“The Common Denominators of Recovery” by Beth Brantner, LPCC, LADC, LAC Lost and Found Recovery Center

When talking about recovery from addiction, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) provides the following definition:  recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

I’ve been in the enviable position to have spent time with a variety of people in solid recovery. What I’ve learned from these wonderful folks is, no matter one’s recovery path there are themes that are seen in all.

The commonalities in their recovery are: Education, so one can gain understanding, skills and insight into the dynamics of their personal situation.  Brutal honesty, with self and others. Courage to keep trying, no matter what. Kindness to self and others, including fixing past mistakes and damaged relationships. Making time to spend with healthy supportive people and a sense of humor.

Although the above is focused on addiction and/or mental health recovery, it applies to pretty much anyone. Taking the time to look at yourself, work at being the best person you can be along with developing and living a solid value system is likely why recovering folks can be some of our best human beings.

“Plugged In” Kids: What to Do?! by Beth Brantner, LPCC, LADC, LAC Lost and Found Recovery Center

Child Playing on Tablet
Engrossed in the fun and games–but is that all that it should be for kids?

Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, consider this. You enter the space of a child or adolescent who is on a smart phone, ipad, tablet, computer, x-box etc…… and you try to engage them in conversation. The response you get may be something like urghh. You try again and with great effort they tear their eyes away and will perhaps give you a short vague sentence and are clearly annoyed.  The next thing you know they have moved to a different room.  You now realize your beloved child is not spending much time with his peers, is not getting out of the house much and is irritable when you ask them to stop playing.  What’s happened to the sunny, happy, talkative child you used to know?

Recently an article came out talking about the negative effects of digital games. It explains how video games and the technology involved is so arousing it raises dopamine levels in the brain. Brain imaging has shown the cortex is affected similarly to drug use.  So it makes sense why this lovely child is more interested in being “plugged in” than interacting with people, reading or being outside, it’s more stimulating and “feels good”. A long time ago a cocaine addict explained his experience to me like this: when he was using, life had the sharpest colors imaginable and the surround sound was the best anyone could buy. When he wasn’t using it was like being in an old black and white movie with a fuzzy picture and no sound.  That might not apply to all but it does help one understand the difference between real life and what is at ones finger tips. Given the technology today it can be hard for regular people, ball games, books or mothernature to compete with the color, action, realism, excitement and sound of these fast moving games.

Yes there is some debate about this, however when a person continues to do something that is affecting other areas of their life negatively it needs to considered. Clearly the internet, technology and all involved with it is a crucial part of our lives. So what do we do?  Get informed. Limit the time kids are on-line/playing video games. Talk to them of your concerns and get them outside, interact with others, develop other hobbies or leisure activities, be involved with them, and be a good role model.  As a grandparent I am going to try hard to do this and my grandchildrens’future gifts will not be video games, rather they will encourage (I hope) things such as swimming, reading, fishing and doing things as a family.

Wondering what to do? Check out material from the Lost and Found Library or talk to Beth at 218-287-2089.

Kardaras, N. (2016, August, 27). It’s digital heroin: how screens turn kids into psychotic junkies.  New York Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/

Rosenblum, A. (2016, September/October). Warped reality. What will it mean when millions of people play-and kill- in virtual reality? Psychology Today Magazine. (Volume),

Video games and children: playing with violence. (June 2015)  American  Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. No. 91.  Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx

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“In Recovery, I’m a Much Better Version of the Old Me” by Beth Brantner, LPCC, LADC, LAC

Did you know that a higher percentage of attorneys and physicians struggle with problematic drinking behaviors than the general public?

According to a study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation of 12,825 licensed attorneys and judges from 19 states, 21% to 36% of those surveyed qualified as having problematic drinking behaviors.  In comparison, about 15% of physicians have problematic drinking and, according to this article, about 7% of Americans have an alcohol use disorder. In addition, 28% of those practicing law were experiencing mild, moderate or severe depression, 61% had experienced anxiety during their career and 11.5% had suicidal thoughts.

