The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 1

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 1

In the spirit of the holiday season, we figure it is about time to not only celebrate love, giving and connection but also a time to celebrate the journey into sobriety many amazing people are on all around the world. As we reach the end of another interesting and exciting year, full of bittersweet memories as well as joy and hope, we thought it would be nice to give a sobering spin on one of the Christmas classics; the 12 days of Christmas. But honoring the legacy of 12 Step fellowships that have been such a life-changing foundation for many people recovering from drugs or alcohol.

We know that the holidays can also be a difficult time for those who may be separated from their loved ones for the season. They can certainly be a difficult time for those who are still struggling or who have loved ones suffering. So we want to spread a little bit of hope along with holiday cheer.

So for the days leading us to Christmas, we look forward to presenting all of our incredible followers and friends with our very own version of the 12 Steps of Christmas.

Step 1: Admitting that I am powerless over the Holidays and they can make my life unmanageable

Forget the partridge in the pear-tree for the first day… let’s start off slow.

The fact is, the holidays will come around whether we are ready for them or not. I’m still trying to figure out how I survived the turkey and stuffing from November. Then BOOM here comes Christmas, with the gift giving and the family time and all that fun stuff. With all the tinsel and toys (yes, I still ask Santa for Batman action figures for Christmas) there comes a lot of stress and temptations for some people in sobriety.

Remembering Christmas with drinking…

Sometimes they want to join in “merriment” is pretty tempting. I know personally, the temptation to drink during Christmas was pretty much the same as every other 24 hours in early recovery; a lot. Lucky me, I got to spend my first sober Christmas in a holistic addiction treatment program. NICE! In all seriousness, it probably did save my life.

But I can remember the days when I used to drink with my loved ones on Christmas. After getting through the presents and coming together in the afternoon to spend time together, we would have food and drink together. The only problem, maaaaaybe some of us (ME) drank a little too much of the eggnog.

Whether or not you are a fan of “eggnog”, which in some families (or maybe just my family) tends to have a hearty serving of whiskey in the mix, there can be plenty of things about the holiday season that are tough to tussle with, especially in early sobriety.

Powerless over family…

We have to remember that our families are out of our control. All that dysfunction and colorful history with all the characters you call relatives can be, to put it mildly, exhausting and stressful. Sometimes our family members want to remind us of all the time we spent last year nodding out at Christmas dinner…

…or the time we threw up on the snowman in the backyard…

…or the time we sold all the presents under the tree and disappeared for a week…

…No? Just me?

Anyway, the truth is that when aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings all come together with the parents and grandparents and so on, reminiscing is just part of the package. Maybe for some (me, apparently), it is more painful than others. Or perhaps, maybe you still have that family member that is struggling. Perhaps they are the ones disappearing for days, drinking too much cider or even causing conflict due to their distressed state in active addiction. It can be incredibly disheartening.

Either way, it is important to remember that we are not in control of our loved ones. Early recovery for a lot of us is about learning acceptance and working through the adversities we face with humility. Family support in the recovery process is more important than most people realize.

Plus, an abundance of Christmas cookies can go a long way.

Working with that unmanageability…

The most important part of any holiday, especially this time of year, is the compassion and goodwill toward others this season is meant to inspire in us. As troubling as life can be, our efforts to share love and connection are the best way to work through that obstinacy.

No matter how unmanageable the family get-together can be, in recovery, we have to try and remind ourselves that all we are responsible for is giving as much love, compassion, and acceptance as we can, while still maintaining healthy boundaries.

So step 1 for the 12 Steps of Christmas is essentially trying to remember not to stress the small stuff, and to accept yourself and your loved ones.

As for the partridge… is that even a thing? Who has a spare pear tree these days anyway?

Spending Christmas facing the hurdles and hardships of addiction can be a daunting task, but take this opportunity to be more aware of what truly matters and what that means for your recovery. For those struggling this holiday season, ask for help; not just for your family but, for yourself. Give yourself and those who love you the most the best gift you can. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Can You Quit Medication-Assisted Treatment Without Withdrawals?

Can You Quit Medication-Assisted Treatment Without Withdrawals?

Support for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has continued to grow in recent years as the opioid epidemic in America has put a mounting strain on the country. While the numbers of overdoses and opioid-related deaths have steadily climbed to devastating heights there has been more effort to explore treatment options. A better understanding of the medical and mental health aspects of addiction has become a priority. Stigma has slowly begun to carry less weight while advocates push for more effective and supportive routes to care for recovering addicts. One thing people have turned to heavily is medications like Suboxone of Methadone in attempts to steer away from more illicit and dangerous substances like heroin or fentanyl.

The application of medication in treatment can be very useful. It is a strategy that can help with the preservation of life by helping people stay off more unpredictable and life-threatening substances. However, some would say that if used for long-term this form of treatment is still relying on the idea of substitution. Often times these drugs have their own very harsh withdrawal symptoms, especially with extended use.

Taking a look at the more popular drugs used for medication-assisted treatment, one may ask- can you quit medication-assisted treatment with no withdrawals?

Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of anti-craving medications to try and help address issues related to drug dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. The more common medications used in MAT include:

But MAT is also utilized alongside comprehensive therapy and other forms of support. Experts and advocates for addiction recovery, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), insist that maintenance medications alone are not sufficient enough treatment.

Advocates for medication-assisted treatment will compare MAT to someone taking medication for diabetes or asthma, with the belief that maintenance drugs are an essential part of staying healthy. However, others in the world of addiction recovery still believe it is possible to be healthy in recovery without the prolonged use of powerful medications.

The truth is the answer may not be the same for everybody. Different treatments may be more useful for different people. No one should be ashamed of the method they use to get help. But we also want to look at how some drugs used in medication-assisted treatment might make things more complicated for certain people.

Suboxone

Looking at the most popular maintenance drugs for opioid addiction, of course, we find Suboxone. To better understand Suboxone withdrawals, we first have to know what it is. This popular brand name is used to identify a prescription medication that contains active ingredients:

  • Buprenorphine- a narcotic opioid medication
  • Naloxone– an opioid blocker that impedes the effect of opioid medications

This medication functions as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s opioid receptors. Taken in low doses for short periods of time, the drug can be helpful in curbing opioid withdrawal symptoms while tapering off without too many residual effects.

The tricky part comes when someone uses Suboxone for an extended amount of time as a replacement for heroin or other opioids.

Sometimes this can lead to its own form of recreational use and physical dependence. Even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that Suboxone is commonly susceptible to abuse. It is still a powerful drug.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

While Suboxone and other maintenance drugs may be a preferred tactic for going ‘cold turkey’ off of heroin or other opioids, the drug itself still has the power to cause its own set of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Irritability or agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose
  • Frequent yawning
  • Stomach pain or cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Changes in mood

Not to mention precipitated withdrawal, when the ingredients in this medication can actually induce the onset of unpleasant symptoms rapidly, if not immediately, for someone actively engaged in opioid use.

Methadone

Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication utilized since the 1970s to try and help people get off of heroin. It is typically used today under strict medical supervision because the drug is very potent and has a high risk of addiction. In fact, a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 2.46 million people reported to using methadone for a non-prescribed purpose at least once.

According to another study, in 2009 methadone was responsible for 1 out of every 3 opioid overdose deaths.

Because of the risks, a gradual taper should be utilized to wean someone off of methadone. Often times doctors will prescribe another detox medication to help with this process, with the tapering to be done under medical supervision.

Methadone Withdrawal

But as with trying to quit heroin or other powerful opioids ‘cold turkey’, trying to abruptly discontinue methadone can bring on intense withdrawal. This includes physical and psychological symptoms such as:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Trembling

Many of these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of withdrawing from heroin or other opioids. So in a sense, this drug can create similar withdrawal symptoms as the drugs it is supposed to be used to treat.

Quitting Medication Assisted Treatment

Is it possible to quit medication-assisted treatment- yes, there are always other options for getting comprehensive care and lasting recovery without the prolonged use of these medications. Even relapse prevention is possible without relying on medications to fight cravings.

Can you quit medication-assisted treatment with no withdrawals? Well, that may be a process. It depends on a number of factors, such as the specific maintenance medication and the length of time using it. For example, someone who has been using methadone for years could probably have a much harder time getting off methadone than someone who used another medication for a month or so to help get off opioids.

Safety is crucial when deciding to quit MAT. Quitting medication-assisted treatment without a taper or other forms of medication can cause intense withdrawals. It is not suggested that someone try to quit MAT ‘cold turkey’ or without consulting a doctor for help with changing the dosage and slowly tapering off the drugs.

Again, just because it isn’t heroin or fentanyl doesn’t make it harmless.

MAT or Detox?

