Friday, November 17, 2017

Give Yourself Something to Be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

The seasons are turning from warm summer days to cool crisp mornings and vibrant fall colors. The season for thanksgiving is upon us and this is a time to give thanks for all things important to you.  While there are many things you may be thankful for in your life some may be dealing with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The SAFE Coalition wants to take this opportunity to provide you with resources to assist you in your decision to become free of Drug Addiction.  Keep in mind drug addiction includes addiction to alcohol and tobacco. 

It takes courage and strength to face up to drug addiction. When you’re bogged down in drug abuse and drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your current situation seems.

Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by making lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before. There are many different roads to recovery, but almost all involve bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about making the necessary changes, you’re already on your way. These seven steps will help you on your road.
1.       Decide to make a change: For many people struggling with addiction, the biggest and toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you realize it’s causing problems in your life. Change is never easy.
2.       Explore your treatment options: Once you’ve made the decision to challenge your drug addiction, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. Options can be found online, by talking to your doctor or calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
3.       Reach out for support: Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having a solid support system is essential. The more positive influences you have in your life, the better your chances for recovery. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t easy, but with people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, it’s a little less tough.
4.       Learn healthy ways to cope with stress: Even once you’ve recovered from drug addiction, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, and to remain sober in the long term, you’ll need to resolve these underlying issues as well.
5.       Keep triggers and cravings in check: While getting sober from drugs is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of the recovery process. Once sober, the brain needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while addicted. During this time, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use.
6.       Build a meaningful drug free life: You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. It’s important to be involved in things that you enjoy and make you feel needed. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.
7.       Don’t let relapse keep you down: Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course.

By taking the above steps to become free of addiction next thanksgiving you could be giving thanks for a sober life.

Information provided by Helpguide. Additional information can be found on their website at www.helpguide.org. If you would like additional local assistance you may contact the SAFE Coalition at info@vbsafecoalition.com, by phone at      319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or online at www.vbsafecoalition.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Van Buren County Holds Youth Leadership Training

Leading into the new school year of 2017-2018, the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition hosted the annual youth leadership training on October 23, 2017.  The coalition invited all high school members involved in the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) to attend this training. The ideal reason for this event is to help students that are willing to learn better grasp the ideas of being a leader and become aware of certain health defining situations. This year, YLC numbers have decreased compared to recent years, but there was still a decent group of 12 youth between 9th - 12th grade who attended with an open mind and focused on learning.

Throughout the day the students took part in different activities and discussions such as Leadership Training, Art Activities, Planning and an ISTEP presentation. The Leadership workshop provided the students with an opportunity to get to know one another a little better, to participate in some team building activities, and to have fun while learning the art of leadership. The youth also participated in several activities and discussions and had a couple of guests that took the time to visit during the training.

The first guest was Garin Buttermore from Iowa Department of Public Health.  He did a presentation for the youth on the Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (ISTEP) program that addresses the prevention of youth tobacco use.  This is a state wide youth group that has a council made up of high school and college students that choose their activities for the state.  The council then enlists the help of local youth organizations to do the activities in their areas.  The YLC group in Van Buren County partners with ISTEP in their activities throughout the year.  YLC members are also offered the opportunity to attend the ISTEP Summit in the spring each year.

The second guest was Kelli Keck from Epiphany Community Services. She conducted a focus group discussion about different issues and problems that the students had witnessed and their feelings on these topics. Kelli then provided a training on how to address issues and problems in the community through the strategic prevention framework.  She had the youth split into groups and read various information containing data about drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and even suicide issues in Van Buren County.  Finally, she and the Youth Coordinators helped the youth to develop action plans to address some of these issues in the community. 

Lindsey Starnes, a senior at Van Buren said, “I really enjoyed finding more ways to inform students and members of the community about the harmful effects of using tobacco. I also enjoyed making new friends that share the same goal as me.”

This event is fun for the students each year and provides them with some valuable learning opportunities. They are able to learn public speaking skills, leadership skills, planning skills and how to make a change in their community based on the problems that they have identified! YLC members will be active all year in hopes to spread the word about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco as well as a few health and wellness initiatives …… be watching…… more to come!


For more information on Youth Leadership Council or this training please contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or info@vbsafecoalition.com.





Monday, November 6, 2017

Want to make a difference in Van Buren County?

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is continually looking for volunteers who are interested in making Van Buren County a SAFE place to live.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition came together originally in 1993, after the floods, as a way to get community members together to work on a specific issue.  This group was organized to assist with flood efforts and clean-up after the flood.  The group met sporadically over the next few years.  It was not until December of 2002 that the group became organized.  There were 11 members at the first organized meeting, and the group has now grown to over 60 members. 

The coalition is currently working on strategies to address tobacco prevention, Rx and OTC medication abuse, underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County with Community Partnership Funds, Community Grants, and the Iowa Partnership for Success Funds. This work requires input from all areas of the community. If you are a parent, business owner, concerned citizen, faith based representative, young adult, youth worker, youth, or anyone else who wants to make a difference, the coalition needs you. Your input is valuable and we want to hear from you.

If you are interested in finding out more about the coalition or think that you would like to get involved the coalition would love to have you join! Coalition meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 9:00 am at the VBCH Community Services Center Conference Room in Keosauqua.

Next Meeting:
November 21, 2017
9:00 am
VBCH Community Services Center Conference Room

If you are interested in joining but not able to attend the meeting, please contact us at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.com and you can be added to our member list.

Check us out on the web for more information: www.vbsafecoalition.com or on Facebook at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.