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Learning by Teaching: Mastering Your Recovery

One of the best ways to master a subject is to teach what you have learned to others. In addiction and trauma recovery, we often build support networks and engage in group meetings to share our experiences. Our wisdom can then be passed on to others, who may be at the beginning stages of recovery. We can also help those experiencing setbacks and regression or seek to learn more to continue self-improvement.

Teaching others forces us to thoroughly evaluate our recovery journey, accept the mistakes we have made as “teachable moments,” and re-learn what we already know. During early recovery, you may be asked to lead a group therapy session in an outpatient program or a 12-step meeting at your homegroup. The following steps can help you create a compelling experience for both you and your peers in recovery: reflect on personal experiences, select a topic, and create learning objectives and goals.

Reflecting on Personal Experiences

The first step is taking some time to be introspective and reflect upon your own experiences in recovery. One of the most important aspects of a group session is the comradery of individuals helping one another in a shared experience. In peer support groups, the group leader often has personal experiences in their recovery, which can help shape the direction of a group session.

When you enter the final stages of learning recovery skills and coping mechanisms, teaching others provides an excellent opportunity for you to reflect on the hard work that took you this far. You should feel proud of yourself for being asked to lead a group! It reflects the time and effort that you have put into self-improvement and teaching others is a great honor.

Begin to reflect on your experiences by journaling about them. If you have been journaling, take some time to review your past entries. Talk with others about the changes they have seen in you during your recovery. Start to think about your own experiences and the lessons that you have learned along the way. Keep the following in mind as you reflect:
View past mistakes and regrets as “teachable moments.” Life is about growth, and making mistakes is just a part of the growth process.

Think about what personal experiences you are comfortable discussing with a group and which ones you are not comfortable sharing. Everyone differs in how comfortable they feel sharing, and that is okay! You are sharing the lessons learned and do not have to divulge all the details if you do not feel comfortable doing so.

Selecting a Topic

Now that you have taken time to reflect on past experiences, the next step in teaching is selecting a topic. A topic can be broad (examples: “recovery,” “trauma,” or “addiction”), or specific (examples: “how to create a personal mantra,” “identifying personal triggers,” or “impacts of nutrition on mental health”).

While broad topics can be great to create an open forum of discussion, specific topics often work best for creating an effective group or teaching session. Think about the lessons you have learned during recovery and what coping mechanisms helped you get through those tough times. When selecting a topic, also consider the following:

  • What are you good at? What issues would you consider yourself to be an expert on?
  • What is the most important lesson you have learned in recovery?
  • What things are you most passionate about? These could be specific coping strategies, like journaling or mindfulness, or hobbies, such as music, art, hiking, or sports that have helped you personally in your recovery.

Creating Learning Objectives and Goals

Once you have selected your topic, decide on your learning objectives and goals. Objectives and goals will help you focus your material and your discussion points. Ultimately, what is it that you would like your peers to leave the session knowing? What skills would you like your peers to learn? What additional tools will they be able to try to aid in their recovery? Consider some of the following tips when creating learning objectives:

  • Be specific –this will help you focus when leading your session. Your peers will benefit more when knowing the
  • learning objectives beforehand. Being specific will also keep the group from straying off-topic.
  • Think in terms of action and skill-building –what will your peers be able to do with this knowledge?
  • What mistakes from your past are now “teachable moments” that your peers can learn from?
  • What are some things you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your recovery?

Some examples of learning objectives include:

  • “After this session, peers will be able to list their top five trauma triggers.”
  • “Peers will learn how to write a daily gratitude journal.”
  • “Following today’s group, peers will understand the importance of creating a routine and will be able to create their daily schedule.”

Remember to pat yourself on the back for coming this far in your recovery and be proud of what you have accomplished! You are now able to help others on their recovery journey.

Finding your place in the recovery community can be scary and confusing. The world of meetings, groups, therapy, etc. can all feel overwhelming without a good starting point. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

Do the Performance Arts Have a Place in Recovery?

