We are excited to announce that Tony Messbarger, Admissions Specialist, at Benchmark Recovery Center, is featured on a four-part podcast on Take 12 Recovery Radio with KHLT Recovery Broadcasting.
Take 12 Radio is hosted by Monty’man (Monty Meyer) who has over 28 years of experience working with his local drug and alcohol services. Take 12 Radio is the only recovery radio station broadcasting recovery talks and positive music 24 hours a day.
Tony has been in the recovery industry for more than 10 years, and he joined BRC when it was originally Mark Houston Recovery with Mark Houston. We are proud that Tony is able to share his knowledge on drug and alcohol intervention and represent BRC.
Stay tuned for the three remaining workshops. Below is the schedule for Tony’s workshops on Take 12 Radio:
- Workshop 1 – Intervention, What Is It?
- March 7, 2014 Workshop 2 – Getting the Family on Board
- March 14, 2014 Workshop 3 – Face to Face
- March 21, 2014 Workshop 4 – Transport & Treatment
You can watch the first workshop here:
It is so difficult to correctly assess and deeply understand the concept of addictive illness being a family disease. Much like the addict’s ability to truly assess the amount of “trouble” the addiction is causing in their lives, the same holds true for the co-dependent family member. Addiction is sometimes referred to as a disease of minimization.
Alcoholics/addicts and their families often find a false comfort in minimizing the depth to which the entire family is suffering. The illness seems to have a myriad of tricks it plays on our egos, and thought processes that convince us the negative behaviors will somehow have a positive outcome. It even has us believing that if we keep repeating the same behavior, we will get a new and improved result.
For me, I am still at the point in my own recovery that I struggle with co-dependent behaviors pretty much every day. I still find that when my son and the other addicted family members in my life are doing well, then I am pretty much “OK.” When they begin to show signs of their addiction rearing its head, I am not so “OK.” I do understand that is quite the co-dependent response. (At least I can recognize that now, for which I am so grateful!!)
As I continue my journey in recovery, I try to keep in mind all the things I have been taught so far. There is a tremendous amount of information and support available to us via books, CD downloads, AA and Alanon meetings, the internet, professional counselors, I-phone Apps…the list goes on and on. Remembering to embrace it is another story.
Just like our addicted and suffering family members, we are suffering too in our own way. Once we are able to admit that we are powerless over their addiction, we ourselves can begin to recover.
I am so grateful for all the help that is available to addicts and their families. The hard part is admitting I need the help and actually reaching out my hand and heart and allowing it in.
Andrea S. RN, CHPN is a recovered family member and volunteer treatment referral source. Her great respect for the 12 step process has called her to service helping families and addicts navigate through early recovery.
Giving back is a key concept in 12 Step recovery. The principle of “give back what was so freely given to you” is an integral part of the final step of the 12 Steps, first published in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism in 1939.
Benchmark Recovery Center, in the spirit of the 12th Step, gives back to the Austin community with multiple projects throughout the year to include a tri-annual charitable donation drive to benefit the homeless and community pool and park clean-up events. For the 12 Step community, they assist with set-up and food for the monthly Austin Citywide Group Meeting as well as provide a monthly BBQ Speaker meeting at the Benchmark facility for residents, their families, alumni and anyone in the 12 Step community who wishes to attend.
Started in 2012, BRC initiated a tri-annual charitable donation drive to benefit the homeless. Operation Warm provides coats and warm clothing in December, Operation Journey provides backpacks in August, and Operation Sparkle donates toiletries and personal hygiene products in March. BRC staff and alumni gather to distribute the collected goods to the homeless in downtown Austin.
Alumni and staff member, Ryan R, coordinates the donation program and commented this past December,
“Typically when I celebrate Christmas, my focus is on what I will GET. This Christmas was special to me because I got the opportunity to give back. It was great being able to help those in need, and knowing we made a difference.”
The upcoming Operation Sparkle program, slated for March 15, 2014, is specifically requesting travel size toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, and similar items. Cash or gift certificates can also be donated and BRC staff members will purchase the necessary items. For more information and donations, contact Ryan R. at (979) 777-3857.
A rehabilitation center for adolescents, age 12-21, located in Denver Colorado, reports 95% of their admissions are for marijuana use. Due to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado this year, the center has had to double its staff, bracing for an increase in referrals. While you must be 21 or older to purchase the recreational drug, officials are concerned that it will fall more easily into the hands of teens.
Marijuana, or cannabis, is a gateway drug, which means its addictive nature can lead users down a path to other drugs like cocaine and heroin. Parents and guardians should be concerned about the ease of availability teens may now have to the drug. It is important to educate our youth about the addiction risk associated with smoking marijuana.
According to the American Medical Association, cannabis is the most common illicit drug involved in drugged driving, especially among drivers aged 21 and younger. Drugabuse.gov states that marijuana impairs judgment and motor coordination and more than doubles a driver’s risk of an accident.
Frequent use of marijuana can have short and longer-term affects in addition to opening the doors to other drug use:
- Increased heart rate that can last up to 3 hours
- Temporary psychotic reactions involving hallucinations and paranoia
- Mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and personality disturbances
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado, and potentially other states, will cause a cycle of increased use, which in turn increases the risk of addiction. Through education, communication and awareness, parents and professionals can help teens to understand the risks involved in marijuana use, abuse and addiction.
Are you or a loved one suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction? Our staff of recovery professionals is here to help you find and maintain a life of permanent sobriety.
Today we honor our beloved friend and founder, Mark Houston. His vision and dream of providing a safe place for those seeking recovery from addiction is fulfilled every day by our wonderful community. Thank you Mark, you are truly missed!
To commemorate the fourth anniversary of Mark Houston’s passing, this is the first of a five part blog series, titled “The Benchmark Culture”, written by Marsha Stone, CEO of Benchmark Recovery Center.
I have often been asked questions about Benchmark and the “way it works.” Some people are confused and even skeptical about the ability of a recovery center, non-licensed by design and by choice, to deliver safe and effective rehabilitation for the adult alcoholic or addict.
To explain the Benchmark program honestly and thoroughly, a bit of a history lesson is a prerequisite. Benchmark Recovery Center was originally Mark Houston Recovery and was founded by Mark Houston, a true visionary, and a pioneer in the recovery field. In 2006, when MHR first opened its doors, the terms “recovery residence” and “recovery-oriented-system-of-care (ROSC)” were new concepts yet to be developed.
Mark Houston had worked in the treatment field for some twenty years at two of the finest treatment centers in the country. He was also an internationally known speaker and workshop facilitator in the 12 Step community. Through his personal and professional experience Mark believed that conventional wisdom about treating chronic alcoholics and addicts was backwards. He dared to proclaim that first and foremost the 12 Steps should be worked and worked thoroughly with a qualified mentor. Following the spiritual awakening that results from working all 12 Steps, the client would then be connected with various outside professionals and community services as their particular needs required.
Out of this idea came the dream for a recovery center that would do just that. The mission statement then, and now is….
“Our belief is that alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic, progressive diseases which demand a lifelong set of practices as a way of living if we are to experience permanent recovery. Our commitment to our residents is that we will provide a set of life skills and spiritual practices which will be incorporated and assimilated into their minds and hearts and allow them to recreate and reclaim their lives.”
On day two or three of my employment at MHR, Mark gave me a piece of advice that I have found to be invaluable. He said that the magic to a truly successful recovery center was the culture. I will never forget his words to me…
“Establish your culture, Marsha, and the community will run itself.”
Benchmark is more than brick and mortar, daily schedules and groups. And certainly more than beds and Big Books. It is a culture of recovery, hearts and minds joined with a primary purpose to help the still suffering alcoholic and addict. Thank you, Mark, for your ideas, courage, grit and determination. And thank you to our teams, past and present, for giving it your all. It really does take a village… but man oh man is this a powerful village and I’m so grateful I found my tribe!
Marsha Stone, CEO
Benchmark Recovery Center
Just as there are unique differences to each gender, men and women recover from addiction in different ways. Throughout 2014, we are thrilled to welcome Dan Griffin, M.A., who will be providing workshops designed for our male residents.
The first workshop, A Man’s Way through the Twelve Steps will be held February 18-20. It is a two and a half day in-depth exploration of what it means to be a man in recovery. While the 12 Step Program can be one of the most transformational “designs for living” available for the full human experience, there are frequently obstacles that prevent and sabotage our success at recovery. Many men follow self-defeating scripts that are extremely powerful and often invisible.
Frequently, men in recovery do not spend their time consciously reflecting on the man they want to be. Yet, without a thoughtful and heartfelt exploration of this critical part of personal identity, recovery may be limited.
Through a deep and comprehensive exploration of the 12 Steps, this workshop will support the men in defining the man they want to be and what is getting in the way for that to happen. Equally important, the men will support one another in seeing all of the strengths they bring into their recovery as they work towards being happy, healthy men.
Dan’s work represents a holistic study of men’s experience of recovery from addictions. His groundbreaking research became the first trauma-informed curriculum dealing with men’s unique issues and needs.
About Dan Griffin
Dan Griffin has worked in the mental health and addictions field for almost two decades. In early 2010, he started a consulting, training, and speaking business, Griffin Recovery Enterprises.
Marsha Stone, CEO of Benchmark Recovery Center, was a featured guest last
week at a behavioral healthcare professionals outreach luncheon in Atlanta,
Georgia hosted by MARR Inc. After giving an overview of the Benchmark
Recovery program, Stone spoke about the value of the
recovery-oriented-systems-of-care (ROSC) model and how important it is today
for addiction recovery providers to work together to provide a seamless
continuum of care.
Referencing the Benchmark Program, Stone explained, “It takes more than “a
bed and a Big Book*”. Providing a 15-month extended-care program gives our
residents the best possible chance at long-term recovery. Through a
structured step-down process, recovering addicts and alcoholics can
transition slowly back into society.”
All of the participating attendees at the event were representatives from
alcohol and drug rehab centers throughout the United States to include
Sierra Tucson, Talbot Recovery, Ridgeview Institute, Wilderness Treatment
Center, Aspen Education Group, The Ranch at Dove Tree, Focus Treatment
Centers and Foundations Recovery Network.
Founded in 2006, Benchmark Recovery Center offers an extended-care recovery
program for adult men and women struggling with alcoholism and drug
addiction. Located east of Austin, Texas on 70 acres, the gender-specific
90-day residential program focuses on the 12 Steps, life skills,
spirituality and fitness. After completing the residential phase, clients
transition into company-owned sober living and 12 months of aftercare
*The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
You are never too old or too young to continue to learn. In the quickly changing recovery industry, it is important that our staff stay updated on the latest trends and approaches to recovery care. Our continuing education opportunities allow us to provide the most well-rounded support for our residents and recovery alumni.
This month we are fortunate to have Laura Swann present a workshop on client care for the Benchmark staff. Working with residents in early recovery is a delicate balance between compassionate understanding and the ability to help residents break through the denial of their addiction. Laura also provides individual counseling sessions each week to residents, both men and women, at Benchmark.
Thank you Laura for sharing your knowledge with everyone at BRC!
About Laura Swann LCDC, MEd.
Laura has worked in the counseling field for over 20 years and is a licensed chemical dependency counselor. She has extensive experience in working with clients that struggle with addiction and family of origin issues. She teaches at The University of Texas School of Social Work as adjunct faculty and provides educational workshops throughout the state.
Are you aware of the dangers your medicine cabinet holds for your children and teens? Between prescription medicine and over the counter drugs, there can be a deadly combination of drugs easily within their reach. The newest trend among young people is a drink that gets them high called ‘sizzurp.’
‘Sizzurp’ is a combination of soda, candy and prescription cough syrup that contains codeine. Doctors are warning parents that this new drug cocktail can be deadly. Not only can these items be easily accessible to young people, celebrities are glorifying the concoction in the entertainment world.
The drug is extremely addictive. The sweetness of the candy and soda mixed with the drug can cause consumers of the drink to not know just how much they’ve had throughout the day. A study by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that one in 10 teens admits to using cough syrup or cold medicine to get high.
A popular party drink, sizzurp, appears harmless with its bright colors and sweet taste, but looks are deceiving. Parents and guardians, discuss the dangers of sizzurp and other drugs with your children and keep your prescription medications hidden or under lock and key.
Individuals can achieve lasting recovery and a fulfilling life through several initiatives, and inner healing and self-awareness are two important aspects of the recovery process. Holotropic Breathwork™ is a powerful experiential process that allows an individual to connect with the unhealed parts of themselves that are often behind addiction.
Many therapies only engage the mind, but Holotropic Breathwork™ is a fully integrated healing process of the mind, body and spirit. This week we are lucky to have Christine Calvert, LCDC, and Brenda Lee Gauthier, LCSW, LCDC , both certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioners, join us for several workshops. Our recovery community is benefiting from this approach that combines music, breathing and safe and supportive environment to induce an expanded state of awareness.
Each participant will access the natural healing of the psyche and by expressing repressed emotions they can move towards healing. No session is ever the same; the material brought up in an individual’s session is unique to them. With reoccurring themes, the Holotropic Breathwork™ process can also include bodywork, art integration and group sharing. We are thrilled to have both Christine and Brenda share this amazing modality to further expand on the recovery of our residents.
Other elements of the Breathwork process include energy release work, drawing mandalas at the end of the session, and group sharing.