Here at The Council on Recovery, we believe in the power of mindfulness to aide us in difficult times. Mindfulness is the act of developing awareness of how we think and process information. We do this through focusing on the moment at hand and letting stillness and silence guide our emotions.
If we’ve taught ourselves or been taught to numb our feelings in response to emotional situations, with substance abuse or other behaviors, we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to understand our mind and body fully. We get to a potentially dangerous state in which we only know what we think and not what we feel.
Just being still for a few minutes every day and getting into a mental headspace in which you allow yourself to process emotions you’ve been potentially withholding can be mentally rejuvenating for anyone in this chaotic world. Every day now we’re overwhelmed with potentially traumatizing information, and lots of it. If it’s not the barrage of information that’s getting to us, it’s social isolation, changing the way we do our work, and more. Taking a step back and processing this information without judgement gives us a better chance at inner peace when it would otherwise seem impossible.
In this podcast episode, we discuss how to deal with negative emotions through mindfulness. At the time of this recording, COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, had just reached the United States. Since then, the virus has become a global pandemic and shaken up daily life, causing uncertainty and anxiety for many people. People who already experience a mental health disorder, including many people in recovery can be especially affected.
Caitlin Payne joins Mel Taylor and Lori Fiester to discuss in detail what mindfulness is and how it can improve your life during times of stress and uncertainty, whether or not you are impacted by addiction.
By Lori Fiester, Clinical Director of the Center for Recovering Families
I have been in the social work field for approximately 32
years and have seen trends come and go in substance abuse treatment settings.
Treatment for substance abuse was primarily geared to the 12 Steps when I first
entered the field, along with licensed chemical dependency counselors. Today we
have a plethora of providers that give a vast array of therapeutic
interventions that can assist those seeking help. Recently, I stumbled upon an opportunity
to learn another intervention that can assist people who want to get sober, are
sober, or are in sustained recovery, called Acudetox.
Acudetox is a five-point acupuncture protocol specifically
designed for those struggling with substance use issues. The acupuncture
needles are gently placed in the ear at specific points. This helps balance the
body’s energy and assists the healing process. It is referred to in Eastern medicine
as a yin tonification, restoring calm inner qualities like serenity. This
process is best done in a group setting lasting from 30-45 minutes and is
non-verbal with minimal interaction from the facilitator.
Acudetox has shown to decrease cravings for alcohol and drugs,
withdrawal symptoms, relapse episodes, anxiety, insomnia and agitation. Even more exciting, the effects can be
immediate. There are usually no side-effects and the intervention is
inexpensive. Clients report relaxation,
stress and craving reduction, mental clarity, an increased sense of wellbeing
and more energy. Programs have reported
more successful completions and less client discharge against medical advice,
along with higher client satisfaction improvement.
This seemed too good to be true, so off I went to get
trained in Acudetox. As a result, I’m a firm believer that this intervention can
assist anyone in the process of recovery. While practicing the protocol, I
experienced immediate relaxation myself and noticed later that my mindless
eating wasn’t as mindless. As I practiced on friends and colleagues, they
reported decreased blood pressure, better sleep and more concentration. Even
those who chose not to have the intervention in the group setting experienced a
meditative state. As a therapist, it’s an interesting shift from talk therapy
to inserting needles, but I see the value as clients become more aware of their
body and their thoughts, and are able to settle more quickly to begin their
The Council is offering Acudetox to clients in The Center for Recovering Families’ Intensive Outpatient Program, and is also now offering appointments open to the general public. Click here for more information on Acudetox or to register for a session.
Clinical Director for the Center for Recovering Families Lori Fiester answers your burning questions about CBD.
If you’ve driven around town lately, you might have seen all the CBD shops that have burst on the scene, or may have seen ads on your favorite social media site selling CBD oils and other such related items.
This surge recently came about due to hemp being legalized in 2018. There seems to be a lot of confusion about that too, especially when you realize that hemp and marijuana come from the cannabis plant. The difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp can only contain 3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Past that percentage, it’s considered marijuana, which is illegal in Texas. While I see the effects of recreational marijuana abuse in my work, I had limited understanding about the what the differences between the substance were, the legalities, and was Cannabidiol (CBD) just another silver bullet. So I thought I’d dip my big toe in the river.
The Science of CBD
First of all, THC and CBD are chemically the same! Twenty-one carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The difference is in a single atom structure. And that single-atom difference is about feeling the psychoactive effects of the substance or not.
There are about 85 known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, which include THC and CBD. A cannabinoid is a compound that interacts within the network of receptors in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which assist to maintain vital functions within the body. There are two receptors in the body called CB1 and CB2. CB1 is found in parts of the brain that is responsible for mental and physiological processes such as memory, cognition, emotion and motor skills. CB2 is found throughout the central nervous system and the immune system.
While both CBD and THC bind to the CB2, they interact with the CB1 receptors differently. THC binds to the CB1 receptors that signals the brain to feel pleasure or ‘high’ feeling. CBD doesn’t bind directly to the CB1 and even its presence will negate the effects of the THC on the brain, meaning you won’t feel high.
Use and Effects
CBD has been linked to assisting with pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, and inflammation, just to name a few. CBD is not regulated by the FDA and there have been no long term studies. There are no known side effects except in drug to drug interaction, i.e. medication.
THC is psychoactive which gives the ‘high,’ and its effects can include relaxation, altered senses, fatigue, hunger and reduced aggression. Long term effects include addiction, impaired thinking and reasoning, a reduced ability to plan and organize, altered decision making, reduced control over impulses and correlates with significant abnormalities in the heart and brain.
Medical THC has been seen to help with the side effects of
chemotherapy, MS, HIV/AIDS, spinal injury, nausea/vomiting, chronic pain,
inflammation and digestive issues.
Marijuana is illegal in Texas although many states have
legalized it for both recreation and medically.
Medical cannabis is legal in Texas in very limited situations. The Texas
Compassionate Use Act came into law in 2015 allowing those affected with
epilepsy, MS, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease have access to cannabis oil
with less than 5% THC.
The Bottom Line is…
While CBD and THC come from the same plant, one is legal in Texas and one is not. It appears that CBD can have positive effects on a person’s health, it is not a psychoactive drug, there are no known side effects, and due to the changes in the law, it is readily available. However, with that being said, there are no guidelines for manufacturing the substance, and there are no long term studies on the effects from taking the substance. I stress the issue of manufacturing due to the serious illness and even deaths we have seen from vaping when this delivery system was off-brand/market and often involving marijuana.
Marijuana is still illegal in Texas, it is a psychoactive and addictive drug and there are many side effects from its use.
To make an appointment for a clinical assessment, or if you have any questions about how we can help you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse, call 713-914-0556 or contact us online.
If your campus, workplace or community would benefit from a presentation, contact us at 281-200-9273 or email@example.com.