What’s Sleep Got To Do With It? Guest blog from Cooper Healthy Living’s expert Jill Turner

At Cooper Healthy Living, adults from around the country come spend a week on the Cooper Aerobics campus where they stay, learn and transform their health. Equal parts nutrition, exercise, and overall well-being, the common denominator among the people who come is a dissatisfaction or concern about some aspect of their health. Many people complain their life just isn’t as balanced as want it to be, that they are tired, stressed, and weigh more than they’d like. Sleep, or lack of sleep, is a big issue for many.

For well over a year, I wore a wrist activity tracker, and in addition to tracking activity the device also tracked sleep. With a job that keeps me seated (in meetings, on the phone, or behind a computer), the first thing I quickly learned from the tracker is that I need to walk (and at a pretty good clip) for 40- to 45 minutes in order to get the surgeon general recommended 10,000 steps per day. The fact that I need time for purposeful exercise wasn’t a surprise, but the data on sleep was. After a few months of use, I had enough data to realize I need to subtract a full hour for non-sleep time from however many hours I’m in bed each night to accurately count my sleep. This was frankly a shocking revelation as my husband has long claimed I’m like a baby doll with eyes that slap closed when prone! However, the device reflected the truth – that it still takes time to fall asleep, time for a middle-of-the-night bathroom break, time to return to sleep after the cat walks across my body or after the dogs awake to go investigate a potential critter in the backyard. So all those nights I was thinking I’d gotten 8 hours, it was really 7, as I wasn’t estimating non-sleep time very well at all. Looking at the statistics of my tracker buddies, I don’t think I’m that unusual.

As most of the people I encounter don’t get enough sleep, I was fascinated to read about a study conducted by Matthew P. Walker, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California. It looked at the impact of sleep deprivation on our brain. In the study (reported in 2013), Walker recruited 23 healthy young men and women to come spend the night at the lab on two separate occasions, separated by about a week. On the first visit, the individuals arrived at the lab, slept for approximately 8 hours, and then after a small breakfast of toast and strawberry jam, had a MRI (brain scan) while looking at 80 pictures of a variety of foods and rating how strongly they wanted the food in the image. (As part of the experiment, the subjects were promised that at the end of the test they would receive one of the foods that they had rated the highest.) About a week later, the individuals returned to the lab, but this time stayed awake the entire night. (While up, the individuals had snacks like apples and peanut butter, to offset the extra calories they burned being awake rather than asleep.) After being up all night, they repeated the exercise from the previous week – rating the same 80 food pictures while undergoing an MRI.

What Dr. Walker found was really interesting – when the individuals were rested, they chose healthy items to eat, but when they were tired, from just a single night of no sleep, they chose fattening foods, like salty treats, fried foods, or desserts. In fact, the caloric difference between the food choices of the well-rested subjects and the tired subjects was about 600 calories! In comparing the “rested” and “tired” MRIs of the individual, the MRI in a “tired” state showed a sharp reduction in activity in the frontal cortex, a higher-level part of the brain where consequences are weighed and rational decisions are made.

“What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified,” said Dr. Walker. Moreover, he added, “high-calorie foods also became significantly more desirable when participants were sleep-deprived. This combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.”

It’s not our imagination – Dr. Walker’s study scientifically shows how our brain is physically impacted by the level of sleep we have.

In Cooper Healthy Living I talk about this study to hone in on the importance of sleep. Firsthand, I know that if I’m rested, I have better impulse control, and if someone walks into my office bearing treats, there’s a much better chance I will focus on my long term goal of being able to continue to fit into my pants. On the other hand, if I’m tired and someone walks into my office bearing treats, regardless of whether I’m physically hungry or not, there’s a very good chance I’m going to accept, and hope they offer me seconds! When it comes to mental health, sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Furthermore, it doesn’t seem implausible that if, when tired, I have difficulty making good, healthy decisions about what I should eat, the same might be just as true for the tired person who has an addiction – be it shopping, alcohol, drugs, or gambling.

Last month, the National Sleep Foundation released new sleep duration recommendations, after an expert panel of eighteen leading scientists and researchers reviewed more than 300 current scientific publications to determine how much sleep we really need. A chart was created that gives “rule-of-thumb” recommendations for all stages of life. Adults, age 18 and up, are now divided into three categories (young adults 18-25 years; adults 26-64 years; and older adults 65 and up), and currently all three categories have a recommended average of 7- to 9 hours of sleep. The chart also reflects that for some of us, fewer hours are needed, and for others, more. Interestingly, both too little sleep and too much sleep isn’t good for our health. I hope you’ll look at the chart, consider your own particular circumstances, and evaluate if some additional shuteye (or perhaps less), might be helpful in your overall health goals.

Written by Jill Turner, President of Cooper Healthy Living. Individuals interested in Cooper Healthy Living can call us at 800-444-5192 or by going to the website at



Understanding Addiction

Have you ever had the feeling that there is something that you just can’t live without? Maybe when you had your first date with someone and it was better than you ever expected. Each day and night you waited for that one person to call and when the phone rang you were disappointed if it wasn’t them. When they finally called, nothing else mattered in the whole world except talking to that one special person. Have you ever wanted something so bad that it consumed every waking thought? Try thinking of a child who is just able to understand the concept of Christmas morning and they are getting no sleep, have no appetite, and can’t think or do anything else but ask about when it will finally be the day to open the gifts! The anticipation of a bride walking down the aisle to her groom, or vice versa, is overwhelming and it takes over each waking moment until that day finally comes. Everyone in your life is affected by this monumental day and is also right along with you on your journey to experience something that is so important to you.

This is a shadow of what an addiction is. A shadow is merely a glimpse of what is truly there, a shape of something that is so detailed and intricate and woven into whomever is suffering. It is a major part of what that person is made.


Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance. The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse. Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviors or activities. Some researchers speak of two types of addictions: substance addictions (for example, alcoholism, drug abuse and smoking); and process addictions (for example, gambling, spending, shopping, eating, and sexual activity). There is a growing recognition that many addicts, such as polydrug abusers, are addicted to more than one substance or process.

Addiction is the closest, most valuable relationship to the person who is suffering from it. It is the most taxing one as well – over the spouse, children, family and friends, and job. Most people who struggle with addiction have lost many opportunities within their lifetime due to this relationship with drugs or alcohol. To people who do not struggle with addiction, it may seem that a mother who endangers her children while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not love her children. Obviously, or she wouldn’t continue to spend rent money on drugs or pass out while the children are left unattended if she loved them. It may seem that she cares more about her addiction than her own children. That is not true. The addiction is just a lot stronger than she is able to handle. It’s a brain disease…

There is a part in an addict’s brain that is rewarded when they use alcohol or drugs. “Everything we do affects these areas of the brain, especially anything we personally find enjoyable — like most of us do when socializing with other people. When we are having an enjoyable conversation with another person, it leads to a biological and behavioral response. We can even “crave” talking to that person again, since we often make a date to see that person again. None of these things are necessarily unique to addiction.” Over time it becomes a coping mechanism for daily life and takes away the ability to learn essential life skills necessary for living healthy lives.

A person who continues to drink alcohol despite clear-cut consequences, or someone who continues to spend too much money despite losing their car or home, clearly has dame to their brain that leads them to continue that behavior even though they are fully aware of all they are risking. So after the first DWI, the normal drinker will stop drinking. The addict though will rationalize, justify and normalize their troubles and continue the same pattern of behavior until it catches up with them. It is also natural for the addict to point the finger and blame others for their problems. It is just a form of denial and it protects them from having to fully look at themselves in the mirror to see who they really are. It works for a period of time until something terrible happens. Most endings of addiction are death or prison. The path is long and hard when addicts don’t get the proper help for their addiction; it is going to be a long road for them and the loved ones who travel it with them. It’s not a person’s fault if they develop an addiction. But they do have to take ownership of the problem, and work toward its resolution.

The good news is that there are vast numbers of treatment options available for people struggling with any type of addiction. A recovered life is a much more rewarding way to live and is an option for all who put great effort into living it. Getting into a program, staying accountable and helping others are all ways to combat an addiction. Speak out and help others if you have overcome an addiction!

Written by Kayla Proffitt, CIP



Engaging in Motivation

How many times have you felt unmotivated to do something? Or have used the phrase “I’m just not motivated to do that right now”? We tend to use a “lack of motivation” as an excuse for not acting. Could it be that by not acting we are actually removing any opportunity for motivation?

Often times we can think of motivation as something that one either has or does not have. When taking this view in the context of treatment, we can be quick to dismiss people on the basis of a lack of motivation. According to Dr. William R. Miller and Dr. Stephen Rollnick, motivation is not a trait or something that one either has or does not have; however, it is an action. “Motivation can be understood not as something that one has but rather as something one does. It involves recognizing a problem, searching for a way to change, and then beginning and sticking with that change strategy. There are, it turns out, many ways to help people move toward such recognition and action.” -Dr. William R. Miller

I love this! With this redefinition we can now empower people with motivation instead of it being a prerequisite for treatment. 

This is one of the great benefits I have found in i360’s Life Development. Many times people have the desire to change but struggle with actively engaging in the motivation to make those changes and stick with them. Life Development helps people participate in that motivation by reflectively listening and helping to identify goals. It also aids in processing through current behavior to see if that behavior is helping the individual move towards those goals or away from them. With our clients, we work through conflict and confrontation and continue to focus positively on the ever constant opportunity we have for impactful and meaningful change.

It is my personal opinion that for anyone to engage in motivation that will lead to sustainable change, one must have another individual to participate with in the process. Whether it’s resisting the urge to take a drink or going to the gym to work out, it is easier to obtain continued favorable outcomes when we are actively involved with others to achieve motivational success.

To read more about Motivational Interviewing refer to http://store.samhsa

Written by Matthew Green


Does My Loved One Have an Addiction?

It’s challenging to help a loved one with addiction. Especially if you aren’t really sure what’s going on. . . Maybe over time the suspicions began to add up. Until you realized one day that there is something bigger happening in your loved one’s life. Or maybe one day it hit you like a brick wall, leaving you with not a doubt in your mind that he or she needs help, help beyond what you can provide.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) nearly 50 million people in the U.S., and their families, are affected by the disease of addiction. This includes drug and alcohol addiction, as well as behavioral addictions such as eating, gambling, gaming, sex, spending, shopping, and work. As a result of the widespread impact of addiction, at i360 we often work with family members who wonder, “Does my husband, son, daughter, or mother have an addiction?” Although a professional should evaluate someone struggling with possible addiction before a diagnosis is made, the following are ten basic criteria for addiction:

Preoccupation – obsessive thoughts or fantasizing about a specific substance or behavior.

Loss of control – using substances or engaging in behavior more than originally intended.

Compulsivity – a pattern or theme of acting out over an extended period of time.

Efforts to stop – a history of attempts to stop behavior that fail.

Withdrawal – stopping use or behavior causes physical symptoms, distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritably.

Escalation – The substance is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended, or there is a need to make the behavior more intense, frequent, or risky.

Loss of time – a large amount of time lost using substances or engaging in behavior and recovering from the effects.

Inability to fulfill obligations – substance use or behavior interferes with work, school, and relationships.

Losses – experiencing legal, relational, financial, physical and/or work consequences.

Continuation despite consequences – failure to stop the substance use or behavior even though you are experiencing legal, relational, financial, physical, and/or occupational problems.

If you or a family member can identify with the following criteria, we are here to help. At i360 we help individuals and families through the recovery process. This is done through a unique blend of individual, group, and family therapy in the office, and walking with clients in their real world environment to apply their insights as they build a new, healthy, satisfying life. This is what we call life development, and this happens outside of the traditional office setting. In collaboration with all the professionals working with an individual, it’s a very effective and unique approach to treatment. No matter what your situation is, talk to someone, sit down with someone, and figure out that you can have a very different future.

Written by Mitchell Isle, LPC



How to Care for those Experiencing Grief during the Holidays

The holiday season brings with it certain nostalgia. The cooler air is filled with memories of family gatherings, friendly meetings and a general coming together with those we love. There is an expectation of sorts to be merry, to be carefree, to be whimsical. Yet, for those of us dealing with the loss of a loved one, the holiday season often amplifies the pain and sadness already lingering in their absence. As we move through December and into the new year, be mindful of those near to you that may be struggling through this season. Here are some specific ways we can extend care for those experiencing grief this year:

·Reach out and remember: Sending a card, extending a phone call, sharing an invitation to coffee all serve as fairly simple ways to communicate you care and haven’t forgotten about the person’s loss during the holidays. Offer to help bake or decorate or shop for gifts. These tasks can be overwhelming for someone that is dealing with raw emotions. Especially if time has passed since the loss, you may unintentionally forget that the holidays can be hard.

·Do not avoid the topic: It can be uncomfortable to inquire about difficult situations, yet leaning into the discomfort can help someone who is grieving talk about the event, and the gesture relays that you are truly interested. Questions such as, “How are you doing?” “What is difficult right now?” “What do you need during this season?” can open the door to conversations someone may not bring up otherwise.

·Listen, listen, listen: As you engage in conversation with someone grieving, listen without preparing how you will respond. This is not a time where you have to be conversational. However, if you are comfortable, share what you are feeling as he or she continues to share, or even how you may relate to his or her loss. Try to connect with the feelings of hurt, the feelings of pain, and avoid attempting to solve or fix it. It is risky to share about a sad or difficult topic if you do not believe you will be heard. Letting the other person know you hear him or her and are ok with being with there in that moment of grieving goes a very long way.

It can feel scary to ask or inquire about a person’s loss. However, making the effort and expressing concern is often appreciated. Additionally, some folks may request to not talk about their loss, but still be thankful you asked. Respect where the person is in terms of dealing with that circumstance. Anger may accompany the sadness and often it is not personal towards you. As you offer support, honor how the person chooses to respond and trust that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays while navigating a loss.

When we go through difficult times, we often isolate and disconnect from the things in life we need. Maybe you are going through a hard time. Maybe a loved one is. Whatever the case, connecting with others can give us hope for a different future. Talk with someone, sit with someone and explore some possibilities to have a very different chapter in life. Reach out to us at i360 at 214.733.9565.

Written by Lindsay O’Connor, LPC – Client Advocate and Therapist at i360


5 Things We Rarely Do That Would Make Life More Joyful

5 Things We Rarely Do That Would Make Life more Joyful

Disclaimer: As you read this, every single one of you will be able to conjure up multiple excuses about why the following actions can’t be possible for you or how out of touch with reality I am.

Recently when I spoke on the topic of marital satisfaction, a woman in the crowd stood up with a sly smirk on her face and tried to publicly invalidate the points I had made. “Do you have children? It sounds like you don’t, because there is obviously no way my husband and I could go on date nights with four children.”  She proclaimed this as if being too busy to spend time with her spouse was a badge of honor. I disclose this to set the stage in asking you to enter into this blog with an open mind, dwelling not on your limitations but on the hope of a fuller and richer life, even if you are already functioning at a high level. I challenge you to move towards embracing these FIVE actions.

