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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Current hurdles to providing individualized addiction treatment:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 142 Americans die every single day from drug overdose. These people need saved, and it has to happen on an individual basis. As of now, there just is no other way to do it. Some may argue a broader approach by doing things like reducing access to opioids. Though this could help some, the problem is actually more complex. As access is limited, people are increasingly turning to street opioids, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, a mixture of each, or other dangerous and illegal drugs. The real problem is that despite all our efforts, only 10 percent of the almost 21 million Americans addicted to drugs receive any level of treatment. Lack of access to health care and the fear of stigma contribute to this epidemic.

This video explains the need for individualized addiction treatment in more detail:

Also, more information can be found here.

The statistic mentioned above are from the Commission Interim Report

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends & Visitors,

I am very Honored to share an article that just released and was written by Award-Winning NYT Best-Selling Author and Journalist for, The Pacific Standard, and Vice, Maia Salazvitz .....  

She had come across my Gambling Recovery Blog, "Gambling Recovery Starts Here" and gave me a call. She was working on an article that researched the NEUROSCIENCE behind a gambling addict, ...... me. Well, was. She emailed me to let me know it had finally released and so I thought I would share a little of the interview and article with all my recovery friends here. YOU can read the whole full article right here:  as it gives an in-depth look and understanding about the brain and thinking that takes over when you cross the line into uncontrolled compulsive gambling.

This is a Proud Honor for me and If feel "humbled and blessed" to have been a part of this major media article ....


Addicted to Anticipation

What goes wrong in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict.



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @

The volume of patients entering treatment in the last decade has continued to steadily rise. In response the quantity of treatment centers and the variety of services offered has risen. In the 21st century it has become clear that addiction can reach the rich and famous, nobody is completely risk-free. In the ensuing rise in demand for treatment centers, the researchers and directors of addiction treatment programs have started to shape their agendas to best serve their patients. Twenty years ago, relatively little was known about addiction as a disease and how drugs and alcohol interact with the brain in a psychobiological manner. With the advent of new technology and medicine, new ways to treat addiction and heal the addicted brain have arisen. Doctors are looking to new breakthroughs in the medical and technological field to incorporate into traditional treatment methods. Some of these new practices may just change the way we view addiction treatment forever. This installment will look at the medical advancements emerging in healthcare and addiction treatment.

New Medical Breakthroughs

The last decade has seen an increasing number of addiction treatment centers rely on the medical path to treat addiction. While therapy, social integration, and recovery groups remain an important part of addiction treatment, new developments in medicine have added a new tool in fighting addiction. If you believe that addiction is in fact a disease, physical or mental, then it would only make sense that medicine could be effective in treating such an illness.

With the epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin addiction increasing, some of the newest medical breakthroughs have been in the field of dopamine blocking drugs. These drugs seek to block the opiate receptors in the brain that are activated by drugs such as alcohol, hydrocodone, and heroin. Opiate blockers prevent opiate abusers from receiving the pleasurable effects that drive them to use drugs. By blocking the receptors, it is proposed that the addict’s craving and obsession to use will be reduced. The most popular of these blockers is a chemical called Naloxone, which is available in both oral and injectable forms. Many addiction professionals prefer the injectable method since it only requires monthly administration, compared to the daily requirement of oral pills. The injectable form of this drug goes by the name of Vivitrol, and is quickly becoming commonplace in the field of addiction treatment. It serves as a deterrent against using drugs such like alcohol and heroin. Drugs like Vivitrol are starting to replace the usage of medicines like Suboxone and Methadone. Many treatment centers, including NewBridge, are combing traditional therapy and support groups with medicine like Vivitrol to give their patients the greatest chance of staying sober.

Another recent medical trend has been the emergency of a life-saving drug that goes by the tradename Narcan or Evzio. Simply, this is an injectable drug that can prevent overdoses of opiate related drugs such as heroin and prescription pills. Narcan works by instantly clearing the opiate receptors of the brain, reversing the effects of opiate releasing drugs. In the event of an overdose, Narcan is able to be administered and stop the physical effects of opiate overdose, which can include heart failure, asphyxiation, and death. The recent rise in opiate related deaths nationwide, especially in Florida, have led to an increase in demand for Narcan and Evzio. Last year in Florida there were 447 deaths related to heroin, almost double the deaths from 2013. Fentanyl, a popular prescription opiate, was responsible for more than 538 deaths, an 84 percent increase from 2013. The fatal reality of these drugs have been responsible for the popularity of medicine like Narcan and Vivitrol.


Posted by on in Recommended Reading

As anyone who has been to drug rehabilitation knows, it can be difficult making new habits to stay clean and sober.

Changes in daily life and lifestyle take time, and patience is not just important, it’s the most valuable tool at your disposal. This is the essence of drug addiction treatment. And you may not be able to see the benefit at first, but over time, the people close to you—family, friends and even acquaintances—will often see positive changes before you do.

However self-destructive some things may have been in your life (not to mention your ability to grow and thrive), some old habits are hard to let go of. Like an old friend, most likely they’ve been at your side a long time, and without them you fear you may be left feeling like the proverbial hole in the donut. Far from suggesting you enter the monkhood and renounce all earthly attachments, there are a few easier, more realistic ways to create new habits in your life starting the day you leave the drug treatment center:

1) Make your bed in the morning, every morning. There’s a reason those in drug rehabilitation centers are asked to do this. It’s a way of creating a positive habit for yourself the first thing you do, setting the tone for the day.

2) Sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time, every day. Again, it may sound simple, but it creates consistency for you, which, hopefully, you’ll be grateful for, even if you’re still in drug detox.


Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends & New Visitors,

As a regular person in recovery for almost 7 years, I'm baffled on HOW many different views there are about addicted gambling. It really can be a bit confusing to those seeking Recovery. I say this because as I work on two follow-up books I'm currently writing, I do a lot of research from Blogs, Websites, and rely on Google Search A LOT. If you happen to Google "Facts" about addicted gambling, you get MANY views of What it's about, and How to treat the illness. So I thought I'd share a few of the "OPINIONS" out there about this addiction. They first is from a "MEDICAL VIEW" about this cunning addiction, and in the very 1st paragraph, it calls this addiction a, "Mental-Health problem", which I seem to STRONGLY disagree with.......


What is a gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction is a *mental-health problem* that is understood to be one of  many kinds of impulse-control problems a person may suffer from. The types of  gambling that people with this disorder might engage in are as variable as the  games available. Betting on sports, buying lotto tickets, playing poker, slot  machines, or roulette are only a few of the activities in which compulsive  gamblers engage. The venue of choice for individuals with gambling addiction  varies as well. While many prefer gambling in a casino, the rate of online/Internet  gambling addiction continues to increase with increased use of the Internet. Gambling addiction is also called compulsive gambling or pathological gambling.

Estimates of the number of people who gamble socially qualify for being  diagnosed with a gambling addiction range from 2%-5%, thereby  affecting millions of people in the United States alone. Although more men than  women are thought to suffer from pathological gambling, women are developing  this disorder at higher rates, now making up as much as 25% of individuals with  pathological gambling. Other facts about compulsive gambling are that men tend  to develop this disorder during their early teenage years while women tend to  develop it later.


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


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