Recovery: Healthy Tilghman Sponsors Workshop on Mental Health and Addiction Stigma

For Bay Hundred residents seeking to understand those suffering mental challenges or substance use and dealing with the stigma of addiction and mental health, Healthy Tilghman is co-sponsoring a free community workshop Stigma … in Our Work, in Our Lives on Tuesday, April 24 at the Tilghman Island Fire Hall from 6 -8 pm.

Stigma … in Our Work, in Our Lives is an interactive workshop designed to help attendees identify stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors, examine their impact, and formulate a plan to combat these harmful beliefs. The program is open to anyone in the Bay Hundred community interested in or dealing with mental health and addiction issues, including family members and mental-health professionals.

“The workshop will help us challenge perceptions and learn tools and strategies to identify stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors that might impede a person’s recovery,” said Rose Regan, Peer Coordinator of Healthy Tilghman. “We’d like to share how to carry a positive message to all in our community.”

The workshop, which is being presented by On Our Own of Maryland Inc.’s Anti-Stigma Project, will take place on Tuesday, April 24, at the Tilghman Volunteer Fire Department, 5996 Tilghman Island Road, Tilghman Island from 6 – 8 pm. No sign up is required.

For more information about Healthy Tilghman contact Michael Flaherty 412-260-6946 or the TUMC website www.tilghmanumc.org. For more information about the Anti-Stigma Project visit www.onourownmd.org

Healthy Tilghman is an outreach program that includes mental health and substance abuse counseling, educational programs to foster healthy body, mind and spirit, peer support, and substance abuse programs to support families and those with addiction issues in the Bay Hundred area. Healthy Tilghman is partnership between Tilghman United Methodist Church and For All Seasons, Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center.

Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Recovery: Healing Through Art at the Raimond Building in Chestertown

Art is perhaps at its best when it heals the human soul. While there remains an aesthetic enjoyment that comes from both the artist and his/her audience in most work of art, the use of visual creativity to help people overcome loss and addiction is a particularly forceful phenomenon.

That was the impression when the Spy stopped by the Vincent & Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building yesterday for a look the recent art exhibition sponsored by the Kent County Art Council new show entitled “Heroin and Healing” curated by Baltimore artist Peter Brunn.

As the father of a daughter lost to a heroin overdose, Brunn is not a passive bystander in this show.  While it includes six remarkable artists that have used photography, video and visual art to express their journey of healing and recovery from their own addiction or those of loved ones, it is Peter’s work that the Spy found the most powerful.

An example of this is the overwhelming forceful visual graph entitled Toshio Hosakawa, Landscape II, which charts the extraordinarily painful journal of daughter Elisif’s arc of depression and addiction, ending with the unimaginable phone call Brunn received informing him of his daughter’s death with the words from a stranger saying, “Hello, is this Peter?”

This video is approximately one minute in length. “Heroin and Healing” will be on display at the Raimond Art Building 101 Spreing Avenue in Chestertown from March 2 to March 31. A Film and Discussion on the topic is scheduled for March 30 at Norman James Theatre at Washington College. For more information please go here

 

 

Michael Marcell Fund Donates $5,001 to Talbot Goes Purple

The Michael Marcell Memorial Fund recently provided a grant of $5,001 to Talbot Goes Purple, at a Civil Air Patrol promotional ceremony held Dec. 6 in Easton.

Aric Rosenbach, right, presented the check to Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, left, on behalf of the fund.

Gamble spoke to cadets and family at the promotional ceremony as part of the outreach and educational component of Talbot Goes Purple.

Talbot Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Easton Middle Students Support People in Recovery

Bechora Aguoru and Jonathan Storch created original works of art as part of a service learning project in Mrs. Lauri Bell’s 8th grade Health class.

As part of a service learning project, students in Mrs. Lauri Bell’s 8th grade Health classes chose to donate comfort items to people in recovery or seeking help for drug addiction.  The students assembled and donated 70 care packages to Chesapeake Treatment Services, LLC.  The care packages included basic hygiene items along with inspirational cards to encourage people to continue with treatment.  Two students also made works of art to be displayed at the center.

Although this is not the first time Mrs. Bell has offered this project to her classes, the response this year was remarkable.   “The students amazed me with their enthusiasm and generosity,” said Mrs. Bell.  “We had our highest participation ever in this project!”  Representatives from Chesapeake Treatment Services, LLC paid a visit to Easton Middle School to pick up the care packages.