Nobody can deny the positive effects of the theater on a person’s mind and body. Partaking in something creative can have many positive benefits for a person to enjoy and help them feel better. This goes for all creative endeavors, but especially for live theater. Going to see a live performance is good but even better when you become a part of the production.

Pushing yourself to be a part of something bigger than yourself is a huge step in growth. Doing something that requires you to be in front of people and have them judge your performance is another big moment. We will always encourage people to push themselves out of their comfort zone. Doing so can be an excellent way for us to learn new things about ourselves.

Drama, acting, and participation in theater may, honestly, offer the most therapeutic value out of any of the art forms for many reasons. In early recovery, it could be a fantastic avenue for you to explore so that you can have a place where you can feel and behave in all the best ways.

Self-Expression Through Theater

First off, it gives you a platform to express yourself. There is absolutely something cathartic to taking your trauma, your struggles, and your emotional turmoil and expressing it on stage. Of course, talking about your wounds can help in a lot of cases, but some issues are too difficult to talk about with another person.

This is where putting your wounds into a performance can be so beautiful. You can build a character who uses the same kind of trauma as reasons for their actions, which can, in turn, help you come to terms with what you have experienced.

It can help construct a person from the ground up, see how this trauma shapes them, and use that process to reflect on what you have done and how you have grown with it. You can create a distance from your emotional struggles and allow a new perspective to take shape.

Building a Community

The community aspect can help build a person up, helping them feel accepted, and a part of something when their loneliness is a leading factor in their mental illness. The beautiful thing about theater is that so many different kinds of people can take part in it. It’s not like sports, which usually requires a certain amount of athleticism. It is something that a person can play an essential role in, either onstage or behind the scenes.

It doesn’t matter which part you do, as both of them will allow you to add something to the whole production, bringing what you have to the table. Without a sense of community, a production can’t go on, meaning that it can make you feel vital to success and truly shine in your talents and role.

A Professional Perspective

Furthermore, live theater can help mental health professionals understand more about a patient’s condition. If their patient takes part in a production, the professional can use their experience and performance to better understand how they can help them.

Much like how we talked about using the performance for the person to get another perspective on their issues, that distance can help lessen the sense of vulnerability. A recovering person can give a more honest representation of how they feel if there is a “character” expressing their emotions. Weirdly, distancing themselves from their issues allows them to share those vulnerabilities in their performance.

That can help a mental health professional better understand them, where they are coming from, and how they operate. From there, they can develop a proper treatment plan since they now have a better glimpse into the nature of these injuries.

Take a Leap of Faith and Try Something New

There are just so many reasons why taking part in theater can help a person. It can be the best way for a person coming into recovery to continue to grow and feel better. It provides a new outlook on themselves and their struggles. It helps them feel like they have a community and a place to belong, and it can give other people a better look into how they operate.

It is important to always push yourself to try something new and not just allow ourselves to be passive. We can engage with the activity itself and become a part of it, allowing ourselves to grow and flourish in new ways. We can find out more about who we are, what we want to do and be, and how we can be the best version of ourselves. It can be wonderful to find something that makes you feel like you belong, and you excel. That is something we all deserve to feel.

Theater may not be for everyone, but it may be the key to unlocking your potential in early recovery for a specific type of person. Performance can teach you valuable lessons about yourself while illustrating the importance of teamwork and becoming a part of something bigger than yourself. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

How Can I Cope With Fear?

Mental illness includes all kinds of different anxieties and stress reactions. Each of these disorders may seem similar, yet there are significant differences between them. Each one is classified in its own right for its own reasons. You have to understand each one’s intricacies so that you can adequately know if each one is afflicting you in some way.

Take phobias, for example. Phobias are an excessive and irrational fear reaction. They are a form of anxiety disorder and can have a crippling effect on a person. Phobias are some of the most intense types of fear that you can experience. They cause anxiety so severe that they can stop you from functioning or doing your job correctly.

