The Meadows Blog

Monday, 11 July 2016 00:00

The Gift of Recovery

When Terri arrived at The Meadows, after struggling for some time with alcohol addiction, she realized that she would never get sober unless she dealt with the trauma she experienced during her very difficult childhood. She credits The Meadow’s Survivors Week and EMDR therapy with her helping her turn the corner into real recovery from alcoholism.

The Meadows treats all phases of alcohol addiction. From detox to our primary treatment program, we help people build the foundation for long-term sobriety.

If you are in the midst of a struggle with alcohol addiction, recovery may not seem possible, but it is.

Our program has helped many people give up alcohol for good while making key changes in the way they live, face problems, and relate to others, in order to decrease the likelihood of relapse.

For more information about how we can help call us at 800-244-4949 or send us a message through our website.

Published in Addiction
Wednesday, 22 June 2016 00:00

What A Difference 40 Years Makes

As we look back on four decades spent at the forefront of treatment for addiction and other behavioral health disorders, we wanted to learn more from our biggest influencers and supporters about why The Meadows legacy matters. Why have we gained a reputation for being able to help people who still struggled after trying to get help elsewhere?

Mostly it comes down to the talent and knowledge of our team of Senior Fellows, our commitment to innovation and understanding the latest in neurobiology, and a staff that truly cares about every patient.

Special Offer on The Meadows Inpatient Programs

We want to help as many people as possible find the freedom that comes with real recovery. So, for a limited time, you can attend one of our treatment programs at the discounted rate of $45,500. Call today. The offer ends June 30, 2016, and spaces are limited.

Keep reading to hear what some of our leaders and proponents had to say about why The Meadows long and distinguished history matters.

The Meadows Legacy and Influence

CLAUDIA BLACK, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE MEADOWS:
It’s been 20 years since Dr. Patrick Carnes (Senior Fellow at Gentle Path at The Meadows) convinced Pia Mellody (Senior Fellow at The Meadows) to sign on to the idea of a Senior Fellow concept, though at the time that is not what we were called. I would be the first person to step into these shoes, with Patrick and Pia already being there in their positions.

My historical work with family of origin issues made this role a perfect fit for me clinically, as Pia had many years previously established the need to address underlying codependency issues in patients struggling with addiction and behavioral health disorders and that model was already integral to The Meadows programming.

My hope—something The Meadows has always supported—was to be able to do hands-on group work, to assist in program development, and bring greater awareness to the public about the depth and breadth of excellent psychiatric and addiction treatment offered at The Meadows.

It has been exhilarating to be a part of the expansion efforts at The Meadows; assisting in program design within the family program, the workshops, the Intensive Outpatient Program, structural and educational enhancements within the primary program, and most currently the development of the Claudia Black Center for Young Adults. Congratulation to The Meadows, and a call out to Pia Mellody!

SEAN WALSH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE MEADOWS
It is hard to find an area of mental health or addiction recovery that hasn’t been influenced in one way or another by The Meadows. When I think of the thousands upon thousands of patients and families whose lives have been forever changed as a result of The Meadows, it is an overwhelming and very humbling experience. The Meadows’ history and legacy inspires me to strive every day to ensure we are pursuing excellence and that we do all we can to be a source of hope and light to those we are honored to treat.

KEVIN BERKES, DIRECTOR OF INTAKE, THE MEADOWS
I have had the opportunity to see The Meadows at work throughout the past 12 years, and the beauty of the underlying core foundation philosophy has been to respect the dignity of every person who comes to treatment here. This is something that I try to instill in my team so that it also applies to all those who inquire about treatment at The Meadows. I count it a privilege to work at a company that holds this value so dear. It is the very thing that we are trying to bring to our patients and workshop participants, and I try to make it foundational in the intake experience for those inquiring about treatment and those who work in the department.

DONNA BEVAN-LEE, MSW, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
I have worked in the field of mental health and addictions for 41 years. I know that the two areas of mental health and addictions are inseparable. I refer patients to The Meadows because I get results. The treatment that my patients receive at The Meadows allows them to be well on their way to a life that is satisfying and fulfilling. I can be more beneficial to them on an outpatient basis because they can actually "do" what needs to be done for them to feel confident in their journey. They are no longer plagued with constant triggering as they move through their life. This life is not a dress rehearsal, and my patients who complete treatment at The Meadows become fully engaged as players in their lives and start to leave their "victim" behind.

