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Stopping Youth Opioid Abuse – Early Prevention Reduces Misuse

An estimated 2 million Americans will suffer from addiction to prescription opioids or illegal opioids in 2018. About two thirds of deadly drug overdoses in 2016 were due to opioids and 75 percent of drug overdoses among 15-24 year olds were related to opioids.

Prevention is the best hope of slowing the trend.

Stop Youth Opioid Abuse is a multi-channel effort from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Ad Council, and the Truth Initiative that focuses on preventing and reducing the misuse of opioids among youth and young adults. The Council on Recovery supports these national efforts with locally-sourced services for helping young people survive the opioid epidemic.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 33

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 33 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 years up to the Civil War, the young American Nation struggled mightily over the horrific experience of Slavery.  The governance principle over this issue beginning with the first Congress in 1790 was that its lawfulness was solely an issue for that each State to decide for itself.  But, as the Nation grew rapidly, new states were being added all the time and a great concern arose in Congress about the balance of power between the slave states and free states. In 1850, a Compromise was reached allowing California to be admitted to the Union as a free state. The primary offset for the slave states was the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act which made it a crime for anyone in a free state to harbor a fugitive slave and required the law enforcement agencies of all states to prosecute all such offenders. Fugitive slaves captured in this process were not accorded any rights, just returned to their original slave masters in the South.

The novelist, Toni Morrison, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, for her story, Beloved, about a woman, named Sethe, living in Ohio in the 1870’s in the aftermath of the Civil War.  She is haunted by events 20 years earlier, when, as a fugitive slave living free in Ohio, she is found by bounty hunters working for her former slave master.  In a desperate act at the time, she murders her daughter rather than risk that she be chained to a life in slavery.  Written in the heavy African American dialect of the time and with complex character development, this is a very powerful story. Most importantly, though, it carries a profound psychical energy about the presence of slavery in our American Heritage, a condition which has influenced our history in so many powerful and tragic ways for so many centuries.

From our perspective here, I see this tale as a wonderful example of the power of story to convey the mythos of a horrific history. For all of us, the multitudinous, disastrous experiences of our active life in the disease were equally horrific.  Breaking free from these conditions required extreme measures.  Faced with the recurring experience of unspeakable behaviors in our alcoholic lives, we got to the point where something inside of us, some element of our imbedded addict, had to die. Such action was necessary to prevent further disasters.  Just as Sethe kept her daughter from slavery and the United States finally outlawed the practice of keeping slaves, a fundamental change in ourselves was critical. Doing whatever it took became necessary to avoid the likelihood that our life would continue to descend into an abyss of slavery-like conditions, each of us entirely enslaved to the masters that are alcohol and drugs.

The Council to Host 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Major July 25-27 Summit to Gather Multi-Sector Experts to Confront Opioid Crisis & Forge Solutions

The Council on Recovery and the Prevention Resource Center, Region 6, announce the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit, July 25-27, the first summit of its kind to bring together leaders from Houston’s medical, legal, prevention, treatment, legislative, and media sectors to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and create actionable solutions to save lives.

Taking place at The Council’s main campus at 303 Jackson Hill in Houston, the Opioid Summit will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, roundtable dialogues, and break-out sessions across four major sectors: Medical, legal, prevention, and treatment. The Opioid Summit will dive deep into this public health emergency that claimed 42,000 lives in 2016 (according to HHS) by exploring all aspects of the issue. It will also examine the role media plays in both the problem and solutions.

The Opioid Summit kicks off Wednesday evening, July 25th, with the free screening of the new documentary – Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic introduced by its producer, Harry Wiland, Founder of the Media Policy Center. Thursday, July 26th features an opening keynote address on the scope of the issue, followed by breakout sessions throughout the day and a mid-afternoon keynote address focusing on advocacy. Friday, July 26th opens with a keynote address on the media’s role, followed by additional breakout sessions and roundtable dialogues. The Opioid Summit wraps up Friday afternoon with the intimate and personal perspectives of three nationally prominent figures whose lives were forever changed by opioid addiction. A detailed program for the event will be released by July 1st.

Weds., July 25, 2018, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Free Screening of “Do No Harm” & Panel Discussion

Thurs., July 26, 2018, 8:00 AM –4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Fri., July 27, 2018, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Early-bird Registration: $50 per day (Thurs and/or Friday); After June 22nd, $75 per day (Thursday and/or Friday)

Registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and refreshments.

Licensed professionals in attendance are eligible to receive up to 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this event.

Register at www.councilonrecovery.org For more information, email opioidsummit@councilonrecovery.org or call 281.200.9323.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 34

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 34 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 1994, the movie Stargate premiered.  It is the fictitious story about the discovery, in the Egyptian desert near Giza, of an ancient ring-shaped device that creates a portal, a wormhole, enabling super-fast travel to similar devices elsewhere in the Galaxy encompassing Earth, known as the Milky Way Galaxy. The device was the work of a very advanced, very ancient, pre-history culture facilitating instantaneous transportation to their settlements all over the Galaxy.  There was much conflict in the galactic time periods of this culture so that, sometime in the pre-history eras of Egypt, the device was buried by early Earth inhabitants to prohibit these advanced races from traveling back to Earth. This movie spawned a TV series that, with sequels, totaled over 350 episodes spread over 15 years to 2011, all about the travel through this portal of a special U.S. Air Force unit exploring various life activity all over the Galaxy.