Unlike a generalized anxiety disorder, phobias are focused on something specific. As with many forms of anxiety, a person can realize that their fear is irrational. They are experiencing a phobia, but they still cannot will the fear. There are an estimated 19 million Americans afflicted with some kind of debilitating phobia, causing some sort of difficulty in some aspects of their lives.

Identifying Your Phobias

There are three main groups of phobias to consider: specific (simple) phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia. A specific phobia can produce intense fear of a particular object or situation that is relatively safe. These are phobias where people are aware of the irrationality of their concerns, but the thought of the object or situation still brings about intense feelings of panic or severe anxiety.

These can include a fear of dogs, snakes, insects, driving a car, and much more. No one is sure what causes these phobias to form, but they do know they can run in families and are also more prevalent in women. They usually begin to form in early childhood or adolescence. They can start suddenly and persist longer than most childhood fears. Sometimes, they can develop in childhood and disappear over time, but others will stick with a person into adulthood. No one is sure why some stay for some people but disappear for others.

On the other hand, social phobias produce a fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed in front of other people. It can be related to feelings of low self-esteem or inferiority. The feelings of fear and anxiety can be so strong that they drive a person to drop out of school or even leave a job. It also inhibits a person from being able to make friends.

Agoraphobia is probably a word you have heard before. It is usually used to describe a person who is afraid of leaving their home. It is also more general than that, as it can mean a person who suffers anxiety about being in places or situations where they feel trapped or exposed.

Fear of leaving their house is an extreme form of agoraphobia. This kind of phobia can often be misconstrued as shyness, but they are not the same. Shy people do not feel the severe anxiety that a person with agoraphobia experiences. Timid people do not necessarily avoid these kinds of situations like someone who has the phobia does.

Overcoming Fear

Luckily, proper treatment is available for people who are struggling with phobias. Phobias can be diagnosed by a medical professional and are an illness that should be taken very seriously. A complete medical and psychiatric evaluation should be carried out to ensure the diagnosis is correct.

From there, behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can be great options for anyone looking to treat their phobias. Both can help a person learn the tools to properly cope with fear. The skills a person can learn from therapy help them react to situations in different, healthier ways. No one needs to live in their fear, alone, and let themselves suffer.

Everyone has a fear of something, but when that fear gets so extreme that it paralyzes you, that is a phobia. That is when you cannot function with your fear, and it is a good idea to get help. There are many kinds of dread, and seeing a doctor about your feelings can help you identify your phobia and begin developing a treatment plan. Never feel alone in your fear, and know that you can get the help you need.

Phobias are a real thing, and they deserve to be treated the right way. More importantly, phobias can be conquered as part of the addiction process, as long as the people helping you are aware of them. Speak up and get the help you need!

No matter how tough we may present ourselves to be, we’re all afraid of something. For some of us, recovery can bring out our very worst demons, elevating common fears into full-blown phobias. Fortunately, help is available. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find a sober living community ready to provide you with the tools you’ll need on the journey to sobriety. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. People in recovery have walked through the most intense challenges, including phobias, and remained sober. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Getting sober isn’t easy, but it can be an exciting period of your life, filled with transformational experiences and incredible growth.

When Should You Consider a Sober Living House for Yourself or a Loved One?

For those working toward a life of sobriety, having an unstable home environment that is full of alcohol, drugs, and other possible triggers can push them into a relapse quickly. Sober living homes provide a safe, clean place to transition between addiction treatment and everyday life for people in recovery.

The Purpose of a Sober Living Home

A sober living home helps provide a balance between structured and independent living for those who are just out of treatment programs for substance abuse and other addictions, mental health disorders, jail, or other circumstances.

