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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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Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Ashley Harris — Recovery Mentor

Ashley Harris, Recovery Mentor, has been with Visions since 2011. She is one of the bright lights that graces our facilities and touches the lives of our clients and staff alike.  Ashley Harris is one of those people who make me smile at the mere thought of her. She motivates and inspires those around her to embrace life and its challenges with verve, honesty and presence. She skillfully uses humor to break the ice and to make people feel at ease and she has the ability to soften the hardest heart. Ashley retains a sense of youthful joie de vivre while maintaining firm boundaries, earning a deep sense of respect from those who get to work with her.

 

The staff echoes my sentiments about Ashley. Read on. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Ashley cares deeply about our kids and is a great role model.  She is reliable, dedicated, and passionate about her work.  She has a great sense of humor, and never takes herself too seriously.  What an asset to the Visions family.  High five Ashley! – Patrick Schettler
Ashley Harris is truly the gem of Visions. Her unconventional style truly reaches all Visions clients because she openly acknowledges her journey through recovery and celebrates everyday of it. Ashley holds no punches, and says the things we all wish we had the gall to say! – Corrin McWhinnie

 

The “everything” girl. She’s got it all.  – Mie Kaneda

 

You can trust her with your darkest secret then share your dirtiest joke right after. – Roxie Fuller

 

I first met Ashley on her first night shift and immediately I knew she was going to be part of the family.  I’ve seen Ashely grow into a strong, positive example of what we look for the clients to aspire to.  She is a great role model for women in recovery and always brings a smile and laughter into the room where ever she is! It’s truly a blessing being able to work alongside her! – Nick Riefner

 

Ashley Harris is Visions’ face of social media!  Her photos are worth a thousand words…Ashley’s excitement for our team and the families we help is so easily captured in photos.  Harris and Hoban selfies are without a doubt some of my favorite posts! — Christina Howard Micklish 

 

Read on for Ashley’s answers to our 10 questions. Her wise wit is well-played!

 

1: What makes you laugh with complete abandon?  

I laugh a lot every day- usually at inappropriate humor. I love a good “That’s What She Said,” and potty humor is a weakness. My cats make me laugh a lot too. Lately, I’ve been finding myself laughing at my own ridiculous thoughts–the things I get mad about and daily frustrations now tend to make me smile and realize it’s not that serious.

 

2: Are you a landlubber or seafaring lass?   

I’m comfortable with both. There’s something incredibly calming about the ocean though. For the first 6 months of my recovery it was my higher power.

 

3: Do you sing in the shower?

Yes! Who doesn’t? My neighbors probably don’t appreciate it but it happens. I turn into Whitney and Adele as soon as the water starts. On rare occasions I think I’m Biggie.

 

4: SuperMan or Lex Luther at 6 Flags? 

 Lex Luther, hands down.

 

5: Funniest April Fool’s day stunt? 

People are always shocked by my lack of participation in April Fool’s day. I guess I just assume that people are too paranoid that day to really fall for anything so I do it throughout the year to keep people on their toes! I usually just try to scare people as much as possible.

 

6: Top three things on your bucket list are:

Oh man. This one is tough.

1. I want to travel. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland.

2. When I was 12, I promised myself I would live in Australia for at least a year.

3. Have as many people say “You’ve changed my life” to me as I’ve said to people in my life.

 

7: If you could say anything to your teen self, what would you say?

I would tell myself it gets better. Everything always does. I struggled with a lot of various issues as a teen and I wish I could give myself the kindness and compassion that I now have for myself. I would tell myself to slow down and take time for me. But knowing me, I wouldn’t have listened.

 

8: Would you rather sing karaoke or do stand-up comedy?

Karaoke for sure–But not alone. No one wants to hear that, unless it’s a Pearl Jam song. I can do a killer Eddie Vedder impression.

 

9: What superhero are you?

DA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAAAAAAAN

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions? 

