• Past Articles

Mental Illness Awareness Week; Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders – By Jackie Stein

  In 1990, Congress established the first week in October as Mental Illness Awareness Week. Each year, millions of Americans live with mental health conditions. Mental illness affects almost every person, either directly or indirectly. How many of us have experienced mental illness ourselves or know friends or loved ones who have suffered? I am guessing most of us are nodding our heads as we read this. And yet, the stigma surrounding mental illness is often ever greater than that surrounding alcohol and substance use disorder. Dual Diagnosis is a term describing a person who experiences both a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time. Recently, the terminology in the mental health community has changed to co-occurring disorders and either disorder can develop first. In 2014 a national survey on drug use stated that nearly 8 million people in the US suffer from co-occurring disorders. The… Continue reading

Sex and The Sober Woman – By Patty Powers

  I was told to sit on the chair positioned in the center of the room. It was one those uncomfortable, hard, wooden chairs last seen in a classroom or a doctor’s office in 1969. Other chairs formed a large circle around the room. They were contemporary. Only mine was made of wood.  When the door opened, every person on the grounds filed in and found a seat. My addict-peers and the entire staff surrounded me. The purpose of this elaborately staged event was to provide me with an opportunity to beg for forgiveness, repent my transgressions, and plea for a second chance. My crime? I had sex in rehab. The entire scene seemed a little over the top, even by backwoods Louisiana standards, but they’d had their eye on me ever since I arrived with a suitcase full of ratty old stripper costumes. After a year of homelessness, the… Continue reading

You Get To Re-write Your Story – By Jeanne Foot

  Rewrite your story, you get to choose again I was raised in a middle-class loving family, where my parents were doing the best that they could do in terms of providing for my needs. Financially, I had all the comforts one would wish for but emotionally I fell victim to what was taught to my parents by their parents, who again were doing the best taught by their parents, which I refer to as intergenerational trauma. Dr. Gabor Mate has spoken about the effects of trauma on a young child regarding normal development. Dr. Mate references the fact that if you were trying to create a perfect profile for someone who would fall prone to addiction and mental illness, you would raise them with trauma, neglect and fear, and that would create the exact prescription for an “addict.” Through no fault of my own, I was raised in an… Continue reading

How To Deal With A Loved One Actively Using – By Annie Highwater

  I am the daughter of someone who suffers with addiction. My Mother is a Bible believing, non-swearing, French speaking, dignified lady who has struggled with Doctor prescribed opioids and mental health issues for 30 plus years. I have also been through an addiction adjacent experience as a Mother; my son is almost 5 years in recovery from a prescription opiate dependency following an injury in football. I know the ups and downs, the misery in the midnight hour, the hopes and subsequent hopes dashed that one goes through when they love someone caught in the death grip of a substance dependency. In the midst as well as the aftermath of some of the worst days of our lives as a family, I have gathered great strength and wisdom from the journey as well as those who carried me through my own recovery from the effects of it.  I write not as… Continue reading

Beneath Tears, Sorrow, Frustration & Pain My Sonnet Hides – Cassandra Smith

  Tear soaked eyes blind me, pushing through; I attempt to write a sonnet. My frantically beating heart emits gratitude – Shakespeare isn’t here to witness bleeding bodies run for cover, scatter to the ground falling on it Screaming, mass confusion – festive country music morphing into fear No, love songs are not on my mind, in my head – acrid smoke kills oxygen Police personal – leading frightened people to safety again and again Bullets whizzing overhead hit targets, paying no attention to different dialect A mystery – no racial, cultural, or religious bias – no barriers to deflect Flowers still bloom, birds still fly, carrying olive branches preparing to sing Lady Liberty clutches her heart and waves our flag – Red, White & Blue Apologetic church bells gong, calling out for peace with an earsplitting ring A man, a gun shop, ammunition, automatic rifles, point at him, her,… Continue reading