The Secret to Staying Sober on Vacation

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

On the cathedral square

Photo credit: Oleg Sidorenko

Being in recovery shouldn’t affect your ability to live a full life. For many people, however, alcohol and other drugs are a large part of traveling. Your vacation is a time to unwind and blow off steam, but there are ways to do it that won’t compromise your sobriety. In this article, we look at some ways to make the most of your time abroad without relapsing.

Stay Away From All-inclusive Resorts

For families traveling together, all-inclusive resorts are a convenient way to travel without having to worry a lot about logistics. But between the free drinks, college kids eager to party and the swim-up bars, the temptation to drink can be too much. Avoid the big resorts and stay at a local hotel or homestay. You’ll save money and see another side of life in your destination.

Take a Cultural Vacation

The best way to avoid drinking while on vacation is to fill your day with other activities. Skip the beach and visit archeological sites, museums and cultural performances. If you’re at a loss as to what to do, there are many tourist organizations, such as NYC Sober Tours and TravelSober.com, which cater to those in recovery.

Stay Active

There are few things better for your peace of mind than doing yoga on the beach as the sun rises. If yoga’s not your thing, go for a hike or rent a bicycle for an afternoon. You can also use your vacation as an opportunity to take up something new; try taking a surfing lesson or salsa class.

Have a Support Team

If you’re traveling with family or friends, let them know that you will need their help. Ask your spouse to support you by abstaining as well. Having an eager travel partner can motivate you to try new things and will give you someone to be accountable to.

Eat

You’re on vacation – you should indulge yourself! Let your diet lapse for a few days. Try local specialties, tour community markets, take a cooking lesson. Food is one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer, and experiencing all its diversity can be uniquely rewarding.

Treat Yourself

Remember, you’ll be saving money by not drinking. Why not put that toward a distinctive souvenir? Find the perfect gift for yourself – it will be a unique and memorable reward for having made it through your vacation without succumbing to temptation.

Whether you’re a week out of rehab or have been sober for years, a vacation can be a stressful time in your recovery. It doesn’t have to be, though. If you are vigilant and make an effort to fill your time with activities, not only will staying sober be easy, you also will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is far more rewarding than a boozy week on the beach.

About The Author:

Adrienne is a blogger and aspiring writer. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

10 Great Tips for Staying Sober

February 16, 2012 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Just stay sober. It’s easy for everybody to say, but it’s not that easy to do. If it were, then everybody would do it! If you or someone you know is trying to stay sober (or just get that way), then here are some tips that might help.

 

#1: Decide to do it (and really mean it).

Make the decision, and then write down all the good things that will come out of being sober. Next to each, write a reward that will come with it. Some examples:

–I’m going to be able to save money and get a new car.

–I’ll be on time for work every day; I can now work towards the promotion that I want.

–I will finally go back to painting, which will make me feel more peaceful.

#2: Do positive things for yourself – the more, the better.

Put some music on, light some candles and take a bubble bath (yes, guys can do it, too). Read that book you’ve wanted to read for a year and a half. Do something – anything – that will make you feel a little more special than you did yesterday.

#3: Get in touch with yourself spiritually.

This is something that is very important, and it’s not about religion! Connecting with yourself spiritually means finding out what makes you, you; what makes you unique. There are many ways to do this: yoga, meditating, going for a walk… Whatever it is that you have to do to get back to being you – find it, and do it.

#4: Redecorate your house.

A new place for a new you! Start with one room at a time, and go out and hit a thrift shop or a garage sale. You can get some great things at these types of places for very little money, and it’s amazing how much happiness you can find in the smallest of things.

#5: Establish new patterns for yourself.

Any positive change is good when you’re trying to stay sober. Buy some gourmet coffee (with the money you are saving by being sober), get up just a little earlier than normal and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Go to a park and have a picnic, join a league and go bowling, have a barbecue at your house and invite your sober friends and family. Do something positive that’s different.

#6: Surround yourself with people who care.

