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Dream Journal

VOLUME XIII / JAN 2014


NOTE FROM DR. B.

Dr Andrea Barthwell MD

As the New Year begins, we transition from our monthly focus on the Twelve Steps of AA to this year’s theme: The Twelve Promises. These promises are the payback of the AA program; these are the gifts that are guaranteed to the individual who works diligently on their recovery process. January is a time when we naturally begin making promises and resolutions for ourselves. We have finished reflecting on the previous year and we are now ready to use our past experiences to project new goals with the hopes of new outcomes.

This month we reflect on the themes of the First Promise: freedom and happiness. Follow us as we define what it means to feel happy and free, and give guidelines on achieving that state of mind.

Dream Journal

VOLUME XIII / JAN 2014

NOTE FROM DR. B.

Dr Andrea Barthwell MD

As the New Year begins, we transition from our monthly focus on the Twelve Steps of AA to this year’s theme: The Twelve Promises. These promises are the payback of the AA program; these are the gifts that are guaranteed to the individual who works diligently on their recovery process. January is a time when we naturally begin making promises and resolutions for ourselves. We have finished reflecting on the previous year and we are now ready to use our past experiences to project new goals with the hopes of new outcomes.

This month we reflect on the themes of the First Promise: freedom and happiness. Follow us as we define what it means to feel happy and free, and give guidelines on achieving that state of mind.


MONTHLY PROMISE

For the 2014 year, I have been asked to write about the Twelve Promises of AA based upon my own knowledge and experiences. Each month we will feature a different promise, with hopes that these messages will inspire those who need it the most.

The first promise states that we will know a new freedom and happiness. I have heard countless stories from individuals at 12-step meetings about how they felt a new freedom from their first use of alcohol/drugs. As someone who has suffered first-hand from addiction, I can verify that the first use and countless uses after that, gave me a strong initial sense of freedom. It was only after my pursuit of recovery and my educational experiences that I realized how hollow that feeling of freedom actually was. In hindsight, I can now recognize that I was actually trapped for many years because of my substance use. I would always tell people of dreams that I would accomplish and things I would do but never did because of my substance use.

I was literally trapped and used substances to hide from those who loved me. I felt guilt and remorse as I became isolated because of my substance use. I knew I was in a prison, and I believed that I had put myself in that prison. I believed I belonged there because of the person I had become.

The freedom that is promised to us by participating in a recovery-based lifestyle is a freedom that is actually based in reality. If we are honest and open-minded about our recovery we can see how our addictions lied to us. The progressive nature of our illness initially gave us a sense of freedom that we can now recognize as delusion because of our progression through recovery.

The promise of happiness comes after the promise of freedom, because with freedom comes responsibility. Today you have a choice to use or not use mood altering substances. Your brain is no longer high-jacked by that substance. If you are new to recovery or new to treatment and feel you have yet to experience this freedom or happiness, I urge you to hang in there. These guarantees are called promises for a reason, they do come true.


NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Smoking Cessation Possible During Treatment

Recent research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health, has found that individuals being treated for addiction to cocaine or methamphetamine are able to quit smoking cigarettes while they are being treated for substance addiction. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study in which patients being treated for methamphetamine or cocaine addiction were randomly assigned additional treatment aimed to help them stop smoking.

What they found is that not only were the patients able to quit smoking while being treated for their addictions, but also that treating selected individuals for smoking cessation could actually encourage better addiction treatment outcomes altogether.

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), says: "Substance abuse treatment programs have historically been hesitant to incorporate concurrent smoking cessation therapies with standard drug addiction treatment because of the concern that patients would drop out of treatment entirely.

However, treating their tobacco addiction may not only reduce the negative health consequences associated with smoking, but could also potentially improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes."

For Full Article

Study Suggests Addicts Avoid Emotional Lows Rather Than Chasing Euphoric Highs

A recent study has observed that cocaine addicts may become trapped in addiction not because of the euphoric highs they are chasing, but rather to avoid the unbearable emotional lows they desperately want to avoid after the drug levels begin to fall.

Rutgers University Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Professor Mark West challenged the commonly held view that drug addiction occurs because the users are always going after the feelings of happiness. He suggests that once a binge is started, "they may have felt trapped and didn’t like it", which implies that negative emotions play an equal, if not more important role in regulating cocaine abuse.

For Full Article

COMMUNITY

This month on the Banks:

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!! The New Year is upon us; time to say goodbye to our old ways and hello to a new lease on life! After spending a delightful, happy holidays together; we are setting our resolutions of staying clean and sober for 2014. This month, everyone is exploring history at the historical Whale Head Club Wildlife Conservation Center and visiting the Wright Memorial. Keeping to this theme, we caught a flick (Catching Fire) in the historic Roanoke Theatre. All guests are performing assignments and tasks centered on the First Promise within the AA process. Staff is encouraging clients to know a newfound freedom and happiness in this New Year.

Quote of the Month:

"Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to look past the imperfections." –Gerard Way


STAFF HIGHLIGHT

Dana Whitmore is the first staff member we are highlighting in 2014! Dana is the Clinical Director of Two Dreams Outer Banks. She began as a counselor in May of 2012 and assumed the Clinical Director’s Position in July of 2013. Dana was born and grew up in Annapolis MD.

Dana went to Liberty University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, and went on to earn her Master's Degree in Counseling, becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. Dana has over 14 years of clinical experience (having served as a Lead Counselor and a Program Coordinator prior to her employment with Two Dreams). During her years as a professional counselor, she has honed her skills in individual as well as group counseling working the cognitive and dialectical behavior sides of therapy. Dana’s compassion for others makes her ideal for working with patients who have a history of trauma and PTSD, as she has the ability to connect with her patients on a personal level.

Dana’s heart is truly in what she does. She is excellent at providing the required structure and leadership and at the same time is warm and caring. She is a very intelligent and carries herself with dignity and grace. Two Dreams is so lucky to have her with us! Thank You Dana!


THE 3P'S

The 3 P’s – physical well-being, mental peace, and personal productivity – provide us with guidelines to evaluate our life and the choices we will make while in recovery. Ask yourself this month, "Does this action give me mental peace, provide physical well-being or benefit my productivity?" By evaluating your decisions you are taking another step to a more liberating and happy life in recovery.

Mental Peace

Take a break from the pop culture novels that flood our bookstore’s front shelves and incorporate a spiritual text into your daily routine. Taking time out of each day to enjoy an introspective reading is a positive way to achieve mental peace in our busy lives. By making a point to read something spiritual we can align ourselves to adopt a healthy, happy, and fulfilling mindset. While you’re out today, stop by your local bookstore and pick up something that puts positive thoughts in your mind.

Physical Well Being

Many times while in active addiction we forget to care for ourselves. As we are discovering new beginnings, it is important to focus on our health. Everyone knows that exercise benefits your physical health, but did you know that exercise also has profound benefits on the brain and higher functioning? Exercise is known to produce endorphins in the brain, which, according to the National Institute on Drug

Addiction, elevates mood-boosting neurochemicals and stimulates the reward pathways in the brain. A good workout may also help reduce stress and stress-related cravings, making recovery more manageable and successful. So as we focus this month on discovering new freedom and happiness in our recovery, put your physical health as a priority and get in shape. Many gyms have great membership deals in January so get out, get active, and begin to discover a new, healthy lifestyle.

Personal Productivity

Goals are created to set a standard for yourself and serve as a marker to track your progress. They can be short term or can be long term, business-related or personal, and can be as big or small as you see fit. Goal setting can be a fun and productive tool to utilize year round; especially at the beginning of this year it is a great time to start thinking of some changes you’d like to see in your life. But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the popular "New Year’s Resolutions" that are rarely met and tend to be fad-oriented. Instead of resigning to set another one-time, lofty goal, this year make an effort to set reachable goals throughout the year. The goals you choose to set can be a source of liberation from your addiction, bad habits, or just to free yourself from the normalcy you may have come to experience. Challenge yourself this year and learn to set and achieve goals, you will be sure to find happiness and a sense of self-accomplishment when you do.

Follow these six simple steps using the SMART criteria to set attainable, practical goals:

  • Step 1: Write down your goal in as few words as possible
  • Step 2: Make your goal detailed and SPECIFIC
    • Answer who/what/where/when/how
    • How will you reach this goal?
  • Step 3: Make your goal MEASURABLE
    • Add details, measurements, and tracking details
    • "I will measure my goal in this way"
    • "I will have completed my goal when ____"
  • Step 4: Make your goal ATTAINABLE
    • What resources or support will you need to attain this goal?
  • Step 5: Make your goal RELEVANT
    • Why do you want to reach this goal?
  • Step 6: Make your goal TIMELY
    • Put a deadline on your goal and set benchmarks

* SMART criteria is a mnemonic device commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept


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Light regulates circadian rhythms

Why and How We Live Rhythmically at Two Dreams

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken

- Samuel Johnson

Every living organism has a natural rhythm. These rhythms are disrupted by illness, particularly drug and alcohol use. A drug can create false sleep. A drug can stimulate alertness. A drug can suppress appetite. Another can stimulate appetite.

The science behind living rhythmically, strategies that promote and restore natural rhythms, and the role of sleep, nutrition, meditation, and exercise in the 21st century approach to healing oneself in recovery are all important aspects of your journey at Two Dreams.

At Two Dreams the concept of living in the NOW (No Other Way) is central to living a life in recovery. Similarly, mindfulness is a state of active, open, non-judgmental attention on the present. Many treatment programs and practitioners are employing mindfulness in the care and management of patients with mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders- diseases and symptoms which tend to cluster together.

Read more ...