Advocacy

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The Downfall of Palcohol

August 27, 2015

We here at TDA have already given Palcohol a big thumbs down and predicted it’s doom, and now it seems most of our states are following suit.  Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Friday that bans the sale of powdered alcohol, known as Palcohol, across the state.  The governor and supporters say the powdered […]

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Unite to Face Addiction Rally

August 20, 2015

Facing Addiction, a new, national organization that will serve as a voice for the over 85 million Americans impacted by addiction, is proud to announce the “UNITE to Face Addiction” rally, a free event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 4, 2015. The rally will find Facing Addiction teaming with 450 […]

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September is 2009 National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

August 27, 2009

Thank you Sarah Ikenberry, a Public Health Advisor in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, for sending me this 2009 Recovery Month widget. Enter your zip code to see what Recovery Month events closest to you have been scheduled, but what makes this widget even cooler is that you can submit your own events so that they too show up. Go here to submit your Recovery Month events and go here to get this great widget for your own website or blog.

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TDA Advocacy Update: 2009 National Recovery Month

August 17, 2009

The Discovering AlcoholicI spent lunch with the Director of the Shelby County Treatment Center (SCTC) developing an outline for a program we intend to host for local law enforcement and politicians. We want to raise awareness and provide education on medically assisted recovery and dispel some of the myths and misconceptions many have about the program in our community.

I consider my participation in preparation and as host for the event as my annual project for National Recovery Month, and an important part of my role as a recovery advocate. We plan to walk participants through an explanation of the program and relevant terms, then demonstrate the intake process and the phases of treatment, and then finish it off with a FAQ and Q and A. It should be fun and informative; I’ll try to make some of the presentation material available online as it is developed.

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Keeping the Stigma Alive

July 30, 2009

Keeping the Stigma Alive at The Discovering Alcoholic

I was seriously considering the accusation below from the TDA mailbag when this song popped into head.

By using the label “alcoholic”, you are keeping your stigma alive. If you
choose to use label, however, how about referring to the malady as a
disorder.

Even though I rarely let the rough and ready façade slip, I am a BeeGees fan and have even been known to submit myself to repeated bursts of ABBA. Now while I may be slightly embarrassed about my 70’s cheese fetish, I am not in the least ashamed of my recovering alcoholic status. It is not “my” stigma, but instead our society’s ignorance. Changing the name to malady or even something funny/goofy like sobriety-challenged accomplishes nothing more than suggest to the public that I feel there is something shameful about being an alcoholic.

I will keep educating the public and advocating for the cause, but will refuse to hide behind such an obfuscation- might as well call alcoholism just another man-caused disaster.

Alcoholism. As one of my favorite recovering alcoholics is apt to say, “it is what it is” and no fancy name change is going to do anything about it.

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Anonymity Not Mandatory

July 26, 2009

original pic by Anonymous9000 under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

There seems to be a little bit of confusion not only with the general public but also in the blogosphere that everyone in recovery should try their best to remain anonymous. I know that much of this has to do with misconception that if one is in recovery, it must have been accomplished through a 12 step program like AA. I’ve even had someone try to make the point that I should not voice my opinion in a political/issues debate because of the twelfth tradition.

I don’t know if you are an alcoholic, but I assume you at least have a close association with alcoholism and its treatment. Do us all a favor, foocus [sic] on your recovery and the 12 traditions – stay out of political debate. ~ Idiot Stoner #124,769

Personally, I think the world could do with a little less addiction anonymity and a whole lot more recognition of those in a successful recovery. It not only reduces the stigma by providing role model examples of those in recovery as responsible and productive members of society, but also encourages others not to be embarrassed to seek help. More than anything it can foster hope to those suffering from addiction and their families that have given up hope.

