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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:

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery?

Is Relapse A Part of Recovery?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Every once in a while there is that daunting cliché you may hear in the recovery community; that relapse is a part of recovery. It may come from someone who has experienced a relapse themselves, or it may come from someone trying to reassure an individual who has relapsed that they still have a place in recovery. It is never meant to be harmful or frightening. In fact it is typically a phrase used to comfort people who have tried to get clean and sober but sadly found themselves again using substances.

It is an idea used to remind those who slip and fall on the path to recovery that they are still in the fight; that they still have a chance. A lot of people do experience relapse in their journey to get off drugs or alcohol. So, is it true? Is relapse a part of recovery?

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: What is Relapse?

When looking at the basic definition or relapse, we can break it down a little to show some depth.

  1. In general – a relapse is to suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.
  2. In medicine– relapse, also referred to as recidivism,is a return of a past condition.
  3. With the context of drug use (yes, including alcohol) – relapse is a reinstatement of drug use and drug-seeking behavior. It is the recurrence of pathological drug use after a period of

So the common thread here is that a relapse is when someone:

  1. Is able to start a period of improvement…
  2. Is healing from a previous condition…
  3. Has a period of abstinence… THEN… they use drugs or drink, which ends their period of abstinence and they fall back into drug-seeking behavior and using; activating their condition which can undo their overall improvement.

While some people might have a drink or take a pill and call it a “slip” it is essentially a relapse. Some would say having “recovery” means making improvements to behavior beyond just abstinence, so they might say the real relapse actually starts before you even use drugs; when your behavior regresses to the old destructive or compulsive patterns.

Whether you believe the relapse is the behavior or the actual physical manifestation while getting high, it may determine what your views are on the question is relapse a part of recovery.

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: What is Recovery?

Before we have discussed that some people will define recovery differently. We will note that in general, recovery is:

  • a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administraion (SAMHSA) there are 12 “Guiding Principles of Recovery” stating recovery:

  1. There are many pathways to recovery
  2. Is self-directed and empowering
  3. Involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation
  4. Recovery is holistic
  5. Has cultural dimensions
  6. Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness
  7. It’s supported by peers and allies
  8. Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude
  9. Involves a process of healing and self-redefinition
  10. Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma
  11. It involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
  12. Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen

All these definitions emphasize the fact that recovery is about healing, and some even concede that there are many paths to recovery and many different beliefs around how people can successfully recover. Now some people may not like it, but hear me out.

Relapse is not a part of recovery.

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: Why Not?

Now before anyone gets upset and drops a few choice words in the comments, let me explain.

This answer isn’t so black and white. It is just one way to look at the question and try to answer in a supportive and logical way. Because when we say “is relapse a part of recovery” we are not asking about the general concept of recovery as a whole, but about the definition, and specifically the requirements for “recovery”.

To elaborate; relapse is an option. Relapse is a reality many of us face. I have been sober over 3 years myself… after I had a relapse. My opinion is not meant to exclude people who have relapsed. I do not intend to say they weren’t in recovery. I don’t intend to say they aren’t recovering now. What I am saying is that relapse is not a requirement for recovery. While it may be a part of my recovery, it is not a defining feature of recovery. Recovery can exist without relapse.

Let’s say I have a car. If the car has a sun-roof, then of course the sun-roof is a part of that car. It adds a new element to the experience that not every car has… but if the car doesn’t have the sun-roof… does that make it any less of a car? Is the car considered incomplete without it? Some cars come with accessories and features that not all cars have, while having wheels and a gas pedal is a standard. And that is what this whole conversation is about; setting standards.

A relapse is a similar concept. Plenty of people in the world of recovery from drugs and alcohol have never relapsed. Hopefully they never will. They are recovering the same as the man or woman who has relapsed countless times.

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: Make it Count

The point of all this is to put forth the idea that maybe we shouldn’t put forth the idea that relapse is part of the recovery process. Surely it is a possibility for everyone, and surely some will consider a relapse one of the most critical moments in their recovery, but that does not mean people should minimalize or “normalize” the idea that relapses are the standard.

Setting higher standards is crucial to lasting change. We don’t want to kick anyone while they are down or fault them for their relapse(s)… however we also don’t want someone who has never tried to get clean before thinking they are going to relapse because it is “part of the plan” and everyone is doing it.

