Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Affects Everyone in the Family

Our Nation's #1 health concern is substance abuse.  In addition to epidemics such as opiates, methamphetamine, and prescription pills, alcoholism remains an issue that plagues many families.  As such, alcoholism knows no race, gender, moral, religious, or socioeconomic lines.  It can affect any of us and can quickly creep in to the many facets of one's life.  Perhaps, the most deadly factor is that is legal and therefore easily accessible. So realize that alcoholism is not the homeless person asking for change, although it can be, alcoholism may be the effective CEO, the great mom, the high achieving teen- alcoholism can occur anywhere, to any of us.

I often work with families in the midst of crisis, reeling from the problems substance abuse has left and continued turmoil.  Alcoholism effects mothers, fathers, children, and everyone around them. Imagine being the child of an alcoholic, going to school, unable to concentrate because you do not know the state of your parent when you return.  Will they be in a good mood, will there be food, will you be beaten or neglected, will mom/dad be alive?  How can a child focus at school with this on their mind?  How can a child function at home in this environment?  You can change the nouns child and school to woman/man and work.  The thought is the same.  Imagine a life where everyone is afraid and suffering.

Alcoholism is a family disease.  Relatives of alcoholics often develop emotional or behavioral issues as a result of trying to cope with their life as it relates to that of an alcoholic.  Forget enabling (although that term is important), think about how the relatives temperament, emotions, and behaviors are affected.  Constant worry, fear, anger, sadness are common.  Helping (enabling) the relative so that the effects of their alcoholism is minimized in the public can be taxing.  The Alcoholic and family deserve help, they all deserve a better future.
​The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shares the following information to help families*:                                                                                                     
"What Can Families Do ?
Learn About Alcohol, Drugs, Alcoholism and Addiction:
Our ability to cope with anything is a function of how much we know about what we are up against. Although you have been living with alcohol and/or drug problems for some time, learning about alcohol and drug addiction is a critical first step. You cannot rely on common sense or popular myths (preaching, complaining, acting like a martyr, dumping the alcohol or drugs). Getting the facts about how alcohol and drugs affect the individual and the family is very important (see “Learn About Alcohol” and “Learn About Drugs”).
Seek Help and Support For Yourself:
The disease of alcoholism and addiction is a family disease and affects everyone close to the person. Not only does the alcohol or drug user need help, so do you, even if you don’t realize it at the time. You and other family members need and deserve appropriate education, help and support in finding healthy ways to overcome the negative effects of the disease. Education, counseling and Mutual Aid/Support Groups can help you realize that you are not alone, that you are not responsible for the drinking or drug use and that you need to take care of yourself, regardless of whether the person you are concerned about chooses to get help.
NCADD Affiliates offer a range of services including help for individuals and family members. If you are concerned about your own alcohol or other drug use or that of someone you care about—a child or other relative, a friend or co-worker—please make the contact. You will be able to speak to someone who will listen, assess your needs and provide information about available services, costs and how to deal with another person’s alcohol and/or drug use. Help is just a call or visit away—Make the contact now!
Learn What You Can Do To Help:
Treatment programs, counseling, mutual aid/support groups are all options for getting help. Only the person using alcohol and drugs can make the decision to get help, but you can help create the conditions to make that decision more attractive. Seeking help and support on your own can encourage interest in treatment or self-help. Look into treatment options and costs together and express your belief that treatment will work.
If Needed, Consider Family Intervention:
If the person you are concerned about is unable or unwilling to seek help, you should consider a planned, professionally directed intervention. Intervention, with support of a trained and experienced interventionist, is a powerful tool for the family to receive education, guidance and support, with a focus on getting the person to accept treatment.
Be Patient With The Recovery Process:
As with all chronic illnesses, everyone needs time to recover and regain health. For both the individual and family member, there may be relapses or breaks in treatment. Old tensions and resentments may flare up occasionally. Learn from these events and stay focused on recovery.
Hope For Long-Term Recovery: 
While addiction to alcohol and drugs has no known cure, the disease can be stopped once the individual abstains from alcohol and other addictive drugs. Today, there are millions of Americans living life in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. And, millions more family members and children of addiction have also found recovery!​"
More Thoughts:

