Join Us At Innovations In Recovery 2016 (And Win Laker Tickets)

April is going to be a very exciting month for Valley Recovery Center. We’ll have lots of special announcements to share in the next few weeks, but first is the news that we are going to be a participant in San Diego’s Innovation in Recovery Conference from April 4-7. There are tons of reasons to visit this fantastic event. First off, it highlights the latest happenings in the recovery industry. It also showcases the latest support services, rising leaders in the field and new medical breakthroughs. Best of all, meeting us at Booth 106 could get you the chance to WIN LAKER TICKETS to see Kobe Bryant’s last game!

 

Here are some important details about the event. Innovations in Recovery will be held at San Diego’s gorgeous Hotel Del Coronado from Monday April 4 – Thursday April 7. There will also be a special Golf Tournament the prior Sunday. The four-day agenda includes some phenomenal speakers, like Somatic Experiencing founder Dr. Peter Levine and author/neuropsychologist Judith Landau MD.

 

VRC will be on hand, of course, throughout the entire event; educating, networking and offering firsthand insights to everyone who visits our booth. We will also have a special pair of Laker tickets to give away. To be eligible to win, all we ask is that you share your business card with us. We’ll randomly select one name after the conference, then send them to the one-and-only Staples Center for some history-making moments with Kobe.

 

We really hope you can join us at Booth 106 for this amazing event. For all of the details, visit the official Innovations in Recovery web page. See you in San Diego!

An Attorney’s Struggle With Addiction

One important thing to remember about addiction is that it can strike anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re unemployed or, in the case of Lisa Smith, a high-powered New York attorney. Lisa recently shared her story with The Washington Post, which we found both heart-wrenching and empowering. It’s a brutally honest piece that sheds on light on how the pressures of success can sometimes lead people down a dark path.

 

One of the interesting tidbits she revealed is how common drug abuse and alcoholism is among young attorneys. According to her statistics, up to 21 percent of all licensed employed lawyers qualify as problem drinkers. That number actually increases to 32 percent for attorneys under the age of 30.

 

Sadly, Lisa found herself to be one of those statistics. In her article, she claims that what started out as casual drinking, soon evolved into a cocaine and pill habit. Long nights at the office fueled the need even more, as she used stimulants to keep up with case loads and firm demands.

 

Thankfully, Lisa realized the depths of her problem before it was too late. Her story ends with a trip to a recovery clinic and complete sobriety for the past decade. But rather than hide her addiction, Lisa has become an outspoken advocate in the legal field; helping her fellow attorneys who are struggling.

 

“The conversation about substance abuse among lawyers needs to be structured and ongoing,” she writes. “The statistics tell us that those starting out in the profession are at the greatest risk of developing a problem. That was me.”

 

We are certainly proud of Lisa and her story. Hopefully it will encourage other legal professionals to seek help when needed.

Reiki and Recovery

Once a week, we like to profile unique therapies that we provide at Valley Recovery Center to help our residents tackle their addictions. One, in particular, that we have seen a lot of success with is the practice of Reiki. Based on a Japanese spiritual technique, Reiki relies on the principle of touch and an inner life force that can give people strength and empowerment. As you can imagine, when used properly, it can be very effective in the recovery process.

 

Reiki actually consists of two Japanese words. “Rei,” which means “God’s Wisdom” and “Ki,” which translates to “life force energy.” It is completely natural and taught by a trained therapist (or master) who uses their hands specifically as tools to cleanse and heal. Soothing music is played as well, to get participants in a calming, tranquil state-of-mind.

 

In regards to addiction recovery, Reiki has led to some impressive results. For one thing, emotions can run high after kicking a habit. The calming elements of this therapy can do wonders for those under stress or showing withdrawal symptoms. Reiki has also been known to lessen the anger and animosity people feel when adjusting to a new environment (like a recovery center). Most importantly though, if a patient is open to it, Reiki can help lessen the physical symptoms that a former addict may be dealing with; particularly muscle pains, headaches, cravings and sleep disorders.

 

We understand that Reiki may not be the answer for everyone in recovery, but we have seen a lot of success in our facility. If you’re curious about Valley Recovery Center’s Reiki program, we invite you to sit in during our Tuesday sessions at 1:30pm. Or you can always call us at (800) 986-2486 to find out more.

 

The Complicated Life Of Rob Ford

Last week, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford passed away. Though he had gained a bit of infamy in the past few years due to his alcoholism and drug abuse, those aren’t what ultimately led to his demise. Truth be told, Ford actually became an outspoken recovery advocate before succumbing to cancer on March 22. But, to the media at least, he’ll always be known as a “crack-smoking” political disgrace.

