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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Step 12..Carry the AA 12 Steps message of hope to the sick and suffering alcoholic, practice these principles in all my affairs. Live one day at a time on the Spiritual Path suggested that others may benefit from my daily reprieve. Is it about me or isn't it?  Obviously this seems much more difficult than it really is. Too goody goody God like? Like it's great talk and talk is cheap. You can't be that good every day right? Saints? I mean for real not just in my own (I believe everything I think to validate myself) mind...Well, I have to say although it sure seems like it sometimes, I am not alone here in the Big Book 12 Steps. I've gotten quite used to the extreme self centeredness, the lions and tigers and bears.

 

The many who are willing to believe, willing to put the drink down with Steps 1 and 2 and understand the three pertinent ideas. And when ready, move ahead to their 3rd Step decision, express the idea, voicing it without reservation? Those who now have the new found Spiritual courage and strength to inventory their past from a new fearless moral standpoint in their 4th Step? Then have finally seen themselves and let their God know they knew the emotional distress and destruction they have caused..This is huge! Go on to surrender their defective character to their Spiritual Higher Power and clean up their past? Steps 5 6 7 8 9.  Simply put, this is just how we roll. This is our whole new attitude and outlook on life. We are a reborn lot, not to be confused with a born again lot, for me anyway. We're sober today and willing to surrender ourselves to the power of the Spirit with each moment or like the Book's Step 10 suggests, constantly. Yes, following the Big Book 12 Steps and feeling myself thorough in my Step work to this point, Step 11 shows me everything I need to know about living one day without one drink. Everything to continue to grow in understanding and effectiveness in my sober life. I now have purpose, a reason for living. I can care enough about myself to be willing to take care of myself each day without some emotional enabler fancied or real. I am no longer the producer of confusion with the best of intentions. I have lost sufficient fear so life is no longer all about me, it's ok to just be a small part of it. I can survive, be valid without stealing a piece of everyone involved to create my emotional security. I am a real boy.

 

Without getting too morbid in my reflection it's safe to say I come from a pretty emotionally negative upbringing. Daddy had issues and passed them on to me. At 5 years old I was beat so bad I was never to be able to grow or participate...be a team player.. My life was over, shocked to the soul. I had been betrayed. I became stunted, self centered to the extreme. I jumped the track. I could not turn myself off now, there was no safe place for me now. Every minute of everyday was intense. I was afraid deep to my core. My head, my brain. Self centered fear was the norm. I could no longer hear and understand others, there was no listen and learn anymore. There was only tunnel vision of Daddy whipping me as I try to cover myself in the corner, am I good enough for Daddy, does Daddy approve, when will Daddy love me, nothing or no one else mattered. I began to treat others like Daddy would treat me. I saw his power over me and I wanted it over others. He loved me and I wanted to love others. In stead, I would make them pay for how I felt. My failures were your fault, if you can't fix me than the hell with you. Why didn't Daddy need to be fixed? Why was I the only failure? For the next 25 years life brought many empty relationships that began with the expectation that they would save me, fix me, make me happy, I would be could be normal, fulfilled even, happy..  They ended the same every time with me alone and broken. No new news here, same pain different faces. Whatever they had brought to me they left with. As much as I truly wanted to, I could not feel.  I just could not risk it. I needed others to feel for me. I needed to fill my empty void of existence with others. I was always that beat five year old and sadly can still be today. Many many times and for long periods of time I wanted to die. Blubbering with my head in my hands. Many times I acted in ways that showed no concern for my life. I couldn't care. I was not capable of caring for myself. In my later teens and twenties when I became a drunk, that's all I was really. Just a drunk, a good for nothing drunk. All hat and no cattle. Hey! will somebody have sex with me and like me? Anybody? How about just talk to me? Notice me?

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Every year 12,000 deaths occur in the US because of prescription drug abuse. This number has seen a staggering increase over the last couple of decades. The recreational use of prescription drugs is a serious problem with teens and young adults. National studies show that a teen is more likely to have abused a prescription drug than an illegal street drug.

Many consider prescription drugs safer because they are prescribed by a doctor, but that is just not true. Imbibing these medicines to get high, or using them to self-medicate can be dangerous.

Prescription drugs have serious health risks; this is exactly why they are taken under the instructions of a doctor. Despite being taken under medical guidance these drugs still present a high risk of addiction.

Fatalities occur everyday when people take a pill that they think looks like some other pill. The most important thing to understand is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and that different drugs affect people differently. A drug that would be okay for some could be fatal for others.
 
Types of Prescription Drugs Abused:

Depressants

These drugs are central nervous system depressants and slow down the function of the brain. These include sedatives and tranquilizers which make a person calm and drowsy.

These drugs are intended to reduce tension and anxiety in patients. They are also called downers and come in the form of multicolored tablets, capsules or as a liquid.

Some examples are Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol. They are known as antipsychotics and are supposed to reduce symptoms of mental illness. Depressants such as Xanax, Klonoping, Halcion and Librium are often referred to as "benzos". Barbiturates such as Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal, used as sedatives and sleeping pills, are also often abused.

Higher doses of these drugs can cause memory loss, impaired judgement and a lack of coordination. They have also been found to cause irritability, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Many people experience the opposite effect, like agitation or aggression, than the one intended.

Using depressants with other substances, especially alcohol, can slow breathing and heart rate and can even lead to death.

Opioids

These drugs are painkillers and usually contain opium or opium-like substances, used to treat patients experiencing chronic pain. These drugs cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, unconsciousness, nausea, and in extreme cases even send a patient into coma.

Continued abuse of opioids can cause physical dependence and addiction. The body gets used to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms can be observed if the use is reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal symptoms sometimes drive an addict towards abuse with renewed vigor. These symptoms can be restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps. Increased tolerance in users can mean increased doses, which can cause greater damage to the body.

Stimulants

These types of drugs are used to increase energy and alertness and also increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. These drugs are also called uppers -- cocaine and amphetamines are some examples of the same. These drugs can come in the form of tablets or capsules. Addicts usually swallow these pills or inject them in liquid form or crush and snort them.

These drugs can cause exhaustion, apathy and depression, and the down that follows the up provided by these drugs is usually quite severe. The immediate exhaustion after the high leads the user to want the drug again. Soon enough he forgets the high from the drug and all he tries to achieve is a feeling of normalcy.

Stimulants are dangerously addictive and repeated doses over short periods can lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. They can also cause high body temperature and arrhythmia. Some examples are Ritalin, Concerta, Biphetamine and Dexedrine. Street names for these drugs can be Kibbles and bits, speed, truck drivers or black beauties.

Antidepressants

These are usually psychiatric drugs that handle depression. These drugs include Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor and Remeron. They come as multicolored tablets or capsules. These drugs can cause nervousness, anxiety, irritability, violent thoughts, tremors and hostility among others. Some studies have also found a high correlation with aggression and criminal behavior.

A study found that 14% of young people taking antidepressants become aggressive and in some cases even violent. These drugs can also cause extreme and irrational behavior. Individuals with no history of violence begin to show aggressive and self-harming behavior. Withdrawal symptoms of this drug are also quite severe and can include anxiety, depression, weeping spells, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting, headaches and tremors.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse:

Opioids – Abusers of these types of drugs will usually experience constipation, depression and low blood pressure. They will also find their breathing shallower than that of non-addicts, and will often experience confusion, sweating and poor coordination.

Antidepressants – Drowsiness, confusion and an unsteady gait are among the prime symptoms experienced by an antidepressant abuser. They often experience poor judgement, involuntary movement of the eyeballs and dizziness.

Stimulants – Those abusing stimulants will see rapid weight loss, increased agitation, irritability and high blood pressure. They will have trouble sleeping, have an irregular heartbeat, restlessness and be victims of impulsive behavior.

Those addicted to prescription medication will often resort to stealing, forging and selling prescriptions to get a fix. Those taking higher doses than prescribed can also be noted as addicts. They will have regular mood swings and more often than not be hostile. They will have erratic sleep cycles and often have impaired decision making skills. Prescription drug abusers often pretend to lose prescriptions and use that as an excuse to get more written. They also tend to visit more than one doctor for a prescription.

Prescription drug abuse is a disease. If you are facing abuse by such an addict get in touch with a dangerous drugs lawyer in Raleigh for a free initial counsel. Those taking more than the medically advised dosage of prescription drugs may not be able to claim damages from the drug manufacturer in case of adverse side-effects.

Self-medicating can be a dangerous habit, so make sure that you follow your doctor's instructions when taking prescription medicines. Keep an eye on the prescription drugs you keep in your house and inform the young adults in your care about their side-effects. Drugs, while beneficial in the hands of a doctor, can be dangerous in the hands of someone just looking for a kick.

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Addictionland Friends, Followers, and New Visitors,


As ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ tells us, “We can recover from compulsive gambling without knowing the reasons why we gambled and became addicted in the first place” might be true. But there are some like myself who know a little of why we did …

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But like my last blog post said, sometimes if look dig a little deeper, we can find some of the issues in our life that lead us to take a dark path to cope, escape, and try to delete past issues and pains.  Yes, many say it might be an excuse, rationalizing, blaming other people, places, or things on OUR CHOICES. I don’t agree. I DID NOT CHOICE to become an addict. Addiction isn’t always about CHOICE …
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Well to those who have NO clue, no experience of being an addict of any type, nor been touched by addiction or someone they know or love has, then I say, ….YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE to be held hostage by any addiction. We all don’t get tangled up with addiction by CHOICE. Through treatment, therapy, or the personal inside work on all our character defects, and working through the 12-steps, we DO sometimes find a few reasons WHY we went down that dark path of addiction. Is it really too much to ask of the public to have a wee bit more understanding and compassion of what it’s like to be addicted to some type of addiction? Is IGNORANCE still that prevalent in our society? Sadly yes when it comes to addictions and Stigma around us who live life in Recovery!

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See, for my own addictions of compulsive addicted gambling and alcohol abuse when I gambled, I found doing the work within side myself, and through therapy with a psychiatrist I found I was suffering from undiagnosed bipolar 2 severe depression, mild anxiety mania, bipolar cycle insomnia, and the ‘pleasure & reward’ part of my brain was effected from the years of the repetitive behaviors of addicted gambling. Then later effects of agoraphobia with panic settled in, another direct effect from my years of addicted gambling.
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All these mental & emotional disorders I still battle today. It was the addicted gambling that brought out the bipolar symptoms to the surface when sent to a crisis center the first time.

I know all this sounds complex, then add my past childhood abuse & traumatic events that happened to me, I learned very well to stuff all that away for a very long time. But it did come back to haunt me, and I started using gambling as my escape, and a coping skill to not FEEL all that I endured as a little girl. I began having nightmares again, and didn’t know the proper way to process all this hurtful stuff. I’d done a good job pretending I was normal, and none of those things really happened to me.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

More and more families are confronted with the realization that a loved one is using drugs or alcohol. And few know what to do or where to turn and are afraid to ask anyone because they feel ashamed, confused and guilty that they are somehow to blame.

 

I was among them when my son, Steven, became one of those growing statistics. I lost him and vowed to do something to help others so they would not have to know the grief and despair my family has.

 

Steven grew up in a loving home with two brothers, parents that loved him and more love than anyone could ask for. He was well behaved and extremely respectful.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

The problem of dual diagnosis & diseases of addiction have a comorbidity rate of 53% and climbing each year. One newer study suggests the rate of this comorbidity of both illnesses is actually closer to 2/3rds of people with depression who also have substance abuse/addiction problems.  The connection between those who have addiction and are depressed is so strong and an unavoidable problem when it comes to treatment, that people are quick to believe and perceive that it is the addiction which is causing the depression. The newest evidence has shown that quite the opposite happens in many instances.  It's like the old what came fist the chicken or the egg theory; And with addiction & depression/mental illness, it is not that simple a question to answer, but there are some answers that help doctors every day to diagnose and decide which is the primary illness and which is the secondary or if they co-exist.  

