My name is Patty Evans, and I am Chief Marketing Officer for The Meadows. Today I am in need of using this blog forum to express my thoughts, grief and personal actions to motivate us all to do something today.
Yesterday, I heard of the loss of actor, comedian, humanitarian, and father, Robin Williams— it saddened me greatly. I lived in Los Angeles during the rise of his career and watched a superstar evolve from the Comedy Store. I was moved significantly by his work in the movie Patch Adams. In a weird, round-about way, I was able to connect professionally with the real Patch Adams. As it turned out, I arranged for him to speak at an event for a group of highly regarded clinical professionals. The intention of this perhaps unconventional speaker to this group of mental health providers was to help everyone experience his life’s work related to the healing power of joy and laughter. In writing this, I do want to pay my respect to Mr. Williams’s family; however, that is not my full intention.
I am concerned about the impact of loss throughout our nation created by driving accidents related to alcoholism and addiction. Near my home town, on a Saturday night, a 22-year-old female decided to go for a drive to “clear her head” after a fight with her boyfriend. Her decision came after consuming three shots of tequila and three shots of rum along with beer. A very tragic decision. This young adult veered across the lane and struck another vehicle, killing two people and critically injuring a third. A 28-year-old mother of four was pronounced dead at the scene along with her father; her mother survived but was in critical condition. Their last moments were spent bowling together and talking about the new start their daughter would have with a new job starting that week. She, unfortunately, leaves behind four young children now.
So why am I writing this now? I want us all to get really concerned about these losses. I hope that we can keep this story alive for more than 48-hours on the local news. We all have young adults in our lives—please, let’s join together, be bold, and keep our conversations alive daily about the hazards of drinking and driving.
We all have a voice of influence, and my hope is that we will stand together and use our influence. It is not just about a couple beers or partying or that everyone is doing it. Unfortunately, this is the message most frequently heard by our young adults. Join me in spreading the message to every young adult we can reach today that driving and drinking is unacceptable—today, tomorrow and daily. Our efforts may just make a difference.
As experts in Addiction and Trauma treatment, The Meadows’ staff works hard to remain on the cusp of innovative treatments and medical advancements that may improve patient care and recovery.
Addiction treatment is one of the many reasons patients seek out the groundbreaking work of The Meadows team and program. Here, we treat all phases of addiction. From detoxification to our primary treatment program, we build foundations for long-term sobriety and recovery. We focus on making changes in the way one lives, faces problems and relates to others.
While not all treatment options are recommended for every patient, our staff is committed to building awareness regarding all measures available.
In a perfect world, alcoholics and addicts could control their addictions medically via a one-a-day pill or, better yet, a monthly shot. While an interesting thought, this silver bullet would not address the over-arching core issues of addiction. But, what if there were a way to make the disease of addiction more manageable? What if the rate of recovery could jump from 20% to 90%?
The Meadows treatment program specializing in trauma and addiction will be hosting staff training on April 11, 2014, presented by Dr. Steven Peterson on Vivitrol, a prescription injectable medication used to:
While promising new treatment therapy does not eliminate the need for alcohol or drug recovery programs, such as the counseling provided by The Meadows, it may prove to be a powerful tool in addressing the physical cravings present in addiction.
The Meadows Vivitrol In-service is one more example as to how The Meadows team continues to research and work to build upon the highly effective addiction treatment work we do.
The effects of addiction influence every aspect of life for the individual who battles with it. At The Meadows, we treat all phases of addiction. From detoxification to our primary treatment program, we build the foundation for long-term sobriety and recovery. We focus on creating changes and improving the way one lives their life, faces obstacles and relates to others.
Recovery from addiction may not seem possible, but it is. Once a person admits to having a problem, he or she has started down the path of recovery. Many patients trust The Meadows’ program to help them begin their journey toward sobriety.
To break the cycle of addiction, contact The Meadows at 800-244-4949.
The month of April is Alcohol Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness about alcoholism and alcohol related issues. This serious condition causes physical and intellectual trauma that influences every aspect of life. This year’s theme is, “Help For Today. Hope For Tomorrow.”
With this year's theme, "Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow," the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. Local NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.
Currently, nearly 14 million Americans-1 in every 13 adults-abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking that could lead to alcohol problems. These patterns include binge drinking and heavy drinking on a regular basis. In addition, 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem.
The consequences of alcohol misuse are serious-in many cases, life threatening. Heavy drinking can:
In addition, drinking increases the risk of death from automobile crashes as well as recreational and on-the-job injuries. Furthermore, both homicides and suicides are more likely to be committed by persons who have been drinking. In purely economic terms, alcohol-related problems cost society approximately $185 billion per year. In human terms, the costs cannot be calculated.
Alcohol addiction can cause individuals to drink to the point of experiencing complete memory loss of hours or days and can increase the likelihood of high-risk behaviors like drinking and driving. Long-term alcohol addiction can destroy emotions, relationships and lives.
Alcohol abuse is considered the second-leading cause of dementia, connected with 10 percent of diagnosed cases. Extreme alcohol use can cause harm to brain functioning, that if not treated, can be permanent. A variety of mental health problems can also be caused by long-term alcohol use. Most individuals addicted to alcohol suffer from some form of severe psychiatric trauma marked by increased anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, alcohol-induced psychosis, panic disorders and other symptoms.
