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Alcohol

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Individuals suffering from addiction in denial of needing treatment


“We admitted we were powerless —that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Once addiction takes the powerful hold it has over someone’s life, it can seem almost impossible to overcome. For those of us who have experienced it first hand, whether it be yourself or a loved one, we are all too familiar with the feeling of powerlessness and despair. While some people who have overcome their addiction by themselves through sheer willpower and self discipline, most addicts simply can’t do it alone. Many have tried time and time again to quit their addiction and almost always end with the same results. Failure.

There is a reason AA states “We admitted we were powerless —that our lives had become unmanageable.” as the first of the twelve steps. Admitting powerlessness means you have accepted you have a problem, but it can also mean a realization that you are powerless to do anything about it by yourself. The addict who has come to the realization that they have a problem may incorrectly assume they can overcome their addiction without the aid of others. After failures to quit and or repeated relapses, an addict may still believe they do not need to enter a treatment program. They do…

“Are you tired yet?”. Billy Hoffman, a professional peer consoler for Williamsville Wellness, asks this question for addicts who are in denial of needing any treatment. “Have you figured out yet that everything you’ve tried to do, on your own, has not worked? In fact, things have progressively gotten worse.” he says in the video above. There are greater benefits to participting in group therapy, professional counseling and meetings compared to not taking advantage of these resources.

It’s wonderful if an addict can overcome addiction on their own, but those who have tried and failed need to ask themselves “Am I tired yet?..”

Addiction in Prisions

I work with the Kairos prison ministry, and go to jails to talk to prisoners if they are interested. I’m a big fan of the success of the program – prisons track “recidivism” as opposed to true reincarnation, the main difference being recidivism can be defined to an easily trackable statistic. The reality is, the definition is part functional and part political – some states reward prisons systems with low recidivism, others only allocate money where needed, so higher recidivism rates mean more money.
However it is tracked, the Kairos program produces a minimum reduction of 30% in recidivism – and in Florida, where the program is prevalent, up to a 60% reduction in recidivism was shown for participants who remained active in the Kairos program while in prison. I should note that while this is a christian-based program, and I am christian, the program is open to anyone picked by the prison “inside team.” I have met with Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, Jews, etc. (I should also point out, while Williamsville Wellness employs many Christians, we are not a christian recovery center. We accept anyone who is serious about getting better.)
All of that said, drugs are actually a problem in prison. In one prison I visited, I ended up having to take an inmate aside and do a one-on-one session with him. He had been in prison for 14 years, and was 10 days sober. The last drug he’d taken, a home-made combination of a lot of chemicals, made him go blind temporarily. While in the prison hospital area, he had a cardiac event – but he wasn’t sure what kind, or he simply chose not to tell me. Either way, it scared him badly.
He needed to vent and talk about what he went through, so I listened. Then I recommend one of the AA/NA meetings routinely held at that prison. I really respected his willingness to try to be open to people about his issues, and that he wanted to work on then. We then talked about how much time he had left (2 years), and the vocational training available.
He wanted to be a barber – something that prison offered training in, which was actually a pretty good plan. If he needed to rent a chair at a location, his felony convictions could be overlooked by individuals with their own shop. His family had an old house zoned properly, not in use. He thought he could fix up and start his own shop one day. It was one of the more reasonable concepts I’ve heard for how to get on with the rest of his life for someone with that much time in jail. (He had been 19 when convicted.)
Recovery really isn’t about erasing and starting over – it’s about accepting, dealing, and moving on in a reasonable fashion. What’s done is still done – but moving forward, corrections can be made. Getting to peace with your past and current situation is an important part of healing.
Deep Meadows Tower

Deep Meadows Correctional Institute Guard Tower, in Henrico County, VA

Food for Cardio

Williamsville Wellness focuses on a total health picture, which includes working out and diet. We’ve found a lot of people have trouble meeting the recommended 30 min of actual cardio a day.

This is different from a 30 min workout designed to get the heart rate up, and you can only really figure out if you’re doing it with a heart-rate tracker of some kind. One thing you can do to make it easier is a diet tweak – although I personally don’t need anymore fiber. 😉

Study: Alcohol Abuse Important Risk Factor in Early-Onset Dementia

A study of risk factors for early-onset dementia finds alcohol abuse tops the list, HealthDay reports. In contrast, the influence of hereditary factors is small, according to the researchers.

They define early-onset dementia as occurring before age 65. The researchers studied 488,484 men drafted at about age 18 into the Swedish military over a 10-year period. They were followed for approximately 37 years. During that time, 487 men developed early-onset dementia, at an average age of 54.

Besides alcohol intoxication, other risk factors included drug abuse, the use of antipsychotic drugs, stroke, depression, having a father with dementia, poor mental functioning as a teen, being short and having high blood pressure. Men who had at least two of these risk factors, and were in the lowest third of overall mental ability, had a 20-fold increased risk.

