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February 16, 2022

Navigating the ‘New Normal’: Making Recovery Work During a Pandemic

As we enter the third year of battling the COVID pandemic and having to readjust our lives, a lot of us may be starting (or continuing) to get agitated, stressed, and anxious. We may begin feeling like things will never get better and that we should just give up. It’s certainly not easy to reframe our entire way of life to navigate a pandemic while in recovery, especially when so much of a successful recovery is owed to constant connection and communication with support networks around us. However, while difficult, it is not impossible to be strong and healthy in your recovery no matter the world’s circumstances.

We can begin to fight our negative thoughts and desires to return to use by continuing to prioritize staying connected to others, whether virtually or in-person – but we also need to realize the effect our personal ways of thinking can either harm or help us on our journey to recovery. With constant work taking place both outside and within ourselves, recovery becomes much easier to manage.

Practice Acceptance:

“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, and 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.” – pg 417 of the Big Book

The oft spoken phrase around the rooms is “practice acceptance”. While it may sound trite, it is the key to serenity. Pushing against our reality, refusing to accept our reality, this is the source of much friction and unhappiness. However, that pushing, and that refusal is what comes most naturally to an addict or alcoholic.  We must constantly remind ourselves of acceptance, and if necessary, repeat the phrase, “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today”.

Prioritize Connection:

In today’s world, it has become increasingly difficult to stay connected and avoid feelings of isolation. This has led to relapse and overdose for many of those in recovery who slowly begin to feel anxious, lonely, and unsupported over time, slipping back into familiar patterns of using to cope. We may recognize the importance of attending meetings and staying in touch with a sponsor, but when many meetings are happening online, it is easy to feel “Zoom fatigue” and simply stop attempting rather than adjusting and making virtual connection work for us.

It takes a little extra work on our part, but we must be willing to challenge our beliefs about online meetings. Continue participating and sharing in your meetings, even if they must be via computer screen for the time being. The meeting space is not only for you – you must be there to support the others in your recovery network.

Avoid Complacency:

When someone in recovery leaves treatment, they can sometimes find themselves on a “pink cloud” of euphoria: proud of what they have achieved, connected to a support network with a sponsor and daily meetings, and strong in their sobriety. After a while, some of us begin to feel that maybe we have our recovery under control. We might think we’ve achieved ‘fully recovered’ status and do not need to continue dedicating as much time to our recovery.

Coupled with the collective anxiety and isolation felt during a pandemic, it can become easy and comforting to convince ourselves that it would even be okay if we had a drink or two, after being in recovery for several months or years. However, one can never truly be ‘fully recovered’ – recovery is a constant process, and becoming overconfident leads to complacency, which can lead to relapse.

 

“If nothing changes, nothing changes”:

In the popular A.A. book As Bill Sees It, written by Bill Wilson, the argument is made that successful recovery is simply not possible unless we are willing to undergo a personality change. Wilson writes: “anyone who knows the alcoholic personality by firsthand contact knows that no true alky ever stops drinking permanently without undergoing a profound personality change.”

This means understanding that having supportive people around you is not enough – there needs to be a change inside of yourself as well. Wilson continues: “We thought “conditions” drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn’t do so to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand, and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.”

Outside conditions may produce triggers and negative feelings, but we have to be willing to work to change our responses to these conditions, because remaining stagnant and leaving our mental health unchecked is an easy gateway into relapse.

In a pandemic society, the traditional post-treatment advice – go to meetings, keep in touch with your sponsor, give back to your community with service work – may sound harder to follow. However, there is always a way to keep pushing forward and make recovery work for you, no matter your outside circumstances. Resist becoming complacent in your recovery. Keep recovery at the forefront of your mind and know when to ask for help. Show up for those in your network that are experiencing the same struggles as you. Together, we will be able to make the ‘new normal’ work and ensure the successful recovery of us and those we care about.

 

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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

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.

February 5, 2022

5 Ways to Fit Mindfulness into Your Daily Routine

Mindfulness, as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn, means to pay attention in the present moment, on purpose, and without judgement. That’s it.

What this means is that mindfulness is a broad category that includes all kinds of practices that can help you be more present. It is more than meditation, although meditation is a kind of mindfulness. You do not have to limit your practice to meditation, you have lots to choose from and it is uniquely your own. The practice that works best for you might not resonate with your coworker, so experiment. There are tons of apps and YouTube videos that you can explore to help you practice mindfulness.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. Focus on your breath.

When you do this practice, don’t try to change your breath pattern—just notice. Be curious about the way you breathe.

