Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bumbling Bieber

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

There should be a lower limit age cap on fame.  I would say at least 25 but then half the rock bands and pop stars on the charts today would have to go into retirement.  It amazes me how people become famous, have everything they could ever want, and they throw it away in a blaze of destruction and embarrassment.  Will people every learn?  Probably not.  It's like a train wreck: you don't want to stare but you can't look away.

Enter Justin Bieber.  I am not a fan of Mr. Bieber's music.  I'm not saying it's bad it's just 'not my thing'. However, despite my lack of participation in Mr. Bieber's career success, he has done quite well for himself. The numbers don't lie: he's the first artist to have 7 songs from his debut album chart on Billboard Hot 100, he's won American Music Awards, been nominated for Grammy's, has 40 million Twitter followers, was named Forbe's 3rd most powerful celebrity in the world, and has a net worth of 55 million dollars.  He's 19. 

Mr. Bieber was busted in Miami this past week on a DUI charge as well as resisting arrest.  Cue blaze of destruction.  He admitted to consuming alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medication.  Could this be the beginning of the end?

I think so.  But, it doesn't have to be.  Mr. Bieber can humble himself, admit his wrong to fans and society (he's a celebrity so his actions carry farther reaching consequences) and grow up.  He can change his attitude and his lack of gratitude for his good fortune in life.  He can reach out and be an example that you can chase your dreams and realize them yet still throw it away if you are not careful.  He can dedicate the lyrics in his music to lift up sobriety and smart living.  But then his albums won't sell.  And people will stop coming to the concerts.  And that's why he won't do that.

I am, however, pulling for Justin Bieber.  He's talented.  He writes his own music.  He has seen more success and money than most people will ever come close to seeing.  I admire that tenacity and pursuit of his dream.  I deplore his behavior.  I'd love to be able to say that I respect his behavior.

I hope he proves me wrong.  He could turn it all around.  There are millions watching and waiting to see what he does.  I hope he chooses wisely.  Otherwise, he'll go down in history as Justin 'Bumbling' Bieber, a has been DUI druggie who had it all and threw it all away.  May that day never come.  

At The Coleman Institute, we believe anyone can change.  We are on a mission to help people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of Methadone, Suboxone, alcohol, opiates, or benzos, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here to help you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Chris Newcomb, M. Div.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that it is getting much colder these days!  In fact, a large portion of the country has, in the last 24 hours, experienced the effects of a 'polar vortex'. Admittedly, at first glance, the term sounds very sophisticated to describe a weather event that amounts to a bunch of cold air hanging out over the north pole.  After all, who uses the word 'vortex' on a regular basis? "Hey, you, if you don't clean up that vortex office of yours, you're fired!"  Exactly.  Not a commonly used word.

In any event, a polar vortex has occurred which is why we have such a large amount of snow, ice and cold weather across the nation.  For our little part in Richmond, Virginia, we had enough 'inclement weather' to necessitate closing most major businesses and schools as I write this from home.  This not unusual to us.  We overreact.  We are in the south for goodness sake!

And for the next 24-48 hours, many residents of Richmond will celebrate this frozen effect on our day-to-day lives.  It seems innocuous enough.  Besides what's a little white powder from the sky?  Can't hurt that much, right?  Think again.

Last night, over 4,000 people were without power from this polar vortex.  4,400 flights have been cancelled due to safety concerns.  Just a few examples of Mother Nature gone bad.

Like the fallout from a polar vortex, drugs can create a similar scenario in a users life as well as those around them.  Drugs freeze your ability to grow professionally, personally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. They stunt your emotional growth by 'freezing' the emotions you can't deal with and you get high so you can cope.  Talk about becoming a literal 'Mr. or Ms. Freeze"!

Speaking of Mr. Freeze, in the movie Batman and Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger took a turn as this evil villain.

(Former Governor of California Arnold "Mr. Freeze" Schwarzenegger)

As a rogue scientist, Mr Freeze is a sworn enemy of Batman.  Due to an accident resulting in spillage of cryogenic chemicals on himself, Mr. Freeze would forever after need to stay at subzero temperatures in order to survive.  He was literally frozen.  And in his 'disease' (being frozen), he tried to destroy anyone in his path.  Drugs do the same thing both to the afflicted and the innocent.

