Personal Growth


How to build a recovery playlist

Music can be a wonderful source of support, inspiration, and motivation during the recovery process. Consider developing your own addiction recovery playlist to help you tackle the challenges of sober living, using these popular songs as a starting point.

Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park

I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream.
But now I have some clarity to show you what I mean.
I don’t know how I got this way.
I’ll never be alright,
So I’m breaking the habit.
I’m breaking the habit.
I’m breaking the habit tonight.

“Breaking the Habit” is a song about hitting rock bottom. The lyrics express frustration with the burdens of addiction, as well as an understanding that nothing gets better unless you make a conscious decision to change your own behavior.

Amazing – Aerosmith

It’s amazing.
With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.
It’s amazing.
When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright.

Aerosmith’s popular power ballad begins by describing a life of pain caused by drug abuse, but shows how drastically life can change if you find the courage to ask for help. If you’re in the early stages of recovery, this is a song to remind you that things will get better.

My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit

Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road.
I try not to hold on to what is gone.
I try to do right what is wrong.
I try to keep on keepin’ on.

When you’re in recovery, it’s easy to get distracted by guilt over past mistakes and anxiety about the future. “My Silver Lining” is a reminder to focus on the present and take your recovery one day at a time.

Recover – Natasha Bedingfield

Been torn apart,
Got so many scratches and scars.
Maybe they won’t all go away,
But they’ll fade.
Maybe time can mend us together again.
It’s not what we’ve done but, how far we’ve come.

“Recover” is a powerful song because it acknowledges that addiction causes lasting pain, but gives hope that recovery is possible. Think of this song as a reminder that your own scars are a badge of honor and a sign of survival. They tell the story of all you’ve been through and prove that you’re strong enough to conquer the world.

Survivor – Destiny’s Child

Now that you’re out of my life, I’m so much better.
You thought that I’d be weak without you, but I’m stronger.
You thought that I’d be broke without you, but I’m richer.
You thought that I’d be sad without you, I laugh harder.
Thought I wouldn’t grow without you, now I’m wiser.

This song is about getting over a bad breakup, but it’s not difficult to see the parallel between ending a toxic romance and overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Think of it as a catchy tune to help you remember all the ways your life has improved since you made the decision to get clean.

Titanium – David Guetta featuring Sia

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose.
Fire away, fire away.
Ricochet, you take your aim.
Fire away, fire away.
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall.
I am titanium.

“Titanium” is a song about inner strength and finding it in yourself to overcome whatever obstacles the world throws at you. It’s a song that resonates with many people who’ve turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma in their lives.

Firework – Katy Perry

You don’t have to feel like a wasted space.
You’re original, cannot be replaced.
If you only knew what the future holds.
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow.

More than just a popular dance number, “Firework” offers a powerful message about embracing your individuality. It’s a worthy addition to any recovery playlist, especially if you’re struggling to redefine your sense of self without drugs and alcohol.

Hold Fast – Mercy Me

Hold fast
Help is on the way.
Hold fast
He’s come to save the day.
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is your grasp.

Contemporary Christian band MercyMe sings about the power of Christ’s love, urging anyone who is going through a difficult time to turn to their faith as a source of strength. Even though this song isn’t specifically about addiction, it’s a message that resonates with many who are in recovery.

The Man I Want to Be – Chris Young

I wanna be a good man,
A ‘do like I should’ man.
I wanna be the kind of man the mirror likes to see.
I wanna be a strong man
And admit that I was wrong, man.
God, I’m asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be.

Country music singer Chris Young expresses the desire to make big changes in life, while acknowledging that this is a job too big to undertake alone. This song reminds us that all things are possible with God’s help.

By Dana Hinders

man using computer

Job hunting is never an easy process, but people in recovery face some distinct challenges. From the need for a flexible schedule to explaining a spotty work history, landing a new position while in recovery will require careful planning and preparation.

Daniel Krasner, Summit Behavioral Healthcare’s Assistant Vice President of National Business Development, has a unique perspective on the post-recovery job search. He launched his own successful career after receiving addiction treatment and has helped fill multiple marketing and sales-related positions.

Recently, Krasner volunteered to share some advice for job seekers in recovery.

1. Don’t Share Too Early in the Process
Krasner believes your recovery shouldn’t be mentioned in your resume or cover letter. Employers only need information that’s relevant to your ability to perform specific job duties.

“I look at addiction as a disease, like diabetes,” Krasner said. “Just as you wouldn’t immediately tell a potential employer that you’re a diabetic, you don’t need to mention that you’re in recovery until an offer is on the table. It’s not necessarily something you need to share until it becomes relevant to the job at hand.”

2. Decide How Much You’re Comfortable Disclosing
Seeking addiction treatment is nothing to be ashamed of, but people in recovery have different levels of comfort when discussing their sobriety with others. To a large extent, how much you share is a matter of personal preference.

“Everyone is different as far as their willingness to disclose,” Krasner said. “You can come right out and say you were in recovery or you can simply say you had a medical issue that needed to be addressed. If you’re still in treatment or at a halfway house, you might need to provide more detail than someone with a few years of sobriety simply because you might need to leave early for meetings. If you’ve been sober for several years and it won’t affect your job performance, a full disclosure is less important.”

