Monday, November 19, 2012

Step 11 Activity: Coloring Mandalas


Step 11:  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power the carry that out.

Supplies:

  • Print out of a mandala or use a child's coloring book
  • Crayons or colored pencils or markers


What does it mean to meditate?

The word meditation may have originally come from two Latin words.  Meditar means to think, to dwell upon and to exercise the mind.  Mederi means to heal.  The sanskrit term medha, which may also be associate with the term meditation, means wisdom.

When we hear the term "meditate," most of us imagine a spiritual practice where someone is sitting down, with their eyes closed and attempts to empty their mind.  The goal of meditation is to relax, find an inner sense of peace and connect with a Higher Power.  I like to think of prayer as talking to Higher Power and meditation as listening to Higher Power.

The term meditation covers a broad range of practices, in the same way that the term sports covers a broad range of activities.  Yes, many people do meditate by sitting still in a quiet place and attempting to quiet the chatter in their minds.  However, other people may meditate by gardening, jogging, spending time in nature, listening to music or guided imagery. Any activity which is engaged in mindfully, free from a lot of mental chatter, may serve effectively as meditation practice.  For some people, a repetitive activity like washing dishes may be a meditation.

In Zen Buddhism, meditation done while walking is known as kinhin.  Meditation done while engaging in a simple task mindfully is known as samu.  Samu might include cooking, cleaning, gardening, or chopping wood.

For this 11th step activity, we will be performing a samu meditation in coloring mandalas.  The entire process from choosing colors to the gentle, repetitive motion of your hand on the paper can serve to quiet your mind.




The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit, which loosely translated means “circle.” However, a mandala is far more than a simple shape.  It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself.  Circles appear in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family and community.  In various spiritual traditions, mandalas are employed for focusing attention, as a spiritual tool, for establishing sacred space and as an aid to meditation.

Feel free to print out the mandala above.  Or there are an abundance of coloring mandalas that you can download from a variety of websites:




Here is a mandala I colored:



What do you think of coloring for recovery?  What other activities have served as a samu meditation for you?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Music of My Recovery


"Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." ~ Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name


I find music to be an excellent tool for recovery.  Music has the potential to bring forth just about any emotion.  Some songs trigger me and make me want to turn to my addiction.  But when chosen consciously, I have the ability to turn to music that instead inspires me to continue on in my recovery work.  I have multiple playlists on my iPhone that I use at different times.  As I've mentioned before, my recovery has been largely about learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings.  I think of recovery as strengthening weak muscles of emotions.  If I can tolerate feeling sad for the duration of a song, that delays me - at least for the duration of that song - from turning to a substance or addictive behavior to numb out from that feeling.  I have created playlists for each of the following:

  • Feelin' Blue (sad songs)
  • Forgiveness (songs that inspire me to let go and forgive)
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Listen up! (songs I listen to when I think I need a firm talking to)
  • Meditation (guided, musical meditations)
  • Meetings (this playlist is not music, but simply MP3 recordings of meetings I can listen to anytime, anywhere)
  • Pissed (my mix I listen to when I am feeling angry)
  • Whole Not Hole (that's the name of my primary recovery mix)

Here is a sampling of songs from my Whole Not Hole playlist, which is the one I turn to the most often when I'm noticing I'm slipping away from my recovery.


