A New Social Life

For most recovering addicts, active drug users are prime dangers.  Whether or not the users want to clean up, just being with them can restimulate old attitudes and behaviors and, of course, drug craving.  Therefore, as much as practical, you should disassociate yourself, physically and mentally, from these people.  This is often easier said than done.  If it’s a problem for you, lets consider why.

First, maybe you don’t have other friends. Naturally the pull of old associates and old activities is strong if nothing is pulling the other way.  So your need is clear; Use the group to make new friends and find new activities.

Second, ending close relationships can be very hard.  It takes courage.  It can hurt both parties.  You may need to tell a person face-to-face: “We can’t continue to hang out together as long as you use drugs.”  Get support to cope with the pain of loss.  (Maybe the loss will help your friend see the light).

Some people also have hidden motives for continuing to be with users.  Are any of these true?

  • You want to show off that you’re clean and doing well.
  • You still want to be part of the fast life—just not the drug life.
  • You’ll prove your are an exception –old friends won’t influence you.
  • You want them to influence you, because you want them to share the blame for your getting high.

These attitudes suggest that you need to think more about whom you want to be your reasons for getting clean, and what it really takes to stay clean.  Honest self-assessment and reflection with a solid, trusted person you can talk to regularly – a counselor or special friend—might save you from your own hidden motives.

If you do have reason to be with users, remember TIPS

 Truth:    If the other person needs to know why you can’t spend time together, lay it out. “It’s not personal, but I just can’t be with an active user”.  The truth can be told respectfully.  And in the end it is the safest, clearest, and kindest message.

Information:  You must know one critical fact:  A recovering addict can be “reinfected” by an active drug user.

Priorities:  The first priority is always to stay clean.  Beyond that, what are your priorities?  To help? To say goodbye?  Keep them simple!

Support:  If you are at all shaky, have a positive person with you.  It will make a difference to all concerned.


Successful Anger Managment is an Ongoing Process


The more stressful your lifestyle, the more important it is to make some fun. Having hobbies, things you really enjoy doing, can provide much enjoyment and relaxation. Also, on the most trying of days, your favorite hobby is something you can look forward to. So write a story, work a puzzle, maintain a saltwater aquarium, sing in a choir…the possible choices are endless. Find something you enjoy and do it.


Exercise is good for you and it makes you feel better. Do check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, and be mindful not to overdo it. Regular exercise will provide an outlet for negative emotions such as frustration, anger and irritability, promoting a more positive mood and outlook on life.


Think of your anger management skills as the starting point of an ongoing topic of interest. Just as many people watch the news or keep up with their favorite sports team, you could avail yourself of the endless sea of information on the internet. There are articles and personal stories, forums and chat rooms, free ebooks and dedicated websites. Just throw a few words into a search engine and see what you find. Something interesting always pops up within a few site visits


Find a group, locally or on­line. If you can’t find a group, start one. There is strength in numbers, and it will help you to spend some time with like­minded folks. Support ends up working both ways, because you draw strength from giving to others as well as you do when they offer help to you.


If your anger is triggered, walk away and find someone not connected with the situation to vent to. Don’t hang around until you say or do something you will regret. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about the issue with a good listener is a great anger management technique because it allows you to see the situation from their eyes. A little distance can help you gain perspective. Give yourself a few minutes to think about the issue and the advice your friend has offered. When you can handle yourself calmly, go back to whatever you were doing.


One of the most effective methods of relaxation is controlled breathing. When you start to feel your anger building up and taking control of your mind, remove yourself from the situation. Find a quiet place where you can be completely alone, and start by taking a few deep breaths in and out. This should focus you for the next step. Breathe in deeply for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly, pushing the air completely from your lungs. Breath in deeply again, and while breathing out, say the word “peace” in your mind. Repeat this breathing exercise until your anger is gone.


Start your day with an affirmation, something to aim yourself at your goal. Here are some suggestions, but please feel free to create your own. I am sure of my ability to do what is necessary to improve my life. Today is going to be a great day. I will make someone feel better about his or her self today. I am in charge of how I handle my anger. I will greet people with a smile today, and hope that it is contagious. JOURNAL A daily routine of writing about your feelings, the good and bad you experience, can really help you deal with anger. Many people with anger issues have learned over time to l

Blood Alcohol Content and Tolerance

Defining Tolerance:

  • Tolerance is the natural or acquired ability to endure large or increasing amounts of a specified substance.
  • Tolerance can increase gradually over a period of years, even months. The development of tolerance may vary from person to person depending on an individuals biological make-up and/or genetic predisposition.

