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Volunteering

 From the Desk of the CEO, Patrick McGinn, MS, MA, LLP, CAADC, CCS-M

“We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.” Sir Winston Churchill

We-also-acknowledge-the-sacrifices-made-for-some-teams-to-300x251 VolunteeringRecovery is about new opportunities, to discover one’s true potential.  Residents at Harbor Hall often have questions concerning how to connect, fit-in and contribute to self and others.  Part of the recovery program at harbor Hall is to provide opportunities to become involved in some manner. Being involved may include doing tasks such as house chores, volunteering in the community or seeking paid work.  Through our treatment program, the residents gain a sense of pride, self-worth and accountability that may have been lost in active addiction.  Our clients learn that they DO have something to contribute and that their contributions matter. Learning this and engaging in the community is all part of effectively managing one’s life in recovery.

Local Impact of Service Work

The residents of Harbor Hall have been actively involved in the local community for as long as I have been at Harbor Hall, over 18 years.  They are taught that service and servant-hood are key ingredients in living a life in recovery and obtaining sobriety.

Here is a list of how the Harbor Hall residents are taught to give back.  This list is in no particular order of importance.  Below is a list of community partners and service work where the residents of Harbor Hall regularly give of themselves:

  • Women’s Resource Center: Gold Mine Resale Store
    • Two times a week, helping with the heavy lifting and moving of donated items.
  • Salvation Army
    • Two times a week working in the resale shop and bell ringing over the holidays.
  • Manna Food Project
    • Weekly volunteer opportunities.
  • Project Connect
    • Set up and tear down for the event.
  • Camp Daggett
    • Spring and fall clean-up and maple syrup cooking.
  • Speaking events at schools in Petoskey and Charlevoix.
  • Petoskey Chamber of Commerce
    • Volunteers for a variety of events like decorating downtown Petoskey for the Fall Harvest Festival.
  • Set up for several local AA/NA meetings in Petoskey.
  • Provide a great car wash every week during the warm months.
  • Maintain the Harbor Hall campus in pristine condition.

Why Giving Back is Important in Addiction Recovery

Most people in active addiction are takers.  They are self-centered and ego driven.  The actions above are all selfless, and help the recovery process by building a sense of community, self-worth, humility and recovery capitol.  It is critical that people in early recovery learn it is very important to serve their community.  The person in recovery greatly benefits from serving the community and individuals, as service brings about a new humbleness.  The action of giving brings about positive thinking and feeling for everyone, but most importantly for the person in recovery. Thoughts and feelings that were once driven by egos and self-centered behavior, are replaced with a positive sense of self, the ability to care for others, and the desire to serve.  I believe that the benefit to the community is apparent to each of the above actions.  Thank you to all who have participated in these events and for your support of our mission.

“For it is in giving that we receive” – St. Francis of Assisi

 

THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC – WHAT WE SEE

headache-pain-pills-medication-159211-300x200 THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC – WHAT WE SEEArticle By: Chief Executive Officer – Patrick McGinn – MS, MA, LLP, CAADC, CCS-M

Our society is in the middle of an extraordinary opioid epidemic which has been described as a crisis.  Odds are, any time you read the news, there is something mentioned about this issue. More people have died (6 out of 10 overdose deaths) from opioid over doses than in any other period of our history.

How did we get here?

A brief history of pain management.

Pain is an element of the human condition. Our understanding of pain has varied over the centuries. What was once considered a philosophical interpretation that men, women, and children endured physical suffering was inevitable; the meaning, rather than the fact of pain, was what mattered to leading a good life, to a medical/neurobiological understanding of pain lead by research and scientific discovery. Progress made on the study of human biology and recognizing the brain’s role in interpreting pain, lead to an entirely new way of thinking about pain management. https://www.opioids.com/pain-management/history.html

The science of administering drugs for pain has been advancing for centuries, as well as our societies desire to feel instant relief from the discomfort caused by pain. Prescription drug manufacturing companies are driving this idea among the medical community and the general public, developing products that will meet the desires of their customers. As a result of the availability of these ‘good’ drugs, doctors have been over prescribing pain pills without realizing the ‘bad’ impact this was having on their patients.   In their efforts to help people with chronic pain, many doctors overestimated the benefits of prescription opiates, while underestimating the risks of potential addiction problems.