You always hear people say, “A great support system will help you, blah, blah, blah,” and you may feel like it’s just recovery garbage, but it is important to have people around you who support your decision and the progress you have made. Pick up the phone and call just one friend whom you really care about (a sober one), and try to reconnect. Having someone around to enjoy the new sober you is important.

#7: Don’t forget the music.

Seriously, music is the one thing that will always be there to make you feel good. Put it on while you’re getting ready for work. Crank it up while you’re doing the lousy dishes. Music will always make you feel better.

#8: Get outside!

Sometimes you may feel trapped inside the house, afraid to go outside (yes, even when you’re sober). Do it anyway. Run to the store, take a drive, go for a jog… anything to get yourself moving and out of the house.

#9: Clean the house!

Cleaning may be an evil, but a necessary one. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when the kitchen is clean when you get up in the morning and how good it feels to know that you did it!

#10: Do something for someone else.

There are people out there who need you. Older people especially love company, or you can join Big Brothers, Big Sisters and be a mentor for a child. Look for ways to help people.

When you achieve sobriety, you become part of the world again, and you can make it as special and real as you want it to be. You will realize that you are worth it, and being sober is the one thing that will make you feel that way.

No matter how you choose to spend your days, all that matters is that at the end of each one, you can say, “I stayed sober. There is no other thing harder to do, and I did it!” Because you can. You are working on becoming better than you have ever been and ever could have imagined. That right there makes it all worth it.

 

This Post was written and contributed by Ricky Stanton.  Ricky has over 10 years of experience helping people with their drug and alcohol rehab programs.  He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions.

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Flesh-Eating Cocaine Hitting the Streets of Major Cities

February 9, 2012 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

It used to be that if you snorted cocaine, you took the risk of rotting your septum. Now if you snort cocaine, you run the risk of rotting your skin.

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant of the central nervous system. Snorting, injecting and smoking cocaine are the main ways to for a person to use it. When sold on the street, it is common for dealers to “cut” their cocaine to stretch the supply and make more money. Cheap cocaine can sometimes be cut up to ninety percent. Called fillers, ingredients used for cutting cocaine include baking soda, Vitamin B12, cornstarch and talcum powder.

Recently, however, large supplies of cocaine are being cut with levamisole, a veterinary antibiotic that farmers normally use to deworm cattle, sheep and pigs. Drug cartels from South America are reportedly sending the cocaine overseas and into the U.S. already cut with levamisole, which is baffling officials.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) first reported seeing significant amounts of levamisole-tainted cocaine in 2005. A 2010 DEA report found that between October 2007 and October 2009, the percentage of seized cocaine bricks containing levamisole jumped from two percent to seventy percent. This trend has continued, and the DEA’s most recent estimate is that up to eighty-two percent of street cocaine is now cut with levamisole.

Studies in rats suggest that levamisole might stimulate the same brain receptors that cocaine does, which may explain why dealers would choose to use it as a filler; users get a more intense high for as cheap a price as if it had been cut with baking soda, making them more likely to come back for more. Why the foreign drug cartels ship cocaine already containing levamisole remains a mystery.

However, while it may be cheaper to get a better high, the user could end up paying a bigger price physically.

Los Angeles and New York recently reported outbreaks of a flesh-eating disease linked to cocaine use. Doctors discovered that the affected individuals had all used cocaine cut with levamisole. The disease follows a predictable progression: the day after exposure to levamisole, the flesh begins to rot due to an immune reaction that damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the skin. When that happens, the skin receives no oxygen, which causes it to change to a dark-purplish color and die. Necrosis—dying skin—usually occurs on the scalp, ears and face of users of the tainted cocaine. Not all users are at risk; some are more vulnerable to the levamisole-tainted cocaine than others.

“We don’t know who this is going to happen to,” said Dr. Lindy Fox, the University of California-San Francisco dermatologist who first connected the horrid skin lesions on cocaine abusers to levamisole.