Alcoholism affects the entire family.  Death, illness, violence, danger, conflict, psychological issues, trauma, and separation of families are all common and real consequences. Treatment depends on the severity of the illness and other factors and may include options such as detoxification, residential treatment for 30 days or up to 1 year, intensive outpatient, supportive outpatient, outpatient treatment, support groups, a sponsor, and other medical care.  The journey will be distinct for the individual and family.  Families will benefit from counseling and support as well.

I often tell my clients and families to get ready to meet a new person.   The alcohol created a person with feelings, behaviors, and a personality with whom they became accustomed.  As much as we want the person to stop drinking, we must also prepare to meet the person that is now walking in the light of life and sees people, places, and situations differently as well.  In addition to the resolution of old wounds, discovery begins.

At Momentum Behavioral Health Concepts, we help the whole person as they embark on the journey to restore and discover life once more.

​Be well, be informed, find your momentum....
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Avoiding Substance Abuse and Improving Mental Health in Seniors

Avoiding Substance Abuse and Improving Mental Health in Seniors

Image via Pixabay by omeralnahi

Guest Author: Pat McGraw

Substance abuse in seniors is a much more common problem than one might think. It can go untreated if loved ones don’t take the warning signs seriously and take action. Substance abuse in seniors is commonly the result of poor mental well-being. If your aging loved one is not caring for their mental health, they could easily become at risk for addiction. If you’re concerned about an aging loved one’s mental health, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of substance abuse.

Know the Signs

The signs of addiction in seniors can sometimes be brushed off by family members. For example, if your grandparent loses a spouse or a close friend, relatives may turn a blind eye to an increase in drinking. Loved ones may think that drowning their sorrows is an appropriate and temporary response to cope with a loss, or they may not be aware that addiction is a potential concern among older adults.
However, it is important that you know and acknowledge the signs of substance abuse and addiction in your elderly loved ones in order to get them the help they need. Treatment can make a world of difference, helping your loved one find effective coping strategies to work through the loss while maintaining sound mental health.

Promote Social Interaction

Social isolation is a leading cause of mental health concerns in seniors. After retirement, older adults don’t have a job to go to that puts them in contact with other people. Perhaps their spouse passes away, and their life-long friends begin to pass on as well. Gradually, due to these circumstances and health conditions that impact mobility, some older adults become increasingly isolated.
Social isolation can contribute to depression, which in turn increases an individual’s risk of turning to substances as a coping mechanism. Ultimately, using substances as a means of self-medicating may lead to substance abuse and addiction in some older adults.
As social creatures, it is critical that your loved one find new ways to meet others. A few good examples are crafting groups, book clubs, exercise groups, returning to school, or volunteering. Anything that gets your loved one out of the house and talking to new people is beneficial, not just for their emotional well-being but also for their physical health.

Encourage Mental and Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is just as important for mental health as cognitively challenging activities. Physical exercise helps stave off depression and improves quality of life, promoting strength, flexibility, and balance that can preserve seniors’ mobility as they age.
Seniors seeking fun and engaging ways to be more physically active might consider yoga, tai chi, swimming, or even something as simple as taking a daily walk. Senior centers in many communities offer senior exercise groups focused on these and other activities that promote physical activity among older adults. Participating in a group fitness program helps seniors stay both physically active and socially engaged.

There are dozens of ways to exercise the brain as well. Activities that require cognitive engagement include puzzles, math exercises, attending college courses, reading, and more. Keeping the brain engaged throughout aging helps to maintain existing neural pathways, improve memory, and reduce cognitive decline, which in turn lowers an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

It’s never too late to start learning something new, so encourage your aging loved ones to pursue interests they didn’t have time for during their working years. By staying cognitively, physically, and socially engaged, seniors are less likely to become isolated and develop depression, thereby lessening the risk of substance abuse and addiction.

