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Outside Support: Alcoholism & Recovery

If you’re looking to get sober, then outside support is going to be very important. Still, you want to make sure you don’t surround yourself with people who may encourage negative behavior. There’s a few traits in particular you’ll want to make sure they have…

Outside Support: Find Positive Help

Be there when you need them

Good outside support will consist of people who’ll be there when you need their help. The last thing you want to do is rely on people who are unreliable. It could be that they either ignore your calls or texts, or always have an excuse as to why they can’t help. While there may be times where they are genuinely busy, it shouldn’t be that they can never help you when you ask.

Instead, you want to ask more reliable friends and family for help. There are the people who will be there practically any time you ask. This is important, because things like withdrawal symptoms can go from being no issue to severe very suddenly. Knowing you have people you can consistently rely on is key for your recovery.

Hold you accountable

It’s also important that your outside support holds you accountable. While you want to live a healthier lifestyle, that can be easier said than done. It’s possible that your cravings can get quite bad, and you’ll be tempted to relapse. However, having people who will help you stick to your goals can keep you on the right path.

When things get tough, your support system should give you some positive reinforcement. At the same time, they should also be able to ask you if you’re sticking to your plan and keeping clean. If they themselves went through what you’re dealing with, then they can also offer you some advice which you might find valuable.

Avoid bad influences

One thing you don’t want your outside support to do is influence you in a negative way. Usually, this happens if they themselves continue to drink or take drugs. It’s possible that they could try and pressure you to stop trying to get sober, rather than help you keep clean.

In these situations, the best thing to do is to cut these people out of your life. It can be tough, especially if you’ve known them for a while. Still, you don’t want to put your own efforts at a higher risk than necessary.

How-to: Be a Savvy Wine Shopper: Wine Knowledge

Choosing a bottle of wine can be a daunting decision. There are so many labels, bottles, styles, and regions to wade through. If you familiarize yourself with all of the different things you will come across when shopping for wine, you will soon be a savvy wine shopper! Also, your experience with wine shopping will be much easier and will make it easy to share your expertise with friends.

How-to: Be a Savvy Wine Shopper: Wine Knowledge

Taste

The taste of a wine can differ based on acidity and sweetness levels. Wine labels often use the terms “sweet,” “semi-sweet” or “dry.” A dry wine will not be sweet at all. Wines with high acidity will be more tart. On the other hand, low-acidity wines will taste rounder or richer.

Wines have unique flavors. A savvy wine shopper will pick a wine that has similar flavors, or notes, like other things that you like. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, you will likely prefer a sweeter wine. On the other hand, if you love the taste of bitter, black coffee, you may like a more acidic wine.

Tannins

Tannins are phenolic compounds in the skins of grapes. They give the wine a more bitter taste. Tannins also tend to dry out your mouth, but they do not actually relate to the ‘dryness’, or sweetness level, of the wine. Some tannins develop as part of the wine-making process and other times they could be added in. Red wine has more tannins, giving it its uniquely dry and bitter finish. Knowing this will help you be a savvy wine shopper.

Age

While many people get hung up on the age of the wine, it is not that important. It is common for people to think that the older the wine is, the better it tastes. This is only true for some wines. For example, some types of wine will get better with age based on the region it comes from, or the number of tannins, sugars, and acids it has. Typically, red wines age better than white ones. A savvy wine shopper knows that most wines should be consumed within 5 years of purchase.

Region

Wines produced in different regions will have different characteristics and qualities. Wine from areas where wine was originally made is called Old World Wines. These are typically more dry and bitter. Examples of these countries are France, Italy, or Spain. On the other hand, New World wines are the counties that are newer to winemaking. These countries include the US, South Africa, and Australia. These wines are going to tend to be sweeter. Knowing this will let everyone know that you are a savvy wine shopper.

Body

Another thing to know as a savvy wine shopper is the term body. Wines can be described as having a light body, full-body, or somewhere in the middle. This refers to how heavy or light the wine feels in your mouth. Generally, red wines have a fuller body than whites. In the same way, heavy body applies to wines made from grapes that are grown in warmer regions, rather than cooler ones.

How-to: Host a Holiday Gathering During Covid

The holidays are coming, and that means visiting friends and family, attending parties, and indulging in festive foods and drinks. There are parades, crowded stores filled with holiday shoppers, and indoor gatherings. However, with the pandemic this year, is any of that even possible? This year, there are more things to consider for these gatherings than just drunk drivers after a holiday party. Before you invite all of your friends and family over, it is important to know how to safely host a holiday gathering during Covid.

How-to: Safely Host a Holiday Gathering During Covid: Be Wise and Considerate

Reconsider

The only guaranteed way to safely host a holiday gathering during COVID is to reconsider having a get-together this year at all. COVID is certainly not a holiday gift that anyone wants to receive. The more people you are around, the higher your risk is for getting COVID. While it is not replacing gathering in-person, many medical professionals recommend finding virtual substitutes for family holiday traditions. While masks and social distancing can help, the only way to completely reduce the risk of infections is to remain separated.

Testing and Precautions

If you do choose to host a holiday gathering during COVID, there are some added precautions you can take. For example, your guests can agree to quarantine before the event. This will reduce the risk that they will contract the virus from someone else who has it, then bring it to you. You do run the risk that your attendees may break the quarantine or not be as diligent as you would like.

Another option would be for you to have your guests take a COVID test as close to the event as possible. Then, they should quarantine up until your event. This may be easier to ask for a family gathering than it would be for friends attending a party. Neither of these options is guaranteed to prevent COVID, but they can lower the risk.

Meals and Logistics

You may need to rethink the menu options you have at your holiday gathering during COVID. Instead of a buffet-style set up, a better option would be to serve individual plates of food. This keeps the number of people coming into contact with the food to a minimum. The person plating the food should be wearing a mask. When possible, use touchless garbage cans during cleanup.

Instead of opting for an indoor gathering, hold your event outdoors. However, this is not always possible depending on where you live. If your event has to be indoors, invite fewer guests. Also, have your guests wear masks when they are not eating.

While there is no perfect way to have a holiday gathering during COVID, these tips can help keep you and your guests safer. However, it’s good to remember that the best way to reduce your risk of COVID at a holiday gathering is to make it a virtual gathering instead.

Recovery Relationships: Build Healthy Bonds

When you begin your road to recovery, it can be tough to go it alone. As such, it’s helpful to build up recovery relationships. These bonds can go a long way in giving you the extra support you need during this time…

Recovery Relationships: Helpful Support

Value of relationships

Recovery relationships are quite helpful for those who are seeking to get sober. If you try and do things alone, it can be hard to resist things such as cravings. You could also start to feel rather discouraged and lose your enthusiasm as you begin to face some difficulties.

However, having people to support you can make things different. Here, you’ll have people who can encourage you to keep sober and help to hold you accountable. Not just that, but you’ll also have people who you can trust and be honest with. Knowing you have people in your corner goes far in giving you the strength you may need to get and stay sober.

Unhealthy relationships

If there are recovery relationships you don’t want, it’s any unhealthy ones. These toxic relationships will serve to hurt your efforts to get sober. Instead of support, these people may tear you down instead. Or, it could be the case that they are a bad influence and try to encourage you to relapse back into drug use.

These kinds of relationships can be hard to cut off, as they may be people you know or did drugs with. Still, you have to understand that it’s what’s best for your well-being. Being around these kinds of people will just add a lot of unneeded stress during an already-stressful time.

Creating new bonds

Building recovery relationships can be done in a number of ways. For starters, it’s good to turn to existing friends and family. Those who show that they’ll still help and support you are great to keep around. It’s only those who won’t that you’ll want to cut off.

As for new friends, many people create new bonds when they go through treatment. Meeting people at these facilities is great for making new friends that know exactly what kind of situation you’re in. You can also find new friends at group therapy or treatment sessions. It’s easy to form new connections as you share stories about your experiences.  

