How to Explain Addiction

How to Explain Addiction

Addiction is never a simple topic to discuss and at times can be hard to understand, especially if you don’t know an addict firsthand. Here at RAD Living Recovery Residences, we provide a safe space for men in recovery to live. We also provide information and resources for anyone struggling with addiction. Today we’ll discuss what addiction is, how it is identified / diagnosed, and why addiction needs to be treated in the long run. 

What Is Addiction?

There are many different ways to explain addiction. An addiction is a chronic disorder that is characterized by compulsive drug/substance seeking, continues to use even despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes within the brain. Addiction is considered both a mental illness and a complex brain disorder. 

According to the DSM-5, there are 10 or 11 diagnostic criteria occurring within a 12-month period. For an addiction to be considered a “mild” disorder the individual has to have two or three diagnostics criteria. For an addiction to be considered a “moderate” disorder an individual has to have four or five diagnostics criteria. For an addiction to be considered a “severe” disorder an individual has to have six or more diagnostics criteria. These diagnostic criteria include:

  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control the use of the substance.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance, occurs.
  5. Recurrent use of the substance results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. The use of the substance continues despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of the use of the substance.
  8. The use of the substance is recurrent in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. The use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
  1. A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect
  2. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  1. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
  1. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM-5 for each substance).
  2. The use of a substance (or a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Why Does Addiction Need to Be Treated in the Long Run?

Addiction needs to be treated in the long run because many addicted individuals also have a co-occurring disorder which needs to be treated as well. Treating the substance abuse disorder or addiction may contribute to the lessening of the co-occuring disorder, or mental disorder, symptoms. Another reason addiction needs to be treated in the long run is because drugs of abuse can alter the brain’s structure and function. This can result in changes that can continue long after an individual ceases taking the drug. It is important to catch an addiction early so that it does not alter too much of the brain’s structure and function. In saying this, research has shown that individuals need at LEAST 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce/stop their drug usage.

How RAD Living Recovery Residences Can Help

RAD Living Recovery Residences is a sober community for men in recovery. We pride ourselves of providing a safe and sober living space for any man looking to maintain their sobriety. After addiction treatment ends, the real work begins. It’s important that anyone in recovery has a transitional place to live while adjusting to life after treatment.  Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of sober living & how we can help you today!

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Addiction is a complicated disease with many ways to treat it. Fortunately, the treatments range on a large spectrum. This means there is a treatment option available for everyone. Within this article, RAD Living Recovery Residences explains what Alcoholics Anonymous is, and what it’s benefits are. We also provided a resource to help you determine whether or not your drinking has turned into an addiction. 

Alcoholics Anonymous Defined

Below we have provided some answers to commonly asked questions about Alcoholics Anonymous: 

What is Alcoholics Anonymous? 

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who have or have had a drinking problem. It is an international, non-professional, multiracial, self-supporting program. Alcoholics Anonymous is available almost everywhere and there is no age or education limits/requirements. Alcoholics Anonymous is also not allied with any political organization, religious denomination, institution, or sect.  AA’s goal is to stay sober and I’ll help other alcoholics also achieve sobriety. 

How does Alcoholics Anonymous help with addiction?

Alcoholics Anonymous helps with addiction by following the 12 steps and/or 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a group of principles that are spiritual in nature  and our practice as a way of life. These 12 steps have a goal of expelling the obsession of drinking, and enabling an individual to overcome that addiction, while becoming happier and whole. Whereas, AA’s 12 traditions are an important aspect of the fellowship in itself.  These traditions outline  the means in which AA maintains it’s unity and how it relates itself to the world.

Who Should Go to AA?

Sometimes we may not fully understand whether or not we should receive help or if Alcoholics Anonymous is for us. We have attached the link to a quiz that AA’s website offers. Here are also some examples of individuals who may need to try out AA. 

  • You have decided to stop drinking for a week or maybe a month, but when you tried it only lasted a couple of days. 
  • Others have noticed an issue with your drinking problem, but it’s not their life so you tell them to mind their own business.
  • You realized that you need to drink just to maintain normal life (for example, instead of drinking for social reasons, you now drink to stop from shaking). 
  • You envy those who can drink without consequences.
  • You have had problems/issues because of drinking, whether this be at home, at work, with friends, etc.
  • You get extra drinks, because you don’t think you get enough.
  • You tell yourself you could quit at any time, but you still get drunk or decide you just don’t want to quit.
  • You experience blackouts due to drinking.
  • Drinking has started to affect your education, work life, or home life.
  • You feel like life would be better if you stopped drinking.

