Browsing Tag


Is Isolation Healthy in Addiction Recovery

By Jennifer McDougall

It can be tempting for many people, especially those in recovery, to shut out the world for days at a time, but how much isolation is too much? Because of the high risk for increased loneliness during times of isolation, it is important to point out that if you are feeling a desire to pull back from social environments and becoming disengaged in what was motivating and inspiring you before, that you now need to look at WHY you are wanting to resort to solitude.

How to know when you’ve been isolating for too long

  1. You feel unmotivated

    Shake up the energy in your home first by decluttering every room and every corner. If you’ve been at home a lot lately, chances are things have begun to pile up. That stuff you have just sitting around is collecting dust and blocking out strong energy forces that help you stay enthusiastic about life. Seeing clutter has a negative effect on how we feel. Start by cleaning up. Then work on getting outside and calling a friend or nice family member who can provide you with some good laughter and support. This may help push you to create a better routine and implement new fun activities.

  2. You are experiencing increase in depression and anxiety

    It’s time to get more exercise and practice meditation. You are going to be okay but you need to switch things up. Sometimes we keep doing something long after it is no longer working for us anymore. This happens a lot to those who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time. They stop being fun and start being something dangerous and works against you in every way possible. When you’re being depressed and anxious, that’s your body telling you that something has to change.

  3. Your mind is restless at night and you can’t fall asleep

    Get your journal and start writing down all your ideas. This is a great way to calm your racing thoughts and give you a productive outlet for plugging your emotions into something that helps you see things a little more clearly.

  4. You want to get out and do something but you don’t know where to start

    Begin getting out and about a little bit every day. Go to the beach or a park to sit or lay outside under the sun and read a book.

The year is 2020, and many people have experienced an overwhelming sense of loneliness due to a major shift in how we are able to connect with one another from a distance. With the stay-at-home orders and quarantine scenario starting back in March, we have been glued to our phones, computers, and televisions like never before. It’s almost September now, and restaurants are open again, most small businesses are finding a way to continue to provide services to their customers while following strict guidelines enforced by each state.

Thankfully, Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura have been able to remain open during these unprecedented times. We have seen an increased number of phone calls and web inquires for treatment due to the massive hike in substance abuse related issues this year. Passages is grateful to all of the staff who have helped keep things running smoothly and providing a substantial amount of support to one another.

Why Would Someone Want to Isolate Themselves

The pandemic. It also could be that this person recently experienced a job loss, a breakup, the death of a loved one, financial hardship, a desire for peace and quiet because everything around them feels chaotic, is physically or emotionally drained, feels down about themselves, has been deeply hurt by people in the past and prefers to keep to themselves in order to protect themselves from future pain.

Sometimes, isolating is a necessary reset that we must allow our self to flourish. It is not dangerous when appropriately managed. We have to be mindful to incorporate small blocks of time throughout the day to socialize with other people or not. It is essential to talk to other people, release any thoughts, feelings, or ideas you have piling up inside your head. While it may be tempting just to sit inside, work, listen to music, and enjoy time alone, it’s also critical that you exercise once a day to help maintain a healthy rhythm and flow to your sober lifestyle. One of the best feelings is that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when you can lay your head down at night and know that you completed a difficult task and followed through on vital assignments that needed to be done.

One of the key elements that people crave in isolation is the clarity to concentration and direct all their focus onto a challenging goal they feel strongly about. What gets people off course in isolation is the lack of balance and accountability because when you block people and society out of your life, you don’t allow the most important thing to happen: connection. We all need to feel connected to something, and someone who understands us hears us and gently pushes us to do better and be better every single day. By having a connection to others, we can thrive more abundantly and feel loved, which is something every person on earth wants more than anything else.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Call Passages today at (888) 397-0112. Most insurance is accepted.

5 Tips for Self-Care in Addiction Recovery

By Jennifer McDougall

Self-care is an essential practice in addiction recovery. When you don’t have a self-care routine, it can throw you off balance and make you feel a little uneasy at times. Many people who relapse in recovery lose focus on what’s important and forget to take care of the needs of their mind, body, and spirit. That is why we created this list of helpful tips for you to feel your best and treat yourself with nourishing care. At Passages Addiction Treatment Centers, we want you to succeed and live a healthy life, free from drug and alcohol abuse.

  1. Surround Yourself With Positive Influences

Often times, it’s those closest to us that influence us the most. It’s important that you take a look at who is best influencing your life in a positive way and who is bringing you down. To stay healthy and maintain and stable lifestyle, you must be consciously aware of those you surround yourself with.

