Friday, December 28, 2012

Got Thoughts?



By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.   

"Stop Thinking, and end your problems" - Lao-Tsu

It's the thinking that gets us in trouble, you know?  That's right.  All those little thoughts in our heads are the culprits for the bad, stupid, embarrassing, even shameful things we have done in our lives. 

What's the difference between a human being and an oak tree?  A brain.  That is, brains that have thoughts!  Oak trees neither have a brain nor do they think.  This gift is uniquely human.  And we have found unique ways to use it.  For example, the same brain that came up with the Theory of Relativity is the same brain that used LSD (see Albert Einstein)! 

An addict once said, "An addict alone in his own head is in a very dangerous neighborhood!"  Another said, "Do not go inside your head without adult supervision!"  Is it really that bad?

In a word: yes and no!  Those who struggle with addiction need to pay attention to their thoughts.  They need to actively work on releasing their thoughts, changing their thoughts, and even surrendering their thoughts.  

The more you allow your thoughts to change the better they can become.  Do you have to stop thinking all together?  Yes and No!  The addict/alcoholic part of you needs to stop thinking so the recovery/healthy part of you can think and lead the way.  

Try it sometime.  Now is the perfect time since the New Year is not very far away.  Make it your resolution and see what happens when you choose to let go and think positive things.  You will also find that your old ways of thinking are not easily convinced to pick up and move on.  It will be a fight...but one you can win!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We love to see the smile on our patients faces when they are clean and sober!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Soar Like an Eagle


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

"There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud." - Carl Sandburg

Isn't that how life is sometimes?  It's a paradox.  We want something but then we're not sure once we get it that we really wanted it in the first place.  Torn between polar opposites, we often find it hard to know which way to go.  This is especially true with our thoughts.  

Are you an eagle or a hippopotamus?  Do you fly high in the skies of positivity of sink low in the mud holes of negativity?  Or do you vacillate between the two?  

If you're like most of us, you vacillate between the two:  happy one minute and grumpy the next.  Consistency in thought and emotion is a difficult practice but it can be done.  And it has far reaching effects in your sobriety.

You can choose to be happy.  I know it's a revolutionary thought but it is true.  If you learn to pay attention to what you're thinking, you can choose to be happy.  Likewise, you can choose to be grumpy, irritate, angry, bored, and a host of other negative emotions.  Again, are you an eagle or a hippopotamus?  Is it blue skies or mud holes?

Your sobriety will grow leaps and bounds when you put your mind to it.  At the start of the day, I challenge you to choose to be an eagle in your mind flying high in the heavens of positivity sweeping on the wind of goodness and gliding through the sunbeams of joy as you survey the beauty and blessings in your life.  Remember it is a choice.  Besides, mud holes stink and aren't visually pleasing.  Being an eagle is the obvious choice!!!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We love to see the smile on our patients faces when they are clean and sober!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869). 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Armor


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

"We tend to wear suits of armor one over the other...We hope we will not have to completely undress" - Chogyam Trungpa

In the middle ages, soldiers wore suits of armor to protect themselves from swords, spears, and axes wielded by their enemies.  These suits were heavy and awkward to wear.  They often were too hot and made evasive maneuvers very difficult to execute.  

Today, wearing a suit of armor to battle is a ridiculous notion.  However, most of us wear a suit of armor on a day-to-day basis.  It might be a psychological suit.  It might be a social suit.  It could even be a fashion suit, pardon the pun. 

Most of us are not quite comfortable in our skin being exactly who we are.  Enter: the suit.  The suit is our way of hoping to be accepted, liked, and  even be popular to our peers.  It is usually a hopeless, unending task that never seems to satisfy.

This is exactly how many people get pulled into addiction.  Trying to be accepted, they put on the 'party suit' and try to fit in.  Then, when brain chemistry dictates that they are an addict, they are trapped in this clunky, awkward, heavy suit that holds them as a prisoner.  

Here's a thought:  take off the suit.  Take it off piece by piece.  Remove your helmet that hides your true thoughts.  Think for yourself.   Remove the chest plate that keeps your heart hidden and locked up.  Open your heart to feelings and to love for self and others.  Remove the shoes that keep your feet unable to tread on their own.  Take action and move in a different direction.  

