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480 days, we did it we’re coming up to that date and the closer it is the slower the days seem to pass. Can’t wait to get beck home, been out f the game for some time. See some old friends, “Wonder what Bobby’s been up to, crazy sucker, can’t wait to see his ass”. Everything you’ve been through, what your families have been through. Jail, long term treatment. The promises you made to yourself and your families while you were in jail about changing, all these things lie in the balance. You very next decision will be the deciding factor on the successes you promised or the beginning of the path to your next trip to jail…or the morgue. So…What’s next?
I want to define to the best of my ability the different aftercare living facilities we here floating around, THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. Some don’t even exist anymore. Making the right decision is the key to your success.
Let me tell ya about me, just briefly so you understand where my point of view is coming from.
54 admits, 36 completions of treatment, the last being 14 months at Par.
In prison twice, jail more times than I can count. Emergency room visits I cannot count. Civil commitments
Psych wards, black outs and injuries. A life of violence “Near misses and close calls”, broken dreams and promises, lost relationships, mass funerals of friends. When I got clean at 44 I was not trained for any other direction nor did I want to anything else but this.
You’ve all got dreams, goals…things you said you were always going to do, now it’s time for all that crap. Time to settle down and make the right decisions for the rest of you life. Independence, free from the courts, addiction, crime all that crap that’s been holding you up. Now you have the decision power to finalize this path to everything you always said you wanted.
Even if you are or were the very worst client this treatment center ever saw, your still here and you have changed. You have learned much more than anything I’ll say here today, but I’m going to talk a bit about things that pertain to why I am here today.
There are some ways in which we have changed that are very loud and clear if we take time to look at them. The areas we are going to discuss are the legal ramifications as to why we got here, how we complied and learned how to not go back to jail, and how we plan to stay out. How our relationships with family members have changed since we first called home to tell the family we were in jail (again). How we managed to gain and keep friends in here, no one said we had to do anything but get along, and if we want to stick with winners. Goals then and now and how we plan to get those. And the new living experiences we have encountered since being incarcerated, and how we might get what most Americans are after.
(Pick a few)
How did you get here?
What did you do while you were here to make sure you weren't going back? (compliance) What did you learn about this experience?
Who’s walking out of here on paper? (show hands?) Who wants to go back?
What is your plan when you leave that will more ensure you’ll complete paper? Where you going from here?
How is that going to help you? (Mom’s, Dad’s, the old hood?)
(Pick a few)
Who wants to tell me a bit about their relationship with their parents, girlfriend, family before they hit jail, or especially right after?
How has treatment helped or hurt that (those) relationships? If they’re good, do we want those to change?
What responsibilities do we have towards these relationships? Do we have a responsibility to keep promises made, or to risk everything with bad decisions after all this you and they have been through?
The fact is, as we change much of what has happened at home has remained the same. We have been educated on the triggers and warning signs of addiction, our families have not. And as we sometimes find out too late, many of the things we ran to drugs over, or to help us cope were happening right under our noses at home. These same triggers remain waiting for us to return.
What is your plan to keep these relationships on the right track?
(Pick a few)
Let’s talk about friends. This is the number one cause of treatment failure, in fact it is not a failure of treatment at all is it? It’s a failure to heed the advise you’ve heard since you came in the door. Your friends are not necessarily bad, you’re all just bad for each other. Where are those guys now? They thinking about you and what your going through? I doubt you’re the last thing they think of when the lights go ut at night.
How about your new found friends here, your partners in crime (yeah…I know). I bet some of you think you’ve known each other longer than a few months, just that feeling. Tell me about your best friend(s) here (Pick one). What's so great about this person? (Common goal?)
Common goals are what bind friends, crime, drugs, church, treatment, recovery, it’s all connected.
What decision’s can I make in the very near future to make this path to friends with common goals continue to grow, and thereby enhance my life? What are my goals?
My experience with goals. 1. Always wanted to be a counselor, nothing else except filthy rich (the two don’t mix). 2. PAR and being a Warehouse Supervisor. The injury, working at detox, school, picking friends in Par that would remain friends. By the time I hit the 6 month mark I had completed 3 years worth of goals. Drivers lic. After 28 years, working for Par, school, owning a car. I had to set new goals, here I am. All because of people with common goals.
We all set goals while we’re in jail…give me some(pick a few) (these are common goals, never come back, do something different this time, quit hurting my family).
Since treatment you have come up with new one’s, because now your not in jail and you absolutely know you do not have to go back, hurt the families and your doing something different.
How are you going to continue that path…if you go back to where it all began. If your striving for independence going to mom's house is not the path, it’s the easy path. So what is you plan to continue this momentum?