This is especially important because a lot of people have died because of relapsing after periods of abstinence. When the body goes without such potent drugs for longer periods the body is no longer as tolerant to them, and when people relapse and don’t realize their threshold has dropped they often overdose and die. If we let people assume they will have to relapse eventually in order to really get it right, they might never get the chance to get it right again.

We should stop telling people relapse is part of recovery. We should continue to tell them there is recovery after a relapse, but once you stop you never have to start again.

Have you completed treatment but went back to using drugs and alcohol? Have you relapsed more than once, maybe even been labelled a “chronic relapser?” If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

HER STORY: What It Feels Like To Be An Addict’s Sister

HER STORY: What It Feels Like To Be An Addict’s Sister

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Addiction profoundly affects every aspect of life, including the lives of friends and family. Siblings of addicts experience the impact of addiction in a unique way. Having a brother or sister struggle with addiction conjures a host of emotions: guilt, hurt, fear and anger are just a few.

In the following interview, one woman shares her journey discovering her sister was an alcoholic. She shares the impact her sister’s addiction had on her and her family.  We hope sharing her story will help connect to others who are enduring a similar experience.


Tell me about your experience discovering your sister was struggling with alcoholism?

I think I realized more post-college. In college, she started drinking heavily but who doesn’t in college? She had more freedom so I mean she drank a lot, but I did not think it was such a big deal. But post-college, I noticed she drank a lot with her friends and her boyfriend and sometimes she would spend all day up in her room drinking. Then, I started noticing she would miss work, and I was like, “That’s not normal…”  After college, maybe a year or two after, I noticed it seemed like she was drinking too much and it kind of got worse as the years progressed.

Were you aware of alcoholism back then? Was it something that ran in your family at all?

I was aware of alcoholism, but I never heard of it running in my family whatsoever or any sort of addiction running in my family.  I’m not really sure if there are addicts in my family because I feel like they wouldn’t really talk about it. My immediate family, I am around them a lot, and I really have not noticed any signs.

What made you realize this was more than binge drinking?

When I first realized was during the Christmas season. My sister came to visit on a break from work. She was living in another city that was kind of far away.  She came to the house, and she was drinking a lot, and she was drinking in her room.

I mean, I don’t know if this was the initial moment, but it really hit me.  I’ll never forget; it was Christmas morning, and she came downstairs, and she was like drunk. In my head, I was like, “Why are you drunk right now? Like it’s Christmas Morning, what were you doing up there?” And I definitely realized that’s not normal that she’s drinking like this.

She also had a friend who drank heavily, and when she was in the other city,  I knew that she was always drinking heavily with her. Then, I realized this was an everyday thing. She’s waking up, and she’s already drunk.

Looking back, how do you feel the situation was handled by the entire family? Could it have been handled any differently in hindsight?

In some ways, I do. I feel like it could have. My mom was in denial for a while, like maybe she could have realized sooner. I think she should not have enabled so much.

I think that personally— I don’t know, that’s a hard question to be honest, because I don’t really think about that. I don’t think I could have done anything, or I should have done this or that. I don’t really know in hindsight.

What is the process of regaining trust?

Well… I think for myself, it is still kind of new. Regaining trust is hard in any situation. I think the process really takes time. You have to go with the time that it takes, and be patient. The person has to prove to you that they mean what they say.

What should others know going through a similar experience?

I think they should know about AL-ANON. It’s a program which helps people that are dealing with family members that have an addiction problem. It’s really helpful, and it’s a really helpful resource.  It brings you to a community that is there for you and knows what you are going through because it is hard. Like they say, it is a family disease. It affects everybody. It doesn’t just affect that one person.

We often talk to the addicts, and rarely the sisters of addicts. A lot of people think of addiction from the victim’s point of view, and not the sibling’s.  How did your sister’s addiction affect you personally?

It did affect me a lot, as much as I hate to say it because I don’t want it to affect me. I’m kind of like, “Why am I getting thrown into somebody else’s problems?”  But it affects me because; it just sucks to see somebody that you love, that has a lot of potential, like that. Unless you’re a stone, it just hurts, you know what I mean?

It’s like terrifying because you never know what the next day can bring.  You never know if they’re going to be okay, if they’re going to hurt themselves, or if they’re going to hurt somebody else. So, it’s kind of like you’re always scared, and you’re mad. I mean I’m still dealing with that. You’re just very mad at that person, what they are doing to themselves and the family.

It’s kind of a mix of emotions. It’s really emotional. They say the addict doesn’t realize that because they are kind of in their own world, but it does affect the person. It’s like you’re going on that journey with them. When they’re good, you’re good. When they’re bad, you’re bad.


Clearly, addiction affects everyone, not just the addict. Do not let the toll of your addiction continue to affect those who love you. Instead, seek help, and learn the tools to recovery. We are waiting for your call. You are not alone. Call now. 

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Be Free: The Art of Navigating Your Jealous Emotions

Be Free: The Art of Navigating Your Jealous Emotions

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

Before we begin this article, let me just say:

Everyone gets jealous.  It’s okay.

In case you were not aware, we are all human.

No, but really, jealousy is a natural emotion. How you respond to jealousy is a choice. We all have to make choices on how we respond to our feelings. I have found over the years; I am able to evaluate my emotions better. Jealousy is something I do not let take over my life, and it has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine.

Nevertheless, jealousy can be a healthy emotion if you learn to navigate it. Jealousy can be your biggest motivator or your strongest downfall. You choose. How do you want to live your life? Do you want to go your entire life looking at other people’s lives, or do you want to live?

Are you wallowing in your jealousy?

According to clinical psychologist, Christina Hibbert, jealousy becomes a problem “when we act out in jealousy, or we wallow in it.”  Essentially, jealousy becomes negative in your life when you let it consume you. When jealousy begins to creep into every part of your life, you need to evaluate why you are letting that emotion control you.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  -Steve Furtick

This quote pinpoints the cause of jealousy. We are too focused on the exterior of another person’s life that sometimes we forget to dig deeper. Everyone has their ups and downs. You might believe someone’s life is much easier than yours, but the truth is, everyone has their good days and their bad days.

Social media is a breeding ground for jealousy. All the beautiful pictures and the happy statuses and false perception of perfection make us believe that we are the only one struggling. But isn’t this thought process irrational?

After all, social media does not show you the challenges that a person had to overcome to get to where they are. It does not show the emotional obstacles, the hard work, and the determination it took for that person to post that beautiful picture you just liked.

So What Underlies Jealousy?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, jealousy stems from insecurity.

“We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”

The best way to overcome jealousy is to learn how to navigate it better. In recovery, learning to navigate jealousy is an important tool because you will see people in different stages of their journey.  There will be some people doing amazing things in their recovery. However, the important thing is to remember that at one point, they were once where you were.

5 Ways to Navigate Jealousy

  1. Be Honest With Yourself.

    “Awareness is fire; it burns all that is wrong in you. It burns your ego. It burns your greed, it burns your possessiveness, it burns your jealousy – it burns all that is wrong and negative, and it enhances all that is beautiful, graceful, and divine.”Osho

    The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? Yup, this applies to jealousy too. Most people who are jealous do not even realize it. Jealousy can manifest itself as anger, irritability, anxiety, or even depression. One time, it took me an entire week to realize my reaction to something stemmed from jealousy. However, the moment I realized, I was able to overcome that emotion. Ask yourself, “Are any of my emotions arising from jealousy?” Assessing your jealousy opens the door to learning.

  2. Ask Yourself: Are You Insecure?

    “A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”Robert A. Heinlein

    Jealousy stems from insecurity. The goal of this step is to acknowledge all the things you are insecure about and write them down. Are you insecure about your body? Are financial struggles holding your back? Do you have goals you never accomplished and envied others who have progressed more?
    If the answer yes to any of these questions, then you have work to do.  Use jealousy to motivate you in your journey, not hold you down. If you spend your day feeling sorry for yourself, you will get less accomplished in the long haul.

  1. Practice Gratitude.

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus

    I know this is going to seem crazy, but one day, someone will be jealous of you. Someone is likely jealous of you right now. They could be jealous of your health, your age, your wisdom. They might even be jealous of your ears. Who knows? We all want what we do not have. Practicing gratitude is being thankful for what you already have. It is acknowledging the accomplishments you have made in your life.Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Gratitude is not always easy to practice, but it is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. By practicing gratitude, you can put things into perspective. Stop being jealous and start being thankful.

