The Meadows Blog

Friday, 18 September 2015 00:00

A New Workshop at The Meadows

We tend to think of all bonds as being positive but, they are actually neutral. They can become positive, but they can also become negative. A betrayal bond is a type of negative bond that occurs when someone develops a strong and intense attachment to a person or an addictive process that is destructive to them.

The Meadows is excited to announce the addition of The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships to its workshop offerings. The workshop was developed under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Carnes, internationally known sex addiction expert and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows, and is based on his groundbreaking book of the same name.

Some of the goals of this innovative, intensive workshop are to:

  • Help participants recognize, acknowledge and develop insights about situations, people and processes that are exploitive in nature.
  • Break through denial, identify signs that a betrayal bond exists, and grieve losses.
  • Explore the root causes of one’s involvement in relationships, situations and processes that are destructive to them.
  • Identify key elements that drive the cycle of abuse, betrayal of trust and power.
  • Teach participants about the psychodynamic and neurobiological concepts behind exploitive situations and relationships.

Each participant will be guided through the process of designing their own individualized path to recovery.

The Meadows Director of Workshops Jean Collins-Stuckert (LCSW, LISAC, CSAT) says “We are eager to offer this intensive program highlighting Dr. Carnes innovative model and providing relief for those people trapped in patterns that are so painful.”

Register Today

The first Betrayal Bond Workshop will take place November 30 – December 4, 2015. The hours each day are from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST; The schedule is flexible, accommodating the group process.

If you’d like to learn more, or if you’re interested in signing up for the workshop, please call The Meadows Intake Department at 800-244-4949.

Published in Workshops
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 00:00

Dan Griffin Joins The Meadows as Senior Fellow

The Meadows recently announced that Dan Griffin, M.A., will join The Meadows as a Senior Fellow. He is an internationally recognized author, thought leader and expert on men’s relationships, trauma, addiction and masculinity.

Dan’s work and life is dedicated to exploring and redefining what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Dan is dedicated to helping men be better men by understanding the impact of the Man Rules on their lives and finding the success in their personal lives they are striving for in the professional lives. Griffin’s newest book, A Man's Way through Relationships, is the first book written specifically to help men create healthy relationships while navigating the challenges of the "Man Rules™," those ideas men internalize at very young ages about how to be real boys and men.

Griffin has worked in the mental health and addictions field for more than 20 years. He is the author of A Man’s Way through the Twelve Steps, the first trauma-informed book to take a holistic look at men’s sobriety. He also co-authored Helping Men Recover, the first comprehensive gender-responsive and trauma-informed curriculum for addiction and mental health professionals. He earned a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Kansas where his graduate work was the first qualitative study centered on the social construction of masculinity in the culture of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Griffin grew up in the DC area and lives in Minnesota with his wife and daughter. He has been in long-term recovery from addiction since he graduated college in May of 1994.

He says that being in The Meadows environment, which normalizes the experience and treatment of trauma, is a refreshing and powerful experience:

“It is incredibly humbling to find myself joining a group of distinguished experts comprised of many of my heroes and those upon whose shoulders I have been standing during my own career. I have an enormous amount of respect for The Meadows commitment to dealing with addiction and trauma together and for the leadership it has shown for 30 years in raising awareness about the almost epidemic-levels of trauma in our communities.

I think my take on men and masculinity as it overlaps with trauma and recovery is a fairly unique approach and I think that there will be a great synergy between this approach and The Meadows model, by looking through the lens of gender in a thorough and nuanced way.”

Sean Walsh, CEO of The Meadows, says he’s thrilled to add Griffin’s perspective to the roster of industry-leading trauma and addiction experts:

“We are thrilled to have Dan join our team to help us better treat the men we are privileged to work with. Dan’s passion and drive to better understand and therefore better treat men is contagious and inspiring. I have no doubt our male patients, the families who love them, and our entire team will benefit from our partnership with Dan.”

Additional Meadows’ Senior Fellows include: Pia Mellody, John Bradshaw, Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk, Shelley Uram, and Claudia Black, Patrick Carnes, and Alexandra Katehakis. Each Meadows Senior Fellow is involved in world-wide practice and research in their area of expertise - lecturing patients on clinical works, publishing works in numerous professional publications, and providing their teachings and expertise to the patients and therapeutic staff at The Meadows.

Published in Blog

Georgia Fourlas, LMSW, LISAC, CSAT-C
Workshop Facilitator, The Meadows

I recently facilitated Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy, The Meadows’ workshop for women with sex addiction, sexual anorexia and other sexual disorders. I was very moved by this group of courageous and strong women. I was also moved by their pleas with me to do whatever I could to make sure this workshop gets more attention.

There is no shortage of women with sexual disorders; but, they often remain hidden and do not have the opportunity to discuss their issues with other women who share their struggles. It is amazing to watch what happens when these issues are openly discussed. They are brought from the darkness in to the light.

The Importance of Connection in Recovery

Connection with others is vital in recovery. Isolation, withdraw, detachment, and loneliness feed addiction. Connection and healthy attachments enable recovery. Many women are hard wired for relationships and connection with others. However, at times, our culture does not value connection, empathy and emotional understanding in relationships. Instead, these gifts can be seen as defects, and women can be viewed as unable to take care of themselves, overly-emotional, dramatic, and needy. Unfortunately, many women also avoid connections with other women due to their own fears about trust. They cannot trust themselves, and they project that lack of trust onto other women, leaving them isolated and alone in their fear and shame.

The Burden of Shame

Sex disorders among females seem to be particularly taboo and touchy topics ─ not only for the general public, but also for women who are suffering from a sexual disorder. This leads to major challenges in their motivation to seek treatment. It also leads to difficulties for women in seeking support in their ongoing recovery. This means that women often wait longer to get help which leaves them with increased consequences, both internal and external. One of the biggest internal consequences is the heavy burden of shame that these women carry.

Many women who struggle with sexual disorders are also extremely high functioning and struggle with perfectionism as a way to mediate the shame they feel. Addiction and shame feed one another; both hinder the ability to have truly intimate and fulfilling relationships. Women with sexual disorders desire true intimacy, but are caught in patterns that prevent them from finding that intimacy.

Tools for Recovery

The Meadows’ workshop Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy offers women with sexual disorders a chance to work through their shame and begin a healing journey.

Utilizing Patrick Carnes’ model, women have a chance to intervene on their own disordered behaviors and thought processes. Work includes identifying the participants’ own value system, and restoring their life force and their own esteem by providing a map to find their true selves and to their recovery.

Even if participants know where they want to go and have a map to get there, they also need to have methods to help them along the way. This workshop provides tools for recovery and instructions on how to use these valuable tools. It prepares women for the kinds of intimate relationships that they long for and deserve; the kind of relationships that start by nurturing an intimate and trusting relationship with one’s self, and then taking healthy risks by entering into supportive, recovery-oriented relationships with others. We provide a safe environment that allows participants to explore their own true nature, their own heart, and their own humanity.

If you would like more information or would like to enroll in Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy, or any of our workshops, please call our Intake Department at 1-800-244-4949.

Published in Workshops
Monday, 20 July 2015 00:00

Connection is the Key to Recovery

In a recent TED Talk, journalist and author Johann Hari suggests that “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong.” He argues that most people in our society see addiction as a simple chemical dependency, when it is actually the result of a failure to connect ─ with family, with friends, with the community, with God, or with a larger sense of purpose.

His ideas are proving to be somewhat controversial in the recovery and addiction communities, not so much because of his basic premise, but because of his assertion that these ideas are “new.” (The studies he sites have been well known to psychologists and addiction professionals for years.) He does also seem to oversimplify, in some ways, what is often a very complicated and nuanced problem. And, he calls for the legalization of all recreational drugs as a possible solution, an idea which always sparks a strong debate.

In spite of some of the questionable aspects of his speech, at The Meadows, we do agree with his core principle: that disconnection─ with peers, with communities, with one’s sense of self and/or with a higher power ─ can play a major role in triggering addiction and other behavioral issues.

Interdependence

One of the most important goals we have for our patients at The Meadows is that they learn how to become interdependent. The Meadows Model, developed by Pia Mellody, names dependency as one the four core issues that must be addressed before a person can make a full recovery from addiction or mood disorders. Doing so requires one to reconnect with the child he or she once was. Being too dependent comes from not having needs and wants met as a child. Being anti-dependent comes from being shamed for having needs and wants as child.

Becoming interdependent means learning how to balance your own needs and wants with those of others. If you are interdependent, you are able to ask for help when you need it, help others when they make a reasonable request, and say “no” when necessary to prevent yourself from stretching yourself too thin and becoming resentful.

Without interdependence, there is no recovery. As an addict, the ability to rely on others for help and emotional support, and to give that help and support to others, is critical to staying sober. Without the tools to make and maintain these connections, recovery is impossible to sustain.

A Higher Power

Step 11 in the 12 Step Model for Recovery requires the addict to find a connection with a higher power:

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.”

In most cases, addicts have either always struggled to connect with God, their Higher Power, or their sense of purpose; or, in some way, they got disconnected along the way. Recovery is about getting connected or reconnected.

Jim Corrington, Director of The Meadows Outpatient Services, likes to use the analogy of an orange extension cord to explain:

An orange extension cord is useless and without purpose when it’s hanging on the wall. You have to plug it in to a source of power to give it potential. It does not reach its full potential until you plug something else into IT. So, too, an individual must stay plugged in to their source of power, AND, stay connected to others around them to reach sobriety, and with it, their full potential.

How to Reconnect

Addictions manifest in those areas where people are disconnected but seeking to connect. “Faulty wiring” caused by childhood trauma can make it difficult for them to connect with others or with their sense of purpose, so they end up trying to fill the gap with substances or unhealthy behaviors.

At The Meadows, we take a holistic approach to healing that helps patients to reconnect through their minds, bodies and spirits. Therapy sessions and workshops allow them to find out how they became disconnected, to work on ways to build better relationships with others, and to learn how to nurture themselves. Our new brain center helps them to address any dysregulation they may be experiencing in the brain and nervous system. And, physical activities like Yoga, Tai Chi, equine therapy and ropes courses, allow them to gain even deeper insights into themselves.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction or a disorder and are seeking ways to reconnect, we can help. Contact us for more information.

Published in Treatment & Recovery

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of heroin-related deaths has quadrupled in the past 10 years. Of people surveyed between 2011 and 2013, nearly 663,000 said they had used heroin in the past year; 379,000 said they had between 2002 and 2004.

Scott Davis, Clinical Director at The Meadows, says that the path that leads to heroin addiction is often different than that of other drug addictions. In many cases, it begins with a prescription for an opioid painkiller, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. (In others, it begins with prescriptions for Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Ativan.)

“A lot of the people who are coming to us with opiate addictions don’t necessarily fit the mold for most addiction. They don’t typically have the family history of addiction or the long-term dependence on the drug that you see with many other addicts.” “That doesn’t mean that they don’t have trauma, or that their family doesn’t have issues—in fact, they may have issues which exacerbated their dependence on the drug and made the addiction more likely—but, they might not have otherwise found themselves addicted had they not been prescribed an opiate as a pain killer.”

Once the pills become difficult to obtain, it can be easy for a person to slip into heroin abuse. Heroin’s chemical structure is very similar to that of prescription pain medications and works in the same group of receptors in the brain. It’s also cheaper.

Coping with Pain

For heroin and opiate addicts, there are typically three levels of pain that they must overcome in order to reach sobriety: the physical pain that led them to drug, the pain of detoxing from the drug, and emotional pain that led to their addiction.

Physical Pain

For many opioid addicts, their drug problems start with chronic physical pain. That pain is real and needs to be taken into account when developing a treatment program for the patients.

At The Meadows, we have a full-time medical doctor on our staff to help patients address the pain and the medical issues that are causing it. Patients cannot thoroughly address any underlying psychological aspects of their addiction if they are suffering too much from the physical pain that lead them to abuse drugs in the first place.

Pain from Detox

Heroin disrupts the brain’s natural opiate production process, which helps reduce pain and calm the nervous system. So, when a person stops taking the drug, he or she feels pain and anxiety more intensely than before. This makes detoxing from heroin especially painful. The Meadows highly-trained medical team, which includes a 24-hour nursing staff, can help patients safely and comfortably detox from heroin and opiates onsite. They develop a detox plan for each person that helps them to stabilize more quickly, experience less pain, and avoid some of the withdrawal symptoms they would have if they went off the drug cold turkey. Easing patients through detox makes it a whole lot easier for people to stay in treatment and stay off of the drug.

In many treatment systems, patients detox in a hospital or other setting and then go to the treatment program. Because we have the ability to help patients detox in-house at The Meadows, they don’t have to wait to begin treatment. As long as the patient is feeling well enough, they can begin attending classes and therapy sessions within the first two to three days after their arrival on campus. This makes the transition into treatment easier for them and allows them to start developing coping strategies for living without the drug right away.

Emotional Pain and Trauma

While the path that led to heroin use may have begun with a need to address physical pain, the user probably soon found that it also minimized their emotional and psychological pain as well. Whatever coping mechanisms the addict had used before to manage their stress and anxiety may have fallen by the wayside, as the drug was able to do the trick much more quickly and effectively.

That’s why a key component of the treatment program at The Meadows focuses on addressing trauma, family issues, and emotion regulation. Our staff works with patients to help them identify and address any buried psychological pain and repressed feelings that may have played a role in triggering their addiction.

Letting Go of Shame

Many people who become addicted to heroin found their way to the drug unintentionally. Many of them may also be the only people in their families with an addiction problem, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and shame. Scott Davis says that one thing that makes The Meadows program especially well-suited for them is that there is no shame attached.

“We’re not going to tell them that they are bad people. We’re not going to tell them that it’s all their fault and that they should have known better. Because drug addiction is a disease. We’re going to look at the chemical addiction, and we’re also going to deal with the underlying issues that make this drug particularly potent for them in a non-judgmental way.”

If you think you or someone you love may have a problem with heroin or prescription medications, The Meadows can help. Give us a call at 800-244-4949 today or contact us online here.

Published in Drugs & Alcohol

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