For Counselors: Alcohol & Addiction in the Home

Table of Contents

As you advance through each month of 5 Radical Minutes, additional content will become available.

Alcohol & Addiction 1-5

These prompts are for students who deal with alcohol and addiction in the home. It is not for students who are alcoholics or addicts themselves.

Note: Be sure to read the introductory content to your students before jumping into these cutting and self harm prompts. It will help all know what’s coming, and what amazing things you’re going to accomplish together.

Week 1
Introduction

Introduction

Just like in your classroom, we’re using the five minute listening activities where we take turns listening to one another from a heart-centered, compassionate and caring place. We’ll also start with a moment or so of deep breathing and using the stress reduction techniques so we have ourselves in the calmest, most caring place possible as we share our group time together.  I’ll use the bell for when we begin deep breathing, I’ll ring it again when we can open our eyes and face our partner and again when it is time to trade from the listening to the speaking, and finally, when it is time to move to the time when we look for what we have in common.

Let’s begin by taking a moment of breathing deep into our bellies and, each time you exhale, relax a little more and just let go.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

All of us in the group have similar challenges at home. The thing I look forward to the most about sharing time with others in this group is…

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What do you have in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

Most kids who have someone in the family who is dealing with addiction tend to keep it a secret from other peers.  That is often the safest thing for youth to do so they don’t feel judged by peers. This week, when you meet new kids, think about the fact that their family might have challenges, too, and maybe they also need to keep their problems a secret. Remember that everybody needs friends that just accept us for where we are, and that you can never have too many friends!

Week 2
Introduction

Introduction

Today we’re going to talk about resiliency. Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties or to overcome challenges — anything from trauma, tragedy, hardships, sadness — and come back stronger and wiser. It means we adapt to the change and keep going, even when it’s tough.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by…

[For Youngers: “Sometimes I’m not sure what to do when…]

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Did you have anything in common?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

One way we gain resilience is by facing difficulties and building skills to cope with or address challenges. This week, when something feels overwhelming, see if you can step back and figure out what you might learn from this experience. Also, our group will be helping you learn more of those skills as well.

Week 3
Introduction

Introduction

You know that you can do great things, but you also know that sometimes things get in the way of those great things. We’ll begin by thinking for a moment about the concept of “our best selves” or “our higher selves.” Consider who we would be if we could be the best version of ourselves more of the time.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Prompt for Olders:

When our families have challenges, sometimes we see adults making choices that aren’t the best choices for the family. But often we see adults at home making a choice that is helpful, even though we know it is difficult for them. Talk about a time when someone you know – in your family or otherwise – made a difficult choice. When somehow he tapped into his best self, or she made the best choice for others, not just for herself.

Prompt for Youngers:

When people in our families have problems, sometimes they don’t take care of the kids or treat each other as well as they’d like to.  But then sometimes they do things that are the very best for others, even though it is difficult.  Can you think of an example of a time that someone did something helpful for someone else even though it was hard to do?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Was there anything in common about your stories?

Ring the bell to mark the end of one minute.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

Nobody can always make the higher choice all of the time. When we’re not at our best, we sometimes do what is easier, not what is best.  This week, notice the times you are able to make the higher choice and times you are tempted not to do so.  And even when it is difficult, see if you’re able to make the higher choice.

Week 4
Introduction

Introduction

Today we’re going to talk about guilt. The function of guilt is to make us pay attention to something.  Sometimes it is telling us not to take that thing we want without paying for it.  Maybe we feel guilty when we’re about to send a hurtful message or we’re not being kind of a little brother or sister.  Guilt can help us in that moment to decide not to be hurtful.  But it doesn’t have a helpful function after that unless we need to apologize to someone. If we feel guilt, we need to take a moment right then to see what is asking for our attention and make the best choice possible. Often kids in homes that have problems with addiction (or alcohol) feel guilty much of the time.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Prompt for Olders:

When I feel guilt, it is usually….