Many Drugs Contribute to Today’s Health Epidemic

Economic-impact-1-2-120x300 THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC – WHAT WE SEERecently, the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health (2016) was released. This report discusses the struggles across the US of all substance use problems in terms of cost to society, rising health care costs, lost productivity, the devastating effects on lives, future plans and lost lives.  Below is an excerpt from that report:

“Over 175 million persons aged 12 and older (65.7 percent of this population) reported alcohol use in the past year, with over 66 million (24.9 percent) reporting binge drinking in the past month. More than 36 million (13.5 percent) reported using marijuana in the past year, 12.5 million reported misusing prescription pain relievers, and over 300,000 reported using heroin in the past year. Almost 8 percent of the population met diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder for alcohol or illicit. Although 20.8 million people (7.8 percent of the population) met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder in 2015, only 2.2 million individuals (10.4 percent) received any type of treatment. Of those treated, 63.7 percent received treatment in specialty substance use disorder treatment programs.”

What Action is Being Taken?

There is an opportunity to bring substance use disorder treatment and mainstream health care systems into alignment so that they can address a person’s overall health rather than treating one or the other in isolation from each other. This discussion is on the agendas of both the Federal government and Michigan legislature.

The initiative is based on Section 298 in the Public Act 268 of 2016.  The Section 298 Initiative is a statewide effort to improve the coordination of physical health services and behavioral health services in Michigan.

This is a statewide effort is to “improve the coordination of behavioral and physical health services for individuals with mental illnesses, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders.”

Addressing the Issue on a Regional Level

This initiative has spurred the on-going conversation at Harbor Hall board meetings as to how to meet the changing practice polices as directed by the State of Michigan and the Federal government and to address to the best of our ability the ongoing opioid crisis.  Harbor Hall has always recognized that integrating substance use disorder services with primary care and mental health treatment as being essential in successful recovery for many years. We cannot however, deny the facts that with the ongoing opioid crisis, the publication of the Surgeon Generals’ report and the State of Michigan 298 initiative, this treatment philosophy has become more relevant than ever to the services we provide in northern Michigan.

What Our Research Shows

In conducting our own research internally of the people who receive treatment services at Harbor Hall facilities, we have recognized some trends in Northern Michigan.  Below is a synopsis of actual data as derived from information gathered at Harbor Hall over the past 3 years.

Primary Drug 2014 2015 2016
Alcohol 37.34% 39.34% 44.5%
Heroin 12.65% 14.65% 28.7%
Prescription Opiates 37.34% 32.34% 16.8%
Cocaine/Crack 3.61% 4.61% 1.4%
Methamphetamine 5.42% 6.42% 5.9%
Poly dep/abuse* 88.9% 90.1% 92.3%

When combined, all opiates (prescription/heroin) in 2014 represented 50% of all admissions, in 2015 this decreased to 47% of all admissions and in 2016 it’s even lower: 46% of all admissions.  We believe it is very clear that as prescribing practices of opiate type medications has changed (2016), and there has been a significant shift from prescription opiate addiction to heroin addiction. *  (Poly abuse is abusing more than one drug at the same time, i.e. alcohol and opiates and cocaine.)

Alcohol is Still the Leading Drug of Choice

With this data, alcohol admission numbers are just as alarming as the prescription opioid/heroin numbers.  Our statistics shown above only addresses the clients’ primary drug of choice.  Most people who have sought treatment at Harbor Hall are using more than one substance when they are admitted.

While the national spotlight seems to be shining on prescription opioids, we cannot ignore the years of data we have collected. This data matches what is happening nationally, however, our approach to this issue is to be pro-active, not reactive. The treatment methodologies at Harbor Hall have evolved with science, as science has changed the way we think about addiction.

Stigma

Article by: Chief Executive Officer – Patrick McGinn – MS, MA, LLP, CAADC, CCS-M

Webster dictionary defines stigma as a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people use as a mark of disgrace with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.  “The stigma of having addiction will always be with me.”

Synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy, opprobrium, humiliation.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2012): “stigma is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion and it contributes to the abuse of human rights.  When a person experiences stigma they are seen as less than because of their real or perceived health status.  Stigma is rarely based on facts but rather on assumptions, preconceptions, and generalizations.  Stigma results in prejudice, avoidance, rejection and discrimination. Family, friends and the general public can carry negative feelings about drug use or behavior. They may even use derogatory terms such as “junkie,” “drunk,” “crackhead”, “criminal”, “thief”, “scum”, “gutter bum” and many more.  These thoughts, feelings, and labels can create and perpetuate stigma.”

