LA Weekly Article on Heroin Overdoses Employs the Expertise of ONE80CENTER’s Executive Clinical Team
In this week’s issue of the LA Weekly that comes out today (Thursday – July 20, 2011) and in the paper’s online edition, Bernadine Fried, the Clinical Director of ONE80CENTER, and Dr. Stephen Dansiger, the Executive Director of ONE80CENTER, are quoted extensively in an article about the recent rise in heroin abuse and overdoses in Los Angeles. Written by former New York Times writer Howie Stier and titled Hollywood Faces a Heroin Summer, the article employs Fried and Dansiger as professional sources of expertise on the new heroin scene in today’s youth culture.
Dr. Stephen Dansinger in LA Weekly
In the article, Dr. Stephen Dansiger describes his experience with the sudden increase in both heroin experimentation and addiction: “We have noticed in the last few years a much more laissez-faire attitude about heroin, particularly among young people. Whatever healthy fear people tended to have about opiates in the past seems to be missing. It’s a bit scary, and a rise in fatalities is only going to be one of the consequences.” In the shadow of this problem as well as the increase in prescription opiate abuse, Dr. Dansiger helped mold ONE80CENTER’s individualized program to address such challenges, including a focus on meditation.
ONE80CENTER’s Founder Bernadine Fried in LA Weekly
Bernadine Fried, a licensed therapist and ONE80CENTER’s Clinical Director, analyzed in the article how the shift in the perception of heroin side-by-side with the increase in potency has altered today’s drug culture: “The culture of the 20-somethings, it’s become part of a scene. It’s stronger than people think, and they experiment — and die. It is really plentiful, and there’s a cultural element. It used to be Ecstasy and hallucinogenics. [But] now heroin is regarded as adventurous.” At ONE80CENTER, understanding the challenges of addressing the new ‘adventurous’ addict, Fried included cutting edge services ranging from the therapeutic treatment EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to address trauma issues and underlying problems to Equine Therapy to help the addict address boundary issues and learn problem solving.
The clinical and professional team at ONE80CENTER believes it is important to be a positive and proactive part of the recovery community in Los Angeles. As experts in the field of addiction and recovery, both Dr. Stephen Dansiger and Bernadine Fried use their skills and expertise to help the community. When a first-rate paper like the LA Weekly provides the opportunity to comment on a crisis or an event in the community, it is an honor and a privilege for the team at ONE80CENTER to be able to contribute. If you want to read the original piece about the heroin overdoses on the LA Weekly site, here is a link to Howie Stier’s excellent article.
Detox Is Just The Beginning of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment on The Road to Sustainable Sobriety
If you or a loved one are experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol, then a medically monitored detox at ONE80CENTER could be the beginning of the recovery journey. The process of detoxification provides a safe place for you to detoxify your body from the extreme and dangerous effects of possible drug addiction and alcoholism. Depending on the severity of your addiction and the medications needed, the detoxification period can range anywhere from a few days to well over a month. The attempt to stop a serious drug and/or alcohol problem without a medically monitored detox can be very dangerous and even deadly. Once complete, ONE80CENTER offers an individualized program that helps to foster sustainable recovery. We provide counseling and other recovery tools that address the underlying issues behind the problem at hand.
Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Due to the nature of physically withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can range from the mild to the more serious such as delirium, tremors and other painful reactions. By employing a variety of medical techniques, ONE80CENTER makes the process as painless and smooth as possible. Depending on the problem at hand, our medical staff uses sedatives, opioid blockers and other prescription medications to help in the process. These medications allow our clients to safely withdraw while beginning the journey of recovery. Through counseling, group therapy and other modern techniques, ONE80CENTER will help you walk the walk while achieving a new sense of physical health and well-being.
Detox Is The Beginning Of Sustainable Sobriety
Please remember detoxification is just the first step on the road to sustainable sobriety. Without developing the tools of recovery by addressing the underlying problems, sobriety will not last. In the majority of cases, if further steps are not taken, it will end in relapse and the return to the hell of addiction. After all, drugs and alcohol ultimately are not the essential problem of the addict or the alcoholic. Rather, they were the solution. The addictive problem essentially is based in a three-fold disease: a physical allergy, a mental obsession and a spiritual malady. Detoxification really only addresses the dangerous effects of the physical allergy. Without working a program and addressing the other facets of the disease, the person with an addictive personality is bound to go back to what they know best; alcoholism and addiction.
