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Step Two – beginning the spiritual journey

By Therapist Aisling Farrell `Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity’ Working Step Two is the beginning of a spiritual journey and helps in the belief that it is possible to let go of obsession and insanity and live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Step 2 is a step of hope and faith in recovery. Having admitted powerless and unmanageability in Step One , the second step offers strength and inspiration.  The spiritual principles that are the foundation of this step are open mindedness, willingness, faith, trust and humility. Open-mindedness is required…

Mindfulness is an important part of recovery

How to Practise Mindfulness at Home

Anyone who stays with us at Smarmore Castle practises mindfulness, helping you develop the skills you need to keep yourself strong and continue into a healthy recovery when you leave treatment with us. If you’ve been with us and are looking for a reminder of this, take a moment to remember being in the meeting room with your peers. Now that you’re at home, life can get overwhelming, especially when you are in early recovery. You may be thinking about a new career, tending to your family, trying to save some money, or doing them all at once! Things can…

One step which can sometimes feel like a giant leap

Step 1 of the 12-Steps

Smarmore Castle’s treatment is based on the 12 Steps of addiction recovery, which takes people who are suffering with addiction and helps you learn how to beat your addiction. This article provides an overview of Step 1, and it may be helpful for anyone who has already been through 12-Step treatment to return to this from time-to-time. Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” To admit that you are powerless over alcohol or drugs is one of the most challenging yet crucial aspects to recovery. This step can be very difficult…

One person's reflection on their recovery from addiction

A reflection of recovery by a past patient at Smarmore Castle

A former patient at Smarmore Castle sent us this reflection, looking back at their recovery journey, and we hope this helps anyone who is daunted by the prospect of treatment for addiction. You can come through this. Reflection of recovery by a past patient “As I sit here – two and a half years clean and sober – and reflect on my journey up to this point, I am overwhelmed with how far I have come. Overwhelmed with pride, with gratitude, self-acceptance, worthiness, and happiness- Things I never believed I would say but today, thanks to recovery, I can. “In…

Losing a pet - or any loved one - in recovery can be hard

Losing a pet and a family member in recovery

Anyone who has lost loved ones or who loves animals may identify with this little segment, written by a former patient at Smarmore Castle. “I have always had a love of animals from a young age, however over the course of my addiction I was lucky to be able to look after my kids and myself – let alone a pet. “When I came into recovery my mother gave me a little dog – a pug called Bentley.  I could not change his name as he was given to my mother by a couple in the process of a divorce…

Smarmore Castle Performance

How are we performing? Recent Patient Satisfaction Levels

At Smarmore Castle, we regularly survey patient satisfaction to make sure we listen and respond to what our patients are saying. Recent surveys from the first nine months of 2020 – including the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – showed some very positive results: Even with the inevitable disruption of the pandemic, we maintained a rating of 100% overall satisfaction – with 62% rating our overall treatment as “Excellent”, 34% “Very Good” and just 4% rating us as “Good”. The strong quality of care provided by our team came through very clearly, with “Excellent” ratings being given to our therapists…

HOOKED  – An Exhibition on Addiction at the Science Gallery, London

HOOKED – An Exhibition on Addiction at the Science Gallery, London

I watch a rather world-weary woman reading aloud – a ‘goodbye letter to alcohol’. It is an exercise that I often use when working with patients at Castle Craig Hospital and will be familiar to anyone with experience of addiction therapy.  It is an effective recovery technique. Nothing new there. But this is an artwork, a video installation and what makes it different is that there is another presence in the video – a rather malign looking lady representing the drug alcohol, who gives a threatening yet poetic response to the goodbye letter. It adds something extra and gets me…

Feed Me - Sugar, Greed & Addiction. (A film displayed at the HOOKED Exhibition)

Feed Me – Sugar, Greed & Addiction. (A film displayed at the HOOKED Exhibition)

Feed Me by Rachel Maclean plunges you into a sickly sweet dystopian journey in a world of hardcore contrasts. Walking into the showing you are greeted by soft yellow bean bags, candyfloss pink shag carpeting and baby blue walls. At first, I admire how from the very moment you enter the room you are plunged into an atmosphere designed seemingly by a living angel cake; yet the sweet reception, much like the film, isn’t as it cute as it seems.   The character designs are unnervingly uncanny, dressed in infantile colours – from chick yellow, barbie pink, to baby blue…

Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

According to Phil Grant, an addiction therapist at Smarmore Castle, an Irish rehab clinic, “music is universal, whether it’s hip-hop, blues, rock, traditional Irish or ancient. Music is a way of communicating that doesn’t need words.” And writing about music is a good way to celebrate Recovery Month.   Phil facilitates a drum circle at Smarmore rehab clinic in County Louth (the clinic I’m working for). “We build community through rhythm,” he says.   At Smarmore, participants in the drum circle get hands-on experience of community building by learning: Respect for others in the group To listen and not talk…

Can Ireland Learn from Britain’s Drinks Lobby?

Can Ireland Learn from Britain’s Drinks Lobby?

There’s a useful lesson that Irish politicians can learn from Public Health England, the policy-making body of the NHS: watch out for the drinks industry lobby. In the British media there is a furore over the drinks industry’s influence over Public Health England’s policy on alcohol.   Professor Ian Gilmore, Public Health England’s adviser on alcohol, resigned because the agency refused to end its cooperation with Drinkaware — an NGO that is part-funded by the drinks industry.   In addition, 46 health experts sent an open letter to Public Health England saying “industry-funded messages and social marketing campaigns should not…