Wednesday, February 24, 2010

AA Meeting Etiquette

The expected etiquette during all meetings is for members to remain silent until the speaker has finished.

Every so often, the meeting "goes around the room" and all attendees have the opportunity to speak if they want to. On other occasions, moreover, the discussion leader may call on specific members and invite them to share their experiences. Members who do not wish to speak simply say "I'll just listen tonight" or "Thanks, I'll pass." Responses such as these are perfectly fine due to the fact that no one is ever strong-armed or forced to speak.

If a person does not have a chemical dependency problem, he or she should attend open meetings. More to the point, closed meetings are specifically for people who have a chemical dependency problem.

Meeting size varies from small to large depending on where the meeting is held, who attends the meeting (mixed, men, women, young people, and so on), and on the specific meeting format (i.e., discussion, Big Book, step, or speaker). While "small" meetings typically have 15 or fewer attendees, "large" meetings can have as many as 30, 40, 50 or more members.

Smoking and nonsmoking. The traditional "smoke filled room" is becoming a thing of the past as an increasing number of meetings are nonsmoking only. Smokers still huddle together outside the meeting areas; however, meetings that permit smoking inside are becoming increasingly rare.

Meetings usually end on time and are closed in a way that is decided upon by the particular group. A basket is typically passed around the room for voluntary contributions to help cover expenses. No contribution is required. Indeed, first-timers are often advised not to contribute. The usual donation is one dollar.

At the close of the meeting it is common for the chairperson to remind everyone of the Twelfth Tradition (the principle of anonymity) and to invite the group to stand, join hands in a circle, and recite the Lord's Prayer or the Serenity Prayer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

12 Steps of AA

Here are the steps most take through AA, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Asking for Help is not Shameful

When you admit to yourself that you have an alcohol and/or drug problem, that’s the first step. And it is a big one, make no mistake. But just telling yourself you know something isn’t going to remedy the problem. You need help to do that – and you won’t get it if you don’t seek it. Don’t think that asking for help with drug or alcohol addiction is shameful. It’s far from that. Here are some things to think about.

Asking For Help Shows Courage

It’s common for anyone with drug or alcohol dependency to think that asking for help shows weakness of character. Men have an even more difficult time asking for help with their addiction than women, remnants of the whole macho self-view that’s so yesterday. We are all human beings with complicated emotions and psychological makeup – and we all are deserving of assistance if we ask for it. When you reach out and request help to deal with your alcohol or drug problem, you’re actually demonstrating great courage. Acknowledge this fact and then go on to get the help you need.

Don’t Let Pride Stand In The Way

Naturally, you want to be proud of your accomplishments, of the way you live your life, of having strong relationships and being a loving partner, father, mother or sibling. When you’ve destroyed your life and your relationships due to your alcoholism or drug addiction, you know you’re not in a very good position as a role model. The tendency in these situations is to clam up and not ask for help out of a sense of pride. You may feel you should be able to handle this problem on your own. Trouble is, it won’t happen. You simply cannot undo all the harm that’s been done, or learn new and appropriate behavior, without the help and support of professionals trained in dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. Forget your pride. That’s a false roadblock, an excuse your subconscious tells you in order to keep on drinking and using. Instead, admit to yourself (you don’t have to say it out loud to anyone else) that you don’t feel very good about what’s happened. Then locate a support group or treatment facility and get started on the road to recovery.

Fear Of Being Dependent On Others

Along with being too proud to ask for help, you may also fear being dependent on others for your care as you try to kick alcohol or drugs. No one likes to think of themselves as dependent on others. You need to face the fact that there’s no way you can go through this alone. You absolutely need the support, counseling and guidance that you get with drug and alcohol treatment and rehab. During the course of your treatment, you will learn new coping skills and techniques so that you will be able to steer clear of the drugs and alcohol that has so compromised your life. You will get to the point where you have the confidence to live your life again, and will be bolstered by the support of allies and friends you meet in your recovery.

Emotions Are Important – But Don’t Let Them Get In The Way

Recognize that when you ask for help, you are at a vulnerable stage. While you are in treatment, you will at first feel a flood of emotions. These may peak and crash with varying intensity. You will rediscover emotions that you’ve long kept buried as a result of chronic drinking and/or drug use. You may feel like you don’t deserve to be loved or that you don’t even deserve to love another back. Feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, anxiety, depression, fear of rejection and abandonment – all are common during the first stage of treatment which is detoxification. Accept that these emotions will be part of the process, and you will get help to move past them. Yes, you will feel hurt at times. Part of the side effects of detoxing from alcohol or drugs is that emotions swing back and forth wildly as the chemical substances leave your body. But the fact that you are feeling the emotions is a very positive sign that you are on the road to recovery.

Embarrassed? Don’t Be

If you feel embarrassed about asking for help, afraid that you can’t tell your parents or husband or wife or significant other – don’t be. They certainly won’t be surprised, given the length of time you’ve probably been abusing alcohol or drugs. And if you’ve been successful at somehow keeping it from them, after initial surprise, they’ll more than likely want to help you overcome your addiction. Don’t forget that while you are the one who is addicted, they are also affected. Part of your recovery means that they will need help and support to learn how to deal with the situation in order to be of assistance to you as well as them.

