Abuse Of Party Drugs And Club Drugs Like Special K (Ketamine), Ecstasy (MDMA), And GHB Spiraling Out Of Control With Young Adults
The increase in the use of party drugs in the club scene and their acceptance as a norm by young adults is disturbing. Special K (Ketamine), Ecstasy (MDMA), and GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) are being dealt in and outside the clubs and have become as readily available as alcohol. It is very difficult to know the exact damage caused by these drugs and the resulting number of new drug addicts, but admissions to hospitals and rehabs in connection with such drugs is increasing at an alarming rate. The clinical experts at ONE80CENTER have extensive experience helping young adults recognize the seriousness and danger of their party drug abuse and club drug addiction.
Party Drugs: Ecstasy, Special K, GHB
Special K, Ecstasy, and GHB are as dangerous as the more traditional illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. Since drugs addicts are usually in denial and influenced by peer pressure, they do not recognize the dangers involved in such casual drug abuse. Like with the recent rise in prescription drug abuse, the denial phenomenon is getting worse when it comes to club drugs and their inherent dangers. Since young adults believe everything is fine if they just do these drugs on the weekends or when they are out on the town or at the clubs, they remain resistant to help until they fall into the hole of full-fledged addiction and overdose.
Even though it is against the law, the use of party drugs has risen steadily. Young executives in urban environments have begun using party drugs as a way to let off some steam from their high-pressured jobs. What they don’t realize is that such a choice can ruin their lives. Many party drugs are manufactured in small laboratories by bathtub chemists. This causes additional damage because there is no way to know and control how well the product is made. Often, when being manufactured, these party drugs are mixed with other types of drugs and poisonous chemicals.
Club drugs do huge damage to the brain. For instance, Ketamine causes cognitive difficulties and impaired memory and motor function, with the possibility of leading to convulsions, delirium, respiratory arrest, heart failure, and finally, death. Ecstasy is often mixed with speed and produces bad effects such as loss of impulse control, extreme anxiety, increased heart rates and even heart and kidney failure. At high doses it can slow breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels. Overdose of GHB can occur quickly and is characterized by drowsiness, nausea, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, and impaired breathing. In addition, GHB has been called the date rape drug and is often used against young women by male predators in the clubs.
Club Drugs Are Addictive And Deadly
Without a doubt, the rising problem of party drug use is very serious and needs to be addressed. What seems like a casual choice at a club can have deadly consequences. If you or a loved one is having problems with party drugs like Ketamine, Ecstasy and GHB, and need help, please contact the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER at 888.588.4180.
Forging Prescriptions For Narcotic Prescription Painkillers Like Oxycodone, OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet On The Rise
As prescription painkiller abuse continues to spiral out of control, more and more people are forging fake prescriptions in order to obtain their drugs. ONE80CENTER has seen that the focus of the majority of these cases is on narcotic prescription drugs like Oxycodone, OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Such behavior represents a desperate attempt for prescription painkiller abusers and addicts to get their drug of choice despite the consequences of being caught and going to jail.
Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin
Luckily, the pharmacies are getting wiser to such illegal methods, and computer technology is resulting in more and more criminal apprehensions. People caught trying to obtain prescription drugs with a fake prescription are charged with uttering a forged instrument and attempted obtaining of a controlled dangerous substance. Both charges are third-degree crimes and can result in jail time and harsh financial penalties.
According to USLegal.com, uttering a forged instrument in a criminal offense where a person knowingly publishes or puts into circulation any forged or altered financial document, legal document or other writing with the intent to misrepresent it as true and defraud others. Addicts tend to steal prescription pads from doctors’ offices and forge their own prescriptions for narcotic prescription painkillers. The most often-abused prescription painkillers in this country include Oxycodone, OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.
If you have a friend or a loved one who is having a problem with prescription painkillers, please help them before they end up in jail or even worse. OxyContin overdoses are rising daily, and the danger of buying prescription drugs on the street from illegal dealers is increasing as well. If you need help or know someone who is struggling with a prescription painkiller like Percocet, please contact the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER. We have the expertise and the experience to turn such a crisis into the start of sustainable sobriety. Call 888.588.4180 to gain the help you need to stop the prescription painkiller epidemic today.
