Monday, May 25, 2015

Porn Addiction Recovery App

Wanting to break free from a pornography addiction (porn) is not easy. Viewing porn creates the same chemical highs in the brain as using drugs or drinking alcohol. But the difference with porn is that once the images are viewed they are in your brain and you can retrieve them at will and thus recreating that high.

recoveryBox - the Addiction recovery iOS App

recoveryBox was created originally for those in recovery from a pornography or sex addiction.  There are different addictions that you can choose from such as Lust, Sex Addiction, Pornography, Voyeurism. These are there as suggestions of the types of habits that need to be broken (called your red lights).  But you can create your own type of addiction that would work better for you by creating your own custom red lights.

By tracking your good habits (green lights) as well as warning situations (yellow lights - people, places, and things) and triggers you can create a clear picture of what habits you have as well as need to break. Keep accountable with your sponsor or counselor or accountability partner. recoveryBox will let you know it's time to enter your daily lights as well will remind you to connect with your sponsor.

recoveryBox works well with a traditional 12 Step Program or Celebrate Recovery.  Try recoveryBox today. Available for any Apple iDevice.

Don't worry if the lights you see here don't match what you need help with. Customize the addiction to match what you need to track. Users will also want to track their triggers (also customizable) so that accountability partners/sponsors can get a good picture of what's going on.

Want to break the addiction? Accountability does work!

And remember, there are multiple sex addictions to choose from OR you can create your own custom
addiction to meet your specific needs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

3 R's ~ Staying Motivated or Risk A Relapse

Random Resource ThuRsday!! 

3 R's ~ Staying Motivated or Risk A Relapse

I know from experience how easy it is to start down the road to recovery feeling the high of finally being free from a horrible secret and thinking I've got this licked!!  And then wham!!!  Something in life hits us and we run back to old habits, acting out and then going into relapse. 

And from there it is such a downward spiral.  Does anyone else know what I'm talking about here?!?

But that's why programs like a 12 Step Program or Celebrate Recovery have accountability partners as part of the approach.  Most of us just can't do this alone!  And we need someone to help us, encourage us, support us and motivate us.

This week I blogged about the Motivator piece of the recoveryBox iPhone Addiction Recovery App.  There is a good reason that is part of the's to help us stay motivated.  Part of us as a person wants to please people other people.  It's part of being connected in life.  So when using a tool such as recoveryBox, it's important to stay motivated for compliance...because that IS one of the biggest pieces to addiction recovery.  You can't "cheat" here and there.  True recovery is to not return to those habits.

While doing research for recoveryBox, I ran across this article about motivation and it helped me focus on how can recoveryBox app can be part of that motivation.  Thanks Peggy for authoring such a great piece and for really just putting it out there in honest terms. 

(look for another blog post in a few weeks about another feature to recoveryBox that is all about motivation.  It's my favorite piece too!)

Addiction Recovery

Maintain Your Recovery Motivation Or You Will Relapse By Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.

People often find their way to recovery in the midst of a crisis. Someone standing at the crossroads of recovery, may have been arrested for DUI, may have been fired, or may have received a scary report from the doctor. He may have heard the bottom line demand from his spouse-- "Get help or we are getting a divorce." Or, the alcoholic/addict may in fact, have a moment of clarity and really be able to see that he does have a problem and that help and abstinence are called for. The alcoholic/addict feels afraid. He feels ashamed. He feels angry at others or at himself for being in this position in the first place.

Fear, coercion or crisis helps him find his way into recovery. Fear is a fairly good short term motivator, but not so good in the long run. Once the fear subsides and the crisis is over, it is very easy to lose your motivation and momentum. At the point where the cycle of addiction is interrupted by failing to take the next drink, dose, or joint, there is a lot of tension, anxiety, and mindfulness of where you are in the process. Detox or withdrawal may occur, with physical and/or emotional symptoms being very consciously experienced.

When you get to feeling better physically and emotionally after detoxing, it is easy to lose your momentum. Your focus on recovery can dissolve. Some of the problems that once motivated your recovery might be resolved now. Because you have quit drinking or using, your spouse and kids are once again speaking to you and are in the process of forgiving you. You may have even won back some trust. Everything seems to be going well.

