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Your Guide to A Happy, Safe and Sober Saint Patrick’s Day

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 17, 2017 9:29:05 AM / by RU Texas posted in Recovery, Alcohol Treatment, Alcohol Addiction, Saint Patrick's Day

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Although Saint Patrick’s Day is holiday which celebrates Irish culture and spirituality, it has become an occasion that transcends cultural parameters, particularly here in the United States. For those in the recovery community, however, it can also be one of those days the reality of recover must be reinforced and they’re put face-to-face with the reality that world drinks even though they don’t. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2013, more than a third (40%) of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. In 2013, there were 31 people killed in drunk-driving crashes on St. Patrick's Day.

How, then, do we insulate ourselves from prospect of relapse during one of the heaviest drinking days of the year? The truth is that only we can assess our readiness to be around alcohol during our recovery, but there are some stop-gap mechanisms to put a little more distance between us and a mistake that could derail our recovery. Be sure keep your sponsor on speed-dial, or at least someone close to you who understands your vulnerability to alcohol, and is in a position to help you. If you have to leave a party early and can’t access a ride home from someone you care about, there are a variety of car services at your disposal these days.

It may very well be that you’ll have to sit this St. Patrick’s Day out and just declare the best intentions for next year. Anyone who understands what you’re going through will undoubtedly want you to put your recovery first before one night of fun. The most important thing is keep your recovery intact. Recovery Unplugged wishes all of our alumni and their families a safe, happy and sober Saint Patrick’s Day. May nothing but happiness come through your door.

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Alcoholism in Texas by the Numbers

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 23, 2016 10:31:14 AM / by RU Texas posted in Recovery, Alcohol Treatment, Alcoholism, Alcohol Addiction, Drunk-Driving

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There’s no question about it: Texas likes to drink, and they sit right alongside the rest of the country in that preference. Despite increasing shifting media and political attention to opioids in the heroin in the wake of thousands of deaths per year, alcohol continues to be the most dominant addiction threat in the country. Each year, nearly 88,000 Americans dies from alcohol-related causes. In 2014, there were nearly 10,000 alcohol-related driving deaths, accounting for 31 percent of overall motor vehicle fatalities nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 19,388 deaths from alcoholic liver disease and 30,722 deaths from alcohol-related health issues, excluding accidents and homicides, in 2015.

Through its ongoing battle with statewide alcohol abuse, Texas has lost many residents, suffered needless yet crushing financial burden, and has seen the deterioration of families and communities. The following figures alcohol’s impact on the state last year alone:

  • Drunk driving fatalities (.08 BAC or higher): 1323 representing 0.38% of all total traffic deaths, an 8.5% decrease from last year.
  • Alcohol related crash injuries (.01 BAC or higher): 15,687
  • Alcohol related crashes (.01 BAC or higher): 25,479
  • DUI arrests: 64,971
  • DUI convictions: 71,030
  • Taxpayer subsidy of drunk driving fatalities: $6.2 billion

Though the state has many strict laws for DUI offenders, legal enforcement is only half of the formula for successful prevention. Community involvement, ancillary education programs and general awareness can go a long way in curbing the problem in our own personal lives as well as in the broader world around us. The victim-count of alcohol-related deaths includes our friends, family, neighbors and colleagues and goes way beyond one person drinking themselves into sickness. Thus, it is incumbent upon all of us, in Texas and the United States, to combat alcohol abuse whenever we see it threaten our family, relationships or communities.

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Holding Them Accountable: Find Out Where Your Candidates Stand on Addiction Treatment

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 26, 2016 2:57:36 PM / by RU Texas posted in Recovery, Drug Treatment, Drug Abuse, Alcohol Treatment, Treatment, Alcoholism, Election

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As coverage of the 2016 presidential election dominates virtually every media outlet in the country, far less attention is being paid to the down-ballot races that will be decided on the same day. We’ve only recently begun to hear about the importance of these contests, and it’s been largely in relation to the race for the White House. On November 8, 2016, Americans will determine the outcome of 469 separate elections (34 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) that will arguably prove to have more impact on their everyday lives than who’s sitting in the Oval Office. This is an opportunity to affect real change in their community and let their voices be heard.

Those of us that have been impacted by drug or alcohol addiction, whether directly or indirectly, will undoubtedly want to know what our current and prospective leaders plan to do to address this public health crisis going forward. One of the best and most accurate ways to do this is by getting engaged and investigating how they’ve acted on this issue in the past. We can start the process of vetting our candidates by checking their voting records. These records are public and are a profound indicator of our leaders’ level of involvement and willingness to improve the treatment climate in their communities.

The opioid elephant in the room is getting harder and harder to ignore. While it’s now wildly popular to come down in favor of treatment reform and increased access, funding this initiative is another matter, altogether. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act may have enjoyed a comfortable 94-1 vote in the Senate, but that’s not where the legislative battle ends. To date, the bill is nowhere near paid for. The point is that there is legislation being discussed every day to combat the rise of addiction in America; some even makes it to a vote. We can begin to turn the tide of substance abuse in this country by better understanding how the leaders we put in power plan to address it.

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