When the Skull Is a Bell: Interview with Poet Michael Lee

Michael Lee will always lead me back to the inextinguishable part of the self where the ones we’ve lost are alive in another form. There’s a tension here: how painful it is to dial the number of a memory instead of a person, but how precious it is to dial any love at all, to celebrate and learn from. Some people have chiseled their initials into our bones. So too have we named the scaffolds of our being after important experiences, often trials, perhaps hardships or compulsions. These are the thoughts Michael Lee’s new collection of poems awakened for me. 

Published by Button Poetry,The Only Worlds We Know draws on almost a decade of poem writing. Michael has a talent for thoroughly examining grief, shame, and despair until they shift from disorienting to orienting. Things have happened to us. We did things we regret. We have lost. Now it’s our duty and privilege to make meaning out of the past. If we’re doomed to see through a particular waterfall of emotion, at least we can become masters at recognizing shapes. This theory also applies to awe, which billows again and again inside The Only Worlds We Know

Audiences may be familiar with Michael from his work in the national slam poetry scene. He has a trio of performances on YouTube which average out to about 500k views each. I suspect this is due to his tendency to articulate feelings that are widely felt, something on full display in his new collection. In this interview we explore the stories within and behind The Only Worlds We Know, and the vivid perspective of a poet who is attuned to both his perceptions and their limits. 

I’d love to start this interview with talking about your sobriety. You mention in your book you have a decade. What about currently?

Eleven years as of September.

Hell yeah, congratulations. 

Thanks, man. How long do you have, by the way?

Three and a half years.

That’s what’s up. That’s what’s up. 

Could you tell me about the title of your book, “The Only Worlds We Know,” and how it manifests in that first poem? 

A big chunk of the book was written within nine months of sending out the draft. I was on a roll. I looked at it and thought, “Okay, this book no longer centers on the death of my best friend. It’s a lot bigger than that.” So [the title] tried to capture the new direction. And I wanted to capture…well it’s like being in recovery, right? You have two options. You can either get clean or you can die. But there is also a nebulous space in your head where there are a lot of questions and wonder. The title comes from that first poem which has the line, “If the bullet were just a tool of grammar / in the language of the unspeakable, / would it not be a conjunction, / would it not be the word “and” / for doesn’t it connect us to the only two worlds we know?” The piece opens the book because it sets the stage for talking about life and death. But I dropped the word “two” because I was looking beyond life and death, at longing, nostalgia, and place, how our sense of place is shaped by longing, by death, by nostalgia. 

Did this new surge of work offer fresh perspective on ideas or themes you had been engaging for a while?

Distance from the height of addiction, or from the height of grief does offer perspective. Poems like “Out There,” “Row,” and “Tapestry in Five Parts” were written in the last year. With “Out There,” the longer you are in recovery the more you are going to see people who aren’t able to figure it out, who go back out there. Or, recovery can happen in episodes. For a year you go to two meetings a week, you have a sponsor, but then that formula doesn’t work for you the next year. 

I wanted to explore some of the dark spots where you go in sobriety. One of the oldtimers in my homegroup used to say, “I don’t always miss the drink or the drug but I do miss the chaos,” and I’ve always identified with that and tried to capture it tonally in poems. Some of the distance has allowed me to explore not just the nostalgia for this person or this moment in my life I lost, but how this thing, while it almost destroyed me, it was consistent. Even if it was terrible, I knew what the terrible was going to be. I needed it, and there have been dark times in my sobriety where I have longed for it. Imagined throwing it all away.

The book struck me in how it approached some of these subjects indirectly, talking about the emotions that challenge recovery, and the ones that precipitate addiction in the first place. You said something earlier about wonder. I do see magical realism in some of these poems. Do you agree and if so, how is it functioning for you?

Great question. The beginning of this book was written at the end of 2011. I was living in Norway, a couple years sober. It’s the first time I’m away from my recovery groups and I’m in this magical place I’ve always wanted to go, surrounded by mountains, living in this 300-year-old house with a bunch of Norwegian musicians. But I had mono so I couldn’t do much. My spleen was so enlarged I could hardly walk. I dug into the library down the street which was about as far as I could walk. I kept checking out as many books as I could and one of them was 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 

Ah, OK, I can see that.

