The Rock Bottom Myth

by Maximilian Eyle

Everyone is familiar with the concept. We see it in movies, books, and on stage. Someone’s life spirals downward until they are struck with a lightning bolt of clarity and begin to make amends and change their ways. The message is clear: What do people who use drugs need to do? Hit rock bottom. How do we help them? Tough love or they’ll never learn. In many cases, we are afraid to show support or compassion for fear of becoming an “enabler”. There is an assumption that the person needs to be “torn down” before they can decide to change their behavior. The problem is that this concept is patently false. Not only that, but it has led to disastrous public policy results.

But what about all of the stories from people who described “hitting rock bottom” before changing their behavior? The key here is precisely defining what we mean by Rock Bottom. Many people do decide to make a change in their lives once they recognize the damage that their behavior is causing. However, this does not mean that they have to be coerced or “lose everything” to reach this point. What it does mean is that they experienced a shift in perspective. To quote Dr. Peggilee Wupperman, a professor at both John Jay and Yale University, it means that “they reached a point when they realized their life was extremely (and distressingly) different from the life they wanted or a life that fit their values.” Yet it is extremely important to recognize that this can be achieved without being torn down in therapy or experiencing severe material or emotional loss.

This idea that fostering shame and suffering is somehow the right thing to do is the natural conclusion of the Rock Bottom Myth. As a result, we turn our backs on our instincts for compassion and support. Tragically, this only makes things worse. Dr. Wupperman is a vocal critic of this philosophy. She points out that: “Despite widespread (and erroneous!) beliefs, shaming does not stop dysregulated behavior. In fact, the reality is the opposite. Shame actually increases the chance a person will continue to engage in dysregulated behavior.” This should not come as much of a surprise. We know that many people use mind altering substances to self-medicate their trauma and to ease their suffering. Consequently, when we increase the trauma and suffering in their lives – they will often consume more, not less.

It is imperative that we disengage ourselves from the punishment approach to substance use. The failed War on Drugs, the AIDS crisis, and the overdose epidemic are just some of the examples of how our determination to shame and marginalize people for their substance use has only served to worsen the problem. We have the opportunity to rethink our approach using evidence-based strategies that emphasize compassion over stigma, and empowerment over persecution.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at

Let’s Get Cooking!

Let’s Get Cooking! Bringing Families Together around the Table

Ever wonder how to nudge your child and even adult family members to try new foods, and enjoy eating family meals together? Children learn by doing so try involving them in the decision of what to eat and have them help with the preparation of the meal. If they make it there’s a great chance, they will try it!

Our Let’s Get Cooking! family meal cookbook may be just what you need! It is more than a cookbook. It teaches basic, step-by-step, easy to prepare, low-cost, nutritious one-dish meals and kid friendly snacks. It was written for families with children in mind. Let’s Get Cooking helps you to plan meals ahead of time and helps you to eat healthier meals for less money.

The cookbook also features:

• 127 recipes from “Snack Ideas” to “Meatless Meals” to “Desserts”!
• Information on where to apply for SNAP benefits and the WIC program
• Foods/ingredients that can be purchased with WIC coupons
• Kitchen Hints- to help you plan meals and snacks based on My Plate guidelines. Check out the Smart Meal Planning Tips- Get Ready to Shop! on page 12 for tips to help you plan how much and what to buy based on family size, ages, and foods you have on hand!
• Best time to buy fruits and vegetables by season
• Tips to stretch your food dollar and save time by planning ahead
• Food storage guides, sample daily menus and healthy purchasing tips
• How to follow a recipe, store foods to prolong shelf life and average yield of common foods (like how many apples, bananas or potatoes are in a pound; how many cups of pasta in a 1-pound box and how many cups are in a pound of flour).
• Substitutions for different kitchen tools and ingredients
• How to measure foods, use unit pricing and read a Nutrition Fact’s Label
• How to practice food safety in the kitchen- even what to do in case of a kitchen fire!

Each recipe provides a recommended serving size, number of servings and the Nutrition Facts per serving (calories, fats, carbs, fiber, protein and key vitamins and minerals).

Please visit our website to find recipes listed by each chapter: Kitchen Hints, Snack Ideas and More for Kids, Soups, Salads and Vegetables, Breads, Muffins and Mixes, Meat Poultry and Seafood, Meatless Meals, One-Dish Meals and Casseroles, Desserts.

For more recipes, tips and more also visit

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This Institution is an equal opportunity employer.

How much produce can you buy for $10?


Vegetables and fruits can fit into any budget! For $10 you can buy 18 portions of vegetables and fruits; 1 cup tomato, 3 cups of green beans, 3 cups of corn, 4 cups of peas, 1 cup of pears and 6 cups of peaches. That’s almost 4 days’ worth of veggies and fruits for one person! Buy fruits and veggies in all their forms – fresh, frozen and canned.

Celebrate the season by purchasing fresh vegetables and fruits when they are in season. They are easy to get, have more flavor and are usually less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce and they usually start up by June.

Buy frozen and canned year-round, it’s usually picked and packed at its’ peak when its chock full of nutrients. Look for canned or frozen veggies that have not been pre-sauced and say “no salt added”, “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” on the label. Look for fruits canned in juice or light syrup.

Frozen and canned produce is one of the greatest kitchen hacks to save you time in the kitchen; it comes pre-cut and/or pre-cooked! But keep it simple with fresh produce, when you buy these pre-cut, pre-washed, ready to eat and processed foods are convenient, but cost more than when purchased in their basic forms.

The trick to buying all the vegetables and fruits you need to keep your body strong is to make a list before you go to the grocery store. Check the local newspaper, online, and the store ads before you shop. You save money by buying only what you need and getting the best price, leaving more of your food budget for delicious wholesome produce loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Want a side of physical activity with your vegetables and fruits, along with the satisfaction of an amazing accomplishment? Plant your own! Start a garden- in the yard or in a pot on the deck- for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals. Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a new garden.

Lastly, plan and cook smart. Prepare and freeze vegetables for soups, stews or other dishes in advance. Add leftover veggies to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking. There are plenty of ways to make use of all of your veggies and fruits, for more ideas visit For more recipes, tips and more also visit

Latina Leaders – WISE Latina 2019

Join us at this year’s WISE Latina session, “Latina Leaders Expanding the Definition of Health”

Date: April 25th, 2019
Time: 12:00 – 1:30pm
Location: Sky Armory

WISE Latina 2019 Featured Speaker is Carmen M. Peña, M.A., Coach & Motivational Speaker

Join fellow Latina professionals and entrepreneurs from throughout New York State at this year’s WISE Latina Conference at the WISE Symposium. Bright and successful mujeres from Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Utica and New York City will be attending, and we’re excited to host you too. Our 2019 program will feature a prominent Latina who is Leading the way and expanding the definition of health. She will guide attendees in creating a plan to live a life that is Meaningful to them and impacts their families, their communities, their businesses and the world around them. This year’s event will offer reflections on both personal and business growth, while offering practical tips and tools for becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.

This year’s focus is on the personal search to expanding the definition of health within in order to find Physical, Mental, Emotional and Financial Health, and the wisdom to lead the way. We will creatively encourage women to seek out practical ways to launch successful business enterprises through which they can positively impact their own sustainability as well as that of their communities. We’re looking forward to seeing you at this year’s session. All women are bienvenidas.

Carmen’s solution-oriented, positive approach will help us discover how to form healthy habits that lead us to achieve our goals. She will be speaking on self-empowerment, mindfulness, and how to transform into the best version of ourselves. The intention is to have Latinas leave the event feeling good, with increased confidence and a clearer vision of the action steps necessary to get to the next level of their dreams and goals successfully.

For price and to view the full WISE SYMPOSIUM agenda go to or read more about WISE Latina at



WISE Latina ticket includes full access to the WISE Symposium (8:00am to 5:30pm) continental breakfast, lunch, breakout sessions and cocktail party. The WISE Symposium is an event produced by The Events Company in partnership with WISE Women’s Business Center and SKY Armory. WISE Symposium ticket holders can attend WISE Latina at lunch time without additional expense.

Want to know more? We’ll share the WISE Symposium speaker’s full bios in our next update and on our Facebook Event Page!

We want to hear from you! Before and during the event, please Tweet out your pictures, saludos and responses using the WISE Latina Hashtags:

#wiselatina2019 or #wiselatina or #wise2019

Are you a Spanish speaker? We will offer FREE Spanish translation throughout the event so you can enjoy the conference, even if Spanish is your first, preferred or only language.

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!


March is National Nutrition Month! A perfect time to celebrate the healthy and wholesome meals that bring us together with the people we care about. Healthy family meals make meaningful memories and lead us to long healthy lives.

Make sure to enjoy everything that comes with eating a meal; be mindful of what you see, smell, and taste as well as the conversation and fun you are having. All of this adds up to developing an overall healthy eating plan.

Healthy eating isn’t hard, here’s a few ideas to get you thinking:

• Change things up! As a family, commit to trying a new fruit or vegetable every week during March. You never know, you might even find a new favorite snack!
• Get the family together for at least one meal a week. Work together and let kids help too. For even more fun, try a themed dinner night!
• Take Your Time. Be mindful to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
• If you eat out, choose healthier options. Remember that preparing food at home makes it easier to control what is in your meals.
• Limit treats. Treats are great once in a while. Just don’t make treat foods an everyday choice. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.

Healthy eating doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or tradition, instead, it means making small changes to add nutrition and flavor to your food.