The association between flesh-eating skin infections and levamisole-tainted cocaine was first identified in April 2008 from a cluster of 11 cases in New Mexico. In 2009, there were five patients in Minnesota admitted with confirmed levamisole-related infections, two of whom died. Since then, there have been numerous cases reported throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Over the past few months, cases of the flesh-eating infection have been cropping up around the country, suggesting a possible future epidemic. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently described six cases where users developed ghastly splotches of dead skin after snorting or smoking cocaine laced with the drug levamisole, and more cases are reported every month.

“It’s probably quite a big problem, and we just don’t know yet how big a problem it really is,” said Dr. Noah Craft, a dermatologist with Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

Cocaine users may experience yet another dangerous reaction when using cocaine cut with levamisole. In addition to rotting the flesh, levamisole prevents the bone marrow from producing disease-fighting white blood cells. This cripples their immune systems and leaves them open to infection.

“It’s a little bit like having HIV,” said Craft, adding that without medical intervention, the condition can be deadly. “About 10 percent of those patients will die from severe infections. They may be walking around like a time bomb.”

 

About The Author:

This Post was written and contributed by Ricky Stanton.  Ricky has over 10 years of experience helping people with their drug rehab programs.  He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions.

Think Cocaine is Glamorous? Think Again…

January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Cocaine carries with it a certain mystique. Glamorized in movies and once considered “the caviar of street drugs,” cocaine is experiencing a surge in popularity, especially among women. According to a report by the Association of Public Health Observatories, in 2003, 4.8 percent of women admitted to using cocaine. By 2009, that figure had grown to 6.7 percent.

There are several factors contributing to this disturbing trend, not the least of which is the perpetuation of popular myths regarding cocaine and its use. Below are some of the most common cocaine myths followed by the cold, hard truth.

Myth vs Fact

Myth: Cocaine is safe. Cocaine’s reputation as a party drug makes it a popular choice for the all-night crowd. A high from cocaine can make a user feel euphoric and energetic.
Fact: Cocaine is deadly. Cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict, which leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure as well as body temperature. Just one use can result in seizures, cardiac arrest and death.

Myth: You can use occasionally and not get addicted. Many people use cocaine because they think casual use will not result in addiction.
Fact: Cocaine is highly addictive both psychologically and physiologically. Addiction can occur after only a few uses.

Myth: Cocaine has no bad side effects. Feelings of supremacy and an extremely elevated mood lead a user to think there are no bad side effects when using cocaine.
Fact: Even while high, a user can have feelings of anxiety, paranoia and irritability.

Myth: Cocaine is an aphrodisiac. Cocaine is thought of as a sexual enhancer.
Fact: Cocaine actually impairs sexual function in both men and women.

Myth: Cocaine is pure. The perception is that cocaine is not cut with other drugs, making it a more pure option.
Fact: In 1984, cocaine’s purity was measured at 63 percent. This figure fell to 26 percent as of 2009. Some samples of cocaine tested that year were found to be as low as 9 percent pure. While cocaine itself is dangerous, cutting it with other drugs makes it even more so.

Difficulty Stopping

Cocaine is a particularly difficult drug to quit. One reason for this is that the drug acts directly on the pleasure centers of the brain, which at the time does feel very good. However, this results in an intense craving for cocaine. As a person uses cocaine more and more frequently, a tolerance for the drug develops. Higher doses of cocaine are needed to achieve the same desired effects. In this way, dependence and addiction quickly take over.

Disturbing Statistics

In both the US and the UK, statistics show that cocaine use is on the rise among both men and women. Consider:

•    The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System in the UK reported that in 2009, nearly 3,000 women sought treatment. That equals about eight women per day.
•    The UK’s Ministry of Justice reported a fivefold increase in the number of women found by police to be using or possessing cocaine since 2002.
•    According to WebMD, in the US, eight percent of men ages 18-25 have used cocaine in the last 12 months, while 14 percent of all adults have tried the drug.

