Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Find Yourself


Find Yourself

This exercise is focused on building insight and self-awareness by first identifying where you often find yourself nowadays in certain situations. Then to follow, the second part of this activity involves some deeper questions about the process of “finding yourself”


Part 1 - Discuss the following by giving your best answer as to where you most often find yourself in the various situations below. There are two ways that this can be done:


1.   Simple version: Just discuss where you find yourself today


2.   Deeper version for substance use and mental health groups: Identify and compare where you used to find yourself in your PAST (when things were not going as well) as compared to where you find yourself TODAY (hopefully making positive changes in some form of recovery)


Where do you usually find yourself?...

At a social gathering? (Some examples provided below)

·        I’m usually the life of the party, socializing and making jokes

·        I am on the dance floor most of the night

·        I am more reserved usually in a smaller more intimate conversation

·        I tend to be shy and wait for others to come to me

After an argument with someone you care about.


On weekends


After midnight


When shopping


When you want entertainment or just to get your mind off things


When you are feeling down (sad or depressed)


When you feel like you are struggling or overwhelmed with life


When you just need a break in the middle of a busy day


When you want to be alone


When you want to relax


When you have some money to spend


When you’re lonely

When you are energized and excited


When you are struggling with triggers or cravings


When you have free time to do whatever you want to do


When you feel inspired or creative


When you want to celebrate or treat yourself


When you are feeling caring or generous


When you want to do something meaningful or positive


Ø If there is time, come up with some of your own and discuss them as a group



Part 2 – Searching Deeper to Find Yourself

The following questions have don’t have definite right or wrong answers but rather these questions are about identifying and sharing more about who you really are today.


What strengths and other positive qualities do I know that I have and can use to make progress?


What do I stand for today? (What is meaningful?)


What are some positive values that inspire and motivate me to move forward in a positive direction?


Who and what helps me to overcome obstacles and push through the tough times in life?


What am I doing right today? (Including things you have done wrong in the past that you no longer do)


What are some life areas where I can clearly see progress and growth?


What helps me know that I am preparing and readying myself for a brighter future?


What skills, supports and other practices do I have that help me cope and survive each day?


What helps me feel a sense of meaning and purpose in life?


What good do I bring to this world (or if you are unsure, then what are you working on or striving for?)



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Simile Self Identification


Simile Self Identification

Simile n. - a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid 


Ø “Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get” – Forest Gump


This purpose of this group exercise is about self-expression and self-awareness building though identifying interesting and meaningful similes about life. In the list below complete as many similes as you can. No one is expected to do all of them but try to be open and creative to do as many as you can. (If you find yourself stuck on any of them or if you feel any do not apply to you then it is okay to skip and move to the next). Again, try to be creative and use your imagination. As a group discuss everyone’s self-identification similes:


My life is like...


My addiction was like…


My recovery is like…


My family is like…


My love life is like…


My anxiety is like…


My moods are like…


My cravings are like…


My home is like…


My pet (dog, cat, etc.) is like…


My children are like…


My job is like…


My days are like…


My weekends are like…


My heart is like…


My head (my mind) is like…


My feelings are like…


My thoughts are like…


My attitude is like…


My past was like…


My future is like…

Process Questions: Congratulations. If you were able to come up with some meaningful self-identification similes that is excellent, as this exercise can be challenging. Now as a group, answer and discuss these follow up questions focused on further self-awareness building:


Ø Which of your own similes that you came up with were the most accurate and meaningful to you?


Ø Overall, when you think about some of the answers you gave, did you tend to be more negative or more positive about yourself and your life?


·       If you said anything negative, what can you specifically do to start to improve in these areas?


·       If you said anything positive discuss how this helps you get through life today.


Ø When you think about where you are in life today…


o  What positive changes are you still working on?


o  What (if anything) do you need to try to reduce or get rid of in your life to take the next positive steps forward?


o  What are some of the strengths, positive qualities and good habits that you have as a person to successfully achieve your future goals?


§  In recovery?


§  In your family and relationships?


§  In life overall?



Ø Now that this is done, what is at least one thing you can take from this exercise to remember to keep on moving forward in a positive direction?




Wednesday, July 14, 2021

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO – How to Identify, Prevent and Overcome the “Fear of Missing Out”

Background: What is Fear of Missing Out? (FOMO) – FOMO is a “what if?” type of worry or anxiety focused on the possibility that life will somehow be worse if one is not present for an event.

FOMO as an official word was adopted by the Oxford Dictionary with the following definition:

  •  fomo: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere


FOMO can at times be associated with substance use disorders especially when an individual is trying to change their lifestyle to avoid situations that can trigger relapse. An individual who is trying to live without drugs/alcohol may experience a sense of fear or worry about what may be missed out on when making a change to a more stable and safer lifestyle without substances.  To put this in perspective here are some examples of FOMO types of statements associated with substance use recovery:

·  “Now that I stopped getting high, how am I going to handle no longer going to the wild parties?”


·  “If I don’t go out to my favorite bar on the weekends, I am going to miss all the good times with friends!”


· “If I get out of the drug game, I will miss all the excitement and action”


·  “Most of my drug using friends will all start doing things without me once they find out I stopped”


Group Question – Can anyone in this group identify with this idea of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out?)

 If so, what specific FOMO thoughts come to mind for you personally?


