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The Giving Tree Treatment Center Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Great Success!

We were honored to host the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce at The Giving Tree Treatment Center for our ribbon cutting ceremony. They gave us a warm welcome and we look forward to being a part of the vibrant community of Studio City.

Roughly 50 people showed up to support us, our facility, and our mission. We are ever so grateful for all the support from our colleagues and the hard work of our staff. The Giving Tree Treatment Center is here to provide the care and safety every individual deserves. With open arms and open hearts, we look forward to helping each and every individual, we have the pleasure of meeting, to plant new roots and grow.

The moment of elevated excitement before the scissors pierce the ribbon, and the dream becomes the reality.

Ambassadors of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce helping The Giving Tree Treatment Center make dreams into realities.

Left to Right: Lead Nurse (Sara), Owner of The Giving Tree Treatment Center (Sabrina), Lead Technician (Michelle)

10th Annual Experience, Strength & Hope Awards

The Giving Tree Treatment Center is a proud sponsor of the 10th Annual Experience, Strength & Hope Awards. This year's honoree is Actress and TV Personality, Jodie Sweetin. Most recognizeable for her role in the television series Full House, Jodie is in recovery with over ten years of sobriety.  She will be honored for sharing her story of recovery in her book titled, UnSweetined, a Memoir.

ESHA10thAnnivAdJodieSweetin2-787x1024
credit: http://www.writersintreatment.org/2019-sponsorship-opportunities-esha/

The Giving Tree is so happy to be sharing this beautiful moment of life and laughter with such a strong woman. Join us for an evening of collectively inspiring people, at the Skirball Cultural Center, on February 28, 2019.  See the link below for tickets:

10th Annual Experience, Strength, & Hope Awards, with guests Jodie Sweetin and Ed Begley, Jr.

Utilizing Tools in Recovery to Let Go and Move On. An Excerpt from “How to Make Peace with Your Past? (18 Powerful Tips)”

The Owner and Executive Director of The Giving Tree continues to dedicate her life to those afflicted with addiction to harmful substances. One of the key components to freedom from addiction lies within letting go and moving on. Below is an excerpt from the article, "How to Make Peace with Your (18 Powerful Tips)," featuring some words from our owner.

Sabrina Acatrinei

Sabrina Acatrinei B.S.W., CADC-I

Executive Director and Owner of The Giving Tree Treatment Center

"Working in the treatment industry for some time now, I get asked quite often by my clients “how can I let go of the past“?

How can they make peace with the damage they have done and lives they have hurt and actually move on? We start by discussing the 12 Steps of AA and NA which have a specific method of doing this. However, there are 8 steps before the actual step where you go to make amends with people that you would have hurt in your past.

I fully believe one cannot make peace with their past unless they change the person they are today. Everything we have done in our past has contributed to making us who we are. Whether good or bad, we learned and we grew. In recovery, we talk a lot about personal growth and how necessary it is. We tell clients we have to fix the person they became in their addiction so they do not continue to make false promises.

As a “Normie” which is what I’m called because I am not in the program, I learn with my clients on a day to day basis. The Big Book of AA or NA is like the Bible. This piece of literature has been around for a while and tells a story. The story teaches addicts how to begin to live again. Not just to live but to be happy, to be humble, to give. All of which contributes to making peace with their past. It teaches people how not to beat themselves up anymore and how to simply acknowledge their mistakes.

I feel forgiveness is probably one of the most important things that need to happen in recovery. I tell my clients when they are admitted into my facility that “today is a new day“…”Forget about what happened yesterday“…”You are safe, you are alive.

Being safe and alive are two important things when it comes to recovery. I hear it all the time, “I can’ t believe I’m still here after that OD… I really should be dead.”

This is where the therapy kicks in, the introduction to the 12 steps and the constant affirmations begin. People need to know they are loved and that in life, things happen. If we continue to beat up people emotionally and mentally they will never begin to forgive themselves and start living again. Once one can forgive himself, he/she can begin to rise and conquer.

As we learn to forgive ourselves, we can begin to make peace with our past.

And so begins time to humble ourselves and take direction from others. AA and NA meetings are a MUST, obtaining a sponsor, working the steps and reaching out to peers in recovery. This will help to learn not to resent oneself or others for past issues. This is also where spiritual action must occur to shift one’s mindset when it comes to forgiveness. The work becomes a commitment and commitment has a lot to do with responsibility. We have to push through our demons and our discomfort to gain personal change. Only then will one be able to move beyond a past that has haunted us.

Recovery lets us rediscover ourselves. The problem is that we don’t have the map to get there. In order to find the path to personal growth, the addict or alcoholic must take direction from an outside source. Our own ideas always fail us or lead us back to our drug of choice. And so the beginning of our journey in recovery has to start with surrender. We have to learn how to get out of our own way, to truly let go, if we want to move forward.

