The holidays are in full swing, and the new year is just around the corner. With all the festivities, friends and family, we can get caught up in what we need to do or get for others, but it is important to invest in ourselves as well.
Simple gifts or “treat yourself” moments are nice, but try to think long term for a minute.
What is something you want in the coming year? Something to get better at, a habit you want to fix, a goal you are trying to reach.
Invest in that – in something that will make you so much happier in the long run. Something that can be a tool for you moving forward.
Do I struggle with compulsive gambling?
Compulsive gambling can manifest itself in various ways, and there are different forms of it as well. It can often be brought on by financial stress, attempting to earn money quick.
However, a less often realization is that the emotional high when taking risks can also lead a lot of people to addiction.
Signs of a gambling problem may present itself as other types of addiction do. Being secretive about gambling, continuing when you cannot afford to, and being unable to control your habits are all signs that you may be struggling with compulsive gambling. There are also physical and emotional signs that gambling habits have become excessive.
If you are unable to recognize these within yourself and your behavior, another sign of your addiction comes when family and friends are expressing their concerns about this habit.
The important thing to understand is that no matter how the addiction came about, or how far it has gone, the person struggling has to have the sincere desire to change. Trying to kick the habit to make family members happy won’t cut it if you don’t want the change for yourself.
There are several options when it comes to treatment for gambling addiction – trying to figure out what steps to take may be overwhelming.
Smart IOP for gambling is an online gambling treatment program can ease that stress and help you break through your addiction and move forward to lasting recovery.
What is an online gambling treatment program?
Our program is the first intensive outpatient program designed to address the complex issues of gambling addiction. You can go through the program and learn from all of our gambling addiction education from your own computer, tablet or phone, in the comfort of your own home.
We also implement having a smart Sponsor – someone you choose to help you through the program, keep you accountable and creating healthy habits.
This is one big advantage to an online gambling treatment program, because as that sponsor goes through the program with you, they become a key part of your support system. They will remain so after you complete treatment.
Our treatment program can be broken down into five steps:
Choose your smart Sponsor
- Set-up smart IOP accounts and tools
Access all of our online treatment
Weekly support group meetings with your smart Sponsor
Track and verify your progress and completion
We want to help you learn and address the root cause of your gambling addiction. In doing so, we will work to treat “the whole person” and produce a successful and lasting recovery.
Our staff and program is client centered, and we truly have respect and compassion for every single person who chooses to work with us to overcome their struggles with gambling addiction.
Is online gambling treatment right for me?
With the flexibility we offer by being online, you won’t have to worry about putting your life on hold: whether you are in school or have a job, and you can still visit family and friends.
You have the ability to watch the educational videos on your own time.
As far as access to your therapist goes, we have scheduled check-ins throughout your treatment. In addition to those, if needed, we have a number available and we return calls from 8 am – 9:30 pm EST.
Your required time commitment to the program will differ depending on the number of weeks you choose for completion. You can do it in six or twelve weeks, and it will be around 14 or 8 hours a week, accordingly.
If you are curious as to insurance coverage, we can help verify that for you by filling out this form.
Our staff members are International Certified Gambling Counselors through the National Council on Problem Gambling. Our goal is to help you reach sobriety, and be able to maintain that following your program completion. We want to get you back to a happy, healthy life that you deserve.
Our online gambling treatment program is voluntary, and if you are unhappy, you can stop treatment at any time.
Still not sure? Here’s what a few of our clients have to say.
The staff is great and offer a new way to treat addiction. They work at getting to the root of the problem. – DT
I definitely felt like I left with the tools I need to achieve lasting sobriety. – EH
Feeling self-worth again is pretty sweet. – JRLearn More
In recovery people often talk about sponsorship. This is someone who will guide you through your sobriety and the Twelve Steps to remain clean and sober. But, there is another aspect of recovery that is just as important; making friends!
For anyone in recovery, long term sobriety is strongly associated with the connections made in the rooms of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.
Just like the workplace developing strong relationships adds to the quality of a person’s life.
So, the alcoholic or addict needs to build friendships to be content and lead a fulfilling life in sobriety.
John C., a member of Alcoholics anonymous developed a friendship with Bob M. They always went to the same meeting and one day they were talking, fishing!
John was saying that he used to fish before he starting drinking heavily. He would often have a plan to go to the beach and do some surf casting. But, just like a typical alcoholic, he would make big plans and never follow through.
Bob had a few more years sober and regularly went to the beach to fish. So, he said, “John we’re going fishing this weekend”.
