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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

health disorders.

 

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became effective March 2010, with Obamacare open enrollment launching October of last year, one of the most pertinent questions often associated with the ACA is can Obamacare change the face of addiction treatment? Its a burning question as prior to the ACA being signed, US citizens who had faced addiction struggled to pay for the services they needed to recover. Did you know that 38.2% of Americans living with addiction couldn't get care because they lacked health care coverage? The US Department of Health and Services believe the ACA can make a tremendous impact, giving 27 million people with no insurance covered through the ACA. But with this cloud of potential circling the ACA and its bright future towards addiction reform is it merely just a smoke screen? 

 

To help better understand this divisive topic FRN with their partner Michael’s House, a nationally recognized drug and rehab center in the US, have created a website detailing the potential effect Obamacare will have towards treatment. Detailed with charts and info graphics, the website goes into detail about the following:

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello recovery Friends and Readers,


I'm happy to share a new 'Guest Author Interview' by another recovery friend and author himself, Author Kevin Cooper. He has a wonderful blog of awesome reads, and I think he did a Fabulous job of my interview with him. Even though my paperback of "Addicted To Dimes" has been out over a year, the e-book version is now out, and has an awesome new front cover!
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http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A/ and at low $4.88!
So here is what I had to share with Kev in my new author interview. OH, and my book has just received another 5 Star Review on both Amazon, and GoodReads too! That makes 10 for 10 awesome reviews. It makes me feel blessed that my readers understood why and how I wrote my story of gambling addiction & recovery with no Blame, Denial, or Excuses.... WE CAN CHANGE OUR LIFE as we have the POWER OF SUCCESS INSIDE ALL OF US!

                   

Presenting Recovery Author: Catherine Townsend-Lyon!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon 
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Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Glendale, Arizona

USA

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

 

Medication Assisted Treatment, or "MAT" for short, is the use of FDA approved medication for the treatment of opiate/opioid addiction and substance abuse.  It has never been quite as controversial a subject as it is today.  As more and more abstinence-based programs have become mainstream within inpatient treatment centers, the stigma being attached unnecessarily to MAT is discouraging to very high-risk drug addicts and those who have attempted treatment without medication several times and failed. 

When comunity-based groups such as AA began, there was no regulated MAT approved for widespread use in the US.  It was also back then in the 1930's that the medical community had not yet been able to establish that alcoholism or drug addiction was in fact a medical disease.  That fact came later and is now based in numerous evidence from research foundations & hospitals all over the country. 

The fact that we all know addiction IS a disease now seems slightly hypocritical for those who still hold a strong personal bias against the use of MAT for addicts; instead refusing to acknowledge any route for treatment other than spirituality and willpower, solving the disease of addiction.  These efforts may help some people but the numbers clearly over time and especially now show that this is not the case. 

While ALL supporters and providers of MAT also encourge a multi-treatment approach, knowing medication alone is not the answer, there are those who ignore this and begin to spread a dangerous message to addicts who would benefit greatly from MAT methods, along with support groups, IOP's, individual therapy, group therapy, CBT, and other outpatient behavioral and support services.  The message being spread is almost always by those who have never used MAT or who have and did not follow proper protocol.  Very seldom do you hear positive aspects of MAT from people who were very successful using this method, as millions over several decades have. The danger is that someone who is bias against MAT, having been able to get clean and stay clean via abstinence is outspoken regarding the "negative" possibilities of MAT and almost never discuss or encourge the very positive aspects of MAT for the very severe addicts who need MAT to stabilize their physical dependance and then use that time on treatment to work on their behavioral addiction issues and dual diagnosis treatment such as depression or anxiety. 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Midwestern Mama continues observing the comings and goings of Methadone and Suboxone treatment participants.

Other than the first day my son started the HIOP (high-intensity, out -patient) treatment program, I haven’t returned to the waiting room – at nearly 22 years old, he’s a big boy and doesn’t need Mom to come in with him nor does he want me to.  Now, I wait in the parking lot and let me say it’s no less insightful.

Each morning, we arrive between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m.  There are taxi cabs, medical transportation vans and cars of all models – from luxury vehicles to ready-for-the-junkyard clunkers held together with duct tape (yes, I have actually seen this).  Some people walk from the nearby bus stop while others ride bikes.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

One day at a time. Well? I came around AA and heard "one day at a time" you don't drink, "one day at a time" you get to a meeting, get a sponsor and join a group "one day at a time". Everything seemed to revolve around "one day at a time". "One day at a time" you get a physical, get that nasty neglected mouth fixed, put some focus on eating a decent healthy meal. Although my mind did seem to reject these new AA concepts at the first self serving opportunity? I did get used to repeating the AA mantra over and over all day, everyday really, "one day at a time", everything is just one day at a time. Nothing can happen in my 24 hours that a drink or drug won't make worse.

