Andrew McCarthy Captivates Supporters at The Council on Recovery’s 36th Waggoner’s Foundation Speaker Series Luncheon

Andrew McCarthy at Council Luncheon
Andrew McCarthy captivates The Council’s 2019 Spring Luncheon

The excited buzz among the crowd after The Council on Recovery’s Spring Luncheon confirmed it: Andrew McCarthy was one the best speakers The Council has ever had! Speaking on Friday, April 12th, the actor, director, producer, and an award winning travel writer opened up about his personal struggle with alcohol and drugs, as well as the many gifts of his 27 years of sobriety.

Andrew was preceded on the stage by Luncheon Co-chairs, Bob Candito and Amanda Polich, each of whom shared their own personal stories of hope and recovery. Their heartfelt remarks were followed by an exuberant introduction by Jerri Duddlesten-Moore, who spoke of Andrew McCarthy’s decades of achievement and fame. From his iconic films Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Less Than Zero to his work as an actor and director of some of today’s most popular and acclaimed television shows to his award-winning writing as a travel journalist, Andrew’s trajectory of success is of inspiration to all.

Bounding to the stage, Andrew immediately thanked and praised The Council, saying, “… it obviously does some amazing work for the community. The Council is such a solid, strong, dependable, in-the-fiber-of-the-community place, that it’s a real cornerstone. It’s impossible to measure actually what The Council does…or really know how many people The Council is really helping. But, it would be hard to imagine if it wasn’t.”

Andrew then proceeded to captivate the audience of 900+ people with an intimate and revelatory story of his experience with alcohol and drugs from the age of 17 until he became sober at age 29. He related the highs and lows of a life that was dominated by alcoholism until a defining moment in 1992 when he finally asked for help. At the time, he was directed to an organization in New York City that he likened to The Council.

“That’s why I say The Council being there is so great. Because when that moment comes, there has to be somewhere to catch us,” Andrew said, “otherwise we fall.”

In early recovery, Andrew said he did exactly what he was told, including going to support groups. Within a couple of years…”my life started to get better”, he said, “…95% of my seemingly unrelated problems had disappeared by simply showing up, doing what’s in front of me that day, and then going to bed. And waking up and then doing what’s in front of me the next day.”

“In sobriety,” Andrew said, “I was able to find out that if I do the next right thing in front of me, I can have the opportunity to be who I am.”

Andrew’s inspiring message of hope, experience, and strength received a standing ovation from the audience who were clearly touched by his invaluable words of grateful recovery.

Read more about the Waggoner’s Foundation Speaker Series here and scroll through the galaxy of celebrities who have spoken at The Council’s Luncheons.

12 Tips for Partying Sober During the Holidays

For a recovering addict or alcoholic, holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s can be annual versions of The Bermuda Triangle. To stay out of the danger zone, it is best to prepare yourself for the potential threats to your sobriety before you encounter them. Here are 12 Tips you can follow for partying sober during the holidays:

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom from Want,” 1943.
Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” March 6, 1943. Photo Credit www.nrm.org.

1-Prepare your mind

Have a few lines handy for when someone offers you a drink at a holiday party. “No thank you, but I’ll take a Coke.” If you are constantly asked, be repetitive and consistent with your answers and answer firmly, “No.”

2-Volunteer

Spend time helping at a soup kitchen or helping children’s charities. You’ll find that giving your time will feel amazing and still give you the ability to be social during the holiday season.

3-Be the designated driver for the evening

By being the designated driver, this will make you look responsible and will prevent more people from asking you to drink with them.

Continue reading “12 Tips for Partying Sober During the Holidays”

Binge Drinking: A Big Problem for Young Adults Not in College

There is a public health crisis plaguing the U.S. once again, binge drinking. People who binge drink may not do so during the regular weekdays, but may consume excessive amounts over the weekend. Binge drinking is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. An estimated 88,000 people die from excessive alcohol use each year.

In 1998, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) gathered a task force to solve problems related to binge drinking in college. They analyzed behaviors of college students between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age. Their 2002 study found that from 1999 to 2005, the percentage of college students who reported binge drinking rose from 42 percent to 45 percent. These numbers then declined to 37 percent by 2014. These improved statistics seemed promising, but another demographic became an even greater cause for concern.

Recently, binge drinking for non-college young adults has increased from 36 percent to 40 percent. Young men are twice more likely to binge drink than young women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Representation of how many people binge drink in the U.S.; categorized by age. Photo Credit: CDC.

Ralph Hingson, the creator of the CDC study, believes that this group of young adults are binge drinking more because they don’t have as many organizational involvement in their spare time. Binge drinking is not only a problem in adolescents and young adults but in every age demographic in the U.S.

“People often don’t recognize binge drinking as a problem because it’s not a daily thing,” Gregory Smith, M.D. stated in an interview with Men’s Fitness.

The following are signs that a person is a binge drinker:

Becoming a big risk taker

The person may act out of character and make bad decisions that lead to an increased possibility of contracting an STD or getting a DUI.

Drinking heavily every weekend

Abstaining from drinking during the week does not make it a wise decision to drink eight drinks in one night as a reward. Excessive drinking can lead to raised blood pressure, increase the risks of cancer, and interfere with medication.

Exceeding your alcohol limit

If the drinker has difficulty sticking with a planned number of drinks or doesn’t remember how many they’ve had, there is a problem.

Black Out

Heavy drinking interferes with a brain messenger called glutamate which is linked to memory. If the drinker cannot remember events of the night, he/she may have experienced a blackout.

