Thursday, September 26, 2013

Winner Takes It All

Chris Newcomb

I am a music lover.  I've said that many times before on this blog.  But, it bears repeating:  I am a music lover!!!  And today I want to reminisce and share with you an 'oldie but a goodie' from 1987 by Sammy Hagar (a.k.a. The Red Rocker).  Hagar is no stranger to hits songs on the charts.  From Montrose, to this solo career, to Van Halen, to Chickenfoot, and now back in his solo vibe, Sammy Hagar could look at a glass of water and write a hit about it!  That, of course, would be 'over the top'.  But, I digress.

Speaking of over the top, there was a movie of the same name starring Sylvester Stallone as an up and coming arm wrestler.  Yes, the plot line is THAT pathetic!  Turns out Mr. Hagar wrote a song for that movie's soundtrack called 'Winner Takes It All'...thus the title of this blog.  And as I sat down to write this article, it popped into my head and has not left.  As a matter of fact, let me cue up the tune on Spotify as I write.  Ah!  Much better.

Life is a competition.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Now, to be sure, we all have all the value we need when we're born.  If we are judged by what we do and we fail, that doesn't leave us with much value now does it?  Instead, I take the view that we have all the value we will ever need just by being born.  

Having said that, life is still a competition.  Want to get that great job?  Better get good grades.  Want to play golf next to Tiger Woods?  Better start practicing by your first birthday.  Want to be the next Sammy Hagar?  Sit down and take a number!

If life is a competition, then is bears remembering that, "winner takes it all and loser takes the fall," as Sammy once sang.  And this is true with regards to substance abuse too.  Addicts who are not in recovery are not going to win the game.  It is impossible.  Sooner or later, they will mess up.  It's inevitable because when you're powerless, eventually you will get overpowered.  Don't believe me?  Step into the ring with Mike Tyson.  Even old, out-of-shape Mike Tyson still has a mean left hook!

So I challenge you to decide are you a winner?  If winners take it all, are you one of the winners in life?  If you're not, why not?  If you're not, what can you do about it?  Quit?  Ask for help?  Go to jail? Detox in a psych ward?  It's up to you but if you don't do something soon, the winner will be the addiction and you will take the fall.  Please don't read these words as judgment or finger-pointing, rather, read them as a message of encouragement that you can be who you were born to be and do what your were born to do if you'll just humble yourself and be teachable, then you can stay sober.  

At The Coleman Institute, we think it rocks when someone decides to get clean and stay clean!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-38369.  We're hear for you.  Come on winner, pick up the phone.  You know you want to. 

 P.S. If you're interested, you can find Sammy Hagar's song "Winner Takes It All" here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Dance of Chronic Pain

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

I can’t dance. This is no surprise to my friends and family. To you, dear reader, it probably doesn’t make much of a difference in your life now that this information has been revealed to you. However, it is important to understand that dancing (i.e. living life) matters when it comes to dealing with chronic pain. 

To become a good dancer, you must have rhythm. If you take lessons, you will learn how to engage your partner and lead them around the dance floor. At first, your motions may be sloppy and choppy. You might have ‘two left feet’. Gradually, as you listen to the music, you will get the feel for it and the dance will become smooth. 

People who suffer from chronic pain often feel their life is like dancing to a music mix combining jazz with heavy metal! The music is schizophrenic and their dancing isn’t much better. Their bodies will not cooperate with the normal rhythms of life.  It’s overwhelming and irritating to say the least!

We see patients all the time who get hooked on painkillers due to legitimate chronic pain. Their dance moves are fast and jerky or even slow and apathetic. Beyond their poor form, they are petrified of getting off the drugs because they fear the pain will be even worse than when it first came on. They’re done! They limp off the ‘dance floor’ to a chair on the side to catch their breath hoping they don’t have to go back out and live in pain again.

Unfortunately, life keeps going. They have to learn how to get back on the dance floor of life and dance to a new tune. Our detox helps them do that. We are able to get them completely clean so they can start anew. Most times they hear a much more beautiful tune than when they came in and their feet naturally tap to the soothing sounds of recovery and natural pain management. In addition, we refer them to the appropriate aftercare counselors so they can gain emotional support as they make these important life changes. In many cases, their pain is not even as strong as they remember it to be. This puts a spring in their step and a new jig in their stride out on the dance floor of life!  

At The Coleman Institute, you matter to us!  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.  We're here for you!

Drug Court Brings Recovery to Many

Peter R. Coleman, M.D.

On a recent weekend trip, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Lawyers Helping Lawyers Conference. It didn’t hurt that the conference was held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, which were spectacularly gorgeous. One of the other speakers was Judge Hammond who was instrumental in setting up the Henrico County Drug Court. This year the program is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and in that time the Henrico Drug Court has helped hundreds of people find recovery and stay in recovery!

