Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Holidays Are Coming

You all know the scenario – Halloween for the adults means not only costume parties but also parties with drinks. If you have succeeded in giving up drinking or are trying or thinking about it stay away from those parties. This is why it is so important to be with groups of recovered alcoholics, Women For Sobriety, Alcoholics Anonymous, just to mention a few. In my small town I have noticed in our local newspaper under its listing of “happenings” a group which mentions parties, yoga etc. for those who have been sober for 48 hours. Don’t have it in your town. Get involved with those who are in the same boat as you and organize.

Do you have the cooperation of those in your family who do drink?  This is a tough situation with many angles. Do read the chapters 5 and 6, “Stress and Family Living,”  and “The Alcoholic Woman in the Unhealthy Marriage” in the book, The Drinking Woman Revisited.

Remember if you don’t have the book at home you can always ask your local library to get the book for their self-help section.

Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself.

What happened to you?

Many different things cause addiction, our bodies biological make up, and, yes what happened to us in the past. Perhaps delving into other people’s lives who have conquered addiction will help.

Cracked Up by Darrell Hammond, a book and a movie, explores the lifelong effects of childhood trauma, addiction and recovery through Mr. Hammond’s inspiring story. It features extensive interviews with Mr. Hammond, as well as leading trauma experts such as Bessel van der Kolk, MD, psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

     Road to Resilience brings you stories and insights to help you thrive in a challenging world. From fighting burnout and trauma to building resilient families and communities, the podcast explores what’s possible when science meets the human spirit. To listen, visit Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or the Road to Resilience website.

Be good to yourself. Go for it. Others have been there and others care.

 

 

 

Find It Hard To Give Up Drinking

Those of you who have succeeded – you deserve a big congratulations, a big “good job.”

Those of you who are suffering a relapse – you did it before you can do it again.

Having doubts? You are not alone. Listen to this:

Heart of the Matter, a Podcast Hosted by Elizabeth Vargas

 

Remember: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

You can do it.

Helpful Info

Yes, we have discussed many times how hard it is to give up an addiction. We have choices in life, choices, we can make more easily with knowledge. Think health. Think consequences. Read this article which appeared recently in The New York Times.

How Alcohol Affects the Heart

A new study has found that even moderate drinking can increase the risk of A-fib, a heart rhythm abnormality that afflicts some 3 million Americans.

Credit…Getty Images
Anahad O’Connor

By Anahad O’Connor
Aug. 30, 2021

A new study has found that consuming alcohol, even as little as one can of beer or one glass of wine, can quickly increase the risk of a common type of cardiac arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation in people who have a history of the condition.

Doctors have long suspected a link between alcohol and atrial fibrillation, but until now, they did not have definitive evidence that alcohol could cause arrhythmias. The new study is among the most rigorous to date: The researchers recruited 100 people with a history of atrial fibrillation and tracked them intensely for four weeks, monitoring their alcohol intake and their cardiac rhythms in real time.

The scientists found that drinking alcohol heightened the odds that a person would have an episode of atrial fibrillation, or an abnormal heart rhythm, within the next few hours. And the more they drank, the greater their likelihood of having an arrhythmia. The new study was published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The conclusions, along with data from previous studies, suggest that people with a history of atrial fibrillation could reduce their chances of developing arrhythmias by cutting back on alcohol or avoiding it altogether.

The authors speculated that the findings could have broader implications for healthy adults as well. Although moderate drinking is widely considered beneficial for heart health, the new research suggests that, at least in some people, it could potentially disrupt how the heart functions. “This demonstrates that whenever we consume alcohol, it is presumably having a nearly immediate effect on the electrical workings of our hearts,” said Dr. Gregory Marcus, an author of the study and a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib, is the most commonly occurring heart rhythm abnormality, affecting an estimated three million adults in the United States. It occurs when the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, start beating irregularly, which can disrupt blood flow to the lower chambers of the heart, called the ventricles. Over time, it can lead to complications like heart failure and strokes. A-fib can be persistent, or it can occur sporadically, with symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue that last for a few minutes or hours at a time. When the episodes occur occasionally, the condition is known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
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People have a greater chance of developing atrial fibrillation as they get older. It’s also more likely to occur in people who have risk factors such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, European ancestry or a family history of arrhythmias. About four decades ago, doctors began documenting cases of people experiencing arrhythmias after bouts of heavy drinking on weekends and holidays, a phenomenon that came to be known as holiday heart syndrome. Since then, a number of large observational studies have found that people who regularly consume alcohol, even as little as one drink a day, have an increased likelihood of going on to develop atrial fibrillation compared with people who abstain.

Many of these previous studies had important weaknesses. In most cases, they relied on people self-reporting their alcohol intake, which is not always reliable. Studies have found for example that people tend to underestimate how much they drink. Another limitation is that people who are asked to recall an episode of atrial fibrillation can mistakenly identify a variety of behaviors as triggers. The new study, however, was designed to get around those limitations. Dr. Marcus and his colleagues recruited 100 people with a history of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, most of them men, and had them wear electrocardiogram monitors that tracked their cardiac rhythms around the clock.

The devices contained a button that the participants were told to press any time they had an alcoholic beverage. The researchers used other, objective measures to track alcohol intake as well. They fitted the participants with special ankle monitors that could detect their blood alcohol levels. And they did routine finger-stick blood tests to measure participants’ levels of phosphatidylethanol, or PEth, a biomarker that gives some indication of a person’s recent alcohol consumption.

During four weeks of tracking, the researchers found that at least 56 participants had experienced an episode of atrial fibrillation. The data indicated that alcohol was often a trigger for arrhythmias. Having one drink doubled a person’s odds of having an episode of atrial fibrillation over the next four hours, while having two or more drinks tripled the odds of an event. The higher a person’s blood alcohol concentration, the greater their likelihood of having an arrhythmia.

Mariann R. Piano, a researcher who has published many studies on alcohol and cardiovascular health, and who was not involved with the new study, said that the findings represent an important step forward in our understanding of how alcohol affects the heart. She said that health care providers should have conversations with their patients, especially those who have atrial fibrillation, about how much alcohol they consume and whether it would be prudent for them to cut back or avoid it.

“Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia that can have life-changing effects, like having a stroke, and so understanding what might be an acute trigger is really important to communicate to our patients,” said Dr. Piano, a professor and associate dean for research at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “Drinking is something that we can both monitor and modify on an individual basis. It’s something that we can easily be mindful of.”

Dr. Piano said that she would like to see more research on diverse groups of people. The participants in the new study were mostly white, and just 22 of them were women. “We certainly need a larger sample size of women,” she said.

But she called the study rigorous, and added that the findings were timely because the prevalence of atrial fibrillation is quickly rising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 12.1 million people in the United States are expected to have atrial fibrillation by 2030. Dr. Piano said that health care providers should help their patients who consume alcohol understand how to engage in what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines as “low risk drinking.” For women, it means having no more than three drinks on any single day and a maximum of seven drinks in a week. For men, low risk drinking means a maximum of 14 drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks on any single day.

The federal government defines a standard drink as 12 ounces of regular beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of distilled spirits (40 percent alcohol).

Dr. Marcus at U.C.S.F. said that the findings were potentially empowering for people with atrial fibrillation because they suggest that there is a way for them to control an important trigger of arrhythmias. “This shows that these atrial fibrillation events are not simply due to random chance, and that there are modifiable factors that can be harnessed to reduce the chances that an event will occur,” he said.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone who drinks will go on to have heart problems. But for those without a history of atrial fibrillation, he said, the findings should serve as a caution against excessive drinking, because it appears that alcohol can interfere with the heart’s electrical properties. “Despite the conventional wisdom that alcohol is healthy for the heart, these data add to others that too much alcohol is almost certainly harmful to the heart,” he said.

(Be good to yourself -Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer)

Some valuable info from Dr. Lantie Elisabeth Jorandby

We all know it is tough giving up an addiction. Dr. Jorandby has some important particulars. Here it is in her own words.

Verified by Psychology Today
Lantie Elisabeth Jorandby M.D.
Use Your Brain
How to Have a Successful Stay at Rehab
Armed with these six strategies, you will be ready for the challenge.

Posted June 1, 2021 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
Key points

Residential treatment facilities offer benefits such as leaving one’s home environment and receiving treatment for co-occurring mental illnesses.
People beginning a treatment program should aim to cede some control yet stay engaged in the daily recovery process.
Taking advantage of the resources available such as peer support programs and meditation sessions can increase the chances of success.

Going into treatment for substance use is not easy. It can be scary and intimidating. There are a lot of unknowns, and many things about it are not under your control. In the end, it’s a leap of faith, and we don’t tend to enjoy leaps of faith. Plus, you probably don’t have time for this right now.

But the worst of it may be that nagging doubt: Is this even going to work?

Follow this advice, and chances are good that it will.

1. Take the plunge

I normally recommend residential treatment to those who are struggling with addiction, as opposed to a less intensive form of treatment such as outpatient. Why? For these four reasons:

You get a critical break from your home situation, which may be exacerbating your drug or alcohol challenges in ways you don’t even realize. Rehab takes you out of that situation, and places you in an environment where you can focus on getting better.
You’ll receive comprehensive medical care that you don’t get in an outpatient setting. This can help identify conditions that often accompany chronic drug or alcohol use, such as liver disease or high blood pressure.
You’ll be examined and treated for mental health conditions that may be present. These may include depression, trauma, anxiety disorder, other mood disorders, and so on. Sorting this out will likely make your addiction recovery a lot easier and more long-lasting.
You’ll get the time and focus you need to develop coping mechanisms and healthy living strategies that can last a lifetime.

2. Surrender with engagement

This means going into treatment willing to give up control, but nevertheless staying engaged day-to-day in your recovery. In addiction treatment, we often see people who come into rehab and fight us on everything. They don’t want to have a blood screening. They don’t want to sign a release so we can share information with their family. They don’t want to get tested for anything.

I understand the impulse entirely. It can be a very disorienting thing to go into residential treatment, and the natural response for some people is to try and control their environment. However, this not going to help you get better.

As for the engagement part, it’s so important to take an active part in your recovery. That means speaking up in group sessions when you’re called on. Staying attentive during guest presentations. Listening. Learning. Sharing. Contributing.
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Again, this is not always easy. Some days you’ll want to crawl into your shell and hide, and that’s fine, that’s normal. Just be determined to re-engage the next day.

3. Be honest

Being truthful about your situation and why you’re in treatment is vital for a successful rehab. If you’re not truthful when you’re in rehab about your drug or alcohol use, and about the factors and context around that use, no therapist, medical doctor, or psychologist on Earth will be able to help guide you. Spinning tales and engaging in deception will only hold you back in the end.

I suggest this: When it’s time to start treatment at any level of care—whether that’s rehab, outpatient, PHP, or anything else—bite the bullet and be resolved to let it all out, no matter how humbling or embarrassing it feels. Once you get going on the honesty track, it gets easier, you’ll feel better and more relaxed, and you will get results.

4. Stay respectful of your peers

Very few people want to be in rehab (at least at first) and no one feels all that good about it (at least at first!). Your self-esteem will likely be in the dumps. So it can be easy to take all that out on your peers—and vice versa. All I can say about that is, try to stay positive and patient with them. Treat others as you deserve and expect to be treated, and things will go much better for everyone.

Also, your peers can be an amazing resource for knowledge and experience. And empathy. Because of what they know and what they’ve been through, they can play a key role in your recovery—if you let them. Take advantage of that by keeping them on your side. Try to be kind.

5. Make full use of the resources

Alongside the medical care, group and individual therapy, and peer support you’ll receive, addiction treatment centers offer so many other things that can speed and strengthen your recovery efforts. Things like mindfulness and meditation classes. Nutrition counseling. Music and art therapy.

Oftentimes, residential settings also include exercise programs and gym equipment—and most will urge their patients to use them frequently. If you think that just sounds like Club Med frivolousness, think again. Recent research found that when people in recovery did vigorous exercise (fast walking, swimming, cycling, running) for 30 to 45 minutes three times a week, their brain chemistry recovered more quickly from the effects of chronic drug and alcohol use.
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I see it this way: How many times in life do you get the opportunity to spend this much time on yourself with the sole purpose of getting healthy in mind and body? That is not something to feel guilty about when you’re in rehab. It’s something to celebrate and take full advantage of.

6. Be open to aftercare planning from day one

Going to addiction treatment is a fantastic step, and I applaud everyone who does it. It’s a positive move, it works if you work it, and it can set you up for a happy, healthy, productive life as you finally put your active addiction in the rearview mirror.

But the harder, more important work happens after you leave treatment.

That’s why aftercare planning is so important. An aftercare plan is what you take with you when you leave rehab. The best aftercare plans are like detailed blueprints that show you how to navigate your life once you’re back with your family, friends, job, daily routine, and responsibilities.

With a detailed aftercare plan, you’ll know which doctor you need to see where and when, where your therapist appointment is on Wednesdays, where the local Nar-Anon meetings are, how to do a better job of budgeting your money each month, all of it. The key to a successful aftercare plan is to work closely with your aftercare coordinator or outplacement counselor to fill in all these details. Your focused, honest input is vital.

