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The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 44

Ariadne’s Thread

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 44 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.

There is an ancient mythological story about King Minos of Crete who builds a massive, intricate Labyrinth to contain a creature named the Minotaur, half man and half bull, the issue of his wife who mistakenly mates with a bull in a ruse of the god Poseidon.  The Minotaur is a monster that only feeds on humans and Minos has exacted a toll on the city of Athens to send him young girls and boys on a regular basis as food for the Minotaur. Theseus is one of those and, while on Crete waiting to be fed to the Minotaur, he meets Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, who falls in love with him.  She gives Theseus a sword and a ball of twine, the twine to be used by Theseus to tie to the opening of the Labyrinth and let unravel as he and his fellow victims are led to the center to be eaten by the Minotaur.  Once there Theseus uses the sword to kill the Minotaur in a monstrous battle, and then escapes using the twine, “Ariadne’s Thread,” to find his way back to the opening with his fellows.

As we have seen, many of these mythological stories have wonderful analogies for those of us on the Journey to Recovery from the ravages of alcoholism and drug addiction.  The Minotaur, a monster of ugly proportions, could clearly represent our disease, one which was spawned by early life mishaps and one which consumed our loved ones as we trampled through our life in the disease. The act of conquering the disease is the first step, but then we must use the tools, carefully and doggedly working the steps, using the steps as “Ariadne’s Thread,” to find our way to a life of freedom and service. Each of these steps provides us with a wonderful sense of progress in escaping the dread of our lives in the disease.

My wish is that it be universal…that all of us be Theseus…that we find Ariadne’s Thread as the lifelong avenue to a sober life in the Sunshine of the Spirit.

The Council on Recovery’s Successful Outcomes: By the Numbers

Outcomes report for 2017 shows strong and successful results for The Council’s many programs and services:

Overall

  • The Council on Recovery touched 60,241 lives last year.
  • Among clients, 93% are more hopeful about their future after participating in a program or service offered by The Council on Recovery.

Children & Adolescents

  • On average, 85% of children receiving Children’s Clinical Services improve individual well-being, and 67% of caregivers perceive improvement in their child’s overall well-being.
  • 89% of children participating in Kids Camp at The Council increase their ability to communicate with their families.
  • 72% of elementary students participating in The Council’s school-based prevention programs increase their knowledge of life skills.
  • 97% of middle school students participating in school-based prevention programs decrease or maintain no use of alcohol, and 72% increase bonding to positive friendship and groups.
  • 88% of high school students participating in the school based prevention programs decrease substance use.
  • Heavy Drug Use (i.e. cocaine, prescription drugs, etc.) among high school students participating in the Choices program is lower than the national and Houston average.
  • 80% of adolescents participating in the Adolescent Services programs improve their emotional and behavioral well-being.
  • 92% of juvenile probationers participating in the Drug Free Youth program increase their knowledge about the harms of substance abuse, and 92% decrease or maintain no use of alcohol.

Adults & Families

  • 73% of caregivers participating in the Cradles Project improve attitude toward parent-child family roles. 100% of pregnant caregivers report abstinence from alcohol and drugs at delivery.
  • 83% of clients using alcohol that complete a screening session through Outreach, Screening and Referral (OSAR) report an increase or maintain their readiness to change their use behavior.
  • 80% of peers involved with Recovery Support Services report an increase in total recovery capital (strengths) from enrollment to 12-month follow up.
  • 81% of clients completing the Healing Choices Intensive Outpatient treatment (IOP) and Aftercare programs report a decrease in substance abuse symptoms from admission to completion.

Older Adults

  • 100% of service providers would take action to help an older adult with alcohol or drug problem after attending an evidence-based workshop.
  • 98% of older adults and their family members know of at least one place to call if they need help with an alcohol or other drug problem after attending a Wellderly Program presentation.
  • 96% of service providers for older adults indicate that some or all of the information from the Wellderly presentation was new to them.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 43

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 43 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 multi-season show, Stargate SG – 1 and its offshoot, Stargate Atlantis, there is a force to be reckoned with called the Replicators, which are antagonistic self-replicating machines that are driven to replicate themselves by consuming both alloys and technologies of the nearest most advanced civilizations. They grow to destroy the societies which spawned them.  Their original beginnings were a mistake of an earlier species and they prove very difficult to eradicate.

It occurs to me that there is an interesting parallel here with the recurring incidence of the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction in families.  The disease seems to replicate itself in strange ways…it consumes us and our families across generations and among siblings and cousins. Sometimes it skips people in generations or in extended sibling or cousin relationships, but when it does strike, it can be as deadly as it was for the original sufferer.

In the Stargate Atlantis story, the Replicators are finally controlled by the development of a “disruptor gun” which breaks down the electromagnetic bonds inherent in the replicator machinery and causes them to disintegrate. My parallel with the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction and the replicator menace as told in these stories provides an interesting twist here.

We break down the replication of our disease in family structures by getting sober, by developing and maintaining a life of committed sobriety and service, which begins to model new, healthy behavior patterns.  These create a psychological and spiritual force which disrupts the development of the disease in our loved ones, thus breaking down the elements of the disease in the family structures and the tendencies for it to replicate.  Our loved ones absorb these patterns of recovery and service into their psyches and, in time, that helps them deal with their own latent or initiatory tendencies; they can thus avoid the patterns that could lead to future development of the disease.