So, how do we make peace with our past? Whether you are an addict or a “normie”, it all starts from within where we surrender and accept the things we cannot change."

 

To read the full length article follow the link below: 

How to Make Peace with Your Past? (18 Powerful Tips)

 

Recovery That Fits Like a Glove

Addiction has no proven cure, but it can be managed. Maybe you have tried a multitude of ways to stay clean and sober. Maybe you are just starting out. Maybe you have tried 12 Steps. Maybe you haven't. Maybe your belief system does not align with the other community resources you have attended. That's okay. Recovery does not have a one-size-fits-all solution.

The best way to find out what works for you is to test the waters. It doesn't hurt to spend the same amount of time you would if you were using, in a meeting hall with fellow sober addicts and/or alcoholics. Showing up is the hardest part, but can be the most meaningful.

Below you will find links to various types of  recovery-based organizations, set to the meeting finder page so you can find a meeting near you asap.

Here are some alternative resources for those who are friends or family of  those suffering from substance abuse disorder :

7 Reasons Why I Thought AA Wasn’t for “Someone Like Me” By Sam Dylan Finch

7 Reasons Why I Thought AA Wasn't for "Someone Like Me"

By Sam Dylan Finch 10/10/18

By the end, as we stood in a circle holding hands, I thought: “This is a cult, right? This has to be a cult.”

Woman looking skeptical with hand at mouth.

I hadn’t racked up any DUIs and I wasn’t drinking vodka every morning, so what did I need AA for?  Image: © Kiosea39 | Dreamstime.com

I remember the first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that I ever attended, about three years ago. I’ll be honest — I wasn’t the friendliest face at that meeting. I had a ready criticism for just about everything that anyone said.

By the end, as we stood in a circle holding hands, I thought: “This is a cult, right? This has to be a cult.”

One thing she said in particular stood out: “Sometimes you aren’t ready, you know? Some folks go and do more ‘research’ and then a couple years later we see them in the rooms again.”

In hindsight, I have to chuckle. Of all of the advice she gave me, the only part I seem to have listened to was the part that justified drinking more. (I’d later learn that this is the exact kind of “selective hearing” that alcoholics are known for.)

I didn’t know it at the time, but her comment would foreshadow my journey to the letter. A few years later, after another catastrophic relapse, I remembered her words: If it was meant to be, I would be back.

“Sam, you could’ve died,” my therapist told me when I described my latest binge. That’s when I knew my “research” was over. It was time to go back.

I sat in the back row (another typical newbie move, I’d later learn), and just as the Serenity Prayer was being read, I saw the same woman from before — the one who predicted, whether intentionally or not, that I would be in those rooms again.

“I know you, right?” she said to me after the meeting.

“Yeah,” I replied, smiling. “And you’re a big reason why I came back. Because I knew I could.”

I didn’t know what to expect, but that didn’t matter; I was just grateful to have a place to go where I didn’t feel so crazy.

As time went on, I quickly realized that the reasons I believed that AA wasn’t for me weren’t just misguided, they were completely wrong. While I wish I’d had these realizations sooner, I’m grateful now for the fellowship I found when I was finally able to open my heart and mind.

So what, exactly, held me back the first time around? These are seven of the big reasons why I thought AA wasn’t for me — and what ultimately changed my mind.

1. I’m not Christian (or even religious).

Despite being told that your higher power in AA could be virtually anything, the “God” language was so off-putting that I couldn’t get past it at first. What I didn’t know was that AA is home to people with all sorts of beliefs, including atheists and agnostics (for whom a whole chapter in the Big Book is actually written).

But why would someone who wasn’t religious opt for a program that talks about a higher power?

The short answer? To get outside of ourselves. Part of what makes addiction so tricky is that we often get stuck in our own heads, leading us to miss the forest for the trees. A focus on some compassionate, loving force outside of ourselves allows us to take a step back from the addictive obsessing and see the big picture at work.

That “God” can be your own inner wisdom or spirit (you know, the tiny voice or gut feeling that says: “I shouldn’t be doing this”). It can refer to your fellowship (e.g. Group Of Drunks) and community, or it can even be the stars or your ancestors.

Whatever your higher power is, it exists to anchor you in the present moment, when your own thoughts are derailing you (part of what fuels cravings, I’ve found, is the mental obsession that goes along with them). Projecting your focus outside yourself can be a powerful tool in recovery.

2. Alcohol wasn’t my biggest problem.

I always thought of my alcohol abuse as a symptom of a problem rather than an issue in its own right. As someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and a trauma history (C-PTSD), I figured that if I got my mental illness under control, my drinking would somehow become normal again; that it would, in essence, “work itself out.”

As irrational as it sounds, I really believed that if I just “stayed mentally healthy” for the rest of my life, alcohol wouldn’t be a problem.

It should be a lot easier to sober up than to be perfectly happy and healthy 100% of the time, but the alcoholic mind doesn’t care about what’s actually possible — it just cares about drinking again.

