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WALFWAY HOUSE IN INDIANAPOLIS

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Alums

Posted on February 25, 2019 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1633)
Congrats to all alums continuing the sober journey. We are proud of you; be proud of yourselves!

Take Tim Out and Relax

Posted on February 10, 2019 at 10:22 AM Comments comments (4)
Life can be overwhelming at times. No wonder we have a desire to escape "reality" through drugs and alcohol. Try practicing not taking things so seriously. It sounds ridiculous, especially when we are faced with all the troubles of this world. But even by taking 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to take some deep breaths and relax, life's problems may seem less intense. Sometimes it helps to watch a funny movie. Laughter can get you outside of yourself. Be kind to yourself. We are all in a journey.

Gratitude and Positive thinking

Posted on January 27, 2019 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (3)
Depression is often experienced by those in addiction recovery. 
To combat this, try being grateful for even small things in your life.
Also, remind yourself of the good things you have experienced in your life.

Connection of Children to Nature Brings Less Distress, Hyperactivity and Behavioral Problems

Posted on January 13, 2019 at 1:13 PM Comments comments (2)
City lifestyle has been criticized for being an important reason for children being disconnected from nature. This has led to an unhealthy lifestyle in regards to active play and eating habits. Even worse, many young children do not feel well psychologically – they are often stressed and depressed. 16 per cent of preschoolers in Hong Kong and up to 22% in China show signs of mental health problems.
Recent research shows that spending time in nature may bring many health benefits, and many environmental programs around the world are trying to decrease ‘nature-deficit’ and ‘child-nature disconnectedness’ in order to improve children’s health. For example, the WHO, in order to monitor implementation of the Parma Declaration commitment to providing every child with access to “green spaces to play and undertake physical activity”, has set a 300-meter target. Interestingly, 90 per cent of the Hong Kong population lives within 400 meters of such areas. However, despite the extensive, adjacent greenness, families are not using these areas.
“We noticed a tendency where parents are avoiding nature. They perceive it as dirty and dangerous, and their children unfortunately pick up these attitudes. In addition, the green areas are often unwelcoming with signs like “Keep off the grass”, said Dr Tanja Sobko from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Hong Kong. Until now, it has not been possible to measure connectedness to nature in preschool children, mostly due to the fact that they are too young to answer for themselves.
A new 16-item parent questionnaire (CNI-PPC) to measure “connectedness to nature’ in very young children has been developed by Dr Sobko and her collaborator Prof Gavin Brown, Director of the Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Unit at the University of Auckland. The questionnaire identified four areas that reflect the child-nature relationship: enjoyment of nature, empathy for nature, responsibility towards nature, and awareness of nature.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study is part of Dr Sobko’s research-based program Play&Grow, which is the first in Hong Kong to promote healthy eating and active playtime with preschool children by connecting them to nature. Launched 2016, it has so far included almost 1000 families from all over Hong Kong.
The findings have been published in multidisciplinary Open Access journal, PLOS ONE. The new scale has already attracted international attention and is being adopted by universities worldwide including Western Australia and Deakin Universities. In addition, the HKU-developed ‘Play&Grow’ program is also on track to be conducted in Australia.
The next step is to further fine-tune future health promotion/disease prevention interventions, which Dr Sobko and the team are committed to. “We are grateful for the recognition of the Government, which has recently granted significant financial support to this important project”, said Dr Sobko. The new exciting extension of this work is to test the effect of the exposing children to nature and changes in their gut microbiol.

