Young Adults in Recovery Living Consciously

By: Robert W. Poynter, III, MS, EdS, LPC

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I am seeing a surplus of young adults struggling with substance and alcohol abuse. When I say substance abuse, that includes using drugs such as marijuana, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), meth, cocaine, heroin, prescription pills, bath salts, and synthetic marijuana called spice. And yes, I am leaving out several other drugs, because this is what we are seeing the most, especially during the summer. I can speak for many counselors that young adults are reaching higher levels of addiction earlier in their lives due to the potency of the drugs found on the streets today. And with it being summer time and kids being out of high school, in transition into college, or home from college, I have seen an increase in young adults seeking substance abuse treatment. For many of these young adults in recovery, I am finding out that this is not their first time trying to get clean and sober. When I say trying, I will elaborate in further detail as to what is really going on with these young adults in our neighborhoods and in our homes.

 I will share a story of a young man in his early 20’s that sees me every week and is battling a severe heroin addiction. He comes from an upper-middle class family that supports and loves him. He comes to me and tells me that he really wants to get sober and wants to be happy. He continues to tell me that he feels isolated and sad. He also feels like nobody understands him, including his friends and family. When I attempt to connect with him by expressing empathy on a deeper level, I notice his profound sadness and the tears begin to roll down his face. It had taken him over a year to finally let his guard down and shed a tear. He tells me he uses drugs to escape the feelings of sadness. But, in this session, where he finally felt something, I told him that I now feel more connected to him than I ever had. In that moment, I felt something, I felt his pain. I allowed my guard to be lowered to show him that I too was sad. He noticed tears building in my eyes, and he said it was the first time someone could connect and understand him. I told him that the emotions he is feeling are real and are what most people feel. We explored how the emotions he was feeling were positive emotions, meaning that he was able to express them in a healthy and functional way and in the company of someone who truly cares and wants to help him. This young man began a new journey to discover his core self and to learn what it is like to feel again.

With the trend of young adults in recovery, I have found that there are many programs out there treating folks like they are just a number or an “addict”. So, I have decided to create a program within my practice that will accept anyone for any length of time. We are going to accommodate young adults in recovery anywhere from one week to 90 days, if not more. The vision is to meet our young adults wherever they are at and to treat them like ordinary people, because they are unique and wonderful. It is a unique and individualistic program that will work from a holistic and humanistic approach. In our young adult recovery program, we share our deepest concern and compassion with every individual. One thing is for certain, you will not be disappointed with our efforts to help, teach, and guide our young adults towards self-actualization, where one becomes more aware of what he or she is capable of. I truly believe that our species is not aware of what we can achieve or what we are capable of, so I work diligently to help young adults in recovery to find their life’s purpose and meaning in their life’s experiences. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, allow us to help you. 

Published in Our Town Magazine (July 2012)


Conscious Living (Young Adult Program)

I am announcing a new young adult program that I am directing for clients struggling with any type of substance abuse and/or addiction. The name of the program is called Conscious Living and is located at our main office at Warnecke Professional Counseling in East Cobb (2050 Roswell Rd, Marietta, GA 30062). The program is already reserving spaces for young adults interested in the program. Conscious Living is a 90-day program, but we are willing to accommodate clients that may only need 30-days or less. The approach is holistic and experiential, involving process groups (Yalom's theoretical framework), individual therapy, mindfulness meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, CBT, prevention intervention, and other traditional drug and alcohol treatment approaches. 
The program meets 5 days a week for 3 hours a day from 1pm to 4pm. We have licensed counselors facilitating the groups and program. 
The curriculum created is to facilitate more of the higher brain functioning. With the use of experiential approaches, we are cultivating the pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for rational thinking, executive functioning, introspection, focus, weighing possible consequences for behavior, adjusting behavior, emotional regulation, and clarity, just to name a few. It has been found in research that young adults and young adults experiencing any level of addiction would benefit from an experiential program, where the role of experiential therapy is critical in developing the neural connectivity that allows for conscious cognitive control of the emotions and passions of adolescents and young adults.  
If you are aware of someone struggling with addiction and could use help, my staff and I would be more than happy to help. Love and light! Bob

According to Plato....

