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November December 2013

ENERGYDRINKS aretheysafe?



You Might be WorthTaking




LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Do you find yourself asking the dreaded question “Is this it?” Has your recovery hit a road block? It might be time for some action.


TOP 10 ACTIONS WORTH TAKING As the season changes and the days get shorter, we brainstormed and came up with actions worth taking, especially during the silly season!


ENERGY DRINKS ARE THEY SAFE We have a habit of looking for ways to boost our current circumstances, but is this one threatening your health?


PLAYS WELL Just because you might not be a sports fan, does not justify inertia. Our arts and culture expert gives you a “play by play” so to speak.


YOU MIGHT BE A SEX ADDICT Do you actually understand how to define sex and love addiction? Have you ever wondered if some of your behaviors crossed the line?


QUESTIONS FOR DR. T You asked the questions and Dr. T answered: what do steriods do? Are beer goggles a real thing?


WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS Is addiction nothing but a defit, or do our qualities also make us champions? Dr. T explores the evidence.


RECOVERY AS A BRAND If recovery was a brand, would we garner respect in the broader marketplace, or do we sometimes sabotage ourselves from within?


MOVIE REVIEW: THIS IS THE END It seems this comedy is nothing to laugh about. Our resident movie expert tells us about her less than jovial experience.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR One reader’s life changed after trying one of our suggestions.



To offer a progressive, professional, and caring treatment community where those affected by alcoholism and drug addiction can begin a new life. Yoga Art Therapy Anger Management Meditation

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR approached me after a discussion meeting and said, “People might not approach you because they’re afraid. They don’t want to get your pain on them.” It was an odd thing to say, but I understood. She described my abyss like a sepsis; an infection I’d allowed to take me over. What started out as mere loneliness had morphed into a toxic milieu of darkness and self-pity. It was official, I was in relapse mode: I would be in serious shit if I didn’t do something drastic immediately.

Issue 7, November/December 2013 Editor In Chief Dee Christensen Contributing Writers Aakilah Ade R.N. Kimberly-Robyn Covey Dr. Vera Tarman M.D. Russell Powell Cover Illustrations DeRon IStock Illustrations Edge69IStock Zinco79 Veer Giuseppe_R Veer AquirIScock NLshop Veer catrinelu Veer Photography Liam Philley Printed 6 Times Yearly: January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December Mailing Address 360A Bloor Street West P.O. Box 68506 Walmer Toronto, ON M5S 3C9 1.416.922.9227 Subscription Rates We do not profit from the sale of this magazine. Shipping rates will apply to those outside of Canada. Reprints For permission to reprint any portion of this magazine requests should be sent to:


I went home that afternoon and flopped onto my sofa. I turned the As I entered my second year of television on, but wasn’t actually recovery I recall asking myself the watching it. I was staring through the dreaded question, “Is this it?” My window, up at the sky. I was assessing life had been shrunken to nothing but my circumstances, and after a time attending multiple meetings, going I came to a standstill. Here is what I out for coffee on the occasion, then surmised: back home again. I had lost the desire to smoke cigarettes, but did not dare a) I do not truly believe I will ever find quit, since it was the only hobby I happiness. had to break the monotony between endless reruns on cable television. b) I am certain I will end up alone, My phone never rang, my calendar forever. was never full, and my life resembled groundhogs day. c) I am stuck here. I was entering the darkest phase of new recovery: the phase where mere sobriety isn’t enough to sustain contentment anymore. The phase where other people’s full and multidimensional lives seem like a story not meant for you. The phase where you are no longer the “Newbie”, which means your mere existence is not celebrated like it used to be.

The third point struck a chord: I am stuck here. I had tried suicide, I had nearly died on several occasions; it seemed the Universe had other plans. My mind clung to that thought. I began to contemplate my situation rationally. If I was indeed stuck here, I may as well do everything I could to build a life out of the scraps. To some extent, the thought was a bitter one initially, as if to show the Universe that even I knew one thing for sure: if this if I tried hard enough, no good would phase were to continue much longer, come of it. But the truth was, I’d never I would start looking for a toxic means tried that hard. If I were to win this of subduing a growing fear. I feared imaginary argument, I would have to that my worst nightmare was coming get to work. true: fulfillment was indeed meant for others, and I was the exception. It was I pulled out a sheet of paper and a type of purgatory, and the more I made a list. I began citing the details I shared about it in meetings, the more wanted as part of my life. If I had to be alone I felt. One afternoon a woman a participant on planet earth, I wanted

my resume to read differently:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

I want friends. I want to go camping. I want to try white water rafting. I want to go cave hiking. I want to host movie nights. I want to travel. I want to go dancing again.

My list continued, until I had a page of items I was now willing to throw myself in to. What fear had been holding me back? Making a fool of myself? That was a laughable thought coming from someone known for exiting her car to urinate while placing her drunken order in a packed drive thru line. That ship had sailed. Let me be clear: I leapt into this list without a shred of faith. I did not think it would work, I didn’t not believe it would amount to anything. But idling in place was killing me, and meetings alone were not enough. I proceeded over this hump without a shred of confidence that anything would change. For whatever reason, the first item I picked was camping. I began planning a group camping trip. I spent hours picking the right campground; I charted the distance from the city and calculated the amount of gas it would take. I made a list of items required and broke the list out into smaller lists so no single person had to bring everything. For the very first time I was using my racing addict brain for something good. I began mentioning it to people after meetings, and to say I was scared would be an understatement. I was petrified. I would tell someone and then run off to the bathroom to be sick. My fear of rejection was palpable, my fear of failure planted roots in my stomach like an angry tree. But what had I to lose? If I were to endure this life, I would do it in motion!

whopping 12 people, and after all my careful planning it only cost each camper $20 (food and gas included). I learned that once I chose to be the leader, rather than wait for a leader to immerge, my circumstances changed immediately. It was more than the camping; the mere decision shifted my brain and changed everything about my environment in an instant. I realized that the only option available to me if I wanted to have a satisfying life was to take action. All the meetings, prayer, mantras, fellowship, step-work was of zero consequence if I didn’t combine it with action. Action does not require faith, it requires only the willingness to choose a direction and proceed. That silly list became the platform for the next phase of my recovery. I did every single thing I listed on that sheet of paper that day, and in doing so I shifted people’s perception of me. I started to become known for being a person of action, and other likeminded people migrated toward me (and unlikeminded avoided me). What is the state of your current circumstance? Do you take action or are you in your own purgatory? And if you haven’t taken action yet, is it because you’re waiting for the most comfortable moment to do so? Here is a news flash: comfort is not required. Anyone with valuable recovery will tell you that the greatest decisions of our lives were incredibly uncomfortable. If each of us committed to putting even half the amount of effort into our current circumstances that we did into feeding our addictions, we could possibly change the entire world, and most definitely change our own.

Dee Christensen Editor in Chief

That first camping trip boasted a


Top Ten

4. Learn it It’s simple: register for a new learned experience. This doesn’t have to be academic, it could be a sewing class, an art class, singing lessons, learning an instrument, tarot reading, salsa lessons, enhancing psychic ability, oil changes 101, pet whispering. The idea is to sign yourself up for a commitment that will enhance your current experience and force you out of the house at least once every other week.

ACTIONS Worth Taking

5. Traveling in Place “Traveling in Place” is a wonderful activity that requires research, creativity and above all, enthusiasm! The idea is to pick a country that celebrates a culture unlike your own. The goal is to host a dinner part for a few close friends, and take an imaginary trip to a wonderful new destination. Challenge yourself to study the food and find the ingredients to cook the local cuisine. Put together a creative plan to share with your guests the significant themes of that country. Is it a type of fashion? Is it a beautiful language? Art? Architecture? How would you present it in a way that engages your guests? Have fun with it! Buy an outfit, make a game out of phrases used in that language, build a short PowerPoint of interesting details worth noting, or make an art piece collage. Most importantly, when your evening is coming to an end, pass the torch onto someone else, always keeping the next “trip” a secret until the evening is unveiled. Spend this winter celebrating different nations with each other. Make a wonderful game of finding new and creative ideas when it’s your turn to host. Post the experiences on social media pages and engage others in your imaginary travels. This is an affordable way to take a trip around the world, and in doing so we can infect our own community with passion and enthusiasm along the way.

1. Build It

6. Speak It

As the seasons change and the days get shorter, it’s only natural to be tempted to draw inside and hibernate for a while. This is a healthy and normal response to dwindling daylight hours and frigid temperatures. The danger, for us especially, is that we seem to be naturally prone to requiring more stimulation than the average bear. As a result, our best line of defense is proper planning. Now is the time to chart out a new project for winter. Choose something that will stimulate you on the coldest and darkest days of the season. Visit your local craft shop and bou what you need to build a birdhouse, pick up a model train or an airplane. Spend a bit of time each day painting your project while you’re in hiding. If you’re in major cities, check out shops like Bike Pirates, where local bicycle mechanics donate their time to help you build your own bicycle out of used parts. Sinking your teeth into a challenging project not only engages our brain, it keeps us forging ahead and teaches us to be patient. This is a valuable action to take if you

Keeping with the theme of different cultures, how long have most of us thought about learning a new language? Did you know that there are easy ways to learn new languages from the comfort of your home? There are online tutorials, books, discs and inexpensive private tutors. If you utilize resources like Craigslist and Kijiji, there’s always a multilingual local or student looking to earn a little extra cash, so enlisting the help of an expert isn’t as hard as you might think if you put your persistent brain to work. Broadening our pallet with a new dialect is a great way to keep our mind focused on something that will expand our cultural aptitude, strengthen our resume and give us something to show off when we plan our next holiday! Buena suerte en su viaje!

7. Plan It 2. Grow It Did you know that there are plenty of vegetables and flowers that will grow indoors during winter? With only 6 hours of sunlight each day, and/or a plant light, you could spend the next few months cultivating your very own indoor garden. Indoor gardening is a wonderful activity for anyone looking to connect with nature when the ground is covered in snow. It fosters a sense of calmness, fortitude and abundance. The first sign of life popping above the soil garners a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and a spiritual connection like no other. Indoor plant life not only helps you breath easier, it purifies the air quality in your home. A study performed by The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England showed that spending time in a room with plant life actually helps to sharpen your mental focus (Bayer Advanced, 2013). It’s time to build a grow-op that won’t get you arrested: your very own serenity garden!

3. Book Club Pause for a moment and reflect about the people who are the most inspiring to you, then make it a point to ask them for a short list of their favorite books. Challenge a few friends to do the same, and then meet in the middle and draft a list of reads for your very own book club. A book club is a powerful collective. For every epiphany we’ve ever had while reading a piece of literature, a book club provides us a place to share our thoughts with people taking the very same journey. Book clubs can meet weekly, twice a month, once a month; whatever you want. You can meet in a coffee shop, or someone’s home, or even talk to you local library about making it a group open to the whole community. This is a magical shared experience, and a great way to enrich our minds in a way that no other medium can. It’s time to celebrate the literary giants whose works served to shape our everyday heros.


It’s time to plan something to look forward to, but cost is a factor. It might not be a factor for you, but it will be a factor for some of the people you want to invite. This is a group trip for 6, all hands on deck! First: do a little research to find a rentable cabin or lodge (with 3 beds). Make sure it’s within reasonably close proximity to the town/city you live in. The challenge with travel is the cost of accommodation and food, so this activity is a great way to save some money without having a meager experience. Imagine the fun of sharing a bunk with some close friends for a weekend. Car-pool to share the gas expense. And when it comes time to eat, here’s the activity: rather than everyone bringing enough food or money to eat all weekend long, each person is responsible for 1 meal. If 6 of you take a weekend trip, that’s 6 meals between Friday supper and Sunday lunch: which meal would you choose? Would you dazzle your 5 friends with your famous lunch sandwiches, or let your buddy woo you with his mother’s butter-chicken recipe for dinner? It’s just one meal to plan for, and with a little effort it can be not only inexpensive, but a lot of fun to share. Imagine a getaway this winter with great friends, shared food, board games and hot chocolate after a snowball fight! Does that sound like fun in recovery or what?!

8. Meet up If you find yourself more of a solo creature or someone who currently has a short supply of people to have fun with, local Meet-Up’s are an incredible resource. ( Until you invest some time in researching the options available in your community, you will have no idea how broad a spectrum of hobbies exist. This handy resource brings people together for a gamut of interests, from groups like “Life begins at 40” to psychic circles, dog walking, jogging parents, book clubs, movie nights, vegan potlucks, entrepreneurs, language exchanges, winter hiking, the secrets of sacred geometry to speed dating. Meet Ups are a great way for those of us who are on more of a solo quest to investigate our new interests.

