Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving

hope it's a good start of the holiday

enjoy being present for family & friends

try to be tolerant of those who drink

and remember it's not turkey that
makes you sleepy;
it's the other 3,000 calories we consume

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

from Stanton Peele

there seems to be much contradiction
about the disease concept of alcoholism...

The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, November 20, 2009. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

United States Changes Its Mind on Addiction - It's Not a Chronic Brain Disease After All

Nora Volkow and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) insist, based on peering at MRIs, that addiction is a chronic brain disease. You know - you saw it on HBO, and your kids learn this in school.

But, as I point out to Nora, she's looking in the wrong place. If you examine actual human lives, addiction is an interaction between people and their worlds that changes with time.

Now the NIDA's sister organization - the NIAAA or National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (remember, Joe Biden wants to change the names of both organizations because he knows addiction is a disease) - agrees with me.

According to Dr. Mark Willenbring, director of treatment and recovery research at NIAAA, "We're on the cusp of some major advances in how we conceptualize alcoholism."

This discovery, which I have described for decades , is based on the most sophisticated study yet conducted of Americans' drinking histories. Called NESARC (National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions), the study questioned a random national sample of over 43,000 Americans about their lifetime and current drinking.

Of this group, almost 4,500 had been alcohol dependent (read alcoholic) at one point in their lives. And, although 70% had never been treated or gone to Alcoholics Anonymous, most had ceased their alcoholism - even though most had not stopped drinking!

NESARC Past-Year Status of Alcoholics (columns percentaged)
Past Year Status Treated (n=1,205) Untreated (n=3,217)
Dependent 28 24
Abstinent 35 12
Drinking w/o dependence 36 64
Source: Dawson et al. (2005).

About 30% of Americans had experienced some kind of alcohol disorder, including abuse along with dependence, but about 70% of those quit drinking or cut back to safe consumption patterns without treatment after four years or less.

Only a tiny minority (1%) fit the stereotypical image of someone with severe, recurring alcohol addiction that Alcoholics Anonymous, addiction disease proponents like Volkow, and American mythology consider typical. According to Willenbring, "It can be a chronic, relapsing disease. But it isn't usually that."

Take that, Nora!

According to the lead researcher on the project, Deborah Dawson, NESARC data show that alcohol use disorders are "less a mental disorder than a maladaptive pattern of behavior."

In a three-year follow-up of initial respondents, Dawson and her colleagues found that alcohol dependence was "strongly associated with changes in mental/psychological functioning." Alcohol dependence causes significant decreases in mental health and coping, but social functioning and mental health underwent "significant increases among those who achieved full and partial remission from dependence" (meaning alcoholics who continued drinking with either no, or reduced, problems).

Now comes the most amazing part. The increases in social functioning and mental health "were equally great for abstinent and nonabstinent remission from dependence, but improvements in bodily pain and general health were associated with nonabstinent remission only" (that means the alcoholics who reduced their drinking).

My Life Process Program is exclusively abstinence based - although we recognize the reality that lifetime abstinence rarely occurs. But government researchers - based on the best epidemiological research yet conducted - now inform us that people who recover without quitting drinking are healthier than those who quit altogether.

Go figure.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday quotes

Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.
- Don Galer

The first step toward change is acceptance. Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do. Change is not something you do, it's something you allow.
- Will Garcia

I am learning to be patient and compassionate with myself as I gain the courage to be true to myself.
- Shakti Gawain

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.
- Nikki Giovanni

We all know a fool when we see one -- but not when we are one.
- Arnold H. Glasgow

It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
- Robert H. Goddard

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.
- Goldsmith

Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go and you learn at once how big and precious it is.
- Maxim Gorky

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take...
- Wayne Gretzky

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
- Tenzin Gyatso

If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?
- Sydney J. Harris

Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
Vaclav Havel

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Saturday, November 21, 2009


interesting article;

Drunk Drivers with Kids in Car Could Face Felonies in N.Y.
November 19, 2009

The New York state Assembly has passed a bill that would make it a felony offense to drive while intoxicated if children under age 16 are in the vehicle, the New York Times reported Nov. 18.

The bill also would require first-time convicted drunk drivers to install ignition-interlock devices on their cars to prevent repeat offenses.