I'll let you in on a little secret:  it's ok that you're messed up!  We all are.  Acknowledging it and accepting it are two great steps to minimize it's influence in your world.  Lose the armor.  You will feel much lighter!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We love to see the smile on our patients faces when they are clean and sober!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Seasons Greetings from The Coleman Institute


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Have you been naughty or nice?  We won't tell, I promise!  Christmas is coming soon.  Are your ready?

Take some time this Christmas to note all the wonderful people and blessings you have in your life.  Make a gratitude list and read it over the course of the day.  Remind yourself of all that is good in your life and celebrate it fully on that day.  

From everyone at The Coleman Institute, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!  We truly appreciate your business.  It is our privilege to serve you in the fight against alcoholism and drug addiction.  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We love Christmas and hope yours is a great one this year!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).

2012: Best Year Ever?!?




By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Recently, the British magazine The Spectator published an article claiming that 2012 is the best year in the history of the world!  Far-fetched claim?  Some would give a resounding 'yes'!  Others might say there could be a case for the claim.  What do you think?  While you ponder the question, here is a brief snapshot of some of the points made in the article.  I think you might be pleasantly surprised! 

The article starts out with this claim, "Never in the history of the world has there been less hunger, less disease and more prosperity."  My first thought was, "Wow!  That's an incredible assertion!"  The question is: is there any truth to it?  

Here is the evidence given:
  1. "In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015. It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008.
  2. Global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times. Globalisation means the world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.
  3. The average life expectancy in Africa reached 55 this year. Ten years ago, it was 50. The number of people dying from AIDS has been in decline for the last eight years. Deaths from Malaria have fallen by a fifth in half a decade.
  4. War has historically been humanity’s biggest killer. But in most of the world today, a generation is growing up that knows little of it. The Peace Research Institute in Oslo says there have been fewer war deaths in the last decade than any time in the last century. 
  5. Fifty years ago, the world was breathing a sigh of relief after the Cuban missile crisis. Young couples would discuss whether it was responsible to have children when the future seemed so dark. But now, as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that, in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing."
Admittedly, when I read the headline for this article, I was skeptical.  Of course, that should be no surprise, because I am a part of 'Generation X'.  Skepticism is our middle name!  Be that as it may, after reading the article, I must say that there is a lot of truth to it.  
To be certain, there have been many sad, tragic and devastating events in 2012.  Moreover, this article does not diminish the pain and suffering people have experienced throughout 2012.  However, there is also lots of good news about this past year.  As we close out the year, let us be thankful that in spite of some trying times in 2012 we can say that there are many blessings and good things to come from this year as well! 

Here is the link to the full article.  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.    If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcoholbenzosMethadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).

Best Wishes for the New Year!



By
Peter R. Coleman, M.D. 

Every now and then, at an AA or an NA meeting, someone brings up the topic of “Gratitude”. There is usually a bit of a groan from the crowd – who wants to think about all that sappy, positive stuff anyway? But, I suspect that, like me, most people are secretly happy to be thinking about all the things they have to be grateful for. Certainly “Gratitude meetings” always end up being fabulous, and I, for one, always leave feeling so much better than when I came.  

So, here it is December. It is that time of the year when it feels natural to look back and count our blessings. As I look back over the last12 months, I am struck by just how many wonderful things there are in my life and how many wonderful things there are in the lives of the people around me. 

First, we get to work with some amazing patients and their families. On a daily basis we are reminded of just how wonderful it is to see patients transforming their lives. Many patients come back to see us for follow up implants and they come back clean and sober, looking and feeling great. 

Second, the transformations going in their lives are truly awe inspiring and amazing. Many are forging new and healthy relationships with their families and loved ones. Many are taking good care of themselves, physically emotionally and spiritually. Many are rediscovering healthy friendships and making new ones. Many are going back to school or forging ahead in their careers. In short they are growing in recovery – living a good clean life. It is such a blessing for us to be able to watch this happening, and for us to play our small part in it.

Third, at our Christmas party last weekend, I had the experience of being able to look around the room and see all of the people I have the pleasure of working with. We have an incredible team. Smart people. Dedicated people. Funny people. They work hard. They enjoy helping patients along their recovery journey, and they are fun to work with. I am so grateful.

