Welcome to Our Fall Alumni Newsletter!
The fall is here! And, historically, with the fall we celebrate another gathering of the crops and the abundance that comes with the harvest. The leaves begin to change, if we live in North, and the fall fruits become plentiful. The seasons represent a cycle of change. Change whether seasonal, physical or emotional can provide us with abundance. Change in and of itself is not bad. Beauty is present within the change of seasons, as our fall foliage demonstrates. Change is necessary for growth-- it is a rule of nature.
Recovery has ups and downs for everyone and no one is exempt from feeling the joy and sorrow that can happen through life’s journey. We have so much to be grateful for, though sometimes our situation may be difficult. Staying focused on the gratitude through the change allows us to move gracefully through the change. We may not like the changes that are occurring, but change always offers us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and the world around us. If we embrace the lessons offered in the change, rather than fighting the change we release internal energy that can be used to our benefit.
Looking forward to this fall seasons holidays we can play during Halloween and give thanks during Thanksgiving. Fall is a time to reflect on family and friends old and new and develop new healthy friendships based on growth and healing. Recovery is based upon change. We value the opportunities to change that come in recovery and celebrate the abundance that comes with change.
Alumni Social Events Are Held Quarterly
On July 28, 2011, our "Summer Barbeque" took place with great success. Alumni flew in from across the nation to join in on the fun. It is inspiring to see alumni return to the facility, living productive lives and passing the message of hope to each other, staff and the people currently in the community.
On Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 6pm we celebrate another year of recovery with our annual Gratitude Dinner. This is the time of year when across the country Gratitude Dinners are taking place in every state of the nation. We look forward to seeing our alumni at this joyous dinner to celebrate. Recovery allows us the opportunity to live happy, contented lives filled with love, joy, and laughter. We can set goals and actually show up to achieve them. We want to hear from you, our alumni, whether you are celebrating a year or more. Your participation in this event is crucial for the ongoing recovery of us all.
For information about transportation or lodging, please contact our alumni department. RSVPs are required to ensure everyone has plenty of food. Please contact Joanna at 1-800-833-9057 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from all of you.
Inspiration for others can begin with you and your story.
Lakeview Health Systems’ program of recovery is based upon the concept that one alcoholic or addict can help another stay clean and sober. You can play an important role in helping others stay sober by sharing your own experience, strength, struggles, and hopes –your story. Sharing your story might just help another struggling alcoholic or addict to enter or re-enter treatment. It might also give another addict or alcoholic the strength to continue to maintain recovery.
If you would like to share your story, please call Joanna Painton-Hathaway at 1-800-833-9057, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
We are always open to ideas and suggestions for additional topics for our newsletter that will help you in the ongoing process of recovery.
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. "Spotlight" Featured Facility and Staff
7. Quote Corner
8. "Thoughtful Moment's"
9. Article: Recovery From Addiction Requires Change
10. Alumni Outreach
11. Keys to a Successful Recovery
12. 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 newly discharged to attend and have the opportunity to meet with other alumni who have more time. This is a way to inspire and motivate each other and maintain continuous sobriety for years. Whatever your sobriety date come join fellow alumnus as we travel this road of recovery!
We meet every three weeks at Lakeview Health North (game room). The physical address is 1900 Corporate Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. Please join us on the following dates:
- October 20th
- November No Support Group
- December 1st and December 22nd
Broward and Palm Beach County
We meet every month on 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:
- October 17th
- November 21st
- December 19th
"Spotlight" Featured Alumni
Jason G., 35 years old
What is your sober/clean date?
April 17, 2003 (was intoxicated upon arrival at Lakeview on April 16, 2003).
What are you recovering from?
The disease of addiction. I was an indiscriminate drug user. Although I had a preference for IV heroin and cocaine, I would, and did use anything I could get. My first drug was alcohol, and as it turned out, alcohol was the last drug I used.
What made you decide to come to LVH for inpatient treatment?
