I was delighted to received a phone call from a client yesterday who had recently completed treatment. Tomorrow he has been clean and sober for 100 days, and called to share the news that he was successful in getting a job that he had applied for. He tried a unicycle over the weekend and loved it so much, he is going to buy one for himself.
His delight for trying new things could be heard in the excitement in his voice.
Once more I have been very gratified by the way that our clients give so generously to make newcomers feel welcome at Ledgehill. Our check-out session last night was so positive, with clients sharing their experience of how difficult is had been for them to seek help and how fearful it can be to arrive in the new environment of a rehabilitation centre, unsure of what to expect. Our newest clients fouind this very helpful.
More generally, when you reach out to provide assistance, it is important to ensure that you are in a strong enough position yourself that you don’t endanger your own recovery. One of our clients who is nearing the end of his program states that he understands this, but it is difficult if not impossible to not help others. He believes that this is part of who he is. From the perspective of 12 Steps of course, giving back to the community is the twelfth step.
I had an interesting conversation today with one of our clients who is coming to the end of a long-term program with us. She said that although her time at Ledgehill had been life-changing and transformational, there were parts of the program that meant less to her than others, and some things that had been repeated a couple of times.
As we discussed these points in detail, it became clear that in order to take from the program the things that you need, you have to engage with the whole thing; it’s only with hindsight that you actually realize what was most valuable and ‘made the difference’. It’s similar with repeating some of the exercises that we do here. As with any educational process, sometimes you have to repeat the lesson to truly ‘get it’ – each time you do it, you understand a little more and more forward a bit at a time.
There’s no rushing recovery, and learning and development are incremental. That’s why the chances of success are so closely linked with the length of the program – as with gaining any skill in life, the more you practice, the better you get.
Two of our clients expressed some anxiety about their imminent departure from Ledgehill. Despite having a recovery plan in place, with all the resources needed for aftercare from both Ledgehill and external agencies, it is natural to feel some concern as to how things will work out.
My view is that it is much better to have these concerns (and to express them) than to leave with the view that everything will be easy.
This morning in general conversation with A, he stated that his time at Ledgehill was the best investment that he has ever made. Everything positive he does from here on in will be a direct correlation of his rehab journey. He talked of improved self-esteem and confidence; of how he does not have to stand back and let people dictate his life; and of how he views his future with optimism and hope.
Client J was pleased with today’s activities. She exhibited special interest in the YouTube presentations. The one on the ballet dancer who went on to be the principal choreographer for Cats and The Phantom of the Opera provoked a lot of comment. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of pain to get to the good stuff. Addictions are like that too – you have to have gone through what you did to get to where you are today. You can have a wonderful life today in sobriety because of your addiction, not in spite of it.
I received an interesting email from Alberta Sequeira today, making kind comments on our facility.
The heartbreaking story of the destruction wrought on Alberta’s family by alcoholism is a story that is sadly all too familiar to anyone who works in the field of addiction.
Alberta shares her experience for the benefit of others through her books and speaking engagements.
Yesterday evening I introduced myself to our newest client and we started talking about recovery almost immediately. She is very highly motivated to work hard and is fully aware of the testing times that lie ahead. I was delighted that our existing clients made her so welcome, both as part of the ‘buddy’ system that we run and also just out a desire to help someone who is in a new environment. The group has such a positive feel, I am confident that the new client’s stay at Ledgehill will be life-changing.