ONE80CENTER has a successful track record of helping alcoholics and addicts begin the successful journey of recovery with an effective medically monitored detox. Our detox process is focused on making the difficult process of withdrawal from drugs and alcohol as safe and comfortable as possible. Once the detoxification process has been completed, whether it takes a few days or six weeks, ONE80CENTER helps our clients develop the tools and resources to walk the road of sustainable sobriety. Once medically approved, a client joins with the rest of the clients and counselors at the treatment center, beginning the process of long-term recovery. By starting with a comfortable medically monitored detox, a client at ONE80CENTER finds the firm footing that will help them walk the walk of sustainable sobriety.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Betty Ford last week. Whenever a bright and vivacious spirit leaves the planet, I think we feel it, I think it gets a little bit more dim, even if you never give that person a moment’s thought.
Honestly, I don’t think of Betty Ford much, but on hearing that she passed I had a chance to reflect on the impact she made while she was here. She was a very successful human- since for me, the measure of a person is how they affect and improve the lives of others, and how fearlessly they stand by their own truth while doing so. Betty Ford succeeded at this. She was a brave, outspoken lady who publicly spoke of her addiction to pills and alcohol, and in so doing, removed a great deal of shame for alcoholic women and men suffering from the disease in crippling, devastating, secrecy.
After already being known as an outspoken First Lady who championed controversial issues such as Pro-Choice and Equal Pay for Women, and grabbing the nation’s attention with her battle with breast cancer and mastectomy, she then openly admitted, by issuing a press release, that she was seeking rehabilitation for opiate painkiller addiction. She was equally open about her alcoholism.
Betty Ford had no problem being controversial. She was a rare bird in that she wasn’t trying to be liked or be popular, but to stand by the things that were meaningful to her, that she wanted to draw attention to, that she wanted people to think about, that she wanted to change. Upon issuing the press release regarding her alcoholism, she was flooded with letter from people, largely women, who were riddled with guilt and shame over their alcoholism and wanted to know where to get help. Thus, the Betty Ford Clinic was born. (Later the name was changed to the Betty Ford Center.)
In the early 2000s, I used to run around the clubs of Los Angeles wearing a Betty Ford Clinic T shirt and leather pants, which I thought was very ironic and clever. Everyone commented on that shirt. I can safely say that the joke was ultimately on me- I thought it was funny to be wearing that shirt while drinking a Ketel One chilled in a rocks glass. In reality, I was an alcoholic, but didn’t know it. I was a long lost sister of Betty Ford, in that sense. She had already paved the way for the likes of me, and I was wearing her name as a joke.
As I get older, not just as a sober woman but as a woman in general, I have learned to have the utmost respect for people like Betty Ford. I have learned from experience that it isn’t easy to simply be yourself; first you have to now who yo uare, and that is only half the battle. With all the scrutiny facing her as the wife of Gerald Ford, she still spoke candidly about premarital sex, about marijuana, about women’s issues- almost shockingly so, certainly rocking the boat of the old guard. She did this with a nation watching her. She was a revolution and she was televised.
I try to imagine what the climate was like back in 1976 for an alcoholic woman, still in her cups. I can only liken it to the time I first realized I had a problem but didn’t know about AA. I felt lost and alone, I felt crazy, I felt like no one would understand. I didn’t understand. I thought it was a judgement of my character, that I could not simply stop the destructive behavior through my own will. I felt like a bad mother, daughter, woman. I didn’t feel like I was part of society, that somehow I only qualified for the fringe but could never belong. I was different. But I was lucky because AA is now so commonplace, especially here in LA, that it found me. I was going to school for hypnotherapy in 2004 and one of our classes was on substance abuse. The owner of the school came in and told his story, which was one of addiction and of recovery. He spoke of AA and offered to speak to anyone who thought they might have a problem. He told us that if anyone came to us for hypnotherapy and was having substance abuse problems to give them an AA meeting directory. It was then that I realized I had somewhere to go. I went to lunch with him and told him I thought I was an alcoholic, that my life was out of control as a result of my drinking.
