Category Archives: LGBTQ Advocacy

Trans Experience LGBTQI Focused Addiction Rehab Vogue

“Vogue” – Impoverished Women of Color & Trans Experience – My 1st Glimpse of Me

The basic human need to be watched was once satisfied by God.

In 1990 Madonna released her single “Vogue”. A window into a microcosm was opened for mainstream society peering at a staple and genius solely invented by the LBGTQ community. 1991’s Jennie Livingston’s documentary film “Paris is Burning” was the first time I witnessed a representation of people I found myself in and as a questioning teen it was the first time I found the language for what I was. I don’t know if I would have found the bravery to pursue my authenticity and my true being had I not stumbled upon this work of art in the seventh grade. I find it utterly inspiring and miraculous these impoverished women of color and the trans experience were able to create decadence and their own tribal system in the shadow of the age of Ronald Reagan and the dawn of Donald Trump. Embracing their femininity and awakening their empowerment through movement and dance.

The Trans Experience That Showed Me Who I Am

A universal safe space of celebration and unity was established in the Ball house scene. For people who were forced to live anonymously and in the shadows the Ball scene provided a place of sanctuary and encouragement to be who you are and using your talents and aesthetics that were otherwise rejected and ridiculed to compete and transcend the pains of everyday living experienced by trans and queer people. The goal being to accentuate one’s own femininity or masculinity, based on being able to blend and adapt within outside hetero-normative culture or in over the top lavish displays of  sensuality, sexuality, and sassiness. One of the aspects of humanity I find most fascinating is the undying need and wish to be witnessed. It’s the essence of all the arts and a driving force into finding our purpose here on Earth.

It saddens me that outside of the LBGTQ community this part of history isn’t valued, and these complex multi faceted creative ingenuities have been crunched up spit out and lumped into only being perceived as drag queens. For the first time in the history of media however, Ryan Murphy has produced a television Series titled “Pose” which centers around five trans women played by trans women navigating 1980’s NYC and the ball scene. It’s my hope that this is the first step in reflecting the lives of trans woman to the general public in a way that let’s us be seen as human rather than something to be tokenized and gawked at.

LGBTQ Addiction Help

Is There LGBTQ Addiction Help Available?

Yes, we have LGBTQ addiction help at Inspire Recovery

The LGBTQ community is known for having a heightened level of addition beyond what people outside of the community experience. For more information, you may look at some statistics on the SAMHSA website*. After all, having to live in a world that does not respect you can hurt a lot. Fortunately, LGBTQ addiction help is available and you can get better, no matter how far down the path of addiction you may have fallen.

Getting Out

When you are in an environment that gives you feelings that are hard to deal with, this is when you are at the highest risk of using. Even if you are feeling fine at the moment, the wrong kind of people tend to be in toxic areas. The easy way to fall into active addiction or keep the cycle going is “just this once,” or that it is just “having a little fun.” It never stays fun in a toxic environment.

One problem that the LGBTQ community has in common with cisgendered* hetero-people is that the world is full of well-hidden toxic places. Getting out of one and into a more caring environment is often the first step to recovery.

Being Out

A traditional problem of LGBTQ people is that counseling requires you to be completely honest, and sometimes there is unspoken judgment. Particularly in traditional religious types of recovery centers, you can feel and you may actually be treated like a bad person just because you are part of the LGBTQ community. Coming out to the wrong people can start a whole new cycle of fear, anger and intolerance that can make using seem like the most sane option.

Help is available from counselors who are part of, or allies to, the LGBTQ community. These are people who care and who will not judge you for being who you naturally are. Real acceptance is a major part of healing the pains inside yourself, so the outer manifestation of using does not happen again.

Staying Out

The hardest part of any recovery is that it never endsan addict is an addict for life. However, you can build a better set of habits and beliefs that are more likely to keep you clean and sober for the long haul. It is never too late, no matter how bad things may seem. One place to get help from people who will not judge you is Inspire Recovery. Contact Inspire today, and start getting the help you need to live a life free of your addictions.

A Couple of Terms Used in this Article: 
*SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and they have excellent resources for people supporting LGBTQ clients in addiction treatment centers.