  1. Sit quietly and observe your thoughts.

Practice not attaching to them. Just notice what is coming up for you. If you notice that your mind has wondered and that you are entertaining a thought, return to focus on your breath for a minute or two.

  1. Eat in a mindful way.

Pick something you particularly love to eat. Pay attention to all of your senses as you eat. What does it smell, feel, look, sound, and taste like when you eat? Do this slowly and really savor each bite.

  1. Take a walk-mindfully.

Notice all the sights around you. What do you hear and smell? How does the air feel on your skin? Notice your foot touching down and the rate of your gait.

  1. Listen to your favorite song.

Pick a word of phrase that is repeated several times in the song. As you listen, count the number of times you hear that word or phrase sung.

The latest meditation research shows that while new practitioners can experience changes in their brains that are positive, the real change comes from consistent and longer practice. That’s when you will start to see permanent, and positive changes in the brain, like improved concentration and better emotion regulation.

Your practice can be as long or as short as you want it to be. If you only have five minutes, great, use it!! Most mindfulness experts say that 20 minutes a day is a good amount to shoot for, but make that your long-term goal, and start with realistic amounts of time. In fact, starting with a short practice is a good idea because you will have some early success and will be more likely to continue. Either way, find something you can do regularly and you will start to see the benefits.

***

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.

January 19, 2022

3 Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

Why Mindfulness?

Everyone at one point or another feels weighed down with negative thoughts and internal or external stressors in our day-to-day lives. However, the practice of mindfulness aims to provide an opportunity to put our minds at ease and focus on being in the present moment.

But what are the true benefits of practicing mindfulness – especially as it relates to recovery? The reality is that mindfulness and recovery can be very closely intertwined, and recovery can often be made more successful by including mindfulness as an active, daily effort.

What are some noticeable benefits of practicing mindfulness?

Mindfulness can improve impulse control by improving the function of the prefrontal cortex. Your ability to “pause,” as taught in the 11th step, will improve. These changes can even be immediate, but practice needs to be consistent if permanent changes are to be made.

Mindfulness can improve one’s ability to manage cravings and triggers by increasing present moment awareness so that you can practice relapse prevention in the moment rather than when you notice that you are really in trouble. If you are practicing loving kindness meditation, it can improve your relationships with others so that you are more helpful and supportive in your recovery relationships.

How does recovery from substance use disorder and mental health go together?

Most people either begin drinking or using to manage their emotions, and eventually keep doing it because it makes them feel better. This need to feel comfortable is a natural human drive that exists without our awareness most of the time. This means that recovery from substance use and mental health must happen together for the best possible chance at success.

Mindfulness is an important tool for regulating emotions, so it can ultimately assist with recovery from substance use. There are also specific practices that can help detoxify the body from both mental and physical effects of substances that will aid in overall recovery. Ultimately, recovery that does not include a focus on improving mental health will not be successful long term.

How can mindfulness connect us more to our bodies?

The body is a powerful tool that most of us are not using to its fullest potential. Mindfulness can improve the connection between your mind, body, and spirit. Cravings and emotions show up on the body before we are thinking about them. Most of us, however, are not aware of these body sensations, and realize we are triggered, craving, or emotional when it gets in our head and becomes harder to fight.

Spend some time thinking about what it feels like on your body when you have emotions, cravings, or triggers. You can train yourself to notice these sensations and then practice some mindfulness or relapse prevention before it becomes too difficult to talk yourself out of how you are feeling.

There are many more benefits that come from incorporating a bit of mindfulness into your daily routine – and it can become a great tool for success in your recovery by helping improve your mental health. Keeping your mental health in check and reconnecting with your mind daily can help yield long-lasting, life-improving results.

***

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.

January 10, 2022

Sticking to Your Recovery Resolutions

Everyone looks forward to the New Year for many reasons – good food, quality time with friends and family – but many of us also eagerly await the holiday as an exciting way to hit reset on our lives and start fresh with a clean slate.

For those in recovery, the New Year can be seen as an opportunity to set realistic goals for your recovery, keep yourself in check by following a specific timeline, and become the person you truly want to be, shedding the pain and bad memories from years past.