Under these circumstances it is quite easy for you to take your eyes off the target and lose your focus on recovery. Erroneously, you may believe that your abstinence is not so fragile now. Feeling better, you may think you have it "whipped".

Without actively focusing on your continuing abstinence and recovery, your behavior can begin to drift away from the newly instituted behavioral changes that you have made. You run the risk of returning to old thinking, old feelings, and then ultimately old behavior. The reason why this would happen is that you are not consciously taking steps to continue on a path of recovery. This path involves many changes in your behavior and in your life style. Without making conscious choices in regard to how each decision affects your new recovery life or your old addiction life, you are unconsciously choosing your old life. Choosing recovery is not like jump starting your damaged car battery where once you get it started, it recharges itself as run it. You have to continuously work a program of recovery. Without doing so, your efforts will be short- lived.

You will quit going to counseling. You will quit going to meetings. You will have stopped calling your recovery support people. Your defenses will go back up and you may take exception to the feedback of significant others who tell you that you are acting like you used to before recovery.

You won't be able to see that you are on the road to relapse. You won't be able to understand why they are concerned. You won't be able to identify the behavioral changes that scare them because you will be back in denial. Being around old drinking/using environments and friends don't scare you. You can't understand why it would scare your significant others. After all, you told them that you are not going to relapse. You have learned your lesson. What more do they want?

After awhile, you will begin to think that you have your drinking or using under control now. When you think of addiction as a thing of the past, that you now have it under control, you will begin to entertain the notion that you can now drink or use without negative consequences. If any of this sounds like your recent experience, you are in big trouble. You are in the relapse process and unless you do something now, you will relapse--and soon.

Copyright 2009, Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D., Hubbard House Publishing, Stillwater, OK. 

Download recoveryBox, Addiction Recovery App - Your Complete Sobriety Toolbox

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Celebrate Recovery

Many people think that a traditional 12 Step program is the only option out there for help with recovery from an addiction.  And at one point, I too thought that was the case.

But then, a person very close to me told me about Celebrate Recovery. Her description was very much like a 12 Step Program but then something about it really intrigued me.  And so I attended my first meeting and very much liked it.

There are lots of churches who offer the Celebrate Recovery program to help with addictions, but also hurts, hang-ups and those bad habits.  If you are not comfortable with a traditional 12 step program (and yes those are great and so work too)..check out this other option.

What I personally thought that differentiated  Celebrate Recovery from a traditional 12 Step program was that at meetings, there is a time of worship, the "higher" power is now God, and that all addictions worship together before breaking apart into groups based on addiction.  In fact, that was my favorite part - celebrating everyone's victories together no matter what the habit was as well as hearing so many different testimonies.

If you are curious, recoveryBox, the App featured on this blog works with a sponsor or accountability partner for both a traditional 12 step program or the Celebrate Recovery program.

Get help today with your hurt, hang-up or habit.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When You Feel the Crave, What Routine Do You Do?

One of the most important parts of being able to deal with an addiction is knowing what our triggers are.  Once we figure those out, we can start to reprogram ourselves with "new habits" that we insert into the place of the "old habits" when we sense those triggers or cravings.

For instance, a young girl bites her nails down to nibs and to the point that she can't use her fingers anymore because of the pain. Upon, tracking her data she realizes that she was bored and therefore started biting (and didn't even know it). But as she started to pay attention to the fact that she was bored, she began to figure out her cue and then inserted a new behavior...get up and go get a glass of water.

Another example, a young successful business man ends up drinking and has created such a bad habit of it that his wife has left him. He doesn't understand why because he provides for her every need.  Upon figuring out his triggers, he realized that his anxiety kicks up every time he's about to close a huge business deal. In order to deal with the anxiety he heads to the bar to kick one back and take the edge off.  But it has come to the point that anytime he feels anxiety he automatically heads to the bar. Now, he recognizes his anxiety and instead of heading to the bar (old habit) he has inserted a new habit of calling his accountability partner/sponsor that he met at Celebrate Recovery.

We ALL have habits that we wish we didn't have. Some are worse than others and some are downright dangerous. And we can change these habits, but it takes knowledge of what we are doing. By inserting a new habit into the spot of our old habit we can use the same cues as before and still get the same reward. The reward for the alcoholic was not the getting drunk (because no alcoholic says I like the hangover) but rather the temporary release of the anxiety feeling.

