We can help. Call us at (336) 621-3381

5 Tips for Effective Holiday Self-care

November 30, 2022

The countdown to the holidays is on!  For many, holidays mean delightful aromas, twinkling lights and celebrations with friends and family. For some, along with the anticipation of sharing joyous times together comes the realization that the holidays can be challenging when you’re in recovery. But, there is good news! It doesn’t have to be a struggle if you make a plan for your holiday self-care. Planning holiday self-care promotes your responsibility for recovery.  It requires you to spend time and energy focusing on you and becoming comfortable with being clean and sober. The best part is you don’t have to do it alone. Here are five tips to help you develop an effective self-care plan for the upcoming holiday season:

  1. Make time to attend extra meetings.

Look for opportunities to attend extra AA or NA meetings in conjunction with your normal meeting days. Keep in mind that the more meetings you attend during the holidays, the more likely you are to remain clean and sober, preventing a relapse. A special tip: attend a meeting on the holiday before beginning the festivities.

 

  1. Stay in contact with your support network.

Connecting with those who support your recovery is crucial. After all, that’s what they’re there for, to help you through the tough times when you need them the most.  So, don’t try to do it alone. Reach out to your therapist, recovery friends and family, and to your sponsor.

 

  1. Come early, leave early.

Arriving a bit early to the party and leaving early will enable you to have the best of both worlds. You can stay long enough to enjoy time with your friends and family but, leave early to avoid any behaviors that may trigger your desire to use. Special tip: take a friend who is also in recovery with you and serve as one another’s accountability partners.

 

  1. As much as possible, maintain a normal schedule.

During the holidays there may be some deviation from your daily routine but, as much as possible, try to maintain your regular schedule. This means continuing your work schedule, getting plenty of rest and finding time to do productive things that you enjoy. Your holiday self-care plan should create a balance between activities and rest. This will help you to avoid triggering dangerous emotions like stress or boredom.

 

  1. Opt out when you need to.

Understand that it is OK to say no to an invitation. 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.

 

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.

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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.

Holiday Hang-ups: Avoiding Common Triggers

November 9, 2022

 

celebration, holidays and people concept – happy family having tea party at home

In recent years, connecting and spending quality time with those we love has been increasingly difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, though, we have adapted and found ways to work alongside the pandemic so that we can remain supported and connected to our recovery networks while we are in early recovery. In 2022, we can finally look forward to a holiday season full of love, laughter, support, and the connection we crave.

Being able to get together again sounds great in theory, but for some people in early recovery, it can set off a panic alarm. What if I’m offered a drink at a party? What will people think when I say no? Will I have to explain my situation to strangers? How comfortable will I be? Know that if you find yourself facing these questions, you are not alone. The holidays can be as stressful as they are joyful. However, with a little confidence, perseverance, and checking in with your support network, you can handle any holiday get-together like a pro. Below are a few common concerns and ideas to help get you out of your head.

  • What if I’m offered a drink at a holiday party or get-together?

First, make sure you are surrounded by people you know and trust. People who understand your situation and support your decisions should be the only kind of people you are spending your time with. Make a plan before the event to make sure you do not find yourself in this situation. For example, notify the wait staff or party host that you’d prefer sparking water instead of alcohol.

 

  • Can I ask other party guests not to drink?

If you are in an environment surrounded by supportive friends and family, make this request known beforehand. You cannot fully control the decisions of others, but you can create an environment where your request is more likely to be understood and followed. For example, don’t focus on finding big parties hosted by other people. Have your own sober get-together at your own house and keep it lowkey, inviting only those you know, love, and trust. Your house, your rules.

 

  • What if I get bored or start experiencing cravings?

Sadly, these feelings are unavoidable – especially if it is holiday time and you are new in your recovery. Remember to connect with your recovery support network in times of struggle, boredom, or craving. Do not feel afraid to leave a party early if you must. FaceTime, text, Zoom, anything to get you talking to someone who knows what you’re going through and can offer words of support and encouragement. Utilize the connections you spent time building in treatment and during early recovery – since it is holiday time, chances are, others in your network are also struggling. In these instances, a conversation can be mutually beneficial.

 

It may seem hard to believe, but there are people in your corner who want you to be safe and comfortable this holiday season – even if that means they’ll be skipping a drink or two when they see you! Don’t lose sight of those connections during the holiday season and keep your support network close. The holidays are all about togetherness, which goes hand in hand with the philosophy of recovery. Take this stressful time and turn it into a positive experience – you already have all the tools you need. From Fellowship Hall, have a very happy, sober holiday!

 

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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 26, 2022

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 constantly 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 the change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Infinite power and spiritual energy lies 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 an 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 home group. In your life, the power of your pauses protects you from hurting others and yourself.

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

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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.