9. Bring it to life This action is not for any ordinary pilgrim, but a diligent and focused soldier on a quest to bring thought into deed. The idea behind this task is to think of something you want to create; a great place to start is an article of clothing or piece of furniture. Maybe you have a sweater you love but you would change something about it if you could. Now is the time. Maybe you always wanted an ottoman with storage space, but could never find one in the colour or texture you wanted. Whatever the item, your task is to invest yourself in the steps it will take to bring that one item to life. Will it require a pattern, a certain set of materials, a skillset? Whether it’s a coffee table, a lamp, something you wear or something you use, you are going to become an expert on the craft this season. The sky is the limit. If any demographic on the planet is skilled enough to take on a task that requires this much focus, intelligence and commitment, it’s ours. We can do just about anything if we really invest ourselves. The task is to produce a single artifact, what would yours be?

10. Date for 1 This is an activity unlike all the rest. This is an action each of us needs to experience alone. The threat of loneliness and solitude is a common underlying theme for most of us. The risk of ending up alone and the fear of being abandoned are common worries that plague our community. And as the sun makes fewer appearances each day, these are the looming dreads that will cause a number of us to return to old habits and retreat into a slump. This action is a decision; we are going to chart a new course. We are going to redefine what it means to be alone. Being alone is not a punishment, it’s not a dead end and it is not supposed to be a state of suffering. We are going to change our perspective on being alone, by choosing to plan date nights with the most important person in our lives: OUR SELVES. At first this could feel awkward. Change of this nature causes our ego to inflate, and results in thinking patterns that might get in the way of our success. We might worry about how this activity will look to outsiders, what people will say, or wonder how this pursuit could even be enjoyable? Push past all that. The task is simple: we will take ourselves on a date. Dinner and a movie perhaps, or maybe a festival, a trip somewhere, walk through the park with hot chocolate and visit a museum afterwards; it’s a date for 1. Imagine the power in this action? If we commit to learning to love our life as solitary beings, suddenly everything else becomes a supplement rather than a stipulation. How much would that kind of power change your life, your relationships, your recovery? Challenge accepted?



By Dr. Vera Tarman M.D.

Energy Drinks:

ARE THEY SAFE? How many Red Bulls does it take to wake YOU up? Energy drinks are everywhere. Red Bull, Monster, XS, Boost, Crunk, Amp, Rockstar, Full Throttle, Spark, Rush, Guru, Atomic X, the list goes on. All contain a legal stimulant and / or vitamins to give a short term boost in energy. They are usually touted as being ‘all natural, but then, so were alcohol (wine, grains), opium, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine before these ‘natural’ products were processed and refined into the potent drugs we consumed problematically. Most of these drinks contain two highly addictive stimulants that makes them so compelling: sugar and caffeine. If you are not addicted to these substances yet, these drinks will make you so. The only thing worse than an energy drink is soda. Soda pop contains sugar, caffeine AND lots of salt. Some energy drinks have even been found to have very low levels of cocaine in them. A number of European locales have banned them for this reason. Most treatment centres do not allow these drinks because these drinks are seen as potent ‘legal’ stimulants. Almost 50% of adolescents and young adults drink these. Do you? A good cup of coffee or even a desert in moderation may be safe, but there is nothing moderate about these 10

bottled mega-hits of sugar and caffeine. A regular cup of coffee has between 70 and 150 mg of caffeine. These drinks contain at least that much, with some being two or three times as much. Rockstar packs 242 mg of caffeine in 1/4 of the size of a standard cup of coffee. If you drank a full cup that would be over 1000 mg of caffeine. 400 mg is considered safe for a normal healthy adult. People drink energy beverages because they are thirsty. These drinks make you thirsty. The huge amounts of caffeine make you urinate more fluid than you are taking in with the tiny fist size drinks. People drink these for energy. These drinks cause a crash when the booster-sugar and the mega-caffeine jolt wears off. So you end up drinking more and more and more just to feel normal. Sound familiar? Someone is making alot of money on your dual addiction to sugar and caffeine. Drinking alcohol with energy drinks is even more dangerous since the mixture of the stimulant and the depressant effect of alcohol do not balance each other out. Ever notice that unpleasant fluttering of the heart when you drink a strong cup of coffee? Imagine enhancing that multiple times. You could be on your way to a fatal heart arthymia.


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P By Russell Powell

lays Well

Somehow I made it through childhood and adolescence never knowing the joys and torments of playing team sports. Luckily I was not one of those kids picked last; I was one of those kids who played sick really well. I was already that odd child who spent most of my days with imaginary friends; friends who were much less dangerous than my family, and lower maintenance than real friends.

the attention to detail in the costumes and the wigs, a subtle powerful sound design and almost icy lighting design completed the tale. The play had an incredible crew. There needed to be a skilled director, a set and costumer designer, cutters and sewers and dressers, wig makers and stylist, a lighting designer, riggers and lighting operators, carpenters, props people and so many more to make lightning strike repeatedly.

The physical benefits of team sports and play cannot be stressed enough. We are currently raising a generation “The Little Years” was subtle and realistic whereas the of inert children, who seem predestined to become production of “Of A Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical” sedentary and physically unwell. presented by Ecce Homo at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre was challenging, shocking and entertaining. That creative The emotional and social benefits of being part team joining forces to produce a surreal landscape for of a team cannot be stressed enough. There are so many the performers, to explore the nature of agitprop music studies that say that learning how to play well with others and performance art. There was a skilled stage manager also fuels creativity, empathy, leadership, communication and several stage hands working like mad to keep the play skills and so much more. Without the interaction that going full-tilt and off kilter. As well as an incredible design comes from play and playfulness there seems to be team, and crafts people: people who are mostly just a increased isolationism, depression and self-involvement. name printed in the programme, destined for the recycling It seems to be true in my case. bin. Interestingly for me there were several pieces of live On the last night of “Angels in America” presented by theatre that spoke to incredible “Team” efforts this past Soulpepper Theatre, Albert Shultz (the founding artistic year. A whole group of diversely talented people coming director) interrupted the standing ovation to invite the together to create “Lightening in a Bottle.” production designer, lighting designer and many of the stage hands by name to join the cast on stage for the final The play “The Little Years” staged by The Tarragon bows. The audience imparted more bravos, for everyone Theatre this past season is a prime example. A compelling who brought the show to life. It was a powerful moment. story of a young girl in the 1950’s whose gifts for math and I understand on an intellectual, yet not fully an emotional sciences are quashed by social convention and sexism. level, the need to work together on some projects with Her light doused and her potential derailed. The amazing other people. I also understand there will be things I need set of actresses who brought these women to life had an to do alone. incredible script to work from. It was wonderful to see such powerful writing for three generations of actresses. As to team sports, still not my thing, but in no way I am willing to stay inert. I need to grow, build and stretch Seemingly effortlessly, the cast moved the story physically and spiritually. Eventually I may be able to play through decades to narrate the power of the human well with others. spirit and redemption. Then again, not so effortlessly, 12


By Aakilah Ade

You might be a


In health care it is a natural instinct to look for cues, signs and symptoms of disease, and proactively implement health promotion and improvement strategies. With this knowledge it should be easy to know the signs and symptoms of sex and love addiction and have the solution to fix the problem. But it is not. Programs teach that a self diagnosis is required in order to confirm to the sex or love addict that s/he has hit a bottom and hopefully wants a better life; a life free from the pain and suffering that -knowledge does not cure the powerlessness created by the obsessive need for acting out sexually or in pursuing “love” relationships.

“...the love addict

will fall ‘in love’ again and again,”

Here are some of the symptoms, cues and signs that you may be a sex and love addict. If you answer yes to 50% of these questions, therapy may help you; 75% or more yeses, you are probably a sex and love addict:

1. Feeling of unbearable loneliness/

depression, and low self worth when not in a relationship

2. Constant use of manipulation of self and others to make people like you

3. Staying in relationships long after they

are over because of the fear of being alone

4. Seeking relationships with unavailable persons (married/attached, emotionally detached) again and again and again

5. Feeling that you can make someone love you, again and again and again

6. Falling “in love” after every “first date” again and again and again

7. Obsessive viewing of porn sites on the web in lieu of physical intimacy again and again and again

8. Engaging in isolation from friends and

family preferring chat rooms, porn sites, or dating sites instead of real life face to face interactions again and again and again


Non satisfactory sexual relationships with one or more persons, again and again and again

10. Compulsive masturbation or

compulsive sex with strangers when single or in a relationship again and again and again

There is a tool used by some program people that is called the “wheel of misfortune.” The wheel demonstrates the cycle of behavior that is common in all addictions. For example the love addict will fall “in love” again and again, while exhibiting one or more of the symptoms listed above. This starts the first act or thought for the love addict, perhaps a declaration of love for the other person, the first date, or sending the first message on the web site. Next comes the usual behaviors, use of manipulation, lies and fantasy to hide insecurity, low self worth and fears. Once the love addict is “in love” s/he has entered the spree zone. S/he is feeling good, false pride, and the fantasy of “love” has taken over rational thought and behavior. The love addict becomes consuming of the other person’s time, and energy, the love addict needs constant reassurance that s/he is worthy of love. Obsessive and compulsive behaviors take over the relationship, like a fist tightly clenching sand… the other person will start to pull away from the behavior. As s/he tries to escape the love addict, the more the love addict holds on until eventually it is over. When the relationship ends, the love addict enters remorse and makes promises to self, “never again, I do not want to be hurt anymore….” and other empty self promises. This is usually followed by periods of isolation and withdrawal or chronic complaining of the hurt and pain to anyone who will listen. It is only a matter of time before the addict enters the “mental blank spot” again. The mental blank spot is described as when the sex or love addict forgets what the pain was like, loneliness and the need for sexual or love stimulation returns, with its return comes the first act or thought that leads to the spree and the wheel of misfortune continues to turn.

Your score is _______________ 14




First Act or Compulsive Thought

Mental Blank Spot

Remorse “I want to quit”

Getting off the wheel is not easy; it begins with a self diagnosis. Self diagnosis is required because addicts do not listen to the opinions of others even if they are accurate. Self diagnosis is also an admission of powerlessness, the inability to get off the wheel without the help of something greater than self. The wheel is also known as the place of self, so the power to stop must be greater than self. The sex addict is also on the wheel of misfortune. The sex addict engages in, porn sites, physically acting out in sexual behaviors, and once the first act takes place the spree begins. One visit to a porn site soon morphs into hours of viewing, sometimes in combination with masturbation or sex with strangers. As one of my favorite sources for quotes said “you spend hours with your pants around your ankles in front of the computer.” However the acting out may manifest, the outcome is the same. A bottom for a sex addict may be the loss of a marriage, huge financial obligations related to expenses such as hotel rooms, prostitutes, and pay for porn, being


The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all mind-altering substances.





Spree Behavior

TELEPHONE 1-866-6-CA-INFO 1-866-622-4636 416-927-7858

CA ONLINE MEETINGS To join go to :


“One visit to a porn site soon morphs into hours of viewing...” caught by law enforcement for buying sex, stalking people or being caught by a spouse. There is a solution for sex and love addiction. If you have scored with 75% yeses, or more, and you are willing to admit “yes I do have a sex or love addiction,” then you have made your diagnosis and are perhaps ready to pursue a solution.





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What do Steroids do to men? Beer Goggles? Usually when people are referring to the use and abuse of steroids, they are thinking of the male sex hormone testosterone. Steroids also include the female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, as well our stress hormones. These however are much less likely to be abused. Who wants to deliberately be more stressed out? Testosterone is an anobolic hormone that men typically take for two reasons: to ‘bulk up ‘ their muscles or to increase their sexual libido. Testosterone is the hormone that builds muscle, promotes facial / body hair, increases appetite, enhances sexual libido, and increases energy and athletic performance. Men who have low testosterone levels (and this would be alcoholics and opiate abusers) run the risk of getting osteoporosis, as well as heart disease and diabetes. They tend to tire easily and have a low sex drive. Receiving testosterone therapy in the form of injections or medication can make a world of difference for men with a sub therapeutic range. So, is more better? Nope! Ironically, too much testosterone can increase the likelihood of diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. It can cause water retention, leading to swollen feet and hands. It can cause liver damage. It can increase the possibility of a having a stroke. It can enlarge the prostate and even foster tumour growth in the prostate. Breast enlargement and shrinkage of the testes occurs at higher doses (thus diminished libido) as the excess testosterone converts to estrogen. Testosterone can promote acne. Taking testosterone on a continual basis will suppress the body’s ability to create its own testosterone.