For The First Time Since The US Began Keeping Track, Drug Deaths Outnumber Traffic Fatalities Due To The Prescription Drugs Epidemic
The prescription drug fatality blog has been adapted from an excellent report in the Los Angeles Times by Lisa Girion, Scott Glover and Doug Smith.
According to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide. This change has been propelled by a significant increase in prescription narcotic overdoses. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are the exception to the rule. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. The clinical experts at ONE80CENTER wish to know when such investments are going to be made in drug awareness education and prevention.
The growing prescription drug problem, which ONE80CENTER experiences with our clients firsthand on a daily basis, should now be characterized as nothing less than an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the increase is the abuse of prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol.
Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Percocet. Overdoses from these drugs now add up to far more than both heroin and cocaine combined. It is time for America to realize that the problem is not the drug dealers in the streets, but the prescription bottles in their own medicine cabinets.
The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering. In addition, pharmaceutical companies initiated aggressive sales whenever a new drug came on the market. OxyContin is a perfect example of how such a campaign went terribly wrong. In hindsight, the liberalized prescription of pain drugs could very well have led directly to the problem at hand.
“In some ways, prescription drugs are more dangerous than illicit ones because users don’t have their guard up”, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Opferman, head of a county task force on prescription drug-related crimes. “People feel they are safer with prescription drugs because you get them from a pharmacy and they are prescribed by a doctor. Younger people believe they are safer because they see their parents taking them. It doesn’t have the same stigma as using street narcotics.”
Public health policies that have improved traffic safety over the years through the use of seat belts, air bags and other measures. Such progress stands in stark contrast to the nation’s record on prescription drugs. Even though more people are driving more miles, traffic fatalities have dropped by more than a third since the early 1970s to 36,284 in 2009. The Centers for Disease Control collects data on all causes of death each year and analyzes them to identify health problems. Drug-induced deaths are mostly accidental overdoses, but also include suicides.
Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, years for which more detailed data are available. Deaths more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69. In terms of sheer numbers, the death toll is highest among people in their 40s. Overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers, including OxyContin and Vicodin, and anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax more than tripled between 2000 and 2008.
The rise in deaths corresponds with doctors prescribing more painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. The number of prescriptions for the strongest pain pills filled at California pharmacies, for instance, increased more than 43% since 2007 and the doses grew by nearly 50%, according to data collected by the state. Those prescriptions provide relief to pain sufferers but also fuel a thriving black market. Prescription drugs are traded on Internet chat rooms that buzz with offers of “vikes,” “percs” and “oxys” for $10 to $80 a pill. An addiction to prescription drugs can be expensive; a heavy OxyContin habit can run twice as much as a heroin addiction, authorities say.
The most commonly abused prescription drug, hydrocodone, also is the most widely prescribed drug in America, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Better known as Vicodin, the pain reliever is prescribed more often than the top cholesterol drug and the top antibiotic. “We have an insatiable appetite for this drug — insatiable,” Joseph T. Rannazzisi, a top DEA administrator, told a group of pharmacists at a regulatory meeting in Sacramento.
In April, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced initiatives aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse. The plans include a series of drug take-back days, modeled after similar programs involving weapons. Another initiative would develop voluntary courses to train physicians on how to safely prescribe pain drugs, a curriculum that is not widely taught in medical schools. Why it is not taught in medical schools is a baffling question.
What is frustrating is that initial attempts to reverse the trend in drug deaths — such as state-run prescription drug-monitoring programs aimed at “doctor-shopping” addicts — do not appear to be working. “What’s really scary is we don’t know a lot about how to reduce prescription deaths,” said Amy S.B. Bohnert, a researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School. As Bohnert explains: “It’s a wonderful medical advancement that we can treat pain, but we haven’t figured out the safety belt yet.” At ONE80CENTER, we recognize the growing problem and fully back all attempts to stop this modern plague that is striking at the heart of our country.
The Question of What Comes Next: “But What Do I Do Now That I’m Sober And Returning To Real Life? What Comes After Rehab?”
