Learning to Love Yourself After Addiction

Finding love within yourself is the best gift you can get. For those who are battling and beating addiction, or those who are in recovery, self-love is at the center of all happy and healthy relationships. And you must start with yourself.


Three Ways to Love Yourself

  1. Forgive and Move Forward

You may have heard the saying, “forgive and forget.” While the notion sounds nice, it may not be the best saying here. Forgiveness is an important part of peach and helps to restore relationships. We are reminded to forgive others, but what about ourselves? And why should we forget what happened? Dwelling on the past isn’t productive, but we shouldn’t forget what happened all together. Looking at the past through a lens of understanding for improvement is what helps us grow.

You deserve another chance to do things better. Feel proud of how far you have come. Self-forgiveness is the first step towards loving yourself. That includes the good and the not-so-good. Take a minute to see yourself from an outsider’s point of view and give yourself praise where it’s due. Love the person you see completely and without reservation. Your recovery depends on giving yourself some grace.


  1. Embrace Appreciation and Acceptance

You have overcome obstacles that have taken you from life’s lowest points to a place where the future is full of possibilities and potential. Recovery is one of the best rewards. Take a moment to give thanks and appreciate the new beginning you laid out for yourself. Thanking yourself is a form of self-love.


  1. Remember That Perfection Isn’t Always Perfect

Going through recovery doesn’t mean that you are magically healed overnight. It doesn’t work that way for anyone and that’s okay. You might leave with some scars – and that can mean nightmares, reflecting on the past, or any other number of things. Self-love doesn’t mean you won’t have hang-ups. What it does mean is that you find the compassion that allows you to move forward and look at the positives in your life. Attaining perfection is impossible but building yourself back up is love. You should marvel and celebrate each milestone you reach in sobriety.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

An alcohol overdose, commonly known as alcohol poisoning, happens when someone drinks so much alcohol, that it overwhelms the bloodstream. It worsens or stops the brain’s ability to get the body to perform basic tasks, like breathing or keeping the heart beating. Alcohol poisoning is extremely serious and life-threatening. If you believe that someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately.


What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning?

Depending on how sever the overdose is, alcohol poisoning can have several symptoms. These can include:

  • Extreme confusion or the inability to complete thoughts
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unusually slow breathing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Unusually slow heart rate or slower than normal
  • Slowed reflexes, including having little to no gag reflex (which can prevent choking)
  • Clammy or cold, sweaty skin
  • Appearing unusually pale or having a blue/gray complexion


What to do if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning

If you believe that someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. This person needs medical attention. While you are waiting for medical personnel, please do not try any “quick fixes” like a cup of coffee of a cold shower. Doing so could possibly do more harm than good.

Be prepared to give the medical personnel information like:

  • The type(s) of alcohol the person drank
  • How much alcohol the person drank
  • Any substances you know or believe the person may have mixed, like alcohol and cocaine
  • Any medications you know the person to be on
  • Any allergies the person may have
  • Any serious health conditions the person may have

If someone is extremely nauseous, do not induce vomiting. If they are already vomiting, help lean this person forward to stop them from choking. If the person is not moving or unconscious on the ground, roll them onto their side to prevent choking.

Do not leave someone who is suffering from alcohol poisoning alone. Alcohol poisoning puts someone at high risk for vomiting and choking, which can lead to suffocation and brain damage or death. They can also be extremely uncoordinated and that leads to the possibility of falling and hurting themselves if they attempt to move. It is best to stay with the person and keep them as low to the ground as possible.


How to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning doesn’t automatically happen with a casual drink or two. There are plenty of things you can do to help prevent alcohol poisoning from happening to you or someone you love. Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Drink in moderation. Alcohol poisoning is typically the result of binge drinking or consuming a lot of alcohol very quickly. Drink slowly to give your body time to process the alcohol you’ve already had before you drink any more.
  • Always eat food before you drink. Eating will not stop alcohol poisoning if it is already happening or if you’ve had an extreme amount to drink. However, having food in your stomach can help moderate or slow down the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol.
  • Make sure the people in your life or the ones that you are drinking with know the signs of alcohol poisoning and how to handle it if it happens.


