Alumni Connections

Connectedness

Adult | Family | Prevention | Recovery | Women

In his bid to inspire cooperation between tribes, the Peacemaker to the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca tribes shared this universal truth:

"One arrow can be easily broken. But when five arrows are bound together, they became strong."  

As true in substance abuse recovery as it is in war, this sentiment underlines the reason MFI Recovery staff members build and maintain strong ties to each other as well as clients and alumni.

"Detox and addiction recovery are war," says Lead Counselor at the Mt Rubidoux location, Robert (Bobby) Kreiss. "And in war, unfortunately, there are casualties. To reduce the number of those, our core principles stress how important it is to connect and stay connected to other people. We try to model building and upholding brotherhood or sisterhood while clients are at MFI in detox, rehab, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and after program completion, for long-term maintenance."  

Bobby goes on to explain:

"There is a major misconception that an addict goes into treatment to 'get fixed' and then can resume the life they had before rehab. But addiction isn't a substance abuse problem. Addiction is an inability-to-handle-life problem. We tell clients that the only thing that has to change is everything."

Fellow Mt Rubidoux Counselor Ayesha Howell concurs:

"After someone goes through treatment, they find that their whole way of life has been disrupted. They realize they can go to a meeting. But, then what?"

Ayesha experienced this firsthand in 2013, when she enrolled in a court-ordered program at A Woman's Place.

"To be honest, I only went to treatment to get Child Protective Services (CPS) off of my back."

A self-described "wild child," Ayesha started skipping school and using drugs when she was just 14. she also had a child at a young age. Resistant to change and suspicious of authority, she says she struggled when she first arrived at treatment. Everything finally clicked during a conversation with an MFI counselor.

"Going to AWP drastically changed my life. The staff helped me with everything from tackling depression to facing and solving legal, financial and environmental issues," she says. They taught me that I needed to take responsibility and how to find purpose."

She says the approach worked because it was obvious the staff at MFI cared.  

"Miss Debbie was always so loving. She would often ask, 'How are you doing, Mija?' She made me fell that everything was going to be all right if I just trusted the process and did the footwork. She also encouraged me to get involved. I finally got on board and decided to do everything the staff and alumni said because nothing I was doing at the time was working. My life was a mess."

One of the suggestions Ayesha followed was to be productive. She was encouraged to step up into a leadership role. So, she volunteered to serve as Industrial Tech (IT), overseeing client chores, eventually earning the title "Client of the Year." Ayesha says the clients who completed the program and returned to share made a huge impact on her tendency to be what she describes as a "Future Tripper."

"Alumni told me that, if you can just get through today, then everything will be all right," she recalls. "And if you can string enough 'todays' together, you will be able to get through the rest of your life."

Alumni programs, including impromptu visits and Saturday night alumni-led support groups, play an important role at MFI.

"The alumni really take care of each other by sharing their struggles and answering client questions," she says. "They attend MFI field trips with us and build strong relationships with the clients and staff."

During the course of her treatment, Ayesha learned she loved counseling. So, she went to school and became a Registered Recovery Worker (RRW). Working each day in the trenches with Bobby, who is a CADC II, and the rest of the Mt Rubidoux staff, they both say they are living proof that staying connected makes all of the difference.

"I have built my life around my recovery," says Ayesha, noting she now has full custody of her eldest daughter and also has another child who has never been in the system. "I maintain relationships with the people I was in treatment with and I still have a sponsor," adding, "The need to stay connected changes over the years but it never goes away."

Bobby says that Mt Rubidoux alumni who visit routinely ask to see the "Handprint Wall," aka the "Wall of Hope," which is a rite of passage clients mark upon program completion. "At Mt Rubidoux, our alumni set us apart. They tell clients, 'I did it. You can do it, too.' Our alumni have helped us create a safe family environment for people because of our commitment to stay connected."

About MFI Recovery

In addition to the Matrix Model, we rely on proven modalities to provide whole family care. Our programs are gender- and age-specific to ensure we meet individual needs. We furnish a comfortable and warm, home-like environment with structured, evidence-based methods of behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapies. Our family-systems approach treats the whole family to re-establish trust and mutual respect where it may have been damaged by substance use. For someone who is struggling with substance abuse, recovering alone is almost impossible. Our program helps individuals rebuild the close connections that are essential to successful recovery. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697 or, for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596. 

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