  Step 11 Big Book pages 86-88. Living one day at a time.

Can I just repeat these words "one day at a time" over and over with or without clicking heals? Sure. Do I need the experience of the first 10 Steps to feel the effects of my Step 11? Not sure. If nobody told me about Step 11 and how to live one day at a time would I still stay sober? I haven't the slightest idea. I myself began repeating "one day at a time" before I ever cracked open a Big Book. I have been on both sides of the path, the program or 12 Steps of recovery have placed me as a willing sober individual, safe in the realm of Spiritual understanding and effectiveness.  The Fellowship of AA has offered support with it's instant gratification, it's strength in numbers, camaraderie and good generalship taking the lead.. Where or how you fit is your concern. 

 

Top of 86. Some say the day begins with the ending here or "when we retire at night" as if the new man or me has been introduced to the work and will begin his inventory practice when his day ends. Like when "we retire at night" comes before "on awakening" for this reason. I don't know, it's getting complicated to me so well? I cannot say either way. Do or think what you want. I myself will begin my 24 hours with the second paragraph on page 86, "on awakening." Ok, I begin my "one day," my 24 hours.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

"Cognitive Dissonance" is defined as a great feeling of psychological discomfort produced by the presence of thoughts & behaviors that are conflicting in nature.  The theory suggests that if individuals act in ways that contradict their beliefs, then they typically will change their beliefs & thoughts to align with their actions.  In a nutshell, humans have a difficult time admitting to others but even more to themselves that they were wrong about something.  If you've ever told a lie and felt uncomfortable because you see yourself as scrupulously honest, then you've experienced cognitive dissonance.

 

It occurs whenever your view of yourself clashes with your performance in any area—you see yourself as smart but can't believe you made such poor decisions.  Cognitive dissonance often occurs because people fear appearing foolish or ignorant.  They are fully aware they have acted in a way that is either inappropriate or uncharacteristic with their belief system or morals, and so they use different strategies to protect their image to others, but even more so to protect their own self-image.  It is hypocrisy between what we believe in and what we engage in. 

 

When this internal conflict is present, people feel increasingly guilty or uneasy about holding these opposing cognitions – they don’t want to think of themselves as illogical or inconsistent. These internal conflicts are hard to live with, and if not dealt with the individual will feel bad about themselves and this can snowball into further and continuous illogical behaviors/actions and then cause very severe and damaging feelings towards one's self. 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Big Book Step 10 suggests taking my own inventory "constantly". Can I see myself ? Or am I still self centered, driven by that revealing hundred forms of fear made clear way back in my 4th Step inventory. Is it possible I am still more than not dominated by people?  Stimulus? At any time really I still selfishly jockey with others for a quick self esteem boost? Are people always going to be a threat, a chess piece of a different color? Boy, I wish I could say NO, they aren't, I would stand up at my Big Book 12 Step conference and say YEAH! Over here! Look at me! I'm ALL FIXED! I have seen the light! I have studied the uber original original Big Book 12 Step program and now? I am no longer alcoholic, I am a normal adult.  And THERE'S MORE!  I'm sober and have found the one true God too. I mean how can I be alcoholic if I no longer drink and do Gods will everyday, right? I am one of the chosen few. I have answers now! I know why Billy Joe Mcallister jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge, I get it!! Hey was GAY!

 

Alright, proving myself level headed. The 9th Step promises have come true in my life? Even with all my Step work, a level headed stage presence is not going to be easy. I can't just leave it alone, I must direct. I'm all over the place still struggling for emotional security, I'm relatively new to the Higher Power Spiritual Path thing although I seem to feel myself an authority? This is a sign post. The 12 Step work is not over and well, applies to me. It's easy to practice my AA program at an AA meeting. The hits just keep coming. I have not received my official Big Book teaching certificate, or been chosen to save the masses from the alcoholic pit of despair. At best I can be equal, a part of. Outside the halls? I believe the best I can do is focus on my daily reprieve suggested. What a hard lesson to learn, keep my own house in order first without the reliance on people for the instant gratification. I must rely on the Higher Power for courage and strength, sometimes I need to wait, and wait, this will take faith. I'm not saying that I haven't stood in front of thousands of people and been honest about my AA recovery, Sat at the coffee shop and hobnobbed with my AA homies after the meeting. I would consider myself a Fellowshipping Friend for sure. I'm just saying that on the real side? It could have been someone else, probably was someone else. The real me stays safe and protected in my selfishness. Much has been removed yes, I have experienced a drastic change in attitude and outlook but down deep where God only knows? I am still alone in my illness.   I am still acting one way and thinking another. In some cases I have changed completely, while in others I now have a choice, I do not always choose wisely. Oh! don't get me wrong here, I'm nowhere near as demented as I was before the Big Book 12 Step work of course but I am still relying on myself a lot of the time. I'm quick to cut a deal with God, my new buddy. After all, it is a 12 Step program and I am on Step 10. Sometimes I pray for direction, get some relief and then say, thanks, I'll take it from here God, I'm sure you're busy. I've been watching , I can do what you do. It's still a great conflict at times. My insides rarely match my outsides. I know everything about everything and everybody except I don't know when to shut up or just listen. I can't, I'm always on guard, afraid, I cannot trust. There is never enough emotional security for me so I'll keep taking from others until I'm shut off. I can't stop until I feel validated, until I am secure in my arrangement.  That emotional security, I must have my emotional security.. I never actually win in my mental debates. The usual is I just move on to a more important arrangement, new people, new security, fresh blood. The strong desire to overcome brings new power, strong self esteem like a new all consuming resentment. It runs in and through me, I am invincible in my anger and hate. King me!