Sure enough they made plans and headed out for a day of fishing on an early Saturday morning. Bob and John fished, talked recovery and enjoyed the sunshine on that beautiful Saturday.
It soon became a regular thing and a long lasting friendship developed!
Mary B. discussed the value of such a friendship. After leaving treatment she went to meetings on a regular basis. She did not have a vehicle. Therefore, she would bike to meetings and work. Yet, after a while she met a woman, named Melissa, who offered to pick her up and take her to meetings and work.
A friendship developed and they spent more time together.
Thus, they started enjoying each other’s company and would talk a lot about living sober. Melissa was not Mary’s sponsor. She was just another alcoholic helping out a friend.
One day, they were out eating lunch. Mary mentioned that she was having thoughts about wanting to relapse. Melissa looked at her and simply said, “I don’t want to see you do that”. The sincerity in this her eyes and the tone of her voice was so caring that the thought of drinking again did not seem appealing anymore.
Having Friends in Recovery Enhances a Person’s Life
Mary and Melissa’s friendship prevented a relapse and enhanced the quality of Mary’s life. They still hang out to this day and have lots of great laughs.
Mary later conveyed to me that she often remembers this friend and others when she is going through tough times. They motivate her to stay sober! Twelve Step Meetings offer a better life and a deep sense of fellowship. That is what recovery is all about.Learn More
VA IOP Services explain how to beat the disease of addiction!
It is often recommended that once an individual leaves treatment he or she should do certain things to stay clean. Attending 12-step meetings, getting a sponsor, seeing a therapist and creating a spiritual life are some of the suggestions.
Doing these things will help the person be more self-aware and develop a new way of living. Therefore, a relapse will also be less likely.
Warning signs of relapse are crucial factors to learn while in treatment and if you learn them you will prevent another trip back to a treatment center.
One of the main reasons people relapse is because they cut back or stopped doing the things that people recommended to do to maintain sobriety. This is certainly a warning sign that someone is in danger of drinking or drugging.
Other warning signs might be a little more subtle. Some of which might be stress due to home, work, or financial worries. Others could be overworking, lack of sleep, difficulty concentrating, or irritability. Having such symptoms can be uncomfortable for the addict and can push them in the direction to want to escape these feelings.
Isolation and loneliness are other signs that someone can be on the verge of a relapse. It is often said that the worst place to be for an addict is alone in his or her own’s head. Therefore, an addict will need the help of others.
Additionally, when a person is becoming more and more self-centered this is a sign that there might be a problem.
So often recovering addicts will say get out of self and into others. In other words, in order to stay sober, it is important that you help others and give away what you have learned.
No one can do this alone. Be mindful of yourself and you will be prepared to take on the warning signs of a potential relapse.
Here are other examples of what others do to maintain long-term sobriety. It takes work and practice but if you put it to use you can be happy in sobriety.
One way to calm yourself throughout the day is through Meditation and/or Prayer. Being able to master a meditation practice, engage in conventional prayer or taking time out to quiet yourself is a great idea.
Next, self-care (including exercise) will help reduce stress. In early sobriety, most addicts have a very tired, worn-out and sometimes sick body. There are many things one can do to feel better. Healthy eating, regular sleep and frequent exercise are a good start.
Taking walks or joining a gym can be great ways to feel better. If possible, make an appointment with your primary care physician to get the care you may need and to get in the habit of staying current with your medical care.
It’s tough to stay sober in isolation. Many recovering persons have found the support they need in 12-step groups. Connecting with a church can also be a great support. Recovering people who become involved in some sort of spiritual practice get results.
Another way to improve your life is by volunteering in your community. If you are in a 12-Step group, you can find a service position. A few examples are making coffee for the group or greeting people at the door before the meeting starts.
VA IOP Services Stress that You Keep Doing the Things that Got You Sober!
Being aware of your weaknesses is also an important to maintaining sobriety. So, if hanging out with people who still use or if you are in an unhealthy relationship then make some changes because these are not the people who will support you in your recovery.
In addition, if you know that isolating has led to relapse in the past then do your best to get to know others in your meetings or church. Try going out for coffee or a bite to eat. This will also make it easier when you need to reach out for help.
But lastly, VA IOP Services stress that you avoid high-risk situations such as parties, bars and unpredictable family events. It’s recommended that in the first year, at the very least, to avoid them when possible or bring a friend along.
So, with the help of others and forming some healthy habits you will be on the right path to happiness. Good luck and try following some of these suggestions!
According to some statistics, only about eleven percent of people receive treatment for their addiction. Therefore, if you are lucky enough to get help and receive the gift of sobriety then please be grateful. It truly is a gift that should not be taken for granted. Any addict must understand the value of sobriety as it is is one of the keys to never drinking or drugging again.
I have a friend who has over thirty years clean and sober. He often points out what a miracle it is for him to not be in active addiction. He discusses the idea that at one time he drank daily. Now the gift to not drink which was so freely given to him allows to live a life second to none. He truly believes this is a blessing that he must cherish every day in order to maintain sobriety. Furthermore, he believes people with long term sobriety appreciate the gift more than earlier when first entering recovery. Also, he is very grateful that his children and grand children don’t think of him as a drinker. They see him as a great guy who goes to a lot of meetings! That is the value of remaining clean and sober.
A Grateful Heart Will Never Drink!
So, one question for a person in recovery is do you appreciate the gift of sobriety? The old timer told me that he values his recovery more and more as time goes on. He has seen so many people come into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and then disappear. Unfortunately, many who do not return end up in jail, institutions or very sadly die from the disease of addiction. But one thing for sure is that he believes addicts who show gratitude seem to have a better chance at remaining drug and alcohol free.
By: Kristin Fisher
Exercise may not be your favorite thing to do. Too often, it might be the last thing you want to think about when you’re trying to maintain your sobriety. But the truth is that regular workouts, or any kind of physical activity, can be an integral part of your efforts to stay sober. Research even backs it up!
Studies suggest that adding exercise to addiction treatment can strengthen the effects of recovery. How? Studies have shown that exercise leads to a sense of accomplishment and feeling stronger. This leads to improved health and increased confidence in staying sober. Not only that, but exercise releases our natural feel good chemicals, endorphins. The key is to find something you enjoy doing and build it into your weekly routine!
Exercise relieves and reduces stress. Exercise has been shown to reduce both physical and psychological stress. Tension builds in our bodies when we’re at work or during everyday interactions. The same is true even when we’re watching television. This tension can come from having poor posture or just having a bad interaction with a person. Moving your body reduces this tension. It allows you to get rid of any negative emotions you have been keeping in.
Exercise naturally and positively alters your brain chemistry. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which create a natural high. These are the same endorphins your body released while you abused substances. Regular physical activity during treatment and recovery will help you reintroduce natural levels of endorphins in your system. This not only helps you feel better, but re-teaches your body to regulate your own brain chemistry and mood in healthy, natural ways.
The Mayo Clinic has described exercise as “meditation in motion,” meaning by concentrating on the physical we can experience the psychological and emotional benefits of meditation. Through movement, we can refocus our thoughts on our own well-being. This allows us to forget, at least briefly, all that is going on in our lives. You may leave your workout with a clearer mind, feeling more rejuvenated and optimistic. Finding this clarity within chaos can make recovery much more manageable.
Exercise Improves Your Outlook!
Exercise improves your outlook. Those who exercise regularly report increased feelings of self-confidence and optimism. Moreover, reduced feelings of depression and anxiety have also been reported. This in part has to do with the body regulating and calibrating itself during exercise. But, it also has to do with feelings of accomplishment, pride, and self-worth as you see your body transform and your goals reached. As you reach certain benchmarks you feel more accomplished, and this reinforces the goal of continued sobriety as attainable.Learn More
Meditation is a practice that goes back thousands of years. Essentially meditation involves quieting the mind and concentrating on a specific thought or idea. It is usually done in a quiet place but can also be done in group settings. Meditation can be done for just a few minutes or an hour or more. Meditation can also be done any time of day. However, it is most effective if incorporated into a daily routine at the same time and same place each day. It can be used regardless of spiritual beliefs, and people who mediate do so to relieve stress and feel more centered.
Research supports meditation as an effective addiction recovery technique. Several studies have found that addicted individuals who used meditation had lower levels of relapse and had more positive outcomes after a relapse. Meditation is effective because it rewires critical pathways in the brain. In one study, people who meditated for approximately 30 minutes daily for 8 weeks showed an increase in gray matter in the parts of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, and introspection. By changing how the brain processes self-awareness, introspection, anxiety, and stress, addicts can reasonably evaluate everyday situations, and react to them more appropriately. Meditation’s positive effect on stress and anxiety is especially important because both are frequent triggers for relapse. In essence, addicts may use it to slow down their breathing and calm their nerves then they’re feeling anxious or stressed.
Meditation is easy to learn and can be done almost anywhere!