Long Term Effects

Not only does cocaine affect the brain; it affects the entire body and all of its systems. Some of the effects on different areas of the body from using cocaine include:

•    Stroke. Constricted blood vessels in the brain cause strokes. Since cocaine also causes seizures, a person using cocaine can experience violent or erratic behavior.
•    Heart attack. Arteries supplying blood to the heart become restricted, which not only results in increased heart rate and blood pressure, but also in heart attack. Cocaine can cause the heart to beat with an abnormal rhythm, which is also potentially fatal.
•    Kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fiber and the release of muscle fiber contents into the bloodstream. Cocaine can cause rhabdomyolysis, which leads to the kidneys suddenly shutting down.
•    Respiratory damage. Snorting cocaine causes scabbing and damage to the mucous membranes. Nasal perforation can eventually occur after prolonged use. Smoking crack can cause permanent damage to the lungs.
•    Gastrointestinal damage. Since cocaine restricts blood flow throughout the body, it affects the gastrointestinal region as well. The lack of oxygen-rich blood can result in stomach ulcers and, in some cases, perforation.
•    Sexual dysfunction. As mentioned above, cocaine has an adverse effect on the sexual function of both men and women. Again, this is because of reduced blood flow.

Glamorous?

Because some high-profile female celebrities use cocaine, many women view the drug as glamorous. Cocaine use is strongly linked to alcohol use, so many consider it socially acceptable. However, the truth about cocaine is that it will not only ruin your life — it could easily end it.

 

This guest post article was written and provided by Gregg Gustafson who is a freelance writer and consultant for Drug-Rehab.org. Gustafson works with individuals who suffer from drug abuse, in turn referring them to some of the most prestige drug rehab centers active today.

The Alternative – Mens Health

June 7, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=GtkR6KTDchw%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Introduction – Vox-pops from the case studies. Dr. Ian Banks, Men’s Health Forum, introduces the programme by exploding the myth that men don’t care about their health and instead points to the way society does not expect men to discuss their health. Throughout the programme he introduces the different issues: stress, prostate health, exercise and maintaining your identity as you get older. Case Study 1 – Graham was dragged off to yoga by his girlfriend. Case Study 2 – Randy, our second case study. Case Study 3 – Using clear, concise language, together with pictures, the therapist Max Tomlinson is able to describe the prostate gland. Case Study 4 – The final item in the programme shows how complementary medicine can help those men who are going through some kind of change or stressful time in their life.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

The Alternative – Women’s health

May 4, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=qb2-kE_INlY%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Introduction – Vox-pops from the case studies. Nick Avery, a GP and Homeopath, has taken an interest in the relationship between hormones and women’s health problems. He describes how difficult it is to treat hormone problems because even if you have a blood test progesterone and oestrogen vary widely within the normal range. Case Study 1 – We hear from Anne, who had been treated extensively with hormones by her doctor to try and combat painful and almost continuous periods. Case Study 2 – Annette had been trying to have a baby for over a year before she was diagnosed as experiencing early menopause. Case Study 3 – Dr. Marilyn Glenville is a nutritionist who provides a natural alternative for people not wanting to go on HRT. Case Study 4 – Scilla, however, approached the menopause another way under the supervision of zero balancing therapist, John Hamwee.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Love as painkiller?

February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under ADDICTION, BRAIN

Happy Valentines’ Day, everyone!

Love eases all pain. Sounds like a really cliché even on this day of hearts. But surprise, surprise. There is actually science behind this. No less than researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine who tell us – love can be a strong painkiller. Even as strong cocaine!

According to Dr. Sean Mackey, chief of the Division of Pain Management:

“When people are in this passionate, all-consuming phase of love, there are significant alterations in their mood that are impacting their experience of pain. We’re beginning to tease apart some of these reward systems in the brain and how they influence pain. These are very deep, old systems in our brain that involve dopamine — a primary neurotransmitter that influences mood, reward and motivation.”

The research was actually a collaboration between 2 scientists with seemingly contrasting fields of study. One specializes in pain, the other one.

