Welcome to summer 2017! We are taking the summer of sun and fun to look back, look present, and look ahead. 🙂
Looking Back: Prana Recovery Centers had a very successful spring fundraiser (see article below). Thank you so much to those who participated! We are grateful to you and could not do this work without you.
Looking Present: As you may know, Prana has been housed very graciously by Employment Options in Marlborough, MA. It is where we deliver our Relapse Prevention Program every Monday & Wednesday night. We are delighted that Employment Options Executive Director Toni Wolf has been named the new Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission! We are extremely grateful to Toni for believing in our mission and for assisting us greatly in getting started. Best of luck in your new endeavor Toni. You will be greatly missed by Prana!
Looking Ahead: Prana will be hosting a strategic planning retreat in the fall. We are looking forward to reexamining our goals, setting new goals, and sharing some meaningful time together as we plan for the future.
Thank you all for your continued support of Prana Recovery Centers efforts to help those who still suffer from substance abuse disorder and their family members and loved ones!
Please SAVE THE DATE for our fall fundraiser: Saturday, October 14, 2017 1:30pm – 3:30pm (more info to follow soon!)
As we turn the page on Prana Recovery Centers first calendar year, I cannot help but reflect on so many high points and learning curves. Our efforts have been intense, including long hours of emotionally and spiritually hard work, and the intense motivation it takes to fortify the heart in order to stand in the trenches with the ravages of addiction. We walk side-by-side with the people behind the wreckage of a disease that is still culturally unacceptable.
So how does one journey from addiction to happily living clean & sober? This work involves connecting the mind and body, practicing living a life based on spiritual truths, and prioritizing positive social connection and service to others.
One of the goals of our Relapse Prevention Program is for each participant to find his or her own authentic path to recovery. Options are based in our six pillars of wellness, then guide people to practice living their choices. And it is a practice.
Connecting Mind & Body
At Prana Recovery Centers each participant begins with the long, slow process of connecting the mind and body. This is not a quick fix and requires skillfulness in managing the newly surfaced emotions (and sometimes trauma) that the body holds. We employ mindfulness meditation and yoga (asana) as the foundation for this deep inner work.
Addicts and alcoholics have disconnected the mind and heart on purpose. There is too much turmoil in the inner environment to expose everything all at once. This is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. Unraveling the physical, emotional, and spiritual knots requires support, courage, skillfulness, and patience.
The Prana curriculum includes multiple approaches to help someone become aware of the habits of mind that exist and then slowing dismantling the thinking that keeps addicts and alcoholics stuck in addiction.
Participants know from the very session that their task is to find and select their path to recovery. Not the path they think they are supposed to be on, not the path someone else thinks they should be on, and certainly selecting no path and living on auto- pilot. For example, our Relapse Prevention Program participants have been taking a deep dive into the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) of the eightfold path of yoga. The yamas and niyamas are like a road map for learning to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
One of the yamas is Ahimsa which means non-harming. It is a simple concept – do no harm – that is incredibly challenging to put into practical application in day-to day life. There are no hard set of rules and each individual has to define what non-harming means to him or her. We all agree that picking up a drink or a drug is doing harm. Practicing Ahimsa requires courage to excavate our fears, finding space in our lives for stillness, and truly living compassionately toward oneself and others.
Our participants move from Ahimsa into one of the tenets of the Science of Happiness (and it is a science) – kindness. Kindness is a major support to Non-Harming (Ahimsa). From kindness, we branch into gratitude, empathy, and loving-kindness. These practices are developed through readings, discussions, multimedia approaches, talking with others, and then actually experiencing (living) it.
We also use the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps to develop spiritual principles by which to live. The Big book contains the instructions for the steps in the first 103 pages. The steps are based on a practical application of how to live life happily, with meaning and purpose, and free from drugs and alcohol.
Social Connection & Service To Others
Social connection and service to others is a theme throughout our Relapse Prevention Program. Addiction breeds isolation. We create meaningful connections with one another. Developing a positive safety net of support takes time, the willingness to be vulnerable, and commitment.
