What Skills Do I Need For Maintaining Healthy Diet and Nutrition in Recovery?

Do You Have an Eating Disorder If You are not Underweight?

A healthy diet with sound nutrition is a foundation for wellness. Those in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction don’t always know where to begin to create healthy habits. After years of drugs and alcohol being the only priority, knowing where to start to maintain healthy diet and nutrition can be a challenge.

As you gain more health in your recovery journey, you may wonder how to learn some of the basics of self-care. One great area to expand your knowledge is with cultivating a healthy diet and nutrition. The basics are simple. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (peas, beans, and lentils). Here are 5 specific skills for maintaining healthy diet and nutrition everyone needs in recovery:

  1. Learn to read product labels. There are many great tutorials available on youtube and online to teach you how to read labels. There are two key ideas you can keep in mind when reading ingredients. If you don’t know what something is or can’t pronounce it, it most likely isn’t going to aid in sound nutrition. Another idea is to stick with products that have 5 or less ingredients. As food processing increases, nutritional value decreases. Stay away from super processed, chemically laden foods.
  2. Shop the perimeter of the store. In the perimeter of the store you usually find fresh fruits, vegetables, lean dairy, and lean meats. In the center you find sugar cereal, top ramen, and other highly processed foods with little to no nutritional value.
  3. Plan meals. Planning meals helps you plan your time, reduce spending because you won’t be throwing food away, and eases stress when you are driving home with a growling stomach. You can start small by just planning dinner.
  4. Eat the rainbow. Vitamins and minerals that our bodies need are found in a wide variety of food. See how many colors of food you can get in each meal. You might make a chicken stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, red chard, red bell pepper, corn, and spinach. Make sure you are getting plenty of green leafy vegetables
  5. Prep food one day of the week. You can make a batch of brown rice, chop veggies, and roast a chicken. Having some of your food already prepped and cooked increases the likelihood of making healthy choices. You can try making a large batch of chili for lunch for the week.

After years of negligence, cultivating healthy choices in recovery takes practice. You do it one step at a time. Pick one to start with and practice for 3 weeks. You will find new habits form much quicker than you think.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center provides a 5 week long rehab program to men and women seeking to make their lives more beautiful through recovery. Let treatment at Serenity Oaks be the beginning of your beautiful life of recovery. Start today by calling us for information: 855.652.2683

10 Things Everyone Experiences in Early Recovery

Reasons Why You Need to Go to Al-Anon

First meeting jitters

It can be intimidating to go anywhere for the first time much less a meeting in a 12-Step program.  Fear of the unknown of what will happen during a meeting or what people who attend meetings will be like can make anyone’s stomach have butterflies.


Recovery and support go together like peas in a pod. If an addict is in recovery, they are making a concerted effort to stay sober.  Whether it be 12-Step support or support from loved ones, people applaud results that come from recovery.

Appreciating surrounding beauty

Substance abuse can put blinders on an addict’s eyes. They may not be able to enjoy the things that occur naturally around them due to the abuse of drugs or alcohol.  Once the blinders come off in recovery, the bloom of a flower or the serenity of a sunset can be noticed and be delighted in more freely.


Waving a white flag of surrender to the disease of addiction is the beginning of recovery. Surrender may be viewed as a sign of weakness, but in the recovery world, it is a sign of strength.


Feelings of all kind come out in recovery. Addicts usually numb themselves to avoid any feelings. Having these emotions for the first time in recovery may seem peculiar.  To prevent relapse, it is suggested to work through these feelings by doing step work.

Mood Swings

Feelings can be difficult to process in recovery creating mood swings. Meditating, exercising, sleeping, and watching diet and water consumption are ways to help keep mood swings to a minimum.


The backbone of recovery is solution. Solution must be prevalent to stay sober because without it, addicts would not have any idea how to recover. Thoughts of solution keeps the eye on the prize of recovery.


Fear is a human characteristic.  Living a new life of recovery and not knowing what will happen next are sure to create fear in some addicts. The spiritual side of a 12-Step program is important to foster, because the opposite of fear is faith.

Newfound sense of life

Change is inevitable when in recovery. Abusing drugs and alcohol usually initiates a chaotic lifestyle. A new lifestyle can emerge by having a purpose for betterment in recovery.

