have friends who believe in no denomination or sect belonging to any understanding of god, and I can say today I am auspiciously blessed to have both… because as I learned to separate myself from the hopelessness drugs and alcohol had subjugated my life with, I was given conceptions and catalysts of new hope from definitively different ideologies, all embracing the freedom to choose for yourself.

I was taught by people with religious beliefs that diligence and having a kind of fearless faith, without doubt of purpose, can be precisely powerful ways to relieve myself of the mental and emotional baggage addiction had weighed me down with my whole life.

I was taught by men and women with no religious beliefs that it doesn’t take knowing a god to be a good person, and that making an honest and compassionate contribution to humanity is in itself a spiritual practice I can’t begin to put a price on.

They all taught me that practical application of the principles and philosophies I created for myself was the surest way to serenity, and this saved my life because I lean on that idea of spiritual freedom and love for my fellows when life makes me senseless… which is basically always. The God of my understand works through the friends I have, and all people.

Love and Gratitude

Without love the kind of friendship I’m talking about is unfeasibility, and I got nothing but love for the people in my life that are part of my circle. Most people know you can have all kinds of ‘acquaintances’ and ‘peers’ but the title of ‘friend’ I’m speaking on is something else.

These are the down for anything, tell it like it is (especially when it hurts), ride until the wheels fall off type of friends. Not everyone is this fortunate, and sometimes the people who are don’t see how grateful they should be. Gratitude is everything.

The kind of love I have experienced from the men and women dearest to me today is indescribable. That feeling of belonging cannot be explained, and in reality this is part of what I was looking for all along in active addiction and alcoholism… this fulfillment through love.

These people stand behind me regardless of what others might think of them, and respect my truth whether they understand it or not. These men and women believe in my capacity to succeed and be the man I should be with irrefutable conviction and patience, especially when I doubt myself.

A lot of my friends today in recovery are people that saw me in the beginning who have helped me change, who share my understanding of my illness. They have seen the despair, and they have held me up when I had suffered. Today I have brothers who believe I am worth something, and who know who I am… even when I forget.

They remind me why it is OK to not be OK, and they have taught me that my happiness doesn’t depend on where I end up, but is defined by the incredible people I travel that path through hell and back with.

They saved my life by reminding me why I should be grateful to be alive, and one of the things I am the most grateful for is the presence of these amazing people, and the love it brings to my life.

#ILOVEMYTEAM

This is my family… my fellowship; part of the awesome and inspiring expedition through sobriety that was given to me when I destroyed every relationship around me. This article is just me saying thank you to every last one of you, and trying to show someone out there that a familiar face, even a rival, can end up making an impact that changes everything. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

Gratitude: Spiritual Medicine for the Heart

Gratitude: Spiritual Medicine for the Heart

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Today I am grateful for so much, and there is so much enriching my life I can’t explain or justify. Too often do we forget to appreciate the gifts we have every second of every day, like our own pulse… our own heartbeat.

Having appreciation in our hearts goes a long way, especially those of us in recovery. Being grateful is essential to staying aligned with our interpersonal connections and our compassion. Gratitude reminds us where we come from, what we have accomplished, and how others have nurtured us in that process.

Now it seems it can be healing at our core, from where all love and emotion starts… in the heart.

According to research published by the American Psychological Association acknowledging the beauty and the fulfilling aspects of life can result in improved mental health, and also ultimately physical health in patients with asymptomatic heart failure.

This brings one to speculate that if those who have suffered severe heart failure can see such impressive results in their recovery, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Is gratitude in our lives a key element to a happy and healthier heart?

Gratitude and Spirituality

Paul J. Mills, PhD, is a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego. Mills was the lead author on a study published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

In this study Mills defined gratitude as part of a broader outlook on life, with elements described as:

  • Noticing and appreciating the positive parts of our life
  • It’s often credited to an external source (e.g., a pet), another person or a non-human (e.g., God)
  • Also a commonly an aspect of spirituality

Past studies have shown people who considered themselves to be more spiritual actually had greater overall well-being, including physical health. So taking that into account Mills and his colleagues set out to examine the role of both spirituality and gratitude as potential health markers in patients recovering from heart failure. In relation to his work Mills stated,

“We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health,”

Study of Stage B

186 men and women were included in the study. Each of them had been diagnosed with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure for at least three months.

Stage B includes:

  • Patients who have developed structural heart disease (e.g., have had a heart attack that damaged the heart)
  • Do not show symptoms of heart failure (e.g., shortness of breath or fatigue)

According to Mills this stage is an important period for therapy in hopes of blocking the disease progression because patients are at a high risk of progressing to symptomatic (Stage C) heart failure, so improving quality of life is paramount.

Researchers created scores for gratitude and spiritual well-being with standard psychological tests then compared those scores with the patients’ scores for:

Higher gratitude scores were associated with better mood, higher quality sleep, more self-efficacy and less inflammation.

Gratitude Lists

The researchers then asked some of the patients to write down three things for which they were thankful most days of the week, which they continued for 8 weeks.

Yeah, they had them write gratitude lists… in case it sounded familiar.

According to Mills, patients who kept gratitude journals for those weeks showed amazing points of improvement, including:

  • Reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers
  • Increase in heart rate variability (considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk) while they wrote their lists

What is the point of all this? Well I personally think it’s pretty amazing the idea that science may support the notion that gratitude is its own medicine for the organ that pumps the blood of life through our bodies. That our emotional muscle can be flexed to the point it takes better care of itself.

The theory our gratitude has the potential to impact our health at the heart of it all is awesome!

Being thankful and acting on that can actually make us healthier, and for many drug addicts the extra help goes a long way with the damage we have done to our bodies with alcohol and other substances. Not to mention how important gratitude becomes in a lot of our everyday lives in recovery.

Something about two birds and a stone…

The concept of healing through gratitude isn’t new, and holistic healing is all about working on the inside and out, integrating it all to get the most out of the process. Letting mental, physical and spiritual health be a part of each other can make all the difference, and being grateful for your life can help you save it.

Healing can come from the places you least expect it, and help can come in all forms when we are willing to accept it. Drugs and alcohol do real damage to our bodies and our lives, but there are people who want to help. 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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