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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a serious health condition that is considered a chronic, terminal disease by most in the field of addiction treatment. Much like Atherosclerosis (heart disease) or Diabetes, alcohol addiction needs to be challenged with effective treatments that lead to multi-dimensional changes in peoples’ lives. The bad news is that of the millions of people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions, only about 10% of those people get treatment of some kind.

The amount of alcohol consumption in Utah is among the lowest in the nation. Only about 25% of people in Utah report consuming alcohol, while on the national level that number is 50%. It would seem that with the rate of consumption being about half of the national average, the issues related to alcohol addiction in Utah would be lower than the national average. The truth is, however, that those who engage in addictive behaviors around alcohol (heavy drinking and binge drinking) do so at the same rate as those on the national stage.

studies show (ARDI application) that from 2006 to 2010 excessive alcohol use was responsible for an annual average of “88,000 deaths, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years, and 2.5 million years of potential life lost. More than half of these deaths and three-quarters of the years of potential life lost were due to binge drinking.” The same study shows that from a dollar perspective, problems with alcohol cost the US $249 billion in 2010. The average per state cost from this figure is about $3.5 billion.

Alcohol addiction is not new, and it certainly isn’t new in Utah. The effects of excessive alcohol use still devastate our communities and families. We know that prevention and treatment works, and the overall stigma and access to care have improved over the years. It’s time to do something about the issue that is plaguing your life in one way or another. This is the first day of the rest of your life.

If you are looking for help please visit alcohol treatment utah, it will be extremely insightful and helpful for you.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Most of society think of drugs and alcohol as two separate categories. However, it is important to note that alcohol is a drug, albeit a legal one. Many people claim to be anti-drug but yet don’t find anything wrong with drinking alcohol. Alcohol, like any drug, has a specific action on the brain that produces effects in the user. These effects are what make drinking alcohol pleasurable and desirable to humans, especially the alcoholic. This posts discusses what drug class alcohol falls into, stimulant or depressant?

Most people experience some stimulating effects from alcohol in small doses. Drinking alcohol, often a person finds increased talkatively, feelings of energy, and desire for action. In small to moderate doses of alcohol, the initial effects of alcohol act like a stimulant. However, alcohol is actually in the depressant class of drug types. Alcohol, like sedatives and tranquilizers, actually slows down activity in the central nervous system. To be more specific, it slows down the activity in the GABA receptors of our brains. The slowing of these systems is responsible for the relaxing quality produced by alcohol. The slowing of the central nervous system is also responsible for the lowered reaction time and dissociation. Passing out and blackouts are by-products of alcohol consumed in large amounts.

Alcohol, and the effects it produces, can become addictive. In addition to the depressant effects of alcohol, drinking also releases dopamine in the brain, thought of as the ‘feel good’ chemicals. To a person predisposed to addiction, alcohol can quickly become a coping mechanism or a tool to deal with life and stress. Many people abuse alcohol instead of other drugs because of a few reasons.

  • Alcohol is more social acceptable, less of a stigma
  • Alcohol is legal
  • Alcohol is relatively cheap
  • Perceived safety of alcohol compared to other drugs

I say ‘perceived safety’ because alcohol can actually be quite dangerous in large amounts. As a depressant, alcohol slows down activity in the brain and body. In extremes, this can lead to slowed breathing, unconsciousness, and alcohol poisoning. During heavy drinking, the person may also lose their judgment and coordination, which can lead to accidents, injury, and even death. In fact, alcohol annually kills more people than all other drug types combined with 88,000 deaths in the U.S. Alcohol is implicated in an estimated 60% of criminal offenses leading to incarceration in the United States such as domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, property offenses, drug offenses, and public-order offenses.

