Theater and Recovery

In support of Serenity Academy Chicago, please attend in March a performance of:

I’m Falling In Love All The Time

Original Post:
Falling In Love


Coffee. Romance. Heroin. There’s a first time for everything and a last. In his heartfelt solo show, Jack Schultz weaves together personal stories of the highs and lows of love.

In the wake of an unexpected tragedy, Jack started to rely on coffee for a daily dose of dopamine. This new caffeine addiction inspired Jack to reevaluate his relationship with the pleasure chemical and write a show exploring his drug of choice. First kisses, long walks, and inevitable goodbyes, I’m Falling in Love All the Time asks, “What do we do with the love for the people we’ve lost?”

I’m Falling in Love All the Time was developed through The Agency’s Basement Series.

March 2 – March 31, 2018
(Pay What You Will with a suggested $15 donation. Tickets on sale January 19th.)

Performances every Friday and Saturday in March at 10:00PM at Pendulum Space 1803 W. Byron Avenue. 

Written & Performed By Jack Schultz

Directed By Cordie Nelson

– Graphic Design: Falling In Love

– Why I Hate “But First, Coffee” Culture

8th National Collegiate Recovery Conference!

Registration is officially open for the 8th National Collegiate Recovery Conference! This three-day event will bring together two leading recovery organizations – the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) and the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS) – for what is shaping up to be the most comprehensive recovery-related conference of the year. Upon registering, attendees receive admission into both ARHE’s and ARS’s workshops, speakers, receptions, and other activities. Early bird registration is open until May 5th and late registration goes in effect after June 30th. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your early bird ticket! See our registration rates and plan your trip to the conference by clicking here.

Now is as important a time as ever to be in Washington, D.C.! The George Washington University is playing host to the conference, which will situate attendees right in the heart of Foggy Bottom, one of D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods. The conference schedule allows for plenty of time to explore the food, art, music, and history that the District has to offer. Check out just a few of the activities that conference goers will have at their fingertips!

In addition to an exciting location, several unique features within this year’s conference make it feel more engaging than ever. The inaugural Student Ambassador Program, generously sponsored by Cumberland Heights, will bring ten of the country’s finest student recovery advocates to Washington for the conference. Attendees will have the opportunity to pick from approximately 75 unique conference workshop sessions from the following areas: Collegiate Recovery, Recovery Schools, Treatment, Research, Family, Student, and Diversity. In addition to the innovative and engaged workshops we have planned, attendees can anticipate DC-themed entertainment, student poster presentations, an awards ceremony, and other activities that will be announced closer to the summer.

Both ARHE and ARS would like to thank our Diamond Sponsor, Transforming Youth Recovery, as well as our incredible Platinum Sponsors: Life of Purpose Treatment, Altarum Institute, Cumberland Heights, and Sober College.

Click here to register for the 8th National Collegiate Recovery Conference. We can’t wait to see you in D.C. this July!

For any questions regarding registration, please reach out to the conference committee at

Source: REGISTER NOW for the 8th National Collegiate Recovery Conference! – ARHE

March to Recovery

March 01, 2017

Serenity Academy of Chicago’s March to Recovery!

According to the latest data available from the Centers for Disease control, for the first time in U.S. history, drug overdoses account for more deaths, annually, than gun violence.  Serenity Academy of Chicago is poised to empower youth recovery and help end the epidemic of drug overdoses in Illinois. We need you to get started and have an incredible opportunity to double your donation, today, by clicking here.

Your fully tax deductible gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $10,000, thanks to a Serenity Academy supporter who knows the impact our school will have in lives of adolescents in Illinois! That means, for example that a generous gift of $50 will be doubled to $100!

Serenity Academy of Chicago, the state’s first and only recovery high school will ensure adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders recover and earn a high school diploma and then positively transition to post-secondary education or the workforce.

Please, click the below link to ensure your gift is matched by March 31st and make Serenity Academy’s focused support of adolescent’s recovery and academic achievement possible!