The researchers had the perfect place for conducting their research. The university setting is full of undergraduates who are “in that first phase of intense love”. In other words, there was no shortage of willing and eligible volunteers. The prerequisite: the subject must be in the first 9 months of a romance.

“It was clearly the easiest study the pain center at Stanford has ever recruited for” said Dr. Mackey.”When you’re in love you want to tell everybody about it.”

The study entailed that each subject should take photos of their beloved person as well as photos of attractive acquaintances. The subjects were shown the photos while attached to a thermal stimulator that simulated mild pain. At the same time, an MRI took a photo of the brains of the subjects.

The results indicate that feelings of love when looking at photos of a loved one significantly reduces pain. The part of the brain in question was the “nucleus accumbens, a key reward addiction center for opioids, cocaine and other drugs of abuse. The region tells the brain that you really need to keep doing this.”

Which relates to another cliché – that love is like an addiction. Indeed, the areas of the brain activated by passionate love are the same areas targeted by analgesic drugs to reduce pain and feel good.

“When thinking about your beloved, there is intense activation in the reward area of the brain — the same area that lights up when you take cocaine, the same area that lights up when you win a lot of money.”

Stop Medicine Abuse: An appeal to parents

October 20, 2010 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month in the US and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is actively campaigning for this observance. The organization is especially reaching out to parents to raise awareness on this issue. Here are the reasons why:

But you may ask: how do these kids get access to prescription drugs? They are not usually the drugs one can buy on the streets, right? You may not believe it but the main source of medications that are abused is none other than your medicine cabinet at home. Yes, the home that is probably in your bathroom. Have you checked its contents lately?

According to the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, the 3 classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are:

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month is aimed to help raise awareness and educate people – children, young people and their parents – on this problem.

For this purpose, here are some materials provided by CADCA and other supporting agencies:

Check out also relevant previous posts on Medicine Abuse:

Love, obsession, and addiction: it’s all neurochemistry

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Everything may be explained by chemistry nowadays. Stress is due to cortisol. Intense spiritual experience is linked to low serotonin. Benevolence is linked to oxytocin. What about love? Researchers at the University of Toronto report that neurochemicals, too, are involved in emotions like attraction, love, and lovesickness. Professor Jose Lanca of the Department of Pharmacology explains:

“When we talk about love, there are different concepts involved, for example, romantic love versus maternal love. These are two completely different situations even from a biochemical point of view. However, there is something absolutely in common in both these situations. When someone is very much attached to another person, their feelings trigger motivation and positive feedback. All of this relates to the limbic system – the area of the brain that mediates our reward mechanisms. This system plays a key role in the mechanisms responsible for the survival of the individual – meaning the ‘fight or flight’ response – and preservation of the species – specifically reproduction. Its actions result from the interplay among various neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and neuropeptides such as oxytocin and opioids.”

In fact, love has some similarities to drug addiction. Addictive drugs also target dopamine but instead of releasing the neurochemical within normal levels, drugs overstimulate the limbic system leading to dopamine being released beyond normal limits. The result is dependences and addiction. In the same way, love can become addictive and turn into an unhealthy obsession. Obsession with somebody results in overstimulation, too much dopamine and ultimate dependence on that person. The film “Fatal Attraction” brings this to mind.

But how does love develop into obsession? Prof Lanca continues to explain:

“In science we have very good questions but not enough good answers. What we do know is that in the case of obsession there is a decrease in serotonin. This neurotransmitter can be regulated using medications, such as anti-depressants. However, overuse of anti-depressants can lead to higher tolerance and consequently the need for an increased dosage. If this becomes the case, anti-depressants can very easily become drugs of addiction.
In humans the complexity of love goes well beyond the simple limbic activity and involves cognitive and intense emotional behaviours. The diagnostic might be easy, but the treatment is ineffective. To quote one of my favourite poet songwriters, Leonard Cohen, “There is no cure for love.”

Are you a social smoker?

September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

smokeThey don’t consider themselves as smokers. They only smoke at social occasions – parties, bars, etc. They think they can quit anytime.  They also tend to smoke only with the company of others rather than alone. They are the social smokers.

