Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Affirmations of a Warrior

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.  

I love action movies.  In particular, I like movies with action heroes who are the epitome of muscle bound, gun-toting, tough guys who obliterate the enemy.  Why?  Because every guy wants to be THAT guy!  Whether they admit or not, there is not a guy out there who hasn’t wished, at one time or another that they had the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the fighting skills of Chuck Norris, and the suave of George Clooney combined with the black tie good looks of any James Bond actor (or if you’re a child of the 80’s who wanted to be the Ultimate Warrior…see picture above...R.I.P Ultimate Warrior, thanks for the inspiration).* 
There’s good news:  even if you are none of the above, you can still be a mental warrior.  Below you will find the 5 mantra’s of Warrior Affirmations for Recovery**.  I challenge you to speak these out loud first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed for the next 5 days.  Keep a written record of how you feel each day and if you notice any changes in your thoughts and/or behavior as it pertains to your sobriety.  You never know what you will gain if you do not try!
Warrior Affirmations:

Ø  I am a warrior.  I live in a no excuse world.
Ø  I am a warrior.  I play at 100%.
Ø  I am a warrior.  I do whatever it takes.
Ø  I am a warrior.  I keep my commitments no matter what.
Ø  I am a warrior.  I never give up.

* Ultimate Warrior and Warrior Affirmations are separate, unrelated entities
**Warrior Affirmations are from an anonymous author
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 today.  We're here for you!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hopelessness is the Negation of Possibility!

Joan R. Shepherd, NP
The title of this blog is actually a phrase from The Tao of Sobriety David Gregson and Jay S. Efranleapt. On Thanksgiving morning, I read the quote and it jumped off the page at me after two incredibly busy weeks at The Coleman Institute working with people who are choosing to get off methadone and other opiates.

The authors go on to say, “Hopelessness trades on the past, which it depicts inaccurately. Possibility is about the future, which remains virgin and uncharted. No matter how badly Acts I and II have gone, Act III has not yet been fully scripted.” I could share so many stories of possibility—from this week alone!

There was the beautiful mother of two boys whose fiance overdosed a week after she’d accepted his proposal. She went on methadone herself then, feeling it was the best choice to keep her alive—and sane. After four years of daily visits to the methadone clinic, she came to us for our rapid detox program. In eight days, she came off methadone, enrolled in an excellent counseling program, and is very grateful to be more present for her sons.

Max* came for a follow up visit and to get his naltrexone refilled. In December, it will be a year since he completed a rapid opiate detox and has been free from oxycodone. He had all our staff in tears when he proudly showed us the picture of his exquisite ten-month old daughter. His testimony about how sweet his life is was so moving, I asked him to make the rounds with me to visit other patients who were completing rapid detoxes. There are no words—even from our staff who see daily success stories—that can compare to seeing a person in the flesh that’s a year away from the powerful grip of opiates.

Lisa* lost her sister and nephew in a tragic car accident several years ago. She had access to opiate pain medication and began to use it to blunt the pain of her loss. It was not long before she turned to heroin. She too, completed our three-day rapid detox. Her beautiful spirit matches her outer beauty. We teased her about being the Detox-Queen—she was feeling good enough to indulge in a manicure, pedicure and facial while she was in Richmond, so she was looking pretty good! Her plan: reclaim her health in all realms: physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual. Besides participating in our Recovery-U program, she will work with a grief counselor and has re-joined her gym. She has flanked herself with friends who will go to AA and NA meetings with her.

I could go on and on with the stories of possibility I hear and am blessed to participate in daily. After Max told his story, my colleague, Courtney Harden, FNP said, “That’s why I love my job.” Amen.

If you, or a loved one, are ready to embrace possibility and quiet the intrusive voice of hopelessness, please call and speak to Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 . We would love to help you get to Act III!

