Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Charlie Sheen HIV Still Drinking

still drinking, Charlie Sheen, active alcoholic, HIV
Charlie Sheen being HIV positive is not exactly earth shattering news.  No one seems as focused on the most important part of the story: that this well known alcoholic/addict, despite his HIV diagnosis, is still drinking!  

Alcohol is a Drug

This morning (Nov 17, 2015) The Today Show featured an interview with Charlie Sheen by Matt Lauer.  After Sheen’s announcing his news that he was diagnosed HIV positive four years ago, Matt eventually asked a couple direct questions pertaining to Charlie’s substance abuse.  

Matt Lauer: “Are you still doing drugs?  Charlie Sheen: “No, I’m not.”  
Matt: Are you still drinking?  Charlie: “I’m still drinking a little bit, yeah.”

For whatever reasons, people still tend to separate alcohol abuse and drug abuse, creating the dangerous illusion of a distinction in the mind of an addict.  When it comes to addiction, alcohol is a drug.  Drug addicts are wise to abstain from alcohol as well as other drugs.  Yet due to the societal influences which create the distinction, drinking too often slips into a gray territory so easily manipulated by the drug addict.   

Alcoholics Drinking “A Little Bit”

Speaking from the world of addiction recovery, those on the other side of the illness would argue the reply to Matt Lauer’s question “Are you still drinking” requires a one word answer: yes or no. Adding the “a little bit” only points to the attempt to defend the behavior, as if to justify it is okay based on the quantity.  In truth, that is the slippery slope of addiction.  The mental obsession leads the untreated addict to justify “a little bit.”  That “little bit”, however little, opens the door to the physical aspect of the addiction which entails the compulsion for more.  

Imagine if Matt were to ask Charlie “Are you still having unprotected sex with prostitutes” and his reply were to be “A little bit, yeah.”  Risky behavior is risky behavior. The point is, that a self-admitted drug addict who is still engaging in drinking is an active addict, regardless of how they may present in the moment.  It’s a game of Russian Roulette - it’s a matter of when, not if, someone will get hurt.  

“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30.  

Against Doctor’s Orders?

Sheen’s doctor explained to Lauer that his “biggest concern with Charlie as a patient is his substance abuse….. more than what the HIV virus could do in terms of shortening his life.”

Let’s take a rational look at whether or not Charlie Sheen, as the example here, should be drinking.  If you’re an alcoholic, it’s not a healthy choice to drink.  If you’re not an alcoholic, not drinking shouldn’t be an issue for you, right?  If you can take it or leave it, go ahead and leave it if your doctors suggest that.  Charlie’s doctors are very concerned about his substance abuse history and the fact that his health with HIV diagnosis relies on his ability to take consistent actions daily.  

If Charlie drinks a little, and a little eventually leads to more, and he goes on a bender… not only are we talking about his behavior putting himself at risk for his HIV viral load to increase, but his recklessness would likely extend to harming others as well.  

Leading by Example

A little later in the interview, Matt goes on to say, “A lot of people might say: ‘Charlie, you should stop drinking; you say you’ve stopped doing drugs- you need to stop drinking as well.’”
Charlie: “Well, perhaps the freedom of today might lead to that as well.”

We can only hope that to be true.  As the saying goes, “you’re as sick as your secrets”.  Only Charlie himself knows his true motivation for coming out with this information, whether entirely just to put an end to the “shakedowns” resulting from his shady encounters, or to genuinely come clean and make a fresh start.  

Sheen claims that he will continue to speak to raise awareness about HIV.  While that is an admirable intention, that fact is that speaking as a still-drinking addict with HIV, Charlie may be doing more harm than good. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Best Fish Oil To Take

How do you choose the best omega 3 fish oil supplement to get the best bang for your buck and for your precious body? You need to find the best quality source of fish oils with the ideal amount and type of omega 3 in the supplement. When you get the highest quality in the best form and the correct amount, you can accurately assess its value and know you are getting what you pay for in the omega 3 supplement you choose to take.  

Choosing The Best Source of Fish Oils

best type of fish oilWhen it comes to choosing the best source of fish for your omega 3 supplements, size matters! Many commercial products on the market use large fish as their source for oils. This is a problem because the larger the fish, the longer their life span and the more toxins they are likely to accumulate. That’s why it is best to use small fish, such as anchovies or sardines, as your source of fish oil.

