My Brother's Keeper: Teaching fathers and reuniting families

September 27, 2016

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office/NIATx

Before she joined Santa Maria Hostel in Houston as director of the Maternal Initiative for Reflective Recovery-Oriented Residential Services (MIRRORS) program, Fayetta Bland worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“There was always a need for more Big Brothers,” says Fayetta. “We had little trouble finding Big Sisters, but Big Brothers were in short supply.” 

That’s what gave her the idea to create My Brother’s Keeper, a support group that offers positive male mentoring for the fathers involved with the women in the MIRRORs program.

MIRRORS, a grantee of SAMHSA’s Pregnant and Parenting Women (PPW) project, provides medical and behavioral health services for pregnant and postpartum women and their families.
“One of the main goal of the MIRRORS program is family reunification,” explains Fayetta. “Many of the women in our program will return to the men in their lives, who will have a strong influence on the family. And if the father is going to be in the lives of the mother and children, we need to start working with the family as a unit.”

Let's Celebrate Adolescent Recovery

September 20, 2016

Let’s Celebrate Adolescent Recovery
Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC

In their book, Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism (2011), authors James Milam and Katherine Ketcham discuss worldwide research that suggests that the longer a society or culture has been exposed to alcohol, the greater the decrease in the rates of alcohol use disorders. The passage of time allows groups to develop cultural norms that support more responsible or ceremonial use of alcohol. The Jewish community is highlighted as an example of a group with a low rate of alcoholism compared with other groups, due to their long exposure to alcohol and clearly defined rituals around use (Kinny, 2014). 

In 1981, the same authors predicted that longer exposure to alcohol would increase rates of recovery among Native Americans, where alcohol had limited use among most tribes until arrival of the first European settlers. They were correct! At the time of this writing, groups like White Bison are helping tribes return to culture, dispel the myth that alcoholism is a part of their culture, and achieve recovery rates as high as 50-70%. The Alkali Lake Tribe in British Columbia, Canada went from 100% alcoholism to 95% recovery (Sanders, 2011). 

The United States, with just 240 years as a nation, has evolved from heavy, regular alcohol consumption during colonial times (see Colonial Americans Drank Roughly Three Times as Much as Americans Do Now)—to beginning to create sober rituals. During September, National Recovery Month, we celebrate recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders with marches, rallies, parades, and other community events.

#Recovery: Let's make recovery go viral

September 13, 2016

Laurie Krom, MS
Director, ATTC Network Coordinating Office

Last week the East Liverpool, Ohio police department decided to fight the opioid use disorder epidemic by posting two images to their Facebook page. The images show a man and a woman passed out in the two front seats of their vehicle, with a young child in the back seat.

The child is looking at the camera.

The woman is turning blue.

The text associated with the post explained that the police department decided to share the images so that the public could see “the other side of this horrible drug.” They also mentioned that the man and woman both lived, after receiving lifesaving care from a medical team. The Facebook post went viral almost immediately and was picked up by many local and national news outlets. I am not included a link to that post here. I do not want to give it more legs.