Welcome To The Official Fellowship Hall Blog

Sober in Love: 5 Tips for Healthy Dating/Relationships in Recovery 

August 3, 2020

 

As you progress through your recovery, you ideally will continue to improve and build a healthier, better life centered around your sobriety. While you spend the first part of your recovery focusing on yourself, it is natural to desire partnership in this life–especially after spending so much time feeling isolated when you were drinking or using substances. Dating and forming new relationships is extremely challenging for everyone. In recovery, however, you must be particularly mindful of your actions, thoughts, patterns, and feelings while entering a new relationship so that you may continue to stay well. 

Perhaps throughout all of your recent accomplishments and growth, you have met or are interested in meeting someone new. You may be hesitant or anxious to navigate the dating world without the presence of substances in your life. It can be tricky!

Here are 5 tips to help you form healthy dating and relationship habits while in recovery:

Always put your sobriety first

This is multifaceted. To put your sobriety first, you must be honest with yourself. Are you really ready for a relationship? Have you taken the time necessary to set solid foundations in your life? It is commonly recommended to spend 1 year focusing predominantly on your recovery. After this time, you need to consider the following: Are you able to care for yourself on your own, without the emotional support of someone else? Are you confident in your own ability to handle disappointments and conflicts? 

These are things to think about before entering a new relationship. Even after committing to a relationship, your sobriety must always be your top priority–this means that you continue to work your program and use the tools that you developed in treatment. Ultimately, these practices will not only benefit you, but in turn can help you be a better partner to someone else. 

 

Be honest with the other person

Honesty and communication are crucial to any relationship. Be open with your potential matches in regard to your recovery, your struggles, your needs, and goals. Decide what is important to you in a partnership and don’t compromise–make it clear to the other person what you value and need from a relationship.

Erase the sense of urgency

Meeting someone that you connect with can present feelings of passion and urgency and may lead you to jump headfirst into something that you’re not truly ready for. When you feel yourself become anxious about aspects of the relationship, take a step back, and take a deep breath. Slow down. Take the time to genuinely get to know the individual you are considering to be your partner, and let them take the time to get to know you as well. By taking things slowly you may find in the end that you are not the best pair for one another before you make any major commitments or promises, and that is okay. 

Be realistic and prepared

The rush of serotonin that comes from feelings of early connection and love can be, for lack of a better word, addicting. As you enter new relationships, the connection and support can be an incredibly positive thing in your life. You must be realistic and understand that disagreements and conflicts will present themselves eventually–this is normal. Talk to your partner about how you both prefer to handle conflict before it arises. Prepare yourself by creating strategies to work through hard times or heightened emotions. Some helpful tactics to use during stressful moments in a relationship are:

  • Calling your sponsor
  • Talking with your therapist or counselor
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Prayer

 

Avoid codependency

It can be tempting to lose yourself in the good feelings of a new relationship–just as easy as it is to lose yourself in someone else. The disease impacts your mind in a way that can make it easy for you to become codependent and reliant on another person very quickly if you are not mindful and careful during the early stages of dating and forming new relationships. 

You must remember: a healthy relationship exists between two individuals that value their individual self. Though it is easy to become comfortable with a partner by your side, you must continue to strive for improvement in your recovery. This means that you still make time to go to meetings, spend time alone, stay true to your friends, hobbies, work, and passions outside of the relationship. You should also encourage your partner to do the same. 

Though dating in recovery is challenging–it is incredibly worthwhile. As you relearn healthy communication and relationship habits, you add new tools to your repertoire that will continue to support you throughout the rest of your life in sobriety whether you’re single or in the midst of cupid’s choke-hold. 

At Fellowship Hall, we’re working to constantly provide support and care both on-campus and digitally those in recovery. For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

Recovery Tip from a Counselor: Utilizing Tools in Long-Term Recovery

July 27, 2020

Recovery Tip from a Counselor: Utilizing Tools in Long-Term Recovery

Fellowship Hall Counselor, Katherine Barron 

This blog is a part of our ongoing series on recovery tips. Each month, a Fellowship Hall counselor will give our readers their very best tips for getting treatment, being successful in therapy and maintaining sobriety.  Be sure to read them all.

Katherine Barron’s best tips and advice for long-term recovery. 

Often you don’t realize it, but long-term recovery looks a lot like early recovery. Successful early recovery utilizes the same tools that should be used in the long-term. Part of the challenge here is that these tools or methods of supporting our sobriety can seem too simple to us as time goes on. Yes, the tools are incredibly simple, but they are effective. No matter how long you have been sober, using those tools you learned during treatment while working through the steps will always be helpful and reliable. 

