Forgiveness at the Girls Recovery Lodge Program

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
Jennifer Harris Teacher at Phoenix House Girls Recovery School

Jennifer Harris
Teacher at Phoenix House Girls Recovery School

Jennifer Harris, teacher at the Phoenix House Girls Recovery School, recently organized some activities around the theme of “Forgiveness” for our teen girls  in recovery.

Forgiveness is a key part of addiction recovery. Most of the times individuals with substance abuse issues have been disappointed, betrayed or deceived by others and forgiving is hard and painful, but without doing it they cannot make progress in their recovery. Forgiveness is an act of self-liberation and empowers people struggling with addiction more than everyone else as they need to reach a clear state of mind in order to recover. They need to be free from their own and other people past actions that prevent them from achieving successful long-term recovery and living a joyful and healthy life.

Initially the girls were asked to write down the first word that came to mind when they heard the word forgiveness. Then they had to write down the name of people that they did not forgive and the things that they had done that they had not forgiven themselves for. They had to count up all the items on the list and blow into a balloon as many times as the number of items in that list. The blown up balloon represented the amount of pain, stress or anguish they were holding in their heart. They then watched the video “The Power of Forgiveness” from CBS News, which is about a woman who forgave the man who killed her son. In the video the woman now lives next door to the young man and has claimed him as a “son”. The teacher and the clients discussed the video afterwards and what it had to do with forgiveness. Girls were instructed to pop their balloons and in each balloon there was a message about forgiveness. Everyone had a chance to share their personal emotions with the group and talk about what their forgiveness message meant to them. Lastly they were given a small canvas and they had to write down whatever their original word and the phrase from inside of their balloon and create an artistic piece to express their feelings after these activities.

“At first the girls were resistant to the project”, said Jennifer, “They did not want to go and dig up old wounds from the past. As the project went on they really began to see why forgiveness was so important and necessasary for healing even if the concept was difficult.”

The Boys and Girls Recovery Lodges provide at-risk youth with the substance abuse and mental health services they need while their families can get support through weekly concerned-persons meetings. The programs, which incorporate evidence-based practices in treatment, are designed to help adolescents understand their addiction and mental health disorders and to enable them to develop the thinking and behaviors that will help them get their lives back on track.

Every day, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic helps hundreds of people who are suffering from substance abuse in 17 programs in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Find out more about our programs and services, or call us today at: 1 888 671 9392.




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