 

We think it’s important to look at Ford from every angle, both for the bad choices his addictions led to and for the recovery he ultimately sought in the end. Clearly, he is a complicated figure and one that doesn’t necessarily need to be vilified.

 

From a professional level, Ford was initially a superstar. He was able to easily relate to both common voters and dignitaries in his role as Toronto mayor. Before his addictions came to light, many had high political hopes for him.

 

But (as with most addicts), cracks in the facade began to show. First there were missed meetings, then random benders where he would disappear for days at a time. His career took its biggest nosedive in 2013, when he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine.

 

To his credit, however, Rob Ford eventually admitted to his problems and sought out help. He entered rehab in 2014, with the intent of kicking his habit for good.

 

“Every time he kept beating me,” Ford said of his reflection in the mirror. “I said, ‘You know what? Enough’s enough. I’ve got to put everything aside or else one day I’m not going to be able to see that guy anymore.’ ”

 

Tragically while on the road to recovery, Ford was diagnosed with a rare incurable cancer. We are hopeful that he was able to find peace in last days and will leave a legacy that highlights recovery over addiction.

 

Drinking May Lead To An Immediate Heart Attack Or Stroke

There are endless reasons why drinking alcohol is bad for one’s health. Outside of the obvious ones (liver disease, blood pressure), there are some new indicators that immediate implications, such as heart attacks and strokes, can occur within hours of consumption.

 

Tech Times has shared stats from a fascinating new study that measures alcohol dangers with the passage of time. Looking across 30,000 participants, researchers were able to find that heart rates increased dramatically within the first three hours of heavy drinking. They also reported that the risk of a stroke or heart attack actually doubled for people who consume six to nine alcoholic beverages per day. Not only that, the risk increased up to six times for those who consume 19 to 30 drinks per week.

 

The reason for this, researcher Elizabeth Motofsky said, was due to drastic blood pressure fluctuations. She also referenced platelets and their tendency to become stickier during periods of heavy drinking. This, in turn, can create blockages and open an individual up to a severe stroke or heart disturbance.

 

So while years of heavy alcohol abuse can certainly take their toll, it is important to note that immediate problems can occur as well. This is particularly noteworthy for those who participate in “bing drinking.”

 

Alcoholism is undoubtedly a problem on many levels, be it short or long-term. If you or someone you know has a problem, intervention is a must.

 

Watching A Loved One Battle Addiction

There is no denying that drug abuse is hard on everyone. It can be devastating for the person battling the addiction and it can be just as bad for their parents, children and spouses. We’ve seen this kind of pain firsthand and, in response, were pleased to run across a new program being instated in South New Jersey.

 

The Salem County Police Department recently started a community outreach program specifically geared towards loved ones of drug abusers. Once a month, they open their doors for group discussions about addiction and guidance on how to combat a struggling family member.

 

“This is for the family to support those who watched their kids, brothers, sisters, who’ve battled this increasing epidemic,” Officer Joe Racite told NJ.com. “You see a lot of addicts steal from relatives — it affects everyone differently. These parents what wants best for their kids, but they see them relapse over, and over, again.”

 

Indeed, addictive behavior can lead to theft, violence, deception and outbursts between family members. It is important to understand that this isn’t the relative you know and love…it’s their habit getting the best of them. Forgiveness can be a difficult thing in these situations, especially if the behavior does not change. But it is important to not give up on the person struggling and to see them through a proper treatment program.

 

At Valley Recovery Center, we are happy to counsel family members (particularly if it has to do with resistance to treatment). If someone you love is struggling, reach out to us at 866-986-2486. Because happy families is what we’re all about.

Celebrity Heroin Survivors

As negative heroin stories continue to top the headlines, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on some positive case studies of high-profile people who have beaten the habit. This may be hard to believe, but several of the world’s biggest stars have fallen victim to addictive power of opioids. But rather than succumb to the illness, these celebs fought back and have actually become outspoken recovery advocates.

 

Here are a few we’d like to shine a spotlight on…

 
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Robert Downey Jr – Marvel’s Iron Man is undoubtedly one of the biggest movie stars in the world. And RDJ is also a big sobriety success story. After brushes with the law and a near-fatal overdose, he turned his life and around and has been clean for over 15 years.

 
Russell Brand

Russell Brand – British comic Russell Brand spent much of his 20’s addicted to heroin. Now a successful screen and TV star, he’s spoken out about H’s dangers on dozens of talk shows. “I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralizing pain,” Brand said in 2013. “The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction.”