“These risk factors were multiplicative, most were potentially modifiable, and most could be traced to adolescence, suggesting excellent opportunities for early prevention,” the researchers wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Source: The Partnership at Drugfree.org

The real cost of heavy drinking…

From Ryan Jaslow of CBS News

Heavy drinking carries major health risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including elevated odds of long-term ailments like liver disease, heart problems, fertility issues, some cancers and neurological issues like stroke or dementia.

Shorter term, alcohol poisoning, traffic accidents, falls, violence and risky sexual behaviors are risks also associated with large amounts alcohol consumption.

A new CDC report shows these alcohol-related health woes take a heavy financial toll on the U.S., to the tune of $223.5 billion a year — and some states’ wallets fared worse than others.

Binge drinking — defined as when men drink more than five drinks and women drink more than four drinks in two hours — was responsible for more than 70 percent of the excessive alcohol costs., a total of $171 billion annually.

“It is striking to see most of the costs of excessive drinking in states and D.C. are due to binge drinking, which is reported by about 18 percent of U.S. adults,” report author Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program lead at CDC, said in a statement.

 

A 2012 CDC study estimated about 38 million U.S. adults, or about one in six people, are binge drinkers, with a reported average of four episodes per month.

A study by the agency one year later revealed almost 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, consuming an average of six drinks per binge.

The latest report, published Aug. 13 in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, estimated state-by-state economic costs of drinking including those from binge drinking and underage drinking.

The median state cost associated with excessive drinking was $2.9 billion, with about $2 out of every $5 of these costs being paid for by the government. The state that absorbed the least alcohol costs was North Dakota, coming in at $420 million. The most costs were found in California, totaling nearly $32 billion.

The researchers broke down the numbers even further and found based on population, the District of Columbia has the highest per-person cost associated with excessive drinking ($1,662 per person) while Iowa had the lowest ($622).

“The state estimates calculated here are most likely substantial underestimates,” wrote Brewer and the researchers.

Across all states, excessive drinking costs due to productivity losses (such as missed work) ranged from 61 percent in Wyoming to 82 percent in the District of Columbia. The share of costs due to added health care expenses ranged from 8 percent in Texas to 16 percent in Vermont.

Underage drinking alone was responsible for $24.6 billion, or 11 percent, of the total excessive drinking costs.

What can states do to lower the tab?

The CDC recommends states turn to its Community Guide, which outlines evidence-based methods to curb alcohol-related costs, including raising alcohol taxes, limiting the number of alcohol shops in certain areas, and holding retailers liable for selling alcohol to obviously drunk people or minors who cause death or injury to others.

Yale University researchers reported this week that cigarette taxes may indirectly curb heavy drinking rates.

The CDC has more information health risks for men and women due to excessive drinking.

Alocohol Money

Image Source: statepress.com

 

Source: CBS News

Eye on Pine Ridge: Last “dry” American Indian Reservation in South Dakota

The Pine Ridge Reservation (home of the Oglala Lakota– or Teton Sioux) in South Dakota is what one author calls: “a paradox of rugged natural beauty contrasted with a people who struggle to retain their heritage, culture and sustenance.”  This reservation is known for many things, including its rich history and landscape. From massive buttes, deep gorges and grassy prairie landscapes, the topography of Pine Ridge is stunning.  A large percentage of land is useful for grazing and some farmland exists in the south.

Despite its natural beauty, Pine Ridge is lacking in resources.  Geographic isolation, infertile land, limited water and lack of other natural resources have made it difficult for the Lakota to establish themselves economically.   And unfortunately it is burdened by other incredibly disturbing statistics.  A handful of these statistics include:

  • Alcoholism rate estimated as high as 80%
  • 1 in 4 infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
  • Suicide rate more than twice the national rate
  • Teen suicide rate 4 times the national rate
  • Infant mortality is three times the national rate
  • Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti has a lower rate. (Re-member.org, 2007)

News comes today from Matt Kelly of the Nebraska Radio Network that members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are voting today on whether to allow alcohol to be sold at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The reservation is the last one in South Dakota that’s still dry.

The issue is going to a vote as supporters say alcohol is already coming into the area from just across the border in Whiteclay, Nebraska, so the tribe should simply accept the inevitable and take control.

Those backers say profits from alcohol sales could be used to educate tribal members about the dangers of alcohol abuse — and for detox and treatment centers.

Opponents of ending prohibition blame the bottle for all that ails the reservation, from crime and joblessness to suicide, domestic abuse and infant deaths.

Today’s vote is expected to be very close. There are four state-licensed beer stores in Whiteclay, selling a combined total of more than four-million cans of beer every year.

Source: here

More information about his vote can also be read:  here

It is important to be aware of these events taking place in several parts of the country, especially in the possible threats that this vote can have on this profound and culturally-rich community.

What do you think?  What will this vote decide? Weigh in.

For more information about Pine Ridge please visit the following sites and spread the word.

A Pine Ridge Story

National Geographic-Voices of Pine Ridge

 

 

“Alcohol is a real wild card when it comes to weight management”

In an article titled: “Latest Research on the Effects of Alcohol on Your Waistline” in the Wall Street Journal, Samathi Retty writes:

It isn’t just the beer that contributes to beer bellies. It could also be the extra calories, fat and unhealthy eating choices that may come with moderate drinking.

A recent study found that men consume an additional 433 calories (equivalent to a McDonald’s double cheeseburger) on days they drink a moderate amount of alcohol. About 61% of the caloric increase comes from the

Regular Beer: A 12 oz glass has approx. 150 calories. An alternative: light beer, which averages about 100 calories

alcohol itself. Men also report eating higher amounts of saturated fats and meat, and less fruit and milk, on those days than on days when they aren’t drinking, the study showed.

Women fared a bit better, taking in an extra 300 calories on moderate-drinking days, from the alcohol and eating fattier foods. But women’s increase in calories from additional eating wasn’t statistically significant, the study said.

 

Pina Colada: A 6 oz glass has approx. 460 calories. Ingredients like pineapple juice and coconut are high in calories

“Men and women ate less healthily on days they drank alcohol,” said Rosalind Breslow, an epidemiologist with the federal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and lead author of the study. “Poorer food choices on drinking days have public-health implications,” she said.

The findings dovetail with controlled lab studies in which participants generally eat more food after consuming alcohol. Researchers suggest that alcohol may enhance “the short-term rewarding effects” of consuming food, according to a 2010 report in the journal Physiology & Behavior that reviewed previous studies on alcohol, appetite and obesity.

 

Red Wine: A 5 oz glass has approx. 125 calories. Considered a good choice for its anti-inflammatory properties

But other studies have pointed to a different trend. Moderate drinkers gain less weight over time than either heavy drinkers or people who abstain from alcohol, particularly women, this research has shown. Moderate drinking is considered having about two drinks a day for men and one for women.

“People who gain the least weight are moderate drinkers, regardless of [alcoholic] beverage choice,” said Erik Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the 2010 review of alcohol in the federal dietary guidelines. The weight-gain difference is modest, and “starting to drink is not a weight-loss diet,” he said.

 

Margarita: A 6 oz glass has approx. 280 calories. Snacks like guacamole and chips might be hard to resist

The various research efforts form part of a long-standing debate about how alcohol affects people’s appetites, weight and overall health. Researchers say there aren’t simple answers, and suggest that individuals’ metabolism, drinking patterns and gender may play a role.

Alcohol is “a real wild card when it comes to weight management,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer of Weight Watchers International. At seven calories per gram, alcohol is closer to fat than to carbohydrate or protein in caloric content, she said. Alcohol tends to lower restraint, she notes, causing a person to become more indulgent with what they’re eating.

To read the rest of this article, go here.

Tell us what you think!

Tell Your Older Neighbor to Put Down That Drink

When considering the risks of excessive drinking at any age, why should more attention be focused on the older population (aged 65 and above)?  According to an article in the Yorkshire Post, more and more research has been conducted that shows that adults over the age of 65 are binge drinking at greater rates.  One study in particular explored the reasons why so many people in that age group continue to drink to unhealthy levels, and to reveal their attitudes to alcohol.  The article goes on to state that:” many older people may not recognize they are heavy drinkers if they do not see themselves as dependent and therefore having a problem.”  The author of this article goes on to state that, in the context of this study, the attitudes towards drinking was very “blase” because these individuals did not witness the effects of consumption.  Read more here.

Another study, recounted in The Spirits Business by Amy Hopkins, also looked at why many people over the age of 65 consumed ‘hazardous’ levels of alcohol, while also exploring the group’s attitudes towards drinking.  The researchers found that many of the participants did not even realize that they were drinking excessively.   Mirroring the attitudes expressed in the previous article, Dr. Graeme Wilson stated that: “Many older people are drinking to a level that is having a long-term impact on their health, even if the damage they are doing is not always immediately apparent.”

Statistics in England show that 28% of men over 65 years and 14% of women over 65 now drink alcohol more than five times per week. Wow.

But why is this happening? Some attention can be placed on the several stressors of the older population, which include: chronic pain, loneliness and bereavement; also the increased need for prescription drugs causes unhealthy interactions with the alcohol that they consume, which in itself, can place individuals at greater risk for injury, such as falls.

Because of these risks, greater attention needs to be placed on the interventions offered to this population.  It is important to stress the need for lower recommended drinking limits for adults, aged 65+, but what more can be done?    Dr. Katie Haighton suggests that  longer in-home support be given to these individuals, with tailored information on the risks from alcohol in later life.  Read more about other ideas here

What is your opinion?

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