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Boo! How to Overcome the Fears of Sobriety

October 15, 2020

Boo! How to Overcome the Fears of Sobriety

October is notorious for ghouls, goblins, and ghosts galore—all things that scare us and can make sleeping at night a daunting task. In terms of “spookiness,” Hollywood-esque images of creepy dolls and terrifying clowns may come to mind.  When it comes to your recovery, you may be facing some fears and scary night-time images of your own.

If you’re new to recovery, this huge overhaul and journey that you’re embarking on is probably quite scary! Even if you have time in recovery, the day to day struggles can be equally as terrifying. The fear of returning to use, being the most obvious, can be all-consuming at times, but there are countless other anxieties associated specifically with early recovery.

Who will I hang out with? Where will I find new friends? Will people still like me when I am sober? How will I cope with stressful situations? What will I do to fill my free time? Will I ever have fun again? Whatever your fears may be, they’re valid, and can be addressed and managed in healthy ways.

How to Understand and Overcome the Fear of Being Sober

Address the fear of change

The root of many common anxieties is the discomfort that is associated with change. Humans are creatures of habit, and have evolved to elevate awareness and senses when change is present. These mechanisms occur to protect individuals—almost like the way in which you might sense someone walking behind you.

To overcome this, you can practice acceptance and turn your worries over to your higher power or the collective wisdom of a higher counsel such as your sponsor or an AA or NA group. By practicing acceptance, you can find peace in knowing that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol, they have no place in your life, and beginning your recovery and sobriety is exactly what you are supposed to be doing, or rather, what you must do to make your life manageable again.

Embrace the opportunities

During early recovery, you may lose old friends that you were actively using with. You may be unable to patron the same places you once spent time in to have “fun”, and your idea of “fun” and leisure time will completely change. That’s okay and can be a beautiful thing.

Your recovery network, if utilized properly, can give you access to many individuals from all walks of life who genuinely understand your ailments and your accomplishments in sobriety. Find a group of individuals that uplift you and make you feel good about your recovery. The people you surround yourself with and reach out to can be an incredible support to you during this journey and the opportunities for new friendships and new fun is limitless.

Step out of your own way

The shame and guilt associated with active use probably held you back more than it helped you move forward in your life. During your early recovery, it can be tempting to return to ways of thinking that can put yourself directly in the way of your own growth. Don’t get in your own way. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of the serenity prayer each day:

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, just for today.

When you find yourself blocking your own path—reach out to someone in your support network. Talk through the things you are facing or the worries you have with someone who has experience or can provide you with insight.

Your recovery has the potential to help you be a better friend, partner, sister or brother, professional, volunteer, and more. As long as you allow yourself to take the necessary steps forward, you can take this growing opportunity and newly found free-time to improve your life in all areas. You may find that to grow, you have to take inventory and release unhealthy habits from your past. That is expected, and a sponsor or close friend in your program is a great source of support for you in doing so.

Find yourself

During active use, excitement and joy in your life probably came predominantly from your drug of choice. It’s time now to find what makes you feel alive again, because that’s where your passions exist. This might be reading, painting, exercising, playing with your kids, or learning new things. You may have to try out a few new things before you find your “aha!” feeling. That’s okay too! Rediscovering your personality in sobriety can be scary—but it can equally be a beautiful and exciting thing. Utilize your journal as you try out new things to reflect on how the experiences made you feel. Once you find something that you enjoy, make special time for it and do it to the best of your ability.

Learn to laugh

Finally, even in moments of fear, learn to laugh whenever you can, as often as you can. When you find yourself in the midst of your own anxiety, it can be overwhelming and all-consuming. You may tell yourself that dwelling on the things you can’t control, obsessing over the fears and the unknown—that’s easier than addressing them and finding a reason to laugh or smile. That’s simply not the case. Focusing exclusively on the negatives of your recovery can lead to extreme mental and physical discomfort, and may eventually lead you back to the feelings that drove you to use substances in the first place.

Find reasons to laugh and smile through gratitude each hour of your day. Though your journey through recovery is absolutely serious, try not to always take yourself so seriously. On your hardest days, you might try writing down two or three reasons you had to smile. When you imagine your reservations and fears, remember that they are feelings. You cannot always control how you feel, or when you feel fear, but you don’t have to let the feelings or fear control you. You CAN do this.

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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.

