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Loud Recovery Volume 42 - June 2021

Welcome to Loud Recovery, a Westminster House monthly news blast and forum where we focus on current news events, facility information, and stories of interest.

PEPPY PATERSON REFLECTS ON WESTMINSTER HOUSE 


On the morning that I made the decision to check myself into treatment, I remember sitting and looking at myself in the mirror, tears streaming down my face. I was begging myself to stop drinking, and then in the next moment, I was picking up the bottle. When I arrived at Westminster house I was broken, hopeless, and a shell of the person I had once been. Within 2 weeks I could genuinely smile. I could enjoy the first signs of spring. I could laugh. I could picture a future for myself.   MORE
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are experiencing higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. This has caused some women to consume more alcohol than they usually would. In fact, alcohol may have been a contributing factor to the feelings of depression due to the isolation of COVID-19. Westminster House program deals specifically with alcoholism, providing a safe, home-like setting for women and youth experiencing new or worsening mental health problems due to excessive alcohol use. MORE

NEW RESOURCES TO HELP CHILDREN, TEENS COPE WITH ANXIETY

Children and teens who are experiencing anxiety and stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from new digital resources from Anxiety Canada to help them cope.  Anxiety Canada has been granted $555,000 to develop resources aimed at children and teens. This venture is a partnership with the ministry at a time when the pandemic, the restart plan and return to normal activities are impacting mental health.  COVID-19 has affected people’s mental health – effects that will be felt in B.C. for months and years to come.  “The mental health of many children, youth, families and caregivers took a hit in the pandemic, so we are adding resources to help people deal with these challenges,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “I am grateful for Anxiety Canada’s commitment to helping young people before, during and after the pandemic.”  A leader in developing free online, self-help and evidence-based resources, Anxiety Canada will use the funding to create a number of resources designed to reach children and teens in communities throughout the province. MORE

CONNECTING HARM REDUCTION AND RECOVERY

Finnaly, a product that actually breaks down the silos of accessing support, assess recovery capital and keeps track of your recovery capital score. It is the new craze hitting social media by hundreds of users in just one week.  This app is free and provides thousands of speaker tapes, introspective writing, "spotting" for someone that’s using drugs so they don’t have to use alone.  Additionally, the @BetterApp provides recovery meeting streaming solutions for those on the move that cannot attend or log into zoom. There is so much to do to stay digitally connected on Better App. Download using this link www.BetterApp.ca

OTHREE YEARS IN: VANCOUVER ISLAND DRUG CHECKING PROJECT WORKING TO SAVE LIVES 

University of Victoria chemistry professor Dennis Hore remembers the moment when fentanyl switched from the lacer to the supply.  Suddenly, paper dipsticks intended to test for the presence of fentanyl were obsolete. The question was no longer whether fentanyl was present in opioids, but in what potency.  The Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project began in 2018 with the goal of determining the full composition – all actives and all cutting agents – and potency of every sample brought in to them. Without a safe supply, offering a free, anonymous and comprehensive drug checking service is one the next best way to prevent overdose deaths, the project researchers say.  Reports aren’t available for 2018, but in 2019 the project tested 935 samples at its Victoria locations. In 2020, simultaneous with the pandemic hitting, that number jumped to 1,288. In both years, about 40 per cent of samples contained fentanyl, almost all of which were brought in by people who expected its presence.  MORE
 

NEW TO WESTMINSTER HOUSE: DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY  

"New to Westminster House is an empirical established treatment modality, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, for individuals with multiple and severe psychosocial disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety, Reactive Disorder, Depression, and more.  Many individuals with psychosocial disorders are concurrent with substance use disorder. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy incorporates skills and tools that are designed to promote abstinence and to reduce the length and frequency of relapse (Linehan, 2008).  The main goal of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is to assist individuals with acceptance and change through learning skills and tools that focus on mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. In short, every client would benefit from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy since this therapy focuses on skills and tools needed to cope with life.  However, the targeted population at Westminster House is adults and emerging adults who experience or struggle with a personality disorder, depression, anxiety, chaotic relationships, emotional storms, and anger management difficulties. When individual's struggle with the above, they tend to lose sight on ways to emotionally regulate, they have minimal to zero coping skills, and/or they tend to activate hyper/hypo arousal instead of optimal arousal.  The purpose of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is to help and strengthen clients' capabilities regarding:
A. Mindfulness: The practice of being fully aware and present in the moment. 
B. Interpersonal Effectiveness: The practice of communicating needs and wants while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others. 
C. Emotion Regulation: The practice of managing emotional experiences. 
D. Distress Tolerance: The practice of tolerating and managing emotional pain during difficult situations. 
This group is offered at Westminster House on a 4-week schedule to complete 4 modules." - Brittany Cowen, Addictions Counsellor/Case Worker at Westminster House Society

JUNE 2021 RECOVERY MILESTONES

15 years of clean time this month! Congratulations to all the women who celebrated clean time for the month of June.  It is inspiring to see and we acknowledge our Alumni living a life of recovery. We like to recognize and congratulate our alumni and staff on their clean time and the hard work that it took to get there.  We love to see everyone succeeding in their recovery, so if you have clean time coming up, or anytime throughout the year make sure to email brooklyn@westminsterhouse.ca and include a photo. MORE

RCMP PREPARE TO ENFORCE ALCOHOL SCREENING DURING TRAFFIC STOPS

Alberta RCMP is reminding drivers across the province that recent legislation means they are cracking down on impaired driving.  In 2018, Bill C-46 came into effect and gave officers the authority to detect and remove all instances of impaired driving from the roads.  RCMP said the legislation gives police the authority to demand any lawfully stopped driver provide a breath sample into an approved screening device.  “Impaired driving continues to be a risk to the safety of all Albertans on our roadways,” said Superintendent Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “When the COVID pandemic started we had to adjust our traffic enforcement practices for the safety of the public and our officers.”  RCMP said MAS does not provide law enforcement a new power to stop a vehicle and the screening is only applicable after a vehicle is lawfully stopped and an officer has an approved screening device with them.  The new procedure is called mandatory alcohol screening (MAS). MORE

OVERDOSES, ALCOHOL-RELATED DEATHS INCREASED IN CANADIANS UNDER AGE 65

TORONTO -- Overdose deaths and alcohol-related fatalities increased among Canadians under 65 during the COVID-19 pandemic due to extended lockdowns and isolation, according to new data from Statistics Canada.  In a new report from the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database released on Monday, StatCan found there were 5,535 more deaths than expected in those younger than 65 from the end of March 2020 to the beginning of April 2021.  Over the same period, the agency says 1,380 COVID-19 deaths were attributed to the same age group, suggesting that the excess mortality is "in large part related" to unintentional side-effects of the pandemic, such as substance abuse.  Of the deaths in those under the age of 44, the number of alcohol-induced deaths rose from 325 in 2019 to 480 in 2020, while alcohol-induced deaths in those aged 45 to 64 also increased.  MORE

TALK RECOVERY

Talk Recovery airs live every Thursday at noon on 100.5 FM. Listen in as co-hosts, Giuseppe, Darren and Frances bring real-time addiction and recovery stories to the radio.
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