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Alumni Feelings Mental Health Recovery

How Can You Stay Motivated After Treatment?

It’s important to stay motivated after you leave treatment. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds

Treatment provides a protective and supportive cocoon where clients can discover, lean into and heal from their difficulties.  One discovers a broadening network of support and a plan to maintain it. Still, it isn’t always easy to stay motivated. Some clients move back to their home state, where there isn’t quite enough support or where meetings and sober options are slim.  Phone conversations are helpful, but often times, there is a need for real-time human interaction. Skype or FaceTime are viable options here.

Here are some tools to help you make a solid plan to stay motivated:

  • Know your needs. Write them down. Be specific and spare nothing.
  • Have a list of people you can call and connect with on a regular basis that not only know your goals, but also will support them wholeheartedly.
  • Understand that there will be rough days. Getting sober doesn’t mean everything becomes perfect or that you live happily ever after. This is life, after all, and that means that stuff will happen. Some days, we will handle the difficulties with grace, and some days, we may fall. It’s ok. You are human.
  • Expectations: Are they realistic? Unrealistic expectations can create more suffering then good. Thoughts like, “If I stay sober, I’ll get ____” or “If I stay sober, so and so will love me again.” Getting sober provides the opportunity for change, but positive change takes time. Addiction and untreated mental illness caused harm and restoring the good requires a commitment to affecting this positive change.
  • Remember WHY you got sober. Some experience the “pink cloud” syndrome in early recovery, where everything is all sunshine and roses, but when that pink cloud dissipates, one is left with reality, and reality sucks sometimes. Especially when everything was so “perfect” for a period of time.
  • Make an effort to remember the good. According to Rick Hanson, Ph.D., in his book Buddha’s Brain, “Your brain preferentially scans for, registers, stores, recalls, and reacts to unpleasant experiences; as we’ve said, it’s like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones.” He goes on to wisely say, “The remedy is not to suppress negative experiences; when they happen, they happen. Rather, it is to foster positive experiences – and in particular, take them in so they become a permanent part of you.”
  • Journal daily, or write as close to daily as you can muster. This can help you process what’s going on, experience the negative and revel in the positive.
  • Gratitude lists: I swear by these. Even in the darkest of times, there are things to be grateful for. Write them down. Sometimes, the things you are grateful for are simple and seemingly plain, but they are something. Yes, that means if on Tuesday, you are grateful for toast, and hot tea, and a shower, it’s ok. Nothing is too small, or too insignificant.

Staying motivated means that you have an inclination of enthusiasm for what you are doing. Note the good that is coming from your recovery, the positive things that have arisen and the negative ones that are beginning to move through. You cannot magically think your way out of your troubles. Feel them, name them, and give them emotional space to heal; The only way out is through.

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Alumni Events Recovery

Alumni Family Weekend 2014: A Success!

The Alumni Family Weekend has been a celebrated piece of the Visions puzzle for several years. It has grown and evolved into a widely celebrated event involving parents, alumni, and staff. We always start out the weekend with an alumni-family dinner. It’s so nice to see families from years’ past as well as recent and current families. The dinner is a nice way to launch a weekend of recovery fun, service projects, and the inimitable Alumni vs. Staff softball game.

 

Roxie Fuller, our Alumni Coordinator did a phenomenal job planning this event with the help of her amazing support team, Chloe Huerta and Nick Riefner.  We had an incredibly diverse array of alumni in attendance along with their families. There were even a few alumni who brought their babies to introduce to the Visions family. What a beautiful thing to witness: our alumni’s transformation into parenthood and beyond.

 

This year, the service project included a pet adoption that the kids and their families could participate in. We have been proud partners with Free Love Animal Rescue in Brentwood since April and it was a pleasure to include alumni and current families in this service work. Working with animals can be a wonderful salve for the heart. Many of our teens volunteer with Free Love Animal Rescue during their time in outpatient, Launch, NeXT and at the Day School.

 

Our softball game was off the hook this year! It was Fiesta themed! Our bellies were full and happy thanks to the taco truck on site. We had a solid scorekeeper this year: Bill Hoban! And staff finally got our title back. We won fair and square. It was an amazing game and no one lost an eye! All in all, it was a perfect end to this year’s Alumni Family Weekend.

