After much thought and consideration from both parties, Balance House and The Bloc Outpatient recently became members of the Trusted Provider Network (TPN). Mr. Mooney and his team won't let just anyone who can pay a fee join the network -- only organizations and professionals who hold themselves to a high ethical standard and have a track record of success with clients and their families. Jimmy, we are happy to tie our brand to TPN and are grateful for the work you do in wading through a sea of providers to facilitate meaningful connections.
From Last Place to First Place Winners!
A couple months into the season, an administrator for the Salt Lake County Sober Softball League called our staff member and in-house team coach, Matt D, and asked that our team step down into a less competitive league because Balance House was losing by such large margins. Matt's reply was quick: he asked that Balance House remain in the higher division because he really believed we could practice, improve, build on our strengths, and not only perform at a higher level but maybe even win the league. Well...he was right! After a long summer of overcoming obstacles by working together, putting in the time and effort to improve where we could, and shattering expectations, the Balance House (in-house) team won the title and earned their trophy. Now if that's not one of the best working-metaphors for recovery, then I don't know what is. Well done to all our clients who stepped up, and to Matt D for going above and beyond.
The same can't be said about the Balance House Alumni team (at least the belief part), because Coach Q never doubted, even for a moment, that they would take home the trophy...even on those dark nights under the lights in Sandy, when they were down eight runs with only six minutes to play. And, as is usual over the last few seasons, the alumni team came through big time and also won their division. Great job, all! It's great to have to stay connected, play hard, and keep a good attitude (for the majority of the time). Keep up the good work!
And let us not forget about the Balance House Alumni Too team that took second in their division. Coached by the Viking King, Mr. Janssen himself, they really came out to play and swung for the fences with those giant battle bats/axes. Janssen and his team have been consistent every season since they started, which is hard to do with all we have going on in life, and for that we commend them.
Stay tuned for the next season...which will start very soon.
We are happy to be one of the sponsors for The Loa Fund's golf tournament this year. Read a little more about the foundation by clicking on the link below, and get involved if you can.
We've not written since April because running the business has taken priority over posts, but we thought it was time to share a photo of our new transportation vehicle. It's a tough machine, it's a comfortable ride, and it's making waves all over the city here in Salt Lake.
Clients (and sometimes other very important parties) question why we do what we do. Well, until a few years ago, we didn't know a sizable portion of our program philosophy was once stated very clearly and poetically by a pretty smart guy. Aristotle said this...
Francis of Assisi said this, "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
This sentiment touches on what makes the Balance House experience so fundamentally transformative. After focusing on the smallest of things in the beginning (this time frame varies for each of us) and handling what we absolutely need to, we can turn our attention to dreaming. After having learned to plan and execute, our dreams become reality. Then our vision enlarges, it expands, and we find ourselves doing the impossible. We are the impossible. We have become the impossible.
For our activity last week we took 24 current clients, employees, and BH alumni to the Solitude Ski Resort (which is only a five minute drive from our women's location) up Big Cottonwood Canyon. We had an awesome time on the hill with what Utahns call the "Best Snow on Earth." Thanks to the alumni who brought extra gear, and CJM for the photos. Pictured below, is exactly how Balance House does it.
Four-years-ago today, Balance House opened its doors as a 10 bed facility for men with the hope of maybe, just maybe affecting change in the men we would be lucky enough to have in our program. Our only focus was to be a place where men could come to find how possible it is to change...if only they choose to do so. Further, our basic philosophy was our clients are more than capable--unbelievably capable--so we expect them to act accordingly while giving each man enough room to shine. This philosophy hasn't changed.
Now, four-years later, we have 28 male beds, 13 female beds, and five houses with a huge, amazing alumni we love and are so proud to call family. Many times, those who struggle with these issues can't help but feel like they are a dime-a-dozen. However, the beauty of all this is that with a little acceptance, humility, hard work, and introspection, we can and do become one in 7 billion. This is evidenced by and through our alumni, our staff, our referents, and especially the clients and their families we are lucky to work with every day. Anything is possible, but it is never just given. Getting sober is supposed to be hard, for if it wasn't, there would be no such thing as addiction. The hardness of early recovery is necessary for the times when it becomes second nature.
For the men and women who have come before, for those who are in now, and for all those yet to come, please understand this: We love you... Even when you feel like a dime-a-dozen... We love you always just as you are...one in 7 billion.