Bet you never tough you would live like this, did ya? Who’s been in this type of living conditions before you got to here? Did any if you know what kind of living experience this was going to be before you got here? We all had an idea about what this would be like, and in most cases we never thought it would be like this, right? For better or worse, most times worse we had this picture f what the living conditions would be like when we got to treatment and we were wrong.
Communal living is an acquired taste ain’t it? It takes time to get it down, to get it right even if we came from jail. In jail there are rules and codes that keep us alive, and as much as we may try to play out these same rules here with negative contracts and no snitchin, but someone always throws a wrench in it. It isn't the same. It’s different, this treatment thing. We just had no idea.
Well, the same thing is true with the supportive housing. I’m going to dispel some of you wildest theories on what you think you don’t know about halfway houses, transitional living, and what I do “Drug free alternative housing”.
Listen up, because this is a real game changer. It is a game changer for your success in and out of the court system.
Traditional Halfway houses do not exist, especially in this state. Historically they were a step down version of treatment with 2 to 3 groups per week, usually two in the evenings during the week and one on the weekend. Generally speaking they were confrontive systems where others would make sure you changed your negative behavior. 12 step meeting were and are mandatory. Upward mobility through privilege was the norm. But as you left treatment at the top of your game, when you hit the HH you were now at the bottom of the pecking order, and you really had to work your way through washing dishes, asking for passes before the community and staff.
Now the terminology is such that it sometimes depends on whether that particular treatment center uses the same label for what they now call Transitional living.
(PASS OUT BROCHURES)
Transitional living (3/4 way) is suppose to be just what it’s name suggests; a place to live during transition from one place to another. Many people have no other alternative, they may have criminal backgrounds and evictions that prohibit anything else but transitional living or going back home. We have all heard reports of the horror stories of bed bugs and dilapidated structures being run by individuals who fill bedroom with 6 people and charge them and arm and a leg.
Simply Hope in Pinellas Park is a transitional living facility that has a tremendous reputation, and while carrying a pretty structured set of rules and expectations, with emphasis on accountability Ray and the staff are at least reputable, clean, and have the interest of its clients in the forefront. As a therapist Simply Hope was the only agency I referred to, this continues today. Simply Hope has been featured in documentaries such as “If I die young”. Many of you will be better off with this agency due to their premium locations. Simply Hope is normal houses right in the community, in different neighborhoods in Pin. PK, Seminole, and No. St.Pete.
Transitional living is a very good alternative to bouncing back home to the same old thing you were doing before you got to jail or here. There is also another alternative, Drug free-crime free alternative housing.
Mustard seed, Harmony House, Koala hs. (Give warnings)
(Pass out Brochures)
Three guesses at what I do? For about a year now, since I resigned from my last counseling job, we at Coastal have been trying to separate ourselves from other forms of housing. We do allow for making mistakes, utilizing graduated sanctions dependent on behavior.
We stand alone in this new area of supportive housing, though we encourage others to follow. We are not trying to render others obsolete, just raise the bar.
FOLLOW WITH OUR CRITERIA FOR APPLICATION, RULES AND EXPECTATIONS, ALONG WITH ROLE-MODEL EXAMPLES.
RE-INTRODUCE CHRIS MCDONOUGH AND MICHAEL TREAT
A LITTLE NOTE; ALL THE BITCHING YOU DID ABOUT ALL THESE PEOPLE? YOUR GOING TO MISS EVERY ONE OF THEM YOUR FIRST NIGHTS OUT. The commotion, the arguing, the stupid crap so and so did, well…it gets really quiet all of a sudden. Lots of time to think. This may be where you wish some of these people were around. Well, they can be, in another setting, unlike this with more freedom. At Coastal your life is yours, with very few rules, but rules that you are held to. I have seen many people graduate DC soon after making the decision to come to us.
Triggers abound- they never left, the same behavior of even mom or dad, bless their heart, that may have sent you out haven’t changed.
Becoming independent- is going home where you want to go, or is it familiar, cheap and easy? How will you gain this indepenence if you don’t bury you past with the new you?
Which leads to increased self-esteem- through leading a productive life.
Change is great!!!-can you even imagine going back to where you were? What the hell does that look like now? How many people do you know who went home? Where are they? How about that college? The self-employment? Sky diving and scuba diving in exotic places? It could be around the corner, Or not.
Even if we feel we have done lousy in treatment, the saying goes, “A in Treatment, F in recovery” You may have learned much more than you realize. But have your families? Have they taken care of themselves? Do they remember, or have you told them what makes your life tick?
You have invested a good portion of time trying to get this life thing right. Statistic show that supportive housing is beneficial to continued and quality recovery. While your deciding what to do next, remember; The consequences that brought your path to this front door are exactly where you left them. You are right back there where you left. When you walk out of here, your responsibilities to yourself are just beginning.
This is a very important decision, your near future and desired goals lie in the wake of this decision, make it wisely. (Give the floor to Alumni)
Briefly describe each