Giving thanks for a place where residents are wanted, valued and accepted

Thoughts from Jeanie Gschweng, General Manager of Clean & Sober Transitional Living

When I first arrived at Clean & Sober Transitional Living in 2004, I had been totally ostracized by my entire family. I had little contact with my son, and his father wouldn’t permit him to come here to spend time with me. The holidays were especially tough: days or even weeks often passed by before I was permitted to celebrate any holiday with my children. I didn’t have anybody, but I certainly wasn’t alone in that experience.

Those early years, many CSTL residents didn’t have somewhere else to go on the holidays. Maybe they weren’t invited to join their families. Perhaps there were trust issues that still needed repair. Maybe it wasn’t safe for them to go home. But they – and I – weren’t alone on Thanksgiving. We were part of the CSTL family, and we hosted a huge meal every Thanksgiving. Residents and their families and friends were – and are- welcome, as we continue this tradition today.

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Fast facts on who's prescribing opioids

With all the attention being paid to opioid overdose, you'd hope that opioid presecriptions would decline. News flash: Opioid prescribing remains high and varies widely by specialty, according to a new study that showed that a total of 209.5 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. in just one year (from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).

Who is writing all those prescriptions?

  • Primary care physicians accounted for 35.8% of all prescriptions.
  • Non-physician prescribers accounted for 19.2%.
  • Pain medicine specialists accounted for 8.9%.

The proportion of opioids prescribed by physician assistants and nurse practitioners has increased since 2012 and is expected to continue to rise, given their increased role in the healthcare system.

How many overdose deaths will it take to shake us up??

Thoughts from Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

Recent headlines shouted out that more people died from overdose in 2017 than were killed in the entire 20-year Vietnam War. Equally sobering: alcohol kills more people than all other drugs combined. Yet only one in ten people who needs treatment for drug or alcohol abuse ever gets help. Could your loved one be one of those statistics? Could you?

No one plans to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Instead, it often begins with playful experimentation. Perhaps that drink lubricates the wheels of conversation or reduces anxiety. Maybe it began with pills prescribed for an injury or surgery. But pretty soon, drinking to excess or drugging is not by choice anymore. Once you’ve turned that corner, you need to drink or drug to make it through the day without physical illness or mental anguish. Then the other dominoes fall: jail, dishonesty, car accidents, child neglect, job loss….

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Diversity and recovery go hand-in-hand

Thoughts from Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

Generally, when people first begin their recovery “journey,” they aren’t coming off a winning streak. They may have lost jobs or homes, or destroyed cars or marriages. So, when they first enter our doors, they’re just trying to keep their head above water. They’re generally much more concerned about their personal recovery than about judging anyone else in the room – or the CSTL recovery community.

In early recovery, people also tend to think that they are “special” and that no one shares their unique issues with addiction to drugs or alcohol. What they will come to find is that, while our residents are indeed special, no one’s problems are unique. We’ve all struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, and that’s why we’re living here – in a robust community where recovery comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. And that diversity makes us strong.

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