Treatment at Holland Pathways

Not everyone who struggles with alcohol misuse will suffer from alcohol poisoning, but we are here to help before it gets to that point. Our alcohol treatment program helps our clients begin their path to recovery in a safe and stable environment. We work with each individual client to create a treatment program specialized for their specific needs.

Celebrating Recovery Milestones

Recovery means a lifestyle change, and that’s not always easy. But it is something that should be celebrated, especially the milestone moments. Patting yourself on the back is a reward and a reminder of your determination to stay sober.


Embrace Your Success – No Matter How Big or Small

Recovery is a journey that is full of firsts and there are so many firsts to look forward to. No matter how big or small these firsts may seem, applaud yourself and celebrate. You can even make yourself a list and add to it for each success. Some examples are:

  • The first time you go to a social event sober.
  • The first time you make it through a workday sober.
  • The first time you get through a weekend sober.
  • The first time you handle a stressful situation without using drugs or alcohol.
  • The first time you go out to eat and don’t order an alcoholic beverage.
  • The first time you fall asleep without the use of sleep aids, like wine.

Sure, some of these may seem like small things, but they’re so important to your recovery. These successes are proof that you can stick to recovery and live your life without drugs or alcohol.


Adjust Your Perspective

It’s easy to take the negative route in life. Instead of looking at these firsts as something difficult, look at is as an opportunity. For example, try not to focus on how tough it was to go to dinner with your friends and not order a glass of wine. Instead, focus on enjoying the time with your friends and being able to experience all of the emotions and feelings without wine.


Embrace Private Celebrations

You don’t have to make every milestone you reach a public announcement. You don’t have to make a Facebook post or a have a dinner party for every first. You absolutely can if you want to – these milestones are something to be proud of. But you don’t need everyone else’s validation to recognize that what you’ve done to stay sober is amazing.

If you’re not a fan of big to-dos or hurrahs, make it a point to have your own private celebrations for your milestones. Give yourself a pat on the back, dance to a song you love, write yourself a note in the mirror about why you’re so great – these are your moments that say, “I did that. I made it.” And you can make these moments meaningful in whatever way you choose.

The Importance of Celebrating Milestones

When you have chosen to quit using drugs or alcohol, you have chosen a better life for yourself. And in choosing this life, you can stay excited about what else lies ahead. When you celebrate anniversaries – whether that’s 24 hours, 24 days, or 24 months, you will feel:

  • Accomplished
  • Proud
  • Committed
  • Hopeful
  • Inspiring

Setting goals for yourself and celebrating them are important – no matter how big or small. This helps set you up for a lifetime of sobriety and success.

The Side Effects of Meth

What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive street drug that is a stimulant. It can have long-lasting and negative effects on one’s health and well-being. But what are these side effects?


Identifying Meth and the Common Signs of Addiction

Meth typically takes the form of a crystal-like white powder. The powder can sometimes come in other colors, like a yellowish-gray, brown, or can even be dyed into bright colors like orange or pink. At times, the powder may even be condensed down into a pill form. While it does not have an obvious smell to it, meth does taste slightly bitter. It will typically dissolve in water – and this is a good way to determine whether it is meth and not a different white powder drug.

Meth is also associated with crystal meth. This is a more expensive and often a purer form of meth. It comes in a crystal form that resembles a chunk of ice.