I love Visions. I love the clients and the opportunity I get to help them. It’s amazing seeing them come in wounded and scared and watching the light come on. They get their fire back. Being a part of that process blows me away on a daily basis. Some of the best people in the world work with Visions and they’ve taught me a lot about the industry, relationships, and myself. Visions really is a family–we fight and bicker sometimes but at the end of the day we all have each other’s backs and it’s incredible.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery

We Are Celebrating Chris Shumow

Twelve years ago, Chris Shumow set out to create a treatment culture that cared deeply for both staff and clients.  The Visions Family is lead with Chris as Dad.  Day to day, he is dedicated to making sure Visions is providing treatment at its fullest potential.

 

Chris constantly pushes for what’s best for the kids and their families.  He is still on the frontlines after all these years taking intake calls and welcoming families on campus in their deepest times of struggle.  Chris is dedicated to working hand in hand with his clinical team, always pushing his team to think outside the box.

 

Shumow maintains a strong focus to keep Visions as a strong company, but he never forgets to care for each staff member as an individual.  It is clear to all who surround him that Chris’ top priority in life is to be the best father to his herd of 4 children. Chris often reminds all of us, “In order to provide the best treatment for teens and families, we must first take great care of our staff.”  This is evidenced in Chris’ every action.

 

The staff echoes this sentiment. Please read on!

 

Chris may be one of the most passionate and committed individuals for helping teens and families. Chris skillfully handles challenging situations with a gentle approach and determination to provide the best service to each family. I cannot think of a better person to have in my corner.  – John Lieberman

 

He scared me in my interview 8 years ago.  I’m pretty sure he only took a chance on me because I mentioned something about surfing to which he replied, “Surfers are good people.”  Chris is truly that…a good person.  I am forever in gratitude for the opportunities he has trusted me with.  I still have a lot to learn from him.  – Christina Howard

 

I can’t imagine a cooler boss.  He’s just ridiculously kind, humble, down to earth, and hilarious.  Understanding, generous, smart, the list goes on and on. – Jesse Engdahl

 

I met Chris Shumow some 12 years ago and took a chance with him on a company called Visions. He took a chance on me and I am still here. So, after 12 years I am still thrilled to come to work and I owe an infinite debt of gratitude to Chris (and of course his wife Amanda). Now we are both a bit older and much grayer, but all the more wiser and prosperous. – Daniel Dewey

 

He has always been a caring, interested and thoughtful boss. I feel fortunate. – Noelle Rodriguez

 

You can always count on Chris to tell it like it is, he’s such a great, loyal, humble man. — Roxie Fuller

 

I have learned so much from Chris about the work we do, but nothing resonates more than his insistence on always staying focused on the solution.  The culture we have at Visions starts with him, this whole thing was his idea after all. – Patrick Schettler

 

It has been clear to me from day one that Chris cares about his “kids” more than anything else.  I remember sitting in an office with him and tearing up about one of the clients who had gone off to college. “This is why we do this,” he said.  His commitment to the health and well-being of the clients is why I’m still here after 9 years. – Joseph Rogers

 

I have worked with Chris for twelve years and he always operates with the best interests of our kids and parents in mind. – Bill Hoban

 

Fair, trustworthy, hardworking, loyal, and consistent are just a few words to describe Chris in the workplace.  Who knew when we started 12 years ago with 6 beds and about as many staff that our “vision” would come to life the way it has?  Chris has been on call for 12 of those years answering thousands of calls from desperate families 24 hours a day.  He has become such an amazing leader and really has grown from the “operations guy” to the true CEO he is.  (Although we hate titles!)  He is well respected in the field of addictions and mental health. He is my partner in every way and I am so proud of his hard work. – Amanda Shumow

Categories
Adolescence Family Parenting Recovery

In Honor of Father’s Day: Celebrating Visions’ Dads

It’s Father’s Day weekend and we want to honor some of the fathers we have here at Visions. Stepping onto the path of recovery includes working with dysfunctional root systems, which includes parents that aren’t emotionally and in some cases, physically there for us. However, the recovery process also presents another opportunity: The chance to view others in a positive light, and to be able to look at some of the men in our lives who are good and present fathers with what the Buddha calls sympathetic joy.

 

Our founder, Chris Shumow is a great example of this. I often look toward Chris with great admiration and hope, excited to see a man who has not only turned his life around in terms of recovery, but who has taken the helm of parenting and gone to great lengths to be an amazing father. It’s a relationship he treats with deep respect, humor, love, and joy, and it’s an incredible thing to watch.

