Photo of La’Catherine (Left-Before/Right-After)
Every once in a while one of the many gifted and remarkably passionate people who have become Palm Partners Alumni through completing treatment submit to us a piece of their story in the form of writing, which gives us a unique perspective and intimate insight into the extraordinary transformation they experience in recovery.
Recently one Palm Partners Alumni reached out to us to share a piece of her personal story that is very intense, inclusive and inspiring. She articulates her addiction in an vividly honest way, and we felt compelled to share this gift of experience, strength and hope to inspire others.
Here is her story:
It all started when a series of unfortunate events unfolded, and I woke up in a detox. The closest needle in sight was a Uni-Ball needle point pen, not a syringe (which I preferred). There were no more drugs to take away the thoughts I was left with; just this pen and paper, so I wrote on July 17, 2012,
“how can I pretend to be alive, when I feel so dead inside.”
This was the ending of the beginning. Not only was I miserable, but I believed to the core of my being that I was a worthless human being, who was never going to make it. Truth be told, I found out it was I, who didn’t want to feel better about myself and my situation.
The day I met Heidi Bilonick was in a women’s group (that I would have rather not been in, but I was in rehab, so…); she was doing check-ins and when it came to me I said,
“I am Catherine and I want to die.”
I had every intention of doing my time in this treatment center, getting out and getting high again. If nothing changes, nothing changes, and I certainly did not want to change; rather I wasn’t even worth changing. The first few days seemed like ages, but days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. As the weeks turned into months, not only was I listening, but I started to hear.
Heidi helped me realize so many things. She helped me realize I had to go through my sore, in the literal and metaphysical sense, in order to soar. Like I play on words, she played on my emotions. When I began to feel those uncomfortable feelings I had been running from, there was no needle to stick in my vein to take them away, only Heidi’s shoulder to cry on. She showed me it was okay to feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly. She showed me that as one feeling enters and leaves, so does another and that is okay. This change in perspective has made the world of difference for me today.
I know where I am today is because I consciously made the decision to get better because I am worth it. I could not have done that without the help of Heidi in those first few months. Today I am over 3 years sober, and I am doing things in my life, I only dreamt of doing before. With Heidi’s life coaching and friendship, I have been able to turn dreams into reality; my story into acceptance and fuel to make it to the next level. I mean, seriously, I am accomplishing my dreams and actually happy and content with life.
I may not be where I wish to be, but I am happy with where I am at. Everything will happen in its time. I can and I will do anything I put my mind to; that belief in myself would not have been possible without the belief Heidi had in me, when I was incapable of believing in myself.
The past is etched into my skin, and the future, blank pages all around; I have the opportunity to write, and I am now willing to give myself a chance to be the ink, instead of letting those scars hold my past and future as one. I have Heidi to thank for that. I guess you could say that these unfortunate events turned out to be quite fortunate indeed.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners Alumni out there have so much beauty to share with the world, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
What is Recovery Coaching? A Brief Description
Recovery Coaching Programs are designed to empower you as an individual as well as your many different roles in life: a partner, a parent, a sibling, an employee/employer, etc. with the information and accountability you need to achieve the results you desire in life in recovery. Your recovery coach will meet with you to design your personal recovery strategy and will educate, provide resources, and tools to help you achieve the life you really want. The main goal of recovery coaching programs is to provide you with more ways to ensure your long-term success.
What is Recovery? Coaching: Specifics
Recovery coaching involves safe, effective and proven methods to supporting your plan of recovery from active addiction. A big part of the recovery journey is finding the best coach for you, based on your goals as well as personality – you want to find a good fit. You and your Coach will define your future clearly, share positive outcomes, and set goals for the next session.
A coach can help you develop a life vision, identify what has been holding you back by assessing your patterns and belief systems, determine new resources, and develop a plan to make the changes that you agree to make personally, professionally, as a family, or in your relationship. Coaching is always future oriented and always from a position of support.
What is Recovery Coaching: Who is a Recovery Coach?
A recovery coach is professionally-trained and can provide support, encouragement, validation, accountability, and insight into who you are and what you can become as well as challenge you to strive to meet your goals.
A recovery coach is a trained professional who can assist you in clarifying your vision for life and help you to plan your own desired results. A coach helps you to put your thoughts, desires and goals on what you want to do with your life into reality.
A recovery coach empowers you to make your goals a reality. You and your coach will brainstorm strategies together to keep you moving forward.
What is Recovery Coaching? Benefits of coaching
- Get results
- Get clarity on your future goals
- Create a plan for life
- Have an accountability partner
- Make the changes happen in your life you have always wanted
- Find solutions to your challenges
- Learn from the challenges
- Learn to appreciate yourself as a thriving, deserving human being
What is Recovery Coaching? Coaching vs. Therapy
Therapy deals with the past and assists an individual in clearing blocks which will place an individual, partnership, or family in a position where they have the skills to live in the present. Recovery coaching is concerned with taking and individual, family, or partnership where they are now and moving forward by designing a compelling future leading to true happiness and fulfillment. Remember that there’s a difference between coaching and therapy. Recovery coaching motivates the person to reach a specific goal or skill; while therapy aims to heal a physical, psychological or emotional addiction, or other type of unresolved trauma.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is available. Once more intensive interventions have been made in order to start the healing and recovery process, you may consider working with a recovery coach. Palm Partners offers recovery coaching to its alumni as a way to bolster their individual recovery programs. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
In Connecticut, they’re using a unique approach to substance abuse recovery – and it’s showing some positive results.
A new approach to rehabilitation in Madison, Conn. allows alcoholics and addicts to work on their recovery from their own homes. Although the sample size is relatively small-scale, it has yielded some promising results.
Home Based Therapy: A New Treatment Approach
Aware Recovery Care is offering a recovery program that is similar home visits from doctors and other health care professionals. The program’s patients receive support in their homes and communities while counselors, or “recovery advisers,” make regular visits for face-to-face interaction two or more times a week for the first four months.
The clients are also assigned a psychiatrist, nurse, and therapist. Furthermore, they might be required to attend 12 step meetings as a part of their personal recovery program. As part of the enrollment in the program, clients also voluntarily download a GPS app for their phone.
Home Based Therapy: Outcomes
So far, four of the program’s first five patients have maintained continuous abstinence for over a year. Dr. Ellen Edens, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine who authored a feasibility study of the home based therapy approach, noted “when you think about addiction as a relapsing remedying disease, to see that patients could put together up to 12 months of sobriety is really promising.”
Home Based Therapy: Cost, Pros and Cons
The length of the program is one year and it costs $37,500, which is equivalent to most 28-day impatient treatment programs. A portion of that cost, such as the psychotherapy aspects and some medical, may even be covered by the client’s insurance plan.
Because the program is longer and its price similar to more traditional programs – ones that are only 28 days in length, and considering that its treatment allows for the creature comforts if being in one’s own home, home based therapy may prove attractive for patients, especially those with fixed incomes.
A potential – and serious – drawback to home based treatment is of course the pitfalls of being around the same people, places, and things. Those in recovery from substance abuse and addiction know all too well that they must change these if they are to give themselves a chance for success.
Dr. Edens is currently seeking funding in order to conduct a controlled study, which will provide more detailed data on the impact of home based treatment.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, there are many treatment options available. Pal Partners offers detox, inpatient, and outpatient programs as well as offers a yearlong program of Recovery Coaching. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available around the clock to take your call.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
You hear it every year at New Year’s: “Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.” You might be struggling financially but the good news is that there are things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. Here are 11 New Year’s financial resolutions you should be making this year.
#1. Have an emergency fund
The idea of an emergency fund is to save enough money to get you through three- to six months of unemployment. That’s the average amount of time it takes to get a new job. Think of an emergency fund like a buffer – it protects you from unforeseen financial circumstances, such as an emergency vet bill or having to pay for a tow truck and new tire if you get a flat on the highway.
#2. Realize that you’re emotional about money
When it comes to money, everyone their own “story.” For some, growing up poor means that they are always worried about having enough money and feeling unstable, even if they are doing pretty well in their adulthood. For many, being able to spend money brings with it a lot of meaning. Being able to provide for themselves or feeling like the newest gadget will bring them some new level of happiness is a powerful driving force behind their spending habits.
Try to practice being emotionally unattached from money and seeing it as another thing you get to balance, such as career, relationships, and family.
#3. Negotiate everything
Try negotiating on ALL of your monthly bills. You probably don’t know this but, many states, allow you to choose who provides your electricity, and therefore you can cut your bill dramatically – you know, the whole idea behind market competition and capitalism.
#4. Set up a savings account – and use it!
It’s not savings until it goes into a savings account that is separate from your checking account.
#5. Make a budget
Make an itemized list of all the things you spend your money on and how much you spend. Be sure to include everything – necessities like bills as well as leisure and recreation costs. Go line-by-line, ranking items from most important (i.e. rent, utilities) to least important (i.e. movies, eating out).
#6. Trim the fat
Now, take a look at your budget. That daily trip to Starbucks will really add up but, if you absolutely love buying your custom-made latte, then keep doing it. The catch: look for other places where you can cut back on your spending. Maybe you can eat in another night or two instead of going out to a restaurant. “Figure out the stuff you bought that doesn’t serve you or that you’re not taking full advantage of: Do you really need to spend $9.99 a month on Spotify? Are you using that gym membership? Can you save a few bucks on your wireless bill?
#7. Sell your stuff online
It’s not just about saving money; it’s about generating it. You can earn more than your regular paycheck each month by selling the stuff you don’t need or use on sites like Craigslist and eBay.
#8. Buy second-hand
You can make some really cool thrift store finds, if you’re willing to put a little effort in searching through the merchandise. If your taste is a little more discerning than Goodwill, consider more upscale second-hand stores like Plato’s Closet. Good deals can also be found on eBay and Craigslist.
#9. Google “coupon” along with whatever you’re planning to buy
This is especially a good idea if you’re in the market for a big-ticket item, like a TV – there are a billion coupon sites.