Although you may not find the drug itself, there are other signs of methamphetamine use. Many people who are struggling with a drug addiction go through lifestyle changes. These may be noticeable by people who are closest to them. People with new or worsening addictions often:

  • Lose interest in hobbies
  • Stop spending time with their friends and family
  • Start spending their time with new friends
  • Experience sudden financial problems
  • Have a sudden performance issue at work or school
  • Get caught in lies about where they’ve been, where they’re going, what they’ve been doing, etc.
  • Act secretive
  • Change their eating or sleeping habits


Meth Intoxication and Side Effects

After using meth, a person starts to feel the high of the drug. It makes its way to the brain and the rush often feels like an intense, overwhelming sense of euphoria. The initial rush can last up to 30 minutes. After that, the remaining high can last as long as 16 hours.

The meth intoxication can include the following side effects:

  • Improved attention span
  • Euphoria or a false sense of overwhelming joy
  • Intense or unusually high amounts of energy
  • Smaller appetite
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Feverish or abnormally high body temperature


The Side Effects of a Meth Overdose

A methamphetamine overdose can be life-threatening. If you believe that someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately.

The side effects of a meth overdose can include the following:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Extremely fast or extremely slow heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Stomach cramps
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Fast breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High fever
  • Seizures

The long-term health issues of an overdose include:

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Chronic psychosis (this can mean hallucinations and paranoia)
  • Brain damage resulting in a learning disability or poor brain function
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart and vein damage – possibly leading to heart attacks or heart failure in the future
  • Muscle death – which can lead to amputations
  • Strokes
  • Seizures


What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Meth Use?

The use of methamphetamines can be extremely hard on the body. It can lead to several long-term health issues. These side effects include:

  • Addiction to meth
  • Increased tolerance to meth
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Repetitive compulsive behavior – like rocking, tapping, or involuntary shaking
  • Brain damage
  • Worsened cognitive skills
  • Being easily distracted
  • Worsened short and long-term memory
  • Rapid mood swings
    • Increased violent or irrationally angry behavior
  • Extreme dental issues – like staining, tooth rot, and cavities
  • Weight loss and the inability to gain weight
  • Kidney damage
  • Damage to lungs due to smoking
  • Damage to veins due to injecting
  • Damage to nasal cavity due to snorting


Treatment at Holland Pathways

Here at Holland Pathways, we offer high-quality treatment for methamphetamine addiction. We offer an inpatient program that will help our clients get through the detox phase and then on to treatment.

Alcohol and Depression

Does Alcohol Make Depression Worse?

Many people who struggle with depression drink alcohol in an attempt to numb their symptoms. While it may work for a short period of time, they end up feeling more depressed than before. The short-lived sense of confidence, euphoria, and energy leads to drowsiness nausea, irritation, and a foggy brain feeling.

This ends up being a vicious cycle. Drinking to feel relief, end up feeling worse. This back-and-forth pattern often leads to alcohol abuse or addiction. Instead of actually making people with depression feel better, alcohol makes them feel worse.


Why Drinking Doesn’t Help Depression

Alcohol is a stimulant and a depressant. So, when it enters the blood stream, it alters the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that carry, boost, and balance the signals sent throughout the brain. Alcohol affects the following transmitters:

  • Dopamine: This plays an important role in your mood, memory, and the sensations of pleasure and pain. Dopamine also helps regulate motivation levels and it is the chemical that drives people to seek out food, sex, exercise, and other activities that are crucial to their well-being.
  • GABA: GABA helps to decrease activity in the nervous system, by blocking some brain signals. When it attaches to proteins, it has a calming effect throughout the body.
  • Serotonin: This stabilizes your mood and promotes feelings of happiness and well-being. This is also crucial for sleep and eating habits.
  • Glutamate: Glutamate is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter, which increases brain activity and energy levels.

Alcohol affects both the “excitatory” and “inhibitory” neurotransmitters, which explains why it is both a simulant and depressant at the same time. At first, you feel the “excitatory” transmitters boost your levels of dopamine and serotonin. This is what makes people feel happy, excited, courageous, and energetic when they first start drinking. However, like we previously mentioned, these feelings are short-lived.

As time passes, the brain adapts to the excess dopamine and serotonin, and it begins to produce fewer neurotransmitters. The dopamine and serotonin levels slowly drop, and the person’s mood goes down. This is where alcohol begins to act like a depressant.

