Teens and Alcohol: 'A community problem'

“The word ‘party’ has become synonymous with alcohol — that needs to change,” Spencer Clark, Helena High School senior said at Tuesday night’s town hall meeting.

Clark was one of nearly 300 community members who attended “Teens and Alcohol: A Dangerous Mix,” presented by Youth Connections, a coalition of parents, students, teachers and community organizations working on ways to support teenagers in resisting first use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Spencer said the social norm needs to be corrected and kids needs to be able to have parties without involving drinking.

Carly Ryan, a freshman at Capital High School, attended the event for two reasons: she thought it would be interesting to hear lot of different opinions on the issue, and to get extra credit in her world cultures class.

Ryan said that in Helena and throughout the state underage drinking is a problem. She has witnessed friends get into trouble because of alcohol consumption and she has learned from their mistakes, she said.

Ryan suggested that countries with a lower drinking age tend to have fewer problems with underage drinking. She also said the rural nature of Montana leaves young people with little to do, which sometimes leads them to experiment with alcohol.

The event aimed to provide an opportunity for local youths, parents and concerned citizens to learn and share information about the impacts of alcohol on young people in the community.

Drenda Carlson, director of Youth Connections, said because the data is clear that in Lewis and Clark County underage alcohol abuse is on the rise. It’s for this reason that the coalition planned the town hall meeting.

Helena teenagers rate among the worst in Montana for underage drinking, and nearly 50 percent of local high school students reported to binge drink in past 30 days, according to Youth Connections.

“We want to get that data out to the community so they’ll see the problem as we see it,” Carlson said. “It’s not a youth problem. It’s not a law enforcement problem. It’s not a parent problem. It’s a community problem. The only way to change that is to bring the community together.”

A panel of leaders held sessions discussing topics in the areas of brain research, legal liability, youth culture, post high school culture, minor in possession and driving under the influence.

Judy Griffith, chemical awareness program coordinator for Helena high schools, said she has been fascinated with brain development for a long time and doesn’t ever get tired of talking about it.

“The notion that (brain development) all happens before the teenage years is wrong,” she said.

Griffith recently spoke to a brain surgeon who told her binge drinking (more than four drinks for a female and five for a male) is brain injury.

“You might as well smack your head with a brick,” she said. “When chemical abuse begins emotional development comes to a stand still.”

Jim Lynch, Montana Department of Transportation director, said people over 21 do have an influence in the decisions of those under 21. He also said more positive opportunities for activities for young people need to be found.

The No. 1 health issue on public campuses today is alcohol abuse, said Mike Franklin, director of counseling services at Carroll College.

“When you get intoxicated your physical and mental abilities become impaired and you say and do things you later regret,” he said.

There a lot of consequences to getting tickets like MIPs, Melissa Broch, assistant county attorney said.

“The time to think about those consequences is before you end up in court,” Broch said.

Kelsey Fanning, CHS senior, led the discussion about youth culture and said the issue is widespread throughout all types of groups of students in the schools.

Pressure to use alcohol comes from three places, Fanning said, media, peer influence and low expectations from adults.

Fanning said the way to reach young people is to have more adult interaction. Others suggested that teenagers are just modeling what they see adults in their lives do.

Fanning urged parents in the room to “pay attention, be active and get involved.”

Those involved with Youth Connections say having this community discussion is just the first step to a prolonged approach and through awareness and community involvement the hope is to change the acceptance that it’s OK for teenagers to drink.

source: Helena Independent Record


The Guy in the Glass

The Guy in the Glass - Dale Wimbrow
I'm not a big poetry fan, but over a decade ago a piece of writing introduced to me as "The Man In The Glass" had a huge effect upon me in relation to dealing with my drug addiction issues.

I first came across the poem in AA - a member told me that nobody knew who the true author was and that it had been found scrawled on the walls of death row in a San Quentin prison. When I first started writing a column called "The Man In The Glass", it often bothered me that I didn't know who the true author was. I felt that this person deserved some sort of recognition for the wonderful gift he or she had provided to humanity.

For a couple of years, a version of "The Guy in the Glass" appeared on World Wide Addiction, along with a request for information about the real author. I am happy to say that the family of Dale Wimbrow, the author, contacted me recently about the origins of the poem.

The version I had published, as with so many other reproductions I've seen is somewhat incorrect. It is with great pride and thanks to the family of Dale Wimbrow that I can now publish the correct version and give credit to the writer of this uplifting poem.

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow 1895-1954 (See below)

* Permission for the reproduction of "The Guy in the Glass" was very kindly granted to me by the family of Dale Wimbrow. Please contact the Wimbrow family before reproducing the poem. This is one of the most misquoted and misrepresented writings that I know of - by gaining the proper permission from the Wimbrow family, we can finally show Dale the gratitude and respect that he rightly deserves.

If you see a copy of this poem elsewhere on the web that does not give credit to the writer or is incorrectly quoted, please help the Wimbrow family in their efforts to have Dale properly recognized and point the webmaster to "The Guy In The Glass" web site.

Thank you,

Michael Bloch

Source: http://worldwideaddiction.com/


Addicts, mentally ill need help, not jail time

In a rare political statement, B.C.'s highest court says system is clogged with out-of-control repeat offenders -- with no resources to aid them...

The B.C. Court of Appeal issued a plea to Victoria on Friday to improve treatment resources for mentally ill and addicted recidivists who are clotting up the criminal legal system.

