Friday, July 31, 2009

Drug facts chat day

Video lasts 4:24.

Linda Ackley awarded a Master's Degree

Click on image for easier reading.

David Carr, the Suburban Alcoholic

Video lasts 2:59.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jeff Gray earns his CASAC -The Daily News 07/28/09

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Alcoholic Chandalier



This is aricle #5 in a series on Images Of Addiction.

Alcholhol and sports in Australia - a growing concern

Australians get serious about alcohol and sports. It is time for the same in the U.S.

Video lasts 3: 17

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Retirement Planning For Dumb People



This is article #4 in a series on Images Of Addiction.

Can Ritalin Be Abused?

Video lasts 1:52

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How reliable are you?

Be careful if you are taking Darvon or Darvacet


Reuters Health reported on July 7, 2009, that the FDA is requiring stronger warnings for Darvon and Darvocet. Both drugs addicting and prone to abuse contributing to overdose deaths. Here is the snippet from the Reuters Health Article:

U.S. regulators on Tuesday ordered stronger warnings about overdoses with the painkilling drugs Darvon and Darvocet and rejected a consumer group's call for a ban of the medicines.

The action applies to drugs made with propoxyphene, the pain-killing ingredient in privately held Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc's Darvon and Darvocet and generic medicines.

Propoxyphene has been on the market since 1957.

The Food and Drug Administration said it was requiring tougher, boxed warnings on the medicines because of reports of accidental and intentional overdoses, including some that were fatal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kiss Me

Is It Time To Legalize Marijuana?

Video lasts 4:58.

The McLauglin Group discusses the topic, "Is it time to legalize marijuana"?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ever wonder what's in your beer?

Video lasts 0:52

Amy Klos celebrates 10 years at GCASA on July 26, 2009

Amy Klos celebrates 10 years at GCASA today July 26, 2009.

Amy has worked in several positions at GCASA over a decade. For the last few years she has been the Customer Relations Supervisor for the Genesee County treatment operation and has done an outstanding job.

Amy's skills, knowledge, and kindness are well known to all who have contact with her: clients, referral agents, staff, and other community members.

Customer Relations Staff are the glue that hold GCASA's treatment service delivery system together. They are like the hub of the wheel and without the hub, there is nothing for the spokes to tie into and the wheel falls into disequilibrium and wobbles terribly.

So, thanks to Amy and her staff for keeping the system in balance and runnning smoothly. We owe Amy and her staff huge thanks for all the years of service!

From the glass to the brain in 6 minutes - Alcohol can really go to your head

Science Daily reported on 06/26/09 on a study which appeared in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism that alcohol can go from the glass to the drinker's brain in 6 minutes.

Here is a snippet from the Science Daily's article:

Just one drink can quickly go to your head. Researchers in Heidelberg tested this well-known adage. Only six minutes after consuming an amount of alcohol equivalent to three glasses of beer or two glasses of wine, leading to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.06 percent, changes have already taken place in the brain cells, as the scientists in Heidelberg proved using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Previously the only available data was from animal trials.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do you get "trashed"?

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.



This is article #2 in a series on Images of Addiction.

1 in 25 deaths world wide due to alcohol

Science Daily reported on 06/27/09 that 1 in 25 deaths world wide is due to alcohol. We don't need to worry about atomic nihiliation, or terrorism, or climate change, we are killing ourselves with tobacco, alcohol, and too much food (obesity).

Here is a snippet from the Science Daily article:

Research from Canada's own Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) featured in this week's edition of the Lancet shows that worldwide, 1 in 25 deaths are directly attributable to alcohol consumption. This rise since 2000 is mainly due to increases in the number of women drinking.

CAMH's Dr J├╝rgen Rehm and his colleagues found that alcohol-attributable disorders are among the most disabling disease categories within the global burden of disease, especially for men. And in contrast to other traditional risk factors for disease, the burden attributable to alcohol lies more with younger people than with the older population.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Literacy - Who are the audience for this ad?

Today I am starting a new thread on the GCASA Cares blog tagged media literacy. We will be looking at the insidious assault on our youth by the corporatized drug pushers of our society.

