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The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey – Part 4

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 4 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies

 

On the third day in the belly of the whale, Jonah finally surrendered.  He had traveled across the known world of the time trying to escape the mandate of his God,  that he travel to Nineveh and tend to its people. His flight was fraught with calamity, culminating with being devoured by a whale and suffering in its belly.  His surrender enabled his deliverance and the opportunity to engage his ministry.  Jonah’s experiences in the whale are not unlike the conflict with the multitudinous demons that we sufferers of the tragedies of addiction faced in the throes of our acting-out.  These demons took all forms and shapes and, in their capacity to enslave us, they seemed all powerful and eternal.

Like Jonah, we had been pursuing a distorted and fallacious life course. To get sober, to escape the demons, we had to surrender, to a higher power of our own choosing, in order to begin the ministerial work on our own Journey.  It is the work to pursue our very own Journey to Sobriety. As in the Hero’s Journey, we encounter guides and mentors, here in the form of sponsors, who introduce us to the processes of dealing with the terrors of our past.  In essence, the Journey is one to recognize the totality of our disease in all its aspects, the steps of admission, acceptance, and surrender.

In the Arthurian Legends, the Knights of the Round Table all pursued their own journeys, to find the Holy Grail, the gift of spiritual enlightenment.  They encountered tragedies and demons along the way, not unlike those we faced in our addicted lives and in the process of working to unravel the pathologies of those lives.  In recovery, the help of guides, sponsors, to show us the way, is tantamount.  These women and men embraced the process of working with us as a means to help themselves.  They are not unlike the Fisher King in the Arthurian Legends, who was charged with keeping the Grail safe, in a secret castle.  The Fisher King was also suffering a long festering wound that could only be ameliorated by the progress of the Knights seeking the Grail.  He is like our sponsors who achieve some relief from their own maladies in the process of helping others.

In every way, this Journey of ours, now begun in earnest, pursuing a life and process of Recovery, is like the Journeys of countless heroes in Mythology, in mythological stories that attend all of human society in every form and every culture, throughout history and around the globe.  We really are now pursuing a heroic quest…

Guest Blog: The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 3

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W., presents Part 3 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

In the early days of our Quest for Sobriety, we experience extreme highs and lows of spirit.  The realization that we are actually abstaining from the destructive substances or behaviors gives us a lift, a real sparkling of joy, here and there.  But the pain of the emotional and physical withdrawal comes and goes as well…and sometimes it crashes on our heads as unbearable torment.  The Journey we have begun must now proceed in earnest…

The various treatment systems provide a road map for us to travel.  Accepting the seriousness, the powerlessness and uncontrollability of the disease is the first critical step.  In concert with this, we must also accept that the disease and the power to recover are beyond our own individual resources. In the terms of the Hero’s Journey, these steps begin a journey to the Underworld, confronting the demons and trials therein, not unlike Jonah in the Belly of the Whale.  The examinations thus begun are necessary to determine the core truth of the outer and inner worlds before us.   For the addict, this part of the Journey is to travel over the past, down, down deep into the events of our addicted lives, to see in a clear light all that happened in the world we thought we ruled.  And in the process, as this Journey progresses, we begin to discover who and what we really are…

People with Substance Abuse Disorders More Likely to Have Mental Disorders…and Vice-Versa

People with a substance use disorder are more likely to experience a mental disorder and people with a mental disorder are more likely to have a substance use disorder when compared with the general population.Co-Occurring Disorders Head 1

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 45% of Americans seeking substance use disorder treatment have been diagnosed as having a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. Those findings, reported in SAMHSA’s National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, support integrated treatment approaches like those used by The Council on Recovery’s Center for Recovering Families.

The Center for Recovering Families goes beyond conventional outpatient programs by utilizing the integrated approach for treating co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Integrated treatment addresses mental and substance use conditions at the same time and requires collaboration across disciplines. The Center’s integrated treatment planning addresses both mental health and substance abuse, each in the context of the other disorder. This planning is client-centered and better addresses clients’ goals by using treatment strategies that are acceptable to them.