When reviewing the facts about alcohol and alcoholism, it is important to understand that alcohol is indeed a drug. Alcohol is not any less addictive or dangerous because it is legal or acceptable in our society. The statistics and facts about alcohol abuse and addiction show the dangers of alcohol.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

When I first came into recovery I used to get frightened by other abstinent  alcoholics proclaim that they were so glad they did not get the “wet tongue” when they saw alcohol or people drinking alcohol.  I used to feel ashamed as I did have an instantaneous “wet tongue” or mild salivation (Pavlovian response) and still do  years later when I see people drinking alcohol. Is this a “craving” for alcohol, do I still want to drink? Do I still have an “alcoholic mind?“. Did I do my steps properly?

It used to churn me up, these so-called alcoholics who had no physiological response to alcohol-related “cues”.

Part me also thought it was linked to addiction severity, how bad or chronic one’s alcoholism become, how far down the line or how low your rock bottom was? There may some validity in that observation.

It was partly because of mixed messages from alcoholics and from various medical doctors that I decided to take matters into my own hands and do some research into my alcoholic brain.

What I have discovered is that I have an “alcoholic brain” and not a “alcoholic mind” and there is a huge difference.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Life is different after #addiction   in so many ways. The line between those who drink and get high and those who don’t can appear like a dividing wall in some situations. Here are just a few things that only sober people can understand – and "  #Norms" never will. 

1. People often act like it’s a shocking thing that you don’t drink. Pretty frequently, maybe half the time, people respond to your assertion that you don’t drink with genuine #shock and awe. Maybe they really mean that they couldn’t possibly do it or maybe they can’t understand why anyone would want to. Either way, it happens.

2. People tend to spend a lot more money on drinks than they realize. Alcohol costs money, and under the influence people tend to spend more than they would otherwise on other things as well. Sober people can sit back and watch the bill pile up and quickly.

3.  #Dating is that much harder when your date drinks heavily. As if getting to know someone or going on a blind date weren’t hard enough – when that person wants to get a beer before dinner or chugs through half a bottle of wine over appetizers, it can be disconcerting. On the other hand, it’s never been easier to immediately identify an incompatible match when this happens. 

4. People just assume you’ll be the #designated driver. Just because you don’t plan on drinking, it doesn’t mean that you want to chauffeur a bunch of drunk people around town – but most of the time, that’s the assumption. 

5. There are no non-alcoholic alternatives at toasts. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make you feel awkward when everyone else lifts a glass of champagne at the wedding and you have to either lift a glass of water, only pretend to take a drink after, or lift nothing at all.

6. Sometimes it’s easier to lie. Rather than deal with questions or awkwardness, sometimes it’s just easier to say that you don’t feel like drinking than it is to explain that you’re sober.

7. People will push alcohol on you. Your choice not to drink  is one that you have to make every day and is sometimes harder than others. It’s not helpful or funny or cute when people attempt to coerce you into having “just one.”

8. Sometimes you lose friends because you’re sober and it's tough. Some people don’t want to be around someone who doesn’t drink or get high even if that person has been a longtime friend and is making a far larger concession to continue hanging out with them. It can hurt, and that kind of rejection can make you stronger, or it can tear down your ability to stay #sober   Either way, it’s no small thing.

What are some things that you now understand in #sobriety that you might not have when you were drinking or using drugs? Leave a comment below. 

For further reading on getting and staying sober, please read here: http://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/relapse-prevention-programs/ 

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello And Happy Memorial Weekend Recovery Friends!


 

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Some days living life in recovery can be a bit of a challenge. What I mean is, no matter how much recovery time one gets under their belt, we still may have a day when something from our “Wicked Past Addiction” just might come back and ‘Bitch Slap’ us in the face of our present.
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It’s why it’s important to ALWAYS have a plan. And especially for long holiday weekends like this one, *Memorial Weekend*…

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Even when that “Slap” comes around, we need to have a safe plan to deal with Life on Life’s terms. I mean, our higher power never said recovery was going to be an easy journey right? Here is what happened to me a while back. When we moved from So. Oregon, to here in Glendale, Arizona,…it was a very traumatic move for me in many ways. I had to adopt out my 2 baby kitties, actually my good friend who has a mini 3 acre ranch took them for us, but it was traumatic for me. Also the 3 day ride in the car was also a traumatic event for me, and had to stay a wee bit extra medicated with my psych meds for the long trip, as I suffer from Bipolar depression, mild PTSD, and Agoraphobia with panic, so need I say more? When we finally got her to AZ we were living with my husbands siblings until we could move back to Oregon. Well, there was SO much DRAMA and arguing that I was having 5 panic attacks a Week!!

