Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hello All,

Happy Holidays!  Please see the attached December 2015 Calendars for both PRO-ACT Philly locations.  Some highlights for this month include our Annual Holiday Dinner on Friday, December 11th and a Holiday Carol Sing-Off on Friday, December 18th both at PRCC.  At PRTC we will be hosting the DBHIDS Storytelling and Family Storytelling trainings. 

Best regards,
JodyAnn Newell
Volunteer Coordinator
PRO-ACT/Philadelphia Recovery Community Center
1701 W. Lehigh Ave., #6
Philadelphia, PA 19132

PRO-ACT… Ambassadors for Recovery!

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged and protected under State and/or Federal Laws. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. If you believe that you have received this email in error, please contact the sender or call 215-345-6644

Join City of Angels NJ, Inc. for our

Annual Christmas Party
Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Special Addiction Service at 3:00 pm
First Baptist Church of Hightstown
125 S. Main St., Hightstown, NJ

Bring the kids to Meet & Greet and have their photo taken with Santa from 12:30 - 1:30pm. We will take photos which will be posted on the COA website for you to download. You may also bring your own camera.
Bring your pets to Meet & Greet and have their photo taken with Santa from 1:30 - 2:00pm. (In the back parking lot, pets are not allowed in the church, sorry!)

This a FREE event and Everyone is invited and welcome to join us.

Please bring an appetizer or dessert if you can.....if not, just come hungry!
Join the COA Facebook Group!
For information and news about addiction & recovery resources, 
click here to join the group.
City of Angels NJ, Inc. was founded in 2009 to guide people with addiction to treatment and support them in their recovery. Each year, COA performs hundreds of interventions and referrals to treatment. COA will work with anyone, regardless of their insurance status, treatment history, or other details. COA also conducts community outreach through schools and local events to educate the public about addiction. We never charge for our services, including interventions, recovery support and other programs and activities.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Relapsed and forced out, sober home residents die in motels

Relapsed and forced out, sober home residents die in motels

Study to look at creatine in treating meth addiction

Study to look at creatine in treating meth addiction

How Cable News Reporter Laurie Dhue Overcame Alcoholism

How Cable News Reporter Laurie Dhue Overcame Alcoholism
Merry Christmas from His Mansion Ministries
   Most of us think of the Christmas season fondly. It means time with loved ones, special church services and celebrating the birth of our Savior. But for people battling addiction, this festive time of year means juggling their struggles with family expectations. Laura Zube, a former resident, remembers Christmases during the 15 years her eating disorder controlled her life.
   "Over the course of my illness," she explains "I was hospitalized in more than 50 different treatment centers, psychiatric locked units, and medical facilities, including a month-long stay in the ICU. Despite this, I found no relief from my condition. None of these facilities offered permanent freedom from the bondage I was in."
    Christmas only exacerbated the problem due to the food that accompanied her family gatherings. Throughout the day, Laura's entire focus was on food. Jesus and the celebration of His birth were the furthest things from her mind.
   When Laura arrived on The Hill, she was shocked to find there were no nutritionists, no specific meal plan, and no definitive eating disorder protocol. "How," she thought, "are they going to handle a patient with an eating disorder?" But she found that what she needed was not to be "handled" but instead cared for as a beloved child of God.
   Today, with all praise and glory to God, Laura now walks in the freedom she has found in Christ. However, her journey since leaving His Mansion has not been struggle-free. Though, as she looks back, she pictures Him right beside her, never chastising her for falling short.
   Laura left The Hill with unfinished work to do in regard to her relationships with men. She became involved with a man from the program who graduated six months after she did. Despite words of caution from family and friends, they became engaged.
   Before they were married, however, Laura discovered she was pregnant. "The fear and shame I felt was overwhelming," says Laura. "I had disappointed my family and felt I 
had disappointed God, rendering my testimony worthless."
   Thirteen weeks into the pregnancy, events transpired that resulted in her facing a future as a single mother. She also learned she was having twins.
   Annika and Eli were born Aug. 30, 2011. A week later, Eli contracted bacterial meningitis and w
ent into septic shock. He had to be revived, and was given a 20% chance of surviving. 
   "During these events, God was asking me to trust Him like never before, and my faith was tested in ways I never thought I'd be able to endure," Laura remembers. "There were times I felt I was being punished by God for my sin, that I deserved this and He was going to take away my son as payment."
   But He didn't. Instead, He took her shame and nailed it to His cross. He healed her son,
reminding Laura and us that He had already paid the price. Annika and Eli are now 4 years old. Eli has some permanent hearing loss due to the antibiotics he was given, but is otherwise doing great.
    As Laura prepares for Christmas with her young family, she makes a conscious effort to explain to Annika and Eli the root of the season she learned on The Hill six years ago: the birth of Christ and His life-changing gift.
   "I am teaching them that Christmas isn't just a day of gifts but a time of blessing; a season to give to others because of what God has given to us - His Son. That constant presence and overwhelming love and grace is what I want to instill i
n Annika and Eli," says Laura. "Jesus isn't only a baby in a manger making an appearance once a year but a living spirit that dwells in each of God's children every day of the year."
   The never-ending presence of Christ in our lives is truly one of the greatest gifts from God. He's our Savior, our Comforter, and our Guide. The ultimate gift we can give is sharing the peace and hope of Christ. That is the gift Laura found at His Mansion where she received healing and truth in God.
   Laura has been living a new life since she graduated from the program in 2009, and we have many on The Hill today who crave that same freedom. Your special Christmas gift of $100, $50, or $25 will serve as a way to share God's love with lonely and broken men and women, and help them welcome Christ into their own lives.
   May you and those you love be blessed this Christmas!
   Thank you, 
Ed Perrine