Asking For Help Is Constructive

After months or years of dependence on alcohol and drugs, you need to do something constructive with your life. Asking for help to rid yourself of these substances that are, in essence, killing you, your relationships with friends and family, your social standing and your job, is the best action-oriented decision you can make.

Addiction Treatment Is Hard Work

There’s no denying that addiction treatment is the hardest personal work you’ll ever undergo. But the light on the other side is more than worth it. Know that asking for help and taking it means the difference between a life of pain and one of joy. Every day you will become stronger, have more self confidence and be able to live up to more of your responsibilities. Yes, there will be difficult days. That’s why you have your support group and friends who are in the same position as you – working on recovery, working for the goal of a new life that’s clean and sober. After treatment and rehab, groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous, among others, can help you with continuing support and friendship as you get even stronger in your newfound sobriety.

It’s Never Too Late To Ask For Help

Perhaps the most important thing about asking for help is that you can always do it. It is never too late to want to become clean and sober – no matter what’s happened in the past, how many times you may have relapsed, how awful of an existence you’ve had. Get up, go to treatment, and say you need help. That’s what treatment is all about: Helping you to recovery

Asking for Help; Addictions

Asking for help with a drug addiction can be one of the hardest things a human being can do. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, many people think of asking for help as a sign of weakness or failure. They may have the mistaken idea that if they couldn’t accomplish something all by themselves, they failed and would suffer deep embarrassment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A person with extreme thinking or overworked emotions can easily take on a lot of self blame. An addiction certainly fits both of those categories. Black and white thinking and emotional extremes are hallmarks of drug and alcohol addiction.

They may start replaying comments from critical family members, negative self-talk, or feel that everyone knows how worthless they are. so to ask for help would only confirm how ashamed they should be of their sorry situation.

While a stigma still surrounds drug addiction and mental illness, much of these thoughts and perceptions are generated from within the addicted person’s mind. Their extreme thinking and poorly managed emotions can take small details and blow them out of proportion. They can expand a person’s shame so much that they avoid asking anyone for help. The addict’s denial may also play into their avoidance of help. Meanwhile, their addiction rages on and they continue to put their very life at risk.

So asking for help is not easy, but help is available. Addiction hot lines and local drug rehab centers can talk to you anonymously and answer questions. Even if you are hesitant at first about getting drug treatment, a confidential conversation with a caring professional can help you take the first step. Detox centers are not drug treatment facilities, but they can certainly make referrals. some detox centers operate on a walk-in basis, which means you could talk with someone while you sober up and get more comfortable with the idea of getting sober.

Do you have a trusted friend, a pastor, a family member who is in your corner? Take a step of courage, a leap of faith, and tell them what’s really going on. The discomfort may be strong at first, but knowing you have support and guidance can be worth the risk.

When you need to ask for help, you take a risk. Taking a risk means you could get hurt or let down. And if you have been living with an addiction for a while, you know how hard it can be to live with painful emotions. You may not even be sure it’s worth it to speak up. But if you are willing to step forward and ask for help, you are also stepping forward into a much healthier life. Call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today.

The Many Types of AA Meetings

The following represents some of the different Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that are available:

Open Meetings: These meetings are open to anyone: to non-alcoholics, alcoholics, and to anyone interested in solving a personal drinking problem or helping someone else to solve such a problem.

Closed Meetings: These meetings are limited to alcoholics. They provide an opportunity for members to share with one another regarding drinking problems and patterns and about the difficulty to remain sober. Closed meetings also a provide a forum for detailed discussion of the different aspects in the recovery program.

Beginners Meetings: These meetings are typically targeted at newcomers, i.e., those individuals with less than one year of sobriety. A topic will be suggested by a chairperson and then members who want to, can share their personal hopes, fears, or experiences related to the topic. In this manner, beginners will start to understand the Alcoholics Anonymous program and how they can abstain from drinking, one day at a time.

Speaker Meetings: One or two members of AA will share their story-- what alcoholism was like, what happened to them while they drank, and what life is like now that they are sober. The speaker, typically chosen in advance, agrees to tell his story of drinking and recovery to the group. Speakers are usually members with a year or more of sobriety who have previously been asked to share their story. A common format at speaker meetings is to start the meeting with the usual opening readings and then to devote the rest of the meeting to the speaker's story. When the story is finished the meeting is closed without any formal discussion. Some meetings are combined "speaker-discussion meetings." In this type of meeting, the main speaker shares his or her story for 15 to 30 minutes, and then opens the meeting to a group discussion of the topics raised in accordance with the typical protocol of a discussion meeting. During speaker meetings, newcomers or beginners are encouraged not to compare, but to relate to each member's experiences.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Types of AA Meetings

No two Alcoholics Anonymous groups are exactly the same. In fact, there is a great degree of diversity among groups due to the unique features of the people who make up the specific group.

The Alcoholics Anonymous "Fourth Tradition" states that "Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole." This tradition is taken seriously by group members. In fact, there is a great degree of variety from group to group regarding what is emphasized, the informal group norms, the type of ritual, the emotional tone of the meetings, the selection of readings, and the meeting philosophy. This great variety appears to be one of the secrets of success of Alcoholics Anonymous and typically means that newcomers, if they are willing to spend the time and the effort, will be able to find a meeting that closely matches their specific needs

Discussion Meetings: A topic will be suggested by a chairperson and then other members can share their own experiences about the topics. Newcomers are encouraged to avoid comparisons as they relate to each member's experiences. It is important to point out that attendees come to the meetings for the same reason: to stay sober, one day at a time. In discussion meetings, sharing that consists of personal experience and an application of the referenced text is valued over purely theoretical and impersonal discussions.

Step Meetings: One person will present a 10 or 15-minute discussion about one of the twelve steps and then will invite other members to share their experiences about working on the particular step. Not unlike the discussion meetings, sharing that consists of personal experience and an application of the referenced text is seen as more important than impersonal or theoretical discussions during step meetings.

Big Book Study Meetings: Members discuss a specific reading from the “Big Book,” a term Alcoholics Anonymous members use in reference to the program's basic text, Alcoholics Anonymous. Similar to the step meetings, sharing that consists of personal experience and an application of the referenced text is seen as more important than impersonal or theoretical discussions.

Due to the fact that most people find various meeting formats more helpful than others, local Alcoholics Anonymous advisers can offer a wide variety of meeting formats such as panels, orientation, seminars, study groups, etc. In addition, group meetings can be offered for specific groups of people such as lesbians, gays, families of alcoholics, and women. And finally, advisers can sponsor group meetings for particular groups of students such as disabled students, first-year students, honors students, transfer students, students who are seniors, international students, students on probation, and non-traditional students.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Receiving Help for Addiction Advice

Here is some advice if you are seeking a way to recover from your addiction:

Be prepared to have to fight the addiction. At some point you will feel tempted to return to the addictive habits. A doctor or support service will be able to advise you on how to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

■ Have someone you trust that you can talk to at times of weakness or temptation. It also helps to write down the reasons you want to beat the addiction- remind yourself of these reasons when you are going through moments of doubt.

■ Plan ahead- if you know there are situations or times when cravings are likely then have a plan established that will keep you busy and distract you at such times.

Consider counselling. Talking to a trained counsellor may help you realise why you have an addiction and help you overcome any personal problems or worries.

■ Tell others that you have decided to beat your addiction. Ask close friends or family to stand by you and be there for you when you need to talk or if you need a distraction.

■ Friends should be supportive of your decision, if you think that the people around you are a bad influence then it's time to find a new group of friends.

■ Avoid situations and people that could tempt you to use the addictive substance. For example if you are addicted to alcohol, don't go to the pub or clubbing at the weekend. Instead, have friends round to watch a DVD or for dinner (reminding them not to bring alcohol). The same goes for drugs: avoid parties or places where people will be taking drugs.

■ Stay busy! Take up new sports or past-times to prevent you from getting bored or tempted to lapse.

■ Recovering from addiction is a slow process- it can help to join a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous.

Take your recovery one day at a time; don't think too much about the future, just concentrate on beating the addiction right now.

■ If you have a relapse and return to the addiction- recognising the problem as soon as possible is crucial. Ask for help straight away so that you can get back on the road to recovery. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help or support.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AA and NA Sponsorships

Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is a potential sponsor of a new member and should clearly recognize the obligations and duties of such responsibility.

The acceptance of an opportunity to take the A.A. plan to a sufferer of alcoholism entails very real and critically important responsibilities. Each member, undertaking the sponsorship of a fellow alcoholic, must remember that he is offering what is frequently the last chance of rehabilitation, sanity or maybe life itself.

Happiness, Health, Security, Sanity and Life of human beings are the things we hold in balance when we sponsor an alcoholic.

No member among us is wise enough to develop a sponsorship program that can be successfully applied in every case. In the following pages, however, we have outlined a suggested procedure, which supplemented by the member's own experience, has proven successful.

No one reaps full benefit from any fellowship he is connected with unless he wholeheartedly engages in its important activities. The expansion of Alcoholics Anonymous to wider fields of greater benefit to more people results directly from the addition of new, worth-while members or associates.

Any A.A. who has not experienced the joys and satisfaction of helping another alcoholic regain his place in life has not yet fully realized the complete benefits of this fellowship. On the other hand, it must be clearly kept in mind that the only possible reason for bringing an alcoholic into A.A. is for that person's gain. Sponsorship should never be undertaken to -

1. Increase the size of the group.
2. For personal satisfaction and glory.
3. Because the sponsor feels it his duty to re-make the world.

Until an individual has assumed the responsibility of setting a shaking, helpless human being back on the path toward becoming a healthy useful, happy member of society, he has not enjoyed the complete thrill of being an A.A.

Tips for Successful Addiction Recovery

The following represent a series of tips and things to consider before, during after an individual has engaged in a potential drug rehab program.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many times, individuals who are caught in the depths of drug addiction will not reach out to family and friends for help. Whether this is because of feelings of shame or the lack of an admission that they have a serious problem, many will not see the people who can help them the most are standing right in front of their eyes.

•Understand that detox is NOT recovery. Some detox programs will make big promises about the effectiveness of their detoxification programs. And while drug detox is a crucial element of addiction treatment, it only addresses the physical component of drug dependence. For most people drug addiction is a psychological condition that must be treated by the counseling that forms the core of a rehab program.

•Work with the program, not against it. Many recovering addicts going through drug rehab expend a tremendous amount of energy rebelling against the very program that is trying to help them. Individuals are encouraged to listen to the advice of their counselors and allow the program into their lives so that they may begin to heal.

•Open up to others in the program. Group therapy and community time during rehab is an outstanding way to remove the isolation caused by drug addiction and experience real breakthroughs. Listen to other recovering addicts tell their stories is an important way to come to the understanding that other people are going through like circumstances.

•Don't get discouraged. Relapse is a common occurrence among those attempting to overcome drug addiction. And while it can be discouraging, it is important to stay healthy and get back into a drug rehab program as soon as possible for another attempt.

Typical Format of AA Meetings

Meetings are one of the essential components of Alcoholics Anonymous. A chairperson, who is typically a member of the group, will open the meeting (call the meeting to order) and follow the format for the type of meeting he or she is conducting: beginner meeting, speaker meeting, discussion meeting, for instance.

If the chairperson asks if there are any newcomers, visitors should feel free to raise their hands and give their first name.

For the most part, a "single share" protocol is followed in meetings which means that members do not speak for any length of time more than once during the meeting. Sometimes, nonetheless, exceptions to this standard are made, depending upon the group or the situation..

In all meetings, "cross talk" is kept to a minimum. "Cross talk" from the perspective of Alcoholics Anonymous means giving direct advice to others who have already shared, telling another member what to think or how to act, speaking directly to another person rather than to the group, and questioning or interrupting the person who is sharing and speaking at the time.

How AA Works

Rarely has the AA system seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed its path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

AA stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps.

AA thought that it could find an easier, softer way. But it could not. With all earnestness at its command, it begs of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that many deal with alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you find him now.

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

A Little Alcoholics Anonymous History

In 1934 AA co-founder Bill Wilson's drunkenness had ruined a promising career in finance, when a former drinking friend, Ebby Thacher, introduced Wilson to a spiritual solution for alcoholism that Thacher picked up as a member of the Oxford Group, a Christian society that promoted sobriety. Wilson subsequently stopped drinking for good. During a 1935 business trip to Akron, Ohio, Wilson's cravings for alcohol returned, and to stay sober, he met with another alcoholic Dr. Bob Smith, and related how he stayed sober with the help of God. Wilson and Smith continued to meet and became convinced that working with another alcoholic helped them to stay sober. For the benefit of other alcoholics, they co-founded AA. The last day Smith drank alcohol June 10, 1935 is the anniversary date of AA.

By 1937, Wilson and Smith counted 40 alcoholics they helped to get sober, and two years later, they counted 100 members (including one woman). To promote the fellowship, Wilson and other members wrote Alcoholics Anonymous, the book for which the fellowship is named. Informally referred to by members as "The Big Book," it suggests a twelve-step program in which members admit powerlessness over alcohol, acceptance of a higher power, taking of a moral inventory, making amends to those harmed, and seeking direction, guidance, and power from a God "of one's own understanding."

In 1941 interviews on American radio and favorable articles in US magazines, particularly by Jack Alexander in The Saturday Evening Post were followed by increased book sales and membership. By 1946, the growing fellowship was confused and quarreling over practices, finances, and publicity. Wilson's corrective was to write the guidelines for non-coercive group management, Twelve Points to Assure our Future, that eventually became known as the Twelve Traditions. At the 1955 St. Louis convention, in Missouri, Wilson relinquished stewardship of AA to the General Service Conference. In this era, AA started to expand internationally and grew to an estimated two million by 2001

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Rules for Sober Living

5.Connect with the Natural World. Before you attended that drug rehab facility, you lost touch with not only with yourself but with your environment as well. However you choose to reconnect with nature, whether it is through hiking, eating organically, or even simply recycling, the greater chance you have of remaining clean. There is so much healing power in a morning walk with your dog, watching a sunset, or nurturing your body with whole foods that you would do yourself a disservice to return to the false high and guilt associated with drugs.

6.Take Care of Your Stuff. This includes your space and everything in it. Keep your house neat and organized. You may have gotten practice keeping your space clean in the drug rehab facility; however, take this thought one step further and apply it to how you spend your time and your energy. Think of this as preventative maintenance. Change the oil in your car so your car is less likely to break down and you are less likely to react negatively to a broken down car. Pay your bills so you don’t get behind and financial stress does not build, which could lead to all sorts of triggers. Remember the more your “stuff” is in order, the less likely you are to relapse over these types of triggers.

7.Nurture Your Spirit. This isn’t about believing in God or joining a religion. This is about seeing yourself as a spiritual being – one who can create, one who has thoughts and ideas, one who has the desire to survive. Whatever your beliefs, you are a being with ideas. Now that you have completed the drug rehab facility, your mind is free from chemicals that have hindered your ability to create your life. If you see yourself as an artist, then go buy some paint. If you seek peace in your psyche, join a yoga class or learn meditation. If you feel connected to your spirit by going to church on Sundays, then go. The more you turn your positive thoughts into tangible creations, the less likely you are to crave a drug-induced state.

8.Embrace All. This is a huge concept and can take on any form that works for you. Simply look at not only yourself but the world around you and your role in it. It is important to grasp that you and this world you live in are immeasurably great, that you are not bound by finite ideas, or limited in what you can achieve. Embrace yourself. Embrace life. Embrace all that there is, and you will find that drugs no longer have a place in your world and you will enjoy your drug free life.

