Category

addiction

Why is Addiction Considered a “Family Disease”? 

By | addiction, Alcohol rehab, Community, Longmont Drug Rehab, Mental Health, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

While those suffering from addiction are experiencing their own type of hell, the loved ones surrounding them suffer immensely, too. It goes without saying that living with an addict is incredibly difficult. 

When an addict begins to hurt their family, disrespect their siblings and parents, lash out, and challenge boundaries, the other members of the household also change their behaviors. Some may try and help the addict and protect them from getting into trouble, thus becoming the ‘scapegoat’. Others may take on the role of “caretaker” and attempt to compensate for the lack of care given by parents because the parents may be too busy trying to protect the addict. These are only a few examples of the dysfunctional roles that family members can take on when an addict is among them.

 In a recent study done at Texas Tech University, the saying, “addiction is a family disease” has taken on new meaning. Not only is the addict’s brain affected by the addiction, the family members’ brains actually change as well. What the study found is that members of the addict’s family have become sick as a result of the addict’s behavior. Just like when the prefrontal cortex of an addict shuts down when they are faced with temptation or are triggered to use, the family members’ prefrontal cortex  will malfunction when they are attempting to help the addict. Family members actually “crave” rescuing and care-taking of their addicted family member just like the addict craves their substance of choice. 

The conclusion of the study, which took place at Texas Tech, states the following: 

“The present study provides preliminary evidence that family members’ symptomatic behaviors associated with a loved one with a Substance Use Disorder  (such as fear-based behaviors), as hypothesized, may be related to altered brain functioning. Given these findings, problematic symptoms and behaviors may likely not decrease simply because the loved one struggling with a Substance Use Disorder finds abstinence or engages in a process of recovery. Should altered pathways be present in the brains of affected family members as has been found in individuals struggling with Substance Use Disorders, it becomes of great importance to help family members recognize their own personal need for support, ther- apeutic treatment, and/or recovery. Part of the recovery process should include family-based therapeutic support, and it is therefore important to make sure that the appropriate systemic and relationship training is available to helping professionals.” 

This study proves the necessity of the entire family getting treatment, not just the addict. Family members who turn to support groups such as Al-Anon or partake in family therapy have found great success in changing their behavior and learning “the three C’s”: You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it.” If the addict is the only one getting treatment, and then goes back in to an environment where the rest of the family is still unwell, the addict’s likelihood for success goes down. The disease of addiction is viciously contagious, and it is important for everyone who is touched by it to seek help. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Canine Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Addiction

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Canine Assisted Psychotherapy occurs when therapists partner with therapy dogs to enhance the therapeutic experience.  As an Animal Assisted Therapist, I have seen the many ways that dogs can enhance the therapeutic environment through the human animal bond.

 

Research has shown that Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can benefit people with:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Addiction
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Treatment Resistance

 

Dogs also provide unconditional love and acceptance and can promote health and healing when used in therapy. This type of experience provides clients with the opportunity to find self-love, self-acceptance, and can decrease stress and anxiety related to the therapeutic process.

 

Dogs are unique in that they provide immediate feedback to the people they interact with.  They can reflect emotions and in doing so can help people to identify their emotions and practice emotion regulation. This allows clients to practice healthy coping skills and emotion regulation skills within the therapeutic setting with the support of their therapist.

 

In general, the therapeutic experience can be stressful and overwhelming.  The presence of a therapy dog can help to decrease the anxiety clients feel during therapy.  Lastly, the physical activity and dog training that is associated with Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can help to improve physical health, communication, and frustration tolerance.

 

Some of the benefits of Canine Assisted Therapy include the following:

  • Strengthen the therapeutic alliance between therapist and client
  • Increase self confidence
  • Improve psychosocial functioning
  • Decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
  • Decrease Stress
  • Improve communication skills
  • Better Mood
  • Improve anger management
  • Better physical health

 

As an Animal Assisted Therapist, I have seen the many ways that dogs can enhance the therapeutic environment through the human animal bond. The therapeutic experience can be stressful and overwhelming.  The presence of a therapy dog can help to decrease the anxiety clients feel during therapy.

 

Overall, Canine Assisted Psychotherapy can be a beneficial therapeutic practice for many people.  However, it is not for everyone.  Canine Assisted Psychotherapy will only be beneficial if the client is interested in dogs or enjoys dogs. It is important to ensure that both the client and the therapy dog can remain safe and benefit from the therapeutic encounter prior to engaging in canine assisted interventions.