3. Be Honest
Wanting to protect your privacy is understandable, but it’s vitally important that you tell the truth when asked. Although a potential employer isn’t entitled to know every detail about your addiction treatment, the issue becomes relevant if you have a criminal record from your addiction or were terminated for addiction-related performance issues. Lying about your background will lead to automatic termination for most employers, regardless of whether you’re fudging your educational credentials or omitting the fact that you have a DUI and a possession charge on your record.

Owning up to your past isn’t easy, but Krasner points out that the best way to get a job is to help an employer see that you have the maturity to use past mistakes as an opportunity for growth. “You have to go into the process assuming that they will call your past employer and conduct a background check,” Krasner said. “Be honest about the mistakes that you’ve made, but show that you’ve changed since then.”

If you’re worried that you’ll get tongue-tied when asked about a specific issue on your resume, write up a detailed response beforehand and practice it with a friend or your sponsor. “God didn’t carry you this far to see you fall,” Krasner said. “Lean on your support network and practice your interviewing skills to calm your nerves and boost your confidence.”

4. Be Open to Feedback
Rejection is unfortunately part of the job search. This can be hard for someone in recovery, as it may trigger feelings of being not good enough or unworthy of success. However, successful job seekers are those who can turn rejection into a new opportunity.

“If you’re getting interviews but no job offers, ask for feedback on areas you need to improve,” Krasner said. “You may also want to take a deep hard look at your resume. To be effective, it needs to portray your background honestly but positively and be targeted towards the specific job position.”

5. Be Willing to Start Small
When it comes to your post-recovery career, you can’t expect to land your dream job immediately. Change takes time, so patience is a virtue. Treat your job search like a full-time job, be strategic, and stay confident in the belief that you’ll eventually find a position that’s right for you.

“It’s always easier to get a job if you already have a job,” Krasner said. “You may have to humble yourself somewhat to get your foot in the door, especially if your professional reputation suffered due to your addiction. This is a consequence of the choices you’ve made. Take what you can get, but use the opportunity as a steppingstone to something better.”

By Dana Hinders

To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website.

quit smokingAccording to the CDC, about 15 percent of adults in the United States are smokers. However, smoking rates are significantly higher among people who are also struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

If you’re considering seeking treatment, you may find yourself wondering if it’s best to quit smoking while you’re in rehab or if you should concentrate on beating one addiction at a time. The answer to this question depends on several different factors, including your own personal recovery preference.

The Link Between Smoking and Recovery

Long term tobacco use can cause a wide range of health problems, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease. However, the health benefits of quitting smoking can be seen almost immediately. For example, your heart rate and blood pressure will be back to normal within two hours. Within two to three weeks, your blood circulation and lung function should improve enough that exercising or engaging in physically strenuous activity will be noticeably easier.

The traditional thinking was that quitting smoking could threaten sobriety by increasing the intensity of a recovering substance abuser’s cravings for drugs and alcohol. Today, we know this is simply not true. Quitting smoking will not threaten your recovery and may even be beneficial if you’re suffering from alcoholism and strongly associate drinking with smoking cigarettes.

Since nicotine is an addictive substance, the process of quitting smoking is much like conquering alcohol or drug addiction. Use of nicotine replacement therapy via patch, gum, inhaler, or nasal spray can help keep your nicotine cravings under control. The same coping techniques you learn in recovery to handle cravings for drugs or alcohol can also be used to manage nicotine withdrawal.

Stress Relief and Addiction Recovery

For many people, smoking cigarettes is seen as a way to cope with stress. While it’s true that the experience of getting sober can be stressful, this doesn’t mean that you can’t quit smoking if you wish to do so. To some extent, stress will always be a part of your life. Even when you’re sober, you’ll be dealing with stress in your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers or supervisors.

Quitting smoking while in rehab may give you a chance to come up with healthier ways to handle stressful feelings, such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, listening to music, or writing about your feelings in a journal. This experience will leave you feeling more confident and in control of your sobriety after your time at the treatment center has passed.

Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

Nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant, which is why fear of gaining weight is common among people who are interested in quitting smoking. However, this fear is misguided. The vast majority of people who quit smoking gain no more than five to 10 pounds.

If you’re currently malnourished due to your drug or alcohol addiction, gaining a small amount of weight may be beneficial. If you are already at the right weight for your frame, making a point to exercise regularly and avoid overindulging in sweets or processed foods can help prevent any weight gain related to quitting smoking. Experts agree that fear of weight gain shouldn’t be a deciding factor in whether or not you attempt to quit smoking while in recovery.

Quitting Is a Process

If you’ve tried to quit smoking unsuccessfully in the past, you may think it’s not worth the effort to try again. However, quitting smoking is often a process that requires several attempts to be successful.

A study recently published in BMJ Open suggests that it can take up to 30 attempts for smokers to go for one full year without cigarettes. Often, what works best is when a smoker has a powerful and personal reason to want to quit. Seeking treatment for your alcohol or drug addiction and making the decision to begin a fresh chapter in your life may be the mental “push” you need to kick the habit for good.

Choosing the Approach that Works Best for You

There is no one size fits all treatment approach for addiction. If you desire an opportunity to make a completely fresh start, St. Joseph Institute can help you quit smoking at the same time you address your alcohol or drug addiction. However, if you would prefer to focus on overcoming one addiction at a time, our counselors can help you develop a treatment plan that works for your unique needs.

By Dana Hinders

To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website.

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