 

4 Reasons Why Acceptance is Essential to Your Recovery

October 5, 2020

4 Reasons Why Acceptance is Essential to Your Recovery

 

“When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away. From that moment on, I have not had a single compulsion to drink. And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me. I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), 4th Edition, P. 417

The dictionary defines acceptance as the act of taking or receiving something offered–favorable reception; the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory. The fact or state of being accepted or acceptable. You know what acceptance is, you can think through acceptance, but how can one really begin to practice acceptance in a way that supports their recovery?

Understand the importance of acceptance

Acceptance is necessary for your healing process. To practice acceptance, you must acknowledge all of the uncomfortable parts of yourself: your emotions, your thoughts, and your past.

Practicing acceptance is kind of like taking care of the dirty clothes hamper in your room. Throughout the weeks, you fill it with your clothes and it piles up. Work is tiring, cleaning the rest of the house is enough of a chore, and life keeps getting in the way. You know that the hamper is there, but you’ve been ignoring the real mess of clothes inside.

After enough time passes, you may even forget that you own some of the clothes at the bottom of that basket. Finally, the day comes when you acknowledge that the corner of your room is a real mess, you’re short on clothes, and it’s time to do laundry. As you take out each piece to wash them and hang them, you’re acknowledging the separate pieces of the mess, and accepting the situation and the tasks necessary to clean up—much like when you take your personal inventory and accept that you are imperfect, that there are parts of yourself and your psyche that you must work to heal.

Recognize the gifts of acceptance

As you grow and practice acceptance towards yourself, you’re able to be more accepting of others. When we make peace with the fact that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be in the present moment, you can make peace with the variables of life around you, including other people. Compassion gives you the ability to grow in your own regard, while you also aid in other’s personal journey to self-acceptance.

Embrace the freedom of acceptance

Acceptance—though not an effortless task—is a freeing habit. Anxiety, stress, and depression can often be caused by the unwillingness to make peace with the terms of life. It is human nature to think that one can control and manipulate all of the components of reality, but you simply cannot. Peace and true serenity can only be found once you accept life on life’s terms.

As you find yourself troubled, upset by day to day struggles, situations, and others, remind yourself of the component of the serenity prayer in which you ask for the courage to change. When you’re feeling dissatisfied in those moments, figure out what you can change about yourself to accept the situations and people as they are in that exact moment.

After acceptance, comes gratitude

It’s important to remember that acceptance is not synonymous with tolerance. Acceptance is not the reluctant sigh at the end of a stressful day, nor the disgruntled statement, “it is what it is,” or “this is just who I am,” No, acceptance is total mindfulness grounded in reality.

Acceptance is the realization that your suffering, your anxieties, and stressors, are exacerbated in the moments in which you believe that you can successfully live your life or handle your recovery on your own terms. As you learn to accept and make peace with the way things are in this very moment, you step out of your own way and step forward on the path to growth.

The more often you practice acceptance, the more you will see that each moment has a purpose, a lesson to teach you, a reason for unfolding the way that it does. As you stay present in those moments and genuinely accept them, you may work to find ways to be grateful for life on life’s terms, further strengthening your recovery and improving your quality of day to day life.

***

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.

 

Living Life the “Give” Way

September 29, 2020

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Fellowship Hall is highlighting the stories of some of our incredibly inspiring alumni and staff members on social media and here on our blog. It is our hope that in sharing these stories, we break the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. With knowledge, we can advocate for the proper treatment of ourselves and loved ones that may struggle with the disease. 

***

Not everyone can pinpoint the beginning of their struggle with drugs and alcohol. Robert P, however, recalls a classmate’s simple question that would change his life forever, “Have you ever gotten high?” While growing up in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Robert says he felt as though he didn’t “fit in” with his peers. To combat those feelings of worthlessness, he lied and said that he had used before. “I couldn’t wait to use in hopes that drugs would fill the void,” Robert said. Little did he know, that simple “yes” would begin a battle with substances that would lead him to some of the lowest points of his life.

Robert says that he didn’t get high the first two times he used, but that didn’t stop him from using the third time–which ultimately “did the trick,” he says. “I got as high as a kite and bought into a lie that day that the hole I felt was finally gone. From that point forward my entire life was about getting high. Using substances created an illusion of feeling fulfilled, the obsession and compulsion of addiction took off like a jet leaving the planet.”