 

The Redpoint Center is a substance abuse treatment center in Longmont, Colorado.  We are lucky to have our own therapy dog named Parker.  Parker is generally in the office on most days of the week and is happy to sit in on a client’s therapy session if he isn’t busy chewing on his toys.

 

For more information on Canine Assisted Psychotherapy please reference the following research:

  • Incorporating animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments for adolescents: A systematic review of canine assisted psychotherapy

Melanie G. Jones, Simon M. Rice, Susan M. Cotton

  • Research on Benefits of Canine-Assisted Therapy for Adults in Nonmilitary Settings

Janet S. Knisely, Sandra B. Barker, and Randolph T. Barker

  • Patient benefit of dog-assisted interventions in health care: a systematic review Martina Lundqvis, Per Carlsson, Rune Sjödahl, Elvar Theodorssonand   Lars-Åke Levin

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

The Redpoint Center Staff’s Favorite Songs About Addiction, Drug Use and Recovery

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Stories of addiction and drug abuse have worked themselves into our culture in the form of books, music, theater and songs for centuries.   Often times, a song we love is actually about addiction and drug abuse and we aren’t even aware of it until we take the time to really look at and listen to the lyrics.  This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that addiction and drug use is common among singers, songwriters and musicians that we listen to on a daily basis.  We also know of a multitude of extremely talented singers and members of popular bands who have died from addiction and drug overdoses., so it is not uncommon to find stories about drug and addiction in their music.

 

Just last month, the staff at The Redpoint Center, an outpatient substance abuse treatment program in Longmont, Colorado, shared their favorite movies about addiction and recovery.  We therefore found the next logical step was for us to recount our favorite songs about addiction, drug use and recovery.  The following is a summary of our musings, in no particular order, along with a link to the song and the staff member who chose it.

 

  • Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind- This song is the title track from the rock band’s self-titled debut album that was released in 1997.  Despite the easy going and peppy pop sound of this song, it is actually about using crystal meth and the shiny looking outside of people who are sick and hurting on the inside.ur medical director, Dr. Honor Ashbaugh.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beINamVRGy4

 

  • Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Under the Bridge” appears on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s fifth album, titled Blood, Sweat, Sex and Magik. Anthony Keidis, the rock band’s lead singer, wrote the lyrics of this song to depict feelings of loneliness and despondency, and to relay the impact that a heroin addiction had on his life.  This song was picked as a favorite by our clinical director, Nikki Summers, and therapist Quddus Maus.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLvohMXgcBo

 

  • Hurt by Nine Inch Nails- Hurt is a song that appears on Nine Inch Nail’s second studio album, The Downward Spiral, released in 1994. The song includes references to self-harm and heroin addiction.  Others contend that the song acts as s suicide note written by the song’s protagonist.  Nonetheless, the entire album is about a period in the singer’s life when he abused drugs and fell into a deep depression.  This song, and the cover by Johnny Cash, was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s founder, Cody Gardner.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPz21cDK7dg

 

  • Hurt cover by Johnny Cash- In 2002, Johnny Cash covered the song “Hurt”.  Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails lead singer, said he was flattered when Johnny Cash wanted to cover this song, but was worried that it was a “bit gimmicky”.  After seeing the video, however, which was best music video of the year by Grammy’s and CMA Awards, Reznor liked what he saw.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pwfnh5pc

 

  • Soul to Squeeze by The Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Soul to Squeeze” was released as a B-side on the The Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away” and “Under the Bridge.” It was then released as a single in 1993.  “Soul to Squeeze” Is thought by some as depicting the entire mental process between addiction and recovery. It focuses heavily on what recovery has to offer rather than glorifying or self-deprecating the addictive thought process.  This was picked  a asfavorite by The Redpoint Center’s Drew Dyer..

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XcN12uVHeQ

 

  • Lost in the Cold by Twiddle- “Lost in the Cold” was also picked as a favorite by Drew Dyer. In his own words, the song reminds him of “grabbing onto the fear of recovery and facing it rather than hiding from it.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0NyOcf7h8c

 

  • Heroin by The Velvet Underground- The song “Heroin” was released by The Velvet Underground on their 1967 debut album called The Velvet Underground & Nico. The song was written by Lou Reed and beautifully depicts heroin use and abuse.  The song “Heroin” neither endorses nor condemns the use of heroin, which has made it a troubling song in the eyes of some listeners.  This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s wellness coordinator, Shane Niemeyer.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFLw26BjDZs

 

  • Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth, by The Dandy Warhols- This song was released in 1997 on the second studio album released by The Dandy Warhols, called The Dandy Warhols Come Down.  The song, according to front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor, was written about his girlfriend (at the time) who got addicted to heroin while he was on tour. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center therapist, Desmond Cohen.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APrpB-i4d_E

 

  • Down on the Bottom by The New Basement Tapes- Down on the Bottom was the first song recorded by The New Basement Tapes on their album titled “Lost on the River.” The lyrics were written by Bob Dylan in 1967, and are interpreted to be about drinking and hitting rock bottom with nowhere to go but up.  This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s Katie Fischer.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXXEG6kY96E

 

  • You’ll Never Walk Alone by The Dropkick Murphy’s- This song first appeared in a 1945 musical called Carousel. It has been covered by many different bands and musicians, and appeared on The Dropkick Murphys album “11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory” when it was released in 2017.  This song, explains bassist and vocalist Ken Casey, came on when he was leaving a wake for a friend who had overdosed on opiates.  It summed up to him how he was feeling at the time- sad but knowing that there is hope. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s therapist Stephanie Winkler.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8SK8JHKn1k

 

  • Lover I Don’t Have to Love by Bright Eyes- “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” was released by the American, Indie Rock band as a single in 2002. The Redpoint Center’s family advocate, Taylor Cole, picked this song as a favorite about addiction and shared her words.  “I listened to this song throughout the throws of my addiction when I was touring with a band the year before I got sober. I knew I was an addict and I was not ready to get sober. I wanted to put myself into so much pain it would force me to get sober or I would just not make it. Every time I listen to it, I remember that feeling and am grateful that I don’t have to live like that anymore.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuXkhE0VMcw

 

  • Staying Alive by Cursive- The song “Staying Alive”, by Cursive, was also picked by Taylor Cole as her favorite song about recover. She quotes, “Bad ass song that makes my insides feel warm and fuzzy. Choosing life and looking forward.”

 

 

  • Suicidal Thoughts by Biggie Smalls- “Suicidal Thoughts” was the last song on the debut album, “Ready to Die”, released by Notorious B.I.G. in 1994. Although not strictly about addiction, the song was listed as very meaningful to The Redpoint Center’s founder, Cody Gardner, who states that he “used to write the verses of this song on all his notebooks” while in rehab.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4M8GjgfG9k

 

  • Alive by Sia- “Alive” is the lead single from the Australian singer songwriter’s 7th studio album, titled “This is Acting.” The Redpoint Center’s admissions director, Rachael Messaros, notes that this song is one of her favorites about recovery. In her words, “On my 6th sobriety birthday I put all of my songs on shuffle, and this song came on. I cried because I was like, holy shit, I survived.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2NgsJrrAyM

 

  • Billy Walker, by Israel Darling- Billy Walker was released in on the album by Israel Darling titled “Dinosaur Bones & Mechanical Hands.” This song was picked as a favorite by one of The Redpoint Center’s therapists, Jay Fullam. In his own words, “I heard this song when I got sober at an open mic.  It really stuck with me and I listened to it regularly during my first year of sobriety.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2rS0chMWFw

 

  • Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young–“Needle and The Damage Done” first appeared on the Harvest album which was released in 1972. This song was written by Neil Young to describe the destruction caused by the heroin addiction of musicians he knew, including his friend and Crazy Horse bandmate, Danny Whitten. It previews the theme of a later album, “Tonight’s the Night”, that expresses Young’s grief over the subsequent overdose deaths of both Whitten and Bruce Berry, who was a roadie for Young and Crazy Horse. This song was picked as a favorite by The Redpoint Center’s Executive Director, Donnie Hagenbart.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd3oqvnDKQk

 

 

  • Rehab by Amy Winehouse- Rehab appeared on Winehouse’s second and final album, Back to Black, in 2006. The lyrics are in fact autobiographical, and describe Winehouse’s refusal to enter into a rehabilitation clinic for substance abuse and addiction. The song won three Grammy awards at the 50th Winehouse, as most know, subsequently died of alcohol poisoning on July 23rd, 2011.  This song was picked as a favorite by one of the Redpoint Center’s adolescent therapists, Bridget Camacho.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc

 

