I am sad to say that The WIC will be closing for good in June 2014. We have had a good run. As Spock said in Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan, ” The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” The money that has been given by The Alaska Mental Health Trust for our club house like model will go to strengthen other peer run organizations while our services will be absorbed into Anchorage Community Mental Health. The Alaska Mental Health Trust and The AK Division of Behavioral Health will be focusing more on employment for people with mental health disabilities, particularly individualized supported employment in community businesses. We hope to help with that in some way.
If you look at our calendar page you will see that we still have some events going on for May. The Drama group will perform at the Arts and Disability Forum at the BP energy center at 11:45 am on Monday May 12th. We will have a cookout on Thursday May 15th and a final cookout on Thursday June 5th. That will be our final hot lunch. Sandwiches and sodas will be served Tues, Weds & Thurs June 10-12th for those who come to help us clean up.
What will we miss about the WIC? That will take at least another post!!!
To celebrate people in recovery we have started making flowers for everyone we know and don’t know is in recovery. We will be bringing them to some of the different agencies in town where people in recovery work and attend. We will hand them out to honor our friends.
The colors purple and yellow were chosen as the theme for National Recovery month so we, being frugal, bought purple and yellow paper napkins and transformed them, with a multitude of pipe cleaners into poppies, roses and imaginary flora. Please feel free to stop by The Wellness Innovations Center and pick one for yourself and one for a friend. We may show up some place near you in the near future.
We had our first meeting with 7 people, two of whom have had training in peer support. Everyone who attended has supported The Wellness Innovations Center in some way and is working on their recovery goals.
We have a starting curriculum and talked about what peer support is. Topics such as balance, acceptance, and commitment came up. If you are interested in building a support community in your life, we would love for you to join us in our exploration of what this means to you and how we can help make it a reality here at The Wellness Center and across the community.
We are also willing to share our curriculum with you, once we get it in a little better shape. It involved more discussion and exercises and less reading than most but will probably change each time we meet.
We have decided that our next meeting will be at 12 noon on Friday August 16th. That way all the cookies will be baked!
August is a wonderful time to appreciate the energy of summer without the huge hit of sunlight and sleeping issues it can cause. I feel more relaxed because I just got back from vacation but also because I know that I can focus more on recovery goals and less on trying to fit everything into 23 hours of sunlight. Now I start moving back into more realistic expectations which is what recovery is all about anyway.
Here at the WIC, August events will include our annual trip to The Alaska State Fair on Thurs Aug. 22nd which is $2 Thursday with a can of food. We will also have an almost end of summer cookout on Thursday August 29th.
Other things in the works, The stop smoking group will probably move to Wednesdays right before lunch.
Drama group will resume on Thursdays after lunch as we have put in a proposal to perform at The Alaska Social Workers conference in October. We need performers and writers who have something to say about recovery and who like to interact with the audience. You don’t have to have any acting experience. This group is a good way to practice working with others on a goal with a completion date. We usually have lots of fun and wind up using much of the stuff we do in rehearsal in the shows. Please call Joan at 762-8652 or show up at 2735 E. Tudor Road at 12:30 on Thursdays to check us out. Remember our center is free thanks to a grant from The Alaska Mental Health Trust.
We are looking into speaking our recovery stories to counseling students in the area again. If you are interested in coming with us and helping people who are going to be counselors learn about recovery then give us a call again, 762-8652 and we will let you know the dates.
Finally we are working on starting a group which will address peer support on a beginning level for anyone who is interested. This is not a certificate program for employment but a group to build skills that will help anyone grow in building a support network and acting responsibly as a listener, referral agent and all around supporter for their peers. This will be a weekly group that people can drop in and out of but will also emphasize the commitment and practice needed to engage in this step of recovery.
It was fun to attend a meeting of my support group in Iceland. I hope you all have the opportunity to meet people in recovery wherever you roam. We are a bigger group than you might realize. Let’s talk to each other!
I remember the phrase, “I wish I had as much talent as they do in their little finger.”
That’s how I always felt. I love doing certain things, cooking, acting, writing, but I figured that I was not up to par. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that living everyday takes talent and the marvelous performers who I see on The Tony Awards are not just talented, they are ambitious and driven.
We will be having a talent show Thursday June 27th at The Wellness Innovations Center during lunch. This isn’t about ambition but about getting up there and having fun. It’s about knowing that even though you might feel like you would rather die than tell a joke and mess it up, it might even be funny if you mess it up.
So come on over and perform or watch. Play charades with us. Laugh, applaud, sing along. Perspective and courage are gifts that are far more valuable than fame and fortune.
Here is an interesting link to what The President of the United States has to say about mental health. It’s hopeful but as to be expected it doesn’t promise much and doesn’t go as far as I would like it to, but then, given my background, I won’t be president anytime soon. Click the link for more details.
What would I have liked? Not just a repetition of one in four people having mental health issues once in their life but more how mental health is something not just those “one in four” have to watch but ALL OF US need to take care of just as we take care of dental health and pregnancy wellness. I say “one in four” because that’s the statistic I go by and have heard more often than “one in five.” Is the president not counting Alzheimers disease? Autism? Does he understand that everyone can learn how to take better care of their mind and emotions just as they do their backs and their knees?
The mind is part of us that we refuse to believe is vulnerable or diverse in its attributes. Black and white thinking is, “Either you’re crazy or you’re not!” What if the president admitted he smoked because he has a psychological addiction to nicotine, that he uses tobacco to deal with the stress and anxiety of a difficult job. He’s no different from the rest of us. Sometimes, when those stress relievers no longer help, we trip and maybe even get injured. What if he said, “I deserve to be able to see a therapist without people making fun of me or judging me.”
Lots of kids would do anything to avoid wearing glasses or having to go to special education because they hate being different. I wish that we weren’t a country based on perfection but one based on character. Maybe then we could see the worth in everyone, those with differently abled minds and diverse bodies who all wish to thrive but will need different supports to do so. What if people were really into their favorite teams rather than the star players? We all need community which is just another word for team. When we get older we will all need more assistance, but who will value doing this as long as we are focused on only what we can see – muscles, tans, money, clothes. The real wealth is inside and sometimes it’s tricky to find.
What do yard sales have to do with mental health? last week we at The WIC had to do some end of the fiscal year creative thinking around our schedule. We decided that we better spend some more time making money than spending it! We are going to have a yard sale/bake sale on Friday June 7th from 10:30 to 2 pm out here at 2735 E. Tudor Road.
We did a little research last Friday and found out that if you tell people that you need something and don’t have enough money to pay you can often work out a deal at a yard sale. Sure people want to make some money but they also want their stuff to go away so asking if you can have it for less or nothing is often a risk worth taking.
The Macklemore & Lewis song is right in many ways. It’s way cooler to get something cheap and original than to spend money for something that’s made to go out of style in a week. Sometimes I feel proud of the bargains I’ve found. Other times I start to realize that I don’t really need too much more stuff in my life. Also I get to know people in my community rather intimately. You find out that someone’s husband died or their grandpa, that their kid moved away and that’s why they’re having the sale. We met someone with most of a clarinet last week. I hadn’t realized I still wanted to learn an instrument until I saw that.
It’s never too late to be an entrepreneur. We saw a couple of smaller sales which appear to have sprung up around a big organized one which had brought people down their street. Do you remember the phrase “rent party”? We are kind of doing the same thing, inviting our friends to help us pull through a dry patch. We would do the same for you! We have books and games for sale and some stuff we are all going to bring from home. All the money goes to the Wellness Innovations Center member food and activity fund. If you want to donate anything just send an email, comment or give a call to us at 762-8652.
Anyway feel free to stop by our yard sale or have your own and spread the love.