#10. Google anything you plan to spend money on
With all the price-matching that retail shops offer these days, and with all of it at your fingertips, it doesn’t take much time or effort to research what you need and find the best offers.
#11. Set realistic goals
People often make the mistake of setting massive, unrealistic goals when they first set out making financial resolutions. Most of the things worth saving for are the expensive, big ticket items. When our New Year’s financial resolution excitement wears off by February and we’re not seeing drastic enough progress, our motivation levels plummet. Be realistic. And patient.
Looking to make the ultimate New Year’s Resolution and start living the life you were destined to live? Well, it’s totally possible and now’s a better time than any to start! Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist who can answer your questions.
By Cheryl Steinberg
So, you’ve stopped drinking and drugging. Now what? They say: it’s easy to stop; it’s the staying stopped that takes work. Here are 12 tools to have in your recovery ‘toolbox’ to support you in your recovery and help you maintain your sobriety.
#1. A program of recovery (vs abstinence)
Recovery is not merely abstaining from drinking and drugging. If you don’t have some kind of program that supports you in your recovery (i.e. working the 12 Steps), then it’s only a matter of time before you relapse. People who simply don’t use are called “dry” or are “white-knuckling it” – holding on for dear life. That’s not recovery is about; it’s about truly living a full life – and without the need for mood- or mind-altering substances.
- take suggestions
- put same energy/effort for in your recovery that you used to put towards your addiction
- be honest with yourself and others
- ask for help
- offer help (service)
#3. New people, places, things
Changing the people, places, and things that were associated with your active addiction is essential to being successful in your recovery. For one, being around people or things that remind you of getting drunk and/or high can act as a trigger, causing feelings of anxiety which you might want to soothe with a substance.
Another reason to change these things is because, even if you are able to say ‘no’ at first, after a while, being around people who are drinking or using will normalize these behaviors for you. In other words, you will start to think that it’s no big deal to have a drink or smoke a little pot. And, before you know it, you’re off to the races again.
Having a hobby or hobbies or else passions will support you immensely in your recovery program. For me, it’s writing – which is something I get to do as my job! Take advantage of your sobriety by getting back in touch with doing the things you once loved or by getting to know yourself and finding out what your passions are (if you didn’t have any before or if they’ve changed).
#5. Playing the Tape (all the way through)
Think about it using the alphabet. When you have a thought about drinking or using, tell yourself, “If I do ‘A’ (drink or get high), then ‘B’ will happen (I’ll get kicked out of my house); if ‘B’ happens (I’m homeless), then ‘C’ will happen (I’ll start robbing people again) and so on until you get to ‘Z’ which would be your worst imaginable consequence, such as prison or death. Addiction is very real, and very fatal. Both of those ending scenarios are very much a possibility. Don’t fool yourself.
Not only is exercising good for your physical health, it’s also good for your mental health. Having an exercise regimen can alleviate your PAWS symptoms – both physical and psychological ones – and can boost your self-confidence.
Like exercise, getting good nutrition will help you feel good and look good. Nutrition is also important in combatting PAWS.
#8. Self-Awareness and honesty
For example, did you know that there are actually 11 phases of relapse, with the last phase being the actual use of a substance? What that means is that being aware of your mood, how you’re feeling, your thoughts, and subsequent behaviors can help you stop the relapse process in its tracks and turn around before you actually relapse and use.
Also, being self-aware can help you know and recognize your PAWS symptoms, which can pop up any time in the 2 years after getting clean and sober (and sometimes over the rest of your lifetime). Recognizing your PAWS symptoms means that you can up your recovery game, by exercising, eating better, meditating, praying, and so on (see #11).
#9. Gift of Desperation
Holding on to the memory of what it was like before you got clean and sober can help you tremendously in staying that way. Many people who have relapsed have said that they forgot the bad stuff and started to romanticize about using. That will spell trouble.
#10. Avoiding High Risk Situations
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These are high-risk situations for people recovering from drug addiction. When you are feeling any one of these, a combination of these, or all of these, it’s time to halt and do something about it. Being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired can lower your defenses, making it more likely to begin that slippery slope to relapse.
Building a spiritual foundation has worked for many people recovering from addiction. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can be spiritual. And if that still doesn’t sound good to you, take comfort in knowing that there’s an actual science behind meditation, prayer, and breath work (see #12).
#12. Learn How to Relax
Recovering doesn’t just mean staying busy. A lot of people, especially in early recovery think that they just need to fill up their days with a ton of activities in order to avoid thinking about using. And, although boredom can be Enemy Number One to your recovery, being busy all the time isn’t always best. If you manage to stop using for a while, but don’t learn how to relax, your tension will build until you’ll have to relapse just to escape again. Tension and the inability to relax are the most common causes of relapse.
Are you struggling with substance abuse or addition? Are you unsure of what to do about it? I was like you, completely lost in my addiction, knowing I needed some kind of help but not knowing where to turn. Then I called an Addiction Specialist, who answered all my questions and helped me to understand the detox and recovery process that would save my life. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.