Unfortunately people who experience stigma regarding their addiction or negative behaviors are less likely to seek treatment services.  Perceived stigma in hospitals or doctors’ offices discourage people from accessing needed health care services.

Neuroplasticity-2-120x300 StigmaAddiction, unlike any other public health concern, is viewed as a moral issue and not a health issue.  Also, addiction, unlike any other public health concern creates antisocial behaviors.  Antisocial behavior patterns are a common characteristic of addiction.  With the brain hijacked from the drugs, the addicted person will regularly make bad choices, of which many are calculated.  Addicts make many bad choices that cause pain for those around them.  The research is clear that the active addict will continue to take a drug despite the negative consequences involved.  They know that family, social and career are disrupted by their drug abuse, but they cannot stop.

Neuroplasticity

A term that has become a recognized term in addiction treatment is neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.  This however takes time.  This process of “rewiring” the brain from addiction to more socially adaptive behaviors can take from 12 months to 3 years and in some instances even longer.

When thinking about addiction we must be careful not to simply reduce the addict simply to moral failure.

Treatment at Harbor Hall extends beyond abstinence or symptom management by helping people achieve a full, meaningful life in the community. Prior treatment, legal history, medication assisted treatment, or other pathways are not viewed as a predictor of poor treatment outcomes and is not used as grounds for denial of treatment. Post treatment continuing care services are an integrated part of the service continuum rather than an afterthought. Focus is on all aspects of the individual and the environment, using a strength-based perspective and emphasizing assessment of recovery capital.

The Pipe Exercise

By: Patrick McGinn, CEO

Today I asked a group of clients to participate in an exercise that I call it the pipe exercise.  The groups are given a kit of PCV pipes cut to a variety of different lengths along with a variety of connectors, elbows, and types with an end cap.  The task is to construct a design using all of the pieces.  Sounds simple enough… but this is not a simple task at all.

Varied Paths and Varied Results

20160209_133054-300x169 The Pipe ExerciseAs I watched the groups struggle, I observed some interesting things.  First were the roles that individuals in the group took on.  There were at least 2 people in each group that jumped right in and took the lead.  Others stayed back and would observe and then eventually start to give input, there were also people that I would describe as “cheer leaders”. They would encourage their team members, cheering for their success.  And in each group, there was one person that did not participate at all.

Each group floundered at the beginning: starting, stopping, taking apart, and starting over.  At approximately 20 minutes into the project I whispered a hint to success into the ear of one member in each group.  This is the point when all the groups basically stopped and start over.  Within about 30 minutes the first group completed the task.  They were quite proud of themselves.  I instructed the other groups to continue until they were finished.  5 minutes later the next group completed then shortly after that the third group finished.

20160209_133441-300x169 The Pipe ExerciseThe forth group continued to struggle.  They were beginning to give up.  I heard statements like, “what’s the use, we are in last”, “this is stupid”, and “we should just give up”.  All the while the others were jeering and poking fun at their lack of success.  Then the leader of the last group asked the group who finished first if they would help them figure it out.  The response was very interesting as one or two from each group got up and went over to that group to help and within 5 minutes they were done.  The whole room erupted with cheers at the success.

The four designs were very different from one another.  They were not even close to looking alike, but each accomplished the task.

This Process Looks a lot Like Recovery…

The varied paths and mixed results is very much how recovery looks in real life.  The task of getting clean and sober is usually very difficult for most people, especially at the beginning.  We are given minimal instruction and expected to complete the sober task successfully.  If it was as simple as “one size fits all”, there would be no need for treatment centers.  For many people there are starts and stops. Sometimes you just have to take apart and rebuild all over and look for a different way.  Some people may get ridiculed or made fun of or looked at differently if they “do not get it” the first time around.  This is also true in the recovery community, where some people may be ostracized because they relapsed.  This attitude may send some people further into the spiral of addiction as they may not seek help a second or third time.