Healthier Habits

Recovery helps facilitates an overall well-being in health.  Eating, sleeping, being connected to others, grooming, and relaxation are all activities that recovery recommends for basic contentment.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center seeks to adorn each client which comes through our 5 week program by taking their life and making it more beautiful with the tools of recovery. Call us today for information: 855.652.2683

What Are Small Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Everyday?

How Do I Know if I Had a Spiritual Awakening?

Mindfulness is defined as “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.” Anyone who has ever had the experience of arriving at their destination only to realize they don’t remember any of the trip knows mindfulness can be a challenge.
If you could benefit from being more present and reducing judgment, practicing mindfulness can help. Here are 8 ways you can practice mindfulness everyday:

  1. Breathe. Our bodies intuitively know how to do this life affirming practice. Allowing yourself to actually experience your breath. Notice the feeling of the air coming into your nostrils and the sensation on your upper lip as you exhale. You can simply start by doing this for 10 breaths. Restroom breaks are a good reminder to focus on your breath.
  2. Be present. Pick one task you do daily and commit to being fully present for it. Allow yourself to really hear the water run as you wash your dishes. Feel the suds on your hands. Listen to the sound of the clean plate when you move your finger across it.
  3. Practice Acceptance. Accepting life on life’s terms can ease stress and tension. Your car is broken, try accepting it. Rejecting the notion that your car is broken doesn’t magically make it work. Accepting it and then taking action from that place can lead to mindfulness.
  4. Eat mindfully. Eat when you are hungry. Sit at the table free from distractions like phones, books, or TV. Notice the sensation of chewing your food. Notice the subtle flavors.
  5. Write a gratitude list. Each day make a list of 5 things you have to be grateful for. This helps you focus on the present day.
  6. Slow down. Challenge yourself to slow your pace down. If you usually open your eyes and start checking email, try setting a timer for 10 minutes before you pick up your phone. If you tend to ignore traffic laws, try driving the speed limit for an entire week.
  7. Have fun. Laugh. Play. Enjoy.
  8. Put Your Phone Down. Take a break from technology. This might be an entire day or if you are just starting just 60 minutes.

Mindfulness has many benefits. Try practicing these simple steps. Mindfulness can become a habit. It just takes practice.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center provides a 5 week long rehab program to men and women seeking to make their lives more beautiful through recovery. Let treatment at Serenity Oaks be the beginning of your beautiful life of recovery. Start today by calling us for information: 855.652.2683

5 Ways to Heal the Family

5 Ways to Heal the Family

Now that help has been sought out and the addict is at treatment, it is time for the family to begin healing, too.  This is the perfect opportunity to reflect, reconnect, and realize the next phase of recovery.  


Addiction is a disease that not only tries to kill the body, but also the world around the host.  Family members have been involved in the entire process.  It’s time for them to heal, too.  Lots of emotions will come up that need to be dealt with properly.  Seeking help is a great way to face these feelings of anger, hurt, and guilt.  Talking to someone also helps understand perspectives.  It will give the family an opportunity to understand the addict’s point of view and how to communicate how they feel about the situation.


Disengaging from the addict will give the family space and time to refocus back on themselves.  Paying more attention to personal needs will help them adjust to a new life, just as the addict is trying to do with recovery.  This will help both sides detach if there are codependent behaviors.

Coping Skills

Codependency is common with addiction.  Codependent behaviors can come from the friends and family, or from the addict.  These behaviors can enable both parties to do negative things, such as lie or hide from addictive behaviors.  Having the family practice coping skills can do two things.  First, it will give them some relaxation and help them discover who they are without the addict around.  Second, it can give the family and the addict something to reconnect with.  It can be easier to communicate over an activity versus face to face therapy.   

Supporting Instead of Enabling

The loved ones will also have time to realize there has been a vicious cycle between themselves and the addict.  Enabling behaviors can be redirected into supportive behaviors.  This can be done through Al-Anon meetings or therapy.  Create a toolbox of ‘go to’ reactions to counteract the addict’s behaviors.  These will assist in breaking the cycle.

Skills to Communicate

Having the time to disconnect gives the family space to determine how they want to communicate and express their feelings to the addict.  Creating techniques to improve discussion between family members is a great strength.  Resources are available through recovery programs and therapy.