She gave a very informative talk on how it works. It is a very comprehensive program. Essentially, people who have a drug or alcohol problem, and who have broken their parole or probation are given a choice of going to jail or joining drug court. In drug court, they have to attend court weekly, attend therapy, attend support groups, get a job, and behave in other ways that are consistent with long- term sobriety. They have to face the judge every week. Any failure, including drug use, non-attendance, or other violations are immediately dealt with. Frequently people stay a weekend in jail. They usually get the message. The program works well because the rules are clear and the punishments are immediate.

In our world, good behavior is frequently motivated by carrots and sticks. If we go to work, we get a paycheck. If we punch a co-worker, we lose our job. In treatment programs, we have known for a long time that carrots and sticks work very well to help motivate people to stay clean and sober – especially in the early days of recovery when the temptation to relapse is so high. Frequently, in the early days, the motivation comes from outside (a spouse, a job, a judge), but over time the motivation starts to come from within. With time and practice, people stay clean and sober because they actually like being clean and sober. They like the new them – and they feel good about themselves. Drug courts can clearly provide that extra motivation in the early stages of recovery.  

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.  We are here for you!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Get Divorced!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Life is never certain.  You take chances.  You hope for the best.  Sometimes things work out just as we plan.  Other times things go very wrong.  Most times, however, we can't predict the outcome before it arrives. 

Case in point: I have a friend whose spouse has to decided to file for divorce after more than a decade of marriage.   What's worse is this friend has a substance abuse issue that is not being cared for in recovery.  I was very saddened to hear this news.

Recently, my friend and I both suffered from insomnia on the same night.  We spent a little while texting back and forth to catch up on each others lives.  As they filled me in on the pending divorce, I found myself feeling sad.  I wanted to fix their marriage.  I felt powerless.  It wasn't my place to fix it even though I really wanted to do so. 

What amazed me as we texted back and forth was the fact that my friend was very clear that given the circumstances it was a great reason to 'chemically cope'.  However, my friend went on to say that getting plastered was not of any interest to them despite their current difficult circumstances.   This was good news to hear!

I am not an advocate of divorce nor do I try to judge those who have experienced it.  Life is complicated and there seems to be stronger shades of grey than blacks and whites in human relationships.  I do, however, suggest divorce in one particular instance every time: substance abuse.

Let me be clear, I am not saying that I encourage people to get divorced if one spouse is addicted to a substance.  Rather, what I am saying is that ANYONE who is addicted to a substance(s) needs to consider getting a 'divorce' from that substance.  It could literally save their lives!

The truth is that substance abuse is a relationship of sorts.  It starts out with the dopaminergic highs of attraction and flirtation.   It moves to connection and intimacy.  Finally, it settles into relationship.  That's when things start to go downhill.  It moves to conflict and ends up with irreconcilable differences. 

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, it's time to get a divorce!  The marriage is over.  It's time to admit that you got into the wrong relationship and that the only way out is for you to leave.  Your partner is stubborn, obnoxious and a liar.  Why stay with that kind of partner?  Don't you want something more out of a relationship?

At The Coleman Institute, we are dedicated to helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love needs to be detoxed from alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Day in the Life

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

This past July I had a life-changing experience: I took my mom to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert in Washington D.C.  To say it was awesome would be a huge understatement!  Even though our seats were about 9 rows from the back of the Washington Nationals Stadium making Sir Paul look like an ant, we had a blast listening to Beatle's classics such as 'Paperback Writer', '8 Days A Week', 'Eleanor Rigby', and 'Hey Jude'.  Watching Paul McCartney live was like taking a music education class from the best professor in the world.  It was really so cool to see a 'Beatle' in concert!

Have you ever had a life-changing experience?  I was reading today about another famous musician who had a life-changing experience that led him into sobriety from alcoholism.  Bill Ward, drummer for the famous heavy metal act Black Sabbath, was an alcoholic who drove drunk often during his partying days.  He tells the story that he came to sobriety through a Beatles' song of all things!  

Ward recounts driving drunk at speeds of 90 mph to 130mph in his sports car listening to the Beatles classic hit 'A Day In The Life" when he suddenly lost control of the car.  The car flipped several times but before it did, Ward was able to turn off the engine as he slid into the passenger's seat from force of the oncoming wreck.  When the car came to a halt, it was upside down.  Ward was ok and the moment the car landed was the exact moment the song ended.  Ward took that as a sign and decided to change his life right then and right there.

Sometimes we need a dramatic sign to get our attention to change our ways.  Are you one of those people who needs an extra push to change your ways?  If so, consider this a sign!

