Medicine Wheel Clinic - 770-277-7958
85 Auburn Park Drive, Auburn, GA 30011
$13 per day. Intake on Fridays 5:30am-10:00am. No intake fee Feb-April 2023!
Medicine Wheel Clinic Self-Care Corner
Information About Self-Care, Substance Misuse, Behavioral Modification, Medication Assisted Treatment, and more.
Welcome To the Medicine Wheel Clinic Self-Care Corner!
We will be posting information on self care, mental health, addiction, and more. Our hope is to provide more options for patients to have a better understanding of their condition and things they can do to improve quality of life. The information found on this website is not meant to take place of medical advice from a professional. We are also not endorsing any individuals, schools, organizations, businesses or their practices or other content by posting this material. It's just a place to share interesting videos and articles our staff has come across related to addiction and self-care. We hope to post here regularly, but time will tell. Thanks for reading :)
The Intersection of Substance Use Disorder and Family Violence
On 02/28/2023, Medicine Wheel Clinic recently participated in the all-day DBHDD Learning event entitled "Understanding the Intersection of Family Violence and Substance Abuse", presented by Dr. Gary K. Byrd. There is a very strong connection between Substance Use Disorder and Family Violence. Lets share some facts!
Did you know that the statistics show that having a substance use disorder dramatically increases a person's chance of experiencing Family Violence?
So what is Family Violence exactly?
Family Violence is more than just battery. The main motivator is usually to take control of the victim. It happens between spouses, but can also be other members of the family as well. Below you will find the Power and Control wheel that breaks down different forms of Family Violence that you may not have considered.
So what can we do to help interrupt and change a cycle of violence?
First off, you may need care from more than one place to end cycles of violence. There are Family Violence agencies that help with violence specifically and can teach new ways to gain control outside of harming the family. We screen all patients for histories of violence. Stopping drugs and being sober will definitely help, but there is more specific counseling that is usually needed in order to change these patterns of violence.
If someone you love is hurting you or a loved one, the first step is admitting it's a problem and reaching out. Talk with one of our counselors or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. You deserve to have a life that is free of violence and abuse! Stop the cycle today.
Matrix Model Group Meetings
Medicine Wheel Clinic has seen wonderful engagement in the Matrix Model Groups. In March, we are moving on from Early Recovery Skills to Relapse Prevention. We heard your feedback and have moved the Thursday group to Saturday (in order to support patients who work Monday-Friday). We will be holding meetings every Tuesday from 9am-9:45am and every Saturday from 8:00am-8:45am. Join us to learn about interesting topics like Boredom, Guilt & Shame, Work & Recovery, and more!
Most people judge themselves sometimes. It's normal to feel disappointed in yourself when you have a personal setback, if you were treated poorly in the present or past, relapse, or don't keep promises to yourself or others (just to name a few). However, too many people struggle with persistent low-self esteem and negativity that stops you from meeting goals, enjoying life, and trying new things.
We all do something called "self-talk". Self talk is the voice in your head that says things like "you're not good enough" or "You did a really great job at that". We can get into the habit of talking down to ourselves, especially if we experienced a lot of that in our lives or in childhood development. The good news is you can retrain your brain to change this habit and start speaking to yourself in a more loving and supportive way.
Pay attention to your wants, needs, and desires
It takes many people practice to figure out what kinds of things make them feel better or what you even need. Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired? Learning to notice your feelings and take care of yourself will improve your self-respect which changes the way you view yourself. You deserve to be cared for by yourself and others!
Make a schedule and reward yourself when you do good things
When you use drugs the reward centers in your brain get all messed up. You can retrain it to notice when you did something worth a reward. Make a to-do list. Give yourself a treat like watching your favorite show or making a favorite meal as reward for getting things done! It may seem silly at first, but so is punishing yourself every time you do something "wrong". Celebrate your wins!
Challenge negative thoughts with a compassionate statement
Try writing down the negative things you say to yourself in a day. Then write a compassionate statement next to it. So for example, if you commonly say to yourself "I am worthless" you can disagree with our self-talk and counter "all people are worthy of love, including me", "I am worth something to my friends or family", etc. This may not make sense or be really hard at first, but your brain circuitry will remember the compassionate statement on some level, especially with repetition.
Do things that build your confidence
Learning a new skill is really great for your brain and self esteem. Pick up a hobby, join a meet-up group, start school, or achieve small attainable goals that will make you feel good about yourself.
Make things beautiful
Art, music, and other forms of beauty will help you have a deeper outlook. Surround yourself with things you find attractive. Learn an art form, even if you do it badly at first. Creating things and experiencing beauty can help you improve your outlook.