The family can prepare for the addicts return home.  Finding housing, if necessary, or activities to keep the recovering addict busy, are great tools to have available.  This will be a difficult time for everyone.  Being prepped on what to expect will ensure some comfort in the process.


Serenity Oaks Wellness Center seeks to adorn each client which comes through our 5 week program by taking their life and making it more beautiful with the tools of recovery. Call us today for information: 855.652.2683

Which Pain Management Medications Are Addictive?

Which Pain Management Medications Are Addictive?

No one wants to live in pain. You doctor may prescribe addictive pain management medications as part of your treatment. There are multitude of reasons doctors prescribe addictive pain management medications. These can include recovery from surgery or an injury, or chronic pain. Regardless of what leads you to pain management medication, there are some things you should know.

There are a variety of types of pain management medications. Opiates are the most common addictive pain management medications prescribed. They reduce the intensity of pain signals sent to the brain which alter the perception of pain. They are best used to treat short term pain.

Opioids, when taken long-term, can create complications. These may include increased tolerance. They also may not interact well when taken with other pain medications or alcohol. Some examples of opiate pain medication include Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone.

Muscle relaxants are also used to treat pain and can be addictive. They are most often prescribed for muscle spasms or muscle tightness. Some examples are Soma (Carisoprodol) and Valium (Diazepam). These also may be habit forming.

A final drug that can lead to addiction is Tramadol (Ultram). It is an opioid-like pain management medication that carries many of the same risks as opioids. If you have a history of drug or alcohol dependence it is important you share that with your doctor as you have an increased likelihood of developing an addiction.

There are a variety of alternatives to addictive pain management medications. The most commonly used are NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications treat inflammation which is often the root cause of pain. Another over the counter option is Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Tylenol is one pain management medication that can often be used in conjunction with other medications.

Other types of medications that are prescribed for pain include anticonvulsants and antidepressants. The first decreases nerve sensitivity. This could be shooting pain down the leg or post shingles pain. Antidepressants can increase pain tolerance in patients by increases substances in the brain.

When you are in pain, you want it to stop. Pain management medications can be a great resource for alleviating pain. There are other alternatives such as acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy. Work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you now and your future health. Knowledge is power.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center provides a 5 week long rehab program to men and women seeking to make their lives more beautiful through recovery. Let treatment at Serenity Oaks be the beginning of your beautiful life of recovery. Start today by calling us for information: 855.652.2683

How You Can Best Support Someone In Treatment

How You Can Best Support Someone In Treatment

It seems that it has been a long time coming.  The lying, scamming, and manipulating has brought the family to seek more help.  Once the addict is in recovery, the family has to regain control over their own lives while still supporting the healing addict.  This can be a very difficult balance.  Many families will find that they are worried about saying the wrong thing.  Mixed feelings of guilt, anger, resentment, and empathy start to become overwhelming.  Reacting properly is very imperative at this crossroad.

A few steps that can be taken will not make the journey easy, but it can help the healing process and some of these steps are necessary to see the loved one succeed.  Communication can be very tricky.  It is best to seek advice from a professional or coach that is helping with the process.

Writing a letter to the addict is difficult, but everyone will want to express their feelings.  When writing, it is good to start with love and compassion.  Some may feel that forgiveness will also be helpful, but not everyone will be ready to do so.  Give forgiveness a chance, in time.  Don’t let conflicting emotions get in the way of supporting the addict.  Encouraging confidence and offering support are the best courses of action.

Join in on the counseling if the facility will allow it.  Set up an appointment with the therapist prior to the meeting.  This will gage the tone of the meeting and set guidelines of what to expect.  It will help to prepare what to discuss.  This will also help control emotions from getting too out of control.  Let them know that support is here, but they need to know they are here for themselves and that needs to be the focus.

Many excuses will arise.  Most addicts try to convince their families that they don’t need to be there.  It is important to let the professionals determine when it is safe for them to come home.  Again, let them know that you are there to support them through this tough time, but they need the support of the doctors and staff, also.

The family members shouldn’t be afraid to say no to the addict.  They will have mixed feelings about this, but it will be what is best for the addict.  The treatment is only the beginning.  After treatment, there are more steps to take to ensure success into sobriety, but it is best to focus on one stage of recovery at a time.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center seeks to adorn each client which comes through our 5 week program by taking their life and making it more beautiful with the tools of recovery. Call us today for information: 855.652.2683

How Family of Origin Effects Addiction

How to Help a Loved One When They Return from Rehab

Family of origin is a factor with our addiction to alcohol. Although we are alcoholics because we have an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind when taking that first drink, we can also have a predisposition for addiction through hereditary and situational circumstances. Family of origin also aides in the statistics of abusing alcohol higher in a few affiliated instances.