In the beginning stages of recovery, this is a common question that confronts clients as they begin to prepare for the transition back to their lives, wondering what comes after rehab. ONE80CENTER creates custom aftercare plans that are individually designed for our clients. We often recommend sober living program as an effective way to ease this process of transition. For many clients, the idea of everyday life after rehab and without their substance sounds like a bore. Such a negative thought can stand in the way of sustainable sobriety and lead to a relapse.
In truth, nothing is more boring than an addict’s life. Every single day is focused around using, and most everything else is secondary. Still, achieving sobriety leaves a major void. As a result, ONE80CENTER provides our clients with a custom aftercare plan that outlines a step-by-step process of enhancing their recovery after rehab.
Most importantly, ONE80CENTER provides access to our community of former clients and successful professionals that believe in and promote the goal of sustainable sobriety. The community aids each client in weaving the first threads of the tapestry that will make up not only their custom aftercare plan, but the beginning of the rest of their lives.
Each custom aftercare plan is multi-faceted and encourages more than just merely abstinence. As part of ONE80CENTER’s daily program, clients take part in a fitness program that offers them the chance to connect with their bodies. They also take part in a variety of recreational activities that were removed from their lives by their addictions. During aftecare, a fitness program and recreational activities play a role in aiding the transition process.
By fostering a sense of possibility and potential, ONE80CENTER’s individualized program often leads to amazing examples of post-treatment success. When our clients follow their custom aftercare plans, they learn how to walk the walk, addressing past damage and restoring old relationships.
Being sober means more than attending meetings. It also means improved relationships with friends and family. Sharing recreational activities that promote health and vitality can be an excellent way to begin to restore damaged relationships and create real intimacy. Everyone needs something in life that feeds their soul when they become overwhelmed and tired. At ONE80CENTER, our clients are encouraged to test the waters and to see what works for them. By helping them access their passions through counseling and group sessions, we help our clients form a positive outlook that can flourish under the umbrella of their custom aftercare plan.
Through the lens of the ONE80CENTER community, each client interacts and experiences successful and happy examples of long-term recovery. Inspiring our clients, the community helps them by letting them know that they will always have a safe place to return to if they need help and support. Being part of such a community and having this benefit in their back pocket, a client can embrace their custom aftercare plan and move forward with sustainable sobriety and a productive life.
Today I sat in on our Poetry Group, which happens randomly but is a treat for ONE80CENTER clients- especially when they drag their feet in there.
THE BROKEN FIELD
by: Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
- Y soul is a dark ploughed field
- In the cold rain;
- My soul is a broken field
- Ploughed by pain.
- Where windy grass and flowers
- Were growing,
- The field lies broken now
- For another sowing.
- Great Sower, when you tread
- My field again,
- Scatter the furrows there
- With better grain.
BEING A MOM IN RECOVERY
From OxyContin addiction to Percocet abuse, from doctor shopping for Vicodin to raiding nursing homes for Percodan, Narcotic painkillers are killing America. With overdoses rates rising across the social strata, including high school students and urban young professionals, narcotic painkillers are killing so much more than pain as their abuse spirals out of control. In the past, illegal drugs were the central focus of the anti-drug campaigns by both the Federal Government and local communities. Today, prescription drugs are the main problem, and the abuse of prescription narcotics is simply out of control. ONE80CENTER recognizes this modern plague, and we are doing everything we can to provide the best in treatment services for narcotic painkiller addiction and abuse while raising awareness and providing educational tools to families and loved ones, co-workers and friends.
It is incredible how many different types of narcotic painkillers there are and the vast variety of dosages and combinations. And the number of brand names that we know better than the actual generic originals is endless and goes on and on.
- The generic name of Hydrocordone includes the brand names of Vicodin, Lortab and Norco.
- The generic name of Oxycodone includes the brand names of OxyContin, Percodan and Percocet.
- Codeine is simply Codeine, but comes in multiple forms like Codeine 5 and attached to Tylenol and other drugs.