  • Mansion by NF- The song Mansion, by NF (which stands for Nathan Feurstein) is a song on this American rapper’s debut album, titled the same, which was released on March 31, 2015. This song was picked by The Redpoint Center’s Samantha Jackson. In her own words, “I like this song because for so long I was in my head about a lot of things and I thought keeping that to myself was a lot safer than talking about it or getting help. Also, I thought using was a good way to take care of my problems, but it just acted as a temporary fix. This song is a good reminder to myself that I don’t want to be in such a dark place again. It also puts me in the mindset of when I was still using and how much I didn’t like what I was doing.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF5QE3-ox4o

 

 

We hope you enjoy this compilation of The Redpoint Center staff’s favorite songs about addiction, drug abuse and recover.  If you think you or your loved one might have an addiction or problem with drug or alcohol use, The Redpoint Center can help.  Please call us with any questions, as we’re here to help.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

EMDR and its Role in the Treatment of Addiction

By | addiction, Community, Mental Health, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

Helping To Address Trauma During Addiction Treatment

The Redpoint Center is a trauma focused substance abuse treatment center in Longmont, Colorado. We understand that trauma is a risk factor for addiction and substance use disorder. Our treatment of trauma is key in helping individuals recover from their addictions. We use several different types of treatments for trauma, which differ from talk therapy.  One reason talk therapy doesn’t effectively address trauma is that those memories are stored in the hippocampus, part of the mid brain. Our talk therapy doesn’t effectively access these memories stored in the mid brain—it tends to involve utilization of our frontal lobes.

 

Using EMDR to Cope With Trauma and Stress

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy is a helpful tool used to treat trauma. It helps us access and process memories stored in the mid brain. Our use of EMDR is expanding, and helping more people with issues that are causing them distress. We’ve found that people with substance abuse issues commonly have a history of trauma, struggle to cope with stress, and often benefit from EMDR.

Research has shown that EMDR causes changes in the brain chemistry that reverse the damage caused by trauma or acute stress. Bessel van der Kolk, an expert and researcher in the field of brain chemistry and trauma, has performed several brain studies. His work involved taking PET scan photographs of the brain before and after EMDR sessions.

The PET scans of someone who is remembering trauma show the amygdala in the brain to be well lit. This is part of the limbic system (in the mid brain) that is responsible for emotions, survival instincts and memory. The amygdala is well lit when trauma and acute stress exist. It is the “smoke detector” that scans the environment, and lets us know if there is something going on that is relevant to survival.

When people experience a threat, the amygdala becomes activated and is well lit in a PET scan. The frontal lobe, where cognition and understanding take place, is quite dim because the amygdala is more activated. When people are experiencing “normal” memories, the frontal lobe is bright and outshines the amygdala.

 

Studies About the Benefits of EMDR

In one study, van der Kolk had several individuals go through EMDR sessions. Before the sessions, the PET scans showed a brain in a trauma state. After the EMDR sessions, the brain appeared normal when the client was bringing to mind the same stressful event. The memory was no longer held as a traumatic memory but as a normal, processed memory.

We found another study where van der Kolk showed that subjects with a complicated traumatic history, after six EMDR sessions, had greatly reduced PTSD symptoms that continued to decrease even more for up to six months after the study.

We do not know exactly how psychotherapy affects the brain’s neuro-biology. However, we do know that when people are upset, their brains cannot process information normally. EMDR is similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

During REM sleep, the information from the day is being processed. When people experience trauma, the amygdala becomes hyperactive, and stores the traumatic information and memory. This makes it difficult to process this information. EMDR creates the same stimulation that occurs during REM sleep. This assists the brain in processing the trauma or issues related to stress.  The end result is that people see disturbing information in a new and less distressing way.

 

Getting Started with EMDR in Your Treatment

We know addiction is connected to acute stress and often trauma. Once our client has dealt with trauma and acute stress through EMDR, he or she is better able to experience healthy relationships, cope with stress and live a more successful life.  In addition, people can recover from addiction since they are no longer, or less affected, by their distress.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. Learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, by calling 888-509-3153.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter

By | addiction, Community, Media, Mental Health, Misc, Therapy, Treatment | No Comments

It is a common occurrence amongst therapists to joke that if they bring their clients to tears then they know they’ve done something right. We believe that laughter can be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. 

Other reasons why laughing is therapeutic:

Connection: Laughter increases one’s ability to be close with others, and is an expression most often used in a social context. We are 30 times more likely to laugh if we are with another person. Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott said we laugh “to show people that you understand them, that you agree with them, and you are part of the same group with them. You’re laughing to show them you like them, you might even love them. Laughter is doing all that emotional work for you.”

