Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Support Systems

What is a support system, and why are they effective?

According to Merriam-Webster, Support systems are a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support.

Support systems are so much more than that however. The relapse rate of individuals in recovery with strong support networks has been shown to reduce.

Now why is it that these support networks are a pivotal part of an individual’s ability to remain in recovery?

There are 3 main components that these support networks offer:

  1. A sense of community and belonging
  2. Accountability and a push to follow through
  3. Inspiration and motivation from others 

A sense of community is important as being in recovery can make you feel isolated from those around you. Your normal social groups may have a hard time relating to your struggles, or you may simply not feel comfortable sharing with them. Support networks offer a judgement-free space to talk about your challenges (and successes) in recovery and hear from others going through similar experiences.

Accountability is imperative to any recovery. We need to be held accountable by others who are also going through a similar experience in order to stay the course. It’s much harder to slip up when you have to prove that you’ve done the work you were tasked with. 

Seeing and hearing others stories of recovery and abstinence can be incredibly inspiring and motivate you to push just that little bit harder in times of struggle. This can help provide some perspective and shows that if they can do it, so can you.

When you combine these 3 elements, it is an immensely powerful thing.

At SHiFT Recovery, we are a strong believer in the power of support groups. With the world being the way it is right now, the ability to have physical gatherings isn’t a reality, yet we have pivoted to have regular virtual meetings to continue this support for those who need it.

If you are looking for a support network, please feel free to reach out to us, and we can direct you to the appropriate program/group based on your specific needs.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ It’s Delicious December!

You’re probably asking yourself – What is Delicious December all about?

Delicious December is a month to celebrate the fact that being abstinent does NOT mean eating boring food. We want to highlight delicious meals that you, our community, are making and enjoying everyday!

Our cooking and food regiment should be consistent, but shouldn’t be bland. So we encourage you: Experiment with a new combination of spices to dress up that chicken breast just right, take those veggies you normally eat steamed and roast them on the barbeque! There are an infinite amount of ways you can make your meals more exciting while remaining abstinent.

On top of cooking these new meals, we will also be challenging you to share your meals with us in the form of a photo. Simply send your picture with some ingredient details in a message to our Facebook Profile here. We also encourage you to use the hashtag #DeliciousDecemberWithShift when posting these images on social media yourself! We are excited to see what everyone comes up with, and look forward to sharing them on our social profiles in order to inspire others!

If you are looking for new recipes and options you can have while remaining abstinent, or even just mixing it up, our Abstinent Cookbook is available for you to purchase online.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is always a challenging time for us. As much as we tell ourselves that it is just another day, it is very much another obstacle that presents itself for us to overcome.

There are many obstacles in recovery, and it is a marathon, not a sprint. Some obstacles are big and some are small. Some will be easier to overcome, while others can test you to the extreme.

We need to understand that there will be constant obstacles and challenging times in recovery. Whether they are more predictable trying times such as holidays, or days out of the blue that test you, we should always be prepared and looking forward. We need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture.

Let’s use an analogy of hurdles:

You are running a long distance race around a track, keeping a steady pace.

Suddenly, a hurdle appears. It takes some strength and courage, especially for the first one, but you leap over it and feel accomplished.

Although you feel fantastic about what you’ve just done, you understand that there will be another hurdle in your near future, and keep your focus on what is to come.

Now that you’ve done a hurdle, you know the drill.

When the time comes for the next hurdle, foreseen or not, you will be prepared to leap over, just like you have done before.

If you do stumble, you will pick yourself up and leap over that next hurdle. Even Olympic athletes fall attempting to hurdle, before simply getting up and moving towards the next one.

Click here to watch an inspiring video of recovering from a hurdle fall, before finishing the race.

In this case, a hurdle represents a challenge in your life.

Whether it presents itself in the form of a day that is typically associated with food such as Thanksgiving, or simply a moment of struggle, these are tests and challenges that we can overcome. They will come, yet you will be prepared. 

Now that both Canadian and American Thanksgivings are over, we can keep the pace and be prepared for when the next hurdle inevitably appears.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ It’s Relapse Time!

It’s that time of year! No, I don’t mean the holiday season, not exactly. This time of year, with the many holidays coming up, is when those who are food dependent relapse more than any other.

At SHiFT, through the years, we’ve seen many who are food dependent convince themselves to have “just one” of their trigger foods only to end up in devastating relapses even before the new year begins. We also see it in even those who are normal eaters when they make New Year’s resolutions and begin weight loss programs.