- The generic name Hydromorphone includes the brand names of Dilaudid, Dilaudid-5, Dilaudid-HP, and Hydrostat IR
- The generic name Propoxyphene includes the brand names Cotanal-65, Darvon
- The generic name of Meperidine is more recognized as the brand name of Demerol
- Morphine comes in multiple forms, including pills, suppositories and injections, and almost a dozen brand names.
- The generic name of Methadone includes the brand names of Dolophine and Methadose.
And this is not the entire list, and we could include several more generic categories and many more brand names. Nursing homes and elderly communities where these drugs actually are needed for such common chronic conditions as arthritis and joint pain are being raided by desperate drug addicted teenagers and young adults across the country. The abuse is staggering, yet we are turning a blind eye to the problem. No longer! ONE80CENTER recognizes that prescription narcotic painkiller abuse, particularly with OxyContin and Percodan, is a primary threat to the safety and health of the American public, and we will do our best to contain to educate and raise awareness. If you or someone you know has a problem with narcotic painkillers and prescription drugs, do not hesitate. Contact the recovery experts at ONE80CENTER by calling toll free 888.588.4180.
Tanning addiction is out of control. Despite a flourishing market in sunscreens and a campaign by dermatologists that can be tracked back to 1983, millions of Americans continue to abuse UV (Ultraviolet) rays. With nearly 30 million Americans tanning indoors every year, and more than a million visiting tanning salons on an average day, tanning is more popular than ever before. When the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER learned of the latest reports that directly link tanning to the addictive centers of the brain, this report became a necessity. New scientific research shows that people who frequently tan experience changes in brain activity that mimic the patterns of drug addiction. Scientists have suspected for some time that frequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation has the potential to become addictive, but the new research is the first to actually examine the brains of tanners as they lay in tanning beds.
Compulsive Tanning Is A Brain Disorder
What the researchers found was that several parts of the brain that play a role in addiction were activated when the subjects were exposed to UV rays. The findings appear in the journal, Addiction Biology. They help explain why some people continue to tan despite awareness about risks such as skin cancer, premature aging and wrinkles. Dermatologists express great frustration with their seeming inability to deter tanning behavior, particularly among adolescents and young adults.
There are many explanations for this failure, including the widespread belief that people look better (read healthier and perhaps thinner) when they are tan. This notion has helped to foster the multibillion-dollar indoor tanning industry, supported by some young patrons as often as 20 times a month. But in recent years, another explanation has emerged for which there is now considerable scientific support: the idea that exposing one’s skin to UV radiation has addictive potential.
As with alcohol, not everyone who is exposed becomes dependent on the sun. But there are enough UV abusers — one in five college students, perhaps half of beach habitués and 70 percent of indoor tanners, according to various studies — to warrant a new medical diagnostic category: tanning addiction.
Dr. Richard F. Wagner Jr., a dermatologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, reported in a comprehensive study that as many as half of local beachgoers met the psychiatric definition of a substance abuse disorder. Although many say that a tanned appearance is their strongest motivation for sunbathing and tanning bed use, they also report mood enhancement, relaxation and socialization as their reasons for tanning.
As a result, the incidence of skin cancers, including potentially fatal melanoma, continues to rise. This year, 3.5 million new cases of superficial skin cancers that often can be disfiguring, and an estimated 68,720 melanomas, will be diagnosed among Americans. Many people think a tan protects them by helping block the damaging effects of UV radiation. In fact, a tan represents skin damage. Even those who escape cancer will eventually experience the aging effects of repeated tanning: loose, wrinkled, leathery skin that can make people look decades older than they are. Frequent tanners showed signs of both physiological and psychological dependence.
As with cigarette smoking and other addictive disorders, attempts to curtail UV abuse through education about its dangers seem to fall on deaf ears. Clearly, something else is driving the behavior, and for some people that something seems to be addiction. Researchers gave a modified version of the test often used to root out alcohol addiction called CAGE to tanners.
CAGE – Do You Have A Tanning Addiction?
CAGE is an acronym for four questions:
1. Have you ever felt you needed to cut down on your tanning?
2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your tanning?
3. Have you ever felt guilty about tanning?
4. Have you ever felt you needed to tan first thing in the morning — as an eye opener?
26 percent of the beachgoers met the CAGE criteria for addiction. Release of pleasure-giving endorphins in the brains of UV abusers is the likely stimulus for tanning addiction. “What this shows is that the brain is in fact responding to UV light, and it responds in areas that are associated with reward,” said Dr. Bryon Adinoff, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an author of the study. “These are areas, particularly the striatum, that we see activated when someone is administered a drug or a high-value food like sugar.”
Dr. Adinoff and his colleagues decided to go a step further. They recruited a small group of people from tanning salons who said that they liked to tan at least three times a week and that maintaining a tan was important to them. The frequent tanners agreed to be injected with a radioisotope that allowed researchers to monitor how tanning affected their brain activity. Brain images showed that during regular tanning sessions, when the study subjects were exposed to UV rays, several key areas of the brain lighted up; all the areas that have been implicated in addiction. When the UV light was filtered out, however, those areas of the brain showed far less activity.
In another study, research by Dr. Steven R. Feldman at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center demonstrated that frequent salon tanners experienced withdrawal symptoms when given the drug naltrexone. Associated with opiate recovery, this drug blocks the pleasurable effects of narcotics. Frequent tanners, but not occasional tanning patrons, reported symptoms like nausea and jitteriness when naltrexone blocked their endorphins. In other words, like junkies, tanners actually experienced withdrawal symptoms when the UV rays were blocked from lighting up their pleasure centers.
Like the vast majority of dermatologists, ONE80CENTER is in favor of strict regulations of tanning salons, especially prohibiting patronage by minors. Tanning has been shown to be an addictive disorder that affects the brain and stimulates the pleasure centers of the tanner. Without further education and help, the tanning epidemic in the United States will only worsen, leading to greater health consequences and more cases of this new addictive disorder. If you have a problem with tanning abuse and need help, contact ONE80CENTER today. Our individualized program can help you find recovery.
An In-Depth Overview of the History of OxyContin Abuse: The Bastard Child of Oxycodone that has Ravaged America in the 21st Century
In light of the extreme damage that OxyContin abuse and addiction has caused to America in the 21st Century, ONE80CENTER offers this detailed overview of the prescription painkiller. From 2003 to 2009, according to the White House Office on National Drug Policy, the greatest increase by far in overdose death rates among prescription drugs were for Oxycodone in the form of OxyContin with a 260% increase. The only two prescription drugs that were even in the same ballpark were Percocet, another form of Oxycodone, and Xanax, a benzodiazepine. OxyContin is a powerful opioid painkiller prescribed for treatment of severe or chronic pain. OxyContin is usually taken orally, but abusers will frequently crush the pills into powder in order to snort or inject them.
In 1916, German chemists Freund and Speyer were the first to successfully synthesize oxycodone from thebaine. The development of the drug was one of many attempts to formulate a painkiller that would not be habit-forming. Earlier attempts to isolate the painkilling features of opium from its mind-altering and addictive traits were unsuccessful. Oxycodone proved to be no different. It worked as an analgesic, or painkiller. However, it also created euphoria, a state of extreme happiness or feelings of well-being. The drug was not introduced to the United States until 1939 where it has remained a staple of medical use. As pharmaceutical science has progressed, oxycodone has been used with many different binders to tailor treatment according to the patients needs. The most devastating and deadly binder to appear so far has been OxyContin, the time released version of the drug.
When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, the huge pharmaceutical concern was confident that it had created a product to help chronic pain sufferers. OxyContin pills were designed to dissolve slowly and release oxycodone into the bloodstream at a regular rate. A single OxyContin tablet is meant to last twelve hours. When used correctly, the drug does not cause major mind-altering effects. In terms of strength, OxyContin falls between morphine, a powerful painkiller, and codeine, a milder variation usually used in cough medicines. The Purdue Pharma chemists believed they had created a safe product that would help people in pain to function normally and to sleep at night. They could not have been more off if they had tried to miss the target.
OxyContin was released as a Schedule II controlled substance requiring a prescription from a doctor certified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It was originally available in doses of 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, and 160 mg. The lower doses could be prescribed to people who had never used opiate painkillers before. The higher doses were recommended only for people with some tolerance of opiates. Opiate tolerance occurs when users need more and more of a drug to create the medication’s original effect, and it is a typical effect of long-term usage and addiction.