In 1995, Pete Hamill, a journalist in New York, published a memoir called A Drinking Life.  It is the story of his Irish family’s drinking history, his own early life consumed with alcohol abuse, and his career associated with a community of people of some renown where the one defining constant was alcohol.  He hit a bottom one day and, recalling his familial history with alcohol, he said to himself: “The madness must stop.  The madness stops here,” and he stopped drinking forever.

In our own commitment to sobriety and to a life of service, we help to eradicate the replication of the disease for all future generations.

Kids Camp at The Council December 27-29: A Priceless Gift for Children & Families Impacted By Addiction

The Council on Recovery is offering Kids Camp at The Council, December 27-29. It’s three days of prevention, education, support, and recovery for children ages 7-12 whose lives are impacted by alcoholism or addiction in their families.

Kids Camp at The Council

Kids Camp is facilitated by skilled mental health counselors from The Council’s Center for Recovering Families. It provides children a safe environment in which they learn to identify and express feelings, develop self-care skills, and deepen communication with their parents. Through art, games, role-play, and other fun activities, kids gain important understanding of the disease of addiction. Above all, they learn that what’s going on at home is not their fault and that they are not alone.

Parents join in

On the final day of Kids Camp, parents or caregivers join children and counselors for a portion of Kids Camp that includes parent education and support. Families come away from Kids Camp with new insights and hope for healing.

Kids Camp at The Council
Children’s tile-art from Kids Camp

Addressing a pressing problem

According to the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), an estimated one in four U.S. children under age 18 is regularly exposed to a family with an alcohol or other drug problem. Studies also indicate that children affected by familial addiction are at increased risk of a range of problems including physical illness, emotional disturbances, and susceptibility to alcoholism or other addictions later in life.

Children of addiction may also be at increased risk for physical and emotional neglect and abuse. These problems often translate into difficulties in school. They result in higher rates of school absenteeism, truancy, and suspension. Unfortunately, children are taught to hide their family problems, to pretend that everything is “normal.” Kids may also have learned that adults cannot be relied upon, and they may not ask for help.

Kids Camp at The Council
Children’s tile-art from Kids Camp

A chance to get help

Kids Camp at The Council provides the chance for children to get the help and guidance they need. At the same time, their families can get the help they need to face the impact of addiction in their homes.

Register for Kids Camp

Open to a limited number of children, Kids Camp at The Council is available to all, regardless of ability to pay.  However, it does require registration and assessment prior to enrollment. In addition to the December camp, another Kids Camp at The Council will be held March 14-16, 2019. View the flyer here.

To register or for more information, please contact children@councilonrecovery.org or 281-200-9299.

 

New Study: Hangovers Impair Thoughts & Performance Even After Alcohol Leaves the Bloodstream

According to a recent study, the effects of a hangover from heavy drinking on our thoughts and performance may last longer than originally thought.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, indicates that impairments in cognition observed in drunk individuals still occur the day after a session of heavy drinking, when little to no alcohol present in the bloodstream.

The researchers behind the study at the University of Bath, found that hungover individuals have poorer attention, memory and coordination than when sober. Impairment of psychomotor skills can also occur during a hangover when compared to sober.

The researchers suggest their findings have important implications when it comes to activities performed when hungover, including driving.

For example, while hungover, individuals might assume there’s little to no alcohol left in their system and get behind the wheel of a car. This study suggests there may still be impairment of the cognitive processes necessary for safe driving, even after alcohol is no longer in the bloodstream.

Researchers also warn that such impairments can show up at the workplace. Though most American workplaces have policies regarding intoxication at work, few have policies impairment from hangovers. The study’s authors suggest that employers consider revising those policies for worker safety.

A new report from the Center for Disease Control finds that excessive drinking costs the U.S. economy nearly $250 billion annually. The most significant cost was the lost productivity of hungover workers who either showed up for work barely able to function, or who were unable to show up at all, which cost nearly $90 billion. In total, all forms of lost productivity accounted for about $179 billion of alcohol-related costs.

Craig Gunn of the Department of Psychology and lead author of the study at the University of Bath said, “In our review of 19 studies we found that hangover impaired psychomotor speed, short and long term memory, and sustained attention. Impaired performance in these abilities reflects poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times the day after an evening of heavy drinking. Our review also indicated limited and inconsistent research on alcohol hangover and the need for future studies in the field.”

Senior author Dr Sally Adams added: “Our findings demonstrate that hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills such as concentration and memory.

“These findings also highlight that there is a need for further research in this field where alcohol hangover has implications at the individual level in terms of health and well-being, but also more widely at the national level for safety and the economy,” Adams said.

The researchers are currently examining the true health and economic costs of hangover and associated risks with the next day effects of heavy drinking.

 

The Council’s Speakers Series Luncheons 2000-2018 – A Galaxy of Stars

The Council’s Fall & Spring Luncheon Speakers 2000-2018 [Click for larger images]
The Council on Recovery’s 2018 Fall Luncheon with Alice Cooper was the 36th Luncheon  in the The Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series. Since 2000, the Waggoners Foundation along with, more recently, the Wayne Duddlesten Foundation, have underwritten the production of a Spring and Fall Luncheons. These luncheons have raised millions of dollars over the past 18 years. The Luncheon have been headlined by some of the biggest celebrities of their era, each of whom has entertained and inspired thousands with their recovery stories.

On The Council’s website, we proudly present the complete Galaxy of Stars who have helped us raise awareness and funds over the years. View the list here and enjoy the reminiscence!