The stimulating effects of alcohol start to wane, and the substance binds itself to the GABA receptors, making the person feel relaxed and carefree. However, drinking too much can overstimulate GABA, causing drowsiness, blackouts, memory loss, and unconsciousness. All while this is happening, alcohol suppresses the release of glutamate, making people feel lethargic and fatigued. All of this together is why alcohol doesn’t help with depression.


How Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

Despite what people may initially feel when they drink alcohol, it actually makes symptoms of depression worse. Here’s why:

  • Alcohol lowers serotonin levels. Serotonin helps regulate your mood. Typically, it helps people feel happy and energetic. Lower levels of serotonin can make a person feel anxious, irritable, worthless, foggy-brained, and even depressed. People living with depression typically feel more depression when this happens.
  • Alcohol may lower folic acid levels. Folic acid helps the body create healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Because alcohol can lower levels of folic acid, it can create a folate deficiency, ultimately leading to anemia. Anemia can cause tiredness, lightheadedness, irritability, headaches, and lethargy. Folic deficiency is also commonly associated with depression.
  • Alcohol can disrupt sleeping patterns. Alcohol worsens sleep. People may have problems falling or staying asleep.
  • Alcohol typically encourages isolation. Humans are social being. However, when people use alcohol as a coping mechanism, it tends to lead to them doing so in private. The more they feel the need to drink, the more isolate they become. This then leads to feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, and so on – all common symptoms of depression.
  • Alcohol can lead to poor nutrition. Most people who abuse alcohol have an imbalanced diet and are missing important nutrients. This is because they are less likely to focus on healthy eating choices or cooking because they are focused on alcohol. In addition, alcohol can also block vitamins and minerals from entering the body. People’s moods can be affected by nutrients, or lack thereof.


Recovery at Holland Pathways

At Holland Pathways, we believe that everyone deserves to life an addiction-free and emotionally healthy life. We can help you live the life you deserve.

The Best Holiday Mocktails

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve – the holidays all typically involve family gatherings or parties. While some people use the holidays as an excuse to go a little overboard, alcohol doesn’t have to be involved in holiday parties – especially if you’re in recovery.


Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Just because others are drinking during holiday parties, doesn’t mean that you have to. We have a few non-alcoholic, or mocktail, recipes to enjoy.


Pink Champagne Mocktail

Champagne is a popular choice, especially on New Year’s Eve. But just because you aren’t drinking doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the fun. For this festive and fruity twist on a non-alcoholic beverage, you will need ginger ale, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and orange juice concentrate.

For 20 servings:

  • 2 quarts ginger ale
  • 1 (46 ounce) bottle of cranberry juice
  • 1 (46 ounce) bottle of pineapple juice
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • Ice


Peppermint Pick Me Up

Peppermint has become a popular holiday flavor. This sweet mocktail will give you that taste of peppermint without being overwhelming. You really only need three ingredients for this drink.

For 1 serving:

  • 1 (12 ounce) can of sparkling water
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 drops of food grade peppermint oil


Cranberry Mocktail

Cranberries are everywhere during the holidays! For those cranberry lovers, we have a mocktail for you. This recipe does involve some cooking and doesn’t just throw together like our previous mocktails.

For 8 servings:

  • 1 cup Fresh Cranberries (Ocean Spray is great)
  • 2 cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail (Ocean Spray)
  • ½ cup of pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup of water
  • 5 cups of club soda
  • 3 lemons (juiced)
  • 10 mint leaves (optional)
  • Ice


  1. Add water, cranberry and pomegranate juice, and sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Stir in cranberries and mint leaves and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool.
  4. Discard of mint leaves and cranberries once it has cooled.
  5. Strain the mixture – we recommend using a cheesecloth.
  6. Take the mixture and pour it into a large pitcher. Add the club soda and whisk to combine.
  7. Add your garnishes (optional) of cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and sliced lemons.