Make meals special
Eat healthy meals you enjoy. If you have poor nutrition everything is going to feel more depressing. Cook things you enjoy or treat yourself to a special meal out.
Did you know that exercise is a happy chemical brain hack? After twenty minutes of continuous exercise you get a 'hit' of endorphins. It's a really common and effective way to change a negative outlook and stop the cycle of negative self-talk.
Dress in clothes that make you feel like you
Do you have a certain style or do you just wear what's comfortable? Clothes are a form of self expression. If you take good care of your appearance and hygiene so that it reflects how you want to look, that will go a long way to respecting yourself more.
Many forms of service will give you a boost! Try volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping a neighbor with their yard, or a friend move their couch. It helps you too not just others!
Do things you have been putting off
Sometimes we put off important tasks out of laziness or being overwhelmed. All of the things that need to be done can really weigh on a person's self esteem. Try calculating how much time you spend thinking about needing to do the chore versus how long it will take to complete it. It can be a surprisingly huge relief to just stop procrastinating about it and knock it out so you don't have to think about it anymore.
Learning to have fun again without the use of drugs can be a real challenge. Figure out what feels good and makes you smile and do more of whatever that is. Maybe it's play time with your children, a dance party in the kitchen, or a hike at the park. Only you can figure out what is fun to you!
It's important to remember that some self-esteem issues have a biological cause. If you find yourself being negative to yourself very frequently, thoughts of harming/punishing yourself, seeing no point in doing things, or feeling hopeless to improve your life, you may have clinical depression or another psychiatric disorder that may be benefited by medication or other forms of therapy. If you try the tips above and still struggle to think positive thoughts about yourself, reach out to your doctor, counselor, or treatment center and they will gladly provide you with treatment information and referrals that could really change your life.
You are a wonderful and worthy person. It's a small miracle that you are where you are today, no matter where that is. Don't give up and learn to be kind to yourself. You deserve it.
Matrix Model Group Meetings
In February 2023, Medicine Wheel Clinic will start a fresh program based on the Matrix Model! Patients are welcomed to join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-9:45am (starting (02/07/2023). The Matrix approach provides treatment and activities that help patients change behavior. The patient learns about their condition and ways to reduce the risk of relapse in a structured format. The five main components are Individual Sessions, Early Recovery Skills, Relapse Prevention, Family Education, and Social Support. We will be holding meetings every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am-9:45am. Meetings are conducted by CADC-II level counselors who hold masters degrees in the field. Contact us today for more information!
Abilities for Decision Making
Have you ever struggled to make a decision? It can be difficult for any of us to make decisions. When you are in recovery from Substance Use Disorder, it can be even more challenging. This is because the parts of the brain that weigh choices are impaired or damaged through chronic drug use. The good news is that you can strengthen and rebuild your abilities to make good decisions. Treatment for SUD isn't just telling someone what to do or saving them from the consequences of addiction. In fact, that approach can hurt someone who is learning how to make good decisions for themselves. Talking with a counselor, clinician, or sponsor when you don't know what to do can be extremely helpful in learning to make better decisions in general. Those conversations build skills and abilities of different ways to deal with things that you may not have considered before. So what are the functional abilities you need to make a decision?
Thoughts, feelings, and past experiences can lead you to making the same kinds of choices. When it comes to addiction, those choices can be life or death decisions. It's natural for our brains to want to repeat patterns, especially if you've dealt with things in the same way over and over again. You can make new choices and create new patterns of behavior in your life. When making a decision, make sure you are thinking about the facts and considering the consequences for your choices. When you don't know what to do, reach out to someone knowledgeable about addiction who you can trust.
Addicition is Not a Moral Failing
Over the years, the way we view addiction as a society has slowly adapted to advances in science and research. Our understanding of the brain and how it works continues to grow. Addiction is not a moral failing. It's a brain disorder that is developed through the ongoing misuse of drugs. There are many paths to wellness. Below you will find a video from SAMHSA which discusses the different forms of care available and other reasons you shouldn't be ashamed to reach out for help.
Documentaries on Opioid Addiction
Did you know that big pharmaceutical companies are being held accountable for the role they played in the Opioid Epidemic? In March of 2022 the Sackler family agreed to pay $6 billion in civil settlements for the part they played in unethically marketing opioid medications. Then just this November 2022, CVS and Walgreens agreed to an additional 10 billion dollars in restitution. If you want to learn more about the Opioid Epidemic and the role that Pharmaceutical companies and corrupt doctors played in creating greater levels of Opioid related deaths than we have ever seen, there are several good documentaries available. Below you will find Opioids Inc which was put out by PBS Frontline. The Pharmacist on Netflix is also recommended. There is a false perception that MAT Programs are only for people on street drugs like heroin. More than half of our patients became addicted to medications they were initially prescribed by a doctor for a valid medical condition. If you need help, please don't feel ashamed to reach out. Hopefully this funding will send a strong message to prescribers/pharmaceutical companies and increase access to Substance Use Disorder care for those in need.
