Alcohol and Addiction News Digest, December 27, 2014


Violent Crime Decreases After San Francisco Stopped Prosecuting DrugUsers
Reason (blog)
Suhr is no fan of drug legalization. He views drug addiction as a serious public health problem, a debatable assertion with its own set of dubious ...

News Item

Drug dealer gets 10 to 20 years
News Item
The state Attorney General's Office said he was dealing drugs with a ... who claimed Picarella preyed on their drug addiction by trading heroin for sex.

Burlington Times News

Targeted treatment
Burlington Times News
Drug addiction is one of the root causes of crime and one of the greatest predictors a person will commit more crimes. Studies show as many as 80 ...

Woman Steals Guitar to Buy Food and Drugs
ABC News
Woman Steals Guitar to Buy Food and Drugs. More. Part 3: Smiley says she stole a guitar because of her drug addiction and recent life struggles.

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Alcohol and Addiction News Digest, December 20, 2014

NEWS digest:

Drug Discovery & Development

Link found between brain chemical, drug addicts
Economic Times
Once drug use escalated and became frequent, the anti-addiction effect of ... pharmaceutical therapies to help prevent and treat drug addiction.

St. George Daily Spectrum

Recent news stories on drug busts lead to online debate
St. George Daily Spectrum
These same people also felt drug addiction should be dealt with as a health ... With drug use comes violent crime, so if we allow it to take hold in our ...

Scotland approves new drug for alcoholics (VIDEO)
Malay Mail Online
GLASGOW, Dec 6 ― Scotland is the first country to give approval to a new pill that helps patients reduce their alcohol dependency, according to a ...

Kiran Bedi suggests three-pronged strategy to PM Modi to curb drug menace
In 1986, I started seeing our youth getting trapped into drug addiction. After that we witnessed a sharp rise in the cases of crimes. All types of crimes ...

U-T San Diego

Father-and-son authors writing book on drug abuse
Town Hall
According to Houghton Mifflin, the new book will draw upon research into drugs and drug addiction to help teens and tweens make "informed ...

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No Such Thing as a Glamorous Drunk

From Johnny Depp to Hunter S Thompson: no such thing as a glamorous drunk | Film | The Guardian: ".... Today, for the first time in years, I recall that night at the Iron Horse and the mounting irritation and disappointment of the audience there. If Depp ever wanted to be Thompson, he can now tick that goal off his list. His weekend performance was arguably more authentic than the ones he gave in Fear and Loathing and The Rum Diary. His performance was a triumph; he caught the man to perfection. He was dull and confused. All that was missing was the whisk."

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Sunk Cost Bias, Meditate for 15 Minutes, Debias the Mind

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

"A new study finds that just 15 minutes mindfulness meditation can help free the mind of biased thinking. The research, published in the journal Psychological Science, tested the effects of meditation on a well-established mental bias called the ‘sunk cost’ bias (Hafenbrack et al., 2013). The sunk cost bias refers to the fact that people find it difficult to give up on a goal into which they’ve already made a large investment. Even once the goal has gone stale or proven unworkable, there’s a tendency to throw good money (or effort) after bad, simply because a significant investment has already been made. “Well,” people say to themselves. “We’ve come this far…” The effects of the ‘sunk cost’ bias can be seen in public projects that go way over budget and in military campaigns which continue long after their objectives have proven unworkable... One of the strengths of meditation is that it shifts mental focus into the present moment. In comparison to a control condition, thinking mindfully doubled the number of people who could avoid the sunk cost bias." read more: Meditation Can ‘Debias’ the Mind in Only 15 Minutes — PsyBlog

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Meditation, Taming the Voice

"The voice in your head is what takes you out of the present.... when you find yourself running through your trip to the airport for the seventeenth time, perhaps ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this useful’?”(source infra)

How to mediate
1. Sit comfortably. You don’t have to be cross-legged. Plop yourself in a chair, on a cushion, on the floor —wherever. Just make sure your spine is reasonably straight.
2. Feel the sensations of your breath as it goes in and out. Pick a spot: nostrils, chest, or gut. Focus your attention there and really try to feel the breath. If it helps to direct your attention, you can use a soft mental note, like “in” and “out.”
3. This one, according to all of the books I’d read, was the biggie. Whenever your attention wanders, just forgive yourself and gently come back to the breath. You don’t need to clear the mind of all thinking; that’s pretty much impossible. (True, when you are focused on the feeling of the breath, the chatter will momentarily cease, but this won’t last too long.) The whole game is to catch your mind wandering and then come back to the breath, over and over again.

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Walter Mischel, The Marshallow Test, Self-Control

Mischel believes that the skills which enable us to delay gratification are the same skills that allow us to make other good choices despite temptations to do otherwise. “We’ve found a way to really improve human choice and freedom,” he told me. “If we have the skills to allow us to make discriminations about when we do or don’t do something, when we do or don’t drink something, and when we do and when we don’t wait for something, we are no longer victims of our desires.”

