• Ever wonder why the world of adults is not overrun with addicts?
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    But although I got treatment, I quit at around the age when, according to large epidemiological studies, most people who have diagnosable addiction problems do so—without treatment. The early to mid-20s is also the period when the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for good judgment and self-restraint—finally reaches maturity.

    According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.

    The average cocaine addiction lasts four years, the average marijuana addiction lasts six years, and the average alcohol addiction is resolved within 15 years. Heroin addictions tend to last as long as alcoholism, but prescription opioid problems, on average, last five years. In these large samples, which are drawn from the general population, only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.

    To better understand recovery and how to teach it, then, we need to look to the strengths and tactics of people who quit without treatment and not merely focus on clinical samples. Common threads in stories of recovery without treatment include finding a new passion (whether in work, hobbies, religion or a person), moving from a less structured environment like college into a more constraining one like 9 to 5 employment, and realizing that heavy use stands in the way of achieving important life goals. People who recover without treatment also tend not to see themselves as addicts, according to the research in this area.

    While treatment can often support the principles of natural recovery, too often it does the opposite. For example, many programs interfere with healthy family and romantic relationships by isolating patients. Some threaten employment and education, suggesting or even requiring that people quit jobs or school to “focus on recovery,” when doing so might do more harm than good. Others pay too much attention to getting people to take on an addict identity rather than on harm related to drug use when, in fact, looking at other facets of the self may be more helpful.

    There are many paths to recovery — and if we want to help people get there, we need to explore all of them. That means recognizing that natural recovery exists and not dismissing data we don’t like.

    This article pretty much stands on its own — though still like far too few.

    But, it is representative of an ever increasing body of people who are no longer towing the AA party line. People who are matched by an even more credible body of researchers who actually understand how addiction is treated and are demonstrating at a success rate over 12X what AA has.

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  • Why young couples are NOT getting married…
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    The Pew data also puts into greater relief (for like the millionth time) the long-popular (and long-wrong) conservative idea that marriage is a “cure” for poverty. People aren’t poor because they’re not married, they’re not getting married, in many cases, because they’re economically vulnerable. And gutting the already thoroughly gutted social welfare system only makes things worse. As Stephanie Coontz, a historian of marriage who teaches at Evergreen College, has already pointed out, shrinking the social welfare system and pushing marriage might make Rick Santorum feel pretty good, but it doesn’t do much to help people get out of poverty:

    From the 1950s to the mid-1970s, the United States greatly increased government support systems for workers, expanding Social Security, enlarging the safety net and investing in school construction and infrastructure that created jobs for blue collar workers while improving housing and educational access for the middle class.

    The result? More Americans were able to work their way into economic security and to invest in education and training that enabled their children to do even better. Over that period, the poverty rate was halved, falling from 22% to 11%.

    It is not the expansion but the erosion of government support and job creation over the past three decades, in combination with the decline of labor unions and employers’ benefits, that largely accounts for the setbacks American families are experiencing and for the decline in social mobility since the 1980s.

    So maybe these shifting trends around marriage are creating some space to talk seriously about what marriage does and doesn’t do in the United States. What it does and doesn’t mean. And, perhaps, it’s an opportunity to get clear about the systems we want in place that allow people to provide care, job security, financial stability and basic things like food and housing for themselves and the people they love, whether or not they say, “I do.”

    The above linked article, as well as the parent NYT article are very worth the read. (If nothing else, just for the perverse irony that those who rant the loudest about how marriage will fix North America’s sagging social fabric have also done the most to bleed the system of the financial opportunities and stability people need to get married…)

    But, more then that, it suggests a solution: That if those fundamentalist Churches really want to promote marriage, then adopting the virtual employment agency and social safety net strategy that the Mormon faith has as its core might do a lot more then carrying picket signs and repeatedly voting to favour the already-wealthy while dismantling the social safety net…

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  • Think you know bro culture? Think again…
    3 Comments on Think you know bro culture? Think again…

    Dr. Nerd Love

    Let’s be honest: dating can be scary. You’re deliberately making yourself vulnerable to another person. When you get rejected, it can feel as though you are being judged on your entire existence. Many men, especially those who are socially inexperienced or just plain awkward, see each rejection as unfair or unnecessarily cruel; they believe that they should be given a chance to prove their desirability. Others feel that the universe has stacked the deck against them; only certain men are able to get women and this is inherently not fair.