Neglecting your responsibilities

If the person is usually hard-working, dedicated to his/her goals, but has replaced those characteristics with hangovers and drunken happy hours, there is a drinking problem.

About 22 million people need treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, but less than 1% actually receive treatment. If you know someone who needs us, please contact The Council on Recovery at 713.914.0556 for assistance.

The Healing Power of Laughter

There are many ways to improve one’s health. Perhaps one of the most effective options is laughter. Humorous thoughts can decrease anger because it is hard to be angry while laughing. Anger and humor are incompatible mood states just like anxiety and relaxation. Humor can also be used to manage conflict. Using lighthearted humor to deliver bad news can decrease tension and anger. In fact, laughter is becoming one of the most popular additional treatments for people struggling with chronic mental and physical health issues.

Laughter Yoga has been a growing trend over the past decade. The traditional breathing exercises used during yoga are used in order to oxygenate the body and its organs. The breathing and laughter exercises are equivalent to the effects of a cardio workout by increasing energy and relaxation throughout the body.  You do not have to be in the mood to laugh in order to participate in Laughter Yoga. The exercises make you laugh until it becomes contagious.

Laughing releases endorphins from your brain, reduces the level of stress in your body, and strengthens the immune system.  It is proven that laughter therapy, also known as humor therapy, can reduce negativity, emotional stress, and physical discomfort.

Life can sometimes offer tragic and impossible situations, but laughter can give you relief through those dark times. Comedians have the power to make audiences laugh even when life isn’t funny. They have the skill to give a different perspective using their experiences and unique interpretations.

In 2012, comedienne Tig Notaro was nominated for an Emmy for her stand up entitled, “Live,” where she performed just two weeks after learning the news that she had stage two breast cancer. She used this stand up to process her reality and to experience laughter in a time of darkness.

“She has this way of dropping her jokes that are – they’re wonderful, deadly jokes. And they’re about small things usually, like bees and drapes, but they’re incredible,” said fellow comedian Louis C.K. in an NPR interview. “So here she is applying it to something really big. It was an incredible example of what comedy is good at, which is taking people to the scary parts of their mind and making them laugh in those scary places.”

Rich Vos performing at The Stress Factory Comedy Club
Rich Vos performing at The Stress Factory Comedy Club on March 27, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Come and find healing through laughter at the Sober Recreation Committee’s annual Addicted to Comedy show on Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 8 pm – 10 pm. Comedian Rich Vos will be headlining the event. He has written for the Oscars twice and has been seen on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central. Being 31 years sober from drug and alcohol addiction, he knows all about laughing through the darkness.  All proceeds from the show will go towards the Sober Recreation Committee (SRC).

To register for this event click here.

For more information about services offered at The Council on Recovery, visit www.councilonrecovery.org.

The Council on Recovery Deploys Social Workers to Area Shelters to Help Evacuees Deal with Emotional Impact of Storm

The Council on Recovery, the area’s leading non-profit provider of addiction and mental health services, has rapidly deployed many of its counselors and social workers to area shelters to help evacuees cope with the emotional impact of Tropical Storm Harvey. The Council has also sent recovery coaches and volunteers to shelters to help facilitate on-site support groups for flood victims who are struggling with addiction in the aftermath of the storm.

The Council’s president & CEO, Mel Taylor, said the immediate deployment of counselors and social workers is vital to the physical and emotional well-being of storm evacuees. “Our shelters are full of people who have experienced physical and mental trauma as the result of the storm,” Taylor said. “When the reality of their situation sets in, many may experience emotional anguish and our professional social workers are there to help them deal with it.”

Taylor said that among those at the shelters may be individuals suffering the effects of withdrawal from alcohol or drug use, especially after several days without those substances. “People with substance use disorders, such as opioid addiction or active alcoholism may be suffering from symptoms of withdrawal or detoxification,” Taylor said. “We trust medical care will be provided to those who need it, but our clinicians, who are highly-trained in these matters, will help will seek out resources for and provide counsel to shelter residents who need help with alcoholism, addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders.”

“Our recovery coaches and volunteers are on-site at area shelters to facilitate support groups for people who need to process what’s currently happening in their lives,” Taylor said. “The importance of participating in these 12-Step meetings during this difficult time cannot be understated,” he added, “and we’re doing everything we can to make sure people have a safe and confidential place where they can share their experience, strength, and hope.”

In addition to providing services at area shelters, The Council on Recovery’s main campus at 303 Jackson Hill is open and providing counseling services to the entire community.

Rob Lowe to Speak at The Council on Recovery’s Fall Luncheon, October 20, 2017

Rob Lowe - Fall Luncheon Speaker

The Council on Recovery announces that Rob Lowe will be the keynote speaker at its Fall Luncheon, Friday, October 20, 2017, at the Hilton Americas—Houston Hotel. This is the 35th Annual Luncheon in the Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series and is presented by the Wayne Duddlesten Foundation. Proceeds from the Luncheon will fund The Council’s programs that help individuals and families affected by alcoholism, drug abuse, other addictions, and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Rob Lowe began his national acting career in the 1979 television series, A New Kind of Family. In his rise to fame that followed, Lowe has become one of Hollywood’s most highly-acclaimed triple threats – as an actor, author, and producer. Rob’s brilliant career includes Continue reading “Rob Lowe to Speak at The Council on Recovery’s Fall Luncheon, October 20, 2017”