Assistance Dogs – Recovery’s Best Friend

A dog can be your best friend while in recovery.

recovery-addiction-depression-anxiety.jpg

I just read an article about The Role of Assistance Dogs in Recovering from Substance Abuse. Individuals in recovery from drug dependence can find alternative methods such as through emotional support animals, animal-assisted therapy, and service dogs. These animals can help recovering addicts in other essential ways, such as establishing daily routines, forming healthy bonds, and providing loyal support.

Dogs are naturally gifted with a host of attributes that help their owners live longer, happier lives. They also have a long history of assisting people in difficult circumstances. In recent years, treatment protocols have expanded to take advantage of the ways that dogs can help prevent relapse and give patients in recovery a better chance at leading full, meaningful lives. There is life beyond addiction, and assistance dogs can provide a key piece of the puzzle.

15135910_1327621070604015_4833203717844808753_n.jpg

“Clients may experience lower levels of anxiety and depression, begin to experience empathy, and build a positive sense of self-worth through caring for another being. After treatment, dogs can help recovering addicts stay active, reduce stress and loneliness, and provide a sense of purpose — all of which are instrumental in preventing relapse.”

Anxiety and depression is part of addiction and recovery. If you are looking for support with your sobriety journey or battle with anxiety, please reach out. You don’t have to battle this alone.

15036659_1324679020898220_2374847801514907279_n.jpg

Addicts who turned to substance abuse because of chronic pain will also benefit substantially from working with pets. In as little as twelve minutes, researchers found that visits with therapy dogs significantly reduced self-reported pain, fatigue, and emotional distress. Therapy dogs can decrease the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate; reduce the stress hormone cortisol; boost endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers; and benefit the immune system. Studies indicate emotional and psychosocial benefits of support animals, in addition to the task assistance that service dogs can provide.

Check out the article which outlines the research linking assistance animals to positive health outcomes, and offers examples of many ways that dogs aid the process of addiction recovery. Information about the types of assistance animals, including the training they undergo, can empower you to decide the best course of treatment for you or your loved one. Finally, a list of resources is included to help you find a support dog, or train your own pet as a service or therapy animal.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

 

 

31358_KU_associate_ads_300x250US-KCPBounty-300x250-1._V350990572_1062163_us_audible_sanamd_homestead_medium_rectangle_3_300x250

Advertisements

Happy Sober Anniversary to Me!

I will never forget my sobriety date: October 25th.
Why? Because it’s my husbands birthday.

Today he celebrates his 41st birthday and today I celebrate the greatest gift I could have given him, our marriage, our family and our future – MY SOBRIETY!

recovery.jpg

When I decided to get sober I was scared.
I was scared that people would laugh at me, abandon me, think I was a sell out to my old lifestyle and that I’d be all alone in my battle against my addiction.

It turns out that I was wrong. DEAD WRONG.

I have had nothing but support from old friends and lots of new friends.

Let’s just say that the sober community is a lot more supportive than party friends.

sober-messages.png

mindy-hord-2-year-sobriety-anniversary.jpg

I walked outside earlier to find a delivery 📦 box. I opened it up and found this gorgeous bouquet and a loving message from my dearest friend Jennifer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️


My best friend, sober sister and business partner, Melissa, posted this amazing picture of us from last October when she was 30 days sober and we were attending an event in Coronado Bay, together SOBER for the first time, along with this sweet message. 

“Sober people are boring.

Sober people are lame.

Sober people get left out.

Thoughts we both shared.

Fears we both shared.

When I “met” Mindy Hord in 2013, I was instantly drawn to her party girl nature. She had a tagline about being fit and drinking beer…. Hello, I loved beer, I needed to be fit…. it was genius to me!

