Purpose:

Transforming the lives of women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction by providing a long-term residential program to experience physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through recovery.

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Breakthru House, Inc., is a member of the Action Ministries family of ministries. Action Ministries, Inc. is an independent, faith-based, Georgia non-profit corporation with roots in the United Methodist Church. As the first long-term residential recovery program for women in Georgia, Breakthru House is designed to meet the unique needs of women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Utilizing the 12 Steps and a Therapeutic Community, Breakthru House provides a safe, structured drug free environment to foster a life of recovery while therapeutically addressing addiction as a disease, unresolved grief, trauma, and poor self-esteem issues commonly associated with female addicts. Since its founding in 1969, Breakthru House's founding principle remains constant: physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through recovery is possible when each woman's treatment program is designed to meet their individual needs.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Did you miss us?

Breakthru House's Empowerment Brunch was held on Oct 1, 2011 at Northside United Methodist Church. So many of our family of supporters were able to attend - what a fantastic group of people and what a fantastic event! The staff, clients, and alumni of Breakthru House cannot say enough - THANK YOU!! In case you missed it, here are some pictures and a clip from our spot on the 11Alive news.







Monday, September 19, 2011

Empowerment Brunch!

We're on 11 Alive again!!

This time it's announcing our Empowerment Brunch, to be held on October 1st at Northside United Methodist Church.

The brunch will raise money so that Breakthru House can continue to provide scholarships to cover the cost of residential substance abuse treatment for women without the financial resources to receive treatment otherwise!

Ashley Smith Robinson, author of "Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero"will be our keynote speaker. In Jennifer Leslie's article (http://www.11alive.com/news/article/205941/40/Hero-hostage-in-Nichols-case-helping-women-in-recovery), Ashley says, "I'm speaking at Breakthru House because l have been through many of the same issues that most women there are going through."

We hope that you will join us for brunch in celebration of the empowerment of women that happens through treatment at Breakthru House!

 Register here: http://atlanta.actionministries.net/digital_faith/events/35

"I pray they realize it's never to late to turn your life around and that God loves all of us the same, no matter our choices."  - Ashley Smith Robinson

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Clinical Corner: Trauma


by Sarah Postich, LAPC, NCC, Lead Counselor

Trauma occurs when a crisis is so bad that meaning is destroyed. You cannot make meaning out of your experience.  Along with the loss of meaning is terror, helplessness and extreme emotionality or numbing.  What is traumatic for one individual may not be traumatic for another person. For some individuals, a hurricane, fire, or other natural disaster can be traumatic. Being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused at any point in one’s life can be traumatic. For others, being in a car accident, in jail, or being adopted was traumatic. It all depends on the individual.

The majority of the women in our program have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life, if not multiple traumatic events. In general, trauma can impact a person in several ways. It can lead to hyperarousal, where a person is physiologically aroused all the time because they are on the lookout for danger. They may have an extreme startle response to unexpected stimuli, or difficulty sleeping. Another way trauma affects a person is that they may experience flashbacks where memories of the event intrude into their mind unexpectedly.  There may be dreams that occur that include fragments of the traumatic event. In addition, individuals may feel numb or shut off their emotions, believe that they are observing from outside their body, that time has slowed down, or that this is a bad dream from which they will wake.

Moreover, trauma affects our women (and most individuals) in a number of ways. Trauma ultimately destroys one’s relationships with oneself and others in the world. Individuals feel they cannot trust themselves because they were not able to keep themselves out of harm’s way. They may not trust other people in the world because those people have betrayed their trust and hurt them in some way.  Often times, individuals have tried to figure out ways to cope with the trauma they have experienced. Some of the common, unhealthy ways individuals have dealt with their trauma is by using alcohol or drugs to numb themselves. It is very confusing and painful to have traumatic memories pop into one’s head unexpectedly, or to always be afraid of what will happen next.  Another way they may have learned how to cope is by limiting what they do day to day- they may not go certain places, and even start to isolate from family and friends. Commonly they may attempt to control their fear of getting hurt again by creating a sense of safety in their actions. This is done by controlling other aspects of their lives: their job, their home, and their relationships with other people in their life.