Sober Success is the Goal – No Matter the Path

Many people come into treatment in despair and are ready for change, but they do not know how the recovery pieces fit together. Attending lectures, groups, going to doctor appointments,  one-on-one sessions, skill building activities etc. all are pieces that may be put together differently for each individual.  Success for me may not be the same as success for you.  Each person needs to decide how to put the pieces together that work the best for them.  We know for sure that sober success does not happen in a vacuum. We need the input of other people. “I can get this, with a little help from my friends”

Mustang Wendy’s Cask & Cuisine helps Harbor Hall’s residential treatment program

Mustang Wendy’s Cask & Cuisine in Harbor Springs is donating a portion of their proceeds from next week’s sales to Harbor Hall’s Residential Recovery Program. Their address is 129 E. Bay Street, Harbor Springs, MI  49740.
Click here to Download their lunch and dinner flyers for the WENDYPALOOZA and their menus.
Please consider a lunch or dinner out next week at Mustang Wendy’s – good food and donation to Harbor Hall.

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The Election Reminds Us That Our Political System Is Failing Addicted and Mentally Ill Individuals

by David Sack, M.D.

The hot-button topic in our current election cycle is the economy. Basically, finances seem to be the sole focus of nearly every campaign. And why not? With unemployment rates hovering in the 8 percent range, our nation’s financial situation is a major issue. But almost as many Americans suffer from a serious mental illness as are unemployed, and there are many more people dealing with addiction than are unemployed. Even in an economy-driven election — perhaps especially in an economy-driven election — politicians should be paying attention to these facts. After all, whether it is a debilitating mental illness such as bipolar disorder or a mind-addling addiction to prescription medications, these issues cost our nation serious money. And the amount increases when the problems are left untreated or passed off to the criminal justice system.The simple fact is that just about everyone knows someone — a loved one, a friend, a co-worker — with a mental health or addiction issue. Nevertheless, politicians routinely ignore the need to treat these populations. Perhaps this neglect stems from the fact that addiction and mental illness have historically been viewed as moral failings as opposed to treatable illnesses. Alcoholics were seen as hopeless bums and a drain on society, drug addicts were degenerate criminals to be feared and thrown in jail, and the mentally ill were unfortunate creatures best hidden away in locked rooms or placed in asylums “for their own good.” Sadly, even though the medical and scientific communities now possess considerable evidence indicating these once-upon-a-time “facts” have little, if anything, to do with the reality of alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness, our socio-political system continues to wallow in the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil dark ages. Rather than dealing with these problems head on, we choose to either ignore them or use the judicial system to sweep them under the rug.This unhelpful attitude has, over the last several decades, led to a bevy of unfortunate, expensive and wildly unsuccessful federal, state and local policies focused on interdiction and punishment rather than treatment. And in most respects these moth-eaten “contain and control” strategies persist despite the ever-growing mountain of evidence clearly demonstrating their abysmal inadequacy. Consider, for instance, the tried and truly failed idea that we can “arrest” our way to a drug-free America. Today, there are more than seven million Americans under the supervision of the criminal justice system, with a large percentage of that number in on drug offenses. Yet more people than ever are dying drug-related deaths. However many people we lock up, the ravages of addiction continue unabated.

If we look at the matter objectively, we see clearly that the war on drugs is over, and everybody lost. So why do we continue to address the “addiction problem” primarily through the criminal justice system? Rather than dumping countless billions into a quagmire of policies that we know don’t work, couldn’t we refocus our efforts and funnel these same resources into improving our treatment methodologies and making that treatment affordable, accessible and without stigma?

One common argument against the above idea is that federal and state governments should not be throwing their limited financial resources at a tiny segment of the population when so many larger, more pressing issues (i.e., the economy) need to be addressed. Of course, this argument fails to recognize that arresting and incarcerating drug users, oftentimes repeatedly, without addressing their underlying issues costs, over time, significantly more money than helping those individuals identify and overcome their problems through proper treatment. And the financial costs don’t end with arrest and incarceration! The number of work-days lost to addiction is incalculable, costing employers millions, perhaps even billions. And what about the healthcare system? Medical expenses for an untreated alcoholic are triple those of a nonalcoholic.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, addicted and/or mentally ill people are hardly a “tiny segment” of the U.S. population. It is thought that approximately 12 percent of Americans suffer from alcohol or drug addiction, and approximately 5 percent suffer from a serious mental illness. (A “serious mental illness” is an emotional or psychological disorder resulting in a functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.) And these numbers take into account only the individuals directly affected by the disorder. We should also consider the millions of children, spouses, parents and friends who are indirectly affected.