Maintaining mental health in seniors is the best way to prevent addiction and help them enjoy retirement. If your loved one does experience substance abuse, remember that many seniors successfully recover with proper treatment and go on to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Programs to treat addiction in seniors can be highly effective and will work to get your loved one back on the right track. What matters is that you care about your loved one and want to help them enjoy a vibrant, active lifestyle throughout their golden years.

About the Author:
Pat McGraw is a firm believer in maintaining a healthy, clean lifestyle. Her mission is to make sure awareness and resources are made available to young people to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stepping out on Faith

Image result for optimistic quotes

Earlier this year I left my job in leadership to turn my part-time practice into a full-time practice.  I gave my notice amidst not feeling fulfilled and other things.  I count each opportunity as a blessing, don't get me wrong- but sometimes its best to let go.  I found out recently that the agency I worked for is closing a major service very soon.  The news came quickly leaving staff little to no time to prepare for their next step.  In addition, I hospital I worked for closed its doors after decades of serving the community.  A source that was there at the time informed my source (yes this is third hand information, but credible) that they arrived to work and the doors were locked.  Again, people without time to prepare but must survive.

It seems like there has been a pattern over the last 16 months of me leaving a place and what would have been my job and that of others being dramatically affected.  Some of you may be thinking- well what have you been doing?!! Is it you?!!! My answer- no, it was God.  In both situations there were many long-term factors that led to the finale.  I was in leadership but kept telling God I wanted to lead my own organization. I was operating my business part-time and sometimes not at all.  However, I found constant joy when in my own space.

Now I know that not everyone can be the business owner--otherwise who would do the day-to-day.  You need people to work at the law office, walmart, car dealerships, schools, agencies,  ect.  That's not the point. The point is that if you want something, ask God for it and then when he tells you to go for it- don't be afraid to do just that.  Many times we ask but we don't want to or are afraid of doing the work or taking the necessary steps to accomplish it.  The same thing holds true if you don't believe in the miraculous power of God.

Want it, envision it, do it, attain it, maintain it, push it forward, repeat.  You will get nowhere just wanting something and standing still in complacency or fear.  Those are two of the biggest dream snatchers!!!

I am just amazed at where I could have been and where I am today had I not moved on from either situation. I am continuing to build my brand, business, network, and rebuild my bank account (dreams take money to become real)...but I have never been happier in my career.  I am being a helper to mankind on my own terms.  This year, I decided to follow my first mind and I have not been let down yet (this will be a later post as there are so many intricacies in the process of doing so).  I am using this motto (which I also believe is faith driven) to make decisions in my life.

I pray for those that the doors are closing on because the caring individuals who serve and the clients need more and not less resources.  I believe that a door closing simply turns you in the direction you need to go. As for me, I am able to see that I made steps in the right direction and it encourages me to work harder and remain true to my purpose.

Be well, be inspired, find your momentum-


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Girls, Girls, Girls

Over the past weekend I had the privileged of being a class facilitator at an event designed to motivate, encourage, and educate young girls.  The Non Profit Organization Pretty Girlz Rock founded and run by Shay Hopper has a Pretty Girlz Rock Retreat every year before school starts.  Last year I was away at my cousin's wedding so I wasn't able to participate, but I so wanted to be involved this year.

I remember being a part of various mentoring programs growing up that were geared towards college prep, church, and encouragement and it had a great impact on my self esteem and self- confidence.  There can never be too many programs of this kind.  The 3rd Annual Pretty Girlz Rock Retreat was AMAZING. This year's theme was "Girlz of Grace".  The theme was both a nod to biblical reference and poise.  There were various table discussion covering topics such as what to post on social media, goal setting with vision boards, being successful, conflict resolution, relationships/ friendships, self-esteem, abstinence and many more that occurred over the two day retreat.  The young ladies were received by a Red Carpet entrance complete with a photographer to capture their glamour in front of the Step and Repeat.  In addition there was motivation, spiritual nourishment, swimming, dancing, exercise, caricatures, and a talent show- just to name a few.  Small groups were organized and each group had their own mentor to guide them throughout the retreat.  There were approximately 60 girls in attendance. This blessed my soul!!!!

