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Back when I got clean, I spent many months grieving many losses. The places I socialized and those I befriended were all heavily invested in the drug lifestyle. I had to turn my back on, what seemed at the time, every positive social connection of my life.
My addict brain, controlled by my very active relapse monster, fed me a diet of sadness, guilt and sorrow.
My addict brain and my addict emotions connected in a symphony of unwanted feelings and thoughts that for several years “crescendoed” toward relapse.
I became a martyr of abstinence, tantrumming and lamenting in Old Testament proportions: “I’ll never be able to party again!,” “sobriety is a sobering event, woe is me!”
The relapse monster in my brain rebelled against the monastic austere life I was now “forced” to live in sobriety.
But, of course, this is all a lie. Truth is, sobriety is what you make of it. Our brains are so convinced that we have to be under the influence to experience a positive emotion that it takes direct confrontation to jar us out of the lie. It’s hard to believe that we could actually have fun in recovery, find friends, laugh.
Citrus County’s AA/NA groups offer ways for a recovering person to connect socially and have fun: sports groups, picnics, travel, and camping trips are examples.
Just this past year, Club Recovery was added to our community. Many such clubs thrive around the country, but Club Recovery is unique to our area. It’s open nine to 10 hours a day and offers more than 15 12-step meetings, social get-togethers, games, movie nights, and hosts special events like New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl parties.
The atmosphere is friendly and positive, providing a warm place for people to have fun and relax in the safety of an environment that promotes recovery.
I want to share with you readers how special Club Recovery is for our community.
One of the programs I oversee for the Centers is the Adolescent Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program (ARSAT). These teens are in a long-term program to help them tackle the lifestyle and brain disease processes of addiction.
They struggle with the harsh reality that they need to walk away from all of their friends and social activities. They’re faced with the unbelievably difficult task of building a life from scratch isolated from everything and everyone they have known. They feel alone, they grieve, they’re often angry, and they feel lost.
A few months ago, ARSAT’s program manager, Steve Archbold, started taking the ARSAT kids to Club Recovery 12-step meetings. The meetings’ members then created a miracle.
They reached out to our teens, embracing them, joining with them, making special room for them, even recruiting specific members to come to meetings who could relate with the kids and be role models for their recovery.
These teens, who are usually family and society rejects, have found loving and caring acceptance. Steve says it’s hard to get the kids to leave the Club, because they are bonding so well with the message and the members — and these kids meet most situations with resistance and refusal.
I get goose-bumps when I hear about how the important message of recovery is being shared, lives are being changed, and the fullness of sobriety is being lived.
To connect with Club Recovery call 352-419-4836. For meeting/event schedules, visit their website at www.clubrecoveryofcitruscounty.com. I know you will find peace, fun and inspiration in the rooms there!
Yvonne Hess, M.S., LMFT,CAP, is director of Citrus County services for The Centers. She can be reached at 352-628-5020, ext. 1013, or firstname.lastname@example.org.