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A Triple Tap TDA Salute

July 25, 2009

Original pic by cliff1066 under creative commons attribution license now at The Discovering AlcoholicI wanted to shine the spotlight of gratitude on blogger Abel Pharmboy, an independent PhD researcher/educator trained in pharmacology and toxicology, at Terra Sigillata for several reasons. First for mentioning TDA in his own tribute to Buzz Aldrin and Recovery. I must admit that it was his mention of my site that led me to his blog, but I can honestly say that I am better off for it. It is always encouraging to see others that recognize the complex nature and societal relevance of addiction, but also that have more than just a pop culture understanding of the issue and therefore place a high value on recovery.

In searching for other commentary on Aldrin’s book, I came across some superb wisdom on a blog I had never before encountered, The Discovering Alcoholic… (snip) This quote reflects for me perhaps the most important point of this entire post, facts that I have learned in my experiences from growing up in an alcoholic family all the way to my professional interactions with basic and clinical research colleagues in alcohol and drug abuse, substance abuse counselors, and musician friends and others who are predisposed to some manner of addiction. No matter your station in life, successes or failures, rich or poor, roughly 10% of the population will have debilitating problems with chemical dependence at some point in their lives.

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Start Planning 2009 Recovery Month Now!

June 20, 2009

National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Ivette Torres, the Associate Director for Consumer Affairs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is making sure that people know early about the upcoming 2009 Recovery Month. She deserves a TDA Salute for contacting personally advocates like myself and others making sure we doing our part, but also for offering periodic updates and links to resources. Every year a theme or issue is highlighted for observance:

This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Learn, Together We Heal,” emphasizes the need to use all available resources, in our communities and on the Internet, to educate people about the disease and to help those with substance use disorders, and those close to them, get support. By opening a dialogue about the harmful effects of alcohol and drug addiction on families, friends, and communities, we can provide hope, healing, and better support those struggling with substance use disorders as they embark on a successful journey of sustained recovery. ~ Recovery Month 2009

Look out for the coming updates from Ms. Torres and SAMHSA and I will also be adding info on events being planned here in Alabama with our Substance Abuse Task Force and a special series of events at the treatment center where I volunteer.

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Art

Art Alexakis of Everclear at The Discovering Alcoholic

April 30, 2009

 Art Alexakis at The Discovering Alcoholic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When interviewing the lead singer of a popular band the main topic most likely to be covered is music- right?  But everyone knows the name of the game here at The Discovering Alcoholic, we talk about addiction and recovery… so what was I doing interviewing Art Alexakis of Everclear? 

 

It all started with a story by one of our contributors who wrote a blog about Art and Everclear with the ulterior motive of trying to get me out to the Schaeffer Crawfish Boil where they will be playing this Saturday.  I tend to avoid concert crowds, it has less to do with the drinking that usually accompanies such venues than the fact that my idea of a good time usually involves more intimate settings and close friends.  So when Art’s most pleasant agent contacted me about setting up an interview, I felt sort of out of my element.

 

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Drug Court Graduation Ceremony

April 16, 2009

Original pic by CarbonNYC now at The Discovering Alcoholic

I will be speaking at the Shelby County Drug Court graduation tomorrow and have been asked to emphasize recovery… now that’s a topic I can sink my teeth into! Obviously, I knew just the right spot to find some material on the subject. After congratulating the class on their success I intend to address the lure and danger of backsliding now the threat of jail and weekly drug tests no longer exists. Then touch upon the fact that a recovery routine is anything but confining, and that good recovery habits can open up a whole new world of opportunity and travel. I thought it would be best to end on a hopeful note of healing for the family with emphasis on avoiding potential stumbling blocks and maintaining recovery priorities.

Less than half of all applicants make it through this program of extensive tasks and treatment, so here’s a well deserved TDA salute to the graduates!

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TDA to Speak at Drug Court Graduation

March 16, 2009

Original pic by CarbonNYC now at The Discovering Alcoholic

I accepted the invitation this week to give the commencement speech at the Shelby County Drug Court graduation scheduled for next month (April 17th); it will truly be my pleasure.

