I’m from the 60s, from my old lady and my old man, from flower children, groovy, and “far out, man;”
I’m from “you dig”, “coming down”, “I’m hip”, and meanwhile back at the ranch I’m from uppers and downers, and tripping and booze. I’m from free love, pedal pushers, pig out and right-on;
I’m from James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Sting, I’m from we all live in a yellow submarine;
I’m from staying up too late, getting up too late, running away, and screwing and getting stoned;
I’m from hating my job, fear of flying, crazy landlords and cheating and lies;
I’m from who cares, why does it matter, hope I die, can’t stand it, and can’t do it;
I’m from it should not, must not be this way and it’s just not fair;
I’m from I’m afraid of getting too close and I’m afraid of being alone;
I’m from silk stockings, sculptured nails, permed hair, red wine and married men;
I’m from who gives a flying f, why do I have to do it, why does bad stuff always happen to me, I’m from it’s awful, it’s terrible, and the world must do what I want or else I’m gonna get seriously pissed off;
I’m from too much LFT, and too much LSD, I’m from getting triggered, and woe is me;
I’m from broken promises, broken hearts and broken legs;
I’m from numbed out, pushed down, blissed out, dismissed and fired;
I’m from fear of the future, regret about the past and never being here in the present;
I’m from dark days and sleepless nights and panic attacks and endless depression and way too many therapists;
I’m from Buddhist retreats, I’m from being twice a widow, I’m from blacking out, falling down, I’m from endless hangovers, I’m from too much caffeine, I’m from pills and potions and desperate pleas for help, I’m from fed up, wiped out, and pretending to turn my life over to a higher power;
I’m from falling down the 12 steps and then looking for a different way to quit using and boozing;
I’m from choosing to be clean and sober;
I’m from saving my life with health foods, mantras, Hakomi therapy, 5 Rhythms dancing, and SMART Recovery tools;
I’m from going to meetings, and I’m from volunteering;
I’m from playing the tape to the end of the story;
I’m from ABCs and CBAs, VACI’s and USA and UOA and ULA and UBA, and I’m from ANTS, and I’m from PIG and I’m from PB&J;
I’m from grieving over too many deaths in too short of a time, I’m from fleeing from fires in Australia, I’m from a major car crash that came close to killing me, I’m from watching my husband die from a brain hemorrhage, I’m from wishing we had a chance to say goodbye;
I’m from meditating and sitting with my feelings;
I’m from learning how to live alone and I’m from getting on with a new life after over four years of grieving;
I’m from laughing for no reason at all, I’m from DISARMing my urges, I’m from being clean and sober no matter what it takes;
I’m from an HOV that lovingly places ‘clean and sober’ at the top of my list, and because of what they call ‘the hundred year flood’, I’m from a dilapidated motel room in Boulder Colorado with no idea where I’m going next, and I’m from I’m ok with being in a dilapidated motel room in Boulder Colorado with no idea where I’m going next;
I’m from accepting that I’m still a little crazy, pedantic, insecure, silly, temperamental and pushy, I’m from not being a bad person, just behaving badly sometimes, I’m from a kind heart, I’m from compassion and joy, I’m from effervescence, and intuition and a wisdom that just keeps growing;
I’m from trust, I’m from letting go, I’m from love, I’m from knowing that I can’t change the past, I’m from gratitude, I’m from forgiving but not forgetting when it’s important to remember;
I’m from this place I like to think of as my home away from home,
I’m from SMART Recovery.
Questor7 is one of the many volunteers that make it possible for SMART Recovery to assist individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach used by SMART is science-based using non-confrontational, motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. To find out how you can get involved, log-on to our message board for more information about Volunteering, including our Volunteer Q&A Drop-In, Sunday 4/27/14 (4pm EDT). http://goo.gl/78vMMX
It seems that no matter how much time I spend on relieving myself from the chains of co-dependency, I still struggle with worry. And maybe, the biggest gift of all of this self-discovery is the raw awareness of each and every thought and action that I do. Sometimes ‘denial’ does seem like a viable option, yet I know that my life is much better when I consciously deal with issues that arise. Today’s dilemma is that I recognize that I am beginning to worry about future events, also known as ‘future tripping’. For such a fun sounding phrase, it sure does lead to angst.