For Youngers: 

Sometimes I feel guilty when…

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did you have in common?

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

For Olders:

This week, whenever you’re at home, notice if you begin to feel guilty, and see if you can draw back and watch what’s happening as if it were a movie. Ask yourself, “What does my guilt want to tell me and how can I address it and then let go of the guilt?”

For Youngers:

This week if you feel guilty about something, see if there is a safe adult in your world to help you figure out what you can do.

Week 5
Introduction

Introduction

For Olders:

One of the things we know about addiction is that some kinds of addiction are inheritable. That means that for some of us in this group, if one of our parents is addicted, say to alcohol, we may have inherited the likelihood that this could happen to us also, if we use alcohol. We also know that even if you have inherited the predisposition, if you never use that drug, you will never experience the addiction

For Youngers:

As we grow up, sometimes we make choices that are just like our parents, even when we know they aren’t the smartest decisions. Like using drugs or alcohol. Some of our friends will try to get us to do things that aren’t healthy, and some will help us make good decisions.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Prompt for Olders:

The decisions we make about using drugs when we are teenagers can have life-long effects. Not using drugs is a choice that takes our higher selves, our stronger selves, but we can also be helped by how our friends support us in making good choices. What are some ways that kids can support one another in making the higher choices or better choices about drug use?

For Youngers: 

How do friends help us make good decisions?  And how can we be the kind of friend that helps others make good decisions?   

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

Did you have anything in common?

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

This week, notice all of the people around you who will help you make the higher choice. What are the qualities of friends who help you make the higher choice?  We’re going to talk about that next week!

Alcohol & Addiction 6-10

Week 6
Introduction

Introduction

During our group, we’ve talked a lot about making the better choice or the higher choice. Today we’re going to focus on what that means.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

For Olders:

What are the qualities of friends who help you make the higher choice or the better choice or the healthier choice?

For Youngers:

What do your friends do that helps you make the higher or best choice?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Do this in pairs during the last minute.

What did you have in common about your observations?

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

This week, your challenge is to notice how you support your friends making the higher choices in theirlives.

tip

Prepare

For those students who are old enough, one option for this activity is for them to write their ideas for managing sadness on post-it notes – one idea per post-it note – so they can all be posted on the wall at the end of the activity.

Supplies:  Post-it notes and pens.

Week 7
Introduction

Introduction

Note: If your students are old enough, consider using post-it notes for today’s activity.

Living in a home where people have trouble with drugs or alcohol is really hard, and sometimes we become sad.  Sometimes it seems like it is even more than sad.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs again, but with different partners than last week. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Today talk about sadness. When do you feel sad? What do you do when you’re sad?

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

For Olders:

Today, instead of just talking with one another about your ideas for what kinds can do when they feel sad, you could write your ideas on post it notes and we’ll put them all up.  Just write one idea on each post-it.  This can be like a conversation, you don’t have to take turns.

Either let youth take pictures of all the ideas on their cell phones or you record them all and pass them out on paper next week.

For Youngers:

Now, talk with one another on all your best ideas for how kids can help themselves feel better when they’re feeling sad.

Option: Instead of doing pairs, form a circle and let kids tell everyone their ideas. You could record their ideas, and then next week give them those ideas on paper so they can take them.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

This will be a goal based on our weekly prompt and lays the groundwork for more intentional mindfulness later. If possible, have someone touch base with the students on this challenge during the week.

This week when you feel sad, see how many of these ideas you can remember and try something new.  And if you think of a new idea this week, remember to share it with us next week!

tip

Note: If you are doing a 10-week series, remind students that there are only three more gatherings.

Note: Next week, students will need writing materials.

Week 8
Introduction

Introduction

Note: For this week, students need a way of writing their ideas, or if they are too young, for you to do so.