I got to know her through the Internet… And we’ve become the best of friends… Two years ago today she made a decision that would not only impact her life but her children’s as well… I’ve always been inspired by her strength and knew that this woman could do anything that she said her mind to… The road to Sobriety can sometimes be lonely… She was one of the first people I called when I made the decision to get sober…. I watched her for a whole year and thought how STRONG she was…..she had been there for many conversations about me quitting drinking before but I never got serious about it… Shes work hard on finding her way, I’ve seen her grow in ways she may not even realize…..She’s been a friend, a sister, A mentor, and a pillar of hope on my journey….I’m honored to know her, to share so many incredible milestones and memories with her that we remember and don’t have to delete any sloppy pictures … I’m proud to say we aren’t boring at all! How lucky are we to have such a special friendship that empowers one another to be our absolute BEST!

Next week we will meet in Las Vegas… AKA in City and be toasting our sparkling waters to the success of our teams and celebrating huge milestones in our sobriety… Congrats my friend I am beyond proud of you two years is MAJOR!!!

You continue to empower others to make changes in their lives just by being your authentic RELENTLESS self.”

sober-sisters.jpg

Today marks 2 years since I decided to break up with alcohol.

I grew up in a household where alcohol was always present. We had a liquor cabinet in our house. My Mom always drank wine. My paternal grandparents had a liquor cabinet and always brought alcohol on every trip they took me on. My grandpa brewed his own beer. My parents and grandparents loved visiting wineries & going on wine tastings… living in the wine country in Northern California it was normal. I remember alcohol being ordered every time we ate out. I remember finding alcohol stashed in the medicine cabinet of my maternal grandma. I remember my dad always joking that it was 🍺 Beer:30. I remember my Mom making wine coolers & letting me taste it. I remember taking sips off of my grandpas’ beer. Yet I don’t remember seeing any of them “drunk”, but I distinctly remember the times when I knew they had “had too much”.

I think back on all of the times I drank and drank to excess in front of my kids and wonder how it’ll affect them in the long run. All I know is that they were monumental in my decision to get sober.

 

drinking-in-front-of-your-kids-get-sober.jpg

Today is day 731 of my sobriety journey…
I can’t believe it’s been exactly 2 years since I declared my DECISION to get 100% sober.
It was a decision that I had put a lot of thought into.
But, I had put more thought into talking myself out of it.
I was so comfortable being numb. 
It was terrifying to let go of a security blanket I had been holding on to since I was a teenager.
I started drinking REGULARLY at age 15 when I left home on December 2, 1996. 20 years later on October 25, 2017, I finally parted ways with the most toxic and longest relationship I had maintained.

teen-drinking-sobriety-sober-is-the-new-black.jpg

Teen drinking is very bad.
It’s just a start to a lifetime of bad habits.
Luckily, my children don’t want to have a relationship with alcohol or drugs after hearing my story and being affected by my poor choices.
Although I’m not proud of my past or my mistakes, I’d gladly do it all over again if it meant that I’d deal with the pain and regret to shield my kids from making the same bad decisions.

 

As I was going through old pictures this week, I found all of these old pictures that represent the old me. I am wearing a fake smile in many. I may appear awake, but I was dead inside. I was there in body, but totally not present. I appeared to be the life of the party, but I was totally numb.

Around 1-2 a.m. on this day, 2 years ago, after HOURS of drinking and countless beers, several bottles of Grey Goose and whiskey, I was leaving a club in Miami, totally incoherent, totally sloppy drunk. I still don’t remember having anything that happened past midnight that night.

After a few hours of sleep, I woke up, feeling brain dead and made the declaration of my need to get sober. I shouted it out to the universe to make it real and held myself publicly accountable because it wasn’t the first time I had said I was going to get sober.

October has always been a memorable and monumental month for me.

On October 20, 1981, I entered the United States of America for the first time. On the 21st, I was handed over to strangers. On the 22nd, I was brought into a new house, that I was to call “home”.

On October 23, 2008, I was proposed to for the first time and agreed to marry my best friend who’s birthday was 2 days later and agreed to become officially “step-mom” to Hunter who’s birthday was on the 24th.

So now October 25 has become extra special. It’s not only the day the love of my life was born but today it marks TWO YEARS of SOBRIETY.

731 days of fighting old habits, old behaviors, old routines, old addictions.
731 days of celebrations. Every day I found something to celebrate and focused on the things I COULD do that I never did or couldn’t or wouldn’t do if I had still been drinking.
731 days of inner struggles.
731 days being counted one day at a time.
731 days of learning who the REAL Mindy Hord is.
731 days of CLARITY.
731 days of MINIMAL “arguments” with Ryan.
731 days of being FULLY present.

