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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

I started with lines of Meth but quickly wanted to try shooting it. I asked one of my friends who was shooting Meth and he said to me, “This will change your life.” I thought he was being dramatic, but in all honesty, it did change my life, because I got just as addicted to that needle as anything. It was all in the ritual and the process. Getting it, burning it, making it, pulling that cloud of blood, and pushing it back in. You get the taste of it in your mouth before it’s even in your body. I loved the ritual so much that if I had drugs but no needle, I’d hold onto the drugs until I could get one. It’s overwhelming what that needle did to me and how it controlled my life for the next ten years.

My drug addiction overtook my life and I started doing crazy things. I’d go to Las Vegas to score a bunch of dope get loaded for days on end. I’d sell drugs to support my habit, I began ripping off everyone I knew, and started to get into a little bit of trouble with the law.

Because of my hookups, I could get pills for around $5 each, then turn around and sell them for $40. I’d use the money to purchase Meth and Heroine. If I didn’t have the money, I’d steal, manipulate, and hustle to get the drugs. I’d even walk into convenience stores, grab two cases of beer, and walk right out like I owned the place. I wasn’t even stealing the good beer either, I’d take two 30-packs of Stroh’s because that’s as much as I could carry. One time a big Polynesian lady gave chase and, being 130 pounds, I couldn’t outrun her with a case in each hand. I was running as fast as I could but she was catching up to me, so I had to ditch one of the 30s. It must have looked really interesting to the bystanders as I ran down the road, hugging a case of 30s while a big Polynesian lady chased me.

I made it back to the hotel and was out on the front porch smoking a cigarette when I saw a police car pull up to the building. I knew that police car was coming for me, but I just didn’t have it in me to run anymore. That was a moment of clarity and serenity for me. I could have taken off and probably got away, because I would have had a huge head start, but I just sat there and smoked that cigarette. I watched them go to the lobby, come up the stairs, walk towards me, and I just surrendered right there. I wanted to be done using but I didn’t know how. I wanted to be sober, but I didn’t think it was possible for me, because once I got sober, that’s when the true pain would begin. They took me to the Utah county jail where I detoxed over the next few days. Detoxing in jail was terrible but I also think it might be the best way to do it. Nobody is going to come and check on you, see how you’re doing or what they can do for you. You just have to suffer and you can’t act like a little bitch about it because you’re in jail. I appeared before the same judge I had to present to many times before, and this judge had given me every chance in the past, but this time he was finally fed up with me and sentenced me to serve a year in jail.

This is a portion of an incredibly moving story I wrote about my friend. Please check out the rest of it at https://brightonrecoverycenter.com/needles-new-life-matts-story-rehab-recovery/

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences.

 

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

“We’re here to connect.”

 

 Will Smith’s character, Howard Intlet, makes this declaration during the movie Collateral Beauty. After experiencing a great tragedy, his character seeks answers from the universe. And just like Howard, many of us are seeking answers and trying to understand the importance of connecting to one another.

 

For those of us who are battling an addiction and working towards recovery, we are often told to “stay connected.” We hear it in our recovery circles. The speaker likely means to return to a meeting and to stay in contact with people who will support us.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

People without alcohol or drug problems often wonder how Alcoholics Anonymous works to get people sober. Sometimes even members of AA wonder how it works! Since 1935 Alcoholics Anonymous has helped alcoholics get and stay sober. The program of AA has changed little in the last 80 years, even the writings in the Big Book remain untouched. In a modern world based in logic, science, and facts, the workings and program of Alcoholics Anonymous mystifies many. If we view addiction/alcoholism as a disease, most would rationally assume it should be treated with medicine, doctors, and psychologists. While these resources are helpful to combating addiction, many doctors and psychologists refer their patients to 12 step programs such as AA. How does this program succeed where more professional and contemporary methods fall short?

AA’s Approach to Alcoholism

It is often said that AA is a simple program for complex people. The 12 steps of AA at a glance are not complicated, but require a degree of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness that are foreign to most alcoholics. The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous recognized that alcoholism was centered in both the mind and body. Once the body has detoxed the physical craving of the body is removed, then the component that leads the alcoholic back to drinking is the mental obsession. An example is a man who drinks into a blackout, crashes his car, and gets a DUI. He vows to stop drinking for at least a year, til his DUI is resolved and he has his license back and car fixed. A few weeks later he rationalizes an excuse to drink and wonders in frustration why it happened. The mental obsession of alcoholism makes long periods of time without alcohol unbearable and difficult for the alcoholic. AA was designed to overcome the mental obsession and allow the alcoholic to find peace and happiness in sobriety.  The founders of AA also realized that aside from problems with alcohol, most alcoholics had selfish and fear based tendencies. Most described themselves as uncomfortable in ‘their own skin’ and that alcohol helped remove the feeling. The 12 steps were designed to rid the alcoholic of these selfish and fear based factors and instill a way of living that would allow comfortability and happiness in one’s own skin.