How-to Reduce Alcohol Intake: Using Moderation

Drinking in moderation can be a good way to relax and enjoy yourself. However, if you notice that you’ve been drinking more and more than usual, it could be the sign of some dangerous behavior developing. That’s why it’s good to know what you can do to cut down on your alcohol intake. This can help you keep healthy while still enjoying your favorite drinks…

How-to Reduce Alcohol Intake: Important Techniques

Set a limit

One good way to lower your alcohol intake is by setting a hard limit. Usually, before someone start drinking, they’ll have a basic idea of how much they want to drink. Yet, once they begin drinking, it’s easy for them to drink way more than they expected.

By setting a hard limit, you know exactly how much you want to drink. That way, when you start drinking, you know when to stop. Plus, it’s good to let any friends with you know what your limit is as well. This will help them not pressure you into drinking past this limit, and instead help you stick to it.

Eat beforehand

Some people try to not eat much before they drink. In their eyes, they try to balance the empty calories that comes with drinking by limiting what they eat. In reality, it’s not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, especially if you want to limit your alcohol intake.

By drinking on an empty stomach, you’re setting yourself up to drink way more than you should. It’s pretty simple, as the more space there is in your stomach, the more you can drink before feeling full. By eating beforehand, you’ll be able to better limit your alcohol intake. This will also help you avoid feeling sick or nauseous after a few drinks.

Choose healthier options

Picking healthier choices is also good for when you want to cut down on your alcohol intake. Of course, the most apparent choice is water. Drinking water will help keep you hydrated after drinking alcohol. Plus, it’ll also help you feel full without needing to drink any alcohol. You can also try out some non-alcoholic drinks. Many of these drinks will taste similar to their alcoholic ones, just without the alcohol in them. Choosing these drinks can be good if you want to watch your intake, but still want to experience some unique flavors.  

How-to Keep Yourself From Relapsing

You have worked so hard to get clean, but staying clean can be a challenge in itself. In the short-term and longterm future, you will come across different triggers, events or emotions that may make you want to pick up bad habits again. While it may be a struggle, it is possible to make it through while staying clean. There are different steps you can take to help keep yourself from relapsing.

How-to Keep Yourself From Relapsing: Prevention Steps

Be Aware of Triggers

Everyone will have different things that trigger them, but there are some triggers that are more common than others. It is important to know these in order to help keep yourself from relapsing. First, being around old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol and have no interest in getting sober can be a relapse trigger. It is difficult to keep all of your old life the same without falling into the same bad patterns too. Certain locations that you used to engage in substance abuse can also be a trigger.

Other common triggers include isolation, relationship issues, uncomfortable emotions like feeling hungry, lonely, or tired. Some people are overconfident in themselves, thinking that they do not have a problem, or that the issues are all behind you. This over confidence can actually create the perfect scenario for relapse.

Stages of Relapse

One of the best ways to keep yourself from relapsing is to understand the stages of relapse. This way you can already know what to be mindful of. Relapse is usually a gradual process, and can even start months before the actual relapse event occurs. The different stages of relapse are emotional, mental and physical.

Emotional Relapse

With emotional relapse, you’re not actually thinking about using. However, your emotions and behaviors can set you up for a potential relapse. Some of the signs include anxiety, mood swings, not asking for help or going to meetings, anger, and isolation. Change your behavior and practice self care. With emotional relapse, it is the easiest to get back on the right path and stop yourself from actually relapsing.

Mental Relapse

Mental relapse is when part of you wants to start using again, and the other part does not. You are being pulled two different ways. Some signs of this include lying, hanging out with your old friends, and thinking about people and places in your past. It also includes glamorizing your past use and even fantasizing about using again.

If you are struggling with mental relapse, talk to someone and tell them what you are going through and thinking about relapsing. This could be a friend or even a support group. Urges won’t last for too long, but just make sure to distract yourself by going on a walk, or calling someone to chat. Remember to take each day at a time so that the process does not feel so overwhelming.

Physical Relapse

Lastly, the best thing is to try and catch yourself from relapsing before you get to the physical relapse point. Once you start thinking about relapse, it does not take long to get to physical relapse. This is when you actually physically relapse again. So, pay attention and react to the warning signs so that you do not make it to this point. Get help before it is too late.