A life of freedom and
happiness is possible.

You can start your recovery with us today.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Recovering and Working in the Addiction Field

recovering working addiction field
When I was in early recovery at 22 years of age I didn’t have a purpose in life. Alcoholism had robbed me of completing college and created a very deep sense of purposelessness in my life. At this time in 1983 the old-timers of Alcoholics Anonymous would say things like, “Don’t become a counselor because you will drink!” and “You can’t work a 12-step and get paid, it’s against the traditions!” I was 23 years old, sober, and looking for a way to make a living and create purpose in my life. My options seemed limited and my interests were narrow. I wanted to help alcoholics stay sober and I wanted to get paid for it, so I went to school to become a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) on Long Island, NY. At this time this credential was fairly new and the state of New York had begun requiring training and certification. Prior to this you could work in a treatment center as a recovering alcoholic without any other training than being sober and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Against a lot of advice I attended two years of training, interned at a local treatment center, and took a grueling two day test. I received my credential and got a job in a hospital working with eating disorder clients in an inpatient setting. Throughout my training I attended AA and worked with a sponsor. I remained sober and took great pleasure in remaining so and telling those same old-timers that I was working in the field and staying sober. They would just laugh and say, “Keep coming back!”

After several years of working in the field I started to slack off on my meetings and I didn’t sponsor anyone because I was, “just too busy!” I also succumbed to the misunderstanding that since I was working with addicts all day I didn’t need to, “freely give what I had freely gotten.” This thinking lead to a selfishness, which is every alcoholic’s down fall. It negatively affected my program and kept me isolated from my fellow alcoholics and made me feel like I was different than my peers.

When I got burned out working with addicts and felt as if I couldn’t help another person I took a long break from working in the field. I re-committed myself to AA and working with newcomers because my early sponsors had drilled this concept into me, “you cannot keep that which you don’t give away.” I had become too selfish to give of myself freely, which affected the quality of my sobriety. I was sober but I was isolated. I was sober but I was too professional to work with another alcoholic for free. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states that in order for me to stay sober I need to work with another alcoholic. I don’t work with another alcoholic for pay, prestige, or purpose. I have to work with another alcoholic to stay sober. I am a better person when I’m sponsoring or being helpful because it’s what I’m supposed to do, not because it’s my job.

I enjoy working in the field because I truly love people and love helping addicts find a new way to live. I also attend meetings and work with fellow alcoholics because I want to keep my sobriety and increase the quality of my sobriety. I will never make the mistake of keeping my sobriety to myself because I suffered from a lack of spirituality when I was acting from my own alcoholism instead of my sobriety. My early sponsor was right, the old-timers were half right, and I’m very grateful that I didn’t have to drink to find out I still need to work the 12th step as it is written and follow the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Janet E. Bontrager BA 
Primary Therapist

Friday, October 12, 2018

Healthy Ways to Prevent Relapse in Recovery

When you live with addiction, one of the first things to understand is that you have a lifelong illness. And, just like with other chronic diseases, you’ll need to learn long-term strategies to manage it – including finding healthy ways to prevent relapse.

Entering a qualified drug detox program is a positive first step to getting your addiction under control. However, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes, going through rehab isn’t a “cure.” They report that, for as many as 40 to 60 percent of people, relapse is part of the cycle of recovery.

What Is Relapse?

Though many recovering addicts view relapse as a single event, it’s closer to the truth to describe relapse as a multi-stage process:
  • Relapse through thoughts – “I have been sober for long enough to be cured of my addiction. I deserve just one drink to help me unwind.”
  • Relapse through behavior – “My preoccupation with using again is affecting my feelings and how I treat others.”
  • Relapse through controlled use – “Using a substance in a controlled way will help me handle everyday problems more easily.”
People in the third stage of relapse may begin using small quantities of drugs or alcohol, believing they can manage their substance use on their own. However, the compulsive nature of addiction can bring them all the way back to where they were before they sought treatment.

Understanding Relapse Triggers

To be successful in recovery, it is essential to recognize the triggers that can lead to a relapse, and what coping strategies are available to help prevent relapse and keep you sober. Your unique triggers may include stress, anxiety or depression. Or, perhaps you find yourself in situations that remind you of the days when you were using your drug of choice, awakening cravings to use again.

Five Ways to Prevent Relapse

  1. Have a support network of family and friends who will encourage you to stay sober.
  2. Attend 12-step meetings where you can talk with people who have worked through similar challenges.
  3. Start a physical fitness regimen to improve your physical and emotional well-being.
  4. Write down a list of the negative consequences of using again.
  5. Remind yourself you’re not alone in your challenges.

Get Drug Rehab in Prescott, AZ

Understanding how to prevent the relapse process can help you avoid returning to addiction. If you are on the verge of or in the middle of a relapse, reach out to our helpful team to learn more about how our treatment plans can help you get back on the road to sobriety – and equip you with the necessary tools to stay there.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 11

I am almost 20 weeks in at Canyon and time has flown by. I can still remember the day I came in, not in the best condition mentally or physically. I do not feel like the same girl who was broken on the inside anymore. I am having an interesting week at Canyon right now, it’s pretty tough but I know it’s for the best. I am truly grateful for this program and what it has done for me in just a short amount of time.

Client C

I’m feeling really grateful
for having been born into the family
that I did
with the parents,
that I have.
I’ve been working the steps and I feel so blessed
to have been brought up
knowing that my Higher Power exists
that He is in control of it all
that I can always turn to Him,
and He will always listen
that I can trust Him with anything and everything
that I am never alone
that He is always there for me
and here with me,
that He always will be,
and that He loves me.
Thank you Ma & Pa- for opening my eyes to these truths,
for having done so since the moment my eyes first opened.

Client R

A few days ago I got a job and I just love it. I am a grooming assistant. It has taught me so much in the few days I have been there. It has taught me to be on time. It has taught me patience for others and for animals. How has it helped me with daily life? It has brought calmness to my life. It has also brought light and comfort. I am truly happy today and that is to the help here and for this job. I am so blessed life has never been better

Client R

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.” –Virgil Thomson

This quote is a huge part of my life I like to think of it in my recovery as my first sobriety attempt in 2015 and my second was for a quick week in early 2018 now this third attempt I have stuck with the curiosity of the sober life for six months. I first tried to and not found out it would hurt me so a few years later I retried to learn how to be sober and now I am in my third try seeing how I like it.

Client A

I recently read that “the brightest light comes out of the greatest darkness.” I can honestly say that nothing has ever been truer for me. When I arrived at here I was broken; I was defeated, hopeless, and lost. After only a few months I am beginning to find myself again. Every day is a new adventure where I get to discover a new passion, interest, or strength. A month ago I lost someone to the disease of addiction and I fell under a cloud of darkness. Being here during this time of grief has saved my life. In this time of darkness, my community of sisters helped support me and lift me up. It is because of them that I have found my way through and am able to let the light shine through again.

Client J

Fear is voluntarily threatening our own lives and blaming something else. My fear gets in the way of my life and especially my sobriety. It leads me down a path of self destruction because I put on this façade that I’m fearless and because of that I take risks that put my life in danger. Because of fear of how my life will be sober I take actions to destroy my progress and blame it on the stress that others are putting on me. Fear holds me back from making progress in my recovery.

Client S

Monday, October 8, 2018

How Spirituality Plays a Role in Your Recovery

Spirituality is valuable for people in recovery, who can rely on the strong foundation and sense of purpose it provides. However, discovering – or rediscovering – spirituality in recovery can be a challenge, especially for non-religious people.

Spirituality goes beyond ideology or religious beliefs. For those in recovery, spirituality is a component of the 12-step program, and represents embracing a connection to something that is larger than yourself. Regardless of whether you consider yourself to be a religious person, spirituality can play a significant role in your recovery process.

Are Spirituality And Religion the Same? 

While spirituality can be closely intertwined with religion for many people, they are not one and the same. If you aren’t a devout person, you can view spirituality as a personal quest to find meaning in life and your role within the world.

Although some people express their spirituality through religious observance, others practice it through meditation, yoga, journaling, spending time in nature or any number of secular methods. Anything that helps you focus and be more present in the moment can help you become more mindful, gain clarity and give you a more positive outlook on the challenges of life. There’s no wrong answer, as long as your journey remains grounded in love and compassion as you strive to establish your connection to the universe.

The Importance of Spirituality In Recovery 

Addiction robs you of everything, including your spirituality. The good news is that rediscovering your spirituality can be the spark that helps you find your path back from your illness and give you a renewed sense of purpose. Reconnecting with yourself on a spiritual level can also provide the mental and emotional support that’s so essential to a successful journey of recovery.

Although spirituality may be a key element of recovery, it doesn’t come inherently to everyone – and that’s OK. If you’re struggling to find your spirituality, be open to new and different ways of connecting to your inner self. What may have worked for you before you became addicted may not be the right answer in recovery, so don’t be afraid to explore other methods.

Connect With Canyon Crossing 

If you’re ready to learn more about addiction recovery for yourself or a loved one, contact Canyon Crossing today. We are a unique women’s-only treatment center in Prescott, AZ, offering tools and education to help our clients discover a healthy and sober way of life. Spiritual retreats are one of our many program offerings that help women live a meaningful life without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Boundaries: An Imperative Aspect of Healthy Relationships

What are boundaries? A simple way to describe the concept of boundaries in relationships is where I end, and you begin. They ensure each person in the relationship maintains a sense of self. When a person’s boundaries are weak or nonexistent, they are likely to compromise their sense of self, which can lead to feelings of anger or resentment towards self or others. Boundaries can be physical, symbolic, or even both, and serve as guidelines for behaviors and actions in relationships.

Boundaries are important in all relationships but essential in relationships with those who experience addiction. When a loved one is in their addiction, they are likely to push against your boundaries. Maybe they continue to ask for money when you’ve said no multiple times, extend their stay in your home past agreed timelines, disrespect your space, violate your trust, or even cross physical boundaries. When you hold firm in your boundaries, it forces that loved one to take responsibility for their actions and hopefully, seek help to change their behaviors.

Addiction can turn family members into enablers, caretakers, scapegoats, and doormats. By setting the boundaries necessary to focus on your own well-being, you are taking steps to free yourself from the chaos that can come with addiction, and giving your loved one the nudge necessary to take care of themselves and their own recovery.

When the sole intent is to help the loved one, it’s easy to forget that the word “No,” in and of itself is not only a complete sentence, but a boundary all unto itself. No, I will not give you any more money- for gas, rent, or food. No, you cannot come and live with us. No, we are not bailing you out this time. 

Boundaries need to be communicated to be effective. They cannot simply be assumed, or the loved one is left guessing at what is acceptable in the relationship and what is not. To set the boundary, tell your loved one how their behavior impacts you: “When you say/do this (specific behavior), I feel this way (emotions). If you continue to do/say (specific behavior), I will (take an action) to take care of myself.

Boundaries must be followed through with to be effective. When you set a boundary with someone and then don’t follow through with that boundary, future boundaries will likely not be taken seriously.

When initiating the process of setting boundaries, it is common to be perceived as the ‘bad guy.’ Feelings of guilt can be a withdrawal symptom of the tendency to put others’ needs ahead of your own. You may feel selfish in setting boundaries but try to remember that setting a boundary is self-care, not selfish.

Get support. There are plenty of resources available to those who struggle with codependent relationships. The following are a few that may help to get you started:

1) Alanon
2) Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PALS)
3) The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie 
4) Codependent No More by Melody Beattie 
5) Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody 

Remember, you are not alone. The disease of addiction has now reached epidemic levels. Chances are, you have friends, relatives, coworkers, or peers who are in the same boat. Talk, share ideas, support each other, get help. Chances are, this may be one of the most challenging experiences you deal with. You don’t have to do this by yourself. 

Heather Smyly, BS 
Director of Operation and Family Communications 

References Mellody, P. (2003, 1st Edition 1989). Facing codependence: What it is, where it comes from, how it sabotages our lives. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Understanding the Unique Needs of Women in Addiction Recovery

Though men are more likely than women to misuse both illegal and prescription drugs, both sexes are equally susceptible to developing a substance use disorder. However, the prevalence of mental health issues such as anxiety and eating disorders is higher in women than in men, which may predispose females to fall into the trap of addiction.

Women may also be more vulnerable to both craving and relapse, which are key phases of the addiction cycle. Women in recovery often have very different treatment needs, and addressing those needs is essential for them to successfully achieve freedom from substance misuse.

Barriers to Women’s Addiction Treatment

Unfortunately, even when women cannot overcome addiction on their own, they are less likely to seek professional help than men. There are many underlying factors influencing this trend, including economic barriers, a more significant social stigma surrounding entering treatment, greater household responsibilities and a history of trauma. In addition, many women who have co-occurring disorders such as depression may seek therapy solely for their mental health, without addressing their underlying substance use disorders.

At Canyon Crossing, our program helps women overcome many of these common obstacles to treatment. We offer both long-term and outpatient treatment options, featuring therapies that center specifically on women’s health and emotional needs.

Benefits of Women’s-Only Therapy

Our comprehensive Arizona drug rehab program is designed to address the gender-specific issues of women, including co-occurring disorders, trauma, relationship issues and relapse prevention. We encourage our all-female clients to pursue total mind-body wellness through integrated treatment options such as experiential therapy, adventure therapy, educational workshops, spiritual retreats and eye movement therapy for trauma.

We help our clients achieve lifelong recovery by allowing them to reconnect with their true selves, getting to the heart of the emotional and mental issues that trigger their substance misuse. Through our women’s-only program, clients can focus on getting past the unique array of challenges that led to their addiction, and emerging as healthier and more well-rounded individuals.

Holistic Healing at Canyon Crossing

At our Prescott, AZ treatment facility, we have crafted every facet of our programming using evidence-based practices and the utmost consideration for the unique needs of women. In our nurturing environment, female clients learn practical life skills alongside addiction treatment and therapy. Our structured transitional living program helps support clients in long-term sobriety. To learn more, reach out to us anytime.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 10

recovery reflections
Being in recovery has been really good this time around. I’ve finally found the desire to stay sober & I can honestly say I’ve been really happy for a pretty consecutive amount of time now. I’m starting to see the promises really come true. I’m also moving today & I’m pretty excited about it. It’ll be my first time moving since I’ve been here & I think it will be a nice change.

Client K

He is a son
He was a husband
He is a father
He is talented
He is artistic
He is loving and caring
He has brown hair and blue eyes
He made me giggle and fell like a little princess
He is a drug addict
He is nowhere to be found but confirmed alive
He is my dad and I miss him very much

Client K

“Fear is a signal to become courageous and take action, anything else is giving up on ourselves”

I believe in walking into the things that terrify us the most. My whole life I’ve stood on the sidelines of my own life and stayed on the bench, afraid of the unknown. And every day since I got sober, I’ve taken another step into my fears. I get a little freedom and serenity with each step. My higher power pushes me to follow my heart and hear my 2nd voice. To trust my instincts. To have faith in my abilities. For too long I’ve not taken action and I’ve continuously given up on myself. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to fight for my life. One of my favorite quotes goes something like “all you need is 15 seconds of insane courage.” I have faith in my higher power as I finally walk into my fear and take action.