*Names changed and stories altered in minor ways to maintain patient’s confidentiality.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

It's been a long time since that September morning in 2001 when the face of safety changed
for many in the United States and around the world.  The events of the 11th of September were etched in the minds of millions from horrifying newscast accounts.  Twin buildings under the moniker The World Trade Center, which once towered over the New York City skyline, were no longer in view.  They had been decimated.  All hope seemed lost.

Enter Hope.  One World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York is set to open later this year on the original site where the Twin Towers were knocked down ten years ago.  Although this building cannot bring back those who are gone or remove residual emotional pain, it can remind us that we are meant to rise up and live life in spite of what may seem like utter defeat and lack of hope.  For sure, this structure will bring up many emotions for many different people.  I believe one of them will be hope.  Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes of destruction, hope will literally stand once again.

Have you ever lost hope?  Have you ever felt like you might lose hope in the future?  It's a horrible feeling, isn't it?  It is that too familiar hollow pit in your stomach; that feeling of disappointment, sadness, and even fear before resignation sets in your soul. 

There has been a quiet decimation that has been occurring across the American and global landscapes for years called Addiction.  Alcoholics and drug addicts decimate their own lives, seemingly on purpose, and the lives of those around them, particularly, those most close to them.  It's horrible to watch.  It's even worse to experience.  And it leaves all affected feeling lost and hopeless with no visible help on the horizon to save the day.

Yet they must rise.  For hope brightens like the dawn of new day through the powerful rays of recovery.  There is a way out.  There is a plan.  There is a purpose.  There is freedom. 

Rise, my friend, go and seek the healing you want and need.  Brush off the dust of your mistakes.  Shake off the shame of your past.  Claim the future that is yours for the taking.  Get clean and stay clean.  We believe in YOU!

If you or someone you love is 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 today.  We love helping people get clean and stay clean.  Hope starts here. 

Which came first – The Anxiety Disorder or the Marijuana use?

 By Peter R. Coleman, M.D. 
There is a major social experiment going on in the US and no one has any idea of what the outcome will be. 

Marijuana has been legalized for personal use in both Colorado and Washington State and we really have no experience to know what positive changes there will be, and what long-term negative effects this will have. We may see a lot of effects in many areas - 
  • frequency and amounts of drug use, 
  • legal problems, medical 
  • psychiatric effects,
  • increased crime rates,
  • and, perhaps, many more.

Some of these will be positive effects and some will be negative. Hopefully, there will be a lot of research trying to better understand some of these issues as they come up, so we can decide if this was a good “experiment”.

A recent study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked into cannabis use and social anxiety.  Frequently pot use and social anxiety do co-exist, and the study tried to determine how often these occurred and which caused which.

People smoke pot in a couple of different situations. Many people smoke pot in social situations with their friends, and they enjoy the social interaction. But, it is quite common that people who have smoked pot isolate themselves from others, even if they are in a social setting. Marijuana often puts people off in their own little world and they are not very interested in interacting with others. Sometimes, there can be intense anxiety about interacting with others, even getting to the stage of paranoia. At other times, some people choose to smoke pot on their own – they enjoy being alone and not having to interact with others.

The NIH study asked over 43,000 adults about their drug use, alcohol use and psychiatric symptoms. They found that 7.6 percent of the people questioned reported that they smoked so much marijuana that it caused problems at some point in their lives – they met the criteria for having a Cannabis Use Disorder (CUB). Many of these people with a CUB also reported having a high level of anxiety in social situations. In fact, 10% of the people with a CUD had such high levels of anxiety that they could be diagnosed with a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This is to say that a significant number of people who smoke pot also have severe problems with social anxiety.

This can make sense in three ways.

          First, it could be that smoking a lot of pot causes social isolation. It could be that smoking marijuana frequently isolates people, or makes them paranoid, and they withdraw into themselves and become socially isolated. This social isolation could lead to a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).  
          Second, it could be that people who are already socially isolated start smoking pot in order to feel better about themselves. These socially isolated people may enjoy marijuana because it allows them to avoid social interactions and so their marijuana use increases to the point of becoming a problem.
          Third, the CUD and the SAD could just co-exist and neither one cause the other.