  • Angry Anymore by Ani DiFranco (good song for letting go of anger towards my parents) youtube Amazon
  • Be Kind & Remind by Rogue Wave (reminds me to be kind and compassionate towards others and towards myself) youtube
  • Beautiful by Christina Aguillera (reminds me that other people's opinions of me are none of my business) youtube Amazon
  • Better Now by Collective Soul (Take the time to reflect back and see the progress I've made) youtube Amazon
  • Better Things by The Kinks ("Hoping something better comes tomorrow... I know that better things are on the way...") youtube with lyrics  Amazon
  • Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson (We are all fragile. Men have feelings, too.) youtube Amazon
  • Bright Glittering Gifts by Laura Veirs (There are unbelievable gifts found when facing my darkness) youtube 
  • Change by Blind Melon (When life is hard, you have to change" or join a 12-step program!) youtube Amazon
  • Closer To Fine by Indigo Girls (helps me move away from black-white thinking) youtube Amazon
  • Conversations with my 13-year Old Self by Pink (Great inner child song) youtube Amazon
  • Count Your Blessings by Rosemary Clooney (reminds me to practice gratitude) youtube Amazon
  • Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (reminds me I'm normal, even if I am a little bit crazy at times) youtube Amazon
  • Divine Intervention by Taking Back Sunday ("An act of God and nothing less will be accepted.") youtube Amazon
  • Drive by Incubus (Reminds me not to let "my fear take the wheel and drive.") youtube Amazon
  • Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by the Stars ("Live through this and you won't look back" lyrics remind me that this, too, will pass) youtube Amazon
  • Feel So Different by Sinead O'Connor (how can I not love a song that starts with the Serenity Prayer?) youtube Amazon
  • Feeling Good by Nina Simone (reminds me to appreciate solitute instead of feeling isolated and lonely) youtube Amazon
  • Float On by Modest Mouse (things will work out however they will) youtube Amazon
  • For No One by Zap Mama (no one is worth losing my sobriety over) youtube Amazon
  • Forever and Ever Amen by 8mm (We all have our ghosts and we all have that emptiness inside that only our HP can fill.) youtube with lyrics Amazon
  • Freak Me Out by Weezer (the line, "I know you don't mean no harm; you're just doing your thing" helps me ALL of the time.  I sing this to myself even in small moments of frustration like when I miss a bus) youtube Amazon
  • Get It Together by India Arie (to heal my body I need to reveal the pain from my youth) youtube Amazon
  • Get Off the Internet by Le Tigre (I use the internet to check out a lot, so I like this reminder to unplug now and then and live my life) youtube Amazon
  • Get Right with God by Lucinda Williams (a happy upbeat song about turning my life around) youtube Amazon
  • If I Need to Move On by Ladybug Mecca ("There are times in your lif when you have to learn to let go. Embrace the experience so you can continue to grow.  If your boat rocks, before it docks, you better still stay in the flow.") youtube Amazon
  • In the Sun by Joseph Arthur (The AA Big Book suggests praying for people whom we are mad at.  This song helps me do that.) youtube Amazon
  • La La Lie by Jack's Mannequin (I've got [program] friends who will help me pull through.") youtube Amazon
  • Laugh About It by Racoon (reminds me to find the humor in unpleasant situations) youtube
  • Nervous Breakthrough by Luscious Jackson (reminds me that there are gifts that come from falling apart) youtube Amazon
  • Out of Time by Blur (reminds me to slow down and "feel he sunshine on my face") youtube Amazon
  • Part of the Process by Morcheeba (reminds me progress, not perfection) youtube Amazon
  • Promise by Mirah ("Promise to be kind" reminds me to be compassionate.) youtube
  • Searching by Blackalicious ("The struggle is the blessing.") youtube
  • Sit Down by James (reminds me to go to a meeting and sit down next to people like me) youtube Amazon
  • Strength, Courage and Wisdom by India Arie (encourages me to look inside for the courage to live the HOW of the program - Honest, Open & Willing) youtube Amazon
  • Things Are What You Make of Them by Bishop Allen ("I was spending my days with my demons. They had taken up inside my heart. They were trying to keep me entertained; they were tearing me apart."  Reminds me to hug my demon or it'll bite me in the butt as Pia Melody says.) youtube Amazon
  • Today Has Been Okay by Emiliana Torrini YouTube Amazon
  • Today Will Be Better, I Swear!  by Stars youtube Amazon
  • What We Hate, We Make by The Rocket Summer ("I know that's not enough - to say 'I'm sorry.""  This song helps me to find some forgiveness for myself.) youtube Amazon
  • Whether You Fall by Tracy Bonham (Reminds me to do the next right thing and accept when I work my program imperfectly). you tube Amazon
  • Wise Up by Aimee Mann (Keep coming back!) youtube Amazon


What songs inspire you to work your program and stay on your journey of recovery?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanks Giving Recovery Art Project

A common component of recovering from addiction is learning to practice gratitude.  And what better month to honor that practice than the month of Thanksgiving.

For this week's recovery project, I asked the group to decorate canvas potholders in expressions of gratitude.

Supplies needed:



I introduced the activity:  "This is an activity to recognize and acknowledge Thanksgiving.  Holiday's can be a very challenging and triggering time for addicts.  So it's important that we recognize them in our own ways.  I encourage you to focus on the gratitude aspect of this holiday.  And as the holiday tends to be focused on food, we are acknowledging that in using potholders as the medium on which to express our gratitude."

I was a bit nervous that the men in the group would think the project too girlie.  But I was pleasantly surprised that they all participated.  We invite people to participate in the art projects, but no one is required to.  Some people prefer to use the time to do writing or simply meditate, and I support people in using the time in whatever way best meets their needs.  We give everyone 15 minutes to work on the project, 5 minutes to wrap up or clean up and then return to a regular meeting format of sharing.

Here are a couple of examples of the work that came out of this week's group:

Again, as I've mentioned before, we encourage people not to focus too much on creating "art," but just expressing themselves creatively, as a child might.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Step 3 Activity: Create a God Box


Step 3:  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

God boxes have been around and in use way before Mary Lou Quinlan popularized them with her book, The God Box, released in 2012.  I have assigned this task to each of my sponsees working on their third step since I first began attending 12 step meetings in 2005.  And I learned about them from my sponsor who learned about them from her sponsor and so on.  Their tenacity within 12 step programs likely comes from how effective they are in aiding us in turning our lives over to a Higher Power (HP).  I find the use of my God Box to be the most tangible way of turning my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power.  The physical act of handing a piece of paper over to God has deepened my understanding of what it means to turn something over, to surrender.

You can use any box or basket or bowl as a God Box.  All you need is something that can contain little slips of paper.  However, I think the act of decorating a God Box makes it more meaningful for me.  These boxes (or baskets or bowls) are basically the equivalent of a mailbox for God.  I collect boxes all year long.  Generally, I save any box smaller than a shoe box (though people have used shoeboxes and even larger boxes).  I have used business card boxes, candy boxes, jewelry boxes, medication boxes, cell phone boxes, cigar boxes, boxes that small electronics come in (headphones), boxes that fancy skin products have come in, stationary boxes, cigar boxes, gift boxes, small shipping boxes and even baby wipe boxes.

Supplies:
-boxes (again, any kind or size will do)
-collage materials (magazines, origami paper, wrapping paper, old calendars, stickers, scrapbooking supplies, old greeting cards, books, colored paper, etc)
-glue sticks



OPTIONAL (require use of a liquid glue such as Elmer's):
-small beads,
-rhinestones,
-feathers
-glitter or glitter glue

The instructions are easy - have fun decorating your boxes!  Here are how a few of mine have turned out:


So, now what do I do with this God box?  Basically, the idea is to write down anything you are worried about and put it into the box, asking God to take care of it for you.  Of course, like with any prayer, placing the item in the box, you are releasing HOW your Higher Power will go about taking care of the problem for you.  You must let go of the outcome.  Here are some examples of things I put into my God Box:


Some people write out the things they are turning over as a full prayer.  They may write out, "Dear God, please help me with...  Thank you.  Love, ME."  But I find I have lots of things I want to put in there, so I just get right down to the issue.  Again, reading from my items in the photo above, you can see I don't ask for a specific outcome.  I wrote "whether or not my family likes their Christmas presents," not "Please make my family like their Christmas presents."  The act is turning the outcome over.  The request is really, "Dear HP, please help me stop worrying whether or not my family will like their presents."

Although some people suggest never revisiting the items placed in your God box, I have a ritual that I have found very meaningful.  Every New Year's, I empty the contents of my God box.  I unfold each piece of paper, read it and toss it in a fire.  What I love most about this ritual is seeing the things I spent so much time worrying over and realizing how they all worked themselves out.  It's a good reminder that I don't need to worry so much, especially when I turn things over to my HP.

Links to others' stories about their God boxes:

Inside the God Box on Real Simple
The God Box app by Mary Lou Quinlan
eHow to make a God Box
pre-made God boxes

What do you want to put into your God box today?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Step 2 Activity: Create an Altar in your Home


Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This is an activity that is usually somewhat on-going.  I have multiple altars in my home and the items on them tend to rotate. I add new items as I feel different needs arise and move items away as other issues fade into the background.


A personal altar can serve multiple purposes. Mine serves as a reminder to stay connected with my Higher Power.  The actions of moving objects on and off of the altar helps to provide a physical action that represents my intentions in my life.  For instance, if I am noticing I'm taking life too seriously and feel the need to add more play into my life, I will move a small toy or stuffed animal onto my altar.  When I am going through a large change or life transition, I add a butterfly to my altar to symbolize metamorphosis.  An altar can simultaneously be a spiritual experience and a creative outlet.




Steps for creating your altar:


  1. First, ask yourself a few questions - what does Higher Power mean to me?  When I think of Higher Power, what symbols or colors come to mind?  What feelings and attributes do I associate with my Higher Power - love, devotion, protection, partnership?
  2. Collect or create meaningful items for your altar. Select things that are personally meaningful to you.  Some items that are commonly included on altars are candles, incense or essential oil burners, crystals, scarves or sage.  But choose what items are meaningful to you personally.  You may not use any of these items on your own altar.
  3. Next, ask yourself where you want to set up your altar.  I have an altar in my bedroom where I see it as the last thing before I fall asleep and the first thing as I wake up.  If you will be meditating by your altar, you may want to choose a place where you can set up a meditation cushion.
  4. Choose which of your objects will be the focal point of your altar.  If you follow a religious practice, this item might be religious symbols such as a cross or Buddha statue or statue of the goddess Lakshmi.  You may have photos of important religious figures such as the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa.  You may have religious books such as the Koran, Bible or Torah.  Alternatively, if you affiliate Higher Power strongly with nature, you may choose to use a natural element such as a rock, flowers or water as your focal point.  (See the list below for other ideas, any of which may be the focal point for you - again, choose something that is meaningful to you personally).
  5. You may want to meditate, at least briefly, before setting up your altar.  Then simply trust your intuition as to where you want your items to be placed on your altar.



Ideas for objects that may honor your connection with nature:

  • flowers as a symbol of what can grow up and blossom out of mud and dirt, 
  • leaves 
  • a live plant
  • dried rose petals (Collect your own from an old bouquet or available on Amazon)
  • gem stones
  • shells (Collect your own or available on Amazon)
  • If you want to have an altar focused on the elements, you can read information on which stones represent which elements and choose stones from each element (earth, wind, fire and water).

To symbolize your commitment to your recovery:
  • Recovery literature as a reminder to stay in the solution, 
  • written notes, affirmations or slogans
  • your recovery chips
  • your God Box

A nod to Step 11:  Prayer & Meditation - Prayer beads
Prayer beads are used in many different religions.  Regardless of what religion you affiliate with or if you consider yourself non-denominational, prayer beads can be a nice addition to an altar.  Here is a list of the types of beads used in some religious practices:

  • Catholics - rosaries
  • Eastern Orthodox Christian - prayer ropes
  • Greek worry beads called komboloi
  • Hinduism & Buddhism - Japa Mala (also 108 beads)
  • Islam - beads representing 99 Names of Allah referred to as Misbaha or Tasbih or Sibha
  • Lutheran Church - Pearls of Life
  • Sikhism - mala of 108 beads
  • Tibetan Buddhism - prayer beads




Please share with us - what objects have you placed on your recovery altar?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Step 2 Activity Ideas

Step 2:  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For our second step recovery activities, we will explore what our Higher power means to us each as an individual.  We will also explore what it means to be "restored to sanity."

  • DRAMA : Take out two socks from your sock drawer.  One sock is to represent your addictive / “insane” self and the other sock is to represent your recovered / “sane” self.  Put one sock on each hand and have them talk to one another.  Even if they say only one sentence each, what do they have to say to one another?  If you're feeling really inspired, you can decorate the socks to make it more obvious which one is the "insane" one and which is the "sane" one.
  • MUSIC:  Write a song, learn to play / sing a song or make a music playlist that you can listen to that describes insanity.  Make another song/playlist that reflects your image of or feelings toward a Higher Power.  This can be a standard love song that you interpret as a song to your Higher Power rather than a song to a human love interest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

12-Sided Recovery Dice


We will be creating a 12-sided dice.  On each of the sides, you will write or draw something representing a tool of the program.  Then, when you are struggling or tempted to engage with your addiction, you can roll the dice and use a tool instead.

Supplies:


The template for the 12-sided dice comes in the workbook.  However, if you don't have the workbook, you can print out the image above as an 8.5" x 11" document.   You can select whatever tools of hte program you want to use.  

Here is a long list for you to choose from:

Get Current / out of isolation:
  • Go to a meeting
  • Make a program call
  • Go to therapy
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Share at a meeting

Writing:
  • Write a gratitude list
  • Write a tenth step
  • Journal
  • Work on steps with a sponsor
  • God box

Connect with HP:

Read program literature:

Be of service
  • Volunteer work
  • Offer to sponsor someone
  • Call a newcomer and ask how they're doing

Self-care:
  • Exercise
  • Go for a walk
  • Get a massage
  • Take a bath
  • Make a healthy meal
  • Cuddle with a pet
  • Address HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  • Take a nap
  • Go to a yoga class

Use Slogans:
  • “Easy does it”
  • HOW (honesty, open-mindedness and willingness)
  • Count sobriety days
  • “One day at a time”
  • “Progress Not Perfection”
  • “Stick around for the miracle”
  • “Keep coming back, it works”

After you have written or drawn something on each of the twelve sides, you will need to cut out the edges of the dice. Be careful not to cut off the tabs along the edges, as you will need these to glue your dice together.

After you have cut the template out, next you will fold the tabs all down and make folds wherever there is a printed line from the template.  As you fold, you should see how the dice will be coming together.

After you have made all of your folds, then you can begin to tape or glue the tabs beneath the adjacent pentagons.  Nobody's cube ever turns out perfectly.  But in the end, you should have something that looks similar to this:

When you're finished...
Try rolling the dice.  Isn't using the tools more fun this way?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Step 1 Activity Ideas

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless [over our addiction] - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Part of recovery and coming out of withdrawal from a substance or addictive behavior - one day at a time - is learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings.  Here is a list of some creative activities that are focused on finding safe ways to express our emotions.  One of the most dangerous emotions for alcoholics and addicts is anger or resentment, so I will focus on that emotion in this post, but you can do any of these same activities for any other emotion, such as sadness, loneliness, or fear.  You may have heard the nemonic HALT  (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired), so try to be especially mindful when feelings of anger or loneliness come up, as we are more vulnerable to acting out in our addictions during these times.

Creative Activities:

1.  MUSIC:  Make a playlist of songs that you can listen to, dance to and/or sing along to when you are feeling angry.  I have found songs and playlists very useful, as they give me a specific, limited period of time during which I can practice tolerating an uncomfortable feeling.  I also feel less alone, as I hear someone else's voice describing through music what I am feeling.  If you are musically inclined, you could alternatively write your own song or learn to play or sing a song that expresses anger.

2. POETRY:  Try making a Haiku about anger.  Haikus are poems that have a rhythmic pattern.  The first line has 7 syllables, the second line has 5 syllables and the last line has 7 syllables.  You do not need to write in complete sentences.  You can select nouns and adjectives to reflect your angry mood.

3.  SPOKEN WORD:  Volunteer to be a speaker at a 12-step meeting.  Tell the story of why you came to 12-step.  What are you powerless over and how has it made your life unmanageable?

4.  VISUAL:  Draw, paint or photograph an image to go with this quote by Pia Mellody:  "Hug your demons or they'll bite you in the @$$." Here is a simple little illustration I created as an example:


5.  WRITING:  Make a list of 10 reasons NOT to engage in the behavior you have turned to 12-step to seek help for.  This can be 10 reasons not to drink alcohol, 10 reasons I don't want to use drugs, 10 reasons not to gamble, etc.  For some programs, especially those for problem behaviors, you may want to be more specific.  For instance, if you are in Debtors Anonymous, you may want to write 10 reasons not to use a credit card or 10 reasons not to watch the QVC shopping channel on tv.  For sex addiction, you may want to make a list of 10 reasons I don't want to look at porn or 10 reasons not to contact my qualifier whom I've been cheating on my spouse with.

6. DANCE / DRAMA: Consider inviting a friend to join you in this activity.  This activity may also be used in a group setting.  Like charades, without words or sounds AND without facial expressions, use your body – through movement or dance – to convey specific feelings.  Focus on keeping your face neutral while letting the emotion out in your body.  Have your partner guess what emotion you are conveying.  Take turns.  Between the two of you, make sure you convey these three: angry, sad and scared.  You may choose other emotions as well.

Do you have any other ideas for using the arts to work your first step?  If so, please share them as well!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY Personalized Recovery Chips

Recovery chips, also referred to as AA coins or 12-step medallions, are given out in honor of one's period of sobriety.  Different programs offer chip meetings, though chips are not generally given out at smaller meetings.  Chips for smaller periods of abstience, such as 24 hours, 1 month or 3 months are often made from plastic.  Longer periods may be in aluminum, such as for 6-months, 9-months or a year.  Past that, anniversary or birthday chips are often made from bronze.

One side of the chip may read, "To Thine Own Self Be True" and show a triangle with Unity, Service and Recovery on each of its sides.  On the back, you will often see the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our Self-Expression meeting, where I lead our art projects, does not have a 7th Tradition large enough to fund offering chips.  However, for many, this is their home group and those people expressed a desire to receive a chip at their home group meeting.  So to accommodate this wish, I decided we would make our own chips using Shrinky Dinks!  This project was a little more difficult to orchestrate as I had to borrow a toaster oven so we could bake our chips during the meeting.

Supplies needed:

  • Shrinky Dink sheets (currently available for $22 / set of 50 sheets)
  • colored pencils - do NOT use colored markers as the colors will fade
  • any round object, roughly 3.25" in diameter (if you want to make them turn out roughly the size of a standard chip)
  • toaster oven


OPTIONAL (if you want to turn them into key chains):


Instructions:

  1. Trace the outline of your 3.25" diameter round object (I used the base of a drinking glass).
  2. Cut the round chip out.
  3. OPTIONAL:  If you are going to want to make key chains, you will need to cut the hole before baking.  I used a standard hole-punch and cut an area equal to 3 hole-punch holes to create a hole large enough to accommodate our split key rings.
  4. Color and write on your chip.  Any areas you leave uncolored will appear somewhat translucent  so I recommend coloring in as much of the plastic as you can.  I wrote down my specific anniversary dates for my programs and then the current number of years I've been in each program.  But you can also simply write a meaningful slogan that inspires you to remain sober.  Here are some sample slogans you might choose to use:
      • Stick around for the miracle.
      • This too shall pass.
      • You are not alone.
      • Turn it over.
      • Progress, not perfection.
      • But for the grace of God.
      • Attitude of Gratitude.
      • Courage to Change
      • Easy Does It
      • One Day at a Time
      • Just for Today
      • Happy, Joyous and Free
      • Let Go and Let God
      • Keep Coming Back
  • Pre-heat the toaster oven (or conventional oven if you don't have a toaster oven) to 325 F
  • Cut a rectangular shape out of a brown grocery bag and turn one corner up (turned up corner will be the handle you will use to remove the Shrinky Dink from the tray or cookie sheet)
  • Place Shrinky Dink pieces, colored side up, on brown paper and place on tray or cookie sheet. Put into pre-heated oven.
  • Watch as your Shrinky Dinks shrink. Bake approximately 1 to 3 minutes or until pieces lay flat (they will initially curl during the process as they shrink).  If pieces are too large, they may curl and the edges may adhere to itself permanently.
  • Remove paper from tray or cookie sheet.  Lightly press flat with a folded paper or a pad of paper until pieces have cooled (approximately 15 seconds).
  • OPTIONAL:  If you are making key chains, I advise putting the chips onto the slip-rings as soon as possible.  The warm plastic will allow the chip to slip more easily onto the ring with less risk of the chip cracking in the process.



Your final chip should look something like this:




We wish you a Happy Birthday or Anniversary however long you've been in recovery - whether for 24 hours or 24 years, whether for less or for even more!