Something that is crucial to a successful long-term recovery is understanding when you cannot control specific situations in your life–perhaps a conflict in a work or personal relationship of yours. When you’re dealing with something like this, turn back to early steps of acknowledging powerlessness, and turn it over to your higher power, a sponsor, or the collective wisdom of a home group that you feel safe with. This seems simple, but sometimes can be difficult to do. The challenge is that in long-term recovery you may feel like you should already have it “all figured out,” but that’s not the case. There’s more of your own experience that’s available to you, but as life begins to progress and present new conflicts and challenges, you have to utilize your tools and work your program to meet the demands of the day-to-day of your recovery. 

When you’re working your 12 step program, helpful habits for successful long-term recovery are: 

  • Going to meetings
  • Talking to a sponsor
  • Engaging in the community
  • Working steps
  • Having a prayer and meditation life
  • Addressing what your personal needs are 
  • Connecting with an outside of the program spiritual life
  • Having friends that you connect with and feel supported by inside of the rooms and outside of them. 

Engaging in Service

Service is a huge part of long-term recovery. Ask yourself how you can continue to support the entities around you that allowed you to have this healthier and fuller life in recovery. Being in service of other people in the direction of help is really important because it can boost your self-esteem. This is critical because in sobriety the view we have of ourselves has to be addressed, and it is several times throughout the steps. 

Humility

The fifth step says about humility, “knowing who and what we really are followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be,” and that’s honest. That’s saying that you accept yourself where you are–even when it is difficult to do so. Humility is really important because you have to get honest with yourself in long-term recovery. Denial will protect you for a long time because sometimes it is hard to handle all of the “pieces” of yourself. You must have a safe space where you can unpack what has kept you sick and practice that humility. By addressing these things, you can then begin to grow and progress.

Acceptance

We’re living in a challenging time with the current state of the world. Recovery tools are the same but the circumstances are extreme. This is something you should pay attention to, honor and address how it affects you. Acknowledging the reality of what we’re living in right now is important. We’re always powerless but right now it’s so obvious, it’s in our face constantly, and it’s terrifying because naturally as humans we need that illusion of control to feel safe. But the tools are there for you to succeed regardless, and part of your program is accepting that feeling of powerlessness. 

Forgiveness & Humor

Long-term recovery also requires a lot of self-forgiveness. That comes up in the steps, but reintroduces itself as meeting yourself where you’re at in the present moment (humility) so that you can make choices based in reality. Also a sense of humor is required–an ability to not take yourself so seriously, an ability to laugh. That sometimes gets lost in active addiction, but is important to long-term recovery. 

Katherine, what would you say to someone who may be struggling to stay sober right now? 

A day at a time. An hour at a time. I would say that if part of the challenge you’re facing right now is connection, you have to remember it is an action-based program. You have to take action before you feel like it. If you wait until you’re struggling to feel like it’s finally time to do something in the direction of your recovery, then you’re in danger. You have to act your way into right thinking, it doesn’t tend to work the other way around. Remember: feelings are not facts. They’re valid, and they’re important, and they’re pieces of information you need to process your life experiences, but they’re not facts. 

I do think that phrase, you’re either walking towards our next use, or away from it is true. Ask yourself, am I engaging in something today that’s helping me walk towards my recovery?

Finally, reach out. You don’t have to feel like it, often you won’t. But do it anyway. You may start to feel very separate and apart but remember, so many around you are having these feelings of anger, and loneliness, and fear, and separation, and if you speak up about it somebody will step up and say me too. 

At Fellowship Hall, we’re working to constantly provide support and care both on-campus and digitally those in recovery. For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

Dear Diary…How Journaling as an Adult can Benefit Long-Term Recovery

July 17, 2020

Dear DiaryHow Journaling as an Adult can Benefit Long-Term Recovery

When you hear the word journaling what comes to mind? For most, the idea of journaling invokes images of our younger selves writing about things that seem trivial now–the birthday party you weren’t invited to, or a carnation at school from your Valentine. You may even remember an occasional entry you wrote while you were away at a summer camp. How do you think journaling could fit into your adult life? Your life during your recovery?

Journaling is an incredibly powerful tool for reflection, introspection, and growth as you progress in your sobriety. It’s not just an asset or a helpful tool–it is an essential component of your recovery for long-term success.

The benefits of Journaling in Recovery

It’s free, and you can do it anytime, anywhere.

You can bring your journal and pen with you to work, to school, to the park, etc. You can journal during your commute (if you’re not driving) or on your breaks at work–you can journal anywhere that is comfortable for you. Best of all? It is a completely free (aside from your pen and paper costs) therapeutic act.

Putting pen to paper can help make sense of what you’re thinking and feeling.

