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How Important Is Mentorship to Recovery and Sobriety?

How Important Is Mentorship to Recovery and Sobriety?

Recovery from substance use is a long and complex process that no one should not go through alone, especially young teenagers. There are resources available to help, from treatment centers to recovery groups. One invaluable resource is having a mentor or sponsor walk alongside your teen to offer support, guidance, and encouragement. Often, these mentors are people who have experienced the struggle of addiction and recovery themselves.

As a parent, you may believe that it is your job to offer guidance and support to your child. However, mentors know how to assist your teen during their recovery journey, as they have been there before. It is important to understand the incredible value that mentorships can have on your teen’s recovery and sobriety journey.

What Is the Purpose of Having a Mentor?

Mentorships are essential because they help your teen to learn accountability. Teens may feel more comfortable establishing an accountability relationship with someone other than their parents because, frankly, not all teens are comfortable sharing everything with their parents. This is especially if a teen’s parents haven’t experienced the complexity of substance abuse themselves. Teens may feel more comfortable opening up to another adult who has experienced substance use problems.

This doesn’t mean that you can never talk to your teen about their recovery. It’s very important to establish and follow clear boundaries and transparency at home so your teen does not fall off track in their recovery. Even so, mentors can understand some of the hard-to-explain complexities of addiction that teens may not be able to effectively communicate to parents who have never experienced this issue.

What Happens When Meeting With a Mentor?

What to expect when meeting with a mentor may vary depending on the recovery group the mentorship is affiliated with. Generally speaking, a mentor and mentee will meet in a public space and develop a set of goals to help achieve sobriety. Mentors aren’t supposed to tell teens what they should do, just as a therapist’s job is not to “fix” someone’s problems. Rather, mentors work with mentees to empower and enable them to come up with their own solutions.

What Are the Qualities That Make for a Good Mentor?

Often, a good mentor is someone who has walked the path of addiction and recovery themselves. Your teen may feel more comfortable opening up to someone who has firsthand experience of what they are going through. A good mentor will also have good interpersonal skills and is passionate about helping others. Mentors should also pursue ongoing education and training, as scientific knowledge about addiction is expanding all the time.

What Are the Benefits of Mentorship in Recovery?

Mentorship programs have lots of data to support their effectiveness in recovery. Teens are more likely to achieve sobriety with a mentor than without one. The benefits of mentorship include:

Feeling Validated and Understood

Substance abuse can make teens feel detached from others – especially if they had to cut off friendships with people who may have enabled their drug use. Recovery mentors can fulfill the longing for meaningful connection as your teen learns to build a new sober life.

Fostering Accountability

Having a mentor gives your teen someone to turn to if the temptation to use surfaces at one time or another. Mentors can check in with your teen a few times a week or even develop a system where your teen will contact them when feeling tempted. Mentors can help guide your teen to make the right choice.

Providing Support

Recovery is rarely a smooth process. Mentors can provide support and encouragement to your teen during times when they contemplate giving up or believe they will never get better. A mentor can remind your teen that recovery is possible. They will walk alongside your teen not only during the initial stages of treatment but also throughout their long-term recovery.

How Can I Find a Mentor for My Teenager?

Recovery groups are the most common places to find a mentor. It may require multiple meetings to discern who that person might be. However, it’s important to ensure that your teen is willing and eager to make the mentor relationship work. They must be actively engaged and willing to be accountable to see positive results.

At times, initial mentor pairings just don’t “click.” It’s okay to acknowledge that it’s not working out. It will be better for both mentor and mentee to acknowledge this sooner rather than trying to force a connection. Finding the right mentor sometimes takes time. Talk to the coordinators of your local recovery group about finding someone else, if need be.

We understand that the recovery process is fraught with difficulties. But we also know that recovery and sobriety are incredibly rewarding. At Clearfork Academy, we specialize in helping teenagers and adolescents heal from addiction to drugs and alcohol. We do this through a variety of methods, including inpatient and outpatient treatments, therapies, detox, and even summer programs. Our faith-based outdoor programs help teens develop the strength, confidence, and fortitude to face the challenge of addiction and come out healthy and strong on the other side. We know that recovery and sobriety are possible because we have helped teenagers achieve them. Our compassionate, licensed staff celebrates with each and every participant as they reach new goals. If your teen is struggling with substance use or abuse, do not hesitate to call us. For further questions and concerns, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Why Forgiveness Is Necessary for Sobriety?

Why Forgiveness Is Necessary for Sobriety and How to Do It?

For many people, addiction is perpetuated by unresolved anger, feelings of resentment, and relational conflict such feelings can disrupt the relationship between you and your child. Therefore, there is a lot to be said about the importance of forgiveness as your child begins their recovery journey. In order for your child to have success in recovery, is essential to practice forgiveness

When Anger Is Left Unresolved

Sometimes, being angry at the way things are can be a catalyst for change. However, unresolved anger can be unhealthy. On an emotional level, anger can prevent you from experiencing happiness and can keep you feeling stuck in one place in life. If your child’s substance addiction has caused you to become angry at them and yourself, it is important to address this unresolved anger. 

Remember, addiction affects the whole family, therefore you must work together to manage the challenges that come with recovery. A big part of the recovery is learning how to navigate unpleasant emotions, such as anger, in healthy ways. Some positive ways of managing anger may include: 

  • Writing in a journal
  • Group or individual therapy 
  • Exercise

Forgive Your Child

You might think that forgiving someone for their actions or behaviors means that you are okay with being treated unfairly. You may also think that forgiving your child means excusing them of their actions. Understand that addiction is a disease, and when under the weight of addiction, your child is not their true self.  

Forgiveness means letting go of the anger and resentment that keeps you and your teen from living life to its fullest. It means not allowing your child’s addiction to run both your lives. Forgiveness in this context means choosing not to live with deep-seated anger any longer.

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is another critical aspect of the recovery journey. While it is common for those in recovery to experience shame and guilt for their actions, as a parent, you may also experience feelings of shame or guilt. It could be so powerful that you might convince yourself that you are not a good parent. However, so long as you support your child’s recovery and not unhealthy habits, you are moving in a healthy direction. Therefore, continually beating yourself up for past mistakes will not change the past. You have to learn how to forgive yourself. The same can also be said for your child. 

Work with your child on self-forgiveness. This will require admitting past mistakes. We all behave in ways that we aren’t proud of from time to time. With the help of a family therapist, you and your teen can recognize the past for what it is and work to do better in the future. Self-forgiveness will help you and your child overcome feelings of guilt, shame, and blame.

How Can We Seek Forgiveness From Each Other?

It can be challenging to seek forgiveness for past mistakes. It requires a hefty dose of humility to admit to someone else your wrongdoings. The first step in asking forgiveness is to take ownership of actions and issue an apology. Avoid making excuses; instead, admit where you went wrong and try to recognize that you did not know any better.

The next critical part involves listening. Your child is also experiencing difficult feelings. Sometimes the best way to get your child to open up takes listening. Listening allows your child to talk through their feelings and express their remorse for how they may have treated you and other family members while under the weight of addiction

What Alcoholics Anonymous Says About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is actually a critical part of the Twelve Steps of recovery in the “Big Book” used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It’s outlined in steps eight and nine:

  • Step Eight: Make a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them
  • Step Nine: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others

Mending what was broken is part of breaking the cycle of substance abuse. It can be uncomfortable to confront those we hurt and admit where we went wrong, but many who have done this report feeling a deep sense of peace and freedom afterward, even if they are unable to mend all broken relationships. 

You may want to consider joining a local chapter of AA or parent-teen-focused support groups to help you along your forgiveness journey. It can be helpful to not only receive guidance from others who have walked a similar path but to be in a community with other people who are experiencing the same thing. You can help hold each other accountable and encourage each other to keep moving forward.

Forgiveness is a critical part of the recovery journey. It can also be one of the hardest. Unresolved trauma, and associated feelings of anger, can perpetuate substance use. Therefore, for success in recovery, it is essential for parents and teens to forgive others and themselves for the past. At Clearfork Academy, we understand the complex emotions you may be feeling and can help you and your teen sort through them in the form of therapy and various treatment programs. We are a program that specializes in the treatment of adolescent males ages 13 to 18. Our licensed, compassionate staff can help you process anger or resentment and instead develop healthy coping skills for dealing with unpleasant emotions. Our treatment programs can help walk you and your teen through the process of making amends. For more information, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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Is It Okay to Date in Early Sobriety?

Is It Okay to Date in Early Sobriety?

The first year of abstinence from drugs or alcohol is critical for your teen’s long-term recovery. It can be an exciting period of time as they learn how to rebuild their lives with new, healthy habits and coping mechanisms. However, it is also a period of vulnerability as they learn how to manage temptations and consider how certain decisions might affect their sobriety.

That first year is particularly vulnerable to relapse, which is why many people choose not to date during that time. The decision, of course, is up to you and your teen. Here, we offer some guidance on how to help your teen prioritize their health, well-being, and sobriety as they go about dating in recovery.

How Can Dating Derail Recovery?

Starting a new relationship can be fun and exciting. It can also present significant challenges for those who are still figuring out who they are, especially for those working to achieve lifelong sobriety. There are many conflicting emotions involved in the first few months and years of recovery, including anxiety, self-doubt, and fear. Relationships can make the recovery process even more challenging, especially since infatuation can feel like an addiction in and of itself.

If or when your teen makes dating a higher priority than their recovery, their progress could be at risk. This isn’t a guarantee but rather a caution for parents and teens. Ideally, your teen will date someone who is respectful of recovery boundaries, does not pressure them to engage in unhealthy or risky behaviors, and genuinely supports their recovery. However, even experiencing a healthy relationship with a supportive partner can trigger substance use if that relationship comes to an end. Break-ups can ignite an individual’s desire to self-medicate with drinking or drugs.

Another way that dating could potentially derail your teen’s recovery is if they date someone from their past, particularly someone who had previously enabled your teen’s substance use. You can encourage your teen by letting them know that they can still care about people from their past, but from a distance, especially as they both work to achieve long-term recovery. This can be considered an act of love for both of them as they learn how to live sober.

What Are Some Additional Risks of Dating During Recovery?

Codependency is one potential threat to early sobriety. This is when one partner functions by feeling needed by their dating partner. In turn, the partner struggling to remain sober may rely on their dating partner to validate their self-esteem or self-worth. Codependency can happen with or without substance use playing a factor. Neither one is healthy or desirable. 

The risk of codependency may lead your teen to avoid certain people, places, or situations that enabled them to use substances in the past. It could mean learning to socialize in different contexts, meeting new people, and starting new relationships. As your teen learns to fill this seemingly social void, the rush of new romance may seem exciting for them. It can be easy to replace one unhealthy behavior with another without recognizing it as yet another pattern of problematic behavior. 

When Is Dating “Safe” in Recovery?

It is generally frowned upon to date within the first year of recovery. Therefore, one year of sobriety is a safe start. A year of sobriety shows that your teen has had a significant amount of time to develop healthier ways of coping with problems and circumstances that previously drove them to self-medicate. It is also a good amount of time to cultivate emotional maturity and stability, two essential components of healthy relationships. A good indication that it may be “safe” for your teen to date is when they can manage prior temptations and choose to remove themselves from situations that can compromise their sobriety.

What Are Some Tips for Dating in Recovery?

Participating in continuing treatment is vital when it comes to dating in recovery. It is essential that your teen stays committed to their sobriety and engaged in their treatment journey. You can encourage your teen to remain in constant contact with their mentor or sponsor, which are valuable resources used to prevent relapse. Have them continue to attend therapy and actively practice the skills they are learning during treatment. As a parent, you can continue to identify and shed light on the behavior patterns that previously enabled your teen’s addiction and always be on the lookout for new warning signs that they may exhibit.

When dating, It is crucial that your teen knows how to set clear boundaries with their partner. This may include letting a new partner know they don’t engage in substance use or other risky behaviors. A good partner will respect this request and not try to pressure them into moving backward during their recovery. If they mock the decision to be sober or otherwise belittle it, that’s a red flag.

The thought of dating after committing to lifelong recovery from addiction can be daunting. However, dating can increase your teen’s confidence during their long-term recovery journey with continued treatment engagement and healthy boundaries. At Clearfork Academy, we help young adolescents feel confident in who they are without the use of alcohol or other drugs. We help prepare young people to face a world of challenges through healthier coping mechanisms. Part of our treatment regimen includes therapy, intensive outpatient care, residential treatment programs, summer programs, and more. Our licensed, compassionate staff are well equipped to help your teen become healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you suspect that your teen or young adult is dealing with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek support and education about available treatment options. We know what you are going through. Call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Preparing Your Teen for Sobriety in College

Preparing Your Teen for Sobriety in College

College is a monumental time in a teen’s life, as they are leaving their parent’s nest and entering into life away from parental supervision. For teens in recovery or who have completed an addiction program, this can create worry about whether they will maintain their sobriety. Luckily, there are ways to help prepare your teen for college. Here are five ways to prepare your teen for sobriety in college.

#1. Address Mental Health

It is common for mental health disorders and substance abuse to co-occur, and each can influence the manifestation of the other. It is important for your teen to learn how to manage their addiction before college. College involves many new challenges outside of academics. Going away requires adjusting to living in a new environment, juggling work and school, and developing financial responsibilities. Such challenges can take their toll on a teen’s mental health.

Treating mental health disorders is as important to their sobriety as treating their addiction. While your teen is preparing for college, make sure they receive care for their mental health. Such care may require medication, therapy, or obtaining a primary psychologist.

#2. Don’t “Over Parent”

It is natural to have concerns over your child entering into a new environment that may include alcohol and other substances. However, hovering over them or becoming a “helicopter” parent won’t help the situation, and may even cause them to push you away.

There should be a balance in how much freedom and parental supervision they have in college. As you and your teen prepare for college, remind them that you support them no matter what. Understand, they are still human and will inevitability make mistakes on their recovery journey. Therefore it is important that they feel comfortable coming to you when they struggle.

#3. Have a Care Plan

Before your teen leaves recovery, they should create an aftercare plan with their therapist. An aftercare plan consists of a list of resources available for your teen to use when they leave treatment to help maintain sobriety. Such resources may include:

  • Contact information for their therapist
  • Community resources both in hometown or college town
  • Contact information for their sponsor
  • An emergency plan in case of relapse
  • A list of triggers that could lead to drug use

A sponsor will also benefit your teen. A sponsor is someone in addiction recovery who successfully maintains long-term sobriety and serves as support to another in recovery. A sponsor can help with your teen’s transition into college.

#4. Discuss Ways to Have Sober Fun

There are so many other ways to have fun in college without drinking alcohol or partaking in other substances. Encourage your child to seek students that will support their sober lifestyle. For example, if there is a celebratory occasion such as passing an exam or class, suggest ways to reward themselves that don’t involve drugs. Maybe they treat themselves to their favorite foods, shop for a new outfit, have a spa day, or see a new movie.

Participating in clubs or hobbies that keep them active and out of trouble will also benefit them. If they enjoy sports, you might suggest they try out for an intramural team or check out their student center gym. Some colleges have spaces for students in recovery. Such spaces might involve AA meetings and other 12-Step programs. Before your teen embarks on their journey to college, see if the campus offers support for the recovery community.

#5. Have a Conversation

Sitting down and having a conversation with your teen about maintaining sobriety in college is just as important as having a plan in place. A conversation can help everyone get on the same page about how to support your teen and gives them a chance to express how they feel. Talk to them about how important it is to keep a drug-free lifestyle that will support their academic performance and mental health.

Before they leave for college, make sure everyone is aware of your teen’s plan and that they know what resources are available to them if they need help. Most importantly, make them feel loved and supported through this process. They may also be worried and anxious about working on their sobriety, and your support will help them feel comfortable coming to you to express how they feel.

While it’s okay to have fun know their boundaries; remember, college is an exciting time and can be fun for students in recovery. Your teen can have a great experience, too. It just takes some planning.

Clearfork Academy helps teenagers learn how to manage their mental and physical health. With us, your teen will learn ways to manage and cope with life’s challenges and get the best out of themselves. We strive to enrich their lives and help them flourish in each new chapter of life, including college. Our facilities offer both conventional and holistic approaches to care, and our refined diagnosis can identify and treat co-occurring disorders. In addition, our academic partnership with The University of Texas Charter school will prepare your teen for college life. So, whether your teen requires residential treatment or outpatient therapy, we have options. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their sobriety or considering going away to college, we can help. Our admissions staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604

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Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Valentine’s day is a special day to celebrate love and relationships. For some people in recovery, romantic relationships could be detrimental to the recovery process. This tip sheet offers some great ideas to help you plan a happy and healthy Valentine’s day celebration.

Factors to Remember When Planning Your Valentine’s Day

Our guide aims to help your planning process. We serve you some fun and budget-friendly ideas to make Valentine’s Day special. As you review our list, remember to consider if and how you can apply these ideas because the success of your Valentine’s Day could depend on the following:

  • Parental permission
  • Your Budget
  • Transportation needs and resources
  • Curfew times
  • Adult supervision requirements
  • Your interest and other participant’s interests

Using Your Creativity to Express Love

Often, the simple and thoughtful things bring our loved ones joy. To help, consider what makes the person in your life unique, rather than focusing on material things like gifts or expensive dinners. Instead of buying a generic gift, you create your own, like a beautiful card made from construction paper, glue, and scissors. You may consider writing a special poem or song for your loved one that expresses your gratitude for their support of your recovery.

Take Care of Yourself

We recommend not limiting this day to just your loved ones. Take time to give yourself love, too. Loving yourself can help your confidence in relationships. It helps to feel good about the person you are. Essentially, show appreciation for what you have and how far you have come in recovery. Take care of yourself by:

  • Waking up early and practicing positive affirmations
  • Arranging a “date” with yourself. Watch your favorite movie, go out with your favorite friends, visit a museum, play a sport, or read a good book.
  • Do something that makes you feel good about yourself, like a hike, meditation, or cooking.
  • Take time to reflect and express your concerns and happiness with journaling, therapy, or talking to a trusted loved one.

Valentine’s day calls for showing appreciation for all that you have accomplished and how much you care about the people in your life.

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Teenage Couples or Friend Groups

Valentine’s day is a special time when to celebrate love and romance. The holiday can be challenging to navigate as a teenager, and here are some ideas to help you find your way through this season.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Create or find a scavenger hunt that you and your partner can do together. Include unique or memorable spots relevant to your relationship, like the first place you met.
  • Romantic Stroll: Take a romantic walk around the neighborhood.
  • Be Active: Consider going on a hike, to an amusement park,  or bowling.
  • Nighttime Picnic: Consider having a picnic in your backyard.
  • Explore Your City: Take advantage of your city’s public art galleries,  museums, or parks. Art and nature often bring couples and friends closer.
  • Party: Invite your classmates and family over for a party. Just make sure there are rules in place, so everyone has sober, safe fun.
  • Baking or Cooking Get-together: Invite people over to hold a fun Valentine’s day cooking or baking session, then spend the evening enjoying the meal or treats together.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

Stores use this time of year to sell products. Yet, Valentine’s day calls for expressing love in meaningful ways, which applies to your gift-giving. You can create meaningful gifts on a budget that will please everyone. Here are some budget-friendly gifts to consider:

  • Make your own decoupage heart (or card) using your favorite pictures of loved ones.
  • Write a letter that tells your partner what makes them unique and how they make your life better. You can even make little cards with stickers that let people know how much they mean to you.
  • Have a photo session with family members. Ask everyone to dress up or wear their favorite clothes. You can use any camera, including the camera on your phone.
  • Give your significant other an edible gift. You can make a special homemade treat sweet or savory, so long as it is your partner’s favorite.
  • Get the perfect gift by taking pictures of yourself at places relevant to your relationship, like where you first met or your first date. Compile all those photos with meaningful captions into a slideshow video.
  • Buy flowers from a local shop or farmer’s market and ask them to create an arrangement with your loved one’s favorite colors. You might even include balloons and a card with the flowers.

Valentine’s Day encourages people to express themselves more openly to their family, friends, and loved ones. Teens can show how they feel about the special people in their life, regardless of whether it is a friendship or romance. It is important to put your recovery needs first when planning. If you cannot put your health first, or if Valentine’s Day is creating negative feelings, and you are considering using substances to cope, then the time to get help is now. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that while Valentine’s Day can be a day to celebrate love, it can also become a day where you feel lonely. Getting ahead and taking measures to help you manage a happy and healthy Valentine’s day is critical. Our treatment programs provide both initial and continuing care so you are never without a treatment option. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (888) 966-8604.