Client M

I’ve just gotten here
a bit ago
and I’ve come to realize
I am not here
to “do my time”
I am here
to save my life.
However long it takes,
(and recovery road is forevers long),
I will march forward
I will show up for life,
for others,
for myself.
Because I am worth it.
Because I deserve this.

-Worth the Work
Client R

I put my cold hands over my heart to feel again. The question of life or death at my fingertips. The chill sinks into my veins and ices over my heart. It spreads through out my body as tears begin to pour. I close my eyes and the water rushes down my face. I dream of a familiar place. With a white sink and gold faucet. And that cold tile floor with drops of red. I quickly down a bottle of Tito’s Vodka then glare at myself and the illusion I’ve become. Then suddenly everything goes black. I awake, my head throbbing, my face and hands wet and sticky. I begin to stand and then crumble back down to the floor. I attempt to push my chest up when blood starts to drip from my head. I reach my hand towards the pain and feel around until I find a deep gash on my forehead. I slowly stand, my weak knees shaking beneath me. Again I see the illusion but this time it’s shattered.

Client S

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Benefits of Equine Therapy

People and horses have had a symbiotic relationship throughout human history. Like humans, horses are highly intelligent and social animals that naturally gravitate toward living in familial groups.

A growing body of scientific research has confirmed being around animals can alleviate stress and help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. At Canyon Crossing, we offer equine therapy to help our clients learn to establish healthy boundaries and develop a routine as part of their recovery from addictive behaviors and substance dependency. Working closely with horses challenges people to view themselves and their world in a new way and encourages them to develop new skills for healthy living in recovery.

Working With Horses Helps People Process Emotions

Equine therapy is a healthy way for people to get in touch with their thoughts and feelings. Thousands of years of evolution have shaped horses to be uniquely responsive to human emotions. If someone approaches them with anger, the horse may become stubborn, whereas horses often act more skittish around people who are anxious. However, being around someone who is calm and composed will cause a horse to respond in kind. Learning to read a horse’s emotions promotes self-awareness and can help people see themselves in a more realistic light.

Equine Therapy Builds Stronger Communication Skills

Many people with addictions and mental health issues become emotionally stunted. However, even those who struggle to relate to other people can still manage to establish close bonds with horses. Though horses cannot speak, they are still excellent communicators. Interpreting and understanding equine behavior can help people learn how to relate to other humans.

While riding can be part of equine therapy, the most important work happens during interactions such as grooming manes and tails and feeding and watering horses. Through the horse’s responses and their therapist’s guidance, clients begin to recognize and correct misconceptions and learn to work through suppressed emotions.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

Horses are very honest and will clearly communicate when someone has crossed their boundaries. Trying to control or dominate will not work with a horse. Similarly, being detached or submissive may make a horse unwilling to cooperate. Equine therapy can help clients realize valuable connections between the way they interact with horses and the way they react to other people in their lives.

Equine Therapy at Canyon Crossing

At Canyon Crossing, equine therapy is one of the options we offer in addiction treatment for women. If you love animals and nature and would like to learn more about our Prescott, AZ, rehab facility, contact us today.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

September Is Your Time to Learn More About Recovery

september recovery
Addiction is an illness, but not everyone who becomes dependent on a substance does so for the same reasons. People who develop substance misuse bring different physical, emotional and mental burdens and responsibilities with them. Successfully treating each person means adapting to the unique needs these differing factors generate.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has designated September as National Recovery Month. If you are considering seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, September is an excellent time of year to learn more about recovery, specifically by educating yourself about the many forms of therapy that are available for people who are looking to reclaim their lives and turn over a new leaf.

Getting Involved in National Recovery Month

One of the easiest ways to participate in National Recovery Month is to attend one of the thousands of events – both online and in-person – that are taking place around the U.S. all month long. These events are not only informative, but they also help spread the word that successful recovery is within reach for anyone.

No matter what mental or emotional trauma you are battling, you aren’t alone in your struggle. The goal of National Recovery Month is to celebrate the success stories of people who have been in your shoes and have emerged stronger on the other side. The decision to seek help for addiction can be difficult, but getting involved in National Recovery Month will inspire you and show you that you can do it.

Recovery for Women

Women who are considering treatment shouldn’t overlook the benefits of gender-specific care. Many women thrive in a gender-specific treatment center, and find it to be the deciding factor in helping them achieve lifelong sobriety. All-female rehabilitation creates a safe and supportive space where women feel free to discuss sensitive or deeply personal topics such as sexual assault, eating disorders, body image and self-esteem issues.

If National Recovery Month has inspired you to explore treatment for yourself or someone you care about, we invite you to contact us anytime to learn about our compassionate addiction treatment center in Prescott, AZ.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Life on Life's Terms

life on life's terms“Life on life’s terms.” It’s an axiom one frequently hears in 12 step-based support meetings. This simple slogan infuriated me the first time I read it hanging on the wall of a church basement, cheaply framed and written in nearly illegible swirly script. The crooked saying stood out to me, among the many others reading “Let Go and Let God,” “First Things First,” “Keep it Simple,” and other obnoxious catchphrases. I felt completely duped and wanted my money back. If I had entered these rooms only to be handed some vague spiritual nonsense one would expect to receive from an egomaniacal guru charging desperate people thousands of dollars for ridiculous mantras, I’d have moved to India…or San Diego.

I walked in to these meetings because drugs and alcohol had stopped working for me. I needed someone or something to fix me, so I could move on with Life…on MY terms. I was not at all satisfied with the intolerable conditions Life had laid out for me. I remained convinced that I was an exception to these unjust tenets. That was a lifetime ago, and a few things have changed since then.

I am often reminded of an afternoon decades ago on a skeletal playground that was most likely crawling with tetanus. But I never noticed the rust. I only ever went there to escape on the swings. I was seven. Maybe eight. I can precisely picture myself pumping back and forth on that rickety swing set determined to touch the sky. I had to let go at exactly the right moment to experience complete freedom from gravity. When I got as high as I could possibly get, I let go. I had done this countless times, a thrilling moment of flight before I landed squarely on the soles of my feet. Until that afternoon when gravity got the best of me. On this particular day, I swung with a determined fire igniting each cell in my tiny body. As I let go of the chains, my feet propelled forward with the breathless momentum my insatiable drive had generated. And then gravity violently yanked me down, my back slamming against the ground.

The astonishment of the wind being sucked from my lungs and the soundless gasping into a vacuum paralyzed me. No air could enter. The space between the complete snatching away of all breath before it gradually returns is the shock of absolute powerlessness. The unexpected vacancy that one cannot fill no matter how desperately they fight for air. The bewilderment and terror of an empty breathless interior, not knowing when it will be filled once again. I could not defy gravity.

Since that day on the playground, I have become well acquainted with this interim period of empty breathlessness and the subsequent waiting that follows before the lungs can take in Life. And it is an altered Life. For it is a Life that now knows its own fragility and opposing resilience. It is a Life that will never be as it was before. Because now it is complemented with a silent mourning period as each one of us has sat astounded at the suddenness of the gaping hole left behind after a fall. A starving vacuum waiting to be filled.

That’s what it felt like the day I got sober. I trembled in enraged muted protest as I squarely met “Life on Life’s terms” for the first time in my floundering existence. My breath once again violently torn from my body. Powerlessness, addiction, suffering. These are just a few of Life’s terms that I vehemently detested in those early and precarious days.