Did you know that alcohol is a testosterone stimulant? Certainly, over the course of an evening’s drunk alcohol inhibits testosterone production - leading to fatigue, lack of sexual interest, even depression. Levels are lowest between 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. But the first few drinks produce a temporary surge of testosterone to the brain and body. People become confident, energetic, reckless, amorous, even aggressively so in the first flush of intoxication. Beer goggles: Everyone looks tempting! Women are particularly prone to this initial response to alcohol, since they are not as adept at managing the testosterone surges as men, who have lived through puberty, might be. have to be AA. The ones who did nothing and relied only on self-will alone fared the worst. “It works if you work it” seems to hold true for any intervention.

And of course: Agitation, impatience, self focus can occur. Even paranoia. Who hasn’t heard of ‘roid’ rage? Like any other drug, testosterone can become addictive. Although testosterone does not affect the reward pathway as do drugs and alcohol, the increased energy, libido, confidence feel powerful. I have been privy to the astonishment my transexual F-Ms taking testosterone feel when they suddenly find that they are more assertive, taking space on the sidewalk or in conversations. The world becomes more vibrant and action filled. When hamsters were given the opportunity to choose testosterone over a sugar pill, their tendency to tap the testosterone lever increases with the potency of the testosterone. The more they get, the less good judgment they display, tapping away despite the consequences. While the chronic use of testosterone does not actually give a ‘high’, it does promote a sense of well being that rats - and humans - find hard to refuse. Testosterone feels good. If a man stops taking testosterone (and especially if his own ability to make it has been thwarted), he will likely crash, becoming fatigued, depressed, even suicidal.



By Dr. Vera Tarman M.D.


C 32 3232 20

hampions 21

One week ago, a client asked me if there was an evolutionary advantage to this phenomenon. Why would our body behave this way to at least one tenth of our population? Was this simply a mutation? A common error that has repeatedly popped up across the centuries, generations, countries, cultures? Usually people with dangerous mutations eventually die off. Why does addiction continue to surface everywhere? Is there some evolutionary advantage to this allergy built into some of our DNA?

Seventy years ago, Dr Silkworth told Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, that alcoholism was a disease. Alcoholism was not a result of poor judgment or a lack of will power or a sign of moral depravity. He explained that Bill simply had an allergy to alcohol. If he, and others who drank like him, had one drink, the phenomenon of craving would flare up so that they would not be able to stop drinking. Bill used this information to build his program of recovery. Once he knew that there was a physical cause to his unmanageable drinking, he knew there was a physical solution. First things first: stop the drinking. Only then, could normal life even hope to resume.

(remember, the body will make its own)! Addiction can be viewed as the same type of disease process. The addict is unable to regulate the dopamine that floods the reward center. Once activated, the amount of dopamine is not containable and can surge beyond the normal ranges that the brain is equipped to regulate behavior. This leaves the addicted brain

“Why does addiction continue to surface everywhere?”

Today we no longer call this a physical condition an allergy, though the term is still appropriate. Alcoholics and addicts have a hypersensitivity (allergy) to dopamine; they are unable to control and contain the dopamine that floods the reward center of their brain whenever something pleasurable occurs. This is a physical condition, much like diabetes. A diabetic is unable to self regulate their blood sugar, either because their insulin is insufficient or more commonly because their receptor sites are blunted. This results in a faulty regulatory “on/ off switch” to the amount of sugar that can course through the blood vessels. If the blood sugar is too high or too low, the diabetic will become sick. Extreme sugar fluctuations are a matter of life and death. Diabetes is a physical condition with a physical solution. First things first: Don’t eat sugar


overwhelmed. The addict will be bombarded with cravings and agitations beyond what the brain can reasonable manage. If the dopamine surges are too high or dip too low, like the diabetic, the addict battles a life and death situation: Too much dopamine – addiction with all its risky behaviors occurs, too little dopamine, depression, lethargy, suicidal thoughts result.

We have discovered that a person with diabetes does have a biological advantage under certain conditions. Under extremely cold temperatures, excess sugar in the blood acts as an anti-freeze, meaning that a person with high blood sugar is less likely to suffer from frostbite or deadly hypothermia. It has been postulated that the human race was almost extinguished at one point when temperatures were near ice age lows. The diabetic subgroup of our population fared the extreme cold the best. Certainly they would not live into old age; we know that the long-term consequences of diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, awaited them. But these are the diseases of old age. The diabetics survived into early adulthood – long enough to procreate and save the human race from extinction.

willing to challenge conventions and to seek out the new and larger than life experience were the adventurers and inventers of yesterday. We need these daredevils. Without them – YOU- our civilization would not have advanced to where it is now. The tragedy is not the faulty “off / on” switch of desire. The misfortune is the easy availability of drugs and alcohol that have allowed the explorer spirit in the those of us who are addicts to become hijacked by the “easier, softer way” that drugs provide. You would-be champions of society have had your drive toward seeking splendor thwarted into self-destructive actions instead. Drugs and alcohol have derailed this natural tendency to shine, thrive, burst out and stand out.

To anyone battling with the shame of his or her addiction, please hear this. Addiction to drugs and alcohol has robbed you of your evolutionary birthright to be extra-ordinary in some way. Underneath every addict, is a great person wanting to explode out of his or she skin and make a mark on the world. In the words of the late Freddy Mercury “We are the champions”. There is no shame here, no apology needed. It is in our biological fate to be great. Can we look at addiction in the same manner? So lets celebrate recovery and reclaim our place Addicts have a hyper-response to dopamine so they are with pride and tolerance. attracted to the extra-ordinary events of life that produce these surges of dopamine. They love the ‘taste’ of this neurochemical that comes with the thrill of the chase, the rush, the excitement, and the larger than life expectations. Because of this heightened sense of pleasure, these hyperresponders to dopamine are willing to challenge their comfort and safety, the routines of daily life. In the broad panorama of human history, these individuals were our ancestral explorers, our warriors, inventors, artists, and our spiritual seekers. The rest of the population scratches its collective head, unable to understand the reckless behavior that comes from stepping outside the societal norms. They do not have that same hypersensitivity to dopamine to entice them onwards. The addicted ten % of our population that is

“It’s our fate to be GREAT! Let’s celebrate recovery!”

