Gateway Newsletter Spring/Summer 2020

To download the Gateway in PDF format, click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet this year’s Conference Voice, Emily Fannin

Meet Emily Fannin, former Fellowship Hall guest and this year’s Voice for Fellowship Hall’s upcoming Conference on July 31, 2020. Today, Emily conducts breast cancer research at Wake Forest School of Medicine. The focus of her work is looking for new ways to determine the most effective treatment for patients, working toward reduced treatment times and costs.

Just four years ago, Emily found herself, as many do, at the end of her rope: “I knew I needed help when I realized I was drinking myself to death.” Luckily, the end of that rope led her to Fellowship Hall where she found sobriety and a new lease on life. Today, she has discovered a sense of purpose by serving as a volunteer to help others struggling with substance use disorder.

During her recovery, Emily was able to be honest for the first time in her life. She felt safe and protected — the same feelings that have kept her involved with Fellowship Hall. Thinking back about her time in the program, she remembers the personal relationships she developed and the care from all of the staff, not just the counselors and therapy assistants. “I remember Mike Yow looking me dead in the eye, and saying, ‘How’s that working out for you, Emily?’ ” She knew then the folks at Fellowship Hall had her best interest in mind.

Extended Treatment was where Emily realized just how much of her life had been driven by shame, guilt, and fear. Before Fellowship Hall, she had low self-esteem. Treatment and recovery gave her confidence and helped her understand that she wasn’t only worthy, but priceless. For the first time in Emily’s adult life, she was certain that she had value. “I know that Fellowship Hall saved my life,” she said.

When Emily is not busy researching and revolutionizing costs and procedures of breast cancer treatment for patients, she’s diligently giving back to Fellowship Hall. “In general, the attitude of helping other people is the focus of my life now,” Emily said. Since her recovery, she no longer thinks about herself all of the time, but about sharing the hope she has found with others.

Each Wednesday night, she takes the women in the program to the local AA meeting. Most Sundays, you can find her in the women’s lodge assisting with visitation. But her most exciting role is her position with the Fellowship Hall Council — a group that puts together the Fellowship Hall Conference each year. She has served as a member of the Council since 2017, working as both a Host and on the Speaker Selection Committee. This year Emily has been named the Voice.

As the Voice, Emily oversees Conference planning and works with Council volunteers who chair the Ice Cream Social, Picnic, Hospitality, and more. Her top priority — and sometimes most intimidating job — is to lead the Council’s Speaker Selection Committee and recruit speakers to share their stories at Conference. “Cold calling terrifies me!” Emily said. However, she found herself uplifted while reaching out to individuals about speaking, even the ones that ended up being unable to participate in the Conference. The Speaker Committee secures at least five different speakers from across the United States each year. In regard to those speaking this year, Emily said that attendees will find the lineup to be, “super-diverse and exciting!”

Of all the roles and tasks she is responsible for, her favorite part about being the Voice is Emceeing the Conference – “I love a microphone!” She recommends service on the Council to anyone interested in volunteering with Fellowship Hall, “it’s a great opportunity to put together an event that really draws people back to the Hall year after year. I look forward to it every year!” she said.

When asked where she might see herself in five years, Emily said she’ll be continuing to help people in her personal and professional life. She is currently applying to social work school and redirecting her career to make this a reality. She hopes to continue to grow in recovery and help others.


Message from Mike Yow, President & CEO

Spring has arrived on the Fellowship Hall campus. I always look forward to the dogwoods and azaleas blooming.

This year spring has also brought us COVID-19. We’ve been busy responding to this event as we continue to serve our mission. We’ve posted all the details of our response on our website’s new COVID-19 Update page. I would direct you there for regular updates on our responses.

As an essential provider of healthcare, now more than ever we want to be sure the option of treatment is available. Our staff is responding remarkably and showing their commitment to this work that they believe in. Our guests are benefiting from their efforts and we are grateful that we continue to serve our mission.