I’ve learned with time that my alcoholism is very much a compulsive behavior. And once compulsions are activated, they’re only made worse when you engage with them. As a person with OCD, and therefore lots of compulsions, I know this better than anyone.

A lot of alcoholics look at every other issue in their lives as The Real Problem, while their drinking isn’t much more than an inconvenient and temporary side effect. But more often than not, the only “phase” we’re really talking about here is denial.

3. I figured I could manage on my own.

Here’s the thing: Whether or not you can manage sobriety on your own, why should you? If there’s an entire community of people, ready and able to support you, why deprive yourself of that resource?

These days, I ignore the voice in my head that says, “You don’t need this.” It’s irrelevant either way; I don’t need to muscle through this and there’s no good reason to.

This fellowship is a gift I can give to myself — the gift of unconditional acceptance, and an opportunity for continued personal growth in a supportive community.

4. I thought I was too young and "inexperienced."

My drinking didn’t really take off until I was 21 years old. Yet by the time I was 24, I was at my first AA meeting. Was it possible to become an alcoholic in three years? I didn’t think so. I hadn’t racked up any DUIs and I wasn’t drinking vodka every morning, so what did I need AA for?

But my definition of alcoholism has evolved a lot since then.  Alcoholism, to me, is a spectrum of experiences defined by two things: (1) psychological dependence on alcohol and (2) strong urges to drink (which we call “cravings”).

Drinking had become a coping strategy (one that often failed me) to deal with issues in my life. And rather than choosing to drink and choosing to stop — which is usually, on some level, premeditated and deliberate — I had the urge to drink, and that urge often had me behaving in ways that ran counter to what I planned or wanted, assuming I had a plan at all.

Sometimes I drank only to resolve the urge itself — an urge which could involve unbearable levels of anxiety, agitation, obsessing, and impulsiveness.

It took just a few years for my drinking to reach this level of unmanageability. And when it led me to be hospitalized twice in my early twenties, I realized that if I continued I would die before I ever considered myself “experienced” or “old enough.”

You are never too young or inexperienced to get sober. If there are signs that your drinking has become dangerous, you don’t need to wait to get support — and you shouldn’t.

5. I’m queer and transgender.

One of the biggest reasons why I rejected AA was because I felt, as someone who was both transgender and gay, that I would feel like an outsider. And while I can’t speak for every meeting in existence, I’ve been fortunate to find meetings where I could show up as my authentic self.

Living in the Bay Area, I’m privileged to now have access to meetings that are specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, though I regularly attend all kinds of meetings and have found them to be fulfilling in their own way. My sponsor is queer, too, which is incredibly empowering.

Many people I’ve known in other parts of the country have been able to connect with their local LGBTQ+ community center (either city or statewide) to get recommendations on which recovery spaces would be best for them.

Some LGBTQ+ centers even have AA meetings specifically on-site for the community.

The best way to find out is to call around. You don’t know what’s out there, and recovery is always worth the effort.

6. I take psychiatric medications.

As someone who takes medication for my mental health conditions, I was scared that people in AA would look down on me or believe I wasn’t really sober.

In particular, I rely on Adderall to manage my ADHD. I take it exactly as prescribed without any trouble. If I don’t take it, it’s difficult for me to keep up at my job because my concentration issues make my life incredibly unmanageable.

But Adderall is a stimulant and has a reputation as a drug of abuse. I worried that I would be pressured to stop taking it.

Instead, I’ve been given the exact opposite advice in AA. I’ve been told repeatedly that if my psychiatric medications contribute to my mental wellness, they are an essential and indispensable part of my recovery.

With mental health conditions frequently co-occurring with substance abuse, you’re likely to find a lot of people in AA who rely on these medications to maintain balance in their lives. So don’t be discouraged: you aren’t alone.

7. My history didn’t seem "bad enough."

Sometimes I’d listen to a speaker talk about getting drunk at age 12, growing up in the foster system, or getting their second DUI, and I’d think to myself, “Why am I even here? My story is nothing like theirs.”

But as I attended more and more meetings, I began to see the similarities, rather than focusing so much on the differences. I realized that even the most extraordinary stories had some kind of wisdom to offer me, as long as I gave myself permission to be fully present.

As I heard a speaker say last month, “Bottom is when you stop digging.” Recovery begins when you’re open to it, not when you’ve passed some magical threshold of having “suffered enough.”

Your story is enough, exactly as it is in this moment. You don’t need to have the most tragic backstory, the biggest relapse, or the most catastrophic “bottom” moment.

You don’t have to earn a seat at the table. As I learned this last year, that seat will be there for you when you’re ready, no matter how many times you fall down or slip up.

This article was published by a contributing author of thefix.com and is in no way related to or endorses Rebos Detox. You can find the original article at: https://www.thefix.com/7-reasons-why-i-thought-aa-wasnt-someone-me