At the end of a unanimous decision, three justices -- including Chief Justice Lance Finch -- concluded a lower court judge had difficulty sentencing a 27-year-old repeat offender because there was no medical help available.

They said the case was emblematic.

"This court can do no more than to acknowledge the lack of resources and urge our legislators to respond to the need," Justice Catherine Anne Ryan wrote for the panel.

It was a rare politically tinged comment from the province's highest bench and it touched a hot-button issue.

Mentally ill and addicted repeat offenders clog the system and what to do about them is a Gordian knot.

More jail time -- the solution some propose, doesn't help this population, in my view, because they're not bent, they're broken. These people aren't making criminal choices, they're out of control.

This judgment leans in the same direction.

Justice Ryan said this case "demonstrated the difficulty of sentencing the mentally ill offender, especially those who are also addicted to alcohol and/or drugs."

She said the courts are being asked to deal with offenders who cannot be controlled via ordinary probation orders because treatment services are not available.

As a result, they are released only to reoffend because they haven't received any help with their underlying problems.

Consider this case.

Over the course of six weeks, would-be Victoria artist Jonah Jae Donato committed six crimes culminating in a robbery.

On March 9, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a total of just over seven months' imprisonment to be followed by two years' probation.

At the time, the judge duly warned Donato that when he was released on probation he was to be of good behaviour, refrain from drugs and alcohol and to get treatment.

"Without treatment to back up the admonitions, such orders will often do the opposite to what is intended -- create a simple path to reoffending," Justice Ryan noted.

"Apparently, no treatment facilities were available to Mr. Donato at the time he was sentenced."

Which meant he remained on the legal system's treadmill.

Donato's first crime in this spree was spray-painting an outside wall of the Odeon Theatre in Victoria on Dec. 5, 2006.

He was drunk and told the officers he was trying to convey his message that the streets were dangerous. He was arrested for mischief and released.

On Dec. 10, Donato spray-painted an office building. He was drunk.

A private security guard stopped him on Jan. 11, stealing a bottle of beer from a downtown liquor store.

Donato was arrested and released on a promise to appear and not consume alcohol while awaiting trial.

On Jan. 12, he was found unconscious in the washroom of a local Blenz Coffee shop, a bottle of Drambuie by his side.

Five days later, he was caught bingeing on the street.

Lastly in this string of offences, on Jan. 18 wearing something resembling a veil, Donato drunkenly demanded money from an adult video store clerk.

The clerk handed him $20 and pushed a silent alarm.

Donato was in another part of the store stuffing merchandise into his jacket pocket when police arrived.

None of this behaviour should have been surprising.

Donato has a related record of eight thefts, fraud, assault, and mischief.

All of those crimes were similarly alcohol-fueled escapades and were dealt with in 2006 -- the longest sentence he received amounted to 30 days' incarceration followed by probation for a year. He was on probation when these offences were committed.

A psychiatric report filed with the court says Donato is afflicted with schizoaffective disorder and polysubstance abuse.

He has been admitted and received psychiatric treatment numerous times. Yet he is resistant to counselling and medication.

Released from jail on Sept. 17, Donato quickly breached his probation, pleaded guilty and on Oct. 1 was sentenced to 30 days.

He was released Oct. 20, but 10 days later was charged with three further breaches of probation along with theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property.

He was released Nov. 1, having promised to admit himself to the Seven Oaks Mental Health Facility where a bed is now available.

"Mr. Donato's rehabilitation will not take place unless he receives treatment to address his mental health and addiction issues that give rise to his anti-social behaviour," Justice Ryan said.

"Fortuitously, the Seven Oaks Mental Health Facility has a bed for Mr. Donato and he agreed, pursuant to a bail order imposed Nov. 1, to take treatment at the facility... The conditions imposed by the sentencing judge, now tied to treatment, may provide the rehabilitative effect for which they were intended."

Donato was before the appeal court asking to have those conditions relaxed. And the court obviously had great sympathy.

He said he couldn't live without a drink and Justice Ryan said that was probably realistic.

His chances of rehabilitation had improved, she said, so the court would amend the proviso that he "refrain absolutely from ingesting alcohol or non-prescription drugs to a condition that requires that he not be found intoxicated in public."

Donato wanted access to an area of downtown Victoria from which he is currently prohibited -- "the south side of Fort Street to the south, the east side of Quadra Street to the east, the north side of Herald Street to the north, and the west side of Wharf Street to the west."

The appeal panel said that provision would remain in place because the area is where his crimes took place and offers easy access to illegal drugs and alcohol.

"If he needs to go to the area he can do so with the permission of his probation officer," Justice Ryan concluded.

Donato also wanted the ban on possessing "any spray paints, marking pens or any other items that could be used to create 'graffiti'" eased.

The panel varied that condition to say "he not carry spray paint in public."

Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun

Published: Monday, November 26, 2007


Help for the Alcholic Family

Although alcoholism is an incredibly tenacious disease, the non-drinking members of an alcoholic family are not helpless to do anything about it. What they must do to deal effectively with the alcoholic's drinking, however, is usually the opposite of what they have been doing.

The first thing the members in an alcoholic family must do is realize they have been as much affected by the disease of alcoholism as has the alcoholic, although in different ways. If he is dependent upon alcohol, they have become co-dependent. If he can't stop his drinking, they can't stop their attempts to control it. If he denies the harm he causes himself and others, they are equally deluded about the nature of the disease and its effects on them.