And it seems that the numbers of social smokers  are increasing.

Many people believe an occasional cigarette – not necessarily everyday – can do no harm. In these days when non-smoking legislation is the rule rather than the exception, many people have tried to cut down on smoking and only smoke when it is socially appropriate – even necessary.

However, it is known that nicotine dependence affects individuals differently. There are those who are easily “hooked” but there are those who treat smoking as an occasional indulgence – “like eating too much ice cream” says one social smoker.  Some social smokers claim they can go without cigarette for weeks, then indulge on a pack on a weekend with friends. And that it is a thing that they can put down anytime.

But how common is social smoking?

 Social smoking is considered to be “a pattern of social behavior that is poorly understood.” And while smoking in general is on the decline, social smoking seems to be on the rise. A government survey showed that social smokers increased by 40% between 1998 and 2001, especially in young people.

Social smoking seems to be common among college students. Researchers at Harvard did a survey of over 10,000 college students in 119 American colleges in 2001 and reported that more 2,000 of those surveyed were smokers and 51% of these consider themselves as social smokers. What is interesting about the results are that social smoking was independently associated with

  • Low smoking frequency
  • Low intensity of tobacco use
  • Less nicotine dependence

But

  • Less attempts to quit
  • Less intention to quit

The results suggest that social smoking among college students “represent a stage in the uptake of smoking”.

So why is social smoking becoming popular?

Some the reasons may be:

  • Increased awareness of health risks of smoking to the smoker. But can an occasional cigarette damage our health? Well, health experts believe there is no safe level for smoking.
  • Increased awareness  of health risks to others (second-hand and third-hand smoking). Some parents, for example, would smoke only socially outside of the home to protect their children.
  • Increased anti-smoking legislations

Can social smokers quit?

Some claim that social smokers are just low level addicts “not hooked on nicotine, just smoking.”

University of California researcher Rebecca Schane believes social smokers can quit. She noticed that anti-cessation therapies are only available to daily smokers. However, social smokers are motivated to quit when they realized that they are a nuisance to others. In other words, they respond to the social pressure. Says Schane

“If you tell a social smoker that their smoking has a negative effect on the people around them, they get very concerned about that.”

New Page added to our Battling-Addiction Blog

May 3, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Myths …


We added a new page, called “MYTHS”, which can be accessed by clicking that button up there in the top menu just under our top masthead title.

We set-up this page to keep track of any popular “Myths” and/or “Facts” that might be of interest to those Battling Addictions, or are just looking for information about addiction. We hope to keep it up to date by adding sites and “myths” found during our blog postings .. and posting myths from other sites that we visit on our way!

battlingforhealth.com/myths/

There’s no reason to spread the myths .. Learn the Facts!

Tyson checks out of rehab early

May 2, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Alright, then, let’s get down to (show) business … Maybe he bit off a little more than he can chew: It says here in The Mirror that Mike Tyson checked into a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona for 30 days, and walked out after five. The former world heavyweight boxing champion is battling a cocaine addiction, and was looking for some tips on anger management as well …

[MORE: Tyson checks out of rehab early]

British are ‘addicted to sex and television’

May 2, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

LONDON: A travel guide for foreigners brands the English as “overweight TV addicts obsessed by sex and celebrity”.

[MORE: DNA – World – British are ‘addicted to sex and television’ – Daily News & Analysis]

Kick your shopping addiction and get a life

March 16, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

By Jean Chatzky
“Today” financial editor
Updated: 8:41 a.m. ET March 13, 2006

Think you can’t kick your shopping addiction? You haven’t met Mary Carlomagno, who says that until just a few years ago, shopping was her single biggest vice. Today? It isn’t even on the list.

Carlomagno was 35 and stuck in a major rut. She had lived in the same apartment for 10 years — and hated it since the day she moved in — worked at the same job for eight years and in the same industry for 14 years. She wanted to shake things up, but didn’t know how. And though the thought of moving to the woods to find herself had crossed her mind, she was too scared to do anything that major.

