When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction?

Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan explores substance use disorders with expert guests.


Care for the Care Giver

October 25, 2023 36 minutes

How do those who take care of the rest of us take care of themselves? Chaplain Teresa Durbak Sipos discusses how, when surrounded by trauma, those caregivers can take care of their moral and spiritual selves. Teresa serves as a behavioral healthcare chaplain and has taught mental health and addictions nursing for many years at three state universities in Ohio. Teresa is the author of “Integrating Spiritual Healthcare Interventions into Nursing Praxis: An Educational Intervention” and “Spiritual interventions may alleviate moral injury and depression among nurses.” October 22 through 28 is National Pastoral Care Week / Spiritual Care Week. Teresa can be reached at http://www.trinitycounselingllc.org.

Is Weed Addictive?

October 18, 2023 33 minutes

Is weed addictive? That’s the question Walter Hendrickson asked himself as he began a thirty-day journey to stop smoking marijuana after nine years of daily use. Walter is chronicling his journey daily on his TikTok account and discusses with us what he has learned so far. Six days of not using at the time of this conversation, Walter’s goal is to make it to one month and see what happens from there. Walter’s TikTok can be followed here: https://www.tiktok.com/@walterooski?_t=8gI2xTdG4vz&_r=1

It’s More Than Fun and Games

October 11, 2023 26 minutes

When everything you have done is associated with substance use, how do you have a good time when no longer using? That’s the question Alex Peacock and Nolan Wright asked and why they formed Recess Games USA. The goal, their mission, is “To pair those in the community with people in recovery who are seeking healthy avenues to have good, clean fun while building a meaningful and purposeful life.” It is possible to have fun again. Alex, Nolan, and Recess Games USA can be contacted at https://www.recessgamesusa.com

What the Hemp?

October 4, 2023 28 minutes

As more and more states legalize marijuana and others have a variety of cannabinoid products available, it seems sensible to ask what they are, what they aren’t, and how they might affect young people. Annie von Neupert is Project Coordinator for REACH. REACH, a federal Drug Free Communities coalition, focuses on reducing misuse of alcohol, nicotine, and other substances by youth in Calumet County, Wisconsin. When a product is visible and accessible, young people tend to view it as safe to use. As always, it is important for families to have discussions with their children about all substance use. Annie and REACH can be contacted at https://www.cahlinc.org/about/reach

One Last Lap

September 27, 2023 33 minutes

A returning panel of women, now entering their senior year in college, discuss navigating their journey through college while also navigating academics, a pandemic, excessive alcohol and other drug use, relationships, and mental health issues. Grace, Aiden, Jackie, and Austyn talk about discovering who they are and where they want to go, made more challenging and complicated by issues around mental health, substance use, and maturity. Remember, every college has a student health center and access to counseling. If the assistance you receive is not adequate, please keep asking and looking. If you or a loved one needs help, it is available. You can find a directory of AA meetings here: https://www.aa.org/find-aa and NA meetings here: https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY 1-800-487-4889, is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

Recovery is More Than a Bumper Sticker

September 20, 2023 26 minutes

We’ve all seen the slogans, signs, and bumper stickers. “One Day at a Time,” “K.I.S.S.,” “I’m a Friend of Bill W.,” and dozens more. What do they mean to folks in recovery? Kathy Reiley, a retired attorney and a person with an alcohol use disorder, talks about the meaning of the recovery slogans so frequently seen. One of the keys to recovery is finding a community of like-minded people to connect with. As an attorney, Kathy wants the legal community to know confidential recovery resources are available through the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Helpline that can be reached at (800) 543-2625. You can also find a directory of AA meetings here: https://www.aa.org/find-aa and NA meetings here: https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/

New Horizons

September 13, 2023 32 minutes

Providing world-class, empowering, and transformative interdisciplinary care to women and their children affected by substance use disorders is the mission of the Horizons Program at the University of North Carolina Medical School. Dr. Hendrée Jones, Dr. Elisabeth Johnson, and Chrissy Jones, an alumni of the UNC Horizons Program, discuss the importance of providing substance abuse resources and programs geared towards women and children. Dr. Jones is a licensed psychologist and an internationally-recognized expert in the development and examination of both behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for pregnant women and their children in risky life situations. She consults for the United Nations and the World Health Organization and is a member of the National Institute of Health’s HEAL multidisciplinary working group and the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. Dr. Johnson is the Interim Division Director and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina’s Horizons Program. The Horizons Program at the UNC School of Medicine is a substance use disorder treatment program for pregnant and/or parenting women and their children, including those whose lives have been touched by abuse and violence. The guests and the program can be reached at https://www.med.unc.edu/obgyn/horizons/

Clean – There is Always Hope

September 6, 2023 34 minutes

Michael Rebellino is a civil engineer. And a writer. Michael’s stream of consciousness novel, Clean is the fictional story, inspired by true events, of Cameron, an independent, accomplished, and strong-willed young adult caught in the grips of alcoholism and drug addiction. Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. And there is hope. There is always hope.

Michael’s information and his book can be accessed at https://www.michaelrebellino.com/

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

August 30, 2023 35 minutes

This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Or is it? Can drugs long labeled as problematic be used as therapeutic aids? Kevin Franciotti is a Denver-based writer and licensed addiction counselor trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy. He discusses an increasing amount of research indicating that some substances can be beneficial in the treatment of depression, opioid addiction, PTSD, and other brain disorders. Several states have passed laws, or are considering licensing and regulating naturally occurring psychedelic compounds, to be grown, bought, possessed, and used without legal complications. Kevin Franciotti can be contacted at https://www.kevinfranciotticounseling.com and for Psychedelics in Recovery go to https://www.psychedelicsinrecovery.org.

The Compassion Whirlpool

August 23, 2023 37 minutes

Where is the line between caring about someone else’s pain and caring so much that it affects your own well being? Lynn McLaughlin and Karen Iverson Riggers talk about how to manage empathy in our relationships, especially for those who work in the helping professions. Lynn and Karen are consultants, co-owners, and members of Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin. They can be reached at https://www.ebbandflowcooperative.com. Numerous studies have shown a high rate of compassion fatigue among teachers, social workers, therapists, and nurses, among others. Navigating the line between understanding other’s feelings and managing our own is crucial to our own mental health. Help is available if you are concerned about your mental health or that of a loved one. Nationally, you can start your search at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help.