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.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Holidays Mental Health Recovery

Happy New Year!

New Year – Chinatown
© 2012 saritphotography.com

‘Tis New Year’s Eve and I have to say, 2012 has been amazing. We celebrated 10 years of service, continued our diligent efforts of care and expanded upon our mental health track, got a facelift at our Brentwood facility, and expanded our programs. We are blessed to have a team of people who are imbibed with the love and passion it takes to work in the field of recovery. Visions is a family, pure and simple, and whose primary purpose is to be of service to one another.

Over the past year, we have celebrated many of our team in our Anniversary blogs. However, we are far from done! The anniversary blogs will continue into 2013, so we can honor those whose altruism and sheer kindness form the foundational brick and mortar of the Visions team.

For those of you new to the path of recovery: stay connected. Your sober network provides a wonderful net on which to rest when things get tough or scary. The work of sobriety and mental health is a long process, but one that is well worth the effort. If I could say one thing to you at the end of this year it is this: when things get tough, or frightening, and the shadows of your trauma is looming, turn toward it. Sounds counter intuitive, but when we look directly at that which frightens us, we take its power. Shadows have the capacity to thin and dissipate, and in doing so, they eventually lose their opacity and their power.

It is with great excitement and joy that I wish you all a wonderful, safe, sober, and sane New Year. May the winds of change bring you love and happiness, and most of all healing to whatever path you’re on. Let yourself be loved. You are worth it.

Categories
Mental Health Prevention Recovery Self-Care

Visions Team Building

Visions has always recognized the need for staff team building. They understand from personal experience how intense it is to work in this field. Working in treatment, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our jobs and our purpose as treatment professionals. We strive to be the best, but in order for us to do that effectively, we must also care for ourselves. Visions fosters this self-care state by creating and encouraging team building activities for the staff, understanding that we are not going to be any good at caring for anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves first.  Airline attendants tell parents to use the oxygen before they administer to their children in an emergency. The same thing applies to us: we need to feed our minds, bodies, and spirits before we pass it on to others. Otherwise we risk working with a dry well, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Recently, Visions gave the staff a respite from the day-to-day rigmarole and took us on a team building  “Glamping” trip. I had no idea what Glamping entailed but I have to say, it was a welcome surprise. It’s camping with the comforts of home: beds, heat, running water, and a spa for those interested in a more luxurious stay. We stayed in gorgeous cabins nestled in a canyon by the beach where there was no shortage of wild animal sightings: owls, bats, deer, llamas, goats, skunks. There was even a camp cat that hung around and nuzzled up to a few of us! It was pretty amazing. Most importantly, it was a rejuvenating trip, and a perfect outlet for team building.  I only wish more of us attended.

For two days, we got to hang out in a non-professional setting and let our hair down. We were given a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other on a different level, which helped foster trusting, open relationships within the staff population.  Some folks hung out on the beach or in the water, some played bocce ball, a spontaneous football even broke out at dusk at one point which was pretty insane to watch.  Most of all, there was a lot of laughter and good-spirited jabs floating around. It was clear that this diverse group of people care deeply about each other and about those they care for. Our differences are viewed as strengths and most importantly, we are encouraged to be just as we are. What an amazing gift! We are a family at Visions, that much is clear. And what a wonderful family to be a part of.