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Recovery Tip from a Counselor: Michael Bryant on Trusting the Process

March 1, 2021

Recovery Tip from a Counselor: Michael Bryant on Trusting the Process

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.

If you’ve ever baked something before, you know it can be hard to look at the ingredients, or event batter or dough and imagine it as the final product, hopefully, a delicious baked good. That’s because baking is a process that requires patience, much like the process of recovery. Recovery works on you, “bakes” you, shapes you. It takes work, time, and consistency.

Fellowship Hall Primary Counselor, Michael Bryant, shared his best recovery tips for the blog and emphasized the importance of the beautiful process.

Michael’s Best Tips…

Recovery First: When I think about “tips” for recovery, I invite everyone to keep their recovery their top priority. You’ll know what your priorities are by what you practice. Remember that you must build your life around your recovery, not your recovery around your life.

The Four P’s: I also always emphasize something called The four P’s.

Get a PROGRAM.
Live by the PRINCIPLES of the Program.
Stay in the PROCESS
And you will receive the Promises

The Process: Most people fall short in the process. We get a program (AA or NA), we live by the principles (12-Steps), but we don’t stay in the process because we’re looking for a quick fix or instant gratification—we grow weary in the well-doing of recovery. Be willing to stay in the process, it is essential to receive the promises.

Reach Out: You must always remember this is a “WE” program and not an “I” program. No one recovers alone. Lean on your support network.

Rely on your Higher Power as You Understand it: Reliance on a higher power is what provides the power to move through the various phases of your recovery. Reliance on a higher power empowers and equips us to move forward in our recovery. Self-reliance takes us back to our addiction.

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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.

Contributed by: Michael Bryant Primary Counselor, BS/CSAC/CPSS

How to Be a Good Partner to Someone in Recovery (When You are Not in Recovery)

February 24, 2021

How to Be a Good Partner to Someone in Recovery (When You are Not in Recovery)

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but it always serves as a reminder of the importance of love and partnerships in our lives. Choosing a partner in recovery adds a new layer to relationships and requires a healthy understanding of your role in the recovering individual’s life.

Here are some things to consider when dating someone in recovery:

Recovery Comes First, No Exceptions

This may be hard to understand initially if you’re not familiar with the realm of recovery, but it is a commonly stated idea that those in recovery will ultimately lose anything that they put before recovery in their lives.

Understand that for your partner to show up for you as their best self, they need to keep recovery at the forefront of their life. This means attending meetings, stepping away to call their sponsor, sharing things with their recovery network that they may not feel comfortable sharing with you yet—it requires trust and patience on your behalf.

Educate Yourself ASAP

The first step to understanding your partner in recovery is understanding the disease of Substance Use Disorder. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon literature are a great place to start, as they are both groups geared specifically towards loved ones of those in recovery.

You might find it helpful to attend an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting in your area to develop a support network of other individuals with loved ones in recovery.

https://al-anon.org/

https://www.nar-anon.org/

Offer Support and Leave it Up to Them  

Instead of assuming, ask your partner what you can do to best support their recovery. If they want you to attend meetings with them for support, and that’s something you feel comfortable doing, share that moment with them.

Don’t be offended if they opt to go alone. This is a very intimate and private time for the individual in recovery, so don’t take it personally if they ask you to stay behind.

Keep Communication Open

Early on in the relationship with your partner in recovery, a few very important things should be established. Open and honest communication is a must. You need to sit down with them and talk about your expectations for the relationship. This might be the amount of time you want to spend together, how much you’d like to communicate during the day or even simple things like the kinds of activities you feel comfortable doing together. This is a great opportunity to talk about your needs and listen to your partner when they tell you where they are able to meet you in regard to these.

Boundaries are also very important to establish in all relationships, specifically for those in recovery. You should understand your partner’s triggers, and discuss with them how you can help them avoid these, and what you should do in the event that they have a moment of struggle. Take some time to think about what you will and will not accept in the relationship, because your partner should also understand your boundaries.

Find the Silver Lining

Though it may take some extra work at times, if your partner is dedicated to their recovery, the opportunities are endless. It’s important to focus on the chances for gratitude in this situation—gratitude that you’ve met your partner at this time in their life, as opposed to when they were in active use.