Turns out I am fun. Turns out I don’t need to have a drink to have fun. Turns out I can say no to social gatherings I don’t wanna attend vs getting buzzed in order for me to go. Turns out there are more sober people than I ever knew existed because I used to avoid people like “that”. They made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t understand them and didn’t want to. Turns out a once party girl, can turn her whole life around and inspire others to choose to look at alcohol differently and even start their own sobriety journey!

sober.jpg

 

From Drug & Alcohol Addiction to Food Addiction

I received this message from one of my friends, sober sisters, and clients that I have been working with for a few years.

She said:

“I was thinking about food today. We had a party last night and for a brief moment, I felt like I needed a shot. You know when you feel like nothing is going right… well, during set up, that’s how I felt, and that’s the time I thought and actually said out loud that I needed a drink. But it passed so quickly and things turned around, and I was sober and didn’t drink at all. And still had a blast.

But on the other hand, my food choices (and today especially) were shitty. Lots of yummy food last night, and of course all of the left overs are still here. I’m able to make great choices for sobriety, but not for food. Which I have learned has a huge impact on my physical and mental well-being. I feel like I replaced one addiction with another. 
I went grocery shopping this afternoon and restocked our fridge with veggies and some fruit. And I’m sending all of the unhealthy shit to my husbands work. I think that’s one reason why I’m eating so much today… kinda like eat it now because it will be off the list soon.”

I shared with her that I have noticed the same thing about myself since I got sober. I realized that my binging and loss of self-control wasn’t just drug/alcohol related, it’s food related, too.

Sometimes you have been struggling with several addictions at the same time, and as you eliminate one addiction, the other addictions become more evident.

It is important for those in addiction recovery to remember how easy it is to replace one addiction with another and how to avoid this issue. The easiest way to overcome an addiction is to replace it with another. You can replace ONE BAD HABIT (addiction) with a HEALTHY HABIT.

Have you noticed that your drug and/or alcohol addiction has been replaced with food?

sugar-addiction-mindy-hord.jpg

Check out my blog post on my website, www.mindyhord.com, to know if you a are binge-eating & resources on how to stop binge eating.

mindy-hord food-is-fuel-food-addiction.png

If you would like help identifying the trigger foods and feelings that spur you to binge or overeat, determining how stress, depression, and anxiety may be affecting your eating and learn how to calm yourself in stressful times with nourishing self-care practices, while learning to appreciate and accept your body I will be offering a 10-day FREE online class beginning September 11, 2017. To apply comment below.

Surviving the Hurricane

I grew up in a sleepy little TEENY TINY coastal town in Northern California. I convinced myself that all there was to do there was “drink, do drugs, fuck, or fight” because it was such a small, boring town with nothing else to do.

I used to say that all the time. Isn’t it funny how self-absorbed we can be? We have beliefs that have been created by our own version of reality. We live by these belief systems and begin to believe our own BULLSHIT, while trying to convince others.

Whatever you believe comes true. Where you focus, energy flows. If you believe that all there is to do, is party, then you’ll never try to seek out any other options because you’ve convinced yourself that there isn’t any alternative.

In 2001, I moved to Texas. I moved to a town that was nearly 4 times the size of my hometown. Guess what everyone in this area believe? Most of the residents in our county will tell you that all there is to do is drink…….. because it’s a small boring town. Some will tell you it’s “just how things are done around here”. Talk to anyone who drinks frequently or has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and they’ll tell you the same. I’ve met people who live in large cities who’ll tell you that all there is to do is drink.

When I moved to Texas, guess what? I gravitated towards the drinkers. That’s where I felt most at home. I was drunk at my first Texas wedding within the first week of my arrival & hit up my first club within the first month.

I was a partier, but after being a resident of Washington County, Texas for about a year, I have to say I was shocked at how much alcohol was consumed. There was alcohol served at every function and I mean EVERY function. Baby showers, baby’s baptisms, first communions, baby’s 1st birthday parties, you name it. It was “normal”.

Their “normal” became MY “normal”. You know how the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”

This weekend we’re being held hostage in our house due to Hurricane Harvey. It’s predicted that our area is going to get about 20″ of rain. Houston and coastal towns like Rockport and Corpus Christi are getting hit HARD, by the heavy rain and high winds. [Keep Texas in your thoughts.].

I saw this on Facebook & I couldn’t help but think about the only 2 “Hurricane weekends” I’ve been through.

Growing up in California, there wasn’t any risk of tornadoes or hurricanes. In 2005 and 2008 I remember tropical storms that potentially threatened our area. My old employer was TERRIFIED of bad weather, so I always got time off whenever the weather seemed the least bit threatening. I remember those two “Hurricane Weekends”. All we did was PARTY for 3-4 days straight at friends. I remember in 2005 sitting outside getting wasted with a bunch of people, then hoping in a friends Winnebago and continuing drinking as we toured the county, with our kids. I remember in 2008, drinking all morning, afternoon and into the night for 3 days and playing wii at a friends house. I can’t remember any conversation that took place over those 2 weekends and don’t even hang out with any of those people anymore.

Hurricanes were just another reason to get wasted. I didn’t think about how thankful I was to be alive. I didn’t ever feel grateful for the fact that my boss paid me during those times he let me off because he wanted to make sure I was with my family and stayed safe. I didn’t think about how the Hurricanes could have came through our town and how unprepared we’d have been and unable to make the best decisions while intoxicated.

But now 671 days sober, I can sit back and reflect on how incredibly lucky I was to have never been harmed, or arrested during my irresponsible moments, that were all fueled by alcohol.

The one thing that sobriety has brought into my life is a greater sense of GRATITUDE & a higher level of self-awareness.

What is your definition of alcoholism and sobriety?

Over the summer, I made the decision to finally write a book, about my life. No sooner, did I set my intentions and shout it out to the universe, I won the book Sober As Fuck from Sarah Ordo on an Instagram contest. It was my first book I read on sobriety which inspired me even more. I highly recommend it. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.

To order click here:
http://amzn.to/2wcthgG

Sarah Ordo.jpg

It is so funny how similar all of our stories are, yet how incredibly different they are, as well as our journey towards sobriety. It looks different and feels different for everyone.

My life has been full of struggle, some out of my control that began before I was even born, when I was a child and had no control and in my adult-life, caused by my self-destructive, self-sabotaging behavior. 

My struggles and pain weren’t for nothing. They have become my gift. I share my story openly, in attempts to hold myself accountable while helping others, who feel alone with their own struggles.

My book is still in phase I. I will be sharing my story and life of addiction and sobriety journey, but I also want to include data, collected from others in the Sober Community.

I’d love for you to help me in collecting data, by filling out this form. (It is 100% anonymous, but feel free to reach out to me, if you’d like to share your story or network with me for extra support. Whether you are already on your own path to sobriety or are sober-curious, I’d love to hear from you.) Click on this link to complete the survey.

Sober Summer #2

Summertime is over.
The kids are back in school.

Sober Summer Fun.jpg

I survived my second SOBER SUMMER!

The first year of my sobriety was easier than the second year. I totally didn’t expect the challenges I faced. I thought it would only get easier.

The first year I was fueled by my desire to prove that I could do it. I have always been motivated by a Challenge. If you tell me it’s impossible, you better believe I will prove to you that it IS possible.

Back in 2007, I decided that I wanted to learn how to play Poker. So I went to “Poker Night” (at a local bar, go figure) every Monday for weeks. Despite getting shit-faced drunk every Monday night, I learned how to play and ended up winning the Poker Tournament. I remember that night. I was so drunk, that I was chain smoking and all of the ashes from my cigarettes kept landing in my purse. After that night I and then never went back again and have yet to play a game of Poker again. To be honest, I totally forgot how to even play.  I often do things just for the Challenge, and no other reason.

