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Addiction Alcohol Alcoholism Holidays Mental Health Recovery

New Beginnings

Garden with some tulips and narcissus
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It’s Passover, and you know what that means? It’s that time of year where it’s customary to drink four glasses of wine through dinner as part of the Passover story! It means giant family gatherings, with the myriad of wacky personalities. It also may mean some anxiety for the newcomer (or even someone with time, you never know!) For some, it’s this Passover week, for others, it might be the upcoming Easter Sunday. Either way, self-care is key. Ask for help if you need it, and have an exit plan–better to have one and not need it than to need it and not have it!

This particular holiday reminds me of my early introduction to alcohol. My family didn’t drink that often; holidays were the exception. Still, I have distinct memories of sitting at the family Passover table, with my thimble full of Manischewitz wine, thinking I was the coolest kid in the world. I remember the warmth in my belly, and the slight fuzz in my head (I would get sneaky and steal sips from other folk’s glasses). I remember thinking I was a part of the adult world, and a real part of my family. It was a childhood delusion, of course, but the memory stuck.

Wine has deep roots in some religions, for example, in Christianity it represents the blood of Christ, and in Judaism, the fruit of the vine. It’s an accepted, expected, ritualistic piece of the religious meal. But as we get sober and learn to participate in the rituals of our varying cultures, we must learn to make adjustments. No one wants to see you drunkenly opening the door for Elijah! We drink grape juice instead of wine, and we learn to adapt the rituals and meals to our sober, clean lives.

Passover is about freedom from slavery and tyranny; and like Easter, it’s reflective of Spring and new beginnings. What apropos likeness to our recovery! Here, we are offered an opportunity to begin to view our sobriety as freedom from the tyranny of drugs and alcohol. Our recovery is our new beginning and our new life. Remember what Chuck C. said: “You cannot think your way into a new way of acting, but you can act your way into a new way of thinking.” Have a safe, sober, and joyous holiday week.

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Addiction Alcoholism Mental Health

Teen Drinking Amongst Girls on the Rise

Image by oooh.oooh via Flickr

Newsweek just reported new data released from a Partnership for a Drug Free America, suggesting girls are not only drinking more than boys, but they’re drinking for more “serious reasons.”  While boys are reported to drink so they can relax socially, it appears girls are drinking to deal with issues at home and/or at school. Additionally, the media is marketing to young girls, making alcohol even more enticing.  According to Newsweek:

“For years, boys were the focus of underage-drinking  interventions, but for the past decade, researchers have seen a close in the gender gap, and the media have jumped on the news. Researchers speculate that more products devoted to making  drinking easier and tastier—the sugar-laden beverages known as alco-pops—are a factor. ‘There’s a whole new raft of products that have come out in the last 10 to 12 years that were oriented to young females,’ says David Jerigan, executive director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. ‘Alcohol now gets sold to girls as a functional food: it gets sold with calorie information, a drink of fitness, a drink with health benefits.’”

According to Leslie Walsh, MD, Director of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, girls tend to be “more attuned to their feelings,” and more inclined to internalize issues rather than reach out.  Research on the adolescent brain also shows girls developing an earlier sensitivity to emotional stress than their male counterparts. Makes sense, then, that they would reach for something like alcohol, which purportedly subdues stressors and makes that stress easier to manage. It’s hard for adolescents today: The economy has tanked, many are watching their parents struggle from lost or reduced income, leaving them wondering what their future may hold. At the same time, they’re bombarded with images selling everything from thinness to beauty to the latest technology, while also learning to navigate school, social pressures, and their roles in society. Of course their worlds become stressful and confusing–picking up a drink will only make the stress worse in the long run.
So, what are some of the healthy ways you manage yourstress? We would love to hear from you!

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