 
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Pink – According to pop star Pink, it was motherhood that ultimately got her to kick her habit. And this was after a near-fatal overdose in 1995. Speaking about the drug and the importance of addiction awareness, Pink has vowed to educate her young daughter and the next generation about the dangers of heroin. “[My daughter] never gonna touch heroin,” she explained. “I’m gonna make sure of it. And if she wants to f**king hate me for it, that’s fine.”
 

Whisper App Becomes Outlet For Addiction

We have always believed that people coming to terms with their addiction need an outlet. Whether it be art, music, yoga or what have you, it is always important for them to channel their energy in a positive way. Well interestingly enough, the social media app Whisper has fast become a recovery channel for those needing to express themselves.

 

One of the key features of Whisper is anonymity (which is why it has become so popular with people battling addiction). Similar to the premise of Alcoholics Anonymous, it satisfies the need for people to reveal their innermost thoughts…but not in a public forum.

 

Whisper gives users the opportunity to do just that. With posts, picture shares and memes that convey deep-rooted feelings. AOL.com recently profiled the Whisper trend, which illustrates people dealing with every stage of their addiction.

 

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Sometimes it’s someone finally coming to grips with their problem.

 

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Other times it expresses an urge to go back to the bottle.

 

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Our only hope is that the people yearning for help on Whisper ultimately take the initiative to receive it. This app definitely provides a positive first step…but a solid recovery program is always needed to complete the healing process.

 

Bill Clinton Speaks Out About Addiction

These days, the main Clinton in the headlines is Democratic presidential candidate Hilary. But her famous husband, Bill, happened to grab a headline himself this week and for good reason; as he was speaking out about the dangers of addiction.

 

The former President chimed in on the timely opioid topic, which is currently in the midst of regulatory measures thanks to some Washington lawmakers. Tragically, he claimed that the crisis had hit him firsthand.

 

“I’ve now lost three children of three friends,” Clinton told an Ohio reporter.

 

And he didn’t stop there. Former President Clinton also shared some ideas to combat the problem, particularly the nasal application, Naloxone. Studies have shown that the nonaddictive, nontoxic injections can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

 

His Clinton Foundation has already worked to make Naloxone part of an emergency opioid overdose reverse kit, that would be provided to high schools across the nation.

 

“We’ve pioneered two things, including cheaper injections of naloxone, Narcan,” he went on to say. “Then I got another company to make it in nasal spray form. Putting it in every high school, every college in America.”

 

Hilary has actually spoken out about the issue too, pledging to fight addiction with a $10 billion plan that would include medication-assisted treatment.

 

No matter who wins the presidency, an idea like that definitely has our vote.

 

‘The Fix’ Lists America’s Most Addictive Drugs

For the record, we are big fans of TheFix.com. It’s a fantastic resource for people in the recovery world and anyone else, for that matter, looking for news and updates about sober living. This past month, the site published a very interesting article, highlighting the most addictive drugs in the country.

 

Here are the Top 3….

 

1.) Heroin – Obviously this one wasn’t a surprise. Fix researcher David Nutt rated heroin a 2.5 out of a maximum score of 3 when it came to addictiveness. One of the main reasons H (and its opioid counterparts) causes such a fixation has to do with the human brain. According to his study, it causes our dopamine levels to surge up to 200%, creating massive cravings that often cannot be controlled.

 

2) Alcohol – The most addictive “legal” drug on the market, alcohol scored a 2.2. out of 3 on Nutt’s scale. He claims that 22% of people who consume it will develop some type of dependency in their lifetime. It’s also worth noting that alcohol is the most dangerous of all drugs, accounting for more than 3 million deaths per year.

 

3) Cocaine – Another drug that causes high dopamine levels, cocaine creates dependencies on roughly 21% of its users. Of the strains, crack (or freebased) cocaine is the most dangerous and the most addictive. The powdered form earns a slightly lower number on Nutt’s scale, but not by much.

 

You can see The Fix’s complete list on their site. It’s definitely worth a read.

 

Recovery Reaches Netflix With ‘Flaked’

Are you a fan of streaming shows? Then we recommend trying out the new Netflix series, Flaked. A touching, sometimes funny/sometimes serious look at addiction, it stars Arrested Development’s Will Arnett and focuses on recovery clinics right here in Los Angeles.

