Before Giving in to that Craving, Watch This First: Free Resources for the Drug and Alcohol Community Part 1

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In this first of a four-part series, The Ho tai Way – Recovery for Women looks at Ted Talks, free video resources on many topics including addiction.  Videos are an excellent way to gain inspiration.  For example, you might be feeling lonely during the quarantine, which has led to thoughts of using.  Perhaps you said, "one drink won't hurt" or "I'm feeling so lonely and frustrated that if I don't drink or use, I'll go crazy."  Short clips like Ted Talks feature an expert on a given topic that has the gift of storytelling to convey a point meant to inspire.  You might be embarrassed to mention to someone else that you've had thoughts of relapse.  Video resources might help you work through any potential relapse. You can talk to a trusted friend, confidant, sponsor, or relative to get the clarity you need.

Isolation and Opioid Addiction – Rachel Wurzman

According to Rachel Wurzman, we experience life on a continuum, a spectrum between healthy and sick. It is produced by brain systems that also assume a range of different states.  Wurzman further asserted that how we relate to addiction makes a considerable difference in terms of the treatment of addictions.  This Ted Talk explores how miswiring in the brain might contribute to compulsive behaviors.  Wurzman stated that she has Tourette’s syndrome, characterized by involuntary movements, called tics.  What do Tourette’s and opioid addiction have in common?  The part of the brain responsible for compulsive behaviors, the striatum.

  Interestingly, opioid receptors are related to the desire for connection.  Wurzman found that when people who were not experiencing opioid overdose were given Narcan, they had difficulty connecting to persons with whom they already had a relationship.  The striatum is part of the motor and reward system and plays a critical role in social bonding.  Wurzman suggested that the striatum and opioid signaling in it has been linked with loneliness.

  Have you ever felt alone in a room full of people?  When the linking of opioid receptors is insufficient within the striatum, we can feel alone, even amongst others.  Loneliness is dangerous for addicts and can lead to restlessness, irritability, and impulsivity. A perilous combination for relapse.  We naturally seek to socially become rebalanced; we might find relief from anywhere, including drugs and alcohol.  Wurzman asserted that the hardest-hit communities have been those most ravaged by opioids.  Creating new pathways between neurons can help the brain rewire itself to learn new things.  The process of creating new pathways is called neuroplasticity.  Neurons that fire together, wire together, so practicing socially connecting behaviors can help reduce compulsive behaviors.  Wurzman stated, "we need social impulses to replace drug-cued compulsive behaviors," to rebalance the social reward system and to reduce drug cravings.

Addiction is a Disease – We Should Treat it Like One - Michael Botticelli

Michael Botticelli stated that he has a family history of addiction and identifies as a gay man, who in the 1980s, had limited options of meeting other gay men.  Until recently, bars and drinking were the only ways to connect and meet other gay people.  Botticelli highlighted that stereotypes about drugs and alcohol perpetuate the lack of public officials becoming involved with treatment.

  Public policy was being held hostage by stigma and fear; compassion, care, research, recovery, and treatment were also being held, hostage.  Botticelli was appointed by President Obama for drug policy.  He was told by Congress that his past with addiction would prevent him from approval.  Long-held beliefs like an addiction (despite 20+ years sobriety) should prevent someone from working in drug policy that must be challenged.  Refuting stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions are vital to persons obtaining needed treatment.  One out of every nine people gets treatment for addiction.  The consequences of not getting treatment can be dire, with incarceration and death at the highest magnitude.  Addiction is a medical disease, not a criminal one.  Openness about addiction and recovery can help change others' perceptions to reduce stigma and shame.

How Does Alcohol Make You Drunk?

Have you ever wondered why alcohol causes drunkenness?  Learn the science of alcohol with Judy Grisel.  Grisel noted that ethanol, made up of a few carbon atoms, is what makes you drunk.  Ethanol is the primary ingredient in alcohol and can cross membranes, hiding in many different nooks compared to other molecules.  Ethanol is smaller and more easily travels through the body.  Alcohol enters the bloodstream through the stomach, digestive tract, and small intestine.  The amount of alcohol that is absorbed depends on what was eaten.  Alcohol travels to the liver and the brain, the organs containing the most blood.  The liver uses ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) to break down ethanol into acetaldehyde. ALDH converts acetaldehyde into non-toxic acetate.  Grisel explains the effects of alcohol in a fun, animated video.

Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong - Johann Hari

Johann Hari grew up with a family history of addiction and stated that he attempted to wake a relative and could not.  It was then that Hari began to learn about addiction.  Hari asked, "what really causes addiction," "why do we use an approach that doesn't seem to work," "is there a better way we could try instead?"  Many experts have also attempted to answer these questions.  Hari asserted that the chemical hooks once believed to cause addiction are not entirely accurate.  Chemical hooks refer to using a substance for a period, long enough for the person to become dependent on the substance.  However, an injured person who receives a prescription from the doctor is exposed to that chemical hook for a time long enough to become dependent, but they do not.  Early experiments that studied addiction helped form beliefs about addiction.  Interestingly, when the research was altered, scientists learned that connection or a lack thereof was crucial to understanding addiction.

The Ho tai Way is designed to meet your needs and teach you how to regain your life sober.  Are you ready to authentically connect and turn off autopilot?  Do you want to help break myths and stereotypes about alcohol and drug use?  Contact our admissions specialists today.  Call 714-581-3974 to start your journey of recovery today.

Ted Talk Videos