I am a recovering alcoholic, junkie, pill addicted, obsessive compulsive, self-damaging, divorced, cancer surviving, religiously damned, battered, broken and healed, miscarriage of a “normal” adult. Furthermore, the course of my Life has typically been directed by extreme perfectionism, an intense need for approval, and a tenacious fear of abandonment. I have a chemically “differently abled” mind and spiritually starving interior. Without help, my moral compass will remain faulty, leading me to blindly guess, often incorrectly, what direction to take. I am terminally self-centered, emotionally erratic, fitfully phobic, and pathologically self-doubting.

Nevertheless, in spite of this vast collection of character defects and mutations there is a narrow window of hope and possibility that I glimpse through each day. And it is through this tiny opening that I methodically adjust my acuity, manipulate my inherent nature, and walk into the light of wellness, joy, and peace. It has only been within these small margins of chance and grace that I have survived and flourished in recovery. That is my condition. I was conceived and born within the container of a gloriously complex, erratic, devastating, and beautiful mess of genes and experiences as each one of us are.

About a month before I got sober, I was driving to the liquor store weeping without restraint. Praying that something would stop me. Praying for death. Praying for the first time since childhood with “the desperation of a dying man.” I was brought to “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” as I walked through the door to the liquor store puffy and red eyed. I knew on a cellular level that alcohol could no longer treat the internal sense of perpetual aching. It could never again make my existence tolerable. In fact, it had made my existence more intolerable than it had ever been. I knew that alcohol would never work for me again. It could not free me from what I then perceived to be the harshest of life’s terms. Yet I still bought the cheapest handle of vodka I could find and drank it on the way back to my parents’ basement. That is where living Life on MY terms had brought me. And this is what I have since learned about living “Life on Life’s terms.”

“Life is not fair!” This is a particularly unpopular yet inflexible term of Life. As a professional that treats addiction and mental illness, a person in recovery, AND a mother of two young children, I hear that a lot. If Life were fair, I would be dead, institutionalized, or in prison. When shaking my fists at the sky in complete outrage and disbelief, I can quickly forget an important clause attached to this unyielding term of misconstrued injustice: Life also offers second (and third, and forth, and often countless) chances, forgiveness, and healing. It is only through grace, the unmerited and undeserved favor, that I continue to breath in and out. I am infinitely grateful that Life does not offer fairness but instead delivers grace. I continue to imperfectly practice radical acceptance of those ancient axioms that hang on countless walls around the world, in places of healing, and in the homes of those that have “come to believe.” It is through living “Life on Life’s terms” that I have remained in continuous recovery since August 31, 2007.

Throughout my spiraling course of healing and re-healing, I have made many mistakes, but have somehow remained honest, open-minded, and willing to the best of my ability. I have learned that recovery is an erratic process of following (or attempting to follow) suggestions, not dogmatic guidelines. It is a simple suggested pathway to a spiritual way of life and to developing a relationship with a power greater than ourselves. What that power is and the exact nature of that spiritual way of Life is left to our own understanding. I am still figuring much of this out, and the continual process of discovery awakens me to the marvel of greater mysteries.

This is what “Life on Life’s terms” has come to mean to me today: pain, challenges, perceived injustices are opportunities for growth and desperately needed change. The sadness, suffering, and heartache richly color my Life adding a quiet beauty, an unassuming intricacy that robs me of breath. Today I have stopped asking the relentless question: “WHY?” It is the wrong question to be asking, and there is no satisfactory answer. I simply don’t get to know “Why.” The solution is to radically accept the unanswerable ambiguities of Life and the vast unknowns that wait on the other side of this eternal query.

There are a few more fundamental terms of Life I have discovered over the course of my relatively short time here: Today I get to be exactly myself, regardless of the judgments or conditions that others place on my worth. Today I can sit with the unknown, wildly uncomfortable with this at times but eventually coming back to the peace that surrendering to Life’s terms can bring. I can love, and hurt, and need, and fear, and rage, and scream, and laugh, and play, and risk, and lose, and fall, and rise without the old restrictions and inheritance of shame that came with living Life on MY terms. That is freedom.

Today I try not to stifle the suffering, for it holds the power to create, transform, and heal. I allow the pain, uncertainty, aching, fear, and discomfort to pass through me with faith, strength, humility, (and at times reluctant) surrender. And with this comes the knowledge that, no matter what, I am going to be ok. Today my hunger is no longer for diversion but instead for authenticity and thriving.

There is connection, peace, and joy lying dormant within each of us awaiting discovery and expression when we surrender to Life’s terms. And because of this, even though we are, all of us, broken in our own ways, with recovery and with each other our interior light can shine through the cracks. Recovery has brought me into the stream of Life “on Life’s terms.” MY terms had me swimming upstream, and I was drowning.

Life becomes permanently altered as a result of addictions, afflictions, the perpetual process of breaking and healing, the many stumblings, and other “mishaps” that naturally fall across our paths. And yet, it is on the other side of suffering, pain, and fear where I have found Life’s greatest gifts. I have learned that healing, peace, joy, and safety are possible. I have lived it. And I see it within the human beings I encounter every day. I am surrounded by individuals who serve as reminders through their selfless acts of kindness and their resilience in the face of suffering that there is always hope. 

Undeniably, I have become fluent in the language of loss as we all do over time; however, those who continue to patiently walk the path with us speak a different language. It is the wordless yet powerful language of love. That is the fellowship that recovery brings. Living “Life on Life’s terms” has led to the discovery of things that bring passion, truth, love, heartache, joy, and beauty that summon tears. I have sought artificial versions of this because I have not wanted to suffer. But Life is suffering, and it is within the suffering that the human and divine meet inside each of us. It is where both the absence of breath and breath itself collide. It is within this sacred space where, if we surrender to gravity and the flow of the stream, we will ultimately experience the remarkable contrast between the vacancy and fullness that comes with each breath…as well as the unknown space in between.

Marie Tueller, MED, LPC

What Is Adventure Therapy?

outdoor therapy

As you might guess from the name, adventure therapy is a form of experiential psychotherapy that encourages participants to explore new horizons through activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing and more. Adventure therapy allows participants to take calculated risks and make new discoveries in a safe, supportive environment under the guidance and support of mental health professionals. 

Though the phrase “adventure therapy” may lead you to think it’s all about having fun, adventure therapy uses new experiences to help people in recovery deal with the underlying challenges and emotional issues that led to their addictions and other behavioral problems. It also helps participants develop important new skills that can benefit them throughout their lives, such as teamwork, cooperation and communication.

Healthy Recovery in an Outdoor Setting 

Merely being surrounded by nature has many therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, renewed mental focus and improved clarity. At Canyon Crossing Recovery, the breathtaking natural beauty of the rugged Arizona landscape provides an ideal setting for our women’s-only adventure therapy experiences. 
 Unlike traditional talk therapy, adventure therapy doesn’t require you to spend time sitting and discussing your feelings with a therapist. Programs that allow participants to get active in nature provide individuals with ample opportunity to reconnect to their inner voice, which opens new pathways to healing that talk therapy might not provide. 
 Since adventure therapy usually takes place in a group format, it also provides opportunities to create shared experiences with other participants, developing better social skills and improving self-awareness. Team activities allow participants to learn from one another.