Currently, only Arizona makes it a felony offense to drive drunk with children; about a dozen states require the ignition-interlock devices, which prevent the engine from starting if a breath sample reveals the presence of alcohol. New Yorkers convicted of felony drunk driving would face up to four years in prison under the bill.

The legislation follows a pair of impaired-driving cases in New York that caused the deaths of young children, including a crash on the Taconic Parkway that killed eight people and an incident where a drunk woman flipped her car on the Henry Hudson Parkway, killing Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old friend of her daughter.

"Everyone who takes a drink and gets behind the wheel is going to think twice about driving whether there are children in the car," said Lenny Rosado, the victim's father. "My daughter's name and her death will make a difference."

New York Gov. David Patterson supports the bill.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


am I grateful today?

looking at the most important facets
of life regarding health; not only physical,
but mental, emotional and spiritual.

these were all gifts that I squandered for
many years. overweight, hypertensive,
depressed and morally bankrupt became
the norm.

even though it hasn't always been a smooth
continuous journey, I have to be grateful
for the ability and opportunity to get back
on the path.

so many friends have not survived the trip
after going back out.

life still hands me lemons;
but it's ok, as long as I don't add vodka!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monday quotes

Your children will see what you're all about by what you live rather than what you say.

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that's my religion.

It is prosperity that gives us friends, adversity that proves them

If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.

Self-trust is the first secret to success.

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”

“If you see a friend without a smile; give him one of yours.”

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

“Little by little one walks far”

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

“For every dark night, there's a brighter day”

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror”

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

the 16 steps

thanks to

1) We affirm we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

Alternative: We admit/acknowledge we are out of control with/powerless over ________ yet have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

2) We come to believe that God/Goddess/Universe/Great Spirit/Higher Power awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to the power.

3) We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth.

4) We examine our beliefs, addictions and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchical, patriarchal culture.

5) We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.

6) We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.

7) We become willing to let go of shame, guilt, and any behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.

8) We make a list of people we have harmed and people who have harmed us, and take steps to clear out negative energy by making amends and sharing our grievances in a respectful way.

9) We express love and gratitude to others and increasingly appreciate the wonder of life and the blessings we do have.

10) We learn to trust our reality and daily affirm that we see what we see, we know what we know and we feel what we feel.

11) We promptly admit to mistakes and make amends when appropriate, but we do not say we are sorry for things we have not done and we do not cover up, analyze, or take responsibility for the shortcomings of others.

12) We seek out situations, jobs, and people who affirm our intelligence, perceptions and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful, or demeaning to us.

13) We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress, and have fun.

14) We seek to find our inward calling, and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.

15) We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for our growth.

16) We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

while it may be sacrilege for some, to alter any facet of aa,
I find these steps to be absolutely on target for anyone
seeking continued recovery from drugs & alcohol.

sure many argue "it works if you work it";
I don't believe for a minute that many of the 90+ percent
of folks who never recover through aa, didn't do all
that was suggested to them.

it is the complex nature and power of addiction that
is resistant to treatment.

if only these 16 step meetings were more readily available...
perhaps many more could find the path to progressive wellness.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


the 4 stages of rehab;

When you decide to enter a professional alcohol and drug treatment program, you will begin a journey through four distinct stages of rehab recovery as you learn to develop a clean and sober lifestyle.

The four stages of rehab described here - treatment initiation, early abstinence, maintaining abstinence and advanced recovery - were developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for its "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide" resource for healthcare providers.

In this model, recovery is a lifelong process.


When you reach out for help from a professional alcohol and drug rehab program, you begin the first stage of your recovery, treatment initiation. Whether you seek help voluntarily or are forced by circumstances to enter rehab, your recovery process will begin with you initiating professional treatment.

Once you have made a commitment to continue treatment for your substance abuse problem, you will enter the second stage of rehab known as early abstinence. This can be the toughest stage to cope with because of many factors, including continued withdrawal symptoms, physical cravings, psychological dependence and a host of triggers that can tempt you into a relapse.

After approximately 90 days of continual abstinence, you will move from the early abstinence stage of recovery to the third stage, maintaining abstinence. If you started in a residential treatment program, you will now move to the continuing or follow-up counseling phase of your rehab program on an outpatient basis.

One focus of this stage of rehab is obviously to maintain abstinence by avoiding a relapse. You will learn the warning signs and the steps that can lead up to a relapse.

4)The fourth stage of alcohol and drug rehab is reaching advanced recovery in which you have achieved long-lasting abstinence and have made a commitment to continue to lead a lifelong sober lifestyle. Advanced recovery, sometimes called stable recovery, usually begins after five years of sustained abstinence.

Throughout your continuing care phase of your professional rehab program, you have not only learned to maintain abstinence, you have also learned to make more healthy and productive choices in all areas of your life. Advanced recovery is living that healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday quotes

Don't let anyone steal your Dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.
- Jack Cainfield

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
- Joseph Campbell

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.
- Jack Canfield

You really have to look inside and find your inner strength, and say, "I'm proud of what I am and who I am, and I'm just going to be myself."
- Mariah Carey

How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
- George Washington Carver

The capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest meaning and significance.
- Pablo Casals

Every winner has scars.
- Herbert N. Casson

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
- Willa Cather

Star The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.
- Nicolas Chamfort

If you're still hanging onto a dead dream of yesterday, laying flowers on its grave by the hour, you cannot be planting the seeds for a new dream to grow today.
- Joyce Chapman

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who'll never find out.
- Frank A. Clark

We are, each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.
- Luciano de Crescenzo

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
- Marie Curie

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Friday, November 6, 2009



the state or quality of being serene, calm or tranquil.

This was the topic at last nights house meeting.
we are all familiar with the serenity prayer,
yet everyone has their own view of what
the feeling actually consists of.

In essence it is the exact opposite of the chaos,
insecurity and agitation of our former days.

What comes to mind for me is the Eagles song,
"peaceful easy feeling";

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
against your skin, it's so brown
and I wanna sleep with you
in the desert tonight
with a billion stars all around
'cause I gotta peaceful easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the
And I found out a long time ago
what a woman can do to your soul
Ah, but she can't take you anyway
You don't already know how to go
and I gotta peaceful, easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground
I get this feeling I may know you
as a lover and a friend
but this voice keeps whispering
in my other ear, tells me
I may never see you again
'cause I get a peaceful, easy feeling
and I know you won't let me down
'cause I'm already standing on the ground
'cause I'm already standing...
on the ground

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

asking for help

Not always the easiest task for many of us.

I know for this alcoholic coming in holding
on to ego, false pride, arrogance and a
"know it all" attitude, it was nearly impossible.

After all, I was a functioning alcoholic, or so I thought.
I had been holding onto the illusion of control.

As time went on it gradually became easier
to ask for help and guidance.
My way and only gotten me back to old
habits and eventually failure.

Today I seek knowledge from those who are
willing to share their experience.
In recent years I have become a student
of addiction and recovery.

Not only is it about knowledge, but how to
apply what I learn to my daily life.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

upcoming holidays

Soon a common topic in the rooms will
be the upcoming terror trilogy of holidays

Thanksgiving is commonly the easiest
to handle for most alcoholics
Not known for raucous celebration and ceremonial
toasts, the day we give thanks centers mainly around food
Though I do admit I did look forward to a good
wine with dinner , the main focus was usually on the next course.

Next up is Christmas, complete with work parties,
stressful shopping, decorating and for some,
dread of certain family members.
Many of us remember the constant availability of
spiked eggnog, aperitifs, and jazzy coffees,
along with the usual beer, wine and cocktails.

Having never been a fan of New Year's Eve;
which I always considered an amateur night,
it has been the easiest to handle in sobriety.

The best advice is to stay vigilant, talk about it,
and maybe hit a meeting.
accept that others can still drink safely.
It is comforting to know that we can be present
enjoy holiday festivities.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday quotes

Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart's tears can dry at their own pace.
- Vernon Baker

Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it, and I'm not afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work - and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't.
- Lucille Ball

Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.
- Honore De Balzac

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
- Basil

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melody Beattie

We all are born mad. Some remain so.
- Samuel Beckett

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.
- Hada Bejar

Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want.
- Sue Bender

Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.
- Walter Benjamin

You stand outside the circle and wonder why you feel left out, unaware that you need your own permission to join the others - not theirs.
- Rusty Berkus

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.
- Elizabeth Bibesco

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude... a quiet joy.
- Ralph H. Blum

We are co-creators with God, not puppets on a string waiting for something to happen.
- Father Leo Booth

I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep going forward.
- Charlotte Bronte

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