Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Grind Part 3... It’s a Marathon not a Sprint


The grind is repetitive and at times even relentless. To grind it out, we need to be ready to push through the mundane. Sometimes we need to retread over some of the same ground hundreds if not thousands of times without giving up, giving out or giving in. Similar to the way wind and water can erode a stream into a massive canyon over many years, the steady flow of repetitive action can slowly chip away obstacles and barriers that may be holding us back from success. Simply put: When it comes to successfully managing the grind, the old adage is true: “Slow and steady wins the race”

Think about how the following qualities can help us all to keep grinding it out day by day, pushing forward and upward without giving up or giving in:

  • Perseverance - persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

  • Endurance - the ability to withstand hardship or adversity

  • Resilience - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness.

  • Grit - Sustained effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal 

Question for reflection: How can I increase these qualities in my life so that I can successfully manage the grind”

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Caption This


Caption This – This is a light-hearted group cohesion/self-expression activity. There are two simple directions to follow for each picture provided:


  • Caption This”As a group review each picture and try to come up with interesting captions for the photo.


  • Make it Therapeutic”After everyone has had their chance to share their ideas for captions, allow people in the group to share if any of the captions have meaning in their own life in any way.

An example is provided here:

Caption This (Example) – “Not all stories have happy endings” 

Make it Therapeutic (Example) – ‘It’s true, I know too many people who did not get this drug issue under control, and it did not end well. As for me, I want a happy ending to all of this, so I am going to do everything I can to stay on the path to recovery”


Moving forward: As a group you can start with this picture if you wish or move to the next one

Continue with this “Caption This” process and follow up, for the pictures that follow – You can spend more time on some pics than others based on group interest and creativity

Caption This:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Be Your Best Self


Be Your Best Self

Ø Self - a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others

Background - We are who we are, and we will be who we strive to be (to the degree we are able) - However, when it comes to certain emotions, circumstances and situations, there may be slightly altered “versions” of ourselves – We are still who we are at our core, but there can be some variation with regard to our communication, expression, reactions and behaviors in different circumstances.

We will return to this topic but for now as a warmup, as a group participate in the following icebreaker designed just to get the group open and talking in a fun and relaxed manner:


Opening IcebreakerAlter Ego’s – As a group, read each “alter ego” and its description one at a time. For each one, consider the following:

If you knew that someone in this group had this hidden identity, who would you pick? Make your best guess and keep it light-hearted a this is meant to be fun rather than confrontational or judgmental

·       Secret Billionaire – This person has a large fortune that they do not speak of but rather choose to live a humble and modest lifestyle

·       Crime Fighter by Night – This person is in this group now, but afterward when no one is looking, they go out in a masked outfit and fight crime with their hidden superpowers

·       Hidden Genius – This person makes sure not to show their super intelligence to the group, but they are secretly inventing something in a lab somewhere that will change the world for the better

·       Humble Hero – This person has a heroic past which involved saving lives, but the person never tells anyone about it and just keeps it a secret

·      Undercover Android – Someone here is actually a robot sent here to study human interaction in therapy groups

·       Privately Planning Politician – This person is planning to run for office one day to try to make some changes in the world, but for now they are not telling anyone about it

·       Extroverted Introvert – This person may be on the quiet or reserved side here in group but outside of here they can take over the room and be the life of the party when they are in their element

·      The Gentle Warrior – This person is calm, peaceful, sensitive, and nice here in group and never brags about being “tough” here, but you would not be surprised that they can kick some butt on the outside if it ever came down to it

·       Covert Comedian – This person may be way funnier than everyone in the group realizes

·      Secluded Star – One person in this group has a project in the works where they will soon be famous, who do you think it is?


Ø Version - a particular form of something differing in certain respects from an earlier form or other forms of the same type of thing 

In order to learn more about ourselves and how we express ourselves, and how we behave and cope, it can be helpful to identify and discuss different versions of our “self” when faced with various situations and emotions

Directions - As a group, do your best to describe yourself in these various scenarios: Consider how you look, act, react, communicate, behave, etc., for each one. As a group discuss each one and share your thoughts about yourself:

Happy me

“Free” me (no consequences or authority over your head)

Wise me

Sick me (physical)

Angry me

Vacation Me

Stress-free me

Sad me

Hurt me

Kind and generous me

Jealous me

Motivated me (aka Taking care of business me)

Insecure me

Confident me

Private me (at home alone or with only closest friends/family)

Brave me

Focused me

Lonely me

“Not taking care of myself” me

“Active in recovery” me

Relapsing me

Determined me

Ø  If you would like to come up with some of your own, you can


Closing Process Questions

1.   Which “me” that was discussed do you most strongly identify with?


2.   Which versions of “me” discussed do you most want to avoid in your life?


a.   What do you need to do to keep away from these?


b.   What difficult or challenging areas in life are you making progress overcoming and how are you achieving that?


3.   Which “me’s” discussed do you want more of?


a.   What specifically can you do in order to increase this in your life?


b.   What strengths do you have that can help you?