I was reading Garcia Marquez and a lot of Larry Levis, Cormac McCarthy, Roberto Bolano. So I was getting a lot of wonder, magical realism, lyrical narrative, and grit all while being in this miraculous place. For me, my sense of wonder is also partially why I first started to use. 

Wow.

My using was sped up because one of my best friends was killed, the same year my grandfather died, and I was already 14 which is a shitty age to be anyway. 

Yeah, of course.

Everything is terrible when you’re 14. The world was too much to contend with, both in its terror and in its beauty. I felt so much and the best way to deal with that was to numb it, even the good. I’m sad? Give me a drink. I’m happy? Give me a drink. I didn’t have the language to express what I was feeling and that’s part of why I was drawn to poetry. It gave me some tools to survive with. 

I’m glad you picked up on the magical realism. When you talk about things like death and addiction, facts and numbers don’t really get people, especially in this era of information. You can say 100 people died in a plane crash. You can say 5,000 people were killed in an attack by some country’s military. 75,000 people died in the US from overdoses last year. Numbers have stopped meaning something to most people when there is death all the time. Most people don’t feel any different response to the 100 people in a plane crash and the 75,000 people who died from overdoses because it isn’t numbers that move us, those don’t fully register, it’s storytelling and narrative that shape our responses to death, to tragedy. So I try to get at the emotion of it and go beyond data and create a mythology. 

I had heard Just Yesterday a couple years ago. It’s always been a poem for me to turn to when thinking about the work of memorializing the dead and writing about the dead. To me, it seems you’ve been doing this work for a while. I see it in this book and I like the placement of that poem before “Secondly, Finally.” You sort of inspect or interrogate what it means to memorialize the dead and the responsibility that comes along with it. What do you think?

This is something I wrestle with a lot in this piece, especially in talking about the death of my friend because A, he’s gone and cannot tell his own story, B, we were children, and C, he was a black child and I am a white writer, so there are levels of potential appropriation and co-option I’m trying to be cognizant of. What story needs to be told? Who is the one to tell it? I mean, it’s essentially a function of whiteness to co-opt the stories of people of color, particularly stories that chronicle death or pain. And that co-option is violence. So there are a number of layers I’m contending with in terms of telling the story and what parts. Especially the way I finish the poem, talking about the body and its relationship to his death, talking about keys and doors. That’s not something I necessarily have the answers to. It’s nerve-wracking to tell. 

I’m in some contact with his cousins and his aunt. In some ways I’m terrified about what they might think of the book. Do I do any justice at all? Do I open the wounds further? Do I close them? As far as placement after “Just Yesterday,” putting them together, I wanted to get at this feeling of, “Look, I can write this whole book that has a great focus on loss and the lost and the ways in which they died. At the same time, is it worth it? Does it do anything?” I hope it does. It did for me.

Let’s turn to the subject of memory, which is woven throughout the book. I heard on a Radio Lab podcast like six years ago that remembering–the way it works biologically–it’s a process of rewriting that introduces errors. So the things you remember the most have the most errors because you keep rewriting them. Memory and its disintegration, such as in the poem “Self-Erasure as Applied to My Memory,” is another focus of your book. Any thoughts on this?

Memory plays a huge role in the book and in why I used, right, trying to forget certain things. But absolutely, the longer you get from any event the more the story begins to change. That’s just how memory works. I specifically remember seeing the Northern Lights as a kid in Northern Minnesota. My grandfather pointed at the sky and said, “That’s where we’re from,” and I was like, “…the sky!? What do you mean?” But he was like “no, Norway, that’s where our family is from.” This is such a fantastic moment and I wonder if it actually happened. Part of me is like this is too poetic to be true. But I remember it! I have to think: at this point does it matter for my development if this moment is actually true? That story has shaped me in profound ways. It’s partly why I wanted to go back to Norway on this sort of journey of cultural reclamation. Whether or not it happened doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s true. How we remember the world determines how we live in it, how we move in it, and how we imagine the future. 

