The Meadows Blog

Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

Being Fearless in Recovery Means Being Vulnerable

By: Rachel Margolis

My immediate thought about the word "fearless" is of one being without fear. For years, I have been literally frozen by fear and pain from childhood trauma that rolled into adulthood. As a child, displaying any feelings at all prompted being shamed by my caregivers, who I was afraid of most of all. I dived into addiction in order not to feel that fear and pain. Eventually, I was unable to feel anything without feeding my addiction - and that soon ceased to work. The result? I found myself not even able to get out of bed. I wasn't afraid of dying - I was afraid of living. I couldn't feel anything and didn't want to.

During my stay at The Meadows this year, I learned to identify my feelings and "sit with them" opposed to minimizing, denying, and avoiding them. I was full of fear as I faced the darkest parts of my life and I did something so painfully difficult for me - I asked for help each step of the way. I took the risk to be vulnerable and trust people - my peers, my therapists, and my Higher Power. When I reached out for help, I found the "fear" became "less"!

Being fearless in recovery to me is taking the risk to be vulnerable - willing to be seen and to see and accept others where they are. Being fearless is putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward with openness, honesty and willingness, even when it's painful. It's being perfectly imperfect and accepting the humanity of myself and others - while striving to be the best me I can be, which will always be enough. I have discovered that my addiction and trauma are stronger than ME, but not stronger than WE! With that WE strength I know I can walk through the most challenging times that I might face.

Share Your Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear and share your story. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to asauceda@themeadows.org, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Published in Treatment & Recovery
Monday, 12 September 2016 00:00

What It Means to Be Fearless in Recovery

By Tommy S., former client of The Meadows

Fearless:

  • Seeing a new beginning in each day  
  • Putting the day before behind me
  • Accepting each new challenge
  • Using failed challenges as a inspiration and direction to conquer the new ones,
  • Meeting and accepting new people for who they are, and letting them see me for who I am inside and out
  • Extending my hand to those who want it, and to those who do not,
  • Looking at the good in people while also not fearing the bad in people
  • Looking at the bad in me and making it good no matter how long it may be,
  • Doing the right thing even when its difficult,
  • Not criticizing others while being able to criticize myself,
  • Speaking the truth no matter how hard the truth may be,
  • Being able to listen to the truth about me while being ok with it
  • Looking ahead with goals, while letting failed goals help me achieve the new ones

Accepting fear while being fearless, is what fearless is to me.

Share Your Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear and share your story. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to asauceda@themeadows.org, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Published in Treatment & Recovery
Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00

Are you #fearless in Your Recovery?

Being #fearless doesn’t mean that you are never afraid.

Being #fearless means that…

  • You aren’t afraid to confront your fears.
  • You aren’t afraid to challenge any negative thoughts you have about yourself or your purpose in life.
  • You aren’t afraid to live your life as your full, authentic self.

What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to asauceda@themeadows.org, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Published in Treatment & Recovery

When bystanders pulled Stanford University swimmer and Olympic hopeful Brock Turner away from the woman he was sexually assaulting behind a fraternity house dumpster, he laughed.

When the judge in the resulting sexual assault trial handed down a sentence much more lenient than the recommended six years of jail time, citing the “severe impact” he feared a harsher sentence may have on the 20-year-old, many felt that he might as well have laughed.

Both reactions to Turner’s crime make light of the traumatic and often devastating impact that rape and sexual assault has on its victims. The Brock Turner case opened up many fraught and painful discussions about rape culture and the way that society tends to blame victims of sexual assault and normalize sexual violence.

Many of those same wounds are being reopened this week with the news that Turner will be released from jail after serving only 3 months of a 6 months sentence. The news is not surprising—most expected him to only serve part of his sentence on a presumption of good behavior—but, for many, it’s serving as an unwanted reminder of their own sexual traumas and the ways in which their pain was silenced, ridiculed, or ignored.

The Long-Lasting Impact of Sexual Assault

Researchers aren’t sure why, but rape seems to have a more severe impact on a person than other types of trauma. It’s normal to feel some symptoms of traumatic stress for a few weeks after any experience with violence. Those who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however, can continue to experience problems with sleeping, nightmares, panic, severe anxiety and depression that last for months or years. As time goes on, if the person does not receive treatment for the disorder, the symptoms can get worse and worse, and even become debilitating.

People can develop PTSD after any number of horrific events including combat, car accidents, and life-threatening injuries, but rape victims have been found to be more likely to struggle with long-term psychological and physiological issues. They also have a higher risk of developing PTSD and related disorders.

In addition to PTSD, women who were raped have also been found to be more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction, pain during intercourse, menstrual problems, and inhibited arousal.

Why Does Rape Have a Stronger Impact Than Other Types of Trauma?

Though no one has yet been able to determine the reason why rape has such a heightened traumatic impact, some theorize that both brain chemistry and rape culture play a role.

Cortisol, a hormone that is released in times of stress, was reported in a 2011 study to be found at higher levels in rape victims than in those of people otherwise traumatized.

The exact reason is unknown, but some researchers believe that it could be that the physical closeness of rape prompts the body to respond differently to rape and sexual assault than it does to other types of trauma.

Another possibility is that rape victims’ levels of cortisol are elevated due to the level of shame they experience—shame has been found in some studies to be linked to higher levels of cortisol. If the shame theory holds true, it further illustrates the importance of changing the way we treat rape and sexual assault victims as a society.

Recovery from Rape and Sexual Trauma

Many women who are traumatized by rape experience a secondary traumatization through the harsh scrutiny, blaming, and shaming they receive from law enforcement, family, peers, and others are often reluctant to ask for any further help. Men who are raped or sexually assaulted may be even more unlikely to report the crime or ask for help from the resulting trauma, due to stigmas related to men, sex, and powerlessness.

More must be done to help lift the burden of shame from both male and female victims of sexual assault, and raise awareness about treatment options for PTSD and other mental health issues that often result from the emotional trauma of sexual assault.

If you’d like to talk to us about treatment options for sexual trauma and related disorders, please give us a call at 866-330-1925. Our specialists are glad to answer any questions you may have and understand the importance of keeping your call strictly confidential.

Published in Trauma
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

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