Phoenix House News & Views: Holiday Issue

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Message From The President

Dear Friends,
I cannot believe another year has passed! The holidays are a time for families to come together, and at Phoenix House, we are proud to celebrate alongside the clients, alumni, friends and staff members who make up our own very special family.

This year, with our expanding programs and our increasing outreach efforts, we have made tremendous strides and touched more lives than ever before. We couldn’t do it without your ongoing support.

Thank you! We wish you a safe and festive holiday season, and a happy and healthy New Year.

Warm regards,
Howard P. Meitiner
President & CEO

Season of Giving

Across our regions, friends and supporters are helping make the season memorable for the men, women, and young people who will spend the holidays with us. In Texas, our Phoenix House Academy in Austin recently began its Holiday Gift Giving Projectfor which staff, parents, and the larger community donate presents to the teens we serve. “It’s also a special time because every year, kids who have completed the program come back to visit and share their progress,” says Academy Director Laurie DeLong. In our new Mid-Atlantic region, acclaimed author Beth Hoffman recently donated copies of her novel Saving CeeCee Honeycutt to clients who will form a book club to discuss her work. At our women’s program in Santa Fe Springs, CA, the local Youth Authority will host a holiday party on December 22 and donate Christmas gifts to our clients’ children, who will also have a chance to get their picture taken with Santa. And in New England, community members will donate gifts to the families in our Adopt-A-Family program which provides emergency housing for homeless mothers and their children. “For many children in our care, this is really their first Christmas season in a secure and sober environment,” says Doris Brown who serves as Program Director at both Phoenix House Dorchester Center and Phoenix Families. We thank our friends across the country for bringing the true spirit of the holiday season to those who are getting their lives back on track.

Home for the Holidays
photo1094The holidays bring joy and cheer, but it’s also a time when many engage in risky behavior. The abundance of alcohol at holiday parties, the stress of family gatherings, and seasonal feelings of loneliness or depression can all trigger substance misuse. “Moderation is key,” says Naomi Weinstein, Director of our Center on Addiction and the Family (COAF). “Find a designated driver and remember that eggnog is not a virgin drink.” If a loved one in recovery is joining your celebration, Weinstein suggests rethinking rituals that involve alcohol and maintaining a substance-free environment. Keep an eye out for warning signs of relapse and call Phoenix House about what you see. Congratulate your loved one on the progress they’ve made—and let them know that their sobriety is the best gift of all. For more sober holiday tips, click here.

Hopes and Plans for 2011

As the New Year approaches, many of our clients and alumni remember past years and look forward to the next. “This year,” says Sarah, one of our young residents in California, “I’m not going to get caught up in negativity.” Julie in Florida is planning to share the message of recovery this year by volunteering with women at her local jail. “Without Phoenix House,” says Julie, “that would have been me in there.” Cory, a 15-year-old resident in our new Mid-Atlantic region, speaks for many of our clients when he says that his “dream for 2011 is to really live for the first time in years. I’m no longer going to harm my soul, my mind, or my body.” To read more resolutions from our recovery community, visit our Facebook page.

Spotlight Story: Vera M.

At first, I had a hard time at Phoenix House. I felt like a zombie because I was still coming down off of a lot of drugs—alcohol, marijuana, meth, hallucinogens. But as soon as I joined the Phoenix Rising Music Program and recorded my first song, I immediately felt like I had a reason to stay in treatment and work on myself. I had no idea that recovery could link to music. I submitted my song, “Take it to the Days,” to the MusiCares/Grammy Foundation’s teen songwriting contest, and I couldn’t believe it when they announced me as one of the winners! It’s amazing, and I never thought that I would be in this position with all of these opportunities around me. To read more of Vera’s story, visit our blog.

A Light for Phoenix House

During her battle against lung cancer, artist Lee Rhodes found a sense of peace in her glassblowing. She created small, elegant candles she called “glassybabys”—these creations gave Lee inspiration and lit the way on her path to recovery. Since 2003, Lee has opened four glassybaby stores and has founded the glassybaby goodwill program, which supports numerous nonprofit organizations across the country. This holiday season, glassybaby, which also provided the candles at our Phoenix House Summer Party in the Hamptons, will donate 10 percent of their “parachutes” gift set sales to Phoenix House. Click here to visit the online store and support this amazing endeavor.

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