10-Hardest-Life-Fish-BowlHow do you react to change? Do you seek it, always hoping for something new and exciting? Do you dread it, structuring your life to avoid or delay it? Do you deny it altogether?

We all know that change is a condition of life. Without change, nothing would renew. But change can feel like death; it can initiate a grieving process for what we must lose in order to make way for new growth. How we react to the deaths that change brings determines how much we will deepen our understanding of ourselves and of life.

When we fight against change, we seek escape routes that can lead to addiction. When we try to force change to prevent boredom, we open ourselves to equally damaging behavior. Both reactions are based in fear. We fear what we cannot control. We fear what will arise in the quiet space of no-change.

St. Joseph Institute has undergone a major life change. Its founders, Michael and Jenny, have retired, leaving their legacy in the care of Summit. In one way, nothing has changed: St. Joseph’s retains its unique approach to recovery founded in holistic treatment and spiritual development. In another way, everything has changed: the website, the leadership, the marketing strategy, the range of treatment modalities, the number of residents, and more.

Change is frightening. Many of us who worked here under Michael and Jenny’s direction have mixed reactions: we are sad to see them go and worried how the change will affect us, but we also feel excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Many of you may also be wondering what will change. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Pennsylvania leads the nation in overdose deaths among young adult men (link). Summit has the resources that will allow us to expand our reach and our services to better address this epidemic that over the last decade has killed more than twice as many Americans as homicide.
  • Not all rehabs are equal. We stand out from other rehabs because of our focus on holistic treatment. But not all holistic treatments are equal, and we will invest our resources into discovering which treatments work best for addiction, are supported by research, and can be made accessible to all residents as part of the cost of the program.
  • The success rate of even the best recovery programs is abysmally low. Our country desperately needs to know more about the causes of addiction and how to keep people in recovery. Summit desires to work with St. Joseph’s to conduct addiction research.
  • Because Summit owns many addiction treatment centers all over the country, our network of resources has suddenly become vast. Even here in central PA, we are now connected to and share information with two other centers equality committed to quality recovery programs. This makes it much easier for all of us to find the best care for clients.

Feeling good? We hope so. But this still doesn’t get to our point about change. Thoughts of opportunity or loss are thoughts of the future. Clinging to memories and “the-way-it-used-to-be” are thoughts of the past. But the future and the past are not real. The only reality is the reality of the present moment.

Consider this quote from Buddhist monk Pema Chodron: “When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.”

When we let ourselves not know, we surrender to the present. We give up our desire to control. We see our weaknesses without scorn, and we see our power without arrogance. We see that where we are in the present moment is always exactly where we need to be.

And so we say a fond goodbye to Michael and Jenny and wish them adventure and delight as they enter the next phase of their lives. We say hello to Summit and to change, looking forward with excitement even as we stay grounded, trusting that St. Joseph’s will always change and grow and always be exactly where it needs to be.

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

willThe fourth component of the True Self is Will. Will works with feelings, reasoning mind, and intuitive mind. It takes the information from these three sources and uses it to make decisions. We exercise our will when we choose. When we choose intimacy, we can know that our will is functioning at its highest level. When we choose separation, we can know that our will is dysfunctional and take the steps needed to restore it.

The will can enhance intimacy by helping us make good choices in the areas of:

  • Bonding and trusting
  • Assessing what is safe and what is not safe
  • Developing in healthy ways that establish a solid sense of self
  • Cultivating good relationships
  • Developing healthy boundaries
  • Making commitments
  • Finding the strength to endure difficult times
  • Setting and achieving goals

When our will relies primarily on feelings, it can make impulsive or fearful choices, choices based on the emotion of the moment or on old, unhealed wounds.  When our will relies primarily on our mind, it can make poor choices based on false logic, irrational beliefs, negative thoughts, or fantasies. Indecision, a failure of will, arises from fear. We are afraid of choosing wrongly, of making a decision that will hurt us or the ones we love.

The best way to ensure that we make good choices—choices that favor intimacy—is to attend to our feelings, reasoning mind, and intuitive mind. We can also do the following:

  1. Set our intention. If we consciously intend that our choice promote love and intimacy, we can make the decision without fear of the consequences. We can trust that, even when a choice seems to go badly, our continued intention to favor intimacy will triumph.
  2. Seek help from a higher power. For example, if we believe in a loving God who wants us to reach our highest potential, we can pray, “Align my will with the will of God.” If we take a moment every day to ask for this alignment, our choices will become more conscious, and we will be more likely to discern our best path.

Of course, sometimes our choices might still lead to consequences that we didn’t foresee. But rather than kick ourselves, we can remember that all of our choices are opportunities for growth. We can also remember to forgive ourselves quickly and to return, again and again, to an intention of love over fear.

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

A trip down the aisle – finally

St. Joseph Institute merges with Summit Behavioral Healthcare

logoAddiction treatment in Pennsylvania and across the country has been characterized by an aggressive Pac-Man game for almost a decade. Independent facilities have disappeared into ever larger groups and public companies, often sacrificing their ideals to the force of big business.

Over the past few years St. Joseph Institute has been courted by many, but we have not been swayed by their offers. As founders, Jenny Sheetz and I have been protective and cautious, applying to St. Joseph’s ‘suitors’ the same scrutiny to which we subjected our children’s first dates. None of the companies we met seemed to share our passion for excellence, innovation, and achieving the best possible outcomes.

sbhc-logoNone, that is, until now. Summit BHC (Summit) offers all that we seek in a partner. We are impressed by their business acumen and, more importantly, by their heart for people who suffer from addiction. Therefore, we have agreed to merge. We are confident that this decision is the best for St. Joseph Institute and for the people we serve, and we look forward to our new relationship for a variety of reasons.

Clinical Depth.  Summit has a growing network of leading addiction treatment and behavioral health centers throughout the country.  Our clinical team will benefit from these resources and this expertise.

Continuum of Care.  The Summit network will enable us to place the people who seek our help in the most appropriate level of care.  Our sister companies offer residential and outpatient programs, transitional living facilities, holistic treatment options, trauma services, and a special program for collegiate-focused treatment.

Managerial Expertise.  The management team of Summit has decades of “been there, done that” experience that will greatly benefit St. Joseph Institute as we grow and expand our breadth of services.

Organizational Strength.  In an area of healthcare that requires size and financial strength to innovate and be a leader, Summit offers capabilities that will ensure that St. Joseph Institute does not lose ground to the “big players” in addiction treatment.

Now, as Summit and St. Joseph Institute begin our life together, we are excited about the future and our shared mission.  Together, we commit to the ongoing work of helping men and women with addiction establish strong and meaningful lives in recovery.


Michael Campbell
President, St. Joseph Institute





Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Next Page »