Does Addiction Treatment Seem Like A Racket to You Too?

Does Addiction Treatment Seem Like A Racket to You Too?

Does Addiction Treatment Seem Like A Racket to You Too?

There are millions of people all across America right now who think that something is amiss in the addiction treatment world and they are starving for something different; something better; something that actually makes sense. You might be one of these people. You aren’t sure what exactly is wrong out there, but you know that nothing the rehab system is doing seems to be helping. You know people who went to rehab and they all seem to be getting worse, not better; some have overdosed, some have died. The shows like Intervention and Celebrity Rehab are so off the charts crazy, that you cannot help but doubt that such therapies could ever possibly be helpful or beneficial. Maybe you’re trying to make sense of all of this rehab confusion by telling yourself “I’m not the professional, so what do I know?”

Well I’m here to tell you, you know a lot. Treatment, rehab, recovery and all that surrounds them, is completely devoid of common sense. There is no common sense in telling substance users they will never get better, and then expecting them to get better. There is no common sense in saying they have a disease and then punishing them for acting in the “diseased state.” (Can you imagine putting a cancer patient in jail for having a cancer relapse after a period of remission?!) There is no common sense in saying we need to spend more money on treatment, when the amount spent on treatment has more than doubled over the past five years and yet the rates of use are the highest we’ve ever seen as are the numbers of rehabs worldwide. Common sense tells us that “recovery” is an industry of providing a pseudo-medicinal solution to a manufactured sickness. When addiction is finally stripped of its costume as a legitimate illness, the common sense public will win the day, and the addict will have a clear path to shedding that label once and for all and moving on without rehab’s false promises and lifelong shackles. We don’t need more treatment for a fake illness – we need the truth!

Let’s face it, when a culture giant like Google is willing to let go of billions in revenue by distancing themselves from the cash cow of their bid-per-click advertising of treatment centers across the globe, you know something is terribly wrong with the treatment industry. This is the first big crack in the treatment industry’s armor and it’s making the fragile walls of their deception quake! Between all the “patient brokering” schemes (if you don’t know what this is, just Bing “rehab Florida shuffle” and be prepared to be horrified), massive health insurance fraud schemes, and questionable methods of treatment with lesser results than if you didn’t go to treatment, one must ask – why do we keep saying we “need more treatment”? Maybe the question should be – why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?

Thirty years ago I was mandated to treatment at the age of 18 after being the driver in a DUI accident. Having grown up in a family steeped in treatment and AA, I knew the treatment system as a whole was a total sham. I’d grown up in and around it from my first memories, and then unfortunately, after a night of partying, I too was now a “part of the system.” Let me just jump ahead and say that the treatment experience was not a good one. Just as most individuals who are forced into the treatment system, (or for those who go voluntarily for that matter) I immediately felt the pressure of the “addiction professionals” trying to scare me into lifelong abstinence. The irony was, I’d already quit drinking and drugging months prior after my drunk driving mishap, and there was no need for me to be pushed and prodded into “behaving” and “getting over my denial.” I’d already moved on by the time the courts finally gave me the decree to “attend treatment or else.” I hadn’t drank or drugged in months by that point, and there was no need for me to be in attendance at the mental hospital turned clinic. But there I was, just another cog in the treatment mill being coerced to say and act in accordance with whatever the counselor had for me that day. But inside my mind, I knew better than to listen and take on their misconceived message of lifelong sickness and weakness. I rebelled within the confines of my mind and made the decision that once this nonsense was over and I got my license and my life back, I was going to build a better model for people.

Jump Forward 28 Years…

That model exists today, and it’s called The Freedom Model. It took three hard-earned decades to research and develop the counter point to, and the replacement for, treatment and recovery. If you want to be free of “addiction” (I have that in quotes because what you think addiction is, is also a misconceived idea hatched and promoted by the treatment industry), then it is time to unlearn the addiction and recovery myths that keep you trapped, reject the rehab scams and all of the fraud that stems from it, and embrace the idea of complete and total freedom.

Let me just get to the point. With the exception of detoxification clinics where one might go to physically detoxify from the habitual use of alcohol, benzodiazepines, or any other substances that actually create physical dependency characteristics when one uses them – there is no other type of “treatment” necessary to overcome a drinking or a drug problem. I want you to read that line again and let it sink in.

So you might be asking, “Why do I need The Freedom Model then?” Most don’t. But while there are millions who quietly reject the treatment industry lies and live their lives free of its guilt and shaming, there are others who have become lost and confused in the maze of the treatment industry’s lies. These are the people who have come to believe they are truly powerless. They are the multi-rehab goers, or the person who attends AA or NA meetings for months or years and finds themselves drinking and feeling horrible and guilty about it, or the person stuck in the “perpetual recovery” model, or people labeled as “chronic relapsers”, etc., etc. These are the people in need of The Freedom Model. If there were no confusion and myths surrounding addiction, then there would be no need for The Freedom Model to have been created or exist. The Freedom Model debunks all the myths that keep these people trapped.

But there are also millions who have not been affected so deeply by the treatment industry, but they, like me at 18, know something is amiss. They have not been brought to the altar of treatment at a profoundly vulnerable moment in their lives as so many others have been. And so, they do not need a Freedom Model to undo the damage and confusion that occurs there. If this is you, then know that your instincts are correct – rehabs are creating the very problems they claim to be helping solve. The methods are designed to create a repeat customer. The methods are control and coercion based. Your instincts are correct – this is not a disease, and people are not out of control. Let’s face it, people don’t get addicted to things they don’t like!

So if you have not been subjected to the treatment mill, or if you have, and you know it to be a sham, then count yourself as one of millions who are moving forward without the encumbrances of the “recovery lifestyle.” You are free, you are autonomous and powerful, and you are free to continue to choose your destiny; all of which is a heck of a lot better than being an “addict or alcoholic who is in recovery.”

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Top 5 Elite Drinkers in Football History

Top 5 Footballers that Struggled with Drugs and Alcohol

Number 1: Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne

Another soccer player who has had his issues with alcohol is Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne, whose weeping incident after being yellow carded in the semi-finals against Germany of the 1990 FIFA World Cup made him famous and spawned “Gazzamania”. Paul has retired as a soccer player and manager but continues to have mental health and substance use issues.

According to his biography, he has been diagnosed and/or treated for bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol use disorder, and at least one suicide attempt by overdosing with a combination of alcohol and drugs. He has had issues with gambling, cocaine, and alcohol use. Paul’s career as a soccer manager ended due to his substance use issues when he was fired by Kettering Town in 2005. His last rehab stay, reported to be his eighth try, was in January of 2017, as he attempted to get through 2017 substance free according to a spokesperson,

‘Paul wants to let everyone know that he has gone into rehab. He is making a serious effort to get free of his demons and trying to become alcohol free for 2017. I’m not religious at all but if any of you are, say a prayer for him.’

 Back in the mid 2000s, it was reported that Paul was drinking two liters of gin, 15 cans of Stella Artois, 30 Valiums, and injecting cocaine daily. Paul was just seen in November of 2017 in London’s West End looking healthy and happy so we hope he is making the changes he wished for in his life for 2017.

Number 2: Diego Armando Maradona

Diego Maradona is an original to be sure. His antics on and off the field have gained attention even to the present. The Argentinean attacking midfielder and second striker played in 4 World Cups including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he led an Argentinean team to victory over the German team with two goals in the quarter finals with England that continue to be discussed: the ‘Hand of God” and the goal named the Goal of the Century by FIFA voters in 2002. “El Pibe de Oro” or “the Golden Boy” truly made good on his nickname winning the Golden Ball as the best player.

He also has had his issues with substance use. He was banned from the World Cup in 1984 for using banned performance-enhancing substances. Maradona explained the ephedrine variants were from a medicine for allergy symptoms but FIFA officials listed five substances: ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, pseudo-ephedrine, non-pseudo-ephedrine and methylephedrine found in Maradona’s urine. No one known medication contains all five ephedrine variants so FIFA officials suggested he had to have ingested an ephedrine “cocktail” to show up positive for all five banned substances. Ephedrine is a performance-enhancing substance that acts as a stimulant and is banned from athletic competition.

Maradona has also struggled with alcohol and, most notably, cocaine use. As he described it,

“Do you know what kind of player I would’ve been if I had not used cocaine? What a player we’ve lost! I have a sour taste in my mouth because I could have been a lot bigger! I assure you of that! I knew who I was going to be, what I didn’t know was that I was going to take cocaine.”

