Archives for July 2015

The goal is to educate people about addiction.

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Rockers In Recovery® – Media (Since 2008)

Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions (RIR) – Where are we without a community? A community is what helps shape who we are and gives us values and helps strengthen our beliefs. Merriam-Webster defines “Community” as: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.

Twenty Nine Rockers In Recovery® Concerts and Festivals Since 2011- RIR United Against Addiction “I believe what makes Rockers In Recovery unique is that the RIR recovery message is carried through the universal language of music with some of great rockers of the day.” Tom Coderre, Senior White House Advisor to SAMHSA

To this day that Tom’s statement blows me away and all I can say is, “Wow another God moment” for me. It’s such an honor, who would have thought all these years later that gift from my Dad would go on to do, what it has done.  Many organisations now follow the same model for their events and many treatment programs years later are starting to use the unplugged model for treatment centers and as a therapeutic tool. Today we give back by, doing what we can to support others with the same visions to learn more about our model. Thank God For The 12 Steps , I use to get resentful when someone would use my God inspired concepts or ideas, then I realized the concept or idea belonged to God’s universe, not me.

Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions (RIR®) is a community of dedicated people who live to carry a message of hope to addicts and alcoholics and their families who all are suffering. RIR shared common goal of spreading hope and enlightenment across the country has turned out to be something RIR never expected. We are not a treatment program. RIR is an organization with the sole mission to provide prevention and education to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism.

Professionals in the substance abuse field are always looking for ways to improve the therapeutic experience for their clients. Key components of achieving and maintaining recovery are: motivation, optimism, hope, and coping skills (learning how to deal with and express emotions in a healthy way). Many times, clients have a difficult time opening up, expressing, and processing their emotions. Due to having limited time with clients (often 30 days in treatment), clinicians must look for effective ways in bringing about this process as quickly as they can so they can help the client begin the process of healing. RIR does this in a way that will engage the client, capture their attention, entertain them and have such a profound impact on their life; they can carry it with them always.

200305096The Story: RIR Musicians walk in to their festivals capturing the undivided attention of everyone at the festival. After all, this is not just a speaker coming on stage; this is musicians, guitarists and song writers. Clients are looking forward to hearing their story and will listen intently as our musicians share their personal struggle with substance abuse and their journey to recovery. RIR musicians share their experiences in a way that will make them laugh, contemplate and often times cry. When RIR does concerts/festivals they invite all the local treatment centers and IOP programs, along with sober living houses in the area to come out and experience this first hand.

Twenty One RIR Concerts and Festivals Since 2008. RIR has teamed up on a community grass roots level to help a lot over eight years, they have gone on to produce twenty one concert and festival productions. RIR was the first recovery origination producing addiction and awareness through Rock-N-Roll at the 2012 ATP – International Tennis Championship to a NYC sold out show at the Cutting Room for the missed placed victims that were devastated from Hurricane Sandy. In addition to a benefit concert, RIR did another community event at a local Connecticut school to benefit a street-level non-profit business. RIR put together what was a benefit for the Special Olympics of South Florida and the Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County.

The thinking and actions around the RIR camp are simple; educate, help the families of sick and suffering loved ones get their questions answered, along with people seeking treatment at the events. RIR teams up with addiction professionals that are present at all of these shows they produce, and people seeking help go right to the recovery information tent manned all day to help everyone. Each show has band and solo acts along with a list of 10 minute addiction professional speaker in between bands. RIR is educating while have fun in a fun loving environment.

RIR has gone on to do many free community awareness and prevention concerts through Rock-N-Roll all over the United States. Some are and just to name a few, the D&R Theater Aberdeen Washington, to a standing room only crowd with the same results at the luxury hotel in the heart of Las Vegas, known as the Bellagio. RIR was Rockin’ the 2014 RecoveryWalks at Penns Landing, Philadelphia, Pa. in front of 23,000 people, along with the recent 4th Annual RIR Music Festival in Feb 2015. RIR also donated the RIR Band& production services to the Hope All Day Festival in New Jersey in May. This was to help raise funds for the Hope All Day Foundation.

Recovery is not only about helping yourself; it is about who you can help as well. When Hurricane Sandy struck NYC, people didn’t only just help themselves, but also recovery efforts came far and wide from many people – that is the soul of recovery, to help other people and pay it forward.