We Are the Lightworkers… The Torch-Bearers of Humanity in the Shift to The New Earth

“The souls of people, on their way to Earth-life, pass through a room full of lights; each takes a taper–often only a spark–to guide it in the dim country of this world. But some souls, by rare fortune, are detained longer–and have time to grab a handful of tapers, which they weave into a torch. These are the torch-bearers of humanity– it’s poets, seers, and saints, who lead and lift the race out of darkness, toward the light. They are the law- givers and saviors, the light-bringers, way-showers and truth -tellers, and without them, humanity would lose its way in the dark.” ~ Plato



Join us to explore the art and practice of meditation. Each session includes instruction, experiential practice, and the opportunity to process your experience in the group. The group is facilitated by an experienced meditation practitioner. Some topics that will be explored include concentrative meditation versus mindfulness meditation, mindfulness-based stress-reduction techniques, sitting meditation, breathing meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, visualizations, and manifestations. Learn how to establish a personal meditation practice. The benefits of meditation include improved focus, concentration, heightened creativity, increased empathy, stress-relief, the ability to be more “present” in your life, more energy, and much more. No experience is needed. Come as you are! J

When: Call 678.784.4293 for more information. Space is limited, so reserve a spot.

Where:  Warnecke Professional Counseling, 2050 Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30062 (RE/MAX building, ground-floor entrance and Northwest Behavioral Medicine 11755 Pointe Place, Roswell, GA 30076)

Leader:  Bob Poynter, MS, EdS, LPC

More Info:

To register or for inquiries, please call 678.784.4293


Mindfulness Meditation 101: Benefits of Cultivating a Mindfulness Meditation Practice 

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

~ Albert Einstein

What is Mindfulness Meditation? Mindfulness meditation is a technique of meditation in which distracting thoughts and feelings are not ignored but are rather acknowledged and observed with non-judgment. Through a variety of exercises and techniques, meditation increases an individual’s awareness of his or her thoughts, feelings, and body sensations without feeling the need to be controlled by them. Yes, you can actually control your responses to your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations without feeling controlled by them. You are not your thoughts, feelings, or body sensations. They are only a fraction of your ‘whole’ self. You are not who you think you are until you discover meditation and the power of exploring your inner wisdom and intuition.

Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the moment. It is a moment-to-moment awareness where time slows down where you can actually focus on the task or situation that is present. Through mindfulness meditation, you are trying to achieve a mind that is stable and calm, and with practice, you will be developing and strengthening your mind in becoming calm without struggling.

Mindfulness is not a new idea. It has been part of religious texts for thousands of years, writers and poets have embellished their insights, and it has been central to many contemplative traditions such as Buddhism. Mindfulness has entered the mainstream in the West and is exerting an influence in a wide variety of contexts, including medicine, neuroscience, psychology, counseling, education, and business. As a nation, we are suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders from a point of view of meditative traditions. We are always doing and there is no time to rest, so we have created a society where there are more certifiable attention-deficit disorders and diagnoses. As Eastern practices gain more popularity in the West, mindfulness has been shown to have promising results.

What are the benefits? Scientific research has shown growing evidence that cultivating mindfulness can increase your enjoyment of life, expand your capacity to cope with illness, and improve your physical and emotional health. It is a powerful tool in reducing the stress and anxiety that occurs with chronic illness and as an adjunct to modern medicine it may enhance other treatments. Mindfulness has been found to be one of the best holistic treatments in reducing symptoms of mental illness and increasing mental wellness. Here is a compiled list of benefits that have been analyzed as the top 10 benefiting factors of cultivating a mindfulness meditation practice:

•         Increases self-awareness, self-trust, and self-acceptance

 •        More fluid adaptation to change and development of more effective coping strategies

•         Significant decrease in a variety of stress-related physical or emotional symptoms (work-related, relationship issues, life stressors, etc)

•         Significant decrease in anxiety and depression symptoms

•         Improved concentration, focus, and creativity

•         Improved immune system function (lowers blood pressure, helps with heart disease, and helps   with cancer and other long term illnesses)

•         An increased ability to relax and control racing thoughts

•         Greater energy and enthusiasm for life (work productivity, relationship satisfaction, and love for life)

•         Enhanced interpersonal relationships

•         Improved self-esteem

 Exercises and how to cultivate a practice: I encourage people to meditate frequently, but for short periods of time­—ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes. Training the mind should be very, very simple.

Exercise #1: Meditation

Simply find a comfortable place, free of distractions, and sit quietly while quieting your mind. Gently close your eyes. Just observe what is going on the body (body sensations, thoughts, and feelings). Just notice how your thoughts come and go, like clouds dissipating in the sky. Just notice and observe.

 Exercise #2: Deep Breathing

Beware of your breathing. Gently close your eyes or stare at a spot. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathe from your belly, not your chest. It may be awkward at first, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Become aware of the belly rising and falling, feeling the sensations in your nostrils, chest, and diaphragm.

•         Pay attention to your breathing at red lights

•         When you are upset, take some ‘mindful’ breaths (take 5 or 10 breaths to help you calm down)

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness meditation, you can find me at Warnecke Professional Counseling in Marietta, where I provide teachings and disciplines that help individuals cultivate their own meditational practice, so they can find more clarity in their lives.

Sources: Kabat-Zinn, John.  Full Catastrophe Living, 1990.