The appearance and dynamic of the group is changing greatly, and with this acceptance and resilience is becoming more important and prominent than ever. The campus is growing closer through new experiences and changes, with many residents seeing themselves and their paths in the success of graduating residents.
A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the concept of “moving forward”. I will be touching on the concept again in this writing. I believe now, as the summer is quickly coming to a close, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the fun moments had and on the experiences that allowed us to grow. However, we all should have the courage to not get caught in the moments that didn’t go as we would have liked and accept that it is crucial for us to take the next step in our journey.
Reflection at Ironwood has taught me to understand the bigger picture and to think about why I did what I did. It also has taught me that learning to prevent the problem is better than choosing to react to the impulses that then lead to the problem.
Reflecting on it now, I know I’m ready. I’m ready to move forward in my program and in my life. I’m not going to dwell on the past; what good will that bring? I’m focusing on the present. The here and now. Some things I want to continue to work on are, again, taking accountability, being mindful, and self-love. I believe I can do it. I know I can with the support of my support team. I will not rely on them, but I know when to ask for help.
I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my time at Ironwood so far, my progress and what I still have left to work on. Something I have learned about myself is that my ability to uphold boundaries, as well as set them, is subpar. Especially with my family. I also learned about the cause of my overdose as well as that part of my substance use is caused by me not wanting to be in control of my own life. Something more positive that I have learned about myself is that I have the potential to successfully complete this program, given that I apply myself and put in full effort.
Ironwood was also difficult for me because I still struggled with being away from home, and also because I had to step up into a leadership position to hold the group together when times got tough. Helping people with their folders and goals brought me joy. Seeing all of the new people in my group learn how to be happy here made my days. Every day, Ironwood got a little bit better for me. I met amazing staff who guided me and listened to me vent when I was upset. Certain staff helped me with my biggest problem: my addiction.
Regardless of the internal and external difficulties I’ve faced at Ironwood, I was able to overcome them all while developing new perspectives and abilities. I now want to expand these skills and approach new ones which will allow for increasing opportunities. I want to strengthen my work ethic, so I’m more prepared for potential careers and college programs in the future. I also want to strengthen my trust in other people, so I can broaden my support network and allow myself to rely on a few others. This ability will better me as a friend and as a leader as well as positively impact the communities around me.
I became heavily involved in the program, trying new things I had never tried and building positive relationships with staff. I have learned a lot about myself and my family while in the group, while in school, and mostly while in therapy. I at first tended to think a lot about the past until one day I had heard a staff member say something about focusing on what goes on in the moment. For some reason, I listened to his advice and accomplished so much in my program. I know I did a lot of bad things in the past, but now I just want to move on. Ironwood has given me an opportunity to show my real self.
At Ironwood, I learned some things. I also change my perspectives on how I say things. For example, instead of running aways I learned to stay in hard situations. I learned how to cope safely and being able to stay in a group during hard, difficult situations. I’ve also learned how to regulate my emotions, also how to safely cope with anger. I went from cutting almost every day to not having cut in almost a month. I’ve learned cutting isn’t the only way I can feel better when I’m angry.
This week has been filled with both joy and sadness, heavily. Between the field trip on Sunday to the Rockland Breakwater and the three growth ceremonies we’ve had, there have been a lot of complicated feelings.