Which of the risk factors for substance use are present in your community of origin, or a community in which you currently live or work? Are there other factors that were left off the list?

An online search was conducted regarding risk factors for substance use, which are present in my community of origin. A youth survey was found for the State of Louisiana, Parish of Caldwell, of which I reside. The Louisiana Caring Communities Youth Survey Results for 2008 presents some information for Caldwell Parish regarding risks factors that consist of the main categories of demographics, social, behavioral, and individual. The chart given in the results of the youth survey involved the risk factors of community, the family system structure, school, and peer/individual, with demographics presented involving certain age groups of adolescents (Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 2008). However, there were no demographics regarding gender given in this article. The information reveals that economic and social problems exist, which contribute to the substance abuse problem within the parish community. The community also suffers from a disorganized community structure that is causing a detachment in the neighborhood. This community a small rural area with very little funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is a major concern for our community as the drug problem continues to escalate. The article shows that family problems exist within the community such as conflict and management of the family structure. Problematic behaviors in our parish such as alcohol and drug abuse are prevalent among the adolescent population. Such behaviors are family-oriented as many parents of the adolescents within this community are abusing substances. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (2008) also presents some evidence that show problems in the school system such as a lack of commitment, behaviors of an antisocial aspect, and failure in academic achievement, which contribute to substance abuse (p. 4). These problematic behaviors contribute to a high dropout rate. When examining the peer/individual risk factor listed in the youth survey, it shows that peer pressure is high with a favorable attitude toward using substances. Also, the information reveals that rebellion and withdrawal is a contributing factor to the drug use in my community. This information shows a strong need for more education and a greater awareness of the need for more funding and interventions before our community erodes even further.

There are other factors that interfere, which are not listed in this information. However, I have personally witnessed them, such as politics. This is a very political community that unfortunately, makes money off of our youth and adults who are using drugs by charging fines and putting them back on the street with no form of rehabilitation. As a past advocate for helping those abusing drugs, I witnessed the court system charge individuals $500.00 each and place them on probation for six months, knowing that these individuals would be arrested again so that $500.00 more could be charged. This is a major problem within our local court system.

Also, our local mental health behavioral health clinic does not have anyone on staff with a college degree other than a lady who represents a whole district of parishes. Most of her time is spent traveling from one clinic to another. While in a bachelor’s degree program, I wanted to take a class that required that I spend some time at a local facility to learn about how to conduct group counseling sessions. When I contacted this particular facility, I was told that they were too busy. This proves that our local parish has a disorganized structure, as indicated in the youth survey that was reviewed.



Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. (2008). The Louisiana caring communities youth survey results for 2008. Retrieved from http://dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/BehavioralHealth/publications/CCYS2008-Parish/9162.pdf.

Camelback Sober Living updates:

  • We sent out an email a while back stating that we were becoming a coed program. At this time, we are exclusively serving me. The plan is to open a female home in the near future. Stay tuned!
  • The all-inclusive monthly rate is $1500. If food is valued at $600 per month, which is a conservative number, then the monthly rate without food is $900. $900 per month translates to $203 per week!

  • Gourmet meals are served five nights per week

  • Pre-made breakfasts are available daily. Pre-made breakfasts are typically made with ground turkey, egg whites, onions and peppers, and topped with Sriracha. An avocado is a tasty addition to this healthy, high-protein meal.

  • Pre-made salad mix is available for daily lunches. Salad mix typically includes mixed greens, sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, blueberries, and sunflower seeds. Seasoned, shredded chicken is portioned out and in the refrigerator ready to add to the salad for a tasty lunchtime meal. 

  • There is ALWAYS an abundance of healthy food at Camelback Sober Living!

  • Lastly, all men in our home are attending IOP together. This makes our program an excellent step-down or alternative to inpatient treatment.

Camelback Sober Living will have a booth at the Art of Recovery, which is this Saturday September 19th at the Phoenix Convention Center. Hope to see you there!

Growth is the only evidence of life.

–John, Cardinal Newman

We should be thankful we can never reach complete serenity. If we could, we would never have the need to improve ourselves. We would stop growing, because there would be no reason to learn any more than we already know, and we would become bored. Even the things which seem so serene in nature usually contain a struggle within. A lake, with a swan gliding slowly across it, seems a perfect picture of serenity. But, unseen below the surface, fish, turtles, and frogs struggle each day for survival.

The important thing is to accept the struggles as a part of the beauty of life, not as blemishes on it.

There is either growth or decay. It is not possible for a living organism to be totally stagnant. A person is always changing, either changing for the better or changing for the worse. This is true when it comes to the mind, body, and spirit. A person is either becoming more spiritually fit or less spiritually fit. A person is either becoming closer to God or further away from God. A person is either getting closer to a drink or drug or further away from a drink or drug. My experience is that if I am working a 12-step program of recovery, I stay spiritually fit. Working a program of recovery to me means morning prayer and meditation, being grateful for things in my life, going to meetings, talking to my sponsor, being of service, and reaching out to another alcoholic. I am grateful that I have learned to be in acceptance and to live life on life’s terms. I am grateful that life is not perfect. I am grateful that I am sober and thinking clearly.