“Once I started using, I couldn’t stop, or rather, I stopped when things got bad but I couldn’t stay stopped,” Robert explained. As others in their early 20’s graduated college or started their careers, he spiraled down into what he describes as the lowest point of his life. By 24, he had suffered through five drug overdoses and served three and a half years in prison. One of his overdoses required him to be resuscitated three times. After a drug seizure in October of 1988 he was crushed spiritually, mentally, and emotionally he said.

Robert went on to get a job at a large textile corporation. He dedicated massive amounts of time and effort to his work, determined to move up in the company. His hard work did not go unnoticed–finally, he was selected as employee of the week. Unfortunately, Robert said that as the employee of the week, he mostly remembers laying on the floor with his forehead split open from seizing from overdose and passing out into a knitting machine. “The paramedics were hovering over me, asking me what my name was and I didn’t know. That episode landed me in a treatment center. I cried on the way there and told my mother I hoped there was another way to live, because I was sick of the mess my life had become,” he said. After entering treatment he would go on to relapse 14 times in 22 months. It wasn’t until he accepted a complete and total defeat that he surrendered to recovery that it would finally stick for him.

“I didn’t understand that self-will and self-centeredness were at the core of my destruction,” Robert admitted. “I learned that just quitting does not work. The only thing that stopped addiction from running over me is recovery, which for me, is complete abstinence and spiritual growth. I needed an active recovery program in order to manage addiction. I had to surrender. I used to think surrendering meant just admitting and accepting that I was an addict, but I missed the part about surrendering to recovery…like having a sponsor, a network of support, going to meetings, and living the NA way instead of my way.” Robert says that after this realization and dedication to the full recovery process, his life began to improve vastly.

“I told God, ‘I am going to do this 12-step program and if You ever want me to do something different, You let me know’,” Robert recalls. “For the next 25 years, I completely gave myself to the Twelve-Step way of life but, sure enough, the day came that God let me know He was calling me. By His grace, I’m dedicated to living a Christ-like life by striving to prepare to help others to do so in the wonderful world to come. And, by His grace, I am blessed to have celebrated 30 years clean on August 25th of this Year.”

Robert says he once heard a minister deliver a message about living life the give way versus the get way and it made a huge impact on how he lives today. Robert looks for opportunities to give to others by sharing the wisdom he’s learned along the way. In 1998, he joined the staff at Fellowship Hall as the Manager of the Gateway House. Now the Gateway Program which has two houses Gateway House and Zander’s Place that offers individuals in recovery structure, accountability, and support in the early stages of their recovery. He is deeply passionate about his work and over the years, he says, he has been blessed with the opportunity to inspire and encourage hundreds of men who have come through the Gateway transitional housing program.

Robert has made it clear that his wife Angela is his angel in recovery and in life. Robert is very grateful for all the support from his loved ones and the recovery community, Robert has had the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on everyone that he interacts with. If you’re lucky enough to run into him at Fellowship Hall and ask how he’s doing, he’s always quick to tell you, “I’m happy to be alive.”

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.

 

 

Breaking Through: Understanding the severity of this disease

September 17, 2020

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Fellowship Hall will be highlighting the stories of some of our incredibly inspiring alumni and staff members on social media and here on our blog. It is our hope that in sharing these stories, we break the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. With knowledge, we can advocate for the proper treatment of ourselves and loved ones that may struggle with the disease. 

***

What comes to your mind when you think of your High School experience? Do you think back to your early teens—walking halls lined with lockers and laughing after school with friends? Do you remember the deep desire to find your “place” among your peers — your need to fit in? Fellowship Hall Alumni, Trent C, recalls these years as the beginning of his life-long battle with substance use disorder.

“When I think back, I didn’t really have anything in my childhood that was traumatic, I had a good family, and a great upbringing,” Trent said. In ninth grade, he moved to North Carolina and began a new school where he knew no one. He explained that at that young age, he was insecure, lacked true decision-making abilities, and was only focused on “fitting in” with a social group, especially one that he perceived as the “popular” crowd. Unfortunately for him, the group of teens he found himself amongst were actively using and selling drugs. At just 15 years old, Trent was using, selling, and would go on to live this way until he was almost thirty.

Despite his use of substances, Trent earned an academic scholarship to the University of South Carolina. However, instead of focusing on his academics in college, he stayed chained to the same life he was living in high school — one wrought with partying and using. “My so-called ‘friends’ from high school were seemingly doing well, but they were all using substances, and using me to get them. In my mind, I felt like I had all these great friends because I was always invited to and going to the parties in college, but in reality, everyone was just using me to get what they wanted, and to feed their addiction. Truthfully, I was doing the same thing,” he said.

