Category Archives: blog

Why Do We Continually Blame The Victim??? Veterans Deserve Better

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The psychological phenomenon of “blame the victim” has a few cultural applications but it’s not often thought of in terms of veterans returning from combat. We ask so much of them and give little in return. After all we are not what we say, we are what we do, that goes for us as a culture. There is much rhetoric and posturing about respect and even cannonizing vets but when it comes right down to what do they have? Chronic pain, a tepid economy, a health care agency in crisis, and little understanding of their experience. So what do we do? Cut the wires to the alarms that are going off by over medicating their pain and setting them up for addiction. We train them to not show weakness, uncertainty, or vulnerability not to mention to kill and then set them up for failure when they try to re-enter society and marginalize them as “difficult”, “angry” “violent” and “unreachable” there is no doubt that the combat vet is a difficult population, but we are not doing a very good job of taking care of them from an emotional and psychological perspective. Consider that almost 1/2 of returning vets are on potentially dangerous narcotics to manage pain. Consider that some research informs us that as many as 22 vets a day commit suicide. It doesn’t sound as though we are a thankful population. To me it sounds like we are part of the problem, gratitude would be proper care and help to be functional in a world that is vastly different than military combat. Country western anthems and throwing out the first pitch is nice and all but it’s not helping the 22 suicides per day.

Rebound Brooklyn is deeply committed to pro bono work. We understand that most people can not hire us. We would sincerely like to deliver quality, medically supervised addiction treatment to all who need it. That isn’t realistic. What we can do is take a combat vet into our program and help them and their family. Currently we are looking for someone who could benefit from this help. Please contact rebound by email if you or someone you know would be a candidate.

Joe Schrank

Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

Late Night At Rebound Brooklyn

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Top 10 reasons to live sober:

1) Most sober people urinate into something

2) Come for the bad coffee stay for the stale cookies.

3) Church basement perfect setting for start of next failed relationship

4) Treatment cheaper than legal fees

5) Meeting Lindsey at your next rehab is over rated.

6) Almost impossible to overdose on caffeine.

7) Chances of meeting Dr. Drew greatly increase

8) Stay sober for a year and open a rehab in Malibu

9) Rationalize any behavior by saying “but that was when I was in my disease”

10) Feel justified in giving vague advice for any situation.

Distilled Spirits Council of America (DISCUS)

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Very few people are aware of this organization. It’s a very powerful lobby working to inject the culture with the virtues of safe and responsible drinking. Is there anything wrong with the message? Not really. The vast majority of people who drink alcohol do so safely, at least in terms of the here and now and not driving impaired or starting fights. It seems that one of the main goals of the distilled spirits council is to keep alcohol taxes low and maintain the monopoly on legal intoxication that alcohol has enjoyed for generations. Some sates, like Wyoming haven’t raised taxes in more than 50 years, not even to adjust for inflation. Wyomings last tax raise on alcohol was in 1935. Yes, THAT 1935. Scholarly research shows that a raise in taxes reduces rates of use and so does perpetuating “drugs are bad!” culture, even though science and common sense show us marijuana is safer than alcohol. Today the distilled spirits Facebook page featured a picture of George Washington, quoting him “The benefits of moderate amounts of liquor are not to be disputed”. Of course that was 300 years ago and he also thought slavery was ok. In the modern world many people dispute this claim. Among the naysayers are the scientists who authored the world cancer report. There 2014 report claims no safe level of drinking, that alcohol is carcinogenic. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/824237

At rebound Brooklyn we see people impaired by alcohol daily. Alcohol stealthily moves among as a deadly substance while our attention is diverted to the perils of marijuana and a drug free America fantasy. The truth is, some people can tolerate intoxication and some can’t. Evangelical attempts to impose total abstinence never work, but neither does the manipulation and coercion of the Distilled Spirits Council.

Joe Schrank

Scott Bienenfeld, MD

Detection Dog Finds New Line of Work in NYC

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08Great article about our very own “Mik” The Drug Detecting Dog!!!!