2. Practice Daily Meditation

There are many powerful benefits to mindful meditation. Some of which include: reduced stress, improved emotional health, the ability to break addictive patterns, control pain and anxiety, and decrease blood pressure. Meditating requires practice but there are many apps such as Headspace and Calm to help walk you through mastering this life-changing self-care tool.

3. Establish a Daily Exercise Routine

Get your body moving! Whether that is at the gym, outside, or at home. Physical fitness is key to looking and feeling your best. When we workout we are able to sweat out toxins our bodies have accumulated and can help improve our mental health as well. If you don’t currently have a solid exercise routine, start one today. Find something that you enjoy doing such as yoga, kick-boxing, swimming, hiking, or running and make it a habit to do every day. You will feel happier and improve your overall health!

4. Fuel Your Body With Nutritious Foods

This one I can’t emphasize enough! Our bodies react to what we consume and when we eat healthily, we are able to function at our optimal capabilities. If you are constantly eating junk food and loading up on unhealthy snacks or sugary beverages, you may notice how sluggish you feel. You may notice an increase in anxiety and depression related symptoms because you’re not giving your body the nutrition it needs to thrive. There are many healthy recipes we have listed on our Pinterest and invite you to try them out!

5. Weekly Deep Tissue Massage

Did you know that massage therapy can help strengthen your immune system and lower blood pressure? Massages are a great way to decompress and unwind from your busy week. There are many benefits to this therapy method and it is one that we utilize at Passages Addiction Treatment Centers. Those who have battled addiction and are focused on healing their mind, body, and spirit, massage therapy is exactly what you need for your self-care regiment. Studies have known it to help with anxiety, muscle tension, relieve headaches, and improve quality of sleep. Search your local guide to book a massage appointment near you today.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Self Soothing Through the 5 Senses

Self Soothing Through the 5 Senses

By Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC

Mindfulness is the ability to steer clear from worry and anxiety bringing one’s attention to the present moment. Feeling overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with life’s challenges is not uncommon early in sobriety. The use of drugs and alcohol is no longer an option, nor is it effective for easing pain in the long term. The more you practice healthy coping strategies, the better equipped you will be at self-soothing in times of distress. Practicing mindfulness by using our 5 senses is the ultimate form of self-care.

While a stable support system is important, an individual’s therapist, family, friends, and acquaintances cannot be there 100% of the time. It is imperative the individual learns and practices a multitude of self-soothing techniques, affording them the ability to cope when overwhelming thoughts and feelings come to the surface. There are a number of self-soothing exercises to practice mindfulness. The following techniques use our 5 senses. It is a good idea to try them all to see which ones work most effectively, and practice them often!

Touch—Making physical contact with an object is one of the best ways to bring a person’s mind back to the present. While running cold water over your hands or splashing your face, focus on the temperature fully. The change in water temperature will bring a change in mood. If you have an animal, pet it or brush its hair for a few minutes experiencing the softness of its fur and the calming effect it has on both of you. Some individuals find that aligning their breathing with a pet helps them to slow down and regulate their own breath. In nature, pick up a rock and hold it in both hands. Running your fingertips over the surface, study its sharpness/smoothness observing any cracks or imperfections. Handle the leaves of a tree carefully reviewing each vein—the source of carrying food and water throughout. With your shoes off, walk through the lawn taking notice of how each blade of grass feels between your toes.

Taste—Choose healthy foods and avoid waiting until your stomach is growling to eat. Being hungry has a direct effect on mood, making us feel irritable and short tempered. When you get your food, fully experience the taste and texture. For example, hold a grape in your mouth for 5 seconds before eating it. Notice the texture, size, and changes in taste as you bite into it. Experience the act of eating fully, reminding yourself that you are taking care of your body and mind by nourishing it with healthy food.

Smell—Aromatherapy has been effective in treating people experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, and even problems with sleep. Lavender is perhaps the most common essential oil recommended to reduce stress: put a few dabs on your wrist, blend into your skin and breathe in deeply. You may even put a few drops of lavender in the shower-the steam will activate the aroma which helps ease the tension of stress headaches and migraines. A few drops on your pillow may help with getting a better night’s sleep.

Sight—Acutely viewing your surroundings and being fully immersed in the moment works wonders when experiencing distress. Choose a color and then play a game of finding all the objects in the room or in a painting that match that color. Focus on the shape, texture, and size of varying objects in the room. Go outside and experience nature taking the time to see the clouds passing in the sky, or the leaves on a tree.

Hearing—Stop and listen to all the sounds around you. Can you decipher what each sound is and where it is coming from? Are there birds chirping, people talking, music playing, or cars driving by? Try to identify each exclusive noise with its origin.

