Meet Jennifer Seitzer. A dreamer, doer, activist, and coach. When I first was getting to know Jennifer, I remember her writing, very excited about becoming a recovery coach and developing programs that included nutrition into recovery. Her energy was palatable. It filtered through the computer with electricity and excitement. She hit barriers and bumps but she has kept going.
Jennifer, believing that many people are recovering from something from drug and alcohol addiction to mental health issues, also knows that she brings hope when she meets with new clients. Her empathetic nature and ability to look into the beauty of a persons strengths only reinforce her soulful living and coaching.
Not to be held back by any dream that comes her way, she has made giant leaps of faith into new directions with her personal journey of recovery and in her desire to reach out to others on their journey. Jennifer is a light, a beacon for those who are lost and with compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit she supports those who seek her out.
What inspired your blog/website Nutrition After Addiction?
Nutrition After Addiction was born out of my own lived experience with Recovery. Being a woman in long term recovery (12 years this June 2015), as well as being the mother of an adult child with addiction challenges. I wanted to share my journey but also share my recovery. What has worked and allowed me to thrive in my own recovery and the journey of learning and re-learning about being a parent to a loved one struggling with addiction.
What is the importance of nutrition in addiction recovery?
What is the importance of nutrition in addiction recovery? Along with a recovery program, regardless of what that program may be since I firmly believe in multiple pathways to recovery, nutrition can and does play a vital role in sustaining recovery and preventing possible relapse. As quoted from
_*Dr. Keith D. Kantor, CEO of Named Program LLC*_ “Nutrition and its effects on the body are often overlooked, underestimating the powerful effect that being properly nourished has on the overall metabolism, organ function and mental health. Those who are overcoming addiction will benefit from a precise nutrition plan that will keep the body functioning at its optimal level reducing symptoms and complications of addiction recovery.”
Can you tell me a little of your recovery journey that brought you to where you are now?
My “rock bottom” happened back in 2003 when I was given the choice of either getting my act together (not truly put in those words) or my kids would be taken from, I stepped in to recovery. The very thought of being one single day without my children terrified me and it was the spark and motivation I needed. I did not go to detox or rehab. What I did do is find a trusting counselor (technically her title is Kinleiner which can be found here: http://www.kinlein.org/ ) stepped into AA and Al-Anon, began journaling as if my life depended on it, went to parenting classes, stress management, anger management, a 60 week women’s self-esteem group (that I did 2 rounds of, paying out of pocket), a women’s domestic violence support group and began turning my life around. I deep dived into anything and everything I could get my hands to help facilitate change and healing. My methods of healing practice have evolved over the course of 12 years which I now incorporate, meditation, crystal healing, yoga and just began diving back into a beautiful and healing art practice. Bringing back and “Remembering” the creative being that I have always been has revved up my recovery/healing journey and is bringing me to a whole new level.
I am trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid USA (you can find their website by copy/pasting the title) It was started by a woman in Australia. I have battled with depression on and off sine the age of 13. My biological father was a closet alcoholic but also suffered from severe Schizophrenia, Paranoia and Delusions. He was abused severely. Something I did not know until recently. I always tell others, “walk a mile in my shoes, or anyone else for that matter and then get back to me and judge.” Part of my passion and work I feel I am put here to do is help be a part of solution and break the stigma.
Your philosophy: Renew, rebuild, and Recover really encompasses a holistic approach to recovery coaching…this goes beyond just traditional nutrition?
How do you apply this philosophy into your coaching?
To dig deeper into my coaching practice and define “Renew, Rebuild, Recover” (Renew the Mind, Rebuild the Body, Recover the Spirit) I meet people where they’re at. Everyone is different, their needs are different so what I do is tap into their energy. Taking the time to truly listen helps me to identify what it is they are really looking for. Whether they are looking for nutrition, relaxation, help with anxiety, even obtaining their GED, etc. I feel it is important to meet people where they’re at like mentioned before. To further deepen the experience I zone in how they want to feel, what are their values, what are their strengths and talents and is meaningful to them. This can be done a few ways and I often offer worksheets but what I also incorporate is creativity. Vision boards are something most people like to work with but I also encourage art journaling. I help people break up their goals into micro mini-goals if necessary to ensure success.Majority of the time, people I have encountered have never been asked “How do you want to feel?” “What is important to you”, etc. I guide them to opening up a place where they may have thought died or never existed. To watch the light go on and “see” a person light up inside is an amazing feeling.
How is recovery coaching different from being a recovery counselor?
Recovery Coaching, which now has morphed into CRS (Certified Recovery Specialist) but you will still see the title Recovery Coach depending on the agency, rehab or center is peer to peer as opposed to clinician to client/patient. It is someone who shares their own lived experience to help those know that “We’ve been where you are, take my hand and lets walk side by side together.” A Recovery Coach is there to help someone maneuver through the recovery path/process. Helping to find proper treatment if necessary, resources but also to help someone walk through and achieve their recovery goals. The templates often used have 9 or 10 Domains of a persons life and a coach will meet with their participant usually once a week for about an hour. One does not have to work on all 9 or 10 domains, they only work on what is needed or desired at that time. It can something as simple as getting to 3 meetings per week to something such as obtaining their GED to something like looking for employment and the steps to help them get there.
What would a typical coaching session look like? What are typical clients that you work with?
Presently, I have been volunteering my time with those I work with and they are often from the recovery center. Within the next week or two, I will be interning at the closest women’s recovery center and teaching health and wellness classes but also I will be working one on one with the women there. A typical session is similar to what I mentioned above but in addition to the goal sheets, before we even get to writing down the goals, we sit together to identify their strengths. We identify how one may have achieved something similar in the past and what strengths they have within that helped them achieve that goal. Oftentimes, myself included never think about what strengths we hold inside. People who battle with substance abuse disorder, mental illness, PTSD, etc. have tremendous strength that often goes un-noticed. With the guidance of a coach alongside the help of maybe a therapist, medical doctors, 12 Step groups etc. a person can begin to emerge and thrive. From isolation to community and belonging.
It is an amazing job and one I am very passionate about and I truly hope I can reach people worldwide with my coaching through my website and social media.
Would it be fair this is living the 12th step “out loud”?
If you are referring to living the 12 Steps “out loud”, I would say it’s more than just the 12 Steps. It is living Recovery out loud. I firmly believe everyone has something they are recovering from whether that is substance abuse, eating disorders, mental illness, depression, gambling, sex addiction, food addiction, trauma, PTSD and so on, everyone has something and no one should ever feel shame. Celebrating Recovery removes the stigma, shows that recovery happens, Recovery is Beautiful, and Recovery is something to be proud. it is a life long healing journey.
You talked about using vision boards with recovery. How else do you incorporate creativity into your life? Your recovery? Your work?
Within the last few months, I have taken a step back and began to take some much needed self-care. During this time, I re-discovered SoulCollage. This is something I have seen before but this time I decided to truly take a look and I was immediately drawn to it. Because I love mixed media and collaging, SoulCollage was a given for me. To under stand SoulCollage here is a quick definition “Originated by Seena Frost, SoulCollage® is a process for accessing your intuition and creating an incredible deck of cards with deep personal meaning that will help you with life’s questions and transitions.” I have also discovered JourneyCircles created by Cat Caracelo. You can integrate both modalities beautifully. I do want to train to become a facilitator and trainer but first I am working this process for my own self-care and self-healing. Another things that has been with me since childhood is music. Music is very healing for me and I did play the flute for 5 years and during the last few months I have made the decision to begin playing again just for me, just for my own pure Joy! How this impacts my recovery is that I am now re-connecting and “remembering” that wild part of me, that place where innocence is remembered, like that of a child. The beginner’s mind. It allows me to touch a part of my soul that I thought died a long time ago but alas, it was just lying dormant waiting for me to remember.
You have made some recent changes based on personal insight. Can you tell me about them?
I have unpublished (not deleted) my Nutrition After Addiction Facebook page AND put my website under construction. Things are changing and I have been called to just stop, step back and breathe. As I have learned from many years in recovery is that I am listening to MY own, unique voice. That voice that is often ignored due to not trusting oneself and fear.
I still have a DEEP DESIRE to help the Addiction Recovery Community and the work I have already done will continue but my journey has shifted and I am open to receiving what opportunities reveal themselves to me and in what form.
I am still speaking, mentoring and coaching through my volunteer work, now what I want is to cultivate my life’s work in a way that resonates with soul so I may share all of that with other beautiful souls.
Just for fun: What is your favorite meal and one place you would love to travel to?
My absolute favorite meal is Cedar Roasted Salmon with Asparagus and buttered Red Potatoes. One place where I want to go more than anything is Tuscany, Italy.
Jennifer is a writer, blogger, student of nutritional therapy, certified life coach, as well as a volunteer and trained mentor for PRO-ACT through The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania. Jennifer is also a woman and mother in long term recovery in addition to being the parent of an adult child facing addiction challenges. Jennifer teaches classes and trainings ranging from holistic goal setting, nutrition, fitness and stress reduction along with other forms of healing. Renewing the mind through shifting old paradigms and limiting beliefs while renewing the relationship and love of self. Rebuilding the body with whole food nutrition, herbs, supplementation, superfoods, and other herbal/nutritional remedies. Recovering the spirit through breath-work, meditation, and various sacred living practices among other healing modalities. As a Creative, Fierce and Passionate Spiritual Being, Jennifer breathes Hope into those walking their healing path knowing that recovery is always possible and does happen.
Songs of the Soul
Nutrition After Addiction – http://nutritionafteraddiction.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NutritionAfterAddiction
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jseitzer
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nutritionafteraddiction
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/jseitzer/