I talked with one of our clients today about how much she had enjoyed her horse riding days as a child. When hanging out with
her friends and taking drugs became more important, she let something that she had enjoyed slip away. It’s so common to find that as addiction takes over, the real pleasures of life slip away.
This writer arrived at Ledgehill at 2115hrs last night. Upon their return from a local closed discussion NA meeting, my colleague stated that it had been a good meeting, with the topics of acceptance and sharing at meetings, and that all clients were in a good space.
With another client leaving us today having completed the program, we took the opportunity to say our farewells. This is an important moment, but we remind ourselves that leaving Ledgehill is not an event in itself; it is one more step in the unfolding of each individual’s recovery.
Saying goodbye as a group is not just for the individual client. It is a moment for the community of clients and staff at Ledgehill to recognise the efforts and achievements of the client, and to acknowledge that our group dynamic must continue to evolve as people join and leave.
Today at our evening reflection, we talked of change, moving on and transition. There is so much fear associated with change, leaving behind the known and familiar to step out. Over the last week there have been two clients who have moved on after completing treatment. We talked of the friendships made and the importance of true friends in recovery, and of the roles our family play. Our circle of trust.
Taking risks and sharing will change again as a new client comes to us tomorrow.
I talked with the clients this evening about the amount of time that is spent when feeding an addiction. As we talked, it became apparent that when we used, a large part of our time was spent either looking for something to use, the act of using, or recovering from using. When we stop using, this time becomes available and it is important to fill it with other, safe things that we enjoy. Learning to do this is part of the process of entering recovery.
The group, in this relaxed setting, also began talking about other subjects such as travel, music, books and so on. It was refreshing to see people from different backgrounds sit and share their stories and opinions. It was a very positive social time.
When I arrived at Ledgehill for my scheduled shift, our clients had just returned from an NA meeting. All agreed it was a very good meeting. I asked each client why they thought it was a good meeting, and each shared their views. I stressed the importance of attending several meetings, because that keeps things from becoming routine and predictable. As they experienced from the meeting tonight, when new people come to the meeting and new people share their ideas, it gives them an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.
As is customary, a departing client is asked to briefly share his story, Our client leaving today (‘Brad’) was very open and expressed a sincere desire for recovery. After he was finished, other clients were given the opportunity to share their first impressions of Brad and how he had impacted on their stay at Ledgehill. The overall consensus was that the energy and fun levels were going to decrease significantly once Brad leaves. He will truly be missed.
Client A was very complimentary to Brad and wished him well.
Client B provided Brad with some positive feedback.
Client C Was able to relate to Brad on an intellectual level, which helped improve his own recovery program.
This writer told Brad that when he shares from his heart, the sincerity rings true and that his sense of humour is contagious, and that humour is a big part of recovery.
Upon arrival onsite, received a client update from Caroline. She stated that the clients had had a very busy day, were tired and would probably turn in early. The clients stated that they had all finished their therapeutic assignments and asked at what time they could go to bed. I said that we would do check out at 8pm, and that after that they were free to retire for the evening.
This writer prepared notes to talk with one of our clients about the ‘higher power’ concept of the program. The client is tempted to believe that he can do the 12 steps his own way, without any thought or idea of a higher power. I referred to the AA Big Book Chapter 5 ‘How It Works’ that reads:
“Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil”.
I tried to plant the idea in his mind that he should keep an open mind to someday having a concept of a higher power.
Jack is showing remarkable progress. He is continually providing valuable input into check out topics and has been commended for his hard work. He was again given positive affirmation on how much he has changed for the better and he is just half way through his treatment. He was held up as an example other clients to emulate, if they want recovery as badly as he does.