Category Archives: Addictions

Does Facebook Make You Happy

There is an article circulating that states that those who give up Facebook are happier.

Unfortunately, people reading such articles rarely read the entire article to see the actual findings, how many people participated, and where they were from. support_groups_on_facebook

This particular research included a mere 1095 Facebook users. The study was done in Copenhagen, so I would assume that is where the participants lived, but that is not necessarily so. The study was conducted by The Happiness Research Institute

Let’s break down the findings from the study of 1095 people, which does not even make up 1% of the people using Facebook, but that doesn’t seem to matter to researchers.

Scientifically speaking, it is perfectly fine to use a sample group and then make generalizations about the overall population. However, you would normally have a more inclusive representation of daily users. If you are going to use such a small sampling, then you should summarize the findings based on their common characteristics, which have to be more than the fact that they use Facebook every day.

Some of the questions I would want answered are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Do they live alone, or with how many do they live?
  • Do they spend most of their time at home alone?
  • Are they working?
  • Are they taking care of others in the home, such as children or ill loved ones?
  • Are they disabled in any way?
  • Are they depressed regardless of their use of Facebook?

Now think about those questions and how they might affect someone who logs in to Facebook every day. If you live alone, then Facebook helps you have contact with the outside world. The drawback is that it can also make you envious of what others are able to do, but at least you have contact. The same scenario applies if you are disabled or stuck at home as a caregiver.

Perhaps your family lives in another state and you don’t see them often. Then Facebook becomes a vital tool in keeping those relationships current and active.

As you can see, personal circumstances and satisfaction with life in general will have an effect on all of your experiences, including your time on Facebook.

So how can we truly say that Facebook or the lack thereof will make you happier?

Now we’ll take a look at the findings of this “study.”

Take note of the numbers such as:

  • 39% are more likely to be less happy… which means 61% (majority) feel at least as happy if not happier than their friends.
  • 5 out of 10 which is half or 50% which is basically a coin toss, envy amazing experiences of others.  Interestingly, I also envy “some” amazing experiences regardless of where I learn about them.
  • 1 out of 3 envy the happiness of others on FB, which means that 2 out of 3 are not envious, which is the majority.
  • 4 out of 10 envying the success of others likewise means that they are in the minority because 6 out of 10 or 60% are not feeling envious of other people’s success or appearance of success on Facebook.

The actual quote on the findings:

“People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends,” reads the study. “Instead of focussing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have […] 5 out of 10 envy the #amazing experiences of others posted on Facebook. 1 out of 3 envy how #happy other people seem on Facebook. 4 out of 10 envy the apparent #success of others on Facebook.”

 

If you’re still interested in this study in spite of the fact that they misspelled focusing and in spite of the fact that it is utter nonsense, you can read more about it where I discovered it at SocialMediaWeek.com.

You can also download the report from the Happiness Research Institute.

Meanwhile, don’t worry. Be happy that millions of people can connect with each other using Facebook, or can connect with support groups, hobby groups, religious groups and political groups as well as fan groups and so much more.

The risks and the dangers of Facebook are minimal when compared to the benefits of its existence.

Thank you Mark Zuckerburg.

MarkZ

 

 

Mindfulness for Schools

According to UrbanDictionary.com, the term “urban youth” refers to young black people living in the city. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but it does have relevance to what I am about to talk about.

Earlier today, I saw an article on FaceBook, posted by the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding urban youth and the problems they face. What disturbed me was the comment by an obviously disengaged viewer. I have included a snapshot of the comment below.

The post stated:

Many urban ‪#‎youth‬ are repeatedly exposed to significant negative stressors including violence, poverty, and substance use. A new study suggests that a ‪#‎school‬-based ‪#‎mindfulness‬ program may lessen effects of these stressors. apapsy.ch/school-mindful‪#‎mentalhealth‬

The post linked to this article:

School-Based Mindfulness Program May Help Urban Children Deal With Negative Stress, which is linked to PsychNews.org.

Ignorant comment

As you can see, I did not black out my name with my response to this person. I am still shocked by such disregard for the problems that face people today. Those with no problems seem to have no heart or mind for hearing about the unpleasantness of growing up without money and resources.

What this male does not understand is the definition of pathetic. What is pathetic is the attitude of people sharing his belief that education should not include teaching people how to cope with desperate situations, how to have hope in the midst of trouble, and how to remain focused on preparing a better future for yourself.

There are many mindfulness curriculums already in effect in many inner city schools.

Goldie Hawn has had success with her curriculum on mindfulness, which is sold through Scholastic. You can read more about her program, MindUp, and the many great reviews at the Hawn Foundation.

You can also follow their progress on their FaceBook Page.

Mind Up provides this extremely affordable curriculum in three age groups, covering ages 3 to 14. You can find them at http://store.scholastic.com.

It is never too late to learn to be mindful, to learn to still the mind and focus on this moment, which is all we truly have for certain.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

You can also purchase tools for using at home. If you know a student who would benefit from the art of mindfulness, perhaps consider becoming a mentor and teaching this unique yet simple approach to a small group.

Meanwhile, let us continue to expand the awareness of those people who are out of touch with the realities and suffering of young people all over the world.

Namaste.

 

 

PEASE Academy Recovery High School

A news story was reported in Minnesota last October (2015), that covered the success of the P.E.A.S.E. (Peers Enjoying A Sober Education) Academy for the last twenty-five years as a recovery high school. This successful school exemplifies specific design worthy of repeating.

Recovery High School

  • Recovery – All of the students enter the school after signing an agreement to be clean and sober, as do their parents. If they ever test positive, then they and their parents agree that they will have to leave the school. If that occurs, they try alternate methods to help with recovery.
  • Addiction – Often, the students come after the beginning of the school year. Many parents have tried alternative methods and believe that once school starts, their kids will be motivated and stay clean. Unfortunately, the peer pressure is too great for many of them. Removing them from their school, neighborhoods and other places where they had access to their drug of choice, will help them conquer their addiction.
  • Support – The recovery school provides group meetings, small classrooms, a personal CD (chemical counselor) and other methods of support that facilitate their recovery.

PEASE Academy Recovery High School also helps students gain entrance into a local college that provides mentors for them when they graduate high school.

This article also covers other recovery high schools. Recovery High Schools address the various and complex needs of all their students. The larger schools may be able to provide newer technology and more opportunities such as sports and arts, but they do not give the majority of students what they need most which, in my opinion, is the deep seeded need to be seen, heard and cared for.

We need to find a way to spread the good news of these recovery schools so that every student in jeopardy during recovery can have the same change to a new and better life.

Steiner, A. (2014, October 22). P.E.A.S.E. Academy: 25 years of keeping adolescents in school and off drugs. Retrieved from http://www.minnpost.com/mental-health-addiction/2014/10/pease-academy-25-years-keeping-adolescents-school-and-drugs

 

College Recovery Communities

A Comparison of Rutgers University & Texas Tech’s
College Recovery Communities

Texas Tech University (TTU) is unique in that they provide at least one of the many types of recovery support group meetings now available, seven days a week.

Texas Tech Tulips

Texas Tech Tulips

Having access to support group meetings daily, gives college students in recovery from substance abuse, addiction or alcoholism, a sense of security by providing a safety net available whenever they need it.  An evidence of the success of this support is the fact that students in the College Recovery Community (CRC) have a graduation rate of 70% and a small relapse rate of only 8%. Their CRC has been successful at providing the proper environment that leads to success for most of their recovery students.

Academic Success for Recovery Students

Both TTU and Rutgers proudly boast that their recovery students have above a 3.0 GPA on average.

 

How it works

TTU’s CRC requires six months of sobriety for most recovery students. However, they do make exceptions depending on the circumstances. This practice may be contributing to the success rate as well as the higher GPAs, which are above the average GPAs for non-recovery students. The six-month sobriety requirement has proved to be a valuable deterrent to college dropouts, collegiate apathy, and continuing sobriety. A similar requirement should be implemented in all college recovery communities to help facilitate the success of these programs.

The rules are necessary in most cases, but having the flexibility to make exceptions for a few students shows their commitment to doing what is necessary for each individual. Even though they are in recovery, they each have different issues that need to be addressed.

There are no absolute truths or rules that can be applied to every college student in recovery. Acknowledging this truth, while seeking ways to accommodate these differences, is an impressive feature of TTU’s college recovery community.

Providing an altruistic project for recovering students is an excellent method of pulling them out of their formerly egoistic behavior, where their main focus was to satisfy their own wants and needs. Working with their fellow recovering peers can build important bonds and allow them to think of the needs of others in the midst of dealing with their own issues.

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” (Borchard, 2011).

According to Borchard (2011), not only should people be involved in volunteering, but afterwards they should also participate in a follow-up survey asking questions about how the recovery student felt as a volunteer. This would help assess which students would benefit from further volunteer projects as part of their treatment and as a requirement of their time in the CRC.

 

Support for Counselors at College Recovery Communities

Rutgers noted in his textbook, “Alcohol and drug counselors also need adequate supervision and administrative support” (Roth & Finch, 2010. p. 247).

Rutgers Scarlet Knight

Rutgers Scarlet Knight

This acknowledgement, again, shows the commitment and dedication of those affiliated with Rutgers’ CRC. Counselors need to be aware of their own potential stressors while dealing with college students in recovery. Having the option to take concerns to a director or the administrative board relieves the counselors of undue responsibilities in the face of new and unique problems they may encounter.

Proper administrative support can pave the way for a healthier program for counselors, students, and faculty. Supervision is important in any profession, as everyone performs better when held accountable for their actions.

Counselors also need ongoing education as new techniques are still in development for college recovery communities.

 

Obstacles for students in recovery

Another impediment facing recovery students, acknowledged by Rutgers, is that our culture, generally speaking, expects everyone to be able to handle having one or two drinks and nothing more. This is simply not possible for an addictive personality that has experienced addiction.

Most people who have no experience with addictions tend to be inconvenienced by the prospect of having a person in recovery attempting to enter their social network. This reaction can cause the person in recovery to feel even more self-conscious and burdensome than they already do.

Some of these students have been abandoned by, or have experienced constant criticism from their families. Empathetic counselors can help the students learn to deal with this type of humiliation by understanding that the people who feel this way are probably dealing with their own issues and feel they do not have time for someone else’s problems.

References:

Borchard, T. (2011). Helping Others Is Good For Your Health: An Interview with Stephen G. Post, PhD. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/28/helping-others-is-good-for-your-health-an-interview-with-stephen-g-post-phd/

Roth, J., & Finch, A. (2010). Approaches to substance abuse and addiction in education communities: A guide to practices that support recovery in adolescents and young adults. New York: Routledge.

 

Online Twelve Step Program

If you need to find an AA meeting or would like to read the Twelve Steps, or access any other information for immediate use, please visit one of these sites:

This particular article is primarily about high school and college students who are in recovery for substance abuse, addictions and alcoholism. Much of it would also apply to people of all ages in recovery.chatroom

In most cases, the online Twelve Step Program chat room should be just as useful as a face to face meeting. In fact, it may be more useful for people who are too shy to speak in front of others. The chat room allows them the opportunity to speak without worrying about facial reactions, such as shocked looks or even giggling. It gives them the protective barrier they need. Regardless of which type of meeting is used, it would still take time for all members to feel comfortable enough to participate. Nobody-Said-it-Would-be-Easy

Another advantage to meeting online is that no one is seeking transportation to get to a meeting. Some of the participants may not have a car or money for transportation. Not all family members are willing to get their loved one to a physical meeting in a brick and mortar building. In this respect, the virtual meeting solves a problem for many people.

The challenges an online chat room presents are that the person in charge of the group meeting is unable to view the participants’ physical reactions. Therefore there are no facial clues, body movements or uncomfortable movements that can be noted and addressed.

It could also present challenges to those who prefer to be in an actual physical group where they can smile, hug and connect energetically to others. Some people need the physical human connection more than others. Also, some of them may just want an opportunity to get out of the house.

I believe both options should be available whenever possible. However, the online chat room offers a viable method of getting people into group sessions and Twelve Step meetings when other methods are not an option.