chronic pain
Nov 21 2019

Options for Natural Pain Relief

Many people live with chronic pain for a variety of reasons or are accustomed to intense pain due to repeated surgeries or injuries. Often, individuals with pain that disrupts their quality of life are prescribed opioid pain medications to manage their symptoms. Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive and have been known to lead to addiction.…

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How First Responders Can Read Their Way Through Recovery
Jul 09 2020

How First Responders Can Read Their Way Through Recovery

The first year of recovery typically reveals a great deal about people. Sobriety has a way of directing our attention towards self-reflection. Time can seem to fly by, or it can drag out endlessly — like when firefighters are rushing to put out a massive fire or sit in the firehouse for hours waiting for…

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What Is Motivational Interviewing and How Can It Help First Responders?
Jul 05 2020

What Is Motivational Interviewing and How Can It Help First Responders?

Of the many counseling techniques available to first responders recovering from alcohol and/or substance addiction, motivational interviewing provides tangible action in response to life’s difficulties. This method of counseling mainly focuses on identifying moments of uncertainty, or ambivalence, to promote healthy lifestyle decisions. For first responders in the throes of addictive thought processes, motivational interviewing…

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How Can We Be First Responders for Those in Recovery?
Jul 10 2020

How Can We Be First Responders for Those in Recovery?

Helping a loved one who is a first responder recover from alcohol and/or substance use results in many unexpected responses. While everyone wants the best for their loved ones, the strain of addiction impacts far more people than the individual experiencing it. The repercussions of addictive behavior typically extend to the person’s family, immediate social…

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What Is Chemical Dissociation and Why Must First Responders Avoid It?
Jul 23 2020

What Is Chemical Dissociation and Why Must First Responders Avoid It?

Making your way through the cycle of addiction eventually leads to confronting the realities of your alcohol and/or substance use. For many, the act of getting high or drunk may feel like a thoughtless impulse — but upon examining that urge, a lot of well-hidden truths can be realized. Usually, the drive to drink or…

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Journaling Your Recovery: An Exercise for First Responders
Jul 11 2020

Journaling Your Recovery: An Exercise for First Responders

Have you ever thought back to a particular moment in time in hopes of remembering what you were thinking or how you were feeling? It’s a common thought experiment — longing to recapture the past often reflects an innate desire to understand ourselves. But this can be difficult for first responders, who encounter far more…

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Mental Health and Addiction Triggers in Times of Social Unrest
Jul 19 2020

Mental Health and Addiction Triggers in Times of Social Unrest

One of the unintended side effects of modern society is the widespread reach of media communication. While this communication is neither inherently “good” or “bad,” our constant exposure to predetermined topics within the news cycle can cause additional anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s even worse for first responders on the front lines, who aren’t just…

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How EMDR Can Help First Responders With Trauma
Aug 03 2020

How EMDR Can Help First Responders With Trauma

The eyes are a window into the soul, as the saying goes. They may also provide crucial assistance for overcoming trauma — something that first responders often see and experience on a daily basis. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a process that uses the physical movement of the eye to work through unprocessed,…

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Can a First Responder’s Family Experience Secondary Trauma?
Aug 05 2020

Can a First Responder’s Family Experience Secondary Trauma?

First responders go to work knowing full well that they risk being exposed to traumatic events on a daily basis. Feeling the mental exhaustion that comes with seemingly never-ending exposure to emotionally-scarring moments can pose many risks for first responders recovering from addiction. As long-term trauma builds, it can have a major impact on these…

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First Responders: Learning to Set Long-Term Boundaries in Recovery
Aug 10 2020

First Responders: Learning to Set Long-Term Boundaries in Recovery

Making it to one year sober requires many different ingredients: willpower, honesty, support, commitment, self-empowerment, and — possibly most of all — boundaries. For first responders, attributes like willpower and commitment are already part of the job. But after devoting their lives to helping others and working as a tight-knit team to survive, learning how…

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addiction after injury
Mar 03 2020

Addiction After Injury

People begin abusing substances for a wide variety of reasons, many involving trauma or unexpected stress.  Experiencing an injury can upset your life in several ways, leading to difficulties in your work and at home.  Additionally, an injury adds the challenge of severe pain to your circumstances, while also providing you with access to extremely…

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Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Mar 11 2020

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a powerful drug derived from the coca plant that comes in the form of a white, powdery substance. Cocaine is commonly snorted, although it may be smoked, which is also known as freebasing, or dissolved in water and injected. Cocaine in powder form may be referred to as coke, blow, or powder. When…

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addiction recovery
Dec 24 2019

5 Factors that Contribute to Poor Heart Health in First Responders

First responders, especially police officers and firefighters, have some of the highest rates of heart-related health issues including heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest.  The average age of a police officer who has suffered a heart attack is 49 years, while the average for the general population is 67 years. Similarly, nearly half of firefighter…

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meditation tips for recovery
Dec 24 2019

4 Techniques for Reducing Stress Through Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness and meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.  Mindfulness techniques have been shown to have a wide array of physical and mental health benefits, in addition to the spiritual connection many people experience while utilizing this ancient wisdom.  One of the most powerful and immediate benefits…

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foods for anxiety
Dec 27 2019

6 Foods that May Help Manage Anxiety

Most people experience anxiety at some point in their life or during very stressful situations, but for some individuals, chronic anxiety can be a symptom of a mental health disorder that disrupts their ability to function in everyday life.  Anxiety can cause psychological symptoms such as constant worrying, fear, and paranoia, as well as physical…

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alcohol abuse
Dec 30 2019

4 Ways Alcohol Abuse Affects Work Performance

We all know that drinking on the job is frowned upon, and in some cases, illegal.  Alcohol abuse during off hours, however, can also have a detrimental affect on work performance in several ways.  Some people with alcohol use disorder believe they can remain high functioning as long as they don’t mix work and drinking,…

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avoiding relapse in recovery
Dec 18 2019

4 Tips for Getting Past Relapse

One of the most common fears during and after seeking treatment for addiction is the fear of relapse.  The term relapse is used when someone who has entered recovery from addiction begins using again. Reasons for relapse vary widely, and the extent to which a person relapses is also unique to each individual.  Many people…

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Toxic
Jun 19 2020

First Responders and Toxic Suffering

First responders in recovery know that juggling alcohol and/or substance use disorder with their jobs presents numerous challenges, and far from the least of them is the work culture of public servants. The attitude of headstrong determination, although effective for driving professional results, takes a toll on the mental health of the workers. Suppressing emotions…

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Performing Art
Jun 23 2020

Empowering Recovery Through Performance Art

The power of art has been proven to benefit Alzheimer’s patients, trauma survivors, and those in addiction recovery. Finding creative avenues to activate expressive communication is essential to developing truth and empathy in times of healing. While there are countless benefits to many different forms of art, performance-based art forms can provide especially helpful therapy.…

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Anxiety
Jun 23 2020

Feeling Anxious? Breathe

It’s late at night, and, after getting ready for bed, the moment arrives when you should drift off to sleep. You’ve been tired all day. Earlier, you couldn’t wait to get some shut-eye when you were working. So why is sleep suddenly unattainable? There are many reasons our brains do this. Anxiety ripples through the…

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addiction treatment
Nov 11 2019

Common Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment

While everyone with addiction is living through different circumstances, there is a common thread in the excuses for avoiding addiction treatment. These justifications only harm the addicted individual and those they love by putting off care that could dramatically improve the lives of everyone involved. Understanding many of these common phrases and identifying them in…

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