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This years Art of Recovery Expo will have thousands of participants- it is a free event and we are proud to participate. This year we have committed to volunteer and do service work. Look for our team of men and women residents in the ViVRE t-shirts helping out at the event. Find Coach Carl giving a presentation about his fitness program “Fit Four Life” and see keynote speaker Austin Eubanks – a 1999 Columbine survivor who’s injuries got him addicted to opioids and led him to an amazing path to recovery. We do recover! Come see our amazing staff with our sponsor Building Blocks Counseling at our booth. This is our fourth year participating. Go #teamvivre
more info about the event at artofrecoveryexpo.com
SMART Recovery – Self Management for Addiction Recovery
SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for addiction recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups.
The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® helps people recover from all types of addiction and addictive behaviors, including: drug abuse, drug addiction, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, cocaine addiction, prescription drug abuse, sexual addiction, and problem addiction to other substances and activities. SMART Recovery sponsors face-to-face meetings around the world, and daily online meetings. In addition, our online message board and 24/7 chat room are excellent forums to learn about SMART Recovery and obtain addiction recovery support.
ABCs- a crash course
The “ABC’s” are an exercise from SMART RECOVERY, which is a training program for recovery . It is cognitive based (science based) from CBT. SMART Recovery is simple enough and effective enough to be used by anybody and– it works. Here is an example of how it works at changing thoughts about a behavior:
With the ABC’s we use this tool to examine the beliefs we have (or the thinking we are doing) as some of this may be causing us problems. The “ABC’s” are an exercise that helps us to stop being victims of our own thinking – by our (irrational beliefs) , with this tool you DISPUTE your irrational beliefs, and come up with EFFECTIVE New thinking.
It Works like this:
A common example of an irrational belief is- someone else’s behavior “MAKING” us angry. This is a very common expression and we hear it often, but in fact it distorts the situation it attempts to describe. NO ONE “MAKES” US ANYTHING… A more accurate description of “someone is making me angry” is to say that we feel angry about their behavior. They are simply behaving in a way that we are getting angry about.
I notice their behavior and then I become angry. The RESPONSIBILITY for the anger is mine, not theirs. This can sound strange at first, but dealing with anger and frustration in this way works.
SMART RECOVERY teaches that it is generally irrational and self-defeating to get all worked up about someone else’s behavior. The anger is based on a faulty assumption, which is that the other person SHOULD behave in the way we want them to. If you think about it, what the other person SHOULD do is not necessarily what they DO. This is a very important element of the equation- REALITY. They do what they do, and then you automatically get angry about it, and feel quite upset for a while- possibly very upset. It’s like walking around with a big push button on your forehead that says “Push here to aggravate”. Is this a useful response to others’ behavior? Probably not.
Since people are very likely going to do whatever angers us anyway, it seems, then it would make life a great deal easier if we didn’t get angry about it and lose our peace of mind.
For example, if I really believe that they MUST NOT do whatever they are doing, and then they still continue to do it, then the DEMAND that I have inside my head that says; “they MUST NOT do that” …that demand will put considerable pressure on me from the inside to do something about it, which I am very often unable to do- or which may end up giving us an undesired result..
Often, it just isn’t possible to control other people’s behavior. So this will automatically make me feel bad; frustrated, ineffective, angry, desperate, hurt, enraged, and so on because we cannot translate the DEMAND “they MUST NOT do that” into reality. Most external things we simply cannot control. The problem is that we are DEMANDING something that we cannot get. It is better for our peace of mind if we simply PREFER to get what we want RATHER than DEMAND it.
How much easier it is if we can become aware of this and make a choice to change the DEMAND “they MUST NOT do that” into a more rational alternative, which actually means something; “I PREFER that they don’t do that”. Once I downgrade the DEMAND to a simple PREFERENCE, the heat is turned down and I can function again. After all, it’s now only a preference!
SMART RECOVERY has a simple exercise to help us make this adjustment, called “the ABCs”. It is used to analyze the situation and change our thinking about it so that without trying to change external reality, we can feel better about it. This doesn’t mean that we should never try to change external reality- sometimes it is appropriate- it’s when it isn’t an appropriate or an effective response, that we can choose to have a different response instead in order to feel better.
To use this ABC exercise for yourself, just pick any situation where someone’s behavior is “making you angry” and take a look and see what it is you are thinking about it that is demanding and irrational, and change it into something more rational- a PREFERENCE. It is irrational to demand that people behave in the way we want them to!
Here is an example using drunken people making a lot of noise late at night as they pass by outside at night where we live when we are trying to sleep…
When noisy drunken people pass in the street outside late at night and wake me up I feel angry. It feels bad. I lie awake feeling angry and upset and don’t get back to sleep for a long time.
WHY shouldn’t they make any noise- where is that commandment written in stone? Well, it isn’t.
E. (Effective new thinking- substitute something rational instead of B)
Drunken people often tend to be noisy, but it’s no big deal. It is very common that they make some noise on their way home. I will CHOOSE to not upset myself about this, and I will stop even noticing it because it is not a problem for me.
ViVRE means – to live. Our residents are thriving, this week four of them were awarded certificates for going beyond the expected community service. All our women stand out as leaders in volunteerism.
Art of Recovery Expo 2017
This year is our fourth year participating in the Art of Recovery Expo. We our proud to be a part of what is the largest regional event all about recovery. There couldn’t be a more important time to come together in the middle of this opioid epidemic. More information on the State’s efforts to combat this and the angel initiative which we participate go to substanceabuseaz.gov
ViVRE will have a booth next to our association – AzRHA again this year.
Our Volunteer coordinator Coach Carl Hargrave will be giving a presentation and many of our residents and staff will be available to do community service work and join in the fun at this year’s expo. For more information, stay tuned to the Team ViVRE thread of Art of Recovery, check out our ViVRE Housing youtube channel and of course go to artofrecoveryexpo.com for full details.
When it comes to the topic of reentry, into the mainstream of life, there is abundant discussion of programs and the research that drives their development. This is important because it encourages continual evolution in programming that can reduce recidivism, lower costs, and hopefully rehabilitate those who participate in those programs.
But, reentry is really about the men and women going through the process, and what would make the biggest difference in their lives. What each person needs is unique, but there are many commonalities, too. They will want to make sure they can consistently take care of their most basic needs. They will want and need communities to create reasonably accessible avenues to kickstart and support their reentry to the community. They will face assumptions and stigma that threaten to keep them locked in a mind-set of antisocial thoughts and behaviors. Many will have unresolved trauma of varying degrees. Some which pre-dates incarceration, and some the result of it.
At the close of 2010, there were more than 1.6 million prisoners in state and federal facilities — about one out of every 200 U.S. residents was incarcerated. That’s an incredible number of lives directly impacted by incarceration, and countless other lives impacted in other ways. In the same year, 708,677 prisoners were released from state and federal prisons. Every day, these women and men of all ages and walks of life, begin the process of reentering the community and face significant challenges.
They are two to four times likely to have a serious mental illness, and three-fourths have a history of substance abuse. They will face major challenges finding adequate and stable employment and housing, due to a criminal history. Many will have health problems in need of ongoing medical attention. And far too often, they lack a high school diploma or equivalent, while others will struggle with basic literacy. (NRCC Facts and Trends. https://csgjusticecenter.org/nrrc/facts-and-trends.)
“Reentry” is the term used to describe the very complex process of an individual returning to the community, following incarceration. While this process is unique to each individual and his or her network of intrinsic talents, skills, opportunities and resources, what is common among them is the necessity they become able to meet their needs in effective, legal, sustainable, and healthy ways.
Those who are unable to achieve this, or who consistently struggle to do so, are likely to become part of the recidivism statistics…those who return to prison.
Many do find ways of meeting their needs in socially responsible ways, and with the right kind of support, many become successful and self-reliant.
In thinking about what will make the process of reentry successful for any individual, it is important to consider what it is that each individual needs in order to be happy, healthy and whole.
In Choice Theory, William Glasser identified that all humans share five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.