See what else Sophie has to say in her Ted Talk Why We Laugh

Nervous System Regulation: laughter reduces sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight response) and increases parasympathetic system activity, which can relax the whole body, thus reducing the impact of stress on the body and mind.

Read more about laughter and the nervous system here.

Perspective: it offers a new way to look at a situation and

“Humor and laughter can shift perspective and change the way the our mind views or experiences an event.”

Emotional Health

Emotional health, but physical health have been linked to laughter as well.  Norman Cousins, who wrote Anatomy of an Illness (1979), describes his experience using laughter to help him live a longer, and more pain free life while suffering from an illness affecting the immune system. According to Cousins:

  • Laughter:
    • Releases endorphins in the brain that fight physical pain.
    • Protects our immune systems.
    • Increases antibodies that fight infection.
    • Increases natural killer cell activity. Natural killer cells attack cancerous cells in the body.
    • Improves cardiovascular health
    • Activates neuro-chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, acting as a natural antidepressant.

And one final thought; did you know there is something called “Laughter Yoga”? Make sure to check out this Ted Talk by Dr. Madan Kataria, the pioneer of Laughter Yoga, which is now a worldwide practice for improving overall health and wellbeing.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

The Redpoint Center’s Favorite Films about Addiction

By | addiction, Media | No Comments

The Redpoint Center is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Boulder, Colorado. Addiction touches our staff and clients every day. Its impact can be maddening and heartbreaking. Because of this, there are many films that have portrayed addiction and alcoholism. The value of film and TV is the ability to portray the impacts of addiction. For instance, films about addiction can bring an outsider into the world of an addict, helping them to understand in ways that they might not have ever known.

The staff at Redpoint was asked about their favorite films that portray addiction and it’s complex impact on individuals, relationships, and society. Here is a list of our favorites, and the quotes that follow are from the staff that suggested each film.

Similarly with addiction, there is a full range of emotion presented in these films, from tragedy and hopelessness, to humor and healing.

 

Our Movie Picks

  1. Trainspotting “Ewan McGregor’s process of change, and the language he uses, gives us one of the most lifelike portrayals of heroin addiction ever.”
  2. A Cat Named Bob “We love this film because it is a good representation of addiction, and how someone got sober”
  3. Leaving Las Vegas “The brutal truth behind the hopelessness of alcoholism.”
  4. Beautiful Boy “An amazing story from the perspective of the father of a methamphetamine addict”
  5. My Name is Bill W.  “This story about the founder of alcoholics anonymous feels like the best history of AA that you can get.”
  6. Flaked “A just portrayal of an alcoholic”
  7. Requiem for a Dream: “I think it evokes the feelings that one feels in the throes of addiction.”
  8. Spun: “A wild trip into the world of methamphetamine, and an exploration of innocent intentions that warp into unspeakable consequences.”

 

In conclusion, what are the most meaningful depictions of addiction that you’ve seen portrayed in film/TV/literature?

Fly Fishing as a Component of Substance Abuse Recovery

By | addiction

Spending Time Outdoors

Despite the challenges of working in the addiction field, I feel so blessed to have a career which allows me to integrate my passions. I love to expose the people I work with to fly fishing, as a set of self-care tools they can use in their daily lives and recovery.

At The Redpoint Center, we provide outdoor-based skills to help our participants explore Colorado as an element of their recovery process. From personal experience, I believe that spending time outside is necessary in all aspects of recovery and well-being. My story illustrates how fly fishing has been an important part of recovery from my substance abuse and addiction—it could be part of your recover, too.

 

On the River Bank

Deep in a forested canyon, I stood on the Blue river, gazing out to the flowing waters and the shores of the river widened. On this bank, I feel grounded and connected to my recovered spirit. On this day, I could hear the power of the water, and could see the calming riffles steady into a slow, spiraling eddy. Watching intently, my eyes caught flashes of rising trout, and emerging mayflies that were preparing to take flight from the water’s surface.

It was early June, and I had just walked two miles down a steep trail, lined by red willows, pines, and bright orange algae-covered granite rocks. The birds sang a taunting song of laughter that only a humbled angler can really appreciate. The birds are the true fishermen of the canyon, but allow for the rarely skilled two legged to impress.

 

Finding Connection

I opened my fly box, and reached for a reliable dry fly pattern. As I gauged the distance to the feeding trout, I measured ten feet of leader to the eyelet of the rod, and pulled out an extra fifteen feet of fly line. Finally, I began taking cautious casts with my right hand, back and forth over my left shoulder.