Recovery is having the power to get your life back by letting go to the aspects of life to a higher power. By relinquishing control to the things we cannot change, we realize there is more fulfillment and empowerment when we ask for help and return it by helping others in ways we can.

46502_4890372496595_262327455_nRIR holds a flagship all day festival once a year since 2011. It’s called the “Love Of Recovery” Rockers in Recovery Music Festival. This experience combines multiple RIR All-Star Bands that all come together, we invite musicians who are either in recovery or support recovery to help spread the message of hope through their band or solo act music. The most important message that RIR conveys is that having fun is completely doable and possible when you combine treatment and education, because all you need is 100% mutual support of each other. Support is not a one-way street.

Like the conventional pairing of peas and carrots; sex, drugs, and rock n roll seem to collide more often in the same sentence, as well as in the lives of musicians that play the music. Just like celebrity recovering addicts who are in acting, music artists are prone to those same temptations of the party scene. As many of these famous musicians that have succumbed to their substance addictions over the years (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Kurt Cobain, Brad Nowell, Amy Winehouse), there are as many who escaped the ultimate consequence of death and now enjoy a life in active recovery. This is why they find hope themselves by rockin’ out at RIR Festivals and concerts.

734de4cb2427028cba8b20993b5b97adThe Music: RIR musicians and sometimes a special guest will then perform; singing and playing songs about active addiction and recovery along with mainstream music. In recovery the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven brings on new meaning and a new recovery memory. The lyrics and music combined produce a multitude of emotional reactions, surprising the clients and the concert goers as the experience brings to light emotions they have had a difficult time expressing or perhaps were unaware of.

The Celebrity Musicians whom gave of their time freely to support the recovery lifestyle include; Simon Kirke (Bad Co.), and Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople), Michael Des Barres, Billy J. Kramer, and LaLa Brooks (The Crystals), Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators, Little Steven’s Underground Garage), Gene Cornish (The Rascals), Peppy Castro (Blue Magoo’s), Mark Bosch (Ian Hunter Rant Band, Garland Jeffries), Ross the Boss (The Dictators), Joe Hurley (Joe Hurley and The Gents, Keith Richards’ LIFE), Arno Hecht and Larry Etkin (Uptown Horns), Adam Roth (Billy J. Kramer), Dave Uosikkinen(The Hooters,and Tommy Conwell of the Young Ramblers. Each of these energetic musicians brings not only 100% but gives an extra 100% when supporting any causes or events.

The Musicians who have been guests of RIR festivals who have been paid per musical performance include; Lou Esposito(The Capri’s), Jeff Gantz (Johnny Winter), Ricky Byrd (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Richie Supa (Aerosmith), Kasim Sulton (Blue Oyster Cult and Todd Rundgren), Christine Ohlman (Saturday Night Live Band), and Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), Marge Raymond (singer/songwriter/actress), Dave Uosikkinen(The Hooters) Jeff Kazee (Southside Johnny, Bon Jovi), along with his band mates Chris Anderson, Neal Pawley and Muddy Shews.

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We Are Not A Treatment Program or Advocacy Group – Since 2008 our sole purpose is to provide prevention and education awareness to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism. We do this through our online media platforms using music, news, events, and festivals taking place within and not limited to the clean and sober community, and along with our CORPORATE and RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS.
 
Rockers In Recovery® (RIR) – Addiction Recovery Based News & Media; Offering Community Outreach Development, Digital Media Branding, Social Media Content Distribution, Live Music Events, Live Stream Productions, Music and Meet and Greet Event Production. Local, Regional, and National Branding and Advertising, and Social Media Content Developing. Sign Up Today For The Newsletter
 
DISCLAIMER – Our WebsiteNewsletterRadio ShowsPostsLivestream ProductionsSocial Media Platforms, and Press Releases are based on opinion. They are not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional. If you have a medical Emergency Call 911 or go to your local hospital.
 
Sincerely,
John Hollis,
Director of Business Development
Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions Inc.

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Rockers In Recovery® – Privately Owned Media and Production Company. Rockers In Recovery® Trademark is Privately Owned, No use of trademark or copyright in anyform is allowed without the consent of John Hollis and Lori Sullivan.