I think about myself. I think about recovery and addiction. People with substance use disorder are good at rumination. It’s like a talent. I feel the line between problem solving and growth is important in this book. There are some griefs we cannot move forward from, but acknowledging that is a form of going forward– 

–Right, absolutely. 

So it’s not always clear cut. But can you talk about that line in this book, between rumination and problem solving, between growth and stagnation? 

So much of my use was a result of my inability or refusal to accept a number of things. The refusal to accept my own powerlessness. The refusal to accept that people I loved dearly were gone and gone in horrific ways. My recovery has been less about problematizing or problem-solving my own addiction or past, but finding ways to accept it, and that’s where magical realism came in with how I work with metaphor, for example. The pill. The body. The way it breaks down. How the moon wrestles with the sky, which is too big to hold. There’s something about making it larger than life that makes acceptance easier. 

For a lot of folks, it might be the opposite. For them to accept it, they have to understand it in a factual way. For me, I have to understand it in an emotional way and the easiest way for me to do that is to make it huge. So that line is less about rumination than exploring and mythologizing the need to find acceptance. 

It makes me think about the things we pathologize that aren’t a pathology. Okay, let’s talk about “Row” specifically. For me it got at this paradoxical feeling of becoming more distant from the memories of addiction that are so central to my core of self-definition–

Yes. Right, right–

But then also the feeling that it’s closer than ever, that precariousness. There is a tension between want dissipating and it still being there. Can you talk about how want appears in this poem?

There’s the line: 

“In my favorite dream I row that boat forever; / the fire finds its way inside me. / I’ve been clean for ten years, sometimes / barely. I could throw it away if I wanted / and in my favorite dreams I do. I want. I give up…” 

No matter how far you get from it, you’re never that far. You’re never more than one drink or one smoke or one pill away from going back…so, you know. It’s interesting how easy it is to forget what was bad. Because that’s selective memory. 

There was this thing in my first four years of recovery where I would drive by someone’s house. They are out drinking a beer, and you’re like, “Oh man, it’s such a nice day. It would be nice to sit outside and drink a beer.” Well I forget what happened last time I sat outside and drank a beer. I had 30 more and headbutted a guy in the face and shattered his nose and woke up and my shoulder was out of its socket and my arm was swollen black. And I was covered in pie. I forget all that stuff. 

So how do you keep some of that close but also acknowledge that drugs and alcohol are a symptom of a larger issue? There’s a lot of unhealthy behaviors we can still engage in when we get sober. A big part of it is finding where these feelings are coming from. What kind of work do I have to do to accept where they are coming from, to work through this place? 

There’s talk that this is a golden age of poetry. I don’t know if I’m just starting to pay attention more, and yeah people have been writing about addiction and recovery forever, but I see all these amazing poets like yourself who are writing right now. We’d of course like to think it’s a golden age of poetry for everyone. Do you think it is for the population of folks in recovery from substance use disorder?

There’s a lot more conversations around recovery than there was 20 or 30 years ago, and more conversations around addiction as a mental health crisis rather than a criminal justice issue. Part of that is because now we have white people dying during the opioid crisis. The face of addiction has become white and so now we talk about it more and in a different way. I know both white and black crack addicts, and I’ve seen people react to their stories differently. That was one of the difficult things for me when writing about addiction. When I would talk about being in recovery it was easy for people to hold me up as a hero. “You’re so brave. You’re so strong. You’re so courageous.” But like I was a total asshole while using! 

We need to talk about who is pathologized versus who is mythologized. That for me has always been a tension in recovery. But I do think culturally we are moving to a place where we are seeing addiction and recovery in a different way. We are also romanticizing it less, I hope anyway. One of the first books I read was by Jim Morrison, my first book of poetry–the second was Mary Oliver, which if you look at my work this all kinda fits [laughs]. Jim Morrison romanticized drug use and addiction, and he died at 27. We’re moving more toward a place of self-care and accountability nowadays. As within the political left, I don’t think that language exists in the same way across the country universally.

What I don’t see, is the literary infrastructure geared towards folks in recovery from substance use disorder, the journals, fellowships, retreats, reading series, etc. Any thoughts on this?

You’re right. I don’t see much of that either, and I really would like it. Especially fellowships and retreats. Poets especially can really party. It’s easier for me to be around it all now than when I was earlier in recovery, but even so. 

When I was a Scholar at the Breadloaf Writers Conference I was lucky enough that I ended up in a solo room, the rest of the male-identified scholars were all in one big house where they were reportedly up all night drinking most nights. I was seven years sober and would have made it out of that okay, albeit a bit annoyed, but when I was a year or two sober if I had received that scholarship that might have been a scenario that would have caused me to relapse. I spoke of my recovery in my application so part of me thinks the selection committee arranged for me to have my own room. Even then though, you’re stuck on a mountain for two weeks. If you feel like using there aren’t just a list of meetings you can attend. I’d love to see fellowships and retreats for writers in recovery. I think some really great partnerships between literary foundations and reputable drug and alcohol treatment facilities could be explored.

You performed at UMass Boston when I was there. I remember halfway through your set you were like, Okay, more sad poems. [laughs] I was reading the poem “Joyous Work” in this book and I was like, “Wait, is this a happy Michael Lee poem!?” then I got to the ending and was like, “Nope.” 

I actually do see “Joyous Work” as the happy poem in the book, I joke that it must be because it has the word joy in it. It’s happy for me anyway. Every couple of years I go to Norway. I’ve got a couple of friends there who’ve owned a farm for ten generations. It’s in the poem when I talk about Mikkels Plass. Since I was a kid, physical work has always been special for me. My grandparents lived in a cottage in the woods with a giant garden and I learned how to grow food, to chop wood and keep the house warm. I learned how to fish and hunt and make dinner from the land at a young age. I feel very comfortable in that part of my life. 

So yeah, “Joyous Work” is about different ways of praying. The farmers were kind of flummoxed. I spent twelve hours in the silo. I remember my friend being like, “Alright, if that’s what makes you happy, we’ll keep dropping loads of hay down into the silo.” 

In terms of what’s next for me, I haven’t written many poems since my book. For now I’m focused on short stories about Norway and memory and definitely playing around with magical realism. 

Last question, are you touring right now?

I probably stupidly went to Norway for all of October to work on the farm when I should have been doing readings. I did some shows in the fall and I’ll be doing more in the spring. 

Available for booking?

I’m available for booking any month at this current juncture. 

You brought up your poem “Mikkels Place,” and I feel the ending is kind of bleak but at the same time nourishing, and it might be a great way to close out this interview. 

“There will, one day, be another war, and another, and the theory / of everything comes down to grass and is simply grass, which / grows long and green and endlessly. There are one hundred ways / to destroy it, and there are one hundred more ways it will find its way / back out of the dirt.”

Yes, yes, I think this line is the heart at one of the things I’m trying to get at it in the poem. Look, it’s a heavy book. I’ve spent so much time living and writing it I don’t think I realized how heavy it is until I’m reading these reviews online where people are talking about how they cried their way through it. It is heavy, but I wanted to leave room for hope and healing, that we can make our way through this world, that despite all the destruction and violence there is also peace, and we have to find it in the small and odd places sometimes but it’s there. And it’s worth finding, and for me it’s worth being sober for and really feeling it all. I love that. I love being sober and being able to feel the world and be a part of it. It’s such a gift. It’s taken away from so many people, the world is, so we’d better hold onto it as tight as we can while we’ve got it.

 

More poems from The Only Worlds We Know:

“Finality” and “Look,” The Adroit Journal

Insomniac Maps the Night,” BOAAT

The Law of Halves as Applied to the Blade,” phoebe

By: Christian Arthur
Title: When the Skull Is a Bell: Interview with Poet Michael Lee
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/when-skull-bell-interview-poet-michael-lee
Published Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:21:02 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines

As an academic psychiatrist who treats people with anxiety and trauma, I often hear questions about a specific class of medications called benzodiazepines. I also often receive referrals for patients who are on these medications and reluctant to discontinue them.