For all our supporters: Thank you...thank you...thank you! For all those who don't know us yet: You don't know what you're missing! There are exciting things coming in 2016!
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a good description of why we preach that making your bed correctly and keeping your house in order are so important.
Here's Balance House wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday! Let's make good decisions today, be kind to one another, and be of service to at least one other person.
When those couple clients who are from a place that is perpetually sunny wake up to the first day of real snow in Salt Lake like, "Uhhhhhhh, what will it take to get work off today?"
This is how early recovery can feel sometimes. Imagine your bad habits are the big guy, and the "new you" in recovery is the small guy. Balance House training is Takanoyama-esque!
Robbie B, Executive Director
When asked how I have stayed sober over these last few years, I answer by stating it was the small things. Nothing is bigger than the smallest of things. During the first year of my sobriety I found that picking up a piece of trash, calling my mother to tell her I love her, being on-time to work, and going to various support groups were the keys to my survival.
My sobriety date is a day I will never forget. I was alone and had an average daily balance in my bank account of $15.00 with no credit. I was without self-respect or self-esteem. I had no moral compass, nor did I have a personal constitution. For the first time in my life and for whatever reason, I decided to finally stick to something, which was staying sober one day at a time. I started my life over at the age of 27 and then, just a few short years later, I found myself writing a bio for a website representing our business. What separates me and one who is early in recovery, is just hard work and time. It is not easy, but if it was, sobriety wouldn’t be cherished–only those things that come with blood, sweat, and tears are valued at this level. There is a better life waiting patiently for all those who desire it if they are willing. Sobriety is possible and worth every moment of anguish. It gets better, one just has to work at it.
Balance House will never be a place where one must rely upon the program to tell them who they are. Ours is a program where the resident’s intelligence is respected and motives trusted. We have a highly structured program and demand only excellence of its participants…not perfection. We promote the four staples of recovery–responsibility, accountability, personal recovery, and service. We ask that anyone entering our program respect this philosophy and work together in order to develop a plan that implements these four staples into their daily lives, but ultimately it is up to the individual to make the right decisions necessary to recover from what ails them.
Micah W, Director of Operations
My name is Micah and I am a person in long-term recovery. I am also an honors student, an outstanding employee for a company that values me, a partner in a business, a true friend, an honest member in good standing of my community and my religion, a baby brother to my family, a loving son to my dear parents, and a husband and father to a wonderful wife and son. It was not always this way, but because of the support from certain people and organizations, I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are illnesses that are no respecter of persons and anyone may have the disease regardless of what one looks like, where they come from, or how large their salary is. I come from a good family and was raised by nearly perfect parents but I still made many poor choices. I ended up traveling a very long and dark road for 10 years which landed me in the loneliest and most hopeless places imaginable–institutions, hospitals, and homelessness. Getting loaded was how I coped with the pain of not knowing how to live effectively. When I stopped numbing the pain, my life actually became more unbearable, more uncomfortable, and I my level of fear increased. I found a life of purpose and meaning when I finally made a decision to be sober no matter the cost, started being of service to others, was held accountable for my actions and my situation, and listened to people who had taken a similar path before me with good results. If there was only one message for me to convey to this world and to those still afflicted and addicted, it would be that THERE IS HOPE and we can affect positive change in our lives! Recovery is absolutely possible, and people definitely recover permanently.
My level of commitment, the choices I make, and the responsibilities I hold are what ultimately shape my life. The word passion was coined in the 12th century by Christian scholars to describe not just suffering, but pure and willing suffering, or suffering for a purpose. This is why I do what I do–I am passionate about helping those who are afflicted. We can recover provided we take the right action daily and are consistently living in the solution.
Tony P, Men's Program Director
My journey to find recovery was a long one full of ups and downs. Before finding recovery, I spent most of my time using with the knowledge that it wasn’t the life I wanted, but I couldn’t find a way out. I held the belief that something positive would come into my life without working for it. I was just a scared little boy, even into my mid-twenties. My addiction shielded me in some ways from the outside world. I led a life full of fear, broken promises, and broken hearts. My life during active addiction was absolute misery. I had no direction, no purpose and viewed my situation as hopeless.
My choices led to some trouble, which led to my moment of clarity. The moment came one day many Septembers ago when a guard in corrections told me that I had been rescued, not arrested. Some years have passed since being introduced to recovery and now I see the truth—that my life is a complete miracle. I live with purpose, values, honesty and I am of service whenever possible. I have become a partner in a business that is meaningful to me. I have quality experiences that were before unimaginable. I live by certain principles that have transformed me into a man I can be proud of.
Working in recovery is something that is most dear to me. My reward is being in a position to help lost men, like I was once lost. Without help and guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today and I am very grateful and honored to be a part of Balance House and be able to help men who want to stay in recovery and live a different lifestyle.
Kevin D, Men's Operations Manager
Growing up I had a seemingly normal, loving family though my parents were separated. At a young age, I felt obligated to do my part to take care of my mother and little sister. Eventually, because of the mounting pressure, I got resentful and began using substances as a much-needed escape from the responsibilities I had placed on my own shoulders. The disease of addiction moved quickly from partying to daily maintenance. Day in and day out I felt like I was barely surviving, so after an extended period of unbearable pain, was finally willing to do whatever I needed to get help, which oddly enough, was readily waiting for me the moment I asked for it.
I was only 21 when I got sober, which I still can’t believe. I’ve stayed sober one day at a time since, with a lot of hard work and help, of course. I transitioned from a residential treatment center to Balance House and immediately saw the value of what was being shared...so I latched on. The care and attention I got from the men at Balance House gave me hope when I needed it most. They helped me find direction in life, and because I took their advice and worked hard, I love where I am today.
I am grateful to be a part of the program that changed my life. It means the world to me that I am able to help men go through the same process I did several years ago. This isn't just a job for me. It's the way I live. Sometimes I pinch myself just to make sure I'm not dreaming because I'm fortunate enough to help guide men with sound principles and my own experience--watching the lights come on in their eyes and families coming together again.
Katie M, Women's Program Director
For a very long time, a life full of substance abuse and alcohol was the only thing I knew and thought I deserved. I was able to function for a long time with minimal consequences. I somehow managed to get a Bachelor’s degree & hold down a job, but because of these successes, I didn’t think I had a problem nor did I seek any help. My perception of what an alcoholic looked like was skewed and inaccurate.
I grew up in a small town with a very loving and supportive family. My lifestyle and choices led me to a place full of despair, hopelessness, and isolation. I wanted a better life, but still thought that the problem was the alcohol and drugs, not me. I didn’t have the knowledge of what addiction really was, nor did I know anything about recovery. I was brought from Las Vegas to Utah and entered a treatment center. In that treatment center, I started to heal. I learned very early on that if I wanted to stay sober, I had to find something I was passionate about. I had to somehow learn new life skills and live with integrity.
I have self-confidence and am able to have healthy relationships with friends and family. My life is full of passion, hobbies, and a freedom I never thought possible. I have been working with women for some time now, and nothing has been more rewarding. I am proud to be a part of the Balance House team, and look forward to inspire others around us for many years to come.
Alex F, Women's Operations Director
The path that ultimately led me to where I am today started with what seemed like a few poor decisions that quickly accelerated into a full blown addiction and an inability to take care of myself, hold down a job, or function even on the lowest level required to live. People around me saw the devastating choices I was making and were shocked at the rate at which my life was spiraling downward. Time and time again my family was left to deal with the aftermath of my choices. For years I knew I had a problem with substances and the severity became more apparent as the consequences of the life I was living continued to stack up.
When I finally got to a place where I had been so beat up by the lifestyle and the toll drugs and alcohol were having on my body, I did the one thing that required more courage than anything I had done, or will ever do...I asked for help. I was given an opportunity to go to treatment. I was very weary and fearful about living without what was my solution for such a long time, but the alternative was no longer an option. I finally realized that I didn’t have to do it alone and that was the first real sense of relief and hope I had felt in years. Through a lot of hard work and getting to know myself for the first time, the person I have become looks nothing like the false view of myself I had when I began my journey in sobriety. In working with women and being heavily involved with the recovery community, I have discovered an honest passion and desire to help others. In working for Balance House, I am able to love and believe in others the way someone loved and believed in me when it mattered more than anything. I am blessed beyond measure to be part of this process.
A couple days ago, one of our fearless leaders (is anyone really fearless? If there is such a man, this might be him), Tony "make your bed" P. celebrated 1,825 days of continuous relief from a seemingly hopeless ism. Well done, Tony! Thanks for all you do for Balance House. We love you.