Link to Donate:
To donate by check, please make it payable to “Serenity Academy Chicago” and mail it to our mailing address listed in the in the header or footer.

WTTW Chicago Tonight Education Feature

image copyright: (Adam / Wikimedia Commons)
Link to: Original Feature by Matt Matterson from WTTW
original by: Matt Masterson | December 21, 2016 2:02 pm

Two of our Board Members, Joe Check and Mark Sanders worked with Matt Matterson from WTTW to publish a feature on our school.  The feature includes details on our plans to open Serenity Academy Chicago, the drug epidemic, and more about school operation details.  To read the entire feature, please visit the original posting at WTTW here below:

Chicago Recovery School to Offer Teen Addicts Chance to Get Clean, Earn Diploma

Recovery School Town Hall Meeting

At the town hall meeting we will:

• Dialogue with you about operational plans for the school and seek your input/ feedback on this.

• Establish channels to garner your continued support of Serenity Academy Chicago.

• Discuss ways you might be of service to the school.

• Because of your attendance at this meeting, we will be one more step closer to establishing the very first recovery high school in Illinois!

The Board of Directors of Serenity Academy Chicago, soon to be the only Recovery High School in Illinois, would like to invite you to a Town Hall Meeting to discuss our plans to launch the school. You are invited to attend because of your commitment to serve youth.

When: Monday, November 7, 2016
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Coffee will be provided

Please RSVP Below

download .pdf e-vite

Rachelle Gardner, COO, Hope Academy, A recovery High School, Indianapolis, IN,
Board Member, Association of Recovery Schools
Kellie Gage, MA, CAADC, Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Robert Carty, LCSW, CADC, CCJP Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC, Board President, Serenity Academy Chicago

Location: UIC Student Center East
Address: 750 South Halsted, Room 713, Chicago, IL 60607

Parking: FREE Parking.  Participants can park in the Halsted Street Parking Structure - there are two visitor entrances located on Taylor St. (760 W. Taylor St.) or Halsted St. (801 S. Halsted St.). Your Parking is Free and will be validated at the event.


Complete Name* (required)
Reply:* (required)
I will be glad to attend the Town Hall on November 7thRegretfully I cannot attend, but please take my information to keep me updated
Questions or Comments. Please also include any details about guests such as their name and e-mail.


Generation Found: Official Trailer | 2016 | Documentary Film

Generation Found: Official Trailer | 2016 | Documentary Film
by Generation Found Film
From the creators of the groundbreaking film, THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE, comes GENERATION FOUND, a powerful story about one community coming together to ignite a youth addiction recovery revolution in their hometown. Devastated by an epidemic of addiction, Houston faced the reality of burying and locking up its young people at an alarming rate. And so in one of the largest cities in America, visionary counselors, law school dropouts, aspiring rock musicians, retired football players, oil industry executives, and church leaders came together to build the world’s largest peer-driven youth and family recovery community.

Independently filmed over the course of two years, GENERATION FOUND takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” It is not only a deeply personal sto…


Source: Associated Press


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Preston Grundy started drinking at 14 to escape from his depression. He soon moved on to marijuana, Xanax, Adderall and cocaine, smoking pot when he woke each day and snorting pills in the bathroom between classes.

The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, teen went to treatment, but quickly relapsed upon returning to school, where he had constant access to drug dealers.

Now 18, Grundy has been clean for 17 months and will begin college this fall to study social work and chemical dependency counseling. He credits his switch to a recovery school, PEASE Academy in Minneapolis, which he attends with about 60 other teens trying to beat addiction and where he says he wouldn’t be able to find drugs if he tried.

“I needed a safer environment. I needed an environment where I could guarantee I wouldn’t be offered drugs,” Grundy said recently. He said without the school switch, he’d likely be “dead or in jail.”

PEASE Academy is one of about 36 recovery high schools nationwide that pair traditional classes with addiction support groups, drug testing and a community of peers committed to recovery. Though such schools have been around since 1979, they have become an increasingly popular option amid the spike in U.S. opioid abuse, with seven new ones planning to open in five states – Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington.

