Author: Justin Mckibben
I got sober on Thanksgiving. I entered rehab for the second time on the 28th of November, and this year the holidays have been especially amazing for me, even though I am living miles away from my family, I feel at home. I actually was anxious about how I would be spending the holiday season without being back in my home town, and I spent a lot of time reflecting on how things were so different from the holidays before I got sober.
The holidays can be a tough time for a lot of addicts and alcoholics, even in recovery for those who are newly sober and struggling. All I can do is relate my experience, and what I found to be true when I looked back on the time I spent at home for the holidays drinking and getting high, versus the time I spent in recovery as part of that community.
Being High on the Holidays was Hurting My Family
When I used to show up to the family gathering, and sneak off to get high in the bathroom or the back-yard, I wasn’t always being as slick as I thought. I can only imagine the pain it caused the people who had watched me grow, raised me and shared so many holidays with me to see me like that. If they ever noticed they never said anything, which honestly makes me feel a little worse, because that means they suffered in silence.
Being realistic, how much could anyone truly gain from my presence? If as soon as the family is together I’m slamming down beers and dipping into my stash in my car, what kind of quality time can anyone spend with me? How many times did I waste a holiday hoping no one would catch me in the driveway, or calling my dealer and rushing away to go get high?
Selfishly I took advantage of the time I could have spent loving the people in my life and being grateful for an entire day with them, but instead I forced myself to eat so I could drink, and then begged relatives for money under the table to go get loaded, and all the while my poor parents wondering why I can’t sit through one evening with them.
Being Sober Helped Me Get My Family Back
Sobriety has given me a lot of gifts. So many gifts I cannot imagine how to depict the depths at which treatment and the program of recovery has changed my life. Even from states away, I was able to have more quality conversations in sobriety with my family than I did the last few years sitting two feet from their faces.
My relationships through this journey have changed drastically, in ways I never suspected. My parents and I communicated very little in my active addiction, unless I needed something or somewhere to crash between runs, and the holidays were a time they prayed they could hold my attention as long as possible before I ran away again, I was really good at that.
But when I got honest, everything changed. When I looked my mother in the eye and told her I did not know how to stop drinking and using drugs, a barrier between us started to crack, and through working a program and consistently staying honest with bother her and my father, those walls blocking the love out have all but evaporated. From miles away my family holds my heart in loving arms in a way I was numb to for as long as I refuse to admit my addiction.
Sobriety Gave Me New Family
The rooms of the fellowship I chose as a program of recovery have provided me with a lot of wisdom, guidance, and especially brotherhood in the past dozen months. Besides the relationships I was blessed enough to restore with my family, I was given another gift that truly is beyond my wildest dreams in many ways. I was graced with a new family in the recovery community.
I have brothers I got sober with, grew and changed with, and like any good dysfunctional family I feuded and fell down with once in a while. These were people who sat in the same seat as me, had been there before and gotten better, or who looked to me to show them what amazing things that family had for them if they wanted it. They have cried with me, and laughed with me from the gut until our chests hurt, and all of it was a gift of sobriety I never expected, and now don’t see how I ever would have survived without.
These men and women inspired me with their life stories, and they taught me with their mistakes. Best of all they met me at my lowest lows, and if first impressions are everything I must have seemed like a whole lot of nothing. I know I sure felt like it. These men and women took me in and loved me anyway, when I thought of myself as undeserving. I have been loved with great compassion ever since, and that is definitely something to be thankful for.
The gifts came in a lot of ways. The freedom from my forlorn and relentless obsession to drink and get high, the connection to a family I had hurt, and an incredible new family of sober men and women to experience life with through new eyes facing new challenges.
With all this the connection to a spiritual way of life was also one of the most paramount gifts, and that gift is actually what I believe forged the others for me. It is that gift that compels me to share that serenity and that hope with those who suffer as I did, who are afraid as I was, and who are dying like I was.
It is that gift, and the love I feel for every moment I was blessed with this past year, that is what makes me grateful for those I shared it with, and how they have taught me what it truly means to be grateful. Without sobriety, without recovery, I would probably still not know what it means to be happy and sober for the holidays.
Until next year, thank you.