    In the Red Pill world, it’s true: only certain men get laid: alpha males, According to the Red Pill philosophy, 20% of the men fuck 80% of the women. Don’t worry about the fact that this is mathematically impossible, it feels true and that’s the important part. So when someone is feeling like he’s been cheated by life, that it’s unfair that other people have an easier time getting dates or getting laid, the Red Pill ethos is there to validate those feelings. “You’re right,” says the Red Pill community, “It is unfair. You’re being denied something that is rightfully yours. You should take it back!”

    It’s a classic recruitment technique, one used by hate groups for centuries: prey on someone’s insecurities and fears. Tell them that they’ve been wronged and then tell them “this is how you get to be strong.” Give them an enemy and tell them “this is why things are so bad for you. They’ve hurt you. They’ve wronged you. Don’t you want power over them?” They offer secret knowledge, helping you “wake up to see the real world”, unlike all those blue pill manginas. By being a Red Pill man, you’re proving yourself superior to others. You know things that other people don’t. You’re special. Not like those other people. The world of the Red Pill is one of “us vs. them”. An alpha fucks, a beta bucks, bro. Other guys are manginas, average frustrated chumps (because you’re not average or a chump, bro) or “white knights” – poor, deluded men who think that being nice to women will get them laid. Not like you, Red Pill devotee; you know the truth.

    To someone who’s always felt like they lack control or who has low self-esteem, being told “no, you’re a god among insects” is intoxicating. You were weak, but now you’re strong. You’ve been given the secret of being Alpha – now you can be one of the guys who gets the women instead of the guy getting used. They’ll back it up with pseudo-science and evo-psych that sounds legit – after all, it’s confirming what you already believe. Don’t worry that “alpha” and “beta” doesn’t actually exist in nature; that’s just white knights trying to Nice Guy their way to pussy. Don’t worry that all you’re doing is masking insecurities instead of actually addressing your issues. Do alpha male shit, get pussy, bro!

    But the Red Pill philosophy does more than offer the illusion of strength. It offers you an enemy to get revenge on.

    With apologies for the overt profanity of the above quote — to say nothing of the linked full article — this simply had to be posted.

    It only takes a few moments of thought about the insane prevalence of date rape drugs, the escalating levels of sexual assault and the recent mass shooting due to delusions of a right to sex to realize that this simply can’t exist in a vacuum.

    Something — a huge victim complex, to be exact — is feeding it.

    Obviously, whenever a society creates and validates the self perception of a group of people as, “Powerless,” and, “Victims,” they simultaneously validate that group’s right to reclaim power by alternative means. It’s a necessary trade-off we have made many times. (If the group (women for example) is actually disempowered, the results may be ugly — but they generally appear productive in society at large.)

    But, when right leaning political forces spin a narrative of disenfranchisement and disempowerment among white males and demand they strike back against their (left leaning) feminist oppressors, it’s a whole different story.

    Clearly, the thought processes and reactions are just as ugly, but those bearing such are anything but powerless. And, if they believe they are powerless, then the, “Fighting-back,” is actually just further oppression.

    And, in the haze of such, it doesn’t take much for some nut to sneak in from the side and whisper, “Ya man — and they are denying you (Insert female genital pejorative here).”

    Then anything can be normalized & justified.

    It has been…

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  • Understanding date rape drugs.
    5 Comments on Understanding date rape drugs.

    Women’s Health

    The three most common date rape drugs are:

    Rohypnol (roh-HIP-nol). Rohypnol is the trade name for flunitrazepam (FLOO-neye-TRAZ-uh-pam). Abuse of two similar drugs appears to have replaced Rohypnol abuse in some parts of the United States. These are: clonazepam (marketed as Klonopin in the U.S.and Rivotril in Mexico) and alprazolam (marketed as Xanax).