Recovery and 12-Step Programs can provide a sense of openness, vulnerability, honesty, and growth for your partner—things that those in recovery may not be able to access as easily. As your partner focuses on their recovery, look inward and assess the areas of yourself that you too could work to improve. This is a beautiful chance to grow alongside another person. Most importantly, just take it a day at a time.

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.

Seeking Self-Love in Recovery

February 2, 2021

February is the month of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and notes of admiration for loved ones. What if you spent the same amount of time and energy focusing on giving that kind of fondness and love to yourself?

The disease of Substance Use Disorder relies on feelings of guilt, shame, isolation, and general self-dissatisfaction to maintain control of your brain. While in active use, you more than likely tried to soothe said emotions by using substances. In contrast, recovery demands compassion for both others, and yourself.  The journey to self-love is a road of building genuine self-esteem in an effort to maintain a strong long-term recovery.

It’s on old cliché, you must love yourself first. Unfortunately, there’s no guidebook or formulaic way to go about finding self-love, but the desire to seek it is a great first step.

What is self-love?

Webster defines it as an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue.

How can you achieve it?

Acceptance

You may know acceptance as a recovery principle. Acceptance of your powerlessness over drugs and alcohol, acceptance of your inability to control all of the things around you, and acceptance of others. To work toward a place of self-love, you must begin at self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is not to be confused with complacency—of course, you must continue to work on the things that you can change. For example, Step 7 on humility reminds you to ask your higher power to remove your shortcomings. When you practice self-acceptance, you willingly acknowledge the parts of you that are imperfect and work to better what you can and accept what you cannot. This may require the help of a higher power, a counselor/therapist, and/or the collective wisdom of a home group or sponsor.

Focus on Treating Others Well

You know that in terms of recovery, you get back what you put in. Most often it is the same in regard to the way that you treat others. When you practice giving compassion, empathy, patience, and understanding to others, it can be easier to treat yourself in the same way.

TIP: When you make a mistake, slip up, or do something wrong—try to take a moment of pause and think about how you would treat a close friend or loved one if they did the same thing. Treat yourself how you would treat a close friend in the program.

Don’t Get in Your Own Way

Unfortunately, you can be your own worst enemy in recovery. In fact, most humans can get in their own way at times. You may think that you’ve “mastered” your recovery concepts and get “too comfortable” in your recovery. You may hear this from time-to-time, but more than anything it is a warning against arrogance. Arrogance can be completely subconscious and unintentional, but it can be very dangerous to your recovery. Though everyone’s recovery is different, you must remember that you cannot face the disease alone, and you are never invincible or not susceptible to the disease or a return to use. That humility and humbleness are what ultimately will allow you to build genuine self-love, understanding, and to stay sober.

Small Acts of Self Kindness

  • Keep your spiritual life active and healthy—pray, meditate, journal, repeat.
  • Take care of your health, eat well, and move around—get those natural endorphins going!
  • Begin to seek your purpose in sobriety. What brings you joy? What are your passions? Pursue them!
  • Surround yourself with people who love you for YOU, specifically, those in your recovery network.
  • Take an inventory of the things you enjoy about yourself in your journal. What are your most positive attributes? What do you add to a group setting? Ask a close friend or sponsor for help with this reflection.
  • Be of service when you can. Helping others is a proven way to build self-esteem.
  • Remember that you are a human being. You will never be perfect, but you are perfectly flawed and that is okay.

 

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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.

 

Setting Healthy Goals While in Recovery

January 26, 2021

Healthy Goal Setting in Recovery

January is traditionally a month of goal setting—most often the start of New Year is viewed as a clean slate, a new page, and a fresh start. Goals are important because they can motivate us, they help us prioritize, and if utilized correctly, they can contribute to important personal growth and development.

If you’re in recovery, the idea of setting long-term goals can seem like a paradox. How can I set goals for the future, while also taking my recovery one day at a time? The good news is, there is a healthy way to set and achieve goals that can complement and even further your progress in your recovery journey.

Take Inventory and Visualize

The 12 Steps introduced you to the concept of taking inventory. In Step 4, you learned how to take a moral inventory and admit your shortcomings. This is a courageous step of true honesty and humility. In the same ways, when you begin to think about setting goals for yourself, begin by taking an honest inventory of where you’re currently at in different aspects of your life.