Trent said that neither losing his scholarship nor getting arrested was enough to motivate him to permanently change his ways. In fact, Fellowship Hall was the fourth facility he completed treatment at. Each time prior he was going to treatment to appease or serve others in his life — to keep his girlfriend happy, to “get his parents off of his back,” but never to truly get well.

“Unfortunately for me, it took a lot. There was no big huge rock-bottom moment or event that motivated me to turn my life around. I just woke up one day and realized I was almost thirty years old doing the same things I had been doing since high school. I thought to myself, ‘do you want to keep living like this for the rest of your life? Or do you want to actually do something about this?’ ”

During his time in treatment at the Hall structured days created stability where he formed lasting positive habits for himself such as daily meditation, prayer, physical activity, and going to meetings. He also attributed his success to his counselor.

Trent became close to a guest who finished his treatment one week ahead of Trent. In the week while Trent was still in treatment, and his friend had discharged, his new friend returned to use and lost his life. That’s when Trent “broke through” and understood the severity of substance use disorder. “I realized this disease and these substances were killing people, they weren’t going to just go away, and that just one bad choice to use could end up being the choice that takes your life, and that ruins the life of the people who care about you.”

Today, at almost thirty, Trent enjoys the new life that recovery has given him. He focuses on staying spiritually fit, active in his recovery, and even active on the basketball court—he’ll happily tell you those afternoons spent playing basketball helped him make some of his favorite memories at Fellowship Hall.

“This is MY recovery. I don’t know for sure that I’ll ever get another one. Once I understood that I had to submit and practice the honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness that we’re taught, it was easy for me. I began discovering myself after years of stunting my own growth because of this black hole inside me that I was filling with other things. My relationships with the people that are important to me are so much stronger and they can actually trust me again. I got my life back and I have confidence in myself now.”

Fellowship Hall is honored to be a place where our guests can find themselves and the confidence to be successful in their sobriety. Trent said that to those new to recovery, he wished to encourage them to understand that they cannot do it their own way, or alone, but if they are willing to submit, especially at Fellowship Hall, they can build a great foundation for their recovery and for the rest of their lives.

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.

 

Motivation & Confidence Make All the Difference

September 8, 2020

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Fellowship Hall will be highlighting the stories of some of our incredibly inspiring alumni and staff members on social media and here on our blog. It is our hope that in sharing these stories, we break the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. With knowledge, we can advocate for the proper treatment of ourselves and loved ones that may struggle with the disease. 

***

There’s an old saying that goes, “No matter where life takes you, don’t forget where you came from,” and Fellowship Hall staff member Christina T’s story is an incredible reminder of the truth behind this cliché.

The year was 2008, and Christina had been recently released from her third stint in prison. As she returned to life beyond confinement, she began to seek employment through Graham Temporary Services. Whether it was by coincidence or true fate, she was offered a job at Fellowship Hall as the head of housekeeping. At the time, she had no way of knowing that this facility would go on to have such a major impact on her life and career path. As Christina settled into her work and daily routines, things began to look up. However, life happens, and unfortunately—so do relapses. Christina would go on to relapse once more and spend a final time in prison from 2009 – 2011.

After her final release in 2011, Christina had a plan—her sights were set on getting back to the place that had once provided her with a sense of structure and purpose.  “I came back to what I knew. I came back to Fellowship Hall to ask for a job again,” Christina explained.

At the time, no positions were available, but thankfully, she was unwilling to give up on another chance to work at the Hall. “I just wanted to be here [Fellowship Hall] and I was not going to give up,” she said. For eight months, Christina kept in touch with the Hall until one day in August of 2012, she got the call she had been waiting on—one that arguably, would change her life and allow her to begin building a future that she could be proud of. A position in the kitchen as a Dietary Aid (which she described as “a fancy title for a pot washer”) was open. Nevertheless, she gratefully accepted. Her first day back at work was also her first day back to school.

Christina enrolled herself in classes at Guilford Technical Community College to study for an Associate Degree in Human Services. After a year and a half in the program, she decided to go all the way in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree. She applied twice to UNCG and once to A&T but was denied all three times. Once again, Christina had the tenacity to not give up.