Furthermore, in the last year, The Coleman Institute has seen some great changes and growth in the company. We have opened an office in Tampa, Florida, working with Dr Imtiaz Hossein. He is a very knowledgeable and nurturing physician who loves helping patients overcome their addiction problems. We are now in the process of training Dr. Baruch who has an office in the Philadelphia area, and we are talking with physicians in the Austin, Texas region. 

We have now celebrated the reality that we have been providing our Accelerated Opiate Detoxification (AOD) for over 10 years. It is a fantastic option for patients to be able to get off opiates safely, comfortably and usually in only three days. We are also doing more and more outpatient alcohol detoxes and we are detoxing more patients off Xanax, Klonopin and other Benzodiazepines. We continue to use Naltrexone Implants which are working very well, but now we are also using a lot of Vivitrol – a monthly Naltrexone Injection.  For the last year we have been providing coaching services for some of our clients and we are now in the process of adding an online coaching program.  

Last, on a personal level I am very blessed. I am in love with an amazing and wonderful woman. We work well together, loving each other, communicating well and sharing fun adventures. My two children are growing up in such a beautiful way. They are both loving the schools they are in and enjoying their studies. They have good friends and they are happy.  I sure do have a lot to be grateful for.  I hope that your lives are full of blessings and wonderful things too!

Merry Christmas, 
Happy Hanukah, 
Happy Holidays, 
Have a great 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

26

By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

26.  It sits between 25 and 27.  It is an even number.  Divide it by 2 and you get 13.  Wikipedia notes that, "26 is the only integer that is one greater than a square (25 = 5^2) and one less than a cube (27 = 3^3)"  As a matter of fact, it is also notes that, "a rhombicuboctahedron has twenty-six sides."  (See Below).


I wish that was all I had to write about the number '26'.  Unfortunately, most of you have heard by now about the tragedy in ConnecticutWe pause in our normal blog offerings to remember those who died last week.  We hope that 2013 brings a measure of peace and restoration to all those affected by this sad series of events.  While none of the events last week had anything to do with substance abuse, we care about all people and we want healing for all involved. 

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.    If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Be Contagious: Smile!






By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 
 
I am not a natural ‘smile-r’.  Not to say I don’t ever smile, I am just not one of those people who walks around with a smile on my face all day and all night.  Which begs the question:  why are you writing an article about smiling?  Sometimes writing about something makes you want to try it.  We’ll see!  

The rumor is that it takes 42 muscles in your face to frown.  Smiling requires 17.  If that is the case, smiling seems to be way less physically taxing.  Furthermore, it appears that research as far back as 1989 shows that facial expression can cause emotions that we experience.    If that is true, smiling takes on a whole new meaning.

Smiling is important because it helps you feel better.  It helps you feel more positive.  And that is good for sobriety.  

Our emotions can carry strong trigger signals that leave us open to relapse.   Most people are triggered by negative emotions like jealousy, rage, confusion, sorrow, or loneliness.  Happiness can be a trigger too but is usually not as strong of a trigger.  

Smiling has an added benefit:  it is contagious.  People see other people smile and usually they respond in kind.  They tend to adopt the smile for themselves as well.  It sounds simple and it is.  Smile.  It’s contagious!  

The Coleman Institute Richmond Office is open during the holiday season.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-773-3869.  Help, Hope, and Healing begins here!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We love to see the smile on our patients faces when they are clean and sober!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869). 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scars: What do they mean?


"Scars are tattoos with better stories" - Anonymous

By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

I have a few scars.  Most people do.  I have one on my middle finger.  No, I didn't get it from extending that finger in distaste to someone else.  Geez!  I'm a blog writer for goodness sake!

Fourteen years ago, I caught a rare form of pneumonia.  It was idiopathic in nature, that is, they couldn't figure out how I caught it.  To make a long story short, I had to have lung surgery to find out what was going on.  In the course of the procedure, I ended up with four scars on my left side.  No, if we ever meet in person, I will not show them to you!  

However, whenever I would swim in the summer, I always enjoyed making up great stories about how I was stabbed four times or got shot four times or had four leeches in my bathtub I never saw who caused the four scars.  Clearly, none of those things happened, but it was a lot of fun making up stories and watching people's reactions.  

Do you have scars?  Many people don't have physical scars but have emotional or mental scars.  These unseen markers of life experience can weigh heavy on the mind and the heart.  Often times, the pain is too much to bear and people turn to substance abuse to cope with their internal scars.  It is sad but so true.  

I love the quote above.  It's very true.  Most scars tell a good story.  Not that tattoos don't contain stories themselves.  However, scars are usually the result of something that happens to someone out of their control. While telling stories through tattoos is a conscious choice, receiving scars usually is not.  

What's your story?  What do your scars tell you about your life experience?  How can your scars inform your relationships with others?  Are there lessons from your scars you can share with others?  That is one of the greatest benefits of recovery within a group of people who are seeking recovery together.  Sharing your scars with another person in a safe environment can be liberating from shame for the person with the scar and relief for the person who has a scar but is afraid to admit they are just like everyone else.  

In this holiday season, I challenge you to share your scars with someone who would benefit from hearing about your life experience.  You would be amazed at the gift you would be giving them.  What they do with it is up to them.  But hopefully they might find a point of inspiration, wisdom, and/or connection when they learn about your scars.  In telling them your story, you give life and meaning to your scars.  They are important even though they are not of sole importance.  What will you do with the story your scars tell?

The Coleman Institute Richmond Office is open during the holiday season.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-773-3869.  Help, Hope, and Healing begins here!  At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We help people gather the courage to start looking at their important scars so they can heal.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Your Choice!

By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

I love to read blogs.  Have you ever found a blog you like?  If so, you know what I mean!  If you haven't, never fear because a blog you might like is just a mouse click away.  Give it a try!

I follow a blog by a guy who calls himself the '30 year old ninja'.  You read it right!  Turns out he's a young adult from America who left his teaching job to move to Japan to become a real, live ninja.  It was his childhood dream and he decided to go after it.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, I couldn't either.  But, he's doing it.  And I respect that tremendously (I wanted to a be a ninja as a kid too)

Today I received an email from him as part of his blog newsletter group.  In this edition, there was a video he created that I want to share with you.  I will say that it is an intense video but not in a bad way.  It is intense in that it will get you to think and to look deeply into who you are and what you want in life.  All you need to do is be open to the questions it asks.  Some may apply to you.  Some may not.  Some may feel familiar and some may feel uncomfortable.  The process of recovery is about taking new chances in a positive direction.  Do you dare?

Before you click on the link, let me remind everyone that The Coleman Institute Richmond Office is open during the holiday season.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-773-3869.  Help, Hope, and Healing begins here! 


VIDEO LINK:  http://30yearoldninja.com/3-words-revolutionize-life/

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forgive for Your Own Good!


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.


When I was about 9, my parents moved us to a new neighborhood.  I have many pleasant memories living on that street.  However, one not so great memory stands out as well.  

My stepmother found two brothers down the street who were in my age group and she encouraged me to go down and introduce myself so we could become friends and play together.  I put on my best 'United Nations of Friendship' hat as a "Diplomat from the East End" of the street and marched with the best of intentions westward to introduce myself to my new friends.  

Their father came to the door with one of them.  What he said next was not what I expected!  He said, "Hi Chris, this is my son John.  Hey, I have an idea, why don't we see which one of you can punch the other one in the nose faster to make him bleed."  I'm not kidding.  He literally said this.  I was still processing, being the introvert that I am, when all of sudden I heard a "POP" and then noticed my nose was bleeding.  I was too slow apparently.  John won the game.  Kindly, perhaps realizing his ineptitude, John's father invited me in and gave me a paper towel to soak up the blood.  John and I became fast friends.  His dad and I...not so much!  

The event I just described happened in probably 1982 over 30 years ago.  Clearly I still remember the shocking event.  However, what has changed on the inside is that I have forgiven the father for what he did.  Moreover, I don't blame John because while I didn't appreciate him making my nose bleed I know he was just a child following instructions from his dad.  