Click Here to Give

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
"Today I am doing something different."


“A problem is only a problem if you refuse to look for a solution.  If you don’t take action to fix it, then it will remain a problem.”  -Catherine Pulsifer

“There is always something you can do about any problem; even if it is just changing your perspective on how you feel about the problem.”  -David DeNotaris

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”  -Robert H. Schuller

Statement #4, “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.”
I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me.

Karen’s Perspective +
     As we close the door on Thanksgiving 2015, and prepare ourselves for the remainder of the holiday season, it is a wonderful and exhilarating time to be sober.  No hangovers, no drunk dialing, no shame in embracing our New Life.  We see things differently and we feel things differently.  This can present a whole new set of circumstances and we need to keep our focus on becoming the best version of ourselves.
     Sobriety does not erase problems; it simply allows our mind the freedom to consciously solve the problem.  Alcohol may have hid a problem momentarily, but the issue will reappear until some kind of action is applied.  Problems can still be denied living a sober life and, while it may seem that we are “free of the issue” so to speak, the denial, in fact, can escalate the very problem that we seek to avoid.  No problem will ever get solved by simply ignoring it.
     Under the influence, problems seemingly became insignificant for many women.  Advertisers would like for us to believe that the bottle they are peddling is the answer or that a joyous, family gathering can be achieved if we use their product.  We know, deep down inside us, that a balanced life does not come in a bottle or outside source, yet so many try for a very long time. Denial can be deadly.
     Statement #4 in action takes many forms; but, the one thing each solution has in common is doing something different.  If you constantly burn dinner and you don’t want it to burn, you have to do something different.  It can mean changing the temperature of the oven, changing the time it is heating or even try a new recipe.  Going out to dinner is another option; it is doing something different.
     When solving problems, we can repeat the same actions and get the same results and just like Einstein’s quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  We need to change something.  Any little change is movement away from getting the same, repeated results.
     Your problems do not define you; they can empower you as you work to overcome them.  You gain strength in mind, heart and soul.  Your confidence increases, as well as your self-esteem.  You influence others as they watch you try and succeed, and even when you try and fail.  Statement #4 directs us to look at what we are facing and move forward.  You do not permit problems to overwhelm you.
     Big or small, no problem is too tall or out of reach.  You have the ability.  You have the strength.  You have the courage.  You have what it takes to look inside yourself and say
“Today I am doing something different.”