We know alcohol sales are up, by almost 60%, across the country. We know illegal drugs are being hoarded. We know people are suffering. Relapse rates are up. We hope people will be making it back into treatment as the threat of COVID begins to subside. We know addiction takes no holiday. We encouraged and support the recovery communities’ quick move to virtual platforms and other innovative ways to stay connected.

Recovery has taught me to look for gratitude, to live one day at a time or one minute at a time. That is how we are going to get through this. That being said, there is some other news to share with you.

We’ve been stepping up efforts for our Continuing Care Program (where we follow-up with guests at 7 different intervals over the year after their discharge). We’ve started a weekly group called the “Comings & Goings Group” where guests in their last week of treatment meet with guests in their first week of treatment to share their experience, strength, and hope of what they have learned and what helped them the most during their stay. As a result, follow-up calls after discharge are going well. The information we gather from these calls lets us know how our former guests are doing and help us evaluate how well our programs are working. This outcome data is a hot topic in the treatment arena; our ability to prove the effectiveness of treatment is critical. Fellowship Hall is also participating in a research project with a collaborative group of 6 other treatment centers collecting the same information on the outcomes of guests. We hope this research will make an impact on the treatment industry at the national level; I am excited about the prospects this holds for us, on multiple fronts.

We’re also working on building stronger Alumni Groups across NC. Be sure to check out the upcoming events and make plans to join in. It’s so important for us to be supportive of one another, whether we’re new to recovery or have decades under our belt.

Here are a few other things to note that are happening at the Hall:
• A new facilities maintenance building is under consideration for our maintenance folks
• Improvements and updates to our parking lots are also under discussion
• We are excited to welcome Malachi House as our fifth partner provider as part of our Partner Scholarship Program. They’re here in Greensboro and offer long-term housing with social supports and ongoing substance use disorder education – a perfect partner for this program
• In February, we welcomed Watson, our new Therapy Dog – everybody loves Watson!

I do want to note that we lost our long time Board member and Chairman of the Board, Jerry Shelton, to cancer in Dec of 2019. I knew Jerry for over 25 years and served with him for nearly 4 years in his Board capacity. The recovering alcoholic and addict had no better ally and champion then Jerry Shelton. We miss him.

I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at a Zoom meeting, some of which Fellowship Hall will be hosting for Alumni. As of today, we are still making plans for our golf tournament and conference in late summer. We’ll keep you up-to-date if there is a need to change our plans. For the latest information on any of our upcoming events, go to or stay connected with us on our Facebook or Instagram pages

We appreciate your support and we want to be there for you. If you need us, reach out. Stay well, stay safe, take care of your recovery and help those around you where you can!

In loving service,
Mike Yow


Setting Boundaries by Heather Bland, MAEd, NCC, LCAS-A
FH Counselor

What’s a Boundary Anyway?
Boundaries are limits we set in relationships to take care of ourselves. They are guidelines we establish for people in our lives that teach them how to treat us. Boundaries are ours and ours alone, no one can set them for us, nor can we set other peoples. They are not attempts to control someone’s behavior. They are not contracts, threats, or ultimatums.

Huh? Give Me an Illustration.
Boundaries are like a fence we put around our yard. The fence is there for three reasons: To keep people from harming us, to keep us from harming others, and to remind us what is our responsibility. Carrying this example further; a good picket fence keeps the neighborhood kids OUT of my yard, keeps my crazy puppy IN my yard, and reminds me that it’s time to MIND WHAT IS MINE (mow my yard or pull weeds). My fence does NOT control what the neighbors are doing outside of my yard, or block the road so that crazy drivers can’t pass. We are not in control of other people. We set boundaries to protect ourselves, not to try to change others.

So how do I do this?
When setting a boundary, start with a need that you have that isn’t being met or a feeling you have had that you want to change. For instance: “needing your loved one to communicate without yelling” or “feeling angry that phone calls or texts aren’t returned in a timely manner.”

Then identify what you DO need or want. In these instances, those might be “I want calm communication” or “I want a relationship with someone who responds when I reach out.” This part is important. Looking at what we DO WANT allows us to see what we can do to get our needs met without expecting another person to change.