In our current societies, we experience space and time as very limited, infinitesimal elements of the whole of the Universe, which is, in reality, billions of years old (and still expanding) and millions of light years wide (each such light year being a distance of approx 6 trillion miles). Our Galaxy is in excess of 100,000 light years wide and contains over 100 million stars similar to our Sun; it is estimated that there are over one trillion similar galaxies in the Universe. These dimensions are staggering, almost beyond our ability to comprehend their scope.

However, just as the Cosmos might be impossibly large for us to comprehend, almost the same can be said about the makeup of our own bodies, the incredible, almost infinite minuteness of the components of our own being. We are each billions and billions of atoms, molecules and cells, all woven together in incredibly complex patterns of interconnectivity.

The players in the Stargate series travel all over the Galaxy to explore different forms of life.  In reality much of the stories are artistic recreations of the many human stories of which we are all players, but the backdrop of these humongous dimensions of the Cosmos seem to enhance  their wonder, at least to me.

This is why I find the series of Stargate so fascinating. Each of us in Sobriety, committed Sobriety, find ourselves living in immediate societies where we are, or can become, true agents of change. It may all seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but, for each of us in Recovery, our own individual struggles are as gigantic, maybe even galactic, as the mythos in which Stargate is created.  That is no accident, in my mind. Each of our own Higher Powers, focused on each of us in our own individual journeys, while operating in this massive Cosmos, are effectively calling on each of us to bear witness to the wonder and potential of creation.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 32

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 32 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 mythos of the Greek experience in history, the fundamental tragic flaw was hubris, debilitating self-pride. The heroes in many stories became so exalted in their activities that they assumed qualities and stature resembling the gods, at least to themselves, men like Achilles, Agamemnon, Icarus, Lucifer, Midas, Odysseus, Oedipus, to name a few. Their behavior eventually angered the gods so much that they were crushed with serious accidents or defeats, events that were their ignominious downfalls.

For some of us with the disease of alcoholism, where the descent into the depths of the disease occurred a bit later in life, our earlier lives may have been parallels to these ancient heroes, full of ascents and achievements that were reminiscent of them, if a bit less laudatory.

Many of us were born into families of stature but devoid of love and nurture. We learned early on to strive to achieve with relentless determination, surpassing everyone’s expectations but with little concern for others. We learned to play by the rules until we figured out which rules could be broken without consequences. Our budding narcissism grew to the point where family and friends were only good for furthering our own selfish needs; abuse became the norm.

Alcohol was always a release, but the pressure of the world we were creating made the medicating effects of alcohol, in increasingly absurd quantities, more and more necessary. We found comfort, however fleeting, in dark walnut-paneled sanctuaries, with altars of gleaming bottles and brightly colored spirits, and with aromas as intoxicating as incense to a monk, sanctuaries where we could worship in Dionysian revelry for hours on end. We found companionship in supple, amply-endowed, if anonymous, counterparts who were only an ATM away. Our behaviors in these activities increased over time until they were nothing more than a rapidly accelerating descent into ugliness and depravity…and, eventually, into a state of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.”

Like many of the Greek heroes, our wallowing in the “ignominy of defeat” led only to a desperate search for redemption. Struggling with the torment of our behaviors, we finally succumbed to the dictum of “doing whatever it takes.” We entered the “rooms” and sought the fellowship of recovery. As difficult as was the separation from the medication and the behaviors that precipitated their consumption, the discovery of the Fellowship and its “prescription for living” became increasingly glorious.

In the later stages of his journey, Odysseus was stripped of everything and landed naked and broken on Scheria. He told his story to the assembled in the palace of King Alcinos, was granted asylum, and then fitted out for the final journey to Ithaca, his home. It is here he finally achieved all his heart could have wanted under the guidance of the goddess Athena. All of us find that life in the journey to Recovery is very much like that…glorious in a place on the Earth that has all the wonders of a palace which has been built with the grace of our Higher Power.

The Council to Host 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Major July 25-27 Summit to Gather Multi-Sector Experts to Confront Opioid Crisis & Forge Solutions

The Council on Recovery and the Prevention Resource Center, Region 6, announce the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit, July 25-27, the first summit of its kind to bring together leaders from Houston’s medical, legal, prevention, treatment, legislative, and media sectors to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and create actionable solutions to save lives.

Taking place at The Council’s main campus at 303 Jackson Hill in Houston, the Opioid Summit will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, roundtable dialogues, and break-out sessions across four major sectors: Medical, legal, prevention, and treatment. The Opioid Summit will dive deep into this public health emergency that claimed 42,000 lives in 2016 (according to HHS) by exploring all aspects of the issue. It will also examine the role media plays in both the problem and solutions.

The Opioid Summit kicks off Wednesday evening, July 25th, with the free screening of the new documentary – Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic introduced by its producer, Harry Wiland, Founder of the Media Policy Center. Thursday, July 26th features an opening keynote address on the scope of the issue, followed by breakout sessions throughout the day and a mid-afternoon keynote address focusing on advocacy. Friday, July 26th opens with a keynote address on the media’s role, followed by additional breakout sessions and roundtable dialogues. The Opioid Summit wraps up Friday afternoon with the intimate and personal perspectives of three nationally prominent figures whose lives were forever changed by opioid addiction. A detailed program for the event will be released by July 1st.

Weds., July 25, 2018, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Free Screening of “Do No Harm” & Panel Discussion

Thurs., July 26, 2018, 8:00 AM –4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Fri., July 27, 2018, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Early-bird Registration: $50 per day (Thurs and/or Friday); After June 22nd, $75 per day (Thursday and/or Friday)

Registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and refreshments.

Licensed professionals in attendance are eligible to receive up to 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this event.

Register at www.councilonrecovery.org For more information, email opioidsummit@councilonrecovery.org or call 281.200.9323.