What’s New at High Watch?
Thanksgiving at High Watch
On Thursday we celebrated a wonderful day with staff, guests and their families. It was a truly wonderful day to share in fellowship and give thanks for our family, friends and all who have supported us throughout our lives.
We would love to feature news from our alumni. Marriages and milestones. Babies and birthdays. Please send us news you would like to share by emailing Jenn Worthington.
Golf Outing – Biggest Ever!
After an ugly rain-out on September 25th, over 100 golfers joined us on October 9th at Club River Oaks in Sherman.
Many people went home with prizes. Afterward, guests were treated to a fantastic dinner and were able to bid on raffle prizes and silent auction items.
Special thanks go to our sponsors and volunteers for making the event such a success.
#GivingTuesday, November 27
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday we have a day for giving back. Everyone has something to give. It can be time or expertise, monetary donations large or small, or even a simple act of kindness and a smile. As St. Francis tells us, “For it is in giving that we receive.”
Donations will go towards building a 12-bed detox center, so that High Watch Recovery Center can help more people start on the road to recovery. As former guests, family and friends of High Watch, you have witnessed the miracle of recovery. Please help spread the message and join us on #Giving Tuesday!
No thanks, I’m having water today
Two fewer coffees in a month can change a lot! For the cost of two lattes, you can help someone receive the gift of sobriety when you make a recurring donation. Celebrate #GivingTuesday with a $10/month pledge to High Watch. Of course, if you can do more, it means we can help more people get on the road to recovery. Click Here to make your recurring donation, and you’ll receive the booklet, High Watch, The Hill of Hope. A History.
What a Picnic!
Over 1,600 people attended our annual picnic on September 9th. It was the largest event we have had on campus for years. Many thanks got to the dedicated High Watch staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen. Those who were there will tell you that the food and the entertainment were great… and the lines for food moved quickly
Darryl Strawberry was our guest speaker and his message was incredibly inspiring. Here are some excerpts from his powerful and thoughtful speech.
“Fifteen years ago my wife Teresa was pulling me out of dope houses. I was shooting up and smoking crack. Because of brokenness, because of the spiritual brokenness of who I was, not because of playing major league baseball. I played major league baseball because I was in pain. That made me great, to escape from the reality of who I really was …
But the real reality of it is, we were all broken. Addiction comes from the brokenness of one, and what’s happened.
The reality of addiction is it comes in all shapes and forms…it will send you to places that you could never imagine … and it will keep you longer than you could ever imagine. And the reality of it is…do I want to be set free? It takes people helping people to get free…. Cause the reality is it’s about all of us finding our way back home from the brokenness and the hurt.
It’s been 15 years and I’m still rolling. There’s one thing I do know about being in recovery: It’s not important to be important. What’s important: am I really making a difference in someone else’s life or is my ego too big to allow me to walk in humility.
We must never forget that There but for the Grace of God, Go I … I shouldn’t be here. I ended up T17169 in a Florida prison because of addiction. I ended up losing my left kidney…I’m a living miracle, I have no reason to be here, but I know one thing. There’s an urgency in my life every day to help somebody else.”
Darryl, thank you. You helped over 1,600 people on a Hill of Hope that Sunday afternoon with your honesty and sincerity.
Darryl had a word to say about giving to High Watch: “Don’t ever forget about the people who are in a place like this that brings hope and brings about transformation to people’s lives. Don’t ever forget about a place like this, a community …to rally around … because this place will save lives. If a community gets involved, and you donate your time, you donate your finances and you give back to a place like this, they can still build more to make a difference in somebody else’s life.”
Three Fold Recovery
By Marion Williams
It’s easy to be grateful in this season of turning colors. Walking across the farmyard, I’m struck by the sunlight and the brisk, fresh air, the open space surrounded by the beauty of nature. It all makes it onto my gratitude list. But there is more. My first couple of months working at High Watch Recovery Center, I’m reminded of what Bene Brown writes in The Gifts of Perfection, that in her research. “ Both Joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than ourselves (Brown, 78)
It’s these beliefs and how they are actively supported in the High Watch Recovery program that make it such a special place. Working with the step coaches, who give tirelessly of themselves to foster well-being in others, I’m awed by the generosity of spirit that can help to turn around personal misfortune via the steady implementation of the twelve steps of AA. This is peer coaching at its best and offered to each client daily.
In her research Brown found that certain concepts emerged in pairs. Joy and gratitude came together: “Without exception every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life….actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice” (Brown 78) A spiritual practice, yes. To me, the High Watch Step Coach program is gratitude in action, bringing the possibility of a joyful life to those suffering from addiction. I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Alumni Dinner – Coming to a restaurant near you!
Our next off-site alumni dinner will be held on January 16th at the Old Post Tavern in Fairfield, CT.
EMAIL Alumni Relations Coordinator Jenn Worthington for more information!
Staff Spotlight: Janet Prindle
We took some time to speak with Janet Prindle, LCSW, about her work at High Watch as a therapist and clinician. As you’ll read, Janet has some insightful thoughts on treatment and recovery…
Q: How did you get your start in substance abuse treatment?
Janet: I had worked in outpatient mental health for most of my career and the policy of every agency I ever worked for was that if somebody came in with a substance abuse problem they needed to go out first to get treatment. So, I thought that that’s just how it was done.
And then at the last mental health center where I worked, we had a contract with a substance abuse facility in the area for their clients to come to us to be Medicated by our psychiatrist. Part of that program was that they had to be seen for group therapy once a week. So, I was the person who saw these clients and I fell in love with them because I have never been in an environment where people were so humble and so broken and so motivated for treatment. I’d never run a group like this. They’re talking about honesty. They’re talking about surrender. They’re talking about being broken and how they want to rebuild their lives and they were so receptive to help.
So I felt like I needed to have this as part of my service to people and I wanted to work with people with substance abuse problems because I also was very aware that many had mental health problems or suffered from depression or anxiety.
Q: When you say receptive what do you mean?
Janet: There was a sense that they were really hearing my feedback. Wanting to learn more about themselves that they were open and wanting to take a look at what was going on internally that was precipitating their use. They just seem to be fully there and it’s not necessarily something that I had seen in many of my other clients.
Q: In your opinion how important is that?
Janet: It’s extremely important. I don’t think it’s the only thing that predicts success but I think being open to feedback from others and being willing to listen to perhaps a different point of view – something that the person hadn’t considered – is very important to the success of recovery but as we know also being willing to use the tools and to ask for help and to take care of mental health issues is just as important.
Q: So, taking all that together what is it about High Watch that you think distinguishes it from other places that makes us different?
Janet: Focus on the 12-step program and taking a look at changing one’s lifestyle. Not just the idea of abstinence but taking a look at how to solve problems, how to reach out for help, the importance of community, the importance of having a network.
What I hear from our guests is that they really feel a sense of commitment from staff. They really sense that staff are on their side want them to succeed willing to go the extra mile. That’s what I’ve heard from them and actually that’s been my own experience.
Q: So when you talk about building that network, you’ve seen it succeed and you’ve seen it fail what do successful individuals do in building that support network to help keep them sober?
Janet: They will follow through with going to meetings even when they don’t want to. So it it’s a willingness to discipline oneself and to be willing to say “I don’t want to do this but I know that it’s important for my recovery,” and following through with it. It’s asking for help and we spend a lot of time here helping people identify the barriers to asking for help. No one’s going to get in the way of you asking for help and most of the time it has to do with the feeling that, “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t want to put somebody out” or “I don’t want to bother someone.” So, if we can work through those kinds of barriers and help someone to realize that people out there do want to help. So, if you can ask for help you can build a network and you can be vulnerable.
That’s the other piece. How willing are you to be vulnerable and to let people know that you can’t do it all? So, I think that that’s also part of building a network with other people.
Q: So when you talk about a willingness to be vulnerable, what do you mea?
Janet: When you say “I struggle with depression” or “I struggle with anxiety” or “I struggle with self-esteem,” vulnerability is a willingness to take the initiative to ask you to do something knowing that you might say no. I’m going to ask you for help with the understanding that you might not be able to do it but I’m going to ask you so it’s just stepping outside of your comfort zone. That’s what it is, stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something that feels uncomfortable and doing it anyway.
For me, knowing that when I climbed that climbing wall across the street that I was very vulnerable. I didn’t know that I would be able to do it. I had a whole team of people watching me but I did it anyway.
Q: And for those individuals who leave here who are not willing to live outside their comfort zone?
Janet: I’m assuming the recovery is just harder for them. If you have to spend a lot of energy hiding who you are and feeling a sense of shame about who you are and what your difficulties are then you’re going to be less likely to reach out for help and more likely to use substances to compensate for that help.
What really makes really makes people happy are connections. There’s been so much research done on what brings people a sense of pleasure. It’s not money. It’s not job status. It’s that feeling of belonging. That feeling that I’m with people who share a common worry, concern, vulnerability, weakness and we’re okay and we can say we’re okay even though we’re not perfect.
So, the more you isolate the less able you are to reach out and try to connect with other people. So, connecting with people is so important.
Q: What’s the single best piece of advice that you can give someone in recovery?
Janet: Ask for help. I hear it so many times from people who are sitting in the chair in my office who say, “I just couldn’t pick up the phone and tell somebody that I was struggling but now I know that if I had done that there would have been people there to really help me but I felt embarrassed or ashamed.”
Follow the High Watch Alumni Group on Facebook
Share your successes and struggles and help other alumni overcome theirs by joining the Alumni Group on Facebook.