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You can overcome

The professor of my substance abuse class had a missionary couple talk to us today about the LDS Addiction Recovery Program.  It is very much like Alcoholics Anonymous but with an obvious Mormon faith spin on it.  The meetings are begun by reading aloud the twelve steps that are adapted from the AA program.  Other readings from the handbook are recited, and then a facilitator (one who is sober/clean for at least 6 months) kicks off the sharing portion of the meeting.  Sharing goes from person to person around the room, but you can say “pass” if you don’t want to participate.

Unlike AA, the Recovery Program offers a wide variety of meetings for various addictions, including illicit drugs, pornography, alcohol, prescription drugs, eating disorders, and more.  The meetings often take place in seminary and institute buildings, but they have several in the jails and prisons.  The sister missionary said the latter were her favorite places because it was there that she came to know that “Heavenly Father loves ALL His children.”  She continued to testify about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice and our need to utilize the Atonement EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I’m so grateful that Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to conquer our problems and addictions.  We would not have the power to do so were it not for Him.


Who likes to get high?!

I do!  I do!

Yes, it’s true.  I love to get high.  Naturally, that is!  And when I say naturally, I don’t mean Marijuana.  I mean getting high off of life’s little pleasures.  Every day we have multiple opportunities to receive natural highs.  Here’s a great list I found on that suggests 80 ways to get a natural high (ok, the first one’s a little weird):

  1. Sit in a cemetery and reflect on your life.
  2. Hold a baby close.
  3. Fly – and enjoy the natural high!
  4. Ride a motorcycle.
  5. Say “I love you” to someone for the first time.
  6. Wrap gifts.
  7. Investigate aromatherapy, especially aromas that promote natural highs.
  8. Get a full-body massage.
  9. Skinny dip.
  10. Say “yes.”
  11. Buy concert tickets.
  12. Ride a motorboat – and feel the natural high.
  13. Make eye contact with an attractive stranger.
  14. Learn something new.
  15. Run through sprinklers.
  16. Laugh at yourself.
  17. Have a bubble bath.
  18. Play in the fall leaves; the fresh air will make you high on life.
  19. Build a snowman.
  20. Initiate a conversation.
  21. Have an orgasm (or three) – oxytoxin is definitely a natural high!
  22. Call your mother-in-law.
  23. Read to the residents of a senior’s home. Ask what their natural highs are and were.
  24. Surprise your mom or grandma with a cake.
  25. Have a picnic.
  26. Play with a baby or toddler.
  27. Go to a comedy club – laughter is full of natural highs.
  28. Pack a lunch for a homeless person. Ask what his/her natural highs are (this could be interesting…)
  29. Go sailing.
  30. Have a really good conversation. Discuss getting high naturally!
  31. Ride a roller coaster.
  32. Bake cookies.
  33. Read a romantic novel or a thriller.
  34. Close your eyes and pretend you’re a knight in shining armor or warrior princess.
  35. Invent a new board game.
  36. Meditate. Focus on words that uplift and inspire you, for that peaceful natural high.
  37. Ride a bike downhill, for that out-of-control natural high!
  38. Go to a movie theatre in the middle of the day.
  39. Fall in love; remember why you love your partner.
  40. Memorize and tell your favorite jokes.
  41. Do yoga and mediate on a natural high.
  42. Make a list of all your accomplishments.
  43. Volunteer at the food bank.
  44. Pack a care package for your spouse or kid.
  45. Buy a bouquet of flowers. Smell them for a natural high.
  46. Let chocolate melt in your mouth.
  47. Try skydiving or parachuting.
  48. Tickle someone. Giving someone else a natural high will spark one in you.
  49. Go on a safari; running from stampeding elephants is always a natural high!
  50. Blast the stereo and dance as if nobody’s watching.
  51. Play with a kitten or puppy. They’re always high on life.
  52. Pamper yourself.
  53. Make ice cream.
  54. Bring home a bouquet of flowers.
  55. Watch a funny movie or tv show.
  56. Make someone laugh. Like #48, the natural high will spread to you.
  57. Eat a big bowl of popcorn.
  58. Go on a road trip.
  59. Jump in puddles of rain or mud.
  60. Take a nap.
  61. Get a facial.
  62. Listen to the rain.
  63. Drink hot chocolate.
  64. Play hooky.
  65. Finish your “to-do” list. This is a professional natural high!
  66. Smear your body with mud.
  67. Get healthy; exercise and sex are natural highs.
  68. Travel to an exotic destination.
  69. Watch the flames in your fireplace.
  70. Since anticipation is a natural high, start planning your next vacation.
  71. Listen to your favorite CD or record.
  72. Stay up late talking to your best friend.
  73. Run. Enjoy the endorphins that accompany natural highs.
  74. Make someone happy.
  75. Stand up for your beliefs and values.
  76. Complete a project.
  77. Pick up and examine a grasshopper, snail, cockroach or butterfly.
  78. For a natural high anytime, anyplace: Relive your happy memories.
  79. Pray. If you listen long enough, a natural high will be yours.
  80. Give thanks, especially when you’re high on life!

