The Dangers of Binge Culture

September 12, 2017 by  
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We’re currently in the full swing of Lent, which is preceded by Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday for a reason: some people want to engage in all of the “bad activity” they plan to give up for Lent as much as possible before Lent begins. But our western culture encourages binging and purging far beyond Fat Tuesday and Lent – and it is encouraged in a dangerous way.

When many young adults enter college and are finally legally allowed to drink, they are not usually taught through example to drink in moderation. Rather, college drinking culture is highly integrated with binge culture. No amount of drinks is too many for a person engaging in a binge after a period of going without. Women are misguidedly told to “eat for two” during pregnancy, but then expected to quickly lose pregnancy weight through extreme dieting. This is only a tacit expectation, of course, but the number of headlines devoted to celebrities’ post-baby bodies is evidence enough of its existence. Dieters who don’t have an eating disorder still regularly engage in a “cheat day,” which is relished by many because, yet again, it is an opportunity to binge recklessly and then purge. This approach in those who do have an eating disorder usually manifests as bulimia nervosa. The idea of “going all out” because we “earned it” or can “make up for it” later is a pervasive one in western culture, but is it healthy? No.

The assumption that we can switch our habits from one extreme to the other doesn’t just fly in the face of what we know about habit formation neurologically, but this idea of excessive indulgence is one that haunts many addicts. Whether a now-sober person is being told by a friend that he or she should “finally have a drink” because they have “earned it” or an addict can’t seem to kick a habit because he or she keeps falling into the trap of “one last hurrah,” this culture of binging and purging isn’t doing anyone any favors.

What to aim for instead is balance, moderation, and commitment. If you are alcohol or drug free now because of addiction issues, you need feel comfortable committing to your new lifestyle. But that can be difficult to do when other areas of your life are still in the binge and purge mode. If you’d like to create a more balanced and moderated life outside of alcohol and substances, consider making gradual changes. If you find yourself excessively eating and then starving yourself or exercising for hours on end to make up for it, try to break the cycle. If you find yourself working needlessly long days to the point of harrowing exhaustion all because you’d rather do that than spread your work out, consider adopting a new approach. Take a look at your life as objectively as you can and try to identify any habits that are tied to binging and purging in one way or another. Address the issues you find and you will be rewarded with a much less dramatic and balanced lifestyle across the board, which can positively impact your recovery.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

What Recovering Alcoholics Should Know About Kombucha

June 20, 2017 by  
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Kombucha is a beverage that has been popularized in western culture for years now. You might have seen the drink on the shelves of your local grocery store or co-op or read about it online. It can be purchased from the store in a variety of flavors or made at home. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has many purported benefits, but many of these benefits are not supported by research. The drink does contain probiotics, however, and a good amount of recent research suggests that probiotics can be beneficial. But if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you should stay away from this drink. Why? Because it contains alcohol.

Whole Foods actually pulled all of these drinks from their store shelves for a period of time back in 2010 because the 0.5% alcohol content limit was being exceeded in some cases. The kombucha that was being sold continued to ferment as it was stored on shelves and the alcohol content in some bottles reached 3%. The problem was quickly remedied, but for those who make their own kombucha at home, the issue of alcohol content remains. For one, home brewers don’t usually know how much alcohol their kombucha contains once they have deemed it ready to drink and secondly, the drink does continue to ferment, which can raise the alcohol content in the drink significantly over time.

These are risks that are generally acceptable for non-alcoholics to take. But for recovering alcoholics, these risks are just too high. The trace amounts of alcohol found in kombucha might not register as significant for most people, but they can be a crutch or an introduction to a relapse for a recovering addict. According to Vice, a spokesperson for AA has said that kombucha consumption can be dangerous for recovering alcoholics, stating that if a recovering addict knows that there is alcohol in a beverage but still feels like they are doing fine with it, it wouldn’t necessarily be a far throw for that person to then move onto drinks that contain slightly more alcohol.

So if you want the benefits of drinking kombucha but you don’t want to risk having even a trace amount of alcohol, here’s what you should do:

1. Drink tea. 

If you like tea, drink it! Tea is the base of kombucha “” usually black or green tea. The tea contributes in part to the “kombucha buzz.” Kombucha drinks that have fruity flavors have a tiny bit of the respective juice in them. If you like the way that tastes, consider simply adding some of your favorite juice to your tea.