Beginning in 1996, Purdue Pharma started an aggressive, almost disturbing campaign of marketing about OxyContin. The company sought to teach not only pain specialists about the drug, but also primary care doctors as well. In addition, they offered incentives for doctors who prescribed the drug and for pharmacists who recommended and stocked it. At the time, this type of promotion was typical when new drugs entered the marketplace, but it recently has been strictly regulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tried to protect the American consumer by requiring that every OxyContin prescription contain a warning that crushing or chewing the pills would release a massive dose of oxycodone all at once, with possible deadly results. Separate from the main body of the pill, the time-release mechanism only worked when the pills were ingested orally.
What happened over the next four years shocked the FDA and took Purdue Pharma by pleasant surprise. Legal sales of OxyContin skyrocketed. “By 2001, sales had exceeded $1 billion annually, and OxyContin had become the most frequently prescribed brand-name narcotic medication for treating moderate-to-severe pain in the United States,” according to researchers for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). At the same time, the GAO report stated, drug abusers quickly learned that crushing and snorting, eating, or injecting OxyContin could produce a fast high similar to that of heroin. “The safety warning on the label that advised patients not to crush the tablets … may have inadvertently alerted abusers to a possible method for misusing the drug,” the report concluded. What was meant to be preventative of abuse became an instruction kit for addicts and potential abusers of the drug.
Within three years of OxyContin’s release, abuse of the drug was reported in Appalachia, the mountainous parts of the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Illegal use also occurred in California, Ohio, Florida, and some of the large cities in the northeastern United States. The DEA confirmed 146 deaths from OxyContin overdose between 2000 and 2001. This number has continued to increase every year. Disturbingly, a minority of these deaths actually occurred in patients who were prescribed the product legally for relief of pain. The vast majority of deaths were related to recreational use by people chasing the opiate high. As a direct result, rehabs and recovery facilities across the country were soon flooded with patients suffering from addiction to OxyContin.
In 2001, the FDA and Purdue Pharma introduced a “risk management plan” to try to stop OxyContin from entering the illegal drug market. The highest dose of the medication was removed from the market. Purdue launched a Web site aimed at teens called painfullyobvious.com to alert abusers to the dangers of addiction and sudden death from improper use. The FDA also strengthened the language in the warning labels placed on OxyContin bottle. Even so, in 2001 and 2002, sales of OxyContin exceeded $1 billion per year, according to the GAO report. The 2004 Monitoring the Future survey reported a “significant increase” in OxyContin abuse among teenagers between 2002 and 2007.
People who have used OxyContin recreationally face all the difficult physical and psychological issues of addiction and withdrawal. Purdue Pharma is working on variations of OxyContin that will not be suitable for abuse, including incorporating the time-release mechanism into all aspects of the drugs. Originally, the time-release mechanism could be scraped off of the top, but now it is suffused throughout the entire pill. Still, the company predicts it may be years before such a product finds its way into pharmacies.
Luckily, ONE80CENTER has extensive experience with and the clinical expertise to help clients with Oxycontin dependence of addiction to successfully begin the road of sustained recovery.
Addiction to OxyContin is a serious condition that requires medical treatment. If you or a loved one has developed an accidental addiction while trying to manage pain or the initial experimentation phase has gotten way out of control, the recovery experts at ONE80CENTER can offer an answer to your problem. Our goal is to free suffering individuals from the physical, mental and spiritual slavery to this devastating drug that has been ravaging the United States in the 21st Century.
Recently at a meeting we read a section in As Bill Sees It about having a spiritual experience (PAGE 182) . In itself it made a great topic, and of course it got me to thinking. Then the speaker shared, and in her share she spoke of an intense sense of wanting approval and to belong before she came to AA and commenced a life of sobriety.