Walter Mischel, The Marshallow Test, and Self-Control: "The longer a child delayed gratification, Mischel found—that is, the longer she was able to wait—the better she would fare later in life at numerous measures of what we now call executive function. She would perform better academically, earn more money, and be healthier and happier. She would also be more likely to avoid a number of negative outcomes, including jail time, obesity, and drug use... Mischel has consistently found that the crucial factor in delaying gratification is the ability to change your perception of the object or action you want to resist. Trying to avoid the tasty treat in front of your nose? Put a frame around it in your mind, as if it were a picture or photograph, to make the temptation less immediate. One boy in Mischel’s test was initially unable to wait, but, with careful instruction, eventually learned to hold out. When Mischel asked him what had changed, the boy replied, “You can’t eat a picture.” Mischel used a different kind of picturing when he quit smoking—he replaced his pleasurable associations with cigarettes with the image of the man in the hospital. The key, it turns out, is learning to mentally “cool” what Mischel calls the “hot” aspects of your environment: the things that pull you away from your goal. Cooling can be accomplished by putting the object at an imaginary distance (a photograph isn’t a treat), or by re-framing it (picturing marshmallows as clouds not candy). Focussing on a completely unrelated experience can also work, as can any technique that successfully switches your attention...." (read more at the link above)

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Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation (video)

Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation -

Dan Harris explains the neuroscience behind meditation, but reminds us that the ancient practice isn't magic and likely won't send one floating into the cosmic ooze. He predicts that the exercise will soon become regularly scheduled maintenance, as commonplace as brushing your teeth or eating your veggies. Harris, an ABC News correspondent, was turned on to mediation after a live, on-air panic attack. His latest book is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story (

Transcript - There’s no way a fidgety and skeptical news anchor would ever have started meditating were it not for the science. The science is really compelling. It shows that meditation can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, help you deal with problems ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to psoriasis. And the neuroscience is where it really gets sci-fi. There was a study out of Harvard that shows that short daily doses of meditation can literally grow the gray matter in key areas of your brain having to do with self-awareness and compassion and shrink the gray matter in the area associated with stress.

There was also a study out of Yale that looked at what’s called the default mode network of the brain. It’s a connected series of brain regions that are active during most of our waking hours when we’re doing that thing that human beings do all the time which is obsessing about ourselves, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, doing anything but being focused on what’s happening right now. Meditators not only turn off the default mode network of their brain while they’re meditating but even when they’re not meditating. In other words, meditators are setting a new default mode. And what’s that default mode? They’re focused on what’s happening right now.

In sports this is called being in the zone. It’s nothing mystical. It’s not magical. You’re not floating off into cosmic ooze. You are just being where you are – big cliché in self-help circles is being in the now. You can use that term if you want but because it’s accurate. It’s slightly annoying but it’s accurate. It’s more just being focused on what you’re doing. And the benefits of that are enormous. And this is why you’re seeing these unlikely meditators now, why you’re seeing the U.S. Marines adopting it, the U.S. Army, corporate executives from the head of Ford to the founders of Twitter. Athletes from Phil Jackson to many, many Olympians. Scientists, doctors, lawyers, school children. There’s this sort of elite subculture of high achievers who are adopting this because they know it can help you be more focused on what you’re doing and it can stop you from being yanked around by the voice in your head.

My powers of prognostication are not great. I bought a lot of stock in a company that made Palm Pilot back in 2000 and that didn’t go so well for me. But having said that I’m going to make a prediction. I think we’re looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution. In the 1940s if you told people that you went running they would say, who’s chasing you. Right now if you tell people you meditate – and I have a lot of experience with telling people this, they’re going to look at you like you’re a little weird most of the time. That’s going to change. Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you. These are all things that if you don’t do you feel guilty about. And that is where I think we’re heading with meditation because the science is so strongly suggestive that meditation can do really, really great things for your brain and for your body.

The common assumption that we have, and it may be subconscious, is that our happiness really depends on external factors – how was our childhood, have we won the lottery recently, did we marry well, did we marry at all. But, in fact, meditation suggests that happiness is actually a skill, something you can train just the way you can train your body in the gym. It’s a self-generated thing. And that’s a really radical notion. It doesn’t mean that external circumstances aren’t going to impact your happiness. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be subject to the vagaries of an impermanent, entropic universe. It just means you are going to be able to navigate this with a little bit more ease.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton.
Published on Aug 19, 2014

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Drew Pinsky, board-certified internist, addiction medicine specialist

Triangulation 166 | TWiT.TV: "Host: Leo Laporte interviews Dr. Drew Pinsky, an American board-certified internist, addiction medicine specialist, and radio and television personality. He is best known for his work on the radio show Loveline, the TV show Celebrity Rehab, and the podcasts he cohosts with Adam Carolla."

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Heroin and Prescription-Pill Epidemic, Staten Island

How Staten Island Is Fighting a Raging Heroin and Prescription-Pill Epidemic: "....“So we did heroin, and I overdosed, and the guy with the naloxone injected me with it, and all I remember is waking up and feeling so horrible that I thought the people I was with were being mean to me. I didn’t thank anybody for saving me—I was only angry and upset that they had made me feel like this. The withdrawal came on immediately and it was very, very painful, like twenty times worse than the worst flu I ever had. But without the naloxone I don’t know what would have happened. The thought of being left passed out where I was still scares me. We were homeless junkies. Nobody who saw me would have bothered with me. No way anybody would’ve called 911.” She talked about her recovery and what it still involves. I asked her what she imagined would be the best possible result of the work she’s doing, and she said, “I love that question!” Her voice brightened completely. “We’re going to stop this opioid pandemic!” she said, and began to explain how." (read more at link above)

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Addictions, Habits, Osmo (video)

Osmo from Vadim Draempaehl on Vimeo.
A short movie about... well... I think it's about habits or addictions you can't get rid of...................?

