What Is the Fire Circle?
The Fire Circle is a group where clients receive feedback from their peers in a high-accountability circle. With residents sitting in a circle, each person is given a chance to offer honest and constructive feedback to their peers.
What Does It Achieve?
Accountability is extremely important in recovery, and we believe that having a space in the Fire Circle to listen and learn from our peers has a profound effect on our ability to move forward and progress. When we hear how our behavior has had an impact on others in an accepting and non-judgemental way, we are inclined to listen and look for ways in which we can improve. It can be hard to hear critique about ourselves, but in the Fire Circle, we look at engaging with one another from a place of tolerance and learn to respect each other and accept comments graciously.
How It Works
The Fire Circle is based on the methods and strategies found within Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT aims to help change unhelpful behaviors within individuals (for example, substance misuse) while simultaneously inviting participants to accept themselves for who they are.
The way this type of therapy works is by using something called dialectics. Dialectics looks at seemingly contradictory forces and finds a way for the two to come together to make a positive change; in this instance, genuine acceptance of oneself.
It is possible to accept who we are, without approving of what we have done. This is something we look at more deeply in the Fire Circle. The group learns to accept what they have done and understand that acceptance does not mean having to agree with it. For example, we may learn that while we have misused drugs or alcohol because it was the only way we knew how to cope with our situation, it does not mean we believe it was the best way to behave and we accept ourselves with compassion and understanding.
Simultaneously, within the group, you will learn how you can change for the better. Acceptance and change work together because, naturally, as human beings, validation helps us to feel more understood in our circumstances and therefore, more likely to choose to follow a path toward betterment.
Mindfulness is an extremely useful skill in tackling unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, and one of the key strategies we look at within the Fire Circle. Mindfulness is all about living in the moment – which is easier said than done, but is a skill that can, and has, been mastered by millions worldwide.
Mindfulness allows us to focus on what is happening in the present moment. So, when unhelpful or distressing thoughts or feelings arise, (for example, cravings or urges to drink alcohol or use drugs again), we can observe these from a neutral standpoint and allow them to pass on by without negatively affecting us.
Distress tolerance is all about accepting oneself and the current situation without judgment using the following four techniques:
- improving the moment
- thinking of the pros and cons
By using these techniques, we can learn how to tolerate our distress, prepare ourselves for future episodes of intense emotion and learn how to cope with them more positively.
How often do we find we can give the best advice to a friend or family member, but when it comes to applying that same advice to our own situation, we can’t do it?
Interpersonal effectiveness is all about improving on this and looking at how we can become more assertive in our relationships in life without damaging them. We learn how to communicate more effectively, how to deal with difficult people and how to respect ourselves and others.
Many of our residents are angry, fearful, depressed, or anxious. It can be difficult for us to control these emotions, especially when we are struggling with addiction, but through emotional regulation, our residents gain control over their feelings. We learn how to identify, name, and change certain emotions, such as fear or anger.
When we recognize these feelings and process them for what they are, we learn how to cope better in situations that might otherwise leave us feeling helpless to our emotions.
This is a mere insight into what the Fire Circle is like at Brazos Recovery Services. We aim to support and validate each and every one of our residents. So, no matter where you have come from or what you have done, acceptance can be found, and positive changes can be made. We hope you will join us in one of our Fire Circle meetings during your stay.