  2. Let Go of Your Jealousy.

    “People come to me and they say they would like to be happy, but they cannot drop their jealousy. If you can’t drop your jealousy, love will never grow — the weeds of jealousy will destroy the rose of love. And when love does not grow, you will not be happy. Because who can be happy without love growing?” -Osho

    Jealousy is not an emotion you need in your life. Jealousy is toxicity in your soul. Holding on to jealousy creates hatred in the body. Tell yourself you do not need this emotion any longer. Imagine the resentment flowing through your body and breathe the jealousy you feel out of your system. Repeat a mantra and meditate until the jealousy leaves your system. Let it go.

  1. Transform Your Jealousy.

    “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  – Nelson Mandela.

    Learning to manage your emotions will teach you how to respond better to jealousy. Jealousy is an excellent motivator. If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone’s body, lifestyle, or stage of life, you can use that emotion to make a goal for yourself. Jealousy helps you understand the things you desire for in your life. Think about the sacrifices that are required to achieve that person’s success. Are you willing to make those sacrifices? If not, why are you jealous? Learn the steps needed to obtain the goals that you see other people accomplishing. Understand your jealousy and create goals for yourself. Stop wasting time on jealousy and use that emotion to create a life even you would be jealous of. See what I did there?

Jealousy is a natural emotion everyone experiences. Jealousy becomes a problem when we let it take over our lives. If you find yourself becoming jealous, the time is now to assess your journey.  You have the ability to change your life.  Create the life you want today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Is Addiction an Attachment Disorder?

Is Addiction an Attachment Disorder?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

There are many theories on why some people struggle with addiction and others do not. Some say it is due to environmental factors while others point to biological changes in the brain. It will take more time to understand addiction entirely. However, each day researchers learn more about it. One of the theories being suggested is the attachment theory of addiction. This theory delves into addiction from birth and says that life circumstances lead children to develop a survival mechanism that encourages them to seek outside nurturement. If a child is not getting the attention they need, they attach to something that will fulfill that need. Could this attachment be related to addiction?

What is the Framework of Attachment Theory?

To understand the attachment theory of addiction, we must define it and understand how it works. The attachment theory states that children who do not grow up in a secure environment learn unhealthy attachment skills. Therefore, in treating addiction, it is critical that treatment provides a model of secure attachment, so individuals can understand how to respond to pain and discomfort other than acting out in addictive behaviors.

As humans, we have a longer period of dependency on caregivers, more than any other mammal. Not only do we need our caregivers for food and safety, but for emotional connection, affection and love. When we are infants, we naturally turn to our caregiver in times of distress. Babies cry, and they learn they have support when they need it.

Here is what it looks like when secure attachment does not happen: Baby is upset and turns to their caregiver for comfort and connection. However, instead of their needs being addressed, the baby is ignored, left alone or abused for having needs. Over time, this patterns results in the child learning not to turn to their caregiver in times of distress.   The child will stop seeking care and comfort from their caregiver, and instead, look for ways to regulate and self-soothe from the outside world.

This period in life is where some researchers believe addictions starts to develop. As a child grows in this unhealthy attachment environment, they learn not to turn to humans for care and comfort. Instead, they seek alternatives. Addictions to drugs, food, and rituals around food like over- or under-eating become coping mechanism for replacing security a secure attachment would have provided.

The Internal Working Model

Furthermore, in infancy, a child learns necessary skills for survival and develops what the attachment theory calls an Internal Working Model (IWM). Our IWM helps us find out how to view the world and ourselves. A child’s IWM is dependent on their upbringing. The theory argues that a child’s attachment style has a significant impact on whether they will develop a substance abuse dependency.

To fully understand unhealthy attachment, you should first understand secure attachment. Secure attachment is when a caretaker shows awareness of a child’s emotions and quickly attends to the child when they are distressed. The theory suggests that when a child is properly taken care of, they feel free to explore the world and acquire independence because they develop a sense of certainty that their caretaker will be there if anything goes wrong. They rarely feel uncertain or insecure in their independent journey because they know they have a caretaker there if needed.

However, if the attachment system a child has growing up is deficient, the child will struggle with emotional regulation as an adult. Children raised in an insecure environment grow up learning to blame themselves when they are unable to provide for their emotional needs on their own. Instead of developing security in a healthy manner, they will use addictive substances or behavior to define comfort and safety.  The use of addictive substances and behaviors will lead to continued dysfunction and continued addictiveness.