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Even when I was in the absolute worst stage of unabashed drinking and irregular, unhealthy eating habits, very little if anything could have pushed me to seek recovery any sooner than I did.

Those who love me worked tirelessly in the effort to convince me I needed help.  Each gesture or suggestion was met with resistance, denial and deflection.  Those caring and compassionate individuals had all but prepared themselves to receive the dreaded phone call I’d finally succumbed to the disease of addiction.

The more people tried to persuade me of my destruction, the more my distance from them widened.  I wasn’t ready to stop.  I liked being able to decide for myself when, where and how much I engaged in what I believed was pure merriment.  I’d perfected my silent rationalization to slip into the haze of too much alcohol with little food. When I was in the state of nothingness, life’s emotional ups and downs didn’t matter anymore. I cherished my ability firmly and sternly control what I put my mental energy into and what was erased. As long as I kept my booze supply up and my weight down, all was well in the world.  And oh boy, did I love the “high” I felt when the deception, manipulation and lies all fell into place.

Until they didn’t.

When I finally found myself sitting across the desk of an intake counselor at a substance abuse treatment center I still was clinging to the belief I could one day drink again and eat as I saw fit.  I vividly remember the woman asking me how much alcohol I drank each day and my response of “oh, not that much” was quickly deflected when she held up my liver count report. I just wasn’t ready to stop believing I could run the show and direct the participants.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I am honored to be the December Expert particularly because this first day happens to be my birthday. Yet the date does not mark the only time I was shifted from a place of comfort to a visceral shock to the system.

I’ve been given the most precious gift of life three times. I was physically born in December of 1961, almost died in 2001 and then tested fate again in 2008. The 46-year journey was a roller coaster of addiction, emotional chaos and nonstop searching for a way out.

Although I can't remember the first few celebrations of the date I entered this world, all accounts indicated they were joyous, happy and fun. I’ve been told people poured attention on me with beautifully wrapped boxes to open and cards read by others with messages for a future far better than their own.

 

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Did you ever consider if your job made you prone to drug and alcohol abuse? With 77% of illegal drug users working full or part-time jobs, you have to wonder what kind of effect it has on their work habits. Many drug users admit that high stress, low job satisfaction, long or irregular hours and isolation at work contributed to their substance abuse problem.

In fact, 3.1% of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once.

This motion graphic will highlight which work places are causing people to stumble into substance abuse a little harder or more often than some others. It will also look at the different areas of drugs that are being used and how much money is spent on them.

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

When I was newly sober, I heard the cliche that "alcoholism has very little to do with alcohol" many times. As I have stayed sober longer, I have found this statement to be extremely true. Alcoholism comes in a person, not in a bottle.

Prayer in Alcoholics AnonymousThe First Step of Alcoholics Anonymous has two distinct parts. The first part states that we are powerless over alcohol (and drugs), and the second part states that our lives had become unmanageable. When I first saw this, I read it as "our alcohol abuse had become unmanageable." The truth is that our lives are unmanageable without alcohol as well. In my experience and opinion, my life became even more unmanageable without alcohol than it was with alcohol.

Alcohol was the solution. It worked. It helped me manage. Getting sober and admitting I was powerless over alcohol, I no longer had my chief form of comfort. Alcohol allowed me to not feel, and I wasn't sober frequently enough to fully experience the path of my unpleasant emotions. Suddenly I found myself in a world where I had no buffer between me and my emotions.

This unmanageability to me means that I cannot healthily and safely manage my life sober or drunk. My mind does not by default know how to appropriately respond to life. Alcoholism carries on just as well without the alcohol. As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, we have a physical allergy, mental craving, and spiritual malady. When I stop drinking, the physical allergy is no longer an issue. The mental craving is caused by my spiritual malady. It is for this reason that the focus of eleven of the Twelve Steps is on this spiritual malady.

