Monthly Archives: February 2011

Charlie Sheen Is So Much Like Me


Charlie Sheen in March 2009

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By M. Alexander

Charlie Sheen is so much like me (aside from the multi-million dollar contracts, the yacht, and the successful film and television career)…well, he’s so much like the addict part of me, the part that still lives and breathes as I read Sheen’s recent statements. It is like watching a disturbing, yet hilarious video of me—circa 2010.

He does not think he has a disease. He said he cured alcoholism “with [his] brain, with [his] mind.”

I can’t cure addiction with my brain, with my heart, or with my community. I need all of the above…and it still is not enough to cure me, but I can be helped. Charlie Sheen, if you can bring down drugs and alcohol with the mighty power of your brain, my hat is off to you. I might need to borrow your prefrontal cortex.

He does not have a serious problem; he does not have deep-seated emotional issues he is trying to suppress. He says the reason for his partying is “boredom.” Hey dude, I was bored, I thought the entire world was a pretty boring place. It’s because I had withdrawn from the world. I became a boring creature, hibernating until my connection told me to come through. Then, I would crawl back to my cave. It was not the world that was boring; it was the world I made for myself.

He is not harming anyone else. Wait a second homie, what about the 250 members of the cast and crew that are out of work because the final four episodes of Two and a Half Men have been canceled? Oh yeah, you think that you work with “fools and trolls and people with loser lives.” So you aren’t harming people, just trolls. Maybe this is all a game, maybe you don’t care about the effect you have on other people….I sure didn’t. My parents and my friends would get by without me. I wasn’t hurting them; I wasn’t even really hurting myself.

I am not like you anymore, Charlie Sheen—because now I care, I care how my actions affect people around me. Hopefully, I never sink back to your level and hopefully you can rise up and meet me on mine.

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Me? A Workaholic? Impossible!


Ford assembly line, 1913.

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By M. Alexander

I like to call myself a Blankaholic.  If you have a name for it, I probably have been or currently am addicted to it: drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, love, cigarettes.  The only type of addict I never thought I could ever be is a workaholic.  I do not like work, I like fun.  I gamble, use, and drink to avoid work or to cope with the little that I have, not to make it easier for me to work more.

Enter: Sobriety, Enter: Passion, Enter: Job that I am passionate about.  I find myself obsessing, I find myself constantly stressed, I find myself unreasonable. All of a sudden, I am a perfectionist.  What if the work I am putting out is not the best I can do, better than anything you can do? Coffee, cigarette, coffee, no time.  My job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because it is always in my thoughts, it controls my feelings.

On one hand, it is refreshing to obsess about something other than heroin and women.  On the other hand, this can’t be healthy.  Yes, it is a more socially acceptable addiction, even an asset in our materialistic society where time equals money equals happiness.  But I can’t relax.  What if it gets worse? I think I need to check out a new meeting.

Workaholics Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship modeled around the core principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop working compulsively.  You can find more information about the program including meeting times and locations, literature, and contact information at www.workaholics-anonymous.org.

Are you a healthy worker? Do you obsess about your job? How do you find balance between work and fun?  What if work is fun? What do you do then?

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Not All Physicians Are Squares?


By M. Alexander

Gabor Mate is a physician.  This is the simple way to define him (based purely upon his profession).  Sometimes when I meet somebody on the street, I ask him or her what he or she does for a living.  If the answer is a lawyer, I may think of them differently than if they are a kindergarten teacher. This is a common mistake; I put people into a box.  The “physician box” is not a fair or accurate place to put Dr. Mate.

He is an addiction specialist who encourages patients to look into their childhood in order to understand their current physical, mental, and spiritual condition.  He believes that socio-economic factors greatly contribute to the growing epidemic of addiction and ADD.  He is a doctor, a spiritualist, a teacher, a writer, and a social worker. He defies categorization and he is unafraid to stand up for what he believes in. Whether you agree with him or you do not, he is a fascinating figure who is teaching me to reconsider categorizing physicians as “squares.”

For more info, please do not hesitate to buy tickets to the event on March 6. Dr. Gabor Mate will also be holding an inspiring seminar for professionals earning their CEUs on the following day. To find out further information and buy tickets, check us out on Facebook.

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Freedom Song: Just Me and Drugs, One Happy Family :(


By Jamie Zabludowski

“For as long as I could remember I felt like I didn’t fit in, in school, on the streets, at family dinners, I couldn’t shake this unbearable feeling that I didn’t belong… so I created my own escape.”

