In This Issue
1. Welcome Letter
2. Quarterly Alumni Social Events
3. Inspiration - Share Your Story
4. Alumni Support Group Meetings
5. "Spotlight" Featured Alumni
6. Quote Corner
7. "Thoughtful Moment's"
8. Article: Has it been a year of growth?
9. Alumni Outreach
10. Keys to a Successful Recovery
11. Buddy Program
Alumni Support Meetings
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. Alumni, Let's support one another!
Alumni support group meetings are a time to share your experience, strength, and hope with other fellow alumni of Lakeview Health. We encourage our newest alumni to attend these support meetings to meet with other alumni who have put time and effort into their recovery. This is a way to inspire and motivate each other and maintain abstinence for years. Whatever your sobriety date come join fellow alumnus as we travel this road of recovery! Sharing our journey in recovery, with the ups and down of living, provides each of us with a different perspective and hope to keep moving forward as recovering addicts and alcoholics.
1900 Corporate Square Blvd
We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at Lakeview Health North (game room). The physical address is:
Jacksonville, FL from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. Please join us on the following dates:
Tuesday, January 17th
Tuesday, March 20th
Broward and Palm Beach County
We meet the 3rd Monday of the month at Gizzi's Coffee Shop located at 2275 S. Federal Highway, Delray Beach, FL. From 6:00pm to 7:00pm. Please join us on the following dates:
Tuesday, January 16th
Tuesday, February 20th
Tuesday, March 19th
"Spotlight" Featured Alumni
What is your sober/clean date?
May 24, 2010
What are you recovering from?
What made you decide to come to LVH for inpatient treatment?
I needed help. I had tried to quit numerous times on my own without success.
Did you make the decision on your own, or did your family, work, courts, church help you with the decision?
I decided on my own- and very quickly. I had called in sick to work on yet another Monday, and was feeling especially ill. I was shaking, I could barely walk, and nothing was helping the horrid hangover-or the incomprehensible self demoralization I felt. I called a 1-800 number and told the person how I was feeling.
Then, I called my husband at work and told him I needed help. He came home and within 3 hours, I was at the front door of Lakeview. For me, telling my parents, family members and co-workers that I had a problem with alcohol and needed help, was the step I needed to take to make it 'real' for me. I was asking a lot of people to make sacrifices so that I could get help and hopefully come out a sober member of society. So I felt like I had a responsibility to give recovery my utmost effort. They believed in me, and I wanted to give them a reason to believe.
What did you learn about yourself and your disease while you were at LVH?
I understand the concept of the disease of alcoholism, and how progressive it is. Seeing the devastation that drugs and alcohol had on other lives, and hearing the same recurring stories and patterns over and over, and hearing 'me too', made me more aware of the importance of getting and staying clean. I identified with these people, and with their struggles to get sober. Some of us had more on the line than others, more to loose such as losing children, jobs, homes, marriages, or jail. But at the end of the day, we were all there because we had made a decision that we desperately wanted to live differently, and we didn't know how to do that without help. I also got a lot of insight into my character defects such as control issues and unrelenting standards and I learned great coping mechanisms so I don't get overwhelmed when it is life on life's terms. The exposure to AA and seeing examples of how people were doing this everyday when I was in early recovery was monumental.
While in treatment you were introduced to the idea of changing people, places and things. What changes have you had to make on your journey of recovery?
I have been lucky I didn't have to make a lot of changes to my surroundings that I wasn't okay making. I still hang out with friends who drink, but I need to make sure I'm spiritually fit, and I limit my time around them. I make sure I always have my own car, so I can escape if needed, and I always leave if things get too out of control. I actually have a pretty low tolerance for hanging around with drunken people. The biggest changes I've had to make are related to me, how I choose to perceive situations, and how I react accordingly.
How do you maintain your sobriety today?
I make a conscious decision not to pick up that first drink. I know for me that one is too many, and 1000 is never enough. I pray, I read the Big Book, I attend meetings and work with others, and I strive to do the next right thing. [If I have thoughts of drinking,] I play the tape all the way through; I know where drinking will take me and I am not willing to go there again. Life is beautiful, and I intend to enjoy it sober, one day at a time.
Having the opportunity to spend 42 days in a sober environment, learning about the disease and learning about my triggers, was invaluable. I left with tools in my arsenal that I knew would be key to my recovery. Inpatient treatment means you can't walk away'you can't give up if you have a bad day. You start learning how to deal with life on life's terms from day one- you are better equipped to return to your day to day life.
What would you say to someone to help them make the decision to go to in-patient treatment?
For me, inpatient treatment was the only route I considered. I was desperate to get it right. I knew I had tried and failed to quit on my own. I needed to remove myself from the daily temptation, and admit to myself and others (family, friends, employers, etc) that I needed help.
Give an example of a situation you have done differently since maintaining your recovery.
I am actually very protective of my sobriety and realize that I need to put it first. I have now established healthy boundaries with family and friends; and I realize it is okay to say 'no' to certain social situations and not engage in unhealthy dialogues. I say no to chaos when I'm actively working my program. I'm also very aware of relationships that do not bring out the best in me and know when to move on. I try VERY hard not to impose my unrelenting standard on others, and to be more flexible with those around me. I am still a work in progress.
Overall how would you describe your experience of inpatient treatment helped you to transition into the real world as a sober productive adult free from alcohol and drugs? Would you recommend inpatient treatment to someone?