Oftentimes when you experience intense waves of thoughts, they can be messy, sporadic, scattered, overwhelming, and hard to make sense of. By journaling, you are able to take control of your feelings and thoughts, instead of allowing them to control you.

You can tap into things you may not have been able to clearly access just through thinking.

In the same way that you may converse with a counselor or a sponsor, journaling allows you to “talk” or rather, write, through situations, thoughts, and emotions. Further, journaling provides an avenue to dig deep and intimately interact with the self. Knowing that there is no judgement, no revealing nature to it, and that you are only writing for yourself can provide you with a sense of true security that allows you to be even more honest and open than you may have been with another party involved.

Writing your thoughts down makes them real.

Emotions experienced during your recovery are unique in that without substances, you are essentially re-learning how to process and fully feel again. The act of writing these feelings down benefits you in several ways; you’re able to actualize and validate what you are or have been feeling and experiencing. From this, you’re able to separate yourself from any fleeting or less permanent feelings and put space between your thoughts and actions. This is a huge benefit that can be used as a tool to prevent you from making permanent decisions based on more temporary feelings. For example, when you have a craving or notice a trigger, digging deep into those feelings, making them real, and making peace with them can be invaluable in preventing relapse or slip-ups. In doing this, you’re also able to return to these entries or times when you have succeeded in overcoming temptation and use them as inspiration on harder days.

Reflection is necessary

In steps 4 and 10 we are asked to take inventory of ourselves, our experiences, our past, how this has all affected us, and in turn, how this has caused us to affect others.

Step 4 (AA/NA) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 10 (AA/NA) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

The thoughtfulness and consideration required for these steps translates beautifully into journaling. Journaling allows us to clear the wreckage of our past and gain true understanding in regard to how we can move forward in our life and recovery.

Get into a routine.

Step 10 asks that we continue to take inventory of our days. This is why it is important to get into a routine of journaling consistently. In your recovery, your tools can only help you if you make a true commitment to them and consistently utilize them. Set a reminder in your phone and dedicate yourself to some sort of journaling, if only for a few minutes a day.

Some journaling styles to consider for beginners:

Bullet Journaling- Kept in the style of a list. This is a great way to begin journaling, as you can take inventory or make simple lists of your day to day actions, thoughts, and feelings.

Gratitude Journal– In contrast to other styles of journaling, a gratitude journal focuses on the areas of your life for which you are thankful. The school of thought that inspires this style of journaling believes that we should call attention to the positive things in our days rather than giving any energy to the negative aspects. Through gratitude journaling, you can review passages and remind yourself of all you have to be thankful for.

Free write journaling– This is also a great style of journaling for you if you’re just getting into the habit of writing.  Put on some of your favorite relaxing music, and set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes. For the full 10 minutes write whatever comes to your head. Don’t think twice about it—write exactly what you think and feel. After the 10 minutes are up, review what you’ve written and reflect on how this passage makes you feel. This is a great way to separate yourself from temporary emotions.

The act of daily journaling can be beneficial for everyone, but especially for you during your recovery. Find a routine and a style of journaling that works for you, and dedicate yourself to consistently utilizing this new tool. For more helpful tools and resources be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn at @FellowshipHallNC

 

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

 

 

Let’s Get Physical! How Exercise Promotes Success in Long-Term Recovery

June 28, 2020

While you were actively using substances, you probably didn’t think much about your health. Substance use disorder shifts your motivation and attention to acquiring or actively drinking or using drugs. Let’s face it — no one wakes up after a day of using drugs or drinking feeling “great” or ready to run a marathon. These substances negatively impact your mental and physical well-being both during and long after usage has stopped. This is why during recovery, self-care is key to long-term success. Exercise is an excellent form of self-care that has infinite benefits.

Here are 5 ways exercise can help you be successful in your recovery:

Exercise can…..

  • Improve your sleep.

Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is a necessity for everyone, regardless of whether you are in recovery or not. It is not uncommon to experience difficulty sleeping if you once used substances to help you sleep. Sleep is restorative and a lack thereof can have profound consequences on the psyche. Lack of sleep not only makes us tired and sluggish during the day, less productive, and generally “moody”, but it also means we cannot fully appreciate the good that is around us, often obsessing over the negatives in our lives. Having enough sleep helps with our cognitive processes and allows us to make the best decisions as we continue the lifelong journey of recovery.

  • Improve your mood and confidence. (Acquiring endorphins, the healthy way!)

You know that flood of happiness you get from a piece of chocolate?As you exercise, your brain naturally releases Endorphins, Serotonin, and Dopamine, creating a feeling of improved life satisfaction and happiness.

  • Help to reduce stress.

Recovery is stressful. It requires daily dedication to staying well and staying sober. Life, in general, is stressful at times. Stress impacts our blood pressure, our hearts, our blood sugar, and more. In contrast to substances, exercise is an incredibly positive and healthy coping mechanism to combat the stressors you may face. Exercise is a stress buster and stress is a sobriety buster. Stress is a natural and normal part of everyday life, yet studies show it can be greatly reduced with consistent exercise. As you reduce your stress, you increase your mental capacity to face the challenges of day-to-day living.

  • Help you structure your days and set goals.

Set times throughout the week that you will be physical and stick to them as if they were a job! Build your schedule around these blocks and create a structure for your weeks. Finding structure, setting goals, and achieving them is one of the cornerstones of a successful recovery and long-term sobriety. We may measure our sobriety in days, months, or even years, but it is something that we cannot take for granted. The temptations of relapse are always present. In recovery, it is important to create interim, attainable goals with the ultimate goal of staying clean for the rest of our lives. Exercise promotes this healthy thinking as we see progress in our dedication, consistency, and physical abilities – how far we can run, how much weight we can lift, etc. Aligning our exercise goals with our recovery goals can make for a positive and self-fulfilling situation.

  • Help you connect and bond with others.

Exercise is a great way to bond with others and connect. Whether you find classes at your local gym or fitness groups online, physical activity provides yet another way to connect. Connecting with like-minded individuals, focused on self-care and health will only further strengthen your support network as you progress in your recovery.

Join us on July 9th at 7:00 PM EST for our recovery-based Mindfulness and Yoga Zoom session for Fellowship Hall Alumni. Check your email for the Zoom link and be sure to add it to your calendar!  OR, email us to get the link.

AND

Join us on July 19th at 5:00 PM EST for our recovery-based Running Club in Greensboro for Fellowship Hall Alumni. Check your email for the meet-up location and more information and be sure to also add this to your calendar!  

Ultimately the benefits of exercise are endless, and they speak for themselves. While it is only one part of the lifelong recovery process, it represents very real protection from drug use and relapse. And while many think that exercise needs to be difficult and take lots of time, exercise can be classified as anything that gets you moving, increases your heart rate, and makes you feel good. You should find ways to get active that you enjoy…make it FUN!

Here are some of our favorite workout videos, resources, and links:

Core Power Yoga
https://www.corepoweryogaondemand.com/
•  Free access to yoga and meditation classes through Core Power on Demand.

Cross Fit at Home
https://www.crossfit.com/at-home/movements
•  Provides free access to various workout and nutrition videos to preserve your health at home.

Daily Burn
https://dailyburn.com/landing#!home
•  Sign up for a free 30-day trial and receive access to full body workouts daily, including cardio, yoga, dance, Pilates and more. •  Credit card information required for the free trial.

Ekhart Yoga
https://relief.ekhartyoga.com/
•  Offering 12 free yoga and meditation classes, specifically designed to help relieve stress and anxiety. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!

Fitness Blender
https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos
•  Offers free workout videos based on difficulty, focus, and equipment available.

Gold’s AMP

FREE TRIAL | Start Your Workout In-App for Free


•  Providing free access to over 600 audio and video workouts to keep you moving through May 2020. Use promo code FIT60

Nike Run Club
https://www.nike.com/nrc-app
• Need to get outside for a bit or have a treadmill at home? This free app helps you track your run and allows access to guided runs hosted by coaches or Headspace.

ObéFitness
https://www.obefitness.com/
•  Live fitness classes with a 30-day free trial (use code ATHOME). •  Will require credit card information for the free trial.

Peloton
https://www.onepeloton.com/app
•  Their digital app is free for 90 days; you don’t need a Peloton to use it. Not only do they offer bike and treadmill classes, but they offer outdoor walking/running classes, strength, yoga and meditation.

Pop Sugar Fitness
https://www.youtube.com/user/popsugartvfit/about
•   A free YouTube exercise channel that offers fitness tutorials and workouts.

10 Free Workout Apps to Use!
https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/free-workout-apps-social-distancing-coronavirus-184514493.html

Now get to moving! Share with us YOUR favorite ways to be active by tagging @FellowshipHallNC or using the hashtag #FellowshipNCFitness on Facebook or Instagram J

About Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

Life after Fellowship Hall, maintaining recovery in the “real” world….

June 8, 2020

During treatment, you were sheltered from the temptations of the outside world. You were provided with constant care, contact with the outside world was limited, and you had access to meetings, counseling, monitoring, and support, around the clock. All of these support mechanisms help you through the inevitable relapse triggers you experience in the early stages of recovery.

But what about life after leaving Fellowship Hall?

For anyone who is newly sober, learning to adapt and maintain your recovery in the “real” world again is a challenge.  No longer protected by the shield of in-patient treatment, you must begin rebuilding your life by finding ways to cope with your personal triggers.

Think about the trigger mechanism of a gun; it must be pulled to spark the reaction that releases a bullet from the chamber. For those in recovery, relapsing can be viewed in the same light—people, places and things, or our feelings and thoughts, can pull that trigger.  Without coping skills and immediate action, this pull of the trigger will put you right back where you started, back in your active addiction. These triggers during your early recovery may begin with something as small as a thought, which then leads to a craving, which then leads to a relapse. Once the bullet of a gun leaves the chamber, you can’t put it back, the choice is permanent. In many ways, a relapse is the same: it takes you right back to ground zero of your recovery— if you are lucky enough to survive it.

Each day life brings new challenges, new situations, and perhaps even unfamiliar feelings that you once numbed with substances. This is particularly true right now. We are all dealing with a new reality and trying to navigate our recovery in that new reality.

During early recovery, you are essentially an infant in the world of emotional sobriety while you establish your new personal base-line. Each individual is different in their disease, making it crucial for you to recognize what personally triggers you. Once you identify these triggers, you may then work to avoid them…

Here are seven steps to help YOU face your relapse triggers:

  1. Be aware of complacency, euphoric recall, and forgetting the pain that addiction has caused. Get in touch with the pain that your substance use caused.
  1. Be conscious not to drift away from recovery. Regular AA and NA attendance is extremely important. It’s an easy and common mistake for people to reduce meeting attendance, stop calling a sponsor, or just stop going to AA/NA altogether! Today that means adapting to the online meeting world, and making phone calls is more important than ever.
  2. Remember the H.A.L.T concept.  When you become restless, irritable, and discontent, ask yourself, “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?”  If so, these feelings could increase the risk of relapse.  Only you have the power to address these feelings with the recovery tools you now possess.
  3. Talk about feelings openly in meetings and with a sponsor.  Most people will never heal what they do not feel.
  4. Remember, the brain chemistry has been changed.  You WILL be triggered at some point in time but don’t allow a trigger to be romanced into a craving. Remember, each time you get a craving and DON’T use or drink, a new pathway in the brain is formed. Overtime, the cravings will fade.
  5. Remember to assess your motives for being around certain people or going certain places.
  6. Think before you drink or use. The time to call that sponsor is before, not after!

Even with the best-laid plans to avoid relapse triggers and prevent relapse, the risk is always there. If you get caught off guard and slip-up, it does not mean that you are a failure and doomed forever. Recovery is always possible, as long as you are willing to pick yourself up and try again–and the sooner you act after a relapse the better.

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

How to Maintain Recovery During Isolation: 6 Tips from Nataki Watson, a Primary Counselor at Fellowship Hall

May 27, 2020

How to Maintain Recovery During Isolation: 6 Tips from Nataki Watson, a Primary Counselor at Fellowship Hall

It may sound cliché but right now we really are living in unprecedented times. There is immense anxiety and uncertainty all around. Staying focused, grounded, and connected have become quite difficult. The recovery community is built on the power of connection, so it stands to reason that maintaining one’s recovery in a time when we are all isolated from one another can seem like a momentous task.

Here are 6 recommendations for maintaining your recovery:

  • Change the Channel

Stop watching the news!! It is incredibly overwhelming the amount of scary or sad news there is out there being constantly streamed in through the television, radio, and social media. Five minutes glancing through news stories is enough to raise your anxiety exponentially. There is a benefit to staying informed, but sticking to reputable news sources for a small allotment of time is more than enough information. Instead of reading or watching endless news, try a new book, or podcast, or TV show. This is also a good time to pick up some new recovery literature. The point is to replace the negative with something positive and uplifting; and if that can also be something that is recovery oriented, all the better.

  • Keep an Open Mind

The cool thing about this time is we are discovering new ways of connecting with each other. Although it may not be in person, technology (and more free time) is allowing folks to reconnect with friends and loved ones all over the world. For some, it is really daunting not being able to attend meetings in person. Keeping an open mind and embracing technology can allow you to expand your meeting attendance in number, as well as geography. It’s been pretty cool dropping in on meetings all over the world, at all times of day! There are opportunities for smaller groups to coordinate and meet for more private and intimate talks as well. This is a great time to think outside the box to figure out how to use technology as a plus to boost your recovery. Staying connected with your network is vital; now is the time to lean into each other.

  • Get Up and Get Out

When in doubt, get up and go outside! Personally, the closing of gyms has been HORRIBLE for me!! But, I decided to stop complaining about it and go outside. I have tried new trails, taken longer walks, and I even tried jogging…which I said I would NEVER do! The fresh air and exercise is great for anxiety and helps boost your mood. Even a walk around the neighborhood is invigorating and helps when your mind starts going down some negative paths. This is also a good time to listen to your favorite music, catch up on a podcast, or listen to an audio book. Again, use technology to your advantage! There are several great recovery based podcasts out there that are very helpful as well. A few to try out are: The Bubble Hour, Busy Living Sober, The Sober Guy, and The Boiled Owl Coffee Club.

  • Keep Calm and Carry On

I cannot stress enough (no pun intended) the importance of meditation. You don’t need to be perfect at it, just intentional. The more you practice, the better you will be. It doesn’t take much at all to begin to feel the real benefits of it. Spirituality is the core of recovery. Taking time to reconnect with yourself-and your Higher Power- will go a long way to easing your stress. YouTube is full of thousands of different meditations that vary in type and length. There’s something for everyone regardless of your level of comfort or expertise. There are also several meditation apps available, many of which are free or low cost. A few suggestions are 12 Step Meditation and Daily Reflections for AA, NA, and Al-Anon; Calm; Ten Percent Happier; and Headspace.

  • Lend a Helping Hand

One of the best ways to get out of your head and boost your mood is to show kindness to others. Service can be done in a wide variety of ways, and there is no better time than a global pandemic to show a little love to someone else. Although we must keep our distance, this is a great time to let others know that you see them and they matter. Volunteering to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor; helping a friend’s child with their homework over video chat so their parent can take a break; or sending a hand written card or note to a friend or loved one that you haven’t spoken to in a while are just a few examples of things that you can do to take your mind off what may be troubling you and keep you busy giving back and sowing a little kindness. Get creative with it; nothing supports healthy recovery like service.

  • Keep an Attitude of Gratitude

Last but certainly not least, take a moment or two each day to remember all the things you have to be grateful for. We all have so much to be grateful for, including the fact that you have made it through another day without drinking or using. Sometimes, that fact can be easily blocked out by the noise and the chaos of all the things that feel like they are going wrong and are definitely out of our control. Being intentional and taking the time to really count your blessings, is a quick way to help you regroup and refocus.

About the writer, Primary Counselor Nataki Watson

Nataki Watson is a Primary Counselor at Fellowship Hall. Prior to joining the Fellowship Hall team, she worked as a Behavioral Assessment Counselor and Inpatient Case Manager. As a former Assessment Counselor, she completed psycho-social assessments with new guests entering treatment where she enjoyed meeting and getting to know each guest as they began, or sometimes continued, their recovery journey. She is passionate about connecting with others and providing them with the opportunity to really be seen and heard.

 

 

 

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

Discovering Yourself and YOUR Own “Normal” in Recovery

May 5, 2020

Discovering Yourself and YOUR Own “Normal” in Recovery

Normal (adjective) – conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

At some point in each of our lives, we’ve all wondered what it means to be “normal”. In the last couple of months, the entire planet’s existing idea of the word has been challenged. Many have found themselves struggling to adapt to the new standards of normal–working from home, limited contact with others, and so on. But what about for those in recovery?

Sobriety reshapes your entire lifestyle. When in recovery, the focus of your life shifts away from substance use and towards self-care. What was once “normal” to you, eventually may become something altogether foreign. One of the keys to successful long-term recovery is establishing a new sense of normalcy in your life and accepting it as a better alternative to your past life when you were actively addicted.

Here are some easy tips to help you re-define your very own “normal” and enjoy your life in recovery:

Focus on figuring out who you are without the disease.
A good starting place to establish your sense of normal is to ask yourself, “Who am I?” If this is something you struggle to answer, perhaps try to think about how you’d describe yourself to a stranger, or how a close friend might describe you to others. Are you pleased with these descriptions? Who do you want to be? Self-improvement is a constant, endless process of discovering things about oneself. Take inventory of the things you enjoy about yourself, and the things that you do not. Set small, but achievable goals to improve what you can each day.

Reflect and discover new passions.
Oftentimes, substance use can distract you from things you once prioritized and cared about. This could be artistic passions such as music, cooking, and painting, or even activities such as spending time with your friends and family. Whatever it is that brings you joy and feeds your soul, seek those things out and do them often. Sobriety doesn’t mean that life cannot be fun or exciting–in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Accept and become comfortable with idle time.
Staying busy can be a positive coping strategy for those in recovery. However, it is important to accept that idle time will eventually present itself. Sometimes, you will experience boredom. Part of rediscovering yourself is learning to accept downtime, and even relish in it. Rest is a wonderful thing. While you’re discovering your own identity, set a routine for your days and stick to it–but build in time to do nothing! Use time like this to reflect on your day. Journaling is a great way to document your feelings, sort through your thoughts, and can even be used to track your progress.

