The Gift of Recovery or Stop Taking Being Clean for Granted!

Recently, I spoke at a convention as a Friday Night speaker – I have a wicked sense of humor, (given to me by God as I understand him and God has a sense of humor also I believe) and I often make people laugh by sharing the difficulty I had in finally achieving abstinence and starting on the road to recovery. ¬†I realize in the last 27 years of being in the process of abstinence/recovery and listening to other members share their thoughts: that many people might look at my stubbornness, denial and stupidity (continuously trying to do it my way) as something that could be overcome through taking suggestions (or “If you just do what I did it will work for you”), however, I am not so sure.

Flash back to a meeting of my home group 19 years ago. ¬†There were a group of addicts who continued to share that if a person did the five basic suggestions every day they would stay clean and grow spiritually, like a guarantee. ¬†I thought about this . . . I reflected on my personal experience and the combined experience I had witnessed in the rooms of NA . ¬†. . and I found this to be a false statement – yes, the five things are important – but there is no guarantee that any of us will stay clean – we have a disease, incurable, insidious and fatal. ¬†It never goes away and if you are clean today, honor it, respect it, and realize it is only through God’s grace that you are abstinent today. This is just another form of denial, the denial of the power of the disease. ¬†It is almost like saying “I will never use again.” its all ego. ¬†The program is Just For Today, and none of us really know how it works. ¬†There is an unseen and unknown force at work, we call it a higher power or God. ¬†Without the acceptance that there is a mystery here we are doomed – faith is a mystery – the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel is a mystery. ¬†Miracles are mysteries. ¬†My spirit was awakened and I do not know why, or how ¬†– it was not of my own accord – I did nothing but BRING the body!

In my personal struggles the compulsion and obsession to use was so powerful and so much a part of my life that I could not stop Рthis is partly what makes me an addict to begin with РI wanted to stop, I wanted a new life, I could see what drugs were doing to me, turning me into something I did not want to be.  I felt like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Рmy life was a horror story РHowever, upon my own will, left to my own devices, I could not change.  It was only when I met others like me that I could actually start to believe that maybe it could happen for me.  This is our unity, not that we all did drugs.  If this were true I would just as much in common with half the planet.  No, it is the fact that all of us tried to stop on our own and could not stay stopped, until we met each other.

Hope was the gift you gave me, hope in the form of many recovering addicts in the rooms of NA.  It was upon this hope and the slogans (keep coming back, do not leave 5 minutes before the miracle happens, etc) that I continued to pick my sorry ass up and go to meetings, while using, while trying to remain abstinent, with all the voices of the committee in my head telling me that I would be better off dead, regardless. Until eventually, the compulsion and obsession were lifted.

I wish I could take credit for what happened to me over the next first few months of my recovery.  I wish I could tell you I made a decision to follow spiritual principles, or take suggestions.  Instead all I can tell you is that i started to wake up, my spirit, which was dead, started to come alive, and little by little, my denial was being chipped away.  I started to understand that I had a disease and it was not my fault.  That I had been in a war, a loosing battle, jumping in the ring with a heavy weight champion and getting my ass kicked every time.  My experience showed me that I was insane.  Thinking that this time it would be different, knowing that one is too many and a thousand never enough. Realizing for the first time that in my heart I was using against my will.

Every day I asked God to help me, since I realized I did not have the power to change myself. I put a few days together and my ideas started to change.  I started to come to believe, however, I still often fought against myself.  I continued to struggle spiritually and mentally, although physically I had a few days clean,

It would take to long to tell you all of the awakenings I had during this time of my life.  My first 6 months were a very rocky road and the next 6 months were a major turning point.  All made possible by a loving caring higher power working through people, places and things Рand ME being able to recognize God remaining anonymous (coincidences).  This spiritual awareness and my ability to recognize there was a mystery to it, part that I could not see or understand, but I could feel, and being open to that power working in my life РI was able to make it through 24 hours without using, again and again. Although, sometimes I had to just hang on to my seat.

Until one day I awoke (around 90 days) and I did not feel a compulsion or obsession to use drugs. ¬†I was in awe! Shocked and amazed. ¬†As a matter of fact, I realized this had been going on for a while and I had not noticed. ¬†I couldn’t even remember when it left me. ¬†I recognized the miracle after it had already happened (see side note below). ¬†This miracle is the gift of abstinence and recovery. ¬†I wish this to all addicts – the war is over, there is no reason to suffer – white knuckle it for 90 days, do not use no matter what happens, and if you are not happy in 90 days . . . . your misery will gladly be refunded.