I realized over the years, however, that I could not harbor resentment against his father.  People often confuse forgiveness with surrendering and agreeing that the egregious action taken was actually ok.  That is NOT what forgiveness is about.  Forgiveness is a choice to free oneself from the shackles of resentment and bitterness that often are created because of the painful experience one has with an offending party.  Choosing to forgive the offender is not supporting the behavior or dismissing it rather it is merely a choice not to relive the pain, anger, resentment, and bitterness over and over again with no prospect for peace and resolution.  

Do you have someone you need to forgive?  Are there grievances you have that, while legitimate, are eating you up on the inside?  Isn't it time to let it go and free yourself on the inside?  The reality is the person(s) that you are unwilling to forgive are most likely living their lives and not caring about your feelings or what they did to you.  Sad to say, but it's most likely true.  Maybe it's time not to rent out any more space in your head or your heart to them.  Give it a try.  See how you feel.  I bet you'll like it!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We encourage people to get clean on the inside not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  This includes the important work of forgiveness.  Recovery from addiction is a multifaceted journey.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Breathe


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

When I was in grad school right about the turn of the century (now I feel old), I took a semester long mindfulness-based stress reduction course based on the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  This course changed my life!

If we breathe, we live.  If we don't, we die.  Of course, that is an obvious notion to most of us.  However, many of us have no clue how to actually breathe on a day-to-day basis.  That is, we are usually 'chest breathers'.  Chest breathing is very shallow breathing.  A 'correct' breath goes in through the nose and out through the mouth while the stomach pushes out during the inhale and comes back in during the exhale.  Also, it is best to keep one's shoulders relaxed and down during the duration of the breathing action.  Try it now.  (Insert Jeopardy theme song here).

Notice a difference?  You should feel more centered.  The full breath from the diaphragm/stomach area is way more helpful than from the chest.  Breathing is essential to stay alive but it is also essential to navigate recovery from alcohol and drugs. 

Many times in your recovery, things will not go as planned.  You will be upset, angry, frustrated, sad, bored, and resentful.  The question is how to do you get out of those strong emotions without deciding to use alcohol or drugs?  The answer: breathing.  

The practice of deep breathing helps you learn to notice what your body feels like when it is 'centered' or relaxed.  As you acclimate yourself to this state of being, you begin to crave being in that state.  Therefore, when you are not in a state of relaxation, you will notice it.  Hopefully, then you will decide to engage in deep breathing so you can re-enter a state of relaxation and avoid using drugs and alcohol.  

Breathing is so natural.  It is involuntary.  However, choosing to voluntarily breathe deeply is not easy.  It will take practice but it is worth it.  See if you can take 10 minutes a day and sit quietly by yourself away from any distractions and work on your deep breathing.  See if you don't feel more relaxed, centered, and clear when you are finished.  Then pay attention to the problems that faced you before the deep breathing exercise and see how your perspective may have changed from your deep breathing.  I think it will!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs. Our goal is to help you relax, get help, and breath normally as they transition to a new life that is chemical free.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Detox Hours!





Not long ago a friend and yoga teacher said something like, “If you think you’re enlightened, spend a weekend with your parents.”   Getting together during the holidays can be pretty stressful on many levels.  For people raised in the chaotic environment of addiction, or for those who will be with loved ones who are actively abusing substances, it is often more of a relief to get the holidays over with than a joy to experience them.

It is tempting to continue to put off dealing with a loved one’s addiction.  School, jobs, sports, and other commitments seem to take precedence.  Waiting for someone to ‘hit bottom’ can make the life of the addict’s family even more unmanageable as they jump through hoops to try to normalize the situation.

At The Coleman Institute, we offer the first step for people to start their lifetime of Recovery.  It is extremely difficult to stop using opiates without suffering severe physical symptoms.  In early recovery it is also easy to slip when triggers and stressful situations (can you say holidays?) abound.

During December and early January, we will have pretty typical holiday hours for our family practice, but we always see people right through the holidays who are going through a detox.  Many people cannot afford to take regular time off work, and this allows working people and students a chance to get clean without disrupting their lives, and the lives of their families too dramatically.

If you’d like to get details about this, please call our office at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  It may be your best holiday in a long time.

-  Joan Shepherd, FNP