Medicine Wheel in the Community
Medicine Wheel Clinic had the privilege of being invited to train Gwinnett County Family Court on the Opioid Epidemic and Medication Assisted Treatment. We gave a presentation that covered topics such as what caused the Opioid Epidemic, science of addiction, medication assisted treatment, managed levels of care, and success stories. We were fortunate to have attendees from the court and police department. If you are interested in hosting a free information session for your organization, please don't hesitate to reach out to [email protected] to schedule. We would be happy to train your medical facility, school, government agency, church, or other community centered organization on the effects of opiate addiction. Contact us to learn more about what can be done to save lives and reduce the impact of opioid addiction on the community.
Addiction is a very time consuming thing. Every day you wake up you get a timecard with 24 hours on it. And you clock in to spend your time on what is important to you. When you are an unstable addict, the number one priority is usually to find more drugs and consume them. There is also a ton of time clocking in to deal with the consequences of drug use (like legal problems, family drama, money problems, etc). Things that used to fill your life may now seem pointless or even frustrating because you don't enjoy them like you used to. This can lead some people to isolate or get bored. Being productive and staying busy helps you in many ways other than just checking an item off your to do list. It gets your brain in action and reinforces that you can do good things and take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Anything is better than continuing to risk your life using drugs in isolation. If you find yourself getting restless consider doing something fun, completing a task, going for a walk, or reaching out to a friend or sponsor.
What is Harm Reduction?
Below you will find a speech from Jeffrey Hom on harm reduction. Simply put, harm reduction is about reducing the chance that someone will die, harm themselves, or harm the community because of a drug addiction. Harm reduction seeks to take the stigma out of substance use disorder and do what it takes to save and stabilize lives. Accepting that you need help for addiction is a process. We can't help people who die of a drug overdose. Harm reduction isn't as radical a concept as some might think. Seat belts, condoms, medications, masks, security, and more are all forms of harm reduction to make risky situations safer. Some tools that harm reduction organizations use to help addicts are narcan/naloxone distribution to reduce overdose deaths, drug test strips, medication, supervision, and referrals for other needed services. When it comes to drug addiction, harm reduction alone is not the answer. There are many levels of care that all play a role in working to help the patient. Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment, and Enforcement can all play an important role because every person's path to recovery and stability is different. Some people may be able to stop on their own or with a 12 step meeting. Some people may need to be incarcerated to stop the harm that is being caused to themselves and others. It's important to see each addict as a patient who is suffering. They are not disposable or a moral failing. They are a human being with a damaged brain who is in need of help.
Why is Methamphetamine So Addictive?
Below you will find an educational video from the Betty Ford Foundation about methamphetamine. It talks at length about meth, why it's so addictive, and how important it is to receive treatment and recover. Meth is an extremely powerful stimulant that floods your brain with huge amounts of dopamine (more dopamine than any mind-altering drug, including heroin). This is why you see people change on meth so quickly. It basically carpet bombs the part of the brain that drives pleasure and depletes and damages it very quickly so nothing else feels good anymore. Many people are polysubstance addicted. What that means is you've developed an addiction to more than one drug. Meth is a challenging addiction but you can recover from it and improve the quality of your life. If you are addicted to both opiates and amphetamines, our clinic is a great place for you to start your path to stability. We care about the unique needs of stimulant addicts and want to help you heal from the effects of methamphetamine use. It's been estimated that it can take 1-2 years not using meth before the brain returns to normal functioning. With meth, it truly is one day at a time, especially because the physical, mental, and emotional healing takes time.
Thoughts, Emotions, and Behaviors - Know the Difference
Using drugs changes the way a person thinks and acts. Anyone who has used drugs is aware of this and even enjoy some parts of that. It's fun until those out of control thoughts and feelings begin to create consequences in your life. Regaining control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is a critical part of getting stable. At first it's really hard to tell the difference, but with practice you can learn how to identify which it is and take control of how you respond to things. So what is the difference?
Thoughts are like a picture on a TV screen. They happen in the rational part of the brain. Have you ever had racing thoughts where a lot was flashing around in your head and you couldn't stop thinking? There are techniques you can do to control your thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking about something upsetting or that makes you want to use, physically change what you are doing and do something sensory. Go for a walk, eat a piece of ice, smell a strong smell, talk to a friend or sponsor, etc.
