October 2017
Healing through Connection
Autumn Altamirano, CCS, CAC II is not only a WW and Lee Street alumna, but has also worked at Willingway for the last 15 years. Autumn got her start on Unit I as a Nurse Aide/Ward Secretary and soon became an Outpatient Counselor once she began to pursue a career in the clinical field. Ultimately she was promoted to Program Director of The Women's Residence, a position which she has held since 2008. This month, The Chandelier had the privilege to sit down with Autumn to learn more about her program for women and her personal journey in recovery.

TC:   What makes The Women’s Residence unique, setting it apart from other extended treatment programs for females?
AA: The Women’s Residence (also known as “The Rez”) is a long-term treatment program exclusively for women 18 years of age and older suffering from alcoholism or addiction, with an average length of stay of approximately one year. How it differs from other treatments is that it is highly structured in order to serve the needs of those who have co-occurring disorders. We are also able to do the intensive one-on-one counseling that is needed for women who also have eating disorders or a history of abuse and trauma. The Rez has two dedicated counselors on site 40 hours a week, as well as support staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our clients are never unsupervised and we maintain a high patient-to-staff ratio.

TC:   What type of client is appropriate for The Women’s Residence? 
AA: Our clients tend to be resistant to treatment and are often defiant. We also work with a number of women who are “treatment wise”, meaning that they have been through multiple treatments centers and either completed the program and relapsed, got kicked out for inappropriate behaviors, or simply left early against medical advice. Many of my clients have been deemed inappropriate for other facilities that have more freedom and less clinical care. We also get a lot of referrals due to the intense work we are able to do and the success that we often have with addicted females who also have Personality Disorders. Our clients tend to have long histories of extreme feelings of being less than and out of place among their families, peers, and co-workers. They have counseling issues that cannot be worked on in a traditional halfway house setting - these are women in need of a very high level of care. I have also seen some patients come through our program with fairly complex medical histories and they have been able to get better physically, emotionally, and spiritually, although admission is ultimately up to our Medical Director, Dr. Shawn Williams. When we do accept a client with medical issues, our staff will keep up with their appointments, which we centralize in Statesboro. Residence staff transports and accompanies the client to these appointments and their doctors work directly with Dr. Shawn on the medical component of our clients’ treatment. 
TC: What do you love the most about running The Rez? 
AA: It is amazing to watch as our clients grow and change on a long-term basis, eventually becoming healthy, productive members of the community. I have a passion for working with women that have Personality Disorders and it is a blessing to see those clients come to have successful and healthy lives, especially when other professionals have told them that there was no hope. Many look at those with Personality Disorders as a difficult population to work with, but I find it refreshing. I simply see an individual who is using all these different means to get their needs met - means that are unhealthy and ultimately don’t work. I feel so much compassion for them. I see that deep down all they really want is human connection. These behaviors that they use - the attention seeking, the dramatics, the defiance – push other people away but they can’t see it and they don’t understand why it’s happening. I love getting in there and giving them the secret - helping them find healthy behaviors that will foster connection.  

TC: What’s the hardest part? 
AA: I work with my clients for up to a year and it becomes impossible to not form attachments. While the relationship is not severed when they graduate, it does change - which is normal - but it can be a difficult adjustment. Perhaps the hardest part, however, is when I form those attachments and the client ends up leaving or not doing well. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be heartbreaking.  

TC:  Would you care to share with us how going through extended treatment at Lee Street impacted your personal recovery program?
AA: Lee Street taught me that my actions had to change. It didn’t matter so much about my feelings as it did my actions. I needed a structured program where it was ingrained in me that no matter how I was feeling I did not need to stop participating in my recovery program or life in general. You never stop doing the next right thing. Nearly 16 years later, that is still how I live. I have had a lot of stuff in my personal life surrounding my daughter’s diagnosis of Autism, both my husband and I being working professionals, health issues, family issues, so on and so forth. I’ll have all these emotions going on, emotions that once drove my actions, but the difference is that when things get difficult, I do not stay in the bed. I do not take pills or drink in order to cope. For me it’s about talking to my support network, being open and honest, and still doing the next right thing regardless of how I feel. I learned how to do that because of Lee Street.

TC:  We all know that going through extended treatment is hard for a variety of reasons and the Rez is definitely known to be one of the more intensive long-term women’s programs in the country, but what is something that patients often find themselves loving about the Rez?
AA: The bonding our clients experience with their peers and, more surprisingly, the staff is always number one. We have a ritual when a patient is being discharged, which includes a Goodbye Group and a Goodbye Lunch. For the Goodbye Group the girls make a box for their graduating peer and they all put special items in the box that have a personal meaning attached to it or are indicative of some connection. The client is presented with the box and we go around the room giving feedback to that person. At the Goodbye Lunch – and this is my favorite part – I ask two questions: What was your worst time at The Women’s Residence and what was your best? Their worst time will often involve an incident in the beginning of their recovery where they had to change an unhealthy behavior. We all know how painful change can be. For their best time, however, it always involves – hands down - relationships and connections with their peers and our support staff.