Successful reintegration into the community, and the restoration of one’s life, must ensure these needs are met, at least in a basic way. But, it is important to remember many of these women and men may not have the necessary skills to master these challenges, which likely played a role in them becoming involved in the justice system. Still others have learned criminal lifestyles and tactics from early ages as a means of survival, or as part of the community in which they lived. For these reasons, reentry is also often the intersection at which individuals are faced with the decision to return to what is familiar, or create something new for themselves and those important to them.
This is where healthy family members, supportive communities and their members, and agencies and programs play an important role. As these individuals begin settling back into their communities they need places to live, jobs to earn a living, and resources for addressing health care needs, mental heath concerns and substance abuse treatment. Communities must work collaboratively to create accessible avenues for them to obtain housing, employment and healthcare, irrespective of their criminal history. Programs and supports that require mutual effort from the individual tend to be the most effective in teaching skills, maintaining engagement, and creating change that is sustainable so that supports can gradually decrease over time. In the absence of avenues that address these concerns, individuals will have very difficult times moving toward self-sufficiency.
One initiative Arizona has taken through the Department of Corrections, is to create a Residential Community Behavioral Modification (RCBM) program. Through this program, they have partnered with Vivre Recovery Housing to provide a 90 to 120-day residential program that provides housing utilizing a structured sober living model, and treatment for substance use and mental health issues, through a partnership with Building Blocks Counseling.
In addition to housing and treatment, residents receive case management services that assist them to link to employment opportunities and training, and also to other community supports that they can access long-term. A creative element to this program is that its funding comes from the Spirit Tax (tax on alcoholic beverages). This is just one such example of how communities and community agencies can play an important and supportive role in this important process of helping people to regain happy and healthy lives.
Another common barrier these returning citizens face is stigma from the community, media and even their families and other loved ones. Damaging, and often inaccurate assumptions are made about who these citizens are.
Assumptions tend to be worst-case scenarios of crimes they may have committed, and what they might do next. In reality, many of these individuals have not committed dangerous offenses.
And even those who have, with the right kind of supervision, support and treatment, can be healthy and productive members of the communities in which they live.
It is normal for people to have questions and concerns, and to want to feel a sense of safety in their homes and neighborhoods. By welcoming these returning citizens, and supporting them as they create a new life, communities make themselves immeasurably safer. When people establish roots and become involved in the schools, religious centers, markets and social environment they become a part of the community. Inclusion — feeling a part of something — naturally reduces the likelihood of one acting in ways that would cause harm or disruption.
Incarceration can have traumatic impacts from the loss of freedom and privacy, facing potential threats to personal safety, to separation from loved ones. All have a devastating impact on the mental wellness of anyone, regardless of how long they are incarcerated.
For many, the reentry period involves having to re-learn and re-sensitize themselves to a different set of social norms and cues. There can often be a hypervigilance that presents challenges to interacting in appropriate ways in family, social and work-related settings.
There are effective ways of treating trauma, which can make significant improvement in day-to-day livig and personal relationships. Not everyone needs therapy, but it will be important to be patient with the process and talk constructively and transparently about concerns or fears.
It’s important to note that hope, and a belief that change is possible, is critical. The problem is often these returning people struggle to have this kind of hope for themselves, and therefore, can benefit from drawing this hope from others. There are many ways to empower and support them as they build their own sense of value and worth, which can become the internal motivation to propel them forward.
These are our neighbors, and deserving of happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
St. Patty’s Day is traditionally a day where sobriety is put on the back of the shelf. But Vivre participants are all about turning days of temptation into celebration. Men and Women participants of our relapse support groups puckered up for the camera to share their sobriety with others.
According to the National Institute for Health, relapse is most prevalent in December and February, with the mix of social activities and colder weather affecting people in challenging ways. This month poses a particular challenge because of Marti Gras, the religious inspired holiday known for its emphasis on overindulgence. We also call it Fat Tuesday for the food, parades, beads, festivals, family, and of course, alcohol and drugs. Understanding that the festival season is definitely a test on sobriety – whether early on or after years of a sober lifestyle – we’ve come up with tips for staying sober during Mardi Gras and to help you take on cravings: