Saturday, March 26, 2016

Witnessing The Miracle in Recovery at Shafa Home

Flying High on The Wings of Recovery

During my days of raising hell as an addict, I was always treated as a pariah. I was always looked down as an outcast. My every effort, no matter how sincere, was always despised upon. I could not blame others for their mistrust. It was my own misdoing. I had broken many promises, laid to rest everyone’s trust. I had no regards, no respect for any one except for my addiction. My whole universe orbited around my addiction. I could not care more for any human life, except to feed the monster within. Feeding the gluttony of the wolves of addiction had bent my thinking. Complete lack of concern for my own life, I was prone to self-destruction. Along the way to self destruction, I had caused a collateral damage on massive scale. Ruining the hope and aspiration of my family, well wishers and relatives was my premium achievement.
Any normal human beings expectations of a family, a home and a future were estrange to me. I had neither expectations nor the will for such ambitions. It was like, that spark for living such a decent, sober life had died down inside of me. I had lost all hopes for returning to normalcy. The mere thought of leading a normal beings life was anathema to me. It was not like that I despised society. But the efforts and toil that go into taking a responsibility and fulfilling it, always scared me. This fear led to my isolation from the society. All alone, no one to care for, no one to talk to and no one to look upto…I was just another grain of sand in the desert. Despite all this, a flicker of hope somehow survived.
This flickering flame of hope was kindled and nurtured back to life at Shafa Home, a correction cum rehabilitation center. Recently, I was witness to nothing short of a miracle. A Shafa alumnus laid the first keystone in the arch of recovery. He has built the first bridge for a secure future. When he came to Shafa, he had nothing on his own. When his mother expired during his treatment in Shafa, we did not even tell him. It was for his own sake. His family was in such a fragile state that we feared breaking the truth to him would instantly shatter him emotionally. Soon afterwards, his only relatives washed their hands off him. They even managed to sell off his property and clear the left debts. Nothing short of disowning him, he was left with no roof on his head and no family to look after him.
But slowly and steadily and to our pleasant surprise, he withstood the test of time. Earning a respectful living here at Shafa, he saved and built upon his trust. And then the biggest miracle took place, when he bought his own flat today.
It was the fruits of recovery that was well sown and well nourished. Bringing the five factors of recovery in practice, our friend is a shining proof that if you take the first step, God will take the rest of the steps for you. Now, he not only has a hand
some salary, a dependable bank balance, a flat, he looks forward to having a loving family too. He is now ready to take the responsibility towards becoming a normal social being.
Time and again , Shafa has proved that recovery is a road travelled by one’s willing to endure the journey. No matter the hardships, no matter the rain and storms, when we linger on and prove our mettle, recovery follows with sweet results. Our Shafa alumnus is the hope that all of us look upon. He was the rough carbon and needed the polishing and cutting by Shafa to bring out the diamond within. Now his light is going to shine upon the aspiring recovery addicts.


Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc. Please visit our website at

Monday, March 7, 2016


Alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are not the same thing. But what exactly is the difference?
Often the terms alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion. While closely related, alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are not exactly the same thing, however the difference can be difficult to discern and understand.   

What is the Difference Between Alcohol Addiction and Alcohol Dependence?

Abuse of alcohol, alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence can be seen as different sets of symptoms and behaviours that occur progressively along a spectrum of the same disorder which we will examine further below.

Alcohol abuse: Abusing alcohol encompasses many harmful behaviours including binge drinking, driving while intoxicated, and drinking alcohol at the expense of participating in other activities. Alcohol use has entered the realm of abuse when a person experiences negative consequences due to their drinking behaviour.

While abuse of alcohol does not always lead to addiction, it is often a sign of the beginning stages of the disorder. Especially when alcohol use begins to interfere with work, school, or social obligations, leads to reckless behaviour while under the influence such as drinking and driving, and ultimately continuing to drink despite consequences, then abuse is progressing quickly towards addiction.

Alcohol addiction: There is a fine line between the abuse of alcohol and alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction is a primary condition characterised by the inability to stop using alcohol despite growing negative consequences. Uncontrollable cravings for alcohol, exceeding self-imposed limits, continued use despite physical, psychological, and social consequences, and an inability to stop drinking once one has started are all behaviours that signal addiction has developed.
In addition, when someone is addicted to alcohol, tolerance and withdrawal may occur. This means that the user needs more and more alcohol to achieve the same effects, and the user may experience symptoms of withdrawal when not drinking. These attributes signal the development of a physical dependence on alcohol.

Alcohol dependence: Alcohol dependence refers to a physical dependence on alcohol and is characterised by tolerance to alcohol and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be life-threatening and occurs when heavy drinkers stop drinking or drastically cut down their alcohol intake. Symptoms can range from mild anxiety and shakiness, to serious seizures and delirium tremens and can persist for up to a few weeks.

The death rate of those who experience delirium tremens, which is a condition characterised by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever, is approximately between 1% and 5%. For chronic heavy drinkers who are alcohol dependent, the withdrawal syndrome can be medically serious so care should be taken when these individuals decide to get help and stop drinking. 

Taking a Broader Look at Addiction vs. Dependence:

When it comes to alcohol, addiction can occur without developing dependence, however alcohol dependence is generally known as the most severe form of alcohol addiction. This is not the case for all drugs, and here we will take another look at how dependence and addiction are related.

Addiction can occur without dependence.

One does not necessarily have to be physically dependent on alcohol or any other drug in order to have an addiction. In these cases the addiction is psychological wherein even though the body does not actually need the substance, and would actually be better off without it — the brain is truly convinced otherwise and will often stop at nothing to get its next fix. Process addictions, for example, such as sex and gambling addiction are very real — however no physical dependence on a substance occurs.

Dependence can occur without addiction.

Alcohol dependence is always related to addiction, however with some drugs, especially some prescription medications, physical dependence is defined by developing tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal can occur without the uncontrollable cravings and other maladaptive behaviours associated with addiction.

How does the Delineation Between Dependence and Addiction Impact Treatment?
Most people associate alcoholism with alcohol dependence, which fuels denial and makes getting treatment more difficult for many. In fact, it is the incorrect stereotype that to be an alcoholic one must wake each morning and begin drinking alcohol and continue all day, that stops many alcoholics from getting treatment.
As mentioned above, it is not necessary to be physically dependent on alcohol to have an addiction to it. And even then there are several different levels of alcohol addiction including a group termed 'high-functioning alcoholics' who outwardly appear to have their life in order, but struggle with drinking behind closed doors.

When Should You Seek Treatment for Alcohol Addiction or Dependence?

Because alcohol addiction is not as cut and dry as most people think, many people have a hard time deciding if and when they should seek addiction treatment. The first thing to remember, is that if you are questioning whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, there is a good chance you do! But you can also ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you often think you should 'cut back' on your drinking but it never happens?
2. After one drink, do you find it difficult to say 'no' to another?
3. Does your drinking negatively affect your life in any way? i.e. missed days at work due to a hangover, missed family or social events, causing difficulty in relationships, etc.
4. Do you often feel remorseful about the amount you drank the night before?
These are just 4 of the 10 questions you can ask yourself in this quiz to find out if you should seek further assessment from a professional addiction counsellor about your current alcohol consumption. If you already answered yes to at least 3 of the above questions, it is recommended that you seek a professional opinion.

Getting treatment for alcohol at the first signs of addiction is important. The sooner treatment begins, the higher the chance of having a successful recovery. If you or someone you know has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, contact us today for a free, no obligations assessment.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti, psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

 (These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dealing with Death and Grief in Addiction Recovery

Dealing with Death and Grief in Addiction Recovery

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful human experiences. Grief can take a toll on even the most resilient individuals, as feelings of guilt, denial, sadness, and despair sometimes overwhelm our ability to cope. For those in addiction recovery, the time of grief after losing a loved one is an incredibly high risk period. Even those who have been sober for many years may succumb to relapse when dealing with grief.