She researched other opportunities to get her education and was accepted to the Western New Mexico University School of Social Work online program. She earned not only a Bachelor of Social Work in May of 2017, but continued on and earned a Master of Social Work in May 2018. Currently, she is in the process of acquiring her LCAS and LCSW-A License.

As the doors to education were opening for Christina, new job opportunities presented themselves at the Hall as well. She moved from the kitchen to work as a part-time therapy assistant and a part-time receptionist. Finally, in 2015, she was offered a full-time position with Admissions. When potential guests call admissions, they establish the first point of contact with Fellowship Hall. Often, they are reluctant, nervous, and scared—sometimes they’re only calling because they have been forced to seek treatment. Through her own experience and education, Christina was able to provide the guidance and compassion that the individuals deserved. She found her work with admissions to be genuinely rewarding and said that her then supervisor, Randy Carter, supported her tremendously for three years as an admission counselor while she was both working and in school full time.

In 2018, Christina transitioned from Admissions to Therapy as a Social Assessment Counselor, in which she performed in-depth social assessments for guests and helped to build their treatment plans. Christina now serves as a Primary Counselor for those in treatment. As Fellowship Hall admires her persistence, strength, and dedication to treatment, Christina acknowledges the support that afforded her the opportunities she is able to exercise today.

“Everyone at Fellowship Hall has been so supportive, including the board who approved my education reimbursement, HR has supported my changes in positions, and Kelly [Scaggs, Clinical Director] gave me the opportunity to join the clinical team and has been very supportive of my professional growth. It’s a privilege I have been given to use my experience and education to help others suffering from addiction find their own journey. I love Fellowship Hall. I believe in what we do and I believe we do it well.” Christina is now officially a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate.

Something that makes Fellowship Hall so unique in the realm of treatment facilities is the staff. Like Christina, many of our well-trained, highly qualified staff are in recovery themselves and have seen the trials and tribulations of rebuilding a life after active addiction. It is not uncommon to hear from Alumni that building relationships with staff such as Christina, gives them the motivation and confidence to actively pursue a life 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.

 

How to Lend a Hand to Someone in Need of Recovery

September 1, 2020

How to Lend a Hand to Someone in Need of Recovery

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate those in recovery (www.recoverymonth.gov).

At Fellowship Hall, we work to dispel the stigma surrounding substance use disorder: no one is immune to this disease. It impacts those using, as well as friends and loved ones and can be incredibly daunting and confusing to navigate.

Do you have a loved one or friend struggling with Substance Use Disorder? Here are 4 things you can do to help:

GET EDUCATED

The most empowering thing that you can do is to educate yourself about the disease. There’s endless resources on www.aa.org, www.na.org, and support specifically for friends and loved ones on www.al-anon.org, www.nar-anon.org The more you know about the disease, the better you can support someone who is struggling. If someone you love is in active danger or in a situation that you believe to be a medical emergency, call 911 immediately before proceeding.

PRACTICE EMPATHY

Being empathetic is achievable without being an enabler. The disease often drives individuals to do things incredibly out of character. Your loved one may be lying to you, lashing out, and making your life feel overall unmanageable. During these times, demonstrating empathy may be the last thing you want to do, however, it is one of the most tactful ways to encourage your loved one to seek treatment while preserving your own sanity. Substance use disorder changes our loved ones, and addressing these changes is necessary to their health and safety as well as our own.

Being empathetic includes:

  • Avoiding judgement
  • Avoiding criticisms
  • Addressing issues in a non-confrontational way
  • Showing concern
  • Providing solutions without pushing
  • Meeting them with love and compassion

PRACTICE SELF-CARE AND SET BOUNDARIES

You cannot help someone else get better if you aren’t taking care of your own personal well-being first. Caring for or loving someone suffering from substance use disorder can be taxing on our physical, emotional, and mental health. Utilize support networks such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Talk to a counselor or professional about what you’re going through, and prioritize your health first. Remember, you are not responsible for your loved one’s disease. Set boundaries with this individual and yourself. Make them aware of said boundaries, and hold them accountable. Boundaries can include:

  • Not allowing them to be in your space if they are drinking or using
  • Walking away from a conversation that becomes argumentative
  • Not giving the individual money

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

If it were as easy as telling someone to “go get help,” no one would suffer from substance use disorder.  The individual has to accept that they are sick and want to get better before treatment can be effective. This is not something you can force anyone into doing.  Denial will protect them from realizing that they are sick or that they need help. You can only try to lead them to acceptance with effective communication. This may include:

  • Asking questions that encourage open conversation and reflection instead of making statements that may come across as accusatory.
  • Communicate the way the individual’s actions make you feel with stern compassion. This means you are owning your own individual feelings, while making sure that they know you will not tolerate actions or words that cross your personal set boundaries.
  • Make sure the individual knows that you are willing to help them seek proper treatment and eager to support them in doing so.

