It’s said that the longest journeys begin with a single step. For many people, that first step is often the hardest one to take. When clients of Central Wyoming Counseling Center’s Residential Treatment program take their first steps toward a new life, they do so with the understanding that it’s not going to be easy. They know that before they can build the rest of their lives, they have to develop a solid foundation upon which to build it. CWCC tries to help them with that.
The Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers tools, tricks, and tips on how to reclaim one’s life and it’s amazing how important the simple things are to that process.
One of the simplest, but often overlooked aspects of any journey is having proper luggage to carry one’s belongings. It sounds inconsequential, but having a proper bag to carry belongings in can make an enormous difference in the lives of CWCC’s residential clients as they transition back to everyday life.
The team at Central Wyoming Counseling Center understand this, which is why they are currently in the midst of a “Luggage Drive,” which offers proper luggage to clients beginning to take their next steps towards reclaiming their lives.
“A lot of the population that comes through CWCC, obviously not exclusively but there are a lot, deal with homelessness issues,” said Christopher Young, a Compliance Specialist with CWCC. “A lot of the time when these people come in,they’re bringing their stuff in Walmart bags or Trader Joe’s reusable bags.”
Young said that clients will accrue even more items during their stay in the residential program, which makes it nearly impossible to transport everything in the bags they brought in.
“When they leave, there isn’t a lot of dignity in packing all of your stuff up in a Trader Joe’s bag,” Young said. “And we didn’t like the way that possibly felt for them, so we asked ourselves, ‘What can we do about that?’ And this was the answer that we came up with.”
That answer is a Luggage Drive, happening at Central Wyoming Counseling Center from now until January 31, 2024. CWCC is collecting any type of luggage, from carry-on sized bags to duffle bags; even backpacks. As long as the bags are clean and in good condition, CWCC will take them. They will then be able to offer a donated bag to any client in need, for as long as the donated supplies last.
An important part of that next chapter is being able to walk out of CWCC with a sense of pride after having completed some of the hardest, most important work a person has ever done. The CWCC Residential program is not just a place to spend a month or more “getting clean.” It’s an opportunity to explore the circumstances that led a person down a path of addiction.
Per the CWCC website, the Residential Treatment program “provides individual counseling and group counseling, teaching clients about the addiction process and how to deal with their mental health in a more productive manner. The therapists at CWCC work to deconstruct the symptom to find the root cause. CWCC also provides groups on cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as training specifically designed for parents. These individuals are specifically trained to help clients work through addiction issues and find healthy coping mechanisms.”
It’s hard work. It’s important work. And completing treatment should be, and is, one of the greatest victories of a person’s life. They took that first step, the hardest step. But it’s important to keep moving forward, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s important to keep taking those next steps, to move forward in that journey.
And that’s a lot easier to do when you have the proper luggage.
“I think being able to see yourself in a better place can be tied to how you see yourself where you are now,” Young stated. “If you’re carrying your stuff out in a trash bag, versus like, a Samsonite suitcase, there’s a big difference. It’s kind of about how we carry ourselves; how we perceive ourselves. And that’s one of the things that we want to help people with – learning how to see yourself in a better way.”
So far, the Luggage Drive has seen an enthusiastic response, particularly from one of CWCC’s board members who donated several types of luggage of all different sizes, but more is always needed.
“It’s kind of one of those things you don’t really think about,” Young said. “It’s easy to think about coats and shoes and clothes and things like that. All of that stuff is important and necessary. But I think it’s easy to forget something like, ‘How am I going to transport my shoes and coat?’”
It’s a simple thing, really. But it’s absolutely necessary, and not just for practical reasons. Kendall TeBeest, the grant writer and fundraising development coordinator for CWCC agreed that when a client leaves Central Wyoming Counseling Center, they’re about to enter a new, tough, important chapter of their lives. Being able to do that with their head held high, with a little bit of dignity, can mean a world of difference.
“To me, we’re helping these individuals start a new journey,” TeBeest said. “And this is just one other way; one other tool that we can give them to start this next chapter. With our Residential Treatment program, we’re encouraging people to start fresh, to start clean, to start new habits and maybe get rid of some of the old ones. And this luggage drive is kind of a symbolic way for us to help our clients continue on their journey. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. And we want to help them pack.” The Luggage Drive is happening now through Jan. 31, 2024 inside the main lobby of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. For more information, contact us or follow us on Facebook.