If any of these sound like you (four or more of these examples), you will most likely benefit from getting treatment or joining a support/recovery group. Please note alcoholism is a self diagnosed disease. AA doesn’t get rid of all of your life’s problems, but they help you to learn to live without drinking.  They want to show you how much more manageable life is when alcohol is not present.

How RAD Living Can Help Keep You sober 

Here at RAD Living Recovery Residences, we provide safe housing for men looking to continue on their journey of sobriety. Recovery and sobriety are something people have to work towards for the rest of their lives. While staying at our residences, all tenants are to attend some type of recovery meeting regularly, whether it be AA or something else. Our main goal is to help anyone who reaches out to us maintain long lasting sobriety. Please call us today to learn more about our sober living community! 

Maintain Sobriety With These Relapse Prevention Tips

relapse prevention tips

RAD Living Residences are established sober living homes in Sherman Oaks, California. Our main goal is to help all of our residents achieve long lasting sobriety. We know that treatment and relapse prevention isn’t always easy, and is a journey, not a destination. We also know that relapse can come in many different shapes and sizes (everyone and their addiction is different). There is emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. 

An emotional relapse is when an individual’s behavior/ emotions are setting them up for future relapse. Some signs of emotional relapse all revolve around denial and can include, but are not limited to: isolating oneself, refusing to show emotion/bottling them up, poor self-care, etc. 

A mental relapse is when there is a war going on within an individual’s mind. Part of them feels tempted to use and the other part of them does not want to use. The signs of a mental relapse include, but are not limited to: craving for the substance, thinking about things such as people or places that have to do with the substance, lying , scheming, planning a relapse, etc. 

A physical relapse is when an individual actually starts to use drugs or alcohol again.

What Is Relapse Prevention?

According to the National Institute of Health, there are four main ideas of relapse prevention. The first idea is that relapse is a gradual process with different/distinct stages. It is important for individuals to recognize early stages, and treatment can help with that. This helps the client have a greater chance of success in regards to relapse. The second idea is that recovery is a process/journey. This process has many different developmental milestones that can have an impact on personal growth. The third idea describes the main tools of relapse prevention. These tools are used to develop healthy coping skills, and they include things such as cognitive therapy and body-mind relaxation. The fourth idea is that most relapses can be explained within a few basic rules. These rules include: 1) changing your life (creating a new life for yourself is key to maintaining sobriety and preventing future relapse), 2) being completely honest with yourself and others, 3) asking for help when needed, 4) practicing self-care and well-being, and 5) no bending the rules. 

Strong Relapse Prevention Strategies

There are five different rules for recovery. These rules can help with relapse prevention and include:

  1. Changing Your Life – This is known as one of the most important rules of recovery. It is important for individual’s suffering from an addiction to completely change their life. This life change will help to maintain sobriety and prevent a future relapse. This change can be implementing a completely new sober lifestyle and may even mean that you have to change who you spend your time with.
  2. Being Completely Honest With Yourself and Others – Lying is a huge part of addiction, whether this is lying to others or lying to oneself. When an individual recovering from an addiction cannot be honest, this may be a sign of an emotional relapse. 
  3. Asking for Help When Needed – Some individuals start the recovery process by themselves, which can be extremely difficult. Getting involved in a social support group may increase the chance of long term recovery and provide accountability. Being an active participant in this group is crucial for growth and development within this new lifestyle. 
  4. Practicing Self-care and Wellness – Individuals going through the recovery process should find time to relax, because stress can cause a future relapse. It is important to develop new healthy habits in this time of change and find things/hobbies that oneself truly enjoys to do.
  5. Not Bending the Rules – It is important for individuals to follow this pattern/rule and not try and do it their way or a lukewarm way. This may sabotage the recovery process and lead to a relapse. It is also important when clients ask for professional help they take the advice they get instead of ignoring it. 

Maintain Sobriety at RAD Living Residences

Contact us today at RAD Living to learn more about our sober living homes. Located in Sherman Oaks, California, we have a three phase model for all our male residences. We believe that privileges should be earned, not just handed out. Our homes provide recovering addicts with a safe environment to live in while achieving long term sobriety.


Refuge Recovery Meetings Explained

refuge meetings

Within addiction recovery, sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a unique way of getting treatment, but that just isn’t the case. There are so many different options in maintaining sobriety and your recovery journey. Some people choose to attend 12-step recovery meetings after rehab, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics anonymous. If you don’t feel like those are for you, or if you know someone who is struggling and looking for other options, Refuge Recovery could be it! Refuge Recovery meetings are a peer led support group, which have no specific qualifications to join. At RAD Living, all of our residents are required to attend an addiction support group of their choice. 