 

“What another fun and successful Alumni Weekend! It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and catch up on what our alumni have going on in their lives. Thank you so much to Chloe, Nick, and of course Miss Roxie! These three worked so hard and clocked in many man hours to put this event together.” – Lianne Domingo

 

“The weekend was awesome! Between the unity of the clients both current and past and the hardworking spirit of all the staff alumni weekend was again possible and exciting!” – Nick Riefner

 

“As a fellow alumni being a part of the team that plans the big alumni weekend was an honor. I had a great time seeing so many teens and families doing well. It was really cool to catch up with some alumni that I went to Visions with. I’m so happy so many people came out this weekend! I couldn’t have done it without Roxie, Nick, and Christina.” –Chloe Huerta

 

“This past weekend had me reflecting on how Visions continues to evolve.  We have become so much more than just a treatment center…Visions is a community proudly claimed by so many coast-to-coast and even world wide.  From Staff to Alumni Parents, Teens and now Young Adults…we all have a common thread…we are all Visions Family.” – Christina Howard-Micklish

 

We are grateful for the turnout and diverse array of alumni and their families that joined us this year. We know that no matter what happens in the lives of our alumni, they will always have a community ready to support them. Thank you to all who attended this year,  and a special shoutout to Roxie, Chloe and Nick for their hard work and dedication to making this year’s Alumni Family Weekend such a success. Until next year!

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Alumni Events Recovery School Service

Visions Cultivates Community

Walking into our Day School is emblematic of the cultivation of community. The kids are in support of each other, bonded by difficulty and a desire to change, and they are aptly supported by a team of a deeply compassionate clinical and support staff. On a given day, you may encounter laughter, tears, struggle, and frustration, joy, triumph, and accomplishment. And regardless of which of those experiences is present, they are held in a safe container of support; a container which is ultimately community.

 

A fear that is often present for teens in treatment is the suggestion that their peer group will need to change.  In a successful environment of recovery, that peer group does need to change. However, part of the recovery process includes the cultivation of a healthier, more supportive community of peers–a community that is desirous of shifting the old paradigm to one that is conducive to the mental health and stability they seek.

 

I asked Joseph Rogers, MDiv Canditate and teacher at Visions for 5 ways in which Visions helps teens cultivate community:

 

1: Engaging in social activities together. Visions supports weekly sober fun activities and recovery fun groups. Clients in our extended care have regular weekend activities such as paintball, beach trips, gardening, hiking, et cetera.

 

2: Having a spiritual support community such as Young People’s AA, where the young people are in charge of their own groups. This creates a sense of empowerment and encourages healthy independence.

 

3: Allow the clients to support one another. When a client asks if they can check in with another client, we almost never say no. It’s important that the clients see each other as a support system, especially post treatment.

 

4: Alumni activities. Keep our former clients in contact with each other and remind them of the support system they have in place. Our annual Alumni Weekend is a prime example of this. Additionally, all alumni are encouraged to come to the Friday night recovery meeting.

 

5:  Visions encourages alumni to sponsor current clients and to come back to work at Visions as employees. This way, clients can see the full cycle of recovery.

We are looking forward to seeing alumni and current clients and their families at the upcoming Alumni Weekend.  This community is at the core of what we do, and supporting families in their recovery is our heart.  It is always a joy to see our alumni thriving in their recovery and reconnecting with them.

Categories
Adolescence Alumni Events Recovery

The Annual Alumni Ski Trip! It’s Finally Here!

This is it: time for our annual Alumni Big Bear Ski trip,

Ski Bear Mountain (Photo credit: miheco)

and we are over the moon! It’s one of the favorite alumni events of the year, and the fact that 6 more weeks of winter have been predicted (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil!), and the fact that snow is falling, we are raring to go.

 

It’s always an adventure complete with community building activities, epic goofiness, 12-step meetings, fellowship, and a burrito-eating contest. Yes, you read that last part correctly. There’s a place in Big Bear that sells something called the “Big Juan” burrito. It’s a 4-pound burrito and if you can eat it in 45 minutes, you win a T-shirt. There is always someone willing, no matter the warnings of sickness and overwhelm.  It must be some T-shirt! We’ll post pics if someone dares to take this challenge.

 

The best part of this trip is the alumni community. Alumni are given the opportunity to reconnect with one another, bond and share stories of recovery, downfalls, and encouragement. Some come just for that, even though they don’t ski or snowboard. In fact, there has been many a time where alumni have helped each other out on the slopes, guiding each other down their first hill or their 100th.  Team work, fellowship, goofiness, laughter, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and the inevitable teen prank: It’s all worth every moment.

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Alumni Events Recovery

Alumni Adventure: Halloween Horror Nights

One of the most lauded alumni events at Visions is our Halloween outing.  This year is no different as we expand our adventure and take it to new heights: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, we are coming your way!  I hear it’s scarier, gorier, and more terrifying than ever.  Rumor has it, Halloween Horror Nights makes Knott’s look like kids’ play! Say it isn’t so!