Medication-assisted treatment holds a lot of value, but the question becomes whether or not it is the kind of sustainable solution you want. Recovery isn’t one-size-fits-all. Medication-assisted treatment can be helpful in saving someone’s life who cannot stop using drugs. But is it something that will completely eliminate cravings and withdrawals, or will it just postpone these symptoms?

Remember, these are still powerful narcotic drugs that have a high risk for abuse. Some people end up using medication maintenance for life. Others will use it for a short period of time, with a detox period afterward. Either way, it is your choice; how long do you want to rely on substances, and to what extent?

Other models believe in providing holistic treatment and personalized therapy after a detox period, helping to reduce and remove chemical dependence and build a foundation for personal recovery.

Using medication to help with the painful and often overwhelming symptoms of withdrawal from opioids and other drugs can be essential to a smooth and healthy transition. In fact, with a safe medical detox, each individual is given an initial assessment to see what medications will be helpful in making this phase of treatment comfortable and safe. This can include medications for anxiety, mood disorders, physical pains and various other side-effects of substance abuse.

And when it comes to some of these medications, it can sometimes be necessary to continue using them.

The biggest difference is whether narcotic maintenance medications like Suboxone or methadone become a long-term prerequisite to recovery, or if they are used to help someone who is sick get better so that the real healing can happen.

Palm Healthcare Company believes in providing a safe medical detox to allow for a comfortable and healthy transition from active drug or alcohol use. Our facilities utilize an experienced and professional medical staff who help to monitor each individual’s progress and provide effective medical support for lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Thanksgiving in Sobriety: 4 Tips to Make it Work

Thanksgiving in Sobriety: 4 Tips to Make it Work

For some of us, the holidays can be hard. Whether you are new to sobriety, in long-term recovery, or just a human being who just happens to live in a world with holidays, certain times of year can bring on a lot more stress than you would prefer to deal with. Thanksgiving can be one of these difficult times of the year. Some of us find it overwhelming to be surrounded by so many relatives and close friends because it can lead to high-stress social situations. Like when that one uncle brings up politics or that one aunt talks about their much more successful child. Or like when the parents bring up that time you pawned all their jewelry and crashed their car running from the cops.

No? Okay so maybe that is a very specific example.

Either way, Thanksgiving can be tough. Some of us in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction might not be able to spend this holiday with our families. We might feel isolated or even left out if our addiction has placed us in a situation where we cannot be directly present with our loved ones. Or we may find it a challenging situation simply because it is usually a day we remember drinking.

But still, there is always a great deal to be thankful for.

This week, as the holiday season comes in full force, we wanted to share 4 ways to get through Thanksgiving in sobriety for those who might be having a little more trouble than others.

  1. Be present

Too often people forget that holiday gatherings aren’t so much about the food or the partying. They are about the quality of time being spent together. Being present and in the moment will help you to actually enjoy the holiday instead of stressing over it. Even if you are not physically present with your family, being more available to those you are able to be with can make Thanksgiving in sobriety more enjoyable.

And you can still be available for your family and friends that aren’t around by reaching out over the phone and giving them some of your time as well.

If you go into the holiday with the head-space of being a drag, you will probably follow through with that. But if you chose to be actively engaged in you can easily give new meaning and feeling to the experience.

  1. Decide how to talk about it

Sometimes the fact that you are in recovery will come up, so you should decide how you want to talk about it… if you want to talk about it. The great thing is you aren’t required to tell anyone who doesn’t know. You don’t have to explain yourself. Just let people know you don’t drink.

When it comes to family or friends who do know about you issues with substances, decide how comfortable you feel with this conversation. Be willing to address concerns, but also set boundaries. You still have to take care of yourself, especially in early recovery.

Try to focus the conversation on the good side, like the fact that you are enjoying a Thanksgiving in sobriety with them. Some people will want to focus on the bad, but you can still decide how you are going to talk about it. To stay in the spirit and be present, talk about the solution you have now, not the problem you were facing.

  1. Include your support system

Having a strong support system is a vital part of long-term recovery. Whether it is relatives, close personal friends or people from the recovery community, having people to have your back definitely helps. Holidays are all about connection, so stay connected to those who share your experience. Let your family members know you’re going to be leaning on them for support if things get hectic.

Also, have people outside of the family to reach out to. If you are involved in a recovery fellowship or support group, connect with your peers to learn how they handle similar situations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Include people who know what you are going through and who can help keep you on track.

  1. Get in the Thanksgiving Spirit

One way to enjoy Thanksgiving in sobriety is to actually commit to the idea of Thanksgiving. This is a holiday all about being grateful for what you have and giving thanks and love to those closest to you.

If you are grateful this Thanksgiving, be sure to give some of yourself. You can help the family with making food or setting up, or you can go beyond that and give in other ways. Sometimes people in recovery find ways to volunteer for the holidays. Participate in some form of community activity that gives back and helps those in need.

Being enthusiastic about the opportunity to share this time with your loved ones and give to others can help you overcome the hang-ups you might encounter. If you can try to get in the spirit of the holiday, it won’t be so much about drinking or stressing over everything and more about spending the time with the people you love.

The spirit of the holiday is to celebrate what you have. If you are sober you have something pretty significant to be celebrating, right? Thanksgiving in sobriety lets us reconnect with those we love and show gratitude for the second chance at life. It shouldn’t be all that hard to get into the spirit of being grateful. The real good feeling comes from loving and giving back.

We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.

   Click for FREE GIFT

Always remember during the holidays to take care of yourself. For Thanksgiving in sobriety be grateful for how far you have come. If you are still struggling with an addiction, now is the time to get help, so that you can give your loved ones the peace of mind they deserve so you can have even more to be thankful for.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.  

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Senator Investigating Vivitrol Drug Maker for Shady Marketing

Senator Investigating Vivitrol Drug Maker for Shady Marketing

The Big Pharma industry is still in the hot seat, and this week another lawmaker is adding a new name to the roster of drug makers to be investigated for shady marketing practices. Alkermes, the company behind the opioid treatment implant Vivitrol, is now being investigated for how they market their product.

Background on Vivitrol

Vivitrol is another name given to the generic drug Naltrexone. Originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of alcohol dependence in 1994, Naltrexone eventually became approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. The medications primary use appears to be blocking the opiate receptors in the brain. It’s intended so that someone using heroin or other opiate-based drugs cannot experience the drugs high.

The Vivitrol shot is made by Boston-based biotech Alkermes. This medication stood out from other Naltrexone medications because Vivitrol is an injection given every 4 weeks with a monthly doctor visit. It is time released for longer lasting relief, instead of being a pill taken once a day.

Supposedly Vivitrol is intended to further help by reducing cravings for opioids. However, Naltrexone and Vivitrol have been refuted by many for having any notable effect on opioid cravings.

Enter Senator Harris

Kamala Harris is a Democratic California Senator who has announced she will be part of launching a new investigation into the sales and marketing practices of the makers of Vivitrol. According to the senator, Alkermes allegedly worked to increase sales of their opioid treatment medication through two questionable strategies:

  1. “Aggressively” marketing Vivitrol to officials in the criminal justice system

Senator Harris says that Alkermes pushes for judges and lawmakers to use their product. The company even provided free samples, which resulted in Vivitrol being actively implemented in 450 treatment programs across 39 states.

  1. Lobbying efforts by federal and state lawmakers

In her statement, Harris also alleges that the company has spent millions of dollars in direct appeals to government officials. Meanwhile, they were contributing to numerous congressional campaigns.

Due to the drug companies marketing, Vivitrol raked in well over $69 million dollars in the third quarter of 2017.

In her statement Senator Harris says,

“We are at the height of a crisis, and companies are taking advantage of pain in order to profit”

“We must hold these companies accountable for their deliberate actions that magnify the opioid epidemic and drive up the cost of drugs for Americans.”

The senator even quoted the chief of addiction medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Anna Lembke, who said,

“Alkermes has taken unethical drug promotion to new depths by enlisting judges, law enforcement personnel, and legislators to favor Vivitrol over proven treatments. Alkermes’ actions undermine public health.”

Which seems like some pretty strong words. In the midst of the opioid crisis, it might be fair to say we should use every resource we can get. However, the Big Pharma enterprises still need to be put in check when it comes to overlooking more effective treatments.

In fact, a 2011 review of studies suggested that Naltrexone was not significantly superior to placebo, and the authors believed there was no sufficient evidence to support Naltrexone therapy for opioid dependence.

Investigating Vivitrol

One reason Senator Harris seems to have Vivitrol in the crosshairs seems to be that the pharmaceutical company made a habit out of promoting Vivitrol as a more effective treatment than other maintenance drugs, such as Suboxone or Methadone, even though there is no substantive data to support this claim.

As part of the investigation, Harris contacted Richard Pops, the Alkermes Chairman, requesting the company provide data and communication. At the moment Alkermes is disputing the allegations. Senator Harris appears to be calling their bluff, as she was requested that Alkermes submit:

  • Marketing records

  • Financial records

  • Internal reports

Alkermes has also been asked to turn over any materials provided to participants or speakers for Alkermes since 2010. They’re being asked to disclose amounts paid to the company by various associations, including:

  • American Society of Addiction Medicine

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Any studies presented to these groups are also to be turned in.

In their own statement, Alkermes states they are “focused on ensuring that patients, healthcare professionals, and criminal justice officials are educated on Vivitrol, and believes that patients should have access to all medications.”

There is no telling whether or not this investigation is going to turn into a witch hunt or if it will blow the lid off of even more bad behavior from Big Pharma. While other drug companies that can be connected to the opioid crisis are already facing lawsuits and others even criminal cases for racketeering and fraud, the Vivitrol producers might find themselves on the chopping block sooner rather than later.

There is already much disagreement about whether or not the Vivitrol treatment is really effective in the first place. Some say the medication helped save their life. Many others have horror stories of uncomfortable side-effects made worse by cravings. Either way, pharmaceutical companies still need to be held accountable for their marketing methods, especially when they seem a little suspect.

For now, this is all a request. Only Republican Senator Ron Johnson has the power to issue subpoenas on behalf of the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.

When talking about the most effective treatment programs for addiction, we should also remember that maintenance drugs like Suboxone, Vivitrol and others are not exactly a solution. While they can be effective in keeping people alive and helping to overcome their sickness, the real healing does not come from magic pills or implants. The real transformation comes with developing the understand and the tools to take care of yourself. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Richard Spencer at Univeristy of Florida: America’s Controversy Addiction

Richard Spencer at Univeristy of Florida: America's Addiction to Controversy

Anyone can see that these are divisive times.

Every day we see another story about protestors, protests against protestors, and counter-protests against those protesting the free-speech of protestors. Various movements drive outrage, and some of the loudest voices today are the most controversial. But are we addicted to it?

Today, the University of Florida in Gainesville is bracing for the impact of another contentious event. Known white supremacist Richard Spencer has been scheduled to arrive today on campus to deliver a speech, promoting his openly racist and radically white nationalist ideals. A guy who seems to have a knack for intentionally stirring up racial tension in public, preaching about ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’, and waving around tiki torches like nobodies business.

With so many other troubling things happening in America; the ongoing opioid crisis that is killing tens of thousands every year; the debate on gun control following the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas; the concern over environmental deterioration or the devastation caused by recent Hurricanes to states like Texas and the island of Puerto Rico, doesn’t it seem we already have plenty to argue about?

How do voices like Richard Spencer spark our addiction to the controversy?

White Supremacist Invade Florida

The event is scheduled for this afternoon and will be the first college visit Richard Spencer has made since he and others participated in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The same day where the horrific display of people marching down the streets of an American city with Nazi flags and Ku Klux Klan symbols, many of them armed, clashed with counter-protestors. The same day a young woman was killed when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protestors.

Richard Spencer stood on the side with neo-nazis and klansmen.

Today officials at the University of Florida are worried that this event will also become violent. In fact, the president of the University of Florida, Kent Fuchs, believes Richard Spencer wants there to be violence, hoping it will garner sympathy for the ‘alt-right’ movement he represents. In an interview Fuchs states,

“They’re coming to campus with the intentions of confrontation and with the intention of having all of us repeat their view on the world.”

On Monday Rick Scott, Florida Governor, declared a state of emergency for Alachua County to enable law enforcement to work together more effectively at preventing violence. There has also been the talk of activating the National Guard if necessary.

Of course, Richard Spencer took all this extra precaution as an opportunity to pat himself on the back. He’s alleged to be absolutely flattered by the state of emergency on his behalf.

Hint of Hypocrisy

One thing that always comes to these kinds of conversations is the discussion of people’s first amendment rights. When we get to the topic of whether universities should permit speakers to come to their campus, people always argue that the individual’s freedom of speech should be a priority and that these institutions should allow people who are controversial and divisive to speak, regardless of the harm or outrage caused by their poisonous rhetoric.

In this writer’s personal opinion– (and I know this may sound weird)- I agree with letting people I disagree with have a chance to talk. If we give those we think are wrong a chance to speak, we can engage the conversation and challenge them. If we completely silence all ignorance I think we can’t comprehensively address it.

THAT BEING SAID…

The problem I take with situations like this is hearing that the University of Florida is spending over $600,000 on additional security for this event in order to protect white supremacists. Money coming from taxpayers that could be spent on providing tuitions for who knows how many students.

Of course, this is because UF is a public university, and is therefore prohibited from stopping the event based on the contents or views of the speech. The university provided a permit for Spencer to speak, but the event is unaffiliated with the school, and no student groups sponsored the speech or invited Spencer. Plain and simple, it is an absolute set-up for a huge fall-out. And the university is not permitted to defer the costs of protecting Spencer to him or his alt-right movement.

But I digress…

Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy I see here is that the organizers for Spencer’s speech supposedly will only allow people who look like alt-right supporters to be among the 700 people inside the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. I can only guess what they look like.

So in essence, Spencer’s right to preach hate on a college campus should be a priority (sarcasm implied), even if the vast majority of students disagree with his oratory… But no one who disagrees with him should be allowed to participate in the dialog?

Our Addiction to Controversy and Outrage

Of course, just participating in this conversation is part of feeding the controversy. Therefore, this article in and of itself is putting the focus on the divisive subjects that push people into radical ideologies and pull communities apart. But the conversation still needs to be had; why are we so addicted to this kind of conflict?

Did you know our neurobiology rewards our outrage? A simple reason we are addicted to the controversy is that our outrage does feel good.

  • Limbic System

Our anger overrides all other moral and rational constraints in the brain because it originates from our primordial, original limbic system. This is the part of the brain where our most automatic emotions like fear and desire come from.

The limbic system has the most direct links to our fight-or-flight response system. It controls our adrenaline rushes, alertness, and other instincts. Controversy and outrage tap into those instincts and we can become addicted to the rush we experience through the limbic system.

  • Ego

The ego is a primary fuel source for our outrage and our attraction to controversy. Not only do we get a thrill from the debate and a rush from feeling right in a debate, but it is a way we overcome our own feelings.

Anger can be triggered by feelings of insecurity or weakness. Our outrage is a surge of emotion that flows in to overcome those feelings of fragility. So our outrage and immersion into controversy make us feel stronger or superior.

Feeding Our Addiction

Addiction compels you to chase a high that only makes you feel worse; it reduces you to a lesser version of yourself. It seems, however, that Americans are largely addicted to controversy and discord. When you look on social media or watch television it appears evident we are adopting a society that is hooked on hostility and that undervalues empathy.

How did this happen? Simple; More than most drug addicts, our dealers are literally everywhere! The business of controversy is an ugly but lucrative one. Any drug trafficker knows how that is. Many people who dig up every piece of offensive, frightening or infuriating news to publish don’t typically let it bother them in the same way. Especially online in forums, most posters are thrilled to pedal it because they know their addicted customers all too well.

The drama-dealers know they’re making us feel a thrill of uncertainty or weakness, while simultaneously making us feel stronger and better-than.

True Strength is in Unity

The truth is, being ‘right’ or debating better than others doesn’t make any of us stronger. Our true strength comes not from our addiction to being smarter or superior in any way. ‘Alt-right’ is not the future, it is a reprehensible and sectarian atrocity that should not be given even a finite measure of merit. But people will thrive off of the discourse it will create.

Contrary to the garbage Richard Spencer will spew about diversity being an evil and an unnatural threat to the supremacy of the white race, diversity, and unity despite our differences is what gives us true strength. It almost seems ridiculous that as adults we still have to keep arguing this point. Our nation has a very sordid past, but we are better for admitting it and trying to do better.

People like Richard Spencer, feed on the fear, weakness, insecurity and false strength created by their archaic and disgraceful controversy. This is not strength, it is pure exploitation of their own people in a callous attempt at prestige. Spencer is another dealer, committed to trafficking in racism, fascism, and discontent. Like any other heroin or crack dealer.

Student leaders from the University of Florida have been planning events using #TogetherUF to promote education and dialog while encouraging unity and embracing diversity. Hopefully, these collective efforts to pull people together can counter-balance the separation Spencer and his followers hope to create.

It is with great hope that the campus and its students remain safe, as thousands have already committed to marching in protest of Spencer and his movement.

“Our true nationality is mankind.”

-H.G. Wells

Palm Healthcare Company believes everyone from every culture or community deserves a chance to be happy and healthy. We embrace the unity of our staff, our clients and our community towards building better futures for all of us. We know addiction does not discriminate, and we are here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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