Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From Maggot to Chameleon

Joan Shepherd, FNP

Every time I think I can’t like a patient more than the one I just detoxed at The Coleman Institute, I meet another one I’m saying the same thing about. Yesterday Evie (not her real name) completed an Accelerated Methadone Detox. She is such a hero!

After years of heroin use she was started on methadone 3 years ago. Miserable almost immediately on methadone because of the life style and the way it made her feel, and because she was so ready to start a life of recovery, she determined to stop using. Then she discovered she was pregnant. Thus, the three years on methadone.

It was an elegant detox. When we were getting ready to place her naltrexone pellet I noticed
the tattoo of a beautifully detailed chameleon wrapped around her left ankle. She told me it was a cover up tattoo. When she’d been using lots of heroin a friend talked her into allowing him to tattoo his specialty on her: maggots coming out of a wound. She said it had been pretty realistic.

Evie shakes her head and laughs that she would ever let anyone put a tattoo of maggots anywhere on her body! The chameleon was drawn in when she decided to seriously start recovery. She said she could change with her environment, and indeed, the quality of her life—her work, her relationships with her child, finance, and friends, and her health—are all vastly better since she stopped the heroin and changed her environment. I can only imagine how her life will continue to change as she experiences the freedom that Naltrexone brings. Wonder how that chameleon would look with wings?
If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here to help you get your life back.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunny Day!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

The weather for the past week or so in Richmond has been awful.  Continual rain and dark clouds have made it very difficult to get motivated.  Ever been there?  Yeah, me too!

Today is different, however, because the ‘eye in the sky’ is shining brightly.  It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your mood.  Do you ever feel moody?  Yeah, me too!

In recovery, one of the issues people often struggle with is their day-to-day mood swings.  One day you’re on cloud 9 and the next day you drop down to cloud -9 and there’s no good reason to explain your huge mood swing.  This is very common but very difficult to deal with in the beginning of your recovery when everything is so raw, real, and even painful.

What we all look for in life are buffers.  Buffers help us deal with the pain the world sends us.  Common buffers include, but are not limited to, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, adrenaline, sports, and many others.  A buffer is anything that you use to keep you from feeling the fullness of an emotion that you find uncomfortable.  This is why drugs and alcohol seems to be the instant fix.  And in the beginning, they do just that.

However, over time, addiction will teach us that the buffer it advertises fails to work in the long-term.  This leaves us in a quandary.  How do we deal with intense feelings with nothing to block the power of those feelings?  The answer is simple:  feel it.

I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear but it is true.  The more we allow ourselves to feel what we actually are feeling the easier those feelings will become to manage.  It takes practice and dedication to maintain our emotional health.  The payoff is totally worth it in the end!

Think of your emotions as your inner ‘oil light’.  Like the oil light in a car that lets the driver know if the engine is ok or is about to lock up due to cruddy or insufficient oil in the engine, so too, emotions are nature’s way of teaching us that something is wrong in our present life.  If we choose to accept emotions as a help and not a hindrance, then they begin to take on a new hope and a new meaning.

Why don’t you give it a try?  Pay attention to your emotions the next few days and see if you notice how you tend to buffer them.  If you find you don’t like what you see, experiment with letting go of that buffer or buffers and see how the experience differs.   As for me today, I’m feeling good because the sun is my buffer.  Here’s hoping tomorrow, if it’s cloudy, I’ll remember my own words!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, and Suboxone.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smoke Pot, Change Your Brain

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

While pot smoking seems to be all the rage, some people are beginning to see it differently.  New research is showing that even casual pot smoking can cause changes in the brain that scientist say are not changes anyone should make.  It appears that the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala are most affected with casual pot smoking.  For more information, please click the link at the bottom of the page!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of opiates, benzos, alcohol, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Picture is Worth 1,000 Words!

Chris Newcomb

I must admit I thought the above picture was pretty funny.  It's a great take on male testosterone tough guy stereotypes.  It is true that a picture is worth a 1,000 words!  

Recently the NIDI asked the public to create infographics depicting the relationship between prescription medicine abuse and the risk in heroin use to better inform the public.  There were 3 winners in the contest.   I'd like to share them with you.  The work is very good artistically and from a message standpoint.  

At The Coleman Institute, we see the effects of prescription pill addiction every day.  It truly is epidemic in this country.  Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you may know who struggles with addiction to prescription pills, or even worse, heroin.  

First Place -"Popping Pills: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in America"

Second Place - "Stop Rx Abuse - Ignorance is NO excuse"

Third Place - "Abuse of Prescription Pain Medications Risks Heroin Use"

If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We are here to help you get clean and stay clean.  Freedom is available for you!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Worth the Time

Joan Shepherd, FNP 

Clearing space for quiet is important for those in recovery or for anyone who breathes and eats and occupies space on this planet. This was the blog article from Daily OM. I couldn’t say it better, so I won’t. I’ll send it to you intact. Check out his website sometime.

"Ironically, when we get busy, the first thing that tends to get cut back is our meditation practice. We have less time and a lot on our plates, so it makes sense that this happens, but in the end it doesn't really help us. Most of us know from experience that we function much better when we give ourselves time each day to sit in silence. And the more we have to do, the more we need that solitary, quiet time for the day ahead. As a result, while it may sound counter intuitive, it is during busy times that we most need to spend more time in meditation rather than less. By being quiet and listening to the universe, we will be given what we need to get through our day.

Expanding our morning meditation by just 10 minutes can make a big difference, as can the addition of short meditations into our daily schedule. The truth is, no matter how busy we are, unless we are in the midst of a crisis we always have five or 10 minutes to spare. The key is convincing ourselves that spending that time in meditation is the most fruitful choice. We could be getting our dishes done or heading into work earlier instead, so it's important that we come to value the importance of meditation in the context of all the other things competing for attention in our lives. All we have to do to discover whether it works to meditate more when we are busy is to try it.

We can start by creating more time in the morning, either by getting up earlier or by preparing breakfast the night before and using the extra time for meditation. We can also add short meditation breaks into our schedule, from five minutes before or after lunch to a meditation at night before we go to sleep. When we come from a place of centered calm, we are more effective in handling our busy schedules and more able to keep it all in perspective. If more time in meditation means less time feeling anxious, panicky, and overwhelmed, then it's certainly worth the extra time."

Do you or someone you love need to be detoxed off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone?  If so, please call 1-877-773-3869 and ask for Jennifer or Amy.  We are here to help you reclaim your life and your freedom!  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Accepting Disease Model for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Peter Coleman, M.D.
It is becoming hard to remember just how much society has looked down on alcoholics and people with drug addiction problems. Since the beginning of recorded history, there have been references to the fact that, while most people are able to enjoy their alcohol, some people drink too much, make fools of themselves and hurt themselves and the people around them. It sure looks like these people are weak and immoral. It is actually very hard to conceive that they may be suffering from a disease, and that these behaviors are not their fault. Betty Ford helped to change all of that.
Until recently, even the medical establishment did not view alcoholism as an illness. There were some pioneers like Benjamin Rush who, in the 1700s, believed that alcoholism was a disease, but this was very much in opposition to the usual thinking of the day. It is easy to understand this because alcoholism and drug addiction involve the willful taking of substances. It absolutely seems that alcoholics are making willful choices that end up hurting themselves and hurting everyone around them. It certainly appears that alcoholics and drug addicts have a “weakness of character, poor willpower, poor ethics, and a general disregard for themselves and for others”. Society, in general, has had problems seeing things any other way. And the people with these problems have their own difficulty accepting that they have a disease. Who wants to admit that they are not in control of themselves? It is not surprising that the main support group for alcoholics determined that they needed to be anonymous. 
Early people in recovery had to meet completely anonymously. The reality was that being found out could have devastating consequences. I recently saw a photograph that now looks pretty comical. It is from the very first days of AA and shows early AA members talking and giving testimony on a radio show. They were standing in front of a microphone wearing Lone Ranger type masks, obviously because they felt the need to guard their anonymity. It is a pretty ironic photograph considering the fact that no one who was listening to the radio would be able to see them! In fact this is a powerful reminder that these men and women felt it was so necessary to be anonymous that they had to guard their identity even to the staff of the radio studio.
Things have changed a lot since those days. Those of us who are either in recovery ourselves or who are working in the addiction field have Betty Ford to thank for a big piece of that change. In the 1970s, while she was First Lady of the United States, Betty Ford was abusing alcohol and was addicted to pain medicines. In 1978, the Ford family found it necessary to deal with Betty's alcohol and drug addiction. They staged an intervention in order to convince her that she needed to stop drinking and stop taking the opiate pain pills that she had been prescribed for a pinched nerve in the early 1960s. This was radical stuff. The president's wife was not supposed to be an alcoholic, and she was certainly not supposed to be a drug addict. But the truth is she was. Fortunately, for he,r she had people around her who loved her and cared enough about her to help her get the help she needed. She went to treatment. She stopped using alcohol and drugs. She got into recovery, and like many people in recovery she decided that it was important to help other people who suffer with alcoholism and drug problems. She announced to the world that she had been suffering from these problems, and she did it in a non-judgmental and an unapologetic way. She took responsibility for her recovery. In 1982, she helped establish the Betty Ford Center in California. The Betty Ford Center is well-known as an excellent treatment program and remains one of the preeminent inpatient treatment programs in the nation and has literally helped thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts and their families.
Our understanding of what causes alcoholism and drug addiction has changed a lot since the 1970s. It is now more clear that there is really no difference between alcoholism and drug addiction - it is really one illness that we can call chemical dependency. Patients who drink alcohol heavily do not have a different disease from those who are addicted to drugs. Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, was simultaneously addicted to alcohol and drugs - just like Betty Ford. The medical evidence makes it more clear that patients with addictive problems are genetically vulnerable to the addiction process. It is not their fault that they have an addiction. It is their responsibility to deal with it. Since 1978, medical research has clearly outlined the parts of the brain that are corrupted in the addiction process. The brain's pleasure center, which is there to ensure we survive as a species, becomes damaged and drives people to continue to take their alcohol or drugs even though all of the evidence says they should stop. There is now a large field of genetic research that is beginning to outline the exact genetic differences between those who can drink safely and those who lose control.
It is an exciting time to be working as a physician in the field of addiction medicine. It is becoming easier to work with patients and to help them understand that they do not have to feel guilty for having the drug or alcohol problems. For many patients, knowledge of this fact is very liberating. It helps them to accept their illness, move on and reclaim their lives. It helps them repair the damage from the past and become the people they want to be.
Many of us have Betty Ford to thank. While she was only one piece in the puzzle of helping society to accept alcoholism as a disease, she was an important piece.
If you or someone you love is in need of detox off opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The American Heroin Epidemic!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

It's no mystery that there is a drug problem in the United States in 2014.  It is a sad state of affairs. However, there seems to be a growing problem with one particular drug: Heroin.  Heroin use is skyrocketing all over the country.  In states like Vermont, the death rate was doubled in just one year.  The problem is people prefer to use heroin because it is cheaper than pills and other drugs but gives a similar effect. Unfortunately, most people have no clue that the cost can mean jail, insanity, and death.  

Last night, ABC News ran a story about this problem in America today called "Hooked: America's Heroin Epidemic".  Take a moment and follow the link below to watch the video.  It is important to know the facts so that you can be aware of those in your midst who may be struggling with heroin as their drug of choice.  We are stronger together and can help more people when we are all aware of the problem.  Please feel free to pass this video on to someone you know who could benefit from watching.  

At The Coleman Institute, we are dedicated to helping people get clean and stay clean from alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone and Suboxone.  If you are or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  Freedom is available to you!