Currently he is asking authorities to jail one of his daughters, Gianinna, for acting, as he alleges,  in a conspiracy with his other daughter, Dalma, and his ex-wife, Claudia to steal £3.4 million or $4.5 million dollars from a bank account in Uruguay. He has been known to act outrageously including throwing stones at the cars of paparazzi and using an air rifle against photographers when he wanted to be left alone. We hope Maradona has a happy holiday season, with or without his family.

Number 3: Adriano Leite Ribeiro

Adriano Leite Ribeiro, known simply as “Adriano” or “The Emperor”, is a Brazilian who grew up in a favela in Rio and has returned there but the story is far from over if Adriano has anything to say about it. His hope is to return to professional soccer.

While it seems a bit farfetched to consider now, it is no more farfetched than where he has come from. Rio has some of the worst slums in the world and Adriano currently lives in a slum where he must continually pay off a gang called “Red Command” just to survive unmolested. For a price, the gang ensures his safety and that of his family. Yet Adriano is still looking forward to returning to professional play in 2018 after he was released from Miami United in 2016.

Only I know how much I suffered. The death of my father left a huge hole. I felt alone and I isolated myself when he died. I was sad and depressed in Italy, and that was when I started to drink. I only felt happy drinking, I drank everything in front of me: wine, whisky, vodka, beer… I didn’t know how to hide it. I used to go to training drunk in the morning.”

Flamengo president Eduardo Bandeira de Mello offered Adriano a spot this summer but Adriano refused. He still sees the World Cup ahead and he knows he can still play.

Number 4: Cícero João de Cézare

NUMBER 5 – Cícero João de Cézare

Brazilian/Italian and former Real Madrid Fullback Cícero João de Cézare, nicknamed “Cicinho”, is a soccer player who just doesn’t say no. He discussed his issues with alcohol in a frank interview with ESPN saying,

I’m a guy who can’t sit and have one or two glasses. I have to drink until I fall over. They said to me: ‘If you keep going with this life, you will die’. Then I had an encounter with Jesus after 18 caipirinhas and 14 beers. I smoked two packets of cigarettes a day, how was I going to run around for 90 minutes?

Caipirinhas are the national drink of Brazil and are composed of lime muddled with sugar and cachaça, a hard liquor derived from sugarcane. Cicinho also stated his time in Rome was spent drinking and getting tattooed before he decided to make a change. He now regrets his tattoos and they serve as daily reminders that he needed to deal with depression in different ways.

I regret everything and I did not seek advice from anyone. These things don’t cure depression, you just run the risk of becoming more depressed. I feel uncomfortable with my tattoos, I only got them while under the influence of alcohol.”

I drank because I hated the pain and needed it to get the tattoos. I thought the tattoos were going to bring me peace and it’s not like that. I imagined myself being 60 years old, eating cake and covered in tattoos.”

All of these men made a choice regarding substance use: to continue, to moderate, or to abstain. Only time will tell how successful they are in redirecting their careers and lives in the way they wish. With 2018 on the horizon, may they all have success and happiness in the coming year in whatever decisions and directions they choose to make.

NUMBER 5:  Yaya Touré

Gnégnéri “Yaya” Touré, central midfielder for Premier League Club Manchester City, was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in East London at 11:15PM on November 28, 2016. He had been driving approximately 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit at the time and was found to have 75 micrograms of alcohol by breathalyzer or just over double the legal limit of 35 micrograms.

This finding was especially curious, as Yaya is Muslim. The Ivory Coast national has refused to drink alcohol publicly in the past. When he appeared before the Barkingside Magistrates Court on December 14, 2016, Yaya testified that he was unaware he had consumed alcohol at all. He had drunk from a bottle and thought it was diet Coke but the bottle also contained brandy. Although he stated it tasted “funny”, he drank it and didn’t know he was drunk or impaired when he went to drive. He nevertheless pled guilty as he did fail a breathalyzer test and did have alcohol in his system, whether he intentionally consumed it or not.

The judge was prepared to fine Yaya £81,000 ($108,000.00+). While Yaya makes £200,000 weekly ($267,000.00+), Yaya argued his net weekly income was closer to £54,000 ($72,000) as some of the income was due to performance-based bonuses that were variable. Between this argument and the guilty plea, the judge relented and set a fine of £54,000 plus £85 for court costs and £170 for victims surcharge fee. Yaya was also ordered to undergo a program for drinking and driving and an 18-month ban on driving. If he completed the drinking and driving program, he could have his driving ban reduced by 18 weeks. Hopefully,Yaya will be able to get back to driving soon without any further spiked diet Cokes in his way.