The researchers were also interested in which came first. They found that 80% reported that their SAD came first. That is, the people first had symptoms of social anxiety, then they started smoking pot, and later on, developed a Cannabis problem. Twenty percent (23%) reported that first they smoked pot, then, they developed a CUD, and after that, they developed an anxiety problem.
The research is interesting because it shows how often these problems exist together. If we are to treat people with Cannabis problems, we need to recognize that a number of them will have a SAD, and they will be best treated if we help them with both problems.

In some ways, the timing of which came first is a little irrelevant. The bottom line is that frequent marijuana use makes it very difficult to recover from anxiety or any other mental health problems.

          Marijuana is a mood altering drug, so it makes it difficult for people to understand our own feelings and emotions. It also alters perceptions and reality, so it makes it very difficult to learn social cues and how to interact with others.

          Marijuana decreases memory ability, so it makes it much harder to learn from our experiences.

If people want to get over their Social Anxiety disorder, the worst thing they can do is take a lot of drugs, like marijuana that make them more isolated and helps to avoid practicing social skills. People with an anxiety disorder do best with a form of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This involves recognizing and understanding feelings, and then, learning how to deal with them. Pretty hard to do this if you are stoned and off in a corner!

If you or someone you love is 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 today.  We love helping people get clean and stay clean.  Hope starts here. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Joan Shepherd, FNP 

A couple of weeks ago, we did an Accelerated Alcohol Detox on a lovely young man who is happily still among the living.  He was involved in a pretty bad motor vehicle accident and ended up in the hospital after blowing a breath alcohol level of 2.8.  Yikes!!!   Amazingly, he didn't get hurt too badly.

At The Coleman Institute, we steer people into the most appropriate level of aftercare which may also include therapy.  He didn't talk much during the detox because he's a pretty quiet guy.  After he completed his detox, he started going to his I.O.P. (Intensive Out-Patient) classes.  I think the experience was kind of like a drowning, thirsty guy getting water.  He realized for maybe the first time in his life that he was surrounded by people who KNEW him!

This not in any way discounting his very supportive family.  They talked about feelings and what happens when we don't know how to express them.  They discussed the A.A. 9th step promise: "We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness."

He said good things were already starting to happen.  He owed over $10,000 for his emergency room visit, and he has no health insurance.  He received a call a couple of hours before his follow up appointment with me from the patient advocate at the hospital: the entire debt has been dissolved!  He is looking for more good things to continue.  I have no doubt they will!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From Maggot to Chameleon

Joan Shepherd, FNP

Every time I think I can’t like a patient more than the one I just detoxed at The Coleman Institute, I meet another one I’m saying the same thing about. Yesterday Evie (not her real name) completed an Accelerated Methadone Detox. She is such a hero!

After years of heroin use she was started on methadone 3 years ago. Miserable almost immediately on methadone because of the life style and the way it made her feel, and because she was so ready to start a life of recovery, she determined to stop using. Then she discovered she was pregnant. Thus, the three years on methadone.

It was an elegant detox. When we were getting ready to place her naltrexone pellet I noticed
the tattoo of a beautifully detailed chameleon wrapped around her left ankle. She told me it was a cover up tattoo. When she’d been using lots of heroin a friend talked her into allowing him to tattoo his specialty on her: maggots coming out of a wound. She said it had been pretty realistic.

Evie shakes her head and laughs that she would ever let anyone put a tattoo of maggots anywhere on her body! The chameleon was drawn in when she decided to seriously start recovery. She said she could change with her environment, and indeed, the quality of her life—her work, her relationships with her child, finance, and friends, and her health—are all vastly better since she stopped the heroin and changed her environment. I can only imagine how her life will continue to change as she experiences the freedom that Naltrexone brings. Wonder how that chameleon would look with wings?
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 today.  We're here to help you get your life back.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunny Day!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

The weather for the past week or so in Richmond has been awful.  Continual rain and dark clouds have made it very difficult to get motivated.  Ever been there?  Yeah, me too!