Again, going to rehab can be scary and disorienting. But if you go in with a positive, respectful, can-do mindset, it’s amazing what you can accomplish while you’re there—and for years afterward.

We know it’s tough

Any one who is a recovered alcoholic will tell you it is hard giving up drinking. But you know what? So is cancer, so is pneumonia. You get the picture. Alcoholism is a disease, a dangerous disease that can diminish your brain, attack your liver, your stomach lining and much more.

A good way to give up drinking is with a support system. Let’s discuss the options. First of all you can join Alcoholics Anonymous and Women for Sobriety even if you have not yet given up drinking. Everyone of those members was once in the same boat as you.  Good advice and moral support are what you’ll get. As you make friends whether you attend in person or on line you’ll learn that these members are willing to share privately good resources on how to rebuild your life.

Want to know more? The book, The Drinking Woman Revisited, discusses how alcoholism is different for women than for men. It gives case histories of women who succeeded in getting their lives back. Above all it tells how they did it.

Be good to yourself. Take good care of yourself.

TO GET OR NOT GET VACCINATED

 

Is it a political question? For those of you who say it is, then be aware that Donald and Melania Trump have gotten their vaccinations.  Still worried about the vaccination? Talk to people who have taken the vaccination and you will hear that there are no side effects and more, much more – they are liberated. Liberated to walk around without a mask. Liberated to meet friends for dinner, to look for jobs. If you have a heart problem or some other issue that worries you talk to a doctor. But get that vaccine. The States which still have high virus rates  are those who have a population where many refuse to get vaccinated.  Remember we conquered Polio with vaccinations. We conquered smallpox with vaccination. Why not conquer the Coronavirus with vaccination? If you have been vaccinated and meet someone who refuses to get vaccinated listen to them and then point out the facts mentioned above. I have listened to people who refuse to get vaccinated. Some impress me as “wanting to be different,” “to stand out.”  The bottom line is if you want to stay healthy or to put it more bluntly stay alive, you need to get vaccinated. If you care about other people, do not want to spread the virus, you need to get vaccinated. We in the United States are fortunate that we can afford the vaccine. Many poor countries have not been able to purchase the vaccine for their population. Take care of yourself. Stay alive. Get vaccinated.

 

Re: Guilt

As promised in my last blog I did give a talk about GUILT at the ARS, ARHS, AAPG conference,. Who hasn’t at some point felt guilty? So I want to share with you what we found out about guilt.  Each one who attended the lecture made a list of everything about which he/she felt guilty. And then everyone looked again at his/her list and moved some of the items on the list to the “regret column,” the “shame column,” the “selfish column,” etc. You get the picture. We tend to feel guilty about actions which belong in another area. Don’t be hard on yourself. Guilt covers moral misdeeds such as murder, rape, abuse, stealing, lying, or cheating. What are you like today? Have you changed? Is it time to forgive yourself? I know, tough questions.

A Conference Geared to Young Adults

Association of Recovery in Higher Education and the Association of Recovery Schools as well as the Association of Alternative Peer Group are having a conference discussing the how’s and why’s and the because’s of addiction.  I will be giving a talk on GUILT – UNDERSTANDING AND OVERCOMING on June 22nd from 4:50 to 5:50PM Eastern Time. Who hasn’t at some point felt guilty. What do we do with these emotions? There will be a lot of other helpful talks at this conference.

Whether you are in college, planning to go, are in junior college, a senior in high school or none of these but curious then visit https://collegiaterecovery.org/2021conference/.  The  conference is virtual. It starts June 21st and ends June 24th. Tell your counselors, teachers and members of Ala-Teen, Al-Anon about the conference. Worried about the cost? Scholarships are available. Hope to meet you all virtually.

How Drinking Has Changed

Go to Google and type in “drinking during the pandemic” and a whole group of articles will come up. We all know that people suffering with addiction are in danger of increasing their drinking and/or drugs when faced with serious challenges.

O.K. – take a deep breath and consider your choices. Yes, you have heard it before, you are endangering your health, your life and actually the life of the people around you.

Here is the biggie. You don’t have to suffer alone. When you reach for that bottle say to yourself, “Before I touch it let me go on line with Women For Sobriety or with info@toendaddiction.org  or Sober.Coffee Podcast.  If you have never gone on line with an Alcoholics Anonymous group for women  now is the perfect time. So what if you have not yet given up drinking. That is why these groups exist. They exist for women like you. Don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel, vent what you are going through. The listeners have all experienced what you are experiencing.