Grief compromises our ability to think clearly, and an addict's gut reaction for dealing with grief will be to numb the pain with drugs and alcohol. However, relapse is not inevitable, nor the answer. There are things you can do to help ease the pain of dealing with death while staying sober.
People in recovery are some of the strongest people out there. You were able to overcome your disease and have learned many coping skills along the way. This means you have the skills for dealing with grief as well, even if it does not seem that way in the beginning. The following tips are meant to remind you of your strength and the steps you can take to prevent relapse while dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Strategies for Dealing with Death and Grief in Recovery

     1. Reach out for support.
The most important thing you can do is reach out for support rather than retreating within yourself. Calling on the support of friends, family, and others in recovery at this time is more crucial than ever. You may even ask someone from your support network to stay with you as you pass through the early and most vulnerable stages of grief, when cravings to use will be strong.

2. Acknowledge your emotions.
Grief will bring with it a range of emotions and numbing yourself with substances or otherwise avoiding the pain and sadness is the worst thing you can do. With the help of your supports, acknowledge and express any feelings such as sadness, anger, and guilt that arise. Allowing yourself to experience intense streams of emotion will help you move through your grief and come to peace with your loss.

3. Return to regular meetings.
In early recovery it is not uncommon to attend meetings regularly, even every day. As time goes on and our sobriety gets stronger, often attendance of group meetings become less frequent. When you are dealing with grief it is a good idea to regularly attend recovery meetings. Surrounding yourself with people who understand the cravings you are experiencing will help you get through them without relapsing. Recovery groups can serve as a reminder of the pain that addiction brings and will help you keep your sobriety a priority even through the most difficult of times.   

4. Be creative.
Engaging in a creative activity can help you acknowledge and express your emotions in a healthy way. Writing, painting, or gardening are all creative outlets you can use to pay tribute to a lost loved one. Writing journal entries and letters, planting a tree or flowers in remembrance, or letting your emotions come out in colour through painting and drawing can help you work through the difficult emotions you are experiencing. 

5. Pray and/or meditate.
Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you acknowledge your stream of emotions, as well as ride out cravings when they occur. Meditation helps us understand that no feelings last forever. Both prayer and meditation can help you stay connected to your strength when you need it the most.

6. Read encouraging books and articles.
Although you may feel alone, all of us end up dealing with death at some point. Read books of encouragement, or stories of how other people in recovery have made it through their grief and despair while still maintaining their sobriety. Reading another person's story can help you understand your own feelings.

7. Practise healthy eating and sleeping habits.
Grief can make it very difficult to keep up healthy practises. For those in recovery, slipping into poor eating and sleeping habits only compounds the risk for relapse. You can enlist the help of others by asking them to regularly share meal times with you. If you are struggling with sleeping too little or too much it may be wise to consult your doctor or counsellor for extra help.

8. Get personal counselling.
Dealing with grief is not something you have to do alone. The support of friends and family is crucial, but you may want to enlist the support of a professional counsellor as well. Counsellors will help you apply all of the above strategies and are experienced in helping people dealing with death and loss. Especially if your urges to use are strong, or you feel like life is not worth living, seeking professional help is necessary.

Planning Ahead for Grief Triggers

While none of the above are meant to cure or completely take away the pain that comes with grief, they are tools that will help you get through the experience and stay sober. Grief can last for months, and even years after a loss there will be times when your heart feels heavy.

When you are dealing with grief it is important to plan ahead for grief triggers, just as you plan for relapse triggers. Holidays, anniversaries, and other certain times and places may revive feelings of grief. Prepare for these times so you are not caught off guard when waves of grief hit. You might take the day off from work in advance or schedule a counselling session — but whatever coping strategy you choose, ensure you know what it will be in advance, to help prevent relapse.  

For anyone who has suffered alcoholism, a drug addiction, or process addiction — dealing with grief after the loss of a loved one will likely be one of the most challenging times you go through in your recovery. If you do relapse after the loss of a loved one, it does not mean that you have failed and should just continue using. Instead, you need to get help as soon as possible to get back on track. Admit your lapse to someone else and consider entering a drug or alcohol rehab. There are people who care for you and want you to continue to succeed in your recovery despite setbacks.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti, psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)