Let me be crystal clear, eating even one bite of foods that cause an emotional and/or physiological reaction in your body leads directly to relapse. While it may not happen immediately, it won’t take long before the overwhelming cravings become too powerful to resist.

Though this may sound pessimistic, the good news is that you have a choice. Even though you may already know this, seeing this warning written down, will help to make it real and making it real means that you can prepare yourself to prevent a relapse.

This holiday season, more than any other that I can remember in my lifetime, is different and more challenging than those before. As a nation, we are dealing with many issues.  As individuals, we are experiencing challenging feelings and fears about what our holidays will look like this year.

The single most important way to deal with these feelings and to prevent a relapse is to stay as close to your recovery program as possible. Connect with others who are food dependent.  Keep going to support groups. Plan and re-plan to make sure you have the foods you need to continue following your food plan. And, most of all, don’t take chances with your recovery.

Stay away from people who encourage you to binge or eat foods not on your food plan. Don’t go into places where you have no business being. There’s no need to try and prove how “strong” you are or how much “willpower” you have by buying or cooking foods you don’t eat.

If you are an alcoholic, you have no business going into a bar. If you’re food dependent, you have no good reason to go into a bakery. While it is possible for each to go into these places and not relapse, the question to ask yourself is why would you put yourself in this position?

If your recovery truly is the most important thing in your life, the foundation of every good thing that’s come into your life, why would you risk it during what has been proven to be a dangerous time?

Check out your motives during this time of relapse. Doing this one simple thing may prevent you from losing the greatest gift of your life.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Stop the Nonsense In November!  No More Codependent Behaviors!

I have to do everything myself. I can’t count on anyone. 

No one will love me if I make a mistake. 

I shouldn’t spend time or money on myself. 

Why won’t he just do what I want him to?

These thoughts, and many others like them, reflect codependent thinking. For those of you who don’t know, codependency is an unhealthy fixation on other people’s behaviors, needs, and attitudes to the extent of neglecting your own needs.

In other words, codependency is an addiction to other people in the same way that those who are food dependent are addicted to certain foods.

People pleasing, having poor boundaries, trying to control others, caretaking, being unable to communicate feelings in a healthy way, obsessive thoughts about other people, and low self-esteem are all part of codependency.

Spending all of your time trying to meet other people’s needs, feeling trapped, or constantly making sacrifices in a relationship are some of the behaviors that codependents engage in. Research tells us that codependency gets worse without treatment.

As with any addiction, codependency can have devastating consequences. At SHiFT, we’ve seen firsthand the damage that codependency can cause to food dependency recovery.  Nearly 100% of the people who relapse have told us that codependency issues played a major role in their picking up addictive foods.

If you are in recovery from food dependency and codependent behaviors are causing you to think about bingeing, it’s important for you to get help immediately. There are several Twelve-Step programs (Codependent’s Anonymous, Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Families Anonymous) that can help or if you’re a SHiFT alumni, we recently introduced a new codependent program specifically for those who are food dependent. There are only a few spaces left in our new codependency program that begins on Friday, November 20.

Whatever way you decide to address your codependency issues, the important thing is that you take steps towards recovery. Nothing and no one is worth losing your recovery.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~No-Nonsense November!

Welcome to No-Nonsense November! What exactly does that mean? Aren’t we told to have fun in recovery? Yes, of course, having fun, relaxing and enjoying life are among the many benefits of being in recovery.

Nonsense, however, is something different. Nonsense is choosing to put people, places or things before recovery. It’s deciding that “just one” bite of addictive food isn’t a big deal or deciding that going to meetings is a waste of time.

Nonsense is also hanging around with people who are dangerous to recovery or who are still bingeing. It’s using other substances or people to avoid dealing with feelings or participating in activities that encourage relapse.

Though nonsense can be different for each person, for the majority of us in recovery, it means playing around with the foundations of recovery that work for you.This can mean deciding to prepare meals for others that include foods not on your food plan or it may be getting so caught up in events taking place in the world that you don’t “have time” to go to meetings or shop for abstinent food.

Most of all, nonsense as it relates to recovery is the act of slowly letting recovery be replace by other “more important” things, which almost always results in a SLIPSobriety Loses Its Priority.

As we continue to celebrate No-Nonsense November, it’s important to remember that recovery is the most important thing in our lives, no matter what.  There is no nonsense worth losing that.