You are going to have a LOT of mixed emotions when stabilizing from drug addiction. Drugs change your emotions by changing how your brain works. It's normal to have mood swings, irritability, anxiety, sadness, and a whole host of other challenging emotions. But the trade off is you eventually get to have wonderful emotions too (like happiness, pride, relaxation, etc). Thoughts can cause emotions and emotions are usually harder to control. Try to stop negative thoughts about drugs or things that make you feel bad before they become emotions or actions. Your feelings matter. You need to let yourself feel them. But feel them fully then let it go, because staying emotional for long periods is not good for your health or recovery. It's also normal to experience numbness or a difficulty feeling any emotions at all. Keep going through the motions until you feel genuine good feelings again without drugs.
You can think and feel anything, but what really matters is what you do. Your thinking and feeling self work together to decide what you are going to do and what you do creates the life you are living. In the moment it can feel like you have no control, but it's actually your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are the only things you really have any control over. If you are super emotional, you can think "hey, I'm going to go take a walk before this gets worse". If you are super thinky, you can say "hey I see this is going in a bad direction and I'm going to intentionally change the channel on my brain and not think about drugs". Try not to judge yourself too much for your thoughts and feelings. Judge yourself by your behaviors. That's what makes real and lasting change. Thoughts and feelings come and go, but your behaviors make all the difference.
Common Challenges in Early Recovery
When you first start working on your addiction there are a lot of challenges that commonly come along with making such a big change. Be patient with yourself. Your brain has been damaged by the drugs, but it can improve with time and effort. Understand that your perceptions of things are not always going to be acurate, especially in the first six months of recovery. Here are some common challenges people encounter in early recovery and ideas on how to handle them.
Friends and Associates Who Use
Anger and Irritability
Substances at Home or Work
Boredom and Loneliness
Be kind to yourself. You are doing an amazing thing by taking care of yourself and working to improve your life. It's not easy, but if you take it one day at a time it gets easier. The reward of a life not dependent on drugs is worth the challenges you face along the way.
Opioids - An Overview
Below you will find a wonderful video from TEDEd about the opioid epidemic and opioid addiction. If you are ready for a new path, contact us today!
How Long Does Addiction Recovery Take?
One of the most common questions when someone enters treatment is "how long will this take". This is a simple question that has a complex answer. Every addict is an individual who has had their own unique path through addiction. The road through recovery will be unique as well. Factors like which drugs, how much, and how long will have a big influence on how long it takes to get stable. Someone who had a year long addiction will probably have a different path than someone with a 30 year addiction. The good news is that the biggest factor is motivation to change. People who realize they need to change and feel passionate about learning how to manage their triggers get stable in treatment more quickly. You can't erase your addiction overnight (you didn't develop the addiction overnight). But you will be surprised at how quickly things can improve when you are motivated to look into what is triggering you when you want to use. Every counseling session, meeting, video, or book you read adds tools to your tool box. You pick up or put down the tool to help you stay sober when feeling tempted to escape reality through using drugs. Work with your counselor to create a treatment plan that outlines what you want to change and when you want to change it. Small goals add up to achieving big goals. It may take you six months or a lifetime to get the level of stability where you don't want or need additional therapy to stay on track. Study the tools you need to manage your cravings and get the support you need to stay sober today. Because ultimately, today is all we have control of. You deserve to spend the time, energy, and resources it takes to love your life and take care of yourself. It takes work, but anything worth having does.
Why it is hard for addicts to feel pleasure without drugs?
With time, practice, and stopping illicit drug use, you can discover or rediscover things that bring you joy. A struggle that is very common for those that are new to recovery is difficulty feeling pleasure or joy without drugs. When you take mood altering substances, especially in large amounts or for a long period of time, it changes the way your brain regulates emotions. Our limbic system controls pleasure and reward. It gives us a 'hit' of feel good chemicals when we do good things (like eating, sleeping, time with loved ones, achieving goals, doing something fun, etc). If your brain has forgotten how to produce those chemicals on it's own because you keep flooding it with chemicals unnaturally, you can develop anhedonia. Anhedonia is a condition where your brain struggles greatly to enjoy things. It is extremely common in those who are newly sober or struggling with long term depression. Just like physical therapy for a physical injury, you have to exercise your brain to rebuild it's ability to function in a healthy way on it's own. You do this by doing things you know are good for you even if they don't make you feel good in the moment. And as you start having good feelings, it increases the ability to produce these chemicals on your own. That way joy isn't something you have to buy. Real joy and satisfaction can often be obtained again through effort, patience, and professional help. Some people also have a more long term or clinical depression causing anhedonia. A variety of psychiatric medications can help if you aren't able to produce the happy chemicals on your own. You deserve to be happy at least some of the time! Be your own detective and figure out what might bring you joy. Then just do it no matter how you feel about it!