Drug Court is an alternative to the traditional court process. In Drug Court, intensive treatment, rather than incarceration, is used as the primary means of coping with drug use, abuse, and addiction. The Program is designed to keep qualified applicants as contributing members of society rather than requiring society to incur the costs of jailing or imprisoning these applicants. ~ Shelby County Sheriff Dept, Drug Court

The drug court process is a tough change but excellent opportunity for those caught up in the lifestyle of alcohol abuse and illicit drugs to turn their lives around. In order to graduate the candidates must keep full time jobs/schools, successfully complete treatment, pass frequent drug tests, stay up to date on fees, and just generally obey the rules and adhere to a schedule… following a schedule may sound simple to the uninitiated, but those in the know will tell you this may be the biggest challenge for the addict/alcoholic.

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A Well Deserved Military TDA Salute

February 22, 2009

As a veteran, recovering alcoholic, and advocate, it gives me great pleasure to formally honor Roy Foster a founder of Stand Down. “Stand Down is a multi tiered program that assists and supports male veterans who are struggling with addiction and have become homeless as a result of that struggle”, the program has helped over 900 veterans since opening its doors in 2000. Read the CNN story and watch the videos here, I am in awe at Mr. Foster’s determination- actually going out and tracking down veterans that need a home and help. So here’s a well deserved TDA salute to Roy Foster, a fellow veteran, recovering alcoholic, and advocate who through action exemplifies McArthur’s famous words, “duty, honor, country.”

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Recovering Hockey Player Theo Fleury Serves It Up Neat

February 1, 2009

Theoren Fleury serves it up neat at The Discovering Alcoholic

Calgary Flame great Theoren Fleury is still making headlines these days. No longer on the ice, Theo is proving he can dish it out neat just the same. Last week he enflamed fans by chastising some of the current hockey stars for being “spoiled brats” after they didn’t show up for the All Star Game. He was attacked in turn for his self-admitted problems with alcohol.

Growing up in the Deep South doesn’t give one much of a chance to become a huge hockey fan, but after reading Fleury’s bio I felt as if he would have been one of my favorites. We’re same age, same height (to me, a 5′ 6″ all star pro player is impressive by itself), and both alcoholics… and it goes without saying we have both irritated plenty of people with our alcohol fueled antics. But it’s not his aggressive style on and off the ice or his gold medal and championships that prompted this post, instead it was his comment on the disease of alcoholism that turned me into a instant fan.

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The Manchurian Alcoholic

December 5, 2008

Driving home after a business trip this afternoon I was mulling over analogies to use when describing the perceived lack of choices available to someone who has succumbed to alcoholism. As an advocate, it is often difficult to explain the challenges those with addictions face to a public that all too often believes it to be just an issue of will power or discipline. Brainwashing was a term that kept bubbling up to the top and after I got home and Googled one of the more popular fictional examples on the subject, The Manchurian Candidate. The descriptive similarities were obvious.

The Communists intend to use Shaw as a sleeper agent and, using the queen of diamonds in a deck of playing cards as a subconscious trigger, compel him to follow their orders, which he does not remember afterwards. ~ Wikipedia

That’s me about age 22. My trigger was consciousness and I always obeyed the order of my master rarely remembering anything afterward. It is the brainwashing part that is important here though, particularly the “dark arts” of espionage that few fully understand but is nonetheless considered a part of conventional wisdom. So why is it that people so willing to accept the results of a tortuous mental regimen of reinforcements and re-education over the course of weeks, months, or even years- have a hard time believing the severe mental issues of an alcoholic?

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TDA in the News

December 1, 2008

TDA in the News at The Discovering Alcoholic

“Our society considers prescription drugs safe as opposed to snorting cocaine or shooting heroin,” DeFreese said. “That acceptance makes it very easy for young people to say it’s no big deal. Both parents and young people need to realize the dangers.”

Yeah I’m tooting my own horn, but it’s for a good cause! See the whole story at the Shelby County Reporter.

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