*Cisgender refers to a person whose gender corresponds to their birth sex. Because a person’s sexual anatomy does not always relate to their gender identity, terms like cisgender help to distinguish LGBTQ individuals, no matter what their sexual orientation is. That is to say that not all trans people are gay and not all cisgender people are straight. Gender identity is completely separate from sexual orientation and one does not dictate the other.

LGBTQI Focused Addiction Rehab

Why Are LGBTQIA Focused Addiction Rehabs Vital to Recovery?

My war with addiction began when I was 12 years old. After moving to Florida and hitting puberty I was faced with an onslaught of feelings and ailments I didn’t know had a name, let alone how to cope with them in daily life. I now know I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and what is known as Gender Dysphoria. I started taking Xanax to medicate myself and coast through life and didn’t look back for 8 years.

My first experience in an institution, I was 15 years old. I was not living as my authentic self at that time and drifted in and out of the mental health care system and substance abuse programs for years. I felt like a ghost in a shell  and wasn’t able to properly heal myself, not knowing who I was. When I was 21 I entered a treatment facility for the first time identifying as female. After an exasperated quarrel with both the facility and my insurance company they agreed to put me in a private room in the senior facility. The treatment center felt as though staying with my peers would be too high risk for me. I find that notion completely ridiculous. As if staying with a bunch of detoxing baby boomers in an isolated chamber would be a productive safety net? This unfortunately was the only half-assed measure taken to accommodate me as a transgender client. My time in treatment was not actually spent tackling my issues with addiction. I spent so much time explaining myself and who I was in the context of being Trans that I had no energy left and certainly didn’t have the trust needed to divulge any part of my wounded self in therapy. A facilitator even made a sidebar comment on how I could make more of an effort and put on makeup if I wanted to be addressed properly. I was in the midst of detoxing from opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and alcohol. My insides and outsides were falling out and off. Make up wasn’t exactly a priority.

I developed an almost impenetrable set of defense mechanisms to tolerate constantly being pigeon holed and dehumanized. It came as no surprise that I relapsed shortly after being discharged and continued to downward spiral. Luckily I made it back and discovered Inspire Recovery, where I cultivated my longest period of sobriety. An LBGTQI focused environment allowed me to get the breathing space I desperately needed to get my shit together. The sense of community and acceptance was essential in healing. I could actually carry out conversations with people without a raised eyebrow or calling my entire being into question. It was truly a breath of fresh air and a blessing. I came to truly appreciate my experience there a year later after a brief relapse and stint in another facility.

And now, here’s what it was like at another facility. The residency there was enforced by a religious zealot who would lock me out of the bathroom and find other creative ways to degrade and silence me. I became unhinged and reactive. I smashed a dresser in my room. I subsequently was removed and committed to a lock-down psych unit where i was administered haldol without my consent and was taken off my hormone regiment. Thankfully due to the dedication of my family and sober supports I was rescued and sent to another LBGTQI oriented treatment center that could actually help me. This dark period really taught me not to take things for granted, especially my time at Inspire. The importance of education in gender studies and an all inclusive environment is completely vital to treating a case like me and I hope for a future where the marginalized of the marginalized can be less, well marginalized.

LGB Addiction Rehab Training

If I’m LGB do I Need Training to Work in a LGBTQI Addiction Rehab?

The LGB addition rehab industry is filled with challenges of many kinds. Being non-traditional and often rejected by family members and friends, the LGBTQI community is frequently prone to addiction to a higher extent than heteronormative and cisgendered individuals. Receiving training in addition rehab as well as working with the LGB community is beneficial to all involved.

Being Part of the Community

Being a part of the LGBTQI community does provide you with a solid perspective of how the community as a whole feels. However, being part of the community only prepares you for part of the issue these individuals may be facing. As the old saying goes, the more you learn, the less you know. This means that as your knowledge base and training increase, you begin to understand more of the limitations of your own knowledge. It is far easier for someone who has learned some aspects of the community’s challenges to believe they know more than they do, than for someone better trained and more experienced to carry on such a belief.

How Training Adds Value

The better trained you are, the better you will be able to help other members of the LGBTQI community to work with their addictions and functionally overcome them. No matter what the addiction may be, it is important to remember that no one is ever truly over it. Rather like with deep emotional traumas of all kinds, one simply has to learn to live with what one has inside. As you receive training, you begin to realize ways you can help others to cope with their problems. At the same time, it is likely you will discover challenges within yourself that you will need to reckon with.