Medication Assisted Treatment information from the Wall Street Journal
This wonderful piece by the Wall Street Journal gives a great overview of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). It discusses how it is a best practice of patient care for people who are addicted to opioids (heroin, pain pills, etc). It also talks about the stigma and the fact that many spaces, even within the field of addiction recovery, are still on a learning curve about how beneficial and life saving MAT can be.
Free Naloxone and Training at Medicine Wheel 09/17/2021
Naloxone is a medication that is used to reverse an Opioid overdose. Georgia Overdose Prevention will be setting up a table to distribute Naloxone kits to any at risk person who is in need of one. Please join us at the clinic on Wednesday, 09/17/2021 from 5:30-11:00 to get your free medication and training. You can also request a free kit from Georgia Overdose Prevention by clicking the link below. Naloxone saves lives! Don't let you or someone you love become a statistic. We can work together as a community to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic. See you Friday, 09/17!
You Can Get Addicted to Anything that Feels Good
Did you know that a lot of people with substance use disorder struggle with other forms of addiction? Anything that makes your brain feel good can become compulsive with overuse. This means you can get addicted to things other than drugs (like love, food, sex, gambling, exercise, validation, games, television, phones, etc). Too much of anything can turn destructive, even healthy things. This video talks about an addiction to love. If you have received messages throughout your life that you are difficult to love or unlovable, one of the reactions can be to seek proof that you can be loved. Humans are not solitary creatures, we are meant to be in loving community with each other. Learn to give yourself the love and appreciation that you are seeking from others. Be a lover to yourself by celebrating who you are and spending time with others who do the same.
Relapse Prevention and Addiction Triggers
This video goes through a lot of the reasons addicts justify relapse or ongoing substance use. This video challenges the viewer to really be radically honest with yourself about your beliefs about drugs. It's important to consider those beliefs about relapsing and if those beliefs are actually true or a justification for relapsing. Try these tips and tricks for working through the decision making process. You can always choose a new way of dealing with feelings, difficult situations, fun, and so much more. It's work to retrain your brain to cope with things and enjoy life without the use of drugs. You can change so much if you try new things over time and see what works to keep you on track and free of relapse.
Trauma and the Brain
This video talks about trauma and its impact on the brain. When we go through severely traumatic events like violence, abuse, neglect, humiliation, abandonment, etc your brain has to produce chemicals to deal with the stress. Especially in the cases of sustained abuse over a long period of time, it can change your actual brain chemistry and the ability to feel safe and relaxed. Addicts report a higher rate of experiencing trauma or abuse, especially as children. Destigmatizing trauma and its effects on the brain helps addicts to understand their behaviors more. If you have experienced trauma in your life, it may be important to receive additional therapy to explore how these experiences hurt you. You may not be able to make sense of some of the terrible things that happened. But with work you can address the impact that it had on you and your brain. You are not your trauma, even though it can feel that way sometimes. You can build a more stable present than your past, one decision and one day at a time.
There are chemicals in everyone's brain that drive your emotions. The happy chemicals are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin, and Serotonin. Drugs fill the brain with these feel good chemicals unnaturally. With continued use, the brain struggles more and more to experience these happy feelings in a natural way. The good news is most people can improve their limbic system. Just like working out, it can be hard at first, but over time you get stronger and it gets easier. Some people also have psychiatric issues where they may need a temporary or long term mood stabilizing medication in addition to doing things that make you feel good naturally. Get back to enjoying things again. You deserve it.
Grieving After an Overdose
Losing a loved one to a drug overdose is an incredibly tragic event. This video shares the stories of several people who have experienced someone close to them dying of a drug overdose. Grief has five major stages (Denial, Bargaining, Depression, Anger, and Acceptance). Everyone's grieving looks different, there is no set schedule for how long it will take to stabilize after a major loss. Overdose death is preventable with appropriate treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, seek help today. When using drugs, you never know if it may be the last fix. Fix the problems that are making you want to escape through drugs so you or your loved ones don't have to grieve this kind of tragic loss.
Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery
There are many books and resources out there about addiction. I suggest you check out Rewired by Erica Spiegelman. See below for what Good Reads has to say about this fascinating book on reframing addiction and regaining control.
"An addiction expert introduces a revolutionary and empowering approach to addiction recovery that addresses the whole self--mind, body, and spirit
Rewired is a new, breakthrough approach to fighting addiction and self-damaging behavior by acknowledging our personal power to bring ourselves back from the brink. Centered on the concept of self-actualization, Rewired will guide you towards not only physical sobriety, but a mental, emotional, and spiritual sobriety by learning to identify key principles within yourself, including authenticity, honesty, gratitude, and understanding a need for solitude.