There are 3 types of groups which are studied under the Mental Health & Drug Abuse Coalition. The 1st, is people who have depression or other mental illness, may seek help but find what they are given is not working, so they begin to experiment with other ways to alleviate their symptoms, such as alcohol and drugs, leading quickly to an addiction once the patient feels the substance has "cured" their symptoms. It is the very well-known phrase of "self-medicating" which was actually a term and theory first coined by a few doctors which included the author of many books on the subject of "self-medicating" with opiates, alcohol, cocaine & other drugs, Doctor Edward Khantzian, a psychiatrist from Haverhill Massachusetts, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, who first published this hypothesis of self-medicating with heroin for depression in a 1985 paper, which expanded until it was accepted as a true theory and still used today to explain diagnosis & treatment.  In this case it is shown that a person had an onset FIRST of mental illness, and then the drug addiction came next. 

The 2nd group is those who are people who are chronic drug abusers, ie: addicts. They use their drug of choice daily and over time, they begin to develop mental illness symptoms, causing them to then increase their use and making it very difficult to stop. This group of people are difficult to convince to access treatment or professional help, because they are usually so afraid of trying to seek treatment for the depression, for the sole purpose of being scared that their addiction will be be discovered. Certain drugs, almost all of them, including ecstasy, alcohol, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine & more, have been shown in advanced clinical research, including brain scans of addicts, with results showing that their drug use has directly caused malfunctions in major centers of the brain where a person's impulse control, emotion regularity, reasoning, cognitive ability and many more areas are damaged by the chronic drug use.  So this group usually begins with trying different illicit or pharmaceutical drugs. finding one they like, and after chronic, daily use, their brains are actually being damaged on many levels, in many areas by the very drug they use.  So first the drug addiction starts, and then sets in the mental illness symptoms, like depression & anxiety, bipolar and many others. 

The 3rd group of people are those who have co-occurring conditions that are ongoing and increase in severity. The drugs do not alleviate the depression, anxiety, or other mental illness symptoms quite well enough to consider themselves in good mental health, but the substance abuse has already caused further damage to their brains in many areas, making it that they are the hardest group of patients to treat. They are however, the people who are most likely TO seek treatment for both illnesses, knowing very well they both exist at all times and are aware of it daily.  The usually might begin by asserting or believing that their depression, low mood, anxiety, panic attacks, loneliness, bouts of crying for no apparent reason, mania, hypomania, isolation, etc are all directly the result of being forced to stop their drug of choice or attempt to stop on their own.  They attribute these mental and mood changes to withdrawal, but they aren't; in fact it is that they DO now have a very clear diagnosable mental illness caused by the changes in their brains from the chronic drug use and since they have stopped using these drugs, the symptoms are now more present and bothersome than ever before. So this group already had mental illness but was made much worse by chronic long-term drug use. 

When patients with dual-diagnosis are treated they have a fairly good rate of recovery IF they adhere to taking medications and make serious changes in their lifestyles. When you have such chronic drug abuse and depression it is hard for doctors to decipher which symptoms are causing the other so dual diagnosis treatment first is used to detoxify the patient from the drugs and stabilize them so they are not in pain. Once this is done they can begin to introduce therapeutic programs as well as medications for bipolar, depression, anxiety or any other mental illness, as is indicated. They are monitored closely throughout every 24 hour period, their vitals checked for stability, dosages changed daily if that needs to be done, and the patient upon release is given very specific and easy to follow directions for returning home. This typically includes an intake for an intensive outpatient program (IOP), meeting schedules, individual therapy set-up, follow up appointments with doctors and if needed, an appointment with a clinic for continued use of subutex or suboxone. 

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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 for the majority. 

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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