Click Here:

http://www.bestinshowdaily.com/blog/2013/07/detection-dog-finds-new-line-of-work-in-nyc/

A problem can’t be dealt with unless it is known what the problem is. “Mik” our retired police dog can find any drug in any environment. Once the problem is identified we can help with the plan to deal with it. Mik can also screen any environment for safety when someone returns from treatment or begins a new life in recovery. He can also screen work environments and schools. www.nycdrugdog.com

I Just Got a DUI — Now What?

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By Joe Schrank and Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

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If there is anything we can all agree upon in the world of drinking, it’s that drinking and driving don’t mix; we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue against that. It seems like a simple boundary yet, thousands of new Yorkers each year are faced with DUI charges. New York has strict boundaries and penalties with regards to this offense.  Furthermore,penalties increase with each offense and could even include fines and/or jail time. In addition to the law, there is the immense guilt, shame and social stigma that come with a DUI.

A DUI can put tremendous strain on one’s personal relationships and family life. It can mean lost time from work and it can create financial burdens. The best way to avoid all of this is to take a cab, but that doesn’t always work out perfectly. So, what do you do if you do have a DUI?

A legal issue for sure, it is also an opportunity to take a good hard look at your own drinking habits. After all, these messes don’t happen after too many sodas or glasses of water!  Also, by the time a person is stopped for driving under the influence, they have probably driven drunk at least ten times.  Hence, there are a number of reasons to employ help after being convicted of a DUI. For one, it will help your legal issues. From a legal standpoint, the judge usually wants to know that the individual deserves the public trust when operating a car, and many judges like the idea that a person can receive treatment and get better.  Often times, lawyers look for the loophole or the semantics of how to best protect their client (and rightfully so), but they may not think to recommend treatment and that may not serve the client in the long run.

If there have been prior offenses, the stakes are higher and convincing the judge may not be so easy. Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse could be the level of care that would give the individual the comprehensive support needed for the best outcome. Furthermore, multiple offenses point to a greater likelihood of substance abuse issues. Going into court armed with consistent attendance and participation in mental health treatment will never hurt a case, it can only help. More than helping your case, it may help you and your family.  Below is a list of tips to follow if you are convicted of driving under the influence.

 

I Just Got A DUI – NOW WHAT?

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Follow these 8 tips

1.  Don’t  Panic: Yes, it is scary, but don’t panic – it never helps.  Remain calm, and consider your options – you have many.

2.  Find A Good Lawyer: Like any other profession, there are good, great and sketchy ones out there – take the time to find a good lawyer who you trust, and you feel you can work well with.

3.  Consider Treatment: Judges are very often amenable to the idea that when people get treatment, they get better.  Entering a reputable treatment program run by a medical doctor can go a long way towards reducing your sentence.  Many lawyers forget to recommend this!!

4. Be Open To The Idea That You May Have A Drinking or Drug Problem: For each DUI a person is stopped for, they have probably driven drunk at least 10 times.  This is a red flag that may indicate a more serious problem with alcohol!

5. Limit Your Driving: The last thing you want is another moving violation of any kind.  If you live in an urban environment, take mass-transit.  If you enter treatment, try to find an urban-based recovery program where you do not have to drive – it is a lot easier that way!

6. Form Your Advocacy Team: A team approach always works best.  Substantiate your claims of improvement with professional help – laypeople’s opinions are way less impactful on judge’s opinions.

7. Educate Yourself About State and Local DUI Laws: You may not be a lawyer, but you can still be an informed consumer.

8.  Do Not Lie To The Judge: Honesty is the best policy and lying usually only causes more problems in the long-run.

 

My Dark Secret I Kept Hidden for Years by Laurie Dhue

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My Dark Secret I Kept Hidden for Years

By Laurie Dhue
Click here to see Laurie on the Katie Couric Show!

Veteran news anchor, Laurie Due, became one of the most recognizable faces in the business as the only anchor to host shows on all three major cable news networks: CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. But what her fans couldn’t see was a dark secret that could cost her everything, she was an alcoholic. For 15 years, Laurie hid her struggle with alcohol from friends, family and colleagues. Now, Laurie Due is coming clean and sharing how she took her life back into her own hands.

