Category Archives: Information

Addiction Recovery and Creating New Neural Pathways

Beauty of a Butterfly

 

Like a lot of other human endeavors, we delight in the beauty of cleanliness and sobriety but rarely get down to brass tacks and discuss the nuts and bolts of it. One of the largest facets of the addiction paradigm takes place in our minds, and which relies upon destructive mental and emotional constructs built to achieve feeding the addiction at any cost. In many ways, we’re very often completely unaware of these constructs until we take the addictive substance away, in which case they kick into high gear and all we know are the miseries of withdrawal.

Given that both the constructs themselves and the work of breaking them down and building new, healthier ones in their place is largely internal through thought and behavioral processes, a good deal of it literally involves changing your own brain, one neural pathway at a time. And, uh, how does one go about doing that, you ask?

I just ran across an article (see below) I want to share which explains in the simplest of terms the process I and other addicts have used to get from Point A to all points beyond. It all seems and sounds very easy; I can assure you, it’s not. It’s hard, dirty, messy work that takes an enormous amount of energy, dedication, practice and perseverance, and is only one part of the transformation from addict to recovering person. But it’s an absolutely essential part that can make all the difference between success and failure and is worth every bit of effort involved.

I don’t know about you, but I learn by doing, and have come to discover that a great part of life is action – even from the inside out! This is a subject dear to my heart, so please see the article here - and as always, any and all comments are most welcome!

 

 

 

New LifeRing Meeting In Wadsworth, OH!

LifeRing is pleased to announce, in addition to a meeting already running Akron, Ohio (see info. here), that a new meeting also in the Akron area in Wadsworth, Ohio is set to begin next Wednesday, September 17th. Feel free to also check out LifeRing Akron’s fantastic web and Facebook pages listed below, as well.

Meeting Information

The information for the new meeting can be found below; the information for all of LifeRing’s meetings can be found here:

Meeting Name: Wadsworth Akron LifeRing

When: Wednesdays at 1:00 PM, beginning September 17th

Where: Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad Street, Wadsworth, OH 44281

Convenor: Cheryl G.

Contact Information: E-Mail: liferingakron@gmail.com Phone: (234) 200-5770

Web Information:

Website     liferingakron.yolasite.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/lifering.akron.secular.recovery?ref=hl

Congratulations to Cheryl and all future meeting members – we wish you all the best!

September Is National Recovery Month!

National Recovery Month

 

Thanks to the nice little recovery blog of a young sobrietist I follow, Sober Senorita, I’ve learned that September is National Recovery Month in the U.S., sponsored by SAMHSA – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. If you’re interested in learning more, check it out on their website hereand perhaps in the spirit of speaking up and out you might even feel possessed to share your own recovery story there. But if not there…

What about here? I know I’d certainly love to hear your stories no matter where you’re at in the process as I’m sure all of our blog readers would, so please feel free to share them in the Comments below!

Additionally, I will be posting as many recovery-related topics throughout the month as I possibly can, so stay tuned. And…

In the meantime, a little word about my own recovery story: For those who’ve read the first two parts of it (Part One is here and Part Two here) and have been patiently waiting on the third and final installment, please bear with me just a little bit longer. I started out one way and realized I was veering way off course into a completely separate area of discussion (which I will also post at some point down the road), so I had to start over, and am still doing a little fine-tuning.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m a little OCD about my writing in a way I’m not sure is healthy – it’s my understanding that you’re supposed to just let it all come out, whatever it is, and then go back and mold and edit into a more desirable shape for presentation, but I seem to have the troublesome habit of wanting to edit myself from the word go. It’s one more thing I’m hoping to conquer as time goes by, and yet maintain a standard of posting quality work, so…

What else can I say? The blog and I: We’re a Work in Progress.™ :D

P.S. The Books page is also coming along nicely, and should be up in the next coupla weeks – will let you know when it is!

 

The Wolves of Silicon Valley

Keyboard Blur

 

I had a dream last night that I was at an airport, leaving to go on a week-long vacation (to Italy, of course!)  and was trying to figure out a way to inform you, Faithful Blog Reader, that you wouldn’t be seeing any  new posts while I was gone, and upon waking, I decided that this is my sub-conscious’ way of letting me  know:

 A). That the blog has become so important to me I’m now dreaming about it, and

2). That it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new (or perhaps, just anything interesting :-P ), and I’d better get on it!

So today, I return to a topic that’s already been covered here but which continues to fascinate me in the way that it grows in ever-surprising, ever-disturbing, and seemingly unlikely ways.

Such as: How college-educated, mostly white, often male, middle to upper middle class, young-to-middle-aged urban professional, casual drug users – i.e. people who “should know better” – graduate from using a little of this or a little of that to help them keep up with their overwhelming workloads or wind down from them into abusing harder, cheaper, and illegal drugs, and often in seemingly innocuous milieus…such as the IT-laden land of tech industry behemoths running their shows in Silicon Valley, California.

In other words, this is not your father’s heroin addict.

A most recent case in point – the Google executive, a married father of five children who brought a “high-class” call girl aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz, CA for a little afternoon delight and ended up injected with a lethal dose of heroin and left to die alone  - wasn’t an anomaly, according this this article featured in San Jose Mercury News (which, I’m happy to note, also contains a quote from an interview with LifeRing’s own Byron Kerr).

It’s apparently just one among the many potential fates waiting to befall his peers coping with high-stress, high-income careers in the IT industry, where the supply-and-demand ratio means one can barely keep one’s head above water on a good day without a pharmaceutical booster (or 12). It reminds me a great deal of the stockbrokers working in Jordan Belfort’s 80′s shady stocks firm as depicted in Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Anyone unfortunate enough to have seen the movie (what can I say? I love Scorsese, just not this time) likely knows what I’m getting at. I can just imagine the same non-stop, debauched hookers and blowfest as depicted in “Wolf…” going on behind the closed doors of every tech company in the Valley, from the start-ups to the giants (Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. etc. etc.), and beyond, where it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure! And everyone’s in on it.

Talk about a weird, scary new facet in American life. Is this really what it takes to make it in the tech industry, or is it just another, updated permutation of the drug culture tinged with hysteria and “Wolf”-like hyperbole?

One gets the sense from the Mercury News article’s comments section it’s long been the former becoming newly hyped by as the latter, and the utter lack of compassion I’ve seen from commenters across the board on multiple web stories about the deceased Google executive, which amounts to “he chose to take the heroin, therefore he chose to die, and good riddance to bad rubbish”, leaves me feeling defeated and cold.

Whatever the hell is going on, I don’t know about you, but I don’t find myself particularly reassured, after all the years we’ve been talking about drugs, alcohol and addiction, this distorted perception that it’s all just a “choice” is as far as we’ve gotten.

And on that light and airy note, I wish you all a happy, healthy and good day, and would love to hear some feedback from any of you who have any thoughts about any of this, as well!

 

Sobriety, dual diagnosis, and personal OTC self-help

First, I want to make clear that this is just about my personal experiences, since Lifering is about personalized, individualized, self-empowerment, or self-help.

That said, let’s jump into what’s on my mind.

A fair percentage of people who eventually have addictive problems to drugs or alcohol are “dual diagnosis.” That is, they have some mental health issue connected with their addiction. Often it’s depression. Often it’s anxiety. Sometimes it’s bipolar disorder, occasionally schizophrenia.

For people that have “simple” depression or anxiety, and have been to a doctor before, for lower-level depression or anxiety, it’s tempting to self-medicate with over-the-counter items. For example, it’s a “commonplace” that Benadryl can help mild anxiety. Many people use St. John’s wort for mild depression. Beyond that, over-the-counter versions of lithium compounds, somewhat similar to, but not the same as, the prescription versions, are available. And more.

But, even over-the-counter medications aren’t risk free.

For example, prescription lithium has a narrow range of dosages. The non-prescription versions are presumably similar.

With St. John’s wort, there are studies indicating it can help with some cases of mild-moderate depression. There’s no “magic secret” as to why, though. The active ingredient is an MAO inhibitor, just like the first class of anti-depressant medications. Given that prescription MAO inhibitors come with certain warnings, like not combining them with aged cheeses, something similar might apply to St. John’s worth.

And, there’s the placebo effect. A lot of people swear by GABA, a natural neurotransmitter, to help with anxiety. However, GABA does not cross what’s known as the blood-brain barrier, therefore people are presumably just talking about a placebo effect.

Also, just as a prescription anti-depressant that works for one person might not work well for another, the same is true of these OTC self-helps.

A Lifering friend mentioned his doctor suggested he take a new OTC medication, which is GABA chemically linked to niacin, the B vitamin. He said it helped totally kill alcohol cravings, as well as some anxiety.

I decided to order it myself; it’s readily available online.

Well, my “sample size date” is only 10 days so far, but, I may discontinue it after another week.

While it’s not quite making me MORE anxious, I have had trouble falling asleep since then. I’ve had a couple of issues in my mind, but, this may be a contributing factor.

For me, the one time I went to a doctor with even more serious anxiety, it was anti-depressants that helped.

There’s nothing wrong with a prescription from a doctor, and there’s nothing magical about over-the-counter items. It never hurts to get professional advice.