Rewired addresses the whole self; just as addiction affects every part of one's life, so too must its treatment. By helping us to build a healthy space to support our own recovery, we can rewrite the negative behaviors that result in addiction. Usable in conjunction with or in place of 12-step programs, Rewired allows for a more holistic approach, helping to create a personalized treatment plan that is right for you.
Each section in Rewired includes:
- Personal anecdotes from the author's own struggles with alcoholism and addiction
- Inspiring true success stories of patients overcoming their addictions
- Questions to engage you into finding what is missing from your recovery
- Positive affirmations and intentions to guide and motivate
With all the variables, both physical and emotional, that play into overcoming addiction, Rewired enables us to stay strong and positive as we progress on the path to recovery. Rewired teaches patience and compassion, the two cornerstones of a new, humanist approach to curing addiction. Remember, addicts are not broken people that need to be fixed--they just have a few crossed wires."
Free Naloxone and Training at Medicine Wheel 03/17/2021
Naloxone is a medication that is used to reverse an Opioid overdose. Georgia Overdose Prevention will be setting up a table to distribute Naloxone kits to any Medicine Wheel Clinic patient who would like one. Please join us at the clinic on Wednesday, 03/17/2021 from 5:30-11:00 to get your free medication and training. You can also request a free kit from Georgia Overdose Prevention by clicking the link below. Naloxone saves lives! Don't let you or someone you love become a statistic. We can work together as a community to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic. See you 03/17!
Making New Friends as a Part of Recovery
Making new friends can be challenging, especially when you are changing your life. There is a culture and community that comes along with drugs. Or maybe as your drug misuse escalated, you lost friends along the way. Many times, disconnecting from the drug community is a big part of changing your life and turning from addiction. But human beings aren't meant to be alone, so how do you fill that void? The people we spend our time and energy with influence our day to day lives. Start looking for people you adTo start with, recovery meetings are a great place to find people that at least are on the path to not use. Maybe you have a hobby you've always wanted to try? A church you've thought about attending? An online recovery group? An art class? You will probably find people with shared interests while you are figuring out what your interests are. The part of your brain that controls motivation to make friends is also impacted by drugs. Flex those motivation muscles by saying hi, introducing yourself, or making small talk with someone who seems interesting. You never know, you might click with that person more than you thought you would.
Break Your Phone Addiction
How many times a day do you get distracted by your phone? Many people who struggle with substance use disorder also have other addictive behaviors like compulsively checking the phone. Cellphones are an important part of modern life. There are many apps, communities, and tools we can use to help us in many positive ways. But just like with medication or anything else, you can misuse it in a way that's not helpful or can even harm you. Our phones are a reliable friend we can turn to when we are uncomfortable, bored, lonely, want to be distracted from something, and so much more. But here's the thing, studies have shown that most people cannot really multitask. When most people stop in the middle of one thing to do something else (like check your phone) it makes it harder to complete the task. You could start by turning off your phone for a set amount of time. Notice your emotions. Did you feel cravings for the phone? Does it remind you of other addictions you have struggled with when you want to make yourself feel better? Advertisers want us to look at our phones as much as possible and spend a lot of money to get our attention. If you reduce how much you look at your phone, what could you create with the extra time in your day? See the video below for more information on phone addiction and how it impacts your focus, attention span, and success.
Pump the Gas or Breaks on Motivation
Many people see motivation as simply a matter of will power or character. It is much more complex than that. You might be interested to know that motivation is directly connected to a chemical system in the human body. It's called the limbic system. When you are addicted to drugs that make you feel good unnaturally, that part of your brain that is motivated to do things is busy working on getting the drug. Over time, the brain becomes more and more dependent on those chemicals to feel good until eventually nothing feels good or motivates the person but the drug. Flex your motivation muscles by challenging yourself to do new things or things that you used to enjoy, even if it's uncomfortable at first. It's best to start with small attainable goals. This will help you feel more successful along the way to reaching your big goal.
-Get a Drivers License
-Get the study book from the department of motor vehicles
-Study the book
-Collect the documents the book says you need to bring with you
-Pass the written test to get your learners permit
-Have someone teach you to drive in an actual car
-Pass the drivers test and get your drivers license
Do you see how breaking things down into smaller goals gives you more opportunities to celebrate your success and feel good about it? You can improve your motivation by learning when to pump the gas or the breaks on what you feel motivated to do.
