U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s release of Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health at yesterday’s Facing Addiction Summit was an unprecedented moment in our country’s fight against addiction and substance misuse. It is the first time in history that a U.S. surgeon general has issued a report focused on drug and alcohol addiction. The report comes at a time when more and more Americans are struggling with the effects of addiction to opioids and heroin. One person dies every 19 minutes from an opioid or heroin overdose. And, the statistics related to other addictions are no less grim. One in seven people in the United States will face a substance misuse disorder, and only 10 percent will get the treatment they need to overcome it.
We are so proud to welcome Kevin McCauley, MD to our team of Senior Fellows!
Dr. McCauley is a graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine and was a U.S. Naval Flight Surgeon for HMH-363 Red Lions Marine Heavy Helicopter squadron and VMFAT-101 Sharpshooters fighter/attack training squadron. He has also served as the Director of Le Mont Michel, a sober living/recovery management program in Sandy, Utah from 2009-2013, and is a co-founder of the Institute for Addiction Study. His film “Pleasure Unwoven” won the 2010 NAATP Michael Q. Ford journalism award.
We are grateful every day for the opportunity to change lives and give hope those struggling with trauma, addiction, or mental health issues. As a token of our gratitude, we are offering to cover airfare for individuals admitting to inpatient treatment at any of our inpatient programs:
Why do we struggle in life? That’s a question that many religions, philosophers, and scholars have tried to tackle for centuries. You’d be hard-pressed to find any human being who hasn’t experienced their fair share of pain and difficulty. It often comes in the form of trauma, abuse, neglect, break-ups, betrayals, disappointment, failures, illnesses, loss, and grief.
Regardless of the type or severity of their hardships, people typically find ways to survive. But, unfortunately, some of the ways we adapt our thoughts and behaviors in order to survive get in the way of our ability to thrive.
When we feel pain or discomfort, we tend to try to avoid it, suppress it, or repress it; or, we find some distraction through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or any number of other substances and activities.
Mindfulness is about bringing unconditional, nonjudgmental attention to our experience in the present moment. Its aim is to help us learn how to tolerate, accept, and even appreciate our pain, and emotional experiences. Mindfulness work teaches us how to really show up in our lives without being constantly distracted by fears of fantasies and without wishing for things to be other than they are.
So, how do we go about this work? There is no one “right” way, but many people begin to cultivate mindfulness through the regular practice of meditation. Many experts believe that you can begin to notice changes in your moods and perceptions with as little as 10 minutes a day of meditation.
That’s why each Monday The Meadows will offer you the opportunity to meditate with one of our experts. Watch The Meadows Facebook page for a live, 10 to 15 minute, guided meditation every week.
Joyce Willis will be leading our first Mindful Monday session on Oct. 24 at 12:30 Mountain Standard Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern) Joyce is a therapist at The Meadows with 18 years of experience with mindfulness and meditation practices. She began her journey in 1998 when a doctor told her she needed to slow down after suffering a severe asthma attack. She realized that she had spent years trying to be superwoman, and didn’t quite know how to slow down. This led her to pick up Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living.
Since then, she has trained with Kabat-Zinn and other leaders in the field of mindfulness like Jack Kornfield and Ronald Siegel. Through her Mindful Monday sessions, she hopes to help people connect their emotional, spiritual, mindful, and physiological selves with compassion and respect.
The Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows offers an incredible, transformational, 5-day workshop on mindfulness called Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living. It is led by The Meadows Medical Director, Dr. Jon Caldwell, whose clinical practice is rooted in the timeless teaching and contemplative traditions of mindfulness meditation.
During the workshop. Dr. Caldwell leads participants through several enlightening presentations and experiential exercises focused on cultivating mindfulness and compassion. Ancient and scientifically-verified practices will be applied in unique ways to help heal past wounds. People with various levels of experience with mindfulness and meditation can benefit from the workshop. All that is needed is a curious mind, a willing heart, and an intention to heal!
For more information on the Mind & Heart Workshop or on any of The Meadows personal growth workshops, please call 866-457-3202, or reach out online.
As my daughter does her recovery work from drug and alcohol addiction and anxiety, I too work my recovery through Al-Anon.
I won’t go into details of how my daughter and I both came to this point because I’m guessing many of you are already familiar with the scenario— failing grades, arrests, court appearances, isolation, detachment, and on and on.
I spent many fear-filled nights of insanity sleeping with my phone next to me waiting for that call parents fear most… Was she in jail again? Was she in an accident? Did she overdose? Was she dead? I received one of those calls. My daughter was in such a bad place that she couldn’t even finish her last semester of college.
Finally, I gave in to my fear, checked my ego, and accepted the help of many friends and family. With mixed emotions of anger, pain, shame, and guilt, I put aside my resentment of being forced to face my daughter’s issues, and on a Sunday morning her intervention team showed up at her college rental house. To say things didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. The well thought out plan of getting her to agree to go to treatment failed; she would not go.
I left the intervention feeling defeated and numb. What now? As hard as it was, I tried tough love and cut her cell phone service off and thus lost total communication with her. However, she still had our family dog, Bailey, at the rental house.
Little did I know that Bailey would be the link to finally getting my daughter into treatment. Late one night I received a call from my daughter’s roommates; Bailey was sick and they couldn’t get a hold of my daughter (no surprise). I went to pick up Bailey and had an enlightening heart-to-heart conversation with the roommates who were just as concerned about my daughter as I was. This unfortunate course of events (Bailey rebounded) helped me to formulate a plan to convince my daughter she needed treatment.
Four weeks following the unsuccessful intervention, my daughter was on a plane to treatment. She was fortunate to have some of the best treatment service available and after five months, a few relapses, and with the grace of God, she is now home.
While my daughter was in treatment I knew I had to do something for myself, so I found an Al-Anon group and started going. I knew that what I had been doing in relation to my daughter wasn’t working, and my hope was that through Al-Anon, I would be able to find new tools to help me get through these new challenges I was facing.
I’ve learned so much from the Al-Anon fellowship and hearing the experience, strength, and hope of others dealing with the disease of addiction. By working the 12 Steps through Al-Anon I have learned that I am powerless over the disease of addiction; I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. With this new knowledge, I fearlessly let go of the control I so tightly held onto in the hope of changing my daughter. Fear still creeps in, and when it does, I have learned to let go and let God. It’s one day at a time but I am committed to not letting fear define me, my life or my choices.
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