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National Gratitude Month: Use November for Improving Recovery

 National Gratitude Month: Use November for Improving Recovery

Author: Justin Mckibben

Being the month of THANKSgiving, not to mention the month of Veterans Day to show appreciation for the armed forces, it should come as no surprise that November is recognized by many as National Gratitude Month.

But we know that true gratitude is more than saying “thank you” for what others may do or the things we are fortunate enough to have. Gratitude gives us the ability to look past the negative parts of our situation, our lives or the world we live in and focus on appreciating all the good that we do have. Practicing daily gratitude allows us to create a more profound understanding and connection with ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us. Gratitude creates compassion and empathy; it helps us to be more involved and more self-aware.

But this writer believes that true gratitude takes action. So this month, in observance of National Gratitude Month, I encourage people to take action to share that gratitude with others.

The Practice of Being Grateful

Back in 2015, November was officially proclaimed National Gratitude Month throughout the US and Canada by National Day Calendar. The initial announcement for the observance comes from Stacey Grewal, an author, spiritual mentor and coach who advocated for the proclamation. Grewal stated,

“Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life,”

Grewal herself has been proclaimed a “gratitude guru” who wrote the book Gratitude and Goals.

10 years ago in 2007, Robert Emmons began researching gratitude and found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being. Practicing gratitude also impacts the overall experience of happiness. All this is typically not a momentary improvement. Many of these benefits turn out to be long-lasting.

Benefits of Gratitude

  • Improved physical, emotional, and social well-being
  • Greater optimism and happiness
  • Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crisis
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Amplified energy levels
  • Strengthened heart
  • Improved immune system
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Improved emotional and academic intelligence
  • Extended aptitude for forgiveness
  • Decreased stress, anxiety, depression
  • Reduced headaches
  • Improved self-care and greater likelihood to exercise
  • Heightened sense of spirituality

There are even a number of events and activities to get involved with this month, including the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge where one can sign up for a daily email that suggests opportunities to practice gratitude in new and interesting ways.

But you don’t have to commit to any event or challenge to help promote gratitude.

Giving with Gratitude

Looking at the definition of gratitude on the all-knowing Google, we find it as:

“The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

Right there we see the inclusion of the concept that gratitude means to at least be willing to take some kind of action, i.e. showing appreciation and returning the kindness.

The way I express my understanding of gratitude is like this:

  • If I am grateful for my job, I show up and work hard
  • If I am grateful for my home, I respect it and honor it, along with anyone who may live there
  • Being grateful for those who have helped me, I help whoever I can when I can

My expression of gratitude means making every attempt possible to ensure I do not take the gifts I have for granted. We should not neglect the things or the people we have in our lives as if we know they will always be there. When we become complacent, our gratitude might slip away.

Recovery from addiction gives us so much more to do with that gratitude.

Grateful for Recovery

In recovery from drugs or alcohol, it can be especially important for many of us to stay grateful. In the recovery community, we hear people all the time talking about how grateful they are to be alive, or how grateful they are to have another chance at life or a fellowship of support in recovery. All of this is so important, but again it takes action.

If we are grateful for the opportunity to get better, we should not squander it with defiance and neglect.

If we are grateful to be alive, we should focus on living better lives and doing something meaning with our lives; even if to you that simply means being a better parent/spouse/child/sibling in your family.

Being grateful reminds us of the kindness of others and the strength that they gave us to get ourselves out of addiction. So we should live by example and help those who still need help, recovering or not. With all the benefits of gratitude we’ve mentioned, it only makes sense that someone in recovery from addiction would want to take advantage of National Gratitude Month as an excuse to exercise that part of themselves. Treating others as if you are already grateful for the opportunity is training for the mind, body, and spirit. For those working to overcome addiction, gratitude can be a

Share the Love for National Gratitude Month

If you want to get involved, it is pretty easy. Just be grateful every chance you get.

In the world, as it is right now we could use more love and gratitude. With so much going on in such divisive times, like the opioid crisis and overdose outbreak tearing apart so many lives, we should take every chance to bring our communities together.

Or if you want to help share the love and raise awareness, share this article with your friends and use #NationalGratitudeMonth on social media posts.

Have an amazing November! Remember to be grateful and to show that appreciation and kindness with action and goodwill toward others!

It’s been said that healing can come from the places you least expect it. Make sure to appreciate the opportunity. For those who are looking for something to be grateful for, it starts with the fact you are still here. If you are suffering or lost, maybe its time for a new foundation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Ohio Voting on Legal Marijuana in November

Ohio Voting on Legal Marijuana in November

Author: Justin Mckibben

Last November was a huge period for marijuana reform in America, and with November 2015 right around the corner, the campaigns for pot politics are picking up all over the place. The nation has seen over the last year how reforms in legalization of marijuana have taken form in several states, and we have witnessed the aftermath of those reforms in both positive and negative light.

Presidential candidates looking for office in 2016 are already seeing how big of an issue this is going to be, and swing states are weighing in as to how they will be voting and how that will impact the overall image of legal marijuana in America.

One swing state in particular is showing signs of playing a vital role in the forward momentum of marijuana reform, and on November 3 voters in the Buckeye State will be deciding whether legal marijuana will become a reality, or if it will get pushed out of focus.

