By Tian Dayton, Ph.D., TEP
there is a much larger story here. It’s the story of all of those mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins who care about and are concerned about this person who is abusing alcohol. And even closer to the bone it is about the partners and children of alcoholics and the day-to-day suffering that becomes their life.
So what happens to them?
Steve attended five different treatment centers in an effort to overcome his alcoholism. The Meadows is the program that finally worked for him.
He credits his recovery to the individualized care and treatment he received from the outstanding staff, and the courage and strength the gained along with his peers during group therapy.
If you’re struggling with alcoholism and multiple relapses, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look at what’s fueling your self-destructive behaviors. The Meadows programs start with a thorough clinical assessment by a team of professionals to uncover your underlying emotional trauma and any co-occurring conditions that may be complicating your recovery. We then develop an individualized treatment plan, just for you.
Call us today at 800-244-4949.
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.
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.
By Wally P.
On pages 13-14 of the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read that Bill W., while in detox at Towns Hospital in New York City, took the Steps in one day, recovered, and never drank again. In the chapter titled, "A Vision for You," we learn that Dr. Bob relapsed after a couple of weeks on the program because he had not made his amends. He made them in one day and never drank again. Later in this chapter, we find that Bill D. is taken through the steps in a couple of days while in detox at Akron City Hospital. He too never drank again. In the story, "He Sold Himself Short," Dr. Bob took Earl T. through the Steps in "three or four hours." The pioneers repeated this simple and straightforward process hundreds of thousands of times during the "early days" with remarkable success.
In a talk Bill W. gave in Hollywood, CA in 1951, he said, "Don't make a project out of working your steps. Go through your day being the sort of person you would like to be, trying to help someone else, and making sure you don't hurt anyone. And when you get to the end of your day, review the Twelve Steps and you'll find that you've worked them all."
I know there are those who are skeptical that the Steps are simple and meant to be taken quickly and often. At one time, so was I. Then someone pointed out to me that the words used in the "Big Book" to describe taking Steps One through Nine are "next," "at once" "immediately," and "we waste no time."
Recently, a friend told me the reason he takes newcomers through the Steps quickly. He described it in terms of"the window of opportunity." He explained this "window" something like this:
When a newcomer enters the Twelve-step community, whether from a treatment center, detox, or the street, he or she passes through a "window of opportunity" - a time when he or she is most "teachable." How long does a person remain in this state? In other words, how much time does it take a newcomer to realize the pain he or she is experiencing in recovery is greater than the pain he or she remembers when using? How much time do we have to alleviate this pain?
Do we have a year? Absolutely not! Do we have a month? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Do we have a week? For many, that may be pushing it. What if we only have today? What if we assume the newcomer is going to relapse tomorrow (and in many cases this is true). Why not take him or her through the Steps today in order to prevent that relapse tomorrow?
I personally experienced this "window of opportunity" on September 11, 2001. I had conducted a seminar in Austin, TX the previous weekend and was to speak at two treatment centers in the Texas foothills that day. I had not seen any television, but over the radio I did hear about the Twin Towers coming down and the Pentagon being attacked.
At the second facility, as I started into my scheduled history presentation, a young man in the back of the room raised his hand. I asked if I could help him and he said, "Wally, we are in a lot of pain here today. We don't know what's going on, but we do know it is bad. We need some relief. We know you take people through the Steps. Can you take us through the Steps right now?"
I could have said, "Wait until you get out of treatment. There are Beginner's Meetings in Kerrville. There you can take the Steps in a month or so."
Instead, I turned to one of the counselors and asked, "What do you think?" He answered my question with one of his own. "How many times have you done this?" To which I replied, "This would be the first." "Then go for it," he said.
I matched everyone up as sharing partners and took them through the first three steps in about 10 minutes. Then I explained the Fourth Step inventory and asked each of them to share with their partners, for the next 10 minutes, what was bothering them. They spread out to do their one-on-one, mini Fifth Steps.
I reconvened the group and took them through the next four steps. I then explained the Eleventh Step, had them get quiet for five minutes, and asked them to share what had come to them during their "quiet time."
I finished up with the Twelfth Step question. After the residents acknowledged they would carry this simple message to others, I looked at my watch. I had taken everyone in the room through all Twelve Steps in 52 minutes.
How thorough was this "Introduction to the Twelve Steps?" It was thorough enough to demonstrate the simplicity of the process. It was thorough enough to move people out of the problem and into the solution. It was thorough enough to give them the confidence to go through the Steps again and again.
Since that monumental day, I have made this "Introduction to the Twelve Steps" hundreds of times at treatment centers, correctional facilities, and recovery workshops and conferences around the world. Many thousands have had their lives changed as the direct result of this "keep it simple" approach to recovery.
About the Author
Wally P. is an archivist, historian and author who, for more than twenty-three years, has been studying the origins and growth of the Twelve-step movement. He is the caretaker for the personal archives of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith. Wally conducts history presentations and recovery workshops, including "Back to the Basics of Recovery" in which he takes attendees through all Twelve Steps in four, one-hour sessions. More than 500,000 have taken the Steps using this powerful, time-tested, and highly successful "original" program of action.
Wally P. will be the featured presenter at the 2013 Alumni Retreat on Friday on January 25.