If someone is holding themselves back from getting help out of fear of missing out on the holidays, I understand. But honestly I might not have made it through the holidays has I kept living the way I did, and coming to treatment for the holidays was the greatest gift I was able to receive, and able to give my family. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Tragedy related to heroin use, or drug abuse at all for that matter, is not any kind of rare occurrence. Many men and women around the world lose their lives every single day to the disease of addiction, and some drugs have a greater potential to kill faster than others. Recently there was a story about 2 tourists from the UK who were visiting Amsterdam, one of the glorified drug using areas of Europe, that died due to a case of mistaking one deadly drug for another.
The bodies of the two wayward travelers were found Tuesday in a hotel room in the south of the city, not far from traces of a mysterious white powder. Police in the Netherlands say the men, one aged 20 and the other 21 years old were both from England.
Officers related to the case stated they believe the same drugs and possibly the distributors were involved in the death of another British man last month. The police have yet released the names of the two men who died, but the Foreign Office says it’s providing assistance to family members.
Plague of White Powder
The police spokesman Rob van der Veen spoke up about the recent investigation that has been going on since mid-September, with 17 people having needed medical attention after taking white heroin in the city. All of them were tourists, which may lead authorities to believe these specific dealers are targeting out of town visitors.
Since then 14 have survived the white powder plague, all needing to receive medical attention quickly, and many of them needed CPR. Mr van der Veen told reporters in a recent interview,
“These are the first cases the police have seen where white heroin has been taken as cocaine in the Netherlands.”
Later this week there will be an autopsy examination carried out to determine exactly how these recent two men died, but he says the police have “strong evidence” it was from snorting the drug, which appeals to the idea that they were deceived into believing it was heroin.
Mr. van der Veen said that the appearance itself is very deceiving, and upon first glance the powder does look like cocaine, but after lab testing the police discovered it was in fact heroin.
“It looks like cocaine, but when people snort it the result is respiratory failure. Brown heroin is much more common,”
What is White Heroin?
So while brown heroin is much more common, apparently to this area especially white heroin is not that uncommon. Mr van der Veen stated,
“It is a sort of luxury drug, people with a lot of money sometimes buy it, but normally they use it in another way.”
Mr van de Veen says white heroin is a much more expensive product than cocaine, but says the dealer who is selling the product to the has been pushing it for the same price as cocaine several times to travelers looking for a more dangerous high. But the authorities aren’t sure that whoever they suspect has not been doing this deliberately. Mr. van der Veen concluded,
“We think he doesn’t know what he is selling.“
Officers think it’s only tourists who have been affected because the dealer, or ring of dealers, sell drugs on the streets, and speak English well enough that they can reach out to tourists better than the average dealers of Amsterdam.
Taking Action for Tourists
Since October they have distributed warning leaflets, particularly aimed at British tourists at hotels and hostels, and in tourist areas to try and deter them from trying to buy drugs off the streets, in order to try and raise some awareness until the investigation comes to a head.
The leaflets in particular are pretty direct about informing the incoming out-of-towners of the issue and the possible risks they take, plainly stating:
“[In] the last couple of weeks several tourists [have been] hospitalized with severe health problems after using cocaine bought on the street.”
Mr. van der Veen, and the local police force are conscious of the fact that the young people don’t all come to Amsterdam for a good view, but that if they decide to come for some extracurricular activities that they need to be conscious of what they are taking, and where they are finding it.
While van der Veen acknowledges that if tourists visit a coffee shop and use some weed, then there is not as much need for concern. However once they take the extra risk of taking ecstasy or cocaine they have to be aware of the danger, because with these drugs overdose is not an unusual outcome.
Regardless of where, drug use is always taking on a risk. There is a risk factor with any drug that can easily put your life on the line in more ways than one, and buying off any dealer, let alone a stranger on the streets, is putting your life in the hands of someone who makes their living off the suffering of others. Next time you find yourself out of town, or even out of the house, take notice of who you trust and what kind of dangers you’re faced with.
This is one story out of the thousands that will eventually be written in a day about people who are dying all over the world from drug abuse, and too many people feel they will be trapped as part of that growing statistic, but the reality is there is always a solution when using drugs no longer seems like a choice. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
I am very thankful for this wonderful holiday week, for free food and naps, and for the honor of bringing you some crazy news stories of the week to digest, along with the stuffing and other incredible things you are probably regretting eating today. Unfasten that belt, easy back and enjoy. There is always seconds, next week.
