Blog

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, The Council on Recovery encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.

In Texas alone, there have been 1,024 drunk driving fatalities over the past year. Of these deaths, nearly half were fatalities to people other than the drunk driver, including passengers, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles. The devastating impact of driving under the influence spreads far beyond the driver alone.

During Alcohol Awareness Month, The Council on Recovery urges everyone to take a look at their own use of alcohol and what it means to drink responsibly. Especially, don’t drink and drive.

If you or a loved one are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:

  • Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, offer to help.

If you or a loved one wants to stop drinking, The Council on Recovery offers many effective outpatient treatment options, including intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), individual counseling, and group therapy. We also facilitate interventions and offer many prevention and education programs related to alcohol and substance use disorders.


For more information, call The Council on Recovery at 713-942-4100 or contact us online.

Do You Know the Signs & Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder?

The term “substance use disorder” is frequently used to describe misuse, dependence, and addiction to alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs. While the substances may vary, the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder are the same. Do you know what they are?

First a few definitions: Signs are the outwardly observable behaviors or consequences related to the use of the substance. Symptoms are the personal, subjective experiences related to the use of the substance. A substance use disorder (or SUD) is a clustering of two or more signs and symptoms related to the use of a substance.

The Recovery Research Institute recently published the signs and symptoms of SUD cited by the American Psychiatric Association. These include:

  1. Problems controlling alcohol use, drinking larger amounts, at higher frequency, or for longer than one intended.
  2. Problems controlling alcohol use despite:
    • The desire to cut-down or quit
    • The knowledge that continued alcohol use is causing problems such as:
      • Persistent or reoccurring physical or psychological problems
      • Persistent or reoccurring interpersonal problems or harm to relationships
      • The inability to carry out major obligations at home, work, or school
  3. The development of:
    • Cravings: A powerful & strong psychological desire to consume alcohol or engage in an activity; a symptom of the abnormal brain adaptions (neuroadaptations) that result from addiction. The brain becomes accustomed to the presence of a substance, which when absent, produces a manifest psychological desire to obtain and consume it.
    • Tolerance: A normal neurobiological adaptation process characterized by the brain’s attempt to accommodate abnormally high exposure to alcohol. Tolerance results in a need to increase the dosage of alcohol overtime to obtain the same original effect obtained at a lower dose. A state in which alcohol produces a diminishing biological or behavioral response (e.g. an increasingly higher dosage is needed to produce the same euphoric effect experienced initially).
    • Withdrawal symptoms: Physical, cognitive, and affective symptoms that occur after chronic use of alcohol is reduced abruptly or stopped among individuals who have developed tolerance to alcohol.
  4. Alcohol use that leads to risky or physically hazardous situations (e.g. driving under the influence)
  5. Spending large amounts of time obtaining alcohol
  6. Reducing or stopping important social/occupational/recreational activities due to alcohol use

If you or a loved have experienced the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder, and need help, call The Council on Recovery at 713-942-4100 or contact us online.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 52

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 52 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.

The ultimate tragedy of alcohol and drug addiction is that some sufferers never achieve long-term, committed sobriety.  The end for most of them is catastrophe, an ugly, untimely demise occasioned by incidents of devastation for friends and family alike.

In the multi-season cable TV series, Breaking Bad, Walter White is a highly qualified, timid high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His knowledge of physics, chemistry and the related sciences is extraordinary. But missteps and fear in his earlier life kept him from achieving wealth and fame in the high-tech business world, a series of conditions for which he harbored deep resentments against his peers who were successful.

Early in the series, Walter is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Over subsequent episodes this triggers a massive mind shift; occasioned by a surge of hopelessness and fear for his family, he develops a hard aggressive edge.  Meeting a former student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a drug dealer, he decides to use his chemistry expertise to manufacture an extremely pure and highly popular form of crystal methamphetamine.  With Jesse, he builds a successful illicit drug business, accumulates massive amounts of cash, and eventually becomes a person of some renown for his skill and ruthlessness throughout the Southwestern United States. This all happens over many episodes with fascinating subplots of death and devastation to people both closely, and remotely, connected to Walter. 

Another interesting element is that he remains anonymous through most of these episodes, even to his brother-in-law who is a senior DEA agent.  His street name becomes Heisenberg, recalling the German scientist who ran the Nazi attempts to build a nuclear bomb, the individual whose existence in the waning years of WWII created a fear that drove the Manhattan A-Bomb Project for the United States.

The process of Walter’s descent into such depravity, through so many episodes, seems a spectacular characterization of the descent of many of us into the deep dark terrors of alcoholism and drug addiction.  In truth, we became our own Heisenbergs within our families and the circles of our associates and friends.

On a few occasions, Walter attempts to remove himself from the business, but his success and renown, and the sense of power that it gives him, pulls him back.  He has become addicted to that sense of power and is unable to resist its pull. The addictive element of that sense is unmanageable…precisely as the addiction to alcohol and drugs became unmanageable to all of us in our disease.  This same addiction, this addiction to power, is also one that many of us felt in our earlier alcoholic lives; it may have even accelerated our own descents into the abyss.

But, tragically, Walter does not recover.  By the end of the series, he has destroyed all of those whom he believed wronged him in his life…and, more severely, he has destroyed everything and everyone that he ever held dear. It all becomes a grim reminder for all of us as to what could have happened if we didn’t get sober when we did.

Pediatricians Can Do More to Prevent & Reduce Adolescent Substance Use

Adolescent substance use has begun to boil over in many parts of the country. Concerned parents, spurred-on by tragic stories from the opioid epidemic, are desperate to turn down the heat and protect adolescents from harm.

Among the adults searching for answers is one important group who can do more to prevent and reduce adolescent substance use: Primary care physicians and, more specifically, pediatricians.

Pediatricians routinely see patients for annual checkups, often treating the same children from birth to high school graduation. During these regular visits, they have both the opportunity to talk with adolescents and an existing relationship with them that can make conversations about substance use seem natural and easy. As such, adolescents can feel comfortable talking to pediatricians about drinking and drug use because anything they say is just between them and their doctor (unless the patient is in imminent danger).

During such confidential discussions, pediatricians have an invaluable opportunity to give their young patients information about drinking and drug use, and how it can affect their health. A quick chat about the effect of alcohol and drugs on the developing adolescent brain can greatly influence teenage decisions to either abstain or seek help if substance use is an emerging problem. In those cases, pediatricians can immediately refer them any help they need, such as putting them in touch with a mental health professional or treatment provider.

Research shows that these types of conversations between pediatricians and young people are an effective means of reducing substance-use rates. The Council on Recovery strongly supports making it standard practice for pediatricians to discuss substance use with their adolescent patients.

The Council on Recovery provides a wide range prevention and education resources aimed reducing substance use, especially among adolescents and young adults. For more information about The Council’s Prevention & Education Programs , please call 713-942-4100, email education@councilonrecovery.org  or contact us online.

Infographic: 11 Myths About Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Here are some of the popular misconceptions about NA that contribute to a lack of attention to the organization as a recovery support resource:

The Council on Recovery believes that Twelve-Step programs, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), play a vital role in the recovery process. We strongly recommend attendance of Twelve-Step meetings to our clients. However, the meetings and groups themselves are entirely autonomous and are not affiliated with The Council beyond our provision of space for them to hold their meetings.

For a complete listing of Twelve-Step meetings held each week at The Council, including Narcotics Anonymous, click here:

If you or a loved one has an alcohol or drug problem, and need help, call The Council on Recovery at 713-942-4100 or contact us online.