Author Archives: HUGS Recovery, Inc

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How Heroin Impacted Ambitions Of Former NBA Player

Chris Herren, a former NBA player, gave a presentation about his encounter with drugs on Thursday afternoon at the Myrtle Beach High School. He described how he almost lost his life four times while under the influence of Heroin and gave the dangers associated with drug abuse. For eight years, Herren was battling with heroin addiction till 2008 where he started a new life. He came up with a new goal of prevention and stayed faithful to his new phase free from substance abuse. After the eight years encounter with heroin, Herren decided to create awareness around the country, giving talks on adverse impacts of illegal drugs. He gives them pieces of advice on prevention and allows them to think of their lives. He makes them focus on school education and engage in productive activities that will raise their social status and reputation in the society.

Chris Herren’s journey on substance abuse began when he drunk his first beer at the age of 13. He advanced to drinking and smoking marijuana at the age of 15, and later introduced himself to Cocaine for the first time when he was 18 years. He also ventured in several other substances that proved to heighten his spirits. His first rehabilitation center was in the early 20s which ‘did not work out successfully. His beginning oxycontin pill quickly secured him after a year with the Denver Nuggets. He realized that the oxycontin was a necessary capsule after being traded to Boston Celtics. “I was taking 1600 milligrams of oxycontin a day. I was spending $25,000 a month on pills,” He said.

Herren’s attempt of getting rid of oxycontin never went as planned after he traveled overseas to play basketball. He turned to heroin the fact that he could not keep up with the diminishing supply of the oxycontin drug. Chris Herren went overboard by overdosing himself during the eight years and would do it close to four times. “Any time you put a needle in your arm for eight years straight, it’s a nightmare. That means eight years in a row I took a chance at dying every day” He said. Despite all attempts by Herren of ending his life, he survived and aimed at starting a new phase. The world has learned from his moving story of addiction, and many have been inspired by his courageous act of starting a new life.

He also shared his story on a Thursday afternoon to a large group of Seahawks at Myrtle Beach High School. Before Herren took the platform, Principal John Washburn addressed the crowd telling them of how their community was facing some issues. “Unfortunately, we have lost some alumni to drugs,” He said. Horry County has also been on the forefront, battling with the heroin pandemic similar to other parts of the country. Statistics of the previous year have shown that drug overdoses have claimed over 60 lives in the region.

Chris Herren explained that every country he went to suffered the same fate of substance abuse. “This whole country is suffering from this,” He said. He further explained that the stigma related to heroin only affects an individual and severally, he could meet as young as 15-year-old heroin addicts and others in their 60s. “Today’s heroin addict comes in all shapes and sizes, all forms and religions and cultures and from all, all areas of life,” Herren said.

One of the presentations at Myrtle Beach High School targeted the students while the other was for the public. He addressed both audiences with a similar purpose of preventing indulgence in substance abuse. Chris Herren has been prominent in many parts of the nation and has made several presentations in a year. He not only talks about his encounter with drugs but also empowers the youths and encourages them to share their life experiences. “When I first started doing this, it was more about me than them, and I’ve had to learn over the last six years that I’ve had to pivot and switch it and make it more about them,” Herren said.

He thinks that most of us are still in the ancient on how we educate our kids. He feels like parents or guardians do not give their children enough opportunity to share their talks and any issues affecting their lives.  “I often say I won’t stop doing this until wellness becomes a core class, a base class from Kindergarten on. A kid should be able to walk into a classroom and know that, that day he can open up.” Herren mentioned.

He also told the students about helping their friends who were battling with different issues in their lives. They were to consider the wellness of their family before thinking of anything associated with substance abuse. Chris Herren believes that most people have had a wrong perspective on issues related to addiction. He says that most addicts talk about their last day of dependency and fail to talk much about how they were initiated to drugs. He speaks of a situation where our children are only shown pictures of prostitutes and drug addicts to make them aware of what happens to them if they engage in drugs. “Why not rewind those pictures and go back to when they weren’t, when they were walking in high school hallways and having no idea what was coming? The first day is just important as the last day”, stressed Herren.

The Herren Project is a nonprofit organization founded by Chris Herren and focuses on offering mentorship programs, treatment navigation, and educational programs. The project incorporates people who are touched by addiction, and they provide education on the dangers of substance abuse to all age groups. The Herren Project propelled a national anti-substance abuse campaign and Project Purple in 2012. As depicted by his Website for Hoop Dreams, the projects were meant to motivate more people to stand firm against drug and substance abuse. His mission has proved to be successful, and his talks have inspired most individuals. Others have turned towards rehabilitation centers and aim at starting a new life free from drugs and other illegal substances.

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Drug Distributors Sued Following Costs of Opioid Abuse

A town in West Virginia is initiating various efforts in compensating the costs related to opioid abuse by bringing to justice the illegal drug distributors. Five drug wholesalers were mentioned in a lawsuit filed by the Mingo County Community of Kermit on Tuesday. Cameron Justice, the former owner of a closed pain clinic, was among the people named by the court. In 2010, he had been sentenced for a health care fraud and served thirty months in prison. Issuing illegal prescriptions to unauthorized staff members was also among the charges that sent him behind bars. Truman Chafin, the former state Senator, also championed against the distribution of illegal drugs. He mentioned that “The good people of Kermit deserve justice for the ravages done to them by several multinational corporations for money.”

Several other communities are planning to file a lawsuit relating to the same issue. Nicholas County town of Richwood is one of the affected communities, and their grievances are yet to be brought to justice by Rusty Webb, the Charleston attorney. Webb mentioned that most of the counties and cities in West Virginia had been affected by the distribution of illegal drugs which has been costly to the individual communities. These areas have incurred costs which would have been avoided if the pharmacists and doctors did not allow the distributions to take place.

In the early weeks of January, the City of Huntington filed a related lawsuit involving dumping of illegal drugs in the area. The McDowell County Commission sued the drug distributors who took part in the illegal business in December. The state is determined to bring to justice people who defy the law, and it has been prominent in settling cases related to illicit drug wholesalers.

McKesson Corporation, a wholesaler, based in San Francisco was announced by the U.S Justice Department in January to have settled similar lawsuits after paying an amount of $150 million.  The allegations were associated with the failure of the wholesalers to determine and create awareness on suspicious orders of prescription pain drugs distributed by the pharmacies. The reports from federal prosecutors were that most of the West Virginia Pharmacies had placed suspicious orders. A federal investigation on McKesson was carried out in Grant County where it was settled for an amount of $2 million.

Other drug wholesalers were brought to justice following an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Close to 1,728 people were overdosed by oxycodone and hydrocodone pills that were shipped to West Virginia for six years. According to the newspaper, approximately 9 million pain pills was received over a two-year period by a single pharmacy in Kermit from the drug distributors.

West Virginia had the highest number of deaths relating to the drug overdose as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the reports, the rates of deaths reported in 2015 was 41.4 per 100, 000 of the total population. It showed an increase of drug overdose deaths by approximately 17 percent from the previous year. The second in the listings was New Hampshire with 3.43 per 100, 000 of the total population. Kentucky and Ohio followed the same trend having a rate of 29.9 per 100, 000 population.

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Dennis Quaid Leading A Great Example Of What Recovery Looks Like

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By Derrick D. Billingslea.

Dennis Quaid is back on the big screen with “A Dog’s Purpose” and leading a great example of what recovery looks like. However in the early 80′ Quaid drug use was out of control and he did not realize it. He told The Times,”Cocaine, back then, was part of the budget. Everyone was doing it, it was everywhere, and it was fun. And then it was fun with problems”.

In a 2002 interview with Larry King and asked Quaid about his motives for using drugs, Quaid responded, “Well, you got to put it in context. Back in the late ’60s, early ’70s. That was back during the time where, you know, drugs were going to expand our minds and everybody was experimenting and everything. We were really getting high, we didn’t know it. And cocaine at that time was considered harmless. You know. I remember magazine articles in ‘People’ Magazine of doctors saying, it is not addicting. It is just—alcohol is worse. So I think we all fell into that. But that’s not the way it was.” When asked if he believed he had ever been addicted to the drugs, he responded, “It was a gradual thing. But it got to the point where I couldn’t have any fun unless I had it. Which is a bad place to be.” He also said,  “Being addicted to cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.”

Quaid said,”I had one of those bright light experiences where I either saw myself ending up dead or losing everything I had worked for.” That’s when Quaid checked himself into a 30 day treatment center and has not touched cocaine since.

Quaid recovery has lead him to do some awesome things that many may not be aware of. In 2007, the hospital staff mistakenly gave Quaid’s ten-day-old twins a dosage of heparin 1,000 times the common dosage for infants. Quaid was told the new borns would be fine, but Quaid filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare, claiming that the packaging for the two doses of heparin were not different enough.

The incident with his twins led Quaid to become a patient-safety advocate, producing a string of documentaries on preventable medical errors and co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare. His first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010, and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012.

A Dog’s Purpose, is based on the lovely international bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron will be on the big screen January 27, 2017. Cameron is a screenwriter for the new film. The family friendly Amblin Entertainment and Walden Media movie is being released by Universal Pictures and has some heavy hitting stars like Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson and K.J. Apa, and is directed by the Academy Award-nominated director Lasse Halstrom.

Photo Credit: WhatsApp Images

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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6 Free Mobile Apps For Recovery

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By Derrick D. Billingslea.

For centuries individuals in recovery would carry around notebooks, notepads, pens, pencils, the big book, etc, to help track their recovery progress. Now we live in a technology society where everyone is carrying around this thing called a cellphone/smartphone and with it comes great inventions for convince. HUGS Recovery Centers has found some great apps that will help you with your addiction.

Sober Grid

Beau Mann
iOS Free Android Free
Geosocial Networking
Sober Grid is a free iOS/Android app that connects you with other sober people.
This free, location-based app allows users find and connect with others in recovery who are near them for support, encouragement, information, and sober friendship. You can remain anonymous if you wish. It displays a grid of app users in the general vicinity (giving an approximate distance) and allows you to message that user, post messages to a news feed, or alert others that you are in need of support.
“Sober Grid is just like Facebook, but better. The content on the news feed is so helpful for us in the recovery process. It will give you inspiration and motivation to stay sober. Staff is caring, and so are users, you’ll make new great sober friends who’ll support you every step of the way. Simply amazing!” – Ailette R.

AA Big Book and More
Rob Laltrello
iOS Free
Your ultimate recovery resource.
The text of “Alcoholics Anonymous” otherwise known as the “Big Book”.
This free app is easy to use, helps you keep track of your sobriety, provides the text of the AA Big Book, and offers encouraging messages daily.

Falesafe Consulting, Inc
iOS Free
Provides over 150,000 current meetings curated by support group members who can give input/corrections on meetings. A personal scoring system, the Sobriety Score, helps people track their progress, as each recovery activity they participate in on the app goes towards their score. The app also includes Daily Reflections tagged by keyword and no advertising.

iOS Free Android Free
This app is geared to relapse prevention. It teaches the user how to identify thoughts and feelings which can lead to relapse. Then it leads the user to a daily reading geared to what they are currently experiencing which helps change “relapse” thinking into “sober” thinking. It also calculates sober time and money saved staying sober. It was developed by a licensed chemical dependency counselor who personally has over 27 years of sobriety.

Quit Now

Android, free
In English and Spanish. Counts days without smoking, cigarettes not smoked, money saved, and time saved. Covers nine aspects of health that will gradually improve, tips for quitting, and provides a widget.
Cover art
This free mobile-friendly in-browser app includes Daily AA and NA Readings, Speaker Tapes, Chat Room, Recovery Stories, Clean Times, Meditation Mode, and more. Create an account to keep track of your sober time, chat with other members, and get location-based recovery events.

There are many more great addiction apps that are available, fees range from .99 to 35.00 per month.

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.




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Myth “Drinking Alcohol Will Keep Me Warm”

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By Derrick D. Billingslea.

The cold season is among us now, hot chocolate, tea, apple cider, etc. are drinks we love to sip in the winter. Another drink many like to indulge in is alcohol, and mixing it in something hot is called the famous “Hot Tottie”. Spare yourself from this potential deadly mix of cold weather and alcohol.

Free stock photo of cold, coffee, winter, christmas

Alcohol may feel nice and hot going down but the truth is, drinking alcohol when it’s cold lowers your core temperature.  Basic physics means that drinking a cold beverage will draw heat from your body, and drinking a hot beverage will add heat to your body. So, theoretically, alcohol shouldn’t add or subtract heat differently than any other beverage. The false sense of warmth you feel doesn’t translate to overall body temperature, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, published in 2005, found that after a single drink, the body tries to counteract the brief sensation of warmth caused by increased blood flow to the skin by ramping up its rate of sweating, which only decreases body temperature even further.

Why does it feel like I get warm when I drink alcohol?
The alcohol you ingest widens blood vessels under the skin, so they fill with warm blood. This overrides one of your body’s defenses against cold temperatures: Constricting your blood vessels, therefore minimizing blood flow to your skin in order to keep your core body temperature up. This will make you start to feel flushed or hot.

What effect could drinking alcohol in cold weather have on my body?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, drinking alcohol in the cold can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia can set in if your body drops below 95 degrees. The Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, says drinking alcohol in chilly weather also reduces the body’s ability and tendency to shiver, taking away yet another method your body uses to help keep warm when it is cold. If you or your love one has a heart condition you should avoid drinking alcohol in cold weather.

What are the signs of hypothermia?

Mild hypothermia

  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Faster breathing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Slight confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate

Moderate to Severe

  • Shivering, although as hypothermia worsens, shivering stops
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Confusion and poor decision-making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Lack of concern about one’s condition
  • Progressive loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing

Someone with hypothermia is usually not aware of his or her condition because the symptoms often begin gradually. Also, the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness. This confused thinking can also lead to risk-taking behavior.

As mentioned before there are many beverages to keep you warm, try some that will not risk your life. Also read “Foods That Keep You Warm”

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.


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The Unspoken Killer Of 2016

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By Derrick D. Billingslea.

As of 12/30/2016 8:43am, alcohol has taken the lives of 133,575 people according to United States of American Realtime Death Toll and 390,115 for drug use which includes, tobacco, all drug abuse, prescription drug overdose, and smoking in bed. Source

2016 should not be looked at as just a tragic year but as a wake call on the epidemic of drugs and alcohol the United States is facing. Who did you lose in 2016, was is your mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, daughter, son, friend(s), or a celebrity? For me it was a close friend that had been in recovery for over 15 years, the damage that had been done to his body from drinking and drug use could not be reversed. Abusing alcohol increases the likelihood of suffering atrial fibrillation, heart attack or congestive heart failure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Here are some of the people we lost in 2016 due to drugs:
Rob Ford/Mayor or Toronto: Cancer after years of alcoholism and drug abuse, including crack cocaine.
Prince Rogers Nelson/Musician, producer, songwriter, and actor: Accidental fentanyl overdose
Amber Rayne/Actress: Accidental Cocaine overdose
Axl Rotten/Wrestler: Heroin overdose
Harris Wittels /Actor: Heroin overdose
Jose Fernandez/Miami Marlins Pitcher: Boat crash, drunk and traces of cocaine
We also lost, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie and George Michael whom both fought to overcome their drug addiction.

“Turning Up” in the club today may have you turned up in a coffin 5 or 10 years from now because many fail to realize that addiction is a DIS-EASE.  There is help and addiction can be overcome if the individual wants it. For all the celebrities you saw die in 2016 from drug and alcohol abuse there were just as many that decided to seek help and are in recovery.

Drug abuse and alcoholism has a stigma of being a moral thing, bad choices, weak people, etc. This
is a Lie. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), that drug abuse is a disease, specifically, “Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease…similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease” (NIDA, 2008)

On December 13th 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act in a White House auditorium. The bill is a 6.3 billion dollar bill with allots 1 billion for substance abuse treatment targeting heroin and opioid addiction. President Obama quoted, “This is an epidemic that can touch anybody, blue collar, white collar, college students, retirees, kids, moms, dads,”.

A billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but not when compared to the 2.05 billion alcohol companies use to advertise (Source) and 81 billion drug abuse cost employers per year (Source).



Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.






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Alcohol and Your Metabolism

By Derrick D. Billingslea, CCT, CAC II, CCS.

Do you know what metabolism is? Metabolism is a simple concept to comprehend, in a nut shell metabolism is the capacity with which your body breaks down calories. Calories are obtained from the food you consume on daily basis. Hence, the more your metabolism speeds up its process the more your body coverts the food taken into heat energy. Fatty foods are mainly the producers of calories in the body as they get burnt through metabolism the body gets the energy it needs to function.   Generally, about two thirds of the calories in your body are utilized daily. The burning up of calories enables your body to keep functioning. With the amount of energy it gets through the conversion of the calories.

Alcohol has no nutritional value and contains empty calories. Since your body cannot store alcohol it has to metabolize it immediately. This can contribute to malnutrition because alcoholic drinks have high levels of calories that can account for a huge percentage of your daily energy requirements. Just one alcoholic drink per day can contribute to malnutrition. Also because alcohol does not contain any nutrients of its own it can possible impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you ingest. Each time you make the decision to swallow alcohol your liver has to take time from its main job of fat-burning to remove the chemical intruder. Source 

Nutritionists refer to the activity of the body in which calories are broken down as an individual’s particular Basal Metabolic Rate. Aside from burning down calories to produced energy, calories also help in the digestion process. You can use three methods to speed up your body metabolism. These methods are through building your muscle mass, exercise and good dieting in the form of eating the recommended foods that aid metabolism.

Here are three methods to speed up your metabolism:

1. Muscle mass is one of the body’s mechanisms that most people usually get confused about. Dieters especially the female folks believe that muscles mass is a man affair. Hence, they just don’t care about building their muscles mass. As women try to always build your muscle mass if you want to boost your metabolism.  |If you want to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate which is the speed at which your metabolism runs then you need to work on your muscle mass. This is because on an average day the pound of muscles you have in your body single handedly breaks down about fifty calories. |Do you know that whenever you gain up to about 10 pounds of muscles at any particular rate you will always help the body to burn out 500 or more calories every day? Think about the calories you will be burning every week that is about 3500 in just a single week.

2. Exercise, as we all know is very good for the body. Carrying out physical activities help increase the metabolic process in the body. When deciding on exercises there are several kinds of exercises that a person should engage in, if the aim is to increase the body’s metabolic rate. You can engage in any of the cardiovascular exercises of your choice. |Exercises such as running, swimming, jogging dancing and biking are forms of cardiovascular exercise you can indulge in to boost your metabolism. Cardio exercises are very vital in this respect because they help to use up much energy. This enables your body metabolism to speed up throughout the day or after the exercise.

3. Resistance training is a major exercise for metabolism boosting? It is very important for ladies to hold this and know it as a fact. Resistance exercise enables the body to generate heat after burning down the fat in the body. Resistance training enables the body metabolism to last as long as two days than other kinds of exercises. The exercise also gives an additional advantage of helping the body develop muscles mass which is also instrumental in increasing the rate of the body’s metabolism.  Are you thinking of engaging on resistance exercise? To effectively carry out resistance training, always begin with a simple method that can be performed 3 to 4 times in a week, for 20 to about 30 minutes per session.

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Alcoholism and Marriage: Does it go together?

By Derrick D. Billingslea, CCT, CAC II, CCS.


According to statistics, more than one half of families in US have an individual who are abusing alcohol or addicted to it. Be it the husband or the wife, the effects of alcohol abuse on a marriage can be damaging. SO, what are some of the effects of it and how can you avoid ruining your marriage? Source

It causes anger.
Imagine having all the tension simmering under the guise of a happy marriage. As the saying goes, still water runs deep. Heavy alcohol use does not yield warm communication. It yields more negative and hostile communications with your spouse. There is more hostility in everyday conversation and all these factors decrease the couple’s satisfaction in the marriage.

There’s marital distress.
Negative and hostile communication yields to marital distress in the non-alcoholic spouse, adding strain and tension to marital ties. There is less problem solving which leads to more damaging communication.  Problems keep piling up without resolution that leaves room for resentment. This can and most times lead to a greater potential of marital violence or divorce.

Being absent in the family.
The alcohol abusing spouse is constantly absent in the family. They are unable to shoulder everyday family responsibility or daily household tasks. This inability leads to a diminished role in the family as a husband or a wife to the non alcoholic spouse and as a father or a mother to the children. Physiological distress on the family can be extremely damaging to children. An alcoholic father or mother figure increases the children’s social, emotional, behavioral and academic problems.

Marital violence.
The more men are frequently intoxicated, the more likely they are to vent their anger on their wives. Alcohol abuse is linked to increased aggression and more physical violence as their ability for rational thinking is reduced. In addition, the intoxicated spouses are more likely to act on impulse and unable to exert self-restraint.
Among battered women, 40-60 percent reported that their husbands were heavy drinkers.
The abuser: “It wasn’t me, it was the alcohol talking!” “I would never do that if I was sober.”, “I’m not really that person. That’s who I am when I’m drinking.”
The victim: If I could just get them to go to rehab, everything would get better”
Alcohol can affect a person’s judgment and behavior, but using them does not excuse violence and abuse.

Reduced intimacy and sexual desire
A glass of wine may make you feel amorous, but too much alcohol can spoil your sex drive; the same is true for street drugs. Smoking decreases blood flow, which may dampen arousal. Source

Financial Problems
Depleting finances spent on alcohol form money spent on drinks, heavy drinkers may suffer other economic problems such as lower wages and lost employment opportunities, increased medical and legal expenses, and decreased eligibility for loans. A survey in Sri Lanka indicated that for 7% of men, the amount spent on alcohol exceeded their income. Source

Interventions To Consider:

Out-Patient Programs: Provides freedom of movement that can allow client to fulfill some life commitments such as work and education. Client will not have to explain a prolonged absence to co-workers and classmates.

In-Patient Programs: Provides clients with a safe secure environment that shields them from negative influences and daily support.

Peer Support Groups: Groups lead by someone like you that is in recovery, a place where you can discuss day-to-day problems with your peers.

Alcoholism and marriage are like oil and water. Not a very good mix.

Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Benefits of Yoga For Alcoholism

By Derrick D. Billingslea, CCT, CAC II, CCS.


Yoga through meditation works remarkably to achieve harmony and helps the mind work in synchronization with the body. How often do we find that we are unable to perform our activities properly and in a satisfying manner because of the confusions and conflicts in our mind weigh down heavily upon us? The Big Book, written by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete.”

Stress is the number one suspect affecting all parts of our physical, endocrinal and emotional system. And with the help of yoga all these things can be corrected. At the physical level, yoga and its cleansing practices have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders such as substance abuse.

Listed below are just some of the benefits of yoga that you can get.

Benefits of Yoga 1: Yoga is known to increase flexibility; yoga has postures that trigger the different joints of the body. Including those joints that are not acted upon with regular exercises routines.
The thing that alcohol does is, aside from being toxic, which it is, what it really does is dehydrates you, which of course is no good for flexibility. Source

Benefits of Yoga 2: Yoga also increases the lubrication of joints, ligament and tendons. The well-researched yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body. Great news for those who suffer from secondary osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis. Secondary OA results from predisposing cause, usually some sort of physical trauma knee injuries, defects present at birth, gout, diabetes, alcoholism, the use of corticosteroids and hormone disorders. Source

It has also been found that the body which may have started doing yoga being a rigid one may experience a quite remarkable flexibility in the end on those parts of the body which have not been consciously worked upon.

Benefits of Yoga 3: Yoga also massages all organs of the body. Yoga is perhaps the only exercise that can work on through your internal organs in a thorough manner, including those that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime.
Half Lord of the Fishes, “this delicious pose, squeezes and massages the abdominal organs, including the liver and kidneys, which are the top dogs when it comes to detoxing,” yoga teacher Amanda Upton. “This massage of the organs stimulates digestion and elimination.” Source

Benefits of Yoga 4: Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder. Alcohol and your liver are not a good combination for a healthy liver and for some people consuming as little as one glass of wine or beer a day can cause liver problems to develop.
One of the far-reaching benefits of yoga is the uncanny sense of awareness that it develops in the practitioner of an impending health disorder or infection. This in turn enables the person to take preemptive corrective action.
To keep your liver healthy, try some very basic yoga poses that increase the blood circulation in the abdomen. The bridge pose and cat pose are good examples.  Source 

Benefits of Yoga 5: Yoga offers a complete detoxification of the body. It gently stretches the muscles and joints as we massage the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body.

This helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny of your body as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to benefits such as delayed ageing, energy and a remarkable zest for life.
The Revolved Chair Pose stimulates the liver, spleen, and digestive system, while toning the abdominal  and improving the elimination process for your body.  Source 

Benefits of Yoga 6: Yoga is also an excellent way to tone your muscles. Muscles which have been flaccid and weak are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess fats and flaccidity.
But these enormous physical benefits are just a “side effect” of this powerful practice. What yoga does is harmonize the mind with the body and these results in real quantum benefits.
The University of Notre Dame Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, states that drinking alcohol can cancel out any potential physical gains you could acquire from training.

It is now an open secret that the will of the mind has enabled people to achieve extraordinary physical feats, which proves beyond doubt the mind and body connection.
In fact yoga = meditation, because both work together in achieving the common goal of unity of mind, body and spirit which can lead to an experience of eternal bliss that you can only feel through yoga.

The meditative practices through yoga help in achieving an emotional balance through detachment. This in turn creates a remarkable calmness and a positive outlook, which also has tremendous benefits on the physical health of the body.

Derrick D. Billingslea, is a certified addiction professional with over two decades in recovery himself and is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Alcohol Use Disorder: Debunking The Myth

By Derrick D. Billingslea, CCT, CAC II, CCS.


Many people have their beliefs about alcohol use disorder. However, most of these beliefs stem from a lack of experience, understanding and perhaps tolerance.  So let us correct some of these common misconceptions.


Myth 1: Alcohol abuse is only a bad habit and the only reason a person suffering with alcohol use disorder can’t quit is because they have no willpower.

At the start of drinking, perhaps it could be a voluntary decision. Consider it a much needed respite from work, bills, relationships and all the drama. However, the more they choose to turn to it, the more dependent they become on it to relieve stress and in the end, they become addicted. This happens because alcohol alters the brain and takes control of the person suffering from alcoholism.
Fact: Alcoholism is a chronic brain disease, not a matter of willpower. People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol are not weak, immoral or tragically flawed.
Source David Sack M.D.

“A lot of people think that addiction is a choice. A lot of people think it’s a matter of will. That has not been my experience. I don’t find it to have anything to do with strength”. _ Matthew Perry
Myth 2: Persons suffering with alcoholism and/or substance use disorders are only people with mental problems.

The statement is untrue. Persons suffering from alcoholism can begin as normal people without previous mental health issues who only started on one or two drinks to relieve stress. The more they seek this as an outlet, the more addicted they become. As we said in myth #1 alcohol alters the brain, creating a need in the user to be drinking all the time. This leads to bad life decisions.
Fact: There are serval factors that can influence the risk for addiction. The more risk factors the greater the chance of addiction. Here are some examples:

Biology:  The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
Environment: A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.

Development: Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviours, including trying drugs.
Source National Institute on Drug Abuse



Myth 3:  Treatment never works. Look at how many people relapse

The public thinks, that it will be easy to quit alcohol cold turkey however it is not that easy. The rehabilitation of persons with alcohol use disorders or treatment for them is not a one size fit all. The program has to be tailored to suit the needs of the individual. Different people have different issues that they are dealing with and they also respond differently to various treatment.
Fact:  In 1996 George Vaillant, MD published a study, 724 men over a 50 year period were followed. Relapsed occurred 40 percent of the time after two years of sobriety but was rarely reported after five years of abstinence.
Source Jeremy Frank PhD, CADC


Myth 4: Persons suffering from alcohol use disorder are a lost cause once they relapse. Getting off the addiction is easy. Staying off it is difficult. Relapsing does not mean hitting rock bottom. It could be used as a positive thing by analyzing why the individual relapsed, what trigger that triggered the event and learn to avoid it next time.

Fact: The chronic nature of the disease means that a relapsing to alcohol and/or drug abuse at some point is not only possible, but likely. Treatment of chronic diseases  involves changing deeply imbedded behaviours, and relapse does not mean treatment has failed. For a person recovering from addiction, lapsing back to alcohol/ drug use indicates that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted or that another treatment should be tried.
Source National Institute on Drug Abuse


Derrick D. Billingslea, is a certified addiction professional with over two decades in recovery himself and is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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