There has been increasing attention into long-term risks of benzodiazepines, including potential for addiction, overdose and cognitive impairment. The overdose death rate among patients receiving both benzodiazepines and opioids is 10 times higher than those only receiving opioids, and benzo misuse is a serious concern.

What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a class of anti-anxiety medications, or anxiolytics, that increase the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter, a molecule that helps brain cells, or neurons, communicate with each other. GABA receptors are widely available across the brain, and benzodiazepines work to reduce anxiety by enhancing GABA inhibitory function.

The benzo family includes diazepam, or Valium; clonazepam, or Klonopin; lorazepam, or Ativan; chlordiazepoxide, or Librium; and the one most commonly known to the pop culture, alprazolan, or Xanax, among others.

Different benzos have similar effects, but they differ in strength, how long it takes for them to work and half-life, a measure of how long the drug stays in your system. For example, while diazepam has a half-life of up to 48 hours, the half-life of alprazolam can be as short as six hours. This is important, as a shorter half-life is linked with higher potential for addiction and dependence. That is one reason physicians typically are not excited about prescribing Xanax for long periods of time.

When are they used?

When benzos were introduced to the market in the 1950s, there was excitement as they were considered safer compared to barbiturates, which had been used to treat anxiety. By the 1970s, benzos made it to the list of the most highly prescribed medications.

Benzos are mainly used to treat anxiety disorders, such as phobias, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. They are mostly used for a short period at the beginning of the treatment. That is because it may take a few weeks for the main pharmacological treatment for anxiety, antidepressants, to kick in. During that time, if anxiety is severe and debilitating, benzodiazepines may be prescribed for temporary use.

Benzos are also prescribed for occasional situations of high anxiety, such as that caused by phobias. The main treatment of phobias, such as excessive fear of animals, places and social interactions, is psychotherapy. Sometimes, however, phobias can interfere with one’s functioning just sporadically, and the person may not be interested in investing in therapy. For example, a person with fear of flying who may fly on a plane once or twice a year may choose to take a benzo before flying. However, for a businessman or woman who flies several times a months, psychotherapy is recommended.

Benzos may also be used for situations of short-term stress, such as a stressful job interview.

Benzos are also used for other medical conditions, such as treatment of seizures or alcohol withdrawal in the hospital. There is no good evidence for use of benzos in post-traumatic stress disorder.

So why the worry?

Now we get to the part about why I and other doctors are not eager to prescribe benzodiazepines for long-term use: We have a Hippocratic oath to “first do not harm.” I sometimes tell patients who insist on getting benzos: “I am not paid differently based on the medication I prescribe, and my life would be much easier not arguing with you about this medication. I do this because I care about you.”

A major risk of long-term use of benzos is addiction. That means you may become dependent on these meds and that you have to keep increasing the dose to get the same effect. Actually benzos, especially Xanax, have street value because of the pleasant feeling they induce. In 2017, there were more than 11,000 deaths involving benzos alone or with other drugs, and in 2015, a fifth of those who died of opioid overdose also had benzos in their blood.

Benzos to anxiety can be seen like opioids to pain. They both are mostly for short use, have a potential for addiction and are not a cure. Benzo overdose, especially when mixed with alcohol or opioids, may lead to slowing of breathing, and potentially death. Benzo misuse can also lead to lack of restraint of aggressive or impulsive behavior.

As benzos are sedating medications, they also increase the risk of accidents and falls, especially in the elderly. This is worse when they are mixed with other central nervous system suppressants like alcohol or opioids.

Recently, we have been learning more about the potential cognitive, memory and psychomotor impairment in long-term use of benzodiazepines, especially in older adults. Cognitive functions impacted may include processing speed and learning among others. Such effects may persist even after discontinuation of long-term use of the benzos.

Stopping benzos abruptly, especially if high dose, can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as restlessness, irritability, insomnia, muscle tension, blurred vision and racing heart. Withdrawal from high doses of benzos, especially those that are shorter acting, may be dangerous, leading to seizure, and getting off of these medications should be done under supervision of a physician.

Safer options abound

There are safer effective treatments for anxiety, but they require patience to work. A first line treatment for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy. During therapy, the person learns more adaptive coping skills, and corrects cognitive distortions to reduce stress.

