Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NHL’s Scott Darling: A Comeback Story

by Gabriella Pinto-Coelho

Unfortunately, stories of public figures struggling with substance abuse issues are far from rare. Celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Robert Downey Jr., Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, and Samuel L. Jackson have struggled with substance abuse and bounced back to live full lives and have successful careers. We are used to hearing about actors and musicians struggling with substance abuse, and usually don’t hear much about professional athletes and addiction. It seems almost impossible that someone who relies on their body to make a living would or could have a substance abuse problem. But in reality, anyone can.

Scott Darling is one of those seemingly “unlikely” athletes who has overcome addiction.  Darling, now 25, grew up from an affluent and supportive family in the suburbs of Chicago. He left home at 16 to play junior hockey, and started developing a reputation as a partier. He began playing college hockey at the University of Maine, where that reputation followed him and intensified. At the end of his sophomore season, his coach kicked him off the team due to numerous conduct violations. 

Friends, teammates, and coaches began to suspect that Darling was not just a wild college kid, but someone suffering from alcoholism. He decided to leave Maine and take his chances on being drafted to the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL. When he showed up to their camp out of shape and uncommitted, the team cut him loose. From there he wound up in the SPHL, a semi-pro league, where he began drinking more and caring less about his life both on and off the ice. His annual summer stint at a goalie training camp was cut short when his coach Brian Daccord kicked him out due to his alcohol-induced behavior. Darling had begun drinking at such a young age as a way to escape from his problems with social anxiety. The more he drank the more he felt like he belonged. By his early twenties, his habit of self-medication had spiraled to a life of self-destruction.

Luckily for Darling, his coach Brian Daccord was the catalyst for change in his life. When Darling showed up at training camp the next summer, Daccord ordered him to the weight room to lose the extra 40 pounds he had gained. That was the first summer Darling decided to stop drinking. By the next summer, Darling was still not drinking and had worked his way up to the ECHL. His continued dedication took him from the ECHL to the AHL, and ultimately, he was called up to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Now, Darling says that he feels in control of not only his addiction, but also his social anxiety. It seems like hitting rock bottom was what Darling needed to turn his life around; “People don’t want to change until they have to,” Darling said. “I really dug myself a hole before I woke up. I just busted a 180 turnaround and put my foot on the gas.”

Here's wishing your life is on a growth path as we move into 2015.  

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's That Time Again...

Some people call it the most wonderful time of the year. And yet, for most Americans, we usually find ourselves stressed out during the holiday season.

The hectic nature of the holidays tends to overload us with concerns about having enough time and also enough money. In fact, as of December 10th, up to 38% of Americans have already gone into debt to buy holiday gifts. More often than not, we feel pressured to make the holidays the best that we can for our families. Not to mention the emotions that this season can bring up - for some, it is purely a joyous season, and for others it can be much more challenging. The absence of a deceased family member can be felt more acutely during the holidays, and the presence of extended family members sometimes leads to conflict. Sometimes we experience a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows in a relatively short time frame and in rapid succession.

Given all of these factors, it is no surprise that holiday stress leaves us especially prone to fall into sedentary behavior and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Research has shown that men and women alike turn to comfort eating and drinking. For those in recovery from a substance abuse addiction, the emotions of the holidays can put you at risk for relapse.

So what can you do? The good news is that we can take practical steps to prevent the holiday blues from getting us down:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It’s ok to feel down - we can’t all expect to be happy just because it’s the holidays.
  • Reach out and enhance your support system. The holidays are a great time to seek out spiritual, community, or other social events. Have a therapist? Consider a few more appointments during this hectic season. At the same time, know your limits and learn how to say no.
  • Keep up healthy habits. Avoid overindulgence, follow a healthy and balanced diet, exercise to destress and maintain energy, and get plenty of rest. It might be hard to muster the motivation to get off the couch, but you will thank yourself later.
  • Make time for yourself. Set aside some alone time each day to recharge by yourself. Make an appointment with yourself for R&R time and stick to it, no matter how busy you are.