By Dee Christensen

as a

would they? Why should we be any different? If cost is a factor, we’ll be socialists and generate a means of asking the “Have’s” to help out the “Have-Nots.” That’s fellowship dammit!

B r a y n r e d v o c e R

Addiction is one of the most challenging fields to operate a business within. Ask any entrepreneur whose target demographic is the addiction community and they will tell you horror stories about trying to be taken seriously as an addiction related enterprise. Other human service agencies or mainstream business operators will not experience the type of oppression experienced by an addiction related I have had countless “business meetings” with potential entity. We get less funding, our service providers are paid sales representatives (with lengthy recovery), who showed the least and we get less government support. We are indeed up in sweat pants, brought their partners along, showed up fighting our way up from the bottom of the pile (... again). late, called half an hour before to cancel (with a dramatic explanation). After sixteen years of working in commerce When people ask what I do for a living, I tell them I operate prior to this, I had never experienced this type of behavior a magazine. They initially light up! Naturally their next before from the general public. I have had “business question is, “What kind of magazine?” I tell them, “A magazine luncheons” with potential clients from within the addiction for people impacted by addiction.” One of two things will business community who brought their sponsees along, or then happen: their expressions either morph into a cross cancelled moments before via text message. I have called between ovation and pity, or they simply fade completely as addiction business offices only to have the receptionist drop if to suggest it’s not a real magazine. The comments that the “F-bomb” once she discovered who I was, assuming follow have stunned and amazed me. A marketing executive I she didn’t have to hold herself to a respectable business met at an art show responded, “Addicts? Where do you send standard whilst speaking to another addict. Why is it we lower the magazines? Do they even have addresses?” A shoe store our standards of operation below the generally acceptable owner responded, “You can’t possibly earn a living doing range, simply because we are talking to our own? When it that.” And the most common response is, “Good for you! comes to branding our companies, is this not sabotage from What else do you do?” within? This will not come as a shock to our readers. Anyone in this community has experienced this type of oppression. We addicts have made a name for ourselves: we are seen as haphazard, lacking class, lacking social etiquette, and lacking education. Despite the fact that studies have shown that an average of 80.5% of recovery members are full time employed and hold professions ranging from educators, to health practitioners, sales workers, technicians, students and administrators.

Years ago I co-chaired a recovery convention committee and at the beginning of my term I suggested we throw an upscale year-end event: fine china, fine food, mocktails with fresh fruit wedges, silk banners and candelabras, table service and tuxedos. The response from the committee was unanimous: no one felt the recovery community would embrace a standard set this high. No one would attend this type of event when they could instead attend a $10 sober dance with paper cups in a church basement. Why do we accept such a scant plateau? Any other community could spout lack of money or resources as an explanation but a group of addicts, if determined enough, could build a coliseum out of toothpicks. So why, for our own cause, do we not set our sights as high as we would for outsiders?

And for those of us who choose to operate our own businesses within this field, we do so because we want to make a difference in our own community. We wanted to find a way to make a living, working with the demographic we hold so dear. And as frustrating as it is to work tirelessly to overcome the stereotypes the outside world applies to us, To be clear, I am not an elitist. I simply wanted to launch what becomes more frustrating is the mediocre standards an event that held the same standard any mainstream we set for ourselves. The recovery community perpetuates event coordinator would set for the general public. They these stereotypes every single day. wouldn’t offer paper cups would they? They wouldn’t offer dollar store plastic bowels with no-name brand potato chips 24

I proceeded without committee support initially. I built a group of subcommittee members, some of whom work for the magazine today. We sold so many tickets before the event that the board allowed us to name it a committee fundraiser and we donated the proceeds to the convention that year. It was a Gala alright! And people came: a lot of people, high price tag and all! People came from all walks of life: from every social class, ethnic background, age bracket, sexual orientation and gender identity. It was a scrumptious demonstration of what is so remarkable about this community. We became the highest grossing committee in 30 years, and that event generated thousands for a great cause. But most importantly, that night I overheard a newcomer tell somebody he had intended to relapse. He was expecting the usual tragic sober dance, and had every intention of sneaking out to get high. He stayed in spite of himself, and enjoyed the splendid affair (sober).

“The old... ‘Something is better than nothing’ philosophy lends directly to the ‘Is this all there is?’ sentiment spouted by new addicts just before a relapse. ”

The most important part of that experience for us was discovering that although most of our community will accept mediocrity that does not make it an acceptable standard to maintain. The old “Something is better than nothing” philosophy lends directly to the “Is this all there is?” sentiment spouted by new addicts just before a relapse. Once we achieve recovery, at what point do we ask ourselves whether the impression we are giving is a solid and respectable brand; the brand we complain the outside world doesn’t believe us capable of? Do we hire the best people for the job in our addiction related businesses, or tell ourselves we’re being good recovery members by giving someone unqualified a shot (thereby setting them up as well)? Do we ensure our business are putting their best faces forward, or taking for granted that our community will understand if we fall short? Would we hire a lawyer who holds to these weak standards? A doctor? A realtor? Even a dog walker? As the proud owner of an addiction related company, I will not apologize for saying that the understanding, acceptance and love I offer you within the confines of a 12-step meeting will not be the same filter through which I operate as an entrepreneur. Business is business, and addiction related; industries, services, events and conventions will not be considered a legitimate enterprise (inside or outside of our community) until we live up to the standards we expect as general consumers, addicts or not.

Works Cited: General Service Organization, Alcoholics Anonymous. (2011). Alcoholics Anonymous 2011 Membership Survey. AA Grapevine Inc. NA World Service Inc. (2011). Narcotics Anonymous Membership Survey 2011. Narcotics Anonymous World Service Inc.