 

So, are all of us the same in our Big Book 12 Step recovery? WE THINK NOT!.. I'm Big Book 12 Steps because I say I am. I have followed the black print to the best of my ability, dredged my polluted river so I can now come and go as I please as a free man. Am I still half crazy? Sure. Am I a danger to myself or others? no, never. For the most part I am here to keep my own house in order so I may serve the man who is still sick. Yes, I can speak fluent sick. I can move in and out of the depths of untreated alcoholism unharmed. This can work to my benefit and the new mans. I am ready for Step 10, I am willing to monitor my own behavior each day. I will watch for selfishness. I apply my Step 10 as I commence to clean up my past with Step 9. The Book says constantly, I will work toward constantly. This has proven itself to be harder than it sounds. Constantly watching for selfish behavior, willing to set matters straight where I have been dishonest. Making honest amends, admitting my fault to another? Humbling myself daily? Eh, I was kind of hoping I was ready to move right into the happy joyous and free part of AA everyone talks about at the meetings. Like the big vacation, I have certainly done a lot of work to get to this point. I've surrendered myself to my Higher Power, written a fearless and thorough moral inventory, humbled myself to my God and another human being, become willing to clean up my entire life, I quit drinking and smoking too, by the way! I don't smoke, that is so weird. So, doesn't that warrant a break? Apparently not. It's all about maintenance now, my daily reprieve. This whole thing is still just for one day, one day at a time. I get it, I get to live sober and free today. I am getting the hint again here, this alcoholism is serious business, staying alive. It is still life and death with me. Doesn't really seem like it anymore but let me experience a good blast of selfishness and fear and I am again convinced. It's not gone forever, selfishness and fear, survival, it's a tool that just gets rusty and jagged with time. I will get caught grabbing at it, I will cut myself deep. Maybe next time I won't heal, I won't be so lucky. I won't be able to come home. So, between you and me here? I don't play with it. I take it serious and as poorly as I do at constantly watching for selfishness at times, I try everyday. I also understand deep down I am "still willing" to go the other way. Just like Lowell George.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I am feeling a little heavy hearted.  My mom just called me to vent and it seems her home is far from peaceful.  My dad suffers terrible cluster headaches in the summer months and my mom can't travel with ease because she is on oxygen and just a year in recovery from hard core lung cancer treatment.  My mom's sister just had a tumor removed from her stomach and one of my dad's cousin's is dying from stage 4 lung cancer. There may be more to this story, but who am I to say other people would benefit from a 12 step program?

While there is a lot of darkness and pain to endure, I feel so grateful I am embedded in my recovery life style because I can still appreciate all the beauty of life.  It seems others, without a daily program of dumping, sharing, action, prayer, meditation, exercise and the like, have a very difficult time staying afloat when the rough waves pound the shore.  It is a time of amends for me.  A time to give back the time, love and support everyone freely gave me as a child.  A time to make up for the worry, pain and angst I caused others when they weren't sure what was wrong with me, but felt certain I needed help.

I don't know how much longer I will be blessed with my parents and I like to slow down enough to realize it is more important I stop in and see them each week then work an extra hour.  I get so caught up with my job and family (and even though I do see them weekly and call often), I feel and want to do more.  I know I will never regret being there for them in their time of need-regardless of whether anything gets fixed. I learned in recovery that, more than anything, people want to be heard and understood.  No fixing required, just loving ears and hugs.

I dislike knowing that my parents and other family members are suffering.  I also know that suffering, unlike pain, can be a choice.  Pain, whether it be of the head, lung or stomach, must run its course until real healing has occurred. Suffering, on the other hand, is a matter of perspective.  Am I only seeing and staring at the dark side of life or, in the midst of such darkness, am I looking for a way to channel (and become) the Light?