Who do you think this ad is targeted to? Would kids like it especially 8,9, and 10 year old boys? What is the likelihood that they would want to emulate the behavior of the man who winds up with the beer?

What would you say to a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade student about this ad?

What kind of TV shows do you think this ad will be played on?

Video lasts 0:30



This is article #1 in a series on Media Literacy.

Mentholated cigarettes are more addictive

Science Daily reported in an article on January 12, 2009 on a study in the International Journal Of Clinical Practice which found that mentholated cigarettes are more addictive than regular cigarettes. You can read the Science Daily article by clicking here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What is honor about?

It's about step 9. You friends of Bill W know what I'm talkin about.

GCASA in Albion is right in the middle of things

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Whether its the good guys or bad guys smoking in the movies, kids are still influenced to smoke

Science Daily reported on July 3, 2009 on a study which appears in the July, 2009 issue of the Journal, Pediatrics which found that whether its good guys or bad guys who smoke in the movies, kids are still influenced to start smoking.

Here is a snippet from the Science Daily article:

Dartmouth researchers have determined that movie characters who smoke, regardless of whether they are "good guys" or "bad guys," influence teens to try smoking.

"Previous studies have confirmed a link between smoking in movies and the initiation of smoking by adolescents, and we wanted to dig deeper into the data to see if the type of character who is smoking matters. Is it 'good guys' or 'bad guys' that have more of an influence?" said Susanne Tanski, the lead author on the study, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. "It's true that 'bad guys' are more often smokers in the movies, but there really are not that many 'bad guys' compared to 'good guys'. Episode for episode, youth who saw negative character smoking were more likely to start smoking, but since overall there is so much more exposure to 'good guy' smoking, the net effect is similar."

The survey also revealed that low-risk teens, based on sensation-seeking behavior, are more strongly influenced by "bad guy" movie smoking. "This suggests that it's alluring for 'good' kids to emulate the 'bad' characters on the movie screen," said Tanksi.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Images Of Addiction - Cigarette trash

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Thinking about this, it dawned on me that sometimes clearer points are made with images than with many words. So today I am starting a new category on the GCASA Cares blog tagged: images of addiction. I will be posting images that stop me in my tracks and make me think a little. Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." Not many people, especially people abusing chemicals and behaviors like gambling, are living much of an examined life. The intention in posting these images to help people to stop and think and examine their lives.



This is article #1 in a series on Images Of Addiction.

Bumper Sticker Of The Day - Don't Drink And Derive

Today I am starting a new category on this blog tagged: "Bumper Sticker Of The Day".



This is article #1 in a series on Bumper Sticker of The Day.

The blood alcohol content (BAC) calculator

The blood alcohol content (BAC) calculator. It's neat. Give it a try.

You can access it by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drugs kill - 22 year old Britisn man dies from cirrohsis

From News Com.au

"A 22-year-old British man who became an alcoholic as a teenager has died after doctors refused to give him a liver transplant.

Gary Reinbach began binge drinking when he was just 13 and ended up with severe cirrhosis of the liver.

He was admitted to a London hospital in May but died after doctors refused to give him a liver transplant amid fears he would not stay sober for six months after the operation.

Mr Reinbach's distraught mother Madeline Reinbach said her son had been in great pain and scared before his life support machine was turned off on Sunday."


It reminds me once again that here at GCASA we are treating terminal illnesses and many of our clients, untreated, would die from their disease. 22 is way too young to die.

Thanks to John Walker, LMSW, CASAC, an Assistant Director For Treatment at GCASA, for bringing this tragic story to my attention.

The Committee Of Methadone Progam Administrators Web Site

The Committee Of Methadone Program Administrators Of New York State, Compa-NY has a newly revamped web site http://www.compa-ny.org/.

Want to understand substance abuse prevention?

If you want to undersand substance abuse prevention, NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, has a succinct, understandable, and informative guide. It is 49 pages and easily readable.

We at GCASA follow most of the principles and ideas in this guide.

I recommend it and you can access it by clicking here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Theories and Practice Seminar at GCASA

Norma Miller, LMHC, organized and facilitated a great seminar on Theories and Practice of Psychotherapy which as covered a four month span. Each topic was facilitated by a different therapist at GCASA's Batavia Clinic.