You may focus on your personal relationships, finances, career, wellness, other areas, or all of the above! When you reflect on your current situation, think of your position currently, and then visualize what your realistic yet ideal situation would be.

Be as Specific as Possible

You’ve heard it many times before, especially in recovery, don’t get too ahead of yourself, don’t “future trip,” and more importantly One Day at a Time.

The best way to set and achieve goals while also staying present in your recovery is to be as specific as possible with what you’d like to achieve. Goals that are too broad, such as “I’d like to save more money,” can be overwhelming, and frankly, can set you up to fail.

Being specific means setting a goal that is measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (you may recognize this as a SMART goal!)

For example, a specific (and SMART) goal about saving money would be:

GOAL: I want to save $50 out of each paycheck to put in my savings until May. I’m going to cancel a subscription I have and eat out only once a week to save this money.

This goal is realistic, it gives you direction, a time-line, and sets you up for success.

Write Them Down!

It’s incredibly important to write your goals down! Bring your goals into a physical reality by writing them in a journal that you use often, on a whiteboard, or you can arrange them on a vision board with pictures of what you’d like to achieve. Studies show that you’re more likely to achieve the goals that you write down and review often. Don’t forget to track your progress either, take pictures, make notes, and record updates as you go along to keep you motivated.

Recovery First

No matter what, if you’re in recovery, keep your recovery first in your life. You know that you will lose anything you put before your personal recovery. The beautiful thing about the 12 Steps is that they are the true map and guideline for your ultimate long-term goal of sobriety. Keeping recovery at the forefront of your life affords you the solid foundation and stability to build all of your other goals upon.

If you need extra support, don’t forget to reach out to your recovery network, your sponsor, or your home group to discuss the goals that you feel comfortable sharing with others. You may turn your more personal goals over to your higher power as you understand it.

For more tools to assist you in setting healthy goals that support your recovery…JOIN US TODAY 1/25/2021!

Fellowship Hall and Triad Lifestyle Medicine are teaming up to bring you a FREE live webinar on how to set healthy goals related to overall health/wellness and self-care to keep you successful in your life, and in your recovery!

For those who register on Zoom, you’ll receive a checklist and goal assessment tool to help you succeed.

When: TODAY January 26 at noon EST

Where: Join us on Zoom (check email for registration link) or watch on Facebook LIVE!

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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.

Starting Again, Working the First Step

January 8, 2021

We’ve finally made it to 2021—a new year, a clean slate, a great time to start over. Whether this is your first time or fifth time going through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, the very first step remains just as important every single time. The first step is the beginning of an exciting journey to healing and recovery.

We admitted we were powerless over drugs and alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is cunning and baffling. It speaks to you in your own voice and can lead you to believe that you can manage the complications caused by substances on your own. The truth is, you can’t out-think the disease. It fills you with shame, guilt, and other negative feelings that cloud your judgment about yourself and the world around you.

Attending a treatment facility or beginning to attend AA or NA meetings can be the start of the first step for someone suffering from SUD. Other times, individuals may begin doing those things to appease others such as their family members and friends, instead of truly seeking a genuine path to recovery. For recovery to “stick”, you must come to a full surrender. You must be honest with yourself, open with others, and willing to do the work that it takes as your time in recovery goes on.

In the circumstance of recovery, surrender is an incredibly powerful thing. In this vulnerable moment of truth with yourself when you accept that you cannot manage your disease alone, you open yourself up to begin your new life.

Though the word may play on some of your insecurities, powerlessness over drugs and alcohol doesn’t make you weak. Recognizing powerlessness actually empowers you to make a change in your life. The courage that it takes to admit this requires immense strength. In this humble moment of asking for help, you have given yourself the opportunity that is sobriety and recovery. Acceptance that you have a problem, and that you need the guidance and wisdom of a higher power and others to heal is the true beginning of the first step.