How it Works

The basis of Alcoholics Anonymous and its solution to alcoholism lies in the 12 steps. The steps can be found Here. Basically, the 12 steps accomplish a few shifts in the thinking and patterns of the alcoholic that ultimately leads them to finding an enjoyable life in sobriety. The first step of the program is surrendering to alcoholism, by recognizing the powerlessness of control over alcohol and admitting that the ability to drink safely has been lost. The next few steps deal with coming to believe in a higher power. Many people call this God, love, nature, the AA group itself, etc. The alcoholic begins to trust that this higher power will guide them through life and serve their best interests. Many people get stuck in these steps, they feel religion and God has failed them and are unable to believe in a higher power. Once a higher power has been found, the alcoholic examines their resentments, fears, and harmful events from their life. The goal is to come to peace with the past and take responsibility for what has happened before. When this happens, the alcoholic stops blaming others for their situation and gains compassion for others in their lives. The rest of the steps deal with making amends for the harms they have caused and establishing relationships with others. The program also calls for a daily practice of prayer and meditation, however small or inadequate. Lastly, the 12th step deals with working with and helping  newcomers to AA and alcoholics who are not yet recovering.

Why it Works

The reason that 12 step groups are recommended by therapists, judges, and treatment centers is due to the fact that they work for someone open and motivated to getting sober. So what exactly about AA and NA lead people to finding and maintaining sobriety? The 12 step programs work because of a few different reasons:

  • Provide a strong support system of sober people
  • Share the experience, strength, and hope of recovered addicts/alcoholics
  • Identify the negative traits, tendencies, and patterns in their life
  • Clear the wreckage of the past and learn to live in the present
  • Promote fellowship, service, and responsibility
  • Helping and working with other alcoholics
  • And most importantly
  • Establish a connection between the alcoholic and a higher power

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-aa-work/ 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

            Serenity is the absence of conflict in our thoughts.  We who have committed ourselves to the program (the Twelve Steps) of Alcoholics Anonymous have deemed that it is the program itself which must come first in our lives. Alongside such a commitment comes a personal relationship with a supreme power, such as God. Living by these honorable ideals ushers the blessings of serenity into the stream of our lives - no matter what transpires.

              

              In the Alcoholics Anonymous literature, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, such a paragon way of living is elucidated:  "We are no longer frightened and purposeless.  The moment we catch even a glimpse of God's will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs.  We know that God lovingly watches over us."

             

             By integrating the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into our lives in such a way that they become our lives, and by manifesting the principles of those steps in our behavior, we have the opportunity to have safe and serene lives. Remembering that joy is not the absence of sorrow, but the presence of God … experience serenity we will.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The debate over the nature of alcoholism has been around long before anyone perfected the recipe for a manhattan or shook a vodka martini and poured it into a frosted glass. There’s no blood test, and no x-ray to provide solid answers. When it comes to alcohol addiction, only the problem drinker can diagnose himself as an alcoholic.

No one likes to admit they need help. Most alcohol detox centers and treatment programs have undoubtedly seen countless people come through the door with a great deal of denial about their alcohol abuse. Typical statements are “it’s not that bad. I can handle it. It’s not like I got a DUI and got thrown in jail!” Or the passionate plea, “leave me alone already!!!”

When confronted before or during detox and alcohol rehabilitation over their issues and shortcomings, more often than not the person will fight back, in fear that their substance of choice will be “taken away” from them. Their experience may be marked with hostility, fear, belligerence, defiance and/or violence. It may sound extreme, and while it’s painfully obvious to the person’s family, friends and workers at alcohol rehab, the end is (or should be) hopefully near.

Alcohol was their last and only friend. And for the person who’s been beaten down by alcohol into a reluctant state of submission, depending how far down the road they’ve gone, facing detox from alcohol and ending up at an alcohol rehab center feels like an extended stay at the last house on the block.

Again, this is clearly an extreme example… but is it?