Instead, she settled on subtle changes. For a year, she decided to give up something different each month: alcohol, shopping, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, chocolate and — for good measure — cursing, elevators and multi-tasking.

She soon realized that as a result of all these small changes she was able to live better on less money, and saved thousands of dollars in the process.

“I cut my spending so much that my financial adviser called to ask what I was doing differently,” says Carlomagno, who describes her year in her new (and charming) book “Give It Up: My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less.” Carlomagno’s response: “I quit buying shoes.”

At the end of each month of abstinence, Carlomagno went back to most of her old habits. Today, she takes taxis, eats chocolate and drinks caffeine (though not as voraciously as she did before.) The one category that did permanently change was shopping.

After many garage sales and donations, she pared down from three double closets and an armoire to one single closet. Shopping no longer consumes all her free time. Friendships do not revolve around it. She even started a company, Order, to help others simplify their lives, manage clutter control, and get over shopping addictions.

If you’re suffering with the same, you may be able to benefit from her advice.

Treat your closet like a store. If you truly love clothing and shopping, you should do the things retailers do, such as:

* Take inventory. That means, first off, knowing what you already own. Take mental notes, paying particular attention to what you have put on your body over the past few weeks. Those are the bones of your working wardrobe. Use the rest of what you have to accessorize.

* Display items with care. Retailers display their favorite products — you should, too. If you love hats, put them on a rack where you can see them. Keep in mind that stores do not give good real estate to unimpressive items. If you come across items that aren’t nice enough to display, chances are they’re not nice enough to be worn. Get rid of them. The upshot of this process: You’ll know what you have in your current wardrobe and can begin to think of filling in any holes you find.

* Hit the stores with a list of exactly what you need.
Adhere to the two-week rule. In her closet, Carlomagno dug up over $1,000 worth of clothes with their tags still hanging. So she created what she calls the two-week rule. “If you purchased an item and haven’t worn it in two weeks, return it,” she says. Two weeks is a long enough period to know that you either don’t a) really love it or b) need it.

* Do not be sucked in by “good deals.” Everyone buckles every so often on a sale item. The problem is, sales aren’t as few and far between as they used to be. “Now you can get everything cheap,” Carlomagno says.

Note, however, that there is a difference between falling for a markdown on an item that you buy on impulse and earmarking an item at retail, then waiting for it to go on sale. The latter represents smart shopping behavior. Cultivate a relationship with a salesperson at your favorite store and make her your ally in this process.
Seek support. If you’re actively trying to curb your shopping, get your family and friends on your team. This can be tricky because, Carlomagno notes, you may have particular people in your circle who instigate shopping sprees. In their minds it may be a harmless pastime. But if you are racking up a lot of debt or spending every penny of your disposable income on clothes, it’s harmful to you. You’ll need to explain this — and to offer other, cheaper, ways to pass the hours.

“There are a lot of things you can do to appreciate fashion and clothing without shopping,” says Carlomagno. Visit a fashion or photography museum. Or simply grab a cup of coffee and perform your own impromptu Fashion Police. You just may find you can have an even better conversation over a cappuccino than over the Bloomingdale’s rack.

Jean Chatzky is an editor-at-large at Money magazine and serves as AOL’s official Money Coach. She is the personal finance editor for NBC’s “Today Show” and is also a columnist for Life magazine. She is the author of four books, including “Pay It Down! From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day” (Portfolio, 2004). To find out more, visit her Web site, www.jeanchatzky.com.

Source

© 2006 MSNBC.com

No shortage of methadone say addiction treatment officials

March 16, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Last updated Mar 14 2006 09:53 AM EST
CBC News

Methadone treatment centres across Ontario are assuring their patients that there is no shortage of the drug, despite recent fears clinics would run out after two major suppliers were shut down.