Whitsitt Center 36th Alumni Picnic

The 36th Annual Alumni Reunion of the A. F. Whitsitt Center was held on Sunday, 17 Sep 17. Over 150 people gathered to celebrate the ongoing efforts of this facility to help people with addiction problems get into recovery.

Judge Paul Bowman receives the Friend of Whitsitt Award from Andrew Pons, the Director. Judge Bowman has been a strong supporter of recovery in the community and was instrumental in getting the Kent Co version of Drug Court up and running. In accepting the award, Judge Bowman recognized the importance of the A. F. Whitsitt Center in Kent Co and to the Eastern Shore in helping to stem the tide of addiction.

Recovery: Talbot Goes Purple to Fight Substance Abuse July 4

The towns of Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels are including purple fireworks this Independence Day for Talbot Goes Purple, a new program aimed at combatting substance abuse in our community.

The purple fireworks are part of Talbot Goes Purple, an initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary that empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. Anyone who wishes to support the project should wear purple at the Independence Day celebrations.

Talbot Goes Purple promotes education and awareness, including the creation of purple clubs in our high schools, through which students learn that they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project also encourages the ‘new conversation’ between teens and parents, one that includes messages that prescription painkillers aren’t safe to use recreationally.

“We preach to our kids not to text and drive, not to drink and drive – but not many people talk about the dangers of prescription painkillers,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “We’re in the middle of the deadliest drug epidemic in our history – and much of our heroin problem is driven by pill use. Talbot Goes Purple helps start a new conversation about this, while empowering our kids to make good choices.”

Talbot Goes Purple is based upon THP Project Purple, an initiative of the Herren Project that helps people struggling with drug dependencies. Former NBA player Chris Herren founded both projects after speaking to a high school about his struggles with drug dependency.

Herren is coming to Talbot County for a community event at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Easton High School, with two in-school assemblies also set for all county students grades 8 through 12. Leading up to Herren’s visit and throughout September, local businesses and communities will ‘Go Purple’ as a show of support and solidarity in addressing our substance abuse program.

“We are so excited to support this very important – indeed, critical – project in our community,” said Lucie Hughes, president of Tidewater Rotary. “Rotarians work hard to change lives in our communities, and this project will do just that.”

Talbot Goes Purple is in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Mid-Shore Community Foundation and Talbot Partnership. Generous support for the project at the ‘purple’ level includes: Mariah’s Mission Fund; Aqua Pools & Spas and The Car Pool; St. John’s Foundation; Bryan Brother’s Foundation; Spring & Associations; West & Callahan; and the Michael & Nancy Klein Foundation.

More information is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com. Anyone wearing purple is encouraged to post pictures and tag us on Facebook.

All support is tax-deductible and made through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

“We’d like to give a thank-you to Al Bond at the Avalon Foundation; Ted Doyle and the St. Michael’s Fireworks Committee and Vicky Van Loo and the board at Tred Avon Yacht Club for supporting our project,” said Hughes. “Their generosity helps kick-off this project and shows that the towns support our youth in taking a stand against substance abuse.”

Fireworks this year are scheduled as follows: Easton – Tuesday, July 4; St. Michaels – Saturday July 1; Oxford – Monday, July 3. Please check with each respective town for additional information on scheduled activities and rain dates.

Recovery: Self Care for the Selfless by Erin Hill

Are you a giver?

You know the ones – they spend all day caring for others. Making sure the kids are up and ready, the hubs has his lunch, the dog is walked and fed, and the cat hasn’t left any presents… then they’re off to their job where they provide more care for others, be it nursing, social work, customer service, retail, etc. Once they get home, it’s mail-sorting, homework helping, dinner making, cleaning up, then – finally – bed. If you’re in a relationship that includes a dynamic of addiction, it can be compounded as well.

When does she take some time for herself?

It seems like we live in a world of busy-ness. There’s always more stuff to do and not enough hours in the day. Admittedly, we can bring some of that stress on ourselves by not asking for help, and/or allowing others to not do their part. We can get so busy taking care of others, that we forget to take care of ourselves, and at the end of the day, when we’re exhausted, and all the things are done (or maybe not) we might have a brief realization – “what about me?” – and cue the violin – the sad song of a wife, mother, worker who is running on empty because she gave “it” all away. Then she wonders:

“Why is nobody taking care of me?”… and that includes her.

The frustration that stems from giving too much, without taking some time to recharge can show up in various ways – as unique as each of us: it can look like weight gain, getting ‘stuck’, smoking, wasting time on your phone, bitterness and anger which might = picking fights with the hubby – all of these at the core – are patterns.