Battling Addiction During a Pandemic
Below you will find a video from VICE News on battling addiction during a pandemic. It talks at length about the ways that the addiction treatment community has had to adapt in order to serve those in need safely. Click below to learn more about changes that have happened regarding take home medication, in person meetings, telehealth, and more. Isolation is a huge trigger for relapse. We all need to be creative in finding ways to connect and support each other despite needing to be farther apart. Please remember, if you need someone to talk to, you can always call or text the CARES warm line!! They are available from 8:30am-11:00pm every day of the year. Please see below for further information.
What is a Co-Occurring Disorder or Dual Diagnosis?
Sometimes people take mood altering drugs to try to feel better from an untreated mental illness. You may have heard of the terms Co-Occurring Disorders or Dual Diagnosis. What that means is that there is more than one behavioral health issue for the same patient. So for example, a patient may be schizophrenic and also have substance use disorder. Our master's level counselors provide referrals to patients who are in need of more specialized care in addition to the treatment that they receive at Medicine Wheel This can include conditions like eating disorders, clinical depression, severe trauma or abuse, personality disorders, etc. Each person's situation is unique and a patient's care should be too. Learning how to take care of your body, heart, mind, and spirit is a learning process that takes time and practice, especially when you are first changing your relationship with drugs. Click below to learn more about living with co-occurring disorders.
10 Celebrities Who Battled Addiction
This video is about 10 celebrities who battled addiction. Addiction touches every class, creed, and walk of life. I hope their stories inspire you!
The Stages of Change
This video is about the stages of change. I have also listed the stages below with some information. What stage are you at right now regarding changes you want to make in your life?
Pre-Contemplation is when you aren't even thinking about the change yet. Maybe you don't want to admit to yourself that things have gotten out of control. Maybe you don't think change is possible. Maybe you are trying to think and feel as little as possible. Whatever the reason, you aren't quite ready to think about changing yet.
This is when you are actively thinking about change. Maybe you fantasize about a life where you aren't dependent on drugs. Maybe you experienced some consequences for your behavior that wake you up and make you realize that this is a bigger problem. Whatever the reason, you've started to think about what it would be like if you changed.
This is when you are thinking through the steps of what it would take to change. Would it be asking for help? Starting a treatment program? Reducing or stopping your drug of choice? Attending meetings? How do you plan to do that? Whatever the reason, you've started to plan how you might make take actions that will result in the change you want.
Action is probably the most important step in the behavior chain! You can think about things all day and not actually accomplish your goals. Action is where real change happens. So you've realized you want to change, and planned how you're going to. But if you don't take action on your thoughts and feelings, then the behavior chain stops. Maybe you start treatment with a program. Maybe you stop buying your drug of choice. Maybe you move out of an environment that is triggering. Whatever the reason, you've gone from thoughts and feelings to actual changes.
Maintenance is what you do to keep the change going. Once you've made a change, you can maintain it. Maybe it's going to routine meetings to help stay strong in the face of cravings. Maybe it's making new sober friends to help support you and the changes you've made. Maybe it's consistently taking medication. Maybe it's starting new hobbies, spiritual practices, or jobs that will give a sense of meaning and purpose. Whatever maintenance looks like for you, you're taking actions every day that support the changes you want.
Relapses are often a part of the recovery process. It's important to take responsibility for relapse and to consider how your choices contributed to the relapse. The good news is that there are things that can be done each time to learn about your addiction and different ways to react or respond to triggering situations. Did you watch a show about drugs that made you want to do them? Hang out with a friend or relative that does the drug? Have a stressful situation that you just wanted momentary escape from? When you go back on your change, write down what might have contributed to the step backwards. Make a plan for what you will do next time instead. The most important thing is to not give up when you stumble. You start the stages of change again. Go back to contemplating why the change is important and how you are going to change it. The process of change can be discouraging, but it's never too late to try again. With practice, you'll gain more and more skills on how to maintain real change and stay on the right track.
New Year's Resolutions - A Motivational Speech
This motivational speech is about reaching your goals. The little steps are what make the outcome possible!
Overcoming Holiday Triggers
The holidays are different for all of us this year! But many holiday triggers remain the same. Click below to hear tips from Smart Recovery on how to overcome holiday triggers.
Opioid Epidemic in the News!
Did you know that the company that produced OxyContin is in the news? Yesterday, a house oversight hearing was held regarding Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the crimes that were committed. An 8 billion dollar settlement was reached earlier this year. The settlement money is intended to provide relief to the patients and communities that were harmed by the company's actions. Please click below if you are interested in checking out the complete hearing.