Defining BAC

  • An individuals BAC refers to the Blood Alcohol Concentration of the amount of concentrated alcohol in ones blood.
  • There are five factors that effect BAC
  1. How much you weigh
  2. How fast you drink
  3. How much you drink
  4. How many hours you’ve been drinking
  5. Whether there is any food or other beverage in your stomach


1 to 2 drinks in  one hour .02% to .06% Association Area of cerebrum Reason, Judgement Dizziness, less inhibited behavior, over estimation of skills, less sound judgement, slower reaction time.
3 to 5 drinks in one hour .06% to 10% Entire Cerebrum Reason, Judgement, Senses, Motor, Coordination, Vision, Speech Slurring of Speech, blurring of vision, loss of coordination(including those skills needed for driving)
5 to 7 drinks in one hour .12% to .15% Entire Cerebrum Reason, Judgment, Senses, Motor, Coordination, Vision, Speech, Hearing  

Double vision, drowsiness, loss of balance, clumsiness


8-10 drinks in one hour .30% to .40% Limbic System All of the above functions plus: Respiration, Heart Rate  

 Deep Sleep, Coma




Anger Management: 10 Tips To Tame Your Temper

Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using “I” statements — to stay in control.

Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion — but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships.
Ready to get your anger under control? Start by considering these 10 anger management tips.

1. Think before you speak
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

2. Once you’re calm, express your anger
As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

3. Get some exercise
Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

4. Take a timeout
Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.

5. Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.

6. Stick with ‘I’ statements

To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes,” instead of, “You never do any housework.”

7. Don’t hold a grudge
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times.

8. Use humor to release tension
Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

9. Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

10. Know when to seek help
Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Marijuana & Dementia

(MedicalNewsToday) A major downside of the medical use of marijuana is the drug’s ill effects on working memory, the ability to transiently hold and process information for reasoning, comprehension and learning.

Researchers reporting in the print issue of the Cell Press journal Cell provide new insight into the source of those memory lapses. The answer comes as quite a surprise: Marijuana’s major psychoactive ingredient (THC) impairs memory independently of its direct effects on neurons. The side effects stem instead from the drug’s action on astroglia, passive support cells long believed to play second fiddle to active neurons.

The findings offer important new insight into the brain and raise the possibility that marijuana’s benefits for the treatment of pain, seizures and other ailments might some day be attained without hurting memory, the researchers say.

With these experiments in mice,

“we have found that the starting point for this phenomenon – the effect of marijuana on working memory – is the astroglial cells,” said Giovanni Marsicano of INSERM in France.

“This is the first direct evidence that astrocytes modulate working memory,” added Xia Zhang of the University of Ottawa in Canada.

The new findings aren’t the first to suggest astroglia had been given short shrift. Astroglial cells (also known as astrocytes) have been viewed as cells that support, protect and feed neurons for the last 100 to 150 years, Marsicano explained. Over the last decade, evidence has accumulated that these cells play a more active role in forging the connections from one neuron to another.

The researchers didn’t set out to discover how marijuana causes its cognitive side effects. Rather, they wanted to learn why receptors that respond to both THC and signals naturally produced in the brain are found on astroglial cells. These cannabinoid type-1 (CB1R) receptors are very abundant in the brain, primarily on neurons of various types.

Zhang and Marsicano now show that mice lacking CB1Rs only on astroglial cells of the brain are protected from the impairments to spatial working memory that usually follow a dose of THC. In contrast, animals lacking CB1Rs in neurons still suffer the usual lapses. Given that different cell types express different variants of CB1Rs, there might be a way to therapeutically activate the receptors on neurons while leaving the astroglial cells out, Marsicano said.

“The study shows that one of the most common effects of cannabinoid intoxication is due to activation of astroglial CB1Rs,” the researchers wrote.

The findings further suggest that astrocytes might be playing unexpected roles in other forms of memory in addition to spatial working memory, Zhang said.

The researchers hope to explore the activities of endogenous endocannabinoids, which naturally trigger CB1Rs, on astroglial and other cells. The endocannabinoid system is involved in appetite, pain, mood, memory and many other functions.

“Just about any physiological function you can think of in the body, it’s likely at some point endocannabinoids are involved,” Marsicano said.

And that means an understanding of how those natural signaling molecules act on astroglial and other cells could have a real impact. For instance, Zhang said, “we may find a way to deal with working memory problems in Alzheimer’s.”


Conflict Resolution

Conflict, or more specifically, interpersonal conflict, is a fact of life, and particularly of organizational life. It often emerges more when people are stressed, for example, when there are changes on the horizon, or when everyone is under pressure because of a looming deadline.

However, conflict can also arise in relationships and situations outside work.

Handling conflict in ways that lead to increased stress can be detrimental to your health. Poor conflict management can lead to higher production of the stress hormone cortisol, and also cause hardening of the arteries, leading to increased risk of heart attacks, and high blood pressure.

