Monday, June 22, 2009


Loving Kindness Meditation (3 Min.):

Many people know that the 11th Step encourages us to "improve our conscious contact" with our higher power. With today's hectic schedules, hours and days can quickly rush by before we realize we have been neglecting ourselves and haven't taken the time to meditate.

Here is a "mindfulness" website that may help. It offers free, guided meditations you can participate in, even right from your computer!

MARC- the "Mindful Awareness Research Center" is part of UCLA's Semel Institute. The MARC site offers FREE, downloadable meditations you can enjoy anytime. Click here to check them out:

MARC Meditations

There are many choices including a breathing meditation, loving kindness meditation and meditation for working with difficulties. They range in length from a quick, 3 minute pick-me-up to a deep, 19 minute complete meditation.

MARC even offers a free "mindfulness clock" widget for your desktop that gently reminds you that it's time to meditate.

MARC sites an "increasing sense of pressure, complexity and information overload" in our society as a major contributor to stress, health problems and diseases.

Mindful awareness "invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one's inner experience. There are many ways to bring mindfulness into one's life, such as meditation, yoga, art, or time in nature."

Research has shown meditation helps "lower blood pressure and boost the immune system; increase attention and focus, including aid those suffering from ADHD; help with difficult mental states such as anxiety and depression, fostering well-being and less emotional reactivity; and thicken the brain in areas in charge of decision making, emotional flexibility, and empathy."

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Addicted To Serotonin

Serotonin and dopamine are the "feel good" substances secreted by your brain. Even though you only have about 10 milligrams of serotonin, it is involved in many body processes including appetite, sleep, mood, memory, learning, endocrine regulation, smooth muscle contractions, migraine headaches, etc.

Serotonin is boosted by certain foods and activities. It has been noted that addicts in recovery and PMS sufferers, tend to binge on sugary, high carb foods. Abstaining addicts often turn to the heavy consumption of carbohydrates as a means of attempting to redress the neurotransmitter imbalances at the heart of their disorder. Some addicts may discover early in life that carbohydrate-rich foods are their drug of choice.

In one study, rats were injected with nicotine until they became dependent or hooked on the drug. The injections were then suddenly withdrawn and the rats chose sweetened food over regular food--a complete reversal of the food preference they had previously shown.

Scientists have managed to record a rise in dopamine levels in lab rats simply by cueing the rats to anticipate a pleasurable event--food, sex, sweet drinks. You could condition the rats to a ringing bell before dinner, and soon the rats would be showing elevated dopamine levels at the sound of the bell only--with no reward at all. Anticipation of reward is all it takes.

If you give a male rat a good close look at a suitable female through a mesh panel, the male rat’s dopamine levels willl surge, presumably in anticipation of possible carnal pleasures. Dopamine levels would spike even higher, of course, once the divider was removed.

Serotonin/dopamine dysfunctions cause physical and mental discomfort including anxiety and panic. This is known as “spiraling distress”—which continues to occur even in the complete absence of the addictive drug.

Many addicts with alcoholic relatives report that they have experienced substitute addictions and multiple addictions repeatedly—and sometimes, these substitutions and additions center on food.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children