alcohol addiction

Steps Six and Seven of Alcoholics Anonymous: Surrendering – Humbly Asking God to Remove All Defects of Character

The challenge of discovering oneself intimately, and letting go of the old, addicted persona, is increased with the lessons of steps six and seven.

Steps six and seven further confront the addiction as character defects are identified and slowly eliminated. For the remainder of this article addiction will be used for both alcoholism and addiction to other substances.

Invaluable these steps are, if the trapping of the denial system is to be accomplished. However, it must be strongly impressed that the denial system can never be eliminated. The best that can be hoped for is to chain it down and cage it. See an unleashed denial system as a wild beast stalking prey.

Logically, it follows that, if the chains and cage are not checked and periodically re-checked, the denial system can be set free only to continue hunting and ravaging.

Defects of Character

Alcoholics Anonymous lists about 20 character defects. This is not an absolute list, and the number is not the key issue. Rather, a defect of character is any human factor that allows the addiction/denial system to take hold and continue the rampage. In order to prevent lapses (slips) and subsequent relapses, each and every defect or negative dynamic of character must be identified and removed.

Some Defects of Character:

  • “Anger;
  • Resentment;
  • Lying;
  • Fear; and,
  • Self-justification..

Surrendering to Removal

Surrendering to the removal of all defects of character is not as easy as it sounds. This is a process.

It is important to set realistic goals, otherwise, the endeavor may become too overwhelming, thus setting up a scenario of relapse territory. “This is too hard, I give up! Lick my wounds with something to drink.”

Best course of action:

  • Identify the defects;
  • Be consciously mindful of them; and,
  • Work towards letting them go.

For each identified defect compose a short description of how this was revealed in the past and the preventative measures or escape routes available to fall back upon in the present. Do not expect immediate results and allow for mishaps. Set up a support network – sponsor(s), phone contact(s) and recovery group(s).

Readiness to Take the Risk

The core of step six, however, is readiness to let go and move to the next level. Yes, it is scary leaving the old and familiar behind and stepping out to an adventure!

For comparison sake, think of it this way, how many times were drinking and driving an issue? Wasn’t it scary operating a vehicle – a potentially lethal weapon, blitzed?

How many times was a night in jail a consequence? For most people these would be very fearful ventures.

Asking God to Remove the Defects

Breaking out of isolation, reaching out for help, placing ever increasing amounts of trust in a supreme being, a sponsor and/or a recovery group, or a counselor are key components to step seven. No longer is the addiction or the once actively addicted persona allowed to operate secretly. No longer are the denial system and cycle of addiction allowed free rein.

Whatever and whoever the Higher Power entity is, accountability and responsibility as well as forgiveness are additional earmarks of this step. Realistically, faith/trust in a supreme being makes this step a little easier, in that only a supreme being has the ability to completely remove defects.

If the Higher Power is the recovery group, AA sponsor or addiction therapist, the removal must come from the recovering person through mindfulness and practice.

It is important to understand, many recovering people rework the steps over and over again. It is a logical and healthy activity to pursue, because relapse is a component of addiction. Sincere, 12 step inventories are a catalyst for growth, thus, keeping a full-blown relapse at bay.

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Monthly shot

Monthly Shot May Help Recovering Drug Addicts

Opioids like hydrocodone, brand name Vicodin, and oxycodone, brand name OxyContin, are very potent pain relievers that can produce feelings of euphoria, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). When used on a short-term basis as directed, opioid analgesic drugs are generally safe and rarely lead to addiction. Common side effects of opioids can cause drowsiness, upset stomach, and constipation.

Opioids can be taken in pill form or crushed into a powder that is injected or snorted. The long-term use of opioids can eventually lead to physical and psychological dependence.

Snorting or injecting opioids quickly releases high doses of the drug into the bloodstream which increases the risk of overdose. A large single dose of an opioid can result in acute respiratory depression that can be fatal.

Vivitrol as an Alternative to Methadone

Until now, treatment choices for opioid addiction have been limited primarily to daily medications like methadone. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that’s been used since the 1980s to block the effects of heroin and other opioids, reports the NIDA. Methadone diminishes cravings and stops withdrawal symptoms that can range from sweating and anxiety to insomnia, tremors, high blood pressure and vomiting.

