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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

No one expected an 18 year old private school graduate to end up with a needle in his arm 10 years later. Yet that's precisely where I was two years ago.

Coming up on year anniversaries, I tend to start thinking about the past. There's still a tinge of regret, but it doesn’t revolve around my legal resume anymore. I regret not getting sober sooner.

I never knew a life like this was available to a guy like me. In high school, I lettered three years in varsity golf. My name was never absent on the honor roll. I was accepted to a top 30 liberal arts college in their honors business program. Half of my tuition was paid via scholarship. For the first time in my life, I had arrived.

The first semester granted me an unjustifiable freedom. I took full advantage by growing pot in my dorm room, drinking heavily and building a not-so-stealth adult film station beneath my lofted bed.

Two men shared a room with me. Two very unlucky men. One even wrote an article about how horrible I was as a roommate. He uses the phrase, "...as far as awful roomates go, he's legendary." And he was not lying.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

A heartfelt hello to Addictionland members!  Just to let you know, I have been privileged to write a column for the Sun Sentinel (online version) to impact the South Florida community where I reside.

 

Feel free to take a look and comment on any topic you would like to hear more about.  Also, contribute in the comments section and I will post your comments!

 

http://www.hypesouthflorida.com/sober-and-sunny/

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello and Welcome Recovery Seekers and Friends,

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Many of us in recovery seem to look for that “Quick Fix” as we begin our recovery journey. Sadly, it doesn’t work out that way. If you want to reach long-term recovery from addicted compulsive gambling,…..you need to start by coming to terms that “Your Recovery” is “Progress and not Perfection”! As gamblers, we are trained within our addiction to want things NOW, that instant gratification. Especially the addicted ”Slot Players” like myself. Cards and other gambling vice’s were just to slow for me as I wanted to put my money in and WIN,…..RIGHT NOW! I think many in recovery understand what I mean.
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But when you cross over into uncontrolled addicted gambling, that will also keep you in the cycle of the addiction. Your either out “Chasing your Loss’, or when you WIN you think you’ll win every time you go gambling.” Which is called chasing the WINS. So your doomed either way as you get deeper and deeper in debt, and lose yourself in your addiction! For me, I got so lost that I didn’t want to LIVE anymore. I felt like a slave to gambling, and it became more of a job than fun.
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A job I really hated to go to, but the constant nagging, urges, and triggers I could NOT get rid of. I never thought about what the workers at the Casino’s were thinking when I asked “7 times in only 2 hours” to watch my Slot Machine for me when I’d keep going to the ATM to get more and more money to put in those F_ _ king machines! Do you think they ever once asked themselves, “Man, this woman is out of control”! OF COURSE NOT! They would “Smile Sweetly” and tell me “GOOD LUCK THIS TIME”……That’s their JOB.

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No, I can not be mad at the workers, I was the one who chose to keep stuffing those machines with money I really didn’t have. Many who have “NO IDEA” about addicted gambling think that it is “OUR CHOICE” to be stupid. Not all true! Yes, those who have never been touched by any addiction just doesn’t understand,…..WHICH IS CALLED *STIGMA.* I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll become an addicted gambler and shatter my life all to hell. This disease is a slow progressive addiction.
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There is SO much stigma around the problem of addicted & problem gambling today. WHY? Because gambling is seen as fun, and a form of entertainment. But, it is like anything else, when you do something in ”Excess” you run the “RISK” of becoming addicted. So my good friends at http://www.ncrg.org have some good information about “Gambling Addiction” facts about this cunning disease….
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About NCRG:

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is the only national organization exclusively devoted to funding research that helps increase understanding of pathological and youth gambling and find effective methods of treatment for the disorder. The NCRG is the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) affiliated charity.

Founded in 1996 as a separate 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the NCRG’s mission is to help individuals and families affected by gambling disorders by supporting the finest peer-reviewed, scientific research into pathological and youth gambling; encouraging the application of new research findings to improve prevention, diagnostic, intervention and treatment strategies; and advancing public education about gambling disorders and responsible gaming.
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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

It’s been four years since I emerged from rehab, blinking into the new light of sobriety, a shivering, puking, frightened wreck. That terrified wreck is still inside me, I don’t suppose she will ever go away, and I don’t suppose I will ever want her to – it’s that part of me that keeps me sober. Keeps me sane (ish) and centred, no matter what life throws at me. But what has recovery given me? What have I learnt so far?

Recovery has given me everything – a life. End of.

It has also given me everything that comes with a life ie a profound realisation of my failures, my fears, my insecurities, my disappointments and expectations, my long-held resentments, my pride, my vanity and, for good measure, my greed. It has given me loss, a deep grief which has become a treasure chest of wisdom, and hope as clear and sharp as a sunny winter morning. It has given me difficulties and strife, chaos and uncertainty punctuated by glimmers of deep resonance, kindness, friendship and love in every possible permutation. It has given me, me.

So, today, sitting here with four years’ of sobriety and (relative) sanity behind me, and a present filled with opportunity and potential, I want to share these small pearls of wisdom gleaned from the recovery trenches:

1) Sometimes you need to do the wrong thing to get to the right place

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Yesterday, I attended a recovery meeting for women in which many of the women shared about their dependency on a multitude of things other than drugs or alcohol. One woman with many years of sobriety shared about her addiction to the phone app Candy Crush, while another woman newly sober stated she could not stop eating M&Ms.

When I walked through the doors of my first recovery meeting, I believed it would be impossible for me to stop relying upon the variety of substances I needed to cope. A wise elder suggested that I concern myself with the primary addiction which would destroy my life first. For me, that was alcohol and drugs, since the combination landed me in an emergency room.

It is hard for a newcomer to understand that recovery takes time and it is important for us to accept ourselves and conditions we are uncomfortable with in order to recover. Knowing myself and my addiction very well after 15 years of recovery, I do not tempt my addictive side with games like Candy Crush. As for my food addiction, I am able to ingest sugar today without being set off on a binge.

These circumstances and decisions come naturally when I continue to work a spiritual program of action on a daily basis. The point I am making is time takes time and easy does it. We did not get addicted in a day and we will not turn around those addictive patterns in a day.

Consciousness will enlarge any thing we put our attention on. The literature says that alcoholics have magnifying minds. This means that the most important thing I can do on a daily basis is put my attention, as often as possible, on the positive thoughts, actions and a Power greater than myself. The more I focus on the good I want to grow in my life, the more that goodness will grow.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

This is my last blog as the addiction expert for the month of March.  I want to thank Cate for including me in such an inspirational cause and for those who took the time to read my blog, it was a blessing to be part of such an important website with so many goals, education, and support.  I do hope that my posts were able to help others the way they have helped me and they certainly reminded me of where I came from and of the progess I have made in the past six years.  It has not been easy reliving my past, but in order to reach out to even just one person, to me it has been entirely worth it.

I will leave my last blog with the notion of being of service.  Being of service is a gift that you receive while in sobriety, or even working on a better version of yourself, it is an intrigal tool in maintaining a level head and in getting out of your head, while in turn, assisting others in need.

I feel as though I have been given a special and unique way to be of service, by helping to pass laws in Washington, DC, being a spokesperson for the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, making a public service announcement for the Alliance for Consumer Education, and when not working in treatment assiting other addicts, alcoholics, those with eating disorders and co-occurring disorders, I am able to help people in need from around the country.  I use my company website to post only positive, life-enriching quotes.

But being of service does not have to be that grand.  Being of service is saying hello to a newcomer in a meeting, passing on your experience, strength, and hope by leading a meeting, being an active participant, a sponsor, or simply leading by example.  Because not only do these actions help those around you, people that can relate to what you have been through or what you are going through, it benefits you as well.  Even as much as a positive comment or smile can help someone who is having a difficult day, as I'm sure you can relate, and I'm sure there has been a time when someone's random act of kindness has changed your day, if only for a moment, but definitely for the better.