I would definitely recommend inpatient treatment. In addition to learning more about the disease of addiction, you may learn why you struggle with it. Identifying patterns or triggers that make you use, understanding certain personality traits you and those around you possess, learning how others perceive you, and getting honest about your addiction- all can lead you down the path to recovery. Inpatient treatment will also get you exposure to AA, which will help you get connected with a group of people who you can identify with. We don't have to do [recovery] alone, and there is an easier softer way to live life - it's called sobriety and practicing the principles of AA in all our affairs.
"Unless it's out of the goodness of someone's heart, I don't like having things given to me for free. I like working hard for what I earn. It gives me a sense of gratitude, and that's the only way I can truly appreciate it."
- Sasha Azevedo
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Things do not change; we change.
- Henry David Thoreau
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
- Sir Edmund Hillary
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.
- Malvina Reynolds
Why do you do this type of work considering the challenges that you must face?
Robin Oleet Olson, M.Ed.
I told myself when I went back to college for my B.A. degree in 2000, and completed my Masters in Education in Counseling in 2002 both from Northern Arizona University; I 'never want to be a therapist in the field of addictions.' I have since learned not to use the word 'never.' Looking back I evolved into this position through my past jobs working with families, pregnant women, with emotionally and behaviorally at-risk adolescent girls in a residential treatment center. My own life experiences, especially that of a stay at home mom to three sons contributed as well.
One of the biggest challenges is learning accept and embrace change. Therapists and addicts alike need to learn to run with change and not let it define who we were or where we are headed. This is difficult for the therapist and the addict. As a therapist I ask: how do I adopt, utilize, and not personalize [issues; how do I help] each patient be the unique individual that he or she is. How do I help the patient gain insight so he or she can live clean and sober without losing one's own distinctive personality? How do I remove my personal feelings and assist the addict to face personal emotions without total avoidance?
I gain my strength from my patients. They empower me to seek insight on how I can support them in their process of recovery. They have taught me to be a better listener. In return, I give them support to change their lives, which is not easy for them. Yes, there are intense confrontations, opinions, tears, laughter and many other scenarios. But this work is what the addict needs since he or she mostly feels abandoned, not listened to or respected. This process is the start of their growth enabling them to trust, to become positive; [through this process] the seed for change have started. [The process] is not easy on either the therapist or the patient.
I honestly don't know why I do this work-- except I love it. I watch people who are negative about themselves develop into positive people who want a life they deserve. Being able to observe their change and developing expectations makes it worthwhile. The numerous calls or letters from past patients that I receive is worth more to me than hitting the lottery. Wait, this is my lottery!
Help Yourself by Helping Others
If a family member or friend is in need of help; call an Admissions Coordinator for advice. They can get you a copy of our Intervention Guide, a 'how-to' kit for convincing a loved one to get treatment. Call 1-800-884-1727
Has it been a year of growth?
by Joanna Painton-Hathaway
As the journey of 2012 begins, reflecting on how we have grown in recovery is helpful. Taking the time to reflect back on the ways we have changed, how our responses and reactions to things throughout the past year have been altered is helpful. When we recognize our growth demonstrated by overcoming our bad habits, we acknowledge and reinforce the new positive patterns of healthy living.
Through the 12 Step programs, we deepen our ability to learn, to be flexible, and to accept ourselves --imperfect as we are. The ultimate outcome is not guaranteed, but as long as we remain clean and sober we increase the possibilities of fulfilling our potential. As a result of seeking treatment and maintaining our sobriety, we create a quality, respectful life, beyond our wildest dreams.
I wish you all a year filled with light, love, and infinite possibilities -- one day at a time!
We are looking to expand our alumni services by offering support groups nationwide. We are looking for alumni that are interested in becoming a support group leader. The support group leader meets with other alumni once a month. He or she is responsible for chairing the meeting. This is a great opportunity to give back and help you in your own recovery. Having a meeting of alumni may be the one thing that will keep someone going if he or she is struggling in recovery.
If you are interested in becoming a support group leader, you must have at least a year clean and sober, attend meetings regularly, and work a 12-step program.
If you are committed to helping other alumni and yourself as a support group leader, please contact Joanna Painton-Hathaway at 1-800-833-9057
, or e-mail her at email@example.com
Keys to a Successful Recovery
Things to remember that will help reinforce your sobriety on a daily basis:
Attend 90 meetings in 90 days to create a healthy habit of meeting attendance.
Read the suggested literature of the program.
Listen to learn and learn to listen.
Find a sponsor that you can call on a daily basis and begin the process of forming a healthy relationship or friendship.
Complete step work to help propel your recovery forward, release the secret guilt we carry, and provide a road map for daily living. For many years, people have used the steps to maintain sobriety and to continue personal growth.
We are in the process of building a buddy program and need alumni to help. This program is designed to connect newly discharged patients with recovering alumni. The buddy system will help those just out of treatment stay focused while they build their local support group. If you are interested in becoming a buddy volunteer, you must have at least a year clean and sober, be attending meetings, and working the 12-step program. If you are interested, please contact Joanna Painton-Hathaway at 1-800-833-9057, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your participation will help you and others stay clean and sober. 'You have to give it away to keep it.'
Alumni Support Services Help Line
Help support long-term recovery and use our Alumni Support Services help line to refer others to Lakeview Health Systems for treatment. If you or someone you know needs help, call the Alumni Support Services at 800-833-9057 there are resources available.