Those patterns are what we do when we feel like we aren’t getting enough for ourselves – when we are looking for ways to draw attention to the fact that we need something. For example: I was a smoker, and would say “that’s the only time I have for myself”. Or when playing a game on my phone – “I just needed some time to turn my brain off”.

We can dive so far into everyone else that we lose sight of who WE are.

Breaking down those patterns is one of the most significant ways you can move forward, and get back to the real YOU.

Good news: it’s not as hard as you think!!

First, and arguably most importantly – you have to notice what your patterns are – identify what you’re doing that you’d like to change. Maybe you dump all your stuff on the kitchen table as soon as you walk in the door. Or perhaps your drug of choice is peanut butter m&ms and fritos (ask me how I know!). It could be that you get lost in Facebook land scrolling through everyone else’s ‘perfect life’ and looking at cat videos.

You know yourself best – be realistic, but challenge yourself.

The change you want to make should be a bit of a stretch – not so much that it hurts, but that you feel the tug. Really take an inventory of what happens from the moment you open your eyes, to the time you finally close them again at the end of the day. What thoughts are you thinking? What things are bringing you joy? What things are NOT bringing you joy?

Be sure to spend some time really thinking and feeling how life would change if this pattern was different.

How would your life be better if you changed this pattern? You may find it helpful to write it down – maybe a pros/cons list would help you see the potential changes. You can also use visualization. Get super descriptive and use all of your senses to describe the differences between life if you keep going in the direction you’re headed, versus living the life you’ve always dreamed. Use all of your senses to feel how life would be like if you keep on this path, or make some changes to your trajectory.

You don’t have to be realistic here – you can shoot for the moon!

Using that information, you can use that to identify WHY you want to change your pattern. Maybe your best life looks like a minimalist lifestyle where you wake up with gratitude, do yoga on your porch facing the Caribbean Ocean, then have an organic breakfast in solitude. Or – you wake up to children who don’t have to be told a million times to put their shoes on or they’ll be going to school barefoot. Using your “dream life” as a guide, you can start to see how you can begin to make small changes today.

Remember – baby steps are OK!

Maybe instead of fuming about all the dishes piled up, you ask for your kids or hubby to give you a hand (Hint: could be a good connection/communication moment). If it helps you to feel less like a maid – take 5 or 10 minutes every evening to be sure that you (or the kids) put their shoes, books, etc. where they will be easily accessed. On the weekends, have everyone pitch in and whip out the cleaning in a fraction of the time it would take you alone. Give yourself some space to make a different choice versus following the habitual path, and ask for those around you to support you. *It will probably be uncomfortable at first – but it will get better! Keep at it!

It’s really about progress.

You’ll learn quickly what works for you – what feels good – but you have to give it a try (and not just poo poo it because it seems (or is) uncomfortable!). Remember – nothing changes if nothing changes – and although I hate to break it to you – there’s no magic wand that makes doing the work easy. Support can definitely make it easier though.

When you share the load, it’s not quite so heavy.

Even I have to remind myself – “I can’t pour from an empty cup”. As givers, it feels funny to start taking care of ourselves, but I can promise – as you take better care of YOU – then you are prepared to give even more, and from a place of fullness.

Interested in ‘trying on’ a few different self care practices? I’m hosting an online, virtual sisterhood in July that I’d love you to be a part of! You can get all the information by clicking here. This opportunity is valued at over $1,000 but the registration fee is only $31 – that’s only a dollar a day! If you have a group of 5, registration per person is only $25 each, and 10 people can be part of the group for just $20 each. *Email me for registration for groups (and if you have any questions) at erin@beautiulmesslife.com

A Beautiful Mess was created by Erin Hill to educate and inspire women to Care for themselves, Communicate their needs, and Connect with their tribe of women who “get it”. Erin is a coach for women and blogger about life. She lives in Cambridge Maryland with her husband and 3 children. More information can be found at www.beautifulmesslife.com

Recovery: Maryland Approves Pharmacies Dispensing Naloxone

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently announced that Dr. Howard Haft, the agency’s Deputy Secretary for Public Health, issued a new statewide standing order that allows pharmacies to dispense naloxone, the non-addictive lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, to all Maryland citizens. The order follows legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan that included a Hogan administration proposal to enable all citizens to access naloxone. Previously, naloxone was available only to those trained and certified under the Maryland Overdose Response Program.