Directed by Vadim Draempaehl
Produced by Tina Draempaehl
3d modelling and animation by Vadim Draempaehl
Compositing and background modelling by Tina Draempaehl
Additional 3d modelling by Andras Kavalecz
Music by Ben Kloss
SoundFx by Sibin Vassilev
Renderservice by MBA Studios
Funding: Spellcraft Studio and Osmo Studio
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Power, Dependency, Choice

And codependency --

Power and Dependency | Big Think | Influence, Power, & Politics: ".... Much of what makes us miserable in life comes from seeking what others won’t or can’t give us. By continuing to let them determine our happiness, we give power to the wrong people. When feeling deprived of something important, consider whether you’ve given power to the wrong person or people. It may seem at first that there is no choice. But it can be wonderfully freeing to discover that indeed there is and that choice puts power back in your hands."

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Lies, Your Mind, Life Changes

The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes : zenhabits: ".... First, the main principle: the mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.... The key is to learn whether they’re true, and see your pattern. Here’s what I’ve done:

  • Notice the excuse. It has way more power if it works on you in the background.
  • Try to have an answer for the excuse beforehand — anticipate it.
  • If you give in, that’s OK, but recognize that you’re giving in to a lame excuse. Be aware of what you’re doing.
  • After giving in, see what the results are. Are you happier? Is your life better? Was it worth it giving in to discomfort?
  • Learn from those results. If you pushed through and are happy about it, remember that. If you gave in to excuses, and didn’t like the result, remember that.

If you consciously practice this process, you’ll get better at recognizing and not believing these lies. And then, bam, you’ve got your mind working for you instead of against you."

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How to Look Stupid, Hold A Beer in Your Hand

Alcohol and Stupid Behavior--

How to Look Smart - Julie Beck - The Atlantic: "Speaking of incompetence: don’t drink in public, at least not at work functions. The perceived association between alcohol and stupid behavior is so strong, according to a 2013 study, that merely holding a beer makes you appear dumber *"

*Rick and Schweitzer, “The Imbibing Idiot Bias” (Journal of Consumer Psychology, April 2013)

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Alcohol, deadliest drug in the US

Alcohol, the deadliest drug--

Alcohol is still the deadliest drug in the United States, and it’s not even close - The Washington Post: "... Which intoxicating substance is associated with the most lethal violence? Devotees of the Wire might presume that cocaine or maybe heroin would top the list, especially if you asked the worst causes of violence in poor, minority communities. The correct answer, by far, is alcohol. It’s involved in more homicides than pretty much every other substance, combined. Alcohol’s relative importance has grown over the last fifteen years, as aging populations of cocaine users account for a declining proportion of violent crime. Here in Chicago, positive cocaine screens in the Cook County Jail are down by about half when compared with ten or twenty years ago. The same is true in many other cities.Surveys of people incarcerated for violent crimes indicate that about 40% had been drinking at the time they committed these offenses. Among those who had been drinking, average blood-alcohol levels were estimated to exceed three times the legal limit. Drinking is especially common among perpetrators of specific crimes, including murder, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence...." (read more at link above)

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Addiction, Early America, C-SPAN video

Addiction Early America | Video | "Panelists talked about how different social groups used and abused laudanum, opium, and alcohol in the 19th century. They said alcoholism was primarily a male problem, while thousands of women were addicted to laudanum. The panel also talked about how these addictions were treated and perceived across race, gender, and social class. This discussion was part of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic conference in Philadelphia." (video at link above)

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Alcohol Still a Leading Killer

Alcohol Remains a Leading Killer - "Excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, is responsible for 10 percent of deaths among working-age adults in the United States, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers used an online tool called the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact application to estimate alcohol-related deaths ranging from car crashes and alcohol poisoning to liver and heart disease. They defined binge drinking as at least five consecutive drinks for men and four consecutive drinks for women. One in six adults from 20 to 65 reported binge drinking at least four times a month; the actual number is likely higher because subjects tend to underreport their drinking habits, the researchers said. The number of Americans who binge drink skyrocketed during the 1990s and leveled off in 2001, but the average frequency of binge drinking episodes is still rising. Excessive drinking is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the United States, after smoking, poor nutrition and physical inactivity...." (read more at link above)

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Obscure Rule Restricts Health Law Care for Addicts

Obscure Rule Restricts Health Law’s Expansion of Care for Addicts - "Obscure Rule Restricts Health Law’s Expansion of Care for Addicts... On its surface, the Affordable Care Act seems like a boon for addiction treatment centers like the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, housed in a no-frills former hotel outside Chicago. The law allowed states to expand Medicaid to many more low-income people, meaning that drug addicts and alcoholics who were previously ineligible could now receive coverage for substance abuse treatment, which the law has deemed an “essential health benefit.” But there is a hitch: Under an obscure federal rule enacted almost 50 years ago, Medicaid covers residential addiction treatment in community-based programs only if they have 16 or fewer beds. The South Suburban Council’s main treatment program has 48. So the very people who might have flowed through its doors in search of care will not be coming. And the same problem faces many other centers, which typically are larger than 16 beds, experts say. The quirk in the law could have a significant impact on substance abuse treatment in Illinois and the 25 other states that have expanded Medicaid under the health care law... (read more at link above)

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A Different Path to Fighting Addiction

A Different Path to Fighting Addiction - ".... The center’s approach is controversial in the recovery world. David Rotenberg, executive vice president of treatment at the nonprofit Caron Treatment Centers, a large drug and alcohol rehabilitation provider with branches in several states, cautioned against approaches that do not set abstinence as a goal. “The majority of people who are chemically dependent would love to be able to drink and drug in a more moderate fashion,” Mr. Rotenberg said. “Most drug addicts and alcoholics would love to drink just a couple of drinks, and they try to do so, with poor results.”...."

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Alcohol, Your Brain, Your Body

What Alcohol Does To Your Brain And Body - Business Insider: "Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances on the planet. Someone dies from alcohol use every ten seconds, and one night of binge drinking can take a huge toll on your immune system. Dr. Samuel Ball of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) reveals the myriad effects alcohol has on your brain and body." (read more at link above)

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Mindfulness in the workplace, the present moment, job pressures

Mindfulness in the workplace | The Work/Life Balancing Act: "...For Singerman, reflecting before reacting is the first step in practicing mindfulness — a stress-busting technique quickly spreading in workplaces across the country. In the rush to accomplish multiple tasks or respond to job pressures, people often lose connection with the present moment. They stop being attentive to what they’re doing or feeling, and react from a place of stress. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing awareness on the present moment...." (read more at link above)

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Facing up to our actual condition.

BBC News - A Point of View: See no evil: " . . . While we live surrounded by unknown unknowns, we live on the basis of unknown knowns - intractable facts that we prefer to forget. We'd do better to confront these awkward realities and muddle through more intelligently. We humans are sturdy and resilient animals, with enormous capacities of creativity and adaptability, but consistently realistic thinking seems to be beyond our powers. This may well be the biggest unknown known of them all - in an age that prides itself on its advancing knowledge and superior understanding, we're as anxious as ever to avoid facing up to our actual condition."

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Substance Induced Mood Disorder

Mood disorder - Wikipedia: "Substance-induced mood disorders -- A mood disorder can be classified as substance-induced if its etiology can be traced to the direct physiologic effects of a psychoactive drug or other chemical substance, or if the development of the mood disorder occurred contemporaneously with substance intoxication or withdrawal. Also, an individual may have a mood disorder coexisting with a substance abuse disorder. Substance-induced mood disorders can have features of a manic, hypomanic, mixed, or depressive episode. Most substances can induce a variety of mood disorders. For example, stimulants such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine can cause manic, hypomanic, mixed, and depressive episodes. 

"Alcohol-induced mood disorders -- High rates of major depressive disorder occur in heavy drinkers and those with alcoholism. Controversy has previously surrounded whether those who abused alcohol and developed depression were self-medicating their pre-existing depression. But recent research has concluded that, while this may be true in some cases, alcohol misuse directly causes the development of depression in a significant number of heavy drinkers. Participants studied were also assessed during stressful events in their lives and measured on a Feeling Bad Scale. Likewise, they were also assessed on their affiliation with deviant peers, unemployment, and their partner’s substance use and criminal offending. High rates of suicide also occur in those who have alcohol-related problems. It is usually possible to differentiate between alcohol-related depression and depression that is not related to alcohol intake by taking a careful history of the patient. Depression and other mental health problems associated with alcohol misuse may be due to distortion of brain chemistry, as they tend to improve on their own after a period of abstinence." (read more at link above)

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Patients, Doctors, Addictions

Patients, Doctors, Addictions . . . it's a problem:

What Patients Don't Tell Their Doctors - "... Ethical standards also hold that most aspects of the adult patient’s health are private, not to be discussed, even with a loving spouse, without specific permission. This mandate lapses only when patients are confused or comatose and urgent medical decisions have to be made. A clear, imminent danger to the concerned party can also justify a breach. If Tom’s wife was a nondriver and he was planning to take her on a long cross-country road trip, weaving down Interstate 80 with a quart of vodka in his lap, then a lengthy conversation might be in order. Absent this kind of danger, Tom’s business remains his own. And finally, the law is now involved. With the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or Hipaa, the federal government weighed in on patient privacy, to everyone’s great confusion. The convolutions of this legislation are often misinterpreted to affirm that no one can talk to anyone about anyone else’s health without written consent. In fact, most ordinary conversations are legitimate as long as the patient is consulted first and has no objections. Still, the law makes everyone just a little more cautious...." (read more at link above)

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Man Headed To Rehab, Drinks Alcohol, Disrupts Flight

Man Headed To Rehab Disrupts JetBlue Flight | The Smoking Gun: "A JetBlue passenger who [falsely] claimed to be a soldier readying for deployment to Afghanistan openly solicited fellow fliers to buy him drinks on a flight that subsequently had to be diverted when he got plastered and threatened the life of a female flight attendant, according to the FBI...."

