Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Glee star, Corey Monteith, made no secret of his struggle with drug addiction before his untimely death.

Back in 2011, he made the comment that he was lucky to be alive given his history and struggle. He began using marihuana and alcohol at age 13. By the time he was 16, he admitted to having a serious problem.

So sad. Such a loss at such a young age (31). Please pray for the family and friends.

Drug addiction destroys a person’s life. Here are 10 truths to consider:

1) Drugs change your brain. These changes interfere with your ability to think  clearly, use good judgment and control your behavior.

2) The craving grows more important than anything else in your life when you are addicted.

3) The urge to use is so strong that you rationalize the addiction.

4) Addiction provides psychological pain relief.

5) Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion than takes more than willpower and a one shot attempt to treat.

6) Don’t wait for someone to “hit bottom.” That is often more difficult. DO an intervention. Even if someone enters drug treatment involuntarily, he or she can benefit from treatment.

7) Recovery often takes multiple attempts. Don’t get hopeless. Keep trying.

8) If you try one approach and it doesn’t work. Try another. Find something that  makes sense and connects with your issues.

9) Despite this being a brain disease, you can learn to live without drugs in your life.

10) You need God’s help. This is beyond willpower and requires God’s intervention as well. With God, all things are possible.

The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shares her thoughtful response to the Zimmerman verdict.

Dr. Alveda King: “Grieved over strife surrounding Zimmerman verdict”

I believe that the verdict in the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Case further exposes a grievous and deep vein of disharmony and racial tension in our nation that can only be healed when people realize that every human being should be treated with dignity and respect,” says Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life.

A trial like this causes public debate, and people have forgotten what is right anymore. Now Trayvon’s tragic death is obscured and Mr. Zimmerman is a public spectacle.  The lines of what is right and what is legal/lawful have also been blurred and this trial exposes that.

We saw the same scenarios in the O. J. trial and the Casey Anthony case. There was reasonable doubt, no matter how minute the reasonable doubt proves to be. Even more recently, abortionists are butchering women in so called legal yet under-regulated facilities where in many cases no arrests are being made; with Kermit Gosnell’s case being a recent exception.

In Chicago, where random killings are at an all time high, a Black Woman, Tonya Reaves, was recently slaughtered and bled to death for five hours in a Planned Parenthood abortion mill and no arrests have been made.

Now in the wake of Trayvon’s senseless death and  Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal many people are angry at the tragic loss of life and what some perceive to be a shun on the Black race.  For the record, Acts 17:26 teaches that there is one blood and one human race, not multiple races, so racism is based on a lie!

Others seem to feel a victory because certain constitutional rights were favorably argued and the question of reasonable doubt prevailed in this case.  Yet it is important to also note that Zimmerman’s life is ruined too, and that the court of public opinion is not completely on his side.

So in a way the blind scales of justice seem to have favored Mr. Zimmerman while Trayvon’s voice is silenced and his dream died with him.

The Bible says mercy triumphs over justice:  “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NKJV)

And Micah 6:8 says that we should add love and humility to justice.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Love and humility are missing on both sides of this struggle!

My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we must all learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish as fools. Too many people are dying today for too many reasons, and the race baiting and strife add fuel to the fire which grieves my soul.

Again a young American man has perished, another is a public spectacle. Who wins?

We must now use this controversy as an opportunity to help educate our future generations as to how to act and how to react in similar situations; then maybe young Trayvon’s death will not be in vain.

A profound injustice has occurred in glossing over the death of this young man and the suffering of his family. The not guilty verdict violates the tender nuances of human suffering and the integrity of the criminal justice system in his community.

It remains critically-important, however, that all protests against the verdict demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s precious life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced.

Let’s face it. If both people in this tragedy were of common ethnicity, there would be no media feeding frenzy.  The gun control debate is a smokescreen in that people do use guns to kill other people as Zimmerman did in this case. But guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Yes, sometimes they use guns, but they sometimes use bombs or knives too. We definitely need love control and heart control and nonviolence control.

There are murders going on every day that the media overlooks. Remember Tonya Reaves. Millions of Black babies and many of their mothers are being slaughtered in abortion mills. Where is the justice for that?

Obviously strife and struggle and conflict were at the base of this case. Two men alone on the street in the dark. A punch is thrown. A gun escalates the trauma and drama. We need a Beloved Community. We need nonviolence conflict resolution.

Let us please give a nonviolent response to Trayvon’s family, to Mr. Zimmerman and to America to help to promote healing and to lay the foundation needed to repeal faulty laws that fail to protect our youth, and to further enact other reforms to prevent such tragedies in the future.”