Exposure therapy is an effective treatment for phobias, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and PTSD. During exposure therapy, the person is gradually exposed to the feared situation under the guidance of the therapist, until the situation does not create anxiety anymore. Importantly, the skills earned during therapy can always be used, allowing better long-term outcome compared to medications.

Medications are also used for treatment of anxiety disorders. The main group of such medications is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly known as antidepressants. Examples of such medications are fluoxetine, sertraline and citalopram. Especially when combined with psychotherapy, these medications are effective and are safer options than the benzos, and without a risk of addiction.

[ Expertise in your inbox. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter and get a digest of academic takes on today’s news, every day. ]The Conversation

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne state University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

By: Arash Javanbakht, Wayne state University
Title: Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/where-my-xanax-rx-why-your-doctor-may-be-concerned-about-prescribing-benzodiazepines
Published Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 08:50:49 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

5 Ways to Support Those Living with Chronic Pain

Some years ago I noticed a subtle discomfort in my left knee. As a healthy 33-year old who had not experienced any pain prior to this, I was initially certain that it was not a cause for concern. It took a full year of constant pain to realize that I was indeed suffering from chronic pain.

Little did I know that this pain was going to spread throughout my entire body – and change the course of my life forever.

Chronic Pain is considered a “Silent Epidemic” in the United states. A reported 50 million Americans suffer from significant chronic pain. Even though the number of sufferers is high, outside of pain management clinics and narcotic medications there is very little discussion on the subject of providing support and comfort to the patients. The question then becomes: how do we support those suffering from chronic pain?

Despite having a large group of friends and family wanting to help, for the last three years I was not always able to articulate my needs. Now I can. I offer what benefit lies in my own experience.

Here are 5 ways you can support a loved one suffering from chronic pain:

Check-in Often

I’ve found that the most difficult thing about chronic pain is not the pain, but rather the isolation that comes as a result of the pain. Often patients are unable to engage in the social activities they once enjoyed. Or they are so embarrassed about their constant pain that they isolate themselves in fear of their condition becoming the focal point of discussion in social settings.

Remember that just because someone hasn’t been responding to invitations or coming to gatherings, this doesn’t mean that they prefer to be isolated. The most caring act of service is to reach out and check in regularly with your loved one suffering from chronic pain. Let them know that they aren’t forgotten. Let them know that you care. If they don’t seem ready for a phone call, try sending flowers, or a care package, or a simple card.

Be a Good Listener

Active listening is an act of healing. There is deep comfort in knowing that someone is there to hold the space and listen without judgement, interference, or unsolicited advice.

Not sure how to be a good listener? Do not interrupt. Do make eye contact. Do offer your full attention by not multitasking. Don’t eagerly wait for your turn to speak. Don’t share your own emotional troubles in that moment. In my own experience, I’ve found it difficult to deal with others crying – it made me feel shut down. Please resist the impulse to offer unsolicited advice no matter how well-intended. Do feel free to ask if your loved one wants primarily to vent or is seeking actual advice.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is critical when interacting with or caring for a patient. Chronic pain impacts so much more than a specific region of the body. Chronic pain causes depression, mood and anxiety disorders, sleep disturbances, and memory problems. It is imperative to be mindful of all these factors when interacting with the patient. Factors like noise, light, crowds, scents, children, and pets can potentially be overwhelming to someone in pain. It is best to approach the patient by asking what feels good and trying to accommodate their preferences. Try to help with comfort care. Offer aromatherapy or a short, easy walk if they are up to it.

Ask How You Can Help

When someone is diagnosed with an illness, be it terminal or chronic, the natural response of friends and family is to offer help. Often that help comes in the form of unsolicited recommendations regarding anything from dietary suggestions to medical advice. Although the gesture might be deeply appreciated by the patient, the sheer volume of suggestions can be extremely overwhelming, leaving the patient with a deep sense of hopelessness. Ask the patient about the kind of specific advice they would like to receive and the limits to what they want to hear. Be mindful of these boundaries. Be respectful of the patient and empower her/him by respecting the choices they make.

Fill Your Cup First!