I don't want to spend today worrying about tomorrow.  I pray I get a tomorrow and will deal with that day then.  For now, I just want to be as available as I can be so that the Power can work through me to aide those around me in such great need of Love.  They don't know all the Love they need is inside and all they have to do is keep concentrating on letting it out.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Midwestern Mama discovers a community of opiate users in recovery -- just miles from her suburban home – as her son begins Suboxone treatment and counseling for Heroin addiction.

Less than five miles from my suburban home is an outpatient treatment center that offers Methodone and Suboxone dosing in addition to individual counseling, group sessions and training.  Although it’s close to where I live, it’s not on a road I ordinarily take and even though I’ve driven that road many times over the 20 plus-years that I’ve lived here, it’s not a structure that I ever noticed.

The past two days, however, changed that.  I have taken notice and I have spent several hours there.  It has been eye opening and I actually look forward to seeing and experiencing more in the days ahead.  As part of my son’s journey with addiction, I have yearned for an insider’s perspective to better understand the complexities of substance use disorder – if not his, that of others. 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Now I go out and clean up my messy past. Who would have thought? Certainly not me. I was doomed to an alcoholic death or worse, the ongoing insanity surrounding  the first drink of the day, every day, would be happening right now. But that's all changed, everything has changed for the better. Laugh, even scoff if you want too, I have been reborn. I am no longer the skeptic, I am not afraid.. There isn't anything really in my entire life history that hasn't been inventoried, analyzed, and set in proper perspective. Sure it is ruff around the edges but to me? It is perfect. My whole attitude and outlook on life has changed. Like the Book said, a psychic change sufficient to overcome alcoholism. I have solved the drink problem, I will not drink today. I have become accountable in my 4th and 5th Steps, let my Higher Power know that I know who I am and who I've been. Humbled myself to God and man. Now, I will make my best attempt to answer to my fellows for my unacceptable conduct. My active alcoholic conduct. I have my answers and do not see myself as the producer of confusion with great motives here. I am willing to tell the truth and where I can set these unsettling matters in my past history straight. Yes I still have fear at times. I am not Spiritually fit at all times, I am willing to be but have yet to experience the safety of Steps 10 11 and 12 on a daily basis. My maintenance for now is my faith and willingness to take responsibility for myself. I have yet to gain the security of experience. I am living one moment at a time and quite comfortable. All I think about really is the Higher Power and my Big Book 12 Step work.

 

I am ready to finally at 27ish years old put my big boy pants on.. It's 1982. I am alone with my God and AA Big Book 12 Step sponsor. In my selfish self centeredness, I have used up every imaginable person, place, or thing in my selfish arrangements, my last ditch efforts at survival had failed. I am honest with myself, I didn't make any grand decisions to join AA, I had no thoughts left, no choice in my recovery. I was rescued, I know it and am not ashamed. All the people who constantly dominate my thoughts are loosing their power over me as I grow in understanding and effectiveness on the Spiritual Path. It was by the hand of AA I was yanked up and out of my emotionally baron void of existence and plopped down in the front row of the Looney Nooney. A 12:00 main street Hyannis AA meeting. Thru the heavy fog of tourists, people, families everywhere on this hot August summer day. I remember having difficulty crossing the street not sure if it was the cars or me that was moving and the guy who was 12 Stepping me holding onto my sweat soaked flannel shirt sleeve for guidance. Jake with the strange high pitched voice was chairing. Weird what I can remember, I hope this isn't forgotten. This is who I had become under my own power. I had proved my father right, I really was a failure to society and surely would never amount to anything..

 

It hadn't been more than a year and now I sit in my truck that I own which is registered and insured. I rent a decent place to live and work daily. I have my new smaller notebook with all my amends written out from my 4th Step list. The list where I admitted my faults and was willing to set these matters straight like it said in the Book on pages 70 and ...67 I think? In my 8th Step I went back like it was suggested to my 4th Step list. Now, It doesn't actually say to re write this amends list. Some people just use a highliter or check off the names where amends apply, but I needed to. Truth is I have changed remarkably yes, but I shouldn't kid myself here. I was not "all fixed" and still crispy around the edges if not just plain burnt at times.. I was a thousand percent better but still under certain conditions easily dominated by people, especially in any confrontational situation. My nervous system was junk really, I would shake and sweat or become emotionally unstable at the slightest bit of agitation. In other words I was still weak. Anyway, It was important for me to know what I'm doing there and also back it up.  My amends was focused on my selfishness and fear. This selfishness and self-centeredness was familiar to me as I had seen my conduct over and over again.

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