1. Accept that you will never get rid of negative feelings. Read that first sentence again and let it sink in. The main reason so many patients come to see me is because they have been lied to. Other therapists have given them countless tips and tricks on how to get rid of bad feelings, leading them to believe they can magically eradicate all pain and suffering. They eventually exhaust themselves by failing to rid themselves of negative emotions and they come to see me. The foolish notion that we can “get rid” of bad feelings is a Western idea that impatient Americans dreamed up. We can improve our lives by taking action, but we will always experience pain and suffering. Big salaries, luxury cars, children and spouses can’t stop you from hurting.

My patients have also been lied to by churches and pastors who have told them that if they pray enough, have enough faith, engage in community, and stop sinning that they will magically feel better and be happy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible is filled to the brim with stories of Biblical leaders who lived agonizing lives filled with anxiety and depression. David, Elijah, Saul, Sampson, Moses, and many others suffered from the same mental disorders that we suffer from today. Even Christ wrestled with strong feelings of anxiety, so much so that many believe he suffered from hematidrosis (a condition that causes one to sweat blood from high levels of stress) near the end of his life. And during his most anxious moments, none of his friends told him, “Don’t be anxious Jesus! Why don’t you pray and petition God!” And we shouldn’t be telling people that either…

There are many things we can do that provide us opportunities to live meaningful lives, but we must ACCEPT that suffering and pain are inherent in life. Scratching and clawing and trying to push away the pain only intensify the pain. Release the notion that you can feel better by getting that promotion, praying harder, having children, marrying that guy that just won’t seem to ask you, making just a bit more money, buying that house, or any other “next big thing” that you know deep down won’t really satisfy you…

2. Explore your upbringing and heal wounds from family and friends. The most common phrase I hear during first sessions with new patients is “I had a great childhood!” And whenever I hear those words, I immediately think, “Oh. They didn’t have a great childhood!” It’s easy yet destructive to ignore our family’s failures. People often refuse to admit the ways in which their parents have wounded them because they don’t want to feel the sting of what really happened. But, unfortunately, if we don’t ever take a close look at the way in which our families failed us, we can never understand exactly why we are wired the way we are, how we move through the world, and how we relate to others.

“That’s ridiculous! Why bring up the past? I refuse to blame my problems on my parents!” my patients aggressively say as they cling to a “pie in the sky” version of their mom and pop. They misunderstand the point of uprooting the past. We talk about these things not to bash family members, but rather to help them heal properly. Without exploring these familial issues, we will never heal properly and we will hurt others close to us because our wounds have never been properly cleaned and bandaged. Faith alone won’t take the wounds away. Community won’t. Your spouses and children won’t. Alcohol won’t. Working through them, not around them, in therapy properly heals the wounds.  When these wounds are healed, we can start to experience a peace we hadn’t known before.

3. Let yourself REALLY be known by others. Shockingly, only 1 out of every 5 of my patients actually have close friends, but 4 out of 5 think they do. “But Doug, there are many people that I’ve told very personal details of my life to at church, work, recovery programs, etc. But I still feel lonely…” I hear it all the time. Merely telling people personal details doesn’t connect you to them; however, consistently sharing life with them does.

How do you truly “share life” with others? Here’s a great test to see how connected you are to others. Are there 1 to 2 people (outside your spouse) who, if I called at the end of every week, could tell me where you are at emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Could they tell me about the insecurities you had that week? Do they know about the fight you had with your husband? Do they know how you are spending your money? Do they know how much time you’ve been spending with your children? If they looked at your Internet history would they be surprised? You can get by without these relationships, but your life can be so much more meaningful and joyful with them.

But deep relationships are risky, so we turn to social media for “faux friendships.” 99% of your Facebook and Twitter friends aren’t really your friends. Looking at someone’s Facebook timeline is like watching a highlight reel of his or her life. The bad parts are omitted and the good parts are amplified. If you were really having as much fun as you publicly proclaim, you wouldn’t have time to post “check ins.” The Facebook “Check In” button could be changed to a “Jealous of Me Yet?” button. Healthy, face-to-face interaction with others fulfills a deep need in us – the need to be known and know others. This is doing life with others. By failing to do life with others and by not permitting them to see all your insecurities and fears, you deprive yourself of something life giving…something deep and sacred.

