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.