Hope he made it to Rehab.

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Ben Franklin, The Thirteen Virtues

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: "My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg’d it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang’d them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquir’d and establish’d, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improv’d in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtain’d rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave Silence the second place."-- Ben Franklin

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George Michael sober, 'I decided to change my life'

'I decided to change my life. So I gave up smoking cannabis': George Michael on being drug-free, surviving prison and how close he came to dying--

George Michael on surviving prison, how close he came to dying and the lunacy of the 80s | Mail Online: "The man who once smoked up to 25 spliffs a day, and famously lit up during a South Bank Show documentary, declaring: ‘This stuff keeps me sane and happy.’ ‘Well, what can I say?’ says Michael, cheerfully. ‘I decided to change my life and I haven’t touched it for well over a year and a half now.’ The difference it’s made is clearly visible. Looking at Michael now – laid-back, calm and fighting fit – it’s easy to forget how turbulent the past few years have been for him....In 2010 he was sentenced to eight weeks in jail following that car crash in north London (the court found that he was driving while under the influence of cannabis, his second conviction for drug-driving)....And then in 2013 he was involved in perhaps his most bizarre and troubling episode: falling out of his chauffeur-driven Range Rover while it was travelling at 70mph on the M1. Read more:

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Secret Service agents, on Obama detail, sent home after night of drinking

First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, and then the drink takes the man . . . 

Secret Service agents on Obama detail sent home from Netherlands after night of drinking - The Washington Post: "Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said. The hotel staff alerted the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands after finding the unconscious agent Sunday morning, a day before Obama arrived in the country, according to two of the people. The embassy then alerted Secret Service managers on the presidential trip, which included the agency’s director, Julia Pierson...."

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Drunken man drags, kills stranger who tried to stop man from driving

Same old story, just fill in the blanks --

Drunken Chicago man drags, kills stranger who tried to stop man from driving: police  - NY Daily News: "________, 42, is jailed for killing ______, 33, after the two were drinking with different friends at ________.   ________ was still almost three times the legal limit to drive about eight hours after the crash, cops say."

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

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Addiction and The Unlived Life

the WAR of ART and the Unlived Life: "....Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts , our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food , cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff...."

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Marlo Thomas, Never Too Late to Reinvent Yourself (video)

Marlo Thomas: Never Too Late to Reinvent Yourself: Video - Bloomberg:
(Allow video to load after clicking play)
Actress, producer and activist Marlo Thomas discusses her new book, "It Ain't Over...Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age" and her work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg. April 29, 2014)

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Drugging American Boys, ADHD Crisis

When it comes to ADHD and young boys, do NOT trust Doctors, Pharmaceutical Companies, Psychiatrists, Psychologists . . . they are all complicit in one of the biggest scams perpetrated--this should be considered criminal conduct!

THE DRUGGING OF THE AMERICAN BOY - "By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD. Millions of those boys will be prescribed a powerful stimulant to "normalize" them. A great many of those boys will suffer serious side effects from those drugs. The shocking truth is that many of those diagnoses are wrong, and that most of those boys are being drugged for no good reason—simply for being boys. It's time we recognize this as a crisis." (source Esquire - read more at the link above)

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Alcohol, Moderation, Abstinence

For an alcoholic, there is no "moderation"--

I'm halfway through an alcohol-free year. Could you do it? | Lea Emery | Comment is free | " . . . There are lots of people who aren't full blown addicts but who do struggle to do things in moderation – whether it's booze, cigarettes, sex, drugs or Nutella (or in my case, all of the above). Substances that are addictive are inherently difficult to consume in moderation. That's what "addictive" means. In fact, when you encourage someone who's struggling with an addictive substance to do it in moderation, what you're also saying is "Hey, you know that stuff that makes you want more and more as soon as you have a bit? Yeah, just have a bit!" It's not helpful to tell someone to have "just" a little alcohol if they're struggling with it, just as it's not helpful to tell someone who's dependent on sweets to have just a little cake ... So when you run into a friend who is abstaining completely, whether temporarily for a good start to the New Year or for the long-term, remember it's not a commentary on your drinking and nobody is trying to ruin anyone's fun. Be supportive and treat it as a completely legitimate, if not necessary, alternative for those people for whom moderation is not an option."