 

He sang about being your boyfriend, but what girl wants a guy who pees in a janitor’s bucket in a restaurant?  Most “girlfriends” would run for the hills, thinking this guy has issues. And there was more, he spritzed a picture of former President Clinton and called him an expletive. Who knew the Canadian harbored such feelings towards an American President? But because Bieber is a celebrity, most girls would overlook this moment of rebellion, and be his girlfriend anyway. If he was just the guy down the block, he would be gross and disgusting. Someone might even refer him for therapy!

Somehow, when gross and inappropriate behavior comes from a celebrity, we chuckle and think it is just a part of celebrity behavior-expected, minimized, and no one talks about what it really might mean.

Call me a mom, but I was so disappointed with the Biebs. He’s got talent, charisma on stage, so why does he have to sink to such a low level? Yes, he apologized after the video and word got out.

So why do celebrities act out?

Maybe it is the lifestyle –no privacy, constant adulation, and a team of people who keep pushing you for more because their livelihood depends on it. Once your famous, you are trapped. No going back to a private life. Time to rebel, and that rebellion seems to worsen with time. The isolation has to change their thinking, making them more paranoid, more self-centered and more out of touch with every day norms. Think about it. If you can jet to an island and spend 10,000 on a quick date, you aren’t moving in the circles of ordinary people. Eventually, you lose touch, can’t relate and unfortunately, the people around you stop questioning your aberrant behavior. They need you to make money, not question your mental health.

And the teenage brain isn’t fully developed. It doesn’t do well with impulsivity and judgment. And with no one telling you to “knock it off,” “that was stupid” or “I hope you feel embarrassed,” the normal controls are gone. Teenage rebellion is full throttle in the public eye. Few of these people have a genuine faith to ground and help them. Whatever they want, they can afford. No one says NO. No one says, you acted like a jerk! When they get caught, they apologize.

Dr. Drew thinks celebrity bad behavior is rooted in mental illness. According to him, celebrities already have narcissistic traits that then get reinforced with their success and fame. The press makes it all look so normal, rather than taking them to task. Maybe he is right. He has certainly worked with a number of them.

Whatever the reason, I wish every talented kid like Bieber would surround himself with people who would ground him, who don’t have money as their main issue and would put his mental health front and center. And maybe the media could stop celebrating their acting out–now that would be a miracle, but hey, I can always hope.

childYears ago, I began treating children with attention and behavioral problems with parent training. Yes, it was time consuming. Parents had to attend classes, track their child’s behavior and apply various parenting skills to the problems they saw. Then I would go in to the child’s classroom and train the teacher in the same methods so that we all were consistent and building skills in both the adults and children. Again, time consuming but seemed to have a good result.

Then medications for children became popular. Teachers were busy with classrooms too large, few helpers, too much paperwork and families who were not involved. Medicating children with ADHD seemed to help everyone immediately , but the question always was, was it good for the child and would the help last?

Families with an ADHD child often have concerns when a medication is recommended to treat symptoms. Parents typically do not want to medicate children unless they feel it is absolutely necessary and the benefits outweigh the costs. Since so many children are put on ADHD medications (2.7. million in the US according to the CDC; 2007) in order to help them in school, we have to question this practice given the recent findings. Perhaps parental reluctance to use medications on their young children now has more validity. This latest study may help parents decide what to do when it comes to medicating a child in order to improve school success.

Nearly 4000 students were followed in Quebec, Canada over an 11- year period.  The result of this longitudinal study was that boys who took the ADHD drugs actually performed WORSE in school than those who did not drugs and yet had similar symptoms! In terms of the girls, the National Bureau of Economic Research, discovered that those taking ADHD drugs had more emotional problems. So for both genders in terms of long term school performance, not good results.

But the picture isn’t clear. It seems that ADHD drugs do help kids sit still, pay attention and complete more problems and tasks with accuracy. However,  in the long run, the benefits of the medication do not seem to translate in the classroom, especially when we look at academic achievement measures. One thought is that maybe the improved concentration of the child isn’t directed at the academic tasks required for long term success. We just do’t know.

So what does all this mean? 

It means that medication alone is not going to enhance academic performance in the long run. Maybe drugs help kids focus on the immediate, but drugs do not teach skills, organization and prioritizing needed for academic success.

And since the medications also seem to backfire when it comes to studying and improving concentration, parents need to wonder if using the medications is a good idea, especially if the goal of using the medications is to improve academic success.

This study certainly casts doubt on the effectiveness of stimulant medication for children and  further highlights the safety issues involved.

Another option is to go back to those parent training classes and apply the cognitive and behavioral interventions that have no side effects. These interventions take longer and require more parental involvement, but it might be worth the investment in the long run. And remember parents, many, many creative types did not do well in school, but did well in life! Academic success isn’t always an indicator of life success.

 

 

Previous Posts