Alcoholism affects all members of the alcoholic family in hurtful ways. An alcoholic family is a troubled, pain-ridden family with constricted communication and suppressed emotional expression.

The drinking of the alcoholic has been a great source of pain to the family members but they have all learned to deny that pain and not to express their feelings. Many of the members in an alcoholic family have concentrated much of their time and energy in attempts to control the drinking of the alcoholic, all to no avail. Failing their attempts at control, they usually then attempt to protect her from the full consequences of her destructive, alcoholic behavior, loving maneuvers which only enable her to continue drinking.

If the family members are to recover from the effects of alcoholism and paradoxically provide the best chance to help the alcoholic quit drinking, all of this must be reversed. They must learn about the disease nature of alcoholism and its effects on them. They must acknowledge the pain they have suppressed for years and begin to express it.

More importantly, the family members must realize that the alcoholic is, in fact, dependent on alcohol and that they are powerless to do anything about it. Instead of focusing their attention on his drinking, they must shift it away from him and refocus it on themselves. They must refuse to take any more responsibility for the alcoholic's behavior and no longer attempt to make him stop drinking or protect him from the painful consequences of his drinking.

No more pleading or nagging. No more lectures or futile threats which aren't backed up with inevitable consequences. No more making excuses for the alcoholic's drinking. No more calling in sick for her when she is hung over. No more keeping her dinner warm until 10 p.m. or cleaning up her vomit.

All of this may sound selfish for the family members to do - and perhaps it is - but paradoxically it creates the best chance they have to bring the alcoholic to sobriety. Without a co-dependent family enabling his drinking, he may decide to seek treatment. There are no guarantees this will happen, but certainly what the family members have been doing for years hasn't worked.

If you have a family member who is an alcoholic, what I am suggesting you do is not easy. You probably can't do it alone, so my plea to you would be to seek professional help to support and guide you.

Author: J. Bailey Molineux from:http://www.enhancedhealing.com


Self-Care at Home

Alcoholism is best treated by professionals trained in addiction medicine. Physicians and other health care workers are best suited to manage alcohol withdrawal and the medical disorders associated with alcoholism.

In fact, home therapy without supervision by a trained professional may be life threatening because of complications from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Usually an alcoholic will experience alcohol withdrawal 6-8 hours after cutting down or stopping alcohol consumption.

Several levels of care are available to treat alcoholism. Medically managed hospital-based detoxification and rehabilitation programs are used for more severe cases of dependence that occur with medical and psychiatric complications. Medically monitored detoxification and rehabilitation programs are used for people who are dependent on alcohol and who do not require more closely supervised medical care. The purpose of detoxification is to safely withdraw the alcoholic from alcohol and to help him or her enter a treatment program. The purpose of a rehabilitation program is to help the alcoholic accept the disease, begin to develop skills for sober living, and get enrolled in ongoing treatment and self-help programs. Most detoxification programs last just a few days. Most medically managed or monitored rehabilitation programs last less than 2 weeks.

Many alcoholics benefit from longer-term rehabilitation programs, day treatment programs, or outpatient programs. These programs involve education, therapy, addressing problems contributing to or resulting from the alcoholism, and learning skills to manage the alcoholism over time.

These skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Learning to identify and manage cravings to drink alcohol

* Resisting social pressures to engage in substance use

* Changing health care habits and lifestyle (for example, improving diet and sleep hygiene, and avoiding high-risk people, places, and events)

* Learning to challenge alcoholic thinking (thoughts such as, I need a drink to fit in, have fun, or deal with stress)

* Developing a recovery support system and learning how to reach out for help and support from others (for example, from members of self-help programs)

* Learning to deal with emotions (anger, anxiety, boredom, depression) and stressors without reliance on alcohol

* Identifying and managing relapse warning signs before alcohol is used

* Anticipating the possibility of relapse and addressing high-risk relapse factors

Please visit us at Sober Musicians where you will find a community of individuals who understand what you are going through.


Binge Drinking by Adolescents and Young Adults has Long-term Health Consequences

New research into lifelong alcohol consumption reveals that heavy binge drinking by adolescents and young adults is associated with increased long-term risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. The risk is lower in people who start drinking alcohol later in life and maintain more moderate drinking patterns.

The study, accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), also indicates that the increased health risks were independent of the total amount of alcohol consumed over a lifetime, or whether or not people stopped or curtailed drinking as they matured.

"To fully understand the effect of alcohol consumption on health, you need to consider lifetime drinking patterns," said Dr. Marcia Russell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation's Prevention Research Center in Berkeley, Calif., and senior author of the study. "Early initiation of alcohol drinking and heavy drinking in adolescence and early adulthood seem to be associated with a number of adverse health effects collectively known as the metabolic syndrome.”

The term metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of metabolic risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The exact cause of the metabolic syndrome is not known, but genetic factors, too much body fat (especially in the waist area), and lack of exercise increase the risk of developing the condition.

Russell and her colleagues based their research on data from the Western New York Health Study (WNYHS), conducted between 1996 and 2001. This study retrospectively collected lifestyle information on more than 2,800 people who reported that they were regular drinkers at one point in their lives. The study also collected data on the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its individual components, including obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and high fasting glucose.

The WNYHS study revealed two distinct lifetime drinking trajectories among people who were ever regular drinkers. Drinking trajectory refers to the variability in drinking behavior over the span of a person's lifetime.

