I arrived at Pax House, a drug recovery center in Pasadena, California knowing that my future was uncertain. I had absolutely no idea about how I was going to take this experience from a Pasadena treatment center and apply it to my everyday life. Luckily for me and everybody else at this particular treatment center, they give you all the tools to live a healthy and balanced life.
I did not know how to deal with my emotions in any way, shape, or form. I would either shut down or act out belligerently. I picked up a few techniques at Pax House that have been helping me a lot. My favorite coping mechanism l learned while there and maintain has been the ability to slow down and give any given situation some thought. My counselor, the Molly, taught it to me after I had told her that “I don’t like feeling strong emotions because I don’t know what to do”. So now every time I feel angry and want to act irrationally, I just pause for a few seconds. I do some deep breathing before I move a single muscle and I express it in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone.
Pax also taught me how to do a gratitude list thanks to Jess, a group facilitator. Now, every morning when I wake up, I am able to write out a few things that I am grateful for, not to mention adding a positive affirmation. My first thought about it was how could doing something like this have any effect on me. The days I’ve made this list have been far better than the days I didn’t. I am a lot more aware of how many things I have to be grateful for, and the affirmation helps me to go through the day with a positive disposition. No other rehab in southern California I’ve graduated from has instilled that into my daily routine.
They also taught me the importance of 12- meeting attendance. Pax took clients to a different meeting every night throughout residential treatment. Now that I am in sober living, also in Pasadena, I go to meetings about 5 or 6 times per week and it reminds me that I am an addict and fills me with hope while I socialize with other people who suffer from the same disease that I do. I would also never pray or meditate unless it was heavily suggested to me. I forced myself to give it a shot for a little while and then it eventually became necessary for my recovery. If I don’t do it for one day it almost feels like my whole existence is out of whack. So as soon as I realize that I forgot to pray in the morning I will quickly find a place to do so. With meditation, the habit was as easy for me to form. Jess does a really good job of explaining how to do it and experience it. Now I find myself meditating all throughout the day, especially when I have to make an important decision.
I could go on and on about all of the techniques I have picked up at Pax but I just wanted to give you a sample of what is to come if you decide to take advantage of what Pax has to offer. Pax House holds a special place in my heart and if you’re struggling, then know that coming here may very well be the most important and best decision of your entire life, so meditate on it.
Houston P., Pax House Alumnus