Just as people in the Batman and Robin movie assume Dr. Freeze was always a bad person, so too do people assume that all drug addicts and alcoholics are 'bad' 'immoral' people.  I tell people that addicts and alcoholics often do 'bad' things because of their substance abuse and even make immoral decisions for the same reason but those are results from the disease itself not the make-up of the person.  Likewise, Mr. Freeze started out as a genuine scientist but his disease of power hunger overtook his ability to control himself trapping him in a cryogenic body for life.  Ever felt trapped?  If you're addicted to alcohol or drugs, you know what I mean.

So, what is the answer to all of this?  Heat.  Heat melts ice.  It destroys snow.  It clears the streets.  It makes passable roads that were impassable.  In a similar fashion, the heat of recovery can melt away the affliction of addiction.  

Be of good cheer!  Spring is on the way in just a few months.  It always arrives in time.  Also, recovery is always available to heat up the frozen places in your life because of drugs and/or alcohol.  Don't worry...the heat doesn't burn you, just the excess cold crystals of complacency and chronic defeat.

At The Coleman Institute, we love to help people get better from drug and alcohol addiction!  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.

"IWINS" – Our New Video Project to Prevent Opiate Abuse

Peter R. Coleman, M.D.

One of the most exciting things we are doing at the moment is our new project to help educate and prevent opiate drug abuse. The project is called IWINS – which stands for “I Wish I Never Started”. IWINS is a nonprofit endeavor. We are producing short videos and offering them for free. Each video is about a minute long and tells a real story from a real patient who has recently detoxed off opiates. The patient tells the story of how and why they started opiates, and how quickly their life went downhill. The idea and our goal is to educate young adults and to help them make the decision never to start. We already have 7 videos and will soon announce a new web site where everyone can view the videos and educational material.

The US is in the midst of an opiate epidemic. Recent figures from the CDC reveal that over 100 people are dying every day from drug overdoses. Part of the problem is that young people today don’t understand just how dangerous it is to use opiates. Many teenagers and young adults think opiates are just other drugs. They think opiates are like marijuana – they can be tried and given up at any time. Young people have no idea how quickly the physical dependence begins, how quickly tolerance builds up, and how painful it is to experience opiate withdrawal. They don’t realize just how low the success rate of treatment for opiate addiction is, and how dangerous and fatal the use of opiates can be.

I am the Medical Director of an Opiate Detoxification program, so every day I see young people who have become drug addicts. They are usually good kids who came from good homes with loving parents. Day after day, I hear parents ask what they did wrong. I frequently hear that the kids were doing well all through their childhood, but all of a sudden they changed. They experimented and tried opiates and they quickly became addicted to the drugs. Once they became drug addicts, everything in their life went downhill.

I have two teenagers myself and I worry that they could easily fall into the same trap as many other teenagers. I figured that if my children could just sit in my office for a couple of weeks, and hear my patients tell their story, my children would be so shocked they would never try opiates.  It was then that  I realized I needed to capture these stories so that all teenagers and young adults can hear just how horrible and dangerous these drugs are.

A new web site is in development and will be a source of educational information including our video stories.  We now have 7 videos completed and we intend to produce a new one every week.  Then, We intend send them out to schools, churches, and any other group who wants to help stop this drug epidemic. The stories are very powerful…. real people who have recently experienced the horrors of drug addiction,….and who are passionate about warning others. They all wish they never started.

I will be sure to let you know when the web site is completed.  In the meantime, if you know any groups who would be interested in receiving these videos, please let me know.
Thank You.

At The Coleman Institute, we love to help people get better from drug and alcohol addiction!  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.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Feeling Stuck?

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

Ever felt stuck?  It's no fun.  If you've ever been there, being stuck is a very claustrophobic feeling.  The walls start to close in on you.  Everything starts to feel gray.  The sun loses it's shine.  The clouds gather on the horizon and you feel like another storm is about to pass through.  It's a horrible feeling.  