With that understanding, you can use recoveryBox to track what your triggers are. Don't confuse the cue verses the trigger. For the alcoholic, the trigger was not "closing the deal" but rather the feeling of anxiety. The cue was waiting for the closing of the business deal. We can't change the cues in life - they exist everywhere. But what does that cue trigger? Realize that feeling and then insert a new habit.

When you text/email your accountability partner, they can clearly see how to relate your triggers with your lights. It will be obvious to link together your triggers with habits. Your habits are being tracked by the light system. An accountability partner can help you see that triggers linked with red/yellow lights mean you are using healthy habits while green lights mean you have replaced bad habits with new ones.

While I know not everyone uses all pieces of recoveryBox (because there are a lot), they really do work together. I encourage you to use the light system in conjunction with the trigger tracking system. Help yourself and your sponsor figure out the puzzle to your behaviors by providing as much information as you can.

As always, if you have questions about how to use the recoveryBox app, please email!  Be supported!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Daily Devotions Directly from recoveryBox

New to recoveryBox, the iOS app for Addiction Recovery are daily devotions.  They can be accessed from the blog, or directly from within the app. These are short to be read quickly in the morning with a small thought to get your day going - focused in the right direction.  It's just a small way to encourage our app users - and to remember you are supported.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Is It So Damn Hard to Change?

Random Resource ThuRsday

This week I blogged about knowing the what's and why's that lead to your acting out.. and that you have to have data to understand your habits. Knowing your triggers is key to breaking an addiction.   When we act on our triggers, we are just reinforcing our trigger/behavior/reaction mechanism. 

Oprah is not where I normally get information for sharing but I thought this was a great article that talks about dopamine ..  you know the chemical released in your body when you do an acting-out behavior.  I cropped out a small portion for you to read but I urge you to read the rest.

Why Is It So Damn Hard to Change?

Read more:

Photo: Hugh Kretschmer
Dopamine teaches your brain what you want, then drives you to get it, regardless of what's good for you. It does this in two steps. First you experience something that gives you pleasure (say, McDonald's french fries), which causes a dopamine surge. Some of that dopamine travels to the area of your brain where memories are formed and creates a memory connecting those fries with getting a reward. At that point, in sciencespeak, the fries have become "salient." And when you're exposed to something that's salient, you may think, "That's bad for me, I shouldn't,"  but your brain registers, "Dopamine jackpot!" 

Which is where step two comes in: On top of creating memories, dopamine controls the areas of the brain responsible for desire, decision-making, and motivation. So once fries become salient, the next time you see or smell them, your brain releases a surge of dopamine that drives you to get more fries. When you succeed, your brain produces more dopamine, which reinforces the memory that made fries salient in the first place, etching it further into your brain. It's a never-ending cycle: The more you do something that's rewarding, the more dopamine makes sure you do it again. This is precisely how habits form. Eventually, if the fries become salient enough, your brain will release dopamine and push you to get fries anytime you see the colors yellow and red, even if you're nowhere near McDonald's.

And this is true for any behavior that results in a reward: Orgasms cause dopamine surges. So does hitting the jackpot when you gamble, winning a race, acing a test, doing cocaine or methamphetamines, smoking, drinking. "Dopamine is motivation," 


But my big question for Volkow is this: How do you get yourself hooked on something that's not inherently pleasurable to you—like living on salads and broccoli or, in my case, exercising? Many people get a natural high from working out. I, however, am not one of them. "Isn't there some way to trick the dopamine system?" I ask her. "Some way to fool my brain into craving exercise?"

Sure, she says: The secret is thinking up rewards. My payoff for working out could be a pedicure or a new pair of shoes. For someone trying to diet: Maybe you get a massage after a week of good eating, or have a friend dole out gift certificates if you stay on track (you pay, but she controls the vouchers). "Giving yourself rewards for a behavior engages the dopamine system so your brain will associate the positive outcome with it, which will help you form the habit."

Read more:

Well, I wish I could reward all the recoveryBox users with something great to help retrain our brains..but hopefully when you earn your badges, that will give you a small sense of accomplishment.

For more information about recoveryBox, visit the website and see if it's an app that might be helpful in your recovery from your addiction.