Now is the time to get sober.  Stop putting it off.  Your life is too important to throw away on drugs and alcohol.  There is a plan for your life and the world will suffer if you don't live it as it should be.  I know that sounds heady but the truth is you can change the world with just one 'day in the life'.  Make that day today in your life when you decide to get clean and stay clean.  You'll be glad you did.  We'll listen for the melody of your life as it plays loud and clear to all the world.  

At The Coleman Institute, we love music!  It's just one of the many gifts we appreciate as we live our lives in sobriety.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone, or Suboxone, we can help.  Please call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869 today.  We're here because you matter!  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Have you ever had a tough decision to make and you wanted more than anything to make the right one?  Ever second guess yourself after you've made an important decision?  The hardest part about making a decision is doing so with limited knowledge, that is, the inability to see the future and all the possibilities that a particular decision can end up.  

Still, decisions must be made every day.  Decisions to pay which bill first.  Decisions to ask for help with a project at work.  Decisions to go to therapy.  Decisions to get clean and stay clean from alcohol and/or drugs.  

The irony with addiction is that a person decides to do drugs and then loses the power to decide to stop without assistance.  It is a cruel disease.  When contemplating the decision to get clean, everything inside the addict's head screams, "No, don't give up!  Keep using!  They just don't understand your need for this stuff!  It's not hurting anyone else!"  These are powerful and convincing voices.  They are also liars.  

The toughest decision in life is to do the right thing.  It is a challenge to our character (or lack thereof).  The right decision is not always the easiest one nor is it the pain-free one either.  It is one that can actually hurt.  It can leave scars.  But to make the wrong decision is even worse: consequences from that wrong decision as well as regret from making the wrong decision.  Regret is a conscious hell on earth for many people.  It's not something we want to add to our daily thought processes.  Yet many people make decisions that leave them in a tsunami of regret.  

Have you decided to get off drugs yet?  Have you decided to pour out the bottle and throw it away for good this time?  Are you tired of regretting your last binge, drunk, and/or high?  Are you tired of disappointing yourself and others by your behavior?  What type of decision are you willing to make regarding your future?

The reality is that you must decide.  Life will rarely decide for you.  This is the blessing and curse of being human.  Let me encourage you to decide to quit drugs and alcohol today.  The hardest part is making the actual decision.  Once you make it, you will build momentum before you know it.  

If you've decided to change your life for the better, we congratulate you for your bravery!  At The Coleman Institute, we've decided that life is too much fun to waste on drugs and alcohol.  That is just one of many reasons why we are dedicated to helping people get clean and stay clean!

The time is now.  If you or someone you love needs to be detoxed off of alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We're waiting for you to decide. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Help, Hope and Healing

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Darkness.  It is welcomed when you're trying to go to sleep at night.  It is great when you need to tell a good ghost story.  It is even better when you play a game of hide and seek outside on a hot, summer night.  

However, when unexpected events bring 'darkness' into our lives, it is not so welcomed.   Chronic pain.  Divorce.  Debt.  War.  Lay-offs.  Addiction.  Relapse.  We walk around, as if in a dark room, stumbling for the light but never finding it while continually stubbing our toe.

We often feel helpless, hopeless, and doubt our healing will ever come.  But, just as the night yields to the dawn, so too, our pain can yield to help, hope and healing.  First, we have to stand up and embrace the light.

Have you embraced the light?  Do you believe there is help available for you?  Do you have hope in a bright future for yourself?  Are you willing to submit to the healing necessary to bring you a new life?  

At The Coleman Institute, the advanced center for addiction treatment, we specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  We offer help, hope and healing to those addicted to alcohol, opiates, and benzos as well as Methadone and Suboxone.  You matter to us!

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.  Help, hope and healing are a phone call away. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Madness of Methadone?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Opiate users have a hard time detoxing by themselves.  This is a known fact because the withdrawals are very tough to experience.  Many opiate users are now switching to Methadone as a means to get off of heroin or other opiates because of its supposed safety since it is professionally manufactured and not cut with dangerous chemicals by amateur chemists on the street.  

The truth is methadone is very addictive and very difficult to quit cold turkey.  The average person takes 7-10 days to detox off of most drugs.  Most people cave in and start using again between Day 3 and Day 5.   It’s that bad!  

However, there is help, hope, and healing available through The Coleman Institute! The link below is a patient testimony given by Ben about his recent detox with us and his new outlook on life.  Enjoy.  Please pass it one to anyone you know who might benefit from this positive story!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love need to be detoxed off of Alcohol, Benzos, Opiates, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We’re here for you!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Speed Boat Face Plant

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

I grew up playing in water whether it was the James River in Richmond or Virginia Beach just 2 hours east of the city.  Activities included summer swim team practices and meets as well as 'boogie boarding' and 'body surfing' in the waves at the beach.  I had a fantastic time during the summers of my youth!

In college, a group of friends took a road trip to Lake Gaston about 2 hours away from our school.  The goal:  a weekend of water skiing!  I was so excited because this was going to be my first time ever water skiing!  

I think people perform well on any given task or project if they learn from a very competent teacher.  I assumed this would be my water skiing experience.  It was not.  I follwed the instructions that were given to me.  Every time I got up out of the water, I would immediately fall flat on my face into what I call a 'speed boat face plant'!  They hurt in case you were wondering.  

I distinctly remember growing frustrated as with each unsuccessful attempt lead to face planting into the warm lake water.  What I found was the instructions were not given correctly and that I was paying for it on my face every single time.  It got so bad that one time when I fell forward onto my face and was dragged by the speedboat I actually tried to stand up as if I could over power the torque of the boat from a prone position!  Insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  It occurred to me that I needed to let go because I had failed to realize that I could react differently to the situation!

I stopped trying to water ski that day.  I knew it was an exercise in futility much like herding cats.  Good luck with that!  Instead of continuing to drink lake water and ride the water's surface on my face, I chose to get back in the boat.  And like that, in a flash, the painful situation was interrupted and I felt better.

Have you ever felt like that?  Ever felt like life was spinning out of control?  Ever feel like it was way beyond your ability to cope?  Maybe you've tried drugs and/or alcohol to deal with 'life on life's terms', so to speak?  Maybe you got addicted.  Maybe you've suffered with chronic pain and took the medicines just as prescribed but got hooked any way?  Maybe it's time to let go.  

Letting go is a concept that is often advised in recovery but very often not understood.  The premise of letting go is realizing that however reality is in the current moment, even though unacceptable to you, is the way it is and there is nothing you can do to change it.  If you need to let go, inevitably you have exhausted all the possible ways to fix the issue at hand.  Therefore, the only thing left to do is let go...if you can...with all 10 exceptions.

Why not try practicing the concept of 'letting go' this week?  Let go of stress.  Let go of anticipation.  Let go of expectation.  Let go of worry.  Let go of anger and resentment.  Let go of the need to control.  Pay attention to how you feel when you do let go and when you don't.  Finally, maybe you need to let go of the drugs and/or alcohol that is ruining your life and get the help you need.  It's never too late.  There's always time for help, hope, and healing but you have to make the choice.  Let it go.  Pick up the phone and change your life today.  

By the way, it's worth a mention that years later I had the opportunity to go to the same lake with a different group of people and I got up on the first try and have been water skiing every since.  But that would never have happened unless I let go of the first boat!

At The Coleman Institute, we're waiting to hear from you!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Syria Surrenders?!?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.
If you've been watching the news recently, the international community has been on  edge watching the middle east pressure cooker that is about to explode over Syria's supposed chemical weapons of destruction.  Things have been tense for days with sword rattling on all sides.  Some believe it's the beginning of the end of the world.  I don't know about all that but I do know not have a war is a great idea! Today, it seems, Syria is willing to surrender, at least, let's hope so.
In light of these international events, it got me thinking about the war on drugs.  This is a war that will probably never be won although anything is possible.  I wonder what it would be like if all the people in the world who use drugs decided enough was enough and just handed them over.  Wouldn't that look would be amazing!  Can you imagine people from all walks of life embracing a sober life and driving up to the police station to turn in their stashes of heroin, bags of pot, their rock and their blow without repercussion?  Amnesty, as it were.  Regardless of where one sits politically, I have to admit that I think that would be the coolest thing ever!
The truth is people do not need drugs.  We are born without them.  Life is beautiful.  There is no reason to alter your conscious to 'get through your day'.  That doesn't mean that life can't be difficult or even trying at times.  However, I think that people are highly adaptable and resilient and they can overcome just about anything life throws at them (See:  Christopher Reeves, many of our soldiers injured in war, etc.).  If they can overcome such huge obstacles without giving in to getting high then so can anyone who is currently using drugs.  I have a dream, to borrow a hallowed phrased, that one day everyone will be drug-free on our planet.  I have a dream that crack and coke and pot and heroin and pcp and mescalin and molly, spice, weed, acid, 'shrooms, bath salts, and any other drugs that people are abusing are obliterated from the earth.  I have a dream that one day there will be cures for all diseases so that those who suffer with chronic pain will be freed from the shackles of physical pain as well as the pain of shame and guilt for being addicted in the first place.

Until that day, I will keep dreaming, encouraging, helping, and supporting anyone who is willing to venture over to the sober side of life.  It really is worth the trip.  The scenery is beautiful and the waters great.  So, come on in.  Surrender.  Get sober.  You'll be glad you did!  By the way, may there be peace in Syria.  Soon.  At The Coleman Institute, you are very important to us!  We specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you know is in need of detox from alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.