Healthy Boundaries: Supporting Your Loved Ones in Recovery

October 12, 2022

 

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:

How will you allow others to treat you?

This protects you from being harmed by others.

How will you treat others?

This protects others from being harmed by you.

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

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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.

 

5 Reasons to Attend Recovery Meetings

September 28, 2022

 

You’ve probably heard “90 meetings in 90 days” before, somewhere during your recovery journey – 90 in 90 is a major method of maintaining recovery once you’re out of treatment and back in the real world. Although it may not seem easy to make room for meetings in your schedule, there are many benefits to consistently attending meetings throughout your recovery.  Here are a few reasons to encourage you to stay the course:

  • Make new friends

It’s not unusual to outgrow some of the relationships you had when you were using.  You may find that most of the people around you are your recovery friends who understand your challenges.  Attending meetings will give you an opportunity to build new friendships with those who share goals similar to yours.

  • Learn how to conquer cravings

Cravings are normal.  Everyone who has engaged in addictive behavior in the past will experience uncomfortable cravings during recovery.  The good news: cravings will subside if you work your plan. Recovery meetings can help you learn new coping strategies in a supportive environment, while you determine what works best for you.

  • See your Higher Power at work

With so many distractions, it can be difficult to see a Higher Power at work in your life each day. Hearing your friends share their personal miracles at meetings, it becomes easier to see the ways your Higher Power is at work in everyday life. You’ll get to a point where you’ll begin sharing your own stories, showcasing how your Higher Power is guiding you on your recovery journey.

  • Have people to hold you accountable

There is a long list of to-dos when it comes to living a life in recovery. It can be overwhelming but having a community to help hold you accountable is important.  Connecting with your peers at meetings allows you to have people who can check in with you and help you stay on course. Support from others in recovery is essential – your recovery network can provide insight and understanding that friends and family might not be able to give you.

  • Know you’re not alone

In active addiction, it’s not uncommon to isolate yourself from friends and family. But in recovery, you come to know that you are not alone.  Meetings can give you a sense of belonging and an opportunity to stay connected to a vital support community.

Attending meetings can help you prevent the occurrence of a relapse, see the miracles in your life and provide you with the opportunity to give to and receive from others. Meetings also provide a consistent schedule and continually reinforce the building of strong habits – you’re more likely to stick with your meetings once they’re an ingrained part of your daily routine, and the same goes for your recovery. Be encouraged to find your closest meeting and get involved. It can make all the difference.

 

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

 

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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 Importance of Family

September 14, 2022

We all have family that we can turn to in times of need. We look to our family for support and love during our toughest moments. In the case of recovery, families may not know everything about the disease of addiction. As a family member of someone in recovery, you might struggle to communicate with your loved one or understand where they’re coming from. This is completely normal – it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone in recovery. However, there are many steps you can take to make sure you are being the best support system possible for your loved one.

Substance use adds stress and strain to any family dynamic – and understanding that you, as a family member, play a key role in your loved one’s recovery, is a big step in healing wounds and friction caused by addiction. After all, addiction is known as a “family disease” – it does not simply affect the addict, but the close family members around them as well.

What role do family members play in recovery?

When someone is in active addiction, the support of close family and friends around them is crucial to the success of their recovery. As a family member, you can play multiple roles throughout the entire process of recovery, from beginning to end:

  • Accountability: Telling your loved one the truth, straight from a source they know, love, and trust. Holding your loved one accountable, rather than simply brushing off their mistakes, reinforces that they need to change.
  • Helping during treatment: Your loved one’s success in recovery is severely hindered if you are not willing to help them get through the process of treatment. Be the supporter that accompanies them to treatment facilities, talks with them on the phone, and visits them to encourage them to keep going.
  • Participating in the family program: Ensure that you are being the best possible supporter to your loved one. The family program will guide you through the addict’s way of thinking, allowing you to see things from their point of view. You’ll learn how to set important boundaries, and you’ll be able to begin the healing process. When your loved one returns home from treatment, you’ll be all set to communicate with them in a healthier, more productive way.
  • Acknowledging your own needs: When your loved one is in active addiction, it’s easy to get wrapped up in their life and, accordingly, blame yourself for anything that goes wrong. However, you need to keep your own mental health in check, because your loved one requires your full support and love – which isn’t possible if you’re mentally struggling. Take time out to practice self-care, attend individual therapy, or anything else that can help keep you in a healthy mindset.

Remember — other family members to your loved one are struggling as well, so it’s important to let them know the number of ways they can help both your loved one and themselves. Through willingness to help and determination to see your loved one succeed, you can all go forward as a family, knowing that you are doing everything in your power to be their best support system.

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.

National Recovery Month: Helping Those in Need

August 31, 2022

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.