Non-Alcoholic Eggnog

The holidays may not seem complete without eggnog. Here’s an eggnog recipe that will satisfy your craving while keeping you sober. Here’s what this festive holiday mocktail needs:

For 12 – 16 servings:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Additional grated nutmeg for garnish (optional)


  1. Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-or 4-quart pan and whisk until well-combined.
  2. Continue whisking while you slowly pour the milk in. Be sure to keep this as a steady stream until it’s completely combined.
  3. Heat at the lowest possible setting. Stir the mixture continuously until an ​instant-read thermometer reaches 160 F and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. This is a long step, so be patient – it should take about 45 – 60 minutes.
  4. Once thickened, strain it through a fine sieve into a large bowl to remove any possible small, cooked bits of egg leftover.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and nutmeg – stir until combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into a container – pitcher or otherwise – and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let it chill for 4 hours or overnight. (You can chill for up to 3 days if needed.)
  7. When ready to serve, take the heavy cream and pour it into a bowl. Whip until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cold custard mixture until combined.
  8. Add the sprinkle of nutmeg to the top for garnish (optional) and serve.


Mock Champagne

If you like the bubbly part of champagne, but don’t want the alcohol, try this non-alcoholic twist on a classic. No cooking on this one! Just add all the ingredients to a pitcher and stir.

For 8 Servings:

  • 1 (2 liter) bottle of chilled ginger ale
  • ½ can of frozen white grape juice concentrate (thawed)
  • 1 small basket of raspberries (rinsed and drained)


The holidays can feel a bit overwhelming with all of the alcohol at parties. But you don’t need to drink alcohol to have fun. You can be festive and fun with a delicious, non-alcoholic beverage in hand.


Help at Holland Pathways

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, call us at Holland Pathways. Start of the new year on the right foot.

The Best Vitamins for Recovery

Substance abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s physical health, especially when it’s long-lasting. Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to serious health complications, like cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems, and other health problems that may not be as noticeable.


Vitamin Deficiency and Substance Abuse

It is common for people who struggle with substance abuse to suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition can happen for several reasons. Not only are the substances filled with toxins, but there are secondary effects as well.

Certain drugs, like cocaine or Adderall, suppress a person’s appetite or interfere with their metabolism. Because of this, people may go days without eating. When they do eat, they may only snack on junk or sugary foods rather than healthy and nutritious meals. Over time, these vitamin deficiencies may lead to more serious health problems – muscle weakness, digestive problems, nerve damage, cardiovascular issues, and so on.

Substance abuse may also play a role in how vitamins and nutrients are absorbed by the body. Alcohol, in particular, interferes with the absorption of B1 or thiamine. A thiamine deficiency can possibly lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that causes a variety of cognitive problems.


Supplements for Recovery

Vitamins and supplements help people in recovery get the nutrients they’ve been missing. Some of the best vitamins for those in recovery include:

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is beneficial to one’s overall health. It helps promote healthy bones, reduces the risk of flu, supports cardiovascular health, and more. Food with Vitamin D include:

  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Milk


Zinc is a nutrient found throughout the body that helps boost the immune system and helps with metabolism function. It can also help with wound healing, thyroid function, and more. Some sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Chicken


Magnesium is a mineral that helps with muscle and nerve function. It is also beneficial for energy production. Food with magnesium include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Leafy greens


Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1, or thiamin, also helps with muscle and nerve function. It is also great for energy and healthy heart function. Some food sources of Vitamin B1 are:

  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Enriched grains
  • Beans


Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great for immune support. It is also beneficial for the development and repair of body tissues. Some sources of vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Red peppers
  • Broccoli


Everyone is different, so their needs are different. It is important to consult with a doctor or nutritionist about the type of diet, supplements, and vitamins your body needs.

Prescription Pill Addiction

Addiction to prescription pills is not just limited to opioids and pain medications. Prescription pills can be broken down into four broad classes – opioids, benzodiazepines, sedatives, and stimulants. Although there are many people who properly use their prescription medication, there are still people who misuse them.


