Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Alumni: Megan Souther

Someone with a drug and/or alcohol problem has one goal, to continue to get high or drunk at any cost. Addicts will say things they don’t mean and manipulate any situation to get their desired result. Anyone who stands in the way of them getting their next fix or drink is considered an obstacle. People closest to them are the ones who get hurt the most. How do I know this? Because I am one.

In my addiction and early recovery, I would tell friends and family what they wanted to hear, if it would get them off my back.  I would go to different treatment centers and tell the counselors and my family that I was doing well. I was compliant, which came off as surrendered to the process and getting sober. That was far from the truth. At one of my rehabs, I even had the name “4.0 Rehab Student”. I worked the steps and tried to be an example to other clients. I said a lot while really saying nothing about what was really going on inside. The truth was that nothing was fine. I would get out of treatment and immediately relapse. While everyone was surprised, I was not. I knew I had been faking it and I had everyone intention of getting loaded the day I left treatment. The reason this happens is that addicts are very skilled at manipulating and being dishonest.

At Burning Tree, we understand the nature of the disease, which is why we don’t focus on what they are saying. Their behaviors speak louder than words. Addicts are skilled at saying a lot, without really saying anything. An example of this would be someone telling us they want to be sober, but are breaking rules, not doing treatment work, and not being honest about what is going on inside them.  Their actions are telling us they are not willing to do something different to be sober.  Not only the staff, but other clients at Burning Tree hold their peers accountable for their behaviors daily. At Burning Tree, we hold up a “mirror”. This is how you are showing up and this is what you are saying. From there, we can help the client see what is really going on and begin to rely on a Higher Power rather than their sick mind.

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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