“As the opioid epidemic has evolved, we have worked steadily to expand access to naloxone,” said Dr. Haft. “Pharmacies play an important role in providing access to naloxone and counseling on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. This order is yet another tool to fight this crisis and to provide immediate assistance to overdose victims.”

The Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act, a bipartisan omnibus bill passed during the 2017 legislative session that contains provisions to improve patient education and increase treatment services, included the Hogan administration’s proposed Overdose Prevention Act. This updated standing order resulting from the new law further eliminates barriers to naloxone access for anyone who may be at risk of opioid overdose or in a position to assist someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

“By allowing even more people access to naloxone, we’re helping to save lives,” said Clay Stamp, executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center. “We must remember though, that ultimately, those suffering from the disease of addiction or substance use disorder must be linked to additional treatment to aid in their recovery.”

Single doses of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, have been demonstrated as effective in reversing a heroin overdose. However, more potent drugs such as fentanyl tend to require multiple doses to reverse an overdose. Emergency services—calling 911 or taking someone to a hospital’s emergency department—should always be sought in an overdose situation.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s 2016 Drug-and Alcohol-Related Intoxication Deaths in Maryland Report, released earlier this month, revealed that 2,089 individuals died from overdoses last year, a 66 percent increase from 2015’s data. For more information on opioid overdose recognition and response, click here.

In March, Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency in response to the heroin and opioid crisis ravaging communities in Maryland and across the country. This declaration activated the governor’s emergency management authority and enables increased and more rapid coordination between the state and local jurisdictions. The Opioid Operational Command Center, established by Governor Hogan in January through an Executive Order, facilitates collaboration between state and local public health, human services, education, and public safety entities to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and its effects on Maryland communities.

Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to this epidemic—and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. Marylanders grappling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org and 1-800-422-0009, the state crisis hotline. 

Rally for Recovery Draws Strong Showing

Recovery for Shore’s Rally for Recovery, held Saturday June 3 in downtown Easton, drew a diverse crowd of those in recovery and their family and friends along with many treatment providers and representatives of other recovery support organizations. The event began at 3:30 p.m. with a march from Christ Church Easton on South Street, up Washington Street to the Talbot County Courthouse. The block between Dover and Goldsborough was closed to traffic from 4-4:30 p.m. so that the rally, which included cheers, speakers and prize presentations for the best rally sign, could take place. The event continued with the group’s return to Christ Church for the Alive at Five service followed by fellowship and refreshments on the lawn.

Bonnie Scott, founder of Rising Above Disease, addressing the Rally crowd. To her left is Keith Richards, Rally for Recovery emcee.

According to Sharon Dundon, program specialist for Shore Behavioral Health’s Addictions Program and ad hoc coordinator for Recovery for Shore, crowd estimates varied from 150 to 180. “The exact number was hard to gauge as many people floated in and out over the course of the event, but there was no doubt about the enthusiasm of those who were there,” says Dundon.

Rally participants brought creative, colorful homemade signs with positive messages about recovery.

The recovery cheers at the Courthouse — along the lines of “We cheer, we lead, we know there’s a need!” and “Say it loud, say it clear – Recovery helps, recovery’s here!” — brought onlookers out of shops and restaurants. Remarks offered by emcee Keith Richardson, of Warwick Manor, and the event’s keynote speaker, Bonnie Scott, founder of the Rising Against Disease recovery house for women in Talbot County, drew enthusiastic applause and shout-outs from rally participants.

“Bonnie’s talk, including her description of losing a son to heroin overdose, was equal parts moving, informative and inspiring,” Dundon said. “During the walk back to Christ Church, rally goers were talking about how heartfelt it was and how grateful they were for the information she offered about finding help for those who still suffer and the hope she offered by sharing her experiences as an advocate.”

The Alive at Five Service featured the inspirational music of the Alive at Five band and guest speaker Cindy Keefe, who talked about her 20-year journey in recovery and the support she has received from the local recovery community. Fellowship on the lawn, including tables offering information about recovery resources and a wide menu of donated refreshments — from pizza to crab dip and dessert and Rise Up Coffee — lasted until 7:30 p.m.

“We had great support from the Town of Easton, the Easton police and dozens of volunteers who brought food and recovery resource information and also helped with set up and clean up,” Dundon says. “All of us in Recovery for Shore are very grateful for the outpouring of support and enthusiasm, and for Christ Church’s generosity in hosting the celebration after the Rally. Our hope is that those willing to ‘recover out loud’ will do so as it can help decrease the stigma associated with addiction, inspire others to seek help earlier and brings awareness to the vast recovery happening in our community.”