Benefits of Adventure Therapy 

Adventure therapy has many excellent benefits for participants, including:

 • Greater trust and self-confidence
 • Sense of personal empowerment and accomplishment
 • Improved teamwork, leadership skills and self-esteem
 • Better problem-solving skills
 • Learning valuable lessons via self-reflection • Cooperating with others to achieve a shared goal
 • Healthier habits
 • More optimistic, positive outlook on life
 • Heightened awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses

Find Healing at Canyon Crossing 

At Canyon Crossing, we have structured our women-only adventure therapy programs to help clients recover from substance dependency and co-occurring disorders. Many participants realize a more fulfilling and healthy recovery journey through adventure therapy in Arizona. To learn more, call 800.651.7254 or reach out to our professional team online. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Overdose Awareness Day : Reflections & Tributes From The Women of Canyon Crossing

overdose awareness reflections
He was a fighter
But not the kind who throws punches
More the type to motivate with his will to fight
He was that boy who dreamed of being on stage
Not for the fame but to inspire the next generation
He was the boy who tried and tried to teach me
Bass all the way across the sea on a tiny screen
He was that boy your parents are cautious about
But the truth is under the black hair, tattoos, and piercings
Was a man who showed and gave respect.
Who was he? He was and is my first love who I lost
Lost to this painful disease - he gave up hope too early.

Client A

She was a pre-mature baby who almost died at birth
She has a sister who was born a year and a half later
She loved to dress herself for school even though her clothes never matched
She could eat her mother’s homemade macaroni and cheese for every meal of the day
She loved going to the beach to build sand castles and cover her daddy from the neck down in sand She loved to take trips to Florida so that she could sit on Grandma’s lap - while Grandpa was in the kitchen cooking bacon
She loved summer break from school, because it meant more time to spend outside playing with neighborhood friends
She became a cheerleader in Jr. High
She got her first boyfriend, he was a wrestler
She experienced her first heartbreak and saw how it made her stronger
She had a beautiful childhood.
She grew up to be an alcoholic.
She is me.

Client C

He was a son.
He was a brother and his brother was his best friend.
He grew up playing every sport, but basketball was his favorite.
His act of teenage rebellion was to get a hot pink Fight Club tattoo on his shoulder.
He played Polo (on horses) in Santa Barbara
His favorite place was his family’s cabin in the mountains of Colorado.
He was a true cowboy at heart.
He loved to fly fish and hunt.
He loved Star Wars and cartoons.
He believed that God was a Broncos fan because the sunset is always orange and blue.
He fell in love under the stars in a middle school courtyard in Arizona.
He knew she was the one when we saw her get an extra slice of pizza at a social event.
He was 6’4 and she was only 5”.
He would watch the same shows and listen to the same songs over and over again just to make her happy and smile.
He was amazing with kids and wanted to be a pediatric doctor.
He proposed to his fiancée three times so that everyone from his and her family could be part of the special moment.
He was ready to start a family with her and would have made an amazing father.
He was a Heroin addict.
He died this week of an overdose.
He was my fiancée.

Client J

She was a daughter.
She was graceful.
She was beautiful.
She was loved beyond words.
She was stronger than anyone I knew.
She was determined.
She could find beauty in everything.
She brightened my day & everyone else’s she met.
She loved to paint.
She loved to sing.
She loved music.
Her passion was doing hair & the salon was her favorite place to be.
She loved her family.
She held me up when I couldn’t do it on my own.
She was a heroin addict.
She was my best friend. (Rest in Peace, Adri, I love & miss you so much.)

Client K

He was born July 3
He was a precious little boy
He was his mom’s only son
He was someone’s grandson
He had a Mom and a Dad
He was an older brother to his sisters and new baby brother.
He loved to play football and wrestle.
He loved to work out and lift.
His favorite color was yellow.
He smiled and laughed a lot.
He was the sweetest creature on this Earth.
He would give the shirt off his back.
He would walk or drive miles to save you.
He was so loving and kind.
He was the strongest person I knew.
He adored his family and friends.
He loved music and Kanye West
He was always there for me no matter what.
He was a talented handsome man.
He always put everyone else first.
He would make your whole day.
His soul was perfect.
He was taken before his time.
He was the love of my life.
He was an addict

Client K

She was born innocent and pure.
She loved to make her older brother laugh and they overflowed the bathtub with bubbles every time. She protects her brothers from harm.
She fights bullying and stands up for the underdogs.
She has since elementary school.
She learned to play piano and she sings every chance she gets.
She loved her gymnastic class and soccer team.
She makes friends wherever she goes and loves everyone around her.
She loves every animal, but especially dogs.
She fights for equality.
She works hard at whatever she does.
She loves Halloween and scary movies.
She traveled the world with strangers and left her heart in Barcelona.
She is fascinated with marble statues.
She loves music, but she hates country.
She loves her family with all her heart.
She is creative, artistic, and loves to write poems.
She sees the beauty in the world and talks to the moon, sun, and the stars.
She got her EMT certification at 17 years old.
She cried when she saw fireflies the first time when she was 18.
She dreams big dream.
She fights depression every day.
She is a drug addict.
And she is me.

Client M

She taught herself how to play the piano at age 12.
She was the captain of her High School Swim Team.
She is a Certified Nursing Assistant.
She loves helping the elderly.
Some may say she’s one of the most intelligent people they know.
She helped build a church in Haiti when she was 16.
She is an artist.
She sings at the top of her lungs in the shower.
She writes poetry to express what’s in her heart.
She held her grandma’s hand as she took her last breath.
When she was little, she loved building snowmen for her parents to see.
She was a ballerina for 10 years of her life.
When she laughs, my heart dances.
She loves to love.
She is a drug addict.
She is ME.

Client M

He was the one who recognized the injustice of the place I was committed to when I was only 13 years old and held in for 33 months.

When everyone else said I should be left there - he said no, enough is enough.

He picked me up two days before Christmas.

It was the best day of my life.

He has a warm smile and the best sense of humor.

He got me a 76 El Camino for my first car, because it was built like a tank and he knew it would be safe.

No matter what I would get myself into I knew I could call him when I needed help with something.

He would be there, even if that meant driving to Phoenix from Tucson to take me to appointments and to complete tasks that were tedious and boring.

He is kind and intelligent, outgoing and driven.

He cares about health and knows about new breakthroughs in the holistic medical field.

He is an amazing grandfather and dad

He is a meth addict

Client M

she was an older sister
she was her mom’s best friend
she played soccer
she graduated high school with honors
she rescued animals
she wanted to be a doctor
she gazed at stars & would start food fights
she never littered
she was a heroin addict

Client P

She is a Sister
She is a Friend
She is a Hard Worker
She is Smart
She is Loving
She is Loved
She is Funny
She hugged me when I was sad
She kissed my scraps when I fell
She held me when I was scared
She taught me how to read
She sang me songs
She was the first person I saw when I was born
She is a Meth Addict
She is my Mom

She loves to sing
She loves to dance in the rain
She loves to color
She loves to help other people
She loves to play with kids
She loves to listen to music
She loves to hang out with friends
She loves to play soccer
She loves pigs
She loves purple
She is a meth addict
She is me

Client R

He held me in his arms for the first time when he was four years old.
He climbed tall trees and looked for rocks in the ditch.
He watched Mary Poppins on repeat.
He danced and spun around with me to The Eagles.
He hid me in his closet from a raging father.
He played baseball to make his father proud.
He hugged me in the halls of elementary school.
He jumped in puddles when the rain had poured.
He got bullied for being small.
He went to high school and became silent.
He had friends over to have Dragon Ball Z marathons.
He had a girlfriend who smashed his car mirror.
He went to a private Christian college.
He felt alone.
He moved back home and spoke again.
He watched documentaries about strange but interesting things.
He introduced me to new and fascinating movies and music.
He was always there for me.
He took the most beautiful, captivating pictures.
He wrote the most mesmerizing poems.
He is an addict.
He is my brother.