I taught on the topic of female hygiene in a discussion entitled "So Fresh and So Clean".  The girls were very open and willing to discuss the intricacies of what it means to be a girl and how we take care of our hygiene including body and facial care.  I was thrilled to provide them with age appropriate insights, dispell myths, and encourage them to be who they are...a Pretty Girl who Rocks!

This had me thinking about this season as our girls (and boys) return to school.  The media has inundated us with so many images of what beauty is that it is easy to get consumed by those images.  I was proud to see the display of girls ranging in ages 11-18 that had their own swag.  They presented themselves in a variety of ways- clothing choices, some with makeup, some without, some with natural untreated hair, some with.  I thought how great to see such self expression.  I sought to reaffirm their beauty and potential to each and every one of them as did the Host- Mrs. Hopper and the rest of the wonderful staff of volunteers.

It is so important to provide this type of service to our youth.  With the amount of negative influences they come in contact with on a daily basis why is it that we then point the blame at parents when things go wrong?No, no.... it truly takes a village to raise a child.  If there are 100 messages of negative influence that glorify sex, violence, drinking, drugs, ect.  How can we possibly think that parents can fight this issue alone.  I applaud Mrs. Hopper for her commitment to the youth throughout the year and this wonderful program. Check out Pretty Girlz Rock (Pretty Girlz Rock Event Planners) on facebook and become involved in your community.  One word, one action can change a life!!!

Shay Hopper- Organizer/ Founder pictured above (top right picture), fourth person from the left.
Example of a Vision Board created.
Volunteer staff stuffing goody bags the night before.
Me with my Girl of Grace T-Shirt.

Be well, be blessed, find your Momentum!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Don't let someone else's imperfections become your insecurities....

Within any relationship there is bound to be some discord from time to time, but do you let another person's imperfections become your insecurities?

He/ She cheated on you:
Your mental record: "I must not be good enough, I'm fat, I don't look as good as he/she, I wasn't doing my part, no one will ever love me"  and on and on

Your boss yells at you in front of your colleagues:
Your mental record:  "I suck, I really should quite because I'm no good"

Your friend does not include you in a gathering:
Your mental record:  "I guess I'm not a good friend, I have been down and out lately, I'm too fat to hang out anyway"

Your children act out:
Your mental record:  "I'm worthless, I'm not a good parent"


Don't let someone else's imperfections become your insecurities.  Stop playing that recording in your mind, change the tune.  Many times we read way too much into things, over analyze.  Sometimes the other person forgot, is going through their own mess, or is simply a jerk.  Their character flaws do not have to feed into your self-esteem in a negative manner.

Think about it:  Identify what happened, state your feelings about it, and your expectations- then move on.  Again, your feelings about IT does not need to translate into negative feelings about YOU.  It doesn't start out as an easy process, but with anything that you becomes easier with time and practice, and since no one is perfect- you'll get a lot of practice.

Be well, be informed, find your momentum.............


Well its been a while.............

I looked at my blog and saw that it has been OVER A YEAR since I last posted....oh my!  So what have I been up to you?  I have been Living My Best Life.  I have been embarking on a journey to eat cleaner and become more active again.  I have transformed my part-time practice into a full-time private practice, expanded services,  relocated, and redesigned it.  I have been focused on family, friends, and business connections.

But now that I have done all of that, its time for me to get back to my blog and I must apologize for neglecting it.  If you have not done so, please visit my website at and follow me on twitter @MBHConcepts.  I hope you have been Living Your Best Life as well and I look forward to sharing more information and opinions with you.

Be well.......


Monday, December 9, 2013

How to survive the Holidays- Conflict, Grief, Recovery, Stress

Happy Holidays

As the Holidays roll around we think of joyous times, mistletoe, good food, and fun with family and friends. However, the holidays are also a time in which one may deal with conflict, grief, recovery, and stress.  How do we get through the holidays without going mad?  Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Holiday parties are sure to be full of fun and family.  However, these tines can also come with drama. Unresolved issues have their way of rearing their ugly heads during these times.  It is important to keep things in perspective.