Today is different, however, because the ‘eye in the sky’ is shining brightly.  It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for your mood.  Do you ever feel moody?  Yeah, me too!

In recovery, one of the issues people often struggle with is their day-to-day mood swings.  One day you’re on cloud 9 and the next day you drop down to cloud -9 and there’s no good reason to explain your huge mood swing.  This is very common but very difficult to deal with in the beginning of your recovery when everything is so raw, real, and even painful.

What we all look for in life are buffers.  Buffers help us deal with the pain the world sends us.  Common buffers include, but are not limited to, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, adrenaline, sports, and many others.  A buffer is anything that you use to keep you from feeling the fullness of an emotion that you find uncomfortable.  This is why drugs and alcohol seems to be the instant fix.  And in the beginning, they do just that.

However, over time, addiction will teach us that the buffer it advertises fails to work in the long-term.  This leaves us in a quandary.  How do we deal with intense feelings with nothing to block the power of those feelings?  The answer is simple:  feel it.

I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear but it is true.  The more we allow ourselves to feel what we actually are feeling the easier those feelings will become to manage.  It takes practice and dedication to maintain our emotional health.  The payoff is totally worth it in the end!

Think of your emotions as your inner ‘oil light’.  Like the oil light in a car that lets the driver know if the engine is ok or is about to lock up due to cruddy or insufficient oil in the engine, so too, emotions are nature’s way of teaching us that something is wrong in our present life.  If we choose to accept emotions as a help and not a hindrance, then they begin to take on a new hope and a new meaning.

Why don’t you give it a try?  Pay attention to your emotions the next few days and see if you notice how you tend to buffer them.  If you find you don’t like what you see, experiment with letting go of that buffer or buffers and see how the experience differs.   As for me today, I’m feeling good because the sun is my buffer.  Here’s hoping tomorrow, if it’s cloudy, I’ll remember my own words!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, and Suboxone.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smoke Pot, Change Your Brain

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

While pot smoking seems to be all the rage, some people are beginning to see it differently.  New research is showing that even casual pot smoking can cause changes in the brain that scientist say are not changes anyone should make.  It appears that the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala are most affected with casual pot smoking.  For more information, please click the link at the bottom of the page!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of opiates, benzos, alcohol, Methadone or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Picture is Worth 1,000 Words!

Chris Newcomb

I must admit I thought the above picture was pretty funny.  It's a great take on male testosterone tough guy stereotypes.  It is true that a picture is worth a 1,000 words!  

Recently the NIDI asked the public to create infographics depicting the relationship between prescription medicine abuse and the risk in heroin use to better inform the public.  There were 3 winners in the contest.   I'd like to share them with you.  The work is very good artistically and from a message standpoint.  

At The Coleman Institute, we see the effects of prescription pill addiction every day.  It truly is epidemic in this country.  Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you may know who struggles with addiction to prescription pills, or even worse, heroin.  

First Place -"Popping Pills: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in America"

Second Place - "Stop Rx Abuse - Ignorance is NO excuse"

Third Place - "Abuse of Prescription Pain Medications Risks Heroin Use"

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 today.  We are here to help you get clean and stay clean.  Freedom is available for you!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Worth the Time

Joan Shepherd, FNP 

Clearing space for quiet is important for those in recovery or for anyone who breathes and eats and occupies space on this planet. This was the blog article from Daily OM. I couldn’t say it better, so I won’t. I’ll send it to you intact. Check out his website sometime.