I have never forgotten this gift I was given, and I know that I could loose it. ¬†This disease is cunning, baffling and insidious. ¬†I have seen the horrors of addiction (it does not matter if it is a bottle of beer, a line of toot, or you put it in a boot, its all addiction ¬†. . . and woman are the greatest mood and mind altering substance known to man * vice versa) in and out of the rooms and I realize in any given moment I am eligible also – relapse, spiritual, mental or physical can happen to me. I pray it does not, I ask for God’s guidance. I open my mouth for help – I strive to remain honest, open minded and willing. ¬†I do the best I can BUT above all else – I respect the disease of addiction. I recognize it is a miracle to be clean and I do not take each day for granted.

When I meet a newcomer, I simply tell them to keep coming back, no matter what. ¬†I let them know they are welcome and I offer my number. ¬†I tell them if they need to talk I will be available. ¬†and I leave it at that ¬†. . . . because I know NO MATTER what I say or do, it is a personal journey and ONLY GOD has the power to help the newcomer – I only allow myself to be used as an instrument – it is egotistical for me to think I am gonna teach someone how to stay clean – ONLY the open and honest sharing of our personal experience will ring true to the newcomer – stop telling them what to do and realize they need to have a spiritual experience not an intellectual one – tell them to pray to their higher power for help to stay clean each day – this is there only hope –

otherwise, many more people will continue to suffer, and many more will relapse and damage their lives from the horrors of addiction, inside and outside the rooms – with or without drugs – because SELF WILL, WILL POWER and EGO will not sustain any of us – ONLY a belief that God could restore us to sanity can save us – and if you believe that, you also will tell the newcomer to FIND a higher power and use it – because this is a miracle that can happen to all of us – we do recover.

SIDE NOTE: ¬†All of the steps are written in the past tense because they have already happened to us. ¬†We have failed to recognize it. ¬†Like the removal of my compulsion and obsession. ¬†I did not notice until after it was gone. ¬†This spiritual journey happens quickly to addicts, although it is only applied in the beginning to drug addiction, we later learn to apply it to all areas of our lives – and this is a life long pursuit –

When I went to a meeting and introduced myself as an addict and shared I was practicing the principles embodied in the first five steps. ¬†Five steps in a few moments! wow, ¬†But we never realize it until years later. ¬†So by the time I had come back from “mission impossible.” and I shared with other addicts I was already starting to grow spiritually. ¬†I did not realize it until much later. ¬†But this is the nature of recovery – bring the body the mind will follow and your spirit will awaken!

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New Jersey physical therapist William Bell really helped my friend in a pinch

neck pain treatment physical therapy

Neck Pain Treatment with physical therapy in New Jersey

Earlier this year, I had to really bundle up due to the inclement weather we had in New York and parts of New Jersey. It was really something to see an entire city, which is usually bustling with activity, to be shut down almost completely. Public transportation was one of the few ways to get around the city, and even that was having problems. That is almost unheard of in the “city that never sleeps”. The weather passed by and the conditions got better, as with all things. The very next week I got a call from my long time friend, Jim, who told me we was on his way to work one morning and got into a car accident when his car lost traction with the icy road. The accident wasn’t completely disastrous for him, but he did come away with a nasty case of whiplash.

He was living in the New Jersey area near Newark at the time, and I told him about this great physical therapist I met last year, William Bell. Bell was someone I met while visiting his office in Cranford, New Jersey (777 Walnut Ave Cranford, NJ 07016). I had actually been looking around for someone who could treat my writer’s elbow and I came across Bell Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine. I passed along the information to my friend Jim, to give a call to his office and set up an appointment (908-389-6305). Right away, he told me he felt even just a little better when William picked up the phone and started to talk to him. When I heard that, I thought it was no wonder his motto is “hands on compassionate care”. When Jim got to the office, he was surprised at the care and attention he was given. Even though he knew he had a time slot to handle his physical therapy, it didn’t feel like that at all. He said it only took a couple of sessions, but in the next few weeks the shooting pains he had in his neck were almost completely gone. I have heard cases where people have to wear one of those funny neck braces for months to keep their neck stable and I thought for sure that Jim would have to wear one of these. I ran into Jim a few months later and he told me what a great experience he had with William Bell and that his neck pain was practically gone.

Whiplash is definitely something that can ruin someone’s day, and I can only imagine the sheer embarrassment of wearing one of those weird collars. I hope I don’t ever have to go through that, but if it ever happens at least I know one place where I can get it addressed. William Bell is very knowledgeable about physical therapy and has dealt with thousands of sports and occupational injuries throughout his 20-year career.

If you need a physical therapist because of an old football injury or maybe a case of writer’s elbow like myself, call William Bell at¬†908-389-6305. You can also read about the different kinds of treatments he offers at his website.

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Politico Destructo – Age of Insanity

I am having a great day working medical marketing mojo around the internet for new clients and old  Рand having conversations with medical clients Рdriving new patients Рall working form my Manhattan Loft Рwith the wife and kids by my side Рthats how I like it Рanyway I was thinking Рat one time in my life before I became writer, social networker and specialized in medical marketing (and the occasional screenwriting project) I used to have political aspirations.