Use the tools you’ve been taught along the way.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use the things you learned in treatment because they work! Review your 12-steps often, log-in to meetings online as often as you need to, and stay connected with your recovery network.

Have patience and embrace the unknown.
While finding a new normal for your life can certainly be a challenge, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to happen overnight. In fact, it definitely won’t. The initial stages of life after addiction are tough. Your brain is figuring out how to operate without substances and this can impact you emotionally and physically. Pushing through the speed bumps that present themselves in early recovery will help build a strong foundation for long-term success in your journey. Don’t rush yourself or the process of changing your life for the better. None of us can foresee the challenges tomorrow may bring but if you equip yourself with the proper recovery tools–you will be ready for anything that comes your way.

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.

Steps YOU Can Take to Manage Anxiety and Depression in Recovery

April 22, 2020

Steps YOU Can Take to Manage Anxiety and Depression in Recovery

Addiction is a unique disease in that it can be triggered in part by anxiety and depression, but it can also subsequently cause anxiety and depression during both active addiction and recovery. At Fellowship Hall we understand that when life beyond active addiction begins, those in recovery have to establish a true mental and emotional baseline in sobriety. Tal Fish, licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and one of Fellowship Hall’s Extended Treatment Counselors says, “Patience is very important in the beginning. It won’t get better right away because the brain needs time to heal from the effects of active addiction. It may take some time for moods to improve.” 

However, there are steps that you can take each day to manage these mental health disorders and foster successful, long-term recovery. 

  • Understand that you are not alone in your struggles. 

The disease feeds on feelings of isolation and loneliness. Tal highlights the importance of understanding that what you’re going through is valid: “Co-occurring disorders (when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time) are common with people with substance use disorders. Many people cope with both anxiety and depression in recovery. The first and most important thing I want people in recovery to know is that they’re not alone, again, this is not uncommon. A lot of people suffering from substance use disorders self-medicate to cope with these symptoms caused by underlying mental health disorders.” 

  • Utilize your support network.

A crucial part of recovery is utilizing your support network. Allow yourself to open up in meetings and to your sponsor. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. What you feel is valid and worth talking about with others. Chances are, someone else has experienced similar feelings during their own recovery. “There’s no shame in struggling with anxiety and depression. It is important to talk about how you feel and what you’re experiencing during recovery. Don’t be afraid to be honest about it and seek proper support,” Tal said. “Not addressing or tending to these emotions can be a relapse risk if they go un-managed.” Now, more than ever before, those in recovery have access to round-the-clock care and support via digital meeting platforms. Don’t forget to take a look at the resources on our website here: https://www.fellowshiphall.com/alumni-online-resources.php

  • 360 Wellness

Anxiety and depression can be all-consuming. If you’ve experienced these emotions, you know that they impact us physically just as much as they do mentally. Simple tasks can become difficult and it’s easy to slip into a pattern of poor habits when struggling with these emotions. You can combat this by setting small, achievable positive goals. These goals don’t have to be massive overhauls or major life changing events–these wellness goals can be as simple as taking a walk three times a week, attending a meeting each afternoon, or calling a good friend. Just reflect on what you can do today to feel your best. Strive after something you can achieve, so that you can enjoy the rewarding feeling of completing a goal and keeping a promise to yourself. 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a little “TLC”

That’s right TLC- tender, loving, (self) care! We know that if our body feels good, we most definitely feel much better. Some simple ways to practice self-care in recovery are:

  • Nourish your body with fresh, healthy foods.
  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Staying active (even just 30 minutes of light movement a day can make a massive difference!)
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a huge factor for mental well-being. 
  • Engage in ANY spiritual activity that fulfills and centers you. 
  • Review the 12-steps.
  • Do things you enjoy. Connect with your passions, paint, sing, read, do yoga.

While self-care isn’t the ultimate cure for mental health disorders, it can be used as an effective and positive coping strategy. Discovering ways that make each day manageable and as enjoyable as possible are important for long-term recovery. 

At Fellowship Hall, we’re working to constantly provide support and care both on-campus and digitally those in recovery. For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

Advantages of Residential Treatment Programs for Recovery Success

April 7, 2020

Advantages of Residential Treatment Programs for Recovery Success
Featuring Fellowship Hall Clinical Director, Kelly Scaggs

A residential treatment program is defined as a live-in health care facility that provides therapy and aid for substance use disorder. Residential treatment programs also address and manage some of the health, mental illness, and behavioral issues that are caused by the disease. 