Dopamine's yin-yang personality: It's an upper and a downer

Posted on December 16, 2018 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (0)
For decades, psychologists have viewed the neurotransmitter dopamine as a double-edged sword: released in the brain as a reward to train us to seek out pleasurable experiences, but also a "drug" the constant pursuit of which leads to addiction.                                
According to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, that's only one face of dopamine. The flip side is that dopamine is also released in response to unpleasurable experiences, such as touching a hot tea kettle, presumably training the brain to avoid them in the future.
The yin-yang nature of dopamine could have implications for treatment of addiction and other mental disorders. In illnesses such as schizophrenia, for example, dopamine levels in different areas of the brain become abnormal, possibly because of an imbalance between the reward and avoidance circuits in the brain. Addiction, too, may result from an imbalance in reactions to pleasure and pain.
"In addiction, people only look for the next reward, and they will take a lot of risk to get the next shot of drugs of abuse," said Stephan Lammel, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and the senior author of a paper describing the results in the journal Neuron. "We currently do not know the neurobiological underpinnings of certain high-risk behaviors of individuals with addiction, such as sharing drug paraphernalia despite the proven risk of mortality and morbidity associated with it. An understanding of how drugs change neural circuits involved in aversion may have important implications for the persistent nature of drug-seeking behavior in the face of negative consequences."
Although some neuroscientists have long speculated about dopamine's potential role in the signaling of aversive events, its dual personality remained hidden until recently because the neurons in the brain that release dopamine in response to rewards are embedded in a different subcircuit than the neurons that release dopamine in response to aversive stimuli.
Johannes de Jong, the first author of the study, was able to simultaneously record from both dopamine subcircuits by implanting fiber optic cannulas in two brain regions—separated by just a few millimeters—using a new technology called fiber photometry.
"Our work delineates for the first time the precise brain circuitry in which learning about rewarding and aversive outcomes occurs," Lammel said. "Having separate neuronal correlates for appetitive and aversive behavior in our brain may explain why we are striving for ever-greater rewards while simultaneously minimizing threats and dangers. Such balanced behavior of approach-and-avoidance learning is surely helpful for surviving competition in a constantly changing environment."
The newly discovered role for dopamine aligns with an increasing recognition that the neurotransmitter has quite different roles in different areas of the brain, exemplified by its function in voluntary movement, which is affected in Parkinson's disease. The results also explain earlier conflicting experiments, some of which showed that dopamine increases in response to aversive stimuli, while others d
"We have moved away from considering dopamine neurons as just a homogeneous cell population in the brain that mediates reward and pleasure to a more defined, nuanced picture of the role of dopamine, depending on where it is released in the brain," Lammel said.
Reward prediction errors
Most of what is known about dopamine has been inferred from studies in rodents and monkeys, where researchers recorded from cells in a specific region of the brain that only contains reward-responsive dopamine neurons. It is possible, Lammel said, that through sampling biases, dopamine neurons that respond to aversive stimulation had been missed.
According to the reigning "reward prediction error hypothesis," dopamine neurons are activated and produce dopamine when an action is more rewarding than we expect, but they remain at baseline activity when the reward matches our expectations and show depressed activity when we receive less reward than predicted.
Dopamine changes neural circuits and trains the brain—for better or worse—to pursue the pleasurable and avoid the unpleasurable.
"Based on the reward prediction error hypothesis, the established tendency has been to emphasize dopamine involvement in reward, pleasure, addiction and reward-related learning, with less consideration of the involvement of dopamine in aversive processes," Lammel said.
To dissect the different dopamine subcircuits, de Jong and Lammel collaborated with the laboratory of Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University, who developed the fiber photometry technology a few years ago.
Fiber photometry involves threading thin, flexible fiber optic wires into the brain and recording fluorescent signals given off by neurons and their axons that release dopamine. The fluorescent markers are inserted into the neurons via a virus that targets only these cells.
In previous experiments in monkeys, Lammel said, scientists had recorded from dopamine cells without knowing where in the brain the cells' axons reached, which could be areas millimeters from the cell body. Working with mice, de Jong recorded simultaneously from dopamine axons in the lateral and medial regions of an area called the nucleus accumbens, considered an integral part of the brain's reward circuits. He thus captured the activity of cells whose axons reach into these regions from the dopamine areas in the midbrain, specifically the ventral tegmental area.
To their surprise, axons in the medial area released dopamine in response to an aversive stimulus—a mild electrical shock to the foot—while those in the lateral area released dopamine only after positive stimuli.
"We have two different subtypes of dopamine cells: one population mediates attraction and one mediates aversion, and they are anatomically separated," Lammel said.
He hopes that these findings can be confirmed in monkeys and humans, and lead to new approaches to understanding and treating addiction and other brain maladies.
 