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Alcoholism, As Seen By A Doctor

A must read (at link below, excerpts follow):

Alcoholism Through a Doctor's Eyes -
"When I teach medical students about alcoholism, it is never easy. Students arrive with preconceived notions and stereotypes obtained from books, television and films — and their personal upbringings — about the subject. So I am especially glad that medical, nursing and other graduate students from my institution, New York University, have been attending the play “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” as part of their studies. The drama, about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, is a great way to learn how designating something as a disease is only a starting point for understanding the patients who experience it. . . . Another facet of alcoholism that remains familiar is the lack of good treatment options. Detoxification and rehabilitation programs are expensive and not that effective. And while new research suggests that drugs can be used to facilitate drinking in moderation, I still refer the vast majority of my alcoholic patients to A.A., just as other doctors did 80 years ago. Yet even A.A.’s ability to maintain ongoing sobriety among its participants is only about 10 percent, although certain populations, with stronger social supports, do better. Perhaps the greatest virtue of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is how it humanizes alcoholics. Both main characters display a wide range of behaviors, ranging from empowered to helpless to angry to remorseful. It is hard not to sympathize with them. Anne and Bill’s wife, Lois, realize that they, too, belong to a community of sufferers. They founded Al-Anon in 1951 to assist the spouses and families of alcoholics. “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth,” is an expression used by A.A. members to get recalcitrant alcoholics to keep quiet and listen to their brethren. It is good advice." - Barron H. Lerner, professor of medicine and population health at the New York University School of Medicine, is the author of the forthcoming book “The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics.” (read more at link above)

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Kentucky, $32 Million for Drug Addiction Treatment

Ky. Officials Announce $32 Million for Drug Addiction Treatment: "...."This money will go a long way in helping Kentucky's ongoing efforts to provide treatment options for drug abuse. I am especially pleased that a sizeable portion will be used to help juveniles and to provide needed funding for the KASPER program," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Nearly $19 million will be used to start a grant program that will fund comprehensive juvenile substance abuse treatment programs, both expanding treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new juvenile treatment programs with the full continuum of care, including intensive outpatient and follow-up care centers...."

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To Be An Alcoholic

Here's What It's Like To Be An Alcoholic - Business Insider: " . . . I can tell a lot of funny stories about my drinking years. But most of the time I was scared, alone, angry, and bored. I knew the future that was coming was a bad one. And then I had that moment of clarity. I almost choked to death on my own vomit and I realized that I would die if I kept drinking and that I didn't want to die like this. The long process of recovery began. Recovery is amazing and it is brutal. I had to grow up and become a whole person, so that I didn't try and fill the black hole at my core with booze, drugs, sex, drama, and all the other distractions I had used. Growing up isn't easy, especially when you are 20 years behind the curve. But it is possible, as long as I put in the daily work. Today, I have a wonderful sober life with great friends, a marriage full of fun and love, interesting, meaningful work and a comfy home. And I believe that I could lose everything if I decide to pick up a drink again...." (read more at link above)

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Heroin, Small-Town Toll, Mother’s Grief

A "must read" in the New York Times (excerpt below) --

Heroin’s Small-Town Toll, and a Mother’s Grief - " . . . . Gradually, Ms. Hale said, her fear and judgmental attitude about addiction have given way to compassion and activism. Never before political — she did not know the mayor’s name — she has now testified at the State Capitol, advocating a broader use of naloxone and a “good Samaritan law” that would grant limited immunity from drug prosecutions to those who call 911 or otherwise help an overdose victim. She has also taken under wing seven young addicts, coaching them on how to reveal their problems to their parents, preaching to them about safe needles and naloxone, and giving them an ear. “I know my boundaries,” Ms. Hale said. “I will not give them money. I will not let them come to my home. If they are hungry, I will meet them at McDonald’s. I’ll take them to a clinic to be assessed, drive them to a treatment hospital.” “It soothes some of the guilt, fills some of the void,” she said. “Basically, I wish there had been a Karen out there helping my daughter.” (read more at link above)

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The Wrestler, addiction, recovery

A good read (at link below, excerpt follows) --

The Wrestler — Medium:
" . . . He also knew that I was in recovery and we chatted about that a bit. In that context, he was authentic and insightful. Now that he is gone, much has been said about his failure, about his fall. I don’t really see it that way. He got in the ring with his addiction and battled it for two decades successfully, creating amazing film work along the way and doing the hard stuff to keep ambitious theater alive in New York. And then something changed and he used. Everyone is surprised when that happens to someone famous, but it happens routinely everywhere else. Rooms of recovery are full of stories of people with long-term sobriety who went back out and some of them, as a matter of mathematics and pharmacology, don’t make it back. Chemical dependency does not change — have one and you might die — and recovery does not change — have none and you might live. Addicts live between those two poles, but the hole that they once tried to fill with chemicals always remains, pushed back on a daily basis. Addiction, whether you believe it is a disease or not, is a pirate, constantly on patrol and looking for a weakness so it can climb aboard...."

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The Last Relapse of Philip Seymour Hoffman, RIP

He died, by all accounts, an addict’s death, with periods of outward normalcy interrupted by erratic behavior. Shooting a blockbuster film. Business meetings. Ballgames. Binge drinking. Drug buys.(source infra)

A Complicated Actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in His Last Days - "...Mr. Hoffman had admitted to a drug relapse at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in December, where a leader asked if those in attendance were counting their time sober in terms of years, months, weeks or days. Mr. Hoffman said, “I am counting days,” according to a person at the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the group’s rules. “He raised his hand and he said his name and he said he had 28 days or 30 days sober,” the person said. Mr. Hoffman was clean-shaven and well dressed. “He looked great, he looked totally, totally normal.” It was a struggle he took seriously. “Phil was sober for over 25 years and conquered it to the greatest degree one can, given the nature of it,” said David Bar Katz, a playwright and friend who was one of the first two people to discover Mr. Hoffman dead. “He was against every aspect of drug use.”..."