• Switch to a whole grain cereal like oatmeal.
• Start a change to lower fat milk. Gradually change from whole milk to 2% to 1% to skim.
• Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. A variety of different colored produce is recommended in order to obtain the different nutrients they provide. Whole fruits and vegetables are also good sources of dietary fiber. Remember all forms count – fresh, frozen, canned and dried.
• Choose lean proteins like fish, chicken and dried beans and peas.
• Use less salt. Liven up your meals with herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper.

Develop an eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal brings with it. That’s the best way to savor the flavor of eating right! For recipes, tips and more go to

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This Institution is an equal opportunity employer.

What are Your Options

What are Your Options for Birth Control?
by Adrian Martinez

Latinx people have plenty of contraception options available to them. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most popular choices are condoms and birth control pills. Also common is sterilization, or getting your “tubes tied.” Methods less often used include longer acting options, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, and the shot. Not all of the options are made equal; some are much more effective at preventing pregnancy than others.

The most effective methods are sterilization, the implant, and IUDs. Less than 1 in 100 women per year will get pregnant using one of these options, but they require a medical provider to perform or insert. None of these options prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sterilization can be performed on both males (vasectomy) and females (tubal ligation) and is considered a permanent method of birth control. The implant is a small tube with hormones that is inserted into your arm. It can last up to five years before it must be removed or replaced. The IUD is a small T-shaped device that is inserted directly into your uterus. The copper IUD can last up to 12 years and the hormonal IUDs can last up to 3 to 7 years depending on the brand.

Slightly less effective methods that all use hormones are the shot, pill, patch, and ring. When used correctly, less than 1 in 10 women per year will get pregnant using only these options. They require a prescription from your medical provider. None of them prevent STIs. The shot should be injected every 3 months to prevent pregnancy. The oral pill must be taken daily to be effective. The patch goes directly on your skin and must be replaced weekly; you must have one on your skin three out of every four weeks. The ring is inserted directly into the vagina and must be replaced every month.

The methods most likely to result in pregnancy are internal and external condoms and the diaphragm. When used correctly, a little less than 1 in 5 women per year will get pregnant using only these options. They must be used every time you have sex to be effective. Internal condoms and diaphragms require a prescription. External condoms are available over-the-counter and are the most easily accessible option. Even if you are using one of the more effective birth control options, condoms are still recommended due to their ability to prevent transmission of STIs.

Each of the methods has its own benefits and side effects, so what works well for one person does not necessarily work well for another person. Talk to your doctors to find out more about each option and discuss what might work best for you.

Adrian Martinez is a Puerto Rican born in California and raised in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Florida. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Florida with a degree in biology and is currently a fourth-year medical student attending the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and is pursuing a career in psychiatry.

To Empower Women

A Mission to Empower Women
by Luisa Diaz Brown

Former Ms. Venezuela International, Luisa Diaz Brown, is pleased to announce her return to the pageant stage for the first time in 20 years for a very good cause. Mrs. Diaz Brown’s passion and commitment to empowering women has motivated her to accept this invitation as Mrs. Cosmopolitan in the 2019 Mrs. New York America Pageant. This pageant honors and celebrates married women of New York, their families, and their communities. It will take place on March 31, 2019 at the RIT Inn & Conference Center in Rochester, New York.

Since winning the Ms. Venezuela International crown in 1999, Mrs. Diaz Brown has built a successful career in the entertainment industry while always striving to empower women. She founded the Mi Amor Gala, a fundraising event she hosts in partnership with Safe Passage, a nonprofit whose mission is to help women who have been victims of domestic violence. In 2017, Mrs. Diaz Brown wrote and self-published her first book, Sexy Is Timeless: Ten Timeless Sexy Assets That Lie within You. In this empowering guide, she discusses ten assets that every woman naturally possesses and can use to fully realize their self-worth.

By participating in the Mrs. New York America pageant, Mrs. Diaz Brown plans to continue her legacy of empowering women of all ages. She says, “This opportunity will provide me with an additional platform to bring my organization to a larger audience, where I can continue to voice my message of transforming women from the inside out. Becoming Mrs. New York America would allow me to continue spreading my message about how women should never forget how beautiful and worthy they are. When you empower women through bettering their education and building their self-esteem, you are in turn empowering their family, friends and community as well.”

Luisa Diaz Brown has always used her voice to encourage and support women in everything she has done throughout her career. Her passion and dedication to her community is what makes her an exceptional candidate for the 2019 Mrs. New York America Pageant.

For more information, visit

You can hear more about Luisa and her story in a Spanish interview on Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30 pm in the radio program “Hablando con Central New York” conducted by Marisol Hernández, broadcasting from the studios of the WVOA station in Syracuse (NY), through the Radio 87.7 FM station, LIVE on the Internet, broadcasting from the website