ByKimberley-Robyn Covey

THIS IS THE END I have heard it said that bad comedy is pure torture to sit through because you can’t even laugh at it to get a little relief. .. Sadly, this turned out to be true as torture was the operative word for the better part of the hour and half I spent watching “This Is The End”. After watching this film in its entirety I felt dirty inside and desperately in need of Alanon because like any good little codependent, I kept hanging on, hoping and trying to” will” this movie and it’s cast of Hollywood “A listers” to get better. But it didn’t and I ended up feeling strangely ill that I sat through it to the end. In this ridiculous tale Canadian star, Jay Baruchel hates the L.A scene. Despite being a Hollywood star himself, he happily lives in Montreal far from the madness of tinsel town. Fellow Canadian and pal, Seth Rogan, coaxes Jay to fly up for a visit and lures him to attend a party over at James Franco’s house. The party is exactly what Jay dreads...superficial and stupid. Everyone is drunk and stoned out of their minds and the place is sheer chaos. Seth wanders off leaving Jay alone. Jay decides to leave and makes a trip to the corner store. Seth catches up to him and they begin to argue when suddenly the apocalypse erupts right in front of them. There are explosions and crashes and the earth opens up. All manner of evil creatures, including a massive nude and nasty Satan, are attacking humanity. People are being tormented, beaten, raped, and killed in dozens of gruesome ways. Jay realizes that this is probably the end of times as per the bible’s Rapture. He, Seth and a gang of survivors start to ponder their lives as they go through a series of incredibly crazy scenes consisting of visual and verbal descriptives of ejaculation, decapitation, cannibalism, ‘sharting’ and other topics considered funny by the film’s writers. . It soon becomes evident that unbelievers are getting torn to shreds, while those who commit selfless acts seem to get beamed up in a divine blue light. Heaven seems to be depicted as an endless party featuring boy bands in white (aka Backstreet Boys) and unlimited supplies of scantily clad girls, drugs and alcohol. By far the most negative and damning aspect of this foul flick was the way this film trivialized, sensationalized and normalized drug use in Hollywood. From Jay barging in the bathroom to discover the disturbing image of a nonchalant and bare assed Michael Cera snorting cocaine while having oral sex performed on him by some stoned bimbos to the underlying significance of the booze, weed, mushrooms and pills being considered as the quintessential survival stash, this film, comedy or not, absolutely reinforced the same tired old idea that taking drugs is not only normal and cool, but a vital part of daily life in Hollywood and is somehow supposed to be funny.



Who today, in 2013, is not painfully aware of the harsh reality and horrible consequences experienced by so many people as a direct result of drug/alcohol abuse either in ourselves or in our loved ones. One does not necessarily have to be a bonafide addict/alcoholic/junkie to have a bad trip and make a bad judgment call that kills someone. One just needs to be in a mind altered state. Yet, this movie definitely pushes the lame concept that being a drug/booze induced zombie is cool. It’s getting harder to get past this lower consciousness Hollywood hypocrisy crap . Are these folks living in a denial bubble? What’s funny about watching a group of talented, young Hollywood stars perpetuate, make jokes about, and glamorize drugging and drinking in the wake of so many drug related deaths? Addiction and related depression continues to destroy and kill so many of our Hollywood icons. Even if one is ignorant to the point of not understanding the disease of addiction, how can one not sympathize with the hard core evidence of people dropping like flies.

The initial apocalypse scene did remind me of a bad-butfun cultish B movie and actually made me chuckle for a few minutes, briefly giving me hope. I also thought the idea of the main characters getting beamed up to heaven as a result of doing selfless acts was a redeeming factor...until it started to feel like a cheesy save for egocentric, self centered blowhards. At one point I remember actually feeling insulted that writer/directors, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, assumed that the movie going public would be amused by watching the characters have a lengthy conversation about raping Emma Watson. All told, there may have been about 10 minutes of stuff that was decent to watch in this 107 minute descent into the gutter of bad taste, overblown stupidity and disgusting visuals. According to several sources, the F word is used over 200 times which i guess was perhaps easier than actually writing an engaging script. Maybe the title of this movie should have been “This is The End ...of Decent Comedy”.

That there are so many positive reviews for this film is equally disturbing. Of course there are those who would tell me to ‘lighten up ! It’s only a movie....’ I guess those proponents of this lifestyle would give that same message to Cory Monteith’s family, or the Houston family or any of the beloved survivors of the ravages of drugs and alcohol.

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The final sad truth about This Is The End is that regardless of the harsh realities of addiction, the premise of the film probably still could have worked if there wasn’t so many other things wrong with it. Certainly the film’s stars, all of them talented young Hollywood heavy hitters (playing supposed, “exaggerated” versions of themselves), could have pulled it off and created an epic movie. At first the idea of James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride - amongst others- poking fun at their own images seems like a hilarious concept... but it quickly becomes obvious to most intelligent life forms that there is something strangely unsettling about the smug, conceited and shallow reality we’re being shown. What is there that is actually humorous about Jonah Hill letting us know that he’s an Oscar nominee? Or about James Franco acknowledging his richness and decadent way of life? It actually costs most people a couple hours of hard earned wages to go see this film further subsidizing Franco’s life.

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In a moment of generosity,I will offer that a few miniscule portions of This Is The End may have been palatable, some of the scenes could have been fun if the writing was decent, if the timing of jokes and punch lines worked and if I didn’t have to watch close ups of some guy’s stream of urine being peed into a toilet bowl.

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Judy Keffer, R. Ac Noël Wright, R. Ac 647-523-7717



located in the Carrot Common

Letters to the EDITOR

something positive in your life. I never had a role model and so I had no idea on how to be one. I am relieved that you found “temporary moms” throughout your life, but saddened because all I ever wanted was for you to love me like that. I can understand your resentment towards me now - I would have been an angry child too if the situation were reversed. I apologize for manipulating your emotions. I apologize for being too spaced out to nurture you. Continue to learn about self-nurture, one day you will master this. Discovering all of these correlations from your past must be like stepping on landmines and watching yourself explode time and time again... just know that this is you in control of your life. Feel empowered. Be strong and seek support from others. There is nobody holding you back from a lifetime of successful recovery except for you. I am sorry that I died and once again left you to face more chaos at 16. If I were alive, I would hold you close right now. Reassure yourself that everything will be okay when the goings get rough, you have always been very disciplined and if anyone can find happiness in a lifetime of sobriety - you can! You have a joie de vivre underneath your self-neglect & resentment, find it and

