rachael wurzman on how social isolation leads to relapse

What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction, and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman — and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.

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a true story

Here’s a little vid well worth watching. ‘I Think I was an Alcoholic’ is based on the cartoon strip by John Callahan. It is, as one might think, a true story.

for radio friendly users: rock and recovery

Just to set the stage, here’s a fantastic 1985 blasto from the past: Little Steven Van Zandt and an incredible crowd of folks in a memorable song/vid to protest the former Apartheid Policy of South Africa. Keep your eyes out for Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Joey Ramone (RIP), Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed (RIP), Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela (RIP), Bono, Herbie Hancock, Jackson Browne… the list goes on and on. Check it out:

Go on. You know you want to watch the whole thing.

Here’s something really worth paying attention to: WAPS-FM is an Akron, OH radio station that specifically reaches out to people experiencing addiction, trauma and mental health issues. Centered in the the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous and the modern recovery movement – Rock and Recovery™ mixes music with stories and resources that will inspire and offer strength and hope to support each individual recovery journey

Rock and Recovery™ weaves “information capsules” – personal stories, anecdotes and real-time, modern intervention strategies – from professional health-care providers, recovering addicts and their families, artists, awesome musicians like Little Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen), Richie Furay (Poco, Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (Hollies, CSNY), Jorma Kaukonan (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), and James Young (Styx).

Listen for the ultra-personal My Recovery Rocks sound bytes and Rock and Recovery™ Minutes on air and online, and download the app here for full live interviews, through Recovery Talks! In addition to the dedicated streaming audio website and mobile app, the site also offers a fast-growing and active social media community on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, that means I’d have to actually be on Facebook — you know, have an account — and of course, I’d rather stick rusted forks in both my eyes than go back on fb. However, Twitter’s an okay thing, I think, and this site’s stuff goes to my own page there just as it’s posted here.

So… there we be. Rock and Recovery™ is a good place to settle in for a bit. Check it out and see how it works for you.

has seasonal affective disorder, um… got you down?

It’s that magic time of the year in this part of the magical forest. Despite the incredibly mild — some would say, ‘non-existent’ — winter wonderland we’ve managed to enjoy so far this season, today marks the first truly ‘winter-like’ day we’ve had in Central Indiana since, oh… last year. Really.

I guess the strongest indicator was the temperature high today was an Arctic 24 degrees F  with snow flurries all day long. So it’s worth noting that along with the onset of genuine winter weather comes something even more grim that has a profound, bleak impact on those it overwhelms. I am, of course, referring to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Back in the eighties, SAD was officially recognized and categorized as a form of depression with an annual recurrence, a condition far more debilitating than your average “winter blues.” Today SAD is considered a diagnosable (and insurable) disorder. Treatment ranges from psychotherapy to antidepressants to light therapy — large boxes that look like tanning beds filled with lightbulbs for your face.

So… all that to say this: Victoria B. at 800 recovery hub blog has a brief, easy to read, but nevertheless superb overview of four steps to challenge and control SAD. Now that we are actually heading into winter, it pays to be equipped to deal with the Old Man with everything we have to bring to the table. So go read it. You’ll be more content that you did.

 

repost from follow the bread crumbs: twelve steps under attack

Okay, here’s a delightfully and very informative post from follow the bread crumbs on maintaining perspectives on the Twelve Steps program when we hear or read what “wisdom” others may have to offer about how we restore our lives.

Read the entire thing.

Follow the Bread Crumbs

I didn’t really start coming “out” about my life of recovery until the last year or so (which was at almost seven years sober). It’s not that I was purposely trying to hide anything, but I guess I wanted to get some time under my belt and allow people to make their mind up about me before knowing my past. I think that now that I have established the type of person that I am, I have a lot more confidence in telling people that I am in recovery. In fact, it has now become a blog, an Instagram, and a Twitter…who would have ever thought?

While I didn’t really know what to expect when I started on my “recover out loud” journey, one thing for sure has been a HUGE surprise; there are a ton of people out there that are very much against Twelve Step programs. Some simply…

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article from thefix: setting boundaries in sobriety

From author and researcher Victor Yocco at thefix comes an excellent article on setting boundaries, something that few, if any, addicts tend to really have much of a grasp on.