4. Exercise and eat healthy. Here’s a shocking fact. I have never had a patient who committed to eating healthy and exercising 4-5 times a week for 45 minutes who didn’t report feeling much more joyful and content. Unfortunately, I can count on one hand the amount of people who actually followed through. Many want to take action, but few do. Most really don’t have any idea how to start and make the age old mistake of merely joining a gym, thinking that it will jump start their work out routine. Here are some ways to own your new workout plans:

  • Set a goal based on what you enjoy. If you run, slowly increase the time you do so, or shoot for a certain number of miles. If you like elliptical machines or bicycles, do the same. If you like lifting weights, shoot for increasing weights or find new routines.
  • Perhaps try a new diet-like a vegetarian diet…which is amazing and incredibly helpful for our animals and our world. : )
  • Exercise with others. There are hundreds of walking, running, kayaking and cycling clubs found online. For most, the workout experience is heightened when exercising with others.
  • If you don’t like traditional exercise machines or weight lifting, find a sport you enjoy that gives you a cardio kick. Try something new. Try boot camps, jump in a pool and swim, try tennis, football, dirt biking, etc…
  • Find something to make the experience more enjoyable, like listening to music while you work out or attend a class your gym offers.
  • Give the routine time to become a routine. For the first few weeks, you will think of exercise as a burden. But the more you go and receive endorphin and adrenaline kicks, your brain will begin to long for that same reward and chemically, you can actually look forward to exercising. But you must give your brain a chance to do this by consistently following through.


5. Play. Remember the wonder of being young, waking up in the morning and feeling raw excitement in the pit of your stomach, knowing that you had an entire day to wear yourself out? It doesn’t have to stop now that you’re grown up! Some patients report that impromptu board games, soccer, football or ultimate frisbee games with their children or friends have been some of the best weekends of their lives! Break the mold and find new things to do with your children, spouses or friends that you’ve never done before. Don’t let your to do list stop you from saying yes to things that bring you joy. Approach the day with child-like excitement, take nothing for granted and appreciate again all that the day has to give. Play again.

The above listed are five actions over which we have control. There are many things that are completely out of our control, but these are actions you can take to create a more fulfilling life for yourself.  Take action now to add more color to your days.

Written by Doug Chisholm, LPC



Are you too Emotionally Involved as a Parent?

If your child is anxious do you find yourself anxious too? Do you get wrapped up in trying fix it, experiencing the same emotion until their emotion changes?  And then move onto their next emotion? It’s a roller coaster ride that you don’t want to be on – nor does your child need you to be.

If you generally feel as if whatever happens to your child has happened to you, this could indicate enmeshment, an unhealthy emotional relationship. This often takes place when a parent is so empathetic that it turns into crossed personal boundaries that are permeable and unclear. One consequence of this is that it prohibits the child from maturing emotionally and becoming independent. What can be a good thing quickly becomes “too much of a good thing” and ends up being harmful.

When a child is experiencing a difficult emotion, they simply need support and a healthy dose of empathy.  If the parent takes on the emotion themselves and is overly involved, it can put the child in an obligatory position to extend comfort to the parent.  It can create an emotionally unsafe and unstable environment for the child.  And it will stunt their growth. Children need their parents as a resource for emotional stability and security.  If they feel responsible for their parents well being then they cannot become developmentally independent and responsible for their own choices.

Parenting requires a fine balance of being emotionally empathetic, yet not enmeshed.  This is not the only type of relationship in which enmeshment takes place. It can happen in any relationship: Romantic, friendships, etc. Sometimes it takes the lens of a third party to help identify where the enmeshment begins and ends.  Innovation360 frequently helps families identify areas of unhealthy relational habits such as enmeshment and guides them in transforming those relationships into healthy interactions. This leads to better dynamics and more rewarding relationships.

