The exercises and daily activities are beyond helpful, for both the patients and the staff. Really, anyone who needs a little assistance with coping in day-to-day life can benefit from these activities. From Monday through Friday I assist with everything from meditation to therapy talk. My favourite is the thought manifestation exercise.
Mediation is done by the Buddhist loving Clair. Everyone goes into a large open room, with big open windows and sits on a cushy mat laid out. Some real plants and trees surround the room, the staff and many medical professionals and scientists believe nature invokes a feeling of positivity and health in human beings. Everyone is asked to sit in a comfortable position with there legs crossed into a pretzel and arms laid out are their knees. The meditation exercise goes on for an hour each day between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.
The thought manifestation exercise is directed by John, who is an older soft-spoken, yet passionate man and he provides the patients with a list of positive affirmations they can recite as they please. The most common affirmation is: I have an abundance of happiness, health and wealth. I hear a lot of patients laugh and scoff when it comes to affirming the “wealth” part when so many of them have thrown their life savings down the drain due to their addiction.
Yoga is everyone’s favourite because they get to go outside in the sun and stretch their bodies. Some patients really find this exercise to be beneficial due to their legs being so restless and being able to sweat out all of the toxins for better restful sleep. The yoga teacher, Ali, is incredibly beautiful (I might have a small crush, along with a few other men and women here) and she has this presence that makes you want to melt. With her soft and mellow voice, she directs each person to contort their body into position after position and followed by an in-depth breathing instruction.
You can also try this type of yoga by yourself even if you are not addicted to feeling the positive effect of such practices. Just turn on this video and follow the instructions.
Arts and crafts is a lot of fun and are comical when someone decides to take their pain and turn it into funny artwork which is both beautiful and sad to take in. I have seen some of the most beautiful pieces created in here, and from time to time I will join in when I am not busy cleaning up a room or getting supplies ready for the nurses. Having said that, I am not an artist, and I tell that to everyone around me—as I attempt to follow the arts and crafts instructor Gary. Gary is pretty nice but is not very personable, so when I see his stoic expression to the patients’ comical artwork, I can’t help but internally laugh at the awkwardness.
The talk therapy is where I assume most of the breakthroughs happen. I, unfortunately, have not been able to sit in on any of the talk therapies because that would go against patient privacy. However, I have heard patients talk about how much they learned about themselves, their family and how they were able to let go of the things they could not control. I think these patients need to hear from a licensed professional that what has happened to them in the past is not in their control now and these therapists are really able to untangle the confusion that leads people to think drinking and drugs are the answer.