Allowing the line to release organically, I dropped the fly in the riffle between the fast moving water flowed into the eddy. There was a slow rise five feet to the right, a few moments passed, and then another two feet to the left. I recasted. Then, I watched nervously for a moment, and suddenly felt the line go taught. In an instant, I am connected to the natural world in a way I can never quite predict.

 

My Catch

The fish jumps powerfully out of the water. I see the brown, yellow, and red mosaic tattooed on the fish’s left side. It is a German brown trout. I allow the fish to make a run, and as soon as I feel him begin to slow, I begin reeling line in. He makes one more tremendous run, but I patiently pressure him back toward the slow water I am standing below. I approach cautiously, and as gracefully as I can, I slip my net under him. Next, I gently remove the fly from the fish’s lip which is considerably worn but intact. I immediately notice the fish’s radiant beauty.

I hold him up, and take a mental snap shot of the browns and reds painted perfectly across the body, matching the rocks and willows on the shoreline. Then, I gently move my thumb over a glossy blue spot tucked behind the eye of fish as I lower him back into the water. The fish and I share one last moment, as I rock it back and forth, moving water back into its gills. The fish builds strength and returns into the run where his comrades continue to feed.

 

Finding Joy on the River

While I sit down on the side of the river, I feel a wave of sun on my face, and let go of a breath that I have been holding in for what feels like month. My attitude shifts to one of gratitude. I appreciate that just yesterday, I was a crustacean on a bar stool drinking mercilessly in spite of the world. By the river, I feel at home, full of pure, unadulterated joy. These moments on the river are what I spent tireless hours chasing while staying up late into the night pounding whisky, doing cocaine, and funneling pills into my gut.

 

Saving Grace for My Recovery

Fly fishing has been a saving grace for my recovery in a number of ways. In my thirty years on this planet, it feels like I have participated in almost every sport or outdoor activity under the sun. However, nothing has inspired and focused my mind like the pursuit of connecting to the natural world via rod and reel. Fly fishing disconnects one from technology, disrupts the monotony of a daily routine, and stimulates physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

Scientific Effects of Fly-Fishing

In 2008, Herbert Benson MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, found that one of the most critical ways to reduce stress is “breaking the train of everyday thinking.” Benson’s theory studied cortisol levels before and after activities that provoke a relaxation response. He defined the relaxation response as “a purposeful initiation of a physical state of deep rest that changes a persons physical and emotional response to stress.”

Benson, an avid fly fisherman, qualified fly-fishing as a “beautiful way” of evoking the relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system. Over the course of eight weeks, his research study monitored cortisol levels in people engaging in fly-fishing as a relaxation response. At the end of the eight weeks, he found that over half of the sample group actually had decreased cortisol levels. Much of this study’s findings are important in how we, as addicted people, continue to improve our lives and the lives of newcomers who walk in our doors at the Redpoint Center.

 

Recreation as Meditation

As a person in “long term” recovery since 2011 (I still VERY MUCH feel like a beginner), I have been fortunate enough to study addiction and recovery personally and academically. In 2017, I received my masters degree in Contemplative psychotherapy, a program that studies the disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism and western psychology. Naturally, I was exposed to a lot of meditation and have spent the last seven years of my life practicing a vippasana style of meditation.

Although sports and hobbies are not meditation, fly fishing is still a deeply meditative experience for me, and evokes Benson’s “relaxation response.” Calming activities include the back and forth casting motion, the attentiveness required for learning river ecology, and the deep in and out breaths required for patience and persistence. These can help the fisherman to access the present moment if they are willing to humble themselves to the outdoors.

 

Incorporating Fly-Fishing in Your Recovery

There have been a number of incredible fly-fishing inspired organizations. They are using the healing methods of fly fishing. These include Casting for Recovery for women with breast cancer, and Project Healing Waters who work with disabled active military personnel and disabled veterans. However, the door is still wide open for an addiction and recovery sponsored fly-fishing initiative. With overdoses rising nationally each year (70,237 in 2017 according to drugabuse.gov) any and all positive efforts are needed now more than ever. For that reason, we are beginning to incorporate fly fishing at The Redpoint Center.

I find incredible symbolism in fly fishing, and I use some of these lessons with adult and adolescent clients I work with therapeutically. Many who walk into the The Redpoint Center have experienced immense tragedy and feel a sense of failure. But in fishing, as in recovery, our failures teach us just as much as our successes. We try to help our clients see that if they accept some simple instructions, they can hook into a new life pretty quickly.