 

DISCLAIMER – Our Website is based on opinion and is not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional.

 

The Silent Assault On Americans With Addictions Part 2

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Insurance Companies Play Doctor Part II: Case Managers

By: John Giordano DHL, MAC

President and Founder of:

National Institute For Holistic Addiction Studies

Chaplain of the North Miami Police Department

“The very definition of insanity is placing your health in the hands of an industry – whose mere existence depends solely on not paying healthcare claims.”

This is the second installment of “Insurance Companies Play Doctor.” Among other things in the first segment, I outlined how many people like Avery – a bright young woman with a promising future whose life fell apart after becoming addicted to heroin in college – are trying their best to get off drugs but are being diverted away from treatment due to insurance payment complications and put on methadone or suboxone.

This is a pattern that occurs with increasing frequency everyday. I also delved into the similarity between healthcare industry’s business model and that of casinos and bingo parlors inthat both profit the most when they pay out the least. I also pointed out the insanity of literally placing our health in the hands of an industry whose mere existence depends on not providing you and I with the healthcare we paid for.

As fate would have it, I recently meet a substance abuse case manager who works for one of the major health insurance companies. It was in a social setting that I found Angela (not her real name) to be very well educated, kind and warm. She earned her masters

degree in health. On Sundays, Angela plays guitar and sings in her church’s choir. We were having a wonderful conversation until the inevitable happened; the subject of addiction treatment and health insurance came up. Although we both remained cordial towards each other, the mood changed making the tension became palpable.

Angela started the conversation with a defense of her position. She explained to me how back in the day doctors got rich by over-proscribing addiction treatment and it is her job to make sure her company only pays out for what is “medically necessary” in accordance with The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). I could only think that what she was referring to was years ago when I first got involved with addiction treatment when 30 days meant intense level 1 residential treatment. This is the first stage where a person spends their entire time living at the facility while being treated for their disease by their doctors, therapists and trained staff.

What Angela quoted me were the core principles of assembly line treatment where addiction treatment protocols are no different then that for a broken bone; a one size fits all. Once a patient passes an ASAM benchmark they’re moved on the conveyer belt to the next station on the line never to return; just like setting a broken bone – put a cast on it and in six weeks take it off and everything will be just ducky. While ASAM may sound all neat and tidy to the layman, the reality is that addiction treatment is non-linear – it doesn’t follow a straight path. Anyone who has been involved in addiction and/or mental health treatment – even in the slightest way – knows it follows a curvy path. There are highs and lows, twists and turns; it looks more like a roller coaster then a straight assembly line conveyer belt.

As I tried to explain this to Angela I was quickly shut down. She was having nothing of it and went on to tell me that even today centers are over billing for unnecessary protocols,tests and expenses. My agreement with her position seemed to calm her a bit. The reality is treatment centers are like any other business and you will find some bad apples among the operators. Yet if you talk to a number of treatment centers as I do, many of the owners will tell you that the insurance companies have squeezed them so tightly that they can’t stay in business without using some form of creative billing. I’ve spoken with many practicing doctors and therapists who work everyday in the facilities treating their patients who are afraid to tell the insurance company someone is improving for fear that they’ll mandate a lower level of treatment before the patient is ready.

I decided to take control and shifted the discussion to outcomes. Angela informed me that out-patient treatment – the least expensive, drive-through treatment available – was showing great results; and later admitted there is no imperial data to support that claim. She also reminded me that the treatment centers could challenge her decisions and have the case arbitrated by one of their physicians. Upon hearing their physicians’ role, I asked Angela if she was familiar with the Physicians Health Program. She looked at me like I The Physicians Health Program came into presence in the early 70’s. At the time, many talented doctors were loosing their license to practice because they became addicted to the drugs they were prescribing, illicit drugs and also alcohol. The Physicians Health Program was created by doctors to act as an intermediary between addicted doctors and the medical board. They oversee the treatment of doctors in rehab. It’s a five year program that begins with intense level one, 90 day residential treatment minimum that can last for up to 180 days, sometimes longer. The Physicians Health Program is the most effective addiction treatment protocol available boasting a success rate of over 75%!