Monday was the deadline for two Kitchener-based suppliers to stop shipping methadone to clinics across the province, including to those in Toronto.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists ordered them to cease the shipments after accusing the suppliers of professional misconduct for sending the drug to clinics without appropriate supervision.

Methadone is a drug that is given to patients suffering narcotic addictions. It’s considered the most effective way to treat heroin addiction.

On Tuesday, the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres (OATC) said there is still an adequate supply of methadone available.

“Published media reports in recent days have indicated that there might be a shortage of methadone for OATC patients,” says a message posted on the OATC website.

“This is not the case. Your methadone prescription will continue to be available as usual.”

OTAC supplies daily doses of methadone to 2,000 people across the province.

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Copyright © CBC 2006

Genetic Technologies Reports Breakthrough in the Genetic Basis of Drug Addiction

March 16, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

3/14/2006 9:24:00 AM EST

Genetic Technologies Limited (“GTG”) (Nasdaq:GENE) (ASX:GTG) is pleased to refer to a “breaking news” item released in London yesterday by BBC News. BBC reported a significant breakthrough had been made in understanding the genetic basis of cocaine addiction, quoting a scientific paper just published online by the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (“PNAS”).

The report announced a genetic variation had been identified which could significantly increase the risk of an individual developing cocaine addiction or dependence. The discovery also validates the logic of a new basis for the design and use of novel drugs to treat cocaine abuse in the future.

The BBC article stated that this research was funded by the British Medical Research Council.

What is especially relevant to GTG stockholders is that this research was in fact co-funded by GTG, that the genetic variations identified by this project are non-coding, that new patents have just been filed on the relevance of these genetic variations to cocaine addition and that GTG has secured world-wide exclusive rights to commercialize these new discoveries. Indeed, this whole project arose from the foresight of King’s College London, who took a license to the GTG non-coding patents in 2004.

This project is yet another example of the original GTG non-coding patents today spawning new research, new discoveries and new patents and creating new opportunities for GTG into the future.

By way of further background information, the UN Office for Drug Control estimates the number of illegal drug users now exceeds 150 million worldwide. However, other studies suggest this is an under-estimate. Until now, the global pharmaceutical industry has not made treatment of substance abuse a priority. The current market is estimated to exceed US$1.1 billion, and is expected to grow to US$1.3 billion by 2008. Industry experts see this market as having great potential. It is also an area where fundamental patents are likely to prove extremely valuable, especially when combined with new genetic testing methods (genotyping), which will permit cheap and efficient whole genome scanning for susceptibility to cocaine addition.

About Genetic Technologies Limited

Genetic Technologies was an early pioneer in recognizing important new applications for “non-coding” DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid). The Company has since been granted patents in 24 countries around the world, securing intellectual property rights for particular uses of non-coding DNA in genetic analysis and gene mapping across all genes in all multicellular species. Its three-pronged business strategy includes: 1) the global commercialization of its patents through an active licensing program; 2) the expansion of its dominant commercial genetic testing business in Australia; and, 3) the commercialization of its various research and development projects aimed at generating further intellectual property of global commercial significance.

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 with respect to the financial condition, results and business achievements/performance of Genetic Technologies Limited and certain of the plans and objectives of its management. These statements are statements that are not historical facts. Words such as “should,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “believes” or similar expressions, as they relate to Genetic Technologies Limited, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they reflect Genetic Technologies’ current expectations and assumptions as to future events and circumstances that may not prove accurate. There is no guarantee that the expected events, trends or results will actually occur. Any changes in such assumptions or expectations could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

CONTACT:
Genetic Technologies Limited Dr. Mervyn Jacobson or Tom Howitt, +61-3-9415-1135 tom.howitt@gtg.com.au www.gtg.com.au or Investor Relations Contacts: Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates Kim Sutton Golodetz / Lisa Lindberg, 212-838-3777 kgolodetz@lhai.com / llindberg@lhai.com or Bruce Voss, 310-691-7100 bvoss@lhai.com www.lhai.com

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© 2006 Genetic Engineering News, All Rights Reserved

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.