Nevertheless, most jurisdictions determinedly perpetuate policies of interdiction, arrest and incarceration — probably because seeming “soft on crime” is a good way to lose votes. Thus, resources for dealing with addiction and mental illness have become highly politicized, with policies that sound good to the voting population winning out despite their well-documented lack of success.
Happily, not all is doom and gloom on the political front. Earlier this year, in April, the Obama administration released its thoughtful, informed, and progressive 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, building nicely on the president’s initial Drug Control Strategy introduced in 2010. Basically, the administration’s policy is grounded in three research-based premises that are now widely accepted in the addiction treatment community:

1) Drug addiction is not a moral failing; rather, it is a preventable and treatable chronic brain disease.

2) People can and do recover from addiction.

3) Criminal justice reforms are needed if we truly want to stop the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, release, more drug use, and re-arrest.

In part, the president’s policy focuses on the two most current drug-related challenges: the prescription drug epidemic, and the millions of people who need substance abuse treatment but do not receive it. If it is followed through — and that’s still a big if — the new approach will respond to the aforementioned two challenges by diverting nonviolent drug offenders into treatment, and expanding overall access to treatment. For instance, the Affordable Care Act will force insurers to cover drug addiction treatment as they would any other chronic disease. Overall, the new policy is a revolutionary and long-overdue shift in the federal approach.

Unfortunately, addiction and mental illness have (as usual) been placed on a back burner in the current presidential election, with state and local races following suit. Campaign speeches and advertisements are focused on the economy, while the ongoing issue of treating rather than ignoring and/or incarcerating a large, constantly growing and needful segment of our population remains unaddressed. Until this attitude of political neglect changes, we’re likely stuck with the current jumble of antiquated laws that do more harm than good. Thus, the individual suffering of millions of people — not to mention their friends and families — will continue, as will the unwarranted funding of numerous failed drug control strategies. Yes, the new National Drug Control Policy is a significant step in the right direction, but at the moment it’s a lone beacon of light that most politicians are choosing to ignore in favor of “vote grabbing” topics.

David Sack, M.D., is board certified in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine. As CEO of Elements Behavioral Health he oversees a network of addiction treatment centers that include Promises, The Ranch, The Recovery Place, and The Sexual Recovery Institute.

Even though the elections are over, this article is still relevant with facts pertaining to current drug control strategies.

To subscribe to Dr. David Sack's Blog Please Click Here

Dan Thompson, MA, Talks About the Importance of Spirituality in Recovery

Dan Thompson, MA writes on the importance of spirituality in recovery.

What does spirituality have to do with recovery at Harbor Hall?  Everything!  At our Residential Treatment Center, we concur with 12 Step writings, on page 83, “The Spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it.”  There is another phrase we identify with that reminds us: “we are spiritual people on a human journey”.

Our understanding of spirituality is that it is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning or purpose, and the way we experience sacred or holy connection to the moment, to self, to others, to our environment, to a Higher Power, or to God (as we understood Him).

In our care, you will be welcomed and accepted wherever you are at spiritually and/or religiously.  Whether or not you refer to a Higher Power, to God, or regardless how you assign yourself as perhaps atheist, agnostic, theist, or deist, you will be welcomed and treated fairly and justly.

We believe in the power of the human spirit that exists within each of us, and that with proper help can be relieved, revived, and/or restored.  Our core teaching on spirituality promotes a kind of lifestyle practice that is honorable, whereby the basic spiritual habits which reflect our pursuit of transformation involves discipline, accountability, servant hood, humility, and safety.   We also refer back to our lifestyle that resisted change, where we dishonored our self and others with habits influenced with bitterness, arrogance, danger, lawlessness, and self-centeredness.

As it states on page 110 of Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, our effort with clients is fueled by the hope and truth that the “eyes of men and women open with wonder as they move from darkness into light, to see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning, to see whole families reassembled, to see the alcoholic/addict outcast received back into his/her community in full citizenship, and above all to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving Presence or Higher Power in their lives”.

In our recovery treatment program, spirituality has everything to do with our sanity, serenity, trust, respect, and joy.  These are the results we strive for and believe can occur in treatment under the professional, clinical, and spiritual care that is offered through our program.

