Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The River of Choices: Coping with Stigma

The River of Choices – Coping with the Stigma that may be Associated with the Past

Our life choices flow like a river in one direction – toward the future. Our choices of the past, whether good or bad affect our present and our future, however they do not define us. Today we can choose a new way to navigate down the river different than the way we did during when making our past choices

Quite often however, we may have to live with the consequences of our past choices. But again: we are not defined by our past choices. Even if we are still paying for past choices, we are a new person today who can change (for the better) and improve the way we live and make better decisions. People can and do change for the better with time and effort.

Discussion – Have you ever felt like others were defining you by your past choices?

Think about how society, family, or others may hold your past choices against you through the following:

> Being judgmental or prejudiced

> Labeling

> Discrimination or unfair treatment

The above are all examples of stigma - a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation

Discussion – What are some ways that stigma may impact your life? Some possible examples below:

“I think about what others will say if they see the scars on my arms from my past”

“I worry about what others will think if they knew I take medication for my mental health (or addiction)”

“I dread the thought of certain people finding out about my past (or present) legal situation”

“When I meet new people, I feel uncomfortable that eventually they may find out about ____ (from my past)”

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Is Fear Holding You Back?

Are You Letting Fear 
Hold You Back?                                                                                  

Fear can serve a positive purpose, especially when it comes to safety or potential self-destruction. The term “healthy fear” refers to a fear that is actually good for you in the sense it can be a protection. For example, fear of drinking and driving or fear of overdose can both be considered to be healthy fears because having a fear of those things can move an individual to make safer choices. However there are other fears that can be unhealthy. Some of these unhealthy fears can severely limit you from living up to your full potential.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises,
is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford

When someone is working toward making positive lifestyle changes in response to a substance use or mental health issue, there may be some fear involved during the process of healing. To get better, some risks have to be taken and some fears have to be faced for there to be growth. It is okay to be afraid from time to time but the difference that separates people who are successful from those who are not is the ability to move forward in spite of one’s feelings of fear. The feeling of fear is inevitable at times, however the difference is whether or not you will allow unhealthy fears to forever hold you back from the progress you deserve.

The process of working past your fears starts with insight and self-awareness. This means first recognizing and acknowledging to yourself what you may be afraid of. Once we recognize our fears we can learn to face them, and then slowly and steadily work on them. Some fears may never fully leave us, however, we have a degree of control over how we will allow fear to maintain a hold on us by keeping us inactive. Many fears eventually go away with time, patience, persistence and practice. The main point is to face our unhealthy fears and keep moving forward toward our goals anyway

Group Process: Start with a general discussion of the following questions focused on some of your strengths and coping skills.

Starting with strengths – The fact that you are here now means that you have already overcome some level of fear just to get where you are now – What fears have you already started to face on your journey to get where you are today?

What helps you personally with your fears? Who or what do you rely upon for courage and strength?

Next – Review the following page: