Friday, September 19, 2014

Keep Prescription Drugs "Out Of Reach"

Once again we need to have a conversation about "medicine cabinets"

If you follow our blog, then you know that about once a year we write about the deadly prescriptions that can be found in your "medicine cabinet." All of our previous posts are still timely, so we are providing easy links to those articles:

Meet Cyrus Stowe

This morning NBC's TODAY program introduced us to Cyrus Stowe. Cyrus lives in Dallas, Texas, and he is a 17 year old high school student. He became aware of how many students were regularly using painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants. He also realized that the source of these medications were their own home environment...specifically their parents' medications easily found in the medicine cabinet. Cyrus also determined that many parents had no idea that the medications were disappearing.

It is easy enough for this to happen in any family. Maybe one member has a surgical procedure or an acute incident that requires pain medication. As is often the case, the patient recovers to the point that they no longer need to take the prescription, but there are remaining pills. And the bottles sit unsupervised in a medicine cabinet or nightstand drawer, or even a kitchen cupboard. Additionally, one family member may be prescribed a stimulant or tranquilizer, but again the bottles are not monitored.

Cyrus decided to make a short documentary to alert parents and other family members about the dangers of not monitoring these powerful and often deadly medications.

Watch Cyrus' trailer: "Out Of Reach"

Medicine Abuse Through A Teen's Eye

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

NBC's Maria Shriver meets Cyrus Stowe...

We feel it is critical that you see Maria Shriver's report where she not only introduces us to Cyrus Stowe, but also Sherrie Rubin. Sherrie is willing to join the conversation and share her own story about her son, Aaron.

If you are having viewing the video, you can see it here.

Here are the three tips provided by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids that Matt Lauer referred to in the Today Show segment:

  • Talk to your kids about the risks of prescription drug abuse. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs are up to 50 percent less likely to use them. 
  • Keep your prescription medicine in a secure place, and count and monitor the number of pills you have. 
  • Set a good example for your kids and don't share medications or take a drug without having a prescription for it yourself.

 Some closing thoughts...

Both Cyrus Stowe's film  and Maria Shriver's report are conversation starters. You can help #EndMedicineAbuse by sharing the full film and an "Out of Reach" toolkit with your friends, schools, communities, families and more.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shared Experiences:Adult Children of Alcoholics

"Everyone has their own version of everything that has ever happened." Essie Masters, William Master's mother

What we can learn from historical period dramas...

If you enjoy watching American period dramas, particularly those that are based on historical events and true-life characters, then you have had a lot to choose from these past couple of years, those produced both for television and full-length movies. Good examples of these include this year's THE KNICK  currently running on Cinemax directed by Steven Soderbergh, MASTERS OF SEX now in its second season on Showtime, and the current PBS presentation of Ken Burn's The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.

These biopic series all portray interesting and powerful story lines and each of these weaves rather dramatically the impact of alcoholism and drug addiction on the adult children of alcoholics. Keep in mind these productions are really not about the disease of addiction, it is just that the disease of addiction becomes a sub-plot...much like a recurring cast member.

For example, the opening quote above comes from a part of the dialog between Dr. William Masters and his mother wherein they are discussing her husband's and his father's alcoholism and the affect it had on Dr. Masters. Growing up Dr. Masters tended to create his own world and he adapted to his father's disease and chose to never speak of it. Then all these years later being forced to deal with it with his mother and his brother's "stories" pushed him to realize his version of his childhood was just his mother points out his own version. 

Learning to share experiences...

This month is National Recovery Month. It is a time for those in recovery, family members and treatment professionals to reflect on the importance of a positive message that recovery from addiction and all behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.  It is a time to share your experience, strength and hope.

This August Congressman Paul Ryan (Wisconsin) published a new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.  Interestingly and perhaps the most quoted and often referred to section of the book had to do with his father. It seems that all of his life he only shared that his father died quite suddenly when Congressman Ryan was 16. In fact his father died from alcoholism and he did what many children of alcoholics do - he created his own version and held onto to his version well into adulthood.

Recently Congressman Ryan sat down for an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, now moderator of "Meet The Press." Being interviewed by Chuck Todd is nothing new for Mr. Ryan, but this interview turned into an opportunity for them to share their experiences as adult children of alcoholics. They found they had something in common - both fathers had died of alcoholism when each was in their mid-teens and according to each they grew up fast

The Huffington Post published a news report and shared a video about Ryan and Todd's conversation.

Addiction is a family disease...

The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc (NCADD) points out:
Helping families understand that just as the addict is responsible for their own recovery, they too are responsible for their own recovery. The whole family is in this together, including the children. Addiction in the family strains relationships and people become anxious, mistrustful, tired and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness can set in. Because addiction hurts the whole family, it is absolutely essential that solutions are designed to restore the whole family.  
This is precisely why at Cottonwood Tucson we offer a Family Program.  The goal of Family Program is to help families relearn behavioral interaction so that healthy behaviors become logical. Interpersonal change that can be sustained after treatment requires a movement from following direction (first order change) to internalizing new ways of interacting (second order change). Families shift from obsessive worry and controlling behaviors to acknowledging that which is outside of their control and learn to focus on their own personal needs and boundaries. They learn to detach from the pain, and not from the person.

Five 8-hour days, a solid program, and a community of support begins the shift to sustained healthy family behavior. It’s a program that asks a lot from families. For many families, the result is a healthier functioning which is priceless.

As always...start the conversation, maybe it is time to compare versions.


Friday, September 12, 2014

National Recovery Month Celebrates 25 Years

Join the voices, speak up, reach out...

Do you have family members or friends in recovery? How about long term recovery? When people first get sober, taking it "one day at a time," receiving that first 24 hour AA chip and then a 30 day AA chip can feel like it takes forever. Considering long term recovery seems an impossible dream.

But long term recovery is not only possible it does happen; and according to some statistics currently there are 23 million Americans in long term recovery. 

And this month marks the 25th Birthday/Anniversary for National Recovery Month. Dare to imagine...25 years!

A bit more about National Recovery Month...

Every year we speak up about National Recovery Month. It is our way of trying to reach out to those in recovery, seeking recovery and their family members and friends...sharing the support that can be found year round, but most particularly focused on each year in September. As the National Recovery Month website shares:
Celebrated during the month of September, Recovery Month began in 1989 as TreatmentWorks! Month, which honored the work of the treatment and recovery professionals in the field. The observance evolved to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in 1998, when the observance expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include all aspects of behavioral health.

How can you participate in the celebration?

Actually participation is pretty simple.
  • You can visit the National Recovery Month website and search for an event in your area. 
  • You can check out your local newspaper, both the hard copy and the online copy -- search "National Recovery Month" or "Recovery Month."
  • Google the phrase "Recovery Month" on Google News and you will find no less than 127,000 search engine results.
  • Or, enter your zip code below to find an event in your area.

Here is one of our favorite National Recovery Month events...

Now in its 11th year the Art of Recovery Expo will take place in Phoenix, Arizona on September 20, 2014.This all day event 10:00AM - 5:00PM happens at the Phoenix Convention Center, Hall G, South Building, near Jefferson and 3rd Street. The event is open to the public and it is FREE!

This year's keynote speaker is Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006. She has a remarkable story which she shares to help others realize that recovery is possible.

Spending a day at the Art of Recovery Expo is a great way to celebrate your recovery...or to take the first step to begin your recovery.

Recovery...a journey worth taking.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Zosia Mamet Invites You To "Make Your Mark"

"Let's diminish the stigma. Let's remind one another that we're beautiful. Maybe you'll help a friend. Maybe you'll help yourself. And if you're reading this and you're suffering, please know you're not alone. Tell someone: The people who love you will listen, I promise. And you'll feel better."     Zosia Mamet, Glamour Magazine - September 2014

Do you know Zosia Mamet ("zaw-shuh" "mam-it")?

If you're a fan of HBO's Girls think Shoshanna Shapiro, or maybe you know Zosia from short recurring roles like Kelsey in NBC's Parenthood or a few years ago as Joyce Ramsay in AMC's Mad Men. Zosia has also been in a few movies. She is 26 years old and loves acting...and writing. 

Yesterday morning one of our associates happened to see Zosia being interviewed on MSNBC's Morning Joe program. Enjoy this enlightening and provocative discussion.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Zosia, Glamour and the Make Your Mark contest

Maybe you subscribe to Glamour or only glance through it while you're in a waiting room or having your haircut, if so, perhaps you've noticed that over the past couple of years a number of Glamour articles either were specifically about Zosia Mamet or referenced her or one of her roles. In February 2014 Glamour retained Zosia to write her own bi-monthly column!

The September 2014 issue carries her latest column: Zosia Mamet Opens Up About Her Personal Eating Disorder Struggles.  Her story is moving, insightful and she shares with her readers how she came to realize that her disease was not just about her, but also about her family. And now she offers to those who are suffering and have been diagnosed, particularly young women, to start talking about it. Zosia is making her mark.

This week Bayer HealthCare issued a press release about its partnership with Glamour and Zosia Mamet in the Make Your Mark contest. As Zosia says:
“We all have stories, and they all deserve to be heard. Glamour, Bayer and I want to give women a platform to share their stories and to show the world how they’re making their mark. We all make our marks in different ways; what’s yours?”

Friday, September 5, 2014

Will You #ACT4MentalHealth?

National Day of Action, September 4, 2014

It's true yesterday was the National Alliance on Mental Illness' (NAMI) National Day of Action to #ACT4MENTALHEALTH. But don't worry; every day can be a day of action. In fact, we must make every day a day of action if we are going to make a difference in how, as a country, we come to grips with our mental illness crisis. As NAMI offers on their website:
NAMI's National Day of Action is a national campaign in which we are asking supporters all across the country to stand up for the issues that are important to us. We are asking Congress to take action, pass legislation and support individuals living with mental illness and their families and we need your help.
Reach out to your member of Congress by calling, emailing or tweeting and tell them it is time to make mental health a priority in America. Check out all of the ways you can join the conversation.  

NAMI National Convention, Washington, DC, September 3-6, 2014

According to news reports NAMI members convened this week in Washington, D.C. with 1500 members actually going to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional staff. The opening session of the convention included singer/actress Demi Lovato, former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds. Each has had their lives affected by mental illness.

USA TODAY quotes each...
"Mental health matters and must be taking seriously. Our stories really do matter. It is time to act for mental health and pass a comprehensive mental health bill this year."  Demi Lovato
"Treat it like any other issue. Treat it early. Treat it aggressively. You'll save lives. We'll all be better off for it."
Patrick Kennedy
"We cannot afford to wait for another crisis or tragedy. Too many lives have been lost, too many families changed forever." Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds

A conversation with Senator Creigh Deeds

Our regular readers may remember that we introduced you to Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds in our blog post of January 31, 2014, Mental Illness Crisis: Would You Know How To Help Your Loved One? 

This week Senator Deeds was interviewed by HUFFPOST Live reporter Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Here is the complete report and interview.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some closing thoughts...

NAMI's national convention takes place in September...which happens to be National Recovery Month.  National Recovery Month is celebrating its 25th Anniversary and they are sharing a powerful message:
In its 25th year, Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly speak up about mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery, and promotes ways individuals can use to recognize behavioral health issues and reach out for help. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.
#ACT4MentalHealth and Speak Up, Reach Out!