    GHB, which is short for gamma hydroxybutyric (GAM-muh heye-DROX-ee-BYOO-tur-ihk) acid.

    Ketamine (KEET-uh-meen)

    The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours. If you are drugged, you might look and act like someone who is drunk. You might have trouble standing. Your speech might be slurred. Or you might pass out.

    GHB takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last 3 or 4 hours. It is very potent: A very small amount can have a big effect. So it’s easy to overdose on GHB. Most GHB is made by people in home or street “labs.” So, you don’t know what’s in it or how it will affect you.

    Ketamine is very fast-acting. You might be aware of what is happening to you, but unable to move. It also causes memory problems. Later, you might not be able to remember what happened while you were drugged.

    The linked article mostly speaks for itself — chillingly well.

    Recognize though that the term, “Date rape drug,” is deceptive at best and hides well the reality that a drug facilitated sexual assault is quite likely to be committed by a person largely unknown to the victim – perhaps one that the victim has never even met.

    But, there is an even harsher reality:

    Drug facilitated sexual assault is now no longer just an isolated occurance. Actually, it’s so common women appear to be borderline volunteering for it as just another part of the party culture…

    And, to add insult to injury, the medical system has just gotten bored with the whole thing, Alberta Health Care has even ceased testing for it and researchers have started publishing academic work acting like alcohol is pretty much on par with real drug facilitated sexual assault.

    Sadly, the only defence women appear to have in our society is self defence…

    How can I protect myself from being a victim?

    Don’t accept drinks from other people.

    Open containers yourself.

    Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.

    Don’t share drinks.

    Don’t drink from punch bowls or other common, open containers. They may already have drugs in them.

    If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself.

    Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes, GHB tastes salty.

    Have a nondrinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens.

    If you realize you left your drink unattended, pour it out.

    If you feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol — or, if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual — get help right away.

    If you feel even the slightest dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, sweating or problems seeing, then listen to your body and stop drinking instantly. Before the drug can take full effect, flee to a place where the perp can not follow, stay there until you can call for help or be sure you could escape fully, put yourself in the care of a friend or the police and then get medical help.

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  • Do you know what to ask a narcissist?
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    Psychology Today

    But researchers have recently found that, if you just want an overall view of narcissism, you can replace that 40-question inventory with one question: “How narcissistic are you?”

    The key insight is that people who are narcissists aren’t embarrassed by it, so they don’t hold back on saying so. People who are not narcissistic would feel ashamed to be seen as such, so they rate themselves low on the scale.

    “People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don’t see narcissism as a negative quality — they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly,” says Brad Bushman, one of the study’s co-authors.

    There’s an entire industry out there diagnosing everyone’s husband or wife with all sorts of personality disorders — and then encouraging them to leave said, “Mentally ill,” spouse. No diagnosis is more popular then Narcissistic Personality Disorder…

    Huge lists of symptoms are compiled and armchair diagnostic skills are brought to bear on such — right before said (loudly protesting/denying) spouse is dragged into a counsellor’s office to have those conclusions validated.

    Shortly thereafter, the other spouse generally ends up angry at a therapist who refuses to accept, “Reality…”


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  • Why do we hold back from those we love?
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    Psych Central

    Many people have the ambition to prevent bad things from happening. This is their definition of control. For controllers, life is grim and pessimistic. Controllers have an unnecessarily difficult time in coping with the disappointments of everyday life. They blame themselves for failing to prevent them, as if that were their responsibility. These sufferers have a particularly difficult time in managing their emotional responses. Suzanne is a case in point.

    The linked interchange is neat, tidy and I don’t for a second believe it actually came off anywhere that smoothly in real life.

    But, it’s a good depiction both of how our magical thinking works — and how, sometimes, it is actually our love for our partners that keep us from engaging them fully.

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  • On second thought, maybe we should add Lithium to the drinking water…
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    NY Times

    A recent review of epidemiological studies of lithium in drinking water reported that 9 out of 11 studies found an association between higher levels of lithium in local water and “beneficial clinical, behavioral, legal and medical outcomes.”

