December 2017
Going to a Party?
10 Tips to Stay Sober this New Year's Eve
If you’ll be attending a party this New Year’s where alcohol may be served, here are some suggestions from our friends at The Recovery Book that will help you stay sober.
1.       Make a plan for staying sober at the party.   Decide in advance that there’s no way in the world that you will drink or use drugs at the event. Ask for help from your Higher Power, because you may need it. Know and rehearse exactly what you will say if someone asks, “Would you like a drink?”.

2.      Serve yourself.  If you can, bring your own water bottle or glass full of soda, so you don’t even have to go near the bar. If you don’t bring your own, when you arrive head straight to the liquid refreshments and help yourself to a safe option. Keep your beverage in your hand for the rest of your time at the party (refill as needed). That way you won’t have to keep turning down offers of something to drink. People won’t be asking you and unknowingly tempting you. If you set your drink down while dancing or when you step into the bathroom, get a new one when you return. Don’t take a chance on anyone having accidentally switched drinks or good-naturedly topped yours off, or even worse, slipped a drug into it.

3.      Bring your own beverage.   If a holiday celebration includes the use of alcoholic beverages (such as wine at Passover), make sure in advance that there are substitutes (such as grape juice) for you and anyone else who doesn’t want to drink the harder stuff.

4.      Don’t go it alone – bring a sober friend. Bring along an AA buddy or a hired sober companion. Or take someone at the party into your confidence (the host, a friend, even a waiter); candor will serve you better than pride, embarrassment, or guilt. Tell them that you can’t drink, and enlist them as bodyguard. It will make the event easier for you, and will keep you from winding up in a relapse. If you can’t take someone with you, arrange to text with someone throughout the evening. Or make a plan to call your sponsor every hour on the hour. Build in some accountability, however you can.

5.      It’s okay to tell people that you are now in recovery.  There is a lot less stigma these days to being in recovery. Nearly everyone knows someone who is in recovery and very open about it. It’s your choice whether or not you want to tell people. One good reason to be open about it: If your friends don’t know you’ve given up alcohol, they may lead you into temptation without intending to. Another reason: When you let it be known that you don’t drink, you offer support and encouragement to others who are thinking about sobriety but are afraid to take the leap. You just might be the catalyst that gets someone else started on recovery.

6.      Don’t romance the drink or drug.  If everyone starts talking about the “good old days,” leave the room. You don’t want to change your focus to thoughts of your drinking or using days. That can lead to preoccupation and obsession, and then to cravings. Keep your focus on your life right now, your life in recovery.

7.      Curb resentment.  You’re almost sure to run into someone who’ll say, “Do you mind if I have a drink?” Your automatic answer will most likely be “No, I don’t mind.” The truth is you probably do resent it. You’re as good as the other guy. If he can drink, why can’t you? If you feel resentment building, make your excuses and find your sober buddy, slip out to a meeting, or call or text your sponsor. Pull out your phone for a quick check-in with an online meeting or recovery forum. Or head home and immerse yourself in an online meeting.

8.   Be ready to leave.  Keep your car keys or taxi fare in your pocket. Should you suddenly feel overwhelmed by temptation, leave immediately. Do not try to test yourself. If there are drugs at the party, it is usually best to leave as soon as you are able.

9.      Take inventory the next day.  The day after you go to an event with alcohol you may well fall into self-pity mode. “Why can’t I have fun like those other people?” Don’t let those feelings and ideas simmer; they can push you right over the edge into a relapse. Plug right back into your recovery program. Call or text your sponsor, double up on meetings, and read recovery literature. Be honest about any feelings that arose from being around drinking.

10.     Plan your own celebrations . If you are not traveling for the holidays, plan to celebrate with local AA or NA friends. If you haven’t been invited, do the inviting yourself. Follow old family traditions or start some of your own .

Here are some additional suggestions provided to us by our faithful alumni:

·        Skip the riskiest parties. One can more easily get away with abstaining from alcohol at an afternoon work get-together or a crowded buffet dinner. Other events are more challenging, and should be avoided, such as a cocktail party or an event at a bar.
·        Don’t go hungry.  A common saying at AA meetings is, 'Never let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired." Make sure to have a snack and a good night’s rest before the party! 
·        Go to a meeting before (or after) the party.  “It just puts me in the right frame of mind, reiterates my purpose and how much I love being sober - I wouldn’t want to lose that for anything in the world,” one alumni shared with us.
·        Always, always have an exit plan!  

Got more tips? We would love to hear them - email us your submissions and have a safe and joyous New Year's. Willingway wishes you much peace and serenity this upcoming year.
Alumni Updates
Best Interview and Community Outreach Award Winner,
Miss Florida USA
Emily M.
Statesboro, GA

Emily M. was deeply honored to win the Best Interview Award at Miss Florida USA earlier this month! She was also presented with the Community Outreach Award for her transparency when discussing her own recovery and giving hope to others who may be struggling.
Do you have news to share? 

Reply to this email or start a new message to  communications@willingway.com to publish:

  • Birth announcements
  • Marriages
  • New jobs
  • Sobriety/Wedding anniversaries
  • Obituaries
  • Spiritual support requests 

Use "Alumni News" in the subject line for all submissions and let us know where you are currently located. We welcome your photos. 

Deadline for inclusion is the 15th of each month
and as they say, thanks for sharing. 
Holiday Happenings Around The Way

Ugly Sweater Contest at the Patient/Staff Christmas party

At Willingway’s annual Patient/Staff Christmas Party, employees dressed up in their favorite holiday garb for our first ever Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. Patients overwhelmingly voted for Dirk Graham, who rocked a onesie all day long. Dirk accepted this honor with a lip sync rendition of his favorite christmas song - Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You". Congratulations to Dirk - even though a onesie isn’t really a sweater!
Christmas Eve Sugar Cookie Party

The holidays have been very busy 'round The Way, as employees from all departments have been working together to coordinate a number of special activities to keep patients in good spirits during the holidays. On Christmas Eve we hosted an awesome sugar cookie decorating party with homemade cookies and icing. Also in December, patients enjoyed an outing to a spectacular Christmas lights display at a local farm, caroling throughout the halls of Willingway, and even a White Elephant gift-giving event.

Willingway Staff Christmas Party

Willingway celebrated the holidays in style at our annual Staff Christmas Party, hosted at Statesboro's Springhill Suites Conference Center with a delicious buffet dinner catered by The Painted Chef . To the right, John Williamson, Director of Extended Treatment Services, is pictured with Wende Moulis, Lee Street/By the Grace Program Manager, and Jonathon DeLoach, Louie's/Broad 90 Program Manager. For more pictures, check out our Facebook page !
Bulloch County Schools Christmas Family Adoption

Each year Willingway staff participates in the Bulloch County Schools Christmas Family Adoption program, in which WW employees volunteer to purchase gifts for families that without these donations would not be able to have a Christmas. When Alumni & Community Relations Coordinator Emily McFarland and some very helpful Lee Street Ladies delivered the gifts, the van was so full of presents that the women could barely fit!

Rita Cobb Named Employee of the year

Rec Therapy Coordinator Rita Cobb is the recipient of our 2017 Employee of the Year award! CEO Cherie Tolley, along with past winners Lynn Motes, Connie Lawler, and John Williamson, presented Rita with the award during a very special celebration. Her dedication to Willingway and our patients is nothing short of inspiring. Congrats to Rita!
Bulloch Alcohol & Drug Council 's Annual Winter Retreat

Alumni & Community Relations Coordinator Emily McFarland had the honor of attending the annual Bulloch Alcohol & Drug Council's annual Winter Retreat. Emily was able to further develop relationships with other members of the community coalition and was also able to help learn more about and contribute to BADC's plans for this coming year. Plus Executive Director Joyce Stubbs made the greatest Chess Pie Emily had ever tasted!

The mission of BADC is to provide information a nd education regarding the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on youth, as well as, provide referrals to treatment for those families adversely affected.
WW Phyiscian Assistant Jodi Brannen is engaged!

Congratulations to Jodi Brannen, PA-C, who many of you will remember from your time on Unit I if you graduated within the last two years, on her recent engagement to Richard Gilmer!
Lynn Motes, Proud Great-Grandmother

Lynn Motes, Senior Administrative Assistant and WW employee for 30 years this April, is blessed to have a new arrival in her family! Meet Lynn's great-grandchild, Heidi Sage Lanier, who was born on November 29, 2017, weighing 7 lbs 1 oz. Congratulations, Lynn!

Willingway Weekly Continuing Care Community Groups

Held weekly in the following cities, our care extends beyond the Statesboro campus
to provide ongoing support for those in recovery. Alumni, their families and friends,
and anyone with a touchpoint to recovery are welcome.

For detailed meeting location information and local contacts, please visit our Continuing Care page  or contact Director of Patient Support and Continuing Care Jason "JD" DuPell at 912.489.7218 or email him at jdupell@willingway.com

Atlanta - Tuesdays, 6:30 pm
Augusta - Saturdays, 10:00 am
Bluffton - Tuesdays, 6:30 pm
Charleston - Mondays, 6:30 pm
Macon - Mondays, 6:30 pm
Marietta - Thursdays, 7:00 pm
Raleigh - Mondays, 7:30 pm    
Savannah - Mondays, 6:00 pm 
Statesboro - Mondays, 6:30 pm
 St. Simon's Island - Saturdays, 10:00 am
Jacksonville - Mondays, 6:00 pm
Jacksonville Beach - Tuesdays, 6:00 pm  
Warner Robins - Tuesdays, 6:30 pm  
Waycross - Tuesdays, 6:30 pm

The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost
The Chandelier is a digital monthly publication for the Alumni, Family, and Friends of Willingway. For any questions about it or our Alumni program in general, please contact Alumni & Community Relations Coordinator Emily McFarland at emcfarland@willingway.com or 912.489.7277.