The Coleman Institute Blog


Nov 16

November 15, 2016

Happiness in Recovery: One Patient’s Experience

Not every patient we see for follow up after a detox has profound spiritual experiences to share with us.

Billy was in last week. He’s 23 and is eight months clean. Grinning like a kid. So happy.

“Billy, what are you doing with all your extra money?” I asked.



Nov 16

November 11, 2016

When Surgery and Substance Use Disorder Collide

A patient we have come to know very well is with us again—his third time—for help with a rapid opiate detox. It won’t be as rapid as when he was getting off a gram of heroin a day or when he returned for a detox off Percocet. Each of those out-patient opiate detoxes were done in 3 days.

When Al called us last week, he was bummed. And desperate. He’d managed to go three years with using nothing stronger than over the counter non-steroidals for the occasional back pain he experienced. Al is six foot three and owns a lot of equipment to clear land, remove snow, excavate and haul. His business has grown and he has about twelve full-time employees. His wife has stuck with him through all the ups and downs of his struggles with benzos and opiates, and they have two young children.

About a month ago Al experienced severe tooth pain. Turns out there was an abscess under a wickedly curled wisdom tooth. He needed some pretty serious dental work and needed it sooner than later. 



Nov 16

November 4, 2016

Access To The Soul

When I was eating lunch recently with my friend Ellie, who volunteers at the Richmond jail teaching meditation and yoga, she mentioned a quote by Dr. Parker Palmer, an educator and activist. He says, “The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed—to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.”

I’ve been thinking about that idea and how it relates to the work we do at The Coleman Institute (TCI). Obviously, people sign up for a very specific service when they seek our help; most people are coming for rapid opioid, alcohol or benzo detoxes. And Dr. Coleman has finessed this process so carefully for many years it is a very functional and--dare I say—elegant way to detox.



Nov 16

November 1, 2016

The Lighthouse

A podcast I often recommend to patients is The Bubble Hour ( On a recent episode the discussion was about relapse. Two women in long -term recovery discuss what it’s like for them when friends relapse. One of them quoted Anne Lamott, who says, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

I really appreciate that notion.

At The Coleman Institute (TCI) we recognize that addiction is a chronic illness. I often tell my opioid or alcohol dependent patients, when a person with diabetes gets his/her blood sugar under control, I don’t say, “Great! Now eat whatever the hell you want, you’ve made it!” On the contrary, the ‘gift’ of having diabetes, is the opportunity to intentionally look at what you are choosing to consume and how you are choosing to exercise to keep your precious body at its best.

Likewise, with addiction.



Oct 16

October 26, 2016

Success Story: Airport Encounter

On Sunday morning Dr. Coleman and I were returning from a weekend in Boston. We were rolling our bags through the airport when a young man came up to us and excitedly said, “Um, excuse me…don’t mean to interrupt you….but, do you remember me?”

It was a patient who completed a 3 day Rapid Opiate Detox from The Coleman Institute (TCI) six months earlier. He was so excited to let us know how well he was doing. He was traveling with his business, up and down the east coast. He is thriving!

We didn’t ask all the usual questions we would ask him if he were in the office (medical health, hours of sleep, anxiety/depression, relationships, counseling, etc….) but it was clear from his beaming face and energy, that all was well.


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