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

 

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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 Stages of Recovery

August 10, 2022

Change happens slowly. It is often much slower than most of us care for, particularly in recovery. Just as the disease of chemical addiction doesn’t happen overnight, neither does recovery. There are actually 6 stages in the process.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation:  This is the time for most alcoholics and addicts when they are beginning to experience negative consequences and unmanageability as a result of their using. They are often wanting to minimize consequences, but not yet ready to give up the alcohol or drugs. There is not a great deal of desire to change. Their defenses and rationalizations are in high gear.

Stage 2: Contemplation: In this stage the alcoholic or addict recognizes their using is a problem, but they often waiver on what to do about it. It is common at this stage to procrastinate and put off any real change. Statements such as, “I’ll go to treatment next month,” or “I’ll cut back after the holidays” are the norm. People can stay stuck at this stage for a long time as they try to cut back or attempt controlled drinking or using.

Stage 3: Preparation: This is the point in the change process when most alcoholics or addicts move away from just thinking about the problem and start seriously considering the solution. An alcoholic or addict may still be drinking or using, but now they are making more serious plans for change. They begin taking meaningful steps toward recovery.

Stage 4: Action:  Many people mistakenly believe this is the first step in the change process, because this is when the alcohol or addict begins executing the first steps in their recovery process. It may begin with attending 12 step meetings, going to outpatient treatment, or even entering a residential treatment program. Recovery does not end at this stage. This is just a step in the process.

Stage 5: Maintenance: The focus in this stage of the process is sustaining the changes made in the action stage. It is about recovery behaviors becoming second nature, like going to meetings, calling a sponsor, doing service work. It is also about adopting healthy coping strategies, avoiding triggers and identifying chemical-free ways of having fun.

Stage 6: Termination: In the last stage, people can look in the mirror and confidently say that they are a different and improved person. What makes this stage so important is that recovering alcoholics and addicts are happy with where they are and don’t want to return to their old lifestyle. Even though they may have given up things to be clean, they know their current life is better. Unlike the name suggests, this is not the end of the change process.

It is very important to point out that the stages of change in recovery are fluid. How these stages play out in recovery is highly dependent on the individual. There is no set time limit on when people in recovery progress to the next stage. In reality, recovery is a lifelong process that requires continual evaluation and modification as you progress in your own recovery journey.

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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 Importance of Not Staying Silent in Recovery

July 20, 2022

The words treatment, rehab, addiction, and addict pack a powerful punch – sometimes so powerful we feel as though they are taboo or should not be mentioned.

 

Whether we are the ones seeking treatment, or are family of a loved one needing treatment, the notion of sharing and discussing the topic of addiction is often silenced. Whether due to social taboos, shame or guilt of not being able to help an addict, or the fear of failure and relapse, there are a multitude of reasons one may stay silent either as an addict or as the addict’s support system.

 

Staying Silent – The Addict’s Perspective

As an addict, silence can be one of the reasons we found ourselves on this path to begin with. Silence may be a part of our personality, certainly, but it may also be a coping mechanism that has prevented us from properly expressing and confronting emotions and feelings. We push the feelings down and replace them with substances to extinguish them. Silence compounds the issue, leaving us feeling isolated and alone.

 

Further, silence is detrimental to considering treatment as an option, especially because we have no one to support them. The process of choosing and entering treatment is something to be discussed, shared with others, and evaluated. Silence can cripple us and often keep us from entering a program. Why do we keep quiet when we know we need help? Perhaps we fear we won’t be supported. Perhaps we’ve disappointed so many times we hesitate to even try again. Perhaps we doubt ourselves, and therefore can’t accept anyone else will believe in us.

 

Staying silent can also be detrimental to us in recovery, when it is absolutely crucial to be open and honest. Treatment programs are designed to peel away the layers that have shrouded the addict and drowned us in emotional, social, and sometimes physical scars. By opening up – something very new for those in treatment — and sharing sometimes uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, we receive feedback from our support systems that we can implement outside of the program. This feedback is a crucial building block of recovery.

 

Lastly, silence can be destructive after treatment when we don’t know how to ask for help, even when we realize we need it. The path to recovery can be a lonely one – if we choose – especially if we have become used to not sharing. The complexities of addicted life are ongoing. Leaving treatment does not mean we can again become silent, going back to not sharing our journey, not sharing that we are sober. Being open about where we have been and proud of the work it took to rebuild not only changes us and moves us forward, but can begin to rebuild the relationships that crumbled under the weight of our past choices and behaviors. Support groups and aftercare programs, meetings and sponsors are all in place for a reason – so that we no longer have to live alone in silence.

 

Staying Silent – The Family Perspective

In addition to the addict, silence can harm their families and loved ones. It is common that an entire family will know or at least believe that a family member is addicted to substances of abuse. They will enable, excuse, and cover-up the addictive behaviors, thinking that somehow this approach normalizes the family relationship, or worse – convinces them the addiction is not real.