Twenty-Four Hours a Day Book

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 6:38 PM Comments comments (1)
Thought for the Day:
 
An alcoholic carries an awful load around with him. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. A man who's lying is only half alive, because of the constant fear of being found out. When you come into A.A., and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders. Have I got rid of that load of lying?
 
Meditation for the Day:
 
I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hate and selfishness, God's love and calm and peace can come in.
 
Prayer for the Day:
 
I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.
 

Pulling Ourselves Out Of Issolation and Loneliness

Posted on November 18, 2018 at 7:02 PM Comments comments (0)
Alone no more.
"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."
Basic Text, p. 37
Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people-especially people who were not using-at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.
In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said-the program works, if we let it.
Just for Today: The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.
Corresponding page Sixth Edition
Basic Text, p., 37
This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day. We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life. This growth is not the result of wishing, but of action and prayer. The main objective of Step Seven is to get out of ourselves and strive to achieve the will of our Higher Power.
If we are careless and fail to grasp the spiritual meaning of this step, we may have difficulties and stir up old troubles. One danger is in being too hard on ourselves.

Mac Miller died of an accidental overdose, coroner finds

Posted on November 6, 2018 at 10:41 AM Comments comments (0)
Rapper and producer Mac Miller died from "mixed drug toxicity," according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The drugs in Miller's system included fentanyl, cocaine, and ethanol, the coroner found.
His death was ruled an accident in a report, the results of which were released Monday.
Miller, whose real name is Malcolm McCormick, died in September at age 26.
He started his journey in music as a teenager by putting out mixtapes in his native Pittsburgh. In 2012, his first album, "Blue Slide Park," became the first independent debut album to hit the top of the Billboard chart in more than 16 years. Miller was 19.
He released his fifth studio album, "Swimming," in August.
Miller's family and friends paid tribute to the musician with a concert last week at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
Performers included John Mayer, SZA, and Chance the Rapper.
Miller's ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande also recently honored him in a song called "Thank You," calling him "an angel."
 
CNN's Stella Chan contributed to this report.

‘I lied about my drinking’: David Cassidy drank to his death ‘to cover up the sadness’

Posted on October 23, 2018 at 11:12 AM Comments comments (0)
Fans flushed with worry when David Cassidy — the beloved singer from “The Partridge Family” whose song “I Think I Love You” became an anthem for young romantics everywhere — nearly fell off the stage during a disastrous concert in Agoura Hills, Calif., in February 2017.
That was only part of the problem. He also couldn’t remember the lyrics to many of his older songs and, as captured in a video obtained by TMZ, he slurred his words throughout the show. Many fans reached the same sorrowful conclusion: It appeared Cassidy had fallen off the wagon. After all, the heartthrob struggled with alcoholism after becoming a wonderkid in the 1970s. His father, actor Jack Cassidy, also struggled with alcoholism, which is influenced by genetics.
David Cassidy’s struggle with alcoholism seemed to peak in the early 2010s. From the turn of the decade to 2014, he was arrested three times for driving drunk, the last two arrests coming within six months of each other and landing him in rehab in South Florida.
“If I take another drink, I’m going to die, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I’m dead. … It’s very humbling, and it’s also humiliating,” he told Piers Morgan in 2014, adding that admitting to his disease gave him hope.
“I dropped to my knees, and I felt something go through me that was like, I felt this experience that was just, thank you God. I felt this relief,” Cassidy said. “I begged it, and I was crying and weeping like a little boy, like a, like a sobbing little infant, like I’m sure I did many times as a kid. And I felt this incredible sense of relief, because I stopped lying to myself.”
So after that disastrous concert, he was quick to set the record straight. In emotional interviews, Cassidy denied rumors that he was drinking again.
Instead, he said, he was afflicted by something else, something out of his control, something he once said he always feared, something that had stolen his grandfather and actress mother Evelyn Ward: dementia.
“When you have spotlights in your eyes and you’ve had five eye surgeries, as I’ve had, and I’ve talked about it — I tripped on [a stage monitor]. But I certainly wasn’t intoxicated, and it has nothing to do with why I’m leaving [touring],” he told Dr. Phil shortly after footage of the concert surfaced. “Certainly, my dementia has contributed to the reason why I don’t want to go out and I don’t want to hear, ‘Well, he looked like he was drunk’ … I wasn’t.”
Cassidy died of liver failure a few months later at the age of 67 in November 2017.
Fans of the singer quietly mourned him. How tragic it seemed that he finally overcame a lifelong struggle with alcohol, only to have his final days tormented by the very same dementia that ran rampantly through the rest of his family.
As it turns out, however, he hadn’t overcome his struggle with alcohol — not at all. And his dementia was neither related to a disease like Alzheimer’s nor was it permanent. Instead, it was a temporary condition brought on by his alcoholism, a different devastating disease.
In an upcoming documentary from A&E called “David Cassidy: The Last Session,” Cassidy admitted that he was still drinking.
After suffering from severe memory problems and being rushed to the hospital from a recording studio, Cassidy spoke with A&E producer Saralena Weinfield to explain what happened. She recorded the phone call, which has been edited into the documentary.
“I have a liver disease,” Cassidy said, admitting that “there is no sign of me having dementia at this stage of my life. It was complete alcohol poisoning.”
This might seem like a surprising revelation, given that publicly Cassidy had maintained that he was dry. The singer addressed this, as well.
“And the fact is that I lied about my drinking,” he said. “The head doctor at the hospital, she said, ‘I believe your dementia was directly related to your alcoholism.’ ”
Then, his voice began to crack as he tried to explain himself.
“I did it to myself, man,” he said. “I did this to myself to cover up the sadness and the emptiness.”
Not everyone, though, was surprised.
“Part of alcoholism is lying,” said “Partridge Family” co-star Danny Bonaduce, according to People. “When you’re an addict, you know you can’t be honest with people. You say what you want them to hear. I can’t be mad at David for that, but it’s still a tragedy.”
The documentary producers reportedly debated whether to show the footage and posthumously reveal Cassidy’s dark secret. In the end, though, the network decided that was the best way to honor him.
“I think it will strike a chord with people,” producer John Marks told People. “He wanted to share this very private part of his life, and to be honest once and for all. And I think he succeeded in doing that.”

A Positive Attitude

Posted on October 7, 2018 at 10:33 PM Comments comments (0)
"That old nest of negativism followed me everywhere I went."
          - Basic Text, p.137
A negative attitude is the trademark of active addiction. Everything that occurred in our lives was someone or something else's fault. We had blaming others for our shortcomings down to a fine science. In recovery, one of the first things we strive to develop is a new attitude. We find that life goes a lot easier when we replace our negative thinking with positive principles.
While a negative attitude dogged us in our active addiction, all too often it can follow us into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. How can we begin to adjust  our attitudes? By altering our actions. It isn't easy, but it can be done.
We can start by listening to the way we talk. Before we open our mouths, we ask ourselves some simple questions: Does what I'm going to say speak to the problem, or the solution? Is what I'm going to say framed in a kind manner? Is what I have to say important, or would everyone be just as well off if I kept my mouth shut? Am I talking just to hear myself talk, or is there some purpose to my "words of wisdom"?
Our attitudes are expressed in our actions. Often, it's not what we say, but the way we say it that really matters. As we learn to speak in a more positive manner' we will notice our attitudes improving as well.
 
Just for today: I want to be free of negativity. Today, I will speak and act positively.

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