Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Happens in an Intervention?

What happens in an intervention?

It is life-changing for everyone – neither the afflicted Intervention Subject (“IS”) is ever the same after the intervention.

Generally, all the interventions in which I have participated, share several common characteristics:

Ø  Everyone is nervous about what’s going to happen.

Ø  The afflicted Intervention Subject is usually on his or her best behavior because he or she is embarrassed and afraid.

Ø  A good intervention starts out tense, but the mood generally goes to relief, optimism, and hope.

Ø  The family and friends feel empowered and so does the IS because they have taken responsibility for themselves by taking action.

Ø  Things that everyone knew or believed are being disclosed and spoken bout publicly for the first time which demonstrates that secrets keep us sick and releasing them releases their power.

Ø  Life as it was before, with quiet worry and desperation, is never the same. Life becomes a new adventure with excitement, joy, and peace.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Black History Month 2015


The history of African Americans in the United States is filled with injustice, tremendous acts of cruelty and the story of overcoming.  Overcoming is the key to recovery from addiction and, while African-Americans have a history of drug addiction and alcoholism comparable to other races in the United States, they also have an amazing history of Recovery and overcoming addiction.
Because of the crack and cocaine epidemic in African American neighborhoods, the fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous also has a history of African American leadership.  But even Alcoholics Anonymous had black members in its early days.  The first black member of AA was Joe McQ from Little Rock Arkansas in the late 1930s.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Adventure Sports in Recovery

Adventure Sports and Activities

Experts in addiction recovery agree that the process of recovery begins with physical recovery, then mental recovery, and then finally spiritual recovery. As an aside, when someone relapses, the process is lost in reverse – first the spirit, then mental abilities, and finally physical abilities.  Thus, the physical condition of each person is paramount, and yet, few, if any, treatment programs devote much time or attention to the physical recovery of the individual. 

At Sea Of Solutions, each client is provided with a personal fitness trainer three (3) times a week and is asked to select one or more adventure sport(s) or activity(ies) that will capture his or her imagination and enthusiasm.  These activities include the following:

Bird Watching, Boot Camp Training, Bowling, Bungee Jumping, Bicycling, Climbing Wall, Dolphin Watch Sailing, Equestrian Sports, Fishing, Gardens/Nature Walks, Golf, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Jet Skiing, Kayaking & Canoeing, Kite-Boarding, Meditation, MMA – Mixed Martial Arts, Qigong, Rock Climbing, Running, Sailing, Scuba Diving/Snorkeling, Shelling, Sky Diving, Snorkeling, Spinning, SUP - Stand Up Paddle-boarding, Surfing, Swimming, Tai Chi, Tennis, Walking, Waterskiing & Wave Boarding, Weight Training, Windsurfing, Yoga, and Zip-line Ropes Courses.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - February 7, 2015

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Reducing HIV Among African American Communities 

By: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Cross-posted from the HHS Blog
"Like so many Americans, I have seen the tragedy first hand, of friends lost to HIV/ AIDS. I’ve also seen the hope of those living with HIV as we continue to work toward an AIDS free generation. 
Each February 7th, we mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). It’s an opportunity for all of us to honor the memory of those we’ve lost, and to call attention to the fact that HIV continues to disproportionately affect African American men, women, and youth.
The numbers are startling: African Americans represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, but account for almost half of all new HIV infections in the United States per year, as well as more than one-third of all people living with HIV in our nation.
February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This year’s NBHAAD theme, “I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS” challenges all of us to work to eliminate these unacceptable health disparities by ramping up our HIV prevention efforts, encouraging individuals to get tested, and helping those who are living with HIV to access the life-saving medical treatment they need.
One of the ways the Department of Health and Human Services is responding to this charge is by launching a new four-year demonstration project funded through the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative to address HIV disparities among men who have sex with men (MSM), including men of color.
We are focusing on HIV disparities among MSM, including MSM of color, because black gay and bisexual men—particularly young men—remain the population most heavily affected by HIV in the U.S. Young black MSM account for more new infections (4,800 in 2010) than any other subgroup of MSM by race/ethnicity and age. These shocking figures demand that we take action.
The cross-agency demonstration project will support community-based models in strengthening HIV prevention efforts, addressing gaps in care for those living with HIV, and helping meet the health care needs of MSM, including MSM of color. More specifically, the funding will support state and local health departments in providing MSM of color, and other MSM, with the health and social services they need to live healthy lives free of HIV infection. For those already infected, the funding will support community-based services that help MSM of color, and other MSM, get diagnosed and linked to the right care—including substance abuse and mental health treatment as well as necessary social services, like stable housing. Helping people access and remain in HIV care is good medicine and important to our public health—since it lowers individuals’ risk of passing HIV to others.
We all have a role to play in working toward an AIDS free generation. Education and understanding prevention and treatment of HIV is important. And HIV testing is also critical as we continue to tackle this disease. One thing we can all do is speak out – speak out against HIV stigma whenever and wherever you encounter it. Stigma and shame continue to prevent too many people from seeking testing and getting the health care they need to live healthy, active lives.
For more information, see SAMHSA’s HIV, AIDS, and Viral Hepatitis webpage.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February and Summer

