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Mindfulness is an important part of recovery

How to Practise Mindfulness at Home

Anyone who stays with us at Smarmore Castle practises mindfulness, helping you develop the skills you need to keep yourself strong and continue into a healthy recovery when you leave treatment with us. If you’ve been with us and are looking for a reminder of this, take a moment to remember being in the meeting room with your peers. Now that you’re at home, life can get overwhelming, especially when you are in early recovery. You may be thinking about a new career, tending to your family, trying to save some money, or doing them all at once! Things can…

One step which can sometimes feel like a giant leap

Step 1 of the 12-Steps

Smarmore Castle’s treatment is based on the 12 Steps of addiction recovery, which takes people who are suffering with addiction and helps you learn how to beat your addiction. This article provides an overview of Step 1, and it may be helpful for anyone who has already been through 12-Step treatment to return to this from time-to-time. Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” To admit that you are powerless over alcohol or drugs is one of the most challenging yet crucial aspects to recovery. This step can be very difficult…

One person's reflection on their recovery from addiction

A reflection of recovery by a past patient at Smarmore Castle

A former patient at Smarmore Castle sent us this reflection, looking back at their recovery journey, and we hope this helps anyone who is daunted by the prospect of treatment for addiction. You can come through this. Reflection of recovery by a past patient “As I sit here – two and a half years clean and sober – and reflect on my journey up to this point, I am overwhelmed with how far I have come. Overwhelmed with pride, with gratitude, self-acceptance, worthiness, and happiness- Things I never believed I would say but today, thanks to recovery, I can. “In…

Losing a pet - or any loved one - in recovery can be hard

Losing a pet and a family member in recovery

Anyone who has lost loved ones or who loves animals may identify with this little segment, written by a former patient at Smarmore Castle. “I have always had a love of animals from a young age, however over the course of my addiction I was lucky to be able to look after my kids and myself – let alone a pet. “When I came into recovery my mother gave me a little dog – a pug called Bentley.  I could not change his name as he was given to my mother by a couple in the process of a divorce…

What is Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism Like?

What is Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism Like?

There are many types of approaches to treatment for addiction, be it alcoholism, drug addiction or a behavioural addiction. They can range from self-help to outpatient to inpatient programmes. Each has its benefits and downsides. Inpatient treatment, and the rarer intensive outpatient treatment programmes, are the most effective forms of treatment. But there are a number of reasons that outpatient treatment for alcoholism should be considered when looking at addiction treatment. For example, you may not be able to afford rehab, take extended time away from your responsibilities, or have an available programme you can go to. Or you may…

Can Naltrexone Help with Alcohol Addiction?

Can Naltrexone Help with Alcohol Addiction?

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. That means it binds to opioid receptors in the brain and prevents opioid drugs from relieving pain or causing euphoria. It binds so strongly that if you take naltrexone while there are opioids in your system, you will immediately go into withdrawal. Naltrexone has also been shown to reduce alcohol consumption. Just as it blocks the euphoria of opioids, naltrexone takes the pleasure out of drinking. You can drink all you want and never enjoy it. You still get the impaired coordination, the slurred speech, and all the other effects of alcohol, but it’s just…

What Causes Cravings?

What Causes Cravings?

Cravings are one of the biggest challenges of recovery. A craving is the feeling that you absolutely must use or you will go crazy. Even if you know rationally that using would be bad, that you don’t need to use, and you really shouldn’t use, you still obsess over using again. What makes you stubbornly refuse to submit to your own best judgement? When you’re first trying to quit, cravings make perfect sense. You are used to having a certain level of a substance in your system, and when that level drops, your body senses there’s something wrong and you…

How to Keep Cravings from Ruining Your Recovery

How to Keep Cravings from Ruining Your Recovery

Fighting cravings is perhaps the biggest challenge in recovery. A craving is no mere desire. It’s the feeling that you must have something. At first, cravings are triggered by the pain of withdrawal. During detox, you know you only need to use again and the pain will stop. Later on, cravings are triggered by anything you associate with drugs or alcohol. You may walk past a bar and even though you know you shouldn’t go in, the part of your brain that associates walking to the bar with drinking gets excited. Once you’ve triggered memories and anticipation of using, it…

How to Find Your Triggers

How to Find Your Triggers

A trigger is anything that provokes a craving. Cravings don’t usually come out of nowhere. Even if you aren’t always aware of a trigger, something stirred your memories of using. Staying sober requires you are aware of your triggers to you can avoid them as much as possible. If you can’t avoid them, being aware of a trigger makes it easier to brace yourself against cravings. Here are the main kinds of triggers to watch out for. Environmental triggers. These are usually obvious. If you walk into a public bathroom and it smells like marijuana, that could be a strong…

Is Alcohol Addiction an Allergy?

Is Alcohol Addiction an Allergy?

There is a belief in AA that alcohol addiction is an allergy. This stems from an explanation in the Big Book about why some people are incapable of drinking alcohol in moderation. Dr. William Silkworth describes alcoholism as an allergy in ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’. He writes, ‘We believe […] that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker’. The characterization of alcohol addiction as an allergy is somewhat confusing because there is such a thing as…