Hugzzz, Karen
+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, My past does not define me, it only tells me where I’ve been.  The same can be said of how I problem solved in the past, before I was ready to admit I hadn’t been willing or able to consider a new approach to an old problem.  It is not easy to change or even trust our instincts when first becoming sober and I am learning that even after so many years.  It is still difficult to change approaches with family when there is so much family history and roles we’ve played for a very long time.  The patterns are well established.  However, I am one who also believes that as long as we are breathing, change is possible.  I have learned so much in WFS that giving up or accepting my fears of change within family, just doesn’t sit well with me.  I love that life is not stagnant, that change is overcoming familiar fears of rejection, loss, disappointment, feeling invisible, hurting others if I express myself too strongly; and, yet, I also know that I am responsible for myself and my actions so I keep searching inside myself for new solutions to old problems, seek help from those I trust and give myself credit for not giving up.  I also give myself credit for not being perfect in how I handle life’s problems because forever I will be a work in progress and that’s okay - I am still breathing!  –Dee
Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration to start off our week! ~Becky Fenner, WFS Director
Email:   *   Tel215-536-8026   *   Fax:  215-538-9026   *

Best of the week from Choose Help

Marijuana Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms and How to Cope

Marijuana Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms and How to Cope
How to get past the first 2 weeks of marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Learn what to expect from marijuana withdrawal, with tips and suggestions for coping with individual withdrawal symptoms.
People who claim that marijuana is not addictive have obviously never spent a sleepless night of headaches and nausea lusting for just that little something to take the edge off.
Marijuana detox is tough, and the withdrawal pains are very real and strong enough to keep a lot of people using more than they want for longer than they want to. Because marijuana detox doesn’t present with an obvious physical syndrome of symptoms, and because enduring social perceptions about the drug were formed in decades past, when the potency of marijuana was nowhere near what it is today, there exists a lingering misperception about the severity of marijuana detox and withdrawal pains.

Marijuana Detox Is Real

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are real, they are medically recognized as such, and have been for years. Marijuana detox is not physically dangerous but they can be very uncomfortable, and since the cravings during a period of marijuana detox can be so strong; marijuana detox presents a significant obstacle to sobriety and the bettering of a marijuana addiction.
Marijuana is addictive, the health risks of frequent use are many, and the benefits inherent in quitting make an attempt at detox a very good idea.
  • Research shows that a substantial percentage of heavy marijuana users will experience at least some withdrawal symptoms when quitting. In one major study of 500 heavy smokers, 59% experienced cravings and more than half experienced sleeping difficulties.1
  • The cumulative discomfort of withdrawal symptoms is severe enough to cause many people to abandon their quit attempts and go back to chronic use.
So though marijuana withdrawal symptoms won’t hurt you directly, if they keep you from quitting, they still exert a profound influence on your lifelong health and wellbeing.
If you choose to quit, don’t let marijuana withdrawal symptoms stop you. Read on to learn:
  1. What withdrawal symptoms to expect (and how long they last).
  2. About marijuana withdrawal medication options.
  3. Ways to manage individual withdrawal symptoms, to make it past the first difficult week.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Not all heavy chronic marijuana users will experience withdrawal symptoms upon quitting. For those that do, marijuana withdrawal symptoms can include:2
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams
  • Anxiety and feelings of nervousness
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pains
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Restlessness
  • Marijuana cravings


  • Symptoms typically emerge on the first quit day and peak within 2 or 3 days. Symptoms generally dissipate by a week or two, though insomnia can linger beyond this point for 30 days or longer.
  • Most people find that symptoms come and go over the first few days.
  • While many people find that no one symptom is overwhelming, the additive effect of a combination of symptoms can become quite distressing.

The APA’s DSM-5 Cannabis Withdrawal Diagnostic Guidelines

Do you meet the criteria for a medical diagnosis of cannabis withdrawal?
The American Psychiatric Association included cannabis withdrawal in its latest diagnostic manual, the DSM-5. To meet the APA’s diagnostic criteria you must:3 
1. Have just quit marijuana after a period of heavy and prolonged use.
2. Experience 3 or more of the following symptoms within a week of quitting.
  • Anger, irritability or aggression.
  • Nervousness and anxiety.
  • Insomnia or other sleep difficulties (vivid dreams.)
  • Restlessness.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Physical symptoms causing significant discomfort, like shakiness, headaches, fever, sweating, chills or abdominal pains.
3. Your withdrawal symptoms must cause you significant distress or interfere with normal social or occupation functioning.
4. Your symptoms must not be better explained by another physical or mental health disorder or from intoxication or withdrawal from another substance.

Do You Need Inpatient Detox?

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms may be uncomfortable, but they aren’t normally severe enough to warrant a need for hospitalization. Inpatient or residential detox treatment is rarely needed, except possibly when:4
  • There is a co-occurring severe uncontrolled mental or physical illness.
  • You are also withdrawing from other substances.
  • You have no safe or stable environment for the withdrawal process.
  • You have tried on multiple past occasions to make it through marijuana withdrawal without success.
  • You have a history of serious aggression or violence. Especially if past withdrawal attempts have prompted violent outbursts.

Factors That Affect Withdrawal Severity

The severity of marijuana withdrawal can vary greatly, even between people with seemingly similar use histories. Factors known to influence marijuana withdrawal include:
  • Your degree of dependence – the more addicted you are, the more likely you are to experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Your past and recent use history – a longer history of regular use and heavier recent use are both associated with more difficult withdrawal symptoms.
  • Expecting difficult withdrawals – your expectations also play a role. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you expect the worse, you’re more likely to experience difficult withdrawals.
  • Having a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Getting forced into an involuntary withdrawal – such as when you can’t access any marijuana.
In general, adults tend to experience more severe symptoms than adolescents, most likely due to longer use histories.5

Medications for Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Unfortunately, the one medication that effectively reduces withdrawal symptoms is one medication you’re not likely to get prescribed – oral THC (like Marinol.)6
Since you can’t access medications to reduce withdrawal intensity, you can only treat the individual symptoms. As always when considering new medications, talk to your doctor first.
Medications sometimes used to treat marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:
  • For insomnia and anxiety – Sedating antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenyhydramine), Z-drugs, like zolpidem (Ambien) and various benzodiazepines (clonazepam, diazepam etc.). Sedating antihistamines will only work for a short period as you grow quickly tolerant to the sedation. Both the Z drugs and the benzodiazepines are extremely habit forming.7
  • For headaches and muscle pains and spasms – Paracetemol or ibuprofen.
  • For nausea and vomiting - Metoclopramide or promethazine.
Though medications may help to take the edge off, behavioral techniques can help more to reduce discomfort. Read on for coping suggestions for various withdrawal symptoms.

Coping with Individual Withdrawal Symptoms

Once you make it past the first period of intense withdrawals (usually the first week or so) your odds of staying quit go up substantially. With preparation and education, you improve your odds of making it through, Read on to learn how to manage the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Marijuana Insomnia

Marijuana insomnia is one the most common and enduring withdrawal symptoms, and unfortunately, a lack of sleep tends to worsen the severity of other symptoms. You may never sleep well during the first period of withdrawal, but anything that improves your situation helps reduce your overall discomfort.
  • Cut out or cut-back on caffeine (this can also help to reduce your anxiety.) If you are addicted to caffeine, complete abstinence could lead to headaches and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms, so you can just cut back a bit and limit caffeinated drinks after mid afternoon.
  • Avoid stimulating vigorous exercise for a couple of hours before bed time.
  • Avoid staring at screens (TV, tablet, phone, computer, etc.) for a couple of hours before bed time (the blue light emitted by these devises mimics daylight and tricks your body into wakefulness.)
  • Make your bed and bedroom comfortable and inviting. Avoid spending time in bed for anything or than sleep or sex.
  • Eliminate extraneous light and sound from your sleeping environment.
  • If you really can’t sleep, don’t just lay in bed agonizing about it, get out of bed and do something relaxing for a half hour so – reading is great – and then try again.
  • Consider herbal medications such as valerian root or melatonin.
Insomnia for a month or more = a possibly unrelated sleep disorder. Marijuana withdrawal insomnia may last longer than other typical symptoms, however, according to the APA, if insomnia persists for longer than about a month after your quit day, you may have an independent – non-marijuana related, sleep disorder.

Marijuana Withdrawal Irritability

  • When you feel moody, take a deep breath and remind yourself your irritability is just a passing symptom of withdrawal and that you don’t have to act on any aggressive impulses.8
  • Try deep breathing exercises, or just focus on taking slow controlled breaths.
  • Count slowly to 10 in your head before responding to anyone with negativity.
  • Remove yourself from an anger-provoking situation before you do something you’ll regret.
  • Respond to feelings of anger with aerobic exercise. This helps you bleed-off nervous energy.
  • Ask for patience and understanding from loved ones for your cranky behaviors during the first few days!
  • Apologize quickly to anyone you treat poorly when irritable. This will make both you and your ‘victim’ feel better.

