It’s Labor Day weekend, the first holiday of the school year and the one that indicates the real end of Summer and the transition toward Fall. Labor Day represents the culmination of Summer barbecues, eating al fresco, long days and warm nights. Stores already have Halloween swag for sale and it’s still August! I wish I was kidding.
The Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day. As folks in recovery, this presents a unique opportunity to celebrate independence from addiction and mental illness. It’s an opportunity to celebrate independence from the circumstances that fueled our addiction and facilitated our mental illness. Some addicts or alcoholics who are in the swing of their addiction may feel the abysmal pull toward darkness: institutionalization, jails, stealing, acts of violence, and even death. Others may continue to function, however, they proceed through life with the pull toward an internalized darkness: spiritual death, loneliness, isolation, depression, numbness, and an overall disconnection with others. Substance abuse is no walk in the park. Finding freedom from that level of deep suffering is truly liberating.
Graduation is a few weeks away and that means there will be tons of parties and cause for
celebration. Sometimes, grad night acts as a bridge to experimental drinking and drug use, or it can be uses as justification for intoxication. Graduation is a milestone and often symbolizes growing up and moving into adulthood. At times, adulthood is perceived as freedom from childhood where there are no parents breathing down their necks, no teachers calling home when they don’t pull their weight in class, and no one to report to. How many time have we heard,”Gah. I can’t wait to be an adult.” If they only knew, right!?
Coachella is happening and there are tons of opportunities for sober fun!
MusicCares is in the house, representing artists in recovery. There are organizations like Soberchella who host 12-step meetings every day of the 3-day festival. Aside from listening to the varied array of musical acts (seriously, there is more variety at Coachella than at the 99-cent store!), you can enter a “Bad Dancing Competition,” or you can Hula Hoop, participate in a “Not-So-Silent Dance Party,” a Three-Legged Race, play Dodgeball, participate in a Joke Contest, or a Pinball Competition. The opportunities for sober fun are many!
This is it: time for our annual Alumni Big Bear Ski trip,
and we are over the moon! It’s one of the favorite alumni events of the year, and the fact that 6 more weeks of winter have been predicted (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil!), and the fact that snow is falling, we are raring to go.
It’s always an adventure complete with community building activities, epic goofiness, 12-step meetings, fellowship, and a burrito-eating contest. Yes, you read that last part correctly. There’s a place in Big Bear that sells something called the “Big Juan” burrito. It’s a 4-pound burrito and if you can eat it in 45 minutes, you win a T-shirt. There is always someone willing, no matter the warnings of sickness and overwhelm. It must be some T-shirt! We’ll post pics if someone dares to take this challenge.
It’s a big night: it’s the night before Thanksgiving and the first night of Chanukah. It’s a holiday mashup if I’ve ever seen one!
There is the inevitable stress (walk into any grocery store and you’ll see what I mean), family shenanigans (some good, some bad), and excitement. I won’t lie, the entire week has been focused on making Thanksgivukkah donuts. Really. What I will tell you is this: try to find some humor in the madness. There is humor and joy or the possibility of both everywhere you turn.
Did you know that more people drink and drive on Halloween than many other holidays?
“Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that Halloween is among one of the most deadly holidays for drunk driving. For the holiday period — from October 30 through 5:59 a.m. on November 1, 2011 — 74 people died nationwide in a crash involving a drunk driver, a 21 percent increase over the average number of drunk driving deaths per day.” via MADD
Writers in Treatment presents the 5th annual Reel Recovery Film Festival. It’s happening right now in Santa Monica through the 24th of October. It features films about, by, and for people in recovery. Writers in Treatment are a non-profit organization rooted in recovery and the arts. They provide referrals to those seeking treatment as well as scholarships for those in need. Writers in Treatment also offers educational, wellness and prevention programs through their Author/Outreach series.
One of the most lauded alumni events at Visions is our Halloween outing. This year is no different as we expand our adventure and take it to new heights: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, we are coming your way! I hear it’s scarier, gorier, and more terrifying than ever. Rumor has it, Halloween Horror Nights makes Knott’s look like kids’ play! Say it isn’t so!
The Visions Alumni weekend is fast approaching and we are really looking forward to three days of sober fun! Each year, alumni get a chance to reconnect with their fellow alumni, challenge the staff to a softball game, and engage in team building activities that are chock full of laughter and joy. For us, it’s a pleasure to see the evolution of our alumni as they gotten more rooted in their recovery.