“There’s something nationally going on with the movement,” said Kristen Harper, executive director of the Association of Recovery Schools. “We’ve got the attention.”

More at: Associated Press

Are alcohol and marijuana ever safe for youth?

Source: Are alcohol and marijuana ever safe for youth?

Despite widespread belief that it does little harm, alcohol and marijuana use by teens has grave consequences on medical, financial, social and other levels, writes Kathleen Meyers, an expert in the treatment of adolescent substance use disorders. “Substance use disorders are strongly associated with the three leading causes of death among youth — accidents, homicide and suicide — and significantly contribute to unwanted pregnancy, school dropout, violence and delinquency.”


Each year at prom and graduation time, many families allow alcohol use at celebratory parties for their underage children with the view that they will be safe in those surroundings and may even learn responsible drinking. In light of the medicalization, legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, it seems that the U.S. public has become much more tolerant of what many consider benign substance use in society.

In fact, we are frequently asked:

First, alcohol and marijuana are not benign substances, particularly on the developing adolescent brain. At a most basic level, the adolescent brain is more susceptible to the addictive effects of substances, making use a risky proposition. Marijuana, alcohol and all other drugs of abuse show diverse neurotoxic effects, adversely affecting brain development and maturation in the areas related to motivation, memory and learning, and inhibition.

Substance use disorders are routinely associated with a costly combination of social, physical, mental and public health problems.

Learn more about Individual, Societal, and Financial Consequences and read the Full article here: Social Justice Solutions

ARS Biennial Report 2016

ARS Biennial Report 2016 (view/download report)

Intention of Report

The 2016 State of Recovery High Schools report is the first in a series of intended biennial publications from the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS). These reports aim to prepare and inspire starters and operators of recovery high schools to perform at their very best and directly contribute to the expanding body of principles, disciplines and tools that set the gold standard for educating and supporting students in recovery. In addition, each report presents the current landscape for recovery schools in the United States and highlights the latest research being undertaken by ARS to strengthen the expertise, resources and data-driven best practices that the organization looks to extend to recovery high schools through training, consulting and accreditation services. Overall, the State of Recovery High Schools is intended for those who advocate for the educational inclusion of youth recovery. Click here to read more!

State of Recovery High Schools

Every student in recovery is of value and worthy of an opportunity to be educated so they can heal, grow and ultimately discover how to live their very best life. While addiction thrives in isolation, recovery is a process of hope and healing that thrives in the positive peer communities of recovery schools. The 2016 State of Recovery High Schools is intended specifically for the broad and diverse network of advocates who work tirelessly to create a continuum of support for students transitioning in and out of recovery high schools.

2016 Impact Youth Conference – Overcoming Roadblocks: A Journey Towards Peace

REGISTER TODAY for the Impact Youth 2016 conference. The Peace Hub’s 2nd annual conference designed specifically for youth and youth advocates, will be held at Chicago’s Gary Comer Youth Center on May 13th and 14th. The Impact Youth conference will present approaches to addressing roadblocks such as transportation, violence, and mental health, which interfere with young people’s access to getting the services they need.


Keynote Speaker: Eddie Bocanegra, Co-Executive Director of YMCA Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention Programs.

Eddie Bocanegra has an extensive history of working with high-risk individuals as featured in the documentary The Interrupters. His work focuses on addressing the impact of trauma.

2016 Highlights:

  • Sessions will include, Trauma 101, Social Media’s Impact on Violence, Improving Youth Transportation, Mindfulness, Mental Health First Aid for Youth and more.
  • Lunch time panel of experts on Day 1.
  • Talent show on Day 2 with exceptional local performers.
  • Resource fair showcasing local organizations and youth entrepreneurial programs.
  • Giveaways including iPads, bikes and more.


» 2016 Impact Youth Conference | Violence Prevention


Not your father’s weed? Marijuana potency stronger than ever –

The amount of the intoxicating chemical in marijuana has risen from less than 1% in the 1970s to nearly 13% today, experts say.