Marijuana Withdrawal Anxiety and Depression

  • A hot bath can ease anxiety – and a number of other marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
  • A half an hour of moderate exercise can ease anxiety and depression, tire you out physically to help with insomnia, stimulate appetite and help you manage periods of intense craving. You probably won’t feel like getting off the couch, but it will make you feel better.9

Marijuana Withdrawal Nausea and Loss of Appetite

  • Avoid overly spicy or fatty foods.
  • Since cooking smells can turn a queasy stomach, have someone else prepare your food for you.
  • Try eating cold foods, as these tend to smell less strongly than hot foods.
  • Do not eat and drink at the same time. Drink after you’re done your meal.
  • Don’t lie down while eating or for a few minutes after finishing.
  • A popsicle can sometimes help to reduce feelings of nausea.

Marijuana Withdrawal Headaches

  • Take OTC pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibupforen.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Stave off tension headaches with relaxation techniques, such as slow breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or meditation.
  • Eat at least small amounts of food on a regular basis.
  • Get out of your stuffy room and get some fresh air.

Managing Marijuana Cravings

Marijuana cravings can be intense during the first week after quitting. It can feel as though they’ll never stop or ease-up, but they will. If you can hold out for a week, you’ll find that cravings dissipate substantially.
You can manage cravings with a technique called the 4 D’s.10
  1. Distracting
  2. Delaying
  3. De-Catastrophizing
  4. De-Stressing

1. Distracting

Though at the outset, a craving can feel like it will never end, in reality, virtually all cravings disappear within 30 minutes, and the more often you resist your cravings, the weaker they become.
When you feel a craving coming on, distract yourself by getting busy doing something else (washing the dishes,  walking the dog – whatever!) by the time you’re done, your craving will be gone.

2. Delaying

You don’t have to delay forever – just for 30 minutes.
If you feel like you can’t hold on any longer and you’re about to give-up, delay lighting up for 30 minutes. Promise yourself that if after 30 minutes you still need to smoke, you’ll do so (fortunately, by 30 minutes your craving will have passed.)
  • To increase your odds of success, plan in advance what you’ll do while you wait – for example, walk around the block, call a friend, take a shower or tidy your room.
  • It’s a lot easier to wait while engaged in something active than it is when staring at a ticking clock.

3. De-Catastrophizing  

In the midst of a strong craving it’s easy to get caught up in ‘end-of-the-world’ type thinking. For example, “I can’t take it any longer.” Or, “I’ll die if I don’t smoke right now.” Or, “these cravings are never going to go away.”
Fortunately, none of these exaggerated statements are true, so when you catch yourself moiled in catastrophic thinking, reexamine and reframe - change:
  • “I can’t take it any longer” to “this is really uncomfortable, but I know it won’t last forever.”

4. De-Stressing 

Cravings cause stress and stress makes everything worse – including the intensity of your cravings!11 Therefore, anything you can do to relax before and during a craving reduces the intensity of the experience. Ideas to try include exercise, getting into nature, a hot bath, yoga or massage and many others.
Besides stress, getting overly tired, hungry or thirsty can also increase the severity of your cravings, so try to eat regularly, stay hydrated and get as much sleep as you can (it can be challenging).
Another great way to manage cravings is to ‘surf them’ with a technique called urge surfing.

Long Term Withdrawal Symptoms

Though marijuana insomnia can persist for longer than a month, most withdrawal symptoms should disappear by about 2 weeks after your quit date.  If you still feel withdrawal symptoms after this point, you may want to see a counselor or doctor to get checked for underlying conditions.
  • In some cases, people turn to marijuana to self-medicate mood disorders and other problems. With abstinence, mood disorder symptoms can return.

Finding Success

If you decide to quit marijuana, you increase your chances of success by learning about marijuana withdrawal, preparing to cope with symptoms and accepting your symptoms as transient signs of change - withdrawal symptoms aren’t fun, but they won’t last forever.
If you find that even with planning and coping efforts you cannot get past the discomfort and you continually relapse back to use, consider seeking professional help.
  • There is nothing wrong with getting help to achieve a life-changing goal and everything wrong with ignoring help and continuing to use a drug that you no longer want to use.

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And, as always, thank you for reading!
All the best to you and yours,

Martin Schoel,
founder of Choose Help
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