The next important factor is finding a fish oil supplement that is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Many products on the market do not contain a significant percentage of EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the most studied form of omega 3 thus having the most clinically supported health benefits.  Most commercial omega supplements only have about a third of the actual EPA and DHA, not the over all amount of "omega 3" implied on their label.

Quality Assurance in Omega 3 Fish Oils

Serious quality and safety assurance measures should be taken with the form of Omega III fish oil you choose to put into your body. Fish are exposed to various metals, toxins, PCBs, lead and mercury -- all of which are hazardous to your health. Providing the highest quality control is costly and unfortunately not all companies take this issue seriously. Be sure to do your due diligence in researching the type of fish and the methods and standards the company undergoes to assure clean, safe, high quality and purity supplements.

Watch out for Cheap Omega 3 Supplements

whichi fish oils not to takeYou get what you pay for; cheap supplements have less quality ingredients and smaller amounts of what you need.  They may not truly be as safe as they seem, and they certainly won't provide you with the health benefits you seek if you are getting a poor quality product.

Sadly, today many doctors still do not have the awareness or time to do their homework and specify what type of omega 3 supplements to direct you to buy. So, the typical patient ends up leaving the doctor’s office with the vague instructions of “take fish oils” and often turn to their neighborhood drug store or Costco outlet and purchase the cheapest form since they are not educated on the difference.

This is a real shame- finally MDs are starting to make a great recommendation in suggesting omega 3 supplementation, but patients are left to their own devices and end up unknowingly taking poor quality substandard supplements. Remember folks, “you get what you pay for” so beware of cheap supplements on supermarket shelves or online. Know what company you are buying from and how they create their supplements!

Which Omega 3 supplement is best?

You want the highest concentration of EPA and DHA you can get without a prescription. That’s right, there is actually a prescription form of omega 3 now made by a drug company. Out of pocket it runs you about $8 a day! And there are possible side effects. Here’s one reason why- the FDA won’t allow drug companies to add antioxidants to their product, so the fish oils are likely to become rancid! Prescription? No thank you! Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E is the best available fish oil as it meets the previously discussed factors and goes above and beyond in its safety and quality assurance measures.

best source of fish oil
Remember size of fish matters- the smaller the better – they use anchovies and sardines as their primary source of fish oil because of their size and short life cycle making them extremely low in contamination, and then they go through an intense purification process.

Amount matters- Heart Health Essential Omega III contains 3000mg of fish oil, which is triple the amount found in most commercial products. The NutraMetrix doctors chose to provide three grams of EPA and DHA in their supplement because research studies have demonstrated to be the most clinically effective amount to promote overall cardiovascular health benefits.

mercury free fish oilThis fish oil is tested not once but twice to confirm it is free of any mercury, lead, PCBs or other heavy metals. It is tested by the manufacturer and then again by an independent testing company. This brand only uses fish oil that meets or exceeds standards set by the USA (CRN), the European Union (EU) and Canada (CFIA). Also, it contains Vitamin E because not only does natural vitamin E provide a host of its own health benefits including cardiovascular support, it serves to provide antioxidant protection for the DHA and EPA.

best fish oil to take
So not only do you not have to worry about it being rancid (see prescription omegas), but you get added benefits with the right form of vitamin E.  What’s important to note is that many commercial dietary supplements use the synthetic form of vitamin E, but this one uses the natural form, d-alpha tocopherol, so it is better absorbed and utilized in the body.

Read more details about the best fish oil recommended by health professions who really care. Use the following link and scroll down to read up on the science research, benefits, ingredients and FAQ about this highly recommended form of Omega 3 supplement: Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Joey Kovar Reality of Addiction

Upon learning of the death of reality tv star Joey Kovar, I was saddened by another heartbreaking casualty in the addiction battle. One can only hope that some small blessing in disguise comes out of what otherwise is just plain tragedy. Despite previously having some time in recovery, Kovar was found dead yesterday, at age 29, after several years of his public battle with alcoholism and drug addiction.  