Client S

She pouts when she’s mad then laughs at herself
She gets mad at me, then asks me to be friends again.
She dances in the rain and splash in the puddles
She is graceful and beautiful but doesn’t know it yet
She sings out loud even when she doesn’t know the words
She cries at everything – happy and sad.
She loves every dog she sees.
She calls all dogs baby.
She misses her ex boyfriend every night.
She has played hockey since she was little, but looks like a super model
She is loud and fun and loves to play cards
She is small but mighty
She love musicals and sing them out loud randomly
She loves Halloween and scary movies
She always asks if I’m ok even when she is falling apart
She uses silly voices to make me laugh
She is artistic and creative and quick witted and hilarious
We love our kids with everything we have
She’s always there when I need her
She has an autistic daughter
She saves people’s lives
She grew up in Egypt
She gives people second chances
She prays and listens to Christian rock as loud as she can
She cooks, she travels, she scuba dives
She trains horses
She speaks Arabic and wants to join the military
She loves the stars
She has amazing tattoos that have actual meaning
She’s lost someone close to the disease of addiction
We are spiritual, we miss our families
We have hopes and dreams
We have integrity and pride
These are my best friends…
They are addicts and alcoholics and so I am…
And we deserve to live ……

Client T

Friday, August 24, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 9

Canyon has taught me that pain is not something to be afraid of; it is part of the human experience and often leads to the most growth. Canyon has showed me that out of darkness comes the brightest light. The following poem by Rupi Kaur describes all that Canyon has given me.

Stay strong through your pain
grow flowers from it
bloom beautifully
bloom softly
however you need
just bloom.

Client J

I have learned new things about myself everyday here. Being here makes me strive to be a better person. I really like the fact I am constantly working on myself and bettering myself. Every day I am confronted with a new obstacle and instead of using I push through the problem and come out a stronger woman.

Client K 


Sunrise to sunset
Listen to the earth
Listen to your heart
Paint the sky with your colors
Let your body be as still as the water,
And as full with life inside
Feel the quietness, breathe with the wind
You are one with the universe

Client M 

The universe took its time on you
Crafted you to offer the world
Something different from everyone else
When you doubt
How you were created
You doubt an energy greater than us both

-Rupi Kaur

While I’ve been here I’ve continued to work on a relationship with a higher power. I have a hard time with it because of my biases and inability to trust something I can’t always see. At this point I have a vague idea of what my higher power is and I think that’s ok- it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just have to trust that it’s there protecting me.

Client S

Monday, August 20, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 8

recovery reflections

It’s like I’m stuck
Stuck in a smoke filled room
I know
I know I need to get out
But the longer I stay
The more I inhale
I swear I’m trying to break free
But the more I try to escape
The stronger the smoke pulls me back in
Why does this smoky haze pull me in so strong?
Who knew?
Who knew you could get a sensation from pain
Pain you think over and over about
Pain you use to create a smoky haze in your brain.

Client A 

I have only been at Canyon Crossing for six days. Everything is so new and different for me, which is scary and difficult for me. What I can say is that everyone has been so understanding, nice and attentive towards me. I went to my first yoga class today and it was amazing. I can’t wait to start my second week so I can see what more new things Canyon will have in store for me.

Client M 

Though a host should encamp against me. My heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident.

I chose this poem this week because it reminds me of my continuous fight against addiction. No matter the struggle it may bring. I shall never give in. I have learned the tools through Canyon to fight.

Client C 

I just wrote grief letters and it’s teaching me where I am as far as letting things go, go. Through writing these letters has helped me see that the opposite of love is not hate it is indifference. When I read my letter I felt a lot of energy in my calves (your root chakra) which makes sense because I’m finally using my voice. I have a place on this earth and my voice matters.

Client H 


Gratitude is very important. I have so many things I’m grateful for today. The main thing is that I didn’t have to use or drink to get out of bed this morning and I know that I don’t have to use or drink to go to bed today. I love that feeling every single day. There is so many things I am grateful for and the list could go on and on for days. But, I’ll stop there because it is the most important for me in my recovery today!

Client K

I want to apologize to all the women
I have called pretty
before I've called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you're born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think youre pretty
but because youre so much more than that

-milk and honey by rupi kaur

Client M 

Who likes change? I know I don’t like change at all, but my life has had some big changes. I moved to OP, moved houses and got a buddy. It has been quite nerve raking and my anxiety has been crazy. Change for me is normally negative change so to have positive change in my life is a whole new thing for me. It has defiantly taken time to get used to having positive change. What I have learned to do is just take things as they come and that is how I am dealing with all of these new things in my life.

Client R 

Coming to Canyon is my biggest victory. Before I came here I felt miserable in my depression. I had just come home from a rehab in Wickenburg and did not apply any of the coping skills or tools I had learned there. I was home for two months and even though I had not relapsed in my drug use I was still hanging out with my using friends and around drugs constantly. My brother was my biggest using buddy and I was over at his apartment everyday begging him to just let me have a sip of wine or one hit of a blunt. He kept me sober even though he used around me. I was going to an IOP in my town constantly leaving early to go hang out with friends and make drug runs with them. I was stealing money from my parents to buy cigarettes and food. I was visiting my old school that I had dropped out of to let everyone there know that I had just gotten out of rehab and that I was a drug addict just to have a reputation. I was hanging out with my ex everyday and sleeping with him while hanging out with my other ex who then assaulted me because he was jealous. After that happened I knew I had to go somewhere. I didn’t even feel safe in my own bed anymore. I was sleeping on the couch every night until Io came here. My life was a mess and I was so close to relapsing. Coming here saved my life.

Client S 

Once I was lost
Deep within a makeshift world
Created by pain, delusion, and hate.
Full of dreams that never came true and nightmares that did
Constantly running…
From them, from myself, from everything I knew.
Consistently falling deeper into dark destruction. In a labyrinth of stopped time
In a maze of insecurity…

Once I was found
I dug my way out
A light led my way;
Created by acceptance, friendship, and love.
Full of dreams that were coming true and nightmares that are in the distance past.
Running toward peace, toward God, toward life.
A direct road to happiness,
A direct road to serenity

Client T

Friday, August 3, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 7

recovery reflections 7It’s so easy to slip

I’ve dug 5ft deep by 2ft wide
I’m digging my own grave
It started with a puff of a joint
Then that Russian water to my lips
Sober was a thing for a while
Then back to the Russian water I went
That lead to a joint pursed to my lips
Next came the shiny crystals
Which shortly lead to lights camera and action
I have to remember one is too many and thousands never enough
And one slip can close my casket for good

Client A

I am on my third month at Canyon and I am starting to feel such a change in myself. I am coming up on my 90 days free of alcohol and I am starting to see the truly beautiful things life has to offer. I have connected with my higher power in a way I have never in my life. I owe a lot of this to my treatment center for supporting me through the good and the bad times on my journey of sobriety. I am making such good friends, and I cannot be any more grateful to be sober and a part of life, instead of running from it.

Client C

Be open to change
Create your own reality
Remember that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor
And you are rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment
These sayings are very important to me. I have a tattoo representing these so I remember them in my everyday life. It consist of a sail boat in water to remind me that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor with lotus flowers surrounding it to represent that I’m rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment, the flag on the sail boat is an open triangle to remember to be open to change and Viking symbols of chevrons that mean create your own reality. These symbols put together remind me what I’ve been thru and that I’ve overcome them and to keep going in life. I will never forget this and I hope you don’t too. Remember that you are amazing and have overcome rough times in your life and you are still beautiful and stronger than ever.

Client K

It has been one of the greatest and most difficult years of my life. I learned everything is temporary. moments. feelings. people. flowers. i learned love is about giving. everything. and letting it hurt. i learned vulnerability is always the right choice because it is easy to remain cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft. i learned all things come in twos. life and death. pain and joy. salt and sugar. me and you. it is the balance of the universe. it has been the year of hurting so bad but living so good. making friends out of strangers. making strangers out of friends. learning mint chocolate chip ice cream will fix just about everything. and for the things it cant, there will always be my mothers arms. We must learn to focus on warm energy. always. Soak our limbs in it and learn to become better lovers to the world. For if we cant learn to be kind to each other how will we ever learn to be kind to the most desperate parts of ourselves.

Client M 

I saw God today: the sun shooting rays down between the clouds…
I saw God today; In a rainbow we could not find…
I saw God today: in the tears of a friend who was hurting…
I saw God today in the smile of others and the pride in their eyes.
I saw God today; as I looked in the mirror and realized my eyes were clear
For the first time in a long time…
I saw God today; in every raindrop and in every lightening strike…
I saw God today…
Because I was looking

Client T

Friday, July 27, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 6

recovery reflections
It’s been a rough past week but unknowingly became a blessing. This recovery week seems to be working some miracles. Being at Canyon Crossing I have finally begun to find myself again. It’s amazing how the hard work you put into yourself pays off. I know being here will all be worth it in the end. I am excited to see the outcome of my recovery.

Client K 

I am stronger than I have ever been before. I never could imagine being this happy, loving, excited for life woman that I am today. I am now a spiritual person; I have a God I can rely on. The mental obsession to use has left me; I have had a spiritual experience! My life is slowly but surely becoming something I am proud of.

Client M

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 5

recovery reflections
Client A

Growing up

Growing up taught
Taught me to stay quite
And apologize for
Growing up taught
Taught me hide me tears
And put others over
Growing up taught
Taught me..
Treatment showed me
Me I can express
All emotions
Treatment showed me
Me the…

Client C


Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today
This doesn’t mean all my problems will go away
If I remember this, my life will be okay
When struggling, the acceptance prayer is what I’ll say

Client H

Canyon has taught me how to love myself. I have truly redefined my definition of beauty. Being around all these strong beautiful women has impacted my life for the better. I’m learning how to see the beauty in everything no matter how small.

Client K

Yesterday was my 6 months clean and sober and I have never been more proud of myself. This is my first attempt at sobriety and the journey has been such a blessing to me. I am finally learning to love myself and am grateful to have my Higher Power carry me through it all. Life is beautiful. My past, all the struggles, and all of my experiences have lead me to this moment and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Client K

Self Love 

I love myself today
Self love is important
Without loving myself I would be in a very dark hole
I haven’t told myself I love myself since I was 12 and now I am 19
It’s a great day to be alive when I love myself
I couldn’t have done it without people loving me until I love myself

Client L

I was so scared when I came to recovery but I have met the most wonderful people here. They have made the adjustment here so much easier than it would have been. They are a family and they have let me be a part of it and that means more to me than anything.

Client M

I used to tell myself that nobody loved me, I wasn’t worthy, and that my voice didn’t matter. I lived in a world full of doubt and pain. My mind would race with thoughts of self- judgment, fear, and chaos. Today, I have been reborn. I am a new woman, full of hope, joy, and serenity. I owe all of the credit to sobriety. I look forward to the future, knowing that I am intelligent, beautiful, and that I can do anything that I set my mind to. Today, I have many friends who genuinely love me for who I am, not for what I have. It’s amazing, all of the gifts that sobriety has given me. My higher power, my friends and family, and the program keep me on the right track every single day. I have to use all of the knowledge I’ve learned in sobriety daily, to keep moving in the right direction, and to grow closer with my higher power. My heart is full of gratitude, and I am truly blessed to have the life that I do.

Client T

One of my most favorite quotes is “In the depths of winter I found an invincible summer.”

This is so true about my recovery. When I got to CCR 5 months ago I was living in pure darkness. Nothing was ok, I had no hope, no self love, no compassion for others, and I basically didn’t want to live. The recovery I have found here is second to none. none of the latter is true today. I live my life in light. I love being of service and engaging in life as much as possible. I never ever want to live the way I was in my past. CCR has shown me another way. I owe them my life!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 4

thoughts early sobrietyClient A

Ever since I was a young girl I always looked for out-side esteem; since entering recovery I finally realized how to build true self-esteem. Out-side Esteem was one of my biggest downfalls. I never truly felt happy unless I was getting praise from others. Even at my old job I would only feel worthy because I am helping others as a cook; but I would go home and still be judgmental about my writing or project. True self-esteem means for me the ability to be curious, creative and accept everyone’s uniqueness throughout life. My quote to remember this is “remember our mind is like a garden and our thoughts and ideas are the seeds, you can either grow flowers or weeds” thinking of this quote makes me remember no garden is the same they all have their own unique qualities some have roses some have daisies, some have fountains and others do not but what we must remember is that all gardens can grow weeds (we all can have negative thoughts) but some just don’t show.

Client C


I had no hope in myself
Thought I was as good as I could get
Didn’t think twice about my health
Felt like I was caught in a net
Now I'm sober and clean
I’m able to do great things
I’m proud to show myself, to be seen
I’m growing up, spreading my wings
I can do this, I know I can
I flew through hell, and now I can land

- A recovering meth addict

Client H

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down,
Man I hate when I have a frown.
Moments when I do, I walk around town.
I look around at the people, cars and trees,
Enjoying this new life; free.
Living new and strong,
No longer doing the same wrongs.
Thank God my life will be long.

Client J

I have been struggling this week. I feel like I have grown more distant from my higher power. Things are becoming more difficult and I am feeling more and more discouraged. I am hoping that things will turn around and that I will go back to feeling spiritually connected. This of course will require me to become more open and surrender my life to something that I hope can help me. Hopefully the upcoming weeks will be better.

Client K

I am coming to the realization that I am not only triggered by alcohol but I am absolutely terrified of it. Thinking of how my disease affected my life makes me feel absolutely miserable. Thinking of how powerless I am over alcohol makes me feel weak. I know that this realization will only make me grow stronger and make me look at my disease in ways that I have yet to discover. Recovery is tough, but hey.. So am I.

One day at a time.

Client K

I’m healing. Slowly but surely. I’ve got my sponsor and call her every day. I go to my meetings and share as much as I can. I have a home group. I do what I can to help clean up after meetings and help set up. Recovery and service work has helped me so many ways. It helps me stay sober and serine. I am happy now and have a clear head on my shoulders. I surround myself with other people in recovery. Having friends in recovery makes me not feel alone and an outsider. Normies don’t quite understand, they don’t understand that I have a different way of life. A sober way of life.

Client M

Growing Pains

The earth crumbles beneath my feet
I burn alive falling to ashes
Becoming the soil that will grow life
Then the flowers begin to rise from my pores
Searching for the sun

Client M

Run, Run, Run
Physically, emotionally and mentally
I pack a bag where ever I go
Full of hidden resentments and fear
Just in case
That one day comes
Full of fear
I’ll be prepared to disappear
But this isn’t living life at all
Always stuck to something
Not wanting to face the pain
Always ending up in the same place that I ran from
In the end, I was only running from myself
I’m stuck with me where ever I go
No matter what I do
I’m willing to be free today
I’m setting my heart on fire
I’m taking my power back
No more escaping
No more running
I’m free

Client S 

Dear God,

I worship you through being in nature. I feel connected to you when I’m in your creation. I need you to love me and be by my side so I don’t feel alone. I need help to block out the thoughts of hurting myself and for you to take them away from me. I want to be willing to believe in you an believe in your plan for me and my life. When I talk to you I want to be able to hear you answer me. I want to feel as if my needs are important enough to be asked for. I want to surrender my will to you and trust in you. And when my thoughts take over I want to pray to you to take them away. I want to be able to feel your presence every time I walk outside. My life has become a mess and I can’t get it together on my own so I ask you for help. Help me to see the bigger picture and understand the plan you have for me.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Changing Behaviors

changing behaviorsAchieving lasting and sustainable behavioral change when recovering from addiction is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of treating chemical dependency. Most individuals who are challenged to change long standing habits and choices are often resistant and terrified at the thought of change. When attempting to support an individual in initiating behavioral changes we tend to see a predictable series of stages that one moves through as part of his or her process of change. These stages are described in more detail below:

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation

Individuals in this first stage may have some awareness of the negative consequences related to their addiction, however they tend to minimize or rationalize poor choices, unable to see just how detrimental these choices and behaviors have been. During this stage there is not a high level of desire to make any changes, and the individual may not be entirely conscious of the severity of his or her condition.