Step 1 doesn’t require you to immediately fix everything in your life that you’ve broken, it doesn’t ask you to do a massive overhaul and change everything right away or “get better” overnight. It simply asks you to accept that you have a problem, admit that you can’t fix it on your own and that you need help. It also is important that you seek these truths for yourself and no one else. The beautiful thing about the 12 Steps is that they are designed to lead you to a slow and steady understanding of recovery and rebuilding your life at your own pace.

You should talk to your sponsor or a close contact in your recovery network about working the steps. It is important to seek the wisdom of someone who can provide you with guidance and a full understanding of the situation–another person in the program (AA or NA) with afflictions similar to yours who is compassionate and can help you understand the meaning and importance of each step.

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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.

How to Stay Strong in Your Recovery During the Holiday Season

December 16, 2020

Twinkling lights, delightful aromas, and joyous celebrations–it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yet for some, it can be the most stressful time—especially if you’re in recovery. Not to mention, navigating the holiday season mid-pandemic has introduced new uncertainty and stressors to the season of cheer. Though challenging, this season can be made more bearable with a little planning, some support, and a lot of self-care. Here are some tips to stay on track with your recovery and get through the holidays this year with grace:

Make the time for meetings

The world has changed a lot in the past year, specifically the world of recovery. Meetings are available online 24/7 around the world and are only a call or zoom meeting away. If this time of year is typically stressful for you, block out time to attend extra meetings to get the support you need to continue to nurture your recovery. A helpful tip is to attend a meeting prior to your festivities/gathering (even if your family gatherings are virtual!)—many in recovery find this to be a great way to center yourself and calm your anxieties before speaking to family members and friends.

Keep in touch

It’s crucial that you stay as connected as possible with your recovery network during the holiday season. It may be easy to postpone a phone call because you’re busy or you may assume someone else is too busy to hear from you but that’s what they are there for—to support you in times of need. Pick up the phone and call your sponsor or a friend from your fellowship. Remember to reach out before things get hectic, and don’t try to do things alone.

Try to keep your routine

Routines are very important if you’re in recovery. Though gatherings may look different this year, the pressure of shopping, cooking, and giving gifts can still pull you away from your sense of normalcy. You should view the routines that you have as your sacred time, and treat them as such. Perhaps your morning routine involves your daily readings, meditating, or journaling. To the best of your ability, maintain consistency in these areas daily, regardless of travelling or events. Maintaining your “normal” motions can help avoid triggering feelings or stressors.

Remember, it is OK to say no

We say this in recovery often, but boundaries are important—and it is completely okay to say “no” to something that is going to jeopardize your sobriety. Whether the holiday gathering is in-person, or virtual, do an evaluation of who is attending and what type of activities are planned.  Then, determine if going will threaten your recovery in any way. If so, don’t feel bad. Just politely thank the host and decline the invitation. People who are in your corner for recovery will understand.

Additional Resources

Investing time to prepare for self–care allows you to think of the holiday season in a different way and marks the start of a new tradition in your life of recovery. This year for many has been tough, and the holidays are no exception. Don’t succumb to feelings of stress, or even isolation. Here are some additional resources for those in recovery this holiday season:

For AA meetings near you, by state https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources

For NA meetings near you, by state https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/

Sober podcasts for long drives or to combat feelings of boredom

https://sobercast.com/

Home

NA Speakers on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=na+speakers

AA Speakers on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=aa+speaker

 

Healthy Boundaries: Supporting Your Loved Ones in Recovery

November 17, 2020

Substance use disorder is something that impacts everyone in the wake of the disease…especially family members, close friends, and loved ones. When someone you love is suffering from the disease, they act in ways they would not typically act under normal circumstances. This can consume your life, and can often make family life feel unmanageable.

Establishing boundaries is an incredibly powerful way to manage the way that substance use disorder impacts your family life. Healthy boundaries help establish guidelines for living and relating to others. If they are reasonable and clearly communicated, they provide security for everyone involved. Boundaries prepare you for what to expect in your relationships, and likewise, what might occur if that expectation is not met.

What are boundaries and why are they important?

When a loved one is active in their disease, everything in life can begin to blend together. Their problems become your own, and the line between where their suffering ends and yours begins can become undetectable. A boundary must be something that is measurable and specific, reasonable, and enforceable.

Boundaries allow you to detach with love–not from the individual, but from the disease itself. When you detach with love, you stop protecting the disease. Boundaries provide you with a sense of individuality and allow you to focus on your feelings, problems, and needs, which ultimately allows you to better support your loved one in need.

Recovery is multi-faceted, one component being the recovery and healing of the family. Communication, vulnerability, and strong boundaries are some of the most important components of family recovery.

What should you set boundaries around?

The need for specific boundaries can vary, but here are some helpful things to think about when assessing your personal situation:

  1. How will you allow others to treat you?
    This protects you from being harmed by others.
  1. How will you treat others?
    This protects others from being harmed by you.
  1. How will you treat yourself?
    This allows you to regulate your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Some examples of specific boundaries are:

  • No substances, nor persons under the influence are allowed in the house
  • No disrespect is tolerated
  • I will not purchase alcohol or substances for you (your loved one)
  • I will not give you money for said substances

Base boundaries off of how you feel…

You will know a boundary has been violated based on your emotions. What specific things make you feel anxious, upset, or stressed? These are the things that you should be working to set boundaries around.

Have an open and honest talk as a family with your loved one

It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Establish open communication with your loved one in recovery, or in active use, and make your boundaries clear to them. State your parameters, and the consequences that will occur should those boundaries be violated. For example, if you tell your loved one that no drugs or alcohol are allowed in your home, they must honor that. You might convey to them that if they violate this boundary, they must find somewhere else to stay.

Because the disease feeds on gray areas, loopholes, and blurred lines, make your expectations as clear as possible.

Seek additional support

One of the ways to heal yourself is to take the time to do so. When a loved one is suffering, it can become so ingrained in you to help them that you forget to help yourself. Though often forgotten, self-care makes you more sensitive to the needs of others and ourselves. Do things that support your personal well-being—pray, meditate, paint, exercise, etc.

As you work to take care of yourself and support your loved one in recovery or in need of recovery, seek the collective wisdom and support of a 12 Step group such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. To find a meeting in your area, visit https://al-anon.org/ or https://www.nar-anon.org/find-a-meeting

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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.

Strengthen Your Recovery Through Wellness Management

November 9, 2020

 

You probably had very different ideas about what it meant to be in recovery before coming to treatment. From the outside looking in, it might seem like recovery is merely abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and working a 12 Step Program. While that’s partly true, those are two very important components of your recovery, the wellness of the various areas of your life are just as important. Wellness is what makes your recovery sustainable, and helps you build a lasting foundation for your life in sobriety.

Defining Wellness…

Wellness doesn’t just mean counting calories or doing cardio once a week. Wellness is the state of being in good health overall. In fact, there are seven total areas of wellness:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Environmental
  • Occupational

As you work to rebuild your life during your recovery, you will notice that “feeding” these seven parts of your life will only strengthen your decision-making abilities, boost your confidence and self-image, and most importantly, help you avoid a return to use.

So, what habits can you work into your daily routine to support your overall wellness?

Eating well and Staying Active

Previously on the blog, we’ve covered the multiple benefits of incorporating physical activity into your routine, specifically relating to your recovery. Essentially, eating well and staying active improves your sleep, can help improve your confidence, structures your days, and helps to reduce stress. You can read that full post here.

You also must realize that your gut and your brain are connected. What you put into your body as your “fuel” does matter, and certain foods can contribute to heightened levels of anxiety and depression. Avoiding or limiting sugary foods such as candy, soda, and juices can help regulate your blood sugar and energy levels. Switching to whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help you feel your best as you provide your body with the nutrients necessary to get through the day.

For a more in-depth look at how your nutrition can impact your anxiety, join Fellowship Hall and Triad Lifestyle Medicine on November 12th from 12:30 to 1:30 for a Wellness Webinar. Hosts Leah Hazelwood and Tiffany Allen will be leading us in a conversation about the ways we can prepare to have a healthier holiday season, managing our anxiety with proper nutrition and wellness habits.

 Maintaining a Strong Spiritual Life

A rich spiritual life focuses on concepts that are foundational to long-term recovery such as (but not limited to) surrender, reflection, acceptance, honesty, and hope for the future. Habits such as prayer, meditation, and journaling are all healthy ways to stay spiritually fit. These things allow you to center yourself, to take a step back from tough situations and stressors, and to make the best decisions as you move forward in building your new big life.

Balancing Social, Environmental, and Occupational Life  

Finally, your interpersonal relationships are equally as important as the relationship you have with yourself. Be mindful of the environment you live in, and work in. Identify triggers of stress or anxiety—maybe you find that you can’t work well or relax if things are messy. Work to avoid creating stressful environments for yourself.

In both your occupational and social life, be sure to reflect and “check-in” with yourself. Are you doing the best you can to get the most out of the work that you are doing? Are you connecting with your co-workers and friends in ways that are healthy for you? What boundaries are you exercising to keep yourself and others well in your relationships? Remember, if you’re unsure about work-life balance, socializing in sobriety, or even how to create the best environments for yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out. Identify the weaknesses in any of your areas of wellness and ask a sponsor or trusted member in your support network for guidance on how to improve these areas of your life so that you may further strengthen your recovery.

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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.

 

Why the 12 Steps are for Everyone

November 3, 2020

If you’re in recovery, the 12 steps have more than likely become the foundation on which you have built your life in sobriety. These steps have helped individuals suffering from substance use disorder restore purpose and structure in their lives for many, many years.

What can these steps offer to those who are not religious, or even to those not in recovery? At first glance, someone who has never abused substances might feel as though these steps aren’t applicable to them…I’m not powerless over alcohol! A new individual in recovery may see steps 5, 6, and 7 and think, I don’t even believe in God, how can the steps help ME? The beautiful thing about the steps and step-based programs is that they can provide solace, structure, and some wisdom to everyone.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our higher power as we understood it.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to our higher power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have our higher power remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked our higher power to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our higher power, as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Take a page from the big book…why AA/NA wisdom can be helpful for all.

Powerlessness

As a human, you probably often think that you have autonomy over your life—that you can manipulate and control each variable to will things to go your way. Everyone gives into this illusion at times. The very first step reminds you that you are powerless. Not just over alcohol, but over most of the situations that occur day-to-day.

You can’t control whether or not it rains today, just like you can’t control how bad traffic is on your way to work. You can control how you respond to these events—maybe you grab an umbrella, or leave just a little earlier, or perhaps you make the most of your time in the car during your commute. By understanding that you’re powerless, you provide yourself with the opportunity to live in a greater sense of acceptance and peace.

Taking self-Inventory

What parts of yourself are hardest for you to accept? What comes to mind when you think of your flaws, your character defects, or your biggest failures? These aren’t comfortable things to think about, but in that discomfort, you will find growth.

Write these things down, tell someone you feel comfortable with, and work to fix the things you can change, and accept the things you cannot. As you work to improve yourself, you’re able to show up in a more positive way for those around you.

Turn your life over to something bigger than yourself (addressing the “God” word)

The truth is, you cannot handle all of the dealings of life alone, and you don’t have to. Whether you take your struggles to a higher power, a sponsor, a counselor, or the collective wisdom of a home-group, you must find some sort of greater purpose beyond just yourself. There’s an old saying that goes, “Practice waking up like it isn’t an accident,” This quote means that you should remind yourself each morning that there is a reason for every moment of your life, a greater purpose that you aren’t always able to zoom out and see.

When discussing greater powers and purpose, it’s important to note that AA/NA are not religious organizations. The entities do not offer this encouragement exclusively to believers of a higher power. A.A. co-founder Bill W. wrote in 1965:

We have atheists and agnostics. We have people of nearly every race, culture and religion. In A.A. we are supposed to be bound together in the kinship of a common suffering. Consequently, the full individual liberty to practice any creed or principle or therapy whatever should be a first consideration for us all. Let us not, therefore, pressure anyone with our individual or even our collective views. Let us instead accord each other the respect and love that is due to every human being as he tries to make his way toward the light. Let us always try to be inclusive rather than exclusive; let us remember that each alcoholic among us is a member of A.A., so long as he or she declares.

Bill’s words serve as a reminder that you are bound to others by your common struggles, regardless of your individual characteristics and beliefs. As the Agnostic and Atheist Members in A.A. Pamphlet says, “What we all have in common is that the program helps us find an inner strength that we were previously unaware of — where we differ is in how we identify the source. Some people have thought of the word “God” as standing for “good orderly direction,” or even “group of drunks,” but many of us believe that there is something bigger than ourselves that is helping us today.”

