How to Change

2020 is not a hard year to say goodbye to.  This post was initially going to be about New Year’s resolutions and why they are important and a catalyst to change.  But that didn’t feel right, so I went to the source of where the inspiration for this blog comes from…The Herren Wellness community.  On Christmas each of our guests read aloud a letter of affirmation they put together after drawing a name from a jar.  I was surprised to hear that Dave* coincidentally chose Ben’s* name, because they have developed a strong friendship here, and have become pillars of strength in the community.  I asked to read the letter… and then asked permission to share it with you:  

Dear Ben,
It’s funny how the universe works and I picked you out of 20 people.  You’ve been an inspiration to me and everyone here since you stepped foot in the door.  You’re a leader to the group and at the same time a big and little brother to everyone. I wanted to start this letter off by highlighting your impact on the community because I don’t think you give yourself enough credit.  So, whether it’s a standing ovation, a pat on the back or a simple “thank you” you deserve everything you’ve worked for.

Now, your impact on me personally, with a few suggestions from an old man.  First, I admire your relationship with your sister.  It’s clear you care for her deeply and she holds a special place in your heart.  Every time you share in group about her it makes me think about my current relationship with my younger sister.  It makes me reflect deeply because I should be a better big brother and the more I think about it the more emotional I’m getting.  Thanks for being open about it because it gives me hope.

Next, our relationship with both our parents are very similar.  I don’t want to get into specifics, but I wanted to share my new perspective.  Let’s be grateful that even though they are not perfect, they’re trying.  Let’s have more empathy for our dad’s and more understanding for our mom’s. 

Lastly, we both have experienced a significant other who lacks vulnerability and has a hard time communicating with us.  It sucks.  For me, all I desperately wanted was to be loved, a person to have my back no matter what, and someone who understands me, the real me.  I was always stuck in a gray area.  I was stuck for 15 years.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Don’t settle.  Don’t fear change.  You deserve someone just as special as you.

I hope this letter gives you a perspective through a different lens.  Let’s you ask yourself some tough questions on what Ben really wants.  You’ve had a huge impact on my recovery here and I hope we can continue our friendship after Herren.

In the widely regarded Transtheoretical model the stages of change are as follows:

Stage 1: Precontemplation
Stage 2: Contemplation
Stage 3: Preparation
Stage 4: Action
Stage 5: Maintenance

This clinical theory is accurate, and widely used in treatment centers, but what it fails to incorporate is the influence a community can have on an individual moving through this process.  Our guests vulnerably share their stories with each other, they are direct witnesses to each other’s process.  They are able to shine a light and hold up a mirror sparking awareness and motivating action.  

Through Ben’s openness in the community, Dave has contemplated his own relationships among his family and is beginning to put action towards change.  In turn, Dave challenges Ben to critically assess the future of his intimate relationship.  Both men came to Herren Wellness with the willingness to change their substance use behaviors.  What they have found is a friendship among this community that influences them to change in aspects that perhaps they would not have otherwise. 

So as this year comes to a close and a new year begins, what is the first step in making a change?  From what I have learned at Herren Wellness and in my own recovery journey… get a witness.  Say it out loud, the whole truth.  Allow the story and desire to live outside of you.  It is difficult, arguably impossible, to move through the stages of change alone.  If you or anyone you love is in need of a witness, we are here at Herren Wellness…our community is here for you.  

Here’s to a brighter 2021. 

About Herren Wellness

When you come to Herren Wellness, you are immediately connected with a thriving community of people at all stages of their recovery journey. We introduce healthy habits and routines centered around emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness that provide a solid foundation for rediscovering your interests, experiencing joy in sobriety, and building structure and routine.

We provide several alumni support communities, including a weekly recovery support group, monthly alumni meeting, and online alumni community you can access anytime. Your connection to Herren Wellness doesn’t end when your stay ends; we are there for you throughout your recovery journey.

If you, or a loved one, are looking for help, please call us at (844) 443-7736, email us at, or fill out a contact form. You are not alone.