Each September, a remarkable event occurs at the Academy in Los Angeles. The students take time to collectively reflect on how far they’ve come, their belief in completing treatment grows strong, and their hope glows bright, such that the whole building soon shines with an energy that is felt by all present. This is the celebration of National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month. Recovery Month has a special meaning for the residents, as they prepare to return home to a life in recovery, free from substances and focused on realizing their personal goals.
Parents were invited to share a potluck lunch with their children. Everyone then gathered inside to watch the teens express what recovery means to them. They were joined by 20 volunteers from Shepard of the Hills, who came to help out at the event. Pastor Mike Johnson delivered an incredibly moving speech of how he overcame personal adversities, and in this way, sparked additional belief among the young people gathered around him.
Earlier, the teens had been divided into nine groups to create large banners. The theme for this year’s banner competition was “California: Pathways Together to Wellness,” chosen to encourage the teens to take pride in California. The creators of the banner judged as the best received the opportunity to accompany the fitness staff for a movie outing. Second place winners won a pizza party, while third place winners were awarded with an ice cream social. Knowing that they will be judged motivates the young artists to paint to the best of their abilities.
The project gave the teens a goal to work towards, strengthened bonds of friendship, and provided the opportunity to reflect on progress through treatment. Clinicians were extremely supportive of the collaborations and therapeutic aspect of this celebration. Art is a form of free-spirited, self-expression and the students were encouraged to not only depict what it means to be Californian, but also what recovery means to them. The endeavor unified the clients, soothed tensions, and provided encouragement to continue the road to recovery and sustain a sober life.
Working on recovery from addiction is often challenging. It certainly can brighten the progress to enjoy celebratory moments with peers while learning new skills. If you or a loved one needs assistance in treatment, please do not hesitate to call us at: 1 888 671 9392.