This summer, was a struggle. My mind started to play tricks on me. I had proved to myself that I could do it. I got SOBER. I stayed sober for an ENTIRE year. I proved to myself & to others that I could do it. I even helped others get sober. I have grown so much. I have become so much more self-aware. I have learned new coping skills. I learned to drink LaCroix Waters at functions instead of beer. I’ve learned to turn to my sober sisters in times of distress. I have learned to immerse myself in Personal Development when my mind starts playing tricks on me & I feel tempted to revert to old habits. I had COUNTLESS ah-ha moments & realizations in the first 15 months, that reinforced why getting sober was the right decision. I realized that getting sober was one of the best decisions I have ever made, BUT I also realized that getting sober, didn’t erase my depression or anxiety. Getting sober didn’t fix our marriage problems. Getting rid of fake-friends who were only there for the party & the good times, was a blessing, but local sober friends are few and far between, and cleanliness can still set in (This topic is a whole different blog post).  When stress hit, when feelings of abandonment and overwhelm showed up in my life, I found myself craving alcohol. I found myself watching movies where people were doing drugs and thinking how I missed that “high” — you know when you feel happy & unstoppable because you have temporary relief from the pain you are feeling. I found myself rationalizing. I would catch myself thinking, “It’s been 18+ months. You have proved to yourself that you do not need alcohol. After all this time, You could probably just have 1.” Then I would think “What is the point of just 1 drink?” Then it would hit me, I HAD AN ALCOHOL PROBLEM – WHY TEMPT FATE? And then I would remind myself that, “that ONE drink” wouldn’t be worth it and “that ONE drink” would 6 months down the road turn into late night beer runs when the case of beer was almost empty.

I realized that getting sober was one of the best decisions I have ever made, BUT I also realized that getting sober, didn’t erase my depression or anxiety. Getting sober didn’t fix our marriage problems. Getting rid of fake-friends who were only there for the party & the good times, was a blessing, but local sober friends are few and far between, and cleanliness can still set in (This topic is a whole different blog post).  When stress hit, when feelings of abandonment and overwhelm showed up in my life, I found myself craving alcohol. I found myself watching movies where people were doing drugs and thinking to myself how I missed that “high” — you know when you feel happy & unstoppable because you have temporary relief from the pain you are feeling. I found myself rationalizing. The voice in my head would be telling me, “It’s been 18+ months. You have proved to yourself that you do not need alcohol. After all this time, you could probably just have 1.” Then I would think “What is the point of just 1 drink?” Then it would hit me, I HAD AN ALCOHOL PROBLEM – WHY TEMPT FATE? If I still think that “only 1 drink” was pointless, then I STILL have a problem. And then I would remind myself that I had gone through bad times, stressful times, and experienced sadness & had lots of things to celebrate and hadn’t needed a drink yet. I told myself that “that ONE drink” wouldn’t be worth it. I knew that “that ONE drink” would lead me right back to where I started. NOT overnight, but “that ONE drink” today, would end up with a case of beer in 6 months (or less).

Last summer (the first summer) was fairly easy because I stayed busy. I also stayed in my bubble. I went to counseling several times a month. This summer, the kids were older, they weren’t around as much as they were last summer because they were older, with social lives.  We didn’t travel as much as we did last summer because we did most of our family traveling during the spring vs. the summer. But this year, I have made it through a trip to Hawaii, a trip to Punta Cana, Miami, Orlando and New Orleans and had was surrounded by people drinking and places that serve alcohol and stayed true to my commitment.

Mindy in Hawaii Sober.jpg

This year I got braver and started doing things/going places that I used to do/go, but just sober. I realized that the environment brought back emotions and memories that made me start craving alcohol.

This year I got braver and started doing things/going places that I used to do/go, but just sober. I realized that the environment brought back emotions and memories that made me start craving alcohol.

Ryan and I took Rebel out on one of his friend’s airboat one evening. Ryan bought beer for himself. This has always been a problem, but I couldn’t really explain why. To be honest, it wasn’t fair to expect him to stop drinking just because I decided to. I have always thought he had a drinking problem and still do, but it is not my place to make a decision for him or force him to quit drinking. He doesn’t understand, but it also really hurt because I felt that he wasn’t supporting me.  One of the main reasons I had quit drinking was because I felt it would repair our marriage & family.  I couldn’t put a finger on why it bothered me so much when he drank.