1.  If there is unresolved conflict with a friend or family member please note that the holiday party, whether at a home or a venue, is not the place to air out your grievances.
2.  You can be cordial and save your issues for a more appropriate time.  If you have not tried or had the opportunity to address the conflict prior to the event it is best left to be discussed at a more reasonable time. There is nothing worse than a gathering that ends in a shouting match.
3.  Likewise, these matters need not be circulated throughout the party i.e. ""you know what happened...."  Holiday gatherings are not the time, nor the place for gossip.

The holidays bring about times of grief for many.  Longing for a loved one that was lossed through death or separation is common place.  It is important to understand that sadness is a normal human emotion and that grief is the process through which we demonstrate such sadness and process a loss.

1.  If the loss is attributed to death- share pictures and stories of the loved one with friends and family.  Positive memories aid in the healing process.
2.  If the loss is due to separation such as a divorce understand that your children may be experiencing sadness as well.  Be open to allowing the children the opportunity to speak with the other parent and share some of the holiday time if safety is not an issue.  Remember that the separation is between the adults and not the children.
3.  If you are grieving the loss of a relationship, surround yourself with friends and family.  Don't isolate.  Make sure you do not "beat yourself up" about the breakup.  Now is not the time to place blame or look for faults, rather a time to self-evaluate and realign yourself with things that you want and that are important to your future.
4. Self-care is key!  Be good to yourself during these times.

Many believe that relapse is undeniable for most during the holidays.  On the contrary, the holidays can be a time for renewal and many suffering from addiction find themselves making a step towards recovery through detoxification or entering treatment programs.
1. If you are currently using and want to stop it is important to enlist a support team, locate treatment options, seek medical attention, have a written plan.
2.  If you are in recovery it is important to know and understand your triggers (who, what, when, and why you drink or drug) and have a relapse prevention plan (who you will call or solicit for support, what you will do, when you will do it, where you will go, and why you want/need to stay clean if a trigger presents itself).
3.  If you are supporting a person in recovery it is important to know that the journey of recovery is theirs, a sense of normalcy may be difficult to find when the past has been littered with dysfunction, do not enable, ask the recovering person if they are comfortable with alcohol at the party prior to- but do not make them feel uncomfortable about their abstinence by highlighting it or their past during the party, ask the person if they would like to invite a recovering or otherwise supportive non-drinking friend, mocktails may not be appropriate depending on the stage of recovery the person is in.

During this time, stress is second nature.  Stress can be positive in that it allows us to meet deadlines or otherwise counteract a challenge.  Those of you that participated in Black Friday shopping experienced stress and I hope you got the reward you set out for!  The added holiday stress of any of the above topics or shopping, holiday meal preparations and arrangements can however be a bit much considering we deal with a certain amount of stress on a daily basis.  It is important to note the following;
1.  There is only one you- take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others.  Don't involve yourself in situations that will result in undue stress.
2.  There are only 24 hours in the day and 6-8 of them require you to sleep- understand your limits and boundaries.  Create a task list, optimize your time through time management, start early/ don't procrastinate, it's okay to say no.
3.  Solicit help- the holidays are a time of family and friends (a sentiment that has resounded throughout this post) elicit help, don't do it all alone and don't be afraid to pass the baton on some things- you make great macaroni & cheese and apple pies and wrap gifts to perfection, but sometimes you just can''t do it all! In the end, it is quality time that matters.

So as we string our lights, pull out the festive decorum, and hang the mistletoe- remember these things. Someone, if not you is dealing with some of these issues.  Be supportive and ask for support, care for yourself so that you can care for others.  I love this time of year, but often long for loved ones that have passed.  I cherish the memories they have left behind as I build new lasting memories with friends and family. I know that tomorrow is not promised so it is important to build on relationships, worry-less, and give more. 'Tis the season! and guess will be around again next year so make each one count!
Winter fun for families in