Strong Pain Reliever Can Lead to Abuse and Addiction

Although OxyContin is a major weapon against chronic or severe pain, its use can lead to addiction and drug abuse. The synthetic opioid works in the body much like morphine. An unfortunate similarity is that OxyContin can prove highly addictive.

OxyContin, known as oxycodone when given as a generic drug, is a controlled substance. Doctors who prescribe it to relieve pain want their patients to keep a close eye on their intake. OxyContin abuse has increased dramatically in recent times in spite increased medical and legal scrutiny.

Two years ago the National Institute on Drug Abuse studied American high school students. The NIDA reported that greater than five percent of twelfth graders abused OxyContin, taking it without prescription. OxyContin abusers are not limited to the young; its use continues throughout all parts of the population.

Doctors have become more cautious about prescribing strong pain relievers. They must walk a fine line between appropriate prescribing and holding back from those caught in the web of abuse. Addiction can creep up on people, taking them by surprise.

Some people may be on the drug for months or years before they realize they have crossed the line into addiction. Others may not be able to admit that they have a problem. They may try to convince themselves and others that they are only occasional drug users who take OxyContin only when they need to relax.

It is easy to convince oneself that drug abuse is not in play when one is actually addicted. Some people are just as good at convincing themselves as they are at convincing others that they do not have a problem. For awhile at least they maintain the illusion that they choose when they take OxyContin, that the drug does not have control of them.

Signs of OxyContin addiction can be observed so that addicts themselves as well as loved ones can become aware of growing trouble. Having to take more OxyContin for the same results is one warning sign. If people get into legal trouble or come close to a legal problem because of drug use, then that should be taken as a signal.

Drug use will sometimes replace other activities in a person’s life. When taking drugs becomes more important than other people other events, then abuse should be suspected. Dependency on drugs for pleasure is not a good sign.

For an addict, withdrawal symptoms will arise when the drug dose gets reduced or eliminated. Getting over an addiction is often not a simple matter of quitting. Dependency makes leaving the drug behind a difficult matter.

In spite of promises to themselves and loved ones, OxyContin addicts face a battle in getting over their drug dependency. Another sign of addiction is the arrival of withdrawal symptoms when the user skips taking the drug. Withdrawal itself can scare drug users back into the vicious cycle of abuse.

One symptom of OxyContin addiction is the experience of blackouts. Forgetting events that the drug taker has lived through or knowing that he or she has passed out can signal addiction. Loved ones calling attention to the drug users’ blackouts can help the user ultimately face the addiction.

Abuse of OxyContin destroys people’s emotional and physical well-being. Depression and social alienation can set in, ruining the drug abuser’s sense of self. Insomnia or a major increase in the need for sleep may haunt the lives of addicts.

Other signs of a drug abuse problem include changed eating habits that result in sudden weight loss or weight gain. Slurred speech and lack of coordination may set in when people step over the line into drug abuse. OxyContin is an important medicine for the treatment of pain, but users need to know that it can lead to drug abuse.

How Nicotine Test Helps Employers to Establish Smoke-Free Workplace

Nicotine abuse is an issue affecting the profitability of businesses and the environment at workplaces. Employers are insisting on measures that will help them make the workplaces free from smoking of tobacco so as to make their businesses more productive.

Employers in US imposing ban on smokers:

Increasing numbers of employers in US are rejecting the applications of candidates who smoke. They are abiding by the laws framed by the government for the purpose and are not hiring who they find to be smokers. To know whether the prospective hired is smoker, they conduct tests. Those who are found positive for smoking are not offered employment.

Nicotine test helps them to detect smokers – instantly:

Employers apply different techniques to tackle the issue of smoking. These include testing for tobacco (nicotine) by different methods. These tests are helpful to identify if the applicant really smokes tobacco or not. Generally, a nicotine test can be conducted using urine, saliva or hair follicle samples. Employers use any or a combination of these techniques.

Benefits of establishing smoke-free environment:

A smoke-free environment improves productivity of the employees and reduces health insurance costs. Employers find smoke-free workplace beneficial on the following grounds.

Increased productive hours:

A no-smoking environment results in higher number of productive hours than in a smoking permitted one. Employees not used to smoking concentrate better on work and hence there is greater number of productive hours. They are healthy and take few sick leaves.

Whereas, smoking employees take unauthorized breaks to smoke, which is waste of productive time.

Healthy atmosphere:

As healthy employees are more focused on productivity, there is cordial relation between employees as well as employers. Such workplaces boost the employees’ morale and work potential and encourage talented workforce to work for more number of hours. Employers too reciprocate and get prompted to take positive action on any issue.

Shows professional approach of the business:

A smoke-free workplace, places the employer’s image in a positive view among the employees, peers, government, and social groups. The welfare measures taken serve as an example for professional approach taken by the employer. This will enhance mutual trust between the employer and employees.

Reduces healthcare costs:

Following a no-smoking policy at workplace would result in less healthcare costs. This is because, the employees are healthy and need lower health maintenance expenses – be it insurance premium or medical emergencies. These factors are known to cause increased medical expenses to employers in case of employees habituated to smoking. Studies show that, post non-smoking policy there is remarkable decline in the tobacco caused heart attacks, making current smokers to quit (Source: Forbes, 12 June, 2015).

Taking up nicotine tests to enforce a smoking-free environment at workplace is beneficial. The measures, of course, entail costs to the employers.

Simple Woodworking Business Marketing Tips

First off, you are a small business. Unlike big businesses that can afford to advertise for name recognition and future product sales, you need an advertising plan that will create sales now. A good approach to this would be to offer something special in your advertisements.

People buy things every day. However, not all people make their decision to buy any particular product or service for the same reason. Some consumers care only about the price while others are more concerned about the quality. You can easily appeal to either of these groups.

Offer Different Priced Versions

Some customers just do not want to pay the full price for anything, while others are concerned about only getting something for the lowest price regardless of the quality. You can appeal to these types of customers with a discounted or scaled down model that sells for less.

On the other hand, there are those who are not opposed to paying a little more to get a quality product and/or service. You can increase your average sale by offering your premium wood products or a combination of products at a higher but fair price.

Use Alternative Marketing Methods

Find the marketing methods that your competition may be overlooking. There are many low-cost ways to get the word out about your woodworking business.

Create a website or blog. Promote your woodworking business with mailings. A small ad printed on a simple postcard and mailed to perspective customers can generate sales leads and website traffic.

Run smaller ads. This will allow you to have more advertisements for less money. Shorter, smaller ads have a surprisingly better response rate than you might think. Smaller ads often produce better results than their larger counterparts.

Consider Joint Venture Advertising

Contact some of the non-competing businesses in your area that serve the same customer base as your woodworking business. Suggest starting a cooperative advertising campaign with them. You could promote their business by referring customers to them and they would in turn do the same for you. You could even offer discounts to the referred customers. This type of cross promotion results in more sales for both businesses and literally costs nothing…

Reward Your Customers

Take advantage of your woodworking business’s most valuable asset: your current customers. These people know you and have come to trust and believe in your work. It is a lot easier to entice more business from a prior customer than someone who hasn’t bought from you yet.

Alert these customers to any new woodworking products or services before you release them to the general public, and offer them a special deal.

Your satisfied customers are your best advertisement, so use this to your advantage and reward them whenever you can. Give your customers a reason to refer you to their friends. Develop incentives that will encourage them to spread the word about you and your woodworking business. A discount on their next product is well worth a new customer.

These simple marketing tips provide affordable ways for your woodworking business to create a customer base and produce sales quickly.

Reminders on Your Safety When Traveling Out of the Country

Traveling is exciting but of course before getting excited you have to think about your safety when traveling abroad especially on places where you are not familiar with. Tourists are always the target of crimes and violence because tourists are usually not accustomed on the places they are visiting. Always remember that your safety should be your priority when traveling. Here are some tips to ensure your safety when traveling out of the country.

Before traveling abroad the very first thing that you should do is leave photocopies of your passport and itinerary to your family or close friends just in case you need to be contacted for emergency. It is best that your family and the people close to you know where you are and how you can be contacted. It is important that you have a travel medical insurance because you will never know when sickness or accident will hit you. It is best to be always prepared and mind about your safety when traveling out of the country.

When you are entering another country, you are subject to its laws so it is best to learn their local laws and customs before visiting. Read magazines, books, inquire in the embassies and most of all be updated with the current news about the country you plan to visit. Even as simple as photographing certain places or situations could put you in trouble. It is best to be informed than be sorry.

As mentioned earlier, tourists are usually the target of crimes so avoid being a target. To ensure your safety when traveling out of the country, be discreet on your clothing and accessories to avoid attention from people around you. Wear simple dress and avoid wearing expensive looking jewelry. Take care of your passport, cash and credit cards. Do not bring your wallet that contains important cards like social security card and all your credit cards. Avoid carrying large amount of money, one or two credit cards and a traveler’s check would be enough. Bring only those that you need. Do not use shoulder bags or body bags that are easy target for pickpockets or thieves.

Although you are enjoying your trip, be vigilant to avoid being a victim of crimes. Avoid or be extra cautious on places where you are more likely to be victimized by people looking for an opportunity like public markets, poorly lit streets, narrow alleys, underground passages and subways. Do not ride the elevator or take public transportation like taxis alone. With regards to strangers, it is okay to be nice but be cautious because there are crimes or pickpockets that will create scenarios like asking for directions or time just to have the opportunity to victimize you, so avoid interaction with people you do not know. To ensure your safety when traveling out of the country, never accept food or drinks from strangers, there are women raped or people murdered by drinking drugged foods and beverages.

Keep an eye on your luggage and never leave them unattended. Carry your passport and important documents with you and never leave them in your luggage that needs to be checked in. As much as possible do not bring too many things to make your travel easier.

Select a hotel with highly structured security to ensure your safety when traveling out of the country. When you get to the hotel, make sure you know the nearest fire exit and you should know the emergency numbers just in case you need to call. When going out, do not leave your valuable things in the hotel.

It is always fun to travel but of course your safety should always be your priority. Another thing that makes traveling really exciting is when you get to find discounts on airfare. Do you want to know how to obtain ridiculously low-cost airfare? Visit Save on Airfare Secrets

The Role of Neurons in Substance Abuse

Addiction is a neurological disease and any attempt to define it otherwise can be met with compelling evidence. In fact, the nature of the disease of addiction is almost entirely based upon functions that occur within nerve cells and the circuits they are wired in. Understanding the role neurons play in substance abuse won’t help an addict get clean directly, but it will foster an environment of understanding that can help to mitigate and improve the serious public health threat of substance abuse.

What is a Nerve Cell?

There are billions – perhaps trillions – of nerve cells in the brain. Some scientists theorize there are so many nerve cells because in the event of their death or alteration, these cells are not regenerated and therefore we require a surplus of them. And because their functions are so critical, nerve cells are found in abundance in every area of the brain.

Nerve cells – also called neurons – have many different functions, but overall these functions are primarily communication-related. Neurons communicate by sending and receiving signals to other neurons and nerve circuits, to glands and other hormone-related organs, to muscle cells and other parts of the central nervous system.

Neurons are arranged in circuits, though individual nerve cells do not physically touch. Instead, they float freely within the circuit.

The Individual Parts of Nerve Cells/Neurons

A neuron has 4 primary components;

1. Cell Body: the actual body of the nerve cell

2. Dendrites: dendrites branch out from the top of the nerve cell body

3. Axon: the axon is a long “cord” that extends from the bottom of the cell body

4. Terminals: the terminals branch out from the end of the axon

What Happens During Drug Use

When drugs enter the bloodstream, a signal is sent that excites certain dendrites in a nerve circuit. This signal is processed by the cell body, which in turn then sends instructions about the signal down through the axon. The axon conveys the signal and a neurotransmitter – often dopamine – is released by the terminals.

The neurotransmitter settles into the small gap between individual neurons – called the synaptic gap – and binds with receptors found in the dendrites of connected nerve cells. This causes the user to feel a euphoric sensation or “high.” When drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth interfere with this process, the neurotransmitter is not reabsorbed correctly by the terminals, resulting in neurotransmitter saturation. This causes the high to last for an extended period of time, whereas a natural release of a transmitter like dopamine normally causes a mildly pleasant feeling that quickly dissipates.

How the Brain Corrects the Imbalance

Because drug use is essentially a chemical invasion of the brain, the central nervous system will seek to control the effects of the substance. This is accomplished through a process called drug tolerance, whereby users find it increasingly more difficult to get high.

Tolerance develops when changes are made to the way receptors bind with neurotransmitters, or when other processes in the nerve circuit are altered in order to reduce or eliminate the effects of the foreign substance. Unfortunately, this often means that the drug user will simply increase the dosage of drugs in order to overcome this growing tolerance. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction.

Permanency of Changes

Changes made to receptors and nerve cells are not reversible. This means that the brain of a drug addict will have significantly changed by the time they stop using. Because these changes are largely permanent, they may cause the addict to feel differently than they did before they began using. Adjusting to these changes is the most difficult part of long term recovery from addiction or alcoholism.

The evidence shows that addiction is not an issue of morals or character; it has its roots literally in our brains and therefore deserves to be treated as the serious health concern that it is. This is why addiction can happen to anyone: we are all wired the same. The sooner we can understand this, the sooner we can begin to offer addicts the right treatment solutions, beginning with a grounded public perception of the neurological nature of addiction.

Understanding Your Landing Page

Trends in the marketing and advertising industry are ever-changing. They evolve depending on the developments of target markets and consumers. Before, promotions are centered on traditional media. Businesses invest in print advertisements in magazines and newspapers. They also pay for television and radio advertisements when they want to reach a wider range of market.

Nowadays, though, a new line of advertising and marketing strategy has emerged together with the rise of the online industry. As the target market becomes considerably larger online, businesses become more focused on their promotional strategies. The audience online is so vast that businesses find difficulty in actually reaching out to their market, let alone encouraging them to become actual clients.

This is why a lot of businesses now focus on creating good sales copies and engaging websites for their online market. They have even opened work from home opportunities for content writers, web page designers, and other skilled individuals. One of the best strategies that these businesses employ is the use of landing pages.

A landing page appears when you click through a search engine result or an online ad posting. Usually, these are stand-alone pages that only contain a link to the official website if the reader gets more interested. A comprehensive sales copy is commonly featured in landing pages. Often, they are made for specific advertising purposes or when there is a particular product that a company would like to give emphasis on.

Landing pages may also appear as the result of a link from a social networking account or a specialized marketing campaign. These are the pages that you get redirected to when you click through a badge from the sidebar of your Facebook account or from a blog that you are visiting. You may also reach this through a promotional message sent to you via email.

There are two general types of a landing page. One is the reference type, wherein you only get to view information and content displayed for you. This is the kind that you put up for the purpose of direct promotion. In this type, visitors of the page are given outright the information that they need. The other type of landing page is referred to as transactional because it requires visitors to enter log-in details for them to be able to view the content of the page.

In creating landing pages, you must be able to consider a few essential factors to ensure that they reach the objective for which they are made for. One of these factors is the accessibility of your page. You have to ensure that when a potential client decides to peruse the landing page for your product all of its contents are easily accessible. The information must all be displayed in a well-organized manner to display transparency and encourage understanding of your brand and product.

You should also be able to consider the relevance of your content to the immediate market that you may reach. As the Internet is a wide market, this page will likely be visited by various people. However, only those who find your content relevant to their needs would be interested enough to read through and even click to be redirected to your actual website. This is why you have to ensure that your content would prove to relate to your audience, regardless of their needs and statuses. They have to be able to see some benefit, however remotely, out of the product that you are offering them.

Finally, in creating a landing page, you must also consider the level of interaction that it promotes. Online users are usually more enticed when they get to a page that tries to interact with them because they feel significant to the purpose. You must make your readers feel this way so that they would be encouraged to visit your website and, eventually, become actual clients. Interactive landing pages may include forum questions, online promo contests, and information exchange.

Landing pages are really beneficial for website owners especially to those who are managing work from home opportunities. They do need not to compile all information in just one website. Just always remember to put in your landing page all relevant information for your brand to gain the trust of your immediate market.

Attraction Marketing in YOU: 5 Signs You Are Growing

Attraction Marketing starts with your personal growth. Why does personal development play an important role in your business? If you are solo entrepreneurs, you are the doer for your business. If you are growing, you will improve and of course, your business will have an impact too. I’m integrating personal development into my marketing strategy. Know thyself gives me a positive energy in my life and a creativity for my marketing messages. As you increase your self-awareness, you lead yourself well, and you will find your personal branding.

I have learned about personal development in a year, and hence it has become my internal marketing strategy. Attraction marketing is within me. I use marketing messages to inspire and to motivate people to change. Basically, people resist changing, or they lack of ambition, because they haven’t developed within them.

I would like to share the five signs of WATCH to indicate that you’re growing.

1. Words – the way you communicate will change. I’ve noticed a big difference between me and my fellow marketers which don’t learn personal development. Your marketing message will become alive and inspiring. Your message will bring a positive energy and changes for people who read and hear your message.

2. Attitude – your attitude will change. You will tap into positive attitude. You control how you react towards bad news. You would rather dispel anger feeling. I feel more calmness and peace inside of me. It also changes the relationship with my spouse and my kids better. I try to be more understanding with them.

3. Thoughts – be more careful with your thoughts because your thoughts will direct your life. Choose what you want to see, to read and to hear. I block myself of reading and listening bad news because I don’t want my emotion, and thoughts are influenced by negative news. By reading a personal development book or listening to a good motivational audio, you feed your thoughts with positive input only.

4. Characters – Yes, your characters can change. As you are more aware of yourself, you can choose what characters you want to embrace. Self-mastery is the best because you can control your life, hence you can control your success in life and in business.

5. Heart – what you feel is a matter. Let your heart be moved so your life will change. Listen to your heart and do self-talk to auto-suggest or to expect good things to happen in your life and in your business.

I believe if you have experienced those five signs of WATCH, you will get benefits for your personal life, and you will watch your business grow. People around you will sense positive impact as well.

If you embrace the five signs of WATCH into your marketing strategy, your attraction marketing will come from you. Your marketing messages will never be dull, and you tap the creativity into your business. With positive emotion, positive thoughts and positive attitude, you will have a passion of what you’re doing. You will search, find and equip yourself with necessary skills. People will be attracted to you naturally, because you offer not only a good product or service, but you have values and your business incorporates your personality.

Mobile Auto Detailing Noise Reduction Strategy – Shop Vacuum Enclosure

The other day, I was in a high-end neighborhood in California and I noted that it was quite noisy. There were landscapers with air blowers, landscapers using weed wackers, and even a mobile detailer across the street using one of those 5 horsepower shop vacuum. “Why all the noise,” I thought, this is a nice neighborhood. You see, I was surprised that the customers would put up with that noise and nonsense. Apparently they had no choice, but I would submit to you that they actually do. Further, there’s opportunity here and I’d like to explain why.

If you own a mobile detailing business you should consider noise reduction strategies. Perhaps you should buy a portable generator such as the Honda which is very quiet, and use an electric pressure washer, an electric buffer, and find a way to reduce the noise of that shop vacuum. Now then, before I retired I franchised mobile auto detailing units around the country. We set up these mobile rigs on trailers, in vans, and on pickup trucks using skid units. In many locations we would clean vehicles right in office parking lots where office windows were adjacent to the cars we were cleaning.

Our customers were on the phone and having meetings so it was unacceptable to make noise. Nevertheless, those shop vacuum cleaners have a terrible squeal to them. What we did was we took a plastic trashcan cut a hole in the side for the vacuum hose and a small opening in the top with some air-conditioning vent mesh. Then we used insulation around the inside of the trashcan, the kind that is silver on one side with sticky tape on the other. This did the trick. You can hardly hear the sound, unless you stood right next to the trashcan, which was upside down covering the vacuum.

This should work just about anywhere, and we never made any noise. Best of all, we got more referrals, and folks used to tell us that they likes us better than the people they had before because we didn’t make any noise. They would tell their friends, and we got more business. It was that easy. Using best management practices for mobile auto detailing and noise reduction makes sense, and it makes dollars.

Interestingly enough, you can’t buy anything like this in the store, no one sells them, you have to make your own. But since I’ve explained how, I hope you will do this as soon as possible, and help keep the peace and quiet.

Support Networks in Recovery From Addiction

Support networks must be made a critical component of an addict’s recovery plan in order to prevent relapse and maintain and improve emotional, mental and spiritual health. Recovering addicts that do not have a support network often become depressed, withdraw from social interactions and eventually return to using drugs in order to self-medicate their emotional pain. Consequently, understanding how support networks can benefit a recovery program and what types of networks are available is essential for people who are battling the disease of addiction or alcoholism.

Support Networks: Why They Work

There are 8 primary reasons why support networks are crucial for people in recovery:

1.) Fellowship

The power of fellowship is felt in nearly all groups that gather for a specific purpose; especially groups with powerful missions like those dedicated to the recovery of addicts and alcoholics. Humans are innately social creatures that need to be around other people that share the same goals and interests. And while there might not yet be enough scientific evidence to prove it, for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years mankind has recognized the power of fellowship; it’s a call that all humans respond to and this may be even truer for addicts that need to know they are not alone in their struggle.

2.) Friendly Observation

People in recovery sometimes struggle with issues of honesty regarding their desire to use or their actual drug use despite recovery efforts. Having a strong recovery-based support network serves as a safety net in this regard, as people within the group can recognize issues and signs of relapse or impending relapse among others in the group. In this way people can “keep an eye on each other.”

3.) Environment of Understanding

People in the general public often find it difficult or impossible to understand the true nature of the disease of addiction and fail to recognize how powerful it really is. By creating a recovery support network, an addict or alcoholic can ensure that the people they surround themselves with understand addiction and will therefore be less likely to judge, admonish or “feel sorry” for others that they know have a legitimate, neurological disease that requires a daily effort to overcome.

4.) The Power of Sharing

There is a great deal of power in sharing and we see this in many different ways in society, from the individual talking to a therapist, to those who take part in groups and organizations, to people who open up to their barber or stylist, we clearly see that sharing helps people. Sharing can relieve stress, create stronger relationships and allow people to “let go” of emotional and other pain that they otherwise would allow to fester and grow. And according to Dr. Barton Goldsmith, sharing with others helps give us new perspective;

“There will always be problems in our lives, but sometimes we don’t have the capacity to handle them all by ourselves. Getting a 360-degree view is impossible when all you can see is what’s going wrong. And talking with another person can give you perspective.” (Goldsmith, Barton, Ph.D. Talk About Your Problems, Please Psychology Today March 3, 2011)

5.) Emergencies

When an addict has an “emergency”, it often means they are about to relapse. For some, this could prove fatal, so prompt action is required. Addicts that have good support networks are able to rely on people within them to come to their aid in the event that they feel drug use or a return to drinking is imminent. Additionally, a person in recovery may be empowered and enlightened when another addict asks them for help when they feel like using.

6.) Confidence

The confidence that a strong recovery-oriented support network can provide is significant. Many addicts report that just knowing there are people that they can talk to and others who are like them that they can turn to in the event of trouble makes it much easier to deal with the daily problems that often stress addicts and alcoholics out. When it comes to relapse prevention, confidence is one of the most critical components of recovery stability.

7.) Education and Resources

The more people an addict has in their networks, the more likely it is that new and useful information will be passed among the various members. And the more education and resources an addict has access to, the more likely it is that they will acquire the right combination of knowledge and tools not only to stay clean for life, but to help others do so as well.

8.) Entertainment

Being part of a recovery-oriented network doesn’t mean that there’s no fun or entertainment involved. People in recovery can still do all of the fun things they want to do, provided others in the group want to participate. Fortunately there are many recovery-sensitive groups and organizations that arrange outings, events and so on in order to provide clean entertainment for its members. Remember; it’s as important to share a laugh with your networks as it is to share emotional pain.

Types/Components of Support Networks

Each addict’s complete support network structure is unique. Some addicts consciously build their support groups, while others are unsure of what groups and networks exist, how to join and what the benefits are. The following are 11 different components that in whole or in part make up the support networks of many people in recovery:

1.) 12 Step Programs

Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) have provided the fellowship and support necessary to help thousands of people maintain their recovery, “one day at a time.” Both groups are founded on the principle of the discussion and sharing of experiences, usually pre-empted by the humbling statement of;

“Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I’m an addict.”

Many rehab centers and drug treatment programs use 12 Step programs as a basis for the continued recovery program of their patients upon graduation. While these groups are not for everyone, they are convenient in that they can be found in virtually every area of the country.

2.) Recovery-Specific Groups

Recovery specific groups are those that gather for a particular purpose or activity in order to have clean fun together. Often there isn’t any structure to the groups in the sense of recovery-oriented dialogue or practices- in most cases these groups are just people trying to live normal lives but who all happen to be in recovery. Examples of recovery-oriented groups include the infamous 5th Chapter motorcycle club and Young People in Recovery.

3.) Connections Made During Treatment

When addicts complete drug or alcohol treatment together, they often form lasting bonds that become a key part of their support system. Of course, these relationships should only be maintained if they are healthy. These can be especially powerful relationships because the parties are essentially on the same “level,” and are likely going through similar experiences related to post acute withdrawal, issues re-integrating with society, etc.

4.) Recovery Forums and Websites

Recovery forums and websites provide an additional opportunity to develop relationships, discuss issues, share experiences, collaborate, meet and take part in activities together and much more. Forums are also an excellent way to gather information and resources and to easily develop a support system that might not be available in certain areas- especially very small cities and towns.

5.) Family & Friends

Family and friends that support the addict’s recovery are possibly the most important part of a strong support system. From old friends that bring understanding, history and loyalty to new friends that have been acquired along the path to recovery, often these individuals can provide more emotional support than others. The same is true of family members, but people in recovery must beware to limit relationships with family members that were enablers or those who do not suppo
rt or take addiction recovery seriously. In many cases relationships with family members are cited as the cause of substance abuse, so it’s important to choose the family and friends that are permitted into a support network carefully and honestly.

6.) Spiritual & Religious Groups

Even if you don’t take part in organized religion, there are often groups within groups among these types of organizations. For instance, AA and NA 12 Step meetings are often held at churches or other spiritual gathering places. In fact, some religious groups sponsor these programs because their ideals are largely aligned.

7.) Rehab Alumni Associations

For addicts that attended and completed a rehab program, there may be an opportunity to join an alumni association for that particular treatment center. This is an excellent way to stay connected to the people who were influential in the early part of a person’s recovery, and to meet new people who are also living a life free from drugs or alcohol, one day at a time.

8.) Community Outreach Programs

Many communities have outreach programs for the disadvantaged, and this can include drug addicts in some cases. Programs can be as simple as the provision of a place to gather and meet, or it can include funding for specialized treatment, groups, therapy and other benefits. In order to find out if your community offers such programs, your town or city hall is an excellent place to start.

9.) Healthcare Professionals

Therapists, doctors, nurses, dieticians, massage therapists, chiropractors and many other types of healthcare professional play a central role in the support network of addicts and alcoholics in recovery. In fact, most people in recovery probably underutilize this source and fail to recognize the benefits. However, this group is likely one of the most important parts of a recovery support system considering that these professionals help to maintain the physical, mental and emotional health of an individual. Consequently it’s vital that people in recovery are open and honest with their healthcare professionals and alert them to any issues that could indicate a relapse is imminent.

