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10 Defeating Attitudes in Early Sobriety and How To Combat Them

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 8:54 PM Comments comments (0)
Getting sober is one of, if not the hardest thing that us addicts will ever have to do. The journey to long term recovery is a hard one, often bumpy and filled with difficult personal and emotional challenges. Here are some thoughts and belief systems that commonly come up for us amongst early sobriety to be aware of, watch out for, and discard when they creep in!
1. The Non Sober People Are More Fun
Addicts in general, myself included spend our time trying to do WHATEVER we can to “feel good” in the moment.  Sometimes life is not going to feel good and that is when we do not know how to handle it. That being said, the guys and gals that are goofing off, not working on themselves and acting out in negative self-defeating behaviors may appear to be having more fun…but talk to them when they relapse, get arrested, or end up back in treatment or at a 12-step meeting getting another new comer chip and ask yourself if that looks like fun? No judgment here, the thing is nothing changes until something changes and you must do things you have never done to get where you have never been period – simple as that.
2. I Am Not Ready To Be Sober Yet
You have hit your bottom once you have quit digging. Some people lose everything, die, get locked up.... Some other people end up realizing it much quicker and don’t lose much. They can see where their life is heading and make the effort to change it quicker. So please don’t let your mind give you this excuse; it’s not true!
3. This Won’t Work For Me
Here is the thing…how can we know something that we don’t know…we can’t. Just because my mind is telling me that I know something does not mean it’s true. Find a mentor that has been where you’ve been and be open minded to having a new experience. Do what they say and great things will follow.
4. I’m Unique and Worse Than Everyone
This one always gives me a laugh because I can relate so strongly. Almost every addict I’ve had the pleasure of working with at one point or another experiences this thought. I have found out that I am not special or different and when I look for similarities instead of differences I can relate to some people I would never have expected to be able to.
5. I can do this on my own
In my experience this was not true. However, I will say if you truly believe that you can give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then try a treatment center and entering into a 12-step program.
6. Thinking The Answer is on the Outside, Not on the Inside
I need to quit smoking, get a job, enroll in college…TODAY !”. Relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have to crawl before we can walk. You do not have to conquer all of your problems today. Keep it simple and make small realistic goals for yourself and overtime the upheaval and redemption of your life will be astonishing! Give yourself some time to really work on you in the beginning the rest will follow.
7. I Don’t Deserve A Better Life
This is not true for anyone – ever. Period. There is a little bit of good in the worst of us and a little bit of bad in the best of us. Take it easy on yourself, learn to forgive and love yourself. This is a process that is difficult and takes time but I promise you can do it and we will love you until you love yourself!
8. Nobody Cares About Me Anyway
I felt this way coming into recovery and what I found was the exact opposite. It was amazing how many people put their hand out to help me when all I did was simply become willing and ask for the help.
9. I’ve Tried Everything And Nothing Has Worked
No one has tried everything. There are variables to consider here. For instance, something I may have “tried” could work if I changed my perspective, applied myself and engaged in it with an open mind if I was closed off the first time. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective.
10. I will control my use… it will be different this time!
If you are really an addict or alcoholic your own experience is the best test here.  Did you ever “just do one”?  Were you able to easily stop all substances at once at any time without any difficulty?  If you’re truly an addict or alcoholic all you have to do is be honest with yourself and reflect on your experience to see that this not true.  You’re not alone here we have all fallen victim to this way of thinking and it keeps us in addiction much longer than necessary.

Nicotine Withdrawal Affects the Brain’s Cognitive System

Posted on December 10, 2017 at 3:57 PM Comments comments (1)
Summary: Penn State researchers report nicotine withdrawal may blunt working memory and cognitive processing.
Most attempts to stop smoking are unsuccessful in the long term, even with smoking cessation methods such as nicotine replacement therapy. Penn State researchers are looking at how reward processing and working memory may determine why smokers choose to smoke again after trying to quit.
According Charles Geier, associate professor of human development and family studies and the Dr. Francis Keesler Graham Early Career Professor in Developmental Neuroscience, reward processes and working memory jointly contribute to value-based decision-making. “While previous studies have shown altered reward and working memory function are independently associated with nicotine exposure, little is known about the effects of nicotine or nicotine withdrawal on the joint function of these systems.”
Geier, who is also a Social Science Research Institute co-funded faculty member, is interested in how reward processing interacts with cognitive control systems in the brain, such as working memory and inhibitory control. “We are particularly interested in smoking because nicotine has widespread effects on the brain, including effects on cognition and, importantly, one’s sensitivity to both drug and non-drug awards,” he said. “Knowing more about how these processes interact is important to better understand the decisions people make after exposure to nicotine, such as choosing whether or not to continue smoking after a quit attempt, and thus can help inform smoking cessation strategies.”
In the study, the working memory of 18 daily smokers were tested on two separate occasions. In one session, participants were tested after normally smoking, and in another, participants were tested after at least 12 hours of smoking abstinence. In both sessions, participants completed a working memory task on a computer in which they were asked to focus on a fixation cross, but be aware of a flashing dot in their peripheral vision. After a short time, the fixation cross disappeared and the participants had to move their eyes to the remembered location of the dot. Geier and colleagues used eye tracking to assess precisely where the participants were looking and when they shifted their gaze.
In groups who had smoked regularly before testing and were being monetarily compensated for quickness and accuracy, researchers noticed an improvement in working memory; this group more accurately remembered where the flashing dot appeared. Meanwhile, participants who had abstained from smoking showed no similar increases in accuracy when being monetarily compensated.
“Our results indicate that during a state of nicotine deprivation, participants failed to receive the same reward-related ‘boost’ to their working memory,” said Geier. “We hope these results shed light on how rewards affect cognitive systems such as working memory, which is critical for our understanding of motivated decision making. These data also extend our fundamental understanding of smoking’s effects on core affective and cognitive processes. A next step is to test participants on similar tasks within the functional MRI scanner to investigate the nature of motivated cognitive control at the neural circuit level.”


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