The regular use of mindfulness will assist in putting life’s stressors their into proper perspective. Remember, much like all learned skills, it requires practice and reinforcement for the self-soothing techniques to take full effect. If something feels awkward or unnatural at first, give it a few more tries. The unhealthy, old strategies used to numb emotional pain did not develop overnight either. Try to release any pressure to do them perfectly; allow yourself the time and patience you deserve during the healing process.

Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC is an educator, published researcher, and social media consultant for therapists. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH), and Suicide Prevention Instructor (QPR) under the National Board for Certified Counselors.


How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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10 Ways to Forgive Yourself and Heal From the Past

By Jennifer McDougall

“How do you change what you believe when your experience has convinced you otherwise? By creating a new experience. The best way for you to get that new experience is to change your response to what happens. By the natural law of cause and effect, that new response will create new results, which you will then experience as a new reality. To reach the goal of happiness, act as though the following statement is already true: Everything that happens to me is the best thing that can happen to me.”
― Chris Prentiss, Be Who You Want, Have What You Want


In order to move forward from anything, one must look at the problem square in the face and come to terms with what it is that is truly bothering you. Forgiveness is not always easy. It takes time, but when you’re ready to become free from the burden of events from the past, you will become stronger and wiser.

What is it from the event that you feel pain or regret about? When you finally let go of what it is you are holding on to from the past, no matter how recent or distant, you will begin to feel free and empowered to embrace the present moments as they come without the anxiety and discomfort you’ve been dragging around for far too long.

Forgiveness of any kind is process that requires grace to accept what is and let go of what was. One thing you must realize is you can’t necessarily go back in time, but you can pick yourself up and move forward with strength and dignity. Let those know close to you how you are feeling so you can lean on someone for support and encouragement. Here are 10 other ideas to forgive yourself completely and make peace with the past.

  1. Acknowledge the wrong you did and who it might have hurt
  2. Feel what you feel – write about it, speak about it, talk about it
  3. Take as much time for YOUrself to heal in every emotional, physical, mental and spiritual way
  4. Identify your top triggers so you can be more aware in the future to how you can better deal with them as they come up
  5. Meditate on letting go of your past, regrets, calming your anxieties, and healing your pain
  6. Get to work on making positive changes in your personal and professional life
  7. Practice deep breathing techniques to help relax and remain present
  8. Talk positively about others, your outlook, and how you thankful you are for what you have
  9. Get active – work out for an hour a day
  10. Stay sober and avoid consuming any drugs or alcohol to cope with your current condition

How to Contact Passages Malibu

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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30 Simple Tips for Self-Care

By Jennifer McDougall


Do you ever get so busy you forget to take care of yourself? You get so caught up in the day-to-day motions of work, family, and all the plans you set out for yourself, therefore, you unfortunately forget to leave time practice self-care. This happens to all of us from time to time because we aren’t always careful to pay attention to when we need to slow down and focus on treating ourselves. When life gets busy, remind yourself that you need to slow down and take a break. Don’t exhaust yourself. Stay connected to your mind, body, and soul. As a result, you to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

Here are 30 tips or suggestions for you to stay in tune with yourself, making sure you feel great, look great, and take the best care of yourself so you can be productive in all areas of your life.

  1. Practice good hygiene every single day
  2. Eat healthy meals and stay properly fueled
  3. Surround yourself with positive people
  4. Forgive yourself wholeheartedly
  5. Be gentle with your thoughts- your mind is a powerful thing
  6. Keep your home clean and organized
  7. Get outside and soak up the sun
  8. Take a nap
  9. Go to sleep early & wake up early
  10. Stop beating yourself up for not adding up to your own standards
  11. Avoid drugs and alcohol
  12. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated everyday
  13. Avoid negative influences and interactions
  14. Stop comparing yourself to others—we are all on our path, respect that
  15. Do something nice for someone else
  16. Think things out before making any rational decisions—feel it out
  17. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Listen to your body.
  18. Exercise for at least 30 minutes’ daily
  19. Journal your thoughts and daily experiences
  20. Build strong relationships with friends, family, and co-workers
  21. Allow yourself to have new experiences
  22. Step outside of your comfort zone with fearlessness and confidence
  23. Read for 20 minutes a day
  24. Mediate at least once a day
  25. If it doesn’t feel right or doesn’t suit you, say “NO” and don’t feel bad about it
  26. Pay your bills on time
  27. Spend less. Save more.
  28. Treat yourself to fresh flowers and desserts
  29. Turn up the music—sway to the rhythm
  30. Take the proper vitamins and supplements your body needs to thrive


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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