2. Consume probiotics.

If you find that consuming probiotics makes you feel better, you can get them from places other than kombucha. Some foods that contain probiotics include: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, soft cheeses, sourdough bread, sour pickles, and tempeh.

3. Drink club soda or mix it in.

Perhaps you just like the effervescent aspect of kombucha. If you like the bubbly part of the drink, consider consuming club soda or sparkling juices as a replacement.

The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Health, Treatment and Recovery News

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Eating disorders are widely and notoriously misunderstood. The psychological illness at the core of an eating disorder is often a monstrous force to contend with. One that, at best, corrodes the self-esteem and haunts every daily interaction with food and, at worst, physically eats away at the body until a person can no longer survive. Not only are eating disorders difficult for sufferers to recover from, but they often co-occur with substance abuse problems as well. Understanding the connection between eating disorders and substance abuse can help those who suffer from both to address the issues simultaneously and finally receive the kind of help needed for a full recovery.

An eating disorder can take the form of bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder). Anorexia is categorized by a severe restriction of calories. This is usually achieved by limiting caloric intake. This disorder brings heavy stress onto the body, especially the heart. In the case of bulimia, sufferers eat as a part of a binge and purge cycle. Though both of the illnesses vary, there is a high rate of co-occurrence between eating disorders and substance abuse, regardless of the specific eating disorder type. Other types of eating disorders, like compulsive overeating, result in excessive and unhealthy amounts of weight gain. Compensatory behaviors are sometimes seen in individuals who eat, but do not purge. One common type of compensatory behavior is over-exercising. Indviduals with this compensatory behavior trait will obsessively exercise until he or she has burned off enough calories to make up for the food eaten that day (or the day before) in one way or another.

Some research suggests that substance abuse might occur in sufferers of eating disorders as frequently as 50 percent of the time. Individuals that have eating disorders, according to the report, are much more likely than individuals without eating disorders to turn to substance use and abuse””five times more likely, in fact.

Substances Most Commonly Used

Drugs and other illicit substances most commonly used among those with eating disorders include:

  • Nicotine, especially in the form of cigarettes
  • Stimulants, especially cocaine and other types of drugs that work to suppress the appetite, like diet pills and speed
  • Inhalants

A combination of a substance use disorder and an eating disorder can be lethal. It’s important that anyone suffering from both types of disorders seek appropriate treatment for both conditions if treatment and recovery is to be successful. The reason why these two disorders are particularly difficult to address when they coexist is because they feed off of each other: a person might use a substance as a result of an eating disorder or as a way to perpetuate the eating disorder, but a person also might turn to disordered eating or an eating disorder as a result of his or her substance use, perhaps even as a coping mechanism for a substance use disorder that feels out of control.

Oftentimes, these two types of disorders are both rooted in psychological issues in the sufferer “” ones that need to be addressed by an experienced professional for treatment to be effective. If you or someone you love is suffering from both of these disorders, understand that treatment must target both issues at once “” there’s no successful method of treating one without addressing the other.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

Kombucha: An Alcoholic Beverage

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Kombucha is a beverage that has been popularized in western culture for years now. You might have seen the drink on the shelves of your local grocery store or read about it online. It can be purchased from the store in a variety of flavors or made at home.

It is a fermented tea that has many purported benefits, but many of these benefits are not supported by research. The drink does contain probiotics, which research suggests brings health benefits. However, if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you should probably stay away from this drink.

The Unstable Fermentation Process

Back in 2010, Whole Foods pulled kombucha out of store shelves because the drink continued to ferment in-store, with some bottles reaching up to 3 percent in alcohol content. In the U.S., the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) mandates that anything containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol be regulated like an alcoholic drink.

Soon after, makers remedied the problem with new formulation, but the amount of alcohol one bottle will produce remains unpredictable. For those who make their own kombucha at home, alcohol content remains an issue. Brewers don’t usually know how much alcohol a particular batch has until it’s ready for consumption. The drink also continues to ferment when stored, significantly raising the alcohol content over time.

These risks are generally acceptable for most adults, but recovering alcoholics face a much bigger issue. While the trace amounts of alcohol are low, they can make for a crutch or an introduction to a relapse for a recovering addict.