It was a rich and informative experience.

The classes met weekly at Mondays from 11:30 - 12:45 PM. Here's a list

April 20, 2009, Jung and Freud
April 27, 2009, Cognitive Behavioral
May 2, 2009, Adlerian
May 11, 2009, Exisitential
May 18, 2009, Person Centered/Rogerian
June 1, 2009, Gestalt
June 8, 2009, Feminist
June, 15, 2009 Reality
June 22, 2009, Rational Emotive
June 29, 2009, Family Systems
July 20, 2009 Narrative
August 2, 2009 Wrap-Up

Jeff Gray receives his CASAC

Congratulations to Jeff Gray who has worked at GCASA's Residential Services Program now for several years, and who received the news recently that he has earned his CASAC, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor from the New York State Office Of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

The CASAC credential is earned after much course work, internship and passing an international exam demonstrating knowledge and competencies in Substance Abuse Counseling.

GCASA is proud of all its staff who have the CASAC and other Licenses in their field and are designated as Qualified Health Professionals. The high percentage of GCASA staff with the CASAC and QHP credentials is one indicator of the high level of quality service which GCASA offers its clients and the community.

Congratulations, Jeff!

What are the most commonly abused drugs?

For a chart of commonly abused drugs put together by NIDA, the National Institute On Drug Abuse, click here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

States have broken promises to their citizens in their use of tobacco settlement money

At the end of July, 2009, the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Control has stopped funding Smoke Free NOW after 14 years. Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties will not have the resources to continue to maintain its coalition activities to develop healthy policies and practices around tobacco in New York State.

New York, like other states has not kept its promises to fight the scourge of disease and illness caused by tobacco with its Tobacco Settlement money.

Video lasts 3:00

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Put My Father In Prison



Alcoholism and drug abuse are family diseases. This young woman describes how alcohol was used by her father to perpetrate incest. The biggest rape drug in the world are not "ruffies", or ecstacy, or some other more exotic substance. It is common, every day, legally sold and consumed and governmentally regulated, alcohol.

From the July 11, 2009 issue of the Guardian :

I was nine when my parents split up and my father moved in with his mother. My sister and I would stay with my father at weekends as part of the contact arrangements, and it was during these overnight stays that he forced me to drink alcohol before submitting me to sexual abuse that carried on for four years.

As soon as I got my period, the abuse stopped. I put it to the back of my mind and tried to get on with my life. Then, when I turned 16, I noticed that my father was showing my younger sister the kind of attention I remembered. One night, I came in from a party and he was sitting staring at her. Something in me snapped, and I went home and told my mother everything.

She couldn't stop crying or blaming herself. She said it explained so many things - for example, why I was rebelling so much and why privacy had become so important to me. I wouldn't even let people in my bedroom. My mother went to social services and they told her to go to the police. I can't fault the police. They put me at ease before taking my statement by video. Then they interviewed some members of my family and arrested my father.

Drug addiction - How it works - 73 second video

How drugs screw up kids and families. One of the best videos I have seen. You'll have to watch it several times to get it all.

Here's how it works in 73 seconds.

Video lasts 1:13.



This is article #19 in a series on substance abuse a Family Disease.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Drugging and sexing can bring with it a life sentence

Substance abuse brings all kinds of problems like drunk driving deaths and injuries, assaults and property destruction, date rape and abuse, but what about Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV? It is extemely difficult to make good decisions and practice safe sex when you are high. Drugging and sexing can bring with it a life sentence.

Video lasts 1:00

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What are the medications used to treat alcoholism?

Medications are not the answer to addiction. However, sometimes they can be helpful tools. Here is a good, succinct overview of medications that can be used for alcoholism from the National Insitute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Here is a snippet from the article:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marijuana - Harmless?

Video lasts 1:21

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alcohol Spending Calculator

Rethinking drinking?

How much do you spend on alcohol?

What could you save if you stopped or cut back?

What else could you do with the money? How would the whole family benefit if you used the money spent on alcohol to better purpose?

Discuss the amount of money you spend on alcohol with your partner and children and other family members and decide how else you might spend the money to enhance your family's life satisfaction.