Meditation can take a variety of forms. One can sit quietly and focus on their breathing, a spiritual connection, or a specific thing or thought. Another form is mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation involves examining one’s feelings, thoughts and experiences in a nonjudgmental way. Addiction usually involves acting on impulses. So, mindfulness meditation can help an addict examine their thoughts and urges and carefully consider how to react to them. Finally, meditative exercise combines meditation with physical motion, which promotes a connection between mind, body and spirit. An example is yoga or Tai Chi.
A great advantage of adding mediation as part of your daily routine is that it is easy to learn and can be done almost everywhere. Meditative techniques can be used to lower the body’s automatic response to stress and greatly enhance recovery efforts!Learn More
So, it’s 7:50 A.M. on a Saturday morning. I’m making coffee for my meeting. No, today I don’t have to worry about the giant coffee pot or putting out the Styrofoam cups. This morning it’s just me and the Keurig making a single, albeit over sized, cup of coffee for one. You might be thinking I’m going to put it in a thermos and rush out the door to get to the meeting on time at 8 o’clock. No. This meeting is different. I won’t actually be with people for this one, but I’ll be with lots of people. Huh? “Are you sure this guys in recovery?” you might be thinking. “He sounds a little…out there”. Oh no, I’m not (well not too far anyway) and I’m happily in recovery.
But this morning it’s me, my coffee, my Kindle Fire, and 50 friends who are joining from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world! We are attending a 12 step meeting on InTheRooms.com If you are in recovery and haven’t heard of InTheRooms you are really missing out.
For the old timers I’ll add the disclaimer that one should not solely use online meetings and that it is still important to go to the face-to-face variety. I believe that. Also, I know for a fact that the online meetings have added additional spark for me as a person in long term recovery. Imagine being able to go to AA, NA, Trauma and the 12 steps, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Gamblers Anonymous, Meditation, and many other meetings from the comfort of your own home! InTheRooms.com makes it easy to do just that.
Stop Your Addiction by Using Meetings on a Screen?!
Here’s how you get started. Go to InTheRooms.com and create a username and password (just like Facebook). The home page has messages from members, daily meditations, and it will tell you if a meeting is in progress. Be sure to create a profile (you can keep it anonymous, or not) and join your primary fellowship. Then click on the Video Meetings tab to see the weekly schedule, learn how to use the platform, and start jumping into meetings!
If you are a little shy and don’t want people to see your face when you share, you can simply put a small piece of tape on your camera. This is an opportunity for you to give and receive recovery on a global level. I hope you’ll see this as a beneficial tool on your journey. And remember, InTheRooms.com is just like every other recovery related tool… It works if you work it.
by Billy HoffmanLearn More
Lifesaving online addiction treatment program is the first of its kind in the country~
Richmond, VA (April 7, 2017)– Williamsville Wellness, a Richmond-based addiction treatment program is proud to announce the launch of smartIOP, the first online intensive outpatient program (IOP) for drug and alcohol abuse licensed by the state of Virginia. The new online IOP is a new feature of their full comprehensive, holistic treatment program for adults with alcohol and other substance-related addictions. read moreLearn More
There is a real drug problem in Virginia. Often times Virginia IOPS are mandated by judges in Virginia to address drug problems. An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is for alcoholics or drug users. It supports and teaches people how to live a sober life. Often it is something that the courts and insurance companies will recommend before or after a 30 day inpatient program.
Such programs typically take place in the early evening hours. Normally patients will meet four days a week, three hours each day and for about eight weeks. Group therapy is part of the treatment along sometimes with individual therapy. Educational videos may also be a part of the program. Many times patients will be randomly drug tested. The main idea is that it promotes sober living strategies and addresses the many issues that patients will experience in early sobriety.
One benefit of this program is that if you are experiencing something challenging you can bring it up for a topic of discussion. Other patients may have had similar problems and can discuss how they worked through them. It is a great forum to bounce ideas around and get immediate feedback. Other advantages of this program are that you can continue living at home and work full-time.
Virginia IOPS: Stop Using
Relapse prevention is another key focus of an IOP. Identifying the many signs of relapse and learning the tools to avoid these pitfalls will be one of the major topics. Learning about thought patterns and cravings will also help minimize relapse.
One article discusses the length of inpatient treatment programs and the use of an IOP following such treatment. As discussed earlier an IOP is sometimes used before entering a 30 day program. Many insurance companies will pay for this treatment in hopes that you will be successful. Many patients are successful and never have to enter an inpatient program. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings along with an IOP can also increase your chances of maintaining long term sobriety. You will certainly gain a few smiles with your new achievements!Learn More