Naked Ninja Bites Off an Elderly Mans Ear
Cameron Shenk, 26-year-old Harvard Extension School student from Boston, is being held without bail after a seriously bizarre turn of events. Police say Shenk fell naked through the ceiling of a women’s bathroom at Boston’s airport, and then assaulted an 84-year-old elderly man, biting the poor old-timers ear off!
Cameron Shenk was arraigned Wednesday on charges that include attempted murder, assault and battery on a person over 60, and lewd and lascivious conduct. Thus far he has been ordered held without bail pending a hearing next week. Police say the naked cannibal fell through the ceiling at about noon Saturday.
Shenk had allegedly snuck into the bathroom, undressed inside a stall and climbed into the ceiling crawl space? Maybe he is a naked secret agent? Police say after his tumble through the roof the nude ninja fled the bathroom and assaulted an 84-year-old man.
Shenk’s lawyer said he has no history of mental illness. The hearing to determine whether he is dangerous to the public is scheduled Monday.
Wonder if he’ll be able to top that dramatic entrance in the courtroom.
Farts Smell… Like Chocolate?
After such a reputation of fine cheese and other smells, I bet you have been wondering what will be the latest and greatest smelly contribution made by France to the rest of the world? Spoiler alert! A pill that makes farts smell like chocolate!
The sweet-smelling product is the creation of Christian Poincheval, a 65-year-old inventor who hails from the village of Gesvres. Poincheval, looking like a lawn nom from the early 60’s, sells the pills online. If you’re stressed on how to pass gas and impress, the pills are available at pilulepet.com for around $12.50 for 60 capsules. The web page promises the chocolate pills will “allow the user to fart through to the New Year in grand style.”
The chocolate pills are a new addition to Poincheval’s vast catalog of delightful novalties, which also includes pills that make farts smell like roses or violets, and even a fart-reducing powder for pets! So all you dog owners and cat ladies out there will be happy to think of your pets as a furry portable airfreshner!
Poincheval claims his pills not only create chocolate-scented farts, they reduce intestinal gas and bloating thanks to ingredients like:
- Vegetable coal
- Plant resin
- Cacao zest
With the trend of bingeing bellies during the holidays, Poincheval figures his chocolate fart pills should be stuffed in stockings for those who love to stuff their face.
New Strip Club.. for Lego’s
How do G-rated toys end up wearing G-strings?! Well there is an unofficial Lego set, produced by Citizen Brick, includes four mini-figures and… a strip club? The club is set with a classy décor of zebra-print couches, and comes complete with… you guessed it, a pole.
Like any exotic dance spot, this edgy Lego set isn’t in the least bit cheap! The whole thing costs $275.
According to Joe Trupia, owner of Citizen Brick, the Lego strip club business isn’t doing too bad for itself! He said he’s already managed to sell a few hundred so far. The company has been customizing Legos since 2010, and this latest feature is sure to get some attention to the brand. Trupia proudly said,
“We’re fanatically doing things that Lego wouldn’t do,”
“The Citizen Brick Center for the Performing Arts,” the newest set featuring barely clothed toy characters is a described on the sits as “place where dreamers can dream, and dancers can dance.”
Lego keeps close tabs on Citizen Bricks‘s handy work according to Trupia. The company even supplied the disclaimer on Citizen Brick‘s site to emphasize that the products are not endorsed by Lego. He confessed he’s not sure what Lego’s reaction will be to his latest venture, and at this time Lego has not released a statement.
This is also the company who last year brought us the “Breaking Bad” Lego set after the infamous TV series about crystal meth drug dealers. So if you are looking to spend some of that hard earned Lego money from cooking meth, swing by the newest club in Lego world. Some assembly required!
Thankful for New Turkey Eating Record
In honor of the holiday, I figured we could include something specific to our Thanksgiving week. Ten contestants contended to see who could eat the most of a 20-pound turkey in a competition at Foxwoods Resort Casino. 31 year old Competitive eater from San Jose, California named Joey Chestnut has official won a turkey-eating contest in Connecticut this past Saturday, and at the same time set new a record!