There’s Still Time to Make a Change in 2017

There is time to make a change in 2017

You may be concerned about being away for the holidays

Here we are again, another year almost over. Festive holiday decorations dot the landscape and there is a buzz of activity and excitement in the air everywhere you turn. Everyone has their holiday time traditions; baking cookies, watching cheesy Christmas love stories and those old classic Christmas movies, and getting together with family and friends to celebrate the season.

For some the end of another year sparks a renewed resolve for change. Perhaps you set some personal goals at the beginning of 2017 and now 2018 is coming upon you quickly and you realize you haven’t achieved them. If you’re someone who is struggling with a substance use problem and you’re still struggling in spite of attending another rehab, more counseling, meetings and treatment throughout 2017, there is still time this year to finally break free for good.

You may be concerned about being away for the holidays, but the Retreats offers a homey, comfortable, and festive atmosphere throughout the season, while providing you with the truth about addiction and recovery. Addiction is not a disease and you are not powerless; with The Freedom Model for Addictions you will learn exactly why you may feel that way, and how you can change it.

Addiction and its counterpart, recovery, can become a virtual prison. Far too many people become stuck in a revolving door of addiction/treatment/recovery that has no exit, but there is a way out and you can effect lasting change in your life before the clock ticks down to midnight on New Year’s Eve. The Freedom Model for Addictions offered at the Saint Jude Retreats can show you how you can step out of the revolving door and make a dramatic life change that lasts far beyond 2018.

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When Holiday Cheer Gets Out of Hand. 3 Strategies to Keep You and Your Loved One Off the Naughty List

When Holiday Cheer Gets Out of Hand - There are 3 Strategies to Keep You and Your Loved One Off the Naughty List

3 Strategies You Can Use These Holidays

For many people, the holiday season holds memories of celebrations past and anticipation of new memories to share together. For some, the holidays can feel like an obstacle course through a minefield. If you have a loved one who uses drugs or alcohol to excess frequently, you may be concerned that the holiday atmosphere will give them yet another reason to be a little too “merry” this holiday season while you deal with the aftermath. It can make you dread the rounds of holiday parties and cheer that, for you and your loved one, can seem to spell trouble. This holiday season can be different for you if you’re ready to consider some different options for the season.

For some, the swirl of the holiday season can bring up anxiety that a loved one may overindulge in holiday cheer at holiday and office parties or family celebrations. You can help reduce your holiday stress and that of your loved one just by unlearning some substance use myths and approaching the situation from a different perspective.

Get Educated and Let Go of Myths and Misinformation-

Our culture is rife with movies, television shows, and cultural references to substance use and how it affects people but much of it is wrong or overstated. We refer to these ideas as myths of substance use and addiction. Some of these myths have entered our collective cultural consciousness so deeply that they appear to be facts.

One of the most important myths to free you and your loved one from this holiday season is the idea that people use substances because they are compelled to do so. All substance use is a choice followed by behavior that acts on that choice. There are no cravings, compulsions, or triggers that force someone to use substances against their will. While it may seem disheartening to know that every use of substances was the purposeful decision of your loved one, it’s actually good news. If we were truly in the power of substances, there would be no way to change or move beyond addiction and yet millions of people do so every day.

You and your loved one can stop blaming the substance and own your choices. As someone who loves a heavy drinker or substance user, you need to know there is no all-powerful substance that makes your loved one choose to use. They use because they choose to do so and they can choose not to use.

Be Positive but Set Limits—limits that is on YOUR behavior!

You can’t control your loved one. You can decide how you wish to behave and set limits on your choices. It’s not helpful to you or your loved one if you act in a threatening, cajoling, pleading, or coercing manner or try to manipulate your loved one’s behavior. Once you decide to give up the idea that you can control your loved one’s behavior, you may find a huge burden is lifted off both of you. You’re not responsible for their choices—they are.

Be Supportive –

Discuss ahead of time with your loved one what events they want to attend and the choices they want to make about substance use during those events. If they want to skip an event this year, it’s not the end of the world. Be supportive of their decisions, especially if they are dealing with new behaviors like moderating or abstinence. A change in behavior can take some adjusting, often more for the people around your loved one than for them.