Alcoholism causes physical and intellectual trauma that influences every aspect of life. At The Meadows, we treat all phases of alcohol addiction. From detoxification to our primary treatment program, we build foundations for long-term abstinence and sobriety. We focus on making changes in the way one lives, faces problems and relates to others. Recovery from alcohol addiction may not seem possible, but it is. Once a person admits to having a problem, he or she has started down the path of recovery. Many patients trust The Meadows’ Alcohol Treatment Program to help them begin their journey toward sobriety.
To break the disease of alcohol addiction, contact The Meadows at 800-244-4949.
Dusty - 23year old -Strawberry Roan - Quarter horse - Gelding
Boundaries are one of the most requested issues that Participants want to work on at Equine.
So where can you find a safe and reliable place to practice noticing and responding to boundaries? A place where you can literally see and feel boundaries?
Dusty is that space. He is amazing in that he is consistent, honest and clear in his expression of personal boundaries. He is not what you would call cuddly. We affectionately refer to him as our "Grumpy Old Man." With Dusty you always know exactly what he wants. No question. He makes no excuses and never second guesses himself. If he wants to be close that day you know it. If he wants space that day, you know it too. Groups have begun only to have Dusty lay down and fall asleep or take a nap. The photo above is Dusty napping during a group.
Dusty created our Boundaries experiential all on his own. We would watch Participants approach him and see him begin setting boundaries. Often the more subtle cues were missed and so he would be more obvious with ears and making a face. If these cues were also missed he would move away or move his head up and down in the air. So the question posed is always the same "Do you ever find yourself in an out of control situation but have no idea how it got that way?"
By moving toward Dusty and then away Participants can see exactly when the Boundary is being set and also FEEL when the Boundary is there. Dusty sets and holds boundaries with an almost tangible energy. It's a very confident feeling. To Participants who chose to work with Dusty it becomes very clear; that in learning how to recognize the boundaries he sets, they were also better able to see other boundaries being set around them. Boundaries that, before would have been totally unrecognized, are now easily seen.
Even though he is a horse that clearly prefers the predictable black and white of life, Dusty willingly stands in the grey messiness of us trying to figure out human Boundaries. With Dusty the more you lean into the Boundary the clearer and more obvious it gets. He is a horse that brings things into focus and gives you a look at life through eyes that see things in a much simpler way.
Finding out that your committed partner has sexually betrayed you is like: getting your heart ripped out, stomped on, thrown through a glass window, spit on, and perhaps lastly, smothered with gasoline and set on fire. Then, your partner asks you to forgive him or her; and you don't think you could ever be more furious and disgusted.
This is a common experience for the Partners of Sexual Addicts that I work with on a weekly basis at The Meadows. The stories and behaviors may be different but the underlying foundation of the damage is always Betrayal. Emotional, Physical, Sexual, and Financial betrayal is devastating and gut-wrenchingly painful for a partner who had dreams and hopes of having a healthy and committed relationship. Those dreams are now shattered and the Partner is left with the questions of "Why wasn't I enough?", "How could they do this to me?"; and "Where do I go from here?"
Sexual Addiction stems from a deep rooted intimacy and attachment disorder that often starts within childhood, teenage, or young adult years. Many of the patients I work with at The Meadows have been engaging in some type of dysfunctional, sexual fantasies, thoughts, and/or behaviors since they could remember, far before ever meeting their current partner or spouse. Sexual Addiction thrives off of Shame. Often times the addict's shame, due to their behaviors and lies, will be deflected or projected onto the partner and they are the ones that have to carry it.
Because sexuality and being sexual is so important and integral in intimate coupleships, when that is destroyed or taken outside the primary relationship, the partner has no choice but to take it personally and look at it as an attack on themselves and who they are or are not. Many spouses that I speak with will say to me, "Why wasn't I attractive enough, sexual enough, loved enough to keep him/her with me?" My message to them is: "If there is one thing I want you to learn this week, it is that this had nothing to do with what you have or have not done".
So if the partner did not cause the addiction and is not an addict themselves then why be a part of the patient's treatment and come to Family Week? I often hear from partners: "He is the sick one! He gets to go and get help and leave me here at home with the chaos and damage that he created! And now he is asking me to drop everything and come to Arizona for a week to help him?" My reply is: "Come here for YOU."
Within the Family Week program, partners are given resources and tools to start to stand on solid ground. Family Week is NOT about reconciliation, fixing the problem or hearing an excuse about why the patient acted out. The week long program is designed around boundary setting and healthy communication that allow the partner to be heard and protected.
Being betrayed will undoubtedly, for most partners, contribute to feelings of shame and worthlessness that creates a deep, dark wound within them. The Meadows and Pia Mellody define Trauma as "Anything less than nurturing". Sexual betrayal would obviously fit into this category based on the definition and many partners experience symptoms of trauma such as hypervigilance, despair, flashbacks and nightmares, among other experiences. The shame and trauma need to be addressed for the partner to start to heal that wound. Even if the partner decides to move on from that relationship he or she will continue to be plagued in life and through other relationships if not addressed.
Through my work at The Meadows, I have seen amazing growth and strength in men and women who thought that they could have never dug themselves out of the dark hole that sexual addiction created. Recovery work, for both the addict and partner, instills hope, perseverance, and self-worth that they thought they had lost. The Meadows Workshops such as Partners of Sex Addicts, Survivors, and Women's Intimacy Issues are great resources to help partners to gain awareness, understanding, and tools to help themselves and their families.
Lauren Bierman is a Family Counselor at the Meadows working with the Sex Addiction population. She is a Licensed Associate Counselor and has been trained through Patrick Carnes and IITAP's Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) program. Her passion is working with Partners of Sex Addicts in their own healing process and helping them find hope after sexual betrayal.