All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Power of Addiction

The Power of Addiction

The power of addiction is a force built on denial. This power is so dominant in active addiction that addicts can neither see nor hear the devastation and losses occurring around them as a result of their disease. Sometimes, maybe years down the road, some crisis occurs that causes them to “come up for air” and breaks the shell of their denial. They look around and find career, children, time, opportunity, trust of loved ones, physical health, and mental health are seemingly, all gone. While this is an extreme example, unfortunately it is also a fairly common one. Life becomes “using to live and living to use,” and none of it feels good anymore.
Remember, the heart of the definition of addiction is continued use in spite of negative consequences. One of the most frequent losses addicts describe is the loss of the trust of their loved ones. Too often the addict have the unrealistic expectation that because they enter treatment and are serious about recovery, their spouse or loved ones should trust them in short order. Trust is not lost in a day and will not be regained in a day.
Another negative consequence of addiction is loss of one’s identity. The further addicts fall into their addiction, the more all-consuming it becomes. It becomes the center of their world, and, unconsciously, other priorities are pushed to the periphery and eventually lost. The longer the addiction goes untreated, the more it becomes a person’s main identity. The addict unconsciously takes on the role of being the victim and/or being bitter about life and tends to blame others for his or her problems. When the denial begins to fade and recovery begins, the addict may find little of his or her old self remaining. This is a scary proposition. In addition, the addict must look at living life on life’s terms, and having to become emotionally accountable for him- or herself. This emotional accountability is perhaps one of the toughest hurdles in recovery.
Being emotionally accountable means first no longer blaming others for how you feel or for your lot in life, no longer “needing” problems to perpetuate your addiction, and attempting to identify your most painful feelings and then being willing to risk sharing them with others. For some, this means disclosing the long-held secrets. For others, it may be the act of surrender—“jumping off the cliff” and trusting that someone or something will be there to catch you. For others, it may be putting themselves first emotionally for the first time in their lives.
Every addict and everyone working in the field of addiction needs to have a healthy respect for the power of addiction, but also remember that this is a treatable disease.
This blog post is an excerpt from Finding a Purpose in the Pain - A Doctor's Approach to Addiction Recovery and Healing - by James L. Fenley, Jr., MD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What About The Kids?

What About The Kids?

by Gabriella Pinto-Coelho

When addressing addiction and the process of recovery, most people only think about what the addict goes through. After what can be an emotionally draining detox process, they have the rest of their lives to manage recovery. What society often forgets in this picture of addiction, detox, and recovery is the role of the family. 

Perhaps most vulnerable to the peripheral effects of addiction are children. Kids of alcoholics often take on roles like “the hero” or the “scapegoat” in order to keep their family afloat. Some kids might choose to keep the substance abuse a secret in order to maintain their family’s image. 

School counselors in Frederick County, Maryland are no strangers to this concept. They have created Kids Like Us, a free program to meet the psychological needs of children growing up in homes with family members who have substance abuse problems. Guidance counselors refer students in the Frederick County public school system to the program, which appears to be just what the Frederick community needed. Julie Merchant, Director of KLU, says that they are “pretty much always filled to the capacity that we can handle.”

KLU allows students a place to talk about their struggles in a group, since students are more likely to open up to one another than to adults. As a condition of their participation, students agree to keep all discussions and names confidential. Targeting school-aged children is a smart choice, since fourth grade is when kids begin to understand the concept of addiction, and puberty is when their own risk for addiction rises. 

In addition to its function as a support group, KLU also educates children about substance abuse. They teach kids that addiction is a disease separate from the person that they love, and it is no one’s fault. They also empower kids to understand that substance abuse is preventable in their own lives, and they do not have to follow in the same path as their loved one.

To learn more about Kids Like Us, read the article here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Story of Perseverance and Determination That Will Inspire You to Take Action!

An Amazing Story of Determination that Will Inspire You to Take Action
by Steve Bloom of

Editor's Note:   Wanted to share an article about the kind of perseverance and determination we often witness from our patients and their families while in treatment at The Coleman Institute.

