(Austin, Texas – November 30, 2016) – Nova today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.
Nova underwent a rigorous onsite survey November 15-18, 2016. During the review, compliance with behavioral health care standards related to several areas, including care, treatment, and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm was evaluated. Onsite observations and interviews also were conducted.
Established in 1969, The Joint Commission’s Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program currently accredits more than 2,250 organizations for a three-year period. Accredited organizations provide treatment and services within a variety of settings across the care continuum for individuals who have mental health, addiction, eating disorder, intellectual/developmental disability, and/or child-welfare related needs.
“Joint Commission accreditation provides behavioral health care organizations with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas related to the care of individuals and their families,” said Peggy Lavin, LCSW, interim executive director, Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Nova for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”
Nova is pleased to receive Behavioral Health Care Accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Mat Gorman, CEO, Nova. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for those in our community.”
The Joint Commission’s behavioral health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.
Social functions are times to relax, enjoy friends and family and have fun. If you’re someone in addiction recovery, staying sober during these occasions may feel like a cloud hanging over the experience. There are ways to have sober fun at social functions, and this article outlines a few tips and tricks to have a good time without endangering your sobriety.
Plan for Sober Fun
Make a plan that will reinforce your resolve to attend the party sober. Decide how you’ll get to the party, how you’ll answer any questions about not drinking and how you plan to get home. Have an exit plan strategy for how you’ll get home if you decide you want to leave the party early. By having a plan for your sober fun in place before you go, it will help you deal with any questions and enable you to exit early if the temptation to lapse becomes too strong.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
When you’re at a party and aren’t drinking alcohol, the inevitable question will arise, “Why aren’t you drinking?” Rather than wait for the question to be posed and then scrambling for an answer, be prepared to answer confidently.
If you want to keep your recovery journey to yourself, then the key is to keep your answer short and to the point to avoid having to divulge details about your private life. Two good answers would be:
“I am going with a (non-alcoholic drink of choice) tonight. I have a busy day tomorrow.”
“I am not in the mood to drink tonight. Thanks.”
Don’t be offended if people question your non-alcohol choice. Research shows people tend to classify things in order to make sense of the world.1
We come up with behaviors and rules for interaction. When someone who drinks sees another who isn’t, it upsets the “rules.” Take the questions in stride. Don’t let them throw you off your game or interfere with your plan to have fun while staying sober.
Keep Busy: Work the Party
Keep busy by finding a job at the party. Finding lots to do relieves any boredom and removes the temptation to fill your hand with a drink because you’re just standing around. Your host will be grateful for your help as well. A few good jobs would be:
- Become the DJ and keep the music going
- Prepare or serve food
- Be the clean-up crew and remove the empty cups and dishes
- Organize and supervise party games (without alcohol as a focus, of course)
- Be the photographer for the event
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back for a Job Well Done
Be confident and congratulate yourself that you planned well and stayed sober. The first party may seem alien without alcohol, but as you stay sober and reap all the benefits of your newly found healthier life, it gets easier. You’ve proven living sober isn’t miserable and boring.2
Think about how you don’t have to worry about losing control, you can drive home sober and not worry about a DUI and how you can recall everything that went on at the party and you’ll feel good about yourself. Stay positive and don’t dwell on what other people are doing. You are making decisions based on your own unique circumstances. Be proud of your sober fun choices; they keep you safe and healthy.
If there was a professional sport for manipulation, addicts and alcoholics would rule the league. We are good at it. We understand how to play the heart strings of the people we love the most, to achieve the result we are looking for. I know this from my own experience. I was a puppet master with my family. Easily arranging where I needed all the characters on the stage and directing how I needed them to act.
I remember the day when my puppets cut the strings and I lost the only power I had. In my addiction, I had multiple opportunities to seek treatment for my drug and alcohol addiction, but I never wanted to be sober. I never wanted to be sober because I never experienced consequences for my actions. Due to not experiencing consequences, I never hit a rock bottom. Every time I got close to a bottom, my parents would throw a pillow to prevent my butt from hitting the concrete.
We all do that. I am a father myself. As a parent, you never want to see your child hurt. To me, seeing my child feel pain, is the greatest pain one can feel. It is ingrained in us to give our children the best life that we can. Most of the time, we will do it at all cost. Often times experiencing both emotional and financial consequences of our child’s actions.
Having found recovery, in 2007, I have experienced both ends of the equation. The manipulator and the manipulated. My opportunity to live a life of recovery, only began when my rein as the manipulator ended.
On this day, it happened to be the umpteen time I had been arrested. Like every time before that, I would convince my parents to bail me out, get a lawyer and promise God the world if he got me off this one. Only this day was different. Upon throwing away my bologna lunch sandwich, my father asked me again if I wanted help. I desperately tried not to show I was laughing on the inside and responded with a firm declaration that I was not that bad and did not need treatment. Sound familiar?
Though this day was much different than the rest. The strings I had managed to hold so tight over the years, were cut with one might swoop. After my response, my dad said “Ok, but I am done experiencing the emotional and financial consequences of your actions. Only call me if you want help.” The he left. I figure his statements were half hearted and I could snake my way back in, but man he was stubborn. I think Al Anon taught him a few things.
My parents stuck with it. I would call and try to hustle some money from them, for some admirable unselfish volunteering opportunity, when in reality, I needed to pay the bar tab or something. Every time, he would not say no but ask me if I was ready for treatment. When I said no, he hung up. This scenario went on for about 6 to 9 months, until I had hit an emotional bottom. When I hit this bottom, only then, did I want to change my life. When that happened, the first step of my continuous sobriety since 2007, began.
You might be reading this and thinking my parents were jerks or playing hard ball. If you asked me 8 1/2 years ago, I would agree. The decision my mother and father made that day, was the hardest decision they had ever made. They did not know if they would ever see me again. I am sure they had many sleepless nights. Although it was the hardest decision they every made, it was the best decision they ever made as my parents.
Even though it was the hardest decision they ever made, it was also the best decision they ever made for themselves. By them making this decision, they took their lives back, from me. I was no longer in control of their emotions, or their finances for that matter. They ultimately experienced freedom, when they realized they could not control my actions. In addition, I did not need to change for our family relationship to change. All it takes is one person to change, and the whole dynamic of the relationship will change.
Their decision saved my life! When they stopped throwing the pillow under me, it finally allowed me to hit a bottom and for the first time in my life, have the want and desire to change. In essence they said No and showed me Love.
September is National Recovery Month, and I have taken some time to reflect on the last four years of my life…
In 2011 I was living in the slums of Staten Island N.Y. I didn’t have a penny to my name, no job, no friends, and was in the grips of my addiction. Internally, I just didn’t want to live this painful life anymore. You could say I was at what the Big Book calls “the turning point.” I could either continue using drugs and hurting the people I loved, or I could finally surrender to this disease and ask for help.
I remember the day I finally made a decision to do something different like it was yesterday. You see, there had been countless days like this one, because I had been fighting this disease for a decade by now. I can’t really explain to you why I finally made a decision to change on this particular day. It was a hot July day, and I was in my shack detoxing from oxycodone. I had no money to score and was too sick to hustle to get money. There was a knock at my front door. It was a guy I owed money to in the streets, and he was there to collect his debt. I answered the door a trembling mess. I had no money to pay this man. An argument ensued. My wife was inside and overheard the amount we were arguing over and came out with a check to pay my debt. Here I was, a 31 year old man whom had gone to St. John’s University and married a wonderful, successful woman, but I didn’t have enough money to pay off this debt. The humiliation was overwhelming.
That night I cursed God and asked that if He were real, to help me! That’s exactly what happened. The universe answered my plea for help. I began attending 12-step meetings and met men just like me who took me under their wings. We all grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, hung around the same type of people, and suffered from the same disease. The difference was they had a solution to the problem. For the next six months I followed these men. I went where they told me to go and did what they asked me to do. They taught me how to be a man in recovery. They taught me how to be of service and practice the principles of recovery.
On July 31, 2015, I celebrated 4 years of sobriety. Today I have a relationship with my wife and family I had never even dreamed of. I have been blessed with true friendship. The men I surround myself with love me enough to keep me honest and call me on my bull. They care more about my life and recovery than they do my feelings. I am someone that people can trust and rely upon. I used to walk in a room and people would leave. Today I walk in a room and people are drawn to me. You see, my addiction stripped me of everything worthwhile in life, but my recovery has given me a life of abundance that I could never have dreamed of. This is how having nothing gave me everything. If you’re struggling, don’t give up. Surrender to this disease, stay focused and come experience this awesome life with us!