Women and Substance Abuse has Moved

February 28, 2011

Thanks for visiting Crossroads for Women‘s blog, Women and Substance Abuse. We have moved the blog to a new address so that we can provide you even better articles and information on addiction, treatment and recovery for women and their families.

You can find the same great content at www.crossroadsforwomen.org/blog. Please join in the conversation at our new address!


Pillowcase Challenge Inspires Donation

January 11, 2011

Crossroads for Women received a call the other day from the president of a local quilters guild in Standish, Maine. She had 14 beautifully handmade pillowcases that she wanted to donate to our halfway house. Since Crossroads maintains two 24-hour residential substance abuse treatment facilities for women, we are always in need of bed linens.

The inspiration for the donation was pretty cool. It was part of a 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge from American Patchwork & Quilting. According to the website, the simple idea is to make and donate pillowcases to local charities in your community. As I write this, there have been 234,627 pillowcases donated so far.

In addition to Crossroads for Women, the local quilters guild also donated pillowcases to other women’s residential facilities in the area. Like us, I’m sure they are always in need of pillowcases and other linens and have a very low budget for such items.

The best part is that the quilters had so much fun making the pillowcases that they’re planning on making more for us.

It’s amazing what a big impact a simple idea can make on a community.


Maine’s addiction to painkillers

January 6, 2011

The amount of substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain reliever abuse* rose sharply – from 2.2% to 9.8% – between 1998 and 2008, a federal report recently showed us. And Maine made the very top of the list for having the highest percentage of residents being treated for painkiller addiction.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) report, 386 of every 100,000 residents age 12 or older were admitted for treatment of painkiller addiction in Maine in 2008 – more than eight times the national rate of 45 per 100,000 people.

It is interesting to note that the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) showed that pain reliever abuse increased about the same across all educational level and employment status categories. Women have shown higher percentages of pain reliever abuse, rising from 3.5% in 1998 to 13.3% in 2008. Men increased from 1.8% to 8.1% over the same period. Crossroads for Women has seen a steady increase in admissions for addiction to prescription drugs over the years, coming in second only to alcohol as clients’ primary drug of choice.

There has been some discussion this past week over why Maine is at the top of the painkiller treatment list in the media, online and amongst treatment professionals. In a Portland Press Herald article, Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction medicine specialist at Mercy Recovery Center, talks about how the states with the higher rates of addiction are also the markets where OxyContin was first introduced. Some of the themes we have heard here at Crossroads include increased accessibility of prescription painkillers like OxyContin (both on the street and from doctors), the myth that “if a doctor prescribed it then it must be good for me” and the lack of money available for prevention and treatment of prescription drug abuse within the state of Maine.

Why do you think Maine tops the list for treatment for painkiller addiction? We’d love to hear from you.

Maine plagued by painkiller habit (Portland Press Herald article)
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers: 1998 and 2008 (study)
New study shows dramatic shifts in substance abuse treatment admissions among the states between 1998 and 2008 (SAMSHA press release)

*According to the study, prescription pain relievers refer to drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and other drugs with morphine-like effects; heroin and nonprescription methadone were excluded from the study.


Help Women Remember who They Wanted to be.

December 15, 2010

Beth struggled with alcoholism, bipolar disorder and other mental health troubles after leaving her corporate job. As Beth recalls, her life was filled with depression and a series of relapses that almost took her life.

Until she saw an advertisement in a local paper for Crossroads for Women™ that reminded her to remember who she wanted to be.

Are you inspired by our blog and the work that we do here in Maine? Are you willing to donate to Crossroads for Women this year so that we can help more women like Beth?

Beth has been a client at Kennebunk Counseling Center for more than a year now. For Beth, attending the intensive outpatient program (IOP), individual counseling sessions and receiving medication management services in one place has been “a beneficial and lifesaving experience.”

Crossroads for Women™ has managed to thrive in an otherwise gloomy economy. As a reader of our blog, you may have read about our successes throughout the year. Our board of directors and senior management team has worked together to trim excess costs, focusing on maintaining the high quality programs that help women like Beth remember who they wanted to be.

Crossroads for Women™ remains successful because we are always looking at the future of treatment. We hope that you will support our efforts, because we can’t do it without you.

We ask you to go to our secure donation site or simply send a check to Crossroads for Women™, attn: Lisa Merrill, 66 Pearl Street, Suite 326, Portland, ME 04101.

Thank you for your continued support by simply reading this blog!

Crossroads for Women is where you would send your mother, sister or daughter for outpatient or residential treatment for substance abuse and mental health so she can remember who she wanted to be. Your contribution will directly affect women, their families and the community around them and is tax deductible.