Early peak lifetime trajectories were characterized by early and heavy drinking followed by a sharp reduction in alcohol intake. Stable trajectories were characterized by more moderate intakes over a longer period of life. Lifetime drinking patterns included total years of drinking, first and last age of regular drinking, total volume of alcohol consumed, and many other factors. Early peak drinkers were, on average, 10 years younger than stable drinkers. Despite this age difference, the early peak drinkers still had a modestly higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

“Drinking patterns associated with early peak and stable drinking trajectories were distinctly different,” said Russell. “Early peak drinkers generally began drinking earlier than stable drinkers. They drank fewer years, less frequently, and consumed less volume of alcohol over their lifetimes, but averaged more drinks per drinking day and had higher rates of episodic heavy drinking and intoxication.”

The researchers speculate that the reason for the increased risk for metabolic syndrome found in the study may be associated with the adverse health effects of early unhealthy drinking patterns, which were carried over to later life. Also, early peak drinkers may have adopted other lifestyle habits detrimental to cardio-metabolic health.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Amy Fan, also of the Prevention Research Center. Other study authors include Dr. Saverio Stranges of the University at Buffalo, N.Y., and the University of Warwick, U.K.; and Drs. Joan Dorn and Maurizio Trevisan of the University of Buffalo.

source: Newswise


Codependency and Cocommitment

Confusion about Responsibility in Relationships

Many negative emotions are the result of confusion concerning "who is responsible for whose reality." If we believe that others are responsible for our reality and how we feel, and they do not "create" our reality as we would like it to be or do not give us what we want, we feel hurt, bitter, disillusioned, powerless, fearful, resentful, angry, and even hateful.

When we believe that we are responsible for their reality, and we are not able to make them happy, healthy, successful or satisfied, we feel failure, self-rejection, shame, and guilt. We might even feel anger toward them when they do not cooperate with us to create the reality we believe they must have in order to feel that we are successful and thus worthy as parents, teachers, saviors, healers, etc.

Both beliefs create codependence, resulting in conflicts which prevent both parties from maturing emotionally.

We will all be much happier if we create relationships of conscious love, cocommitment and mutual support rather than burden each other and ourselves in these ways.

Beliefs that Cause Codependency

1. I am responsible for the others’ reality for their safety, happiness, health, success, satisfaction, etc.

We then believe we are failures if they are not well. We also become angry with them when they do not cooperate in creating their own well being, which we need in order to feel worthy.

2. Others are incapable, unable, and lacking inner guidance or the capacity for managing their lives properly. They need me.

We believe they cannot be okay or proceed in life without our guidance and effort. As a consequence, we undermine their self-confidence and self-worth, and wear ourselves down doing for others much of what they can do for themselves. We obstruct their growth and strength.

3. If the others are not well, happy, successful, satisfied, etc., then I am a failure.

In such cases, we get trapped in a vicious circle with the others, seeking to pressure them to live their lives in ways that we believe will make them happy and well. We do this, however, not only out of love, but also out of our need to affirm our self-worth.

4. If the others are not well or satisfied, etc., I am not worthy.

5. If the other is not well or happy, I do not have the right to be well or happy.

This often does not help the other, but instead adds to the negativity in the environment. I remember a man once who expressed the need to be not well and to express it without his wife going to pieces.

6. If I love someone who is suffering, unhappy or not well, I should not be able to be happy or well.

We can help others much more effectively by being positive rather than negative when they are not well.

7. My self-worth depends on what others think of me and on how satisfied they are with me.

We then lose our sense of who we are, what we believe and what we want to do with our lives. We waste our lives seeking to be who we believe others want us to be. In the end, we lose our happiness and are usually bitter that after all that self-suppression, we are still not getting from others the love and respect we desire.

8. My self-worth is dependent on how successful my efforts are toward health, happiness, material comfort, social acceptance, professional success, etc.

9. Without the others:
a. I cannot feel safe.
b. I cannot feel socially accepted.
c. I cannot succeed.
d. I cannot enjoy myself.
e. I cannot be sure what to do.
f. I cannot be happy.

10. Others are responsible for my:
A. Happiness
B. Safety.
C. Satisfaction.
D. Success.
E. Health.

Discovering our own Tendencies Toward Codependency

The next step is to determine where exactly who we are expecting to create our happiness, success, and satisfaction, or where we are dependent on others for our feelings of self-worth or security.

Then we need to discover for which people we feel responsible for their health, happiness, success, safety or satisfaction.

Completing the next exercise will help us prepare for putting order to our keys of responsibility.

1. I feel responsible for the following in relationship to the following persons:
(Health, Safety, Happiness, Success, Satisfaction, Self-worth

Perhaps it would be useful here to give some examples of possible answers:
I feel responsible for:
a. My children’s health, safety, happiness, satisfaction, success in life and their behavior toward others.
b. My spouse’s and parents’ happiness and satisfaction.
c. My boss’s satisfaction with my work.
d. My friends’ satisfaction with my friendship.
e. My siblings’ being satisfied with me, and also for their health, happiness and security.

Programmed in this way with the above feelings of responsibility, I cannot feel happy or worthy unless:
a. My children are healthy, safe, successful, happy, satisfied, and are behaving properly toward others.
b. My spouse and parents are happy and satisfied with me.
c. My boss and friends are satisfied with me.

Author: Robert Elias Najemy


Can a problem drinker learn moderation?

For years, Phil was a normal social drinker.

“It’s a nice, simple pleasure,” he said.

But a few years ago, Phil’s casual drinking took an ominous turn. Instead of stopping after two or three beers or glasses of wine, Phil would have four, five or six drinks.

He would wake up exhausted. He’d be too tired to jog. He had to drag himself to his carpentry job.

“It was really starting to drain me,” he said.

If Phil had entered a conventional treatment program, he almost certainly would have been counseled to quit altogether. Complete abstinence is the prevailing philosophy of most programs, and the bedrock of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Moderation “is a good idea, but it’s never worked,” said Mercy Hospital alcohol counselor Peter Chapman. “The only effective long-term treatment for addiction is abstinence.”

But a minority of counselors have long argued that some problem drinkers — with an emphasis on “some” — can learn to drink moderately.

Michael Levy, an alcohol counselor and Harvard Medical School lecturer, sums up the philosophy in the title of his new book, Take Control of Your Drinking . . . And You May Not Need to Quit.

While moderate-drinking advocates such as Levy remain out of the mainstream, they are gaining adherents through the Internet, several recent books and a network of support groups called Moderation Management.

No use for the 12 steps

Earlier this year, a Moderation Management support group began meeting in Evanston. It was started by Phil, who did not want to give his last name.

Phil enjoys drinking and doesn’t want to quit. And he has no use for AA, especially AA’s emphasis on spirituality. In AA’s 12-step program, six steps mention God or a “Power greater than ourselves.”

Phil also doesn’t buy into AA’s Step 1, in which the drinker admits to being “powerless over alcohol.”

Phil has the opposite philosophy. “They say you have no control over alcohol,” he said. “I say you have complete control.”

Moderation Management recommends men drink no more than three or four days a week, and not exceed four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week. For women, who have smaller body sizes, the limits are three drinks per day and nine per week.

Except for stumbling over the holidays, Phil has stayed within MM limits. (He had six drinks on New Year’s Eve and six on Jan. 1.)

He’s sleeping better at night and jogging in the morning. Drinking, in smaller amounts, continues to be a simple pleasure.

“Just because you fell into a habit of overdrinking doesn’t mean you can’t break the habit,” he said.

MM has about 1,000 members in 25 to 30 groups around the country. By comparison, AA has 1.2 million members and more than 50,000 groups in the United States.

Both MM and its critics agree that moderation is not for everyone. A hard-core alcoholic will probably never be able to control his or her drinking.

MM’s founder in deadly crash

MM founder Audrey Kishline offers a sobering example of the perils of trying to drink moderately.

After founding MM in 1993, Kishline wrote a book, Moderate Drinking: The New Option for Problem Drinkers.

But Kishline was unable to control her own drinking. In 2000, she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide. After an episode of binge drinking, she had driven the wrong way down a freeway and smashed head-on into another car, killing a father and his 12-year-old daughter.

Kishline said afterward through her attorney that MM was just a bunch of alcoholics “covering up their problem.”

Before her accident, Kishline had quit MM and joined AA. One proponent of moderation management told the New York Times that AA “didn’t have answers for her, either.”

(Kishline and the mother of the girl she killed recently wrote a joint memoir, Face to Face. A description on the cover calls the book an “astonishing true story of tragedy and forgiveness.”)

Abstinence-only as old as the nation

The belief that alcoholics can’t control their drinking has been around a long time. One of the nation’s Founding Fathers, Dr. Benjamin Rush, argued that alcoholism is a disease, and the only cure is abstinence.

Jump ahead to 1935. Two alcoholics, William Wilson (known as Bill W.) and Dr. Robert Smith (Dr. Bob) embraced the disease model and founded Alcoholics Anonymous.

The bible of the AA movement, known as the Big Book, argues that for an alcoholic, moderation is impossible:

“Our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, some day he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death . . .

“All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals — usually brief — were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.”

But is this true for all problem drinkers?

Studies conducted over the past 30 years in the United States and other countries “have very clearly demonstrated that people with even fairly significant levels of alcohol dependence can and do learn to moderate their drinking,” said Frederick Rotgers, co-author of the 2002 book, Responsible Drinking: A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers.

Two examples:

†Rand Corp. researchers who followed 922 male alcoholics for four years after treatment found that 40 percent of those who had not relapsed into alcoholism were able to drink socially.

†A 1996 study in the American Journal of Public Health reported even more striking findings. Researchers conducted two large telephone surveys in Canada that included more than 12,000 adults. Among those who said they had resolved past drinking problems, between 38 percent and 63 percent reported they were able to drink socially.

In an understatement, researchers concluded: “These findings may be seen as inconsistent with the traditional model of alcoholism.”

Such studies have flaws. In the Canadian study, for example, there were no independent checks to determine whether drinkers were telling the truth about themselves.

But whatever its strengths or weaknesses, research that suggests many problem drinkers can become moderate drinkers has failed to sway most alcoholism counselors.

“The treatment industry is ideologically driven, not science driven,” Rotgers said.

Levy added that many counselors are themselves recovering alcoholics. “They’re abstinent, and they believe that’s the only way to do business.”

Moderation feeds denial

Dr. Daniel Angres, medical director of Resurrection Addiction Services, agrees that some problem drinkers probably can learn to drink socially.

But, he said, it’s not easy to distinguish between problem drinkers who can cut back successfully and those who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and will never be able to drink in moderation. In the latter group, he said, alcoholism wipes out the rational part of the brain that decides that two drinks are enough.