Learning to deal with conflict in a positive and constructive way, without excessive stress, is therefore an important way to improve your well-being as well as your relationships.

What is Conflict?

Interpersonal conflict has been defined as:

“An expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals”.

Unpicking this a little, it means that for a disagreement to become a conflict, there needs to be:

  • Some element of communication: a shared understanding that there is a disagreement;
  • The well-being of the people involved need to depend on each other in some way. This doesn’t mean that they have to have equal power: a manager and subordinate can be equally as interdependent as a married couple;
  • The people involved perceive that their goals are incompatible, meaning that they cannot both be met;
  • They are competing for resources; and
  • Each perceives the other as interfering with the achievement of their goals.

Conflict is not always a bad thing

Conflict can be destructive, leading people to develop negative feelings for each other and spend energy on conflict that could be better spent elsewhere. It can also deepen differences, and lead groups to polarize into either/or positions.

However, well-managed conflict can also be constructive, helping to ‘clear the air’, releasing emotion and stress, and resolving tension, especially if those involved use it as an opportunity to increase understanding and find a way forward together out of the conflict situation.

Emotions are not so extreme. The best way to address a conflict in its early stages is through negotiation between the participants. (See our pages on Negotiation Skills and Communicating in Difficult Situations for more information.)

Later on, those in conflict are likely to need the support of mediation, or even arbitration or a court judgment, so it’s much better to resolve things early.

There are five main strategies for dealing with conflicts, all of which can be considered in terms of who wins and who loses.

As our page Transactional Analysis makes clear, a win-win situation is always going to be better for everyone.

5 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict

  1. Compete or Fight
    This is the classic win/lose situation, where the strength and power of one person wins the conflict.
    It has its place, but anyone using it needs to be aware that it will create a loser and if that loser has no outlet for expressing their concerns, then it will lead to bad feeling.
  2. Collaboration
    This is the ideal outcome: a win/win situation.
    However, it requires input of time from those involved to work through the difficulties, and find a way to solve the problem that is agreeable to all.
  3. Compromise or Negotiation
    This is likely to result in a better result than win/lose, but it’s not quite win/win.
    Both parties give up something, in favor of an agreed mid-point solution. It takes less time than collaboration, but is likely to result in less commitment to the outcome.
  4. Denial or Avoidance
    This is where everyone pretends there is no problem.
    It’s helpful if those in conflict need time to ‘cool down’ before any discussion or if the conflict is unimportant, but cannot be used if the conflict won’t just die down. It will create a lose/lose situation, since there will still be bad feeling, but no clearing the air through discussion, and results, in Transactional Analysis terms, in ‘I’m not OK, you’re not OK’.
  5. Smoothing Over the Problem
    On the surface, harmony is maintained, but underneath, there is still conflict.
    It’s similar to the situation above, except that one person is probably OK with this smoothing, while the other remains in conflict, creating a win/lose situation again. It can work where preserving a relationship is more important than dealing with the conflict right now, but is not useful if others feel the need to deal with the situation.

These five behaviors can be shown in terms of a balance between concern for self and concern for others:

Substance Abuse Among the Elderly

A Growing Problem

In her early years, Eva would probably have been called a “teetotaler.” Except for an infrequent sip of wine on special occasions, she never drank alcoholic beverages. But after her children moved away and her husband and many of her close friends died, Eva turned to the bottle for escape and companionship. Now in her late 70s, Eva is an alcoholic.

Harry has had problems with substance abuse since his late teens. Although drinking binges were often followed by periods of sobriety, he inevitably returned to his addictive ways. At 75, he is on several prescription medications, some of which should not be taken with alcohol. His children, long ago burned out from trying to persuade him to get help, have come to believe that you really can’t “teach an old dog new tricks.”

These two composite situations illustrate what has been called one of the fastest growing health problems in this country—substance abuse among the elderly. More people are living longer and more of them are abusing drugs and alcohol in their later years.

Recent census data estimates that nearly 35 million people in the United States are 65 years or older. Substance abuse among those 60 years and older (including misuse of prescription drugs) currently affects about 17 percent of this population. By 2020, the number of older adults with substance abuse problems is expected to double.

As demographics change, attitudes about and use of alcohol and drugs change as well. “In January 2006, the leading edge of the baby-boom generation (those born during the population swell of 1946-1964) will turn 60,” said Frederic Blow, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and a Huss Research Chair on Older Adults and Alcohol/Drug Problems at Hazelden’s Butler Center for Research. “These individuals have had more exposure to alcohol and illegal drugs, and there is more acceptance among them about using substances to ‘cure’ things. We expect to see an increase in drug and alcohol use; and more use means more problems.”

