August 2016 ASAC Action Newsletter

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Heart of Iowa Benefits from United Way Event

Image - Purses & PlatesTo celebrate 10 years of Women’s Leadership Initiative, the United Way of East Central Iowa combined the annual Women’s Luncheon and Power of the Purse into one event, Purses & Plates. The event was held on Thursday, July 21 at the Cedar Rapids Veteran’s Memorial Building and included dinner, a speaker, and a silent auction with the proceeds benefiting the Women’s Leadership Initiative.

ASAC’s Heart of Iowa program is a recipient agency of the Women’s Leadership Initiative that focuses on women’s health. ASAC receives $50,000 that helps to fund the position of Care Coordinator at Heart of Iowa. This position assists patients in navigating the medical and mental health systems and access support services.

Upcoming ASAC Trainings

ASAC’s Prevention Services has a two upcoming training sessions open to Prevention Specialists from throughout Iowa. Both sessions will be held at ASAC Prevention Services, 3536 18th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids

Fundamentals of Prevention Training – August 29, 2016 9am – 4pm

Ethics in Prevention – September 20th, 9am – 5pm

In addition, in collaboration with the Linn County Coalition for Safe and Healthy Communities, ASAC is hosting a training session on New Marijuana Trends on August 17th that is open to the public. Come join the conversation and learn more about the Linn County Coalition. Marijuana Training

ASAC’s New Logo

Old ASAC SignWe are making headway on the conversion to our new logo. We have new letterhead, are including the logo on our business card reorders, and have installed outdoor signs on ASAC’s main campus with our new logo.  It is a long, expensive process but we are making progress!

To the right is ASAC’s former main campus sign and below is the new signage.

New ASAC Sign

Facility Improvements to the Recovery Center

ASAC’s Recovery Center that houses 32 adult residential and halfway house patients is located in the building that was formerly the Poplar Motel. Grants from a City of Cedar Rapids Community Development Block Grant, Housing Fund of Linn County and the following donor-advised funds from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation: Gazette Foundation Fund, Bloomhall Family Endowed Fund, Diamond V Mills and World Class Industries renovated a former nonworking kitchen into a patient study area, added a new HVAC system and gutters, and made electrical, window and plumbing improvements to the 14 housing units in addition to new flooring and painting of the rooms.

Conversion to Study Area

Conversion to Study Area

Former Kitchen Area

Former Kitchen Area









These improvements have made the facility not only more aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, they have improved the function and safety of the building for the patients we serve.

We are grateful to our funders for their financial support and give special thanks to the volunteers who made the conversion of the Recovery Center Kitchen into a study area: Patrick Sudduth, Ron Olson and Bill McFadden.

September – Celebrate Recovery Month

September is quickly approaching which means it is almost time for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Recovery Month!

Recovery Month is the annual observance month aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of mental and substance use issues and to celebrate the people who are in recovery.

ASAC isNational Recovery Month - September 2016 celebrating recovery by providing a limited number of free tickets to attend a movie the evening of September 20th.  Tickets are limited, but will be distributed through ASAC’s office locations.

Plan to join us on September 20th as we celebrate recovery with a fun, substance free event!

For more details, keep your eyes on your inbox for ASAC’s September newsletter.

Thanks from a Former Patient

Following is an email Jennifer Simmen, ASAC Counselor, received from a former patient that she referred to Heart of Iowa.

Hi! Not sure if you remember me or not…however…I was your very first patient.  I was driving by your office today and it made me think that I never got to thank you for everything that you did for me and my girls. You did so much in a very small amount of time and you became a key to the turning point in my life. 

Today I am living sober…10 months this Friday…my girls and I have a house and all 3 of us are continuing to rebuild our relationships…challenging at times but very rewarding.  I see the world through sober eyes now and though sometimes I don’t like it I have learned to live life on life’s terms. The good…the bad…the pretty and the ugly all look so different now that my head is clear.

I was taught a saying at the Heart of Iowa by one of the patient support staff and it is something I have learned to live by and cherish. It has gotten me through many dark days…maybe if you can teach it to just one of your youth patients and it helps them I will feel as though I have also helped someone. “One second at a time…one minute at a time…one hour at a time…one day at a time!”

If I can make it through that bad second then I can make it to the next minute…if I can make it through that bad minute then I can make it to the next hour and if I can make it through that bad hour then eventually I can make it through that bad day. I learned not to promise my girls that I will never drink again but what I do say to them every morning is that I will try my hardest to not take a drink that day!!!

Thank you so much for the important part you played in my life…I will never forget you and I shall always be grateful that our paths crossed!

ASAC Prevention Starts at Home

Article by Jeffrey Meyers, ASAC Prevention Specialist

As kids of all ages get ready for another school year, so too, can parents work to prepare their children to face the pressures, stressors, and risky choices their students may face. This is especially true when it comes to substance use. Alcohol and drug use, including misuse of prescription drugs, are a very real problem in schools across the country, even locally. However they don’t have to be an issue for your child. Though parents cannot always be around, there are a number of things they can do to help reduce the likelihood of their son or daughter getting caught up in the dangerous cycle of substance abuse.

Sometimes parents mistakenly feel that drug and alcohol temptations won’t present themselves until high school at the earliest or more likely college. While exposure to substances is greater at these stages, parents should remember that adolescence in general represents an extremely important time for their child. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes, “risk of drug abuse increases greatly during times of transition”. For youth, this can include the changing of schools, moving up in graders, or facing academic challenges. Think, for example, of the immense change one goes through when progressing through elementary school to middle school or even middle school to high school. Though ultimately exciting, such changes can be daunting and stressful initially. Add to that the fact of greater availability of substances, especially in high school, and parents can begin to understand why conversations about drugs and alcohol are best had early on.

What can parents do? One of the most important things parents can do is set a good example. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Youth of all ages take notice on what their parents do. Instead of fearing this, embrace this. If, for example, you choose to consume alcohol when your child is present, do so responsibly. Be sure to explain why adults can drink with low risk and why it would be very high risk for them, noting that our brains develop well in to our 20s and any use below that age can be especially harmful. Make a point to explain why you refrain from certain activities like driving after drinking, explaining the effects alcohol can have on one’s coordination, eyesight, and even behavior, as age appropriate. Take care in how you store your prescription drugs, such as with a lockbox, explaining how such drugs, even when prescribed, are not to be taken lightly and, when misused, can be very harmful. Storing them in such a manner not only deters improper access but also sends a message on how medications should be treated.

Beyond actions, having open and honest conversations is also vital. Make it a point to address the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, especially when the context presents itself. For example, a movie or television program may depict substance use in a glamorized or unrealistic way, and such messages can be profoundly influential on your child. Combat this by being aware of what your child is watching, but also explain how the media can misrepresent or not give the full truth of what drugs can do. If your child says something that may indicate an incomplete understanding of a substance, address it by not only stating why such things can be harmful, but always use the opportunity to explain how drugs and alcohol can harm their goals and aspirations as well.

Another component of drug and alcohol prevention that can be overlooked by parents is that of positive encouragement. Recognize the efforts as well as achievements of your child. Good grades on a test, a strong performance at a match, or dedication to studying are all examples of positive behaviors that should be recognized. Youth that have these positive activities as part of their life, along with healthy relationships, are less likely to engage in substance use. When employed regularly, all of these things can have a big impact on keeping your child safe, healthy, and successful.


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