Power of Petitions

Earlier this past week the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted confirmed the private investor group ResponsibleOhio had collected 320,267 signatures of registered Ohio voters. That actually puts this particular petition at over 14,676 more signatures than required to qualify for the general election ballot, so it would seem Ohioans are all for putting it to a vote.

Fun Fact: Ohio has a reported 11.6 million residents, meaning that if this measure passed in November, the Buckeye State would be the most populous jurisdiction to legalize marijuana to date.

ResponsibleOhio is just one out of a handful of active groups in the area that are actively pursuing marijuana reform, and it has reportedly no qualms with putting its money where its mouth is. As of now ResponsibleOhio spent $2 million since March on the petition drive to collect signatures and has kept very busy, but apparently they have so much more planned including:

  • ResponsibleOhio pledged to spend an additional $20 million over the next three months leading up to voting
  • Already starting running TV spots
  • Planning future Internet and radio advertising
  • Preparing a door-to-door campaigning
  • Planning a bus tour

Ian James, executive director of ResponsibleOhio is very enthusiastic about the progress the group has already made, and are more confident than ever in their plans to inspire the rest of the state to vote for the change. James stated:

“It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November—we couldn’t be more excited. By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities.”

Still in light of the strategies the ResponsibleOhio group is using, many are debating as to whether or not it is a good enough system even the residents of the state who support marijuana legalization can trust.

The Culture of Cultivation

Initially ResponsibleOhio had proposed an oligarchy which would limit the cultivation of the commercial crop to 10 farms that have already been named. Also on the ballot in November there will a response to this proposal in a measure written by the Ohio legislature this past June designed to prohibit “a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel” in Ohio, especially involving any federally controlled substance such as marijuana.

So far over 20 wealthy investors have already purchased farms or put under purchase option including:

  • Reality TV star Nick Lachey
  • NFL player Frostee Rucker
  • Former NBA star Oscar Robertson

So it seems there are those who are confident enough this is going to pass, and it is going to have a huge ripple in the state’s communities and economy.

Secretary of State Jon Husted stated the legislative initiative would take precedence if voters passed both measures, but ResponsibleOhio has disputed his claims. Ultimately the decision will be up to a court, but ResponsibleOhio is not getting itself all wrapped up in that particular piece of red tape just yet.

For the rest of the country, one way or the other this could be an indication of the future of marijuana reform. The topic has many wondering what impact legal marijuana stands to make on the opiate epidemic, and whether or not addiction will see an increase with more people using drugs. Some still speculate it would have the opposite effect, but it seems only time will tell.

While marijuana reform is beginning to seem like it’s shaping the world, those who have suffered a serious addiction should always remember that just because it is legal does not mean you are any less of an addict. Luckily, with drug reform there are also new possibilities to provide better treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135   

In the News: Massachusetts Reports at Least 185 Heroin Deaths Since Nov. 1

In the News: Massachusetts Reports at Least 185 Heroin Deaths Since Nov. 1

The outrageous data released by state police focuses on the growing problem of heroin overdoses in the Northeast. The state police announced on Tuesday that the plague of heroin has hit Massachusetts hard, where 185 people have died from overdosing on the toxic drug since November 1st. The February 2nd overdose death of 46-year-old actor Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to light the seriousness of the heroin epidemic sweeping the country.

There were numbers presented on Tuesday that don’t even include the state’s three biggest cities; which are Boston, Springfield and Worcester. The bleak numbers present a picture of a horrible problem in the New England state of some 6.7 million people. State police spokesman David Procopio told the Boston Globe “We are continuing to investigate and analyze the problem in conjunction with our local police partners.” “We firmly believe that it is a problem that cannot be solved solely by arrests, although street enforcement is vital. Treatment and public education components are equally essential. Once we are able to gather more information we will release it to the public.”

USA Today reported that the appalling stat was released as at least six states consider “Good Samaritan” laws that would give protection to drug users who bring their overdosing friends to get medical assistance. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. already have such a law on the records to try and stop overdose deaths. The amount of heroin overdose deaths in other states over a related time period weren’t instantly available. State officials have told the Providence Journal that in just a small period of 13 days in the month of January, at least 22 people died from heroin overdoses. And Rhode Island is a much smaller state than Massachusetts.

A lot of the deaths may have been initiated by the existence of fentanyl, a potent painkiller additive that can prove fatal even to experienced heroin users. Assessments of the heroin used by Hoffman when he died in his West Village apartment showed no signs of fentanyl, but much of the drug held by authorities in the Northeast had been cut with the powerful opioid. Richard Holcomb, who is the director of Providence nonprofit that works with addicts, has told the Journal that “the word on the street is that there’s bad heroin out there.” “People believe that they’re shooting heroin but the substance does not look like heroin and they’re shooting it and they’re dying.”

Honestly, at this point heroin has become such a large epidemic across the country that it’s hard for me to think of what there is to do to prevent these fatalities from happening. As drug addicts, a lot of us hear that our friend died of a drug overdose from some strong heroin and say “do you have his dealers number?” Because that must be some good s***! It’s sad but true, this was literally what one of the clients in the detox group me and my coworker do on Thursday mornings said. We are sick with the disease of addiction and our brains don’t work how they should when we are in active addiction. I just hope that somehow, someone or something gets through to the addicts who want to use this heroin before they do and it takes their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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