This is not something that is specific to AA, NA, OA, etc., this is a practice that assists us in our daily lives.  I find that the more positive acts I do in my daily life for others, the easier it is to fight away that depression and anxiety, and the more it gives me purpose.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Inhalant Abuse and Prevention Update:  The Alliance for Consumer Education has put together a site where you can go and make a pledge to talk to your child about the dangers of inhalant use, as Children are 50% less likely to try an inhalant if an adult role model talks to them about the dangers of inhalant abuse.  I have attached the following link for those who might be interested.

http://www.inhalant.org/nipaw/talk-child/

They also have public service announcements related to inhalant abuse from those affected, family members from children who have passed away, as well as former users, like myself.  I did a public service announcement with my mother and sister some years back for the Alliance for Consumer Education and the results of their effectiveness are amazing.

Www.inhalant.org also offers an Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit, quiz, and lesson plans for anyone looking.

 

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

When overcoming an addiction of any kind no one should try to go it alone. It is a difficult process with a lot of ups and downs. For this reason it is important to have a reliable support group around you that you can lean on when it gets difficult. Friends and family are key to overcoming addiction, but there is another resource for those overcoming an addiction that can be very beneficial. This resource is support groups.

If you’re not exactly sure what a support group is, how it works or who should join one, then read on. A support group might be the solution for yourself or a loved one.

What is a Support Group?

A support group is a group of people who get together for the sake of encouraging each other because of similar addictions. The most popular and common support group around is alcoholics anonymous, better known as AA.

In these groups participation is encouraged, but not required. Participation simply looks like one talking about themselves and their issues. Who they are and what brought them there. It is common that in support groups each person is assigned a sponsor or an accountability partner. These are people that you can call when you are feeling the need to abuse a substance. They are those who will frequently check up on you to make sure you are doing alright. They offer advice and encouragement.

If you find yourself in a very intense and destructive addiction situation then you may need to admit yourself into a rehabilitation clinic or detox center. These facilities also offer support groups in-house.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

your teen’s experimentation with drugs and alcohol may be the cause, or at least a trigger, of the defiant behavior?

If so, the time to get control of your teen’s negative behavior is now. Oftentimes, parents try to ignore bad behavior, hoping it will just “grow” away. But, things just end up going from bad to worse. In time, you also end up losing your credibility as an influential authority figure in your teen’s life. And, once that’s gone, it’s extremely hard to gain it back.

Now, throw in the issues of addiction. People can become addicted to just about anything: alcohol, narcotics, prescription drugs, shopping, eating, social networking, internet use, exercising, video games, pornography, and even sex. When it comes to teen addiction, it’s important for parents to take action immediately. Ignoring the problem, or taking a passive approach, will only lead to even more defiant behaviors.

The Myth about Hitting Rock Bottom

American culture, along with various infamous alcohol and drug addiction programs, are sticklers about the “hitting rock bottom” myth. The general idea is that an addict must sink to the lowest depths possible before he/she will accept help. Now, don’t get it wrong. When parents seek help for teen addictions, it’s often the direct result of the family hitting rock bottom, not the teen specifically.

When it comes to teens, however, it’s best that parents get help for both addiction and teen defiance long before teens reach the bottom of the pit. In most cases, teens who are forced into treatment do just as well as teens who seek out treatment for themselves. As a matter of fact, there’s some really innovative technology available these days, related to addiction treatment. So, even defiant teens who are violently against treatment have been known to sober up and straighten up, with professional help.

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Tagged in: addiction Defiance teens
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
Is It Time to Slow Down The Expansion Of Casino’s And State Lotteries? YES!!

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Senior Citizens Feeling the Grip of Gambling Addiction
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With the availability of casinos in more than half of the U.S. states, senior citizens are becoming more and more addicted to gambling.

According to the Las Vegas Problem Gambling Center, around 40% of the people they see are over the age of 50 and more disturbing is that often chronic health conditions within this group are related to gambling addiction.

Some years ago, San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor who is in her 60’s and who was addicted to video poker, landed herself in a $13 million debt to various casinos and even at one point, she used more than $3 million from a charity foundation that her late husband had set up.

The problem seems to be growing daily as the number of casinos in the U.S. has grown from being limited to Atlantic City and Nevada while now, these casinos are available in more than 30 states with more on the way.

Without consistent monthly income, these seniors are cashing in their social security checks in the hope of catching the big one, but this just isn’t the case and the gambling addiction problem is simply growing daily.

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