"Ironically, when we get busy, the first thing that tends to get cut back is our meditation practice. We have less time and a lot on our plates, so it makes sense that this happens, but in the end it doesn't really help us. Most of us know from experience that we function much better when we give ourselves time each day to sit in silence. And the more we have to do, the more we need that solitary, quiet time for the day ahead. As a result, while it may sound counter intuitive, it is during busy times that we most need to spend more time in meditation rather than less. By being quiet and listening to the universe, we will be given what we need to get through our day.

Expanding our morning meditation by just 10 minutes can make a big difference, as can the addition of short meditations into our daily schedule. The truth is, no matter how busy we are, unless we are in the midst of a crisis we always have five or 10 minutes to spare. The key is convincing ourselves that spending that time in meditation is the most fruitful choice. We could be getting our dishes done or heading into work earlier instead, so it's important that we come to value the importance of meditation in the context of all the other things competing for attention in our lives. All we have to do to discover whether it works to meditate more when we are busy is to try it.

We can start by creating more time in the morning, either by getting up earlier or by preparing breakfast the night before and using the extra time for meditation. We can also add short meditation breaks into our schedule, from five minutes before or after lunch to a meditation at night before we go to sleep. When we come from a place of centered calm, we are more effective in handling our busy schedules and more able to keep it all in perspective. If more time in meditation means less time feeling anxious, panicky, and overwhelmed, then it's certainly worth the extra time."

Do you or someone you love need to be detoxed off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone?  If so, please call 1-877-773-3869 and ask for Jennifer or Amy.  We are here to help you reclaim your life and your freedom!  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Accepting Disease Model for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Peter Coleman, M.D.
It is becoming hard to remember just how much society has looked down on alcoholics and people with drug addiction problems. Since the beginning of recorded history, there have been references to the fact that, while most people are able to enjoy their alcohol, some people drink too much, make fools of themselves and hurt themselves and the people around them. It sure looks like these people are weak and immoral. It is actually very hard to conceive that they may be suffering from a disease, and that these behaviors are not their fault. Betty Ford helped to change all of that.
Until recently, even the medical establishment did not view alcoholism as an illness. There were some pioneers like Benjamin Rush who, in the 1700s, believed that alcoholism was a disease, but this was very much in opposition to the usual thinking of the day. It is easy to understand this because alcoholism and drug addiction involve the willful taking of substances. It absolutely seems that alcoholics are making willful choices that end up hurting themselves and hurting everyone around them. It certainly appears that alcoholics and drug addicts have a “weakness of character, poor willpower, poor ethics, and a general disregard for themselves and for others”. Society, in general, has had problems seeing things any other way. And the people with these problems have their own difficulty accepting that they have a disease. Who wants to admit that they are not in control of themselves? It is not surprising that the main support group for alcoholics determined that they needed to be anonymous. 
Early people in recovery had to meet completely anonymously. The reality was that being found out could have devastating consequences. I recently saw a photograph that now looks pretty comical. It is from the very first days of AA and shows early AA members talking and giving testimony on a radio show. They were standing in front of a microphone wearing Lone Ranger type masks, obviously because they felt the need to guard their anonymity. It is a pretty ironic photograph considering the fact that no one who was listening to the radio would be able to see them! In fact this is a powerful reminder that these men and women felt it was so necessary to be anonymous that they had to guard their identity even to the staff of the radio studio.
Things have changed a lot since those days. Those of us who are either in recovery ourselves or who are working in the addiction field have Betty Ford to thank for a big piece of that change. In the 1970s, while she was First Lady of the United States, Betty Ford was abusing alcohol and was addicted to pain medicines. In 1978, the Ford family found it necessary to deal with Betty's alcohol and drug addiction. They staged an intervention in order to convince her that she needed to stop drinking and stop taking the opiate pain pills that she had been prescribed for a pinched nerve in the early 1960s. This was radical stuff. The president's wife was not supposed to be an alcoholic, and she was certainly not supposed to be a drug addict. But the truth is she was. Fortunately, for he,r she had people around her who loved her and cared enough about her to help her get the help she needed. She went to treatment. She stopped using alcohol and drugs. She got into recovery, and like many people in recovery she decided that it was important to help other people who suffer with alcoholism and drug problems. She announced to the world that she had been suffering from these problems, and she did it in a non-judgmental and an unapologetic way. She took responsibility for her recovery. In 1982, she helped establish the Betty Ford Center in California. The Betty Ford Center is well-known as an excellent treatment program and remains one of the preeminent inpatient treatment programs in the nation and has literally helped thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts and their families.
Our understanding of what causes alcoholism and drug addiction has changed a lot since the 1970s. It is now more clear that there is really no difference between alcoholism and drug addiction - it is really one illness that we can call chemical dependency. Patients who drink alcohol heavily do not have a different disease from those who are addicted to drugs. Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, was simultaneously addicted to alcohol and drugs - just like Betty Ford. The medical evidence makes it more clear that patients with addictive problems are genetically vulnerable to the addiction process. It is not their fault that they have an addiction. It is their responsibility to deal with it. Since 1978, medical research has clearly outlined the parts of the brain that are corrupted in the addiction process. The brain's pleasure center, which is there to ensure we survive as a species, becomes damaged and drives people to continue to take their alcohol or drugs even though all of the evidence says they should stop. There is now a large field of genetic research that is beginning to outline the exact genetic differences between those who can drink safely and those who lose control.
It is an exciting time to be working as a physician in the field of addiction medicine. It is becoming easier to work with patients and to help them understand that they do not have to feel guilty for having the drug or alcohol problems. For many patients, knowledge of this fact is very liberating. It helps them to accept their illness, move on and reclaim their lives. It helps them repair the damage from the past and become the people they want to be.
Many of us have Betty Ford to thank. While she was only one piece in the puzzle of helping society to accept alcoholism as a disease, she was an important piece.
If you or someone you love is in need of detox off opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The American Heroin Epidemic!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