 

Get Started on your Journey

The Redpoint Center does a remarkable job of supporting its clients to regularly get outside. We invite both staff and participants to bring all of themselves, the good, the bad, and the awkward. Please come work with our team and call our admissions line for questions regarding the services we offer.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Do I have a Drinking Problem?

By | addiction

At The Redpoint Center, one of the most common addictions we treat is Alcohol Use Disorder. The main reason for this is the high prevalence and societal acceptance of alcohol use in our country.

In 2016, the United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that of Americans over the age of 12:

  • 7 million reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • 3 million reported binge drinking (defined as drinking 4 or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days for women, and 5 or more for men).
  • 3 million reported heavy drinking (defined as binge drinking on five or more days in the past 30 days).

These statistics illustrate the societal acceptance and prevalence of alcohol use in our country, but what they don’t tell us is how many of these individuals have a problem with drinking. Most of us are familiar with the term alcoholism as a description of an addiction to alcohol. The term alcoholism is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as follows:

Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.

The term alcoholism, however, has recently been replaced by the term Alcohol Use Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V). In the DSM-V, Alcohol Use Disorder can be further separated into mild, moderate or severe categories depending on the number of listed criteria that a person endorses.

The list that follows includes the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder in the DSM-V. These are the symptoms that doctor look for when determining whether someone has a drinking problem, or Alcohol Use Disorder.

Read through the following explanations and count the number of statements that apply to your (or your loved ones) drinking habits over the past 12 months. This list applies to both adolescents and adults. The endorsement of two or more of the following criteria indicates a problematic pattern of alcohol use.

  • Often drinking larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  • Spending a great deal of time in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of alcohol.
  • Craving alcohol or a strong desire or urge to drink alcohol.
  • Recurrent use of alcohol results in a failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  • Giving up or reducing important social, occupational or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  • Recurrent use of alcohol in situations where it is physically hazardous to do so.
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol use.
  • Tolerance to alcohol, which is the phenomenon of needing to use increasing amounts of alcohol to get the desired effect.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when alcohol consumption is stopped.

If you endorsed, or can relate to, 2 or more of the above statements, you might have an Alcohol Use Disorder. Severity of Alcohol Use Disorder is measured in terms of the number of items endorsed.

Yes to 2 or 3 items: Mild Alcohol Use Disorder

Yes to 4 or 5 items: Moderate Alcohol Use Disorder

Yes to 6 or more items: Severe Alcohol Use Disorder

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

By | addiction

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

At the Redpoint Center, Alcohol Use Disorder is the most common type of substance abuse disorder that we treat. For this reason, our staff is familiar with the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and know when to refer clients to see our medical director or to a higher level of care.

Many people with Alcohol Use Disorder do not manifest symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when they stop drinking. In fact, it is estimated that only around half of people with alcohol use disorder experience withdrawal when they stop consuming alcohol.

Some predictors of alcohol withdrawal are as follows:

  • How often a person drinks
  • How frequently a person drinks
  • The presence of alcohol related medical problems
  • The severity of the dependence on alcohol
  • A history of alcohol withdrawal in the past
  • A history of alcohol withdrawal seizures or delirium tremens

Like most medical conditions, the severity of alcohol withdrawal varies between individuals and depending on the above variables. In most cases, alcohol withdrawal is mild, but 20% of individuals undergoing alcohol withdrawal experience severe symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations or delirium tremens.

In most cases, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin within 6 to 24 hours of the cessation of drinking or a sudden reduction in the amount of alcohol consumption.

Mild alcohol withdrawal is the most frequently seen type of alcohol withdrawal. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety, agitation and/or restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Tremor (the shakes)
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Craving more alcohol

Alcohol hallucinosis is a more severe type of alcohol withdrawal that typically occurs between 12 and 24 hours after the cessation of alcohol consumption or a sudden decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. The risk for alcohol hallucinosis may be partly determined by genetics and /or a decrease in thiamine absorption.

Alcohol hallucinosis typically involves visual hallucinations, often involving insects or animals, but auditory or tactile hallucinations (feeling something crawling on your skin) can occur as well. These hallucinations typically resolve within 24 to 48 hours.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures are a worrisome type of alcohol withdrawal, and occur in 10-30% of individuals in alcohol withdrawal. The seizures are typically tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal) and occur in clusters of 2 or 3.

Alcohol withdrawal seizures can occur between 6 and 48 hours of the cessation of alcohol consumption or a sudden decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. Personal history of an alcohol withdrawal seizure greatly increases the likelihood of recurrence in subsequent episodes of alcohol withdrawal.

