Taking a welcomed break from the often-difficult recovery process, rehab patients and staff observed Memorial Day on the shores of Lake Michigan This was a great way of celebrating recovery on Memorial Day while also recognizing the special holiday.
Addiction is a tough road to travel, and overcoming it is no picnic either. While it is ultimately worth all of the effort and difficulty, recovery is not an easy task. It is stressful, and there are plenty of obstacles to surpass. From going through withdrawal and repairing the physical damage caused by long-term substance abuse, to uncovering and addressing the underlying causes of a person’s addictive behaviors, to learning how to handle re-emerging emotions, numbed by months or years of drug or alcohol abuse, in a positive and productive manner, every part of the rehabilitation process has something to deal with.
While patients’ progress through their treatment program is the highest priority there are benefits of taking some time to step away from the recovery process to relax, unwind, and blow off some steam. Often, especially when facing a particularly tough part of the program, focusing on something else for a while can allow the patient to return to their program feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and better able to work through whatever might be causing them difficulty.
Many facilities offer patients a variety of opportunities to do this throughout their stay at the treatment center. There is some amount of free time available to them each day to socialize or to reflect on their recovery. There are also community outreach events that they have the option of participating in such as charity fundraising 5K walks or volunteering at the local animal shelter, just to name a few. Additionally, during the observance of certain major holidays, the facility will plan special functions or outings for their patients such as celebrating Memorial Day at the beach.
BDR Celebrating Memorial Day at the Beach
This past Memorial Day, that national holiday where we honor those fallen soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country’s freedom, many rehab patients and staff members headed to the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan for a day of fun, food, and fellowship in the sand. We could think of no better way to honor those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom than to enjoy that freedom to its fullest.
That isn’t the only freedom that the patients were celebrating. They were celebrating the freedom that they discovered in the rooms and hallways of the recovery center – freedom from the addiction that led them to those doors. They were celebrating their newfound ability to enjoy the things that the world has to offer them and to handle the stress of daily life in a positive and productive manner. They were celebrating the optimism and hope that they now have for their future.
The weather was beautiful, as the last days of the often-chilly Michigan Springtime began to give way to the warmer days of summer. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, we fired up the grill for a feast of the traditional American cookout fare, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and everything else one would expect to find at a lakeside picnic on Memorial Day. Playing volleyball, walking in the surf, or simply enjoying the feeling of bright, warm sunshine on their skin, the patients and staff were all smiles. On a day where many of them would have been reveling in their intoxication a year ago, they discovered that it is more enjoyable and fulfilling to experience life for what it is, without that foggy haze of drugs and alcohol dimming their memories.
On the surface, this fun day at the beach may seem like just a quick break from the recovery program to let loose and clear the head, but the patients are also learning a less obvious lesson that will help in their continued sobriety after they graduate from the treatment center. “I think it’s a really good thing not to have drugs or alcohol clouding up your mind when you go out on a day like today, and have fun and enjoy the holidays,” explains a staff member. “Everybody’s not drinking, and people aren’t using drugs – they see that ‘Hey, we can have fun. We can enjoy life. This is what life really is.’”
Another added benefit to day trips like the Memorial Day cookout at Lake Michigan is the personal interaction that the patients have with each other. They have grown close during their time at the recovery center, and have gained an incredible amount of strength and support from each other. Taking a day to enjoy life, and to enjoy the company of others, strengthens the bonds of friendship that are still being formed. That connection with others helps patients to learn how to develop healthy and functioning relationships and to repair the damage that their substance abuse may have caused to other relationships in their lives.
Rehab programs aren’t just offering their patients a way to get clean and sober. They provide a thorough and efficient recovery strategy that brings about a complete lifestyle transformation that will help them to stay clean and sober in the long term. With the various options offered in treatment methods, the vast array of supplemental groups and life skills courses, and the opportunity to discover practical applications of the concepts and ideas learned through the recovery process, patients can find the path to overcoming an addiction that will work best for their individual needs. They gain a sense of self-confidence in their recovery and an understanding of the level of personal responsibility that they hold in their sobriety. They find inner peace and serenity, and the strength within to work towards a brighter future full of hope and promise, free from the bonds of addiction.