By Caleb Hellerman, CNN, Updated 6:53 PM ET, Fri August 9, 2013

The glossy spread in “High Times” a magazine for pot devotees, showcases the “strongest strains on Earth.” The most recent rankings are topped by “Head Cheese,” which is grown in a hydroponic system and fed with a carefully calibrated dose of synthetic nutrients.

On “Weed Tracker,” a California-based website where medical marijuana users share notes, cannabis connoisseurs sing the praises of “Sensi Star” and rave about the “Grand Daddy Purple, which tastes like a berry vanilla smoothie.” Another medical site touts a bud “finished with a subtle fruit effect … offering a deep body stone with a creative mind high,” and warns it is “not for newbies or low-tolerance patients…  But at the University of Mississippi, in a laboratory that tracks the potency of marijuana seized by federal law enforcement officers, they’ve found even higher levels — as high as 37%, according to Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, the director of the Marijuana Potency Project. Since 1972, ElSohly says, the average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than 1% to 3 to 4% in the 1990s, to nearly 13% today. Legalizing pot isn’t about medicine, it’s about getting high “You really have to be careful,” he says. “The danger of this high-potency material is not with the experienced marijuana smokers, but young people who really don’t know what they’re smoking. They don’t know what to expect, and before they know it, they’ve inhaled too much.

More found at (Linked Below)

Source: Not your father’s weed? Marijuana potency stronger than ever –

Day 1 AM – Mind & LIfe XXVII – Craving, Desire and Addiction – Dalai Lama

Published on Oct 28, 2013

Mind and Life XXVII – Craving, Desire, and Addiction from Dharamsala, India on October 28 – November 1, 2013.

The conference focuses its attention on craving, desire, and addiction, as these are among the most pressing causes of human suffering. By bringing contemplative practitioners and scholars from Buddhist and Christian traditions together with a broad array of scientific researchers in the fields of desire and addiction, hopefully new understandings will arise that may ultimately lead to improved treatment of the root causes of craving and its many manifestations.

Day One – October 28: The Problem of Craving and Addiction
Morning Session: Introductory remarks
Afternoon sessions: The Role of Craving in the Cycle of Addictive Behavior

Day Two – October 29: Cognitive and Buddhist Theory
Morning session: Brain Generators of Intense Wanting and Liking
Afternoon session: Psychology of Desire, Craving, and Action: A Buddhist Perspective

Day Three – October 30: Biological and Cultural Views
Morning Session: The Role of Dopamine in the Addicted Human Brain
Afternoon Session: Beyond the Individual – The Role of Society and Culture in Addiction

Day Four – October 31: Contemplative Perspectives
Morning Session: From Craving to Freedom and Flourishing: Buddhist Perspectives on Desire
Afternoon Session: Contemplative Christianity, Desire, and Addiction

Day Five – November 1: Into the World
Morning Session: Application of Contemplative Practices in Treatment of Addiction
Afternoon Session: Concluding Remarks

More can be found at (linked below)


#104: Dr. Dan Siegel | Dr. Drew Official Website –

Podcast: Download Podcast from

Dr. Drew is joined by UCLA based teen psychologist Dr. Dan Siegel for a deep conversation about teen development and how traumatic experiences can dramatically change the course of the development. They also take listener phone calls including from a caller in her 20’s who wants to distinguish if her brother has ADD, ADHD or Bi-Polar disorder.