For 4 years I was immersed in a very dark heroin addiction. I lost my friends, my family, but most importantly I lost my soul. I was in and out of treatment centers and couldn’t find my inner most self. That is, until I came to Beit T’Shuvah fresh off of being homeless in Florida. I left everything that was familiar to me in Miami without looking back.

I spent two months figuring out how to speak again. Once I found that courage to open up, I joined Freedom Song as an understudy, not really knowing what to expect. Freedom Song is an original musical/play put on by residents and alumni of Beit T’Shuvah. It follows the inspiring real-life stories of 18 addicts sharing a Passover Seder very different than all others. The immensely moving stories and songs form the need for a broader understanding of the disease of addiction. More than a play, Freedom Song is a real life drama that opened my eyes and changed my life.

When I first moved into Beit T’Shuvah I couldn’t form a full sentence. I was completely closed off to everybody–I wasn’t sharing anything about myself, or my past. At first, being a member of the cast was scary. I remember at my first rehearsal, being told, “You need to project! Project Jamie! Project!” And my response was a quiet, “I don’t know how to.” I remember sitting in my room one night with a veteran of the cast and felt as if the words of my character were my own. I realized how similar my story was to my character’s story; in fact they paralleled almost seamlessly.

My first performance was in Irvine about two months ago. I projected and felt every word as I performed. This play has allowed me to find that hidden voice I shut out for so many years. Freedom Song gets every single person in the cast to not hold back and do something different. Who would have thought that I’d go from a homeless heroin addict to performing in front of hundreds of people singing and dancing in a musical?

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Filed under addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Current Events, Family Wellness, Freedom Song, Gratitude

Ohh, That Gala!


By Ben Spielberg

Six months ago, if I’d have pictured myself half a year later, the last image to come to my mind would be myself, wearing a full tuxedo inside of the Beverly Hilton, thanking strangers and board members for undoubtedly saving both my life and the lives of others.

And yet, that is exactly how things ended up happening. Beit T’Shuvah’s annual gala helps pay for a lot of our program here. Not only does it pay for about 50 beds, but also programs like surf therapy, art therapy, and Freedom Song. Over 900 people attended, and they were all supporting this one cause.

I have never seen anything like it before. I really felt a part of what was going on—this huge mass of people congregated in the same place feeling passionate about the same thing. We want to be free of this longstanding epidemic of addiction. One bed, one soul, and one example of recovery one person at a time, we are making the world a little bit brighter each day. We want to be free from this slavery.

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Filed under 12-Steps, addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Current Events, Gala, Gratitude, Incarceration, Judaism, Knock Out Addiction, LA Marathon, Run To Save A Soul, Sobriety, Temple, Uncategorized

When Will We Start Testing For… Bath Salts?


By Ben Spielberg

Mephedrone. Methylenedioxypyrovalerone. Does this sound like anything you’d want to take a bath with? Probably not. Actually, convenient stores around the country have been selling these chemicals under the pseudonym as “bath salts.” They are not bath salts, though—they are drugs that teenagers have been buying and snorting, smoking, or injecting in order to get high.

When I was 16 years old I could walk into a convenient store and buy a legal incense called Salvia. When smoked, it produces intense hallucinations for around an hour. A couple years ago, another incense came out behind counters everywhere—it was called Spice, and it consisted of a medley of leaves that gave people the same effects as marijuana when ingested. And as the public wises up to the “incense epidemic,” the distributors of “legal highs” wise up, too. Their brand has now evolved to bath salts.

The problem is these are not bath salts; these are drugs that anybody can purchase in a store. And they’re not just drugs, they’re new drugs where little research has been done to determine if there are severe long term side effects, what the toxicity level is, etc. Because they’re legal, however, a lot of people are able to justify that they’re safer than anything they’ve heard of in their D.A.R.E. program.

In the age of Paris Hilton, the consumer is always striving for more. They want designer handbags, designer dogs, and even designer drugs. I think that it’s a good thing to always strive for more, and to never be comfortable in some respect. However, this is a matter of safety. There have already been reports of a man stabbing himself with a knife, many people experiencing psychotic breakdowns, and even death. Remember; do not be persuaded that these are harmless bath salts. These are real drugs, and these have not been researched or regulated. And anybody can buy them.

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