Finding A Fresh Start After Addiction Treatment

by Adam Cook, http:// addictionhub.org

Image from Unsplash

Getting sober is hard enough, but what comes next is the real challenge of addiction recovery. After treatment, you must face the damage caused by your addiction and start to rebuild your life. It’s a long, hard road, but giving up isn’t an option.

Follow these steps to begin your journey to a fresh, sober start:

Repair Your Finances
Drug and alcohol addiction have damaging financial consequences, including drained bank accounts, overdue bills, and accounts in collections. Deal with any urgent bills, like rent and utility payments, and then assess the damage by pulling a credit report. A credit report provides information on debts so that you can contact creditors about repayment. If debts are manageable, negotiate payment terms with creditors. If the financial damage is extensive, bankruptcy may be an option. Mint explains, “when declaring bankruptcy” is the right call.

You can’t pay off debts without income coming in. So, get serious about looking for work, and find ways to earn money while you search, such as walking dogs, doing lawn care, or taking up another side gig. Make use of assistance programs that are available to you. Receiving food, healthcare, or other financial assistance frees up income for paying off debts so that you can stabilize your financial situation.

Repair Relationships
During active addiction, we push away the people who want better for us. Now that you’re sober, it’s time to make amends and repair those relationships. Share the news of your recovery, own up to the harm you’ve caused, and ask for forgiveness. There’s no guarantee you will be invited back into people’s lives, but there’s no chance if you don’t ask. Know that people will be guarded and hesitant to let you back in. It takes time to prove that you’re stable and trustworthy, but it is possible.

Set and Pursue Goals
Now that you’re out of treatment, what comes next? That’s the big question every person in recovery must face, but you don’t need all the answers right away. Focus on setting short-term, actionable goals that improve your life, even if you aren’t sure of the final destination. If you want a better career but aren’t sure what that is, you can still work toward it with small goals, like writing a resume, taking a college course, or volunteering. Want to improve your mental health? Goals, like finding a therapist and attending a weekly support group, will help get you there.

When setting goals, keep the acronym SMART in mind. As MindTools explains, SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These are the five attributes all goals must have if you want to achieve them.

Fill Your Time Positively
Boredom is a threat to sobriety. When you’re idle, you’re vulnerable to the cravings and ruminations that send your recovery spiraling. Seek positive ways to occupy your time, like starting a hobby where you can meet like-minded friends, getting outside to enjoy the restorative effects of nature, or volunteering with a local non-profit organization.

Active hobbies are an excellent choice for people in addiction recovery. Exercise not only heals your body after substance abuse, but it also improves your mental health, so you have the strength to stay clean. Try training for a race, joining a team sport, or taking a group fitness class as a way to strengthen your body and your sobriety.

Relocating
For many people going through addiction recovery, relocating to a new area is a critical part of the process. Not only can it get them away from situations that could trigger a relapse, but according to Recovery Ranch, moving can also give those in treatment a chance at a fresh start. However, when deciding to pack up your things and head to a new area, it’s essential to consider your finances. If you can’t afford to pay rent or a mortgage, then you might want to stay where you are for now. When deciding if purchasing a new house in a new neighborhood is the right financial decision for you, keep in mind that the average price of a one-bedroom home in Fishkill is approximately $230,000. Remember: Just because you can’t afford it now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do so at some point down the road.

Here’s a list of the links and corresponding word/s where to find them:

These steps may sound simple, but picking up the pieces of your life in addiction recovery is harder than it seems. Not only is there a lot of damage to repair, but you’ll deal with people who expect you to fail — not to mention your own self-doubt. Don’t let negative thinking get to you, because it will only bring you down. Set your sights on the future and, with time and effort, life’s pieces will start shifting back into place.

negotiate – https://www.endoverdose.com/news/?fbclid=IwAR1y-guLBHu3iDand5h40fZpo6Bgv7rxLL2jJlYYP9sqjC22u5SeUyKocjI
declaring bankruptcy – https://blog.mint.com/how-to/bankruptcy-a-to-z-when-to-file-and-how-to-recover/
side gig – https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/easy-steps-side-gig/
no guarantee – https://www.thefix.com/content/making-amends-alcoholics-anonymous91408?page=all
aren’t sure – http://www.pickyourgoals.com/goalhacks/how-to-set-goals/
explains – https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm
restorative effects – https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-30024/a-doctor-explains-how-to-take-advantage-of-the-healing-powers-of-nature.html
Active hobbies – https://www.developgoodhabits.com/benefits-hobby/
fresh start – https://www.recoveryranch.com/articles/recovery-at-the-ranch/recovery-help/
approximately $230,000 – https://www.redfin.com/city/30116/NY/Fishkill

What Is A Community Prevention Educator?

by Abigail Gallagher, Community Educator (CAPE)

In 2018, the Council on Addiction, Prevention, and Education, Inc. (CAPE) was awarded a grant by the Foundation for Community Health (FCH) to introduce community prevention education and recovery services to the Eastern Dutchess, Route 22 corridor. The Eastern Dutchess Community Educator, Abigail Gallagher, has now been serving the area since October, teaching an evidence-based drug and violence prevention curriculum, Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence to late elementary and middle school students at Webutuck and Pine Plains Districts. See our interview below to learn more about Abbey’s work in our area.