Outpatient treatment and counseling programs are also utilized as a measure of substance use disorder treatment. This includes intensive day programs, individualized drug counseling, and group counseling. While all forms of treatment are beneficial to those suffering with substance use disorder, residential treatment has significant advantages. 

It is a well-known adage in the recovery community that you cannot get well in the same place that you got sick. This is more pertinent now than perhaps ever before. Many impacted by substance use disorder are bound to their home due to the COVID19 shelter in place ordinance. While being home and having downtime is a haven for some, it can provoke challenges for those struggling with alcoholism and/or addiction. 

Triggering home environments, idle time, isolation, financial strain, stressors, and anxiety about the rapid changes in the world, feed and drive the disease. Fellowship Hall Clinical Director  Kelly Scaggs says that residential treatment programs can help combat some of these factors: “Anytime someone can come to residential treatment, it is advantageous because they are able to step out of their own environment into a new place that is completely recovery focused. Right now, you also have the advantages of personal interaction to combat isolation. 

Fears associated with stepping away from a career, friends, and family members often serve as obstacles between the individual and residential treatment. Kelly believes that “now is the perfect time to seek help as everyone has been asked to step away from their life because of the virus. This is the perfect time to seek treatment, get help, and come out of this current situation better than before.” 

Residential treatment provides individuals with an opportunity to focus exclusively on self-improvement and building their support network for life after treatment.  “This is one of the only times where folks can focus solely on what they need to do to heal themselves while also stepping into a huge support network,” Kelly says.

According to Kelly, the ideal way to establish long-term success in recovery is to build a solid foundation during residential treatment, progress to an intensive outpatient program, then move to outpatient treatment.

At Fellowship Hall, we have nearly 50 years of experience in helping individuals discover the path to recovery and build lasting support networks to help them maintain their recovery for the long-term. For more information about our programs and services, check our Treatment section on our website.

It Only Takes Two People to Have a Meeting: At Home Recovery Meetings During Quarantine

April 3, 2020

It Only Takes Two People to Have a Meeting: At Home Recovery Meetings During Quarantine

From the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, Tradition 3:
“Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.”

The recent shelter in place mandate has presented new challenges to those in recovery, specifically in relation to the access to meeting spaces. The world is quickly adapting and digital resources are becoming readily available at a consistent rate. No matter the hour of day, thanks to the accessibility of the internet, individuals impacted by substance use disorder can find recovery meetings online. For more information on how to access these online meetings, please visit our website at https://www.fellowshiphall.com/alumni-online-resources.php.

However, there is something intimate and healing about meeting with others and sharing a face-to-face conversation. The shared connection and vulnerability that happens during a meeting is an agreed upon central component to long-term success and sobriety. While some are unfortunately isolated without roommates or family members, others are fortunate enough to be in quarantine with at least one other individual whether it be a spouse, roommate, friend, or family member. A recovery meeting can be held with only two people. These two people can be members of different recovery communities as well (for example, you may be someone that attends AA meetings, while your spouse or roommate attends Nar-Anon meetings.) 

What works from person to person and household to household may vary, but the most important aspects of holding a meeting between two individuals are:

Carve out a comfortable place to meet in your home
Step away from work and high traffic areas for purposes of confidentiality. 

Honor the traditional meeting structure:

  1. Open with the Serenity Prayer
    God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can, and
    The wisdom to know the difference.
  2. Do the respective readings for the 12-step group of choice (or both!):
    Alcoholics Anonymous examples:
    -12 Steps of AA
    -12 Traditions of AA
    -Thought for the Day (Daily Reflections)Narcotics Anonymous examples:
    -12 Steps
    -12 Traditions of NA
    -Just for Today (Daily Reflections) 
  3. Choose to read from one of the tools above and discuss, or pick a specific topic to focus on, perhaps from a step or a tradition, or something related to the thought for the day.
  4. Share with one another about the chosen or related topic.
  5. Close with the Serenity Prayer. 

Respect traditional meeting rules:
Respecting the traditional meeting structure and observing formal rules is crucial to holding an effective meeting. The meeting should not feel like a casual conversation with a partner or friend.  One very important rule to observe is “no cross-talk”. As tempting as it may be, it’s important to refrain from directly commenting on another person’s share — instead keep the floor open for them to express how they feel.

Addiction is a disease that thrives in the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Whereas quarantine and social distance rely on varying degrees of isolation to prevent the spread of disease. While the traditional format of AA and NA is the preferred method of meeting, many in recovery may continue to find themselves slowly making adjustments and adapting to new routines to remain successful. Review the tips above and continue to follow our blog and social media accounts for more resources to navigate your recovery during this time. 

 

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