The last step in setting this boundary is coming up with how YOU will get that need met. For example, “I want and need calm communication” becomes “I will step away from our talk until you can communicate calmly” or “I will call someone supportive who is calm and whom I can talk to.” “I want a relationship with someone who responds when I reach out” is followed up with “I will stop reaching out until you are healthy enough to reply to me” or “I will reach out to supportive people who respond.” In this way, boundaries help us get our needs met but aren’t dependent on another person changing.

Boundaries are not rigid walls. However, they are not up for debate or dispute either. In relationships, both parties are responsible for setting and enforcing their own boundaries. A “boundary” that we set but don’t enforce is actually not a boundary at all, it’s a threat. Threats don’t work to get our needs met. Boundaries allow us to have compassion, understanding, and respect for others and ourselves. Key components of recovery for both the people suffering from addiction and their loved ones.


Who is this guy? Redneck? Mailman? Real Estate Mogul? What up with the mustache?

Remembering Jerry Shelton
1951 – 2019

By Matt Burkett

On Monday, December 9, many of us gathered to remember our friend. I am grateful to have known and walked a while with Jerry Shelton. He was authentic. I had other sponsors, but he was my best friend in recovery. He taught me how to lead. He taught me about bluegrass… it’s really good music. He taught me how to hunt at this magical place called Dry Fork, Va. He taught me the 90-10 rule and that I wanted to be one of the 10% who do 90% of the work. He taught me sobriety. He was a ripple maker and he made ripples in my and my families’ life.

Who is this guy?
Jerry Shelton served as a long-time board member at Fellowship Hall, joining the board in 2008. In 2016, amid a leadership change at The Hall, Jerry accepted the position as Board Chair. I wasn’t on the Board at the time, but when he asked me to join in 2018, how could I refuse? This was a man who freely gave himself to help others along the path to recovery. This was a man I respected.

Redneck? Mailman? Real Estate Mogul? Yes… and so much more!
I believe Jerry tried to live his life as a living example of what love looks like. He gave us straight answers. He asked the tough questions. And he laughed a lot! Jerry knew what it meant to live life to the full and the secret was giving it away. As his good friend Dr. Davis told me a few nights before Jerry passed, “I have never had a sponsor like Jerry, he has shown me so much and now he is showing me how to die.” Dr. Davis couldn’t have been more right and said it better. This was a man so many of us loved.

And his legacy will live on!
Thanks to Jerry and his leadership on the Board of Directors, Fellowship Hall remains strong and continues to fulfill its mission of saving lives – but in pure Jerry fashion, he left his mark behind with a gift from his estate that will fund the construction of a facilities maintenance building on the FH campus. To honor his work and personal dedication to recovery and for helping the newcomer and the old-timer alike, find a way to stay clean and sober, Fellowship Hall has created the Jerry Shelton Champion of Recovery Award. This special award will be presented to a deserving individual that embodies Jerry’s spirit of compassion and care at the Walk for Recovery, slated for April 26, this year. I hope you’ll join me, and so many others, as we celebrate this outstanding individual and remember all that he stood for.


Join us for a FREE community event to CELEBRATE RECOVERY and spread the news that treatment can work. We’ll come together to show living proof that recovery from alcohol or drugs is possible!

EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Whether you’re in recovery, know someone in recovery, or want to support your family, friends, and neighbors – everyone is invited to help us build a healthier community.





Friday • July 31 2020 @ The Cardinal by Pete Dye

Ray Alexander, Jr., understood well that recovery is a process of change and that managing the disease of addiction requires making healthy choices, having a stable and safe place to live, and having relationships and social networks to provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

For Ray, the best way to build a support system was spending quality time with friends on the golf course. It wasn’t unusual for him to ask someone new to recovery to hit the links with him. He believed it was important to show the newbies that having fun on the golf course did not require adult beverages. Ray understood that building a strong support system is the foundation for establishing long-term recovery.