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Nine Reasons Recovering Addicts Run

In order to stay sober, the alcoholic and addict need to learn natural ways to get high. It's a crucial part of recovery. Running seems to be a great fit for those who are trying to enjoy live free from alcohol and other drugs.  Here are nine reasons. (adapted from Chasing the Dragon: Running to Get High)

1. You Only Get What You Give

Distance running by its nature lends itself to the addictive personality, if there is such a thing, of rewarding those who blast past barriers. It not only rewards but demands the obsessive brain, the kind who goes to a $5 all-you-can-drink keg party and asks for $10 worth. It's the metaphorical potato chip that, once it's on your taste buds, lights up something deeper within you that craves more.

Yes, addicts can be cowards, immature, fragile, obnoxious, and so on (it's an `in' group thing, so I can get away with saying that) but lazy is one thing we are not. Maybe lazy when it comes to responsibilities, sure, but not lazy when it comes to getting what we want. 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

First off, I am honored to be featured as the Addictionlands “June Expert”. Then again, my inclination is that anyone who calls themselves an expert has too much certitude for me to trust. Instead, think of these as observations from numerous perspectives and years of experience.  

Here goes:

We live in a world that wants you to get high. In fact, companies need you to get high in order to exist. Their job depends on it.

Right now, pharmaceutical companies are churning out addicts in record numbers. The pain management industry is lucrative. To live in chronic pain is to truly be sick and suffering, so it is an essential, and even compassionate service, but the spin-off is, pills in so many cabinets are creating an incredible number of heroin addicts. The curious teen no longer steals a Bud Lite from their dad’s supply, they take some Vicodin. They learn to chew the pill rather than swallow for a quicker high. They learn how to snort. Soon enough, they learn what it means to be dopesick: the need to do more for the same high, and to maintain a supply.

 An opiate addict is a massive consumer for big pharm. (A pain management client times ten.) But instead of managing their pain, the prescription use causes intense suffering and sickness.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Over the course of this last year, I really learned about my power and a power greater than myself.  A little over nine months ago I was promising my wife in tears that I would never touch heroin or anything else again.  I meant it with all of my heart and soul.  A lie detector test would have proved me to be telling the truth. 

I had just gotten out of a detox and had exchanged numbers with one of the other patients. He called me to come pick him up for a meeting that same evening. So, no problems, right? I tell my wife I’m picking up another addict to go to a meeting.  The guy gets in my car and has two loaded syringes ready… there was no second thought.  Within moments, I was high.  This after truly believing I would never use again.  That’s my power.  I really learned the definition of powerlessness that night.

After that, there was two weeks of hotels and living in my car and then ending up in another detox.  Then two half-way houses.  Many of us have been through these journeys.  This was definitely not the first time. I had about five years clean and sober in the past, but for the last five years I’d been struggling to put time together.  I had been in countless detoxes, half-houses, and rehabs.  I just could not stay stopped.  That obsession always dogged me.  It was the devil.

It was not until the second half-way house that something amazing and profound happened. Although, I was sleeping on the floor, there were ten other guys, there were roaches…  There was a lot to complain about, something just struck me.  I was in the shower praying because that is about the only place I could get some peace.   

While praying I felt a total peace and then I just felt broken.  It was as though I was letting everything out.  All of my sorrow, pain, and despair… I was giving over to God.  That day, I stepped out of that shower a free man.  Everything was not going to be alright.  Everything was alright! I felt joy.  I’d not felt joy in five long years.  To this day too, with action, the obsession is gone.  It was a cleansing and an awakening.  My wife even saw something different and after time I moved home.   

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Visitors,


Many of us recovering addicted compulsive gamblers have felt when we were active in our addiction, that we were broken and failed at this thing called life. The paths we had taken with gambling addiction made us feel it was a test. And yes, it did break me and many other addicted gamblers, but I’m no longer broken thanks to having wonderful support by many in my recovery. Support has been an important part of my journey. Two places I have always looked to is ‘The National Council on Problem Gambling’, http://ncpgambling.org  and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin,  http://www.samhsa.gov … Because I have been through one, and still battle daily challenges with the mental side of things.

These two websites have a wealth of information on all types of  addictions and mental health services, they  raise awareness, inform and help educate the public as well as help the afflicted. So I always celebrate
September ~ National Recovery Month, and this year is our 25th Year of Celebrating!

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I’m very honored to be a part of National Recovery Month ~ Our 25th Year.  At least almost 8 years worth for my own recovery from addicted compulsive gambling and alcohol abuse.

So in honor of this, I have a special guest blog post for this wonderful occasion! It is an article I’ve been waiting for from a new friend of mine, Elaine Meyer, of  Columbia University, Dept. of Epidemiology. It is a major article on gambling and how it affects our populations and our communities we live in.

Now your most likely wondering what that is? It is the science that studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.

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