31 S. Braddock St. | Winchester, VA 22601

(540) 535-1111 | Available 24/7

31 S. Braddock St. | Winchester, VA 22601

(540) 535-1111 | Available 24/7

A Profile in Counseling

A Profile in Counseling

I always joke that I got to BTG by “accident.” Working in the field of addictions was not on my priority list, it was not even on my radar. I have come to learn that there are very few “accidents” when working in the field of mental health. In reality, the “accident” I joke about is more of a “God Thing”…

Importance of Community in Recovery

When recovering from substance abuse, we believe that being immersed in and supported by a community is key. That's why all of our recovery programs foster community-building along the journey. 

The reality is that while each person's journey to recovery is unique, it's not easy to go down that road alone. In fact, feelings of isolation and loneliness are some of the commonly sighted triggers that can lead to substance abuse and relapse. 

Understanding the importance of community in recovery is a great way to understand what makes the BTG difference. We're here not only to offer resources and insight into recovery but to help you to determine if BTG is right for you.

Read on to learn more about the importance and joy of community in recovery.

Connecting With Others to Understand Ourselves

Substance abuse, along with common comorbidities such as depression and anxiety, can lead us to believe that we are isolated. We may become convinced that our struggles are unmatched or unheard of--making them seem all the more difficult to overcome.

Connecting with others who are on a journey that resembles our own reminds us that we are not alone. We are not the only ones who are looking for long-lasting ways to make changes and take back our sense of joy, control, and purpose. This can help us feel less alone and begin to understand what, exactly, our struggles are and how to overcome them.

Finding Motivation and Accountability

Research has shown that being part of a community plays a key role in preventing relapse after recovery. Having social support can motivate us to keep trying even when we feel triggered or exhausted. It helps us build positive thoughts such as, "If my community is sticking with sober living, I can do it too." 

Part of that motivation comes from the accountability created by community-building. When you allow others to invest in your well-being and your recovery, you can let that investment fuel your progress. Each day, you know that members of your community are going to check in with you and want to see you succeed.

Fostering Healthy Relationships for a Healthy Lifestyle

Of course, ridding our bodies of harmful substances can improve our physical health. However, recovery is about more than just physical health. It's also about emotional, mental, and social health.

One of the most important components of recovery is developing strategies that will help you maintain sobriety in your day-to-day life. This involves severing unhealthy connections and building healthy relationships.

At BTG, you can embrace the members of your community in a safe, peaceful environment. Taking time away from the bustling city gives us time to recenter our minds, bodies, and spirits. Here, you can practice fostering positive and healthy relationships in ways that will be easier to implement when you're back at home.

Learning to Give Back

Substance abuse rewires our brains in a way that shifts our needs and priorities. Many of us who have struggled with substance abuse find that damage has been done to some of our core relationships during our time of substance use. When your brain is consumed with recreating the effects of a specific substance, it can be difficult to prioritize your loved ones or find ways to meet their needs.

At BTG, we embrace community living in all aspects of our recovery program. Our clients may participate in group therapy sessions, participate in recreational activities together, and even cook meals together. The purpose of this community living is to foster connections and help our clients develop a sense of commitment to one another.

When we feel committed to one another, we feel a natural urge to do right by one another. We learn to trust that our community has our best intentions in mind and keep their best intentions in mind, in turn. Finding ways to give back, both big and small, can help us regain a sense of purpose and a drive to make the world a better place for ourselves and for others. 

Meeting Our Own Sense of Joy Again

As we mentioned earlier, substance abuse rewires the brain. This doesn't just shift our priorities but it also shifts our sense of joy.

In many cases, those of us who struggle with addiction find that activities that once brought us joy no longer hold interest. Drugs and alcohol light up the reward centers in the brain that allow us to feel temporarily satisfied or fulfilled. On the journey to recovery, it is important to find new and healthy ways to feel that sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy.

The old saying, "Happiness is best when shared," tends to ring true with many of our clients. By re-learning to socialize while sober, BTG clients can begin to explore a variety of activities and find what brings them joy. These activities, from painting to hiking to sharing meals with others, can all be found outside of BTG so that you can experience that newfound joy for years to come.

Embracing Community in Recovery: The BTG Difference

Everyone who is recovering from substance abuse has a different path to walk down. However, most clients find that recovery is easier to navigate and produces lasting effects when that path isn't traveled alone. That's why here at BTG, community in recovery is one of our core components.

BTG offers residential substance abuse treatment in Virginia and outpatient programs for both drug and alcohol rehabilitation. We are located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, where we have been successfully treating clients since 2000. To find out more about programs, admissions, and our facilities, contact us today.

I grew up in a military family and lived overseas for most of my formative life. I observed and experienced many different languages and cultures. When my father retired, both my parents became pastors. All of these experiences set the stage for my drive to seek understanding. In college, I sought out degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies, minoring in Philosophy – three main ways humans seek and express understanding. Upon graduating, I knew I was called to serve others but did not know how. It was down to two fields: counseling or becoming a pastor. Around this time, I also had made a difficult decision not to enter the military. As part of that decision, I knew I wanted to give back though.

So, I entered graduate school to become a counselor. Not quite fitting, I went to seminary to see about being a pastor. I spent a year and half in seminary and realized I needed to be a counselor. I went back to my original graduate school and graduated with a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling – a secular degree that teaches how to integrate spirituality or religion into professional counseling.

In my studies, my first internship was at a VA Hospital working with PTSD. It was here that I realized I love working with trauma, I love working with an inpatient population, and I thrive when working with complicated clients. Here was the hitch, I learned that addiction and trauma were closely tied but I did not have a clue how to treat addiction. For my second internship, I sought out a place that could specifically teach me how to deal with addictions. In my head, I thought that the addictions field was a sub-specialty or an adjunct skill I could learn in the course of year. Afterall, I took a class in it! Oh, I was so wrong!

I applied to a few places in the area, looking for that specific internship, with no real results. I stumbled upon Bridging the Gaps’ website. I thought, “I don’t know about all this …but I might as well apply” – it was local, it fit my needs, and I can work around some of the other stuff I was not sure about.

I completely bombed the interview. I was so nervous and did not know anything they were asking. It turns out, I knew the clinical director at the time through teaching her son martial arts. She was able to see in me what I could not get across in the interview. They brought me on – as green and naive as I was. They took a chance on me, put up with me, and nurtured my professional development. In that process, they showed me how to become the clinician I wanted to be. They showed me how to integrate all these different pieces of my life into my vocation.

At the conclusion of my internship, I left to do my residency for licensure in an outpatient community health center focusing on the mental health side of counseling. I stayed connected to BTG running the aftercare program during this time. When I became licensed, I was looking for my next steps. I did not want to ‘hang my own shingle’ and start my own practice. I was looking for a facility that could match what I wanted to do: inpatient and trauma work. At the time, there were not very many options locally and it looked more and more like I needed to start my own practice. I started negotiations with BTG for space and exchange of services. It was not long into these negotiations when they offered me a full-time clinical position. Of course, I accepted the position.

Here I am, with over a decade of service to BTG. What keeps me here is what quickly became apparent to me so many years ago: the value the agency places on its employees, the mutual support of the staff, the way we understand and engage with clients, the ability to therapeutically address deep core issues in a relatively short amount, the overall quality of the clinical services we can deliver, and the ability to adapt services to fit the client’s needs. I strive to keep these traditions alive and well as we continue to provide a vital service to those who struggle.