I was seriously contemplating suicide when a still, small voice spoke to me and suggested there might be another way. I picked up the phonebook and called the first number I found for drug treatment. I broke down on the phone with a man at a call center, admitting for the first time in my life that I had a problem and that I needed help. The man on the phone kept me talking and asked if I thought it would be beneficial to get out of town for treatment. I really had not thought it through to that point; I was just beaten and open to any suggestion about how I could get help. Fortunately I still had my job, and therefore my health insurance at that time. Once my insurance was approved, that was all I needed to know.
Did you make the decision on your own, or did your family, work, courts, church help you with the decision?
I made the decision myself. I had finally run out of excuses and blaming other people for all my troubles. I had been able to hide the worst of my behavior, keeping a job and holding up a façade for everyone else to see. In the end, the façade was crumbling. I could no longer keep up the act and my need to use was overwhelming all of my efforts to keep it a secret. My family knew I partied, but they had no idea just how much my life was controlled by the drugs. All those years I thought I was in control, but I was trapped in a downward spiral. Admitting that I needed help was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Telling my family was almost as hard, but they were very supportive.
What did you learn about yourself and your disease while you were at LVH?
One of the most important revelations that I have ever experienced came to me during my time at LVH. I was sitting in a counselor’s office explaining to her that my intellect was one of my greatest strengths. Then, she asked me to list my greatest weaknesses. Having just said that my intellect was far above average, I suddenly took stock of my situation. If I was really as smart as I’d always thought, then, I would be sitting in my therapist’s chair. I came to understand that what I had really learned to do with my “great intellect” was to rationalize and justify an incredible amount of insane behavior in my life. I learned that the person that I lied to the most was me. I learned that I have a disease which is progressive, incurable, and fatal if left untreated. I learned that I am powerless over my disease on my own, but that there is help available thru the 12 Steps and the fellowship of other recovering addicts.
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 had tried to get clean on my own, or at least, I’d tried many times to control my using. Each of those times I thought I could just continue doing the same things, going the same places, and hanging out with the same people. Every time, I failed. Then, I decided I would actually try something different. This time I would make every effort to change. It wasn’t easy to leave all of my old friends, but I found that the ones that really cared about me understood why I couldn’t hang out anymore. It wasn’t my friends’ fault that I couldn’t stay clean around them. I could never keep myself from comparing myself to them and convincing myself that if they could use, so could I. Somehow. I never looked at how unmanageable their lives were.
Since I have been in recovery, I have made many new friends. I have learned how to have a good time and enjoy life without drugs. Basically all of my friends today are in recovery. They are people with similar interests as mine, they are living life clean. We go to meetings together but, we also hang out for coffee, go out to dinner in groups, and go to movies and concerts, all sorts of fun, clean activities. I’ve even travelled cross country with some of my friends in recovery. When I was using, I could hardly do more than talk about going to fun places. My life today is truly better than I’d really thought possible when I checked in at LVH.
How do you maintain your sobriety today?
I took the suggestions that were given to me when I left Lakeview Health Center. I made a meeting as soon as I got home. I got phone numbers. I got connected with the NA Fellowship. I made 90 meetings in 90 days, and then I did it again, three more times. I got a sponsor. I got a home group. I work the Steps. I got involved in service work. Today, I still do all of those same things. I have been clean over 8 years and I still make at least 3 meetings every week. I am a phone line volunteer. I carry the message into treatment facilities and prisons. I have been given the opportunity to travel the country and meet other addicts from all over the world in service to Narcotics Anonymous. I always remember that I am clean, Just for Today. Actively taking part in my recovery in this way has kept me clean for far longer than I’d ever managed on my own. Also, I have real, great friends today. My relationships with my family are better than they have ever been. My whole life today is better than it has ever been, and it is all a direct result of being clean and in recovery and it just keeps getting better.
What would you say to someone to help them make the decision to go to in-patient treatment?