Since we only have three more gatherings, we’re going to begin working on how you’ll have ongoing support after our group has finished.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

This week you each have paper and pens. We only have a couple more groups, so I want to make sure that we see how we can stay connected after the group is finished. The goal for each of us is to generate the most ideas we can for how we can continue to be support to one another and how we can find support from other sources as well.  We’ll make a master list of all of your ideas and I’ll have them printed out for you for next week. So for now, during your turn, write down the ideas you share with your partner, and instead of asking what the two of you had in common, we’ll go around the whole circle and listen to all of your ideas.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

Let’s go around the circle and hear all of our ideas!

Note: When they share their ideas, you could voice record them and then transcribe their ideas into a handout to give them next week.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

For the coming week, see if you can figure out any additional ideas and we’ll keep adding to the list next week!

tip

Prepare

Gather everyone’s lists and create a master list for all.

Week 9
Introduction

Introduction

Note: Pass out the master list from last week.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

Part of our work when we have families that struggle with addiction is that we often don’t learn how to make amends.  When you realize you’ve hurt someone’s feelings or done something unkind, making amends is how you make it right.  It is apologizing, but it is also owning up to your responsibility or your part in things, and then taking actions that might make a difference. So if you break something, you not only apologize for having done so, you also might earn money to purchase a replacement or in some other way try to reimburse the person for losses.

Today, talk about either a time when someone else made amends to you after something didn’t go well, or a time that you made amends to someone else.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

What did your stories have in common?

Note: When they share their ideas, you could voice record them and then transcribe their ideas into a handout to give them next week.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

Last week we generated ideas for how we’ll stay in touch with one another and share support after group is over… any ideas to add?

For the coming week, notice the times when you make the higher choice, and that will be one time you won’t need to make amends!  And notice the times you don’t think to see whether making amends might be in order.

Note: Remind students that next week is your last week.

tip

Prepare

Note: In preparation for next week, have something tangible that students can take from the group. It might be a bead on a short piece of leather that they could tie onto the zipper pull of their backpacks or some other physical, tangible reminder of having been a member of the group.  Plan some kind of a fun closing celebration when you can gift them with the momento.

Week 10
Introduction

Introduction

Note: Bring something tangible for students to take from the group.

prompt

Prompt

Have students break into pairs. If there’s an uneven number, the counselor is paired with someone. If the number is even, consider seeing whether there is an adult in the building that could join you (a secretary?  an administrator?  the custodian?) If the counselor is not paired with a student, the counselor could sit in with a pair to listen, to model the body language and eye contact of active listening. Continually look for ways to reinforce that adults in the building are genuinely interested in the perceptions and needs of students.

This is our last week together. Today, share what the greatest gift or learning was for you in having been in our group together.

Ring the bell to start their sharing time. Ring it after two minutes so they can trade roles from listener to speaker. Ring the bell at the end of paired sharing time.

Note: Sharing for two-minutes each is the goal, but initially, students may not have two minutes’ worth of sharing. Adjust the times down early on and expand as youth become more practiced at this. Remind them not to respond to one another during their two-minute talking time. They’re to just respond to the prompt directly.

Connecting

Connecting

What did you have in common?

Note: When they share their ideas, you could voice record them and then transcribe their ideas into a handout to give them next week.

challenge

Weekly Challenge

Reinforce the ideas they came up with for how they’ll stay in touch with one another after group has ended.

Help students think creatively about ways they can connect, particularly face-to-face rather than only depending on devices. There is much greater value to time spent face-to-face. Options might include

  • All sitting together at lunch one specified day of the week
  • Meeting in the morning before first class starts somewhere that works
  • Leaving one another notes of encouragement dropped into their locker vents
  • Starting a private Facebook page to keep in touch just with their own group…

If they do a FB page, it would be great if you could be included so you are able to occasionally send them encouragement and monitor whether any are feeling depressed, etc.

Many schools have rules against staff being on Facebook with students, which is wise for many reasons, but perhaps this closed group having a focus on issues around addiction could be an exception, or perhaps there would be another way to have an online sharing option that wouldn’t be using social media.

 

End with a little celebration and the tangible gift.