What Are Refuge Recovery Meetings in Addiction Treatment?

Refuge Recovery meetings are a buddhist inspired practice that provides healing for those who are suffering from an addiction. Even though this is a buddhist inspired practice, the meetings do not require participants to be buddhist or believe in buddhism. These meetings are for people that come from all walks of life; Refuge Recovery is a community that welcomes anyone and everyone. The Refuge Recovery program is a unique approach to the treatment and recovery of addiction, including fluctuations in severity and type of drug. The program focuses on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. There is also no cost associated with attending Refuge meetings, as it’s a non-profit organization. 


  • The Four Noble Truths – The Four Noble Truths consists of: (1) Addiction creates suffering, (2) The cause of addiction is the repetition of cravings, (3) Recovery is possible, (4) The journey/path to recovery is available.
  • The Eightfold Path – The Eightfold Path to recovery and sobriety consists of: (1) Understanding, (2) Intention, (3) Community/Communication, (4) Action, (5) Service/Livelihood, (6) Effort, (7) Meditation/Mindfulness, (8) Meditation/Concentration. 


The purpose of Refuge Recovery meetings are to ensure recovery and sobriety from addiction. This program is also supposed to help attendees feel a sense of well-being and happiness throughout their life. Other aspects of Refuge Recovery are gaining mindfulness through meditation practices and building a network of support through meetings, groups, and community. 


How Are Refuge Recovery Meetings Different From AA?

Refuge Recovery meetings are a buddhist inspired practice/path to healing, which stems from the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Alcohol anonymous meetings are inspired by the twelve steps and the twelve traditions to addiction recovery.  The 12-steps are principles that participants follow to help further the success within their recovery process. 


This is a universal treatment that many people use, and it was previously based on the Christian faith, but does not focus on it much today. AA focuses mostly on alcohol compared to other substances, whereas Refuge Recovery meetings focus on all substances and anything that can become an addiction. Like the Refuge Recovery meetings, AA welcomes anyone, especially those who would like to change their drinking habits. AA is also free, there is no charge associated with attending meetings. 


How RAD Living Recovery Residences (Sober Living) Can Help

Here at RAD Living Recovery Residences, we seek to help men in recovery maintain long term sobriety. When you live in our sober living, we have rules and guidelines for everyone to follow. Part of the guidelines to stay in our houses is to attend some sort of support group to help maintain sobriety, like Refuge Recovery! Whether you choose to attend Refuge meetings, or other meetings like AA, is totally up to you. 


If you or someone you know is in recovery and looking for a safe space to live, contact us at RAD Living today. Our sober living home provides men in recovery with a place to live while working on their long-term sobriety. 

How to Provide a Good Sober Living Home for Men

mens sober living

Throughout the recovery process, sober living is a crucial aspect within an individual’s life when recovering from an addiction. At RAD Living, we want to create an environment that is healthy for our clients and is a great sober living home for men. We know that having the perfect sober environment isn’t always easy, but it is important in overcoming addiction. Sober living homes are also an essential part of transitioning out of addiction treatment. 

Who Needs a Sober Living?

Sober living is important for any individual suffering from an addiction. Sober living is a way to create a supportive sober environment between all individuals who want the same thing, which is to maintain sobriety. Sober living is especially important for those who are stuck within their addiction and seem to be surrounded by people who aren’t really the best influence. 

Benefits of a Sober Living

There are many different benefits in living in a sober living community. These benefits include growing in personal ways such as: 

  • Honesty – Being honest with yourself and others is important in the steps of overcoming an addiction. 
  • Accountability – This is important, and finding someone you can share your doubts and emotions to is helpful when overcoming an addiction. 
  • Obtaining & maintaining gainful employment – Some resources including help with finding employment can be found within sober living communities. 
  • Social interaction – Finding good social support and community is crucial in coping with an addiction. Having a sober living community will help provide healthy interaction for recovering individuals.
  • Personal & financial responsibility – Taking responsibility for certain aspects with the addiction is important, and understanding where to change from then on out. 
  • Self-esteem building – Finding peace and confidence when overcoming an addiction can help with maintaining sobriety. 
  • Goal setting & achievement – Creating goals is important in maintaining sobriety. Starting with small goals and then building up to larger goals is a way to start achieving milestones in the recovery process.
  • Structured programming – Creating structure within the addicted individual’s life can help make or break the process to a successful and ebay recovery. 


