KRBE’s “Around H-town” program recently featured Lori Fiester, Clinical Director of Treatment Services at The Council on Recovery. Hosted by Freddy Cruz, the engaging interview with Lori highlighted the problem of addiction in our community and The Council’s innovative services for dealing with it. Listen to the entire interview here.
Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 7 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
So…having taken the steps to engage the process of Recovery in earnest, we have seen that the initial requirement is a rigorous exploration of the events of our past lives in the addictions. This “fearless inventory of ourselves” is meant to bring into consciousness the full extent of our disease, in all of its aspects. We take inventory, try to understand the full extent of our disease and who we hurt in the travesties of our “acting out,” and then work to repair such travesties where we can. The final steps, outlining the requirements of a continuing life in sobriety, provide a road map for daily living.
These final steps, though, are critical. They require, first, that we keep the work of admission, belief and surrender foremost in our minds; that we remember what it was like and how far we have come; that we know the debt we owe to those we stomped on in our days of acting-out and those who helped us in our early efforts to recover; and that we know our obligation to pass on what we have learned to others. And in doing so, in following all these dictums, we slowly begin to see that a life in Sobriety really can be a “Promised Land.”
What might this look like? In our life in Sobriety to this point, we may have developed a Community of like-souls, a true Fellowship of Recovery. Living and feeling at home in this Community begins to fill us with a sense of profound gratitude and love. While the work to stay connected still must be done, and a constant vigilance maintained against the pull of the disease deep within us, the peace and serenity of our new-found place in Sobriety begins to feel almost ethereal.
Joseph Campbell called the core elements of Mythology a “song of the universe, music so deeply embedded in our collective unconscious that we dance to it, even when we can’t name the tune.” This seems to be what we find in our individual and collective consciousness in Sobriety…a deep, beautiful “Song of the Universe.”
The Council on Recovery is proud to participate in National Prevention Week, May 14th-20th, an annual health observance dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Prevention Week brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, states, and communities together to raise awareness about the importance of preventing substance abuse and mental disorders.
During this year’s National Prevention Week, The Council on Recovery is highlighting its prevention and education programs, including those at work in many elementary, middle, and high schools in the Greater Houston area. The Council’s educational programs include the Life Skills Training for students in grades 3 through 5; Curriculum-Based Support Group (CBSG®) Program and All Stars Program for students in grades 6 Through 8; and the Reconnecting Youth Program for students in Grades 9 Through 12.
In addition, The Council’s Center for Recovering Families operates the CHOICES program in eight area middle and high schools. CHOICES is a unique prevention and counseling program based on successful prevention techniques typically missing in other school programs: A focus on multiple high-risk behaviors, and programming tailored to fit a specific school culture. The success of the CHOICES program was documented a research article recently published in the Journal of Addiction and, in April 2017, the program was awarded a $1.15 Million grant from the Hildebrand Foundation to expand the program into an additional twelve schools.
The Council on Recovery’s prevention programs are well-known throughout our region. As the leading resource for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services, we are often the starting point for people seeking help.
Excessive alcohol intake is the third leading cause of premature death across the United States, trailing closely behind smoking and obesity. Recreational alcohol consumption is widely and globally acceptable, although rising concerns involving social and health problems are often a result of this phenomenon. One alarming issue, however, that is not talked about often enough, is; the link between heavy drinking and weight gain.
Recent studies have shown that light to moderate drinking is not associated with severe weight gain. However, heavy alcohol consumption is positively and consistently correlated with added weight, which can eventually lead to obesity. Alcohol intake may produce higher body fat percentage in older adults and adolescents. The connection between body weight and alcohol intake is typically stronger in men than women, due to the type of alcohol and amount consumed by men.
Alcohol and Calories
Why is there is such a high correlation in heavy alcohol consumption and weight gain? First, the body is not able to store alcohol, which causes the body to metabolize it immediately. The alcohol becomes the priority of the metabolic process, causing a loss of efficiency in metabolizing other fats and sugars. In turn, normal metabolism actually slows down overtime.
Second, alcohol is high in calories. These calories are typically referred to as “empty calories” with little to no nutritional value. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, which is roughly equivalent to the calories in one gram of pure fat. By comparison, carbohydrates and protein only have four calories per gram. Among popular alcoholic beverages, here are some calorie counts:
- A Pina colada has about 500 calories
- A glass of wine has about 100 calories
- A pint of beer has about 150 calories
- Distilled alcohol (whiskey, vodka, gin, rum) has about 100 calories per 1.5 ounces
On top of the empty calories consumed, drinking often increase one’s appetite. Mindless, poor food choices are often made while drinking and may result in overeating.
Avoiding Weight Gain
Abstinence from alcohol is never a bad idea. But, if you continue to drink alcoholic beverages and want to limit weight gain drink in moderation. For practical purposes, moderation means one “standard” drink a day. A standard drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and 1.5 ounces of liquor. Other helpful tips include eating a healthy meal before going out, drinking water between alcoholic beverages, and preparing healthy snacks before going out.
Seek professional help if:
- Your drinking is causing problems at work, home, or school
- You or someone you love is concerned about your alcohol intake and consumption
- You cannot control your drinking
The Council on Recovery is often the starting place for people seeking outpatient rehab and counseling, as well as help for family members. Call 713.942.4100 or visit www.councilonrecovery.org
Although the opioid epidemic has recently taken the spotlight and overshadowed the devastating impact of other substances, the use of cocaine has remained steady since 2009. Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug. It comes in a powder form and also a solid rock form typically known as ‘crack’. If you feel someone you know and love may have a problem with cocaine, there are many clear warning signals to look for.