Blow said there has also been an attitude shift regarding addiction and treatment, and that gives him hope that older substance abusers will get the help they need. “There is less shame and guilt associated with substance abuse now and more acceptance of treatment as a way to make things better,” he said.

According to Blow and other experts, when people age, their sensitivity to alcohol increases as their tolerance decreases. Also, the percent of their body weight composed of water decreases, and alcohol—which is water-soluble—affects them more quickly and to a greater degree. Alcohol takes longer to metabolize in older persons, accumulating in their bodies and leading to intoxication if consumption is not controlled. Because of their physical make-up, older women are more vulnerable to the negative effects of alcohol.

As a whole, more older men have substance abuse problems than do older women, but women are more likely than men to start drinking heavily later in life. Substance abuse is more prevalent among persons who suffer a number of losses, including death of loved ones, retirement, and loss of health. The fact that women are more likely to be widowed or divorced, to have experienced depression, and to have been prescribed psychoactive medications that increase the negative effects of alcohol help explain these gender differences.

Unfortunately, health care providers often overlook substance abuse among older adults because they don’t know what to look for or they mistakenly assume that older adults cannot be successfully treated. Loved ones, too, may excuse an older relative’s substance abuse as a result of grief or loss or a reaction to boredom. Or family members may not want to confront an elder, fearing they will offend or anger them or get “written out of the will,” said Blow.

Yet Blow said there is “good evidence” that older adults do as well as young people when it comes to treating substance abuse and that they may even do somewhat better. “Older adults can recognize all kinds of benefit from treatment,” stressed Blow. “There are often direct health benefits, improved cognition, more independent living, more and better social connectedness, and new hobbies. The benefits are enormous.”

Source:  The Hazelton Corporation/Betty Ford 2015

Is Marijuana Safe For Pregnant Moms?

Pregnant Moms often suffer morning sickness so severe that they can’t keep food down, so they stir some cannabis-in-fused oil into her morning tea to regain her appetite.

According to the experts there are no “safe” levels of marijuana in pregnant women. Just as there are no safe levels of alcohol, tobacco or many other substances for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend they stop using cannabis until they are finished breast feeding. Research published in the journal of Psychopharmacology found that even low doses of marijuana in pregnant rats produced offspring with learning delays plus tremors and unusual emotional behavior.


FDA To Regulate E – Cigarettes, Ban Sales to Minors

The U.S. Government issued a tough set of rules for the e – cigarette industry on Thursday that included banning sales to anyone under 18, requiring packaging warning labels, and making all products – even those currently on the market – subject to government approval.

In June, the FDA proposed requiring warning and child – proof packaging because of an increase in nicotine exposure and poisoning incidents among young people.  The FDA could move to regulate advertising of flavors such as cotton candy and watermelon that might appeal to youth.

In addition to e – cigs, the FDA said it would be taking regulatory authority over other tobacco products including cigars, pipe tobacco and water – pipe tobacco.

Roadside Test For “Drugged Drivers”

This year, California could join the other states for legalizing adult recreational marijuana use.  It has been reported by a number of police officers that no one has yet devised a reliable field test that determines when a driver is under the influence of marijuana.  Senator Bob Huff, is proposing legislation that would authorize the use of saliva swab tests, combined with portable instruments can detect the presence of pot and other drugs.

Backers, who make the swab test – now widely used by law enforcement in the United Kingdom and by companies stateside to screen potential employees for drug use – say it offers a quick and cheap way to help establish probable cause to further test for drugs that can  impair drivers.

Critics say the roadside device is still to experimental and unpredictable to be put in wide use.  Authorities say early tests show its least effective on the two types of drugs, marijuana and prescription medication.

Fullerton PD, tested the saliva swab device in recent years but never used the results in a DUI prosecution.

With the number of drugged driving crashes, and Californians weighing legalization of pot, Huff and others say “a new tool is needed to keep the roads safe”.

“In 2013 32 percent of all auto fatalities in California, drivers tested positive for driving under the influence of legal and illegal drugs”.

Huffs legislation, Senate Bill 1492, wouldn’t mandate the use of the oral swab test.  But would set standards for law enforcement agencies interested in using the devices, the senator said, and free up federal funding to help buy the equipment.

As the law states officers would need reasonable cause to believe someone is driving under the influence to give a field sobriety test.  If driver fails the field sobriety test, the officer would give the option of taking a saliva swab test and the breath test.  The driver would briefly hold a small wand in his mouth.  The officer then holds a device the size of a half of a loaf of  bread which indicates the results in 5 to 10 minutes.  The device changes color to indicate traces of drugs including cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana and opiates.  If the driver fails the test he will then be taken in to the station for a blood test to measure the levels and type of substances in his system.

There is still much research to be done to determine whether this device will be effective or not.