A Big "thank you" to Georgia Overdose Prevention
Medicine Wheel Clinic would like to extend a big "thank you" to Tom and all of the wonderful people at Georgia Overdose Prevention. 62 rescue kits were distributed at the facility during the event. Stay tuned, as they will be returning for another Narcan/Naloxone distribution day in roughly 90 days. Remember, you can also request a free kit from Georgia Overdose Prevention before then by clicking the link below. Don't let you or someone you love become a statistic. Narcan/Naloxone saves lives! Don't run, call 911.
The Stages of Change
This video from Smart Recovery is about the stages of change. Making long term changes is hard and relapse is often a part of the process. Click below to learn more about getting back on track and tools to help you stay there.
Expressing Gratitude Helps!
This article from Psychology Today talks about practicing gratitude and the ways it helps your mental health.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Another name for Seasonal Affective Disorder is Seasonal Depression. There are many reasons some people are more prone to depression during a certain season. Click below to learn more from the Mayo Clinic.
Free Naloxone and Training at Medicine Wheel 12/04/2020
Naloxone is a medication that is used to reverse an Opioid overdose. Georgia Overdose Prevention will be setting up a table to distribute Naloxone kits to any Medicine Wheel Clinic patient who would like one. Please join us at the clinic on Friday, 12/04/2020 from 5:30-10:30 to get your free medication and training. You can also request a free kit from Georgia Overdose Prevention by clicking the link below. Naloxone saves lives! Don't let you or someone you love become a statistic. We can work together as a community to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic. See you 12/04!
What is Addiction?
This video explains how misusing drugs causes addiction and makes it more difficult to create the chemicals that make you feel good naturally.
The Psychology of Narcissism
This video is about different kinds of Narcissism. It discusses Narcissism as a personality trait and some things that cause it. It also explores the difference between narcissistic personality traits and someone who has an actual Narcissistic personality disorder. Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help greatly with the anti-social qualities that come along with self absorption or Narcissism.
How to Find Your Passion
This video is about finding your passion. Dopamine plays a big role in motivation and productivity! Work out those dopamine muscles by trying new things. You may be surprised at how creating things or pursuing interests can increase your dopamine to make you feel good naturally. More creation, less consumption!
Anger Management Warning Signs
This video is about noticing warning signs that you are getting angry. If you notice the signs before you blow, you can make better decisions about what you want to do about what's angering you.
Stigma and MAT
This talk from Chase Holloman shares his story about how MAT changed his life. He now helps others as a social worker and advocate for Medication Assisted Treatment. There is a focus on misinformation about medication, access to care, and the stigma he experienced through his journey with Opioid Use Disorder, Methadone, Buprenorphine, and the Medical System. MAT has been licensed to be used as a drug treatment in the US since 1972. It is now getting the respect and attention that it deserves as we face the needs of those impacted by the Opioid Epidemic. MAT changed Chase's life. Contact us today if you are ready to change yours.
DEA National Rx Takeback
One of the biggest triggers to use is easy access to drugs! Turning in old medication can help you and the community. Below you will find a listing of locations where you can drop off unused medications on 10/24/20 (or any time!).
Family Systems & Addiction
Addiction impacts the whole family. Learn more about families and how family relationships can impact addiction.
Nutrition and Addiction
Many people don't consider the link between nutrition and successful addiction treatment. Eating a healthy diet provides essential nutrients to the brain to help it heal from drug misuse and create a healthier state of well being. This video discusses a variety of different drugs and their effects on the brain, along with foods that help boost your immunity and improve brain health.
Calm Down with Breathing Exercises
Did you know that your lungs are directly connected to the system that controls anxiety? Hack your emotions with some breathing exercises! Expressing emotions is very important. It's also important to increase control of your emotions and your ability to cope with stressful situations. Being calmer over all reduces triggers to use for many people. Next time you feel overwhelmed by something, try to take a pause and do a breathing exercise. It might just bring you back to center faster than you expect.
Since Getting Sober
This video asks people in drug treatment different questions like "What's one thing you are proud of since getting sober?", "What's one thing you do every day to take care of yourself?", etc. The answers are interesting and inspiring! What kind of life do you want to live?
The Science of Depression
This video discusses the science of depression.
Roadmap for Recovery: Creating a Routine
This video from SAMHSA discusses the importance of creating a routine. One of the side effects of substance use disorder is often disorganization and reduced interest in self care. A lack of consistency can be destabilizing. Click below to learn more about schedules and how making certain kinds of self care a part of your regular routine.
Triggers and Cravings: What is Addiction?
This video from SAMHSA discusses triggers and cravings. Getting a handle on what triggers you and how to redirect your thought process is an integral part of stabilizing addiction. Click below to learn more about triggers and how to manage them.
September is Recovery Month! A message from SAMHSA.
September is national recovery month! SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) published this speech from Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz to discuss it further.