People with addiction issues are not used to setting boundaries, especially when those boundaries involve behaviors we have reinforced for years.

I spent years violating boundaries as a drunk. Particularly when it came to relationships. Piss me off and I’d become belligerent. Let me drink all night and I’d throw up on your carpet. Invite me to a party and I’ll embarrass you in front of your friends. Weddings? Absolutely! Sign me up as the drunkest attendee. For drunks, the people who let us violate their boundaries are the ones we come back to over and over again.

Ah… but sobriety really turns things upside down… or rightside up, I guess is the case. Yocco does a solid job of presenting his own decisions in going sober, and boundary-setting issues with the girlfriend who became his wife. 

Good article with some solid insights. And it ends well. So got check it out. 

repost from alcoholfree2016: perfectionism

I really appreciate the post from alcoholfree2016 on the self-defeating belief that moral or spiritual perfection /pərˈfekSHəˌnizəm/ is somehow attainable in our lifetime… if we simply strive for it. Fortunately, she pops that balloon rather quickly:

‘Perfectionism’ doesn’t mean that you are , or even think you can be, perfect. It means you beat yourself up when you are NOT perfect.

Which given that no-one is perfect, you can always do better, and the range of tasks and things one needs to do every day is so vast …. it means beating yourself up about everything, every single day.

Go read the who thing, of course. And she has a very helpful chart there on how the unrealistic desire for perfection easily leads to depression. So go. Now.

repost from functioningguzzler: it’s not magic, but being sober sure feels like it

Simply put, this is a repost — an amazing repost — from one of my favorite bloggers from across the Pond. As I type this on my Toshiba laptop, functioningguzzler is observing her 11th month sober, and she wrote a straight-from-the-heart, honest post noting for each sober month “eleven reasons why being sober really does feel like magic.”

So… I’m just going to tease with the first two reasons, because I know these are more than enough to swing on by her awesome site for the other nine. Seriously, how could you not?

  1. LIFE – Living under the hazy cloud of being an alcoholic isn’t living, I was just turning up and going through the motions with very little feeling involved.
  2. FEELINGS – The GOOD & the BAD emotions, I’m feeling them both now and sadly it’s impossible to have one without the other but that’s okay because I am dealing with them and no longer burying them.

Honestly, from my 8-years-9-months of sobriety, I had sorta forgotten what a lot of that felt like. Best of all, though, functioningguzzler has included in her list “the things that ARE better and things that I am working on to be better.”

Most excellent reading. We are all on this healing journey together.

repost from walking in sober boots: why I changed my twitter handle, again

via Why I Changed My Twitter Handle, Again

Money quote:

But a lot has changed in the past few years. I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin. I’ve learned that nobody gives a shit what’s in my glass at a party or a work happy hour. They just want me to be there. And more importantly, I’ve learned not to give a shit about it. I’ve gotten comfortable with my status as a person in long term recovery.

Go read the whole thing. It’s outstanding.

before tackling the inventory problem (step four continued)

Part one was posted by Lydia back in August band can be found here. Great stuff.

Don't Drink and Don't Die

Before tackling the inventory problem in detail, let’s have a closer look at what the basic problem is.  Simple examples like the following take on a world of meaning when we think about them.  Suppose a person places sex desire ahead of everything else.  In such a case, this imperious urge can destroy his chances for material and emotional security as well as his standing in the community.  Another may develop such an obsession for financial security that he wants to do nothing but hoard money.  Going to the extreme, he can become a miser, or even a recluse who denies himself both family and friends.

There’s something somewhere.  Maybe further along in this step?  Where we who have escaped such extremes congratulate ourselves, or something like that.  Right now, I’m looking for the “world of meaning.”  I recently went to a meeting where they discussed Step Five, and I…

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repost from functioningguzzler: festive season my arse

via Festive Season My Arse — Functioningguzzler

I was thinking in the last couple of days that I really don’t have anything to say on here at the moment. This got me thinking further because I generally always have something even if it’s dumb or a rambling mess. Now I realize that the reason I don’t FEEL like I have anything to say is because internally I am shutting down. Previously I have had alcohol to lean on and numb myself over this period but this time I don’t have that crutch. []