 

The attractions are fraught with zombies galore, inspired by the Walking Dead as well as some much-needed comic relief. A little screaming, a little laughing: it’s all waiting for you! Check it out:

 

  • The Mazes take you through the “shadowy confines of the West Georgia Correctional Facility,” which of course is chock full of hungry zombies looking for…YOU. In the mazes, there is no “safe haven.”
  • Once you leave the West Georgia Correctional Facility, you can jump on the Terror Tram, where you will find yourself in a zombie filled town of Willbury. The wilderness is filled with “decaying Walkers.”
  • There is some comic relief available with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. I’m sure it’s like, totally most excellent as they take you through the madness of this year’s pop culture adventures.

The rides are there too, albeit scarier than the usual fare. Maybe you’ll be seated next to a zombie on one of these rides: Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park — in the Dark, and the Simpson’s Ride.

 

Of course there are also myriad scare zones throughout the park:

  • The Curse of Chucky is in the house, and he is ready to play hide and seek with you.
  • There’s the Purge, where you have to find a way to “survive the night.”
  • We can’t forget the Clowns, right? Those with Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) beware as you find yourself on clown-filled streets of Paris.
  • Next you may find yourself under the shadows of the Scarecrowz Tower, with a new breed of scarecrows waiting for you nearby.
  • And last but not least is the Walking Dead infestation. Stay together, y’all. Zombies are notoriously unpredictable.

 

The excitement for this event is brewing amongst the Visions kids and I can’t help but share their enthusiasm with you all here:

 

“I am so excited for the Visions Alumni event this Friday.  I really am looking forward to going to Universal Studios Haunted Horror Nights with all my new friends I have made at Visions and to see all the alumni kids.  It’ll be a great night for sure.”

 

“I can’t wait! I’m so ecstatic. I personally don’t like scary things, but I’m still so excited.”

 

“I like haunted houses and stuff so that will be cool.  I like sober fun and going with my friends. It will be fun.”

 

Whether you are alumni, a current client, or staff member along for this scary adventure, Halloween Horror Nights will be a night to remember.  What a cool opportunity to be a team: stay together and enjoy the ride! This is what sober fun is all about!

 

Categories
Adolescence Alumni Events Recovery Service

Visions Alumni Weekend, 2013!

The Visions Alumni weekend is fast approaching and we are really looking forward to three days of sober fun! Each year, alumni get a chance to reconnect with their fellow alumni, challenge the staff to a softball game, and engage in team building activities that are chock full of laughter and joy.  For us, it’s a pleasure to see the evolution of our alumni as they gotten more rooted in their recovery.

 

This Alumni Weekend is going to be stellar. Day one: We start the weekend off with an amazing dinner and bowling. Day two: There is an opportunity for service work during the day and a 12-step meeting in the evening. Day three: Softball and the pièce de résistance: we have the Grilled Cheese Truck firing up their griddle and making us sammys! I anticipate great fun.

 

Many alumni have called asking which staff members will be there because so many folks are looking forward to reconnecting. This is one of the many areas where we shine! We are the Visions family, and with that comes the inclusion of alumni past and present who rely upon us to be the bedrock in their recovery experience.

Without further adieu, here’s some baseball inspiration. We aim to for silliness and fun and we know you do too!

https://youtu.be/4uc7beYpGXM?t=4s

Categories
Alumni Events

Annual Alumni Event

Once again, we’ve happened upon that time of year for some organized, sober fun at our annual Alumni Weekend! In addition to the standard softball game that everyone invariably loves, there are a slew of other happenings ready for the taking. Haven’t RSVP’d yet? You still have time! The event is sure to be a blast for the entire family!

Aside from the planned activities, this weekend also proves to be a great time for reconnecting with alumni you haven’t seen in a while. It’s also an opportunity to discover how much fun you can have without the hindrance of drugs and alcohol. There was once a time when a party meant getting the various mind-altering accouterments “necessary” to have fun, only to find that the party wasn’t as full of jocular camaraderie as anticipated, mostly because you were too high to remember. Things are much different now.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our difficulties in relation to recovery, we forget how much fun we can actually have. As we begin to walk to the path of rediscovery as sober beings, we have a chance to experience life in a new, more conscious way. Sober, we relearn how to dance in the waves at the beach, explore our wonderful mountain ranges, ride bikes, swim, laugh with abandon, play softball, or just hang out with friends. We discover that  having fun is not only possible, it’s necessary. In my own sobriety, I’ve found that learning to laugh in the face of adversity is far more beneficial than succumbing to the self-deprecating call to numb out. To be honest, I’ve had more fun sober than I ever had using–I laugh more, and I experience life as a fully engaged human being.
So, dust off your sense of humor and free-spirited nature and come hang out with some old (and new) friends this weekend. There will be meetings, bowling, dinners, and of course, the now infamous softball game. What’s not to love, eh? Plus, the competition on Sunday will be fierce, with staff gunning to win their title back!
**You can RSVP by emailing: alumni@visionsteen.com or calling 818-889-3665**