Recovery is not a race.
It is a journey that is best approached in a slow and steady manner. It takes exceptional endurance, and fortitude. It demands dedication and commitment to a daily lifestyle transformation. It requires us to surrender, to learn vulnerability, and know when to ask for help. Often, it takes the help and support of a Massachusetts treatment center.
One Step at a Time.
Setting new goals for ourselves for a life in sobriety needs to happen slowly. Often, with baby steps. Understandably, people in early recovery are in a hurry to rebuild a life. Often, they are racing to get back to a life that they did not necessarily know how to live. Pressed and stressed by the damage and loss resulting from their addiction, it is only natural that they want to rebuild, and get moving on their goals and aspirations.
Slow and Steady.
Being in a hurry leads to hasty decision-making, which can spell trouble for individuals in recovery. Frequently, the goals and aspirations of the newly sober individual are not always very realistic. In early recovery, we often have grandiose expectations of what lies ahead in our journey through sobriety.
Of course it is good and healthy, to set goals and strive for achievement in life. Lofty goals, however, and unrealistic expectations are bound to come back and bite us, if we do not achieve them. If we give ourselves too little time for the goals that we set, we minimize our odds for success.
It goes without saying that if we try to set goals while we are still using, we are not going to achieve what we dream about. Our goals will be consumed by our addiction. All visions of success will vanish and die. As simple as it sounds, learning to ‘not pick up, a day at a time’, is no easy task. If it were, every addict would have gotten clean a long time ago.
Learning to Live Again.
Recovery is about learning how to live again. Any human being learning how to maneuver through life must first learn to crawl before they can walk, and before they can run. Our first “baby steps” start the journey. They are at the core of the momentum that will carry us into our later lives in sobriety. We learn to set a reasonable pace.
Becoming Part Of.
Many individuals who want to break the holds of addiction will enter a Massachusetts treatment center. While part of the program, they often commit to involvement in a community of recovery. Whether it is a 12-Step, or another support group, newly sober people benefit from joining and getting active in the community – committing to a service position within the group, and working with a mentor or a sponsor.
Finding a part-time employment opportunity, known as a “Get-Well Job”, is a great opportunity to get re-acclimated to the responsibilities of working, and dealing with the stresses that come with employment. Maybe we are over-qualified. But maybe that helps us to learn humility, and accountability. It is referred to as a “Get-Well Job” for a reason.
Every Journey Begins with a Single Step.
Allowing ample time to adjust to a life without drugs and alcohol is of paramount importance. We did not become addicted in one day, and it takes time to learn how to stay clean. Setting realistic goals, and having realistic expectations about our achievements in the early days of sobriety, help us to shape a manageable daily routine. One step at a time. Baby steps.
We have a tradition at Right Turn of ending each week of our intensive outpatient program (IOP) with a drum group. Clients and staff grab hand drums and percussion, sit in a circle, and play some improvised rhythms. There are no rules, and for non-musicians, the gentle learning curve of hand drumming can be a safe introduction into the world of playing music. It is a level playing field, and members can participate as much or as little as they want.
As the facilitator, I have witnessed many wonderful and profound moments in drum groups. It is not uncommon to see quick and noticeable changes in affect and mood as the power of music lights up faces of folks in early recovery. This includes clients in our intensive outpatient program who may have been experiencing symptoms of anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure) due to post-acute withdrawal. Drumming actually promotes the production of endorphins which are opiate-like neurotransmitters naturally produced in our bodies that give us a sense of well-being.
Some of our clients have stated that drumming represents a form of meditation for them. This is consistent with studies that have shown that the same areas of the brain that are active during drumming are also “lit up” during yoga and guided imagery meditation.
An important part of our IOP, the drum group is a safe place to experience the creative joy of making music. Experiencing joy without the use of substances is something many of our clients never believed was possible. The possibility of a fulfilling and creative life in recovery is one of the main goals of treatment at Right Turn.
– Jon Cohan CADAC (and drummer extraordinaire
The Journey to Recovery
When we begin on the path of early recovery from substance dependence, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is likely that we entered a Massachusetts treatment center in a state of chaos and disarray. Consequences are what provoked us to seek help. Life is an utter mess.
How Do We Begin?
The overwhelming notion of trying to put our lives back together proves to be difficult for us. Plagued by poor decision-making and subsequent loss, it is nearly impossible to grasp just how and where we should begin in our rebuilding process. Sometimes the process begins in a Massachusetts treatment center, a rehab facility or a 12-Step Program. Wherever our journey begins, the ultimate goal is to restore our life back to some semblance of happiness and order.