According to this article, an AA spokesperson has said that kombucha consumption can be dangerous for recovering alcoholics, stating that if a recovering addict knows that there is alcohol in a beverage but still feels like they are doing fine with it, it wouldn’t necessarily be a far throw for that person to then move onto drinks that contain slightly more alcohol.

What You Should Do Instead

If you want to reap the benefits of drinking kombucha but you don’t want to risk consuming alcohol, here are three other alternatives you can do:

1. Drink tea.

If you like tea, drink it! Tea is the base of kombucha””usually black or green tea. The tea contributes in part to the “kombucha buzz.” Kombucha drinks that have fruity flavors have a tiny bit of the respective juice in them. If you like the way that tastes, consider simply adding some of your favorite juice to your tea.

2. Consume probiotics.

If you find that consuming probiotics makes you feel better, you can get them from things other than kombucha. Some foods that contain probiotics include: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, soft cheeses, sourdough bread, sour pickles, and tempeh.

3. Drink club soda or mix it in.

Perhaps you just like the effervescent aspect of kombucha. If you like the bubbly part of the drink, consider club soda or sparkling juices as a replacement.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of

Drug Tourism Destinations to Avoid If You’re Clean and Sober

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Traveling is expensive, even when you do it the cheap way. But we all eventually need a vacation; each of us need an opportunity to change our environment and thereby, change our perspective. However, not all vacation destinations are created equal. There are good and bad destination choices as well as everything in between. It mostly depends on the individual traveler. If you are in sobriety and looking to avoid drug culture, there are certain destinations you’ll want to be sure to avoid.

You might not recognize a destination as a name in drug tourism, but it’s good to do your research if you’re clean before booking a trip. A city that might not seem like a place that attracts drug users from the outside looking in might turn out to be anything but once you have arrived. If the latter winds up being the case, you could inadvertently find yourself inundated with drug culture, drug use, and temptation. Your “vacation” could easily become a nightmare of an exercise in self-control and walking on ice. You can avoid some of the biggest current drug tourism destinations by familiarizing yourself with the ones on this list, information from your own research, and making informed decisions based on your findings.

1. U.S. States Where Recreational Marijuana is Legal

US states where marijuana is recreationally legal now include: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. These are the states wherein you will encounter the most open and free use of marijuana and you should consider this factor if marijuana use is something that you would like to avoid. Plenty of other states have decriminalized marijuana or legal medical marijuana, but these four are the states most likely to have the most obvious and public displays of recreational marijuana use.

2. The Amazon Region Known for Psychedelics

Amazonia ayahuasca havens are dabbled throughout the Amazon region and in other parts of Latin America, as well. Tourists travel from across the globe to use this powerful psychedelic. The drug is often taken as a part of an ayahuasca “retreat.” Its use is seen as sacred and even a native right of passage for some visitors to these areas, but these destinations should be avoided by people who want to keep a distance from psychedelic use, especially those with a history of psychedelic use themselves.

3. The Cocaine Capital of the World: Colombia

Cocaine in Colombia is still very much a thing. Despite the government’s efforts to crack down on the white powder that has made the country famous, the shadows of Pablo Escobar are still creeping around everywhere, enticing tourists who had cocaine in mind when booking their trip. As pointed out in this article, cocaine is still readily abundant in Colombia and might even provide fodder for a relapse for someone with a history of cocaine use.

4. Moonshine And Pill-Mills

Certain regions of the US are notorious for this combination.

Moonshine and pill-mills are partners in crime in some US states. Spanning from the southern Ohio border and West Virginia and Kentucky all the way down to some areas of Florida, the Appalachian region of the US is notorious for the number of pill-mills present, but also, as most locals will tell you, the easily obtainable moonshine. These specific regions might not be the best destination for a person who has a struggle with pills “” specifically painkillers or anxiety medication “” or a history with alcohol abuse. These areas, which often see a great deal of prescription painkiller abuse, typically also are high in heroin use and availability as well as other opioids.