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

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Quitting the Addictions

I Tried to Quit & It’s Too Hard! : zenhabits: By Leo Babauta
zenhabits : breathe
"I Tried to Quit & It’s Too Hard!
" . . . Have you tried giving up alcohol? Marijuana? Biting your nails? Complaining? Cigarettes? Junk food? . . .  The Physical Addiction - The suffering of withdrawing from physical addiction really only lasts a few days. I’ve seen it with alcohol and drug addiction (in others close to me) and I’ve gone through it with cigarettes. It’s a tough time. . . . Hard things aren’t things to be dreaded. We can make it through them, and be stronger and better off having done it.Some tips to get you through a hard few days of overcoming physical addiction:
Be accountable. Tell others you’re doing it, and ask them to hold you accountable. Just telling them won’t get you through it, but knowing they’re watching and checking on you and encouraging you will.
Have support. Ask a few close friends to support you. Call on them when you get strong urges. Ask for their help. Lean on them.
Distract yourself. Keep yourself busy. Don’t dwell on the suffering. Do stuff.
Create your environment. Get rid of the cigarettes or sugar. Don’t go out with friends if you’re trying to quit alcohol or cigarettes or junk food — just for a few days. Stock up on healthy stuff. Make your environment friendly to your change.
Get good at getting through an urge. An urge isn’t an absolute command. It’s an itch. You can overcome it. Watch the urge, let it rise, and know that it will pass in a minute. Get through it. Then you’re good.

"Find the strategies that work for you, but you can do it.
Your Coping Mechanism
One of the biggest problems with quitting an addiction is that you use it to cope with real problems. When you are stressed, or sick, or sad, or depressed, or going through a crisis, or lonely, or need to socialize in an uncomfortable situation … you use the addiction to cope.
But it’s only a crutch. You can cope without it. You just need to find new strategies.
A few strategies for coping that might help:
Stress: I’ve learned to use exercise, meditation, and simplifying as ways to cope with stress. Going for a run or a walk have helped me tremendously. Talking to other people about your stressful problems also help. So does a mindful cup of tea.
Sad: When I’m sad, I find things in my life to be grateful for. I connect with loved ones. I acknowledge my feelings and realize that it’s OK to be sad sometimes — it reminds you that you’re human. Then I take action and find something I’m passionate about.
Lonely: Actually, while most people would seek the company of others (which isn’t a bad idea), I like to learn to keep myself company. I’m great company when I want to be — I play, I imagine, I write and read and meditate and learn.
Crisis: When there’s a crisis, does leaning on an unhealthy addiction actually make it better? Only in that it gives you a temporary reprieve (going out to have a smoke or a drink) or temporary pleasure (having a cupcake or soda). They don’t take care of the problem, and can actually make it worse (try solving a crisis while inebriated). Instead, allow yourself the reprieve without the addiction — take a walk or meditate. Getting away from the crisis, even for a few minutes, can give you a breather and some perspective. Then figure out what you can do, let go of what you can’t control, and take one action.
Need to socialize: Often we use smoking or drinking or eating as ways to lubricate awkward social situations. But they’re just crutches — you can actually do without them and get stronger without them. You can socialize without these things — try it once and see. You’ll get better at socializing if you do without the crutches. Sick: Unhealthy addictions don’t help you when you’re sick. Shoveling junk food into your face when you’re sick (I’ve done it many times) might make you feel comforted, but you aren’t doing your health any favors. Instead, nurture yourself. Give yourself some healthier food to fuel the healing process. Give yourself a rest, and a hug. . . . Quitting something can be hard, it’s true. But not quitting them is harder — you have to live with health problems (or other problems) for the rest of your life. That’s years of pain vs. a few days or weeks of struggle. To me, the choice is clear — choose yourself. (read more at links above)"

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, a life could have been saved

Addiction, treatment, and saving lives --

"Proper addiction treatment works in many cases, but the most tragic fact of Hoffman’s and others’ addictions is that they could have been prevented in the first place. Addiction is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. For now, genes aren’t fixable, but it’s possible to protect people from becoming addicted by improving their environments and addressing their psychological stresses. Risk factors such as mental illness; learning disabilities; ADHD; trauma; poverty; and growing up in dysfunctional families, where there’s violence and abuse and in neighborhoods defined by drugs and violence, can be mitigated and replaced by protective factors including counseling, social programs, therapy, education and a range of other interventions. If they are, drug use can often be averted or nipped in the bud ... These days, most heroin addictions are preceded by addictions to prescription opiates like Oxycontin and Vicodin. These drugs can be hard to get and expensive compared with a cheaper opiate: heroin. If we can prevent prescription-medicine misuse, we can prevent many instances of heroin addiction. If pain-medication abuse is effectively curtailed, so will the sharp rise in heroin addiction. If the treatment system adopts evidence-based practices, heroin addicts like Hoffman can be saved." Read more: David Sheff: How Philip Seymour Hoffman Could Have Been Saved |

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Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis (video)

Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis

Experts: Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis « CBS Minnesota: "The drug that apparently killed Philip Seymour Hoffman is becoming increasingly common, and dangerous, in Minnesota. “When parents and families hear celebrities overdosing on heroin, the story seems so far away from home,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, “and people need to realize the story is actually in our homes and in our neighborhoods.” Lee has seen it firsthand at Hazelden’s youth campus in Plymouth, where almost half of the patients are addicted to opiates, up from 10 percent 10 years ago."

