Recovery: Group helps save difficult lives
"A local man is helping to bring order to lives that are embattled with mental problems."
The trivialities of life can really get you down.
Most people experience this feeling of "down in the dumps" only occasionally, but for others, it is a daily reality, and one that is continually battled.
That's why Recovery Canada exists.
As a program of Abraham Low Self-Help Systems, it uses the Recovery Method to teach skills that help people to live full, productive lives and deal with fears, phobias, anxiety, and depression.
The program is based on the idea that, if a person can change thoughts and behaviours, he or she can change attitudes and beliefs.
"A lot of us think wrongly about ourselves... We say, 'I'm a loser,' 'I'm worthless,'" said Brent Muxlow, leader of the Langley Recovery Canada group.
He heard about Recovery Canada while attending an outpatient program in Langley, after a depressive episode. Someone was needed to help with the new group's weekly meeting, and he agreed.
Six months later, he was leading the group, and has been for the past three years.
"We're not experts," he continued. "I'm just a regular guy. I work in Langley. I suffer from mental illness. People can identify with their group leader because we've been through it."
Each meeting, they read a chapter of Mental Health Through Will Training, by Dr. Abraham Low, the founder of Abraham Low Self-Help Systems. Then they share examples of how they used "spotting phrases" to help get through a situation.
The phrases - such as "We do things to get well, we don't wait to get well to do things," "Anticipation is often worse than realization," and, "Do things in part acts" - help identify and deal with disturbing thoughts, feelings, or impulses.
"People learn by hearing other people's examples," explained Muxlow, citing one example in which a woman shared how she dealt with a panic attack by using a spotting phrase about objectivity, and timed the attack on her watch.
The next time Muxlow had a panic attack, he tried it, and it worked for him, too.
"If you don't get it under control, it gets worse and worse," said Muxlow.
"We laugh a lot - it's a lot of fun," said Muxlow of the group sessions. "Sometimes we're laughing so hard you'd look at us and think, 'Hey, there's nothing wrong with these people.'"
The group meets 7:30-9 p.m. Monday nights at Langley Memorial Hospital. They ask for a voluntary contribution of $5 per meeting, but if someone can't afford it, that's fine, too.
"We just want you to come and get well," said Muxlow. "It really helped me... I realized that there is hope. Man, I want people to know there's hope - there's a place you can come to get help and it's easy and it doesn't cost $100 an hour for a psychiatrist."
For more on the Langley group or Recovery Canada, call Brent Muxlow at 604-534-7496 or visit www.recoverycanada.org.
Copyright (c) Langley Advance