To access the ALCOHOL SPENDING CALCULATOR click here.

This is article #18 in a series on substance abuse a Family Disease.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is Hepatitis C?

Some of GCASA's clients have Hepatitis C contracted through needle use.

Video lasts 6:07

Financial assistance, Kincare, is available through county department of social services for relatives caring for children


Due to substance abuse problems, many children come to be cared for by grandparents, aunts and uncles, and older siblings. There is a program in New York State called Kincare which provides financial assistance for this care based on the income of the child not the caregiver. To find out more contact your county's social services department.

From the Buffalo News on 06/27/09:

The public assistance program, dubbed Kincare, provides $400 a month for one child and $125 a month for each additional child in a household headed by a grandparent or other relative.

The grant is based solely on the child’s income, and not on the caregiver’s. Because of that, Kincare families need not be low-income. The nonparent caregiver must be full time. And kinship caregivers do not need legal custody or guardianship to apply for these grants.

Yet the financial benefits program is underutilized, said officials of Catholic Charities and AARP New York State, which make up the New York State Kincare Coalition.

According to figures presented by the coalition, there are about 410,000 children in the state who are being raised by a grandparent or other relative.

Of that, state figures show that about 8 percent—or about 32,000 eligible children — are currently receiving the nonparent grant.

Approximately 19,000 children in the City of Buffalo and the counties of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany are being raised by a grandparent.


To read the whole article, click here.

Kinship care is far superior to foster care when children need to be removed from their family of origin due to substance abuse of the parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings often provide care to children whose parents are too ill to provide the care themselves. This of course, is often a huge stress on the children as well as the caregivers. Any assistance we can provide to the caregivers is appropriate and therapeutic.

This is article #17 in series on substance abuse a Family Disease.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Alcoholic In The Family Song

An Alcoholic In The Family Song. Click here to go to site to listen to it. It's worth it.

It is sung to 100 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall.

Ninety-Nine bottles of beer
On the wall
Hold poisons, it is true.
If you're alcoholic
And take one drink,
It is the end of you.

ALCOHOLISM hurts
Families the most.
Alcoholism's the pits.
With hurtful words,
Hate, and fear,
They often call it quits.


This is article #16 in a series on substance abuse the Family Disease.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Substance abuse and child abuse - huge social problem

According to the New York State Office Of Child and Family Services as of December 31, 2008 there were 25,878 children in Foster Care In New York State.

The National Center On Child Abuse Prevention Research has a fact sheet which outlines major points about the relationship between substance abuse and child maltreatment. Here is part of what the fact sheet says:

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.



Video lasts 1:00.



This is article #16 in a series on substance abuse a Family Disease.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Seven effects of alcoholic parents on children

At GCASA we teach children of alcoholics the 3 Cs:

You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

Video lasts 3:43.



This is article #15 in a series on substance abuse a Family Disease.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Aftermaith of addiction for families - Everything Changes by Beverly Conyers


Beverly Conyers has a great new book out entitled, "Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts".)You can find out more by clicking on the book in the My Favorities section on the side bar.)

It has been a better known idea in the last couple of decades that substance abuse is a family disease. There is a lot of literature aind self help books on how to cope with an active addict and how to help the addict get treatment, but there is less literature on how to live with an addict after he/she becomes abstinent.

It is a terrible and tragic thing to live with addiction, but it is sometimes just as difficult to live with the aftermath and there often is less support since people are so relieved and jubilent that abstinence has occurred. But for loved ones huge problems remain and continue, and for the addict as well.

I recommend Conyers book to you and we will be describing some of the issues and concerns in dealing with ther aftermath of addiction in articles that follow for the rest of July on GCASA Cares blog.

This is article #14 in a series on s.bstance abuse a Family Disease.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rules and Roles of Dysfunctional Alcoholic Family Systems

"It is my belief that what a spouse or child does while living in an alcoholic environment,they do because at the time it makes sense to them. As the problems surrounding the alcoholism cause more and more inconsistency and unpredictability in the home, the behavior of the nonalcoholic family members typically becomes an attempt to restabilize the family system."

