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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Sesame Street" Tackles Addiction

Since 1969, the beloved television show Sesame Street has helped young people understand and discuss challenging situations. The PBS favorite is now airing on the premium channel HBO. The move to premium television allows the show's creators to explore even more sensitive topics than ever before, such as addiction.

"Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them," said author Malcolm Gladwell. Given that millions of adults are currently in the throes of addiction, it's prudent to help kids process the problems that their parents face.

Alcohol and substance use disorders affect the entire family; no member is immune to the fallout of addiction. The American addiction epidemic – notably involving opioids – has had a profound impact on our society. High overdose death rates, babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and as many as six million Americans living with an opioid use disorder is cause for national discourse.

The Sesame Workshop, the organization that produces the show, felt it had to act when it learned that 5.7 million children under age 11 live with a parent with substance use disorder, USA Today reports. The show created a backstory for a character named Karli that involves her mother's battles with addiction; Karli is one of Elmo's friends.

Tackling Addiction on Sesame Street

The new initiative involving parental substance use has two purposes. Firstly, it helps kids who have been impacted by addiction make better sense of what is happening. Secondly, the segments can help parents learn how to talk to their children about this sensitive subject matter.

"There's nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective," said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop. Einhorn adds that "Even a parent at their most vulnerable — at the worst of their struggle — can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose."

Earlier this year, Karli was introduced to viewers as being a puppet in foster care, according to the article. Now, the addition of her mother's backstory will explain to children why foster care was necessary in the first place. The opioid epidemic has led to a staggering rise in children being placed into foster care or having to go live with a relative.

Over the summer, the Associated Press was granted the opportunity to get a glimpse of the upcoming segments on addiction. In one of the segments, Karli was joined by 10-year-old Salia Woodbury, whose parents are in recovery. You can read an excerpt below:  

"Hi, it's me, Karli. I'm here with my friend Salia. Both of our parents have had the same problem — addiction," Karli told the camera. 

"My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness," Salia said. 

"Yeah, a sickness that makes people feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel OK. My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it. But now I've met so many other kids like us. It makes me feel like we're not alone," the puppet continued. 

"Right, we're not alone," Salia responded. "And it's OK to open up to people about our feelings."  

Sam and Jaana Woodbury, of Orange County, California, are Salia's parents, and they have been in recovery for about eight years, the article reports. They are pleased that the show is focusing on opioid and alcohol addiction.

Please take a moment to watch a short video:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


SLO County Addiction Treatment


The Haven at Pismo helps men and women who struggle with alcohol or substance use disorder. We provide a full continuum of care for substance abuse and co-occurring illness. Please contact us at any time to learn more about our programs. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Serenity Prayer Song for Addiction Recovery

Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer is synonymous with addiction recovery meetings across the country and abroad. While many people know the prayer by heart, fewer know the origins of the prayer. The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the prayer for a sermon; church groups in the 1930s and 1940s used the prayer, and Alcoholics Anonymous eventually adopted it.

The prayer was first published in 1951 in a magazine column, according to Yale Alumni Magazine. However, it did appear earlier than that in 1944 A Book of Prayers and Services for the Armed Forces.

Today, millions of people around the world know the prayer by heart, both religious and atheists alike. While it has had many different versions over the decades, the form that people in recovery use reads as follows:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
Courage to change the things I can, 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

A major component of addiction recovery is acceptance; one must come to terms with the fact that they are not running the show. Men and women must acknowledge that their way didn't work, so long-term recovery will depend upon making drastic changes.

People in active addiction have a common mindset of wanting what they want when they want it. If something does not go the way he or she expects, it quickly becomes of justification for a high or drunk. That mindset is dangerous and must be extinguished if one hopes to succeed in adopting the principles of recovery.

In each person's life, some things can be changed, and some things are out of one's control. All that one can hope for is the wisdom to know when they have the power to influence change. It becomes easier to determine those instances the longer one is in recovery.

Serenity Prayer Song

Some people in recovery repeat the Serenity Prayer to themselves several times a day. It isn't just good for the closing moment of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. When you are having a hard time, or a seemingly impossible challenge arises, merely saying the prayer can be calming and prevent you from making a rash decision that might result in relapse.

More individuals are learning the words to the prayer now that it's set to music. Boston attorney Patricia St. James created a Serenity Prayer song to help people overcome addiction, WBUR reports. St. James says in an interview that she set the prayer to music for a client who wrote a play called Recovery. However, the song is being utilized outside of the theater; it's being played at some drug court graduations in Massachusetts. St. James shares that:

"After writing the song, I played it for Chief Justice [Paula] Carey. It was her idea initially to use it to be played in the drug courts. I got the idea that maybe it would be helpful for people going through the programs, whether in the courts or otherwise, to actually tell their stories through song." 

St. James is hopeful that more drug courts and treatment programs will start using the song. She wants to get it into an MP3 format so that people can listen to it if they are having a hard time and can't reach their sponsor.

Please take a moment to listen to the short interview:

If you are having trouble listening, please click here.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder. We offer several programs and a full continuum of care for substance abuse and co-occurring illness, from detox to transitional living. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

National Depression Education & Awareness Month 2019

Last week, men and women across the country observed Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Educating the public, fighting stigma, and providing support is the goal of the annual observance. Millions of Americans struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; unfortunately, a statistically small number of people get the help they desperately require.