Moderation management might work in the short run for an alcoholic, Angres added. But in the long run, it could simply feed the alcoholic’s powerful denial system.

“You run the risk of doing more harm than good,” he said.

But abstinence can backfire, too. There are legions of alcoholics who have fallen off the wagon after trying to quit completely.

“When people are faced with all-or-nothing approaches, they tend to avoid the nothing,” Rotgers said.

Phil said that telling a problem drinker to abstain completely is like telling a fat person to never have as much as a single french fry or bite of ice cream.

“Wouldn’t some people resist this and say: Hey, wait a minute, I like this stuff. I want to occasionally eat some limited amounts of these kinds of foods rather than completely abstaining?” Phil asked. “I think the answer is yes.”


Binge drinking 'puts 21 children in hospital Every Day'

Twenty one children a day are taken to hospital after binge drinking and teenagers are being treated for alcohol-related liver diseases formerly seen only in the elderly, it was revealed.

The Alcohol Health Alliance coalition says drink kills more people than breast and cervical cancer and MRSA together, with rates for cirrhosis of the liver doubling since 2000.

Official figures show that 7,579 under-18s were admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of alcohol in the 12 months from April 2004.

That is 21 a day and is almost double the previous year's figure.

The alliance was launched yesterday after scientists called for 24-hour drinking to be scrapped, blaming it for a rise in violent crime and turning streets into "vomit alleys".

The coalition of 24 charities, medical bodies and patients' groups wants the Government to increase the tax on alcohol, saying a rise of 10 per cent would cut alcohol-related deaths by up to 30 per cent.

It is also demanding a cut in the drink- driving limit and a ban on alcohol advertising on TV before 9pm and in cinemas before all films except those rated for 18-year-olds.

The alliance also called for more funding for the treatment of alcoholics and more publicity about the toxic effects of heavy drinking and mental and behavioural problems caused by alcohol.

Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of the alliance and president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "Unless we act now to stem the rising tide of excessive drinking, particularly in the young, we will see yet more people dying prematurely in early adult life."

A BBC survey of hospital consultants found they are now treating patients in their early twenties with alcohol-related hepatitis, which formerly did not affect people until their fifties.

Women in their thirties are being treated for cirrhosis of the liver. One consultant was treating a 19-year-old woman with terminal liver disease, while another

woman died of advanced cirrhosis at 24.

Dr John O'Grady, of the British Association for the Study of the Liver, said the UK is the only developed nation still seeing a rise in liver disease.

He added: "Every year 150,000 people are admitted to hospital suffering from alcohol-related injury or disease and 22,000 die prematurely, including 5,000 from liver disease.

"Although a considerable amount of taxation is generated from alcohol, alcohol is a massive burden on society.

"This new alliance will be playing a vital part in highlighting the growing problem and hopefully, by promoting responsible drinking habits, dramatically reduce the section of society currently on course for an early grave."

Chris Russell, of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: "Surgeons see some of the most immediate effects of bingedrinking in a rising toll of emergency trauma injury admissions due largely to traffic accidents and alter-cations."

Yesterday the Nuffield Council on Bioethics called for increased taxes on drink, restrictions on advertising and the suspension of round-the-clock drinking.

But Jeremy Beadles, of the Wine and Spirit Association, said: "The people clamouring for an increase in taxes and regulation on the drinks industry ignore the fact that alcohol consumption is actually falling.

"Increasing the cost of alcohol will just hit the vast majority who enjoy a drink in moderation."

• Young people are boozing at home before they go out, to get a head start with their drinking.

"Pre-loading" fuelled by cheap alcohol is behind increasing drunkenness and violence among Britons aged 18 to 35. More than half say they pre-load before leaving to go drinking on the town.

Alcohol consumption on a night out was 16.3 units for women and 23.7 for men, a study by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found.

But pre-loaders were four times more likely to drink at least 20 units a night and two and half times more likely to have been in a fight while out drinking.

The weekly alcohol limit is 14 units for women and 21 for men.

A unit is equal to half a pint of cider or beer, a small glass of wine or a 25ml measure of spirit.

source: The Daily Mail


Improving the Addicts Self-Esteem

Addicts can now improve their changes for recovery by utilizing Self Esteemprogramming. G & G Holistic Addiction Treatment Program has recently added self esteem programming to their holistic approach to the treatment of recovering addicts. Addicts now have the opportunity to stay in recovery by improving their self-esteem, how they think and feel about themselves.

Relapse prevention has always been an important part of treatment for addicts. Given the high rate of relapse for addicts seeking recovery, helping them to prevent relapse is crucial to their recovery and over all well-being. Approximately 70 to 90%, of the addicts who go into treatment will relapse within the first year after completing a traditional program. Given the current statistics, additional resources are still needed to reduce the high rate of relapse among addicts.

G & G Holistic Addiction Treatment Program has recently implemented a new and innovative component to their comprehensive, holistic approach to the treatment of addicts. G & G Holistic is now helping their clients to significantly improve their self-esteem. While it is important to include some components of the traditional approach to addiction, it is the philosophy of G & G Holistic that attention needs to be focused upon the underlying cause of the dependency, the addict’s self esteem. G & G Holistic believe that if the self esteem of the addict does not change that much of his/her life will remain the same including the manifestation of drugs and alcohol into his/her life.

The self esteem programming at G & G Holistic is being conducted by Dr. Harry Henshaw, a licensed psychotherapist. Dr. Henshaw has extensive training and experience in working with others to improve how they think and feel about themselves, their self-esteem. Dr. Henshaw believes that poor self esteem is at the core of most mental health and chemical dependency disorders. According to Dr. Henshaw, finding a solution to dependency upon drugs and alcohol can be achieved through improving a person’s self image and self-esteem.

Most of the individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are not happy with their lives and live a life of despair and hopelessness. Most addicts suffer from emotional disorders, often depression and dystymia. One of the major symptoms of a depressive state is poor self-esteem. According to Dr. Henshaw, poor self esteem is at the heart of an individual’s addiction and dependency. It is Dr. Henshaw’s contention that there is an inverse relationship between dependency and self esteem, that if a person’s self esteem improves the individual’s addictive behavior will decrease.

According to Dr. Henshaw we create our life from our thoughts and thought patterns. Our thinking determines our feelings and behavior and as a result, what be bring into our lives. One of the most important thoughts we have is the one we have of ourselves, our self-image. If a person’s self-image is negative he will not only feel bad about himself but also will begin to source experiences to match his self-image. Drugs and alcohol are sourced into an individual’s life to match what he/she believes he/she deserves in life and to numb his sense of self, the negative thoughts and beliefs he has about himself. Change how and what a person thinks about themselves and you change his/her life experiences and what he/she creates in their behavior including the believed need for drugs and alcohol. When a person feels good about themselves, has high self esteem, drugs and alcohol dependency will not appear as an option in life.
Wtitten by Harry Henshaw retrieved November 16, 2007 at http://www.enhancedhealing.com/


Helping the Homeless

'Not acceptable in good economic times': A homeless man begs for money in Sydney (File photo)

'Not acceptable in good economic times': A homeless man begs for money in Sydney (File photo) (Reuters: Tim Wimborne)

Federal Labor has pledged to spend $150 million to set up 600 new houses and units for homeless people across the country.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has set an aim to halve the number of homeless people turned away from shelters within five years, and close the gap within 10 years.

He says homelessness is unacceptable in good economic times and is calling on the States and Territories to match the investment.

"This is all part of reaching out with a helping hand to Australians in need and it's part and parcel of our Australian set of values," he said.

"Have a bit of heart, have a bit of soul and do the right thing by all those Australians out there who have run into one of life's brick walls.

"We come from the Labor Party and the Labor Party has a heart when it comes to people struggling with homelessness."

It is Labor's second housing announcement in as many days, after Sunday's $500m package for first-time homebuyers.

Mr Rudd says the Coalition has been silent on the issue so far this campaign.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has welcomed the election promise.

Society national chief executive Dr John Falzon says it is a step in the right direction, but should form part of an integrated plan to also address housing affordability and access to training, childcare and transport.

"What we are recommending is that strategies on a national level address both homelessness and affordable housing and be key planks within a national social inclusion plan," he said.

Source abc.net


"Station" expanding room for hope

The way Joseph Carroll sees it, he has a second chance at life with his family.

'I'll take that,' Carroll, a 59-year-old Army veteran and father of four who brought back from Vietnam a propensity toward alcohol abuse.

Now, after a spell on the streets and a five-month stint at The Baltimore Station, a treatment center whose population is made up mostly of military veterans, Carroll plans to return to his wife in Portsmouth, Virginia, after Thanksgiving. 'If she don't change her mind,' he said, laughing.

'It's been an experience,' he said of his stay at the center, housed in an old fire station on West Street in South Baltimore. 'I'll never forget it. I needed a little structure in my life, which is happening. I got caught up in a situation which happened to bring me to homelessness. It's something that's new to me.'

Carroll and a few dozen of his fellow veterans gathered yesterday outside the treatment center to watch Gov. Martin O'Malley, Mayor Sheila Dixon, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and others break ground on a construction project that will double the size of the structure and enable it to house 100 residents, almost twice its current number.

'I can't think of a more appropriate place to be on this Veterans Day than here at The Baltimore Station,' Cardin said, noting that there are 25 million veterans living in America as well as 1.2 million active-duty members of the military, about 200,000 of whom are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans, he said, have always been shortchanged.

'We haven't even done what we said we could do, and now we're trying to do the right thing,' he said, referring to The Baltimore Station's expansion, which, when completed, will increase the center's space to 16,225 square feet. Foundations, private citizens and the Department of Veterans Affairs contributed nearly $4 million for the expansion. The center operates a second treatment facility, also in a former firehouse, in Seton Hill, and the combined annual budget is $1.2 million.

O'Malley said that one-third of Baltimore's homeless are veterans, some of whom, he said, 'get their lives on a forward path' with the treatment center's help.

Donald Moaney, 72, who served in Korea as an Air Force mechanic and has been at The Baltimore Station since February recovering from an addiction to heroin, said that in the next few days he will start a new job, at the AFL-CIO's offices on Patapsco Avenue. In the treatment center, where he receives acupuncture therapy and takes part in group counseling, 'they just want you to sit still and get some guidance for your life,' he said.

Karen Hohlhoff, a retired nurse who has volunteered at The Baltimore Station for five years, said that most men in such programs 'don't feel respected.'

'You can't make an addict get better but you can support them,' said Hohlhoff, who acknowledged learning such things from being married to a drug addict. 'You can volunteer at a place like this and help them feel like valued human beings.'