What are some of your favorites?  What are other ways you like to get a natural high?


The Dead Celeb

There are countless celebrities who’ve struggled with addiction over the course of their lives and have died prematurely as a result.  Here is a list of 20 famous icons and their drug-related causes of death from the Casa Palmera website.

  1. John BelushiBelushi was an actor, comedian, and musician. He has starred in television shows such as Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers, and programs put on by National Lampoon. Throughout his life, John was known for drug abuse. Eventually, he died of accidental drug overdose as a result of taking 11 speedballs (a combination of cocaine and heroin).
  2. Paula YatesPaula was a television celebrity and writer. She had four children, all of them girls. Yates was known for naming her children rather unusual names which include Pixie and Fifi. Television shows Paula held roles in include, The Tube, Have I Got News For You, and The Big Breakfast. She died at the age of 40 as a result of accidental heroin overdose.
  3. Hillel SlovakSlovak was a guitarist for the famous band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hillel also played in a band called What Is This? but eventually left it to continue with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During his lifetime, Hillel became addicted to drugs, primarily heroin. He eventually died as a result of his drug habits. The cause was an accidental speedball overdose. Today, the Red Hot Chili Peppers continues without Hillel Slovak or drummer Jack Irons, who resigned after Slovak’s death.
  4. Marilyn MonroeShe is known as a famous actress, model, and American sex symbol. She was born as Norma Jean Mortenson and was married 3 times, all of which ended in divorce. Today, Monroe is the only woman listed on Forbes list of top earning dead celebrities. At the age of 36, Marilyn died in her sleep of barbiturate poisoning (an overdose of sleeping pills). To this day, no one knows for sure whether her death was a suicide or homicide.
  5. Billie HolidayBillie was a famous female jazz singer. She was originally named Eleanora Fagan. This singer used hard drugs (primarily heroin) and was involved in unhealthy relationships where abuse took place. Eventually she developed heart disease and liver complications. She died at the age of 44 from cirrhosis of the liver, a problem which arose from long-term drug and alcohol abuse.
  6. Ken CaminitiThis famous baseball player is known as the first player to have announced steroid use during their career to the public. Alcohol and cocaine abuse were other problems Caminiti struggled with during his life. This sports professional played third base and was chosen to be MVP for the National League in 1996. Unfortunately, Ken died of a heart attack at the age of 41 (he had already retired from baseball). The cause of death was an overdose of cocaine.
  7. Bridgette Anderson This actress is primarily remembered as a child actress. She is most famous for her starring role in the film, Savannah Smiles. Throughout her life, this actress struggled with an addiction to heroin. Bridgette died as a result of accidental drug and alcohol overdose at the age of 21.
  8. River PhoenixThis actor was the oldest of five children, one of whom is actor Joaquin Phoenix. He acted in films such as Stand By Me, Little Nikita, The Thing Called Love, and Running on Empty. Throughout his life he was a proud supporter of animal rights and refused to use animal products in the films he acted in. Phoenix died as a result of speedballs (a combination of cocaine and heroin) outside of the night club The Viper Room. He was 23 years old.
  9. Anna Nicole SmithSmith was an actress and model. In fact, she was named Playmate of the Year in 1993. She was married three times during her lifetime, the most famous of which was to J. Howard Marshall. This oil executive was a billionaire and 63 years older than Smith. Anna Nicole Smith died at the age of 39 from accidental overdose of chloral hydrate and other prescription drugs.
  10. Jim MorrisonHe is most famous for being a singer, but he also wrote a number of poems, directed films, and wrote his own songs. Morrison was a lead singer for the famous band, The Doors. Throughout his life, the singer struggled with both drug and alcohol abuse. He died at the age of 27. Although several stories have circulated regarding his death, the general consensus is that he died of a heart attack triggered by accidental heroin overdose.
  11. Chris FarleyFarley was an actor. He acted in the television show Saturday Night Live for a number of years and starred in movies including Tommy Boy and Beverly Hills Ninja. Drug and alcohol abuse were a constant part of Farley’s life and eventually caused problems with his career. Farley died at the age of 33 as a result of an accidental speedball overdose. Long term drug and alcohol addiction (and possibly his obesity) contributed to his death.
  12. Tim HardinHardin was a singer as well as a song writer. He sang songs which include, “If I Were a Carpenter”, “Reason to Believe”, “Bird on a Wire”, and “A Simple Song of Freedom”. Unfortunately, Tim was known to have struggled with heroin abuse. In fact, an overdose of heroin combined with morphine caused his ultimate death.
  13. Elvis PresleyPresley was known as an American singer, actor and sex symbol. He is often called the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Elvis was addicted to prescription drugs and eventually died of a heart attack brought on by long-term drug use. He was 42 years old. *Elvis is now believed to have died from chronic constipation.  Check it out.*
  14. Donyale LunaLuna was a famous African American Supermodel and the first black woman to grace the cover of a Vogue magazine. She also had roles in several films. Some have said she was ashamed of her black heritage. On occasion, she was known to wear colored contact lenses and blond wigs. Donyale, born Peggy Anne Freeman, died of drug overdose in her 30’s.
  15. John KordicKordic was a hockey player. He was famous for his temper and was known for instigating fights. Throughout his life he struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and was admitted to drug and alcohol rehab centers on occasion. He eventually died at the age of 27 after police were called to his hotel room and a fight broke out. His official cause of death was heart failure due to long term drug and alcohol abuse as well as steroid use.
  16. Janis JoplinJoplin was an American singer and songwriter. At one point in time she was a part of the band Big Brother and The Holding Company, but later began a solo career during which she played at the Woodstock Festival. Throughout her short life, Joplin experimented with a variety of drugs and drank heavily. At the age of 27, Janis died as a result of heroin overdose and alcohol consumption.
  17. Len BiasThis basketball star was selected to play for the Celtics in the NBA draft just hours before his death. Len, born Leonard Kevin Bias, was the second player chosen to be drafted, at the time he was playing college basketball. He also signed a contract with the shoe company, Adidas. Unfortunately, Len Bias died from cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after the NBA draft took place. He was only 22 years old.
  18. Jimi HendrixHendrix was a famous singer and guitar player. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and also holds a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Jimi Hendrix also had the opportunity to headline for the music festival, Woodstock. Throughout his life, Jimi experimented with drugs such as LSD, marijuana, speed, and sleeping pills. He died as a result of taking sleeping pills and alcohol which later caused asphyxiation by his own vomit while sleeping.
  19. Judy GarlandThis singer and actress struggled with weight gain as well as drug addiction for a great deal of her life. She is perhaps best remembered for her lead role in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Judy was married 5 times in her life and divorced 4 times. At several points in life, Garland attempted suicide but eventually died of an accidental drug overdose of barbiturates, she was 47.
  20. John BonhamThis drummer played for the famous band, Led Zeppelin. He learned to play drums at a young age and soon became a drumming legend due to his incredible speed and powerful style of hitting. Unfortunately, Bonham was also an alcoholic. He died at the age of 32 due to asphyxiation from vomiting. This was caused by heavy alcohol consumption. The band Led Zeppelin decided against continuing with a different drummer after his death.

You dig the e-cig?

Ever heard of the e-cigarette?  I hadn’t until today.  It is a battery-operated device that turns nicotine into a vapor.  Users inhale the vapor rather than smoke.  According to E-Cigarettes Choice, “electronic cigarettes are really becoming the best alternative to smoking.”  Some of its benefits include no more carbon monoxide, tar, or smoke, and it’s cheaper than the traditional cigarette.

Apparently, e-cigs have been on the market for a few years now, but a web article came out in July of 2009 raising awareness and caution about them.  Health experts believe they contain hazardous toxins and carcinogens.  They are more worried, however, that electronic cigarettes will increase nicotine addiction and encourage actual cigarette use among the younger crowd.  This is because they look like cigarettes, are used like cigarettes, and come in appealing flavors like chocolate and bubblegum.

What do YOU think?


Do you know your Meth?

I came across this Meth quiz on The Partnership for a Drug-Free America‘s website.  Test your knowledge.

1. Meth is made from:
a) Only natural products from the earth
b) Paint thinner, battery acid and cat litter
c) Caffeine and sugar
d) Cocaine

2. The meth problem exists:
a) Only in the Midwest
b) Only in rural communities
c) In numerous cities and towns across America
d) Only on spring break

3. Meth has the ability to:
a) Make problems disappear permanently
b) Cause delusions and violent rages
c) Relieve common cold symptoms
d) Help you ace algebra without ever studying for a test

4. Meth labs are:
a) Found in chemistry classrooms in select high schools
b) Where meth users conduct science experiments
c) Completely safe and totally harmless to children and the environment
d) Often located in a basement, garage or even a bedroom or car

5. If a person uses meth for a long time, he or she:
a) Can damage his or her internal organs, which can lead to kidney and heart failure
b) Will become the valedictorian
c) Will have a smaller chance of becoming addicted
d) Will get it for free since he or she is such a loyal user

6. Meth Cooks are:
a) Gourmet chefs in four-star restaurants
b) People who use meth as an ingredient in their everyday recipes
c) People who illegally produce meth their own home
d) A new indie-rock band

7. If you only use meth a few times, you:
a) Will make a lot more friends
b) Might think bugs are crawling under your skin, and scratch at your body to get rid of them
c) Will build up a tolerance toward other drugs
d) Won’t get in as much trouble with the law if you are caught

8. Common slang terms for meth are:
a) Tina and chalk
b) Blow and nose candy
c) Dope and smack
d) Grass and hash

9. Meth is:
a) A stimulant
b) An illegal drug
c) Addictive
d) All of the above


1. (B): Meth is made from some pretty nasty products. Among paint thinner, battery acid and cat litter, there is also iodine, kerosene and drain cleaner, just to name a few more.

2. (C): Meth production, sales and addiction are problems which are now affecting communities across America. Although meth was once found in predominantly rural, Midwestern towns and West Coast cities, it should no longer be associated with these areas. Although meth could be used on a spring break trip, there are unfortunately many more places than a tropical island where abuse takes place.

3. (B): Chronic meth use can cause hallucinations, delusions and violent behavior as it affects the central nervous system.

4. (D): Meth labs can often go undetected in regular, suburban neighborhoods, as meth cooks can produce large amounts of the drug in the comfort of their own home. This is highly dangerous and illegal.

5. (A): Meth puts a huge strain on a user’s internal organs as it drastically affects the central nervous system. Since the body is working overtime, there is an increased risk of heart failure and death associated with this drug.

6. (C): An eerie fact of the meth business is that it takes place in the neighborhoods in which you’re supposed to feel safe. Meth cooks are just ordinary citizens who illegally make an addictive and sometimes lethal substance right inside their own homes.

7. (B): A common side affect meth users may experience are hallucinations, which can include the feeling that bugs are crawling underneath one’s skin. Since they’re usually too preoccupied with scratching away these imagined bugs, meth users don’t have much time to be making new friends.

8. (A): Meth is commonly referred to as Tina and chalk, as well as crystal, ice, glass and crank. (B) lists slang terms for cocaine, while (C) and (D) refer to street names for heroin and marijuana respectively.

9. (D): As you probably have learned by taking this quiz, meth is a stimulant, it’s highly addictive and is illegal. You might want to think twice about trying it. It’s a horrible trap you don’t want to go anywhere near.


More Vicodin please

Read this quick article for some background information.

Utah is one of the leading states for prescription drug abuse.  Any guesses why?  I have an idea.  Utah is heavily populated by those of the LDS faith, which, as many of you know, does not condone the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs.  For many of the people that do use these substances, they often use them as an escape, to relieve their pain and sorrows.  So instead of turning to these kinds of drugs to deal with life’s problems, the LDS Utahns are turning to accepted prescription drugs.

Unfortunately, I don’t think enough people understand how addicting these medications can be.  Just because the doctor prescribed them doesn’t mean they can do no harm.  People should only use as much as they need and then dispose of the remaining drugs properly.  Everyone always thinks, “Oh, but I might need them later,” however, hoarding such powerful medicine is dangerous, especially if there are teens or younger children in the home.

If you’re really interested in Utah’s prescription drug abuse problem, you should watch the movie Happy Valley.


Drugs don’t discriminate

Every Friday at 1:30 pm, Judge Taylor enters his courtroom ready to review the previous week of each of his participants enrolled in drug court.  He calls them one by one to the stand and either praises them for their progress or counsels them on their unacceptable behavior.  Those that are praised leave the stand with a candy bar, while those that are not leave the stand in handcuffs.

I was able to attend a drug court session, and it really opened my eyes.  I had a very stereotypical view of druggies prior to my experience.  I thought they all had this certain “look.”  You know, bad skin, unkempt hair, bum-like appearance.  And, yes, some of the people at court looked a little rough, but then you’ve got the people that look like they just stepped out of church– and that’s because they probably did.  Regular, every-day people suffer from substance abuse and addiction.  It’s not just the crazy guy on the street corner.  It’s your bank teller, your nurse, the mom next to you in line at the grocery store.  I think we could all have a more open mind and recognize that people we come in contact with daily are struggling and need our help.