Dealing With the Causes

Training will reveal to you many of the underlying causes of addiction, as well as ways to work with these problems. The likelihood of recovery for anyone in any community is very low because many people never address the real reasons why they use their drugs of choice. When a person begins to admit to, honor and work with the underlying problems they are trying to self-medicate, they have a much higher likelihood of going into recovery and staying there for life. The elements of forgiving oneself and others and learning self-love are universal, whether in the LGBTQI community or otherwise. Your training can be their road to recovery.

Social-Media-Addiction-Inspire-Recovery

Social Media and Recovery

By Leah Bell

Social media has had a bigger impact on our lives today than it ever has in the existence of computers, the internet and cell phones. At no other time in history has the whole world been so engulfed in electronic devices that have become like appendages to not only Millenials but also those who are established middle-aged business people, as well as, parents, teachers, activists and retired individuals that are more likely to be using desktop or laptop computers than smartphones to connect to the never-ending thread of social media.

OK, so we all know this stuff, what we don’t necessarily know is whether social media is having a positive or negative impact on our lives? As a whole, it’s easy to say YES! It is. One of the most powerful influences the many platforms have had is helping to energize generations of people to be informed about what is going on in the world in terms of social and political events. More people are finding their voice and taking a stand for justice, and these very acts are more accessible with the birth of Facebook and Twitter. However, there are aspects of how our interactions with social media affect our neurotransmitters and have quite easily formed an addiction to social media and our electronic gadgets.

When you are living in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction the consensus is that as long as you are living clean and sober than all the other vices out there are way less harmful than the ones that can easily kill you. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Living clean and sober is the first and foremost important part of recovery from addiction. However, we are always better off when we can assess ALL our addictive behaviors and question whether or not they are helping or hurting our recovery, our spirituality, supporting our life goals and so on. At Inspire Recovery, our cognitive behavioral therapy groups help individuals become aware of their behaviors and patterns and find action steps to adjust what may not be serving one’s mental health or addiction recovery. 

Does Social Media Hurt or Help Your Recovery

Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker and author of the 2009 bestseller “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” delivers a great talk about how exactly our brains become addicted to social media. This may come as a surprise, but we “get a hit of dopamine” when we check our Facebook, Instagram or receive a text message from someone we like. Sinek says, “Dopamine is the exact same chemical that makes us feel good when we smoke, when we drink and when we gamble. In other words: it’s highly, highly addictive.”

As a neurotransmitter, Dopamine plays a big role in our reward-receptors. Dopamine is released when you eat a piece of chocolate, but it also tells your brain that you want more, because of the way the dopamine release is “allowing” you to feel good. If we don’t have the self-control or willpower to not stop eating chocolate we can easily get sick from eating too much of it.

This doesn’t mean that we should stop using social media and our cell phones – that would be crazy. The point is – we do need to be AWARE of our habits and relationship with the social media platforms we’re on and how much we use our phones.

Social-Media-Obsessed-Inspire-RecoveryFor example, when you are sitting with your friends, family or people from your fellowship – there should be little to no reason to constantly be checking your phone for texts or social media notifications. This very act contradicts what wisdom we gain in our recovery: that being in the present moment is the most important and valuable time in our lives. Through the 12 Steps, we learn how to make peace with our past and not fear or worry about the future. It is the here and now that is precious and purposeful.

When people stand or sit around constantly checking their phones they are often, though subtly, saying, “I’m not really interested in what’s going on right in front me, something more important is going on in my electronic world.” They are creating a distance between themselves and the people they are interacting with. Short of an emergency, there are few times we have to check our phones as often as we do. The next time you are with a group of people, observe these human behaviors. Become aware of the patterns that have been formed and the distance that is being created by our lack of concern for the way people distract themselves from being present by obsessing over their phones.

There is a British journalist named Johann Hari, who shared in his now famous Ted Talk, the research he conducted helped him form the conclusion that the opposite of addiction is human connection. Many people argue the validity of Hari’s poignant debate, check out the response from The Fix – a recovery-based website. In general, though, what Hari is saying is making a case for is incredibly important to consider. The point to appreciate is how crucial it is for us to surround ourselves with people who make us feel safe and supportive, who are reliable, and who are also empathetic or at least attempting to be more vulnerable. In active addiction so much of our connections are clouded by our drugs of choice. Most of us use drugs and alcohol to suppress our feelings and hide our secrets. In recovery, it is through our in-person connections with others that we will be able to create meaningful relationships – which have the potential to release us from the shame, guilt, resentments, anger, sadness. Social media can be meaningful, but a lot of it is superficial. 

It is in the Information Age that so many people have become addicted to substances and technology, creating fewer opportunities for healthy ways to connect with other people. Another benefit of social media is how beautifully it can make us feel more connected to family and friends that live in our cities. On the flip side, research shows that one-in-three Millennials spend more time on their smartphones than they interact with people face-to-face. The rise of these statistics also coincides with the rise of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among Millennials. In fact, Millennials, more than any other generation, are diagnosed with some form of mental distress. Similar to drug and alcohol use, when feeling depressed or anxious, we gravitate to something that takes our mind off these feelings. However, the distractions we really need are human connection, physical exercise, reading, journaling, hobbies, time in nature, strengthening our spiritual practice, doing 12 step work, etc.

We all enjoy cookies and candy, but if we ate it as much as we checked our phones for notifications we would rot our teeth out and not be able to enjoy sweets. In recovery from addiction of any kind, finding a healthy balance with all our habits is key.

OK, ok. Hopefully, some of this is starting to resonate with you. In recovery, one of the most important lessons is how to become mindful and aware of our actions and behaviors. Since none of us are about to delete our social media accounts lets continue to talk about what we can do to foster a more balanced relationship with this addiction we have to it.

Challange-Equals-Change-Inspire-Recovery5 Ways to Adjust Your Social Media Habits

– Take the time to meet and engage with people at your 12 step groups before and after meetings. Not solely because your sponsor told you to, but in pursuit of making genuine connections.

– Do not check your phone during 12 step meetings.

– Try not to check your phone or, in general check it less, while you are hanging out with your friends and family (unless absolutely necessary).

– Unfollow anything that does not support your recovery and start following more people, pages and hashtags that are positive and supportive of a life free from drugs, alcohol and other toxic aspects of your life! There is an endless amount of content available to uplift and motivate you. On Instagram, treatment centers, motivational speakers and other people working recovery programs are an excellent resource to support you on your journey. On Facebook, if you can’t “unfriend” someone like a family member or childhood friend whose posts or lifestyle choices are triggering for you –> you can adjust the way their posts show up in your feed. Use social media to help your recovery, not hurt it.

– Consider what activities you want to do more in your life that can decrease the amount of time you spend on your phone. Activities such as exercise or other physical activities, volunteering and being of service within your fellowship and spending more time in nature. Part of the plague of phone addiction is the fact that more people are spending less time in nature. However, nature is an important part of keeping our mental health and emotions in balance.

While all of this information might be overwhelming to you, there’s much more to consider the topic. This is literally the tip of the iceberg. Today, researchers are suggesting that people stop checking their cell phones while in bed – both at night and in the morning. Some experts say that we need to not check our phones for the first hour we are awake, especially the news. While this might sound extreme to you, there is good cause to believe that checking our phones and social media heavily increases our daily levels of anxiety and furthers any amount of depression that we might live with. Our phones have a negative effect on our sleeping patterns, our productivity and even affect the retina in our eyes if we do not adjust the screens or view our phones with proper lighting.

These are all great things to consider on your path to living a happy and healthy life! Consider what suggestions are included in this article that resonates with you and starts switching up the routine you have established with your phone and social media platforms. Many people claim that they have found themselves to be much happier after cutting back or cutting out social media from their daily lives. Might sound crazy, but at some point recovery probably sounded like a crazy idea, as well.

quality LGBTQ programs in treatment centers

LGBTQ Programs in Treatment Centers

AA-NA-meetings-Inspire-RecoveryWe all have experiences that shape our lives and define who we are. In recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, there is a common denominator that mostly everyone attending a 12-step meeting or entering a treatment center has in common: substance use. Why and how a person uses or becomes an addicts can vary quite a bit. Whether or not someone can allow themselves to be open, honest and vulnerable in a therapeutic and peer-to-peer environment also varies quite a bit. In America, we live in a society that provides greater access to drugs and alcohol than substance use clinics and mental health services. In general, there appears to be a lot of shame, bullying and judgement in our society. There are likely, a lot of root causes for addiction. Recovery is the answer, without a doubt, but the road to recovery can be rocky. Surviving the journey to long-term recovery takes faith, commitment and community.

For individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex, the road to recovery might first appear narrow and unmarked. You may need to find a path through a rough terrain that includes some bad experiences at treatment centers that said they were welcoming to LGBTQ persons. You may have to navigate around false claims about legitimate LGBTQ programs in treatment centers. Luckily, more treatment centers are diving deeper at what it means for them to provide additional services for the LGBTQ community at their centers. Some treatment centers offer “tracks” for specific groups of people. For example a “Transgender Track” has popped up on a few treatment centers programs list. At Inspire Recovery, we are thankful more centers are expanding their groups to include people whose gender and sexuality are a core part of their lives. It is the lack of quality LGBTQ programs in treatment centers over the past 20 years that formed the catalyst for Inspire Recovery to open it’s doors in June 2014.

Group-Therapy-Inspire-RecoveryMore About LGBTQ Programs in Treatment Centers

Creating a safe space that is comfortable, effective and dedicated to providing the best possible care for the LGBTQ community in recovery takes a lot of flexibility. The committed staff at Inspire Recovery feel less tied to a formula for success and more open to the beauty in evolution. Our goal is to stand alongside our clients when they celebrate a year without drugs and alcohol, living independent and fulfilling lives. The majority of our clients are transgender men and women. To be a part of their journey to recovery is a complete and total honor. We take so much pride in our program, our therapists, group facilitators and the diversity that our program is able to bring to the LGBTQ community. It is our dream to light the way for other programs who are also committed to what long-term recovery looks and feels like for someone whose gender or sexuality is as colorful as the rainbow and may be as complex as Rubik Cube.

We encourage all therapists and staff in treatment to consider taking continuing education classes that focus on the care and treatment of the LGBTQ community in recovery. SAMHSA provides excellent information in an updated manual that can be downloaded here. The Yes Institute in Miami, Florida has an amazing course available. There are opportunities to learn more about the culture and the challenges within the LGBTQ community. At Inspire Recovery we offer a by-donation Cultural Awareness presentation. To find out more you may contact us at: admissions@inspirerecovery.com. We are here for any of your clients who need a level of care that is not only accommodating but created specifically to provide a safe and welcoming environment focused on the uniqueness LGBTQ individuals have to offer.

LGBTQ Positive Peer Sober Supports

Lambda-North-LGBT-Inspire-Recovery

Inspire Recovery clients attend the local LGBTQ clubhouse, Lambda North, for AA and NA meetings.

Sober supports are one of the keystones to a solid recovery program. When you are new to recovery—either by way of going to a detox and/or treatment center or checking out 12 Steps meetings while abstaining from drugs and alcohol without having been to treatment—you may not have many sober supports. This is common. If you are new to a treatment center than their sober supports are basically the staff at the center and people they live with in sober housing.

This is a lot of support for someone that has potentially left a group of friends, a family home or a romantic relationship that involved drug and/or alcohol misuse. However, as an individual begins to feel more at home in the sober world it’s important that the circle of support expands, just a little.

Finding people who are a positive influence on your recovery, whom you also truly enjoy hanging out with, may be difficult, at first, but similar to messages in recovery—”don’t give up.” In time, you may be surprised how close you become to folks whom you relate to a significant aspect of your life, addition.

Some people move across the country to try their hand at recovery. Geography is one of those aspects of culture that impacts our personality in subtle ways. Perhaps someone from the west coast feels uncomfortable living in south Florida, where they decided to go to treatment. This is why The Fellowship of recovery tends to be pretty welcoming. In general, many people are transplants. Having left a toxic environment where they knew in their heart that if they didn’t leave, they could more easily pick up a drink or drug of choice. It can be very wise to pack a bag when you are serious about going to rehab. Once you feel strong in your recovery, home might be an option. However, many do decide to continue to live where their sober seeds first took root.

As you grow in your recovery your life completely transforms. Home might not be the same anymore because you’ve changed for the better and everything there has stayed the same. It’s important to maintain communication with loved ones who support your personal growth and want to see you live a happy and fulfilling life. Find balance with the distance by making the time to stay connected to the ones you love. Continue to achieve balance by meeting like-minded peers in recovery, below are some suggestions that might help you along the path.

