Alcohol

NJ DUI Checkpoint Yields No Arrests : Everybody Knew

If everyone knows about a DUI checkpoint, it works to prevent DUI in New Jersey.

The New Jersey State Police set up a DUI checkpoint outside the PNC Arts Center after a country music concert this past weekend. Nearly one fourth of the cars entering the southbound Garden State Parkway to leave the concert passed through the DUI checkpoint. The concert ended at almost 11pm. Almost 200 vehicles/drivers were actually checked by State Police sobriety-checkers.

Not. One. DUI.

Of almost 200 drivers checked, not a single DUI discovered. Everyone considers this a success. But what does it mean? Are people at country music concerts refraining from drinking? Not likely. Have people discovered secret ways to appear completely sober when checked by trained State Police? Not likely.

What changed was “the war”.  The War on DUI changed. Police announced ahead of time that they would be checking.

Police dropped specifics into social media and the press: Don't drink and drive. We're checking, and you will get caught.

Instead of an unexpected covert operation to “catch” impaired drivers leaving a popular concert venue, the Police raised awareness of the dangers of driving while impaired, or even taking a risk of driving after having been drinking. “Make sure you have a designated driver”, they recommended. “Don't take the risk”, they suggested. “We will be watching”, they warned.

The objective of the sobriety checkpoint is to reduce the number of crashes due to impaired driving – NJ State Police

Apparently, people listened. They did not drink and drive. And the roads were probably much safer.

 

 

 

Potential Malnutrition In Pregnancy

Researchers have found that women of childbearing age who drink are less likely to take multivitamin supplements, and risk malnutrition in pregnancy.

No big surprise there.  However, it's important to remember that alcohol consumption prevents the body's proper absorption and utilization of nutrients, even if they are present in the diet.  So if pregnancy occurs, the baby gets a double-whammy: exposure to alcohol and a mom who could be suffering from malnutrition.  Not good.

Women Who Drink Before Pregnancy Less Likely to Take Multivitamins

Need More Proof That “Non-Alcohoic” Beer Is A Bad Idea?

The taste of beer, without any effect from alcohol itself, can trigger dopamine release in the brain, which is associated with drinking and other drugs of abuse, according to Indiana University School of Medicine researchers.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124710.htm

Alcohol Awareness 72 hour Challenge.. without Cheating

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Can you go 72 hours without alcohol (and no cheating!)

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Can you go 72 hours without alcohol (and no cheating!)

Next week the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is asking everyone to take a challenge. The “April is Alcohol Awareness Month” campaign includes an Alcohol-Free Weekend, April 5-7. This 72 hour “no alcohol” challenge could take place on any weekend, and in fact it does take place fairly often in many families across the country. When drinking is a problem, families struggle with “could you please just not drink for this… wedding, BBQ, trip, etc etc”. The same challenge… can you please try to not drink just-this-once.

The family goal is usually maintaining peace and avoiding problems associated with problem drinking. The goal of the national campaign is to raise awareness of the relationship you may have with alcohol. In both cases, it’s a plea for awareness (and possibly action, which can lead to positive changes). If you can’t go 72 hours without alcohol, there’s a decent chance you have an alcohol dependency (emotional or physical). In this case, it’s the National Council asking you to try, because they know many people aren’t aware of their dependency. If it’s your loved ones who are asking you to try, then obviously someone suspects there really is a problem.

My version of the 72 hour challenge is slightly different. I’d suggest… Can you live your life over ta 72 hour period without drinking alcohol, and without cheating?

Can you successfully complete the weekend chores without a drink? Can you interact and relate and socialize and get along with your neighbors etc. without a drink? Even if you simply want to drink, or simply enjoy a drink, or feel you deserve to enjoy your weekend the way you’d like to, can you go 72 hours by choice without alcohol.

On the third day, after you have successfully achieved 55 or 65 hours without alcohol, can you complete the 72 without rewarding yourself for your accomplishment with…. a drink?

For many, alcohol dependency is rooted in a desire to succeed in living life without the complications that come from the boredom, the anxiety, the irritating neighbors, and the daily stressful challenges of real life. But alcohol used to cope with reality is still alcohol dependency, and alcohol dependency is often a path to more serious trouble down the road.

Some of the challenges I expect will crop up with a real world 72 hour no-cheating challenge include the following:

  • socializing alcohol-free without conflict… where “cheating” is deciding not to go, sneaking a drink or getting high instead;
  • sitting through family dinner without a drink… where “cheating” is deciding you’re not hungry, or you will eat later by yourself or otherwise skip the meal;
  • spending time with the family having fun without sneaking a drink… where “cheating” is deciding to smoke pot instead or taking a long nap;
  • attending a “no alcohol” event without feeling something’s missing… where “cheating” is bringing your own, deciding to take something else beforehand;
  • going to the movies without buying alcohol… where “cheating” is drinking beforehand or bringing some of your own or deciding not to go this time;
  • watching a ballgame without pregaming… where “cheating” is smuggling in your own or announcing you really don’t want to go.

Can you be bored, anxious, or angry without a drink? For three days? Do you know how to cope with those feelings without using alcohol? And if you can make it through 72 hours, what is your desired activity for day 4? Is it “catching up”?

Remembering Bill C.

This is a lot longer than my usual entry, but that happens sometimes when I get to thinkin' about stuff.  If it doesn't seem to have anything to do with addiction, just bear with me a bit.

I don’t spend much time regretting the past. There are a lot of things I’ve done that, given the opportunity, I’d probably do differently or not at all, but you have to be careful what you wish for. The Law of Unintended Consequences is nothing to mess with.

Today I was thinking about my friend Bill. I met him during a time in my early twenties when I was hanging around the aviation industry. We were drawn to each other by a mutual love of airplanes, flight attendants, and the bars of the Fort Lauderdale area.

Back then there were the usual disturbances and upheavals in Central America, and there was a lot of stuff happening in Africa as well. The company we both worked for had, at one time, some clandestine connections with interests in the Caribbean, and shady characters of some repute still wandered around the small airports of South Florida and the islands to the south. I found this moderately interesting. Bill found it fascinating.

Douglas_A-26B_in_flightA fellow who shall remain nameless, well-known in the aviation community, acquired a Douglas A-26 that had been converted for use as a high-speed executive aircraft. I took one ride in the thing (the guy needed a copilot), noted the amount of oil leaking from one of the big radial engines during takeoff, and deplaned as rapidly and permanently as possible when we landed. Bill’s envy knew no bounds, and his fascination with the former attack bomber increased.

The Douglas languished at the local airplane patch for about a year before a potential buyer appeared. This individual had a reputation for shady dealings involving the transportation and sale of firearms—usually, or so the story went, in considerable quantities. When he showed up and began negotiating for the A-26, Bill saw his chance for glory. [Read more…]

Relapse Triggers — People, Places and Things

Knowing and avoiding relapse triggers is essential for folks in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions.

We addicts are accustomed to making things better right away. In our addictions, relief of our discomfort was only as far away as the next pill, the next drink, the next trip to see the guy down on the corner, the next shopping trip, the next snack, the next sexual encounter. You get the idea.

So it’s not surprising that we tend to think of recovery that way. We think we’re detoxed when we aren’t; we think it takes too long for our bodies and minds to repair themselves after we stop using; we think we don't need treatment, or AA, or other support.  We think we’re recovered, when we’re going to be recovering for a long time yet. In short, we look for the quick fix, the quick answer, and we misjudge our ability to deal with issues in early recovery. We make these mistakes because we are accustomed to living our lives in the short term, to making snap decisions, and to doing things without thinking them through, all in the service of immediate gratification, because we want what we want when we want it –NOW!

Far too often, after having demonstrated for years that we have no idea what's in our best interest, we decide after a few days or weeks clean that we know what’s best in the face of massive evidence to the contrary. We’re used to that quick fix that the drugs and booze used to give us, and we have no concept of the truth that “time takes time.” We think that our brains and bodies ought to straighten up and fly right, just because we want them to. We think that the damage and changes wrought by months and years of drinking and drugging should go away immediately — just because we’ve stopped using.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of alcoholics and other addicts who decide that it’s time to go home and make up for all the time we’ve lost. We want to jump back into our lives, re-establish our relationships with spouse, kids, family, employers, friends (and often our old buddies with whom we used), and set the world right again.

All this, when we have no idea of how to have a healthy relationship with ourselves.

The experiences of thousands of recovering people, along with many decades of observation by professionals, indicate that this is rarely the sensible thing to do. Recent scientific studies have shown that even a photograph of a person buying drugs, having a drink, shooting up — even a photo of a liquor store or an ad for beer — can be relapse triggers that stimulate responses in the portion of the brain that controls cravings. We can’t control that part of the brain by thinking. It’s part of the sub-cortical brain, inaccessible by conscious thought, and we can’t think our way out of those feelings. All we can do is fight, and often the feelings and cravings win.

It's better to avoid the battle.  We're not “strong.”  Strength comes with recovery, not when we want it.

Of course, as addicts we’re sure we have things under control, that we know what we did wrong, and that we know The Way Things Ought To Be. So we go back home, where we learned and perfected our skills at addiction, and where we are sure to run across the old relapse triggers — People, Places and Things — long before we’re ready emotionally, physically or spiritually.

Next: “They Don't Keep Cat Food In The Beer Cooler”

AA Tends To Benefit Women And Men In Somewhat Different Ways

A study to be published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence indicates that both men and women profit from participation in AA (and, presumably, other recovery programs) if committed to their recovery, but that some of the beneficial effects tend to occur in different areas.

According to John F. Kelly, PhD, associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine:

“These differences may reflect differing recovery challenges related to gender-based social roles and the contexts in which drinking is likely to occur.”

According to the study findings, women seem to gain confidence and support in being able to avoid drinking as a reaction to unhappiness and depression. Men, on the other hand, seem to benefit from changes in social situations, i.e., the pressures associated with old “people, places and things.”

More information is available in this article from Science Daily.

What single aspect of your program do you believe had the most effect on your successes?