Reach out to us for more information on how we can come alongside your family to help you go down the path towards a more fulfilling, healthier life.

Written by Jennifer Updike, Advocate Coordinator at i360


Transitioning Home from Treatment

Leaving a place of structure and security to head home into the great unknown can be quite daunting. Throughout your stay at a residential treatment program, you’ve been guarded from outside stressors and protected from triggers, but now you are transitioning home and familiarity is just waiting for you. Ideally, you are a new person but you are heading home to an old place, so what do you do to effectively adjust to living the full life you set yourself up for while you were away? How do you maintain sobriety once you are back home? How do you continue to cope with the things that used to send your anxiety through the roof? How do you deal with the things that always sent you spiraling into a deep depression?

What you may not realize is that after your extended stay at residential treatment, you are armed with so many tools! Think of it as your personal arsenal, it travels home with you so that as you face the challenges of adjusting to life outside of treatment, you can overcome. But the thing many people don’t realize is that once they leave, they need to continue to build upon the work they’ve already completed. You aren’t done. You aren’t cured. In fact, this is a lifelong journey that will have ups and downs, relapses and trials, and bumps along the way. Truth be told, transitioning home can be the hardest part of it all. At i360, we often come into the equation at this point. We work with people, join them for a time, and help them transition home successfully, keeping that momentum going strong! This is the part of the story when the rubber meets the road – all that work you did while you were away now needs to translate into behavior change in the midst of real, authentic living.

Once you leave a rehab program, there are some things you should focus on doing to carry those healthy behavior changes into your everyday world. You have the tools, now you need to use them. But the last thing you should do is attempt to continue your recovery journey on your own. At i360, as an outpatient mental health treatment program, we work with our clients to give the support they need so they can be successful in their journey. Here are the top five things we suggest doing to implement healthy changes upon transitioning home:

Add structure into your daily routine: We help our clients set up a schedule to follow day to day – when to get up, chores to be done, timeframes for exercise, attending AA, job searching, heading to work, exploring fun and hobbies, time for lights out, etc. Keeping to a normal routine reduces the chance of boredom which could lead to opportunities for relapse. Stay occupied, stay active.

Identify a support network: Once you return home, plug into outpatient groups like i360’s IOP, workshops, and DBT skills group. When we work with clients, we will often go with them to AA – going with a buddy helps eliminate some of that anxiety. But it’s key to have a support system around you when you have those difficult times, and also when you have good days and want to share that with others. Seek out a counselor, join a church, and stay away from old friends, places, and things that you associate with the past to prevent cravings from resurfacing.

Exercise and eat well: Take care of yourself! Hygiene is important, as is good sleep, eating habits, and exercise. Focusing on wellness is a major component of the work we do with clients. You are a healthy you when you take care of your whole self. And when you get the nutrition and sleep you need, you are armed to overcome triggers and challenges throughout your day.

Explore spirituality: Who are you going to lean on when you face difficult situations? How can you find a way to respect yourself and others? What do you believe is right and wrong? Get in touch with your moral compass, and let that be a guide to how you live from here on out.

Leave room for fun: When you take out a negative (substance abuse, anxiety, depression) you’re left with a void unless you fill it with a positive! With our i360 clients, we explore fun and hobbies, helping them figure out who they are and what they love once that negative is removed from their lives. Don’t sit inside and isolate yourself from the rest of the world, get out there and become who you are intended to be! Sign up for photography class, take cooking lessons, join a small group at Church, learn to pay tennis, do something to get outside yourself – like volunteering…The options are endless.

Remain dedicated to the mission as you integrate back into life – give it everything you’ve got! Just remember that going away to inpatient treatment doesn’t equate to a quick fix. Yes, you will have the tools you need, but that doesn’t count until you can implement them in the midst of life. By staying accountable to a daily schedule, identifying a support network, focusing on wellness, exploring spirituality, and leaving room for fun, you will be setting yourself up to succeed in translating insights into behavior when you come home. Reach out to us at i360 as you plan to transition home so we can support you in that.

