Friday, September 30, 2022

The Grind Part 13 - Lost

Every now and then when life gets overwhelming, anyone one of us may have the experience of feeling lost. Just like it sounds, feeling lost is a mental state where we just don’t know where to turn. There may be no obvious options in a challenging situation. We can feel mentally lost when our insecurities and doubts get the best of us, and we can feel lost simply by facing a challenge that is perplexing with no clear answer or with no clear way out. It can happen to anyone in the grind of life. To learn more about what to do and what not to do, take the “Lost” quiz below and see how you do when it comes to coping with this troubling state of mind.


Put the corresponding letter for each item listed

 in one of the following two columns:



A – Use social media as your primary source of guidance and information

B – Try to be patient, positive and hopeful

C – Do research by talking to people who themselves have made good life decisions

D – Vent to anyone who will listen about all your problems

E – Blindly just trust your first impulse and go with that

F – Look at the big picture and try to consider the long-term outcome

G – Always go with the easiest or most fun choice

H – Automatically just do what you always have done

I – Do your best to be open minded even to things you haven’t considered in the past

J – Try to be flexible and adaptable

K – Try to please everyone else no matter what

L – Consider your past mistakes and consequences so you don’t repeat them

M – Let other people decide for you

N – Do the quick fix for now and worry about it later

O – Weigh the pros and cons and count the “cost”

P – Roll the dice and let chance decide for you

Q – Trust the rule “What is most popular is always best”

R - Consider your personal values, your morals, and goals


The answers are not being provided here because hopefully with some thought and consideration you will get it right. If this is being done as a group discuss the answers and the meaning behind them. Then, when done, this exercise can be a valuable tool in finding your way out when feeling LOST

(Hint: There are 8 Helpful Suggestions and 10 Probably Not a Good Idea)























































Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Self-Searching for Acceptance


Self-Searching for Acceptance – CLICK FOR VIDEO INTRO:


Acceptance is rarely (if ever) just a brief event. Rather, acceptance is much more of an extended process of increasing self-awareness. Certain “eye-opening” events can speed up the acceptance process. Still, even when life situations open our minds to different new facts, it is essential to actively seek to mentally test and confirm or disprove various realities and perspectives that are presented to us. If we can be open minded about examining and questioning ourselves and what we see, then we can learn to accept the truth about important life lessons and adapt our lives as needed for self-growth. It takes courage to ask the tough questions that lead to acceptance.


Consider the following diagram:

Notice in the middle of the circle are THINGS WE HAVE ACCEPTED (aka the circle of acceptance) – These are facts about life and ourselves that we believe and recognize as true, valid, and accurate. We no longer doubt things within this circle of acceptance because we have seen evidence that these things are true and factual.


·       For example: A child may believe that he or she is going to be a professional athlete, however most children grow up and eventually learn that this is not going to be true. Accepting the fact that “I am never going to be a professional athlete” becomes part of the inner circle of acceptance


The gold spotted area just outside the circle are realities we are working on accepting. These facts have not yet entered the circle of acceptance. Every now and then one of these realities may enter our awareness thus bringing us closer to acceptance but it is still a long-term process of self-awareness


·       For example, a person may not accept he or she has a problem with alcohol, but various realities may start creeping into the circle of acceptance. Things like DUI’s, arguments when drunk, late to work because of hangover, are events that increase awareness of the reality: “I have a problem with alcohol”

Finally notice how ASKING QUESTIONS is a way to increase self-awareness. When we can do honest self-examination, it is like opening a doorway into the circle of acceptance to let in new truths and realities. See on the diagram how asking questions opens the circle of acceptance to let various facts and perspectives in.


·       Again, for example a person with an alcohol problem (who has not yet accepted it) gets a DUI and the person ASKS QUESTIONS of themselves such as:


Ø Did I get a DUI because I am not in control of my drinking (even though I feel like I am?)


Ø Is there a realistic chance I am going to get another DUI if I keep going to the bar and getting drunk? Am I possibly going to experience other alcohol related problems if I keep drinking?


These types of soul-searching honest questions can lead to acceptance of the fact that alcohol is a problem right now. It is also important that we answer these questions by being honest with ourselves.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Clothes Minded


Clothes Minded 


Directions – For this group cohesion building exercise, select different types of clothing and accessories listed below and follow the questions as directed for each one. Group members are encouraged to share honestly and as openly as each person feels comfortable with. There are some final process questions at the end to close out the group. The person leading the group does not need to go in order when selecting different categories of clothing/accessories.

  • HAT

If you are wearing a hat… then tell us one interesting experience that you had while either wearing that hat or tell us something interesting about where you got that hat or who gave it to you

If you are not wearing a hat… tell the group about a person whom you feel strongly about (positively or negatively) who likes to wear hats

OR (Additional Option) – What kinds of thoughts bounce around inside your head most often these days?



If your shirt has sleeves…What is one belief, interest or idea that you “wear on your sleeve” (express openly and publicly)


If your shirt does not have sleeves…Who is a person whom, you would “give the shirt off of your back” for (do just about anything to help), and why?


OR (Additional option)If your shirt has words or a specific design…What does your shirt say about you personally?




How would you describe your Pants/Shorts/Skirt/Dress…Choose One: LOOSE, TIGHT, JUST RIGHT then answer the corresponding question below:


If you said your pants/shorts/skirt/dress are TIGHT – What is something that is “tight” in your life right now? (Tight can mean difficult to manage or tense or not a lot of room to maneuver)


If you said your pants/shorts/skirt/dress are LOOSE – What is something in your life that you are “loose” about (relaxed, unrestrained, unrestricted)


If you said your pants/shorts/skirt/dress are JUST RIGHT – What is something that is “just right” in your life right now and why?