A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary about Hawaii – specifically about its history and culture.
It’s a good documentary overall, but the story about how Hawaii was discovered particularly caught my attention.  It is easily one of the greatest stories about perseverance and determination I’ve ever heard.
If you ever need an inspiring kick in the butt to reach your goals, this is it.
The Story of Perseverance and Determination
I’ve often heard that the only sure-fire way to fail is to give up.
It’s no secret that big goals take time.  You have to think months or even years down the road.  Because they take so much time, we’re often tempted to quit before reaching them.
This story will show why you shouldn’t easily give up.
Hawaii was discovered around AD 1000 – no one knows the exact date – by a group of seafaring Polynesians who inhabited and explored many of the islands in the South Pacific.
If you look at a map of the world, you’ll notice that Hawaii is one of the most isolated spots on the planet.  So it’s already incredible that it was discovered so early in human history.
But what they did to get there makes the story even more amazing.
Because of its isolation, they would never have known Hawaii was even there.
They suspected it was there though.  They noticed a bird called the Golden Plover which migrated north out into the open water every year.  Land must have been out there somewhere – they just couldn’t see it.
So they set sail from the Marquesas Island to follow them.  That island is as close as you can get to Hawaii, but it’s still about 2500 miles away.  Nowadays it takes roughly 30 days to sail to Hawaii from Marquesas using modern day equipment.
Back then, they were only using carved wooden boats and their own understanding of naval navigation.
The Polynesians followed the birds closely, but they always flew faster than they could paddle.  They could only keep up with them for short distances.
At some point, they would lose track and have to turn back.
Each year they would try again, picking up where they left off the previous year.  Years passed by and they kept getting farther into the Pacific.  But still they never saw land.
According to the documentary, it took the Polynesians 400 years to finally reach Hawaii using this method.
400 years!
Every time I hear the documentary say this number, I’m amazed.
Imagine the determination and perseverance you would need to do this.
After generations of hard work, belief, perseverance and determination – after years of uncertainty and doubt they finally reached their goal.
By this point, Hawaii might have become something like a mythical idea.  To actually reach it, must have brought many of the travelers to tears.
Inspire Yourself
That was almost 1000 years ago.  Yet their struggles relate a lot to our own goal-setting.
We’re all working towards an unknown destination just like the Polynesians.  The principles are exactly the same.
Your big goal is like Hawaii
After a lot of hard work and perseverance, the Polynesians reached the goal that took them years to accomplish.
There was no guarantee they’d reach it.  For all they knew, they were sailing out to nothing.
This is what goal setting is like.  You’re not completely certain it’s out there, but you work on the faith that you’ll reach it.  Sometimes you have to risk going out into nothing in order to get where you want to be.
Your clues to success are like the birds
The Polynesians saw the birds flying in the direction of Hawaii and deduced that land was there.  That was their clue that they’d eventually reach their destination.
We’re all setting big goals or dreams on a clue or a hunch that we’ll reach them.  It’s our determination and belief in those clues that keep us going.
Your obstacles are like the ocean
Reaching Hawaii meant paddling across 2500 miles through the Pacific.  Navigating over the open water and making sure their boat didn’t sink were huge obstacles.
All goals have obstacles to overcome.  We all have things standing in our way.  They can often seem insurmountable, but with enough perseverance we can usually get around them.
Don’t Stop Working Towards Your Goals
The big takeaway to this story is that you have to keep working towards your goals.  Determination and perseverance pay off.
That means working hard even if you don’t see an end in sight.
How often did the Polynesians stop at some random place in the middle of the Pacific and see nothing?
You’ll face that moment too while pursuing your goal.  You’ll stop to look around and see nothing.
That’s normal.
There will often be nothing to encourage us.
There will often be nothing telling us if our hunches are right.
The problem is that when we see nothing we might think there really is nothing.
We all get afraid that our goals won’t really be there.  We all feel like we’re working towards something that will never arrive.
You have to have faith that your “Hawaii” is out there.  You have to have faith that all your work will get you to your destination.
It often just takes time and small steps.  You have to persevere and see it all the way to the end.
Sailing too far away from the shore for so long can be scary, but it will get you places.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Positive Effective Programming

Positive Effective Programming.

An article by:Fantastic Fred Schiavo

The P.E.P. Technique is used to program the subconscious mind. The subconscious works very much like a computer. In computer technology, whatever you program into the computer is what comes out. There is an old saying in computer technology, "Garbage in, garbage out." If you program garbage (negative information) into the computer, expect to get garbage (negative results). The subconscious mind accepts whatever you give it as being true. It doesn't have the capacity to question.

As you work with positive affirmations, you will notice positive changes taking place in your life. You will be aware that others will be drawn to your joyous, happy and loving spirit.