Caring for someone with chronic pain can be a daunting and exhausting task. Be sure to fill your own cup from time to time. This will enable you to maintain your most vibrant and happy self. Then you will be better able and ready to deliver the joy, humor, and kindness they need.

This article was originally published at GiveInKind.com.

Anahita Parseghian is a Holistic Health Advocate currently focused on helping people with chronic pain. Following her own long battle with chronic pain and healing herself after three years, Parseghian left her career in venture capital to focus on helping others free themselves from chronic pain. She is now developing the “Compass Protocol,” a holistic approach to pain killer detox and pain management.

By: Anahita Parseghian
Title: 5 Ways to Support Those Living with Chronic Pain
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/5-ways-support-those-living-chronic-pain
Published Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 07:50:29 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

What really works to keep coronavirus away? 4 questions answered by a public health professional

Editor’s note: The World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has a higher fatality rate than the flu. As of March 4, 2020, nine deaths have been reported in the U.S. Brian Labus, a professor of public health, provides essential safety information for you, from disinfectants to storing food and supplies.

1. What can I do to prevent becoming infected?

When people are sick with a respiratory disease like COVID-19, they cough or sneeze particles into the air. If someone is coughing near you, the virus could easily land on your eyes, nose or mouth. These particles travel only about six feet and fall out of the air rather quickly. However, they do land on surfaces that you touch all the time, such as railings, doorknobs, elevator buttons or subway poles. The average person also touches their face 23 times per hour, and about half of these touches are to the mouth, eyes, and nose, which are the mucosal surfaces that the COVID-19 virus infects.

We public health professionals can’t stress this enough: Proper hand-washing is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from a number of diseases including COVID-19. While hand-washing is preferred, hand sanitizers with at least a 60% alcohol concentration can be an effective alternative to always using soap and water, but only if your hands are not visibly soiled.

The best way to wash your hands.

2. Wouldn’t it be easier just to clean surfaces?

Not really. Public health experts don’t fully understand the role these surfaces play in the transmission of disease, and you could still be infected by a virus that landed directly on you. We also don’t know how long the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive on hard surfaces, although other coronaviruses can survive for up to nine days on hard surfaces like stair railings.

Frequent cleaning could remove the virus if a surface has been contaminated by a sick person, such as when someone in your household is sick. In these situations, it is important to use a disinfectant that is thought to be effective against the COVID-19 virus. Although specific products have not yet been tested against COVID-19 coronavirus, there are many products that are effective against the general family of coronaviruses. Cleaning recommendations using “natural” products like vinegar are popular on social media, but there is no evidence that they are effective against coronavirus.

You also have to use these products properly in accordance with the directions, and that typically means keeping the surface wet with the product for a period of time, often several minutes. Simply wiping the surface down with a product is usually not enough to kill the virus.

In short, it isn’t possible to properly clean every surface you touch throughout your day, so hand-washing is still your best defense against COVID-19.

3. What about wearing masks?

While people have turned to masks as protection against COVID-19, masks often provide nothing more than a false sense of security to the wearer. The masks that were widely available at pharmacies, big-box stores and home improvement stores – until a worried public bought them all – work well at filtering out large particles like dust. The problem is that the particles that carry the COVID-19 virus are small and easily move right through dust masks and surgical masks. These masks may provide some protection to other people if you wear one while you are sick – like coughing into a tissue – but they will do little to protect you from other sick people.

N95 masks, which filter out 95% of the small, virus-containing particles, are worn in health care settings to protect doctors and nurses from exposure to respiratory diseases. These masks provide protection only if they are worn properly. They require special testing to ensure that they provide a seal around your face and that air doesn’t leak in the sides, defeating the purpose of the mask. People wearing the mask also must take special steps when removing the mask to ensure that they are not contaminating themselves with the viral particles that the mask filtered out. If you don’t wear the mask properly, don’t remove it properly or put it in your pocket and reuse it later, even the best mask won’t do you any good.

4. Should I stockpile food and supplies?

As a general preparedness step, you should have a three-day supply of food and water in case of emergencies. This helps protect from disruptions to the water supply or during power outages.