    Trying to make sense of their results, the authors of the Japanese study speculated that lithium exposure, even in these tiny amounts, might actually be neuroprotective or even enhance the growth of neurons. Other studies have supported their speculation; lithium appears to promote the health, growth and resilience of neurons, reducing stress-induced damage.

    One study found that at the higher therapeutic doses used to treat mood disorders, brain scans of bipolar patients treated with lithium actually had increased areas of gray matter (neurons) in their brains, compared with bipolar patients who had not been on lithium and with normal controls. The authors speculated that lithium might protect the brain, perhaps promoting neuronal growth.

    IN the clinical practice of psychiatry, there has been a related finding. Patients with mood disorders have been shown to have rates of dementia higher than those of the general population.

    A Danish population study of more than a million subjects discovered that those who purchased lithium only once (presumably people in whom a significant mood disorder had already been diagnosed) had an increased rate of dementia compared with those never exposed to lithium. After taking two or more prescriptions, however, the rate of dementia decreased and remained at those low levels. The authors concluded that, “continued lithium treatment was associated with reduction of the rate of dementia to the same level as that for the general population.”

    Some scientists have, in fact, proposed that lithium be recognized as an essential trace element nutrient. Who knows what the impact on our society would be if micro-dose lithium were again part of our standard nutritional fare? What if it were added back to soft drinks or popular vitamin brands or even put into the water supply? The research to date strongly suggests that suicide levels would be reduced, and even perhaps other violent acts. And maybe the dementia rate would decline. We don’t know because the research hasn’t been done.

    For the public health issue of suicide prevention alone, it seems imperative that such studies be conducted. In 2011, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Research on a simple element like lithium that has been around as a medication for over half a century and as a drink for millenniums may not seem like a high priority, but it should be.

    This one is interesting — really interesting.

    Sometimes the stupidity of general marketing can create prejudices that silence even the thought of research for decades.

    Perhaps at our peril…

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  • Will your teen daughter become sexually active?
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    The analysis found that adolescents tended to be more sexually active themselves if they perceived their peers as a) more sexually active, b) more approving of having sex, and c) exerting more pressure on them to be sexually active. “What adolescents think that their peers do (role modeling) seems to be most important: adolescents who think that their peers engage in sex are more likely to engage in sex themselves. Peers’ approval of having sex, or peer pressure to have sex, also matter, but seem to matter less,” explains lead researcher, Daphne van de Bongardt.

    Surprisingly, the analysis found that peer pressure had the smallest effect on sexual behavior. Daphne van de Bongardt cautions this result saying, “the meta-analysis included only 10 studies that examined peer pressure, and they varied considerably in the way in which peer pressure was measured (e.g., number of items, source and focus of the pressure). Overall, the literature could be clearer about what “peer pressure” entails, and how it can best be measured. More research is needed to get more insight into adolescents’ own definitions of peer pressure, and the subtlety in which peer pressure may operate in adolescents’ interactions with peers.”

    How strongly adolescents’ sexual behaviors are related to sexual peer norms is similar for boys and girls, according to the analysis. However, the extent to which peers engage in sexual risk behavior appears to be more strongly related to girls’ engagement in sexual risk behavior than it is for boys.

    It’s been known for years that children respond much less to what we tell them and much more to what we do as parents — apparently, teen friendships are under the exact same heading.

    Big caveat though:

    It is worth noting that this is primarily a study of shame, fear and guilt based North America where teens don’t come to their parents to discuss sexuality and when/if they should start exploring such. Quite unlike, say Holland

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  • Looking to get close?
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    Jordan Gray

    In the day to day of our relationships, a lot of stuff can get swept under the rug. Combine that with the fact that a lot of partners don’t really get to know each other on a deep level at the beginning of their relationships (or at any point) and you could be highly prone to emotionally stepping on your partner’s toes without knowing it.

    I recommend asking some of the following questions once every few months, and others on a weekly basis.

    For best results, clear all distractions from your environment. Turn off your phones, close the laptops, and switch off the TV. Make sure the kids are asleep and the dog is taken care of. Clear out any and all extraneous things that could potentially ping their way in to the space that you are creating and handle them ahead of time.