It all started when I was 9 years old in the Bronx and met Mayor Ed Koch (I can not stop thinking of Frank Perdue) when he was running against Guiliani in 1989 and I saw the honor and love he was given. I thought of being the Mayor, Governor and President. That all changed for me when I took a serious creative turn at 13 and fell in love with literature and the arts. After reading 1984 by George Orwell, the stranger by Albert Camus and the Trail by Franz Kafka, I started to see the world quite differently.  I am politically involved and I vote, I make the best choices I can and I do not particularly believe in party politics, and basically I think its all very funny Рnever take it too serious.  But lets face it Рpolitics Рpolitico destructo Рdestroying people, places and ideas to move into office,  has turned into total insanity in the age of media, instant connections, social networking and access across multiple devices everywhere.  Friends post silly pictures to other friends, some post five posts a week Obama Bashing Рothers Republican Bashing Рand its really funny Рespecially when people start taking each other seriously and arguing back and forth about complex ideas in four word messages!

Politico Destructo – age of insanity – HOW TO REALLY WIN

I saw this ad above – posted by Kelli Ward for Arizona State Senate – WOW – Arizona’s economy is just below the national median and their biggest economic impact actually comes from healthcare, transportation and government. ¬†So maybe the clear jab at welfare programs and government subsidies are not such a good idea – especially since in Arizona most of the people on food stamps are displaced workers since a huge part of Arizona economy has shifted since outsourcing and NAFTA has effected 30 percent of the workforce. ¬†But I am writing tonight because it occurred to me that:

A) Thats not fair, after all then these people would have to steal food and a place to live as well as the money for drugs, beer and tattoos.  After all its about harm reduction, not solving anything Рnot about education, healthcare and jobs Рjust reducing harm to society.

and B) the truth is what we need is to expand the current welfare and food stamp system to include BEER STAMPS, DRUG STAMPS, TATOO STAMPS AND MORE – then it would be a level playing field –

so here is my platform, Beer and Drugs for everyone, Tattoos and Manicures, FOOD and a place to live – but don’t expect an education a good job or healthcare – what are you a liberal – if you want more then drugs, beer and food – Get a Job! Now that is a platform to run on and I think a real winner – If you added a free smart phone, Cable TV and Internet access – WOW – you could be President of this great nation for a long, long time -and you would be remembered.

 

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Medical SEO – Post Panda – Google Webmaster Hang Out

I wrote an article this afternoon and posted it to our Active MD Medical marketing News section which was quickly – in my conversational style – VBG:)’ – after a Google Weekly Hang Out with Google Switzerland Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller¬†and the Medical Marketing team at Active MD.

The two main areas (you can read the whole article here):

1) The location of your hosting companies server (along with other factors) affect your medical websites rankings in Googles geo targeting for search.

and

2) If you think your site has been affected by a manual restriction of the famed (notorious) Panda & Penguin updates of April and May 2012 – even if you did not receive notice in Google Webmaster account – file a reconsideration anyway.

Find out more about the conversation and Active MDs medical marketing Search Engine Optimization  practices here now Рthanks

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Plex Media Server

I wanted to write a bit about PLEX Media Server.  If you are like us, a busy family with kids, multiple entertainment areas (and devices) in our loft, and a lot of digital media, you will be interested in PLEX MEDIA SERVER.

First a bit about our digital lifestyle:
Loads of digital videos, digital photos, and mp3s on computer.
Our entire DVD collections over (400 movies) on hard drive.
Roku box in bedroom (bought years ago) for Netflix viewing.
Xbox 360 in living room as entertainment portal.
A Jail broken Viewsonic Gtablet running Vegan in Kitchen.
and my Samsung Stratsphere (verizon).

So I found PLEX Media server by accident while searching for apps on ROKU.  I love the ROKU box and we recently (at Active MD Patient Education)  have used the ROKU SDK to develop individual channels of Customized Patient Education videos to broadcast to multiple facilities (one Miami Gastro Medical Group uses it in 17 offices).  I saw PLEX and thought I would try it Рthe download is free  Рso worse case I thought I would waste 20 minutes of my life Рas I have done numerous times with applications.

One quick download to my mac book pro and 10 minutes of linking to hard drives on our network and immediately  Рall the media, broken up in folders, was available on all the devices in the house.  OK it was not that simple!  But the  ROKU installations took a minute, the XBOX 360 was immediately available and the longest part was the downloads for the viewsonic g tab and my samsung stratosphere (the only part that you have to pay for $4.99 each).

Ok, I have had some problems:
1) Subtitles do not always work right and often require messing with.
2) We run everything wirelessly in our loft, and sometimes a movie (larger files) have trouble playing, this issue is intermittent and I can not figure out why it plays sometimes and not others, hence I believe a hard wired system to tthe network might work better, more will be revealed.
3) The tablet plays sluggish at times and the phone often needs to be restarted.
4) I have not taken the time to actually create a PLEX MEDIA SERVER account online to actually stream my media to their server and back to the device.  Maybe this would solve some of the latency issues on smaller devices.

By far the ROKU works best, and I enjoy being able to access all our media ¬†– with a Netflix like interface. ¬†Over all this was a simple way to do what I wanted and use across multiple devices without spending any real money. ¬†There is a lot more that can be tweaked with PLEX Media Server, including the interface style, but 80% of the time it works fine for our needs. ¬†SO I give it 7 out of 10 stars! ¬†Enjoy –

 

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Breast Augmentation Staten Island Plastic Surgeon Elliot Heller, MD

Wanted to tell you about one of the most friendly and congenial breast augmentation plastic/cosmetic surgery Doctors I have ever met over the last ten years ¬†– Elliot Heller, MD. ¬†He has got such a caring and patient bedside manner ¬†– even for a New Yorker – that I refer all my friends who are interested in breast augmentation (in New York City & Staten Island) to go to staten island and get a free plastic surgery consultation with Elliot Heller, MD at his Staten Island Plastic Surgery center. ¬†Several years ago I actually met Dr. Heller at his Staten Island facility at 1424 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314¬†(he has since opened a new plastic surgery facility in Manhattan at¬†150 E 61st Street,¬†New York, NY 10065), when a close girl friend, Amanda, was having difficulty choosing a breast augmentation cosmetic surgeon. ¬†She was confused because she really didn’t know how to choose a plastic surgeon, whether to pick saline or silicon breast implants or what size she really needed. ¬†Amanda, thought since I spent the last ten years working with cosmetic surgeons, and medical doctors, I might be able to help her.

For your edification I have added this breast augmentation plastic surgery video (below) of Staten Island Breast Augmentation specialist Elliot Heller, M.D.

Now let me digress – breast augmentation cosmetic surgery is an important decision for many women, not only for models and celebrities or young woman who want to increase the size of their breast, but woman like Amanda, hard working New York’ers, that have had children, are in their 40s and want to bring their bodies back to that pre-pregnancy, youthful look they once had. ¬†After all, most clothes, especially halter tops, bathing suits, dresses and negligees (lingerie for Manhattanites)¬†are all designed for breast that are proportionate with hips and after having children and getting older, ¬†women’s breast droop, drop, fall, stretch and loose volume, causing clothes not to fit properly. ¬†Ambers, biggest issue was not being comfortable in sexy clothing and not being able to buy off-the-rack in New York City fashion stores, besides dropping two bra sizes after kids.

So I agreed to go with Amanda to see a couple of New York breast augmentation cosmetic surgeons and we first saw Dr. Heller at his Staten Island office because he offered a few things that other breast augmentation specialist did not offer in New York РFree breast augmentation consultations and free computerized imaging.  I explained to Amanda that many cosmetic surgeons have potential patients pay for a consultation, while this established practice is acceptable, when you are not sure what you want exactly, a complimentary consultation is a lot less stressful and affordable.  Additionally, computerized imaging is really important in my experience, since it gives you a visible example of what the breast augmentation surgeon has in mind and can realistically achieve during your breast augmentation plastic surgery. Dr. Heller offered this time consuming practice for free to help breast augmentation (and rhinoplasty) patients see what they would like like after breast surgery.

First impressions are the most important and when we walked in to his Staten Island cosmetic facility, the staff was cordial and we waited only five minutes. ¬†We were escorted to Dr. Heller’s consultation room and when he entered he immediately put Amanda at ease. ¬†He wanted to know what Amanda’s concerns were, he didn’t suggest anything. ¬†When she spoke about breast size and her confusion, Dr. Heller showed her different implants, and real photographs of his Staten Island patients and made recommendations based on her concerns, desires and what could realistically be achieved during breast augmentation surgery.

Needless to say, Amanda immediately felt comfortable and didn’t need to meet any other New York Plastic Surgeons. That was back in 2005, and Amanda has been very happy with her breast augmentation cosmetic surgery, and personally, I noticed that a psychic change had happened to her after a few months. ¬†She seemed to have more confidence and take even more interest in her health and looks, ¬†She is a very attractive successful friend and when ever other friends are interested in breast augmentation cosmetic surgery I tell them visit the Staten Island breast augmentation plastic surgery¬†facility with a trusted surgeon who is friendly, congenial and offers free breast augmentation consultations¬†and free computerized imaging.

Additionally, Dr. Heller opened a New York Breast Augmentation facility in Manhattan at 150 East 61 Street, so his New York City patients no longer have to travel to Staten Island for cosmetic surgery.  For more information about Elliot Heller, MD and to see videos from his Staten Island and New York City patients visit his website New York Plastic Surgery.

 

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