“I came for the community and stayed for the workshops…” – a post by a New Life Resident

laughA special guest post from a New Life resident!

Arriving at the New Life Foundation 10 days ago, I gave myself a week to check the place out before deciding to stay. Within a few days I had committed to 3 months.

It was the workshops that clinched it. In just 3 sessions I’d learnt incredibly useful life skills and significantly progressed the self-development work I’d began in rehab.

I’d completed 6 weeks in an alcohol and drug treatment center plus 2 weeks of sober living in Chiang Mai. I was looking for a safe environment to continue my recovery and self-growth. Having heard about this as a community focused on mindful recovery and environmental sustainability, I arrived  at New Life with high hopes, but kept my expectations low.

The daily program seemed tough, even after rehab! 6am yoga, volunteer work, personal life coaching, workshops, meditation plus evening meetings. I wasn’t sure it was for me, but was determined to keep an open mind and practice the art of mindfulness.

The first workshop I attended was on “Conflict Resolution”, in which we learnt to identify our communication styles, our needs and how to assertively but respectfully deal with conflicts. Working in small groups we took examples of conflicts in our lives, using the process to achieve positive resolutions. I was able to immediately put these skills to use to deal with a challenging situation I had been avoiding.

The following day’s workshop was “Compassionate Listening”. As one of those (annoying) people who tend to give advice where its not asked for, this workshop could have scheduled just for me! We role-played different listening styles looking at the impact on the speaker and the listener. A key break-though for me was developing compassion by focusing on a nourishing aspect of the speaker and cultivating an enriching sense of empathy.

This week kicked off with a session on “Blocks and Assets”. Each participant was the focus of group feedback, positive and negative, summarized with one quality that was an asset and one that was a block to their self-growth. The facilitator, Nick – a new life coach at the Foundation – explained that honesty was important and the feedback a ‘gift’.

After the session Nick told me that, ‘With over 25 residents here, it was a good way to get to know everyone and an overview of the range of reasons people are here. I’ll be mainly working with those in addictions recovery, but these workshops are relevant to everyone on a journey of transition and growth. Next week’s workshops will be on the topics of “What The F*** Is Spirituality Anyway!” which is about identifying individual concepts of spirituality, as well as “Freedom From The Prison Of Self (aka Making Bail!)”’

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