10.) School/Educational Resources

If you’re a student, it’s likely that your school or university has special programs available for people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. These programs could consist of therapy or counseling, the hosting of recovery-related groups, resources to get outside help and possibly funding for treatment. Additionally, other students may become part of a support network, as they are almost certainly experiencing the same stresses and issues related to schooling, social pressures and so on.

11.) Volunteer Organizations

By volunteering for any number of a wide range of organizations, people in recovery can help to give back what was given to them in the way of compassion, understanding, advice, resources, financial assistance, etc. But perhaps even more importantly, the interactions between other volunteers and organizers can blossom into significant meaningful relationships that can one day become a key part of a healthy support system.

If you’re an addict or alcoholic in recovery and you don’t have a support network, it’s imperative that you take action now and get involved. You can start with a simple search in Google for recovery related forums, or you can check the Yellow Pages for the nearest AA or NA meeting. Remember; if you go to the same lengths to stay clean as you once did to use, you’ll very quickly develop a strong network of link-minded, recovery-oriented people that will offer a mutually beneficial way to keep fighting the good fight, one day at a time.

The Flavorful Delights of Israeli Cuisine

It figures I’m about to start a culinary journey on Israeli cuisine while being exceptionally hungry. In my mind’s eye (and a grumbling stomach) I can see the comfort foods of my youth; foods that might make some people in the world ask, what on earth is that?

There’s no easy way to pigeon hole Israeli cuisine, a blend of cultures from Eastern Europe to the shores of Northern Africa and the far reaches of Asia. Each distinct region has brought Israel to the forefront the very best of their tasty dishes, making the act of eating in Israel a vacation all its own.

Many of you might have already heard of some traditional Israeli dishes. Ashkenazi cuisine comes from the folks from Eastern Europe. These are the same folks that give us some wonderfully sweet pastries, yet gave us borsht and gefilte fish. Go figure.

Sephardic foods come from countries like Spain and Morocco, food like the savory pastry known as bourekas, made with puff pastry filled with cheese and spinach, just to name a few.

I’m getting ahead of myself–I should’ve talked about breakfast first. It is the most important meal of the day, right? Most hotels in Israel are quite proud of their Israeli breakfast, which many promote in order to get you to stay there.

Oh no, my American friends, this isn’t your bacon-laden, side of home-fries meal. Look around, you’ll find bowls of fresh fruit, salads made with finely chopped tomatoes, fish, eggs, bread, and yogurt.

Now that I think about it, almost all of Israel’s dishes center on fresh produce. This even includes the ever popular falafel; fried ground chickpeas stuffed in a pita served with Israeli salad (tomato, cucumber, onion) and tahina.

Oh tahina, a sesame sauce that makes everything taste better. Not that the world’s best street food like falafel can’t stand on its own, mind you.

I think the only thing more popular than falafel is hummus. Made with ground chickpeas, often served with pine nuts or a smatter of olive oil, it is generally eaten with just pita. Hummus is so popular in Israeli cuisine it seems to be a culinary staple, no matter what meal it is.

Food in Israel might be fresh and tasty, but it means nothing if not shared with family and loved ones. That is, unless, you’ve gotten a Moroccan and Tunisian fighting it out over who makes better couscous, a dish made from semolina flour with lamb or chicken simmered with veggies on top.

One of the best ways to enjoy Israeli food with the family is a hafla. This is a traditional Bedouin meal of salads and kebabs with Bedouin pita (known as fatir) served as you lounge on soft pillows drinking mint infused beverages (like tea or lemonade).

Food is so ingrained in Israeli culture so that if you’ve been invited into someone’s home, they will try to feed you. And it’s an insult to refuse–so eat up.

Food even has its superstitions. One lady friend who was going to have a baby mentioned in passing that she was “craving” falafel, only to be handed an entire container of them by her Israeli neighbor soon afterwards, simply because it was “wrong” to refuse a pregnant lady any food she wished for.

You could go on forever talking about food in Israel, and spend another lifetime talking about beverages in Israel. Great, now I’m even hungrier than when I started.–someone pass the falafel, please?