Claudia Black, It Will Never Happen To Me, p. 5

The family system can be described as consisting of roles and rules. Typical family roles include the co-dependent, the responsible one, the adjuster, and the placater. Of course, there can be other roles but these roles are basic in alcoholic family systems.

The primary rules of alcoholic family sytems are Don't Talk, Don't Trust, Don't Feel, Don't Think.

People in alcoholic family systems play dysfunctional roles by dysfunctional rules because they provide a way to survive in a toxic and destructive environment. These rules and roles therefore, can be interpreted as adaptive and healthy. They are a sign of strength and vitality not a sign of weakness and deficiency.

Counselors have looked at the rules and roles of dysfunctional family systems as symptoms of disorder, but they can just as well be looked at as signs of adaptation, strength, skills and competencies.

The roles and rules of dysfunctional alcoholic family systems have their place and serve their purpose. It is how they are used and the dysfunctional systems they maintain that are the problem, not the roles and rules in themselves.

This is article #13 in a series on Substance Abuse The Family Disease

Hokey Pokey Anonymous

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Genesee County Drug Free Communities night at the ball park this Friday, 07/10/09, at Muckdog Stadium in Batavia, NY


Looking for something FUN to do this Friday Night?

How about a Muck Dogs game? The Muck Dogs, the farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals will be playing the Mahoning Valley Scappers, the farm tem for the Cleveland Indians.

Please join us for Genesee County Drug Free Communities Night at the Ball Park, July 10, 7:05pm, at the Muckdog Stadium on Bank St., in Batavia, NY.

You can learn more about the Muckdogs by going to their web site by clicking here.

Help Drug-Free Communities Coalition Support 21…It Saves Lives!

Post-Game Fireworks.

Alcohol Among GIs is soaring.

Alcohol abuse among GIs is soaring. Here is a snippet from a USA Today article from 06/19/09:

The rate of Army soldiers enrolled in treatment programs for alcohol dependency or abuse has nearly doubled since 2003 — a sign of the growing stress of repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Army statistics and interviews.
Soldiers diagnosed by Army substance abuse counselors with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking, increased from 6.1 per 1,000 soldiers in 2003 to an estimated 11.4 as of March 31, according to the data. The latest data cover the first six months of the fiscal year that began in October.

"We're seeing a lot of alcohol consumption," Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, told top officers during a briefing on the Army's growing number of suicides.


Organizational Excellence - GCASA's Superior Performance

Jim Collins the author of Good To Great has written a little monograph entitled, "Good To Great and the Social Sectors",(This book is listed in My Favorites on the side bar) in which he applies the concepts form his book Good To Great to nonprofits. He says on page 5 "In the social sectors, the critical question is not 'How much money do we make per dollar of invested capital?', but 'How effectively do we deliver on our mission and make a distinctive impact, relative to our resources?"

Collins then goes on to use the Cleveland Orchestra as an example demonstrating that nonprofits can measure their success by assessing their performance, impact, and endurance. Collins suggests that nonprofit organizations should aspire to superior performance, distinctive impact, and lasting endurance.

What would be indicators of GCASA' Superior Performance? I can think of several for G
CASA's treatment and residential services progams:
Excellent ratings on client satisfaction surveys; Excellent ratings on referral agent satisfaction surveys; High rates of client engagement; High rates of client retention; high rates of drug of abuse discontinuance; reduced incarceration rates and legal problems; increase in self-sufficiency; increase in self-actualization with client report of well being.

I can also think of several indicators of superior performance for GCASA's Prevention Program: reduction in the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse in GCASA's service area; reduction in 30 use rates for people under 21; increase in the intensity of protective factors; reduction in intensity of risk factors; a change in social norms and attitudes about substance abuse reducing demand for addictive and damaging substances and behaviors(gambling).

There also several indicators of superior performance for GCASA's Royal Employee Assistance Program: improvement in employee attendance; improvement in employee productivity; improvement in employee error rates; improvement in employee retention; improvement in employee morale; decrease in supervisory problems; increase in workforce well being.