So, when a woman comes to Breakthru House we want her to start to trust herself, trust the other women in the community, and the treatment team. This all occurs very slowly as trust is built over time. One of the ways we try to heal the trauma the women have experienced is by having them feel the feelings surrounding the traumatic event. Often times, this may include: anger, shame, embarrassment, guilt, etc.  They may not be able to even identify these feelings, so we may use different techniques to help them. One technique is to look at different pictures I have of people experiencing different emotions and then the woman will have to guess what emotion that individual is feeling. Or, I may include media to have them identify with a topic.  These 2 songs relate to the cycle of domestic violence.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Staff Spotlight - Meet Sarah, Lead Counselor!

My name is Sarah Postich and I serve as Breakthru’s Lead Counselor. I am passionate about helping women to empower themselves, to heal, and grow on their journey of recovery.  Prior to obtaining both my Specialist in Education and Master of Science degrees in Professional Counseling at Georgia State University, I completed my undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Georgia. As a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia and a National Certified Counselor, I hold memberships in the American Counseling Association (ACA) and Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA).

I have had the privilege to learn and work in a variety of mental health settings. I completed my master’s degree internship at Skyland Trail, which is a residential facility that serves individuals diagnosed with Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. I have professional experience as a Case Manager at Ridgeview Institute, a psychiatric hospital that provides inpatient stabilization and outpatient services to clients struggling with mental health or substance issues. In addition, I provide individual and group counseling in the private sector during the evenings and weekends.

In my time here, I have come to love Breakthru House for several reasons. One is because of the mission of our program. I am amazed at the services we offer our women and believe that we provide one of few holistic treatment programs to women that would be unable to receive treatment elsewhere. I find it exceedingly important that women receive both group and individual counseling on a weekly basis as research highlights the benefits of both,  and our women do receive both treatment modalities here. In addition, I love that Breakthru House is long term. Research shows that the longer an individual remains sober and in treatment the higher the likelihood they will remain sober. Very few residential treatment programs allow their residents to stay 12-18months. This is a rare privilege Breakthru House can offer its women.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Groups at Breakthru House!

by Melanie Storrusten, LCSW, Clinical Coordinator

We have modified our group schedule at Breakthu House to include a new group: Sober Support Skills! These groups will introduce new activities that have been shown to support sustained recovery in various ways. These group activities will include exercise, art, meditation, and leisure skills (games, movies, etc.).

Each of these types of activities have been shown through research to benefit and support sustained recovery in various ways.

It is important to not only encourage clients to participate in these activities in their free time, but to set aside group time to introduce new methods of exercise, relaxation and meditation, creative expression, and leisure to clients, as well as to give them an opportunity to practice these skills. It is natural human behavior that we are more likely to do an activity later when we have already begun the action! So, when we practice a meditation technique or exercise activity in group, it allows clients to experience for themselves, "hey, this is actually helpful! (and fun!)" Then they are much more likely to continue the behavior in their free time and continuing on after treatment to enhance and support their recovery efforts.

For further reading on how each of these types of activities are supportive of recovery, you may want to check out some of these articles!


Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Treatment and Recovery
"Active Replacement" - Benefits of Leisure Skills, including Exercise in Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Benefits of Meditation in Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Benefits of Meditation in Addiction Treatment and Recovery (second article)
Creative Arts Therapy and Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Women in Recovery from Alcoholism: The Place of Leisure
Therapeutic Recreation and Addiction Treatment

To read more about another new group at Breakthru House that focuses on creating safety to address trauma and addiction, please see our article about our new Seeking Safety curriculum!







Monday, July 25, 2011

A fatal disease

by Melanie Storrusten, LCSW, Clinical Coordinator

Addiction is a disease that is fatal when untreated. RIP, Amy Winehouse. Hopefully her untimely death will help save the life of another. For further information about drug addiction and treatment, or to make a donation to support women struggling with addiction, please visit Breakthru House's website or call us at 404-284-4658.