While this is great general preparation advice, it doesn’t help you during a disease outbreak. There is no reason to expect COVID-19 to cause the same damage to our infrastructure that we Americans would see after an earthquake, hurricane or tornado, so you shouldn’t plan for it in the same way. While you don’t want to run out of toilet paper, there is no reason to buy 50 packages.

A Wuhan-type quarantine is extremely unlikely, as a quarantine won’t stop the spread of a disease that has been found all over the world. The types of disruptions that you should plan for are small disruptions in your day-to-day life. You should have a plan in case you or a family member gets sick and you can’t leave the house for a few days. This includes stocking up on basic things you need to take care of yourself, like food and medicines.

If you do get sick, the last thing you are going to want to do is run to the grocery store, where you would expose other people to your illness. You shouldn’t wait until you are out of an important medication before requesting a refill just in case your pharmacy closes for a couple days because all their employees are sick. You also should plan for how to handle issues like temporary school or day care closures. You don’t need to prepare anything extreme; a little common-sense preparation will go a long way to make your life easier if you or your loved ones become sick.

[Deep knowledge, daily.Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]The Conversation

Brian Labus, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

By: Brian Labus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Title: What really works to keep coronavirus away? 4 questions answered by a public health professional
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/what-really-works-keep-coronavirus-away-4-questions-answered-public-health-professional
Published Date: Fri, 06 Mar 2020 04:17:10 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Thank You for Your Share!

Thank you so much for sharing, Tom. Sorry, Tim. Wow, I really related to so much of what you shared. I know it won’t seem that way based on what I’m about to say, but I really closely related to every single thing you said.

I loved how you said that in sobriety, we need to pick and choose our battles. You didn’t say that, of course, but that’s what I heard and also what I wanted you to say, not coincidentally. You said, in my head, “We have to pick and choose our battles in sobriety.” Well, surprise surprise, I agree totally.

I can’t believe it but today I am 5 and 2/7th years sober! Yes, today is the actual day. I will stop talking…until…you applaud……..there we go! Don’t be shy! Thank you!

I believe the theme of the reading tonight – was there a reading? – was “picking and choosing your battles in sobriety,” and I can really relate to that. For example, my roommate, who is Asian – and I’m only mentioning her race to create a deep sense of anxiety in the room about what I’m going to say next – my roommate forgot to vacuum the living room last week.

I am absolutely certain everyone in this room knows my history with my roommate, as I shared about it eight months ago in a different meeting. So, you all know. You all know. I see Glen H. nodding… No? Sorry, looked like a nod.

Now, in my using years, someone failing to vacuum would have been the perfect excuse for me to use. But instead, I called my sponsor, I read Dr. Bob’s story, I talked to my HP, I read the Seventh Step Declaration, which is a reference no one will get but I am just blowing right past it, and I called my sponsor. And he said, just like the Tradition or whatever the fuck we read tonight said, “Pick and choose your battles in sobriety.”

When he said that piece of very trite and obvious advice, it saved me. It. Saved. Me. I am tearing up now, weirdly. I am tearing up and there are big…heavy…pauses…in my share. You all have to sit with it in silence.

I see my time is up, but I’m going to pretend I didn’t.

I don’t want to cross-talk, but Glen H.’s share earlier was shit.

I can’t believe where sobriety has gotten me and I am just so grateful. My roommate is a fucking cunt. Haha, just kidding! WE ARE NOT A GLUM LOT! Like the Big Book says, my worst day sober is better than my best day using, even though while using I was engaged to Neil Patrick Harris and lived in a gold kingdom. Which reminds me, the cash and prizes don’t matter at all, lol, but I can’t believe how much money I have! You should all know how much money I have. Sobriety.

Thank you again for sharing, Toom. You said exactly the prompts I needed to say what I wanted to say. Now I am going to leave the meeting early with no explanation, in a very loud and disruptive manner. Excuse me! Pardon me!

It’s unclear if my share is over, so everyone can just sit there quietly for a few seconds wondering.

Thanks! Oh, and I’m looking for sponsees! But good ones.

By: John Teufel
Title: Thank You for Your Share!
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/thank-you-your-share
Published Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:05:05 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974