Delirium Tremens, or DT’s, is the most severe type of alcohol withdrawal and can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner. Delirium Tremens typically doesn’t occur until 72 to 96 hours after the cessation of drinking or a significant decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. Signs and symptoms of Delirium Tremens are as follows:

  • The rapid onset of fluctuating cognition and attention in the face of alcohol withdrawal
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drenching sweats
  • Increased blood pressure

As noted above, Delirium Tremens can be fatal. In fact, the fatality rate has historically been as high as 20%, but with appropriate medical treatment can be as low as 1-4%.

Any sign of alcohol withdrawal is very concerning and requires immediate medical attention. Proper evaluation by a medical professional can determine the appropriate type of care needed, which may range from home management to formal alcohol detox or hospitalization.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, Mental Health problems, The Redpoint Center is here to help. The Redpoint Center treats both adults and youth struggling with addiction and alcohol. To learn more about our Longmont Drug Rehab, call 888-509-3153.

Thinking About Rehab

By | addiction, Therapy, Treatment

If you have started thinking about going to addiction treatment or alcohol treatment, you have begun a journey that is often very difficult, and you will likely waver back and forth. We know that taking this step is the start of a wonderful new life and only those who are brave and committed will see it through. Below are some tips from those who have considered this step in their life.

When thinking about drug rehab or alcohol rehab it is important to first understand what the options are that exist. Below is the basic continuum of care provided for substance abuse treatment, if you or someone you know is thinking about rehab, the first step is to speak to someone who can assess you for which level of care is the best fit (note, there does exist other types of treatment, but below are the ASAM levels of care):

  • Detoxification, otherwise known as detox:
    • Detox is usually a 3-7 day medical process that can be done in a hospital setting or in a house setting.
    • Detox is always overseen by a licensed medical doctor and registered nurses.
    • Detox is designed to help someone become physically free and clear of the drugs and/or alcohol.
    • Detox generally will have some type of group therapy and case management designed to help figure out next steps and aftercare.
  • RTC or Primary Residential Treatment:
    • RTC is the general type of rehab we think of when we think of treatment.
    • RTC usually lasts between 30 and 90 days.
    • Generally RTC has a medical provider onsite and includes group and individual therapy.
    • RTC is designed to continue stabilizing, educating and preparing the person for aftercare.
    • RTC can include many holistic therapies such as equine, yoga, nutrition, etc.
    • Although the majority of Americans believe that RTC is the main type of treatment, there is no evidence anywhere that 30 days of treatment can fix or solve what for most people is a multi-year, sometimes multi-decade condition.
  • PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) or Day Treatment:
    • PHP Is generally the next stepdown level from RTC and it includes a person living at home and attending 5 days per week, 5 hours per day or outpatient treatment.
    • PHP includes medical services, case management, group therapy and individual addiction therapy.
    • This can be done for those that cannot leave their job or home for 30-90 days.
    • This also can be done as a stepdown for those coming from RTC and re-integrating.
    • PHP Generally last 2-4 weeks.
  • IOP (Intensive Outpatient):
    • IOP consists of 3 days per week for 3 hours per day.
    • This level of care can be completed for most without having to sacrifice their jobs or families.
    • IOP generally can be found both mornings and evenings.
    • IOP can be completed at a rate of 5 days per week in certain situations.
    • IOP generally includes individual therapy, group therapy, case management and urine drug testing.
    • IOP generally lasts a minimum of 90 days.
    • IOP generally does not include medical or nursing services.
  • OP (Outpatient):
    • Outpatient care can be anything that is less than 9 hours (IOP) level of care.
    • OP generally consists of 1-2 group therapy sessions, ongoing urine drug testing, case management and individual therapy.

At The Redpoint Center, located in Longmont Colorado, we believe that people come to us needing specific treatment planning and services for their lives. Although we offer “PHP” and “IOP” levels of care, we believe that we are much more than an IOP. During treatment with us each participant will receive the above outlined PHP/IOP services as well as individualized nutrition, fitness, recovery coaching, family and medical services. We believe that as each person comes with unique needs, creating a compelling vision for each person’s future begins with individualized, high quality, recovery-oriented services.
If you or someone you know is thinking about rehab in Colorado or drug rehab near me, or anywhere in the country, call us at (888) 509-3153 to speak with a highly trained admissions coordinator. If our services don’t fit, we will personally help you find resources that do.