You can be supportive by being positive about their new behavior choices. It’s not about deprivation at all. It’s all about them making the choice that has the greatest potential for the best outcomes for today and tomorrow. So have a game plan and stick to it!

If your loved one chooses to moderate their substance use this season, you can feel it’s a scary decision for them to make. You may be worried that they will overindulge as in times past. If your loved one is clear about why they want to use and have put aside myths of substance use and addiction, moderation is an option, however trying to moderate while hanging on to addiction and substance use myths is a recipe for disaster. Your loved one can’t successfully hold onto feelings of powerlessness and attempt to moderate—the two positions can’t work in practice.

If you or your loved one wants to end their dependence on these myths and really break free from addiction, consider reading The Freedom Model: Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap. It covers much more than we can go over in a single article and can help your loved one end their reliance on myths and misinformation and end addiction without fear. The Freedom Model can help you not to rely on myths and misinformation as well. More importantly, The Freedom Model can help you free yourself from the anxiety, guilt, and resentment that can be a part of loving someone who is a heavy substance user. Happy holidays to you and yours and enjoy the season with good will and cheer!

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Norway Just Fined a 22 Year Old $30K for Drunk Driving- Should the US Hike Our Fines Too?

Norway Just Fined a 22 Year Old $30K for Drunk Driving- Should the US Hike Our Fines Too?

World’s Second Youngest Billionaire Walks Away with a Hefty Drunk Driving Fine

Katharina G Andresen

Katharina G. Andresen – 22 Year Old Pays $30K for Drunk Driving Conviction in Norway

It was Easter weekend 2017 and Katharina Andresen, 22, a student of Amsterdam University College, was on her way to her family’s chalet in the resort town of Hefjell, Norway. She was pulled over and failed a roadside breathalyzer. An hour later, she blew a 0.06% BAC. Most US states require a BAC at or above 0.08% to be considered as a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) per se. As Katharina stated Friday at her hearing, “I thought I had waited long enough not to be over the limit any more. I am very sorry.

Norway’s drunk driving laws are tough—really tough. In Norway, a BAC of 0.02% gets you arrested for drunk driving with penalties equal to a month’s salary and your license suspended for one year. If your BAC tops  0.15% or higher, expect to be shelling out one and a half month’s salary, spending at least 21 days in prison, and a suspended license for 2 years. Your financial penalty is all based on your income and penalties range from 100-150% of your monthly income although judges can use some discretion in determining your actual financial situation.

Katharina and her sister, Alexandra, are the youngest billionaires in the world after their father, Johan Andresen, provided them with 42% each of the family investment firm, Ferd, in 2007. With Katherina’s  net worth set at $1.23 billion, a monthly income assessment could’ve run into some serious money. Since Katharina is a student, the judge looked at her “real financial position” of  having no fixed income and fined her 250,000 Norwegian Krone or $30,142. Katharina was also given a suspended sentence of 3 weeks in prison and a 13 month suspended license. For Norway, it was lienency as she could’ve faced a fine of 40 million Krone or $4,822,764 plus probation and the suspended license.

The strict laws in Norway have not lessened drinking habits but have caused cultural changes. People who drink are more likely to call a taxi or designate a driver rather than risk some of the most severe penalties in Europe. Annually, 250 people are killed and 13,000 injured as a result of drunk driving in Norway. As a percentage of the population, this number equates to 0.005% death rate from drunk driving.

In comparison, in the US, the death toll attributed to drunk driving is 10,497 annually or 0.003% of the population. This rate equates to a death every 50 minutes or 29 people per day. The estimated costs of drunk driving in the US were last calculated in 2010 and stood then at $44 billion annually but of course now would be much higher. 28% of all US traffic fatalities are related to alcohol impaired driving and approximately 10% or 1,233 of these deaths involve children 14 years old or younger. In a positive direction, deaths due to drunk driving have decreased in the US by a third in the last three decades from 18,000 annually in 1982 to the current level.

Should we adopt a more financially punitive system toward drunk driving? The US has changed its social attitudes regarding drunk driving since MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and similar groups made it their cause. Is that enough? Would instituting a salary based system help to reduce fatalities, injuries, and overall costs to society or not? We’re eager to hear what you think is the best plan to reduce drunk driving: increasing penalties, encouraging social change like designated drivers, or something else entirely? Like and let us hear your thoughts below!

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