5. Southeast Asian Opiates And More

Heroin and several other drugs are widely available in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia has long been a destination those seeking heroin, as well as other types of drugs. Specifically speaking, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand are particular hubs of drug tourism in this area. With Afghanistan and Myanmar leading the way in opiate production, it hasn’t been difficult for travelers in nearby countries to access heroin. Likewise, the area has also become a hotspot for ecstasy, magic mushrooms, speed and prescription pills.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Making the right destination choice in terms of drug culture is important for recovering addicts. These are just a few of the drug tourism destinations for you to consider before making any travel plans. No matter your destination, do some research beforehand to understand the local drug culture and how appealing the destination might be to drug tourists. Doing this might save you from a relapse.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

Are You Abusing Your Prescription Medication?

February 22, 2017 by  
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Prescription painkiller abuse has been increasing dramatically over the years. Overdoses of prescription painkillers are one of the most lethal and common drug-related accidents and unfortunately, many people who abuse these medications are obtaining them both illegally and legally. Because so many doctors and clinics are relatively quick to prescribe them (sometimes these places are referred to as “pill mills”), people who get them legally can go on to sell them to others. The problem with prescription painkillers has been called an epidemic and rightfully so.

One of the reasons a problem like this has been able to take such a strong hold on otherwise non-addict citizens is because prescription medication can provide the addict with the illusion that he or she is simply taking medicine rather than abusing a hard drug. This phenomenon is even more nuanced when the medication has been prescribed directly to the patient. Sometimes doctors prescribe pills that are stronger or at a higher frequency than necessary, which can lead to addiction. Even when this isn’t the case, many who are in pain up their dosage on their own because they view the increase as a harmless medical decision. But prescription painkillers are not harmless. And when they’re overdone, they can be life-threatening.

So how can you tell the difference between a person who is taking their medication for legitimate pain with healing and health in mind vs. a person who is abusing prescription painkillers? Most people who abuse prescription painkillers will tell others “” and themselves “” that they are taking them because of pain. Whether or not this pain is real is only one aspect to consider when trying to figure out if someone us abusing this kind of medication or using it properly.

If you think that someone you know might actually be abusing their prescription medication, here are some things to think about:

  • Is the medication prescribed? If not, where are they getting the medicine? Most people with serious pain should not have an issue getting prescription medication from a doctor who can oversee their pain treatment plan.
  • How frequently are they taking the medication and what is the dosage? Is the person taking the pills every few hours or are they actively trying to space them out as much as possible? Are they taking a low dosage or a high dosage?
  • How does the person act when they don’t have medicine? If they forget their medicine at home or can’t get a refill on their prescription in time, how do they act? Their behavior during this time is usually a telling sign as to whether or not they are an addict. Those who are addicted might also find that they need to continually increase their dosage.
  • Does the person try to go to different doctors because of an issue they are having with getting their prescription written from their original pain doctor? If this is the case, they might be “doctor shopping,” perhaps without even knowing it.
  • How long as the person been taking painkillers? Prescription pain killers are usually not an ideal way to manage chronic pain. They’re much more effective for acute pain, which should pass in a matter of weeks in most cases. If the person you know is still taking this medication many months or even years later, it’s possible that they’re addicted.

Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

All About Mate

January 13, 2017 by  
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A number of drugs recovering addicts have to pry themselves away from are stimulants of one sort of another. A rushing energy boost that can also enhance concentration and speed is appealing to many people “” especially ambitious people who would prefer to get as much done as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many of these drugs come with serious negative side effects. Cocaine, methamphetamine, and even prescription medication like Adderall all can carry serious consequences for people who become addicted to them “” and since these are highly addictive substances, the issue of addiction is real. When a recovered addict finally is free of these types of substances, he or she might sometimes crave an energy and concentration boost that is a little different than the caffeine buzz from coffee. That’s where Yerba Mate comes into the picture!

Yerba Mate is a part of the holly species. The plant is made into a tea that is commonly consumed in South America, but has become increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Although Mate contains less caffeine than coffee and many other teas, its energy boost is unique, memorable, and useful for anyone looking for a pick-me-up that doesn’t involve turning to hard drugs. With a buzz that is distinctly different from coffee, one of the best perks of Mate is the benefit of drinking the tea beyond the immediate boost.

The energizing tea “” which tastes a bit like green tea “” is said to be rich in antioxidants. The drink is also touted as a way to help maintain or even lose weight all while aiding digestion and lending a helping hand to cardiovascular health. The way that Mate helps to sustain energy is can particularly useful for those who might have addiction issues with stimulants. It’s not as jolting or dangerous as drugs like amphetamines and cocaine, but it raises alertness and, according to countless anecdotes, it does so in a longer-lasting and calmer way than most forms of caffeine.