    It’s unbelievable how much even a thirty-minute, distractions free, emotional block busting session once per week conducted from the comfort of your bed can do for your entire relationship.

    Don’t believe me? Give it ONE try, and see what comes of it. If you don’t like it you never have to do it again. But this exercise could be the exact thing you need to take your relationship from surviving to thriving.

    Here are ten questions to ask to go deep in your intimate relationship.

    The sad reality that he regards once a week as the destination for intimate conversation not withstanding, the questions are excellent!

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  • How far will we go to control others?
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    Mysterious Universe

    Perhaps the greatest mystery of the tunnels was to be found deep in the lower levels, where temperatures reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the air was so choked with noxious, sulfurous fumes as to be nearly un-breathable. It was here in these hellish conditions that Paget and company found a sharp bend at the end of a particularly steep passage that seemed somehow designed to prevent anyone who approached from seeing what was to be found at the end until they turned the corner. When Paget and Jones rounded that sharp bend, they were confronted with an underground stream of boiling water that they would later call The River Styx. Projecting into this super heated stream was a landing, the purpose of which could not be discerned. On the other side of the stream, another passage ascended up into an antechamber that Paget called “The Hidden Sanctuary,” and continued on until a hidden staircase led up to the surface and exited at the ruins of water tanks that had once fed the Roman spas.

    In the end, Paget and his team would spend nearly a decade clearing and exploring this vast tunnel system. During this time, Paget and Jones studied the mysteries they had uncovered and became convinced that the tunnel system and its boiling river were meant to be a representation of the entrance to the Greek underworld of Hades itself. After years of searching and obsessing, Paget had finally found his legendary cave of the Sybil, or at least the cave he believed the legend was based on.

    To support his theory, Paget pointed to the Aeniad, and argued that Aeneas’ and the Sybil’s trip to the underworld bore a striking resemblance to the layout of the Great Antrum. Paget believed the course that the tunnel system took closely followed Aeneas’ journey and indeed faithfully mimicked similar trips to Hades throughout Greek legend. The estimated date of the complex, around 550 B.C., is also consistent with the time the Sybil was said to have existed. Paget and Jones surmised that the intricate tunnels of the complex were meant to recreate a similar journey through the underworld and that the boiling river represented the River Styx, at which it was speculated a boatman would have once waited at the landing to take visitors across, just as in Greek legend. It was theorized that this impressively realistic depiction of Hell would be enough for the priests of the temple to convince anyone foolhardy enough to venture through its tunnels that the underworld was very real. In short, this vast, elaborate tunnel system was thought to be more or less very convincing deception to convert followers, and may have even showcased a person playing the role of the Cumæan sibyl.

    The above linked is a rather long article — and the rest of the illustrations and photos are alone worth the read.

    But, as contrived as it all now looks, it strikes me…

    Isn’t this a lot of what we tolerate in our governments and do when we play church?

    Here is an ancient religion and culture. That culture probably invested millions of man hours into the process of carving out or at least expanding an existing set of tunnels. Man hours dedicated to nothing more then the creation of a fiction whereby people could be kept in constant fear.

    Oh, the priests obviously knew they were just facing boiling water and sulphur fumes and that their system of control stood on absolutely nothing. But, they went ahead and created a fiction such that the iron grip of control their class held over the population could be, at least in one area, substantiated as legitimate.

    Sorta what happens when the government trots out some hapless fanatical looser who just roasted his own testicles in an attempt to blow up a plane and justifies stripping the civil liberties of most of the developed world in the name of terrorism.

    Sorta what happens when a reverend, in an equal attempt to control, threatens the judgment of God.

    The politician is one thing — it’s just what the species does until properly disciplined.

    The Reverend is quite another…

    On the one side stands religion and political power wielding FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Despair).

    On the other side stands the person of Christ (whom the Reverend claims to represent) who fundamentally came to end ALL religion and spent his entire life telling the truth about the machinations of his people’s religious ruling class.

    But, we’re far quicker to discipline the politicians…

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