FOMO is normal for many in substance use recovery. When someone is learning to live without substances this requires significant life change which often involves changing associates and places. It is totally normal to worry about some of the “what ifs” involved with letting go of past behaviors and lifestyles. It is also not unusual to be concerned about boredom and missing out on activities that used to be considered to be “fun” or exciting. The truth is however, when addiction is involved, the “fun” part about using substances probably didn’t end up being so fun after all, due to of the consequences


Preventing and Overcoming FOMO

Preventing FOMO – Here are two things to consider that can help prevent FOMO from setting in


1-    If you know that you are a person who is susceptible to FOMO it may be best to avoid gossip and limit social media which may increase a false feeling that you are missing out on something. Quite often, the less you know about other people’s business, the better that is for avoiding FOMO. It can take practice, but we can all learn not to care about or focus on what does not concern us.


  • Group Question: Do you think it is a good idea for you to be careful with who you follow and associate with on social media? Also, be honest - do you need to stay away from gossip?


2-    Support groups can be a powerful antidote to FOMO. Hearing about other peoples’ past struggles with addiction can serve as a powerful reminder telling us not to go back to an old lifestyle. When it comes to addiction, support groups can remind us that we are missing out on more pain, stress and consequences, than missing out on imagined “fun” or excitement related to substance use.


  • Group Question – How does being part of a group help you to stay away from experiencing FOMO?


Overcoming FOMO- Coping with FOMO involves three perspectives:


Keep it Real About the Past – Humans have a tendency to romanticize the past at times.

To romanticize means to idealize or to think about or describe something as being better or more attractive or interesting than it really is


“The good old days weren’t always good” – Billy Joel – This saying is used in another Taking the Escalator activity, but it is worth repeating because it is so meaningful and true. Sometimes when time passes, we can forget about how difficult things really were. It can be so important not to fall into the trap of fantasizing about “the good old days” and forgetting the real consequences


If you experience FOMO, remember, there will be other, much more beneficial events in life. You can learn to seek out and enjoy more stable and healthy forms of entertainment and socialization


Group Question – Be honest, do you ever find yourself romanticizing the past? What can help you to keep it real with yourself and remember where your past life of substance use lead you?


Stay Grateful about the PresentAs a group, review and discuss each of the following sayings about keeping a grateful perspective:


 “If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, maybe you should water your own grass”


“Recovery is never easy, but it is always rewarding”


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not but rejoices for those which he has."  - Epictetus

Reframe and Refocus – We can cope with FOMO by reframing FOMO-based thoughts as in this chart:

GROUP FOLLOW UP: For each individual in this group personally: List five things about your present life that are better now than in the past. (For example, think life areas such as financial, relationships, family, legal, employment, etc.) - Make a list and then when everyone is ready, discuss these lists as a group







Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Family Timeline


Family Timeline


Intro – This activity features questions for group discussion with a focus on opening up about childhood and family issues. Questions are arranged in a timeline format starting with birth then continuing chronologically to the present. Because some issues can be sensitive, group members are encouraged to be open and try to share what they can but to also make sure not to share more than they are comfortable with at this time in their recovery. The group activity ends with a discussion on coping in the present and the future, as well as some discussion about involving family members in treatment if possible


Directions – As a group, discuss the following timeline questions about childhood and family, in order. (The age groups listed are just guidelines.)  When doing this activity with adolescent groups, do Parts 1, 2 and 3, then switch to the Adolescent Specific questions in Parts 4 and 5


Part 1 Birth through Early Childhood (Up until about age 6)


·       What can you remember about this time period in your life?


·       What kinds of thoughts and emotions come to mind about this time period in your life?


·       What kinds of things from this time period related to your family, may have impacted who you are today?


Part 2 Middle Childhood (Approx. age 7-12)


·       What kind of kid were you during this time period? (What were some of your likes, dislikes and personality traits?)


·       How was the transition to school for you?


·       What was family life like during this time period?


Part 3 – Adolescence (Age 12-18)


·       What roles did you experiment with in adolescence and where did you eventually find yourself?


·       How did you do socially and in school? (For SUD groups, how did substance use play a role?)


·       How did you family react to you as an adolescent and how did you react to your family?


Part 4 – Early Adulthood (Approx. age 19 through early/mid 20’s)


·       What became your areas of focus in early adulthood?


o   For Adolescents – What do you plan on focusing on in early adulthood?


·       What was this time period like for you mentally and emotionally? (For SUD groups how was your SUD use patterns and related behaviors?)


o   For Adolescents – How do you feel about the near future period of young adulthood coming up soon in your life?


·       As an early adult, how did your relationships with family go (How has family helped and hurt)?


o   For Adolescents – What kind of relationship do you want to have with your family as an adult?


Part 5 – Adulthood to the present


·       What are some key factors and events that guided your course of adulthood? (For SUD groups discuss substance use and mental health)


o   For Adolescents - What do you think will be helpful for you in your future journey through adulthood?


·       What lessons have you learned about coping and surviving as an adult?


o   For Adolescents - As a grown-up with adult responsibilities, how do you plan to survive and cope?


·       As an adult how have your relationships with family changed, evolved, or improved?


o   For Adolescents – What kind of family (if any) do you plan on having?


Closing Discussion - Considerations for the Present and the Future


·       Is your family involved in your recovery? (If you are in treatment, are they involved in your treatment?) – Why or why not? What may be holding you back?


·       What would it take for you to increase your family involvement in your recovery? (If this activity is being done at a treatment center, this could be a good time to discuss what family services your program offers and discuss some of the potential benefits of these family treatment and support services)


·       Looking to the future – After all that has been discussed today, what are some of the things that you have learned (either good or bad, things to do and things not to do) that you can use to help make your current and future family life successful and happy?