Monday, September 15, 2014

10% of Americans Admit to Illicit Drug Use


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div

September is National Recovery Month all around the nation as the message of sobriety and recovery is being promoted to encourage those who are clean to stay clean and those who are not yet in recovery to consider doing so.  The truth is that drug use and abuse is alive and well today.  This is unfortunate but there is hope!

First, before we can look at hope, we have to look at reality.  A recent report shows that ten percent of Americans ages 12 and older admitted using illicit drugs in 2013. These statistics must change!

In addition, there is growing evidence of the connection between substance abuse and mental health issues.  To be clear, this doesn't mean that every one who suffers from depression also suffers from drug abuse.  Likewise, someone using heroin doesn't necessarily suffer from depression.  Each person is unique and should be treated as such.  However, there is a strong trend of people struggling with both issues. This is called 'co-occurring' disorders.  

Let's not forget hope!  Every day thousands of people are getting help and getting sober for the first time.  Millions who are in recovery are choosing each moment to stay clean and sober.  "As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month our nation can be proud of the strides made in successfully promoting the power of recovery from mental and substance use disorders," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a government news release. "People in recovery deserve an official voice at all levels of government," Michael Botticelli, acting director of National Drug Control Policy, said in the news release. "We must continue to use that voice to share our triumphs and our challenges, and show the world that millions of us are leading happy, healthy, productive lives in long-term recovery. Each recovery story we tell chips away at the misconceptions that keep someone struggling with an addictive disorder from asking for help," he added.

To learn more, you can read continue reading here...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

America's Heroin Epidemic






By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.


Heroin used to be a drug that was associated with dark places in the bad parts of town.  It was never something that was considered a real possibility to use by 'respectable' people wanting to have a little fun.  In fact, growing up in the late '70's and 80's, it was understood that heroin was a line you just didn't cross.  It was anathema.  It was the enemy.  Poison.  Lethal.  Not anymore.

Viewpoints have shifted towards heroin because of it's lower street cost and perceived 'chic' party drug status.  Due to the growing cost of prescription pills on the street, people feel like they would do better financially if they use heroin.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Heroin kills people dead.  Believe it.  It's a fact.  

Please take a moment to educate yourself about this growing epidemic that crosses all boundaries regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, educational level, or economic station in life.  Pass it on to anyone you think would benefit from it.  You can read more here!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

To Our Health

By
Peter R. Coleman, M.D. 

We are about to enter the 9th month 2014.  How are your health goals coming so far this year?  Did you make a New Year's promise to get in better shape, eat right, get more rest?  If you did, how are you doing with that resolution?  Still strong?  Fading fast?  Quit after January 2nd?

In my line of work, health is of the utmost importance.  However, I think people don't always put their health first in their lives.  Without our health, we have nothing.  So, as you read the newsletter this month, take a few moments for your health's sake and see what you need to change for the better.  

To that end, we are always seeking to share our services to as many as we can so more people will get free of this dreadful disease.  I am always grateful when an opportunity arises to tell more people about the disease of addiction and the hope of sobriety and recovery.  We received a nice surprise earlier this summer when Our Health: The Resource for Healthy Living in Greater Richmond Magazine contacted us, asking to interview me as well as requesting an interview with one of our detox patients who is now 10 months clean and actively participating in Recovery - U which is our innovative, online, educational, IOP 'university' I created about 2 years ago.  In addition, this great publication was also interested in highlighting my new non-profit initiative called IWINS (a.k.a. I Wish I Never Started).  The reason they contacted us is September is National Recovery Month and they wanted to do a feature article to help promote substance-free living.  I was so surprised and very grateful for this wonderful opportunity to help other people learn more about the truth of addiction and recovery!

In addition, the magazine did a great job of covering my IWINS initiative which I am so excited about!  IWINS stands for I Wish I Never Started and is aimed at preventing and ending opiate abuse amongst teens and young adults.  It is a national initiative that we want to see eventually go global in its reach! 

Usually, I write a little more in my article for our newsletter.  This month, however, I am going to be brief so you can take a few moments to browse this great magazine article.  Please feel free to share it with your friends and family. You can find it here!

You've Got Great Expectations!



By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

"You've got great expectations!" These words forever ring in my ears from the song "Great Expectations" by the rock group KISS, which was written by Gene Simmons (pictured above).  The song was about the expectations rock and roll fans (a.k.a. groupies) have at his concerts to meet him and, uh, 'hang out' with him after the show (wink, wink).  That perspective is, of course, a tired but true lyrical storyline that's been around ever since the term 'rock-n-roll' was coined. 

Why do I bring this up on a substance abuse blog (and in this month's newsletter.  You can sign up here)?  Great question and I hope my answer will suffice.  Gene Simmons had great expectations and is the epitome of the American dream come true.  Born Chaim Witz in Israel, he dodged bullets as a youngster in a war-torn land.  If that wasn't enough, he watched his father walk away from him and his mother with another woman.  Gone.  Vanished.  Most people would've quit by then.  Not Gene.  No, he had a different plan.  He had great expectations.

He emigrated to America and changed his name to 'Gene Klein' and became a school teacher.  Then, as his rock band KISS began to get popular, he changed his legal name to his stage name 'Gene Simmons' and it has stuck ever since.  The reality is that Gene Simmons had great expectations for himself and his future.  

As a matter of fact, at some parties, you've probably heard the Gene Simmons co-penned rock anthem of all rock anthems called 'Rock and Roll All Nite and Party Every Day".  Here is the irony: Gene Simmons was completely sober when he wrote that song and remained that way!  He has never done a drug in his life and the only alcohol he ever tasted was on his reality show in which he spit it out immediately because he couldn't stand the taste!!!  Drugs and alcohol were not part of his great expectations!

Did you expect the party life to be glamorous when you first entered it?  Did you think that you had finally arrived and that your life is going to be so much better for having been in the scene, so to speak. You felt like an adult.  You get those positive feelings and vibes both from the substances and the people at the party.  "What could be wrong with this," you ask yourself?

The truth is that the party life is a lie.  One of the lies it tells people is that the sober life is boring, stupid, and lame.  The truth is a sober life is what you make it and it can be a lot of fun.  If you are not quite convinced my logic is sound...I present Exhibit A: Gene Simmons.  His band KISS is touring this summer for their 40th anniversary to sell out crowds (18,000 or more) and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.  

By the way, his birthday was yesterday.  He's 65.  And he still breathes fire live and flies to the top of the arena every night to sing a song to the audience 100 feet below.  Pretty good for a boy with great expectations who dodged bullets and lost his father to infidelity in war-torn Israel and who ultimately ended up becoming a rock icon, movie star, TV star, and NYT Best-selling author with a net worth of $300 million dollars.  I'm impressed and inspired.  I hope you are too because Gene Simmons life story proves that anyone, regardless of circumstance, can change their life and achieve their great expectations!

I encourage you to pursue sobriety and embrace your inner great expectations because you never know where life will take you.  And if you don't have any great expectations, today is a great day to create a few.  Pursue your goals.  Pursue your dreams.  Pursue the important things that really matter that you may have put off because of addiction.  

Great expectations make human beings the most unique thing on this planet for no bird, tree, blade of grace, tornado, or ant ever has expectations much less great expectations.  This is great news because we can choose to expect the great things in life that we want and pursue them.  

What do you expect for your life?  Your career?  Your marriage?  Your life apart from drugs and/or alcohol?  Think about it.  Dream about it.  Then go get it.  Gene Simmons did and so can you!

If you or someone you love had great expectations to never get addicted to drugs or alcohol but ended up getting addicted anyway, we can help.  We detox people off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, and Suboxone. At The Coleman Institute, we help real people who desire to change their broken story into a brand new story of healing sobriety and recovery filled with great expectations.  If you're ready to change your expectations, leave the old life behind and start a new one by getting clean and sober, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 1.877.773.3869 today.  Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart can answer your questions and get you started on the road to recovery!  


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't Forget that September is National Recovery Month!


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Summer is quickly fading and school will be starting in the not-so-distant future.  We are just 11 days from September.  Can you believe it?  What does September hold?

Besides the inevitable start of school and the changing of the leaves, another important thing to mention is that September is National Recovery month and this year it celebrates 25 years! Recovery Month is, "a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. The observance’s main focus is to laud the gains made by those in recovery from these conditions, just as we would those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover"

For more information, you can check out their great website here!

At The Coleman Institute, we love National Recovery Month and can't wait to join the festivities next month.  We agree that, "prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover." If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today. 
We are here to help you! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Suicide is NOT the answer!

By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know what I mean?  I'm talking about those days where all you want to do is crawl back in bed and never see the light of day again.  We've all been there.

Most of us, however, find a way to survive.  We find another way to look at life, our problems, and other people.  We muster up new resolve and courage to tackle life's issues that try to drag us down.  However, sometimes, life gets the best of us and kicks us when we're down.  What do you do when life kicks you while you're down?  How do you deal with it?  Do you rise above or sink into depression, sadness, even self-pity?  Even worse, do your problems ever cause you to consider suicide as a way of ultimately defeating your problems?

Tragically, the world lost once of it's brightest stars in comedian Robin Williams who took his own life last week.  Since his death, there have been pieces of information leaked by the media surrounding how he died.  One detail of note is that he died sober.  He did not have any traces of drugs or alcohol in his body at the time of his passing.  He died sober!  While we mourn his passing, we are grateful he got to kick his addiction in the teeth by not allowing it to have the final word in his passing.  Unfortunately, suicide did get the final word and this is heartbreaking and troubling.

Apparently, since Mr. Williams passing, more people are calling suicide prevention hotlines more than ever before! This is a good thing, but first, let me be clear and say that Mr. Williams suicide is NOT causing other people to want to kill themselves.  Rather, the ensuing raised awareness due to his suicide is giving people more hope to raise their voice about their own struggles with suicidal ideation.  This is a very good thing because, unfortunately, suicide is not going away anytime soon.  And talking about it is one of the best ways to prevent it.  

You can learn more about this new trend in suicide awareness here!

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, anxiety and/or addiction to alcohol or drugs and it's causing suicidal ideation, please go to your nearest ER or call 911.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  There is always a way out! 

If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  At The Coleman Institute, we care for you and your sobriety.  Please give us a call today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Good Night Robin Williams


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

It's a sad day today.  I was at band practice last night when I got a text message announcing the news that comedian and actor Robin Williams had died from an apparent suicide by asphyxia.  There is no word whether drugs and/or alcohol were involved.  The band was shocked and devastated.  Such a tragic loss and waste of a brilliant man with incredible talents.  Gone too soon. 

Thank you Robin Williams for making me laugh (The Birdcage) and cry (Good Will Hunting).  You were a very talented man.  I remember seeing you on TV in the late 1970's as a young boy watching your show 'Mork & Mindy'.  Who knew the great talent that you would display for the world through the years?!?  

As a matter of fact, my father shared one of your jokes with me recently that you told in my home town of Richmond, VA.  You started the show complimenting the Richmond crowd on the beauty of the city.  Specifically, you noted that Monument Avenue was gorgeous and had such an impressive display of 2nd Place Trophies you had ever seen.  Hint:  The South lost the Civil War but Monument Avenue has statues lining it with civil war heroes on the losing side. The joke was offensive to some but hilarious to me.  Of course, everyone knew he was kidding. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Williams had an addiction to cocaine and alcohol.  He quit drinking for 20 years but starting on a 3 year binge back in 2003.  Of cocaine, Robin noted that, "No. Cocaine – paranoid and impotent, what fun. There was no bit of me thinking, ooh, let's go back to that. Useless conversations until midnight, waking up at dawn feeling like a vampire on a day pass. No."  His struggle took him to Hazelden, a premier inpatient facility for treatment in the summer of this year to deal with his alcoholism.  On top of all this, he struggled with depression for most of his life.  

My hope in this tragic situation is that more light on a national, and even international level, is shed on the reality of addiction and mental illness.  The two often go together.  In fact, there is a medical term for it: co-occurring.  

People around the world need to know that drugs, alcohol, depression and anxiety are very close neighbors and that those who struggle with them need to ask for help and the rest of us need to pay attention and do what we can to assist.  If you are not able to treat someone because you lack professional skills, you can still be of service.  Take them to an A.A. or N.A. meeting.  Financially support a part of their treatment costs.  Drive them to the ER or the doctor's office so they can get the help they need.  But, most of all, assure them that they are not alone and that you love them no matter what they do and will be there to assist, if you're able, when the addict or alcoholic is ready to change.  

Good night Robin Williams.  You will be missed.  Rest in Peace.

At The Coleman Institute, we laugh a lot.  We laugh right into the face of addiction because we see what a joke it is.  The people who suffer from it, however, have our utmost respect and compassion.  If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  You do not have to go down the road Mr. Williams did as tragic as it was.  There is help.  There is hope.  There is healing.  It starts here.