As we begin our journey, we can see the big picture. But the big picture is intimidating. And therein lies a threat to early recovery. History tells us that in the face of feeling overwhelmed, our typical response is to self-medicate, and self-destruct. But a life in recovery promises that we do not have to live as we once did. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, we can tackle the big picture by breaking it down.
Start with the Little Things
We have found from our experience that the big picture is often built from many manageable, smaller ones. A common phrase in the world of recovery says, “Keep it simple.” And we have come to understand how important that idea is.
Building a Foundation
A foundation is built by laying one brick at a time, until the strength of each stone, bonded to one another, makes up the collective base. If each brick is laid down with care and precision, the structure that we build upon it will be strong, and firm. If, on the other hand, we throw it all down hurriedly and haphazardly, the house will sink.
Learning to Live Again
Recovery is no different. We have to be simple in our approach to fixing ourselves. Recovery is about learning how to live again – and it starts with the small stuff. Learning to keep a consistent schedule, getting adequate rest, getting proper nutrition, learning to exercise our bodies, writing a resume for a job, going to a meeting, keeping our home clean and in order – and there are countless more. These small tasks are incredibly important to our recovery.
It is absolutely okay to take a measure of healthy pride into our mastery of these small tasks that make up our daily lives. When we add them all together, we begin to see that they make up the balance of our mental health, our self-esteem, and our community.
The sum of our big picture is equal to the many parts of who we are, and how we live. We begin to see that when it comes to the little things in life, there is nothing bigger.
Often described as “a family disease”, alcohol and drug addiction takes a tremendous toll on the loved ones of those who struggle with chemical dependence. Too often, the family members of the addicted are left without their own treatment and support. In fact, many are unaware of how the disease of addiction has affected them personally, and that they are greatly in need of attention themselves.
Families in Recovery
Being at the forefront of addiction intervention services in Massachusetts, Right Turn is well aware that recovery does not begin and end with one single individual. We believe in the strength and importance of community, and that the most important community is the one that we call family.
For this reason, we are proud to host a family support group every other Monday of the month from 7:30 to 9pm at our facility located at 299 Broadway in Arlington, MA. Our support group, “We are Family”, offers professional advice along with peer-to-peer support for family members who are experiencing difficulties due to a loved one’s alcohol or drug addiction, in addition to other mental health concerns. Call our front office for up-to-date scheduling.
“We are Family” Support Group
“We are Family” is open to the public, as well as the families of clients who are currently enrolled in our Intensive Outpatient Program and Supportive Housing for Men. Refreshments are served, and doors open at 7pm for those who wish to come early for fellowship with other families.
Coping Skills, Strategies…
Facilitated by our CEO and founder, Woody Giessmann, “We are Family” explores coping skills and strategies for those who have close relationships with persons who have completed, are currently engaged in, or who are in need of addiction intervention services. Woody has a longstanding professional career as a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor and board-registered interventionist.
Addiction is most certainly a “family disease”. But we are constantly amazed at the power of the “family recovery”. PEOPLE DO GET BETTER! Everyday, we are privileged to see the parents, spouses, and children of those struggling with addiction learn to persevere and heal the family bond in ways that are truly remarkable.
You’re Not Alone
We want everyone who is dealing with addiction at home to know that you are not alone in your journey, and that you are always welcome into our safe and nurturing home at Right Turn.
The resolutions of those who are still in active addiction often tend to take the form of grand pronouncements: “I will never drink again!” Or, “I will never take another drug” Despite having the best of intentions, there’s usually no concrete plan of action to seek addiction intervention services, or any real insight into the behaviors the individual is trying to change. In fact, resolutions are often made on New Year’s Eve or New Years day while under the influence of or hung over from the very substance they are resolving to quit.
Resolutions in the form of grand pronouncements are often unrealistic. Rather than resolving, “I will never drink again”, one might have a greater chance for success by resolving to seek addiction intervention services or to join a self-help fellowship. This is an attainable goal.
Saying that you will do or not do anything “forever” is simply too overwhelming. Resolutions regarding addiction have a much greater chance of being met in manageable increments. AA and NA suggest that we resolve not to use “one day at a time”. Success becomes measurable. Each sober day reinforces the resolution not to pick up a drink or a drug.
Recovery from drugs and alcohol is a PROCESS that often requires addiction intervention services. Our resolutions need to recognize the need for support and attainable goals.