AA – Against Athiests?

19 Apr

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There have been a few recent stories in the news about  Alcohol Anonymous and it’s connection to religion or a ‘higher power’. A man in Toronto is claiming that he has been discriminated against due to being an Agnostic or Atheist. Can those without belief in a higher power still be accepted in the AA community or do secular addicts need to form their own support networks?

Read on HERE to find out.

What’s the difference? Alcohol Abuse vs Dependence

12 Apr

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Alcoholism can be described in different ways, for example using the term ‘alcohol abuse’ or the term ‘alcohol dependence’. Do both of these descriptions mean the same thing? The answer is NO. No they do not mean the same thing at all.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

The term ‘alcohol abuse’ refers to someone who drinks alcohol to the point of harming themselves or to the point of engaging in risky behaviors like driving under the influence or having unprotected sex. A person who abuses alcohol will do so in spite of the consequences they face each time they drink. They will repeat this behavior time and time again and allow the wreckage to build up all around them. Alcohol abusers have impaired cognitive abilities and impaired judgement when it comes to decision making. This bad decision making and the consequences that arise from it will inevitably create tension in interpersonal relationships and will negatively affect their performance in all areas of their life. This person may not have become ‘alcohol dependent’ yet but the constant damage to the brain, liver and digestive tract will accumulate and soon become a major health issue. Unlike someone who has become alcohol dependent the alcohol abuser may still have some self control over how much and when they drink.

What is Alcohol Dependency?

Someone who is ‘alcohol dependent’ has a physical and psychological need and desire to drink alcohol. They have abused alcohol to such an extent that it becomes required by the body to function. This person has now built up a tolerance to the copious amounts of alcohol that they consume and are able to drink large quantities with little outward evidence. When they don’t feed the body the required dose of alcohol their body begins to crave it. The four criteria used to diagnose true alcohol dependency are high tolerance, uncontrolled daily drinking binges, cravings for alcohol and outward physical signs of withdrawal when not drinking. Both the abuser and the dependent alcoholic are at risk of serious health consequences from liver disease to cancer but while alcohol abuse is highly and quite easily treatable, alcohol dependency requires skilled assistance in a medically assisted detox facility. It takes time and a strong network of support for the dependent person to break free of the chains of their addiction.

This skilled and quality assistance can be found here at Cornerstone of Southern California in our DHCS licensed and certified, Joint Commission accredited Inpatient Residential Detox Program. We have been helping addicts for 32 years and are ready right now to help.

Addiction Recovery – STICKING WITH YOUR RESOLUTIONS

6 Apr

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Many of us make new year’s resolutions at the end of each year and find that a few weeks into our new gym routine or diet regimen we begin to falter and fade back into our old unwanted habits. One of the very best ways to stay on track with your new goals, especially when you are an addict in recovery, is to create a plan that will help keep you motivated. There will always be struggles and moments when you aren’t sure you can go on but when you have a plan you can quickly regain your footing. Read on to learn a few great tips on how to make a plan and stick to it!

Make a list of the reasons why you are making the change:

You have committed to making a change. Great! Now you need to stay motivated. First thing you need to do is make a list of all the positive reasons why this life-change will benefit you and what those benefits are. Make a few copies of this list and put them in different places that you know you will see every day. Some reasons don’t need to be written down but instead could be represented by a picture of someone you love or the person who motivates you to stay with your goals. These images and your list will keep you focused on the positive benefits your new goals will create in your life.

Make another list of things that encourage you:

What motivates or encourages you? Is it a song or a short video? Maybe someone famous or someone who has accomplished the very same goal you are in the process of achieving? Make a habit of listening to the song that pushes you or watching the video that encourages you whenever you are struggling. I have found that Youtube.com has thousands of inspirational videos that will motivate you. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lean on your friends, family and your sponsor:

Everyone needs a healthy support system of family and friends, whether you are in recovery or not, who will help you along the way. Remember who will push you to be better in this group and make a point to speak to them regularly about your progress or even your lack of progress. Your sponsor is an excellent well of strength and encouragement, so use them as much as you feel the need to. They will give you the pep-talk that you need to correct your course and realign with your commitments. You can even schedule when you plan on interacting with your sponsor or motivators each week to stay honest.

Start writing in a daily journal:

There will be hills and valleys along your path to change. Writing your daily gains and losses is a healthy way to keep track of how you are doing on a daily basis. This action also makes you much more accountable for your actions and inactions. You will see when you miss an activity or a goal and will be more inclined to make up the activity at a later time instead of just forgetting about it. Listing the reasons why you missed doing something you were supposed to do can be an eye opener in and of itself. You will learn what works for you and what doesn’t, what triggers you and what doesn’t.

Find a home group and attend regularly:

Our family, friends and sponsors are an excellent start to a strong support group but attending a regular group AA meeting is also a major step in the right direction. Listening to the hardships and accomplishments of your peers in recovery is a powerful thing that will push you even more. Sharing your own losses and gains with others is another great way to stay focused.

Treat yourself the in the best way possible every day. Your goal is not to be perfect but rather to consistently strive to improve your physical and mental health, your quality of life and your personal relationships. Stay sober and take the next indicated step and all else will to fall into place. Everything is NOT going to go the way you planned, but if you can continue to strive towards your goals, you will be succeeding on your path every single day.

Tips to tame stress

25 Mar

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Are you irritable and frustrated due to too much stress in your life? Our case managers here at Cornerstone have come up with a few simple tips to reduce your stress level and restore serenity. These tips won’t take a lot of time and can help to bring your life back into balance.

Get out and get active

Any form of physical activity will work for you as a stress reducer. You do not have to be an athlete and it doesn’t matter if you are out of shape – daily exercise is always good for you and will relieve your stress.

When you are active your endorphins will naturally increase and in turn will enhance your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Being active also naturally helps your mind to focus on your movements which takes your mind off of all the other things that may be ‘stressing you out’. Simple forms of exercise include walking, running, swimming, gardening, biking or lifting weights.

Laugh and be silly

We all know how good it can feel to have a good belly laugh. Laughter also releases endorphins that make you feel more positive and happy. So tell a few bad jokes or watch a good comedy – it will definitely make you feel better.

Connect with friends and family

Our instinct when stressed may be to isolate from others in order to deal with it but this is actually the opposite of what you should do to deal with your stress. You should reach out to others, friends and family, and make connections socially. This works due to offering your mind a distraction from the thoughts that are causing your stress and also will provide support from others in dealing with your ups and downs. Stay out of your head, maybe even try volunteering. By helping others we help ourselves.

Cornerstone – Family Owned and Operated for 32 years!

17 Mar

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Cornerstone of Southern California was founded in 1984 by Dr. Michael Stone MD in the city of Tustin, California. Dr. Stone founded the program for addicts and alcoholics after working in a hospital treatment center called Care Unit and finding that the stark white walled hospital setting was alien and too far removed from the realities of life that the alcoholics and addicts were accustomed to. When the patients would leave the center they often would relapse back into old behaviors and return for more treatment after a mere few weeks.

Dr. Stone found a house in the city of Tustin and began a recovery home designed to help clients abstain from drugs and alcohol while educating them about their disease and the triggers that could lead them back into substance abuse in a residential, home-like setting. This was the birth of Cornerstone!

Since that time we have grown from a single residential recovery home into a 20 home system including 4 residential detox homes, extended care, monitored residential and sober living homes. Cornerstone also boasts an outpatient day treatment facility in Santa Ana and all homes and offices are within a 3 mile radius of one another.

Accredited by the Joint Commission and Licensed and Certified by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) we are a leader in the treatment community in California.

Why choose Cornerstone?

15 Mar

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Addicts and families of addicts choose different treatment centers to help them find recovery every day. What criteria should they be using in order to choose the facility and program that best suits their individual needs? Should they be seeking out the lowest prices, the best location and amenities, the highest qualifications held by the staff, the success rate or even the modality of treatment used? There are a myriad of differences between most treatment centers and deciphering which one will give you the best chance of success can be overwhelming.

Cornerstone of Southern California has made the choice simple. We have been in the business of helping addicts and alcoholics since 1984. We have all levels of care including medically assisted detoxification in a residential setting, extended care, alternative sentencing, monitored residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient, sober living and a family program. If you choose us you will not be shipped out to another company with staff you do not know or recognize for any part of your treatment. We have a full continuum of care moving from intensive (detox, extended care) to the lowest, least intensive (sober living) all under the care and guidance of one company.

We are DHCS licensed and certified as well as Joint Commission Accredited. We operate 20 beautiful, residential recovery homes in the cities of Orange, Tustin and Santa Ana, California complete with newly remodeled kitchens, flat screen TV’s and wireless internet. We do not house clients with more that two in a room and offer private rooms for those who request them. We employ live-in House Monitors to ensure a safe and sober environment for all clients in our care.

Cornerstone is an in-network provider contracted with over 25 major insurance companies like Blue Cross, AETNA and CIGNA who work with us due to our competitive pricing and our exceptionally ethical practices. Cornerstone does not engage in unethical drug testing or billing practices as do many other treatment facilities. We accept HMO’s and PPO’s while most other treatment centers only accept PPO insurance plans.  

At Cornerstone we focus on Relapse Prevention Education in a 12 Step based program in order to give all our clients the best possible chance at lasting sobriety. We are Cornerstone of Southern California – a Foundation for Recovery!

Are you in a codependent relationship?

2 Mar

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Does it seem as though you are always making sacrifices in your own life in order to make your partner happy? What are you receiving (if anything) in return? Don’t be afraid if this sounds familiar to you because many people can find themselves enmeshed in a codependent relationship at some point in their lifetime. Recognizing it and taking proactive steps to fix or end the relationship will define you in a whole new light.

What Is a Codependent Relationship?

Before any repairing can take place one must understand the meaning of a true codependent relationship. Psychologists and experts define it as a pattern of behavior in which you are dependent on the approval of someone else for your own happiness, self-worth and identity.

An apparent sign of codependency happens when the sense of fulfilled purpose in your life comes mostly through making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s needs and make them happy.

“Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn’t have self-sufficiency or autonomy,” says Scott Wetzler, PhD, psychology division chief at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “One or both parties depend on their loved ones for fulfillment.”

Anyone can be a codependent and some research suggests that those who had parents who emotionally abused or neglected them in their developmental years are more likely to enter codependent relationships than those with stable, healthy home lives.

“These kids are often taught to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent, and it sets them up for a long-standing pattern of trying to get love and care from a difficult person,” says Shawn Burn, PhD, a psychology professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

“They’re often replaying a childhood pattern filled with development gaps,” Wetzler says.

Answer these questions to Know if you’re in a Codependent Relationship:

Are you unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person?

Do you recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner but stay with him or her in spite of them?

Are you giving support to your partner at the cost of your own mental, emotional, and physical health?

“Individuals can also assume they are in a codependent relationship if people around them have given them feedback that they are too dependent on their partner or if they have a desire, at times, for more independence but feel an even stronger conflict when they attempt to separate in any way,” says psychologist Seth Meyers.

“They’ll feel anxiety more consistently than any other emotion in the relationship,” Meyers says, “and they’ll spend a great deal of time and energy either trying to change their partner or … trying to conform to their partner’s wishes.”

What is the impact of a Codependent Relationship

It is unhealthy to give up your own identity, desires and needs in order to satisfy the needs of your partner.

“You can become burned out, exhausted, and begin to neglect other important relationships,” Burn says. “And if you’re the enabler in a codependent relationship — meaning you promote the other person’s dysfunctions — you can prevent them from learning common and needed life lessons.”

How to Change a Codependent Relationship

Ending the relationship is not always the answer. Setting appropriate boundaries between partners, spending time alone following your own desires and seeking out your own happiness is a good beginning. Talking and setting goals for your relationship can also greatly improve the codependent dynamic.

“It’s also important to spend time with relatives, friends, and family to broaden the circle of support,” she says. “Find hobbies of your own. Try separating for certain periods of time to create a healthy dependence on one another.”

 

Drinking Alcohol is worse for you than you thought!

2 Mar

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We have all heard or read about the idea that drinking a glass of red wine per day is good for the human body due to certain chemicals contained within it. Chemicals like antioxidants and resveratrol are thought to be ‘heart healthy’ both of which red wine has in abundance. The issue is that it is unclear whether red wine is better for you than beer or liquor and it is also unclear whether the benefits outweigh the detriments.

Recently the UK Medical Chief, Sally Davies, has proposed that alcohol consumption can actually lead to a higher risk of cancer. Davies says that, “Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.”

Read more HERE!