These findings support what we at Lost and Found Recovery Center have known for years, that some of our best and brightest people seem to suffer from alcohol use disorder.  The individuals that families talk about or we have the privilege to meet often share the following characteristics:

  • they are very bright,
  • they care about others, particularly animals and children,
  • they will be the first to give you “the shirt off their backs” and
  • they seem to have incredible innate talents such as creativity, the ability to figure things out or can just fix things.

Is it no wonder that our esteemed professions, such as the law would attract these folks?  One of the sad comments from this study was that only 7% of those who needed treatment actually received alcohol/other drug services or treatment.

Why don’t they get the help they need? The reason given was, “Lawyers don’t seek help for their behavioral health problems because they fear someone will find out and it will discredit them and possibly affect their license.” 

Once again, the stigma of alcoholism/addiction freezes people from getting into recovery. From the above statistics one can easily see that some of our most learned people can have this disease; people who went through years of advanced study to provide services we all need.

As one respected colleague who is in recovery says, “I’m not the old me I’m a much better version of the old me.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a world where all who are affected by alcoholism/addiction could get the help and support they need so they too could be an even better version of themselves?

Lost and Found Recovery Center in partnership with reGROUP: Peer Advocates for Addiction Recovery offers individualized professional counseling support along with peer coaching and telephone support. Confidential, non-judgmental, honoring all pathways to recovery. Take action today to create a new tomorrow. Call 218-287-2089, info@lostandfoundrecoverycenter.org, for help for you or a loved one.

 

http://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/event/aba-study-webinar?utm_source=clinical-connection-061416&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=aba-study-webinar-recap

My Adult Child is Addicted/Alcoholic, and the Rest of Us Are Falling Apart!

Consider the commercial where a young man says he is never going to get married, never going to have children, never going to move to the suburbs, and never going to drive a van. At the end we see him lying on the couch in his suburban home with his wife and two young children all snuggling together; he says “I’m never going to let go”. This is an excellent example of how becoming a parent changes your heart, your belief system and your life plans. If we fast forward the commercial 25 years and see one of his children living back home and suffering from addiction, he would probably say he is never going to let his child get arrested, thrown in jail or die.

Parental bonds of loving, protecting and providing for our children run deep; even when our offspring are adults. Parents are often empty nesters who are working hard on their future retirement. They worked hard at helping their children become strong, independent adults. Instead, parents are terrified their child is going to end up dead from the addiction that has robbed her of everything.

What’s a parent to do!? Trying to determine what is helpful and what is enabling is complicated especially when you combine it with mama and papa bear whose instinct is to protect and care for him or her.

It’s easy for others to say, “don’t enable,” but that might seem like you would be throwing your child “under the bus”. Deciding to no longer give your child money is fraught with all they might lose. Deciding to feed them however, is nurturing and can provide the opportunity to spend time with your son/daughter.

Figuring out how to hate the disease yet love your child is not easy. There is help and support out there. Families Anonymous and Lost and Found Ministry can help. Want to learn more? call 218-287-2089 or email info@lostandfoundministry.org.

Be Kind, Rewind

Not long ago, this was a familiar sight “be kind rewind”. It was a reminder to return the video in the condition we found it and to show consideration to the next guy. If we happened to get a video that needed rewinding it was another frustration to add to our day. Videos are a thing of the past but perhaps there are other small ways we could care for each other.
I know an individual who was experiencing much heartache in his life. As he sat at a stoplight feeling alone and afraid, the people in the car next to him honked, smiled and waved. Years later he still remembers how that small act of acknowledgement helped. That’s the thing; we might never know how even a small gesture could make a big difference in someone’s life. Here in the upper Midwest we rally in times of need such as the sandbagging that has occurred in the last 2 decades and Sheltering Churches; I’m proud to be a part of that. But I’m suggesting we also bring our caring and kindness down to a daily one on one level.
Consider what the following might do: acknowledge the guy who looks down and out with a friendly good morning, hold the door open for the person behind you and wish them a good day, buy the individual in fatigues his sandwich, let the person in when the traffic is heavy , take care of the lost dog while you try to find the owner, etc….. Although we may never know how these acts of thoughtfulness might affect someone, I submit kindness and showing our humanity are never wrong. So in that spirit please consider this a gentle reminder to “be kind rewind”.
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.