The Chandelier thanks Autumn for taking time out of her very busy schedule to speak with us!
The Haunted Forest at The Clubhouse
Willingway Alumni came out in droves to Statesboro’s Haunted Forest on Sunday, October 29, to participate in the first ever Extended Treatment Services graduate section. Lee Street, Louie’s, and Lodge grads donned their Haunted Forest attire from years past and had a blast re-living some old memories out in The Forest, all the while helping out a great cause -- The Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County. 
Pictured above, beginning at the top left and going clockwise are Kinder C. (dressed as everyone's favorite creepy clown, "Koko"), Jay D., Kelsey T., Carrie H., and Allison  K.
Got Yarn?
The Men's Lodge is currently raising money for their trip fund. In addition to offering the local community services that include pressure washing, lawn care, dog walking, and car washing, they are selling custom crocheted beanies and scarves that they make themselves. Hats are $7.50, while scarves are $15. Any color, or combination of colors, can be made. If you are interested in purchasing, please contact Alumni & Community Relations Coordinator Emily McFarland for assistance. Stay warm and check out Recovery Tech, WW alum, & (rumor has it) part-time male model  Blake Arnold  sporting a one of a kind Lodge creation!
Alumni Updates
Scholastic Achievements
Amy B.
Statesboro, GA

Amy B. has received Ogeechee Technical College's Charlie Joe Mathews Memorial Scholarship and will also be inducted into the National Technical Honor Society. Congrats to Amy!
Bret F. and Mary Beth R.
Statesboro, GA

Bret F. and Mary Beth R. tied the knot in MB's hometown of Jacksonville, FL on October 8. The weekend was a beautiful celebration of the lovely couple with family and friends.
John R. and Ivy N.
Statesboro, GA

John R. and Ivy N. also tied the knot on October 8. The two were married at The Waterfall Club in Clayton, GA in a small and intimate ceremony.
Engagement Party
Taylor M. and Brooke B.
Statesboro, GA

Paula and Jim B. hosted a beautiful engagement party for Taylor M. and Brooke B. at their homestead. Taylor's Lodge Brothers and Brooke's Lee Street Sisters came out to celebrate the happy couple and their upcoming marriage. Taylor and Brooke, we wish you nothing but happiness in your future!
Do you have news to share? 

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

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

Check out these cuties!

Earlier this month, Hope Aldred, Willingway's Family Counselor, traveled with Rec Therapy Coordinator Rita Cobb to The Blanchard Institute in Raleigh, NC. Hope participated in their Family Addiction Workshop by providing family members and loved ones with skills and tools necessary to begin their own healing process and develop their own resiliency. The program was an intensive weekend that included group work, lectures, and presentations addressing various dynamics of the disease. Hope was very excited to be a part of such a powerful weekend.

Red Ribbon Week

WW staff came to work in their favorite garnet gear to show support for The Red Ribbon Campaign on Friday, October 27. Inpatient Counselor Kinder Cannon & Jodi Brannen, PA-C are pictured on the right dressed in crimson clothes from head to toe! An honorable mention also goes to Dietary Assistant Gladys Campbell, who sported red pants, shirt, shoes, ribbons, and even a hat! Willingway celebrated all week, including co-sponsorship of the Bulloch County Alcohol & Drug Council's annual "Teen Maze".
Teen Maze

WW alumni and staff had the honor of participating in Teen Maze by speaking with middle school students about the real life consequences of addiction. Pictured to the right are Willingway's Family Counselor Hope Aldred and WW alumns Paige L. & Frank W.
Willingway's Annual Patient - Staff Halloween Carnival

Happy Halloween! WW staff come to work dressed in their favorite costumes and four lucky employees won prizes at our annual Patient - Staff Halloween Carnival. Beginning clockwise from the top left, we have the following winners:

  • Scariest - Recovery Tech Blake Arnold (aka Michael Myers)
  • Funniest - Jodi Brannen, PA-C as an eccentric grandma
  • Most Creative - Inpatient Counselor Paula Becker as a CEREAL KILLER
  • Best Overall - Inpatient Counselor Wayne Cooper aka COUNT CRACKULA 
Last but not least, an honorable mention goes to Rec Therapy Coordinator Rita Myers Cobb​ and Family Counselor Hope Potter Aldred, who​ dressed up as Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers!
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.