Kovar & Dr. Drew  (VH1 Celerity Rehab)
Celebrity Addicts Bring Addiction Closer to Home 

Before the advent of shows like Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, news of Joey Kovar’s death would not have even made top headlines. When his fellow Celebrity Rehab member, Mike Starr, tragically died from addiction, his death most likely would have just been another random headline about some celebrity drug addict found dead. Only Alice in Chains fans for the most part would have been talking about it. However, within minutes of the announcement of his death in March, Mike Starr was a trending topic on Twitter, with countless civilians and celebrities alike chiming in on the sad report. What was different about Mike Starr? We got to know him. The millions who tuned in weekly to Celebrity Rehab witnessed Mike’s struggles and saw that beneath the angry addict was a lost teddy bear with a big heart. We got to see the person behind the persona, behind the addiction. The same goes for Joey Kovar whose private life was mainstreamed through The Real World on MTV and then Celebrity Rehab on VH1. When Kovar was sober, he was determined to be a positive influence on the masses. 

Progressive and Fatal

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease. Untreated, the addiction gets worse and worse - ultimately resulting in a premature death. Commonly, most lay folks to the world of addiction only view two aspects of the addiction scene; First, the oftentimes deceivingly glamorized lifestyle of rockstar-type celebs during their active “partying” daze. And later, folks learn of the end of the line aspect of addiction when news of tragic overdose, suicide, or accident ends in death as in the examples of Mike Starr and Joey Kovar, to name just a couple. Being found dead as a result of addiction is certainly not glamorous. Thus the countless numbers of every day non-famous individuals who die daily as a result of addiction never make the news. The truth is, addiction is absolutely an epidemic in the US and worldwide; and when you add the family and friends of addicts to the picture, there are many more millions of people affected by the disease.  

Looking for Hope in Tragedy 

It’s safe to assume that Dr. Drew’s goal in creating the shows Celebrity Rehab and Sober House was not only to help some celebrities get sober but also to educate the masses on the truth about addiction and the hope of recovery. And sadly, part of that quest involves bringing widespread awareness to the hard truth of the casualty rate in this addiction war. While it may seem relatively commonplace to lose a celebrity to booze and drugs, they represent just a grain of sand in the broad landscape of everyday millions who suffer from the deadly illness! So as we send our prayers out to the friends and family of the latest celebrity casuality of addiction – Joey Kovar this week- let’s add an intention that this tragic loss carries forth a hidden blessing… As sober Joey certainly would have wanted it. Let’s hope that there is a positive twist on this tragedy in what cannot be measured or viewed in the news – that a result of greater awareness of the progressive fatal nature of alcoholism and addiction exemplified through Joey Kovar’s public battle, many struggling individuals whose stories we will never hear about in the news, actually get help and stay sober.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Physical Health in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a disease that affects the body, mind and spirit. Apart from the action of physically abstaining from the alcohol and recreational drugs, most people in recovery are not given further advice in regards to addressing the physical effect of the disease on your body. Many recovering alcoholics are not aware that, late in his life, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson was trying to educate doctors on the importance of vitamin supplementation in the treatment of alcoholism. In the A.A. text, there are references to the physical damage from addiction such as:
“… the acute poisoning from which he suffered, how it deteriorates the body of an alcoholic…” Alcoholics Anonymous p.157
The main reasons to address your physical health in recovery are: 

1. To aid in staying clean and sober, give your relapse prevention a boost. Taking certain actions can give you a physical advantage, i.e. addressing cravings by balancing your blood sugar, to help you stay away from a drink or drug. Remember, half of H.A.L.T. is purely physical (Hungry, Tired). Plus, addressing your physical health can support your mental and spiritual recovery too!

2. To help reverse the internal damage done, decrease chances of future health challenges, and enhance quality of life so that recovery can be enjoyed to the fullest and your capacity for service work maximized.
“A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight” A.A., p. 133
Self-sabotage, risky behavior and a conscious or subconscious death-wish naturally accompany active addiction. As a result of an attitude shift after putting down the drug, you may suddenly realize that you are likely to live a lot longer than you perhaps previously (consciously or subconsciously) anticipated. Depending on how long you have been sober, perhaps that thought has already crossed your mind. So once you have accepted that you are likely to live a longer life sober, why not start treating your body right so that you can enjoy quality of life in the quantity available to you now. Assuming you didn’t get sober to be chronically sick, tired and miserable; you really ought to consider how to address this critical physical aspect of your recovery.

Awareness + Action = Results. To create an action plan for your physical health and wellness in recovery, you can seek out a professional coach who specializes in wellness and addiction recovery, or a clinical nutritionist or naturopathic physician who has experience working with recovering alcoholics and addicts.