 

Further complicating the problem of staying silent is the guilt and pain caused when the family does not intervene as they see their loved one take the path of self-destruction. While not all addicts are willing to enter a treatment program, they’re secretly suffering in silence, needing the encouragement and understanding from someone willing to support them in taking that first step.

 

Silence — keeping your privacy and acting as if there’s no problem at all — may seem like an avenue of self-preservation. However, in reality, it can intensify addictive behavior and lead to relapse. Silence does not allow for accountability or responsibility. By opening up and speaking up, allowing others to support you, and asking for help, one begins to break down the walls and continue strong on the road to recovery.

 

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

 

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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 3 C’s of Addiction: What Family Needs To Know

July 6, 2022

Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a disease that impacts both the substance user as well as their entire family network. When we think of recovery, it can be easy to feel that the process is only applicable or crucial for the suffering alcoholic or addict. However, a critical component of combating the disease is the recovery of the family.

When a loved one is struggling, we may find ourselves in a state of tunnel vision–only focused on the needs, wants and feelings of the one we care about instead of our own. As the disease progresses, the added stress and turmoil continues to build atop our family’s foundation, and if not tended to, our foundation can crumble.

Family recovery begins when we admit and understand that our loved one is powerless over substances and that subsequently, their family life has become unmanageable because of their disease.

As family members, we can gain insight from the 3 C’s of Addiction:

  • You did not Cause the addiction

Nothing you did or didn’t do caused your loved one to become chemically dependent.

  • You can’t Control the addiction

The alcoholic/addict is the only one who can take responsibility for managing their disease.

  • You cannot Cure the addiction

There is no cure for the disease of addiction, only treatment.

Once we understand the 3 C’s, working to improve our own healing can begin.

  • You can take Care of yourself

Make time to do the things that are good for you and that make you feel good. Read a book, go for a walk, journal, make a good meal or soak in the bath. Do things that promote your own personal sense of connectivity, health, and well-being.

  • You can Communicate your feelings

You are allowed to say how you feel. Addiction is a disease that is often associated with feelings of guilt, sadness, anger, frustration, grief and shame for alcoholics, addicts, and their family members. Own your truth and be honest, be direct and specific when sharing your feelings.

  • You can Celebrate who you are

Remind yourself of the things that are special about you, your hobbies, your passions, your goals. Do not lose sight of these aspects of your identity. Addiction can blur many lines in the family system, allowing us to lose sight of where our loved one ends and we as individuals begin. Our identity can become so wrapped up in caring for another individual that we often lose sight of ourselves. By celebrating our individuality, our uniqueness, we are reminded of who we truly are and our purpose outside of the realm of the disease.

Set aside time to heal

Addiction is a war of attrition at times. It can be time consuming and exhausting. Once a family member has agreed to accept treatment, it is easy to feel as though the work is done.

“I’ve already missed so much work/school/social activity and am so behind in life because of this disease I don’t have the time to try and heal myself!” You deserve to heal. You deserve to guiltlessly prioritize yourself and work through the trauma that addiction can cause.

Set boundaries

Boundaries are an important component of family recovery. Boundaries provide us with a sense of individuality and allow us to own our feelings, our experiences and our problems. They also provide a sense of contentment and peace with the self and allow the family to work to not personalize the addict’s problems. To set healthy boundaries, the family must learn to detach with love. Detaching with love does not mean to shutout or isolate the loved one. It means to detach oneself from the disease

Release guilt, shame, blame

Addiction is a disease that feeds on the power of dark and all-consuming emotions. Guilt, shame and blame often draw us inward and leave us unwilling to reach out for the support that is so incredibly important when a family is in recovery. Work to release these emotions as you focus on the positives of the journey ahead.

Find your support system (NAR/AL ANON), ask for help, and rely on these support systems

Again, the way to heal is to make the time to do so. Prioritize yourself and your sanity and seek out support through groups such as NAR/AL ANON family group meetings. For help finding your local group, please call one of the phone numbers listed below:

Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups

Phone Number: 1-888-4525-2666

Nar-Anon Family Group

Phone Number: 1-800-477-6291

Forgive yourself and focus on today

Unfortunately, you cannot change or undo the past. Move forward with confidence regarding what you can control. Focus on what is directly in front of you. Ask yourself, what do I need to accomplish today to be well?

Recovery is not an event, but instead an ongoing, evergreen process.

Family members can also relapse in a sense. We may relapse into old unhealthy behaviors or ways of thinking. The key to healing is understanding that recovery is not an event, but a process that will always require our attention and the prioritization of our self-care.

Serenity Prayer

Finally, in times of trouble, remember the serenity prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

***

For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

 

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are 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.

Older Posts