As I work on my spiritual malady and get in conscious contact with my Higher Power, the mental cravings begin to dissipate. However, if I am not working on my spiritual malady, the mental cravings overpower me. The unmanageability is a direct result of my lack of a contact with a power greater than myself.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

If I’m to be honest answering this question, there will be no quick way through it. I could say I became a sober coach because I was tired of going to bed at 6am and sick of having to shout over loud music to be heard  - but that’s only part of it.

When I got clean in 1988, I placed all bets on my writing. This meant that instead of taking a job that would have career advancement, I stuck with freelance work, doing anything that could finance large chunks of uninterrupted writing time. I came up during the late 70s and 80s among a scene of underground artists, musicians, and filmmakers, many of whom went on to mainstream success. After I got clean, I became the go-to girl for anyone from my previous life wanting to get off drugs. This lead to my first coaching jobs inside the entertainment industry. The calls were so random that I never considered it a real employment source. In between coaching gigs, I continued to take on whatever work paid the bills. Coaching and sober companion work felt like the right fit but I never gave it much thought as a career. At the time it was controversial and renegade.


As the years passed, I continued to write and perform. Although my work was being published and optioned, I still hadn’t made it through the “big doors". It killed me to watch my friends’ lives successfully moving forward while mine seemed, at least outwardly, frozen in time. What was i doing wrong?  My moment of clarity came at fifteen years clean. It occurred to me that I had never stopped directing my romantic and financial affairs and those two areas were not changing. I needed to let go (as they say in 12 step programs) but I didn’t know how. I definitely couldn’t think my way into a new life. I suppose I needed a spiritual experience but being an atheist this was difficult to imagine.

Right as my screenplay was gaining momentum and I was being flown back and forth across the country, the writers’ strike happened. Out of money, I went back to working in bars. The loud music and crazy hours were killing me. Like my final days with drugs, I was absolutely miserable and hopeless. At seventeen years clean, I was back at square one. Then the most amazing thing happened - I ran out of ideas on how to run my life. I was having tea with an old friend from the music industry when I asked him “You know me really well – what do you think I should do for a living?” It didn’t take a minute before he said, “You’d be perfect as a sober companion.”  I had no idea that sober coaching had come into its own as a profession. The renegade rock and roll days had paved the way and now treatment facilities, therapists, and psychiatrists were seeing positive results from setting up clients with sober companions. My friend suggested I contact a couple LA friends to see if anyone had leads.

The stars aligned and within 24 hours I had my first client outside of the entertainment industry. What was interesting to me was how everything I’d ever learnt in my life came into play - not just my personal experience in recovery but the information I’d amassed on nutrition, exercise, meditation, dealing with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Every aspect of my life had prepared me to do this work.

The real test came on day three when my client’s prominent psychotherapist called for an update. Until then I had been working intuitively and unlike managers, agents, and the people I was used to dealing with, the person on the other end of the phone was skilled in mental health work. If I was a fraud she was going to call me out. Nervous, I took a deep breath and told her honestly what I saw and what I was working on with the client. The phone went silent and my stomach flipped. “I have been working with ___ for three years and you nailed every single item on my list”. His words confirmed that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

For me, falling into coaching was a spiritual experience. When I finally “let go” sober coaching came into my life. I loved it and had great results with clients. From that point on, doors kept opening. One day I got a call from the producers of Intervention about a new mini-series they were casting. Over night, this semi-secret career of mine became very public.

The television series shifted the direction of my life yet again. I received many heartbreaking emails from addict viewers who were without financial resources for treatment. I decided to set up a website and share freely what I do with clients. Currently I’m in the process of writing several books on recovery. What started as a part-time job to finance my writing has become the subject of my writing. No one could be more surprised by this than me.


To read what I do with clients as a sober coach, visit http://pattypowersnyc.com/sobercoac/

 

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