What are the Types of Prescription Pills?

The rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States is worsening with time. While prescription drug use may begin for a legitimate reason, it can still turn to abuse. So, what are the types of prescription pills?

  • Opioids: Opioids are prescription pain killers that are used to treat severe or chronic pain. These are the most prescribed of the four medication classes. Some common opioids are: Oxycontin, Lortab, Morphine, and Percocet.
  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are depressants that are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The most common benzodiazepine are Xanax and Valium.
  • Stimulants: The most common prescribed stimulant is Adderall. Adderall is typically used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Similar medications are Concerta and Ritalin.
  • Sedatives: Sedatives and tranquilizers are very similar. They generally produce a similar feeling of intoxification. Sleeping pills are common prescription sedatives.


How Do You Get Addicted to Prescription Medication?

Prescription medication is prescribed for people who need it. And while it may be beneficial for some people, they have an extremely high potential for abuse and addiction. But why is it that some people develop an addiction and others do not?

There are many factors that can go into substance abuse and addiction – family history and environmental factors are the big ones. Those who have a first-degree relative who struggled with substance abuse are significantly more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder. Peer influence and family dynamics are the environmental factors that play into it.

While there are factors that play into substance abuse, the most common reason for addiction is the medication itself. Often, prescription medication is prescribed for those with chronic pain, and one will take the medication for an extended period of time. Eventually, the dosage is no longer sufficient to mitigate the pain and higher doses are consumed. This is called “developing a tolerance” and this is one of the most common ways addiction develops.


What are the Signs of a Prescription Pill Addiction?

Signs and symptoms of a prescription pill addiction varies based on the specific type of pill. But, here are the most common behavioral signs that indicate addiction:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Asking for refills more often than necessary
  • “Losing” prescriptions and looking for replacements
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Demanding more privacy


Treatment at Holland Pathways

Here at Holland Pathways, we provide individualized treatment plans. We believe that everyone is different, and one treatment won’t suit everybody’s needs. Therefore, we work with each client to create a treatment program for them.

Seven Boundaries to Help with Recovery

People in recovery often come from environments or relationships where they struggled with boundaries. Lines were blurred, unhealthy, or even non-existent. These skewed boundaries are often a contributing factor to the development of substance abuse.

When your commitment to recovery is being threatened by people around you, it is important to move away from those toxic relationships. Setting new, manageable boundaries can help you on your path to recovery.


Boundaries to Help Maintain Sobriety

  1. Set Limits
    You have your own feelings and beliefs. You also have a right to your own limits. If you have been weighed down by your family or friend’s preferences and dysfunction, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope. Throughout your recovery journey, you will learn how to reconnect with your own wants and needs. You will also learn to how stay true to them.
  2. Establish How You Want to Be Treated
    Once you know how you want to be treated, it is important for you to make that clear to others. For example, you may decide you don’t want to meet your friends when they are drinking socially, but you are willing to meet them in a neutral environment. It is okay for you to limit your meetings with people if you feel triggered when you’re out with them.
  3. Speak Up
    Your voice matters. If you feel like your boundaries have been violated, speak up. It is important for you to make it clear what your needs and limits are. It is okay to tell people when you don’t feel that your boundaries have been respected. The people who will help you live a sober life are the ones who will respect the lines and will not cross them.
  4. Trust Your Gut
    It doesn’t matter what you call your feelings. Whether it’s your gut, intuition, inner voice, or so on, the uncomfortable feelings you get around certain people or places are a sign that one of your boundaries is being crossed. Trust your instincts. When you’re sober, your mind and feelings are sharper than ever. Your body will give you signals when something isn’t right. Listen and trust yourself.
  5. Enforce Your Boundaries
    Event the people who respect your boundaries may test them from time to time. Whether intentionally or unwittingly, there must be consequences for crossing boundaries, especially for those who do so on purpose. Repeated violations of your sober rules may mean that you can no longer keep this person in your life. Certain relationships fracture when one person gets sober. Stay true to your recovery.
  6. Put Yourself First
    Setting boundaries means putting yourself first – and that’s a good thing! When you’re on the journey to recovery, it’s important to be focused on your needs. Self-care is usually something that is missing from a person’s life when they are abusing substances. Remember, self-care is not selfish.
  7. Keep Your Boundaries
    Other people may challenge the boundaries you set for yourself. However, flexibility is not an option when it comes to your limits. Stand firm behind the boundaries you have set for yourself. The boundaries you have set empower and guide you to a healthier life that is free from resentment and toxic behaviors. When you keep your boundaries, you are more present and have healthier relationships.