Service to others is a cornerstone of all the work we do at Prana. Being of service to others takes the focus of ourselves, helps us to find meaning in life, and brings a wealth of positive emotions.
Prana Recovery Centers has experienced a humble beginning in 2016. We have focussed on fine-tuning our curriculum rather than marketing. Our priorities have been individualized attention and support, creating the groundwork and solid foundation for an approach that is a bit before its time. We have also focussed on accepting people regardless of their ability to pay. Work with family members of the addict and the alcoholic has begun through our Family Matters Program.
We have learned a lot, made mistakes, created community, and been of service. And we have begun to define future goals that will provide meaningful services to addicts and alcoholics. We do not approach the enormous problem of addiction in a traditional manner. In fact, we are quite proud of that fact. We realize that insurance companies and some in the established rehabilitation sector may not quite fully grasp what we are all about. At the close of our first calendar year we are more convinced then ever that our approach is solid, wholehearted, effective, and messy.
It is with tremendous gratitude and enthusiasm that we recognize those generous souls who have graciously supported our learning year. The Relapse Prevention participants have shown courage, commitment, and tenacity. We bow to you with deep gratitude for putting your trust in Prana Recovery Centers and we recognize your tremendous efforts to beat a disease that few understand.
Do you have a loved one suffering from addiction. We can help. Navigating the ups and downs of early sobriety can be an absolute nightmare. This is true not only for the addict but also family members. Prana Recovery Center gets a lot of calls from family members, usually Moms, seeking services for their loved one. It is often a heartbreaking conversation.
And it is no easier on the person suffering from addiction. Prana’s Relapse Prevention Program participants say that the most challenging aspect of learning to live clean and sober is managing, and repairing, primary relationships. Deep scars are left by addiction.
Awareness of What is Happening
It is very helpful to know what lies ahead for the family and for the addict in the early recovery. There are difficult conversations and decisions in the weeks and months ahead. Family members are often unaware of how to act and feel like they are walking on eggshells. There is also much healing that needs to happen. Repairing broken trust, attempts at forgiveness, and setting appropriate boundaries can be tricky terrain to maneuver. All of this leads to continuing strain on relationships.
The addict is often filled with remorse, regret, and shame. Sometimes these twisted emotions display as anger, obstinance, or self-pity. They cannot find their voice to effectively communicate what it is they need. Silence or denial can be a form of self protection even though it is not effective.
Loved ones experience confusion, unfulfilled expectations, and a deep sense of helplessness. They may expect the addict or the alcoholic to quickly return to who he or she once was and get on with a “normal” life. Often frustration and disappointment go unspoken as tensions build.
Family Members Experiences
One Mom who has lost a son to an opiate overdose and has another child that suffers from addiction learned that if she wants to help her kids, she first must help herself. Katie puts it this way: “If you want your son or daughter to find recovery, find your own recovery.”
Family members often resist the idea that they have a problem too. Living with a loved one in addiction has created unhealthy dynamics for everyone. It is not just the addict who needs help.
Another Mom writes about three lessons she has learned from having a son addicted to opiates. Realizing that she was the last person in the world to help her son was difficult to accept and challenging to practice.
Siblings are also caught in the fray of dysfunction that living with addiction brings. They find themselves full of anger, crippled with helplessness, or trying to control the addict. Sibs also experience deep confusion, fear, and internal chaos.
Families need help too. In fact, we believe there is a much better chance of an addict or alcoholic staying sober when his or her family members are also getting help. Our Family Matters program offers weekly meetings where support, education, and relationship skill building are discussed and practiced. We also engage family members in our six pillars of wellness.
We ask our Relapse Prevention Program participants during the intake process if their family members (support network) would be willing to attend our Family Matters Program. When family members are practicing their own recovery, our Relapse Prevention Participant will have a much better chance at sustaining sobriety.
Prana Recovery Centers is so committed to families being part of the solution that we offer this weekly meeting free of charge.
Come join us some Wednesday evening. We would love to have you on the journey back to well being !
Prana Recovery Centers relies on the generosity of others to run its programs. Please consider donating today!
Prana Recovery Centers is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) corporation organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.
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