crack cocaine

Crack Cocaine’s Effect on the Brain

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant extracted from the leaf of the Erthroxylum coca plant. Crack is a crude form of freebase cocaine and is derived from cocaine powder (hydrochloride salt) through a simple, but dangerous chemical process usually performed in illegal, homemade laboratories.

Crack derives its name from the sound it makes when heated to release mind and mood altering vapors, which are ‘smoked’ by inhaling them through small tubes, bottles, pipes, and other devices. Crack is the fastest acting and most addictive form of cocaine, and since there is no accepted medical use for the drug, manufacturing, marketing, and using are criminal offenses in the United States and many other countries.

How does Crack Cocaine Affect the Body?

Cocaine works on the pleasure centers of the brain, particularly as a reuptake inhibiter of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Several antidepressants are serotonin reuptake inhibiters (Zoloft), and some slow the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine (Effexor, Prestiq). However, cocaine’s effects are much stronger and more pronounced, causing an elevated sense of well-being.

Dopamine is released by the brain in response to pleasurable stimuli. It circulates through the appropriate body systems, then is retrieved by the neuron that released it, ending the pleasure effect. Cocaine interrupts this retrieval process, leaving large quantities of dopamine floating between neurons and sending an overload of mixed emotional and physical signals to the body, creating an overwhelming feeling of euphoria.

What are the Physical Effects of Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine-induced euphoria can last from minutes to a few hours, depending on how fast the drug reaches the bloodstream and the brain. Fast, strong hits are desired; however, the faster the ‘hit’, and the stronger the effects, the shorter the duration of the ‘high.’ To maintain the euphoria, abusers tend to ‘binge,’ that is, they repeatedly take increasingly higher doses of the drug as soon as the high passes its peak. This process is harmful to the body and can lead to a heart attack, overdose, and even death.

The euphoric high of cocaine/crack must eventually be interrupted, as the user must, at least for awhile, stop using the drug in order to eat, drink, physically function, and to allow the body to reset so the chemical can continue stimulating the brain. Stopping or slowing the intake of cocaine/crack initiates distressful withdrawal symptoms.

What does Crack Withdrawal Feel Like?

Crashing causes anxiety, depression, irritability, anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure), and extreme fatigue. Abusers/users often take heroin or other drugs to minimize the extreme distress of crashing, thereby creating a different set of physical, mental, and emotional problems.

drugs in movies

The Symbolism of Drugs in Horror Movies

Drugs began to become a staple of the slasher movie genre of horror movies in the late 1970s. It has been pointed out time and time again that a teenager who does drugs in a horror movie is usually going to be the next one to be killer by the movie’s antagonist. While the original intent of drug use in horror movies was to make the movies more realistic to teenagers, the depiction of drug use has grown into a symbolic statement of the dangers of that kind of action.

Drugs Alter Perception of Reality

In real life, drugs use alters a person’s perception of the events that are going on around him or her. So to are drugs in horror movies. A perfect example would be in the movie, Freddy vs. Jason in which a group of partiers who were drunk, and obviously drugged believed that Jason Voorhees was someone there in costume, even though he was wielding a machete.

Drugs Slow Reaction Time

Hollywood directors realized very quickly that characters in horror movies that take drugs are not able to get away from horror movie killers in a very effective manner. Very few horror movie fans realize that this is a direct statement to drug use. When a person is under the influence of some kind of mind-altering drug, that person is less likely to survive a life-threatening occurrence because of the fact that reaction time is great affected.

Drugs Kill

By taking a tally of character that smoked pot in any of the Friday the 13 movies, a horror fan will soon realize that all of these characters ended up dieing. The argument could be made about how the character of Alice Hardy smoked pot and survived the original Friday the 13th. It needs to be remembered, though, that she was the first character to die in Friday the 13th: Part 2.

The statement that, “Drugs kill,” is the deepest part of the symbolism of drugs in horror movies. By doing drugs, the characters in horror movies open themselves up to grave disasters at the hands of the slasher movie antagonist. Death becomes inevitable for these characters in the short-run, instead of in the long-run that drugs usually take to reek havoc on a person’s insides.

Drugs in horror movies will most likely continue to be a staple of the genre for many years to come as the action not only can be used as a great sub-plot tool, but as it also hold symbolic value towards the younger generations. It will never be known, though, if the message about drugs makes it past the screen, and into the minds of newer generations.

drunk terms

Drunk Definitions Differ by Groups and Gender: Alcohol Abuse Research Shows that Diagnoses Complicated by Terms

Medical professionals assessing a patient’s level of alcohol usage may be mislead by differing terminology to define drunk or state of inebriation.

Medical professionals who are trying to ascertain the level of a patient’s alcohol use or abuse may be misled by differences in language and terminology, which varies between social groups and by gender. It is common for drinkers to mislead their doctor about how much they drink by using confusing language. Alcoholics may mislead doctors intentionally, but there may misunderstandings between doctor and patient because of differences in definitions of alcohol usage.

University of Missouri Study

The University of Missouri has issued a press release reporting on research which will be published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, currently available at Early View.

Alcohol’s effects described by drinkers can be very different from the terminology used by alcohol researchers, limiting the researchers’ understanding of self-reported alcohol use. The report states that new findings show that researchers could benefit by tapping into the wide spectrum of terms that drinkers may use to describe levels of intoxication. Terms also vary by gender, so researchers should study gender differences in reporting as well.

Researchers may ask how often a subject drinks to intoxication. Intoxication is perceived differently by different people. Drunk is the oldest English term to describe intoxication, but the word is used to describe varied levels of drunkenness. Drunk may reflect a level of intoxication anywhere between moderate to heavy intoxication.

According to Ash Levitt, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University ofMissouri and the corresponding author of the study, “Humans have developed a rich and diverse vocabulary of intoxication-related slang to describe the subjective states that are experienced while drinking.”

Levitt went on to state that men tend to use heavy intoxication words more than woman. Men are more likely to describe a drunken state as hammered or wasted. Women may be more likely to call themselves tipsy, underplaying their drunkenness.

Women’s tendency to underplay their level of intoxication can have profound health and social implications. Women who perceive themselves as the relatively benign tipsy may actually be binge drinking.

Effective Communication Helps Assess Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a complicated issue with implications that can affect a patient’s health, mortality, psychology and social circle. Medical professionals may be better able to access the level of a potential problem by learning to communicate effectively with patients. Effective communication includes developing listening skills and understanding the language and terminology being used by the patient.

Patients can also help to bridge the communication gap by asking the doctor or medical professional to define a term before answering a question. Although it is in the patient’s own best interest to answer questions honestly, it is up to the medical professional to ask questions about alcohol use in a clear, easy to understand manner.

Findings of the study can help clinicians improve assessments and interventions by helping medical professionals use understand the patient’s terminology.

Drunk Words

The Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus defines Drunk as being under the influence of alcohol.

Synonyms

  • Drunken
  • High
  • Inebriate
  • Inebriated
  • Intoxicated
  • Loaded
  • Soused
  • Tipsy

Related Words

  • Maudlin
  • Befuddled
  • Stupefied
  • Debauched
  • Dissipated
  • Dissolute.

Researchers at University of Missouri used a web based approach to survey university undergraduates from age 17 to 24 years olds. There were 73 males and 72 females in the study. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

 

women alcohol abuse

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Women

Alcohol abuse or addiction hurts all those who use alcohol excessively, but women are especially vulnerable because of differences in their body size and structure and their body chemistry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that these differences cause women both to absorb more of the alcohol they drink and to take longer to metabolize it (break it down and rid it from their bodies). This is why the immediate effects of alcohol happen more quickly and last longer compared to men. These same differences also explain why women suffer greater long-term health effects from excessive drinking.

Defining Alcohol Abuse by Women

Alcohol abuse or excessive drinking by women can take two forms: heavy drinking on a regular basis and/or binge drinking. These are defined as:

  • Heavy drinking by women is consuming more than an average of one (1) drink a day.
  • Binge drinking by women is consuming four (4) or more drinks on a single occasion or in roughly a two-hour period.

Both forms of alcohol abuse are dangerous but most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent like alcoholics are.

A standard drink is defined as any one of the following (which all contain about 0.6 ounce of pure alcohol):

    • 5 ounces of wine
    • 12 ounces of beer (or 8-ounces of malt liquor)
    • 1.5 ounces (shot) of distilled spirits such as vodka, gin, rum or whiskey

Reproductive Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse by Women

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report a number of adverse effects of alcohol abuse for women of child-bearing age (18-44) including disruption of the menstrual cycle and higher risks of:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature delivery
  • Having a baby that has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FADS) with the possibility of mental retardation and birth defects

Women of this age group who have drinking binges are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and have multiple partners, increasing the risks both for unplanned pregnancies and for getting sexually transmitted diseases.

No amount of alcohol is safe for a woman to drink while she is pregnant. Women who drink and discover that they are pregnant may, by immediately stopping their drinking, lower their risks of having a child who suffers from physical, emotional or mental problems.

Binge drinking also increases a woman’s risk of sexual assault, especially for young women in college. Rape or sexual assault is more likely when both the attacker and the victim have been drinking.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse by Women

Excessive drinking over time can have devastating health effects on women. The CDC cites several, including:

  • Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) – risks for cirrhosis and other alcohol-induced liver diseases are higher for women.
  • Brain Damage – excessive drinking can result in memory loss as well as shrinkage of the brain; women are more vulnerable and can be affected sooner than men by alcohol damage to the brain.
  • Heart Damage – women who drink excessively have higher risks of damage to the heart than do men.
  • Several Cancers – women who drink have higher risks of cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, colon, liver, and breast. Breast cancer risk increases directly with the amount of alcohol consumed.

Women can ruin their health by being unaware of the consequences of alcohol abuse or addiction. A better understanding of the specific harms cited above might provide many women with incentives to limit their drinking.

Avoid Alcohol Abuse or Abstain from Drinking

The safest course for women of child bearing age is to not drink at all. If abstinence from alcohol is not possible for some then care should be taken to avoid both heavy drinking and binge drinking which are serious threats to a woman’s health. Although a smaller percentage of women develop alcohol addictions, those who become dependent on it are more seriously and more quickly harmed over time than are men who consume the same amount. In addition, women of any age can be harmed in more ways than men can, vulnerable as they sometimes are to sexual assault and violence when under the influence of alcohol, and when pregnant.

drunkorexia

Drunkorexia Mixes Disordered Eating with Alcohol Abuse

A dangerous new trend some are calling “drunkorexia” is occurring on college campuses across the country. It combines the dangerous eating behaviors or anorexia and bulimia with alcohol abuse, upping the risk factor for the young men and women who participate.

What is Drunkorexia?

Young women today feel an unprecedented amount of pressure to stay thin. This pressure can come from a variety of sources; friends, family members, media, etc. Young women who want to engage in the drinking culture of college campuses may decide to trade food for alcohol. In other words, they drastically reduce or eliminate their food intake to save their calories for drinking.

Young women see the practice as having multiple benefits. They save calories, save money, and get drunk more quickly. Rather than restricting food intake, some women choose binging and purging instead. They binge eat, then binge drink, followed by throwing everything up.

Dangers of Drunkorexia

Unfortunately, they often don’t see the dangers of this behavior. They may simple see this as an easy way to have fun while still maintaining their desired body weight. Social networking sites, blogs, even conversations with friends help participants learn new ways of drinking and not gaining any weight.

However, severely restricting food intake or getting into a binging and purging cycle are red flags for eating disorders. Up to one third of college women may have disordered eating habits according to the article, Eating Disorders in College Women, and adding alcohol to the mix just makes it more dangerous.

Women who get drunk more quickly also may not realize how impaired they are. Since drunkenness impacts a person’s judgment, decision-making process, and perceptions, this may put them at higher risk for dangerous sexual behavior, sexual assault, or other risks.

Drunkorexia is not an official medical condition, but rather a popular term that has been given to this behavior. But the underlying alcohol abuse and disordered eating are real. When these two addictions co-occur, doctors must treat each one separately.

Men and Drunkorexia

Though many people view eating disorders are primarily effecting women, many men suffer, too. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, more than a million men and boys are effected. Increasingly, our society is pressuring boys and men to look a certain way as well. Conscious of their weight and body shape, college age men are at risk of developing the behaviors of drunkorexia, as well.

Men may also be drawn to the fact that they can get drunker more quickly when they don’t eat. Because drunkenness among young men is often valued socially on college campuses, they often see this as a benefit, but are unaware of the health risks involved.

The key thing to remember is that drunkorexia is not a harmless diet fad. Instead it is flirting with risky health behaviors that could have long term consequences. Young people should always eat before drinking, drink in moderation, and avoid binge eating or drinking. If they suspect a problem, they should contact their campus counseling services immediately.

breastfeeding

Do Breastfeeding and Alcohol Mix?

Breastfeeding is very beneficial to both a mother and her child. It is difficult for some mothers to stick to breastfeeding with all of the rules and restrictions that they feel they must follow. Many mothers believe that they must avoid alcohol completely while breastfeeding. This is untrue. Although alcohol passes into breast milk and can affect the baby, mothers can take some steps to consume alcohol safely without ending the breastfeeding relationship.

How Much Alcohol Passes Through Breast Milk?

When nursing mothers consume alcohol, it is thought that less than two percent of the alcohol passes into her breast milk. A mother can safely consume up to two drinks and have the alcohol leave her breast milk within two to three hours. Drinking any more than that would take a longer period of time for it to clear out of the mother’s milk. Within this time, mothers are recommended not to breastfeed.

The Effects of Alcohol on Breast Milk and Breastfeeding Infants


Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not stimulate milk production. Many mothers are told that they should drink beer if they’d like to produce more milk, but this is simply not true. Furthermore, mothers who drink alcohol on a daily basis tend to have babies who gain weight poorly.

Babies of mothers who drink daily may also have slowed motor development and poor sleep-wake patterns. Alcohol may also change the taste of breast milk, causing infants to nurse less often. This can result in a drop in the mother’s milk supply.

How Nursing Mothers can Safely Consume Alcohol

Mothers who wish to drink should be careful to avoid any poor effects to their breast milk or their child. It is recommended that mothers avoid alcohol altogether in the first three months after giving birth, as the livers of young babies have a hard time processing any alcohol that may be in breast milk.

If a nursing mom is planning to drink, she should pump ahead of time so that she has something else to offer should her baby become hungry. Breastfeeding should be avoided until the mother has sobered up. Sticking to only two drinks can help a mother to sober up quickly and be able to attend to her infant.

Some companies have created a milk screening test, which uses a dip stick to test alcohol levels in a mother’s milk. This can be helpful if a mother wants to be extremely careful and not risk her infant consuming any alcohol.

In summary, it is important that nursing mothers don’t get into a habit of drinking daily, but it can be done without harm on occasion. As long as the baby is not nursed while alcohol is present in the breast milk, there will be no harmful effects to mother or baby.

Buddhist Sajja

Is a Buddhist Sajja vow the Solution to Addiction?

ajja (sometimes written as saccha and pronounced more like satja) is a Pali word that refers to truthfulness; a sajja vow is a solemn promise to do or refrain from something. A temple in Thailand called Thamkrabok is using this vow as a means for treating addicts. This Buddhist detox monastery has been involved in this type of work for decades and in recent years there has been a rise in the numbers of addicts arriving there from western countries.

The Sajja Vow of Thamkrabok

Thamkrabok has received a lot of attention in the western media for its unique use of a medicine that makes the addict vomit as part of the detox process. This emetic is only a small aspect of the treatment program though and according to a previous abbot the detox only accounted for 5% of the overall treatment at the temple. More important is the sajja vow. Once you make such a promise it is not permissible to break it and then repeat the vow; the sajja promise is a once off event and there are no second chances. It is a widely held belief in Thailand that keeping such a vow will bring prosperity to a person’s life but breaking it will lead to a less favorable future.

Addicts at the temple will make a sajja vow soon after their arrival. It is usually a promise to refrain from either drugs and alcohol or both for the rest of their lives. This promise is made as part of a ceremony with a Buddhist monk and is conducted using a mixture of the Pali and Thai languages. There is no need for the person to be Buddhist to make such a vow as they can direct it at their own concept of a higher power.

The Success of the Sajja Vow of Thamkrabok

Many people have managed to escape their addictions following treatment at this Thai temple. These individuals frequently claim that keeping their sajja vow has meant that their life in recovery has been full of happy events and success. The monks are keen to promote the idea that there is something magical about this vow that just attracts good things into a person’s life so long as they keep it; karma is often used as a means of explaining why this is so. It is claimed that if the person believes in their vow it will connect them to a higher power that will lead them to peace and happiness – belief is key to the success of the sajja.

Not all of those who have attended treatment at Thamkrabok have been able to keep their sajja vow. It is pointed out that the power of the sajja is tied in with the strength of belief in it; this means that there is sometimes less concern with the negative consequences of breaking the vow among westerners. Some of these people have gone on to have success with other treatment options.

caffeine addiction

How to Break a Caffeine Addiction: The Effects of Caffeine and Caffeine Withdrawal

Coffee, tea and chocolate have been diet standards in Europe and America since the 17th century, giving that extra kick necessary to survive in the Industrial Era and beyond. But the side effects of caffeine–or the dark side–warrant a closer look as someone starts to feel that he/she is consuming too much caffeine in any of its many forms. Here is how to break a caffeine addiction.

The Effects of Caffeine

Coffee and other caffeine-containing treats, including chocolate, do their work via three stimulating compounds: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which all serve to release excess amounts of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter dopamine by obstructing the brain chemical which blocks dopamine release, known as adenosine. The result? We know all too well: a few hours’ reprieve from the sluggishness and mental torpor that we increasingly suspect found their genesis in our daily—perhaps several times daily—ritual. When a person reaches the point where caffeine or coffee is more the cause than the answer to his/her chronic mood and energy slump, it’s time to take a hard look at what it means to experience caffeine withdrawal, and what the other side—life without caffeine—might look like.

Compounding a caffeine addiction are other enticing, and addictive, substances in one’s caffeine-containing drug of choice. Soft drinks include sugar and colorings—both stimulants—while chocolate might lure us with its sugar content, its high fat content, its phenethylamine (a mood-enhancing stimulant), or all of the above.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Tolerance is a phenomenon as naturally occurring the body with sugar or caffeine as it is with nicotine or heroin, and in looking at how to break a caffeine addiction, understanding it becomes key. The negative feedback system of the brain, in place to prevent overstimulation, habituates to the caffeine and serves to undermine the stimulating effects of caffeine by shutting down receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine; in response, caffeineophiles naturally jack up the dose. A daily cup of coffee, clocking in at 100mg of caffeine, can escalate to a daily coffee-shop confection hammering hundreds of milligrams of stimulants into the central nervous system, encouraging hypertension, increased blood sugar and cholesterol, insomnia, and dehydration. Moreover, even a seemingly low-grade coffee habit—just 100mg—can cause caffeine withdrawal systems including headache, fatigue, and poor concentration.

Breaking a typical caffeine addiction takes just four days; in this time, the brain brings additional dopamine receptors online until they approximate the level typical before the habit began. Below we will look at how to overcome a caffeine addiction through natural alternatives.

How to Overcome the Addiction

A gentle reduction of caffeine can sidestep the unpleasant effects of caffeine withdrawal. Black tea contains less caffeine than most coffee, and green tea still less so. But even green tea fosters the same cadre of nasty side effects when overused. The answer? Glutamine, an amino acid known as an addiction-buster (and, incidentally, improves mental performance), provides a gentle kick similar to that provided by any stimulant; Dr. Hyla Cass and Patrick Cass recommend taking two to five grams between meals.

underearning as an addiction

Compulsive Underearning as an Addiction: When One Does not Have Enought Money to Take Care of Basic Needs

A compulsive underearner does not earn enough money or have sufficient income to support themselves. When a persons income does not cover basic needs, sooner or later one is to incur unsecured debt, like credit cards or personal loans.

How does Underearning Affect Us?

Being a compulsive underearner and consistantly not having anough money creates a belief cycle, of not feeling good enough to deserve more money than one is currently receiving, or feelings of despair from not being able to meet financial goals or deadlines.

Like alcoholism, compulsive gambling, or overeating, underearning can err on the side of an addiction. One becomes so familiar, yet not necessarily comfortable, with not generating enough income to cover basic needs, that underearning becomes a part of who one thinks they are. Years, even just months, of living constricted lives due to financial restrictions can cause one to lose vitality and their sense of self worth.

Underearning can, and does, destroy relationships. Asking friends and family for money cover them until the next paycheck creates unhealthy relationships of dependency, with the end result being hurt and resentment.

Signs of Compulsive Underearning

  • Resenting being in a position where one dislikes their job or is not being paid what they are worth, yet not asking for a pay raise or changing jobs
  • Having more basic weekly/fortnightly/monthly expenses like bills, groceries, fuel, education and secured debt repayments (mortgage, car) than the income one is actually bringing home (not including credit card and personal loan repayments)
  • Using credit cards to “tide them over” until the next paycheck
  • Asking friends and family for money to bail them out of financial hardship on a regular basis
  • Believing one’s salary is not important to their wellbeing, but constantly worrying about money
  • Working overtime for hours to do a job more perfectly than one is getting paid to do
  • Overcommiting time and energy to volunteer activities
  • Feeling discouraged or resentful towards others who earn more than they do
  • Being so afraid of failure as to not attempt a new career, or even undertake training

Recovering from Compulsive Underearning and Having More Money

Recovery from underearning as an addiction is both possible and closer to fruition than one may currently believe. Like other addictions, the road is seldom smooth and certainly not without personal trials, and maybe even circumstances need to worsen before they can improve.

Recovering from underearning does not necessarily mean one becomes wealthy overnight, but that one’s income increased, needs are met, along with having the means to nourishing oneself with new clothing, holidays or vacations, taking up hobbies and becoming more effective.

Acknowledging oneself as a compulsive underearner is the first step to recovery. There are self-help programs and 12-step fellowships specifically for underearners worldwide.

Drug Addiction And The family Effects

Facing Drug Addiction: The Power of Truth in The Recovering Family

A family discovers the power of honesty and openness as a tool to battle the shroud of secrecy surrounding alcoholism and addiction.

My husband and I were staying at a lovely B&B; in Maine, lingering over a bountiful breakfast and talking with our hosts, as we enjoy doing at B&Bs.;

Where Will The Conversation Lead

One never knows where the conversation will lead, and to our surprise that winter morning, it led to our hosts telling us about their daughter, and their anguish over her drug addiction. They told of repeated attempts at rehab, the failures of either the program or of their daughter to engage and stay with it.

They described heartbreaking setbacks, and their efforts to find new answers and help her try again. Surprise is perhaps too mild a term. We were shocked that total strangers would empty the skeletons out of their family closet. We’re New Englanders, and firm believers in the maxim that what happens at home stays at home. That was before we faced the same crisis ourselves. During the first heart-wrenching weeks and the long months of keeping our fingers crossed that followed, I thought many times of that snowy morning’s breakfast conversation. And each time, I silently thanked those innkeepers.

I called to tell them so, and to tell them how my husband and I intended to continue thanking them. We determined to be as open as they were. We said thank you by “passing it along” to others. We did not hide our daughter’s addiction or her progress in rehab. Whenever the subject of drugs came up, we mentioned our own and our daughter’s experiences. In short, we discussed addiction as we would have discussed any other illness that a family member would be treated for. And do you know what the unexpected result of the innkeepers’ good example was?

We Are Not Alone


We learned that we were not alone. Once we were open, so were others, and we discovered that most of our friends and associates had experienced drug or alcohol addiction in their own families, but had never mentioned it. They had feared being shunned or considered failures as parents. They were ashamed and hid this perceived disgrace. Why? Because no one talked about it, so decades of ignorance continued unchanged. And families continued to agonize in silence never dreaming that their neighbors shared the same struggles.

We learned that even though a family finally confronts the problem, they still can’t get the elephant out of their living room when company comes. And the astonishing discovery that so many of our friends had been silently enduring this distress we shared renewed our determination to be open about our own experiences.

A few decades ago, people didn’t talk about breast or prostate cancer, either. It took public figures being honest about these diseases to focus public attention and demand research for treatments. Each of us whose life has been touched by addiction can take part in the revolution to make addiction a public health priority, to force insurance companies and employers to treat it as they would any disease, and to stamp out the public mistrust of those who suffer from it. We can all become innkeepers, and in the process learn that it makes our own way easier, too.