As we approach the spring of 2016, we are marking 10 years since our wonderful relationship with Jodi began!
When did you start working at Cedars?
In the spring of 2006, as the yoga teacher for the Discovery Program. I’ve done many jobs here. I tease that I’m aiming for gardener next!
Do you have a story about “how you got here”?
I heard about the Cedars opening at an Alanon meeting (early 2006) because my home group had been approached to host ‘meetings on wheels’ for the Discovery program, which we did for some time. Shortly after this began, I started teaching yoga to the Discovery group, then housed in Spruce House.
What did you think the first time you set foot on the property?
I was intimately familiar with the history of the property, as Sk’leem and as a centre for healing. This property moves me, spiritually and emotionally. It is rejuvenating and uplifting. I treasure every opportunity to walk outside and connect with the nature that surrounds us.
What is your most memorable moment at Cedars?
Witnessing the transformative moments that happen when patients participate in experiential therapies such as sweatlodge; Watching patients crawl on their knees out of the sweatlodge; barefaced and new, tension and shame dissolved, if only momentarily, and full of radiant hope.
What do you find sets us apart from other facilities?
Our natural surroundings that support healing for patients and staff alike. Also, we genuinely care for and about our patients, without caretaking or enabling addictive behaviour. Many of our staff are in recovery or otherwise affected by the disease of addiction. As such, we are invested in our own recovery and in supporting others to experience the freedom and quality of life that comes with recovery.
What is your favorite part about working at Cedars?
All of the above but primarily it’s the magic that happens when patients shift and learn about themselves and the disease they have. Regardless of how western science eventually describes what we witness, I prefer to call it magic. It’s a spiritual transformation that is visible yet indescribable. (a picture is worth one thousand words)
What do you think is the biggest challenge for patients in treatment, and how do you/does Cedars provide support?
The biggest challenge for patients is to make that shift (see above). It requires courage and vulnerability. Cedars supports this primarily by creating a safe environment for the patients to be vulnerable in.
I use the metaphor of a butterfly; As the caterpillar creates its cocoon, it does not know what will happen next, only that it must create the cocoon. It surrenders to the process. Inside the cocoon, it must literally dissolve. (I call this the ‘goo’- the patients must allow themselves to ‘become the goo’) When it does this, the caterpillar will no longer resemble its former self. It is completely in the care of the process of metamorphosis. It does not know that in a short while it will emerge from the cocoon with wings and be able to fly.
The patients must learn to trust in a similar way. If they can trust that we, the Cedars staff, are the cocoon and that we’ll hold them safe while they transform, they too will experience freedom, like wings, when they leave treatment.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for patients when they complete treatment?
Working their continuing care plan. Staying in touch with healthy people/not falling back into unhealthy behaviour. Picking up the phone and asking for help, particularly then they don’t feel like it.
What do you find unique or valuable about the aftercare/continuing care provided to patients when they complete treatment?
It’s a powerful method to ease into life in recovery after leaving Cedars. It makes the magic they experience here accessible after they leave. They can connect with others who will know the culture and language of Cedars and be reminded that they are not alone.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for staff working at Cedars, how are you supported?
Self-care. We’re encouraged to talk and ask for help when needed. It’s my experience that we are usually supported when we do this but that support is individualized, like our treatment.
Have you attended any of the lectures, is there anything you find unique or would like to share about the lecture series?
I’ve attended many of the lectures but wish to attend more. The lectures I’ve experienced were relevant and personal.
Why do you think structure is so important in treatment?
Most people in active addiction have erratic and unhealthy schedules. Our structure promotes a balanced lifestyle and provides an opportunity to develop new, healthy habits that can translate well into life in recovery. It also teaches respect for others and for self.
Have you participated in art therapy, yoga, discovery, workshops, walked the trails or any other attended any other programming at cedars that you would like to share your experience about?
Yes, yes and yes and they’re all valuable additions to our offerings. As a supervisor, I often encouraged staff to go for a walk on their breaks in order to practice self-care and support the challenging work we do here. The trails and natural landscape are an invaluable asset. I’m biased regarding art therapy and yoga and feel they’re vital components of our program, along with poetry, equine and the first nations programs. In essence, by incorporating these programs, we are respecting Gardiner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence’s that describes how people learn in a variety of ways. If we are essentially ‘teaching’ a new way of life to our patients, it makes sense to consider these multiple ways of learning and address them so that all of our patients have access to learning in a way that works for them. This also fits well with our individualized treatment philosophy.
What do you like to do you in your spare time?
I’m at school…I don’t have spare time! (ha ha)