The structure provided by the homes comes in the form of rules and regulations that the residents must follow to maintain their place in the house. The rules vary from house to house, but they generally follow the same guidelines:

  • Go through detox and/or rehab, then plan on going to therapy or 12-Step meetings once a week (for potential residents)
  • No drugs or alcohol are allowed (exceptions for specific prescriptions, such as antidepressants, can be made)
  • Be willing to consent to random drug and alcohol testing to ensure sobriety
  • Participate in house activities (weekly meetings, chores, self-care tasks, etc.)
  • Sleep at the house at least five nights a week (occasional exceptions can be made for traveling)
  • Be accountable for your whereabouts at all times, and be back by curfew if applicable

Good Candidates for Sober Living Homes

Those looking to move into a sober living house must take into account the phase of life they are stepping into. Certain qualities and determination are needed to be successful. Individuals who need time to process what they learned in rehab, learn how to use their coping skills, and learn how to be independent are great candidates.

Other candidates who fit these criteria are also typically a good fit for sober living homes:

  • Those who have already been treated, such as in rehab or detox
  • Those who have had time in sobriety before moving in (to ensure they will comply with house rules)
  • Those who need a place to transition from treatment back to their normal life
  • Those with the desire for long-term sobriety
  • Those with high motivation to maintain their abstinence from substance abuse
  • Those who are aware of the challenges to come
  • Those with a proven ability to find a job
  • Those with the ability to budget and manage their own money
  • Those who are familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those with a strong desire to be independent and learn to support themselves
  • Those with the ability to cultivate relationships with others who are also sober, sharing a common goal of sobriety

Candidates Who May Not Benefit From Sober Living Homes

Just as there are those who may benefit from sober living houses, there are individuals who may not find the treatment they are looking for in these environments. This is not to say that something is wrong with them, but rather a sober living home is wrong for their recovery journey. Finding the right programs and resources can make a difference in your recovery progressing.

Those who may not benefit from a sober living home include:

  • Those with no prior job experience
  • Those who are bad at managing money
  • Those with social anxiety (although this can be addressed in therapy)
  • Those who tend to isolate
  • Those who are moving from far away and are not familiar with the local recovery community
  • Those who are looking to a sober living house as an alternative to a professional recommendation for a higher level of care

Sober Living Homes & Recovery

Sober living homes are good options for those in recovery because they provide a safe and secure environment without triggers like drugs and alcohol. These residences help hold you accountable on your road to sobriety by providing community support to stay abstinent.

The recommended stay at a sober living house is ninety days, but many patients stay longer. Studies show that the longer one stays in a sober living house, the more likely they are to fully recover. It is best to stay longer than you think than to leave before you are ready.

Many treatment centers have patients leave after ninety days, meaning they have to deal with everyday life on their own without acclimating to life outside of treatment. This often results in relapse. Sober living houses combat this issue by providing a safe place to continue progressing one’s recovery.

How to Find the Best Sober Living House for You or a Loved One

There are steps you can take to find the best option for the person in need. The best sober living home will depend on the addict’s needs and preferences in their sobriety. Here are some things you can do to find the perfect home for you or your loved one:

  • Do your research
  • Contact the homes
  • Visit the homes if possible
  • Understand the independence involved
  • Seek out support and community

One of the most important tasks is to make sure the residence is legitimate. Pay attention to red flags such as:

  • “Free“ programs
  • No admissions requirements
  • Building not up to code
  • No records on the premises
  • Doesn’t require abstinence
  • No safety or privacy rules
  • No clear house rules
  • Lack of obvious ethical and moral standards
  • Untrained/uncertified employees
  • No regulatory inspections

Sober living homes are a great option for those who are looking to become independent after going through treatment for substance abuse and other personal concerns. There are multiple sober living options for men and women to choose from. Remember to take the responsibilities of a sober living home into account when deciding if it is the best option for you or your loved one.

Camelback Recovery is a transitional living home in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson, Arizona. We provide a structured and supportive environment that promotes long-term transformational changes. Find out if a sober living home is right for you. Call us today at (602) 466-9880.