The family already has alcoholism in their household.

A typical structure of an alcoholic family is consisted of an alcoholic parent, a codependent parent, one child as a hero, and one child as the scapegoat. It becomes imperative to each family member to maintain their roles in this dysfunctional family setting because it is the only normalcy the family knows. These roles will generally stay with everyone until help from therapy is followed.

A hero takes on the role of the over-achiever and usually excels at sports and academics. The scapegoat is the member of the family that gets blamed for everything that goes wrong within the household. These personifications can be too much for anyone to uphold. The hero can become weary in keeping the par so high as well as feeling like they are only loved because of their achievements. The scapegoat can feel alienated much of the time because they feel responsible for all the negative aspects in their home. Both roles can cause undue stress that often leads to alcoholism because it is part of the cycle that was evident in the first place.

Along with the dysfunction of a family comes secrets.  

A dysfunctional family hides because “if anybody knew what was really going on inside our family, they would be appalled”. Secrets are a coping mechanism that help dysfunctional families stay active. Since the family already exhibits judgement and contempt within the family, the goal is to protect the family from the outside world doing the same. “We are as sick as our secrets” can be heard in many 12-Step programs. Keeping secrets creates a need for perfectionism which is one of the characteristics that make alcoholics want to continue abusing alcohol.

To live with secrets and alcoholism that occur in the family of origin are difficult tasks because they afflict our self-esteem and they make us feel inadequate. We begin to try to escape like our example of alcoholism did which keeps the cycle of alcoholism alive. Having alcohol readily from our family of origin can help the inception of our alcohol addiction that started with our very first drink.


Serenity Oaks Wellness Center seeks to adorn each client which comes through our 5 week program by taking their life and making it more beautiful with the tools of recovery. Call us today for information: 855.652.2683

What Are The Best Alternative Healing Methods for Addiction Recovery?

5 Myths About Addiction

Addiction can bring about a whole multitude of health problems. Using nontraditional therapies for recovery from addiction has been proven to be beneficial for the person in treatment. Effectiveness of these treatments have been a motivator for some to complete their program purely based on their fulfillment of these practices. The process of alternative healing methods addresses the entire person in mind, body, and spirit instead of just working on the behavioral side of addiction.


Touch is one of the five senses that signals the brain. Massage can be instrumental in treating the mind holistically. Physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits can show patients how to trust again through therapeutic massage. Massage also increases dopamine and serotonin levels which decreases stress hormones and lowers high blood pressure and heart rate. Detox symptoms can be significantly reduced by massage efforts.

Equine Therapy

Therapy through the interaction of horses and patients promotes emotional growth. Equine assisted therapy is accompanied by an equine specialist along with a licensed therapist. The synergy from the horse can directly relate with how the addict view’s themselves and how they view others. Deep seeded issues tend to be brought about by the relationship with their horse conveying new behaviors and thoughts.

Mindfulness Therapy

When addicts are practicing their addiction, most likely they are using their addiction to forget about how they are feeling or soothe themselves from excruciating past experiences. Anesthetization disconnects an addict from their body. Mindfulness therapy can be useful in creating awareness instead of operating like a robot through the life of addiction.


Detox symptoms and cravings can be reduced through the procedure of acupuncture. One form of acupuncture, called ear buds, takes thin needles and inserts them into a person’s ear to target 5 specific areas to to promote relaxation. Ear buds can have a positive effect, as do other acupuncture methods, to regulate emotions and decrease anxiety.


Reiki is a Japanese technique that can bolster healing in addiction by easement and stress alleviation. The idea is to treat the entire body by the laying of hands or hovering of hands to bring out an unseen life energy that causes individuals to feel alive. Reiki helps with detox symptoms as well as releasing feelings of rejuvenation and reducing stress in a person’s life.


Essential oils can be used to treat specific ailments by inhalation or applying oils to the skin. Since the oils are obtained from natural plant sources, they promote calmness, emotional well-being, and balance. Aromatherapy has been favorable in triggering positive awareness through fragrant sensations.  

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center provides a 5 week long rehab program to men and women seeking to make their lives more beautiful through recovery. Let treatment at Serenity Oaks be the beginning of your beautiful life of recovery. Start today by calling us for information: 855.652.2683

Foundations of Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Gratitude Vs. Thankfulness

Relationships require maintenance on a day to day basis. They take work by all the participants that are involved. When we are in recovery, we have many things that we need to address to move forward and grow.  One of the things that we must learn in recovery is how to have a foundation in a healthy relationship. Some of the best references in relationship building can be found in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Stop holding grudges.

Move on from the problem and do not harbor resentments. The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64 states “Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender.” We must get rid of grudges quickly and kindly. This action goes a long way in relationship building.

Try having emotional sobriety.

Emotional sobriety is defined in the big book of Alcoholic Anonymous, page 99 as, “These things will come to pass naturally and in good time provided, however, the alcoholic continues to demonstrate that he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does.” This passage says it all.  It doesn’t matter what they are doing. If we want to be emotionally, fit we solely focus on our actions.

“Pause when agitated”. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 87)

We are taught to be rigorously honest in our recovery.  That does not mean that we should tell everyone exactly what we are thinking.  We should not keep secrets anymore, but instead of blowing up in a relationship, call a sponsor or a close recovery friend to purge your problems.  We can use these questions to figure out whether it is appropriate to communicate what is going on. Does it need to be said?  Does it need to be said by me?  Does it need to be said by me now?

Learn from the disagreement.

“Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like the plague” is what the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 98 reveals about disagreements. Most relationships have disagreements at some point, but it is what we do during the conflict that matters the most. Once the disagreement is over, it is helpful to look at our part in it to keep us from repeating the same mistakes again.

Put recovery first.

Recovery is our number one priority.  Putting recovery first is essential in sealing our foundation in relationships.  With recovery and the tools that are suggested, we can tread lightly in situations that may arise from frustration or fear. We also have many principles that can connect us to the people we love. Putting recovery into our relationships can help create long-lasting healthy relationships.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center seeks to adorn each client which comes through our 5 week program by taking their life and making it more beautiful with the tools of recovery. Call us today for information: 855.652.2683

Can I Keep My Old Friends After I Get Sober?

Can I Have Fun in Early Sobriety?

The common phrase of “new playmates and new playgrounds” promotes discovering different people to hang with and different places to frequent in sobriety. To get good quality recovery, you must change everything about your life where addiction played a part. Early sobriety can leave you susceptible to being influenced by the peers that surround you. Old flings, using buddies, dealers, or old friends that you hang out with regularly can be a bad influence in a time that is important to learn a new healthy lifestyle. To focus on early recovery, leaving behind old friends and your neighborhood for a significant amount of time can make a big difference in the quality of your recovery.

Try sober living

Sober living is a great way to cohabit with people that may have similar triggers and similar issues. Staying in a sober house lets you become part of a group that is experiencing the same challenges with the same rules. Housemates can usually identify with each other to form common unity.

Practice what to say

Be prepared when someone from your old life contacts you. Recovery unfortunately does not make bad influences just go away. You will have to be ready when they contact you by practicing what to say, which is what treatment, therapy, and an ongoing personal program of recovery will prepare you for. Setting boundaries is okay to protect your sobriety. Role playing in therapy can help you engage with the possibility that someone may try to tempt you back into the life you are trying to escape from.

Put Yourself Out There

Finding new friends can seem impossible to you because that means that you may have to approach people that you have never met before and start conversations. You will be elated by the results you get from putting yourself out there.

Build a Sober Tribe

Sobriety may be viewed as boring or uncool to some. To most people in recovery, it is a blast to be sober! Finding friends that are sober can make a big difference in your recovery. You tend to be like the people you surround yourself daily. Being around like-minded people in recovery can be a game changer to halt relapse.

Accept recovery support

There is recovery support that is available for the taking. 12-Step programs have great tools to help you embrace sobriety, but you have to first accept the support that is offered before you it will work for you. Try going to meetings and working with a sponsor to open your perspective to new places and new people.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center provides a 5 week long rehab program to men and women seeking to make their lives more beautiful through recovery. Let treatment at Serenity Oaks be the beginning of your beautiful life of recovery. Start today by calling us for information: 855.652.2683