In many ways, we are all stuck in our lives.  For example, we are stuck with the IRS and if we decided not to obey this 'great financial watchdog' by paying our annual taxes, we'll find our new residence to look very much like the one in the picture above!  Furthermore, we are stuck on Earth.  Sure, we've made it to the moon but we can't live on the moon.  As a matter of fact, a private company has just announced that they will be the first to send a convoy of humans to Mars by the year 2020.  The catch:  it's a one-way trip.  No return flight.  They will die on Mars.  Talk about feeling stuck!

Here's the deal.  If you feel stuck in your life, congratulations, you are alive!  Now, having said that, you still have to deal with either feeling stuck and/or being stuck.  Because feeling stuck can feel so bad, often times, people forget that they have the power of choice.  If you don't like where you are at, exercise your free will and personal power to change the circumstances you don't care for or at least to change the way you perceive/interact with said circumstances.  

The same holds true in addiction.  People freely choose to become addicted although most don't realize that is what they are doing at the time.  Likewise, they have to choose to get out of addiction with the help of others.  Here's where it gets tricky: addiction is a disease that tells you that you have no disease.  That is, people who are addicted live a rather difficult paradox: they are simultaneously powerless to defeat their disease and also required to participate in their own healing.  Talk about feeling stuck!

Reality is not always going to go our way.  We have to be willing to be flexible and accommodate the many twists and turns in the road as well as taking appropriate action to deal with life's circumstances.  In sobriety and recovery, the same principle applies.  Take action!  Action defeats feeling stuck.  Don't ignore the feeling.  It is there to tell you something.  It has a message for you that you have to understand and integrate inside yourself so you can act accordingly.  

For example, if you feel stuck going to a party and you're concerned about your sobriety as well as your friend's opinions of you if you cancel your involvement in said party, choose to 'un-stick' yourself.  Don't go. Take a stand. Assure your friends of your love and respect for them but also assert your need to take care of yourself first.   Do the hard work of protecting your sobriety and not choosing to get stuck.

If you or someone you love needs to be detoxed off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you. We specialize in helping people get unstuck from addiction!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Your Plan vs. Reality


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Life has a way of getting things done whether we agree with it or not, don't you think?  I know more times than not I have grand plans and they often lay crumbled at the feet of Life as it sits on its chair up high looking down low with a bellowing laugh saying, "Silly human, your plan is not my reality!"  Checkmate.  

I exaggerate (clearly).  The truth is, however, there is a disconnect for many of us when it comes to the idea of how reality should be and how reality actually is.  There is a reason why psychologists use the word 'denial' to indicate a person's self-deception to the current reality they are trying to evade (see: Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, the list goes on...).  

We want the straight line to the finish line uninterrupted, unscathed, obstacle-free!  Of course, we do because we're humans and we like pleasure.  It's no fun to lose.  It's no fun to struggle.  It's much more fun to hit the ball out of the park on the first hit without experiencing the weight room, running in 100 degree heat, and stretching before every game.  It's way better to razzle dazzle your boss with your presentation he gave 6 weeks ago that you kept mum versus having to ask for....wait for it....help!

The reality is, pardon the pun, sometimes reality doesn't cooperate.  Like Mr. Stickman in the cartoon above, our straight line becomes a valley with rocks at the bottom tearing up the proverbial tires of life we ride on to get to our final destination.  Upon the incline from the valley, life may have prepared a nice cesspool of distraction, setbacks, and obstacles to try and sink our little boat before we get to the other side.  And it is there in the middle of the cesspool of life riding on our little boats that we are forced to ask this question: Do I accept these circumstances?