Recent research, including the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that integrated treatment is associated with lower costs and better outcomes such as reduced substance use, improved psychiatric symptoms and functioning, decreased hospitalization, increased housing stability, fewer arrests, and improved quality of life.

For individuals and families dealing with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, the Center for Recovering Families’ integrated treatment approach is creating new hope in the healing process. Contact the Center for Recovering Families at 713-914-0556.

Does Alcoholism Run in Your Family? Are You at Risk?

NIAAA Provides Answers to an Age-old Question

Alcoholism in the Family Tree

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) is providing answers to people who have a parent, grandparent, or other close relative with alcoholism who wonder about their risk from this family disease.

A Family History of Alcoholism: Are You at Risk? provides useful information based upon scientific studies about the genetic factors that influence alcoholism. These findings show that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics also have a higher risk for many other behavioral and emotional problems. But, the research also shows that many factors influence your risk of developing alcoholism. Some factors raise the risk while others lower it.

For those who personally affected by the disease of alcoholism, the NIAAA provides useful information and additional resources for getting help.

If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or other addictions, The Council on Recovery can help. As Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit organization providing the full spectrum of prevention, education, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals of all ages, The Council on Recovery is committed to helping Houstonians through a focus on family healing and long-term support that is equally accessible to all in need.  For more information, visit www.councilonrecovery.org.

 

Kids Camp at The Council March 16-18 Heals the Hurt of Addiction

Kids from homes affected by alcoholism and drug addiction have it tough. Caught in the maelstrom of the disease, children struggle to understand what’s going on and why. Parents struggle with what to say to kids about the madness. And everyone needs a break.

Kids Camp at The Council is the break families need. Held at The Council on Recovery March 16-18, Kids Camp is a prevention and support program for kids ages 7-12 from families affected by alcoholism and/or addiction. The three-day program helps kids learn they are not alone and that other children and families have similar experiences.

Kids Camp at The Council uses art, games, role-play, and other fun activities to help children learn to identify and express feelings, develop self-care skills, and deepen communication with their parents. Parents or caregivers join their children for a portion of the program focusing on education and support, and all services are provided in a safe, confidential, and nurturing setting.

“Kids Camp helps parents and children open lines of communications and heal the hurt in their relationships,” says Kierstin Thornhill, MS, Coordinator of Children’s Clinical Services. “By learning about addiction in an age-appropriate way, kids gain valuable insight and understanding. The entire family learns new skills and is given the tools to recover. Above all, children learn that addiction is not their fault.”

To make it easy for families to participate, Kids Camp at The Council is being held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the upcoming spring break week, March 16-18. Space is limited, call for more information 281-200-9270.

Lecture Series | The Family Hour–Focuses on Relapse & Renewal, March 11th, 10-11:00AM

Relapse & Renewal is the topic of the next Family Hour, the popular new lecture series at The Council on Recovery, Saturday, March 11th at 10 AM. The lecture will focus on the emotional, mental, and physical stages of relapse that can precede a “slip” anytime during sobriety. Effective ideas for preventing relapse, safe-guarding sobriety, and renewing confidence in recovery will be discussed.

The Family Hour, held on the second Saturday of each month, is a lecture and Q&A series that focuses on the disease of addiction and its inevitable impact on the entire family. Hosted by The Council’s Center for Recovering Families, the Family Hour is facilitated by the Center’s Clinical Director Lori Fiester, LCSW-S, MAC, CIP.

This community series is free and open to all families, loved ones, and members of our community who seek up-to-date, accurate information about addiction and related issues.  Registration is not required, but seats do fill quickly, so plan accordingly. Adult-themed.

For listing of upcoming Family Hour lectures at The Council, click here.

For more information about The Family Hour, contact the Center for Recovering Families at 713.914.0556 or email events@councilonrecovery.org