Source: #104: Dr. Dan Siegel | Dr. Drew Official Website –

How your brain reacts to emotional information is influenced by your genes — ScienceDaily

Image shows increased activity in the brains of ADRA2b deletion carriers. Credit: Image courtesy of University of British Columbia

May 7, 2015
University of British Columbia
Your genes may influence how sensitive you are to emotional information, according to new research by a neuroscientist. The study found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly, and had heightened activity in certain brain regions.
More can be found at (Linked Below)

Source: How your brain reacts to emotional information is influenced by your genes — ScienceDaily

Marijuana consumers show greater susceptibility to false memories

Photo credit: Hospital Sant Pau

Marijuana consumers show greater susceptibility to false memories


A new study published in the American journal with the highest impact factor in worldwide, Molecular Psychiatry, reveals that consumers of cannabis are more prone to experiencing false memories. The study was conducted by researchers from the Human Neuropsychopharmacology group at the Biomedical Research Institute of Hospital de Sant Pau and from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in collaboration with the Brain Cognition and Plasticity group of the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL – University of Barcelona).

One of the known consequences of consuming this drug is the memory problems it can cause. Chronic consumers show more difficulties than the general population in retaining new information and recovering memories. The new study also reveals that the chronic use of cannabis causes distortions in memory, making it easier for imaginary or false memories to appear. On occasions, the brain can remember things that never happened. Our memory consists of a malleable process which is created progressively and therefore is subject to distortions or even false memories. These memory “mistakes” are seen more frequently in several neurological and psychiatric disorders, but can also be observed in the healthy population, and become more common as we age. One of the most common false memories we have are of situations from our childhood which we believe to remember because the people around us have explained them to us over and over again. Maintaining an adequate control over the “veracity” of our memories is a complex cognitive task which allows us to have our own sense of reality and also shapes our behaviour, based on past experiences…

The results show that cannabis consumers are more vulnerable to suffering memory distortions, even weeks after not consuming the drug. This suggests that cannabis has a prolonged effect on the brain mechanisms which allow us to differentiate between real and imaginary events. These memory mistakes can cause problems in legal cases, for example, due to the effects the testimonies of witnesses and their victims can have. Nevertheless, from a clinical viewpoint, the results point to the fact that a chronic use of cannabis could worsen problems with age-related memory loss.

More at: (Linked Below)

Source: Marijuana consumers show greater susceptibility to false memories

The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth & A Documentary

ANNOUNCING: The all new 60-minute recut version of The Other Side of Cannabis. Advance orders available. THE OSC DOCUMENTARY is an independent film project created by ordinary citizens with no political or economic affiliations or interests, other than bringing attention to the negative effects of marijuana on our youth–adolescents, teenagers and young adults whose brains are still forming.We are reaching out to our youth, as well as educators, medical and health professionals, researchers, and media, in addition to recovery and treatment center programs, behavioral health departments, law enforcement, and others who influence our youth. In order to make an informed decision to use marijuana, it is important to know the potential risks. This film is not about legalization nor medicinal treatments. While there may be times when components of marijuana are appropriate to use medicinally under proper medical guidance, the message that marijuana is safe, natural and harmless as a recreational substance, must be weighed against the evidence of associated risks.

More at: (Linked Below)

Source: The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth & A Documentary – Home

Video Credit:

Suspension leads to more pot use among teens, study finds

March 20, 2015 by Deborah Bach

Suspending kids from school for using marijuana is likely to lead to more—not less—pot use among their classmates, a new study finds.

Counseling was found to be a much more effective means of combating marijuana use. And while enforcement of anti-drug policies is a key factor in whether teens use marijuana, the way schools respond to policy violators matters greatly.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and in Australia, compared drug policies at schools in Washington state and Victoria, Australia, to determine how they impacted student marijuana use.

The results startled researchers: Students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely than their peers at schools without such policies to use marijuana in the next year—and that was the case with the student body as a whole, not just those who were suspended.”

That was surprising to us,” said co-author Richard Catalano, professor of social work and co-founder of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. “It means that suspensions are certainly not having a deterrent effect. It’s just the opposite.”

By contrast, the study found that students attending schools with policies of referring pot-using students to a school counselor were almost 50 percent less likely to use marijuana. Other ways of responding to policy violators—sending them to educational programs, referring them to a school counselor or nurse, expelling them or calling the police—were found to have no significant impact on marijuana use…

More found at: (Linked Below)


Source: Suspension leads to more pot use among teens, study finds

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