In addiction recovery, control and acceptance are key concepts to meditate and cogitate for they hold the keys to relapse and sobriety, respectively.  Giving up control will allow one to move towards sobriety and recovery.  Trying hard to grasp control of anyone and anything will create the reverse.  At the other end of the spectrum is the discipline of acceptance and, believe me, it is a discipline.  Time and again, addicts and alcoholics must learn the practice of acceptance:  accepting their failures. accepting their successes, accepting their consequences, accepting their losses, etc.  It is in active addiction where acceptance is scarce.  I don't like my job so I use heroin to deal with my lack of acceptance.  I got in a fight with my mother so I drink myself into a stupor because of my lack of acceptance towards her attitude.  You see the point?  Acceptance leads to freedom.

However, further clarity is due to totally grasp the  concept.  Accepting the current reality is not necessarily an endorsement of all that goes on therein.  What I mean to say is, if I am victimized through physical violence, at some level, I have to accept that I got victimized so I can go to the hospital to get the appropriate treatment.  That doesn't make the violence good or right.  Accepting it, however, can make me move past it and it's effects sober and without relapse.

The famous saying goes, "Insanity if doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."  Acceptance is the other side of that coin.  Acceptance is realizing what reality really is, not arguing with it, and then taking action, when appropriate, to make the necessary changes to fix the situation while maintaining sobriety and recovery.  Isn't it time to accept your reality?

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

10 Ways to Stay Clean in 2014!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.
  • Gratitude - It goes without saying but when we are thankful we tend to be much more happy and that leads to longer sobriety.  What are you thankful for today?  Ungrateful people relapse.
  • Attitude - While gratitude is an example of attitude, it is not the only state of being.  Try this experiment tomorrow:  write down every type of attitude you have throughout the day.  Our attitudes are under our control even when it takes work to control and/or change them.  Bad attitude people relapse.
  • Latitude - Give people a break.  We're all weary souls traveling this life and most don't mean to get on your nerves.  Give people freedom to act how they want and not try to control them. Controlling people relapse. 
  • Longitude - Think about the long-term!  Impulsive people relapse.
  • Exercise - Science has proven that exercise is not only great for the body but also the mind.  When your body is in good shape, your mind is too.  Out-of-shape people relapse.
  • Fuel - Eat right.  We eat for fuel and no other reason although many would think otherwise.  Choose to eat well and give your body the boost it needs nutritionally.  Hungry people relapse.
  • Sleep - It all begins with sleep.  Cranky people relapse.
  • Friends - We need each other.  Hang out with friends.  Make new ones.  Be a friend.  Friendless people relapse.
  • Family - We need our family.  If your family isn't around or you can't be close to them, rename your friends "family" and spend time with them.  People without family relapse.
  • Fun - Life is fun.  Look for it and you'll find it.  Boring/bored people relapse.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Living with Chronic Pain

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Limitations are everywhere.  "Buy 1, Get 1 Free!"  "Speed Limit 55".  "Limit 1 per customer."  The reality is we live in a world full of limits and limitations.  We want to believe otherwise.  Why?  Because we equate limitations with weakness (see: Chronic Pain).

For those of you who suffer with chronic pain, life can be a challenge on a moment-to-moment basis.  When you are in pain all the time, time moves very slow.  You feel all the bumps and bruises of the condition that afflicts you and the consequences of that affliction.  These are called limitations.  

For example, I wear glasses.  I have worn them for the past 20 years.  I am extremely near-sighted. Thankfully, I don't have any major vision issues.  I am grateful for the sight that I do have.  However, if I do not have my glasses on and need to see something more than 3 feet away, it is a whole different story.  It's like I'm standing at the corner of 'Desperate Blvd.' and ' Pathetic Street'!  I can't see anything but blobs and fuzzy things in front of me.  It is a definite limitation!  

I can't even play paint ball because the mask fogs up on the inside, which fogs my glasses, which leaves me unable to see, which makes my marksmanship less than stellar and leaves me vulnerable to getting splattered with paint because I can't see the enemy.  Do you see the difference just 1 limitation can make in your life?  Thank goodness I don't play paintball for a living or I'd be looking for a new job within the first few hours of employment! 

Have you been there?  Have you stood at the corner of 'Desperate Boulevard,' and 'Pathetic Street.'?  You are desperate for pain relief.  You're desperate for freedom from chronic pain.  You've tried all sorts of remedies and nothing seems to work.  Then you feel like a permanent resident on 'Pathetic Street' and resign yourself to a life of suffering.  

Perhaps you found a temporary reprieve from the pain through chronic pain medication like opiates such as Vicodin, Percocet, or even Heroin?  You may be on Methadone or Suboxone.  Maybe the medications have helped but deep down you feel so dependent on them like you're living with a ball and chain, so to speak.  Maybe it's time to do something different.   Maybe living with chronic pain can be easier?

I think it is important to recognize that it is difficult to live with chronic pain.  It is not right.  It is not fair.  Unfortunately, it is reality.  When we shrink from reality, we don't do well.  We must embrace reality and accept chronic pain as it occurs while continuing to seek appropriate treatment in a way the decreases the chance of physical dependency to opiates instead of raising them. 

That''s why I invite you to consider The Coleman Institute.  We specialize in helping people detox off of opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, and Suboxone.  We often find that our chronic pain patients report their actual pain level has lessened after they complete the detox compared to what it was before the detox! 

If you are tired of being dependent on opiates, alcohol, 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!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Happy New Year!  How are you?  Did you have a good holiday season?  My name is 2014 and it's very nice to meet you.  I've been looking forward to making your acquaintance for years.  Finally, the time has arrived!

What do you have planned during my year?  Are you excited about the possibilities?  Let me tell you, I know a lot of 'years' and they have seen a LOT of people fail at those "New Year's Resolutions" over the years.  I tell them, "that's because people are doing it wrong." but they don't believe me.  Some people are slow learners...it can take years for the light bulb to go on!

Let me share with you my secret of success so you can meet your goals.  It's really not all that difficult nor is it rocket science.  It's all contained in one word with 7 letters.  R-E-S-O-L-V-E.  If you have resolve, you will meet your goals this year!

What exactly is resolve?  It has two meanings.  You may have heard the word when someone 'resolves' an argument or conflict.  The secondary definition, however, is what we will focus on right now.  It means, "to decide firmly on a course of action."  There are three key words to pay attention to in order to fully understand what resolve really means.  Decide.  Firmly.  Action.  

Decide.  You must decide you're going to meet your goal.  A famous saying reminds us that, 'the toughest six inches in life is between our ears."  That is, our thoughts dictate our actions.  If you believe you can do something, you've already gone half the distance to the goal.  If you believe, then you can decide.  Decision is an act of the will but it is predicated on a belief that makes the decision worthwhile.  

Firmly.  Have you ever walked down the sidewalk and had to walk out into the street so you wouldn't walk onto newly laid wet pavement?  The reason you don't get to walk on it is two-fold.  First, you destroy the hard work that has gone into the creation of the sidewalk.  Second, and more to the physics of concrete, wet cement will not support or firmly uphold the weight of those who walk on it.  Likewise, a weak belief or decision to take a course of action is much like wet cement: it's gooey and you trip and fall down.  Not good.

Action.  Action is the "motherload", so to speak.  It's the essential ingredient to meeting your goals.  Through the years as I've watched people fail at their goals and dreams, there is one common element: lack of action. You might be thinking, "yes, but many people DO take action and they DO fail.".  I would agree and you are right.  I would also posit that failure is a stepping stone to success.  If you fail, go back to the three principles of resolve: Decide (believe first).  Firmly.  Action.  Success is elusive but it also likes to be found if we look hard enough.  

One of the areas that is most important in a person's life to apply resolve is in maintaining their good health.  It is also one of the most common New Year's resolutions people make for many different reasons. I started out by telling you that many will fail or have already failed at their resolutions.  When it comes to your health, compromise is never a good choice.  

In particular, when you struggle with an addiction to alcohol, opiates, Methadone, Suboxone, or even chronic pain medications, it takes a lot of resolve to stay clean.  The good news is you can apply resolve anytime day or night 24/7/365.  That's encouraging!  

Well, that about wraps up our time together.  It was good to meet you.  Once again, my name is 2014 and I wish you the best success and resolve that is tough as nails to achieve it!

If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here to help you get clean and stay clean!