 

 

To be clear, Flaked zeroes in specifically on Alcoholics Anonymous and the struggle lead character Chip (played by Arnett) endures to avoid the bottle. Episode one reveals that Chip caused a drunk driving fatality because of his addiction and is now living with a combination of guilt and remorse.

 

Throughout the series, we see him working as a sponsor and even finding romance in an AA meeting. Though we’ll quickly admit that Flaked isn’t perfect, it is a nice, high-profile look at recovery and the millions who struggle with it.  Arnett, particularly, gives a powerful, yet subtle performance.

 

And it’s interesting to note that he himself is a recovering addict.

 

“When I see people saying ‘Other shows have tackled (the subject) better,’ I say, ‘You can’t say that it’s not accurate, because it’s my experience,’ ” he told USA Today. “I’m shedding a little light on my relationship with my own sobriety, which at times has been tricky at best.”

 

So if you’ve got the streaming capabilities set up on your TV, phone or iPad, we suggest giving Flaked a try and supporting another series brave enough to tackle a difficult subject.

The Rise of Sober Partying

We’ve always believed that you can have a good time without resorting to drugs and alcohol. Too often, “partying” is associated with liquor shots, white lines and addictive overindulgences. That’s why we were excited to share this stat from The Guardian, which has been reporting on the rise of the sober rave.

 

Over in the UK, a movement is taking place initiated by the brand Morning Gloryville. Emphasizing positive energy and mindfulness, Morning Gloryville launched a new type of sober rave back in May 2013. The woman behind the idea, Samantha Moyo, is herself a former addict and created the concept to encourage those in recovery to still go out and have fun.

 

“I have a very famous history of being the wildest party animal ever,” Moyo told The Guardian. “It got to a point where it was feeling unsustainable. There was no outlet or option where you could go out and dance, while not drinking alcohol or [having] any toxins around. The only things that were available were ecstatic rhythms and vibrant dance, which was great – they have more of a spiritual aspect.”

 

Now, Morning Gloryville has been embraced by some of the biggest artists on the planet. Fatboy Slim has played sets at their sober raves, along with Basement Jaxx. The setup at a typical Gloryville event includes yoga, massages, healthy vegetarian food options and (of course) top tier music from world-renowned DJ’s.

 

Unfortunately Gloryville hasn’t quite made it’s way to the states yet. But The Guardian is also reporting that the sober partying trend is beginning to extend worldwide. We are excited and encouraged by this information, especially since it will fuel continued success among recovery advocates.

Demi Lovato Publicly Praises Sobriety

If you’ve been following our newsletters, then you know that we’re big fans of pop star Demi Lovato. Beyond being a talented singer and actress, she’s been a very vocal advocate of sobriety and addiction recovery. This month marks her four year anniversary of “being clean,” a fact she happily touted across social media.

 

Nearly 35 million Twitter users read that message and it’s clear that it was very inspiring. Demi’s positive note was shared over 18,000 times and received hundreds of comments from fans who have dealt with similar issues.

 

For the record, Lovato (a former Disney Channel star) nearly lost her career because of an addiction to cocaine and alcohol…All while still in her teenage years. But instead of giving in to her demons, Demi chose to fight back; receiving recovery treatment and facing the issues head-on.

 

She even used her sobriety as creative fuel, releasing a very successful “Stone Cold” music single that dealt with addiction and recovery. Clearly, Demi has become a role model for young people struggling and she openly thanked her fans for their ongoing support.


You can listen to some of Lovato’s thoughts on recovery and addiction in this very revealing Today Show interview from 2015. Hopefully it will continue to inspire.

 

Lawmakers Acknowledge Opioid ‘Crisis’

If you’ve been following our blogs, then you know that we have a lot to say on America’s growing opioid epidemic. All across the country, prescription painkillers (particularly OxyContin and Vicodin) are being abused and over-distributed to the point of a full-blown crisis. Well thankfully, federal lawmakers are beginning to acknowledge this and are allocating a large amount of funds to combat the problem.

 

This past week, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell announced that $94 million from Affordable Care Act funding will go towards opioid prevention and treatment programs. She went on to say that the emphasis will be put in underserved populations in rural and urban communities.

 

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today,” Burwell stated. “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment and integrating these services in health centers bolsters nationwide efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse, supports approximately 124,000 new patients accessing substance use treatment for recovery and helps save lives.”

 

The Center for Disease Control was also quoted in the release, listing 18,893 lethal opioid overdoses in 2014. CDC director Dr. Tom Friedman issued a statement as well, pointing the finger at doctors who have a habit of overmedicating their patients.

