As a Clinical Assistant for Michael Griffin in Group 3 at Evoke Cascades, I work primarily with young adult males with substance abuse and addiction issues through a 12-step lens.
Viewing entries tagged with 'recovery'
A loud noise happens on a crowded street. Many people are startled for a moment and then, after recognizing that it was a car backfiring, they go on with their day. But there is a teenaged girl and a forty-year-old man who are having very different experiences. The loud noise initiated a startle response and then the re-experiencing of vivid memories. These two are transported to entirely different places and times that have become defining characteristics of their lives. They are trauma survivors, one of whom is remembering a gunshot and the other the slamming of a door.
Our "family intervention” approach works because it focuses on the total picture and all of the people and the dynamics involved. We do not single out the addicted loved one as “the problem” and we don't let labels and myths keep him or her from being held responsible for either fixing the problems or living with the consequences. More importantly, we work with the family members who want the situation to change, ignoring the addicted loved one, who obviously has a vested interest in things staying the same.
If you were to describe yourself at work as a force of nature, what would you be? A still mountain. A flowing steam. A tornado! How about at home or leisure? My wife says I am like a Fire at home - like a fireplace to give warmth and love, sometimes a firecracker to give fun and excitement, and sometimes an engine for the train.
My mind is filled with pleasant recollections of my time spent in Salt Lake in this very unique conference. The atmosphere created by the conference hosts felt alive with learning, I enjoyed going to other’s presentations as much as presenting myself.
Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery wrote; “Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy. Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships. The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure.” These wise and astute statements so vividly describe the experience for an individual entering wilderness therapy at Evoke, particularly one who has experienced trauma and is in the process of recovery.
There exists a perpetual tug-o-war amongst our clients’ perceptions of The Oasis. There are those who love the extra creature comforts like hot showers, less hiking, time to practice yoga or cooking. Contrarily, there are those who detest “sitting around” and would much prefer doing over being any day. Even staff, especially during the first few months of operating the Oasis, asked why we’ve created it and is it necessary.
“How could a handstand invite so much emotional upheaval?” I thought as I came down softly, with the help of my instructor, resting and sobbing in Child’s Pose. I was back in another yoga teacher training after breaking my neck only 9 months earlier. I had done so much work healing the body and mind after my near-fatal car accident. My upper body was stronger than it was before the accident. I had gone to a therapist to deal with some of the fear and anxiety I felt from the experience. Had even undergone Rapid Eye Therapy to help “unlock” more subconscious levels of the trauma. But here, in a moment of turning my body upside down which I had done hundreds of times in my life, I was pouring tears like a geyser erupting from somewhere unspeakably deep within me. And my teacher was amazing. He was gentle, present, compassionate. I rested and spoke little the remainder of the day while still being with my peers of the teacher training.
As a yoga teacher and meditation facilitator for Second Nature Entrada as well as the yoga director for a local, in-patient addiction treatment center for adults, I become giddy (if not a little smug) with every new article or study that references mindfulness as a means of complimentary treatment for behavioral or psychological disorders. Mindfulness is gaining a greater voice in the field of psychology and physiology and we practitioners of such a concept are celebrating!
I woke up. Where am I? How did I get here? It occurs to me that I am in my car, which is upside down. I am drunk. My car is still running. I start to panic. How could this happen? This can’t be real. My body is numb except for a sharp pain in my left shoulder where my body bounced off of the doorframe. I kick the passenger door open, step out and sink waist deep into swamp water. My car is wedged between a concrete drainage pipe and a mound of dry soil. The carriage is suspended over water. It was the scariest moment of my life. That was the night before I checked into rehab. One and a half years before I finally got sober. I was 18 years old.