Whatever you believe to have a power greater than yourself is what will allow you to find purpose in your recovery, your mornings, and/or your life, every day.

Make amends and admit when you’re wrong

Unless you’re a robot, chances are, you’ve made some mistakes in your life. There’s probably someone, somewhere that you have an unresolved conflict with. Sometimes, admitting that you’re wrong can be the hardest thing to do. It can be hard to accept that you don’t always know the right way, have the right answers, and especially that you don’t always do the right thing.

It takes vulnerability to admit that you’re wrong. It opens you up to a discussion with yourself and others that may not be easy—but it will be worth it. When you think about life in its simplest form, you’re able to realize that all we have on this Earth is each other. The connections you have with your friends, family members, and co-workers matter. They shape your day-to-day interactions and your growth as an individual. When you begin thinking about someone you need to make amends with, reach out and ask for help by admitting your wrong-doings to someone you trust, a sponsor, a counselor, or a close friend. Repair relationships and practice admitting your imperfections so that you may continue to grow.

Help others and keep going!

As you work to practice the principles of the 12 Steps, you will gain infinite insight, wisdom, experience, and knowledge. You learn best when you teach something to others—yet another reason why strong interpersonal relationships are incredibly valuable. Pass on the things that you learn from practicing these steps of AA/NA. Most importantly, remember that this work is continuous, and requires conscious decisions made each day to learn and grow.

The 12 Steps are for everyone

…because the steps focus on building a strong and solid foundation in life that supports personal well-being, self-care, care for others, and improve the quality of living. Anyone can benefit from principles rooted in those goals, both the believer and the non-believer, the recovering alcoholic, addict, and even someone who has never used a substance.

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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.

 

The Power of Pause

October 28, 2020

The Power of Pause

When someone says, “Hey how’s it going?” in passing, do you take a moment to think about your response? Or by way of verbal muscle memory do you reply, “Good and you?” Often, you probably respond and keep walking, not even stopping to hear what the person has to say. What if today you took a quick moment to pause your life, and to genuinely respond and actively listen?

In this new age of fast food, fast cash, social media, and constant connection, humans have certainly become accustomed to instant gratification, and rapid reaction. When something in your life happens that is beyond your control, it can be tempting to react immediately because that’s what you’ve become used to. It can become a habit or a pattern to say “yes” to an email quickly to get it out of your inbox, to be snappy with a loved one when they say something you don’t agree with, or even to get angry at yourself quickly when you do something wrong. These immediate reactions separate you from your ability to think ahead, to “play the full tape through,” and they don’t account for what may happen as a result of your response.

Your immediate emotions are almost always rooted in frustration, anger, anxiety, sadness, and fear—because these are the emotions that are familiar to those who have suffered from substance use disorder, the ones that the disease feeds on. These are emotions that don’t require much thought or patience, they’re instant, and they’re what you might know best.

In all the moments of your daily life that you spend rushing through, reacting quickly, what if you took just a few of them to pause? What if you recognized a situation, and took a few seconds to breathe before responding?

Step three offers some of this wisdom

…Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our higher power as we understood it.

As you turn your life over to something bigger than yourself, your higher power as you understand it, you can accept your inability to control your problems or situations in your life. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to things. Step three says:

In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: “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.”

Infinite power and spiritual energy lie within the moment between something happening in your life and your active response to it. This includes how you treat others, and how you treat yourself. There are very few things in your life that require immediate action, and it is healthy and productive to take some time to think about what you might say or do before pressing “play” again.

In recovery, this is how you can work to prevent a return to use. When a problem arises in your life, take your moment of pause and ask your higher power for quiet and understanding, or seek counsel from a sponsor or the collective wisdom of a homegroup. In your life, the power of your pauses protects you from returning to use, from hurting others, and from harming yourself.

As you pause, you are able to step aside and react to things from a place of empowerment, steadiness, and serenity. You’re able to provide thoughtful responses, exercise your personal boundaries, make the best decisions for your recovery, and meet others with understanding and love.

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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.

 

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