Vivitrol is a time-released version of a drug called naltrexone that works to inhibit opioid receptors in the brain. Naltrexone can intercept the effects of pain medications like Oxycontin and Vicodin. The FDA calls the approval of Vivtrol a “significant advancement in addiction treatment.”

The FDA studied Vivitrol in patients who were no longer physically addicted to opioids. Patients who received monthly Vivitrol injections were 13 percent more likely to complete a 6 month treatment program that those who were treated with a placebo.

Vivitrol Safety and Precautions

Patients must not have opioids in their system when they begin Vivitrol injections or they run the risk of experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms, notes the FDA. Vivitrol should be administered only by a health care provider using special needles that are supplied with the medication.

Side effects associated with Vivitrol include fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite and muscle cramps. Allergic reactions such as rashes, hives and swelling are also possible.

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Alcohol and Liver Disease: Ethanol Contributes to Fatty Liver, Hepatitis and Cirrhosis

Alcohol can cause liver injury that ranges from fatty infiltration and inflammation (hepatitis) to full-blown cirrhosis. The main factors that contribute to alcoholic liver disease are: quantity of alcohol consumed, duration of alcohol consumption, nutritional status, and genetic or metabolic disposition. You want to beat alcohol, before you start developing conditions like cirrhosis.

In the United States, annual alcohol consumption is estimated at ten liters of pure ethanol per person. Approximately 15 million people abuse or are dependent on alcohol, and men are nearly three times as likely as women to abuse alcohol. No matter how hard to work to maintain a healthy diet, if you are binge drinking, you are negating the effects of a health nutrition plan.

While only 10 to 20% of alcoholics eventually develop cirrhosis from drinking alcohol-more than 60 grams of alcohol daily (about five drinks) for two to four weeks induces fatty liver in otherwise healthy men. 80 gm/day can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, and 160 grams daily for a decade can lead to cirrhosis. (The Merck Manual, 18th Edition:211-214)

Factors that Increase Susceptibility to Alcoholic Liver Damage

  • Female gender: Women are more susceptible than men to alcohol-induced liver damage, even when adjusting for smaller body size. Women possess less alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomach linings, thus increasing the amount of alcohol from any given beverage that is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
  • Familial tendency: Alcoholic liver disease often runs in families. This may represent a deficiency of cellular enzymes that metabolize alcohol.
  • Malnutrition: Alcohol is preferentially metabolized by the liver at the expense of other metabolic processes. A lack of specific nutrients, particularly proteins and B vitamins, slows the oxidation of alcohol, reduces the levels of antioxidant molecules in the liver, and leaves the liver susceptible to damage by other toxins.
  • Diets high in unsaturated fats: The liver prefers fatty acids as a fuel source. Fatty acids that aren’t used immediately are normally placed into triglyceride “packets” which are then routed to other organs and tissues. When alcohol is present, fatty acid metabolism and transport are delayed.
  • Iron deposition: Iron increases oxidative stress within liver cells. Certain diseases (e.g., hemochromatosis) increase the amount of iron stored in the liver. Indeed, chronic alcohol use itself leads to increased stores of liver iron.
  • Age: As people age, liver function (and the ability to metabolize alcohol) declines.
  • Chronic liver disease: The presence of other liver diseases, particularly hepatitis C, significantly increases one’s susceptibility to alcohol-related liver damage.

Stages of Alcoholic Liver Damage

  1. Fatty liver (steatosis): As noted above, alcohol interferes with the normal metabolism of fatty acids in the liver. Drinking for only a short period of time can induce significant accumulation of lipids. Fatty liver is potentially reversible.
  2. Alcoholic hepatitis: Continued exposure to alcohol leads to progressive damage to liver cells, accompanied by inflammation and various degrees of liver dysfunction. Alcoholic hepatitis may range from a mild, reversible illness (fatigue, fever, jaundice, abdominal pain) to a life-threatening condition (jaundice, liver failure, electrolyte abnormalities, bleeding).
  3. Cirrhosis: As liver damage progresses, extensive scarring replaces the normal architecture of the liver. Cirrhosis is irreversible (and increases the risk of liver cancer), but the liver possesses a remarkable ability to regenerate. With abstinence from alcohol, small islands of remaining cells may recover and continue to offer some level of liver function.