Risks of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a common form of alcohol consumption that is popular among college-age adults. Even though it is common, it can still be dangerous. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol at social gatherings often don’t realize that a hangover is not their only consequence. Drinking alcohol excessively can have a major impact on one’s physical, mental, and psychological health. It can increase one’s risk of driving while impaired and it can also be a sign of alcohol abuse and addiction.


What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a form of heavy drinking. It is officially defined as:

  • For men: drinking five or more drinks within a two-hour time period
  • For women: drinking four or more drinks within a two-hour time period

This includes consumption of any time of alcohol, including wine, beer, or hard liquor. Binge drinking is the most common among adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Binge drinking also commonly occurs on college campuses.


Why do People Binge Drink?

People binge drink for various reasons and personal circumstances. In most cases, binge drinking occurs in social settings, such as parties. In these cases, people may binge drink in order to feel like they fit in, to easy social anxiety, or simply because they are curious about the experience of intoxication. Teenagers may binge drink because they feel like its an act of rebellion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol. However, this doesn’t mean that binge drinking doesn’t come without risk. It can lead to or be a symptom of a serious problem.

Reasons for binge drinking that may indicate alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking to numb emotions
  • Drinking to distract from negative experiences
  • Drinking to self-medicate
  • Drinking to get dangerously drunk
  • Strong alcohol cravings

Using alcohol to distract from personal issues is not a sustainable coping tool. Over time, excessive drinking can pose a serious problem.


Short Term Effects of Binge Drinking

Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time can lead to dangerous levels of intoxication. There are physical, mental, and psychological effects of binge drinking.

Physical Effects of Binge Drinking Include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Inhibited gag reflex
  • Hangover

Binge drinking can also pose the risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can be serious and potentially life-threatening if left untreated.

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Unusually slow breathing
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of consciousness

If you notice the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Mental and Psychological Effects of Binge Drinking Include:

  • Impaired judgement
  • Increased appetite
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Lowered inhibition
  • Confusion
  • Memory blackouts


Increased Risk for Accidents

One of the most overlooked dangers of binge drinking is the likelihood of leading to serious accidents or injuries.

Dangerous Risks of Binge Drinking Include:

  • Drunk driving fatalities
  • Falls
  • Burns
  • Suffocation
  • Drowning
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault


Long-Term Effects and Risks of Binge Drinking

Although there are many short-term effects from binge drinking, there are also long-term effects of it. The more frequently a person binge drinks, the more likely they are to experience long-term effects.

Long-Term Effects and Health Risks of Binge Drinking Include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Various cancers
  • Weakened immune system
  • Memory and learning problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Poor work performance
  • Inability to stay in school or keep a job

Frequent binge drinking can also increase a person’s tolerance to alcohol. This can cause a dependence on alcohol. Alcohol dependence can make it difficult for a person to reduce or stop their drinking completely. People who become dependent on alcohol are at greater risk for alcohol addiction. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours of their last drink.


Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Although most people who binge drink are not expected to develop a serious alcohol problem, many still struggle in silence for fear of shame, addiction, or other personal reasons and they don’t seek help. At Holland Pathways, we offer a safe, accepting environment for all of our clients.