In many ways, February is a dark, bleak month for people in the northern United States - or northern hemisphere.  It was a very dark time for me in my alcoholism and at certain points in my recovery as well.  But, as Albert Camus is famous for saying "“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.”  This quote has given me incredible strength and inspiration.  It has seen me through very, very dark times. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Courage, Hope abd Overcoming Obstacles

Courage, Hope, and Overcoming Obstacles

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." – Ambrose Redmoon

"You've got to follow your passion. You've got to figure out what it is you love--who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dream." – Oprah Winfrey

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." – Leo Buscaglia

"Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for." – Dag Hammarskjold

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." – Edward Abbey

"Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it." – Margaret Thatcher

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men, but no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." – Elbert Hubbard

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." – Dolly Parton

"To succeed you must first improve, to improve you must first practice, to practice you must first learn, and to learn you must first fail." – Wesley Woo

"Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy." – Dean Koontz

"The man who follows a crowd will never be followed by a crowd.” – Donnell

"Yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision. But a today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope." – Kalidasa

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown

"May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to bring you joy." – Unknown  

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more wisely." – Unknown  

"No amount of security is worth the suffering of a life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams." – Unknown  

"Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on." – Les Brown

"Think highly of yourself, for the world takes you at your own estimate." – Unknown  

"I hope that my achievements in life shall be these – that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need that I will have left the earth a better place for what I've done and who I've been." – C. Hoppe

"...when you have a sense of your own identity and a vision of where you want to go in your life, then you have the basis for reaching out to the world and going after your dreams for a better life." – Stedman Graham

"As long as we continue to think we will be happy in the future, we will never be happy in the moment, and that is the same as saying that we will never be happy. If we think that our lives will be better when we get that better job or retire, stay or go, gain or lose weight, or when our children grow and leave or come back, we are putting off the happiness that there is in today." -  Aminu Kano

"Dance like nobody's watching. Love like it's never going to hurt." – Anne Wells

"One must not tie a ship to a single anchor, nor life to a single hope." – Epictetus  

"If you have a wounded heart, touch it as little as you would an injured eye. There are only two remedies for the suffering of the soul: hope and patience." – Pythagoras

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." – Albert Camus

"The stories of past courage can offer hope and provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul.” – John F. Kennedy

"I would rather lose in a cause that will someday win, than win in a cause that will someday lose." – Woodrow Wilson

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.'' – Corrie Ten Boom

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'” – Billy Graham

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." – Unknown

"Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk." – Unknown

"Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself." – Liberace  

"The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette." – Henry Hoskins

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." – Andre Gide

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are." – Bernice Johnson Reagon

"Only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." – Richard Nixon

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." – Vincent Van Gogh

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." – Franklin D. Roosevelt

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan, but also believe." – Anatole France

"It ain't no practice life. We only get one shot. And our love ain't through, hey. It's all we've got. And nobody goes around twice. 'Cause this ain't no practice life." – Refrain for "Practice Life", 2002 country single by Andy Griggs

"May you live all the days of your life." – Jonathan Swift

"You wouldn't worry so much about what people really thought of you if you knew just how seldom they do." – Unknown  

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." – Marcus Aurelius

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." – Seneca  

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." – Alan n Cohen

"There's no better place to search for hope than the future; a concept that gives everyone in existence a reason to live." – Amy Newak

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." – F.D.R.  

"Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out." – Jim Rohn

"If you feel that you have both feet planted on level ground, then the university has failed you." –Robert Goheen, Time Magazine

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." – Walter Elliott

"Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." – Henry Van Dyke

"To place faith in something other than one's self requires an element of courage; yet those who have put it in God can testify that even greater courage – along with peace of mind--is to be found in doing so.” – Unknown

"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything." – Arabian Proverb

"There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." – Hindu Proverb

"I complained that I had no shoes till I saw a man that had no feet." – Unknown  

"We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversation with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk." – Thomas Moore

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." – Anne Bradstreet

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." – Helen Keller

"It isn't for the moment we are struck that we need courage, but for the long uphill battle to faith, sanity, and security." – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today." – Thich Nhat Hanh

"Do not think of a painful experience as a dark time in your life. You emerge out of everything learning something or becoming a better person. You realize who your real friends are and how much your loved ones mean to you." – Colleen Ho

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point." – Harold V. Melchert

"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome.” – Helen Keller

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -  William Morrow

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." – Albert Einstein

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." – George Eliot

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” –Marie Curie

"To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances." – Julia Sorel

"When made frustrated and fretful by small cares, look up at the sky, the stars, and see how insignificant our troubles really are." – Unknown  

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain