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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.