The key to preventing alcoholic liver disease is limiting alcohol consumption. “Sensible” drinking limits have generally been defined as:

  • For men, no more than two drinks daily
  • For women, no more than one drink daily
  • For individuals over 65 years old, no more than one drink daily

One-drink equivalents are:

  • One 12-ounce beer
  • 4-5 ounces of wine
  • 1 ounce of 100-proof distilled spirits

 

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What is Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine, a relatively new term is actually something that has been around for generations. It is basically the art as well as the signs of trying to heal a person by addressing the entire body, which consists of the body, the spirit and the mind of the person. The true practice of the holistic medicine is basically to integrate the conventional as well is the alternative therapies so as to prevent as well as create any kind of disease. The optimal purpose of holistic treatment and medicine is basically to promote the optimal health of the person. The condition of such holistic health is primarily defined by the uninterrupted flow of life force throughout the body, the mind as well as the spirit.

The holistic medicine can encompass all kind of safe treatment as well as have different modalities when it comes to diagnosis and its treatment of the human body. It shall include the analysis of the physical, environmental, emotional, lifestyle choices as well as nutritional features of the user in question. The holistic medicine basically focus is upon the patient education as well as the participation of the user in the total healing process.

What are the principles of holistic medicine?

The people that practice holistic medicine embraces a treatment option which is safe as well as effective in terms of diagnosis and treatment. These include a complete change in the lifestyle, education for any kind of self-care and support, as well as the use of the conventional drugs and the need for surgery.

Basically, holistic medicine embraces the best of conventional treatment while at the same time finding out the underlying causes of the disease and trying to prefer to get the symptoms in check and use proper medications. The physicians always make an effort in order to establish the kind of patient, as well as the kind of disease and establishing the type of treatment that is needed by the patient.

Any kind of illness found in the user is actually just as a manifestation of the total dysfunction within the person, and it is not an isolated incident. A major determining factor when it comes to healing and proper treatment of the person is the quality of the relationship which will be established by the physician and the patient in question. However, the autonomy of the patient will not be challenged, but rather encouraged by the physician.

The physician will be able to significantly influence the patients by using various examples and case studies for the same kind of symptoms. Any kind of illness or pain in the patient will be diagnosed and treated appropriately without any further questions. One of the bases of holistic medicine is also providing unconditional love to the patient. It is a very powerful medicine adopted by various practitioners across the world. Optimal health is extremely important, and always happens to be a constant pursuit by people using and understanding the perfect features behind the holistic medicine. It will be able to improve the social aspects of the overall human experience.

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How To Maintain A Healthy Diet

It is not hard for you to maintain your body with the help of a healthy diet. Many people might consider it to be confusing or restrictive, but the essential features are to always have the proper diet that encompasses all the food categories found in nature. So, how do you maintain or build a healthy diet?

Eat a variety of foods
  1. You need to consume all types of food. There should be no restrictions on the kind of food that you eat, as each and every nutrient is required for your body. Some types of food may not be essential towards the growth of your body, but having a wide assortment of various foods not only increase your immunity, but also enable you to fight potential diseases that you might encounter. Additionally, it will also be able to limit the exposure that you have towards any pesticides or other form of toxic substances.
  2. You need to always keep an eye out for the amount of food that you have. Having any kind of food is important, but always has them in equal proportions and enough in order to fill your stomach. The serving size is something that needs to be measured and kept in your mind always. When you are reading the food labels, you need to always check the size of the serving. This way, you will be able to eat the right kind of calorie count needed for your body to progress towards a healthy diet.
  3. It is always important for you to include a healthy amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet. This way, you will be able to consume a lot more food with the minimum amount of calories, therefore always keeping your filled. This is pretty important; as it is the vegetables as well as the fruits that will be able to help you find diseases in case you encounter any. Always choose to go for the whole fruits before you go for any processed food from your nearest shopping center.
  4. Start eating whole grains, and include them in your diet. The whole grains end up creating any the bran, thereby you will be able to have an increase in cellulose of your diet, which leads to a very healthy bowel movement.
  5. Always limit the amount of sugar and salt that you have in your food. If possible, go for sugar-free food, as that will be able to help you contribute towards your weight loss. Healthy food almost always comprises of food that contains natural sugar and not the processed variety.
  6. When you are having the need and craving to have some meat, go for fish. Recent researches have suggested that fish is more nutritious, and will be able to help you get a lot of proteins in your body without counting on the calories. Moreover, you will be able to get rid of red meat or any such meat component in your food that would otherwise help you to increase your body weight.
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