Addiction

Why One Doctor Says Medicine Isn’t Enough for Recovery


A double-board certified addiction medicine physician believes that 12-step programs are a critical part of recovery.

Russell Surasky, MD, who is board-certified in Neurology as well as in Addiction Medicine, is certainly well-versed in the pharmacologic treatment of addiction. And yet he is also a passionate believer in 12-step programs for his patients, calling them the “gold standard” when it comes to achieving stable recovery. For more on his treatment approach and philosophy, see below.

Continue Reading

Addiction

Addiction: Accepting the Treatment Norm Is Not an Option

For over fifty years the treatment industry has categorically failed. Personal experience of this writer as well as objective data has demonstrated that 3-5% of individuals who complete residential treatment will remain “sober” for a year or more. Additionally, according to the Baldwin Research Institute Inc., over 90% of all treatment in the U.S. is 12-step based and over 95% teach the disease concept. From any perspective and surely from a business perspective, a 95% failure rate is utterly unacceptable. Why does society and the medical/clinical community accept these findings? The answer seems to be “this is how we have always done it.”
Continue Reading

Anorexia

Pickles, Mustard & Diet Coke: Self-Talk in Eating Disorder Recovery

Oh…and shirataki noodles. Anyway…

I am a recovering anorexic. Well... most of the time. Sometimes I'm just "anorexic." (Relapse is part of recovery, right??)

Regardless of how “evolved” I may be now, nearly every comment made about my physical appearance, or my intake, or my weight... cuts through me like a knife. People think that they are being kind, but they don't hear their words through the same ED filter that I do. 
Continue Reading

Addiction

How to Build Character

“Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone.” - Cyrus A. Bartol
The desire to be of good character is not only a laudable effort, but also a worthwhile one that pays handsome dividends. It’s unfortunate that more people don’t see the value in striving to achieve character.

There’s nothing like good character for making an indelible impression. When faced...
Continue Reading

Addiction

7 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Difficult people are like the termites of the human spirit. They can be eating away at the tender parts of you for months on end before you notice, and then, suddenly, at a work meeting or a family dinner, you lose it. You might scream something unkind or have a temper tantrum much like the two-year-old on "Nanny 911", or even do something drastic like start binge drinking again after a few years of sobriety. Unfortunately, living on earth as a homo sapien requires dealing with other homo sapiens -- unless you want to isolate yourself and watch Dr. Phil all day long. So having some techniques in mind, especially during the holidays and other times of vulnerability, can help you arrest their damage before your structure crumbles.
Continue Reading

Addiction

Naloxone: How Many Second Chances Should a Person Get?


"It’s hard to feel empathy for an intoxicated person who caused a crash when you are looking at innocent people he has killed."

On November 1st, Wilmington, North Carolina resident Jonathan Hayes plowed his pickup truck into the back of a family car, killing a two-year-old boy, Mason Richardson, and injuring the boy’s pregnant mother and sibling. The fire department and EMS personnel who arrived on scene found Hayes unconscious from an apparent heroin overdose and revived him using the opioid antidote, naloxone. This was the fourth time Hayes had been brought back from an overdose with naloxone.

Continue Reading

Addiction

Some of the Worst Cliches in Recovery Circles

If you spend time in recovery circles you will hear these same clichés over and over again. Some make you want to run to the nearest bar just for spite, others may become mantra.

You can't not hear them.

If you have spent any time in a 12-step meeting of any sort, or if you have spent time in rehab, chances are that you are more than familiar with recovery clichés. They are often spouted by the old timers in a meeting, or if you are in rehab, by your group counselor.
Continue Reading

Addiction

How to Be True to Yourself

Every once in a while I pull out my one-year sobriety chip, which reads on the front, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” I've been sober for more than 26 years now, but it was my one-year chip that meant the most to me, because it was during that first year that I realized how difficult it is to be true to yourself.

Everyone thought I was crazy for calling myself an “alcoholic” and going to 12-step support meetings. I mean, at 18 years old, I wasn’t even of a legal age to drink.
Continue Reading