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Tossing Negativity Into the Fire After Substance Abuse

Young and cheerful friends sitting and fry marshmallows near bonfire at night time on the nature

Every one of us goes through times where we feel bogged down by negative emotions, triggered by traumatic or stressful events, and just generally at the end of our ropes. All this negativity can bounce around our heads all day long, serving as continual reinforcement that leads us to feel burnt out, depressed, or anxious. Luckily, we don’t have to live with these thoughts. We can choose to let go and move on. Of course, it’s easier than it sounds. Getting to a place of self-actualization and confidence doesn’t happen overnight. A great way to get started is to take a physical representation of your negative thoughts, like a scrap of paper with a few thoughts jotted down, and destroy it, by tossing it into a bonfire (s’mores optional but highly encouraged). This is freeing and incredibly cathartic as one embarks on their recovery journey. Several of the Twelve Steps touch on making amends and becoming a better version of ourselves. Consider having a releasing ceremony around a bonfire with your closest friends, family members, or even just by yourself.

What exactly is a releasing ceremony? It’s a lot simpler than it probably sounds.

  • Write your most pressing resentments or negative thoughts down on a scrap of paper.

Journaling is already known as an excellent method for reflection and healing. Take that same principle of writing out what’s bothering you and apply it to a scrap of paper – just a shortened list of a few things that have been weighing especially heavy on your mind.


  • Toss the paper into the bonfire.

Once you feel that you’ve gotten everything in your head onto your scrap of paper, go ahead and throw it into the bonfire. Watch as the paper, filled with resentments and negative thoughts, slowly begins to burn and crisp up, then quickly disappears among the flames. The smoke produced from burning the scraps of paper floats up high into the sky along with the stress and anxiety weighing you down.


  • Toast up some s’mores and celebrate your new outlook!

Now that you’ve seen how easy it can be to let go and focus on positive things that truly matter, reward yourself (and your fellow friends around the fire) with some tasty s’mores. There’s nothing like some comfort food after an emotionally comforting experience. Who ever heard of a bonfire without s’mores anyway?!

Of course, your problems won’t just disappear after burning them up in a fire. However, you should now at least feel a bit less burdened. You confronted something that had been bothering you, looked it in the face, and tossed it away to disappear. Out of sight, out of mind. View this as the first step in a longer process of eventual healing and forgiveness, both to yourself and to those who have wronged you.


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.