When thinking about going to detox for drugs and alcohol, or thinking about an addiction treatment experience, most people certainly don’t equate such an experience with having fun. And for some reasons, that isn’t entirely inaccurate. Most people don’t enter treatment because they are excited about sobriety or looking forward to a life of recovery free of drugs and alcohol. Instead, most people seek treatment or admit into detox because their life is on fire- they’ve burned bridges, ruined relationships, lost a job, find themselves in legal or financial difficulty, or have been cut off from their family, friends and loved ones. In short, most people do not enter detox or addiction treatment riding a rainbow of enthusiasm surrounded by butterflies and puppy dogs. In the 12 Step rooms of recovery, it is often heard that “nobody comes into recovery on a winning streak.”

Additionally, those first few days of detox and treatment also are rarely considered fun. Dealing with withdrawal symptoms certainly isn’t enjoyable, no matter what medications someone is on to help manage those withdrawal symptoms, and without drugs and alcohol for perhaps the first time in a long time, patients deal with overwhelming feelings and intense emotions. The guilt, shame, pain, and remorse of active addiction can hit like a ton of bricks. It is one of the reasons that people avoid addiction treatment for so long in active addiction; they just don’t want to have to feel the feelings or deal with the consequences of their actions in active addiction, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Unfortunately, recovery is about feelings and learning how to manage them and navigate them, and people cannot run from their feelings if they are going to overcome their addiction and find a life of recovery.

Therefore, here at Innovo Detox, we have found that creating a fun, inspiring environment is helpful for patients keep their mind off the negative as their treatment and recovery journey begins, but also for demonstrating that it is possible to laugh, enjoy themselves, and have fun in recovery. Of course, our primary purpose is to deliver high quality medical and clinical care that keeps patients physically and mentally safe and comfortable during those first days of recovery. However, we also want to help them feel emotionally comfort and safety, and one way of doing that is to create an environment that is fun and enjoyable.

So, part of the approach here is creating fun days that the patients can look forward to, engage in, and enjoy fully. Spearheaded by Innovo Detox Office Manager Sheri Weaver and the Innovo Detox leadership team, some recent examples of how the staff here has created such a fun, warm, and welcoming environment for our patients are as follows:

Sports Day Fridays/Football Fridays

detox patients having fun in early sobriety

Every Friday, the Innovo Detox team can take part in Sports Day Fridays, which during the season typically becomes Football Fridays. Innovo Detox staff comes to work sporting the colors of their favorite sports team or the jersey of their favorite player. On most Fridays, you will see Innovo Detox Director of Support Services rocking the jersey of his beloved New England Patriots, or Continuing Care Coordinator Mike Kessler and Director of Admissions Debby MacNeil showing up to work in purple and black to support their favorite NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens. During the day, the staff also sets up outdoor games and activities for the patients to enjoy, often times engaging them in a game of frisbee or cornhole. It is not unusual to see a staff versus patients game taking place on any Friday during the year.

On this day, the chef and culinary team make a special “Tailgate Menu” for the patients to enjoy. An example of a menu includes:

  • Walking Tacos
  • Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
  • Grilled Bratwurst on pretzel roll with cheese sauce
  • Jalapeno Poppers
  • Whoopi Pies

Throwback Thursday/Decades Day

innovo detox patients participating in decades day

One of the more enjoyable days the Innovo Detox staffed engaged in was Throwback Thursday (also known as “Decades Day.”) On this particular Thursday, Innovo Detox staff dressed in their favorite attire from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The facility was filled with vintage displays, antiques, decorations and aesthetics from those decades, and patients were able to engages in games from those eras. Music was played from that time period, and the culinary staff created a fun, pop culture-themed menu.

Some of the delicious options included:

  • Breakfast Club sandwiches
  • Clockwork Orange and Crème Overnight Hall and Oats
  • Blind Melon cucumber chilled soup
  • Fleetwood Mac & Cheese
  • Attack of the Killer Stewed Tomatoes
  • Meatloaf with Tomato Space Jam
  • Buttered Children of the Corn with Roasted Potatoes
  • Oreo Speed Wagon Brownies Depeche A la Mode

Aloha Day

aloha day at innovo detox

Aloha Day was an especially enjoyable day for both Innovo Detox staff and patients. On this particular day, the entire detox facility was transformed into a tropical island paradise, making the patients to feel as if they were whisked away to a Hawaiian island or an island in the Caribbean. Staff wore Hawaiian shirts or other brightly colored outfits like on a tropical vacation. Patients and staff participated in a limbo and hula-hoop competition.

The culinary staff made a special tropical-themed menu that included:

  • Fried spam and egg sandwich on Hawaiian roll
  • Pineapple upside down parfaits
  • Coconut curry carrot soup
  • Made-to-order Hawaiian pizza
  • Roasted pork with Polynesian BBQ
  • Molokai sweet potatoes
  • Sweet onion roasted corn
  • Tropical milkshakes

Carnival Day

Outdoor fun at Fun in Early Sobriety

For ladies, gentlemen, staff, and patients of all ages, Innovo Detox also held a carnival day at the treatment center. The staff dressed up in all forms of costumes, many of which included fully committed clown outfits. Patients were offered opportunities to participate in and play some carnival games, including a ring toss, a ping pong toss, and Plinko.

The culinary staff created a carnival-themed menu that included:

  • Pancake and sausage “corndog”
  • Caramel apple parfait
  • Spicy beef empanadas
  • Mexican street corn
  • Chicken spiedies on a grilled roll
  • Fried pickles
  • Milkshakes and funnel cakes

Goodwill Challenge Day

Staff dress up for Fun in Early Sobriety

Goodwill Challenge Day may have been more fun for patients than it was for the Innovo Detox staff. The direct care Therapeutic Assistant (TA) staff participated in a Goodwill Challenge competition. Each staff member had a budget of $15 that they could use to purchase an entire outfit at a local Goodwill Store. They then had to wear that outfit to work. While many Innovo Staff members that participated embraced the challenge and created some remarkable and memorable outfits, it is safe to say that all patients enjoyed this day in good fun.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 971-4566 or email our team at info@innovodetox.com. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.