There are many ways to measure GCASA's performance and compare it to other similar service providers. GCASA does better than most already on most indicators, but in its desire to be just not good but great, GCASA has a way to go to further improve its outcomes commensurate with its resources. GCASA cannot rest on its laurels of being the Agency of the Year in 2005 in New York State, and the Best Drug Free Coalition in the United States in 2006 according to CADCA, and in 2007 by NASADAD. Our quest is to be the standard in the industry in outpatient treatment, residential services, and substance abuse prevention.



For future goals GCASA stives for 95% client satisfaction scores in the excellent range knowing that our program services will not suit everyone. Likewise, GCASA strives for 98% referral agent satisfaction in the excellent range. GCASA strives for public recognition and support of its prevention efforts which make the community a healthier place. As this has occurred, citizens tend to take it for granted and think "this has how it has always been" when in fact, things in the past have been worse. GCASA strives to make services available to all who need and want them. We have learned as a society that a criminal justice approach to substance abuse problems, while it has a place, doesn't eliminate our citizens demand, use, and abuse of substances and destructive behaviors.

In the next article, we will be covering the idea of Distinctive Impact.

This is article # 2 in a series on Organizational Excellence.

Monday, July 6, 2009

FDA puts black box warnings on Chantix and Zyban

Reuters Health Day News reported on July 1, 2009 that the FDA has placed "black box warnings on two smoking cessation drugs: Chantix and Zyban. Here is a snippet from the article:

Two drugs prescribed to help people quit smoking, Chantix and Zyban, will now carry "black-box" warnings on the potential risks of psychiatric problems, including depression and suicidal thoughts, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was mandating the black-box warnings, the strictest possible, based on reports to the agency of these side effects and on a review of clinical trials and scientific literature.

"We are requiring the manufacturers of the smoking-cessation drugs Chantix and Zyban to add a new boxed warning highlighting the risk of serious mental health symptoms with use of these products," Dr. Curt Rosebraugh, director of the FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation II, said during a Wednesday teleconference.

The agency's review found that some people who used Chantix (varenicline) and Zyban (bupropion) experienced unusual changes in behavior, became depressed, or had their depression worsen and had thoughts of suicide or dying, the FDA said.

Rosebraugh said there were reports of 98 suicides and 188 suicide attempts involving Chantix, and 14 suicides and 17 attempts reported with Zyban.


You can read the whole article by clicking here.

To read the FDA News Release click here.

How does co-dependence affect children?

It is interesting how co-dependence affects children. Here is a great example from Claudia Black's great book, It Will Never Happen To Me.

"Joan can't count on her mom to be attentive about what she has to say after coming home from school. Joan's mom doesn't smile after hearing something funny which happened to Joan at school, nor is her mom very sensitive to her sadnesses. Usually, Joan's mom is preoccupied with what happened last night, or what didn't happen last night, as a result of dad's drinking."

It Will Never Happen To Me, p.35

I am seeing a teen right now in my private practice who is the "good girl" but who is suicidal, anorexic, and significantly depressed. She says that her mother is "stupid" because her mother states that she "complains too much". The teen says that dad drinks every night after work and he and mom fight. The teen says that she goes up to her bedroom and turns up her music so she doesn't have to hear the fighting.

The teen reports she went to her doctor who said she was depressed and recommended antidepressants. She says she wanted to "talk with some" so the doctor referred her to me. She says mom doesn't want to bring her because mom says it is a "waste of time."

I offer to see Mom but the teen declines saying that Mom will "yell at me if I tell you what is going on at hom. It will just make her mad."

I say, "It sounds like there is anyone you can trust?"

She nods and her eyes well up.

I am struck with how substance abuse is not only a family disease but it is transgenerational.

And so it goes..............

This is article #6 on substance abuse the Family Disease.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Don't Trust Rule in dysfunctional alcoholic family systems

"I'm always on my guard with people. I want to trust them, but it is so much easier to just rely on myself. I'm never sure what other people want."

It Will Never Happen To Me, p.33

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Don't Talk rule in dysfunctional family systems

"Sometimes I pretend my mom is not drinking when she really is. I never even talk about it."

Melody, Age 9, It Will Never Happen To Me, p.33

Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs

Video lasts 4:04 -




Don't talk, I will listen.
Don't talk, you keep your distance
for I'd rather hear some truth tonight than entertain your lies,
so take you poison silently.
Let me be. Let me close my eyes.