Blessings to you

 

November Happenings

Harbor Hall’s renovations continue and we have completed the dining room, the food pantry, the night techs office and two of the upstairs bathrooms. The pantry includes a quarry tile for the floor and it should last for many years. The bathrooms are completely tiled, with a drain system that waterproofs the bath area and keeps any water from going through to the lower level. All of the shower doors are frosted glass for privacy and the privy doors are a dense hard plastic, which will not rust like metal and will hold up well in a high moisture area. The rooms are being painted earth tones and the blinds are a wood slat so they don’t look institutional. The dorm furniture is arriving soon and we will start renovating the bedrooms as soon as the closets arrive. As mentioned in a previous post, we picked closets that are heavy duty laminate and the furniture is usually found in dorms at various university campuses. The drawers are metal and everything is designed so that they can be cleaned and sanitized between residents. There are going to be different color schemes in the resident rooms and each resident will have a comfortable, padded headboard so that they can read in bed and there will be an individual privacy light above each bed for that purpose. We anticipate completing a couple of bedrooms at a time so as to disrupt care as little as possible.

The main reason we are renovating is because we are a mission driven organization and the residents are our mission. They are partners in their recovery and we want them to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Many of our residents enter treatment with low self esteem and we want each of them to know that they are valued and that they will be treated with dignity and respect from the minute they walk through our doors. When residents are admitted in to a decent environment, their self esteem improves, as they know they are valued and it shows in everything that we provide. Similar to students at university, our residents are learning valuable recovery skills and are learning to develop a life centered around sobriety. We focus on practical techniques that are evidenced based and applicable to each resident that walks through our doors.

I will continue to add more pictures and posts as the renovations evolve.

The other important event in November is the Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s hard to keep a positive attitude while being in treatment during the holidays. Many times our residents  feel guilt and shame over past behavioral incidents that occurred while actively engaged in the disease. Memories may haunt them of holidays that were previously disastrous. In all reality, many of the resident’s family members may feel relief that their loved one is in treatment because they at least know that they are safe and alive. We work very hard to make sure that the holidays are special, even while going through treatment. Harbor Hall takes steps to make this a family day for every resident, no matter their circumstances. Every resident is allowed to have visitors from their approved list, including those who have just entered the program. We serve a traditional Thanksgiving Day Dinner and guests also bring a feast of food. We orchestrate a huge sit down meal with all of the residents and their guests and it turns out to be a very special day for everyone. It’s hard to remain negative with all of the effort that goes in to making sure that the holidays are treated as an overall commitment and celebration towards a new way of living.

We at Harbor Hall wish everyone and their families the best during the holiday season. We are particularly thankful for all of the hard work and dedication exhibited by our staff and Board of Directors of Harbor Hall, Inc and Harbor Hall Foundation. This dedication is demonstrated to the residents daily as it is our calling, our passion and our mission.

May we remain thankful for the gifts that we receive and continue to be mindful of the needs of others.

 

A Guide to Intervention

Prior to getting a professional interventionist involved, most families have tried to confront their loved ones about their destructive behaviors. Many times this was ineffective because you tried to go it alone and separately, where your concerns could be easily defended against by mechanisms that the substance abusing person engages in to keep everyone away from the heart of the problem. The concerns were not presented with the support of other family members and/or friends and there was not a concerted effort to plan for contingencies, if the loved one chose not to engage in the recovery process. You probably have fears that an intervention will fail and begin to think that you may never get your loved one away from the negative lifestyle that they continue to be involved with. This usually leaves you feeling more alone and isolated and imagining that there may be no hope to potentially save your loved one’s life.

Oftentimes the person engaging in the negative behaviors is believing that they are not affecting anyone around them. A “true” professional intervention differs from that of individual “conversations.” It is carefully planned and orchestrated. No one wants to know that their behavior is hurting the people around them and the intervention is an; “eye-opening” experience that leaves little room for denial.  It can be a very powerful process because of the level of emotion that is displayed by the caring partners that are helping to; “open the person’s eyes as to how their behavior has affected those around them.”

The ultimate goal is to engage the person in a partnership to get them on the road to true recovery. You want the loved one to “go to treatment, start engaging in recovery, so that you can welcome back the person that you love and care about”

iStock_000016479588Large-200x300 A Guide to InterventionFamily intervention uses the power of love and concern to break through denial and get your loved one into treatment. By organizing family members and friends in a very specific way, as laid out in Love First, we are able to get results that were impossible in the past.