4.   Finally, considering everything that has been discussed so far: Who is the real me? Or in other words, what is the real “you” all about – Who are you really?


a.   Optional – If you can handle the feedback ask the group, what do you see in me?

Final close-out question:

What are at least three (or four) things that you can do in your life now or start working on soon in order to be your BEST SELF?













Thursday, October 7, 2021

Letting Go of Regrets

Regret - a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.

Discussion – Read, consider and discuss the following points about Letting Go of Regrets

Letting go of regrets can involve the following aspects:

Forgiving yourself – Forgiveness is about letting go of feelings of resentment and releasing yourself from the shame or excessive guilt that we may carry or hold onto after making a mistake or doing something wrong. Sometimes what happened was not even our fault but we still may need to forgive and let go


Acceptance – This can be a hard concept to define, yet it is so very important. One way to look at acceptance is to say that acceptance is the ability to internally look at a situation, circumstance or experience and honestly say to oneself “it is, what it is” or “the past is the past” and thereby allow oneself to learn to escape negative emotions such as anger, hate, disappointment, injustice, or fear.


Another way to conceptualize acceptance, is to achieve a point mentally where we believe in our heart that:


·         “There is nothing I can do to change this circumstance (or situation)


·          I can only change how I adapt and cope and try to make productive choices going forward (Therefore I will do my best to move forward in as positive a way as possible)”



Some more points for discussion about letting go of regrets

When you let go of regrets you can rechannel your energy- Think of the energy wasted on regret. Imagine rechanneling that wasted energy and emotion into your present life and future in a positive way.


Letting go of regret can enhance and fuel motivation - Rather than hold on to regret, you can allow your experiences to make you work harder to be better today and tomorrow


You are allowed to move on from regret – Others may continue to judge you, stigmatize, blame, shame, etc. but you don’t have to continue to do that to yourself.  It is your choice. Your only responsibility is to make your best effort to learn from the past and make better choices in the future


There can be positive lessons learned even after regretful experiences - We are all products of our experiences and sometimes we “grow” past negative trials. Sometimes there are gains that come out of past bad experiences, even when those experiences fuel feelings of regret.


There is no guarantee that if you had made a difference choice, your life would have been better – Perhaps you feel like you regret a past decision and you feel like your life would have been better had you chosen a different path. That may be true. However, you will never know for sure. There is always a chance that had you taken another path in life, that may not have had the good outcome that you expected. It is better to accept what has happened and learn from it than perseverate on “what if’s” which just led to more frustration and often more regret – “What ifs” are a waste of time (Refer back to acceptance which is about letting go of “what if’ scenarios.


Coping with Regret – Regret can be likened to an anchor to a ship, holding you back, keeping you from moving forward as you should be. Regret can be that weight slowing down your journey. If you can “cut the anchor” of regret, you will likely soon find that you are “sailing forward” toward growth and positive change

Thoughts that can “cut the anchor” of regret - As a group, discuss which of these examples stand out to you the most as helpful and explain why:

A.   I did what I thought was right at the time

B.   I was a different person then, I’ve learned and moved on

C.   I honestly did not know better

D.   Other people were influencing me in a negative way, so my judgment was not clear

E.    I was using substances at that time, so my judgement was impacted, and I clearly wasn’t thinking straight

a.    Did you know that science shows that addiction adversely impacts the parts of the brain that are needed to make decisions? (The prefrontal cortex and hippocampus)

F.    I was not appropriately caring for my mental health at that time which affected and impacted my judgement

G.   I didn’t know then what I know now

H.   I’m human, I messed up, but I am entitled to another chance

I.      I am not the first, not the last person in this situation: Others have been forgiven and I deserve the same

J.    I have done some bad things, but I am not a bad person

K.   I was desperate, hopeless and afraid and I am not like that any more

L.    I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done so I am entitled to move on

M.   I’ve grown and I am simply not that person any more

N.   I’ve paid for my mistakes

O.   I deserve forgiveness

P.    My past does not define me

Q.   No more “what if’s” for me, I am done thinking about “what if” scenarios

R.   Other Can anyone in the group think of a statement of your own that you find helpful?

Process – Discussing Regrets

First make sure that the group is comfortable with this sensitive topic – Is everyone ready?

If so, it is important that there is a “no judgement” rule in place. Group members need to feel safe sharing their regrets without being shamed or criticized by others

If everyone is prepared and agrees to a healthy discussion of regrets, this is a suggested format for processing regrets (optional)

Start - What is something that you regret? (You feel sadness or disappointment about. Hard to let go of)

Digging deeper:  Why do you suppose you feel that way? – What messages might you be telling yourself that sustain feelings of regret (For example, messages of shame, self-judgement, humiliation, embarrassment, stigma, bitterness, disappointment, etc.)


How can you reframe those negative thoughts? – If it helps, use one of the thoughts listed above:  

A through P from list


Finally, allow group to share support and encouragement - The power of the group! We all can help one another get through this!