Published in News & Announcements
Tuesday, 21 June 2016 00:00

The Many R’s of Recovery

By David Anderson, Ph.D., Executive Director at The Meadows

We experienced yet another heart-warming Patient Commencement Celebration last Wednesday morning, as seven soon-to-be-leaving patients expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Meadows staff, the community and their peers for helping them along their journey through life-saving treatment, recovery and transformation.

At the end of the commencement, as we always do, we formed a big circle, observed a few moments of quiet Reflection, and then said The Serenity Prayer. At the end of the prayer, as we always do, each patient and staff member extended his or her right foot and Repeated loudly, “R, R, R!”

As we were walking out I overheard a couple of newer people who were in the audience say “I have no idea what R! R! R! means!”

The Building Blocks of Recovery

Well, for those wondering, the letters stand for Reality, Respect, and Responsibility—three crucially important building blocks of true Recovery (and all in keeping with our underlying Meadows Model).

These are three great “R” words.

But we have other “R” words, too:

Reality.
Respect.
Responsibility.
Recovery.
Revelation.
Resiliency.
Renew.
Regulation.
Reflection.
Realization.
Repetition.
Rites of passage (like commencements and graduations)

On the coins that we provide to graduating members of our military, in addition to Recovery, we have three more R words: Reveal, Resiliency, and Renew.

And if you spend any time in our Brain Center, you soon come to Realize that a basic component of our Meadows program is nervous system Regulation.

Each of these “R” words comes with a story, a commitment, and a history here at The Meadows; each are worked into the warp and weave of our programming.

And here are even more: as we head into the three major months of summer, many of us will be taking vacations and Recharging and Recreating.

So the next time you need to Refresh or Recommit to Recovery, do the Meadows hokey-pokey, put your right foot out, and say, “R! R! R!”

Happy Summer,
Happy Recharging,
R! R! R!

Published in Treatment & Recovery

By Aleah Johnson, The Meadows Alumni Coordinator

What if I were to tell you that all aspects of your past would be used as an asset? Would you believe it or would you instantly regret and want to change it?

I have a love/hate relationship with the word "acceptance." As a stubborn addict, I am not supposed to agree with everything, right?

What is Acceptance?

Acceptance is defined as "the act of taking or receiving something offered." Sometimes I really have to stop and take inventory of the things in my life, both personally and professionally and ask myself if I am fighting or if I am accepting.

One of the most crucial bits of advice I have learned in recovery is to accept my past as an asset. It is important to accept ourselves where we are on our journey and be able to leverage ourselves for good.

The past is a place or state of being in an earlier period of a one's life, career, etc., that might be thought of as shameful or embarrassing. We have all done things in our past that we may not be proud of— choosing to resist or deny our past only leads to more suffering. Acceptance allows us to live in the present moment and not "future trip" or worry about the past.

Resistance is often about control; the more we try to control our lives, the more out of control they get. Acceptance allows emotional balance and gives us the ability to accept people and things exactly as they are, even when we can't see the WHY or when we're not getting what we want.

Finding Serenity

Acceptance is a key solution to our problems. When we are disturbed, it is because we find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of life—unacceptable. We can find no serenity until we accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at that moment.

Until we accept ourselves, our situations and our life, on life's terms, we cannot be happy. We need not concentrate so much on what happens in the world as on what needs to be changed in ourselves and in our attitudes. (Page 417, The Big Book)

Early in my recovery, an old-timer in one of my first meetings told me, "You can make this as easy or as hard as you want, little lady, but ultimately the choice is up to you." I fully accepted this not only as a piece of advice but also as a challenge.

Nobody is perfect and everyone has battles and struggles; this is part of this amazing journey that we call life. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It is our job to accept all aspects, to start where we are, use what we have, and do what we can to make the best out of the life we have left.

Join The Meadows Alumni Association

If you are a graduate from any of The Meadows inpatient programs, The Meadows Intensive Outpatient program, any weeklong intensive workshop at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows, or a family member who attended Family Week, you are welcome to join The Meadows Alumni Association!

Sign up today to receive our monthly email newsletter and to be kept up-to-date on any relevant, recovery-related news and events in your area.

Published in Blog

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs are benzodiazepines (a.k.a. benzos).

As the number of these prescriptions has grown, so has the abuse. Some types of benzos are more commonly misused recreationally, often in combination with alcohol. Others are more likely to be abused as a result of an unnecessary prescription.

Unfortunately, many people who abuse these drugs assume that since their use is so common, they must also be “safe.” This is far from the truth.

Why Are Benzodiazepines Prescribed?

Benzodiazepines can be useful for those with panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and even, in some cases, alcohol withdrawal. They are best prescribed by doctors when they believe that the patient’s need for them outweighs the possible risk of addiction, overdose, or abuse. Xanax is one of most popular and well-known of these types of benzos, but other varieties include Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Restoril, Librium, ProSom, Halcion and Versed.

Doctors typically recommend that benzos either be used only occasionally, as in the case of patients who take Xanax when facing a panic attack, or for short-term courses, as when easing symptoms from alcohol withdrawal. The longer benzos are used, the greater the risk. Even prescribed doses, when taken for a year or longer can cause serious withdrawal problems.

Unfortunately, many people do end up using these drugs to the point of becoming addicted, either as a result of bad advice from their doctors or by choosing to continue to take the drug longer than necessary.

Why Are Benzodiazepines Abused?

Doctors often prescribe medications in the benzodiazepine family to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain. So, patients who truly struggle with anxiety and panic disorders may not find the drugs to be especially “fun” or interesting. They serve to bring them to a baseline level of emotion and daily functioning.

But, when people who do not have anxiety or panic disorders take benzos, they often find that the drug can bring them a sense of deep relaxation and feelings of euphoria. Instead of taking them to correct an imbalance, they take them to boost the euphoria.

According to Addiction, people who are addicted to benzos often take 30 to 120 times more than experts recommend. Over time, they often develop a tolerance to the drug and have to find new ways to take the drugs—like snorting or injecting— in order to the get the same high. Taking extremely high doses of benzodiazepines can result in coma or death.

Deadly Combinations: Mixing Benzos with Alcohol and Other Drugs

Some studies have shown that the number of annual benzodiazepine-related unintentional deaths have begun to outnumber those related to cocaine and heroin. Several celebrities have died in the past 10 years who had benzos in their systems that may have contributed to their deaths. Heath Ledger died in 2008 from a mix of opioid and benzo prescriptions. Amy Winehouse had Librium in her system when she died in 2011. And, Whitney Houston, when she died in 2012, had a combination of Xanax and alcohol in her system.

Benzodiazepine abuse rarely occurs alone. The majority of people who abuse benzos also use another substance (most commonly heroin, cocaine, methadone, prescription painkillers and alcohol) at the same time. Mixing benzos with any other drug that affects your nervous system—even antihistamines—can be dangerous.

For example, when a person combines Xanax and alcohol, they find themselves feeling unexpectedly sleepy and get into the shower to try to wake themselves up. Since they are so sedated, they can end up losing their ability to stay balanced and stay conscious which can lead to them falling and drowning from inhaling water into their lungs.

Dual Diagnosis: Benzo Abuse and Other Disorders

It is very common for those who abuse benzos to also struggle with other disorders like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, bipolar disorders, and PTSD. Sometimes they have been prescribed these drugs as a way to manage the symptoms of these disorders. They may eventually end up abusing them, as they build up a tolerance and find themselves needing larger doses to get the same effects as before.

This is why, at The Meadows, we believe it’s important to find and treat the underlying causes of behavioral disorders, and not just the symptoms. Benzos and other substances, when used to mask the symptoms of another addiction or disorder, can contribute to a sense of powerlessness people often have about their disease. By addressing underlying trauma, patients can take back the control of their day-to-day lives from the unhealthy coping mechanisms they’ve developed in the place of real healing.

Signs and Treatment

Once someone has developed a dependency on benzos, avoiding withdrawal symptoms may start to be their biggest daily motivation. Some of the signs that someone you know may be addicted to benzos are…

  • You find multiple pill bottles from multiple doctors.
  • You find bags with pills or someone else’s prescription bottles.
  • The person seems strangely detached. Loses interested in things that were once important to them.
  • The person withdraws from family events and social interactions.
  • The person shows increased hostility, and may even act out violently.
  • The person may show withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, hallucinations, insomnia, and irritability.

It is critical that those addicted to benzodiazepines get proper medical and psychological treatment from qualified addiction professionals. A cold-turkey approach to quitting benzos can be deadly due to the likelihood of developing a withdrawal syndrome. Patients need a supervised, structured withdrawal program, where they are safe and can also learn techniques, like mindfulness and meditation, for relieving the increased feeling of anxiety that can come with withdrawal.

Since benzo addiction so often occurs with other mental health issues, they also need a program where they can address their addiction, their disorder, and any underlying emotional issues that are likely fueling both. At The Meadows’ programs, we specialize in providing intensive, highly-individualize treatment for complex and cascading disorders. Although the thought of spending 45 days or more in an inpatient facility, away from the life you’re familiar with, may be scary, it is sometimes the best way to finally free yourself of the dangerous trappings of addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, give us a call today at 800-244-4949 or contact us online.

Published in Addiction

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