There are many negative words and statements that can easily be changed to positive ones. Is the word TRY a negative one? Webster says that try means "to make an effort," but I say that making an effort is not "doing it!" Consider changing the words "I'll Try" to "I Will"; change "I Hope" to "I Can"; and "I Can't" to "I Can."
About 20 years ago, every time someone would ask, "How are you?" I would answer with "FANTASTIC!" Finally a friend said "Fred, you can't be fantastic every day." I said, "You're right, some days I'm FANTASTIC!" and I bellowed that one out, "and other days I'm fantastic," saying this in a softer tone. "In conclusion," I said, "I'm fantastic every day."

If you act as if you have a quality, you will get it. If you think, talk and act FANTASTIC, you will be FANTASTIC. In other words, fake it 'til you make it! In my office, for all to see, sits a can. I call it the "eye can." It has eyes all around it and these eyes keep staring at me all day reminding me that I CAN. Whatever I choose to achieve in life, I CAN!

The P.E.P. Technique mentioned earlier must be used with the C.A.L.M. Method, which is a form of relaxation also tied to an acronym. This approach is used to relax the "critical faculty" of the conscious mind so that we can effectively program the subconscious.

The meaning of the letters in the C.A.L.M. Method are as follows:

C - stands for COMMITMENT.

Starting at once, make an agreement with yourself. You are now committed in your resolve to change.

A - stands for ATTITUDE.

Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. By thinking positive, acting positive and being positive, we attract positive.

L - stands for LOGIC.

Intellectually, we know what is right, but we refuse to look at the truth. We get into denial. Denial means to declare what is not true that which is really true.

M - stands for MOTIVATION.

What is your motivation to make a change in your life? Whenever I work with people privately to overcome bad habits, I ask that question. Their success is dependent on their answer. When the reasons for change are specific (e.g. "I want to quit smoking for health reasons.") people are usually more motivated, and the likelihood for success is more prominent.

You need to get past the feeling that it may be too late. The most important decision you can make is that there is still time to change your life. The decision is yours. Start today to program yourself in a positive, effective way.

This article is posted on The Real Jim Wilson blog .....Click here

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Triple Whammy: Anxiety, Benzos, and Opiates

Xanax and Valium, prescribed to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, can be deadly when mixed with other sedatives.

Triple Whammy: Anxiety, Benzos, and Opiates

by Gabriella Pinto-Coelho

It’s no secret that mental health issues increase your risk of substance abuse. In fact, estimates indicate that individuals diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from a substance abuse disorder! 

Statistics from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that almost 8.4 million American adults have both a mental and substance use disorder. Unfortunately, only 7.9% receive treatment for both conditions and the vast majority (53.7%) do not receive any treatment at all. The case is even grimmer for those with more severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (see NIDA Report for more).

This predisposition toward addiction puts individuals with mental health issues in a risky place when it comes to medications. A class of medications called benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as “benzos,” have been used since the 1950's and 60's to treat anxiety, mood disorders, and insomnia. 

While there are patients that safely manage mental illness with the help of these medications, there are also considerable risks. For one, benzo users often mix these drugs with opioids with potentially deadly consequences. Both benzos and opioids are sedatives that slow respiration - as a doctor interviewed by NPR has said, “they potentiate each other — they make each other stronger. And so one plus one doesn't equal two; it equals three or four." 

Data from the CDC show that the mixing of benzos and opioids contributes to 30% of all opioid related deaths. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death in February 2014 was attributed to a mixing of benzos and other drugs.

This leaves people suffering with mental illness and substance abuse in a precarious position. A dependence on benzos often begins as the search to manage life-limiting anxiety or other mood disorders, and somewhere along the way opioids come into the mix.

 It is easy to see how things can quickly spiral out of control! Despite these startling facts and figures, there is always hope. Benzos are not the only option for treating anxiety and mood disorders. And, just as there are treatment options to overcome mood disorders, there are treatment options to overcome addiction.

Read more from NPR about benzos and opioids here: Risks of Popular Anxiety Drugs.....

If you or someone you love is in need of a detox off of opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869 to learn more about our treatment offerings.
Help, Hope and Healing Starts Here

Friday, September 19, 2014

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 15, 2014

10% of Americans Admit to Illicit Drug Use

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

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

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!

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!

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!

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

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.