Written by Lauren Barnett, i360 Marketing Director


Mommies in Recovery

Do women face different issues in addiction, treatment, and recovery than men? Absolutely. Women begin using for different reasons, metabolize alcohol differently than men, often progress more quickly, and recover differently as well. And when these women are mothers too, a whole new set of struggles arise. Getting sober may be the hardest thing a mother does, but once they gone down this beautiful path, they often discover that raising children in sobriety isn’t easy either.

There are many mothers out there recovering from addiction, repairing relationships with their families and kids, struggling to find balance, peace, and time for self-care. Mothers who have come to realize that they weren’t bad people, but that they were sick with the disease of alcoholism – alcoholism called the shots all those years. They’ve learned to reflect not on the mother they used to be, or wished they had been, but rather on the reminders of the mom they still get to be. Many moms in recovery struggle with guilt about letting their kids or families down. Learning to let go of this allows them to move on, and to become the parents they really want to be. With each additional day of sobriety, they can be a healthier model for their kids.

Women, and mothers, in recovery can benefit greatly from connecting to others who share similar stories. At i360, we host the aftercare program for Sierra Tucson Treatment Center. One of Sierra Tucson’s alumni has started a once-a-month event for mommies in recovery. Children definitely add a dynamic to recovery, and it is within this type of fellowship that additional growth, balance, and peace can be attained.  This is a group of sober women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction and raising kids. The desire is to offer fellowship with other mommies in recovery. Simple as that. Events are free and kids can join too.

For more info, check out the Recovery Mommies website here:

Blog written by Lauren Barnett, November of 2014.


It doesn’t discriminate: Older Adults are Struggling with Substance Abuse

Anyone at any age can have a drinking problem. At i360, we say it all the time – addiction does not discriminate. Not based on gender, on finances, on profession…and certainly not on age. In fact, families, friends, and healthcare workers often overlook concerns about older people drinking. We mistake alcohol abuse in older adults for other conditions related to aging – like a problem with balance. Furthermore, how the body handles alcohol changes with age. Your grandpa may have the same drinking habits, but his body has changed, as has the way he metabolizes the liquor.

It’s not just the liquor. It’s often the prescription medications that are being abused as well. Doctors may prescribe Ambien to help older adults sleep or anti-anxiety medications like Klonopin to help them cope with the loss of a loved one. When you couple that with cocktails, the equation can result in addiction. It can really be that innocent. And they don’t see it coming.

More older adults are struggling with substance abuse – it’s plain as day. We often see that they go through a major life event, like the death of their spouse or a close friend, loss of purpose or career, or even failing health, and that causes them to turn to substances to cope. Even with retirement, it can lead to drinking problems because of loneliness, boredom, and maybe even the onset of depression. We are finding that older adults often don’t posess the coping skills required to calm their anxiety through these major life events, so they turn to alcohol and other drugs.

The good news is that older adults are just as treatable – they aren’t hopeless! There is never a better time to get treatment than now. But we need to open our eyes to what is happening. This article states that around “2.8 million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, and this number is expected to reach 5.7 million by 2020.”  And while alcohol is generally the substance abused, the rate of illicit drug use among adults ages 50 to 64 increased from 2.7% in 2002 to 6% in 2013.  At i360, we believe that our duty to educate goes beyond just those that we see in treatment within our walls. These numbers are not headed in the right direction. But treatment works, and there is hope, and it just takes reaching out to begin the journey to a better, healthier “you”.  That’s what we do at i360, we work with people as young as 18 years old, and all the way up through ages 50, 60, 70, and 80 plus! We walk alongside our clients to help them put one foot in front of the other to overcome anxiety, addiction, and depression. There is hope and we can help you find it.

Written by Lauren Barnett, October 2014

Resource: The New York Times Article