Nicotine Addiction 101

Nicotine is the tobacco plant’s natural protection from being eaten by insects. Its widespread use as a farm crop insecticide is now being blamed for killing honey bees. A super toxin, drop for drop it is more lethal than strychnine or diamondback rattlesnake venom and three times deadlier than arsenic. Yet amazingly, by chance, this natural insecticide’s chemical signature is so similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that once inside the brain it fits a host of chemical locks permitting it direct and indirect control over the flow of more than 200 neuro-chemicals, most importantly dopamine.

Read more.  Find out how to quit.

I smoked for thirty years, and I quit.   You can too!  Are you really clean and sober if you’re using one of the most deadly drugs known?

Coming Face-to-Face With Reality

Today I’m honored to feature a guest post by Candace Plattor, author of Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction.

Coming Face-to-Face With Reality

When we are faced with a difficult situation in our lives, most of us want to find a way to resolve it as quickly as possible so that we can feel better. No matter what kind of problem we are dealing with, being able to first understand and accept the reality of the situation will be instrumental in being able to resolve it. This is particularly true when we are challenged by a loved one’s addiction.

Learning how to deal with this uncomfortable reality is the most important first step in “surviving” when you love an addicted person. Things are as they are, right now, in this moment—and although it may seem easier to stay in a sort of fantasy space where you can continue to believe that things are going to magically get better, there is no such magic. You will not be able to change anything that you’re not willing to acknowledge—because activating your awareness will always be what brings about new action.

Unfortunately, things will not get better in our lives just because we wish they would.

But that is why making the choice to come face-to-face with reality—as difficult as that may seem—is a courageous act. It often means accepting that parts of your life may be out of control as a result of loving someone who is engaging in addictive behaviors. Some of these addictions can include mind-altering substances such as drugs and alcohol, as well as mood-altering addictions such as eating disorders, compulsive overspending, smoking, being “glued” to the Internet, gambling, or codependency in relationships.

Sometimes your own dysfunctional behaviors may develop in response to someone else’s addictions.

For example, you may be feeling a constant, gnawing worry that you live with every day—an anxiety that at times borders on panic. Because you love someone with an addiction, you may find yourself being asked for money often and feeling guilty if you say no. Perhaps you are watching everything you say and do, in order to “keep peace” in your home and not make the addict angry. Or you may be asked to do favors for your addicted loved one on a consistent basis, such as watching their children or doing their errands, and you may not know how to say no.

Whatever your particular situation is, acceptance of what you are dealing with in your life is an imperative first step when loving an addicted person.

Candace Plattor graduated from the Adler School of Professional Psychology with a Masters degree (M.A.) in Counseling Psychology, in 2001. For over 20 years in her private practice, she’s been helping clients and their loved ones understand their addictive behaviors and make healthier life choices.

Candace’s award-winning book Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone With an Addiction is available through her website, www.candaceplattor.com/products, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, and bookstores throughout Canada and the US. 

Her second book, Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Workbook, was just named a Winner in the 2012 International Book Awards in the Health: Addiction & Recovery category, and is also a Finalist in the Self-Help: Relationships category. It, too, is available through her website, and in bookstores throughout Canada and the US.

Please visit www.lovinganaddict.com for information.

New Ft. Lauderdale Facility For Sunrise

I had a chance yesterday to tour the new Sunrise Detox facility in Ft. Lauderdale.  You can see some more photos here at the blog.  If you’re interested in more details, leave a comment or use the contact link.

Where the chefs work their magic

Today’s Step: Recovery — An App To Help Develop And Sustain Daily Practice

In the 12-Step programs we’re encouraged to develop a routine of little rituals that begin our day in a recovery-oriented way and set the tone for the hours to follow. Many people meditate, perhaps after reading a bit of program literature. Some of us have an exercise routine that goes along with it. Others sit and think about their plans for the day, make notes in a journal, and then consider the best way to apply their program to the day’s progress.

There is no best way to do these things, but it is vitally important that we do something of the sort.  Getting up and immediately plunging into the chaos of daily life can be daunting.  A period of calm and consideration beforehand can make the difference between a serene approach and the hit-or-miss fumbling that is characteristic of the “old me.”

For the past few days I’ve been checking out a recovery app called “Today’s Step.” It’s available for both iPhone and Android, and is an interesting approach to say the least.

I like that they refer to the suggested activities as “practice,” rather than “working the program.”  I have always thought that recovery is just that: practice in the sense of “The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories….”  We can sit around talking about our program for a long time, but if we don’t do anything about it we’re like the guy leaning on his shovel in the shade, telling everyone about how someday he’ll own the company.

The practice laid out in Today’s Step is easy to accomplish and deceptively simple.  There is a theme for each day — “persistence,” for example — along with suggested ways to put it into practice.  A daily video guides simple exercises based on Qigong, a gentle Chinese system of moving meditation, to stretch muscles and get the blood flowing.  There are stories of people in recovery, and users are encouraged to submit their own.  I read a couple.  They’re pretty good.  Just about any addict could relate.  Keep an eye out for mine.

You can skip around in the app and check out past quotes, etc.  There is even a system of rewards for completing various numbers of days practice, similar to the chips and key tags familiar to us all.  The free demo has limited material, but is enough to get a feeling for the practice.  The paid version (a great big four bucks!) has additional features.  I plan to purchase it for my Droid as soon as I get finished writing this.

Here’s the developer’s list of features (paid version):

• Daily motivational quotations
• Weekly themes and actions
• Easy-to-follow exercise videos to promote health
• Audio guided meditations
• Share with a friend
• Favorites and previous history
• See additional quotations with “Skip Around”
• Inspirational success stories from the recovery community
• Virtual rewards for progress milestones

Verdict: Five stars from the old timer.

Number Of Opiate-Addicted Newborns On The Rise

It’s unclear if there are long-term health impacts for children born to opiate-addicted mothers who get through their first weeks of life okay. Some but not all studies on the question have found those kids grow up with a higher risk of developmental problems, according to Patrick.

What is clear is that babies born in opiate withdrawal significantly drive up health care costs.

According to the study, the average hospital stay for a newborn in withdrawal averages 16 days, compared to just three days for other newborns. Care costs were more than five times higher.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/01/health-babies-opiates-idUSL4E8G10AH20120501