WALFWAY HOUSE IN INDIANAPOLIS
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|Posted on February 25, 2019 at 9:50 PM||comments (3)|
Congrats to all alums continuing the sober journey. We are proud of you; be proud of yourselves!
|Posted on January 27, 2019 at 11:34 AM||comments (3)|
Depression is often experienced by those in addiction recovery.
To combat this, try being grateful for even small things in your life.
Also, remind yourself of the good things you have experienced in your life.
|Posted on December 16, 2018 at 12:04 PM||comments (0)|
For decades, psychologists have viewed the neurotransmitter dopamine as a double-edged sword: released in the brain as a reward to train us to seek out pleasurable experiences, but also a "drug" the constant pursuit of which leads to addiction.
According to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, that's only one face of dopamine. The flip side is that dopamine is also released in response to unpleasurable experiences, such as touching a hot tea kettle, presumably training the brain to avoid them in the future.
The yin-yang nature of dopamine could have implications for treatment of addiction and other mental disorders. In illnesses such as schizophrenia, for example, dopamine levels in different areas of the brain become abnormal, possibly because of an imbalance between the reward and avoidance circuits in the brain. Addiction, too, may result from an imbalance in reactions to pleasure and pain.
"In addiction, people only look for the next reward, and they will take a lot of risk to get the next shot of drugs of abuse," said Stephan Lammel, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and the senior author of a paper describing the results in the journal Neuron. "We currently do not know the neurobiological underpinnings of certain high-risk behaviors of individuals with addiction, such as sharing drug paraphernalia despite the proven risk of mortality and morbidity associated with it. An understanding of how drugs change neural circuits involved in aversion may have important implications for the persistent nature of drug-seeking behavior in the face of negative consequences."
Although some neuroscientists have long speculated about dopamine's potential role in the signaling of aversive events, its dual personality remained hidden until recently because the neurons in the brain that release dopamine in response to rewards are embedded in a different subcircuit than the neurons that release dopamine in response to aversive stimuli.
Johannes de Jong, the first author of the study, was able to simultaneously record from both dopamine subcircuits by implanting fiber optic cannulas in two brain regions—separated by just a few millimeters—using a new technology called fiber photometry.
"Our work delineates for the first time the precise brain circuitry in which learning about rewarding and aversive outcomes occurs," Lammel said. "Having separate neuronal correlates for appetitive and aversive behavior in our brain may explain why we are striving for ever-greater rewards while simultaneously minimizing threats and dangers. Such balanced behavior of approach-and-avoidance learning is surely helpful for surviving competition in a constantly changing environment."
The newly discovered role for dopamine aligns with an increasing recognition that the neurotransmitter has quite different roles in different areas of the brain, exemplified by its function in voluntary movement, which is affected in Parkinson's disease. The results also explain earlier conflicting experiments, some of which showed that dopamine increases in response to aversive stimuli, while others d
"We have moved away from considering dopamine neurons as just a homogeneous cell population in the brain that mediates reward and pleasure to a more defined, nuanced picture of the role of dopamine, depending on where it is released in the brain," Lammel said.
Reward prediction errors
Most of what is known about dopamine has been inferred from studies in rodents and monkeys, where researchers recorded from cells in a specific region of the brain that only contains reward-responsive dopamine neurons. It is possible, Lammel said, that through sampling biases, dopamine neurons that respond to aversive stimulation had been missed.
According to the reigning "reward prediction error hypothesis," dopamine neurons are activated and produce dopamine when an action is more rewarding than we expect, but they remain at baseline activity when the reward matches our expectations and show depressed activity when we receive less reward than predicted.
Dopamine changes neural circuits and trains the brain—for better or worse—to pursue the pleasurable and avoid the unpleasurable.
"Based on the reward prediction error hypothesis, the established tendency has been to emphasize dopamine involvement in reward, pleasure, addiction and reward-related learning, with less consideration of the involvement of dopamine in aversive processes," Lammel said.
To dissect the different dopamine subcircuits, de Jong and Lammel collaborated with the laboratory of Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University, who developed the fiber photometry technology a few years ago.
Fiber photometry involves threading thin, flexible fiber optic wires into the brain and recording fluorescent signals given off by neurons and their axons that release dopamine. The fluorescent markers are inserted into the neurons via a virus that targets only these cells.
In previous experiments in monkeys, Lammel said, scientists had recorded from dopamine cells without knowing where in the brain the cells' axons reached, which could be areas millimeters from the cell body. Working with mice, de Jong recorded simultaneously from dopamine axons in the lateral and medial regions of an area called the nucleus accumbens, considered an integral part of the brain's reward circuits. He thus captured the activity of cells whose axons reach into these regions from the dopamine areas in the midbrain, specifically the ventral tegmental area.
To their surprise, axons in the medial area released dopamine in response to an aversive stimulus—a mild electrical shock to the foot—while those in the lateral area released dopamine only after positive stimuli.
"We have two different subtypes of dopamine cells: one population mediates attraction and one mediates aversion, and they are anatomically separated," Lammel said.
He hopes that these findings can be confirmed in monkeys and humans, and lead to new approaches to understanding and treating addiction and other brain maladies.
|Posted on December 3, 2018 at 6:38 PM||comments (1)|
Thought for the Day:
An alcoholic carries an awful load around with him. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. A man who's lying is only half alive, because of the constant fear of being found out. When you come into A.A., and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders. Have I got rid of that load of lying?
Meditation for the Day:
I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hate and selfishness, God's love and calm and peace can come in.
Prayer for the Day:
I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.
|Posted on November 18, 2018 at 7:02 PM||comments (0)|
Alone no more.
"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."
Basic Text, p. 37
Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people-especially people who were not using-at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.
In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said-the program works, if we let it.
Just for Today: The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.
Corresponding page Sixth Edition
Basic Text, p., 37
This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day. We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life. This growth is not the result of wishing, but of action and prayer. The main objective of Step Seven is to get out of ourselves and strive to achieve the will of our Higher Power.
If we are careless and fail to grasp the spiritual meaning of this step, we may have difficulties and stir up old troubles. One danger is in being too hard on ourselves.
|Posted on October 7, 2018 at 10:33 PM||comments (0)|
"That old nest of negativism followed me everywhere I went."
- Basic Text, p.137
A negative attitude is the trademark of active addiction. Everything that occurred in our lives was someone or something else's fault. We had blaming others for our shortcomings down to a fine science. In recovery, one of the first things we strive to develop is a new attitude. We find that life goes a lot easier when we replace our negative thinking with positive principles.
While a negative attitude dogged us in our active addiction, all too often it can follow us into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. How can we begin to adjust our attitudes? By altering our actions. It isn't easy, but it can be done.
We can start by listening to the way we talk. Before we open our mouths, we ask ourselves some simple questions: Does what I'm going to say speak to the problem, or the solution? Is what I'm going to say framed in a kind manner? Is what I have to say important, or would everyone be just as well off if I kept my mouth shut? Am I talking just to hear myself talk, or is there some purpose to my "words of wisdom"?
Our attitudes are expressed in our actions. Often, it's not what we say, but the way we say it that really matters. As we learn to speak in a more positive manner' we will notice our attitudes improving as well.
Just for today: I want to be free of negativity. Today, I will speak and act positively.
|Posted on August 12, 2018 at 4:00 PM||comments (1)|
I'm really enjoying this IOP class I'm in. (That's a miracle) It's proving to be profoundly informative. We talked about shame tonight. I didn't realize how much shame I had, in believing that I wasn't worth the love and acceptance I've been searching for my whole life due to my abandonment issues. But talking about it and putting it in the air like this ensures that my feelings of shame won't survive. If u can name it and talk about it, shame can't survive.
An addict needs shame like a man dying of thirst needs salt water. -
|Posted on July 26, 2018 at 6:10 PM||comments (2)|
Prior to her apparent drug overdose on Tuesday, Demi Lovato‘s friends had a strong suspicion an incident like this would occur.
“She and her ‘friends’ were on a binger the entire night,” an insider tells PEOPLE of the house party that continued after the group left Saddle Ranch. “They keep Narcan on hand for such situations – they were prepared for this. The people she has been hanging around lately aren’t her real friends – they don’t have her best interests at heart. She’s pushed her true friends away.”
The source adds, “She had to find creative and sneaky ways to get drugs because her team and those that really care about her really try to keep a close watch on her.”
The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer was rushed to the hospital Tuesday morning following the incident at her Hollywood Hills home, hours later appearing “alert and stable,” a close source confirmed to PEOPLE.
According to the emergency call audio obtained by TMZ, Lovato had been unconscious prior to the arrival of EMTs and revived by her friends with Narcan, an emergency medicine used to reverse the effects of a narcotic overdose. Though reports have indicated the overdose was heroin-related, a source close to Lovato claimed to PEOPLE that it was not.
And while the insider says Lovato is “capable” of pulling through this, sources close to the star told PEOPLE they had been fearing an incident like this for an extended period of time.
“Things have been a total mess for months. She and her team severed ties, and they played a large part in getting her sober years ago. She hasn’t been in a good place,” a close source claimed.
Last month Lovato released her new hit song, “Sober,” revealing her recent relapse following six years of sobriety. She performed “Sober” in Paso Robles, California, just two days prior to the apparent overdose.
Since her apparent overdose, Lovato has received a massive amount of support and well-wishes from fans and close friends, including ex Wilmer Valderrama.
“He knew she was going through a tough time but he wasn’t prepared for this,” the source told PEOPLE. “He saw her through so many ups and downs and was her rock through some of her darkest moments. To see her back in such a sad and vulnerable place is heartbreaking for him.”
The source added Valderrama has “always cared deeply for her and they truly remained friends after they broke up.”
And though Lovato has been vocal about her struggles throughout the years, another insider revealed that Lovato’s period of sobriety was full of ups and downs.
“Demi was never really clean and sober from all of her demons. She has been fighting depression and anxiety for quite some time — and is still in such a dark place. She was sober for a while, but not completely sober for six years.”
|Posted on July 18, 2018 at 12:37 PM||comments (1)|
"Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until, in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics... Anonymous."
- Basic Text, p. 13
When we think of being desperate, we envision an undesirable state: a poor, bedraggled soul frantically clawing at something sorely needed, a desperate look in the eyes. We think of hunted animals, hungry children, and of ourselves before we found NA.
Yet it was the desperation we felt before coming to NA that compelled us to accept the First Step. We were fresh out of ideas, and so became open to new ones. Our insanity had finally risen higher than our wall of denial, forcing us to get honest about our disease. Our best efforts at control had only worn us out; hence, we became willing to surrender. We had received the gift of desperation and, as a result, were able to accept the spiritual principles that make it possible for us to recover.
Desperation is what finally drives many of us to ask for help. Once we've reached this state, we can turn around and start anew. Just as the desperate, hunted animal seeks a safe haven, so do we: in Narcotics Anonymous.
Just for Today: The gift of desperation has helped me become honest, open-minded, and willing. I am grateful for this gift because it has made my recovery possible.
- Corresponding page Sixth Edition
- Basic Text, p., 13
Most of us realized that in our addiction we were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is such a cunning enemy of life that we had lost the power to do anything about it. Many of us ended up in jail, or sought help through medicine, religion and psychiatry. None of these methods was sufficient for us. Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.
After coming to NA we realized we were sick people. We suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point, and recovery is then possible.
|Posted on July 4, 2018 at 1:03 PM||comments (3)|
Very, very, grateful to be here today and get to share a little bit of my story with u. Its come to my realization that my selfish pride is what's been keeping me from sharing it with u, coupled along with some shame and embarrassment. In February i relapsed and after about 6 wks my body had started to shut down. My liver, tormented from drugs and alcohol over the yrs, along with Hep C couldnt process anymore poison. On 3.21.18 i ODed and was taken to the hospital unable to b...reathe on my own...without a pulse. They called my mom in from Phoenix, told her to hurry, they didnt know if i was gonna live. After 4 days on life support i came out of it. Unable to walk or feed myself, i knew i had really fucked up this time. After a month i was released still unable to function without meds and even then im still learning and fighting to do basic normal everyday functions. I lost oxygen to my brain and now i have the fight of my life staring me square in the face in the form of rerouting the signals from my brain to my limbs and core. I know why im here today and it's to help. Im here to help other addicts and i hope my story will give anyone having any doubts some hope. Im not giving up! I have a purpose and i aim to see it through! The spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline.-Timothy Ch.1 v7