 

“For the vast majority of patients, the known serious and all-too-often-fatal risks far outweigh the unproven and transient benefits,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director. “[Nearly all the opiate painkillers physicians prescribe] are just as addictive as heroin.”

 

We strongly agree with this assessment, particularly because we have seen the ravaging effects of opioid abuse firsthand. It is encouraging to hear that the lawmakers are on board with making a positive change. If you, or someone close to you, is struggling with a prescription painkiller addiction; know that you are not alone and help is available. We intend to fight this crisis as well, with treatment programs and recovery assistance for anyone in need.

Joining In On The Rosewood Grand Opening

At Valley Recovery Center, we absolutely love what we do. And to be honest, we love the recovery industry as a whole. Organizations whose primary mission is to help and heal always deserve attention and this month, we are excited to support the Rosewood Center for Eating Disorders as they hold their grand opening in Santa Monica.

 

Rosewood has already made a name for itself, helping men and women across the west coast who have struggled with eating disorders. There primary facility is in Wickenburg, Arizona (outside of Tempe) and includes a sprawling ranch, where patients can heal, reflect and receive effective therapies for issues like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.

 

Like alcohol and drugs, uncontrollable eating issues can do tremendous damage and turn into an unhealthy addiction. That’s why we intend to align closely with Rosewood here in LA as part of a larger recovery community. Many traits can tend to cross over and, interestingly enough, there are similar therapies that can work well with patients in both types of  treatment programs.

 

On March 31, this important organization is making its California debut. Bringing in a very experienced clinical team of MA’s, MFT’s and RD’s, Rosewood will be opening their facility for professional partners and collaborators. We intend to happily cheer them on and help open the door to more recovery contacts in the southland.

 

If you would like to join us at the celebratory event, visit the Rosewood RSVP page and make a date with them (and us) at 2716 Ocean Park Blvd on March 31!

Addiction and Art Therapy

There are many outlets to help people in recovery conquer their addictions. And something that we have had a lot of success with, is a weekly Art Therapy program. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we set aside time for painting, sculpting, sketching…or any artistic outlet that can help lead to positive expressionism.

 

Google the term “Art Therapy” and you’ll see how successful it has been for those battling alcoholism or drug addiction. What the creative therapies do is offer an opportunity for one to get in touch with their inner self and bring out their emotions without using words. It also can be a very effective ice breaker for someone who is new to a recovery program.

 

One of the big goals of art therapy is to raise self-esteem and to create rewarding experiences that can replace painful patterns. It also has a very soothing quality, encouraging those may resist a program to “let go” and relax without resorting to chemicals.

 

Our facility encourages all kinds of artistic outlets. Sometimes it may even be writing a short story or acting out a theatrical scene. There are no limits to what you can do when you open the door to creative expression. The ultimate goal, of course, is to elicit communication and help someone come to terms with their feelings in a safe and positive environment.

 

Valley Recovery Center’s Art Therapy classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00am. We encourage anyone curious about our facility to inquire and perhaps sit in one of our most successful programs.

 

Giving Back in Santa Clarita

One of the key lessons we like to instill in our discussions at Valley Recovery Center is paying it forward (or giving back). That, of course, means if you’ve been able to successfully make it through recovery, pass along your learnings and always try to help someone in need. In our world, “help” goes well beyond sobriety. It also gives us a chance to contribute to our community…And in this case, it’s the Santa Clarita Blood Drive on March 16.

 

As we’ve mentioned before, we are extremely proud to be part of the City of Santa Clarita. It seems like every other week, our community is making headlines for positive contributions among its friends and neighbors. This time, they are partnering with the American Red Cross at the Century Room in downtown City Hall. From 9:15am – 3:15 pm this Wednesday, Red Cross reps will be on hand to accept donations and save lives.

 

We are encouraging all of our staff and residents to partake in this charitable event. According to the Red Cross, a blood drawing that takes mere minutes can save up to three human lives. Spreading the word is key to making Wednesday’s Drive a success. Even if it’s to people in other parts of LA, we are hopeful friends (and friends of friends) can make their way to our neighborhood to do their part in paying it forward.

 

And if you are coming from out of town, please stop by and pay us a visit. Because doing good is what we’re all about. To find out more about Wednesday’s Blood Drive, reach out to Amanda Santos at (661) 255-4923. We hope to see you there!

 

March Without The Madness

Pull up any sports page and you’ll see nothing but “March Madness” updates dominating the headlines. And why not? It’s certainly a fun experience, as the country’s best college basketball teams battle each other for an NCAA Championship. But along with all of the fun, comes gambling brackets, happy hours and lots of temptation for those who have struggled with addiction. Our advice is to celebrate March without the so-called “Madness”…and here’s a few tips that can help you do just that.

 

Believe it or not, roughly $227 million is legally wagered during annual March Madness events. And according to The Atlantic, illegal betting could reach as high as $2.5 billion. We recommend staying out of the brackets entirely. Even if it’s just friendly office wagers, the temptation to want to bet more only increases the more success you have on an “innocent” bracket pool. Small time bets like that work as a gateway to much worse losses, particularly if you’re someone who’s struggled with gambling addiction in the past.

 

We also strongly advise against watching games at bars, even if you plan to go sober. The excitement of a team that you love advancing in the playoffs (especially around rowdy drinkers) can certainly fuel the cravings to order a round. Or the people you’re with may want to pressure you to join in on a celebratory shot. Don’t do it. And the best way to avoid it is by politely declining the happy hour invite in the first place.

 

With all that said though, there is absolutely no reason you can’t enjoy watching your college team kick butt in the tourney. We just want you to do it responsibly. Try watching a game at home with friends (in a controlled environment). Heck, if it’s in the vicinity, even go to a game yourself. Just enjoy your moment in the stands and say no to all the wild tailgating and after parties.

 

Sober On St. Patrick’s Day

There is no denying that St. Patrick’s Day can be a difficult holiday for anybody in recovery. Though, in theory, it is based upon positive Irish traditions, it’s modern-day themes emphasize beer, debauchery and overindulgence. We at Valley Recovery Center want to offer some sober support for anyone fighting the temptations this March 17 with a few helpful tips.

 

Block Calls From Negative Influences — You’d be surprised how many “old friends” pop up on your Caller ID during St. Patrick Day. Whether it’s a drinking buddy from your past, a rowdy co-worker or even a family member who wants to blow off some steam at the bar, we recommend skipping the call. Even if you intend to go to a pub sober, there’s too many negative temptations on that night and you’re better off picking a different locale.

 

Emphasize Ireland’s Positive Offerings — Now if you happen to have Irish blood and want to honor your ancestors that’s all fine and dandy. But why do it at a bar? There are plenty of other Irish traditions to highlight. We recommend finding a quaint cultural restaurant (Yelp helps) for corned beef and cabbage. Or make it a quiet night in, with some DVD flicks starring Liam Neeson. Add a green shirt and you’ll be good to go!

 

Attend a Meeting — Of course if things just get too hard to bear, we recommend finding support from other people struggling. One of the reasons sobriety meetings are so successful is because they create communities. And believe us, you ARE NOT ALONE when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day sobriety. Thousands of Los Angelenos are in the same boat and would welcome you with open arms at a March 17 Alcoholics Anonymous or 12 Step Meeting. Valley Recovery Center’s door is always open too…even if you just want to stop by to talk.

 

So the bottom line is: Face March 17 with willpower, strength and a community of caring, sober friends.

 

The Dangers Of Online Gambling

Follow the local news and you’ll learn that California lawmakers are strongly considering licensing fantasy sports websites. To us this poses a real threat, particularly for those struggling with gambling addiction. Imagine what kind of doors it could open for an addict, if all they have to do is click a button on their computer to bet their entire paycheck. The consequences could be disastrous.

 

The L.A. Times recently published an informative article on the issue, which rightfully brought up the epidemic of gambling addiction. It claims that up to one million residents here suffer from it and they are already in harm’s way, with desert casinos, lotto tickets on every corner  and race tracks just a stone’s throw from the city. So we say, why make the options any easier?

 

Fantasy sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel lure in millions of subscribers with an emphasis on football, baseball and NBA bets. Most major states (such as New York, Texas ad Illinois) have shut out those types of www.’s, but California may change its course. Right now, a bill allowing gambling sites has been approved by the Assembly and is being strongly considered by the Senate. According to the article, a decision could be made as early as August.

 

Co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, Timothy Fong, had strong words against the bill.

 

“There is something alluring about the ability to gamble 24 hours a day, seven days a week … on my mobile phone,” he told The Times. “And whenever you have an expansion of gambling, you have an expansion of gambling addiction if you don’t have prevention and treatment programs in place.”

 

We are proud to provide treatment for this growing epidemic. But we would much rather not have it take a turn for the worse, with the legalization (and enabling) of sports betting sites. If you, or someone you know, has a problem, reach out to us or contact 1-800-GAMBLER.