What is
your role as the Eastern Dutchess Community Prevention Educator? 

Abbey Gallagher: As the Eastern Dutchess Community Prevention Educator, my grant funds my work in both the Webutuck and Pine Plains school districts to deliver a drug and violence prevention curriculum to their students.

What is
the curriculum you teach? 

AG: The Mendez Foundation has created the Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence program, which consists of 15 lessons focused on increasing youth protective factors and decreasing youth risk factors related to substance use and violence. The first five lessons focus on improving students’ social & emotional skills, including goal-setting, decision-making, proper management of emotions, and positive communication. The second five weeks focus on drug education, with each lesson focusing on the health and social risks of a particular substance. We discuss alcohol, tobacco & nicotine, prescription & over-the-counter medication, and marijuana. The last five weeks focus on social & emotional skills in group settings (our anti-violence unit), which develops useful conflict resolution techniques, anger management skills, and bully response strategies.

Whom do
you teach?

AG: This year, at Webutuck District, I’ve taught the 5th, 6th, and 7th-grade students. At Pine Plains, I’ve taught the 5th-grade students.

What is
your favorite part of community education?  

AG: Getting to know my students, undeniably. My students are bright, funny, and caring kids, and I genuinely enjoy getting to teach them skills that they can take with them throughout the rest of their academic careers and beyond.

What do
you hope your students will take away from being part of your class? 

AG: My goal in teaching this prevention curriculum is to give students’ the skills and information necessary to make the best decisions for their futures. I hope that after taking my class when students enter into adolescence and if offered a substance, they will think twice about trying it. Abbey has finished teaching 5th-grade students at Pine Plains but looks forward to attending their Moving Up ceremony in June. She’s finished teaching the 7th graders at Webutuck and is excited to finish the year with the 5th and 6th graders.

What is a Student Assistance Prevention Counselor?

by Abigail Gallagher, Community Educator (CAPE)

Since 2004, Dover School District has partnered with the Council on Addiction, Prevention, and Education,
Inc. (CAPE)
and employed a Student Assistance Prevention Counselor
at their high school. This counselor provides support, information, and
voluntary counseling sessions with 6th-12th-grade
students related to the prevention of substance use.  Stacey Faiman is the current Prevention
Counselor at Dover and has been serving their student population since 2017. We
were lucky enough to speak with Stacey about her time at Dover and the work she
is doing there. See our interview below.

What is a
Student Assistance Prevention Counselor?

Stacey
Faiman:
A CAPE Prevention Counselor is a Behavioral Health Counselor
who is contracted into a Dutchess County school district—in this case, Dover
High School—to provide counseling and educational services to at-risk youth.
Prevention Counselors provide voluntary individual and group counseling to
students who may struggle with a variety of mental or emotional concerns, with
a specific focus on those who may be affected by individual, peer, or family
substance use. A Prevention Counselor also implements school-wide and community
education on the different risk and protective factors of youth substance use
through classroom presentations, events, and after-school clubs, such as
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

What is a
typical day for you at Dover High School?

SF: A
typical day at Dover entails seeing both middle and high school students for
individual and group counseling. At least once per month, you can find me in
the cafeteria during student lunch periods where I highlight a particular substance
use awareness activity, such as Red
Ribbon Week
or The Great
American Smoke Out
.

Red Ribbon Week 2018

What is your favorite part of your job?

SF: My
favorite part of being a Prevention Counselor is being able to connect with and
support students through such a transformative time in their lives. Whether a
student is having a stressful day or struggling with a parent suffering from
substance use disorder, they know that they can feel supported and have their
voices heard in my office, which can make a positive difference in their lives.

Air Out Big Tobacco

What do
you like most about being part of the Dover community?

SF: What I
enjoy most about being part of the Dover community is the compassion and
strength we give one another. In my time here, I have seen such charitable and
terrific acts of support from students, faculty, and community alike as I have
never seen before. It is truly a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community
who is so giving to those in need.

Stacey looks forward to ending the school year with a pre-prom
assembly focused on encouraging all students who attend to make safe and
healthy decisions the night of the dance. She congratulates all graduating
students on their achievements and wishes them the best after their time at
Dover High School.