It's apparently working for Jimi Fardan, also a Vietnam veteran, who has been at The Baltimore Station for a year and who recently set up a Web site, www.pencilmania.net, to display his art. The treatment program has been 'enormously helpful,' said Fardan, 61, his beaming face framed by dreadlocks. 'Every day we're getting a graduate class in addiction, and why we do what we do. For me, drugs at one point were the solution, and then they became the problem.'

After the ceremony, the center's program manager, Laura Poindexter, called out to the residents milling by the buffet table, reminding them that the center was on 'holiday schedule' and that they need not return until 10 p.m. 'And I want all your urine samples to be clean!' she warned with a smile.

Steven Wilson said he didn't need persuading. 'Now I feel I have direction and purpose,' said Wilson, 55, a former military policeman and computer programs analyst who is fighting addictive behavior in his third stint at the center. 'I couldn't maintain the professional appearance, the status. Thirty years went by just like that, and I have nothing to show for it. Now, I'm grounded. I finally landed.'


How to Become an Addict

If you are an addict, you probably never intended to be one. Rarely does a person wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “Hey, it’s a great day to get addicted to drugs. I think I’ll start now.” You probably started drinking or using mood altering substances during adolescence, maybe early teens. And you probably remember your first drink or first contact with drugs as a really great experience. Future addicts and alcoholics seem to have this reaction in common. We now know that there are genetic differences in alcoholics and addicts that cause them to have this reaction. Many addicts recall that their first use of drugs made them feel “normal” for the very first time.

And teens and adolescents, especially those with problems, are extremely vulnerable. When they find that the use of alcohol or drugs seems to solve their problems, even temporarily, they will repeat that behavior again and again. Mood altering substances can help shy people become outgoing, make a person suffering from mania seem calm, even “appear” to eliminate depression or may make anxiety go away.

Young people who have not developed other coping methods are prone to abuse substances which seem to help. The reason many professionals think we should concentrate our efforts on preventing first use among young people is because it is much easier to teach coping skills and problem solving than it is to battle addiction and alcoholism. Helping teens learn to solve problems without drugs needs to be started early, and reinforced throughout their teenage years.

So how and why does an addict become an addict?

The why is the hardest to answer, because we all react to problems and emotions in different ways; they affect us uniquely. The exact same amount of pain may make one person grit his or her teeth, while the next person will scream in agony. The second person is not weak; they just react to feelings differently. In a society where there are not strong taboos against drugs and alcohol it is easier to get started. The substances are also more available in some places, and a really strong reason is peer pressure. Helping with peer pressure and problems that teenagers have may be the best thing we can do.

As for the “how”, it is usually a progression from one drug to the next. It may begin with coffee and cigarettes, then progress to marijuana or amphetamines. Each one has a stronger effect, at some point it comes down to an imaginary fork in the road.

Science has yet to discover what makes some of us turn left, while around us everyone else is turning right.


In the U.K, low prices 'tempt teen drinkers'

Low prices coupled with high pocket money mean "there has never been a better time" for teenagers to buy lots of cheap drink, a charity has warned.

Alcohol Concern said the price of alcohol had barely risen in 10 years but children's weekly allowances had increased 600% since 1987.

It called for increased taxes on alcohol to deter young drinkers.

But drinks industry body the Portman Group said education was a better way to prevent under-18s abusing alcohol.

Alcohol Concern said it had collected price information from random branches of supermarkets that had previously failed the Home Office's spot-checks for selling alcohol to under-18s.

A teenager could easily buy three times the daily recommended alcohol limit for an adult male, it said.

It focused on brands known to appeal to young people - Bacardi, Bacardi Breezer, WKD, Smirnoff Ice and Budweiser.

With the average weekly allowance for a child aged between 12 and 16 being £9.53, a teenager could spend £7.29 at Co-op on one bottle of Bacardi Superior - containing 13.12 units of alcohol, or 3.28 times a man's recommended daily limit, it said.

Spending £7.98 could get them eight bottles of Smirnoff Ice from Sainsbury's - 9.9 units or 3.3 times a woman's daily limit.

When it came to lager, buying eight bottles of Carling at Sainsbury's could set a teenager back £9 (2.46 times a man's daily limit), with four bottles of Budweiser at Somerfield costing £5.16 (2.2 times).

Alcohol Concern's director of policy and services Don Shenker said: "Young people quite often drink to get drunk.

"When they manage to purchase alcohol, the aim is generally to drink it over the course of one evening.

"Cheap alcohol promotions help explain just why those young people who drink can afford to do so at far greater levels than in the past."

The charity said it was legally impossible under EU competition rules to have a minimum price on public health grounds, but that increased taxation was allowed.

Youth appeal

It argued increased taxation could be targeted at products that were particularly appealing to young people.

Mr Shenker added: "Until government gets serious about making alcohol less affordable, it's hard to see how we can prevent young people from cheap alcohol and risky drinking."

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group - the drinks industry's social responsibility body - said that better education, not higher prices, was the best method of deterring under-18s from abusing alcohol.

He added: "It seems peculiar to be considering taxing adult drinkers to stop children breaking the law.

"There is a serious problem with underage drinking in the UK, but it is important to acknowledge some positive trends.

"There are now more child abstainers than ever before, and even the numbers of 16-to-24-year-olds binge drinking has been falling since 2003."

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said the drinks industry was leading the way with its Challenge 21 initiative.

This encourages anyone who is over 18, but looks under 21, to carry identification.

Mr Beadles said: "It is increasingly difficult for young people to buy alcohol themselves, and the number of under-age drinkers in Britain is falling."