I found these two topics- that of the spiritual experience and also of the wanting of approval connecting in a new way in my mind. I know when I walked into the rooms, one of the very first things I heard was someone talking about alienation. I was hooked in right away, because that exact feeling underwrote every single aspect of my existence. It has always been the driving force of my life, including my drinking and using. I once heard someone say- “My Higher Power was the look on your face,” and that was very, very impactful when I heard that. It was true for me- I wanted, needed to feel as if I belonged, and your approval was paramount to validating that. Or not.
How I, in all my infinite wisdom, handled that when I was a kid was this- I acted aloof, like I didn’t care, like your approval was the LAST thing on earth I needed. God forbid you should know how important it was for me to be liked. I figured that if I courted your disapproval, I would at least be certain of a predictable result, and it would just be the icing on the cake if somehow I got your approval instead. I then sought out other ‘disenfranchised’ who, in some ways, were doing the same thing, and then were able to belong to groups of people who felt they did not belong- punk rock being the first. If I listened to the music, got high with you, pierced my ears 20 times and wore the right clothes, I could belong by not belonging.
I also learned that I could belong, and get your approval, if we went to the bathroom and did drugs together. And more importantly, I cared less when I had a few drinks in me. I also learned that, at any bar with regulars, it wouldn’t take but a few drinks before they all felt like my family. Drugs and alcohol gave me an almost instant rapport, with almost anyone. And I came to understand that if you liked me, I loved you. And if you didn’t like me, f*ck you and the horse you rode in on. And until I knew which one you were, I was suspicious of you.
When I walked into the rooms of AA for the first time, shaking and scared and at the end of my rope, I felt as if I was going to be kicked out. Everyone seemed so healthy and happy, they all looked as if they belonged- and of course, I wasn’t feeling that. I felt like I was poisonous and toxic, and would infect all the happy people with my mere presence. And then I heard someone share about alienation. For me, this was profound- it had been my biggest secret and source of shame, that feeling of not belonging to anything. I couldn’t believe someone would admit that in a room full of people- the idea made me extremely uncomfortable, but intrigued that someone could be so brave as to be that vulnerable in front of others.
Just that one share, however, reached into that dark and lonely place where I cowered for years, like the little man behind the curtain in Wizard of Oz, operating the illusion of confidence and self possession. I think a lot of people would have been surprised to know how I really felt- I swaggered through the world feigning indifference, but it was all a front. That share at that 10:30 am meeting on February 20, 2007 was like the little dog Toto (just to stay with the analogy) who unwittingly pulled back the curtain to reveal the truth of the matter, who got behind the illusion to the real person. I am so glad that guy raised his hand that day.
BE ALL YOU CAN BE
At that moment I was able to surrender to the core of my being, because I instantly felt like I belonged. Not because of the music I listened to or because someone wanted to sleep with me or because we did drugs together or any of the false reasons that made me feel I had gotten your seal of approval. I belonged simply because I walked in the room and sat down. I didn’t need to be anything other than what I was, which, at that time, was desperate. Sheer, unbridled desperation- what a gift for a new comer.
Pretty soon, that feeling of belonging became intrinsic to my being, and has become the foundation of my sobriety, and my spiritual experience. I could not have a prfound spiritual experience if the look on your face was my Higher Power- if a smile made me feel validated and a frown meant I either had to hate you or win your approval or drink at you in a storm of disappointment- its an exhausting and constant tap dance in which there is little room for any other Higher Power. When I was able to surrender that, I was able to give myself over to a new way of being, a new Higher Power, and a new life. I could not have abstained from alcohol and drugs without giving this up; I had to be willing to surrender my entire way of life up to that point. I had to stop looking for approval, which meant I stopped doing things that I had done my whole life and had become habitual. Everything in my life had to be examined for authenticity and discarded if it was not in alignment with this new life, this new spiritual experience.
At this point, I don’t have isolated ‘spiritual experiences.’ Its ALL a spiritual experience, all of it. I see it that way, because I choose to see it that way, and so it is. AA truly has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams, as they say. Wild because when I walked in, I had no idea that this level of joy and serenity existed, much less was available for little ol’ me. And its there for everyone. Like the saying goes- “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I love that, and its true for every single one of us- when we are ready and willing to surrender everything we think we are and remain open to becoming all that we were meant to be.