 

Our Director of Operations, John Lieberman, is another dad that has transcended that which we assume parenting should be. John is a wonderful example of what it means to be an engaged, supportive father. He’s also a grandfather, and I have to tell you, seeing him talk about and rave about his granddaughter is remarkable. He’s also playful in a way that makes anyone around him know that he is a kid at heart.

 

Daniel Dewey, our Residential Director of Education, is not only a seasoned father, having a burgeoning adult under his wing; he is also a new dad. There is something really beautiful and gentle about Daniel’s disposition. He’s accepting and kind.

 

There’s also Mason Rose, one of our Recovery Mentors and father of a young daughter. We were able to watch Mason’s metamorphosis from young man to father, and it’s been really inspiring. Vito Romani is another one of our amazing young dad’s! He and Mason both grace Visions with regular visits from their little ones. There really is nothing like seeing these young, proud papas with their daughters. And John Johnstone, one of our Recovery Mentors is one of the most dedicated dads I know. He is willing to talk about the tough stuff, show up, love unconditionally, and maintain a sense of humor. That’s inspiring!

Last, lets not forget the role of the step-father: Joseph Rogers, Education Coordinator stepped into the role of fatherhood over 6 years ago and has been able to navigate the treacherous waters of forming a partnership and taking on part of someone else’s role with great kindness and compassion. I can say from watching this one up close and personal that the role of step-parent is often the role of the real parent, and taking that on is a challenge. It’s been really inspiring to watch Joseph do this in the way that he has.

 

The role of a father is not always easy, but we are fortunate at Visions to have a group of men in our midst that consistently show up for their kids. These men show up in the same way to our clients, showing them that the father role has the potential of shifting toward love and acceptance. Father’s day can elicit a varied set of emotions for our kids and for us as parents. They can range from untended loss, or expectations, abandonment, and deep grief rising internally around parents that were never available for us, be it physically or emotionally. The recovery piece is finding our voice amidst that loss. Sometimes it wobbles. Sometimes it screams. But it’s there, waiting to come out. Knowing and working with good men in our recovery can help heal that wound and allow us to experience sympathetic joy instead of anger and resentment.

Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen. You are truly an inspiration.

Categories
Recovery

The Tween Years: Visions Adolescent Treatment is 12!

Visions Adolescent Treatment just celebrated its 12th birthday and we entered our tweens with a bang!  So much has happened in the last 12 years of providing exemplary care for teens and their families, we really wanted to celebrate. Since our beginning in 2002, Visions has expanded our programs to include:

 

NeXT Extended Care Program. Located in Santa Monica, NeXT is a gender specific program for individuals ages 15-18 years old. At NeXt, teens work in conjunction with therapists and receive therapeutic services as well as support in outside educational environments.

 

LAUNCH, our outpatient lifestyles program for young adults, which focuses on teaching young adults necessary life skills as they enter adulthood, i.e., vocational, educational and social needs all under the supervision and encouragement of a therapeutic staff.

 

And over the last 18 months, our entire staff, starting from the top down, has been educated in DBT and is now DBT informed.

 

Visions has a lot to celebrate and an incredible community to celebrate with and we are extremely grateful. We had a packed house at the Victorian in Santa Monica, which included recovery professionals from all over Los Angeles and Orange County.  There was an amazing tower of cronuts from Nobelle Cakes  that were divine!

 

In addition to the wonderful company and food, Terra Hollbrook, MSW, LCSW, CADC, did a fantastic presentation during lunch, talking about our Three-Day Family Intensive program, which launches in June. Terra spoke about the importance of treating the entire family, which includes looking at the varying degrees of codependence and trauma within the family root system.

 

While we have a lot to be proud of, we still maintain our foundation of being a founder driven, family oriented company. We are a team, plain and simple, and we nourish and care for our families as well as our staff. We are always seeking ways in which to broaden our horizons in order to maintain a clinical culture of excellence. Visions Adolescent Treatment is excited to continue to grow and continue to provide families with well-rounded and compassionate treatment. Onward to lucky 13! Thank you all for celebrating with us. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Check out the gallery of pics from the event! [slideshow id=7]