Chestnut was able to gobble down 9.35 pounds of meat off the bone in 10 minutes! Nearly a pound of turkey a minute! Try that at your grandma’s dinner table! According to Major League Eating, the food equivalent of the NFL, he demolished the previous record held by Sonya Thomas, who ate 5.25 pounds of turkey in November 2011.
He took home a $5,000 check after stuffing his face, and is acknowledged as is ranked the top competitive eater in the world. The remainder of the $10,000 purse was divided among other contestants, which gave all involved a great reason to be thankful.
Still not sure how many pumpkin pies he ate when he got home.
While these crazy news stories may leave you with a bad case of need-a-nap, I hope they brought some laughs, and helped you settle your stomach for the hibernation ahead. While the holidays can be easy on some, not everyone is enjoying theirs the way they most wish they could. They may be held back by drinking or drugs, and their family may be desperately hoping to find a way for them to be around next year. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Cocaine addiction is a very real, very serious illness. It is a drug that was made more famous once upon a time through the disco days and films about drug kingpins with scars on their face (can’t quite remember the name), and its dangers only multiplied with its increased popularity as a party drug years later.
Using cocaine creates potentially fatal health risks in anyone, especially those struggling with a serious chemical dependency. But recently a study was published in the Journal of Caffeine Research that is stating a pretty far-fetched claim, which is that coffee could help reduce the symptoms of cocaine addiction, and could be particularly helpful for women suffering from cocaine addiction.
Details of Cocaine Addiction
There are different ways you can use cocaine, all of them have the potential to become addictive habits. You can smoke it, snort it (through the nose), or shoot it (intravenous use). And for each different method of getting high off of cocaine there are somewhat different signs of cocaine addiction.
For the most part the signs of cocaine addiction will be the same though, including:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Persistent runny nose (cocaine drip)
- Weight loss
- Irritability and restlessness
- Teeth grinding
- Cold sweats
- Tremors and muscle jerks
- Nasal and sinus problems
- Bronchitis and chest pain
- Feeling that bugs are crawling under the skin
In more serious cases cocaine addiction can lead to what is called cocaine psychosis, which is commonly compared to being similar to paranoid schizophrenia. It can also lead to other issues such as:
- Heart attack
New Research on Coffee
Researchers for this newest project noted that caffeine can serve as a neuroprotective block against some of the changes most commonly associated with drug use that occur in the brain.
Cocaine triggers the release of what can be simplified as the “happy hormone” in the brain known as dopamine, but caffeine stimulates adenosine receptors in the brain that regulate dopamine levels.
Specifics for Women
They also learned that while cocaine use shifts the menstrual cycle and creates high levels of oestrogen in women, which is believed to actually spark susceptibility to cocaine abuse and addiction, caffeine also acts as a block on these changes.
Research findings showed after taking vaginal smears from rats before and after they were given cocaine and caffeine, they were able to determine that while cocaine induced random changes in the animals’ menstrual cycle, these changes did not take place if the rats were given caffeine 30 minutes after cocaine use. So even after using cocaine, the coffee was able to deflect some of the symptoms.
As the acting lead author of this groundbreaking study Patricia A. Broderick, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research described these new results as,
“cutting-edge work that has never been shown before. It is critical knowledge relevant to women’s reproductive health.”
Showing avid support for the continued research into finding ways that coffee can be used to alleviate the symptoms commonly created by cocaine addiction. This kind of conclusion suggests that in the future coffee could be used not only to combat the side effects of active using, but also to block out the release of dopamine for potential users.
Despite the excitement some are feeling at this discovery, some opposing opinions, including scientists have already argued that coffee is actually too similar to cocaine in that regular use can produce a strong dependency. For some time people have debated the similarities between coffee and other stimulant-type substances.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported last year that emergency room visits attributed to energy drinks more than doubled:
- from 10,068 in 2007
- up to 20,783 in 2011
Caffeine use being considered dangerous became even more relevant in October 2013 when UK native John Jackson actually died from a caffeine overdose! John Jackson had reportedly eating over 300 Hero Instant Energy Mints, which contains about 3 times the amount of caffeine considered to be safe.
Some beverages throughout history have gone the extra mile, and cut out the middle-man caffeine and go straight for the cocaine. Coca leaf tea has been consumed in many South American countries for thousands of years, but also includes a small amount of cocaine that is enough to act as a stimulant similar to caffeine.
Others persist that despite the nature of the beverage as harmless coffee can present a problem for addicts. Some coffee pioneers have taken it a step further and started brewing fermented coffee drinks. So while opinions may differ, this study has some thinking maybe coffee isn’t so bad after all. How soon until we have a lifesaving espresso?
While any innovations in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse are always welcome, until there is more evidence to these claims the best methods of addressing serious and potentially fatal addiction is a well-rounded and personalized treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
For anyone who is struggling with an addiction to heroin, a heroin detox in West Palm Beach can be the thing that changes your life, and can even save your life. Too many people get dependent on heroin, and when they want to quit they never do because when they try they experience serious and intense side effects called withdrawals, and the fear of experiencing that all over again often keeps people who need the help from ever giving another attempt at kicking the habit.
Fortunately, there is help out there, and heroin detox in West Palm Beach is the perfect place for many people to start their journey of recovery.
Heroin Detox in West Palm Beach: Heroin Abuse and Dependence
The excessive abuse of heroin leads to a medical condition known as chemical dependence, physical dependence or substance dependence. What this means is that you have become both physically and psychologically dependent on heroin. This is the first element of severe addiction.
Physical dependency becomes pretty apparent when you try to stop using heroin. When you try to stop using abruptly you will experience extremely uncomfortable physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, as well as obsessive and compulsive thoughts. Heroin detox in West Palm Beach can help you stop your heroin use by helping you address a physical dependence directly.
This kind of physical and psychological dependence can develop into a full-blown heroin addiction, which is a serious illness. Heroin addiction leads to devastation all many aspects of life, including:
- Physical health
- Mental health
Addiction to heroin is profoundly injurious to your personal relationships. A heroin addict is never the only one who they hurt, but their family and loved ones suffer, too.
Despite the devastating effects, the person struggling with a heroin addiction will typically continue to use until they are ready to make a change, if they are ever that fortunate. While in the grip of addiction, it is difficult to imagine life without heroin. Facilities for heroin detox in West Palm Beach can help.
Heroin Detox in West Palm Beach: Withdrawals
You don’t have to kick the habit on your own, and you don’t have to come up with all the answers alone. A heroin detox in West Palm Beach can help ease you off of heroin and other opiates gradually with the use of medications specifically designed to assist with your heroin withdrawal symptoms, so that they are much more manageable and so that you are kept in a safe and healthy environment, both physically and emotionally.
When you suddenly stop using heroin, it’s called going “cold turkey and it throws you almost immediately into withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawals are a set of specific symptoms, and for heroin there is a long and severe list of withdrawals including:
- Extreme anxiety
- Excessive yawning and sneezing
- Runny nose
- Cold sweats
- Severe muscle and bone aches
- Cramp-like pains
- Involuntary spasms in the legs, arms, and neck
Withdrawing from heroin on your own is difficult and pretty much impossible. In fact, many people break down and use again just to make the pain and discomfort go away; they are caught in a vicious cycle.
Heroin Detox in West Palm Beach: Gets You Started On the Right Foot
Heroin Detox in West Palm Beach consists of two phases: evaluation and stabilization. During the first stage you will be given an assessment in order to find out how much heroin is currently in your system, as well as how much you have been using and over what length of time. This is done by way of a urine drug screen, and with any further information you provide.
Because programs for heroin detox in West Palm Beach are in a medical setting in which you are treated for both physical dependence and addiction, the results of your drug screen and information disclosed during your assessment are strictly confidential just like any other medical information is. All of this is done in order to make a treatment plan that will best serve you.
During a program for heroin detox in West Palm Beach, you will be giving taper medications in order to wean you off of heroin in both a safe and comfortable way. Detoxing from heroin and other narcotic opiates like prescription painkillers should always be done in a caring and professional manner, where you will be given care specific to your needs. Heroin detox in West Palm Beach is one place to find this kind of quality care.
Are you struggling with a dependence on heroin? Are you trying to quit but have failed on your own? Are your seeking a Heroin Detox in West Palm Beach? If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.