In 2001, after his untimely passing, Ray’s friends came together to celebrate his loving spirit with the E. Raymond Alexander, Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament. For 19 years, the tournament has celebrated Ray’s legacy of love and hope while providing financial support to Fellowship Hall. Proceeds from the tournament are used to support Fellowship Hall’s Family Program with free tuition for one family member for each guest in treatment. Hundreds of families have been impacted with the tools the Family Program provides. Last year, 678 family members attended the Family Program.

Each year, volunteers raise support for Family Program Scholarships through sponsorships. Platinum, Gold & Silver Levels offer teams. Players may also register independently, but registration fees only cover the cost of play, lunch, and prizes and do not provide scholarship support.


Player registration will open in June


YOU’RE INVITED! 2020 Conference

Join us for Fellowship Hall’s 70th Conference for a recovery weekend!

True to this year’s theme, “Moment of Clarity” – Conference brings together our recovery community for inspiration, encouragement and fellowship. Don’t miss this once-a-year event to recharge!

Make it your personal retreat and stay at the Greensboro Marriott Downtown. We have a special room rate of just $132 per night, if booked by July 12, 2020. To reserve your room, call 336-379-8000 and ask for the Fellowship Hall Conference Rate.



BOARD NEWS: FH Welcomes new Board members!

Welcome Jack Register, a licensed clinical social worker and addiction specialist. Jack has years of experience working with adolescents and adults struggling with addiction.



Welcome Tod Collett, owner of Tod Collett Builder, Inc. Tod brings a wealth of business experience and a passion for helping others build a life in long-term recovery.



Welcome John Wood, a retired MD who specialized in radiology. He moved to Greensboro from Winchester, VA.He is a big fan of Fellowship Hall and is looking forward to serving.



Grateful for Faithful Service

We are always thankful for the individuals who commit and faithfully serve on our Board of Directors, ensuring that we continue to meet the goals of our mission while remaining fiscally responsible. This year, we give thanks for Ronnie Yeatts and Robert Lazorik, both of which resigned from service due to growing demands in their careers. We’d also like to extend our deepest sympathies to Athena (Tina) Harris who lost her husband Cliff in January and to the many friends and family of Jerry Shelton, who served as Board Chair and passed in December.

Fellowship Hall Foundation

In January, the Fellowship Hall Board of Directors activated the Fellowship Hall Foundation whose mission is to maintain the financial security of the Hall through effective financial decision making. The Foundation is lead by a separate Board of Directors. We are grateful to these individuals for the gifts of their time and talents to support our organization.




Are you frustrated by the stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder
– the looks, comments, and assumptions that others make?

APRIL 21, 2020 • 6-8pm … RSVP TO GET THE ZOOM LINK

Here’s what we’ll cover:
• The laws that have been put into place based on these misconceptions
• How stigma stops those who need help from seeking it
• How some law enforcement or emergency services individuals treat individuals suffering from addiction because of stigma.
• The facts on Narcan, overdose, recovery, and more



ON CAMPUS… What’s new at the Hall?

Welcome Watson! Next time you’re on campus, be on the lookout for Fellowship Hall’s new therapy dog, Watson! Watson, who lives with his owner and FH Counselor Heather Bland, joined the FH Family Program team in February. Heather and Watson will transition to the Extended Program in April.


Paul Carter Retires! After 20 years on the Fellowship Hall maintenance team, Paul Carter says it’s time for some rest! Paul’s last day on the job was Friday, April 3. Join us in wishing Paul a happy retirement!





We’re planning Family Picnics & Fun for our alumni in May and June, COVID permitting. Check our events page for the latest information and registration updates.

October 18, 2020 in Downtown Greensboro – Register Now!

July 31, 2020 at The Cardinal Country Club in Greensboro – Sponsorships Available!

July 31 – August 2, 2020 at the Marriott in  Downtown Greensboro – Register Now!

September 19, 2020 at the O.Henry Hotel in Greensboro, NC – SAVE THE DATE!

September 26, 2020 for a nice country ride to Fellowship Hall – SAVE THE DATE!

VISIT for the full details and registration information!