Living in Gratitude

In preparation for the upcoming holiday, our Washington campus hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for its staff members and consumers who utilize the services that are provided there. The theme of the dinner was “Living in Gratitude” and featured a traditional meal of turkey, rolls, stuffing, vegetables, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

The dinner served as an opportunity for Wesley’s therapists, case managers, counselors, and consumers to socialize with one another, discuss the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and reflect upon what the past year has meant to them. Local students from Washington and Jefferson College volunteered their time by serving the Thanksgiving dinner to everyone in attendance and they helped to distribute the raffle prizes that we gave out.

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Our Washington campus offers outpatient mental health services as well as drug and alcohol outpatient services. The drug and alcohol outpatient services provides clinic-based drug use assessment, prevention, intervention, education, individual and/or group therapy, and drug testing for adolescents and adults who are struggling with a substance use disorder.

For many that attended the dinner, this Thanksgiving will be the first holiday in a long time that they will spend sober. Perception toward addiction has slowly changed over the years, as many health care professionals have helped to lead the fight by educating the public that addiction is in fact a disease and not a choice.

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While misconceptions, stereotypes, and ignorance about those who struggle with substance abuse still exist, there has been progress and it is important to recognize that. Nearly all healthcare professionals have found, based on scientific research, that while no single factor can predict if an individual will become addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are factors that can influence an individual’s propensity to develop an addiction. According to the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, factors that can increase the likelihood of an addiction are: biology, genetics, and an individual’s personal development and environment.

While a substance use disorder will be a life-long challenge, individuals can receive treatment, the addiction can be managed, and they can live their life sober. By attending the dinner and publicly acknowledging that they struggle with a substance abuse disorder, our consumers took another important step in their recovery journey.

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In the waiting room of our Washington campus, we have a large, bright, yellow sun that is bursting with rays plastered on the wall. If you take a moment to closely examine this picture, you will find that the sun symbolizes gratitude and the rays represent what our consumers are grateful for. “Family, sobriety, children, God, opportunity, friends, freedom, and health” were just a few of the things that our consumers said they are grateful for.

Here at Wesley, we believe that help is the catalyst for hope. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental health issue and want to begin a journey towards recovery, we’d encourage you to reach out for help. Let our consumer’s list of things that they are thankful for, encourage you to live in gratitude—not only during this season of reflection but all year round.