It's no mystery that there is a drug problem in the United States in 2014.  It is a sad state of affairs. However, there seems to be a growing problem with one particular drug: Heroin.  Heroin use is skyrocketing all over the country.  In states like Vermont, the death rate was doubled in just one year.  The problem is people prefer to use heroin because it is cheaper than pills and other drugs but gives a similar effect. Unfortunately, most people have no clue that the cost can mean jail, insanity, and death.  

Last night, ABC News ran a story about this problem in America today called "Hooked: America's Heroin Epidemic".  Take a moment and follow the link below to watch the video.  It is important to know the facts so that you can be aware of those in your midst who may be struggling with heroin as their drug of choice.  We are stronger together and can help more people when we are all aware of the problem.  Please feel free to pass this video on to someone you know who could benefit from watching.  

At The Coleman Institute, we are dedicated to helping people get clean and stay clean from alcohol, benzos, opiates, Methadone and Suboxone.  If you are or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  Freedom is available to you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Never Too Late!

Joan Shepherd, FNP

A few weeks ago we did an Accelerated Alcohol Detox with a new client.  She is almost 80 years old and one of the most elegant women I have ever met. She carried herself with great dignity, listened with intelligence and radiated warmth. She had a great laugh!

Unfortunately, she was going through a bottle of scotch every few days. However, her detox went smoothly. When a person comes for an alcohol detox with us, he or she is in a comfortable room in a cozy recliner. Although connected to monitoring equipment so we can keep a check on blood pressure and other vital functions, the client is free to move about, with their support person. We provide a nice lunch from any of a number of near-by eateries. Our patient can doze, read a book, or watch a movie. He/she will have ample time for conversation with our Aftercare Coordinator, Chris Newcomb, and of course, the medical staff is in and out throughout the day.

Most people will come in the morning and stay til about 4:30 in the afternoon.Yesterday this lovely lady came in for a follow up. She was beaming. She has been going to AA meetings with a dear old friend and she said she has more energy than she’s had in some years. She has resumed daily gardening and even packed up 8 boxes for Goodwill with stuff she’d wanted to be rid of for 2 years, she told me. Not only is this a gift to herself, her children are so grateful to have more meaningful interaction with their mother. This step clearly increases the odds that their mother will be able to continue to live independently—something that is extremely important to her. Her story really highlights the true statement that it's, "never too late" to start over! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fruity Pebbles for 12, Please!

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

I've had a busy week working with people who are getting off methadone, suboxone and various combinations of opiate prescription medications such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Behind Door Number One, the patient’s mother, asked, “Is it normal that he’s eaten 2 boxes of Fruity Pebbles since he started this detox? Behind Door Number Two, the puzzled wife of the detoxifying patient states with incredulity, “He ate the whole pan of banana pudding and an entire crumb cake in the last 12 hours….is that OK?” And behind Door Number Three, an amused best friend and former patient, laughs and says his buddy has gone through three bags of pork rinds, 2 cheeseburgers and a gallon of ice cream, wondering if he’d done the same thing during his own detox.

According to Dr. David A. Kessler, author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, “The neurons in the brain that are stimulated by taste and other properties of highly palatable food are part of the opioid circuitry, which is the body’s primary pleasure system. The “opioids,” also known as endorphins, are chemicals produced in the brain that have rewarding effects similar to drugs such as morphine and heroin. Stimulating the opioid circuitry with food drives us to eat.” So, it is not a bit surprising that the abrupt cessation of opiates would trigger this craving for whatever happens to be one’s own comfort food.  Not to worry. We can always talk about diet and exercise at the follow up visits. Just remember to brush your teeth!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

I am a child of the 1980’s.  This is great for many reasons one of which includes cheesy 80’s game shows.  Do you remember “Press Your Luck”?  How about “Remote Control”?  $25,000 Pyramid?  The Price is Right, anyone? 
One of my favorite shows was “The Family Feud” with host Richard Dawson.  As you may recall, two families would square off against one another to see who could rack up the most points based on surveys the show conducted about various topics such as “#1 item used in the bathroom?” (Answer:  toilet paper).  Each family had a total of 3 chances per turn to answer correctly.  However, if they got a question wrong, a big huge red X much like the one at the top of this article flashed across the TV screen to indict their failed intellect and lack of point acquisition in the game due to an erroneous answer.  I remember as a kid wincing whenever a contestant got an answer wrong and the big “X” of rejection showed up on the screen.  I almost took it personally as if I got the answer wrong! 
Wrong.  I don’t like the word.  It hurts to have it applied to you.  It can mow down your intellect and slay your self-esteem in one fell swoop!  However, we humans are anything but perfect.  Therefore, we have the ability and the eventuality of being wrong.  Sorry to burst your perfect bubble, pardon the pun!
That’s why the good people of Alcoholics Anonymous provided Step 5 which reads, ““Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”.  They were up to something good back in the 1930’s.  They understood the course of human nature and our potential for screwing things up.  Furthermore, they had keen insight into the connection between wrong actions and the drive towards addiction.  They are like two peas in a pod.  In order to recover, it is up to the addict/alcoholic to admit and confess their wrongs to someone they trust. 
Personally, I hate admitting I’m wrong.  Ever felt that way?  There’s just something uncomfortable about it.  However, I have found when I am humble and admit I have “shot the proverbial pooch in the hindquarters” it usually ends up ok.  I tend to forget that fact.  How about you?  What’s your experience in admitting you’re wrong?  Are you willing to do it?  Do you run from the responsibility?               
The most important part of this process is honesty.  As the saying goes, “you’re only as sick as your secrets.”  Are you willing to try this type of honesty out?  After all, the most authentic kind of right you can be is when you admit you’re wrong.  And we all know right feels way better than wrong!
At The Coleman Institute, we want to help you get clean and stay clean.  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 today.  We're here for you!