Every doctor with a license to practice knows about the Physicians Health Program. Any competent doctor in addiction treatment knows that the longer a patient stays in intense level 1 residential treatment, the greater their chance for a better outcome. This is where the hypocrisy becomes so thick you could cut it with a knife. The healthcare industry has proven that they can hire doctors – the ones Angela referred to as arbitrators – who are aware of effective treatment protocols, and for a few pieces of silver will look the other way and recommend treatment based on company profits that conflicts with the best interests of a vulnerable patient in need of lifesaving treatment; sickening.

What really got to me about my conversation was how warm Angela was until we began talking about addiction. It was as if a switch went off in her head and she became very cold and callus. Angela was unabashed in her description of the adversarial relationship existing between her and treatment centers. She clearly presented her perception of treatment centers being petty thieves whose prime objective is to rob her company vault of all its treasures. Angela delivery left no doubt that she has dehumanized treatment workers – and to a large extent, addicts – in her own mind. Never did it seem to register with her that these are helpless people who paid their premiums and desperately need treatment. I never got the impression that she realized her decisions could be the difference between life and death. Not once did we speak of the consequences of the decisions she made daily. Her views were so skewed towards the insurance company she works for that I really don’t think she could emotionally handle the complete reality of it all.

Most of the conversation was about money and almost nothing about effective Angela and I’d suspect the vast majority of her coworkers are no more qualified to be addiction/mental health case managers than I am to be an aerospace engineer. A well paid billing manager yes, but certainly not a case manager which could imply they’re acting in some way with interests of the patient in mind and have a background in mental health and/or addiction treatment. In fact, they are nothing more than a carefully fabricated image intended to create an illusion of the healthcare industry employs professionals in the field. But the veneer is paper thin. Just one scratch on the surface exposed Angela and her co-workers as being well educated in just about everything except addiction, mental health and their treatment. If I was forced to render a guess I’d say Angela has never even stepped foot in a treatment or detox center much less spent any time with a powerless person in the throes of trying to turn their lives around. I’d also go out on a limb and speculation that nearly all of her co-workers – if not all – are in the same boat.

After my conversation with Angela I couldn’t help but to harken back to the 2008 election cycle when some presidential candidates suggested that government run health care would create ‘death panels’ and put ‘the government between patient and doctor. As clearly shown within, their prediction partially came to fruition in the respect that death panels have indeed become part of the healthcare landscape. Where the candidates’ prophecy fell short in accuracy is the fact that the death panels are run by private sector insurance companies and not the U.S. Government. Healthcare company case managers like Angela are standing squarely between addicts and their doctors and therapists. The insurance industry is literally dictating treatment by way of the purse strings. The treatment facility either abides by the insurance companies’ demands or they don’t get paid – simple as that.

What is best for the patient, clinically appropriate and best practices never enters into the conversation. The curtain has been pulled back and enough fact has been exposed that no one is fooling anyone anymore. The hollowed out, cost-cutting addiction treatment protocols designed by the healthcare industry and implemented by treatment centers is woefully inept. This cost driven model was never designed to be effective, but rather to provide the illusion of treatment. There is a mountain of scientific research complete with real life case studies

that prove addiction treatment can be very effective. The best example of this is the Physicians Heath Program’s 90 to 180 day intense level one residential treatment followed up with long term comprehensive aftercare. As long as the patients remain faceless and the case managers and insurance company doctors can sit protected in their private cubical, addiction treatment will continue down this unsustainable path. The only action that could possibly change the course is a public outcry. For those of us fortunate enough to have gone through rehab know we didn’t do it on our own. We relied on each other to produce a positive outcome. If we are to effect positive changes in the healthcare industry, we need to band together one more time. All I ask is that you contact your congressman and senator and ask them what they are doing to prevent the insurance industry from dictating addiction treatment protocols. If you can’t do it for yourself, please do it for the person behind you who needs treatment but is being blocked by the many barriers put up by the insurance industry. This is our battle and this is our time to shine!

John Giordano DHL, MAC is a counselor, President and Founder of the National Institute For Holistic Addiction Studies and Chaplain of the North Miami Police Department. For the latest development in cutting-edge treatment check out his website: