In Case You Have Some Time . . .

Posted on October 17, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , |

I’ll be on a personal/family business trip to upstate New York for a week, and mostly likely will not be posting or checking in with my blog friends.  The day after I arrive home, Hayley arrives from California to appear in court on her probation violation charges.  She most likely will need to spend 2 – 3 days in jail – and it scares the sh*t out of me. Although she says she is strong, and sober, and can handle this challenge, I worry for her emotional and physical safety.  Some of you have blogged about your son/daughter spending time in jail – and I’ve admired your strength and courage, as supportive, yet anxious, loving parents.  Thank you for sharing your experiences – I don’t feel so alone.

In the meantime, here are a few books, DVDs, TV interviews to check out.  They all pertain to addiction, and I found each one fascinating and worth my time.

Video:  Finding Normal: A thoroughly engrossing, hard-hitting humane look at addicts in a treatment center.  This compelling documentary about a group of Portland drug addicts and their rehab counselors trying day-by-day to keep themselves clean, sober and together, is raw and real and filled with undeniable moments of pain, joy, transformation, and hope.  This masterful cinema-verité film making is an eye-opening example of the power of simply watching and listening.  Filmed at Central City Concern in Portland, OR , and featuring CCC’s compassionate, effective Recovery Mentor Program.

Books: Even the Dogs by British writer, Jon McGregor’s third novel, continues his experiments with the devices of fiction. The book is narrated by a group of urban ghosts, victims of drug overdoses who look on as someone they know, Robert Radcliffe, is found dead in his shabby apartment. Other friends, family members and acquaintances, most of whom were part of Robert’s life, come in and out of focus as they move around the city looking for their next fixes and, along with the police and investigators, ­respond to Robert’s death.

As a novel about the consequences of addiction — particularly heroin addiction — “Even the Dogs” is harrowing. It details the physical, psychological, social and environmental damage, and portrays the all-consuming nature of the life: “Always working and watching and chasing around for a bag of that. Jesus – the man-hours that go into living like this, takes some dedication.”

Book:  Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth

Although I haven’t read this book, a good friend of mine, who has a daughter with an eating disorder, called me to recommend it.  She said that although the focus of the book was food addiction, the author has a lot of valuable insight regarding addiction, in general.

Here are a few highlights from the book that seemed especially pertinent: With any addiction, there is a loss of connection and source to our self; addiction fills  a nameless yearning; we often fill ‘God space’ with ‘To Do’ lists. One recovering addict said:  “There was no real hole in my soul.  I always had what I needed within me.”  Addiction is an opportunity to open a door to examine the self, to think of  our self in a new way; an invitation to look at our self differently. One addict said (as well as my daughter)a;  “My addiction was a gift – it opened a door for me.”

There is definitely a spiritual dimension to recovery. Roth says she isn’t talking about God in the religious sense. Instead, she’s talking about what she calls the source. “We each have this longing—we’ve had moments of awe and wonder in our lives. A lot of us don’t call that God, but we know that something is possible for every one of us besides our daily lives, the daily grind. The way we get caught with errands and emails and taking care of other people. We feel that this possibility exists,” Roth says. “I’m talking about wonder and mystery and possibility … or the feeling you have in nature. The feeling that everything is possible.”

Oprah says that in reading Women, Food, and God, she has learned that a woman’s relationship with food is directly related to how close she is to the source. “That’s really what this book is about,” she says. “The issue isn’t really the food. It is about your disconnection from that which is real which we call God.”

“Obsession gives you something to do besides have your heart shattered by heart-shattering events,” Roth writes.

TV: CNN – Larry King Live:  Secrets of the Brain Revealed, Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Power of the Brain! Does the brain have a mind of its own?  It might explain why we say – and do – things we know we shouldn’t. 

Experts tell us how to ‘think’ our way out of addiction, overeating and more!

I caught most of this broadcast on October 9, 2010, but I believe it originally aired on September 16, 2010.  This was a fascinating program and panel discussion about the brain and how it works.  A lot of time was spent  discussing addictive behavior and the latest brain research.  Drug addicts use drugs because they work – – – they make them feel better for a while.  But then, addiction sets in, and the actual brain chemistry changes, the drug use interferes with ‘normal’ functioning and relationships, etc.

Panel members were: Dr. Drew Pinsky, Addiction Specialist; Cara Santa Maria, Neuroscience Researcher; Dr. George Martin, whose theories and research in neuroplasticity, talks about how the brain can rewire itself; that we can calm down the prefrontal cortex where OCD behaviors originate; and Dr. Daniel Amen, physician, child and adult psychiatrist, brain imaging specialist, and bestselling author. Dr. Amen  commented that 28 day recovery programs are really a joke – are ineffective in dealing with changing addictive behavior.  The chemistry of an addict’s brain is still toxic at six months.  It takes a longer time for the addict to get really clear and ; the brain is the hardwire of the soul – – and it can be changed.  Anti-seizure medications can help anxiety and depression.  This possibility is so exciting – and hopeful.    Cognitive Behavior Therapy, EMDR, hypnosis, and other treatments for addiction were discussed.

I could not find the actual video of this program online.  However, the transcript on HOW THE BRAIN WORKS AND HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR is available.  Let me know if you’re able to locate the full-length program online.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, to report on my daughter’s court proceedings and how things went.  Adios!


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7 Responses to “In Case You Have Some Time . . .”

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Have a great time and thanks for the book recommendations!

Guinevere….I HIGHLY recommend WOMEN FOOD AND GOD. Geneen Roth does a fabulous job of describing addictive behavior and she has the personal and professional experience to back up everything she says.

Hey Peg,
Thanks for the infor on the videos, books. Have a great trip.. be safe! Let us know what happens to Haley when you get back.. she will be in my thoughts.

Peg… Hadn’t heard about Women, Food and God–thanks for the recommendation. (I don’t have time, but I’ll have to make time! if there’s time to read Stieg Larsson, there’s time, eh?)

I have taken two anti-convulsants in the wake of my detox for migraine and other pain. It’s my hope that if I can change my diet–especially cut out refined sugar, which I think of as my first drug–then maybe I won’t need even these drugs. It’s an enormous change. As a friend of mine in recovery who also tried to give up sugar once said in a meeting, “There’s not much left out there for me.” Definitely being led in that direction.

with every good wish, –G

Am in Chicago on my way to NY. Coffee, exercise, anything can be ‘used’. Thanks for stopping by.

Sent from my iPhone

Thanks for sharing. Sometimes, I admit, I like to sit down and read novels with no relation to addiction…sometimes I don’t want to learn anything more about this topic…but then I go back to books on addiction because, after all, knowledge is power. Have a great trip.

You’re right, Lisa. I try not to let my obsession with my daughter completely take over my life, interests, and activities. Now that Hayley is in recovery, it’s more difficult to read the books that expose the gritty details of the drug addict’s world.

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