Non-alcoholic Holiday Drink Recipes

December 10, 2010

We’re right in the middle of the holiday party season. Being a person in recovery can be particularly difficult during this time. It seems like everything revolves around drinking alcohol.

Here are some yummy drink recipes, that are also alcohol free, that anyone can enjoy.

Pink Grapefruit “Margaritas” (Serves 6)


  • 2 tablespoons colored sanding sugar (sanding sugar is a large-grain decorative sugar; granulated sugar may be substituted.)
  • 1 lime
  • 6 teaspoons pomegranate syrup or grenadine
  • 1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit juice


  • Place sanding sugar in a shallow dish or plate. Slice six thin rounds from the middle of lime; set aside. Rub lime wedge around rims of six glasses; dip each rim in sugar to coat. Pour 1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup into bottom of each glass.
  • Place grapefruit juice and 2 cups ice cubes in a blender. Process on high speed until ice is crushed. Pour frozen mixture into glasses, and stir to combine with syrup. Garnish with reserved lime rounds, and serve immediately.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Pink Grapefruit “Margaritas” – Martha Stewart Recipes

Apple Sparkler (serves 5)


  • 1 tablespoon red or green colored sugar (optional)
  • 10 unpeeled orange wedges or chunks
  • 5 unpeeled lime wedges or chunks
  • 5 6-inch wooden skewers
  • 2/3 cup  raspberry juice blend
  • 1 750 ml bottle sparkling apple cider or sparkling pear-apple juice, chilled


  • Sprinkle colored sugar on a piece of waxed paper. Moisten the rims of five wine glasses, one at a time, with a little water. Dip each rim in sugar and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to dry.
  • For fruit garnish, place 2 orange wedges and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer; set aside.
  • Divide raspberry juice blend among prepared wine glasses. Being careful not to disturb the sugar on the rim, gently pour sparkling cider into each glass. Place a citrus skewer in each glass.

Read more at BHG.com: Apple Sparkler Recipe

Spiced Holiday Tea Recipe (serves 4 )


  • 2 cups  water
  • 3 tea bags (unflavored black tea)
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 3-inch-long cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup  passion fruit nectar
  • 3 tablespoons  honey
  • 2 tablespoons  lemon juice


  • In a medium saucepan bring water to boiling. Add tea bags, anise, and cinnamon stick. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and cinnamon stick. Stir in nectar, honey, and lemon juice. Heat through.
  • Pour tea mixture into four heat-proof cups, floating a star anise on top of each.

Read more at BHG.com: Spiced Holiday Tea Recipe

Have a non-alcoholic holiday drink recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section!


Dealing with Grief and Loss During the Holiday Season

November 29, 2010

The holiday season can be especially lonely and challenging for those dealing with the loss of a loved one. To help, Crossroads for Women will be offering Grief and Loss During the Holiday Season in the Portland, Maine area from December 7, 2010 – January 11, 2011.

The 6-week outpatient therapy group offers support during this holiday season to adult women who have lost a loved one. It provides a safe, confidential atmosphere to share experiences of loss and grief at a time when the focus is on happiness, family and celebration.

We encourage women to reach out and take this opportunity to connect with others in this healing process.

Grief and Loss During the Holiday Season Outpatient Therapy Group


December 7, 2010 – January 11, 2011 (6 weeks)
Tuesdays, 5:30pm – 7:00pm


Greater Portland Counseling Center
66 Pearl Street, Suite 202
Portland, Maine 04101
counselor: Marianne Donahue, LCSW
Get Directions

FMI: 207.773.9931 or email

Crossroads for Women accepts private insurance, MaineCare and self-pay.

View a full list of therapy groups currently being offered (PDF)


HRASM Helps Halfway House Clients Reshape Their Employment Outlook

November 22, 2010

Last month, the clients of our halfway house program were visited by a few caring human resources professionals involved with the Human Resources Association of Southern Maine (HRASM). They came in without judgment and ready to work.

Women from various Portland area companies, including Unum, Portland Public Library, Maine Eye Center and RM Davis, shared their expertise on everything from resume writing, to job searching, to presenting yourself to a potential employer over the course of three very informative educational sessions.

Clients learned how to address tricky subjects like employment gaps or past convictions due to their addiction. They were taught how to reshape their language when presenting themselves in an interview. They created resumes and worked with each other to assess their strengths, weaknesses and how to identify and break the barriers that were keeping them from getting a job.

In the end, both the clients and the human resources professionals were elated with the results of the workshop. Almost immediately, three clients were able to see positive results from the work they completed in the workshop via job leads and actually obtaining employment. The facilitators of the group loved working with the women and were inspired by their positive energy and eagerness to learn.

We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in the future!