Sunday, December 29, 2019

Goal Setting Go Fish

Intro: The following exercise is a fun way to identify and discuss goals. The game itself is more of an icebreaker however this will open up some positive discussion on goal setting for the upcoming year.

Directions: First, as a group, brainstorm 13 goals for the upcoming year. Goals can be in a variety of life areas including recovery, family, relationships, financial, physical/health, emotional, career/employment/educational, spiritual, legal, etc. - Keep in mind the following guidelines when setting goals:

The Three R's of Long-Term Goal Setting

Realistic having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected.
ReasonableAppropriate, based on good sense
ReachableAccessible, achievable, able to be reached at some point

On a board or somewhere everyone can see it, brainstorm and write down 13 goals that are realistic, reasonable and reachable. On the board, list one goal next to each one of the 13 following card types:
Aces –
Kings –
Queens –
Jacks -
Tens –
Nines –
Eights –
Sevens –
Sixes –
Fives –
Fours –
Deuces (2’s) – 

Next – Get a standard deck of cards. Remove any jokers or other non-standard cards. As a group, play a game of “Go Fish” with the deck of cards. Go Fish is a very easy game that takes 10-15 minutes to play. If you forget the rules, you can view them here. It’s easy -
*One minor rule change should be that the game play should continue until the draw pile is empty. Players that go out early should wait until the draw pile is done, which will give more people in the group a chance to win sets of 4.
When the game of Go Fish is done, each person should discuss which goals they have hypothetically “won” based on the sets of 4 cards that they were able to gather during the game of Go Fish.
For example, if at the end of the game of Go Fish, a player had all four of the Kings and all four of the 8’s then that person should discuss how he or she would feel if they achieved the corresponding goal for Kings and the corresponding goal for 8’s that the group came up with during the initial brainstorming session on the board.
Go around the room and discuss the goals that people may have won during the Go Fish game. Some players may not have won any goals, and some may have won more than one. Players who did not win any goals can pick from the list on the board and discuss the goal from the goal list that they wish that they would have won.

Final Discussion – Getting Down to the Basic Principles Goal Setting and Goal Attainment:

What are THREE PERSONAL GOALS that you want to have achieved by this time next year?

What is your PURPOSE for setting these goals? (Why did you choose the goals that you did?)

What do you think that you need to MOTIVATE you to get started and keep working on these goals?

What will help you to SUSTAIN motivation and not give up on your goals in the next year?

What specific kinds of ACTION do you need to take in order to achieve these goals?

Who or what can SUPPORT you in achieving your goals and in not giving up?

How do you SEE YOURSELF as your goals are achieved? (What will life be like? How will you feel?)

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Sudden and Tragic Loss...

Please take a moment to review this incredibly sad story. Missy Hamilton was a counselor and Taking the Escalator follower who was brutally murdered while at work at Crossroads Counseling in Madison, Tennessee on December 3, 2019. 

Below is a quote directly from Missy which shows what kind of person she was:

Melissa "Missy" Hamilton - October 1, 2019

"11 years ago, I surrendered, pleaded for God to relieve me of my addiction or let me die because death looked better than living in the darkness of my demise. I entered a women’s transitional recovery living and they asked me at 90 days clean to write out a one year goal, 5 year and ten year. After reflecting back a few weeks ago on what I wrote for those goals, I was overwhelmed with emotions to see how far God had brought me. At ten years I just wanted to be clean and sober, reunited w my family and not waiting tables for a career. God gave me those back in the first year with the exception of the job. At two years I went back to school to get my bachelors degree in psychology with a minor in substance abuse counseling. I wanted to help others with drug and alcohol issues.11 years ago today, God delivered me and in 11 days I will finish a year long internship at Cumberland Heights inpatient treatment and finish my Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. What I asked for was so very small in comparison to what he gave me. So this is to all those suffering/ we can’t but God can !"

Click here to view Missy Hamilton's Fundraiser page 

Click here to read the latest news article on this horrific crime which took Missy's life

Thank You

Saturday, December 7, 2019



Mandate -n. - an official order or commission to do something

It is a reality that in substance use treatment programs, quite often many program participants are mandated or otherwise coerced, forced, or ordered to attend. For some, even if they are not legally mandated, it may feel the same way if a family member or employer is stipulating or demanding a substance use program be completed. This group exercise is specifically for people in this situation*

*If you are participating in this exercise and you are not mandated or otherwise forced into treatment, you can still benefit by trying to think about how you can increase your motivation to succeed in the program through this discussion. For example, if you are in the program on your own volition, think about how you are in a sense “mandating” yourself to complete the program

Some Paths…

When someone is mandated into a treatment program, there are a number of ways to try and handle the situation. Consider a few:

Biding Time (aka “On Standby”) The person who chooses this path is cooperating with the program for now with the eventual goal of going back using once the mandate is over.

  • For example: “I’ll abstain from substances while I am on probation, but the minute probation is over I am going to enjoy getting high again”

Partially Progressing – The person who chooses this path follows the program to some degree but not all the way. This person may choose to hide some of the things that the authorities may not like

  • For example: “I am going to avoid using substances that can show up in my urine while I am being tested but when the opportunity is there between tests, I’ll sneak a little drug or drink here and there”

Catch Me if You Can - The person who chooses this path is making a full investment into the game of trying to keep getting high but not getting caught. The focus is on beating the system

  • For example: “Probation starts next week so I got my stuff to flush out my system for urine tests, I got some of my sober friend’s urine just in case I need to sneak that in and I got some fake weed which I don’t think they are testing for”

Calmly Cooperate (aka If you can’t beat ‘em, join em) – The person who chooses this path recognizes there is no use trying to fight the system when mandated. This person is choosing to give in and instead do their best to make the most out of the program even if they are mandated

  • For example: “I am not sure whether or not I really need this, but while I am here, I might as try to learn something and see if it helps”

Self-Motivated (aka I don’t mind the mandate) The person who is in this situation may be mandated but on an equal or even stronger level there is a personal desire to change. This person plans to do their best even when the mandate ends because on some level, they know they need it

  • For example: “There is a chance my court case is going to get dropped but even if it does, I am going to stay and complete this program because I need this for myself

REVIEW: Think to yourself, which of the above honestly describes your situation? 
Discuss what you are willing to share about on this topic.
 If you have another answer not listed, what is it?

Go with the flow

DISCUSS - How does it feel to be mandated, forced or otherwise directed to complete a program? Be honest with how you think and feel about the situation. (If you are not mandated, how do you think it would feel if you were?)

Three Ways to Make the Best of Any Situation

1.    Accept – Recognizing that “It is what it is” 
can save a lot of wasted time and energy 
trying to fight against reality
2.    Learn – You don’t have to like something to learn from it. 
See what you can get from this situation
 regardless of whether or not you agree with it.
 There is something to be learned
 from every situation in life
3.    Flex and Flow – You can swim against the current in life 
but that can be very tiring. Sometimes it is better
 to surrender and see where the 
proverbial river takes you.
 In this case, even if you are mandated, 
why not go with it and 
see what happens rather than fight it?