Stage 2: Contemplation 

As individuals move in to the second phase, the contemplation stage, they become more aware of the impact of their addictive behaviors, yet they may remain ambivalent about putting forth the effort to change. The individual may start to consider changing “someday” but are not quite ready to commit to true change.

When the individual moves toward stage three, they gradually become aware that changing their behaviors outweigh the costs of not changing. At this point, behavioral change becomes a possibility and is given serious consideration.

Stage 3: Preparation 

At this stage the individual begins to assume more responsibility for their choices, decisions, and behaviors. They may set specific intentions to change and begin to gather the necessary resources that will assist them in making important changes. Sometimes these resources take the form of therapeutic support, 12 step meetings or other sober based fellowships. At this point, with resources available, the individual feels prepared to make a commitment to change.

Stage 4: Action 

In stage four, the individual begins to take action to initiate positive psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical change by immersing themselves in their recovery process. This involves much more than abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It is an entire transformation of cognitions, behaviors, and one’s general approach to life’s challenges. During this stage, the individual continues to take action to create sustainable change in all areas of his or her life.

Stage 5: Maintenance 

Once an individual has reached the maintenance stage they have been able to sustain new and positive behavioral patterns. The individual often discovers that the more consistently they engage in new positive behaviors, the easier and more natural these behaviors become. At this point in the individual’s recovery, he or she is aware of triggers and risky situations that could lead to relapse. The core values that guide one’s recovery and relapse prevention strategies become an integrated part of the individual.

Stage 6: Termination 

At the final termination stage, the individual often presents as an entirely new person. They are able to reflect back on their past and old destructive behaviors while considering it unthinkable to return to that former lifestyle. At this stage, the individual knows that if they maintain their commitment to recovery, they can enjoy a new and fulfilling life.

It is important to note that, although these Stages of Change provide a linear and orderly way in which to view the process of recovery, it is not a simple and straightforward path. Many individuals can move back and forth through the stages, become stuck, or even relapse. When this occurs, it can an opportunity to re-set and reinforce one’s sense of determination to change.

While it is important to understand patterns of behavior and the process by which one can make sustainable behavioral changes, it is equally as important to understand the practical application of this theoretical approach to change. How does one actually change patterns of behavior that have persisted for the majority of one’s lifetime? What happens when relapse occurs? How do I maintain positive behavioral change?

Any individual considering significant behavioral changes, might start by making a list of behaviors that may constitute a pattern. It is important to begin by raising awareness and taking an honest look at the behaviors one has engaged in most of his or her life. While a necessary step, taking such an inventory can be uncomfortable and challenging, often requiring the support of others who have already been through the process.

Behavioral modification approaches help to engage individuals in substance use treatment by providing incentives for progress and ongoing abstinence, modifying unhealthy beliefs and behaviors related to drug and/or alcohol use, and increasing the individual’s coping skills to manage stressful circumstances and environmental risks that may trigger intense cravings. Intensive cognitive and behavioral modification therapies go hand in hand. One of the most common and effective interventions in treating substance use disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The cognitive aspect of this modality addresses maladaptive thoughts and core beliefs, the behavioral aspect focuses on unhealthy habits and actions. CBT helps individuals work through the thoughts, behaviors, and risky situations that contribute to their addiction and relapse risk potential.

Behavioral modification can also help people deal with negative peer influence and interpersonal conflict--two challenges that can make it extremely hard for individuals to refrain from drug and/or alcohol use. Behavioral therapy can help people practice the coping and conflict resolution skills necessary to deal with situations that could place their sobriety and/or mental health at risk.

Relapse prevention education and planning is another important part of behavioral modification therapy and behavioral change in substance use treatment. Individuals are taught to consider all types of situations that could provoke a relapse, and then the individual can practice in a therapeutic setting managing those situations. The individual is also assisted in the development and implementation of a comprehensive relapse prevention plan for when they are faced with overwhelming cravings to use, risky situations and/or people, difficult emotions, and/or any environmental cues that may heighten one’s potential for relapse.

Behavior therapy and behavioral change as viewed through the stages of change can be very effective for modifying and changing unhealthy addictive behaviors and helping suffering individuals to generally improve their lives. If you or a loved one are interested in behavior modification therapy and lasting behavioral change, seek help and support through an initial consultation with a qualified professional, therapy, and support groups. These are powerful ways in which one can begin to make important and lasting changes, ultimately allowing for the achievement of desired goals and dreams.

Marie Tueller, MEd, LPC

Monday, May 28, 2018

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 3

stories early recoveryClient A 

Growing up with Disney and Grims brothers has taught me so many lessons. Mulan taught me respect and honor. Snow white showed how being friendly and kind can change those on others. Little red with that big wolf teaches us no matter the size of the person it doesn’t define the amount of bravery inside them. A beautiful tribal princess taught us we can respect the old yet embrace the new. So many lessons but my two favorite lessons were taught two rebellious princesses one who dreamed to escape the sea and the other dreamed of seeing the world. First a curious redhead who teach us curiosity is the key to understanding something new and lastly a princess shows us love has no social class… even a princess can love a street rat.

Client J 

This week I am struggling with living in God’s will. I recently have been starting to question my God and have been less spiritually connected. I originally thought I was a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home by my mother. My sister is a devout Christian. I have been thinking that maybe Jesus is just a man who did great things. I have been thinking that maybe I believe in Judaism rather than Christianity. My sponsor has been very supportive and encouraging me to search for a religion that fits me. I am very grateful to have her and Canyon Crossing in my life.

Client K 

I have never been a very open person and have always internalized my struggles. This has caused me much pain and suffering in my addiction and has continued to cause me pain and suffering in my sobriety. I have a deeply rooted core belief that my feelings don’t matter and shy away from being open about what I’m going through and how I am feeling. I realize how dangerous this is to my recovery and how important it is that I begin opening up more. Keeping all my struggles and emotions to myself is so unhealthy and holding all of that in leads me to the bottle every single time. I am terrified of relapsing and am willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. It’s time to be vulnerable and to connect on a deeper level with the people I love by opening up to them more and showing more of myself, the good and the sad!

Client K 

I Have to Tell You 

6 minutes. That’s all the time I have. I have to tell you… 
That you are beautiful. 
That you are strong. 
That you are worth it. 
That you can do this. 
That you can beat this disease. 
That your feelings matter. 
That you have a voice. 
That you are not your past. 
That people love and care about you. 
That you don’t have to give up. 

Client M 

My skin always felt foreign to me, like I was wearing clothes that were not mine. It did not feel like the home it was supposed to. It was a haunted house I had been locked in away in for years. I was empty and scared of who I was and what I was capable of being. It wasn’t until eighteen years later when I started to see light coming through the windows and flowers started to bloom inside of me. I am alive again.