Treating Addictiveness through Attachment-Oriented Therapy

Recent studies positively confirm a link between insecure attachment and substance dependence. Fortunately, there is hope. “Attachment-Oriented Therapy” or AOT is a way of “eliciting, integrating and modifying styles represented within a person’s internal working model.” (Flores 2004). The therapy works to shift the internal working model an addict has acquired to self-sooth since childhood.

The point of the therapy is to teach those struggling with addiction how to regulate their emotions and feelings, so they avoid seeking outside sources as a means of managing their emotions.  Addicts learn how to explore the deeper problem of why exactly they use their addictive behavior to escape their emotional pain and where this method of survival was rooted.

AOT is rooted in providing a way for individuals to explore themselves from the inside out. Attachment theory states that a model is necessary for patients to understand how to stop seeking answers on the outside and learn to heal. By providing a haven for addicts to learn to feel and express emotions, a better solution can be found.

Learning how to regulate emotions and self-sooth are skills that we develop from infancy. Therapies like AOT help in reestablishing methods of secure attachment. If you struggle with managing your emotions, seeking help is the first step. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Until last week, bars in New York could refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, or ban them from entering. Some restaurants even refused to serve raw fish to pregnant women. However, thanks for updated guidelines released last week by the city’s Human Rights Commission, pregnant women will now have a choice.

But should they?

The city’s Human Rights Commission aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against pregnant women. Expectant mothers can now decide to eat or drink whatever they want, and establishments who deny them can be penalized. This new law raises an important question all throughout the nation: Should pregnant women be denied the right to drink?

For some, the answer might seem obvious. Of course, pregnant women should not be allowed to drink! After all, it has been proven that alcohol increases the likelihood of birth defects and developmental issues. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of a premature birth and result in negative outcomes.

Risks of alcohol consumptions during pregnancy include:

  • Distinctive facial features. The newborn may have a small head, flat face, and narrow eye openings. These differences become more apparent by age 2 or 3 years old.
  • Learning and behavioral problems
  • Growth Problems: Children exposed to alcohol may develop slower than other kids of the same age
  • Birth Defects
  • Problems bonding and feeding

Despite these risks, the answer is not that simple. Some argue that denying pregnant women the right to drink undermines the right she has to choose what she does with her body. The argument points to Roe vs. Wade and pro-choice as reasons to why a woman should be able to make the personal choice of drinking or not drinking while pregnant.

“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities, and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as a pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” say the new guidelines.

The guidelines were created to help clarify a 2013 city law designed to protect pregnant women in the workplace. The law specifies that it is illegal to refuse to hire or promote someone because they are pregnant. It also states that it is unlawful to deny an application from a pregnant applicant.

“Accommodation of Pregnant women cannot be a favor,” said Azadeh Khalili, executive director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “It is a human right and the law in New York City.”

These two laws seem reasonable to the average person. After all, it would be a clear form of discrimination to stop a woman from working or living in a home because she made the choice to have kids. However, the new law is taking discrimination to a whole new level by stating that restaurant and bars should not have the right to refuse a pregnant woman a drink.

Still, the subject of whether a moderate amount of alcohol is “safe” for pregnant women to drink has been hotly debated for decades. While we mentioned some of the risks of drinking while pregnant, those outcomes typically come from heavy drinking consumption. No confirmed evidence shows that an occasional drink will do harm to unborn babies, especially after the first trimester.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged sexually active women to stay away from alcohol unless they were on birth control. They stated that any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy could raise the risk of a fetus being born with developmental issues. Many women were not happy about these recommendations. Despite these warnings, studies show that 1-15% of women still drink a little alcohol during pregnancy.

Clearly, this whole topic is a controversial manner. Many argue that women are discriminated only once they look pregnant, meaning that women who are newly pregnant can make the choice to drink while those who are months along are denied alcohol. Since the most significant damage is done in the first trimester, denying pregnant women alcohol may not prevent as much harm.

Overall, study after study reveal drinking during pregnancy is not the best idea. It is always best to put the health of your baby first, rather than take the risk of any complications. Whether or not restaurants and bars should have a  say in the manner is a topic that is yet to be fully explored. 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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