Volunteer-Inspire-Recovery-NewsBeing of Service to Your Community

Doing service and volunteering is a huge part of working a recovery program, whether you’re working the 12 steps for the first time or have been in recovery for 20 years.

Having a strong recovery program generally involves volunteering either within your recovery community or in your community as a whole. It is proven that when we give our time selflessly to our community or a cause that our lives are enriched in many ways. There is a full mind, body and spiritual benefit happening. Psychologically we are taking ourselves out of the center of our universe and “being of service” to others. Many people start their service work at the clubhouse where they attend Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. If the meetings you attend are at a church or community center there are likely opportunities for you to volunteer there.

Where ever you live there will be opportunities to volunteer in your community. Through these avenues, you are likely to meet a person or two that can be a positive peer support. For someone to be a positive peer support they will either be in recovery, involved in another 12 Step program (such as Al-Anon for example) or someone who completely abstained while you are hanging out. For example, a family member who is not in recovery can be a sober support. Anyone who is supportive of your recovery will likely understand what might be triggering for you. If the obvious is not being observed, use skills your gaining from the program and communicate your needs to your family and friends when necessary.

LGBTQ Ideas for Community Service

Inspire-Recovery-News-Equal-Love-Equal-RightsIf you are a part of the LGBTQ community and in recovery, your local LGBTQ at center might and volunteering with different kinds of LGBTQ-focused events. For example, in larger cities, there are usually LGBTQ youth centers or support programs. For those who are LGBTQ volunteering within the LGBTQ community can be an incredible way to feel a part of YOUR community. You might need to become a part of your local LGBTQ community center in some capacity before you can acquire a volunteer position. This might be through a paid membership or attending meetings that are held at the center. Many LGBTQ community centers host annual and monthly events. This is a great opportunity to be of service, as well as, meet peers.

If you’re shy or have a hard time meeting new people, I suggest you introduce yourself to someone who appears to be very involved in the center, let them know you’re new to town or new to the center and would love help meeting people. Mentioning that to the right person can potentially open the doors of opportunity for you to meet a whole slew of new friends.

LGBTQ advocacy is another great opportunity for LGBTQ folks to volunteer in their community. A life of recovery can really provide one with a strong sense of purpose, having removed a major distraction from their life—active addiction. Advocacy for the equal rights and opportunities for LGBTQ people is just as important today than it was 50 years ago in the years leading up to the Stonewall Riots. LGBTQ rights are a roller coaster or gains and losses. By participating in the role of community organizer and human rights activist, individuals can be a part of the change they wish to see in the world. There are local and national groups that provide volunteer opportunities, such as the Human Rights Campaign. Check out this list of LGBTQ rights organizations in the United States to find out about more opportunities near you.

12 Step Sponsors – A Part of the Big Picture

In addition to finding opportunities to meet positive peer supports through service in your community, every solid recovery program involves a 12 step sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has worked the 12 steps of recovery and has a strong recovery program themselves. This person does not necessarily need to be your friend, you can consider the relationship to be a bit more professional. This is because of the importance of your sponsor being able to hold you accountable to your step work, the way a boss or manager at your job holds you accountable to your job. For example, at Inspire Recovery we feel that clients can see the best results in their recovery from addiction if they find a sponsor to work the 12 steps with outside of our center. Clients are encouraged to find a sponsor through the meeting houses they attend for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Client advocates at Inspire Recovery can also help to connect clients to sponsors that have worked the steps. We feel that it is helpful for a client to have strong sober supports that are in addition to the incredible staff at Inspire and the peers that clients spend the majority of their time with.

At Inspire Recovery we feel that clients can see the best results in their recovery from addiction if they find a sponsor to work the 12 steps with outside of our center. Clients are encouraged to find a sponsor through the meeting houses they attend for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Client advocates at Inspire Recovery can also help to connect clients to sponsors that have worked the steps. We feel that it is helpful for a client to have strong sober supports that are in addition to the incredible staff at Inspire and the peers that clients spend the majority of their time with. Building a network of support is a responsible way to strengthen your program. In recovery, it’s important to learn to form healthy relationships with people you rely on that are also not co-dependent. To learn more about preventing co-dependency in recovery, have a read of our article.