Don't talk, I'll believe it.
Don't talk, listen to me instead,
I know that if you think of it, both long enough and hard
the drink you drown your troubles in is the trouble you're in now.

Talk talk talk about it, if you talk as if you care
but when your talk is over tilt that bottle in the air,
tossing back more than your share.

Don't talk, I can guess it.
Don't talk, well now your restless
and you need somewhere to put the blame for how you feel inside.
You'll look for a close and easy mark and you'll see me as fair game.

Talk talk talk about it, talk as if you care
but when your talk is over tilt that bottle in the air
tossing back more than your share.

You talk talk talk about it, you talk as if you care.
I'm marking every word and can tell this time for sure,
your talk is the finest I have heard.
So don't talk, let me go on dreaming.
How your eyes they glow so fiercely I can tell your inspired
by the name you chose for me. Now what was it? O, never mind it.

We will talk talk talk about this when your head is clear.
I'll discuss this in the morning, but until then you may talk but I won't hear.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Los Angeles Diaries, the book


Even before the scandal, I had read James Frey's A Million Pieces and knew that it was a bunch of dramatic exaggerations of what rehab is really like. Turns out, Oprah is mortified at what any reasonable person already knew, that James Frey made up most of the stuff in his memoir.



By comparison, I just finished James Brown's memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, in which he describes his own addictions, his failed marriage, the suicides of his brother, and then sister, and his difficulty in achieving success in his field as a writer because of his alcoholism and his drug addiction.



Brown's book is more like the real thing. It is sketchy, written in a sparse and succinct style and yet very readable and engaging.



Brown grows up in a very dysfunctional family abandoned by his mother during some very formative years because she does prison time for arson after burning down an apartment house in which a person died. His mother also bankrupted the family with wild spending and poor investments and his contractor father is ruined. Jimmy started drinking and drugging when he was a kid and by the age of 14 had become an addict.



This is a dark tale told in a matter of fact way about the destruction of a family due to substance abuse. If there is any doubt that substance abuse is a terminal disease, James Brown's story will set that doubt aside.



I recommend this book.



For more information, scroll through My Favorites on the side bar, and click on Los Angeles Diaries. It will take you to the Amazon web site.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What are GCASA's core values?

I have read Jim Collins and Jerry Porras' book, Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies (book is listed in My Favorites in right side bar)which has inspired me and given me many ideas about how to work to make GCASA even better.

One of the things that Collins and Porras found that Visionary Companies do is stick to their core ideology while they push for continuous improvement. This idea very much resonates with our philosophy at GCASA.

An important component of a company's core ideology are its values. These values are not some saccharine pollyannish ideas that sound good but something that defines the organization at a visceral level. Different people might have different ideas about those organizational core values are but I would say they are four fold: we treat everyone, clients, staff, referral agents, general public with respect. We also recognize people's intrinsic worth and dignity no matter how low they have sunk in their lives. We believe in a person's right and responsibility to become actualized, that is, to realize his or her potential, and we believe in continuous improvement in one's own life, in one's family, in one's community, in one's place of work etc.

So the four values which resonate most deeply with me are dignity, respect, actualization and continuous improvement. These are the things that GCASA is committed to as it goes about its work. This means we are not driven by regulatory requirements, or payors, or evidence based practices. We are driven primarily by a client centered orientation which is respectful, protective of dignity, empowering of individual growth, and always trying to become better at what we do.

Let us know what you think. Leave us a comment. What do you care most deeply about as you go about your work in the substance abuse field, or as you interface with the substance abuse system.

This is article #1 in a series on Organizational Excellence.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GCASA Cares for July, 2009

During July, 2009 GCASA Cares will bring you a continuation of the series on Substance Abuse, The Family Disease. GCASA Cares will also feature a series on organizational excellence.

In addition, GCASA cares will feature GCASA staff news, GCASA events, 2 book reviews, 2 film reviews, and 4 of our staff's favorite public service announcements.

Even though it's summer time and people are on vacation, substance abuse continues to be a problem. So we hope you will visit the GCASA Cares blog often.