Regarding Issue 4 “Top Ten Ways to Clean House” by Dee Christensen Early on in treatment, I was inevitably introduced to my biggest fear of all: my resentments! The self-destructiveness of my alcoholism convinced me that I had dealt with such issues, but really my drinking just swept them under a giant rug. My #1 resentment definitely surrounds around my mother. When I was 7 my parents divorced, I witnessed the physical abuse that my older brother endured at the hands of them. Soon after the divorce, my father left and my mother suffered through some alarming mental health concerns. She was diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia after she attempted suicide and was then institutionalized for a year. I don’t remember seeing her very much during this time, my older brother who was just in high school at the time took care of my toddler sister and I. When she regained her health, we all moved to the other side of the city. Here, she started dating again... She was never quite the same again though, I had lost my mother and father in that divorce. She met a man who made my skin crawl from the very start, there was just something about him that intuitively told me that my life was going to change and I was right. Night after night he would sexually abuse me. I would scream for


embrace it! You deserved a life better than the one I provided you with, you parented me and I forgot about all else. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Use your Higher Power and keep your thoughts honest. I too once had a Higher Power, but somehow along the way, I decided to refuse such guidance which I regretted my entire life. Continue to be real with yourself and remember to seek help when the waves come crashing down. Most importantly, practice honesty... One day, I do hope that you can find peace. Just know that no matter where you are, I am with you. I am well now and you just need to accept me into your realm. By accepting me, you will find the missing puzzle piece to your inner serenity. Love always & forever, Mommy I read this to myself every time my feelings of selfpity would wash over me... It was an invaluable tool that made those completely isolating moments in treatment much clearer. Kim R. (I graduated from Renascent on September 16, 2013)

Regarding Issue 5 “The Great Debate” by Dr. Vera Tarman

my mother. I told her every morning, but she never did anything to protect me. I was told that it was either “just a dream” or was given excuses for such terror because he was high. Nights turned into years and so, eventually I stopped screaming. My mother’s decision was clear, she had chosen the drug addict who raped little girls over me. Emotionally depleted, I had been abandoned and forced to live a double life outside of her home. This resentment brought up many feelings of self-pity and hopelessness while I was in treatment. I was so used to obliterating such with alcohol that dealing with this on a sober level made my insides convulse for hours on end. One night, I read Issue 4 of Recovery Wire and in it I found something that helped me ease into my emotions surrounding this profound resentment, Top 10 Ways to Clean House - #10 was WRITE A REVERSE LETTER, and I did.

To my Angel Face, You need to know that I am very sorry for being the mom that I was. I should have protected you from him. There is no excuse for my inaction. I was ill and I should have sought appropriate care, so that I could have been

Dr. Tarman’s article “The Great Debate” in the July/ August 2013 issue of Recovery Wire Magazine, has placed her firmly in the abstinence camp. I would like to make the argument for harm reduction and in doing so rebut some of her points. First, Dr. Tarman argues that the harm reduction framework is ubiquitous and the one that is prevalent in the current addiction treatment climate. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, however, and the National Anti-Drug Strategy are firmly rooted in a law and order, abstinence based perspective. Under this strategy 70% of funds are allocated to law enforcement, 17% to treatment, 4% to prevention and 2% to harm reduction* ( see below for source). This government’s idea of combating drug addiction is to impose stiffer prison sentences. We live in a prohibitionist society. Harm reduction is NOT prevalent while punishment IS! Secondly, Dr. Tarman argues that it is necessary for an addict to ‘hit bottom’ before seeking treatment. This is old 12 Step dogma. There are many different reasons for addicts to seek treatment if that is what

they want. But an informed, well thought out decision has more likelihood of success than one that is made out of desperation. Finally, I’ll allow that there is room for the abstinence framework but it needs to be the addict’s choice. Dr. Tarman, too, agreed that there needs to be a continuum of care. While an addict is using, we, as an enlightened and compassionate society have a responsibility to ensure this is done with optimum health and safety. This includes, but is not limited to, clean and sterile ‘hypes’ and crack paraphernalia, safe injection sites with available counselling and education materials at all points. De-stigmatize addiction. An addict does not need more shame or blame. It’s simple, compassion and respect. Think about it. *Walter Cavalieri and Diane Riley: ”Harm Reduction in Canada: The Many Faces of Regression” in Harm Reduction in Substance Use and High-risk Behaviour: International Policy and Practice eds. Richard Pates and Diane Riley. Wiley-Blackwell, London, 2012. Signe D.



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November 3

The 29th Annual Archives Breakfast Oasis Convention Centre (1036 Lakeshore Rd. E., Mississauga) Begins at 9:00 am Includes coffee & buffet brunch Open Meeting $25

November 8 - 10

Hong Kong 5th International Convention Join us in Hong Kong to celebrate recovery! Theme - Three Legacies: “Recovery, Unity & Service”. Cost: $64



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December 14

Al-Anon WOMAN’S WEEKEND 2013 Theme: Growth, Gratitude and Our Stories Building: 1754 St-Joseph-Blvd., Orleans Ontario Maison Notre-Dame-De-La-Province For more information: womanalanonflyer2013.pdf


I.D.E.A Day Each year OA groups from around the world set aside this day to celebrate their abstinence. Meeting: 1:30 - 2:30 pm 40 Ridley Blvd., Toronto ON


HALLOWEEN DANCE The Sanctuary 25 Charles Street East Best Costume Contest $10 Entrance Fee Doors open at 9:00 pm

CHRISTMAS DANCE The Sanctuary 25 Charles Street East $10 Entrance Fee Doors open at 9:00 pm




October 18 - 20 21 21


12-Step S.L.A.A. Weekend in Chester, Vermont The weekend offers a step review and provides an opportunity to get to know ourselves, as well as other S&L addicts in a safe place. The retreats are not only about sharing experience, strength, and hope, but also a chance to have lots of fun and laughs as well! Sign-up by November 15th to qualify for the early registration discount. Email: Visit:


N.A. Mens Retreat Bliss Haven Retreat Centre, 1028 Canal Bank Rd., Dunville Ontario The cost is $195.00 Contact Lori L(905)571-2965 or Joe B(416)888-6880 Visit:

November 8 - 10

N.A. Women’s Retreat Mount Mary Retreat Centre, 437 Wilson E., Ancaster, Ontario The cost is $185.00 Contact Lori L(905)571-2965 Visit:


Dynamic client-centered approach to concurrent disorders Nestled on 13 acres of wooded privacy just outside of Toronto, the breathtaking view and pure country atmosphere make this the perfect retreat. Our team collaborates to create an individualized and integrated treatment program to competently address both addictive behaviours and concurrent mental health disorders.

Sauna Fitness Centre Yoga Pool & PingPong tables Mountain Bikes Equine Therapy

Call 1-855-923-4673 (HOPE) 32

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