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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

March 16th marks the beginning of the week for National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week!

I work in assisting the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, a contact I made after my episode of Intervention, when I joined Director Harvey Weiss to speak on a panel with others affected by inhalant abuse in Washington DC.  Many of the people that I have spoken with were once inhalant addicts themselves or friends and family (especially parents) of inhalant users who devistatingly passed away while using inhalants. This is an organization that works on reducing, preventing, and making the public aware of inhalant abuse, a goal that we both have in common.

In their most recent newsletter, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as "the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.”  This definition also infers two primary inhalant abuse slang terms:  “Sniffing” and “Huffing.” In a sense the Process of“huffing” defines the slang terms for the Activity i.e. bagging (huffing from a bag); Glading (misusing air freshener); etc."

NIPC also regularly provides the public with updates and facts imperitive to spread the awareness and prevention of inhalant abuse.  Here is an update of some of the most recent facts:

1.  Any time an inhalant is used, it could be a fatal episode.  This could be the first time you ever use inhalants, or the 100th.  NIPC notes that there is research showing that "of those people who died from huffing, about one-third died at first time use."


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.




Posted by on in Alcoholism

Whether you are in shape, overweight, malnourished, or anywhere along the spectrum, exercise is an amazing tool in recovery.  Exercise and recovery go together well because when we are using, we exercise very little.  Our eating habits are often unhealthy.  We sit around, use, and do not utilize our bodies.  When we get sober, we often feel like doing the same, as our minds are running, we are full of anxiety, and we want to lie in bed all day.

Benefits of Exercise in Recovery

There are many benefits of exercising.  The most important point to mention is that exercise releases dopamine in the brain.  When we exercise, it keeps our dopamine receptors working and prevents them from dying off.  As we exercise, we are physically providing ourselves with the happiness chemical.  One day at a time, and over an extended period of time, exercise helps create happiness.  If we do not exercise or utilize these dopamine receptors, the brain prunes them off in order to increase efficiency.

As we exercise in recovery, we get rid of much negativity.  Exercising is a fantastic way to get rid of anxiety, anger, worry, restlessness, racing thoughts, and many many more emotions.  Working at a dual-diagnosis treatment center, I see many clients join us with anxiety disorders and anger issues.  They resist exercise as much as they possibly can.  However, when they finally begin exercising, they invariably admit to feeling the benefits.  As somebody who deals with anxiety and extreme anger myself, I find exercise to be absolutely invaluable in my recovery.  Exercising is one of my most useful tools when I am feeling any negative feeling.

Finally, when we exercise in recovery, we are taking contrary action and building esteem.  For many of us, exercise and taking care of our health are not things we have been doing.  When we begin to exercise, we begin to feel better about ourselves.  Whether we are losing weight, gaining weight, or remaining at the same weight, exercise helps us feel better about ourselves.  We are active, get outside, and ultimately are happier.

Ways to Exercise in Recovery

There are many simple ways to exercise without going to a gym or exercising in a tedious manner.  Some of us may be gym rats, but if you are like myself, the thought of going to a gym feels like going to work.  There are ways to exercise in a more relaxed, peaceful manner.


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