Post by Karen Brohard, Admissions Advisor
On August 1st, 2012, I decided to embark on 31 days of purposeful sobriety. For some, this may sound like an absolutely ludicrous idea. To others, it may sound just like any other month in the year. To anyone who knows me, this simply prompts the question why?
For the month of August, I challenged my Ultimate Frisbee team to give up one thing to make themselves better athletes, teammates, and people. This could be anything from giving up watching so much TV every day to hanging your head low when you make a mistake on the playing field. I personally chose to give up alcohol. The following is my story…
My initial thought was not only will no alcohol cut out many unnecessary calories from my life, but it will prevent me from being slightly hungover at practices or missing gym visits due to lack of sleep from staying out late with friends. Expected outcomes included everything from a fitter physique to better sleep at night by September 1st. This was the extent of my analytic process, giving it no more influence over my life than those 2 things.
By the end of week one, I was being slapped in the face by the reality of how much alcohol consumption happens by me or those around me. Many of my excursions apparently involve at least a glass of wine here or there, partnered by evenings out with the intention to indulge. Most Frisbee games were followed by an hour or two at the pub where saying no to a beer was surprisingly more difficult than I had expected. I endured my first night out with fairly intoxicated friends and found that I had to go home early being so uncomfortable in that type of environment. Physically, this was the only difference. If I had to describe my feelings on Alcohol Free Week 1, the best description would have been “uncomfortable in my own skin.”
By the end of week two I was down weight. My gym visits were up again, going from exercising 4 days a week back to 6 or even 7 (this includes gym, practice, and pick up sports). I felt more healthy- stronger, faster, and more clear minded. Friday and Saturday night benders were replaced by board game nights, dinner with friends or an evening matinee. I had realized I cannot soberly join in on many 21 and over evenings and offered to drive friends instead. I started to spend time with some friends more than others, and even experienced my very first DUI checkpoint in Pacific Beach, CA (Even sober, the experience was absolutely terrifying). I was finding my new groove.
By the end of week three, I had learned how to confidently say no. This includes saying no to nights out at the bar, house parties, and even “just a little sip, just to try it” of delicious strawberry margaritas. Not one drop for 19 days and my craving for a sangria was completely gone. My energy level had gone up, and I found myself waking up about 10 minutes before my alarm naturally everyday.
By September 1st, I found myself in Davis, CA at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in 100 degree heat. We ran hard for 4 straight games in a row, leaving us all dehydrated and tired. Then we got to the burger joint where we would be having team dinner. Here is where I had my first drink since being back: a Pear Cider. The taste was cool and crisp, but not very alcoholic tasting. I found this refreshing. However, after finishing the first one I did not find myself craving another one. In fact, I didn’t even crave the first one. It was more expected of me.
And that’s when it hit me: It’s always expected of me.
Rather than have a drink to help me enjoy a meal or a glass of wine to unwind, I reflected on how many times I was expected to be the life of the party. This was enjoyable for people to watch; hence many of my friends would push that behavior on me. This was by no means the fault of friends- I just failed to recognize the pattern and allowed it to continue.
With all said and done, I recommend that you- yes, YOU- try it. Why not? It’s a great way to detox the body and learn a little something about yourself along the way. If this task sounds too hard, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. After all, if I can do it then you certainly can.
If you're interested in learning more about alcohol and drug counseling and how you can help people learn more about themselves and their habits, check out our program here:
Post by Kim Myers, Alcohol & Drug Counseling Program Director
Most people know me as the Program Director for Mueller College's Alcohol and Drug Counseling (ADC) Program. Some may even know that I am a United States Navy Veteran, the wife of a USN Sailor recently returned from Afghanistan, and the mother of a USN Nuke Submarine Sailor. What I realize most as we enter this coming weekend is that I am a proud Patriot, and that I am blessed to be part of the Mueller College team that strives to make a difference in the world we live in!
The future for our ADC students that stay to work in our field here in San Diego will almost certainly include working with our San Diego military members and their loved ones. We have the opportunity to "give back" to those who serve by providing them caring treatment when they struggle with the problems that often manifest in drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.
The following article from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) blog honors those who have lost their loved ones in the war, as well as those who've returned, but are coping with the visible and invisible wounds of war such as addiction and substance abuse. You can read their blog post here. (highly suggest taking a look!)
Please remember these who serve us while you are enjoying your holiday weekend. Especially think of those who mourn their loved ones who have paid the ultimate price, asking nothing in return but our remembrance. When you see a military member, past or present, give them a warm smile and a thank-you for the sacrifices they have made. Mueller College can lead the way in changing the world we live in, one smile at a time.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day!!
Kim Myers is the Alcohol and Drug Counseling Program Director and Instructor at Mueller College. She has been certified by the Navy Advanced Drug and Alcohol Counselor (ADCII) since 1989 and has been working at Mueller College for the past 2 years.
For more information on our alcohol and drug counseling program click here:
Post by Dan Roberts, Director of Admissions
A new study released by the Center for Disease Control(CDC) reports a disturbing finding: binge drinking is not just for kids anymore. Binge drinking is defined as men drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking 4 or more drinks within a short period of time.
According to the CDC’s new research, More than 38 million US adults binge drink, about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8. This behavior greatly increases the chances of getting hurt or hurting others due to car crashes, violence, and suicide. Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes 80,000 deaths in the US each year and, in 2006 cost the economy $223.5 billion. Binge drinking is a problem in all states, even in states with fewer binge drinkers, because they are binging more often and in larger amounts.
Kim Myers, program director for the Alcohol & Drug Counselor certificate program here at Mueller College said, “The prevalence of what we drink now is a part of the overall problem. Look at 4-Loco, a beverage that combines malt liquor and energy drinks – which equates to a wide awake drunk! This causes them to drink more, instead of do what the body normally does, which is pass out. And the economy hasn’t helped anything either; it has forced us to work longer hours, more jobs and not let people take a true vacation. So people take their vacation in a bottle.”
“In our program,” Myers continued, “we take a look at what responsible drinking is, and we train our students to help their future clients to choose more responsible ways to deal with their stress and issues in life so that they are not prone to binge drink.”