 Setting goals for yourself, and then following through with achieving those goals, can be challenging and intimidating – but it can also be rewarding and life-changing. Here are four tips to get you on the right track to accomplishing your 2022 recovery goals.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help and Support

Kick off the New Year by attending a meeting every day! Reach out to your sponsor, your friends, and your family whenever you’re struggling with your resolutions. Encourage friends and family to get involved with Al-Anon or Nar-Anon so they know how to best support you. With a team behind you willing to help and support your goals, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

Invest Your Time in New Hobbies

Follow a classic New Year’s Resolution tradition and try your hand at new hobbies, activities, and skills. Fill your time with something you love to do that can help make you a better, more well-rounded person. Consider volunteering or other service work to give back to your community.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

As we said earlier, goals can be challenging and intimidating. Timelines and deadlines can help you make sense of your resolutions, but you cannot beat yourself up over little slip-ups or mistakes – it’ll just make you feel worse and less likely to end up accomplishing what you’re setting out to. Be realistic and self-assured. Turn to your support system when you’re experiencing doubt or hardships. Remember, one day at a time.

Create Measurable Goals

If you believe you can do it, you can. Having a plan with clear, concise, and measurable goals in front of you can give you the motivation you need when you’re struggling. You’ll be able to mark your progress and feel accomplished every step of the way. Being proud of what you’ve done will only serve to keep pushing you forward in your recovery journey.

Remember, no recovery journey is perfect. You may encounter slip-ups and moments of discouragement. However, by sticking to a plan with measurable, realistic goals, trying new and exciting things, and keeping your support systems close by, you can kick off 2022 assured that you’re doing everything in your power to make your journey successful. Happy New Year!

***

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.

December 15, 2021

Stay Strong in Your Recovery During the Holidays

The holiday season presents particular challenges to those suffering from substance use disorder. While it would be ideal for the holidays to be a time of unfettered enjoyment, relaxation, and downtime from the work and stresses of life, it is not always so. For many people, the holidays may also represent a great deal of stress. Not only is now the time for travel and shopping for friends and family, but holiday times can be a reminder of family wounds, fresh or old – especially if there remains any kind of dysfunction in the immediate or extended family.

Those who have never suffered from addiction or mental illness can often overcome these stresses, or suppress their emotions for the sake of peace and quiet. But for those suffering from addiction, and especially those with co-occurring mental illness, may find that the holiday times actually act as a trigger for their disease. Times of high stress can set the stage for potential relapse, as well as depression, anxiety and self-defeating behaviors.

It is for that reason that recovering addicts and those suffering from mental illness should surround themselves with positive forces in their support system. The friends, family members and sponsors that are attuned to their particular circumstances, can be the ones best suited to assist an individual through a potentially difficult time.

This time of year may also be an ideal moment to refresh the relapse prevention techniques learned in recovery and even attend an unscheduled therapy session or two to reinforce the principles of long-term recovery and sobriety. An individual can also use this time to reach out to their treatment center, confirming that their sobriety is on track and revisiting an environment that they know is both welcoming and supportive.

While families and friends may see the holiday time as a reminder of the difficulties and pain they experienced during the time that their loved one was abusing substances, it can also be a time of healing and letting bygones be bygones. Everyone can benefit from happy and healthy holidays without anger or judgment.

Tips to remember:

  • Make the time for meetings.
  • Keep in touch with your sponsor and friends in the program.
  • Try to keep your routine to give each day structure.
  • Remember, it is OK to say no if something does not serve or support your recovery.

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. Don’t succumb to feelings of stress, or even isolation. Here are some additional resources for those in recovery this holiday season:

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.

December 6, 2021

What happens when I relapse? 5 Signs to look for

For preventing a relapse, it is important to recognize warning signs before the actual relapse happens. Here are five signs to look for that may help you prevent a relapse:

  1. You get complacent. Sometimes when recovery is going well, you may get too comfortable in your new state of being and you make think, “I can handle it from here.” You must stay on track with working the steps or the inevitable backward slide begins. Don’t let success be your trigger!
  2. Your attitude and mood begin to change.  Right before a relapse, you may act the way you did when you were using: selfishly. As a result, you’ve stopped helping others. Staying connected to others through service is important to recovery. Serving others helps you to maintain humility and keep your focus away from selfish desires.
  3. You think about “just one” that maybe just one drink or just one pill won’t hurt. Understand that ALL it takes is just one to get you back to the same place you were when you last quit drinking or using.
  4. You have the desire to contact your old using buddies. Before a relapse, you may think more about the folks you used to hang around and the things you did together during your substance abusing days. Reaching out to friends that are still interested in using will put your recovery in danger.
  5. You neglect to use your recovery tools.  Avoiding relapse takes hard work and dedication. Continual use of your recovery tools will help you stay connected to your support.

 

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs of a potential relapse, remember to reach out for help. And if a relapse occurs, don’t allow your pride to keep you from getting back on track with your recovery. Call your sponsor, got to a meeting, work the steps.

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.