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Sobriety is changing your lifestyle

As I've said before, sobriety is a way of life --

10 financial resolutions you can actually keep - The Washington Post: "Resolutions are usually a terrible way to effect change. Changing habits involves changing your lifestyle, and that requires a deep commitment that most of us lack."

For alcoholics, that is why we use the 12 steps and our Higher Power.

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Sustaining the Change, Mindset, Behaviors

Dry is not taking a drink. Sobriety is a way of life. For alcoholics that is sustaining the change.

This Online Class Wants to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions - Julia Ryan - The Atlantic: "I think that when people can’t change, or can’t sustain the change, it’s because they are using an improper approach. They kind of set themselves up from the start to not succeed. I love this Mark Twain quote: “I don’t know why people say it’s so hard to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times myself!” This idea that, actually you can change, but it’s sustaining the change that matters ... it is not fundamentally a behavior problem: It is a mindset problem. The mindset is the thing that has to change in order to alter the behavior. And that is really the biggest insight that we’ve come to in this work...When people do not succeed in making change it’s because they’ve got something that is going on inside of them. They have another goal that they are trying to accomplish at the same time they are trying to accomplish the more apparent goal... "

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Survival, Recovery, Sobriety

If you make it, you'll know this is true --

Survival Lessons | Books |
"The truth is, some of your closest friends may disappear during your most difficult times. These people have their own history and traumas; they may not be able to deal with yours. They may belong to the before … If people aren’t there for you now, when you really need them, they never will be, and it’s time to move on." - Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Sometimes it's best to just let go, and move on.

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Drug Addiction, Suboxone, Harm Reduction

The New York Times is dead wrong about drug addiction - " . . . . Harm reduction is all about erasing the idea that addiction is a moral failure — that people addicted to a drug are “dirty,” while other people are “clean” — and taking a public health perspective that focuses on what can actually save lives and lessen damage to families. The first step is encouraging and supporting people who are getting any kind of help, not making them feel worse for it. As my client who takes Suboxone recently said to me: “Why can’t it be a good thing to tell people I’m in recovery? Instead, I have to hide it.” I really hope she doesn’t read The New York Times." (read more at the link above)

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Trinny Woodall: cocaine addiction is a disease

Trinny Woodall: my cocaine addiction is a disease - Telegraph: "... It was not until she was 26 that she began to rebuild her life, she said, arguing that she had been a “sick person” who needed to get well rather than a “bad person” who needed to become good. She went on: “I have people today who say to me, ‘You are quite successful, you have made something of your life, why do you still need to go [to addiction meetings]?’ “To me, it is like a diabetic with insulin. If that diabetic stops taking insulin, they will die, and I believe that if I don’t follow the 12-step programme I will regress, and that could eventually be the death of me.”" (read more at the link above)

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Drug Addiction, Anonymous People, There is a Solution

‘Anonymous People’ tackle drug addiction | Sandusky Register: "....The recently released documentary shares personal stories of various people — celebrities, athletes, corporate executives and many others— in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others confronting addictions and getting sober...“This film will help illuminate the way that people can live a more productive, industrious, selffulfilling life and be happy, joyous in free,” Supina said. “We need to stand up and let people know there is a solution to alcohol and drug addictions.”Supina said...." (read more at link above)

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Kevin Kennedy, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery

Kevin Kennedy feared he would die from addiction | The List: "...The 'Corrie' legend "sank into oblivion" and thought he would never work again but said the soap's bosses saved his life. His alcoholism led to the breakdown of his marriage to his first wife Dawn, then his second wife Clare left him. The actor admits he used to drink vodka before shooting the soap and drank more by 4pm. At its worst, he once woke up in New York unaware that he had flown there from Manchester. Kevin - who tells of the experience in his upcoming autobiography, 'The Street To Recovery' - started to attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. After a break from acting, he launched a career as a musician and released an album, 'Bulldog Nation', in 2000. He later returned to Weatherfield but left again three years later. The actor has now been clean for 15 years and managed to win back wife Clare...." (read more at link above)

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What Makes You Happy?

It certainly isn't alcohol (read below). On the other hand, Bill Wilson wrote that if you don't find joy in your sobriety, you won't stay sober --

Grant Study Reveals What Makes Us Happy - Business Insider: " . . . The project, which began in 1938, has followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men for 75 years, measuring an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits—from personality type to IQ to drinking habits to family relationships . . . in an effort to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing. Recently, George Vaillant, who directed the study for more than three decades, published Triumphs of Experience, a summation of the insights the study has yielded. Among them: “Alcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.” Alcoholism was the main cause of divorce between the Grant Study men and their wives; it was strongly correlated with neurosis and depression (which tended to follow alcohol abuse, rather than precede it); and—together with associated cigarette smoking—it was the single greatest contributor to their early morbidity and death. Above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t matter. . . ." (read more at link above)

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alcoholism - Google News

drug addiction - Google News

addiction recovery - Google News