I didn’t get sober at that time, I still had three more years of chaos and confusion and heartache in front of me before I hit a proper bottom and was willing to surrender to the program of recovery. But I imagine, if I was a woman in 1976 having the same problem, seeing Betty Ford on the news openly admitting she had a problem and was seeking help, I would have felt enormous relief. I would have felt that there was hope. I wouldn’t have felt so alone. I would have been one of those people writing her a letter, asking her where to go for help.
I can not imagine the thousands of lives that were impacted by Betty Ford’s bravery and honesty. Not just the lives of those that actually got sober but their children, their families. Even the children of their children, who had better lives and were therefore able to create better lives for their own kids. It is quite a legacy she left behind, and for me, that is the greatest achievement imaginable. The first part of this legacy being to live one’s truth without shame, without apology, and to stand by what one believes, especially as a woman. Women are typically crippled by the need to feel approval. Betty Ford was an example of ‘keeping it real.’ As women, we will always need the likes of her to pave the way for us and show us how its done. And then there is the over reaching arc of her life- helping heal the wounds of others by sharing one’s own wound. What is the point of life, if not to help others, to overcome one’s own demons and help others do the same? To reach out into dark places and pull people into the light? There is no more fulfilling life than this. Rest in peace, Betty Ford. Many people are living in peace because of you.
With her death on July 8, 2011 at the age of 93, Betty Ford passed from life into history, leaving behind a powerful legacy that will never be forgotten. Even though her late husband Gerald Ford was President of the United States, the only politician to ever achieve that office after the resignation of another Chief Executive, there is a strong argument to be made that Betty Ford’s legacy will be even greater. A woman’s rights activist who was once dubbed the “fighting first lady” for her energy and passion, Betty Ford helped take the problem of addiction from behind closed doors and place it right in front of the American people. By admitting her own struggles with prescription painkillers and alcohol, she began to remove the shame and fear that have kept so many hopeless cases from getting help. Given the recent rise in prescription painkiller abuse across the country, her voice is still needed and will be sorely missed.
The Ongoing Legacy of the Betty Ford Center
By giving her name to the Betty Ford Center, one of the first and still most prominent centers for treating the disease of addiction and alcoholism, Betty Ford helped bring addiction treatment out of the shadows. For the first 22 years as the Betty Ford Center grew in importance and prominence, she served as Chairman of the Board, lending both her presence and intelligence to the mission. Before Betty Ford put it on the map, Rancho Mirage was just a dot in a desert valley east of Los Angeles. Beyond treating a stream of Hollywood stars from ONE80CENTER’s own Elizabeth Taylor to the recent troubles of Lindsay Lohan, the Betty Ford Center has remained at the forefront of addiction education and outreach. Stevie Nicks put it best when she said upon hearing of Betty Ford’s death, “As far as I’m concerned, Betty Ford saved my life.”
President Barack Obama Pays Tribute To Betty Ford
The flood of tributes paid to the former First Lady and their depth of quality are both impressive and deeply moving. President Barack Obama expressed his condolences at the White House in a stirring tribute: “Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation’s first lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life. Today, we take comfort in the knowledge that Betty and her husband, former President Gerald Ford, are together once more. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to their children, Michael, John, Steven and Susan.”
Betty Ford: Courage Expressed In Her Own Words
In her memoir, Betty Ford described the courage and passion she discovered within herself when she became the First Lady. She wrote in eloquent fashion: “I think it wasn’t so much that the White House altered me in any essential way as that I found the resources with which to respond to a series of challenges. You never know what you can do until you have to do it. In the beginning, it was like going to a party you’re terrified of, and finding out to your amazement that you’re having a good time.” It was such natural courage in the face of fear that truly made Betty Ford a game changer who helped bring alcoholism and addiction treatment into the mainstream of the American consciousness. It goes without saying that such an amazing and inspirational woman as Betty Ford truly will be missed, but never forgotten. Everyone in the recovery community, including this writer, owes her a continuing debt of gratitude, love and respect.