When my daughter decided to move back to town it was a joyful situation for so many reasons. She was close to 2 years clean and sober, hard-working, and being a responsible young woman. Yet in the back of my mind I struggled with all the ‘what ifs’ that could take place. I am a strong believer of ‘what you think about comes about’. So I consciously had to stay positive and not obsess on all the future possibilities. I have developed techniques to ward off those obtrusive thoughts by engaging new thoughts like a song that I find inspirational or quote or prayer. I also discuss my worries and fears with my daughter. Also, boundaries need to be respected and discussed so that we are on the same page. I also try to remember that things change and I need to look forward. So many blessings and joys have transpired, and I choose to celebrate those along the journey.
A study finding brain changes in casual users of marijuana got a lot of press last week.
There were people seizing upon it as proof of marijuana’s danger and other attacking or debunking the study. Those who attacked the study seemed to react to the inferences people were drawing from the study’s findings, rather than dealing with the actual findings.
I held back because there seemed to be much more heat than light.
Now, finally, we hear from a dispassionate voice of reason that examines the actual findings. The U.K. National Health Service provided this analysis of the findings:
This study found differences between young recreational cannabis users and non-users in the volume and structure of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala, which have a role in the brain’s reward system, pleasure response, emotion and decision making.
However, as this was only a cross sectional study taking one-off brain scans of cannabis users and non-users, it cannot prove that cannabis use was the cause of any of the differences seen. It is not known whether cannabis use could have caused these changes in regular users.
Or conversely whether the cannabis users in this study had this brain structure to start with, and that this may have made them more likely to become regular users of cannabis.
Also, this is a small study comparing the brain structure of only 20 users and 20 non-users. With such a small sample of people, it is possible that any differences in brain structure could have been due to chance. These changes may not have been evident had a larger number of people been examined.
Examination of different samples of people, and in different age groups, may have given different results.
Similarly, examining the extent of brain structural change was related to factors such as age at first use, and frequency or duration of use, are less reliable when based on such a small sample of people.
Confirmation of these tentative findings through study of other groups of cannabis users is now needed.
It would also be of value to see whether the structural differences observed actually correlated with any demonstrable differences in thought processes and decision making behaviour.
It’s a shame that this has, somehow, turned into a front in the culture wars.
questions the motives criticized the unjustified implications* (but not the data) of the researchers:
Overall then, if you were that neuroscientist, you’d write a paper saying “We studied cannabis users and non-users and found the following brain differences. Here’s the next study we plan to do, addressing the questions of causation and possible impact.”
That’s assuming that your goal was informing your readers about the content of your findings. If instead you wanted to score points in the culture wars, push your political agenda, and perhaps please your sponsors at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control policy, you’d behave differently.
He also challenges the users be framed as “casual users”:
Pretending that the findings to “casual” cannabis user would require that you gloss over how extreme your sample was: an average age of onset of just over 15 (very young exposure is known to be correlated with higher risks) and cannabis use of a minimum of a joint a week and an average of 11 joints a week. (The median cannabis user consumes once a month; once a week – the minimum in this study – puts someone in the top quartile, while 11 joints a week would put someone in the top 15%.) Instead, you’d describe your findings as applying to “recreational” or “light-to-moderate” cannabis use.
The then ends with a point that will disappoint some people who’d been cheering him on:
It’s entirely possible, though not yet demonstrated, that chronic heavy cannabis use causes undesirable changes in brain structure and function. Even if it doesn’t, spending a good chunk of your waking hours zonked seems to me like a bad idea no matter what the zonking agent is, and that’s true in spades for adolescents, who may be unable to make up missed opportunities for both formal and social learning.
[* updated to reflect Kleiman's comment below]
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Yesterday’s post on addiction counseling as community organization got me thinking about something I’d heard from a Scott Miller presentation.
Miller argued that treatment outcomes are sue to the following factors in the following proportions:
- 40%: client and extratherapeutic factors (such as ego strength, social support, etc.)
- 30%: therapeutic relationship (such as empathy, warmth, and encouragement of risk-taking)
- 15%: expectancy and placebo effects
- 15%: techniques unique to specific therapies
Part of his argument was that we can’t control that 40% related to client and external factors, and we spend tons of time and capital arguing about the 15% related to specific therapies. He argues that we should spend much more time on the 45% we have more control over, hope and the alliance.
Here’s what I was thinking—that recovery management attends to that 45% plus the 40% Miller says is out of our hands. Bill White calls on us to shape those external factors. The attention to family, community, social, vocational, educational and other factors extends our reach.
Its worth noting that Physician Health Programs do this too, by creating social peer support (caduceus groups) and support within the workplace.
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Tagged: addiction counseling
, community organization
, external factors
, Scott Miller
, Therapeutic relationship