Ultimately, you must remember that you cannot control those in need of treatment, in most circumstances, you can only encourage them to seek proper treatment. Be strong and be patient. For the sick individual, getting well can be a long and arduous process, but it will be one of the most rewarding things they ever do for themselves. If your loved one is interested in seeking treatment at Fellowship Hall, please visit https://www.fellowshiphall.com/admissions.php

At Fellowship Hall, our mission is to help those struggling with substance use disorder by providing compassionate, cost-effective care. 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.

Learning How to Play Again: 5 Tips for Safe & Sober Fun

August 14, 2020

Learning How to Play Again: 5 Tips for Safe & Sober Fun

“Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.” – Nina Dobrev

What does the word fun mean to you? In the past, you may have convinced yourself that “fun” was a term exclusively associated with substances and/or alcohol. One of the many challenges of recovery is the complete overhaul that is necessary in regard to the way that you have previously perceived socializing, leisure, and “fun” time.

Believe it or not, you can have a great time, you can be social, out-going, likeable, and most importantly–you can enjoy yourself without the lubrication of drugs or alcohol.

Here are 5 Tips for having Clean, Safe, Sober Fun (even while Social Distancing!):

ESTABLISH A NEW CIRCLE 

It’s an old adage, but there’s truth to the saying, you’re only as strong as your weakest friend. Changes in social circles and friendships are common for those in recovery. As you rebuild your life and grow after treatment, you may notice yourself pulling away from old friendships and relationships that no longer serve you. It is crucial to establish your support network inside and outside of the rooms. This doesn’t mean everyone you’re around has to also be in recovery–but it is imperative that those around you respect and support your journey in sobriety and wellness

BE THE LIFE OF THE PARTY

Excitement and fun don’t stop where your wellness begins. We’re living in an age that allows you to host an event from your bedroom with nothing more than a laptop and a web camera. Begin to re-imagine the way that you socialize with others, but start slow and ease your way into your new status quo. Begin with small groups of close friends while you work to rebuild your social confidence in your sobriety. If you’re hosting in-person, replace cocktails and alcoholic beverages with fun treats and deserts.  If you’re hosting a Zoom or web-based meeting, plan group activities that will keep you and guests entertained. Streaming parties for online music events, movies, and shows are a great way to feel connected and bond while Social Distancing.

GET TO KNOW YOURSELF 

The absence of drugs and alcohol creates space and time in your life again. You don’t have to fill these gaps with mundane activities. Tap into your passions, whether they are preexisting or brand new–music, crafting, painting, cooking, exercising, reading, building, volunteering–the list of possibilities is infinite. Find what excites you and then use this interest to connect with others! The internet and social media allow friendships within niche groups of interest to thrive. Private groups, forums, online classes and meetings exist around the clock and around the globe, and can be found with a simple web search. If you can’t find a group that interests you, take charge and start your own.

CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF FUN BY GIVING BACK

Having fun is something that is associated with positive feelings, disregarding the passage of time, and being present in a moment. There are countless ways to access these feel-good emotions, including through service. Volunteering your time can allow you to connect with others on a basis in which you are giving back. Acts of selflessness such as volunteering can help you meet others in a safe environment, while also boosting your own self-esteem.

BE PATIENT

You will hear it repeated throughout your recovery–you didn’t get sick overnight, so don’t expect yourself to get well overnight. Clean, safe fun is  crucial to your successful long-term recovery, and to your new, lively, fulfilling life. It takes time to unlearn and break old habits, and trying new things can be scary. That is okay. You’re not alone in these feelings. Talk to a home group that you trust, a counselor, a sponsor, or a close friend that supports your recovery about the challenges that you may face.

While “fun” may look different or require more courage now than it did in the past, clean, sober, safe fun fosters genuine bonding, relationship building, memory making, and laughter in a way that “fun” under the influences of substances simply could never. Use these tips to your advantage and start building your new social life one day at a time.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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