In patient treatment was invaluable to me in my recovery. I do not know that I could have gotten clean without my time completely immersed in a safe environment being nourished and cared for and taught the basic principles of recovery. Treatment gave me a jump start. I came out with 30 days clean, a roadmap for recovery, and a choice.
Give an example of a situation you have done differently since maintaining your recovery.
When I first got clean, I tried to hang out with my cousin, whom I had been living with and using with before going to treatment. He’d invited me over to order pizza and watch a movie. When I got there, some of our other friends were there, drinking beer. Then, they began to smoke pot and offered it to me. I sat there for a time and just got angrier and angrier. Finally, I got up, said goodbye, left, and called my sponsor. I told him how mad I was, and how I couldn’t believe that they would put me in such a situation. He promptly pointed out that I had put myself in that situation and that I had no right to be mad at them for doing what they’d always done.
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?
Inpatient treatment gave me some valuable perspectives on myself and about the disease of addiction.
What were some of the things you learned about yourself?
It truly helped me to see thru the lies I’d always told myself about being able to handle, or control my drug use. I left inpatient treatment armed with knowledge of how my disease works. I would definitely recommend inpatient treatment to someone battling addiction.
"Spotlight" Facility and Staff
|Awards & Newborns
Promoted to Director of Patient Support Services - 7/13/11
romoted to Clinical Director at Stepping Stones - 8/15/11 currently still running groups at Lakeview Health
Lindsay Morrow -
Case Management at Lakeview Health - had a baby girl - Allanah Morrow - 8/23/11
In life we don't get what we want, we get in life what we are. If we want more we have to be able to be more, in order to be more you have to face rejection.
- Farrah Gray, 1984-present
If you haven't forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?
- Dolores Huerta, 1930-present
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you, you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people."
- Abraham Joshua Heschel
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
-John F. Kennedy
I work in the field of addiction and mental health because of the rewards associated with helping patients make changes and grow. I enjoy working specifically at Combined Resources. I work with a team of people who have a passion for and find fulfillment from helping our patients recover and change their lives.
I am rewarded and inspired by assisting in our patients' e six week journey through treatment. Observing and sharing in their challenges, their growth, their good days and the hard days, gives me the desire to come to work everyday.
I have had the opportunity in the past to work with children, families, and chronically mentally ill adults. Although I found working within these populations rewarding, it does not compare to the fulfillment I receive by working with patients who are dually diagnosed.
I see the transformation patients make as they learn about their addiction and how they can begin anew to live healthy lives. Watching as patients move through the process, shed their burdens, gain hope, and learns how to be healthy, makes everyday worthwhile in my career.
Mandy Jack, LMHC
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.
Recovery From Addiction Requires Change
by Joanna Painton-Hathaway
Recovery from any addiction requires personal change. It is impossible to change and do what you have done in the past and then, expect a different outcome. The clinical definition of addiction is a "compulsive repetition of a known behavior with adverse consequences”. Change is uncomfortable because it brings people into the unknown. Rather than face the unknown, even if it holds wonders, people will often return to old behaviors because it is easier to stay in what they know than to take a leap of faith into the unknown and be open to change.
Change is uncomfortable. However, once a person decides to change and then takes an action to change, there is always shift in consciousness. Surrounding yourself with people in recovery who understand the need to change helps empower you to keep engaging the process of change. Fighting change keeps one routed in sickness. It saps our energy and hinders our potential. In 12 Step rooms, we can find support for engaging the change no matter how difficult it may feel.
Change produces amazing results. Where there was always hopelessness there is hope, where there was anger there is now peace. These types of changes are profound and can create fear and anxiety within us. Having a sponsor and people around that are also engaged in the process of changing supports our efforts emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We find out we are not alone. The fall is a time of year to experience the joy of recovery symbolized in the changes in the environment: leaves changing. There is beauty in the change. The natural order of things is change--we are connected to that natural order.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
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 email@example.com.
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.