I’ve long been a fan of Katie Couric. As a recent college graduate working in news, I watched her swift rise from Pentagon reporter to morning news star with great admiration. We had a couple of things in common: we both went to big Southern universities (Katie, UVA; me, UNC) and had both gotten our starts at CNN. Katie went on to become KATIE, star of NBC, CBS and now ABC. I ended up anchoring on CNN, MSNBC (where I was a substitute anchor at the “Weekend Today Show” occasionally) and Fox News. We’d met a few times throughout the years (I ran into her on the Upper East Side one Halloween-she was rushing out to buy one of her daughters ruby slippers) but I’d never gotten the chance to sit down with her.

So when my publicist Annie emailed with the news that the Katie producers wanted to include me in part of a show on women and drinking, I was really excited. Not only because I’d get the chance to be interviewed by one of the best in the business, but also because it meant an opportunity to share my story of alcoholism and long-term recovery. I have spent the last two-and-a-half years traveling around the country trying to chip away at the stigma of this incurable but treatable disease that affects tens of millions of people.

I was a little nervous upon arrival at the famous ABC Studios on W. 66th but once I got settled, I relaxed and took it all in. Rock star producers Marianne and Ilana did a great job preparing me and making me feel comfortable. The makeup and hair team worked an absolute miracle. It should be noted that my dressing room was GIANT, larger than my living room. No joke. That kind of thing is a big deal in NYC!

I walked out on the beautiful set and took a seat next to Katie (yes, my heart was pounding), who warmly welcomed me. Once the segment started, she treated the sensitive subject matter with a great deal of respect. I’m so grateful she’s interested in this important health issue and is helping to spread the word about women and drinking. During the interview, we talked about how I managed to keep my double life a secret while holding down demanding anchor jobs, how unmanageable and painful my situation had become, why I decided to quit and what my ongoing journey through recovery has been like. We also discussed the difficulties women have in early recovery, which is such a vulnerable time. Katie asked about the things that keep me sober and I told her that my two precious nephews, Robert (age 6) and Thomas (age 3), are a huge inspiration.

Katie also introduced my boyfriend Joe Schrank, who’s been in recovery for more than 16 years. Joe is a well-known interventionist with a Masters in Social Work. He is the Co-Founder of Rebound Brooklyn, an intensive outpatient program in NYC.

Katie also introduced a very special young man sitting next to Joe. Last fall, Joe and I heard about a teenage boy in Kenya who, with the help of a charity called Harambee USA, had gotten a full scholarship to a Catholic boys’ school in Manhattan and needed a family to host him for four years. Joe asked if I’d be “up for it” and, after my initial concerns, agreed that we should go meet him in Nairobi. We both took to him immediately and couldn’t wait to get him to NYC. It took some time and a great deal of effort, but in early January, he arrived at JFK and began his new life. Andrew is thriving: he has a close circle of friends, he got all A’s and B’s his first semester, he excelled in track and just finished a summer soccer camp at UCLA. He’s into skinny jeans, sneakers, video games and his iPhone.

Andrew is such a joy, such a gift. He is only in our lives because we are sober. One of my messages during the interview with Katie is that people in recovery are much more likely to make good decisions, decisions that can have a positive ripple effect in the community at large. Our lives have meaning and purpose. We are less selfish. We want to be of help, we want to be of service. Joe and I see this tremendous opportunity to provide Andrew with a stable home as a win-win for everyone. We feel very fortunate to have this chance to help another human being.

The bottom line is, every single thing I have in my life today is because I gave up alcohol and got into recovery. My life is an adventure… happy, healthy, full of laughter. I’ve found a loving partnership with Joe and we’ve created quite an interesting, fun life together. I’m back in news full-time as an anchor on TheBlaze TV and host of “Over the Hump” on Veria Living.

One of my primary purposes is to help others struggling with addiction, so I welcome anyone to tweet me @RealLaurieDhue. A thousand thank yous to Katie and her top-notch staff for making Joe, Andrew and me feel so welcome and for tackling a difficult issue with such care and respect.

Joe Laurie1 Joe Laurie2