A flood of memories came rushing back that night on the airboat, from the moment I heard him crack open that first beer, watching him take sips and smelling the beer while we were out on the water, just like how it all started between us brought back a flood of memories. That was it…. I figured out why it bothered me.Everything I associate him with still revolves around our old life, and to be put in a familiar situation, it felt like I didn’t belong anymore. The only thing that was missing was me drinking. I have had to really focus on rebuilding a life without alcohol and letting go of those old memories and feelings of Me+Ryan+partying=life. It may have been the only life we’d known and spent the majority of our relationship living, but it didn’t have to stay that way. I also have had to remind myself to be patient. We spent over a decade living a life that revolved around partying….and 18 months wasn’t going to change things over night. But at the same time, I have found myself wanting to completely run away (again) and start all over alone, in a new town, with new people who never knew the old Mindy and re-establish life as the new me. It is a fantasy that I have where I start to convince myself that it would be easier that way.

Everything I associate him with still revolves around our old life, and to be put in a familiar situation, it felt like I didn’t belong anymore. The only thing that was missing was me drinking. I have had to really focus on rebuilding a life without alcohol and letting go of those old memories and feelings of Me + Ryan + partying = life. It may have been the only life we’d known and spent the majority of our relationship living, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. I also have had to remind myself to be patient. We spent over a decade living a life that revolved around partying….and 18 months wasn’t going to change things over night, especially since it was only me who had chosen to cut alcohol out of MY life. But it’s difficult when YOU decide to cut something out of your life, but still, share your life with someone else. I have found myself wanting to completely run away (again) and start all over alone, in a new town, with new people who never knew the old Mindy and re-establish life as the new me. It is a fantasy that I have where I start to convince myself that it would be easier that way.

To put it mildly, his summer has been a mind fuck!

I have come to the realization that I have to completely get to know myself AGAIN.
This time, it is the REAL ME, totally free of anything that would alter my being.
I have come to realize just how much time and money I have lost to my addictions.
I am coming to terms with the fact that sobriety didn’t fix my problems, but has given me the clarity I need to address each issue that I had avoided and allowed to continue to get worse.

This summer was tough, but I survived. I didn’t fall to temptation. I am still moving forward. This road is long, but I am not alone. The sober-community has been so supportive. And luckily this summer, I stumbled across Sarah Ordo and she gifted me her book, Sober as Fuck — it was the first book that I read about sobriety.

sober-summer-mindy-hord- sober as fuck.jpg

I have a lot to sort out. I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of work to do on myself, but I finally feel equipped to do so. I have grown up and am ready to tackle all of those things that the scared little girl that lives inside of me feared and avoided.

 

It’s the start that stops most people

Fear has dissipated.
I finally started on my book. 
On July 4, 2017, I finally put the goal down on paper to write a book. On July 10, 2017, I PUBLICLY declared my intention to write my book. Then I paused. I got stuck. Finally, I started setting some things in motion to get started, but to be honest I got paralyzed by fear, doubt and my lifelong desire to be understood, not rejected and to have everything figured out first crept up.

Tonight, I finally said “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and took ACTION because I am never going to reach the 9-month deadline that I set for myself by doing nothing and letting the words stay in my head.

mindy-hord.png
I got 3 pages so far. If I can do 3 pages every other night and then an hour a day once Rebel is back in school in a few weeks, I will more than likely complete my 1st rough draft in less than 9 months.

Stay tuned. I don’t know what is going to come of this. Maybe only my close friends and my secretive haters will read it, maybe it will be a best-seller. You never know. All I know is that I do have a strong belief in myself and am no longer ashamed of my story. I know that my entrepreneurial spirit that I have summoned from within is telling me to keep living my truth. The Universe is telling me to further my desire, passion, and gift to help others. Thank goodness I LOVE to serve others. You know how the saying goes, love what you do and you will never work another day in your life.

mindy-hord-freedom-fitness-life-happiness.png