The keys to a successful intervention are planning, preparation and technique. Many people think they’ve tried everything, but often family members have been working against each other. They‘ve never taken an organized approach or worked with a professional interventionist

Intervention unifies the family and gets everyone working together. Before the intervention ever takes place, the team goes through a planning a rehearsal process that leaves nothing to chance. Take a look at this intervention checklist.

Here’s an excerpt from Love First, by Jeff Jay and Debra Jay:

In the past, expressions of love were delegated to a few brief sentences during an intervention. We’ve learned that when we expand the role of love in intervention, it is love that first breaks through denial, not toughness. Using love first, we often never have to use tough love.

Jeff Jay is a professional interventionist, educator and author. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and a certified addictions professional. His work has appeared on CNN, the Jane Pauley Show, PBS, Forbes Online and in professional journals. He has served as president of the Terry McGovern Foundation in Washington, DC, and on the boards of directors for several professional organizations.

Jeff Jay is the co-author of Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, and co-author of At Wit’s End: What You Need to Know When a Loved One Is Diagnosed with Addiction and Mental Illness, a book on dual disorders published in April 2007 by Hazelden. He heads a national private practice that provides intervention and recovery mentoring services. He is a former clinician with the Hazelden Foundation and Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center.

Debra Jay has worked as an interventionist since 1996 and is currently in private practice, providing intervention training and consultation services, with an additional specialty in older adult intervention. She previously worked for the Hazelden Foundation as an inpatient addiction therapist with both men and women in primary and extended care. She also facilitated the Hazelden family program and coordinated the older adult program.

Debra Jay is the author of No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, published by Bantam in 2006. She has also co-authored two Hazelden Guidebooks: Love First: A New Approach to Intervention and Aging and Addiction: Helping Older Adults Overcome Alcohol or Medication Dependence.

Debra Jay is a nationally known speaker and has regularly appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Most recently, she was seen on The Dr. Oz Show. She is a graduate of Ohio State University.

Jeff and Debra live in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and travel nationally. They write a monthly column on alcohol, drugs, and family for the Grosse Pointe News.

Harbor Hall is very committed to the process of recovery and helping people to change their lives. Sometimes there is a necessity to get an intervention specialist involved to engage your loved one in the recovery process. We support; “Love First’s” model of clinical interventions and believe that they are true professionals who can help you and your loved one on the path to recovery. Check them out here: Love First

 

 

Baby Boomers and Addiction

There is a phenomenon that is occurring where baby boomers in their 50’s and 60’s are abusing drugs and alcohol in record numbers. In some ways we really have been a generation of excess. We came from a hard-working previous generation, where jobs were plentiful, the country was rebuilding after war time, and our parents wanted us to have what they were deprived of. We were raised with good values and a strong work ethic. We have also seen the fastest growth of technology than what the world probably ever imagined. When you think of how short of a period of time since electricity was produced,  the first automobile, airplanes, telecommunications; from Morse code to hand held computers, it’s no wonder that we have come to expect results on an instant notice. Now; if we are not served food in less than five minutes, someone is apologizing to us. We have become a society that expects quick resolution to all of our country’s problems. We have been conditioned to this kind of society by how we approach simple tasks. If we want a light we flip on a switch and light is produced, if we want water we turn on a faucet which instantly produces it, if we want money we pull out a plastic card and run up credit or, debit it from our account. We also expect the same instantaneous results when we are not feeling well either physically or emotionally. We have become the first generation where we go to the doctor and tell him which drug we want to be placed on because we saw it on the television. Pharmaceutical companies have learned that they can market to us and we will storm the doctor’s office, expecting the latest drug that will take care of what ails us. Young people are abusing pharmaceuticals in record numbers and are quickly following in line to become the next addicted generation. We need to develop programs specifically to treat an aged population that is presenting itself for substance use disorders. Some of the same issues that youth blame use of drugs on, needs to be addressed. These include using out of boredom and a loss of self esteem to feelings of not being worthwhile. Problems unique to older populations are dealing with an aging body and coping without pharmaceuticals, finding new things to do and engage in, getting exercise and proper nutrition and developing support networks where they can process these issues without being shamed or discounted. There is an article in the Miami Herald that further discusses the prevalence of drug use in the Boomer Generation. Click Here for the Article.

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