There are many reasons men and women are unable to reach out for support. Stigma and misunderstanding are two of the leading obstacles standing between disease and recovery. Mental health awareness campaigns erode harmful stigmas and enlighten the public about the healing power of compassion.

While MIAW is now over, the effort to raise awareness about mental illness must continue year-round. Don't worry if you were unable to take part in MIAW by spreading messages of hope and support on social media and the like. There is still time to make a difference in the lives of people living with untreated mental health disorders. October is National Depression Education & Awareness Month.

Any mental illness has the power to disrupt the course of an individual's life severely. Untreated, each can have fatal consequences. However, depression is a worldwide public health crisis and one of the leading causes of premature death. Even though there are effective, evidence-based treatments available, only a small number of men and women reach out for support services. We have the power to change this reality.

National Depression Education & Awareness Month

Each year, individuals in recovery take to social media during Mental Health Awareness Month (May) and National Recovery Month (September) to spread messages of hope. The same is true during MIAW (the first full week of October).

Now is the time to help share information about the importance of treatment and recovery for depression. Disseminating facts about the disease or sharing what helped you heal from and manage depression is paramount.

A significant number of men and women in addiction recovery are also living with depression. About 50% of people with severe mental illness are involved in substance use, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Those living with co-occurring disorders learn that they must manage both conditions to realize long-term recovery.

With that in mind, recovering addicts and alcoholics can be inspirations for those who are still suffering in silence. They can share about how untreated depression resulted in self-medication and addiction; they can explain that alcohol and substance use made their depressive symptoms worse. When people in recovery use their voice, they affect change in the lives of others.

Please allow some time in the coming weeks to be a beacon of hope for people suffering from depression. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Together, we can change the fact that fewer than half of those affected by depression receive treatment. Please use #DepressionAwareness on social media when sharing about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for depression. Get the word out that there are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression.

SLO County Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses like depression. Our highly trained therapists and clinicians can help you or a loved one begin a life-changing journey of healing and recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Addiction Recovery on Google Maps

In the Internet Age, technology can be both a blessing and a burden for members of the recovery community. While it's handy to be able to connect with others in sobriety via social media, smartphones and apps can be a severe distraction. Moderating the use of Internet technologies is critical for everyone, but especially for people in recovery.

As the realities of the American addiction and mental health crisis set in, online companies are trying to be part of the solution. Social media companies like Facebook and Instagram are working with algorithms to help identify and flag users in crisis. They are experimenting with offering tools to better assist people with mental illness. What's more, millions of people in recovery connect via social media 365 days a year. Used appropriately, online communities can be extremely beneficial.

Mountain View, California is home to Google, a technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that are familiar to every American. Google products and services, from apps to smartphones, are ubiquitous. Millions of Americans cannot remember life before Google.

Most Americans conduct a myriad of Google searches each day; millions of people utilize Google Maps to get to their destinations. If you want to find something, then there is an excellent chance you can find it using a Google product.

It's fair to say that most addicts and alcoholics seeking addiction treatment turn to the Internet first. The thousands of alcohol and substance use disorder rehabs in the U.S. share their mission to help people recover online. CNET reports that Google announced that the number of people conducting searches for addiction treatment is at an all-time high.

Companies like Google are in a unique position to help combat addiction and be a valuable resource to men and women in recovery. In recognition of National Recovery Month, Google created and debuted some new features on its maps application. These tools will assist people in recovery and those who have yet to reach out for help.

Dropping A Pin On Recovery

With more than 130 Americans dying from opioid overdoses each day, everyone being able to access the life-saving drug naloxone is crucial. Sold under the name Narcan, the medication can reverse the deadly symptoms of overdose.

Opioid users, their friends and family, and average citizens can soon search Google Maps for "Naloxone near me" or "Narcan near me" into the search bar, CNET reports. Since many states and municipalities have removed the need for a prescription, the overdose reversal drug can be acquired more easily. Still, not every pharmacy has the medication in stock, so the new maps feature is beneficial.

Another upcoming added feature of significant importance is the recovery meeting finder. The company announced that Google Maps users would be able to find more than 83,000 recovery meetings at more than 33,000 locations across the country. Ostensibly, you will be able to search for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you.

“The #RecoveryMovement celebrates the 23 million Americans recovering from addiction and paves the way for the 20 million still struggling to seek treatment. Our voices matter — especially in September for National Recovery Month.” 

The new tools will likely prove especially beneficial for people in recovery who are traveling. Finding meetings with greater ease will be helpful. It's also worth noting that Google Maps began listing locations where people can discard unused or unwanted medications.

Discarding of unused narcotics, sedatives, and stimulants helps deter diversion and drug initiation. Being able to find naloxone with greater ease helps prevent fatal overdoses. Each of these new features is vital concerning the addiction epidemic in America.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn about our recovery services. We can help you, or a loved one, detox and begin the journey of long-term recovery. We are available at all hours to answer your questions. We trust that you will find The Haven to be the perfect place to renew to your best today. 1-805-202-3440