Rules for Sober Living

1.Take Care of Yourself. This may sound pretty simple; however, for most drug addicts this was never high on the priority list. More than likely eating right and getting a good night’s sleep didn’t happen until you were in a drug rehab facility. Now that you are back in the real world, you must continue to eat healthy and sleep well. Adding exercise to your daily plan will also increase your chances of staying sober. Many doctors say that exercise produces a better effect on one’s mood than anti-depressants.

2.Stay Close to Your Family. This will look different for each of you as you define who your family is. If it’s your husband, your mother, your children, or your closest friends, keep them near. Those who helped you get to a drug rehab facility and succeed will be the ones who will want to see you stay clean. Foster those relationships. Remember those that love you and have helped you clean up are the best people to keep in your inner circle and your spending time with them and helping them will help undo any past harm and damage from drug use or alcoholism.

3.Pay Attention to the People You Hang Around. If you are hanging around with people who are using, even socially, you are setting yourself up for failure. You already know this. However, this rule extends outside of just your peer group. Remember the groups of people in the drug rehab facility. There were those who really wanted to be there and worked hard at the program, and then there were those who remained negative, who were only there because someone has forced them to attend, or because they were avoiding jail time but were not really ready to quit. Choose, even now, to befriend the positive people. Surrounding yourself with negative people can have destructive consequences, so make sure you pick your groups wisely at work, school and in your free time.

4.Realize that You Are Not Alone. You are part of the human race. Drug addiction does not differentiate between race, religion, or gender. As you may remember from the drug rehab facility that you attended, everyone who was there came from a different place, but you were united in the pain and destruction that drug addiction causes. Remember that even now you are connected, not just to other drug addicts, but to everyone. If you live as though you are connected to everyone, then you will find that you truly are not alone in this world, and your chances of staying sober will increase. Helping others is an incredible cure for boredom and restlessness, and will fill you with accomplishment and pride. Make sure that you spend time giving of yourself in some way to others

Treating Alcoholism

Alcoholism and alcohol addiction are often seen as less serious than drug addiction due to their social acceptance. However, alcohol addiction is extremely serious and often life threatening, not only because of the damage done to the liver and brain, but also because of the possibility of automobile or other accidents. Unfortunately, most people do not address alcoholism with alcohol treatment or other addiction help until the addict is in a crisis, or commits a violent act.

For the alcoholic, admitting that they need alcohol addiction treatment is difficult. They may feel that they will be outcast from their social groups, or that they are weak. However painful this may be to confront, the addict must admit that he has a problem. At the very least, the addict must recognize that alcohol is negatively affecting his or her life, and continued use and abuse will make things worse. Once that is done, the person must be willing to seek and accept help from an alcohol addiction center or to seek out professional alcohol addiction treatment.

Alcohol treatment centers with programs based on the social education model are highly successful. People abusing alcohol are not told they are bad or powerless to alcohol. Instead, they are provided with the knowledge necessary to address the issues that led them to abuse alcohol. They learn how to deal with these issues in a positive and constructive manner, rather than avoid them and drink to make it all go away.

Receiving treatment at one of many alcohol treatment centers is best done in a safe and stable place that is supportive and conducive to recovery. The person should not be allowed to blame his or her issues on other people or situations for their addiction to alcohol. Only when one can take full responsibility for their actions will they be able to accept change and decide to live a new life

Q&A on Ambien Addiction

What is Ambien?

A) Ambien with the generic name of Zolpidem belongs to a class of medicines that effects the central nervous system, called sedative hypnotics. Ambien is closely related to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs cause sedation, muscle relaxation, act as anti-convulsants (anti-seizure), and have anti-anxiety properties. Ambien has selectivity in that it has little of the muscle relaxant or anti-seizure effect and more of the sedative effect. Therefore, it is used as a medication for sleep.

Q) How is Ambien used?

A) When abused, Ambien tablets are taken orally, crushed and then snorted, or dissolved in water and “cooked” for intravenous injection.

Q) What are the effects of Ambien?


•Daytime drowsiness
•Difficulty with coordination
•Changing in thinking and/or behavior

Ambien may cause special type of memory loss known as amnesia. When this occurs, a person may not remember what has happened for several hours after taking the medicine. In addition, addiction, or dependence, can be caused by Ambien, especially when used regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. People who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past may have a greater chance of becoming addicted to Ambien. Some people using Ambien have experienced unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior.

•Less common side effects may include:

Abdominal pain, abnormal dreams, abnormal vision, agitation, amnesia, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, bronchitis, burning sensation, chest pain, confusion, constipation, coughing, daytime sleeping, decreased mental alertness, depression, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, difficulty swallowing,

•Rare side effects may include:
Abnormal tears or tearing, abscess, acne, aggravation of allergies, aggravation of high blood pressure, aggression, allergic reaction, altered production of saliva, anemia, belching, blisters, blood clot in lung, boils, breast pain, breast problems, breast tumors, bruising, chill with high temperature followed by heat and perspiration, decreased sex drive, delusion

Q) What are the symptoms of Ambien overdose?

A) People who take too much Ambien may become excessively sleepy or even go into a light coma. The symptoms of overdose are more severe if the person is also taking other drugs that depress the central nervous system. Some cases of multiple overdoses have been fatal.

Q) What adverse drug interactions are caused Ambien?

A) Alcohol has an additive effect with Ambien and the two should not be combined. Ambien should be used cautiously in patients with respiratory diseases because of its depressing effect on breathing. Ambien may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, other sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. However, caution should be used when combining it with other sedative drugs. Ambien used at higher dosages can cause withdrawal symptoms (muscle cramps, sweats, shaking, and seizures) when the drug is abruptly discontinued. Ambien can cause abnormal behavior with confusion and paradoxical insomnia and should be discontinued if these symptoms appear

Addiction Explained in Simple Terms

No one intends to become a drug addict or alcoholic. Our experiences show that the drug addict or alcoholic was usually an intelligent and often creative person with much hope for the future.

However, they were unable to deal effectively with life’s problems and turned to drugs or alcohol as a means of dealing with unwanted situations.

The person usually takes drugs because they attempt to compensate for some personal deficiency or life situation. They may be depressed, in pain or incapable of dealing with a loss of a loved one or extreme circumstance. It could also be as simple as a need to fit in and make friends, or a way to lose weight. Regardless of the reason, the person begins to seek “help” in the form of drugs or alcohol.

Drugs are essentially a pain-killer. They lessen emotional and physical pain and provide the user with a temporary escape from problems. When a person is unable to cope with something in life and take drugs as a result, they feel they have found a way to deal with the problem.

How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Gets Worse
The more a person uses drugs or excessive alcohol, the worse the problem becomes. So they continue the “solution” for their problems, more drugs. Soon new problems are created by drug use. The person feels the need to use consistently, and will do anything to get high.

They are now addicted. They become difficult to communicate with, withdrawn and begin to exhibit the strange behavior associated with being on drugs. The more the person uses to try to counter this effect, the more desperate he becomes.

Their use begins to affect their personal relationships, their job, their bank account, and anything of previous value to the addict. Now the person’s entire focus becomes centered on using drugs and getting more drugs, regardless of the cost. They sacrifice everything to avoid the pain of withdrawal, the guilt of what they have done and the problems they have been running from.

Average Drug Addict Downward Spiral
At this point, the average drug user does one of three things:

1.Continues using drugs and becomes more and more lost, unhealthy and degraded until he eventually becomes homeless or dead.

2.Gets arrested for some drug-related activity and goes to jail or prison.

3.Attempt to quit drugs in any one of a variety of ways. He may try to stop on his own, or go to a drug addiction treatment center or program. Sadly, the success rate of traditional alcohol and drug addiction treatment is not high and most addicts continue to relapse. This destroys the addict’s confidence and leads him to feel he will remain a slave to drugs forever.

Prevent Relapse

The Cycle of Quitting, Withdrawal, Craving And Relapse

When the addict initially tries to quit, cells in the brain that have become used to large amounts of these metabolites are now forced to deal with much decreased amounts. Even as the withdrawal symptoms subside, the brain “demands” that the addict give it more of the drug. This is called drug craving.

Craving is an extremely powerful urge and can cause a person to create all kinds of “reasons” they should begin using drugs again. He is now trapped in an endless cycle of trying to quit, craving, relapse and fear of withdrawal.

Eventually, the brain cells will again become used to having lowered drug metabolites. But, because deposits of drug metabolites release back into the bloodstream from fatty tissues for years, craving and relapse remain a cause for concern.

Left unhandled, the presence of metabolites even in microscopic amounts cause the brain to react as if the addict had again actually taken the drug and can set up craving and relapse even after years of sobriety.

Handling the Drug Metabolites
Clearbrook utilizes a combination of exercise, induced sweating in a sauna, and nutritional supplements to eliminate the traces of drugs, or metabolites, stored in the fatty tissue.

No drugs of any kind are used at Cleabrook, such as “addiction substitute drugs” like methadone.
The results of this phase of the program are:

•Reduction or elimination of drug and alcohol cravings.
•Reduction or elimination of many symptoms associated with drug addiction and alcoholism. These can include depression, irritability, and fatigue.
•Ability to think more clearly.
•Improved memory and attention span.
•Increased energy.
•Increased sense of well being.
•Enthusiasm toward Life.

Handling the “Biochemical Personality”

After successfully eliminating drug traces from the body, we move through a series of specialized study courses that complement and expand on each other to help the addict recognize the old addiction life-style and thought processes.

These unique cognitive and objective therapies are followed by life skills training, delivered in easily understood phases designed to complement and expand on each other.

The drug rehabilitation program is complete when the former addict recognizes and accepts responsibility for old habit patterns and “reasons why”. The person’s relationships with and understanding of himself, his family, friends and environment are fully examined and rehabilitated.

On the person’s own self-determinism, and with no physical or mental “hooks” into past cravings and behavior, he or she is no longer an addict and has regained his or her own true nature.

Why Do People Relapse?

Why Addicts Cannot Stop Using Drugs or Alcohol
Here is some vital information that you need to know in order to fully understand drug and alcohol addiction and to prevent addiction relapses. Once you understand addiction, you will see how simply it can be overcome using the CleabrookDrug Rehabilitation Program. It would be best if you could read this section several times to get a full understanding of the cause of relapse. There are two basic causes for continued addiction;

1.The first of these is the long term effects of drug residuals in the body. The Mental and Physical cravings caused by drug residues which remain in the body, even long after a person quits using the drug, simply drives the addict to use more of the drug. This cause of continued addiction is thoroughly addressed and treated with great succes.

2.The second of these causes is the “Biochemical Personality”. This is the “way of thinking” that is caused by drug addiction and the lifestyle an addict adopts to get drugs and live with a drug habit. This cause of continued addiction is also specifically addressed with great success.

These two situations are linked with one feeding the other, and both must be recognized and dealt with before a person can fully be free from the addictive effects of drugs.

Drug Residues: What they are and how they work
The addict can “just say no” a thousand times, but it only takes saying “yes” one time to start the cycle of addiction again.

Several decades ago, the biochemical aspect of drug addiction were discovered. This biochemical breakthrough has led to the most successful approach to rehabilitation in existence.

In essence, when a person uses drugs over a period of time, the body becomes unable to completely eliminate all traces of them. The traces that remain are stored in the fatty tissues. Called “drug metabolites”, these traces re-enter the system and trigger cravings for the drug along with the “Biochemical Personality” traits that are a non-optimum way of life.

Left unhandled, these manifestations will haunt a person for years even if they have sobered up. Left untreated, they can trigger a serious relapse.

These unresolved symptoms and manifestations, whether physical or mental in origin, create an underlying low-level type of stress which cannot be completely ignored by the addict. The addict can “just say no” a thousand times, but it only takes him saying “yes” one time to start the cycle of addiction again.

Drug Residues Remain in Fatty Tissues
Drugs are broken down in the liver into substances called metabolites. Although removed rapidly from the blood stream, metabolites can become trapped in the fatty tissues. The one thing in common—and the problem that needs to be addressed—is that these drug residues remain trapped for years.

Tissues in our bodies that are high in fats are turned over very slowly. When they are turned over, the stored drug metabolites are released into the blood stream and reactivate the same brain centers as if the person actually took the drug. The former addict now experiences restimulation of a drug episode (or “flashback”) and subsequent drug craving. This is common in the months after an addict quits and can continue to occur for years, even decades.

More Reasons Interventions May Fail

1. Failure to have an Immediate Plan of Action: Prior to the intervention, make sure you have a plan of action that will actually get your loved one to a drug rehab where he can be treated for his addiction. Often the addict will agree to go to treatment “later” after he “takes care of a few things”. Offer to take care of those things for him so that it is one less thing to worry about. He may make excuses as to why he can’t go now; his job is too important or his school is almost done. In fact, he may convince you that his considerations are valid and it can seem like there really is no way her can go.

However, you must not let that happen. The odds are against him that he will actually make it to the drug rehab treatment center. Have a plane ticket, a ride, and an escort ready to get him there within 24 hours after the intervention takes place. You may be able to stretch this time to 48 hours at the VERY LATEST, but make sure the addict has close supervision the entire time. I spoke to several parents who were devastated after they allowed their child to put off treatment until some “important things” were taken care of, only to find their child had overdosed. Not one of these parents felt that it was worth it to wait to get the addict into treatment and all of them regretted not doing whatever they could to get their child into the drug rehab. Also, none of them foresaw the danger the addict was really in.

2. Inadequate Research of Drug Rehab Treatment: There are many types of drug rehab treatments out there and it is important to research which one will best help the addict in your life. Once you have made a decision, get in contact with the drug rehab treatment center and let them know about the intervention and you can often get some great advice. Have some of their literature on hand during the intervention, so the addict realizes that drug rehab is not prison, but simply a place to change your life.

Every drug rehab program has rules, and rightly so. Learn what they will allow and not allow. For instance, some programs do not allow cigarette smoking. If the addict smokes, this program would not be a good choice. If the intervention is on the right track, having this information immediately available will help speed the process along.

An intervention can seem overwhelming and frightening to the family of an addict and should not be underestimated. However, it can be successful if the reasons above are resolved and the corresponding steps above are followed. There is hope in getting your loved one into a type of a drug rehab treatment program that changes their lives for the better

Reasons Why Interventions Fail

A successful intervention can lead a person you love toward a drug rehab treatment program that can help them improve their lives and bring happiness and relief to those around him. However, many interventions fail because the families of those afflicted by drug addiction do not know how to lead a successful intervention. Certain factors must be in place and followed in order to get the addict to a drug rehab. Treatment may seem impossible if the addict isn’t willing to seek help. However, a formal intervention will work if done in the proper way.

After spending time interviewing several interventionists and intake counselors from various drug rehab treatment programs, I have come up with the top 5 reasons why an intervention would fail:

1. Failure to use a Professional: This may sound pitch for interventionists, but the plain fact is that most family members are not accustomed to confronting and addressing problems easily amongst themselves. They may carry guilt from the past, bring up unresolved and unrelated issues and the entire situation may turn into a screaming match which results in nothing but pain for everyone. Interventions can get so ugly that the exact opposite effect occurs, that the addict refuses help and swears off his family and jumps deeper into his own self-destruction.

Many drug rehab programs have staff trained to facilitate an intervention, or can refer you to one. These individuals guide the intervention towards the ultimate goal, which is to get your loved one to a drug rehab treatment center. They bring an unbiased opinion to what is bound to be an emotional and difficult situation for those involved and are able to see things far in advance and can lead the way towards success.

2. Wavering from the Determined Goal: Ultimately, you want your loved one to check into a drug rehab. Treatment is the only option if you are even considering an intervention, not meetings or to let him do it on his own. Do not lose focus on this once the intervention starts and make sure that all involved are willing to do what it takes to make this happen. Sometimes the addict will shift blame to other family members and try to take on the role of a victim. This can be a powerful tool of manipulation as there may be truth or guilt connected to it. Once this happens, family members start to negotiate with the addict or doubt themselves. This will have disastrous effects on the success of the intervention.

Regardless of what “dirty laundry” may come out on the table, the fact of the matter is that the addict is the one that needs help the most and although everyone may have problems in life, the addict is the one who the focus must be on. He may do or say terrible and hurtful things to get our of the intervention and back onto drugs and that must not happen.

3. A Family Divided: Involve all members of the family in the intervention planning, providing they are there to help. Ensure that everyone who will be attending is in agreement with the ultimate goal of getting the addict to a drug rehab treatment center. If one family isn’t on board, he may secretly tell the addict about the intervention in advance or may take sides with addict, thus weakening the argument for treatment and ensuring a failure. If the family members doing the intervention are bitter towards each other, the addict can turn the entire meeting into a circus of finger-pointing in order to escape the situation.

Rapid Detox

The rapid detox process is generally conducted in a hospital setting and under general anesthesia.

Also referred to as 'ultra rapid opiate detox,' rapid detox for opiate based substances and addictions such as heroin, vicodin, methadone, or any prescribed narcotic pain killers.

Other narcotic opiate-based substances that can be treated through the rapid detoxification process include:


The rapid opiate detox process is generally conducted in a hospital setting and under general anesthesia. In fact, the process is most often overseen by certified and qualified anesthesiologists and a nursing staff that specializes in such procedures.

While under anesthesia, the patient is administered medications that accelerate the physical reactions to the rapid withdrawal process which can last from 4 to 6 hours.

Be especially scrutinizing as you determine the drug rehab program that meets your specific needs.

Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Clearbrook’s rehabilitation program is based upon the belief that alcoholism and chemical dependency is a primary disease and that the suffering addict and his or her family members deserve immediate help.

Drug Rehabilitation Programs and You

Is the drug rehab treatment program medically based?

There is an advantage to including on-site medical care in a Drug Rehab. Physicians and nurses provide 24-hour hospital services to monitor and ensure a safe withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. In addition, a medical staff specializing in addiction medicine can oversee the progress of each individual and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Medical credentials and accreditation can also be important. For example, a chemical dependency Drug Rehab that earns JCAHO accreditation (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) meets national standards for providing quality medical care. Appropriate state licensing is also an important consideration.

Be sure to ask which medical costs are included in the price of treatment at the drug rehab.

What is the degree of family involvement in a drug rehab program?

Drug abuse and alcoholism affects the entire family, not just the alcoholic/addict. Quite often family members do not realize how deeply they have been affected by chemical dependency. Family involvement is an important component of recovery.

Drug Rehabs vary in the degree and quality of family involvement opportunities. Some offer just a few lectures and others offer family therapy. Ask if there is any time devoted to family programs and if group therapy is included.

Does drug rehabilitation include a quality continuing care program?

There are no quick fixes for the diseases of drug abuse and alcoholism. Recovery is an ongoing process. The skills one learns during intensive rehabilitation treatment must be integrated into everyday life and this takes time.

Some drug addiction treatment programs will offer a follow-up program but only in one location which may make it difficult to use.

Drug rehabilitation treatment programs should include a quality, continuing care program that supports and monitors recovery.

About Drug Rehabilitation Centers

Selecting a drug rehab center is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will make in your lifetime. Few of us know what to look for in a quality rehab program and not all drug rehabilitation centers are alike. Each drug rehab has its own program options, staff qualifications, credentials, cost, and effectiveness.

Asking appropriate questions when you call a drug rehab for information is important and you should expect to receive clear answers.

Before you make any decisions-ask questions and get the facts!

Does the drug rehab offer a variety of programs?

Alcohol and drug addiction are diseases that progress through predictable stages. It takes a trained health professional, often a doctor specializing in addiction medicine, to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment, whether it be outpatient counseling or an inpatient alchol and drug rehab.

A drug rehabilitation treatment center should offer a variety of treatment programs that meet individual needs. Programs may include inpatient, residential, outpatient, and/or short-stay options.

The difference between inpatient and a residential treatment center is that inpatient services are provided by a licensed hospital, while residential programs usually do not meet the same rigorous standards of medical care.

The length of stay depends on the severity and stage of the disease.

How much does a drug rehab center cost?

"How much does it cost?" is often one of the first questions asked when someone calls a drug rehab program.

The price tag for drug rehab treatment depends on the type of rehab you choose. You need to know what is included, what will be added to your bill as a fee-for-service program, and what services your health insurance will cover. This makes it extremely difficult to compare prices by simply asking the question - "What does rehab cost?" The best way to find out the range of costs for rehab is to talk to an intake advisor. You can discuss your insurance coverage or your financial concerns and they will help you narrow down your choices to what best meets your needs in the most affordable way.

If you are seeking the best value for your treatment dollar, remember: Price can be meaningful only in the context of quality and performance.

Also remember that the cost of drug addiction and alcoholism, if not treated, can far exceed the cost of treatment.