How to Find a Good Sober Living Home

There are many different things to look for when searching for a good sober living home. Important elements include:

  • Location and setting – Finding a location and setting that suits the needs of each individual client is something to look for when searching for a sober living home. Remaining close to home may be important in maintaining that support system. 
  • Financial – Understanding how to be able to afford this treatment, and what the fees are and what they cover. Check out what your insurance has to offer and what financial aid/scholarships the living community may be able to give you. 
  • Benefits – Understanding the benefits, resources, and amenities offered by the sober living community will help provide more information on whether or not that community is the perfect fit. 
  • Length of stay – Finding a facility that meets the needs of the client and will work with the client’s schedule is important in the recovery process. This may include the sober living community having flexible lengths of stay depending on if the client needs more time within the community. 
  • Structure and expectations – Finding a sober living community that provides structure, the learning of important coping skills, and a supportive environment is important in the journey to recovery and the maintenance of sobriety. 

Overall, finding the best sober living home truly depends on the client’s preference and the priorities that they maintain within their recovery journey. 


How Can RAD Living Help?

At RAD Living, we lead by example. Reach out to us today to find an environment of sober living for men that can help our clients succeed in their recovery process. Maintaining sobriety is crucial and our communities help each other every step along the way. 


Maintaining Sobriety After You Leave Addiction Treatment

maintaining sobriety after treatment

In many ways, addiction treatment is just the beginning. Your new life in recovery starts when you leave treatment and re-enter the real world.

How to Maintain Sobriety

It’s important to know that the real world often still presents a lot of challenges that are difficult to overcome. Relapse is more common than a lot of people realize. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 85% of individuals relapse after either getting treatment or working on their own to achieve sobriety. Many people do manage to get through relapse and returning to sobriety, but it takes hard work and determination.

Going through the right treatment program in the first place will help equip you with the skills you need to navigate your life of sobriety (including avoiding relapse and bouncing back if it does happen). At RAD Recovery Residences, we work closely with individuals from all walks of life to help them maintain sobriety.

Here are four tips you can follow that will help you maintain sobriety after treatment, now and long into the future:

1. Don’t Rush Things When Maintaining Sobriety

When you first leave addiction treatment, you may want to rush back into everyday life with gusto. This is admirable, but moving too quickly can quickly lead to a burnout, which can then lead to relapse. Set small goals for yourself, and take each day at a time (keeping a journal will help with this). This is especially crucial when it comes to rebuilding relationships with family and friends. Go as slow as you need to, and don’t force things to happen before they’re ready. Life in recovery is not a race.

On this note, if you do find yourself slipping at any moment, take the steps you need to bounce back and don’t dwell on it. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes we fall when we push ourselves too hard. A slip here or there does not mean that you have failed, and it certainly doesn’t mean that your life in recovery is over. Get back up and keep steadily working on your goals.

2. Practice Healthy Living in All Areas

Reaching sobriety naturally improves your health, so now is the perfect time to adopt a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. You will learn more about this while in treatment, but your recovery period is when you get to really incorporate healthy tactics into everyday life. Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet and get regular exercise. Not only will both help keep you more occupied and not focused on dangerous behavior, but they will also help to steadily repair your body from the damages wrecked by your past drug and alcohol abuse.

According to Harvard Medical School, regular workouts in particular can help keep recovering addicts more focused and decrease their substance use long-term.

3. Take up a New Hobby

One of the biggest things you can do to help maintain your sobriety is to get yourself involved in a new hobby. For some, this is a new sport. Others enjoy making art and even using their works as an expression of their feelings. For others, their hobby of choice may be anything from joining a class to learn new skills to becoming an active volunteer in their local community. Whatever you do, it should be something you enjoy and are interested in. An engaging hobby will give you something to do in your downtime that isn’t related to drug abuse and will help prevent you from thinking about it.

Many people even take up a combination of new activities. If you do this, however, it is important to make sure that you are not pushing yourself too hard to the point of burn out.

4. Follow a Schedule to Maintain Recovery

Drug abuse and addiction often lead to chaos; events are missed, work and other commitments fall to the wayside, and relationships crumble. That is why many people in addiction recovery find it useful to maintain a weekly schedule. Bringing structure back into your life while sober will help you keep commitments and make deadlines. It will also help you plan things with the people you care about and steadily rebuild the relationships you once had. It’s a good idea to schedule a moment each week to check in with yourself and think about areas you can improve on, as well as take some time to admire your progress.

We’re Here to Help With Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety

Our team at RAD Recovery Residences in Southern California is dedicated to providing recovering addicts with a safe place to live after completing treatment. Recovery is a long journey and it’s important in the beginning to surround yourself with like minded individuals. By living in a sober living, you’ll have a supportive environment while you build your new life in recovery. Contact us today to find out about our sober living for men in the San Fernando Valley