However, it’s important to note that people who drink Mate should do so in moderation (isn’t that the key for so many things in life?). Mate is full of health benefits, but some research suggests that people who drink excessive levels of the tea might have an increased risk for specific types of cancer. A person would have to drink more than a liter of Mate a day before having reason to legitimately worry about this possibility, which, for many people, is not a likely amount to consume. In the USA, Mate is not consumed the way that it is in South America, where people are regularly seen walking the streets with Mate and hand and stations with boiling water to refill Mate gourds are present.

It’s considered to be perfectly safe to enjoy a glass or two of Mate a day, so go ahead and give this tea a whirl if you’re looking for a way to increase your energy and focus without all of the jitters amid your recovery from stimulants.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

7 US Cities That Drink the Least

November 24, 2016 by  
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Young girl holding martini glass with red drink in the bar

Birds of the feather flock together, or so they say! If you’re living a clean and sober life, you likely find great reprieve being among others who have made the same lifestyle choices. There’s a lot of power in having some sober camaraderie, and that’s an important thing to consider if you’re thinking about moving or visiting a place. That’s why we’ve put together this slideshow of US cities that drink the lease. If you’d like to get away to a place where you can unwind without so much pressure to drink or use drugs, consider one of these US cities.

1. Delray Beach, Florida

The New York Times called Delray Beach, Florida “the country’s largest and most vibrant recovery community” in 2008. The city itself is just over 60,000 people in population, but it is home to over 300 weekly recovery meetings boasting more than 5,000 members. There’s even a local recovery motorcycle club.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

This Midwestern town is known for its wholesomeness and, apparently, its numerous rehab centers. There are 35 high schools in the US dubbed “sober” high schools and Minneapolis is home to 11 of them.

3. Nashville, Tennessee

According to data from The Daily Beast, Nashville is the most sober city in the USA with the fewest number of drinks per citizen each week (8.92). The city is also home to almost 300 weekly recovery meetings and the active music scene and mild climate can keep idle hands and wandering minds busy in their sobriety throughout the year.

4. Prescott, Arizona

This budding southwestern town is home to many facilities that are devoted to sober living as well as rehab and detox centers as well as halfway houses. The city’s population is only 40,000, but the sobriety scene is strong.

5. New York, NY

The next few cities “” starting with New York “” will likely surprise you for being on this list. But sometimes the greatest haven for a sober person is in a place where booze and drugs abound. The temptations are real in these cities, but the sober communities are also undeniably thriving and strong. There are more than 4,000 recovery meetings each week in NYC.

6. Boston, MA

Just as is the case with NYC, citizens of Boston aren’t strangers to drinking culture, but for every place where excessive drinking takes place, healing among those who need it also takes place. With more than 2,000 recovery meetings each week in Boston, a recovering addict can easily find his or her place among likeminded individuals on a similar journey.

7. Los Angeles, CA

Recovery is so common in the city of angels that there are over 3,000 recovery meetings each week in the area. With a warm climate and laid-back culture, LA residents purportedly take a leisurely approach to their recovery meetings “” arriving early to chat and leaving with friends from the group for a post-meeting activity. Celebrities are often cited at these meetings, too. It makes sense: the pressures that come with the entertainment industry and fame put a lot of people into a difficult situation with alcohol and/or drugs.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

What We Can Learn About Shame and Alcoholism From Stephen Moyer

October 20, 2016 by  
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shutterstock_142104544As you may or may not already know, actor Stephen Moyer, star of television show True Blood, is sober. In an industry and place notorious for alcohol and drug use, Moyer has been committed to staying sober for years now. Hollywood isn’t an easy scene for a recovered addict, but that doesn’t get in Moyer’s way. The star has even opened up about his struggle with addiction and shared some useful thoughts.

As a board member of a nonprofit treatment facility The Clare Foundation (TCF) and former group leader for group therapy for convicts with drug and alcohol related charges, Moyer’s sobriety extends far beyond himself. The actor cares about the recovering addict community and devotes himself to being a part of it in his spare time. Moyer spoke out as a part of a panel for TCF and part of what he talked about dealt with how self-loathing, to a degree, motivates a lot of people to drink in excess to begin with. According to Moyer””and many addicts will agree””self-loathing fuels drinking, but the shame that comes with admitting your own faults after sobriety is also a difficult force to contend with. Moyer said that there needs to be an emphasis on education and eliminating the shame from the vicious cycle that often imprisons addicts.

Indeed, shame and alcoholism do intertwine in many different ways. One study tells us that recovered addicts who feel shame about their past drinking behavior are actually more likely to relapse. In order to avoid this potential pitfall yourself, here are some tips for dealing with alcohol-related shame so that you might resolve any issues with shame that you currently have.

1. Identify what causes you shame.

Perhaps you have memories you purposefully avoid from your drinking days because they make you feel so much shame. Identify the details in those memories that make you feel the worst. Drag them out from within and take a close look at them. Do you feel shame because you mistreated someone? Do you feel shame because you acted in a way that was not in line with your values? Is your shame related to your personal behavior or is it related to how your behavior impacted others?

2. Have a conversation.

If you are carrying around guilt and shame regarding how you might have treated someone from your past when you were drinking, consider having a conversation with that person to clear the air. That person does not need to listen to you or forgive you, but if you need to apologize, do so even if only for yourself.

3. Let go of the past.

We are all continually changing””some of us more so than others. Who you were back then is not who you are now. What you did back then has no impact on the freedom you have to make positive and proactive choices now. Embrace the present and loosen your imaginary grip on the past.

4. Be your best self now.

In an effort to be your best self now in this present moment, figure out all of the good things about yourself. Make a list if it helps! Practice self-love and zero in on specific skills and talents you have that can help other people. Are you a good listener? Do you love to cook for other people? Do you enjoy playing music for others? Identify what you can offer the people who are in your present life and community so you can be your best self now for those people and for yourself.


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

5 US Cities That Drink the Most

August 11, 2016 by  
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drinkJust as you might care to know which cities in the US drink the least, you might also be curious to know which cities in the US drink the most. It can be important for a person in recovery to plan ahead “” to prepare mentally for situations where booze will be present and, in some cases, to prepare mentally for cities where booze seems to always be present. If you’d like to know which cities drink the most in the US, click through this slideshow. We’ve consolidated rankings from some of the most recent credible roundups to come up with this list.

Fargo, ND

Data collected by the CDC listed Fargo as the drunkest city in the U.S. A whopping 28 percent of people in the city of Fargo are classified as heavy drinkers. Some people attribute the drinking problem here to the bone-chilling climate. With temperatures that can drop to -60, many turn to booze as a way to stay warm or as a way to forget the harrowing blustery world outside.

Boston, MA

Boston is a city that offers a lot to those who are sober, which is why is also made our list for sober cities, but that is because the drinking culture there is so strong. When drinking is so ingrained in a town, a certain percentage of drinkers are bound to turn to sobriety and develop a strong recovery community in spite of it. Maybe it’s the culture of sports fanatics or the numerous colleges or the often-chilly weather, but throwing back a bottle “” and then some more “” is commonplace in Boston.

Austin, TX

Warmer cities don’t tend to make the cut for high levels of drinking culture, but there are certainly exceptions to that generalization and Austin, Texas is one of them. With a thriving live music and art scene and an outdoors culture that encourages lounging around in or near Lady Bird Lake or Lake Travis with a drink in hand, it’s no surprise that this city consistently makes the lists for “Most Drunk.” The drinks are relatively cheap at most bars in Austin and big festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits bring in throngs of drinking crowds, which just adds to the overall drinking culture.

Milwaukee, WI

Nearly 1/5 of Milwaukee’s residents are estimated to be binge drinkers. Maybe beer just goes well with cheese. Maybe it’s the bitterly cold weather keeps people indoors and turning to drinking as a way to have fun. Whatever the case ma be, Milwaukee is a city that regularly makes lists for cities that drink the most.

Reno, NV

The binge drinking culture in this desert town near Lake Tahoe, CA is pervasive. It’s estimated that over 18% of the population of Reno engages in binge drinking. Beauty abounds in this Nevada city, but so does the booze.

Knowing in advance that drinking culture is stronger in some cities than others can help you to stay mentally strong in your sobriety and avoid a relapse, so keep this information handy!


Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.

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