November 22, 2021

Families Need Recovery, Too

Substance Use Disorder affects one’s body, mind, and soul—but the damage doesn’t end there. Families and friends also suffer as their loved one’s dependency progresses, stress builds, and communication starts to break down. Families need to recover from the disease, too.

It is not uncommon for family members to feel imprisoned by this disease. As destructive, self-defeating behaviors increase, family members and those in active use alike shift into survival mode, in an attempt to make it through another day of ever-worsening problems.

As this process occurs, it becomes more difficult to have honest communication and maintain a sense of self.  Intimacy and closeness are replaced by fear and loneliness.  Family members focus on what they can do to control the situation and begin to accept their loved one’s responsibilities in an attempt to help. Dreams fade, resentment builds, trust disappears, and hope dims.

Sound familiar? If you’re a family member struggling with a loved one suffering from substance use disorder, here are some steps you can take now to begin your own recovery:

  • Learn about the disease, including the effect it has had on family members.
  • Take responsibility for your choices.
  • Develop and set healthy boundaries.
  • Allow, and respect, your loved ones need to take responsibility for their choices and actions.
  • Accept your situation in an honest, realistic, and loving way.
  • Reach out for help and learn from others’ experiences through community support networks like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon.
  • Give yourself credit for slow, steady progress.
  • Understand there are no quick fixes!

Many people have broken free from the isolation and oppression that substance use disorder can bring.  Treatment centers, therapy, and community self-help groups offer opportunities to learn more about the disease, yourself, and how to live a more fulfilling life instead of just surviving.

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.

November 8, 2021

4 Healthy Habits To Help You Stay Clean & Sober

A big part of recovery is breaking the old habits that reinforced addiction and replacing them with healthy habits that support recovery. Some aspects of breaking these “bad habits” can be incredibly emotionally difficult, such as cutting ties with old friends that you drank or used with. Other habits can change by simply developing a new routine. Now that you’re clean and sober with healthier mind and body, you can start to focus on routine changes that will help you stay that way.

Diet & Exercise

Chances are that when you were drinking or using, you weren’t taking great care of your body; you probably didn’t eat well or exercise often. Luckily, these are two habits that are fairly easy to incorporate into your daily life. Set aside part of your week to plan your meals. You don’t have to adhere to a strict calorie count or a crazy restrictive fad diet, but you can make planning and eating a part of your routine. Food is fuel for body, so eat nutritious, but eat what you like.  Employ the same mindset when it comes to exercise. Do what you like and what will fits in your life. You don’t have to become a marathon runner or an Olympic power lifter. You’ll reap benefits from even just a daily walk around the block or a couple of days a week weight training at the gym.

Healthful Sleep

Develop a healthy bedtime routine. Decide on a reasonable time to go to bed and a reasonable time to wake up. Start to wind down—turn off ALL electronic devices (mobile phone, tablet, computer, TV, radio)—at least an hour before your bedtime. The blue light emitted from electronic screens suppresses melatonin and makes it harder to fall asleep. In addition, the constant stimulus makes it harder for you to relax. Incorporate small tasks, like setting the coffee maker or making your lunch for the next day, into your nighttime routine that will make your morning routine easier. Make a cup of hot tea and spend a few minutes journaling or reflecting in your day. Allow your mind to settle down and relax so that you can sleep more restfully.

Get Interested

In anything. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at calligraphy or knitting. Maybe you really do want to become a marathon runner. Maybe you absolutely love to cook and want to develop seven-course meals for every dinner. Go for it. Find that thing that fills the space in your life that used to be taken up by drugs and alcohol. If there’s no particular skill or activity that interests you, try volunteering. Perhaps the thing that fulfills you most is giving back.  Whatever you choose, build these activities into your weekly routine. If you make space for them, they’re more likely to become part of your lifestyle rather than imposition.

Go To Meetings

Perhaps it goes without saying, but go to meetings. In addition to exercise, diet, and sleep, you need solid emotional support as well. Meetings can start to fill the social void left when you stopped drinking and using.  And luckily, meetings are pretty easy to incorporate into your schedule. They only last an hour, there’s at the very least one in your community every day, and more than likely several a day and at varying times.

It takes time to create and establish new habits, and some are going to be harder than others. Allow yourself room to feel things out and tweak if necessary. No novel ever went to the publisher at first draft. Give yourself grace while you establish your new routine.  Remember, you’ve already kicked the hardest habit there is, the rest is a piece of cake in comparison.

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.

October 25, 2021

Why can’t she hear anything I say?

Overcoming the challenges of communicating with a loved one struggling with addiction

Communicating with someone you love is not always easy.  Too often, conversations end with disagreements, misunderstandings, and even broken relationships. If you are struggling to communicate with a loved one suffering from addiction, here are some helpful guidelines that may get your relationship back on track.

Always start with “I love you”

It’s true that “I love you” is one of the most powerful phrases one can say to another.  Although it is not enough to cure a loved one of addiction, letting your loved one know that you are coming from a place of love is the best way to start any tough conversation.  It assures them that what you are saying is not meant to cause hurt feelings but must be said because you care deeply about them and their well-being. Make your communication direct, honest and most importantly loving.

Acknowledge that you understand their difficulty

Empathy goes a long way when supporting someone struggling with addiction.  They may want to quit but find it’s not that simple.  Many factors are at play when it comes to addiction.  They may be on an emotional rollercoaster, working through feelings that range from happiness, anger, loneliness to shame and embarrassment.  Your loved one may also be facing old friendships that are not conducive to their recovery, challenging their decision to remain clean and sober.  Your loved one wants to know that you understand they are having a difficult time.

Set boundaries

It is healthy for your loved one to know your limits: how far they can go with you and how far you will go with them.  Setting boundaries establish that you are willing to support them in recovery but unwilling to engage in enabling behaviors. Participating in a treatment program for family recovery is a great way to discover your enabling behaviors and learn how to set boundaries for yourself and your loved one.

Make yourself available to listen without judgment

This step has two parts.  The first is making yourself available to listen, not just to talk. When relationships are strained due to the erratic behaviors of addiction, it easy for both the family members and the addict to become dismissive of one another while telling their side of things. However, it is important to know that your loved one needs you to listen and pay attention to their thoughts and feelings.  Part two of this step may be the hardest: listening without judgment.  Judgement is when you impose your beliefs and values on someone else.  It is an act that can shut-down communications immediately with you. Remember, criticizing and judging only make someone hurt more and is counterproductive to helping your loved one.

Understand that addiction is a disease

Educating yourself on the disease of addiction will help you keep the emotional or moral perspective out the conversation.  Saying things to your loved one like, “Why don’t you just stop,” or having thoughts such as, “I need to fix this for them,” are removed once you understand that addiction is not a behavior problem, but a medical diagnosis just like heart disease or diabetes.  It’s a chronic brain condition that causes compulsive drug and alcohol usage despite the harmful consequences it may cause to the user or others around them. Also, understand addiction needs proper treatment for recovery, just like any chronic disease.

Using these few steps can help you hone your communication skills and build a stronger relationship with your loved one in a constructive and supportive way.

About Fellowship Hall

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

October 11, 2021

What’s Grief Got To Do With It?

From Kelly Scaggs, Clinical Director at Fellowship Hall

What does grief have to do with addiction? I would venture to say a lot more than most people think. Grief can be a huge relapse risk, especially when it goes unaddressed. At Fellowship Hall we have long recognized grief as an obstacle in the recovery process, which is the reason our grief group was developed and our extended treatment program delves deeply into the process.

Grief can often feel like being stuck in quick sand and barely keeping your head above the surface. What better way to “escape” from the pain than alcohol or drugs? The chemicals can keep us “numb,” but as soon as you attempt to get sober, the feelings that have not been addressed rear their ugly heads and the temptation to return to what you know “works” comes back with a vengeance.

We challenge the notion of grief as something you “get over,” or as something that can be done a right way or a wrong way. We face head-on the grief that comes from being in active addiction, the multiple losses…family relationships, control of your life, financial stability, health, friends to overdose, and the list goes on. These are the losses that are often over looked or negated, but are no less painful.

Recovery requires breaking this cycle, stepping into the grief work, developing skills for addressing uncomfortable feelings, and freeing ourselves from being “stuck.” Healthy grief work restores hope, a necessary commodity that drives recovery. At Fellowship Hall, we believe one of our primary jobs is to restore hope for the still suffering alcoholic and/or addict.

Over the years we have witnessed the positive impact addressing grief can have on an individual’s recovery. The goal is learning healthy ways of addressing grief so you can learn how to move with life again. It’s not about moving on, it’s about moving with and incorporating the experiences into the fabric of your story.

We know that a little bit of hope can make a big difference for someone feeling mired in the quick sand of their grief. Healing doesn’t mean the pain never existed. It means the pain no longer controls your life. Never forget, pain is real, but so is hope.

Clinical Director Kelly S. Scaggs, LCSW, LCAS, CCS, MAC, ICAADC has over 25 years of experience in behavioral health. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

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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