LATEST ARTICLES

Staying Strong, Sober and Sane on Thanksgiving

family celebrating thanksgiving
Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the ever-stressful holiday season. It’s a challenging time of year for everyone, and especially for people in recovery. Family events—both large and small—can be stressful, complicated, and triggering for people struggling with substance use disorder. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and the usual holiday stress expands tenfold. For people who completed a...

The Fire Extinguisher: A Breakthrough In Relapse Prevention

The Fire Extinguisher: A Breakthrough In Relapse Prevention
In my 30 years of working with addiction in various levels of care and treatment modalities, I have seen clients who relapse even after numerous treatment attempts and continually fail to maintain their sobriety. It just seemed that there was something else happening in this pattern of relapse that occurred even with all their most sincere and committed efforts....

Untreated Mental Illness May Repeatedly Trigger Relapse to Substance Use

struggling woman upset and crying
It’s not uncommon to find that individuals suffering with substance addictions also often have other mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. It’s not always clear which came first, but both need to be treated in order to provide the best scenario for recovery. It’s vital to treat both issues simultaneously and to educate individuals about their mental...

Stigmatizing Language- Changing the Way We Talk About Substance Use

women speaking about stigmatizing language
On the initiative of a graduate social work intern, McLean is looking closely at the language used to talk and write about addiction. Jessica Lareau, a graduate social work intern in the Center of Excellence in Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction, is working to change the language used to discuss substance use at McLean Hospital. Lareau is building on studies that show the...

Let Go? Are You Kidding Me?

mother yelling at daughter who has head in hand
‘It is Important to Let Go Without Giving Up or Giving In’ The BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror) Family Recovery method teaches families how to ‘be there’ for their struggling loved one through its solution-based curriculum and group and individual coaching opportunities. For the next 12 months, we will share all 12 of the BALM® Principles for family members to...

The Public Anguish of Eric Clapton

eric clapton playing guitar
Drugs were a part of the 70’s scene, symbolic of rebellion, individualism, and the culture of the times. While legendary guitarist Eric Clapton is recognized for his role in influencing the era’s music, he is also regrettably known for his addiction and public anguish. Clapton was a shy kid from Surrey, England who found strength in playing guitar, and especially...

Children and Trauma

children with masks during covid looking out window
The dire effects of COVID may linger long into the next decade. It really depends how much longer this egregious virus clutches its claws into the minds, the hearts, and the perceptions of our world. Moreover, the effects of this virus on the life of an innocent child may not be known for years to come. Psychologically, children are...

The Twelve First Steps

12steps leading to the sky
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. ~The First Step of AA’s 12 Steps   My name is Sue and I am an alcoholic. I started drinking in my teens, and after receiving inpatient treatment, I learned recovery skills through the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I recognize that AA is not the only path to recovery, and...

Groups in Residential Treatment and IOP – What is their purpose?

people in recovery attending meeting
Anyone who has been in an alcohol and drug rehab and/or has attended IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) sessions know that there are regularly scheduled and mandatory ‘groups.’  These can be run by therapists within the programs that clients are attending, or by outside, independent contractors known as ‘group facilitators.’ When run by internal therapists, the purpose is obvious – to...

Legal Intervention In Alcohol Related Illnesses And Cannabis Induced Psychosis

judge pointing hand to lawyer and defendant
Legal Intervention In Alcohol: Lost sometimes amidst the opioid epidemic dominated news over the last several years, we note the steady increase in deaths related to alcohol and the rise in psychosis among cannabis users.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 88,000 people a year die of alcohol-related causes, more than twice the annual death toll...