If you wear glasses or contacts…What is one experience that has helped you to “see” better (In this case “see” means gain wisdom, awareness or understanding)


If you do not wear glasses or contacts…What is an area or your life where you have had good “vision” (An ability to think or plan with wisdom and insight)


  • RING

If you are wearing a ring…tell the group one of the following: A story about how or why you got the ring, a story about the person who gave it to you, or what the ring means to you personally


If you are not wearing a ring…Keeping in mind that rings often are associated with relationships, share with the group your personal stance on relationships including if you are in one and if you think they are worthwhile




First answer: When you chose those shoes, what was more important style (appearance) or comfort?


If you said comfort…What is one healthy way that you find comfort in times of stress or trouble?


If you said style…What is one thing that you would say is a defining characteristic of your overall “style” of living?




If you are wearing socks…what is something that gives you a “warm” feeling in life? (Affectionate, kind, emotional)


If you are not wearing socks…what is a good memory you have where you were barefoot?




If you are wearing a watch…what is your personal philosophy and viewpoint on time? (For example, some people are patient and take their time, others rush, some organize their time by planning, others are spontaneous or impulsive)


If you are not wearing a watch…if you were given a large amount of extra time to focus on any one thing in life, what would you choose to use this time on?



If you are wearing a necklace…share with the group, the meaning or significance of the necklace or share a story about the necklace itself or how you got it or where it came from


If you are not wearing a necklace…Who is one person you would “stick your neck out” for (risk criticism or harm by speaking or acting boldly to help or show support for this person)


  • BELT

If you are wearing a belt…Who or what helps “hold you up” (support, encourage) when you feel like you are falling down in life?


If you are not wearing a belt…What situations in life or with what kind of people do you feel like you are a “good fit” (compatible, agreeable)




CLOSING CLOTHING QUESTIONS – These questions are for general discussion for the group to close it out at the end, after the first part has been completed


For you personally what does your choice of clothing or fashion overall say about who you?




A big part of the recovery process for both substance use, and mental health is making positive changes in our personality. With that in mind, this may require “talking off” negative thinking, attitudes, and behaviors and “putting on” or “wearing” new, more positive personality traits. So, with that in mind:


  • ·       What are some aspects or characteristics of your personality that you are working on “taking off” or removing (for instance like aggression, destructive habits, poor relationship choices, etc.)





  • ·       What are some positive personality traits that you want to practice “putting on” and “wearing” (or displaying, like for instance patience, kindness, responsibility, motivation, etc.)





  • Finally, what is one thing that the rest of the group should take away from this about you? (Something that stands out that you want people to know about you?)







Sunday, September 11, 2022

Perspective Shifts for Positive Growth


Perspective Shifts for Positive Growth


Introduction – As we gain experience, one thing that happens to almost everyone who grows and matures mentally is that we broaden our perspective. The more that we see in life with time and experience, the greater the range of our perspective can grow. Granted, some more closed-minded people may prevent their perspective from growing by consciously avoiding new viewpoints, but people who are interested in self-improvement use their experiences as lessons for adjusting and changing for the better.


Discuss how your perspective may have changed with time, experience, and maturity


Complete the following sentences and discuss. Answers can be about any topic


When I was a kid, I believed….



Ø  But now I know….



When I first became a teenager, one thing that I felt strongly about was…



Ø  But now instead I think….



Just a few years ago one way I used to see things was….



Ø  However now I see things….

Past & Present: To the best of your ability complete and discuss the following grid about changing viewpoints in a variety of life areas. Try to choose things that you’ve adjusted with experience or increased knowledge. You may not be able to answer all of them which is okay just do as many as you can. This is not about judging whether views are “right” or “wrong” but instead focus on how we can change or adjust our views over time. You can pick any time in your life for “Past Beliefs” it is up to you. Examples provided for the first two to help:



Past beliefs/views/thoughts

Current viewpoint

Entertainment and “Fun”

I used to believe it was not possible to have fun without getting wasted




I am learning to have fun without getting high and it’s great because I remember what happened




Only reached out to family when I needed something or was in trouble




My family is a priority and I try to be there for them today



Dating, relationships, sex












Money and spending






Meaning, Purpose and Spirituality






Self-care, diet, exercise and health






Priorities (What comes first)






Mental Health and Happiness






Substance Use






Other – Anything else you have adjusted your beliefs?






Sudden Perspective Shifts: Life Changing Events


Some perspective changes are gradual, but others are sudden and often attached to a life changing event. An accident, job loss, family concern, health issue, natural disaster, relationship change, can have an impact that can trigger a sudden perspective change


Some examples


Ø  When the person I loved finally left me…

Ø  When I lost my job…

Ø  When I found out I was diagnosed with…

Ø  When I was in that accident…

Ø  When I had to go to jail…



Discuss – What were some life experiences that triggered a perspective shift for you? Also included how these experiences have changed you?



There is a lesson in every experience – What is one thing learned from your experience (even if the experience itself was negative what are you doing today to improve and grow in spite of this event?


(For example: I was bullied as a child which was an awful experience but now one thing, I am making sure to do is to have compassion for others and even protect and support others when I see then being bullied or teased)




Final – Closing it Out with the Group


Perspective shift is part of the change process. It is important to be open to exploring new views and possibilities otherwise we cannot grow. Even when we have firm beliefs it is important to be open to exploring our beliefs to keep them firm


With this in mind:  Discuss the following:


What is some advice about substance use recovery that you learned that you are willing to consider? – If you can’t think of anything, ask the group and counselor what they think





What is some advice about mental health that you learned that you are willing to consider? - If you can’t think of anything, ask the group and counselor what they think





What is some advice about life in general that you are willing to consider? If you can’t think of anything, ask the group and counselor what they think